The monitors deployed by the West to verify Serb compliance also present their own set of problems. "They immediately become potential hostages for Milosevic and make it even more difficult for NATO to attack," says Dowell. So when the next deadline for Serb withdrawal passes, expect another extension.
Richard Holbrooke's Kosovo peace deal is looking a little patchy in the cold light of day. NATO commander in chief General Wesley Clark met with President Milosevic Wednesday to press the Serb leader to meet the already extended deadline for withdrawing his forces -- October 12. But reports of continued fighting in the territory highlight a substantial flaw in the pact: It doesn't include the pro-independence guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army. KLA snipers have killed a handful of Serbian police this week, provoking a return of Serb troops and armor to some parts of Kosovo. "The Kosovar Albanians are deeply frustrated that the U.S. didn't follow through," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "They're able to undermine the accord by continuing attacks on Serb targets."