Skip to comments.Kosovo's Back (It Never Really Left)
Posted on 12/22/2006 7:27:20 AM PST by tgambill
It's not so pristine in Pristina. That's still our problem.
REMEMBER KOSOVO? The little statelet of 2 million, still technically an "integral part" of Serbia, was the inspiration for an unprecedented NATO campaign, the first of its kind: bombing, in those less sensitive times, Christian troops on Easter. The prevention of genocide and the resulting stability of the whole Balkan region were secured, peacekeepers took up their positions in and around the capital, Pristina, and no one lived happily ever after. Serbia threw out its mad leadership--that has to count for something--but the old wounds burn even for democratic Prime Minister Kostunica, who lately termed the NATO war for Kosovo a "huge mistake, big enough for the last and this century." The occasion of these remarks? A warning of serious consequences should the West recognize Kosovar independence without a U.N. resolution.
Meanwhile, just weeks ago, U.N. police found themselves teargassing a crowd of thousands of protesting Kosovars. "Final status" for Kosovo has been on the table--and tabled--all year long. Everyone knows it has to happen but no one wants to say how. Patience is running out. The ethnic Albanians we fought to save are nationalists now, and will settle for nothing less than independence from Belgrade. The Serbs, Europe's least fortunate people, cannot abide the loss of their national homeland. But the status quo is practically untenable, too--riots and arson are on the rise and ethnic antagonists are segregating under duress. A reckoning--the final "final status"--is coming, and sooner rather than later.
So it was that Naser Rugova--head of Kosovo's Reforma party and nephew of first Kosovar President Ibrahim Rugova--made the Washington rounds again this holiday season. At the Nixon Center, Rugova said he could "understand" the delay on final status, but wants us to understand that an "explosive situation" awaits the "risky calculation" of putting off Kosovars any longer. Stuck in limbo, Kosovo suffers 54 percent unemployment, with 65 percent of its population under the age of 25. Atop social problems are energy problems and, most painfully, financial problems. Kosovo needs cash, and so Rugova pitches a "normal environment for all foreign investors" as the deal for an IMF relationship and the ability to enter into "accession talks with Europe."
There's more. Rugova wants "a significant presence" maintained by the international community for the next three to five years. What the West would gain in the bargain is a stable Kosovo, secure in a "constitutional order" with a "progressive, productive, and competitive" economy. Croatia--which took 10 years to integrate into Europe--is taken as the inspiration, but Kosovo--small, landlocked, with almost zero infrastructure--has a lot of work to do, and cannot do it on its own.
WHY WOULD WE HELP what Rugova terms this "baby nation," at the cost of infuriating Serbia? The answer may be that we have little choice. To turn away now--having exerted so much energy on Kosovo, killed so many Serbs, and touted Western policies so earnestly--is to default on every promise we have made the Kosovars.
And nothing is more attractive to the people and problems we are struggling to defeat than an imploded, aggrieved, and chaotic hinterland of Muslim and Christian admixture ringed by E.U. and NATO states. Beyond Kosovo, ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania proper wait to hear from the world regarding their brethren.
The options are few, but a decision must be made eventually. Serbia is a hostage to final status as much as Kosovo. Without final status, neither country will ever see the benefits of economic membership in Europe. Serbia will remain the last pariah state west of Belarus, with a dour and draining liability on a southern border with no practical value. And Kosovo will stagnate, unable to attract investment from Belgrade and unwilling to accept its rule. Yet partition, which would shear off Kosovo's Serb fringe to facilitate a cleansed sovereignty, receives the support of neither nation. Serbs know partition means the loss of Kosovo; yet partition leaves Kosovars as the citizens of a rump state open to acrimonious border negotiation. Even neighboring Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha has gone on record against partition as encouraging "adventurers of all nationalities." "Kosovo will not be separated," agrees Rugova, who calls partition "a dangerous idea" sure to "destabilize Macedonia and Montenegro." With Belgrade intent on decentralization and Kosovo open to consociation, pushing partition does nothing to facilitate independence, the only workable final status.
IS INDEPENDENCE for Kosovo too destabilizing? Other stateless groups throughout Eurasia might revolt against their ruling regimes if Kosovo is granted independence and sovereignty. Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia--all in varying degrees of thrall to Russia--might insist upon like treatment. Nagorno-Karabakh has already moved by referendum to declare itself a "sovereign, democratic" state--with 98 percent voter approval. Russia's own Chechen problem will only look worse--a lesson not lost on China, which considers Kosovar sovereignty the worst of all precedents as far as Taiwan is concerned. (Indeed, at least some pro-independence Taiwanese draw parallels between their situation and the Kosovars'.)
But Rugova responds that Kosovo deserves special treatment on account of geography: Outside Europe, one finds "much more complicated problems." In a sense, he's right. Kosovo's situation is genuinely unique and relatively straightfoward. It's true that some work must be done to establish Kosovo's special status as a legitimate exception to legitimate rules of sovereignty--and so it should. The biggest obstacle is Russia, interested in both protecting Serb interests and drawing the line against nationalist adventures on its own southern periphery. Yet delaying final status will keep Serbia frozen out of Europe and too distant from Russia to enjoy even the cold comfort of a cozy relationship with Moscow.
It might seem callous to buy American success in Kosovo at the price of a freer Russian hand. But Kosovar independence will patch a dangerous hole in the fabric of legitimate government and the rule of law in Europe. And a simple, clear success for American foreign policy that shores up Europe has value in and of itself.
Serbs, given serious incentives, might look west more often than south. Some may even return to a Kosovo delivered from limbo. Among those incentives, a Security Council resolution will seal the deal for Kosovo but almost certainly require tacit agreements with Russia and assurances for China. If that seems a bit tart, then the alternative--Kosovo betrayed, American policy stymied, dysfunction and disorder festering in the Balkans--leaves a positively bitter taste.
James G. Poulos is an essayist and doctoral candidate at Georgetown University. His commentaries are to be found at Postmodern Conservative.
© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
Good Article with the exception of the comment about an independent Kosovo is a postive step. An Independent Kosovo will according to Richard Holbrooke; Imagine that!
There's a military insurrection that is taking shape, backed by the members of the Albania Diaspora in Germany, Switzerland, and right here in New York City, where a lot of Albanians and Albanian-Americans are sending a lot of money and support to Kosovo. (Gosh - NYC? -SG)
Holbrooke: An independent Kosovo would "unravel Southeastern Europe."
JIM LEHRER: And they want an independent Kosovo ruled by Albanians, right?
RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Yes. And more. I met with several Albanian leaders in Kosovo who said their goal is an independent Kosovo, their goal is to recreate the Greater Albania that existed briefly during the 30's and 40's, which includes Albania, Kosovo, and part of Macedonia. That, I can tell you, Jim, would unravel Southeastern Europe and dramatically increase the chances of a general war. And that's why the situation is both not the same as Bosnia and why it's so dangerous
I really need to stress this point so people do not misunderstand it. The Kosovo Albanians have been very badly treated for over a decade by the Serb minority in Kosovo. Their rights have been denied and the Yugoslav federal constitution was changed to reduce their powers. This was entirely wrong, and it led to the inevitable reaction which we're now seeing. At the same time, the violent solution which is being advocated by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, which is really not an army but a lot of different groups that are gradually forming an infrastructure of resistance, this approach is highly dangerous to stability in the region.
Civil War! Quagmire! We must pull out! Where is our exit strategy?
We have no interest in the Balkans. The disintegration of Yugoslavia was a problem for the Europeans. Every time Europe is confronted with a military problem, they look to the U.S. One hundred years of fighting for Europe is enough.
Let's pull out now and seal the borders. If they don't want to play together, then let the Europeans solve the issue.
It's nice to read an article void of propoganda.
We have no exit strategy for one simple fact....we don't intend to pull out, we never did. We (US) never intended to adhere to the 1244, and are now seeing to it that our efforts in 1948 are carried out to not only aid the Albanians in seeing the Greater Albania, but further our interest of controlling the gateway to Russia. We have no real interest in Albanians, per se, they are only being used for our purposes, I hate to say.
I would like to give you a hint about fighting in Europe. Look to Rockefeller, Rothschild, I.G. Farben, American I.G. Farben....Henry Ford, for starters. Seek out J.P. Morgan, and here is a very good hint......of the origin of their wars....confirmed by every open minded researcher...
I read this article this morning and although he points out some really interesting stuff that most don't, his conclusion sucks!
This was given to me this morning, as I won't take credit for it....but from another "contact"...
"The options are few, but a decision must be made eventually. Serbia is a hostage to final status as much as Kosovo. Without final status, neither country will ever see the benefits of economic membership in Europe."
She;(American Lady in Arms) writes relative to this paragraph in the article:
"Give me a break. Everyone who remembers anything about the Kosovo war knows that Washington was calling the shots from day one, and Ceku's position as Prime Minister confirms this. Western Europe was going along for the ride to cash in on the spoils."
We've got ourselves a lovely festering wound, building puss exponentially. Self-inflicted yes, but who's to question the great strategy of our elected leaders? Sure they lie through their teeth but we're not capable of understanding just capable of paying taxes and fighting their wars. Just trust them. They are, after all, our duly elected leaders, and besides, we're always the Knights on white horses so even if we're dead wrong, we're still the good guys:-)
a wee bit of provocation, you think, in Eastern Kosovo, exkuse me, South Presevo.
Serbian police charge two persons over displaying Albanian flags
12/23/2006 06:30:13 AM EST
BBC MONITORING INTERNATIONAL REPORTS
Excerpt from report in English by Belgrade-based Radio B92 text website on 22 December
Bujanovac, 22 December: Bujanovac police have filed criminal charges against persons who displayed Albanian flags during [Albanian national holiday] [on 28 November].
Bujanovac MUP has filed charges against Fadul H. and Dzemaledin S., residents of the village of Norc in the Presevo municipality, for having removed and thrown away the Serbian flag displayed on the Presevo municipal building, replacing it with an Albanian one, as part of the marking of the Albanian national holiday, Flag Day.
Bujanovac MUP said it had also filed criminal charges against four locals over suspicion they had attacked an official while on duty. The four are suspected of having hit the municipal building doorman several times on the head, then pushed him away, as they sought to place the Albanian flag on the building [Passage omitted: more on previously covered details]
The state institutions' representatives have said that while the Albanian minority in the Presevo Valley, southern Serbia, has a right to display its national insignia, it must first meet the legal precondition of forming a national council. [Passage omitted: more on previously covered details]
Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in English 1524 gmt 22 Dec 06
Copyright © 2006 BBC Monitoring/BBC. Source: Financial Times Information Limited.
A nice spin Mr. Holbrooke! Could you specify what exactly years were these "30's and 40's"?
In the long run Kosovo will be an independent country, he said, speaking in his Manhattan office, though how long the run is still depends on the Serbia and its biggest ally on the Security Council, Russia.
The long run depends on what the Serbs do, explained Holbrooke. Will they except the reality and look to the future of Serbia as part of the European Union, or cling to a mythic version of a past and deny reality? If they deny reality and try to hold onto Kosovo, they will lose both. They wont be able to retain Kosovo but will also lose the chance to join Europe.
"Unlike the European Union, whose report this week on the Balkans has praised Serbias new constitution, Holbrooke dismisses the document - restating Serbias claim to Kosovo - as a real step in the wrong direction.
But he says Serbias obstructive tactics wont delay the inevitable. It is not going to slow down the efforts of Martti Ahtisaari and [US envoy] Frank Wisner, he said.
Europe was to stop the war in its tracks with Lisbon agreement. Just look it up.
There's a simple solution. Wash our hands of the whole thing and let the Serbs, the Greeks, the Roumanians and the Bulgarians deal with these dangerous dog vomit remnants of the Ottoman Empire in their own way.
Sure was their aim. Relative to his comment in 1998, here is a 2002.....and 2005....what a change of attitude. Thanks for the additional comments. Oh, by the way, do a search on Frank Wisner, Sr. 1948, Operation Fiend. CIA Operation into Albania, to further the Greater Albania effort but failed horribly....Frank Wisner, Sr, Guess who Frank Wisner Jr. from Enron is and as you said, Envoy to Kosovo. A bit of irony.
Sept. 10, 2002
Cumberland, Md.: Where you aware of the KLA and Bosnian Muslims' ties to Osama bin Laden at the time you were negotiating with them?
Richard C. Holbrooke: Yes. In fact, we were so concerned about this issue that we wrote into the Dayton Peace Agreements a clause requiring the withdrawal of all "foreign elements" within a short time after the agreement took force. When we found elements that had remained behind, we launched raids against them. Not all of these people were removed, and the effort is still continuing. Without the peace in Bosnia, there is a real chance that bin Laden would have been able to set up in the Balkans what he did in Afghanistan with far greater danger to the West.
Now--fast-forward Nov 8 2005:
Holbrooke, the architect of the 1995 Bosnian peace deal, who said that independence was the only way forward for Kosovo and its mainly Muslim Albanians.
"I cannot see any final status for Kosovo other than independence," said Holbrooke, who forged the Dayton Peace Accords that ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
"But at the same time ... this cannot be achieved without ironclad guarantees for the safety, security, and protection of the rights of the Serbs who live in Kosovo and the protection of their magnificent monuments," he said.
In 1998 Holbrooke was trying to sell a peace agreement. Say anything to get it signed. We should never have become involved in an internal domestic affair. The Serbs have been in Kosovo for centuries. Kosovo is headed towards being part of greater Albania, a Muslim state in Europe. Kosovo is not a viable state.
James G. Poulos is a typical product of Georgetown University, and no doubt has a career ahead of him at Foggy Bottom.
Sure, great precedent: invade a sovereign European country, bomb the hell out of civilian targets, force them to turn over one their provinces to the UN, and then hand the province over to a gang of Muslim thugs, terrorists and drug runners.
That should appease the Muslim usurpers--for about five minutes, until they turn to their next targets for a Great Albania: Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece, not to mention the unfinished business in Bosnia.
We got involved since 1948 when our sights were set on the Balkans.....Bush, Clinton and Bush Jr are on the same page. The Balkans were and still are part of a bigger agenda. Clinton was groomed for his part in the early 90's which he did well....Lied all the way to Kosovo staring in Bosnia.....They aren't done yet. March 2007, big operation planned by Albanians, that will make March 2004 look like a boy scout jamboree......
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