After initially backing NATO strikes, Iran now sides with Russia

Special to World
Monday, April 5, 1999

An Iranian daily said on Sunday that the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia has only served President Slobodan Milosevic's aims of tightening his control over the Kosovo province.

"It looks as if all that NATO has accomplished to date in bombing Kosovo has been to speed up Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's timetable for depopulating that unfortunate province," the English-language Iran Daily said.

The skepticism by the newspaper echoes that expressed by Iranian officials over the last few days. Analysts said that after initial support Iran has restrained its advocacy of the NATO campaign as part of efforts to remain in line with the opposition of Russia. Iran and Russia are improving ties in issues of military and foreign affairs.

"Considering that the operation was mounted to keep the Kosovars in place and insure a greater measure of security, the worlds' most formidable military alliance must now adopt new measures," Iran Daily said. "Sadly, it appears that the Kosovars themselves, plus impoverished Albania and Macdonia will be footing most of the bill."

"There is, of course a bit of amazement that the NATO game plan has been as shortsighted as events are revealing it to be," the newspaper said. "What was supposed to be a sharp reining in of Milosevic appears to be a creeping destabilization of the entire Balkans."

The daily said NATO will continue the air campaign against Yugoslavia over the next few weeks and might target Milosevic himself. "NATO will have to consider putting troops on the ground to reverse the refugee tide and be prepared for those troops to remain in occupation of Kosovo for long months to come," the newspaper said. "No one seems to have given this probability the least consideration when planning the attack."

Iran Daily said in the end the issue of Kosovo autonomy might be shelved. "Perhaps, we will witness the leveling of Yugoslavia so that the much vaunted alliance can hold its reputation," the newspaper said.

Monday, April 5, 1999

Contact World at

Return to World front page