Critical points for the security of
Serbia/FR Yugoslavia



Miroslav Hadzic, Ph.d.,
President, Centre for Civil-Military relations





Lecture given at a joint conference by Institute of Defence, University of Skopje and
PfP Consortium Working Group on Crisis Management in SEE Conference
"Ten Years After: Democratisation and Security Challenges in SEE"

27-29 October, Ohrid, Macedonia


I would like to offer you my personal perception of the critical points of the security of Serbia and the FR Yugoslavia. That should , I hope, make the image of the security challenges in SEE more complete. Convinced that additional explanations would burden this respected gathering, I am free to offer a brief list of these points in the form of theses.

The new risk-map of Serbia and the FR Yugoslavia is drawn up byinter-active action of the two basic groups of factors:

- first, by the final concentration of the basic causes of the war collapse of the second Yugoslavia into its eastern remnant, and

- second, by the arrival of all and final consequences of the unseccessful escape of the citizens of Serbia from the exit out of socialism and pro-democratic modernization.

The fact that the citizens of Serbia, even under these circumstance, managed to remove Milosevic at the elections could be, in literary exaltation, raised to the rank of revolution. Reality shows that they are facing the same tasks today as in 1990. In addition to that, they now have to solve them under incomparably worse and mor difficult conditions.

The first direct security benefints from the change of the power in Serbia I find in the following points:

- first, the danger of the internal (civil) war in Serbia has radically decreased;

- second, the prospects for a misuse of the Army of Yugoslavia in Montenegro have considerably diminished, as well as for the tribal war in it;

- third, the possibility of the export of crisis from Serbia to neighbouring states and to the region is reduced, and

- forth, the reasons for the NATO air-support to the democratization of Serbia and the Balkans are cancelled.

At the same time, there have been announced some collateral benefits, the long term effects of which could come out to some people as a damage. First of all, the governments of the region are deprived from the possibility to legitimaze themselves qasi-democratically od the anti-Milosevic basis. In that manner, equally, the road is barred for the war acqusition of the independent states. Having that in mind, the Montenegrin authorities will have to offer better reasons for the new reshaping of the borders.

The departure of Milosevic hase announced to the West both gains and losses. The West, first, obtained a chance to join the winners in a general celebration. With that to conceal the fact that the change in Serbia took place despite its endevour to topple the authoritarian regime by bombs and samctions. The Alliance will suffer the first damage due to the loss of the alibi for its unsuccessful Yugoslav crisis management. But, now Kosovo remains to it, on it the Alliance will be able to prove its devotion to democracy and to the principles of unchangeability of the borders in Europe. Let me remind, even in October 1998 Milosevic passed the Kosovo "hot potato" to the USA and NATO. After that, he defended it under bombs only up to the point of his staying in power. The USA, equally, destructively liberated Kosovo only up to the point of Milosevic's staying in power.

The first cross-section of the newly created situation permits a presumption according to which Serbia will soon cease to be the main source of the security risks in the region. Proportionally, the foreign threats to the security of Serbia and the FRY decline. By that, of course, the causes ofthe shortage of security in Serbia and in the region are not removed, but only their different constelation announced. That directs to a different thematization of the security complex in Serbia, but in the whole region, as well.

Therefore, the focus of analysis should be shifted to the internal factors of the security in Serbia.For that purpose one should determine himself toward the latest events, to which many ascribed a revolutionary character. The validity of such a judgment is reduced by the fact that it is a question of an unfinished and controversial process.

In Serbia, probably, a unique combination of a legal change of power and the collapse of a facade system took place. The bearrers of the changes did topple the central person in power, but they did not occupy the central power yet. The collapse of the system deprived them of the instruments by which they would materilize the will of the citizens andf their objectives.

The tactical ambivalencies of the Democratic Oposition of Serbia (DOS) caused the formative stage to last to long. There is an impression that the opposition was surprised by the speed at which the former system collapsed. That is, for that variant it was not well prepared, and therefore has no operative plans for a fast establishment and consolidation of its power. That reduced the chanses of DOS to radically dismantle and expropriate the elites of the former regime. At the same time, by that grew up the chances of the remnants of these elites to infiltrate into the emerging system. Consequently, the danger of the waste of the citizens' reformist energy grows, by which the December elections could become more uncertain than it looks like now.

The important reason for the prolonged anarchy and double government should be sought in the fact that the new government found itself in the "Montenegrin scisors". It is obvious that the actual rulers of Montenegro are relactant to renounce, even temporarily, the numerous benefits of the acquired sovereignty. At the same time, the Montenegrin epigons of Milosevic intend, through the DOS at the federal level, to make for the shortage of legitimity and power in the mother republic. It should not be ruled out, therefore, thet the third Yugoslavia falls apart even before it obtained a chance to be democratically rearranged. Further more, by the work of Montenegrin the international "scisors" built in the UN SC Resolution 1244 open, according to which Kosovo remains only in Yugoslavia.

To make things worse, the obstruction of the Podgorica elites might at the end direct Serbia to secession from the FRY. Though in that variant Montenegro would formilize its sovereignty, that would disturbe the map of the region and cause chain reaction consequences. The obstacles for giving the status of state to Kosovo would disappear, but the problems of preservation of Macedonia, B&H and Albania would appear.

The current interregnum, before all, opens a new field for production of the security risks in Serbia and the FRY. Such a conclusion is supported by the list of the problems whose solution is being delayed and aggravated due to unfinished break with the old regime:

- the renewal of the basic functions of the federal state until the final agreement between Serbia and Montenegro about its future appearance

- the engagement of the remaining domestic and the potential foreign resources for the economic and social survival of the population

- the beginning of the pacification of the society

- the stoppage of the further criminalization of the society

- the establishment of the state cooperation with KFOR and UNMIK in order to improve the security of the non-albanian populace in Kosovo, but also in order to prvent unilateral solution of its future status.

It means that the new authorities should first halt the state and social decay. Afterwards they should start the recovery out of which could ensue the suppositions for gradual recovery and development. The key precondition for such an enterprise is the establishment of the internal security of the society and the safety of the citizens.

For that purpose the new authorities should as soon as possible establish an active control over the Army of Yugoslavija, police and state security. That, however, requires, the dismissal of various para-military, para-police, party and private armed groups. Soo much more because in this circle, marked with arms and force, are located the central risks for the security of the state and society in the stage of consolidation.

The following facts warn that:

- the delayed establishment of the supreme civilian command prevents the deduction of a new loyalty of the top military brass up to the final consequences. In other words, it offers a chance to the generals to personalize their loyalty again. Thereby the necessary personnel changes in the army, which would facilitate the proces of its rearrangement, are blocked. The absence of the federal government and the paralisis of the parliament prevent the return of the army into the system and its subordination to the democratic civilian control.




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