Holbrooke got President Milosevic to hold back on his offensive last week in the hope that the U.S. could broker a deal with the KLA. "But in the end, Holbrooke could offer Milosevic nothing from the KLA," says Waller. "Right now, the U.S. can't even find the organization's leader."
NATO is about to be dragged into a messy war in Kosovo that it doesn't want but may be unable to avoid. In a fierce battle Wednesday, Serb forces ousted the insurgent Kosovo Liberation Army from the coal mining town of Belacevac and prepared for an onslaught on the besieged town of Kijevo -- dubbed "the most dangerous place in Europe" by U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke last week. "A full-scale Serbian offensive against the KLA will force NATO to take action against the Serbs," says TIME correspondent Douglas Waller, who last week accompanied Holbrooke on a futile peace mission in the region. "Although the Serbs could easily squash the KLA, that would trigger a bloody civil war throughout the region" -- a war NATO fears would destabilize the region and create a massive refugee problem.