Still, the Serb pullout has -- at least for now -- stopped the terror campaign against Kosovar civilians, and may allow refugees to return to their homes as winter looms. "The Serb withdrawal has to be counted as a victory for Western pressure," says Calabresi. "Even if it's only a temporary one."
The NATO-authored Serb withdrawal in Kosovo looks less like peace than it does a time-out in a prizefight. Serb troops continued to leave the territory Tuesday, and the irregulars of the Kosovo Liberation Army moved straight back into the towns the Serbs had occupied. As if to emphasize that this is far from over, Serb paramilitaries left the town of Malisevo and then suddenly swept back in a few hours later for a firefight with the KLA. "If the Serbs pull out enough troops, NATO will suspend its activation order for air strikes," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "But that doesn't mean the Serbs won't come back two weeks later and retake the towns from which they've withdrawn."