The Syrian Rebels and the KLA
Wiping out local minorities after an extensive NATO airstrike is the only combat tactic the KLA had mastered and the only thing the Syrian opposition can really learn from them, foreign-affairs editor for the U.S.-based Chronicles magazine, Srdja Trifkovic, told RT.
RT: Just what might the Syrian opposition learn at these camps?
Srdja Trifkovic: Well, first of all I don’t think they can learn much from the KLA veterans in terms of combat efficiency because the KLA was singularly unsuccessful in its rebellion against the Serbian security forces until the NATO bombing. They started their terrorist ambushes in 1997. They intensified their activities in 1998. But all along it was atrocity management that they wanted, for instance, the famous case of Racak where the combat victims were presented as innocent civilian dead slaughtered by the Serbs.
But even during the bombing the Serbian forces maintained full control of all of the key population centers and they even kept the roads open. It’s only that the KLA came in after the Serbs started withdrawing under the terms of the ceasefire with NATO. And even then they were not engaging in combat, they were acting as marauders ethnically cleansing non-Albanians. So the first point is that there is nothing to learn in terms of combat efficiency and in terms of actually organizing a successful guerrilla force.
RT: Words that have been associated with the KLA—assassination, terror, bombings—is that really the kind of thing that the Syrian opposition wants to be associated with?
ST: It seems that they don’t care, because I understand that Ammar Abdulhamid, one of the Syrian opposition leaders who came to Pristina and actually spoke to an AP reporter, said “We are here to learn.” Now this should be a huge wake-up call for those Syrians who are not supportive of the opposition, especially the minorities: the Alawites, the Christians—either Orthodox or Greek Catholic—the Shiites, the Kurds. The moderate Sunni Muslims should remember that if the Syrian rebels learn from the KLA, that means there will be a bloodbath after the fall of Assad and there will be no room for anyone but the majority group which subscribes to its extremist credo, whether it is that of greater Albania in Kosovo or the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in Syria.