Serbian generals: President, show us whether this about Kosovo is a charade, circus or something meaningful

The Former Chief of Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Zdravko Ponos and a retired Air Force general, Sreto Malinovic claimed that the Serbian Army has reached the level of a social welfare institution during their guest appearance last night on the N1 Pressing talk-show. „They want the army to be obedient, poorly paid and poor,“ Ponos said. „The marginalization of the defence system, and the sycophancy, and then the highest level of collapse – the vulinization started when the SNS came to power,“ added Malinovic. The two generals also talked about the state of the Serbian army, the attitude of the state authorities towards it, as well as about Kosovo, and included what the real security threats are for Kosovo Serbs.

Do not leave your destiny in anyone’s hands, that is why you should have a plan B

Recalling the 2,500 active units and 800 reserves of the KSF, Ponos said that the plan for forming the Kosovo Army „sounds serious.“

„It is more than 5000, plus 3000. An increase in spending from 0.8 percent to 1.6 of GDP, or an increase from €50 million to €120 million,“ he said. On the other side, it should be taken into account that this is a 7 to 10 years long investment period; also, the question remains whether the local Kosovo economy can implement such a plan, Ponos emphasized.

When asked whether the formation of the Kosovo army represents a military challenge for Serbia, Ponos replied:

„It is not so obvious, but any change that affects the security constellation is something that the security structures of this country need to pay attention to. They have to take this into account. You must always have the forces ready to do the job.“

Currently I see no threats against Serbia coming from the outside as it is the threat posed by those who we have elected (General Malinovic)

Ponos claimed that it is important for the Serbian army to have „good, productive relations, dynamic communication“ with the KFOR forces, because at this moment these forces guarantee the security of the Serbian population in Kosovo. He, however, also added:

„You should never leave your destiny in anyone’s hands and that is why you must always have a plan B. That is why our army must always be ready to respond to the challenges that are not obvious at this moment“.

Every recomposition in the region deserves attention, the general added.

„I would very much prefer if the defense minister and the President of the state and the general staff dealt with these type of calculations, because this is quite an exact matter. It can be put on paper, and some lessons can be learned from it, such as how much money, how many soldiers, what kind of training system, and what do we need.“

The issue of Kosovo will be discussed for a long time, Ponos explained.

This is not a day to day story and military capacity also affects its resolution, but I am not talking about military forces as not been a credible threat by force, but of military forces as a credible guarantor of our security and of the security of those on the other side of the administrative line

As a real security risk for Serbia, the generals estimated that this was actually the State National Security Council, due to the profile of its membership, their qualifications and preferences for abuse of the defense system.

„Imagine that these people have far more powerful resources, and they are willing to reach for them just as easily as Vucic has mobilised a special unit during Thaci’s visit to Gazivode Lake“, said general Malinovic.

Even extremely clever people cannot speak both often and cleverly

When asked to comment on the President of the state publicly saying that the intelligence nformation arrives to the security agencies from „our people in the field“ (from Kosovo), Ponos  shortly replied:

„Even extremely clever people cannot speak both often and cleverly.“

He believes that it is not appropriate for the President of the state to talk about such an issue, however, he added:

„It is appropriate if your platform for public appearances includes gossip columns and tabloids and obscure television, then this a way of talking and this type of politics suits the audience that pays attention to it. I presume that President Vucic did not do this out of a pure whim, I suppose his counseling team adjusts his rhetoric, taking into account his tendencies towards the audience he is addressing.”

President, show us if this is a charade, a circus or something meaningful

Speaking about what Aleksandar Vucic is negotiating on regarding Kosovo, Ponos said: „Vucic did not, at this moment, reach for an important topic such as Kosovo for no reason or announce that the opposition would finally get an opportunity to talk about it in parliament, because, after all, the opposition requested that.“

Kosovo issue is of national importance for him, adding that the opposition’s decision to be made regarding the recent invitation to talk about Kosovo in the Serbian parliament is currently very popular in the media.

„But I think that a reasonable answer would be: Come on, President, you talked about something so far, send us a report on what you talked about and what you did and send us the platform on what you are planning to do, send it to us for us to study it, so that we can see whether this is a charade, a circus or if it’s something meaningful. Let’s get serious. Until now, he led this as if he was talking about a family estate. Let him send something to see if we are wrong, that this is something serious, and then that will definitely deserve a conversation,“ he said.

Where is this „internal dialogue on Kosovo“?!

General Malinovic agreed with Ponos, stating:

„From the beginning, I was against the opposition playing dead until the bear passes when it comes to Kosovo and Metohija as a key national issue at this time. We must have a position, but I am absolutely in favour of this too – what did you (President Vucic) talk about, where is this internal dialogue, to which no one except ‘my relatives’ attended. Then we have a mummified Marko Djuric… I hope that state leaders will begin to think in a state manner – I hope, but I honestly do not believe it will happen.“

I am scared of someone reaching for something that landed Krajina on tractors

Responding to the question on to what extent is KFOR capable of protecting Serbs from Kosovo in any undesirable situation, General Malinovic said that Kosovo Albanians will not do anything without the tacit consent of “someone much more powerful.”

„KFOR is not there alone. It is only based there, it is the guarantor of security in the field, and NATO will intervene in any case in which Serbs are threatened and which requires more force,“ Malinovic said.

The general expressed hope that KFOR will prevent possible violence against the population, adding that Serb forces must also be prepared.

„Everything is fine, the resolution, the Brussels Agreement, the signing, but what must be made clear is that if our people’s lives are endangered – the people must be protected. We cannot allow anyone to die innocent,“ he stressed.

According to General Malinovic, the basic problem are “someone’s games.”

„Or something to which someone is committed to, but there is no way for him to accomplish this, while he is presenting himself as a hero and a martyr“, said the general.

„I am scared of someone reaching for something that landed Krajina on tractors. We must say truthfully, if that ghost from the bottle would appear in the field – in any part of the former Yugoslavia – then it could no longer be controlled by any power,“ the general further explained.

That is why the way the Serbian state leadership deals with the problem of Kosovo Serbs is very important, as well as with the problems of those citizens who are loyal to Serbia, and especially those who are south of the Ibar – he added.

Contrary to it: „North Mitrovica and north of the Ibar is essentially a free shop through which all kinds of things are being accomplished. It seems to me that these taxes benefited both Thaci and our patriotic businessmen with such things,“ the Serbian general concluded.

The decorated general of the Serbian Air Force, Sreto Malinovic, is now known in the state-controlled media as the „yellow general“ because he is now in charge of a security department for the Democratic Party. During his military career, however, he became more famous for commanding Air Force units during two wars. He also held a famous speech on the first day of the bombing on March 24th, 1999:



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