Today's Story Line

Getting at the truth on Kosovo will occupy tribunals and analysts for years. The big challenge now: to sort through official rhetoric and hard-to-confirm anecdotal accounts from a shut-off war zone. The Monitor's Jonathan Landay tapped official contacts and drew together threads on the ground to report what may be evidence of the worst massacre known in Kosovo.

NATO is signaling it may be preparing for a ground war, a prospect long kept at arm's length by the Western alliance - and particularly by Washington.

Some analysts' pick for the next muddy shoe to drop is the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, where a struggle for an identity apart from that of Serbia, the dominant republic, now plays out.

In the Mideast, the world's front-burner story not long ago, developments since last fall's Wye agreement between Israel and the Palestinians include an increase in Jewish settlements on disputed land and a warming between Jordan and Syria that that may ultimately speed a wider regional reconciliation.

- Clayton Collins Deputy World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *SPIN FROM THE WAR ROOM: European bureau chief Peter Ford, who reports from Brussels on war planning at NATO, says the Western alliance is clearly fighting the Kosovo campaign on two fronts. There's the military operation in Yugoslavia, and there's the public-relations operation at headquarters in Brussels, aimed at keeping popular opinion in the 19 member states rallied behind Operation Allied Force. Several hundred journalists at the press center are given everything they need, from free international telephone calls to daily briefings by NATO officials, while diplomats from one allied country or another pop up to whisper their government's spin into eager ears. "It's unsurprising, of course," Peter says, "But we never get shown cockpit video of smart bombs that miss their targets."

*U.S. EYE IN THE SKY? Last week, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the US is using satellites to keep track of Jewish settlement growth in the West Bank (page 7). US officials have refrained from giving any on-the-record response to the report, but US sources tell Jerusalem correspondent Ilene Prusher such photos have been taken for several years. Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk decided to emphasize satellite trackings last week by informing an Israeli military-affairs writer about their use. Immediately following Mr. Indyk's visit, in which he complained to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about settlement expansion, Mr. Netanyahu hailed settlement growth as he inaugurated an industrial park in the West Bank.

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