Back to Square One in Kosovo

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The Serb offensive in Kosovo officially ended Monday, but that doesn't resolve the problem. The fighting, after all, has been over the territory's political status, and there's no sign of an accord on that front. "The Serbs claim they've defeated the Kosovo Liberation Army, but almost every fighting-age man in Kosovo now has a weapon and is devoted to fight for independence," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "Armed resistance to Serb rule is definitely going to continue."

The U.S. has ruled out full independence for the 90-percent ethnic-Albanian region, preferring a form of autonomy termed "Republic-minus." But even if the West could sell that deal to the separatist guerrillas, it's a nonstarter without the agreement of Serb President Slobodan Milosevic -- and he's shown no sign of letting go of his claim on the region. Indeed, by suspending military activies, Milosevic makes the West's job even harder. "NATO's now faces the challenge of finding a way to make the Serbs accept the Republic-minus deal," says Calabresi. Threatening air strikes to make Milosevic to stop attacking Kosovar civilians is one thing; air strikes to force him to accept a particular constitutional arrangement is quite another. Which means the battle over Kosovo is far from over.