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Kosovo: A Long Way from Stable
Guardian Weekly UK ^ | March 11, 2009 | Piotr Smolar in Le Monde

Posted on 03/12/2009 4:54:59 AM PDT by Ravnagora

Edited on 03/12/2009 5:00:24 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]

Kosovo celebrated the first anniversary of its independence last month, but the festive spirit was tempered. Only 54 members of the UN have recognised it as a sovereign state and five countries in the European Union itself Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia still do not treat it as such.


(Excerpt) Read more at guardianweekly.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: albanians; kosovo; serbia; serbs

1 posted on 03/12/2009 4:54:59 AM PDT by Ravnagora
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To: Ravnagora

Kosovo: A Long Way from Stable

Horses tired from long ride back.


2 posted on 03/12/2009 5:06:44 AM PDT by dblshot
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To: Ravnagora

It was a big mistake by Bush to formally recognize this hole as a country. Now they are going to be a U.N. welfare state for the next 20 years at least. Which means our kids and grandkids will be paying for this. They should just be part of Serbia...


3 posted on 03/12/2009 5:12:09 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Ravnagora

The entire world has been destabilized by the election of O.

He portrays weakness where President Bush portrayed strength and power.


4 posted on 03/12/2009 5:21:24 AM PDT by Carley (President Obama ~ Leaving No Tax Cheat Behind)
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To: Carley

And as far as the United States of America is concerned, the best from obama is yet to come. He, and his desciples will destroy our economy, our military, and make our money valueless. They will also destroy two segments of our population, the very young and the elerly. Before too long, the obama voters will begin to see the seed they sowed November 4, 2008 sprout. Once it matures, the fruits ripen and the harvest begins, the lamenting, wailing,and crying by them will begin.


5 posted on 03/12/2009 5:29:14 AM PDT by sport
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To: Ravnagora; administrator
Note: The Admins had to edit the original posting because of the photo that was inserted. I hope it will be okay to include the full text (without photo) of the original Smolar article here and a response to it by John Bosnitch, a journalist in Belgrade, Serbia. Ravnagora

Kosovo: A Long Way from Stable

Kosovo remains reliant on foreign aid for support, while the blackmarket trade among its criminal gangs risks turning it into a duty-free zone. Piotr Smolar reports in Le Monde

Kosovo celebrated the first anniversary of its independence last month, but the festive spirit was tempered. Only 54 members of the UN have recognised it as a sovereign state and five countries in the European Union itself – Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia – still do not treat it as such.

"The proclamation of independence does not solve all our problems but it does open prospects," said the prime minister Hashim Thaçi. "We are making steady progress towards Kosovo one day becoming a member of the EU and Nato. We are building a democratic, multi-ethnic society that affirms rights for the Serbs."

True enough, the past year has not seen the expected outbursts of ethnic violence between Kosovans and Serbs. An armed force and intelligence service have been set up, but despite such trappings of sovereignty Kosovo is still a small entity with a population of 2 million reliant on international aid and clinging to its hopes of a future in Europe. It is hard to say who is really running the place.

In 2008, following the proclamation of independence, the UN mission was reconfigured but not wound down, Russia having vetoed the relevant resolution. Europe has stepped into the breach and the organisation responsible for law and order is now Eulex, which was launched in December. "I am at the head of a technical, not a political mission," says Yves de Kermabon, the French general who previously commanded the Nato force in Kosovo (Kfor). However, he acknowledges that the reality is different on the ground: "The Europeans have had to admit that their mission is more political than planned."

In addition to Eulex the EU has a special representative in Pristina, Pieter Feith, a former Dutch diplomat who is also the international civil representative, in charge of supervising the application of the negotiated settlement. The local press often accuses him of obstructing government action. In consultation with the president, Fatmir Sejdiu, he decided in January that the general election would be postponed until 2011. "I am not an administrator, as is the case in Bosnia," he says. "But I am not here just to applaud either." Feith reckons the responsibilities of international bodies are "complex but not a source of confusion".

The Kosovan authorities face two challenges. First they must kick-start the economy despite the lack of foreign investment and an electricity supply that remains haphazard after 10 years under international administration and $1.5bn invested in the utility. Second, the government must establish its authority over the Serb enclaves.

A devolution plan provides for six largely self-governing municipalities in the southern enclaves and at Mitrovica, the scene of the worst ethnic unrest in Kosovo.

But the segregation between Kosovans and the Serb community’s most radical elements is not the only problem. Crime, particularly contraband petrol, is booming. Last year the customs posts to the north of the town were burned down, opening the way for unrestricted trafficking. "The situation has deteriorated in this sector since independence," De Kermabon says. "We must reinstate customs controls to prevent it becoming one huge duty-free zone. Since 9 December we have replaced the customs officials and we’re now looking for a technical solution to re-establish controls, but it depends on cooperation with the Serbs."

For the last few weeks customs officers have been making a note of goods going back and forth, but no duty is levied. There are still a lot of vehicles without licence plates. "We are losing about $2m to $2.5m a week, according to our estimates," says Blerim Shala, deputy-leader of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo. "Our government reckons it’s the responsibility of the international organisations. As a result the place is a paradise for criminals, who have links with the Serb extremists."

Sources suggest that Albanian and Serb gangs have reached agreement on petrol, which is bought tax-free in Serbia, smuggled into Kosovo and sold for 95 cents a litre, an unbeatable price in Europe.

The international bodies seem powerless, embroiled in their numerous, often contradictory commitments. Eulex must remain neutral regarding the status of Kosovo, say the Serbs, so its police and customs officers cannot defend the former province’s territorial integrity.

The "parallel" Serb authorities in north Mitrovica take a radical line that rules out any form of dialogue. "There are not many of them but they have plenty of financial and political clout," says the Albanian mayor of south Mitrovica, Bajram Rexhepi. "They have an interest in disorder and are an obstacle to better relations between the communities."

Feith would like to see Belgrade breaking off its links with the troublemakers: "Some of the ­leaders in contact with Serbia intimidate the population. It’s an invitation to violence. We must make sure this part of the territory does not turn into a black hole." But Belgrade seems reluctant to comply. "The election in Serbia of a government more favourable to Europe makes no difference to Kosovo," says ­Oliver Ivanovic, secretary of state at the ministry for ­Kosovo. "I find it surprising that westerners do not under­stand that... as far as we are concerned ­Kosovo is not settled."

_________________________

Below is a response to the above article by John Bosnitch, Journalist, Belgrade, Serbia March 12, 2009

Your reporter appears to live in a make-believe world of make-believe people and places. His perfect parroting of the NATO "line" on Kosovo makes him sound more like an official spokesman than the kind of highly critical individual that I keep searching for among my peers in the journalistic profession...

In an effort to be thorough I will list some of the indisputable factual inaccuracies in this article:

1. "Kosovo celebrated the first anniversary of its independence..."

This opening line should have read "Kosovo Albanians celebrated the first anniversary of their second declaration of independence...".

The Albanian separatists first declared independence in 1990 in a declaration that was ignored by every country in the world except for Albania. As for their celebrations, they were about the ‘declaration’ made on February 17th of last year, and were pointedly not celebrations about ‘independence’, as even both the Albanians and the Serbs agree that Kosovo is not independent despite having different reasons for doing so. Albanian politicians of all persuasions publicly and frequently complain that the international supervision of their "road to independence" means that they are really not independent. They have no control over their own declared territory, nor of their courts, nor of the enforcement of their own constitution. On the Serb side, people reject the mere notion of independence as being unconstitutional within Serbian law, incompatible with the un-amended and still effective UN Security Council 1244 which asserts Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo, and in a most practical sense... they reject the existence of a country of Kosovo by simply going about their lives day in day out, using Serbian ID papers, driving Serbian licensed cars, getting their salaries, medical care and schooling from Serbia and driving freely back and forth over the purported "Kosovo border" with Serbia unhindered, tax-free and oblivious in any way to the would-be dictate of NATO that the Serbs of Kosovo no longer live in Serbia, a place that they never left.

2. The reporter implies some kind of inevitability of pan-European recognition of Kosovo as an independent state by writing that some EU members "still do not treat it as such". Your reporter would be well served by reading the newspaper himself once in a while... here is an extract from the AFP-based report on Serbian President Tadic's visit to Spain on Monday:

AFP-sourced March 9, 2009 – 6:25 pm

After meeting Serbia’s President Boris Tadic, Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that his country supports Serbia’s EU integration and reassured that Spain will never recognize Kosovo. “Spain’s position regarding the unilateral declaration of independence of the territory of Kosovo is the known position of non recognition,” Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a joint news conference with President Boris Tadic.

The shared opposition of the other EU countries that refuse to recognize any unilateral independence is at least as firm as that of Spain. Your writer needs to delete the word "still" from his statement above and instead write it this way: "…say they will never recognize what they see as an illegal secession".

3. The Albanian terrorist-turned-statesman Thaci has been repeating his mantra of "affirming" rights for the Serbian minority but no one in Kosovo is fooled by those words other than your reporter. The entire Croatian population of Kosovo left as soon as it became clear the terrorist KLA was to be put in charge. The last Jew left soon after getting his "you leave now" departure phone call from the KLA. The remaining Turks are perfecting their Albanian pronunciation and trying to blend in. The last Moslem Gorani highlanders are fleeing north to central Serbia. The Gypsy (Roma) population that Nazi Albanians tried to wipe out in WWII did not need long to get the message and almost all have fled (except for those that the UN mission systematically placed in lead-poisoned death camps to eliminate over time). As for the Serbs, they laugh off Thaci's "affirmations" of rights and simply ask where those rights actually exist anywhere on the ground in Kosovo and say they would move to that place immediately from their barbed wire enclosures. Enclosures in which they cower behind NATO troops who protect them from the Albanians more to avoid the embarrassment of yet another Albanian drive-by killing of Serb children or pensioners than to actually protect the Serbs' lives.

4. The 2-million person population figure for Kosovo that is bandied about by every journalist on a Western-based payroll has no statistical underpinnings. My fellow journalists like your reporter unhesitatingly told the world during NATO's 1999 humanitarian bombing of the "evil" Serbs that 95% of Kosovo was Albanian. None of them issued any retractions when the Red Cross registered more than 260,000 internally displaced persons fleeing northward within Serbia from its Kosovo province after the KLA terrorists were put in charge there after NATO's bombing. Official UN figures show no less than another 150,000 openly declared non-Albanians still resident in Kosovo today. Even if the total population were 2 million, that would mean that the Albanian percentage was an absolute maximum of 79% before the bombing. Why do I cast doubt about the 2 million figure? Because the Kosovo Albanians and their contiguous and directly blood-related fellow Albanians in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were claiming for years that not only were there 2 million Albanians in Kosovo but that Albanians also made up 40% of FYROM. In a classic case of being duped by one's own propaganda, the EU decided to conduct a census in relatively stable FYROM to assert the rights of that purported 40% Albanian population but alas, the official, error-free census of Albanians there came in somewhere around 25% --- barely over half of the Kosovo and FYROM Albanians' shared claim. So, if the Kosovo figures are equally inflated, the Albanian percentage there could theoretically drop as low as some 59%, clearly below the standard 2/3rds that Western democratic practice allows to overrule other groups on some issues. No one I have interviewed has been able to give any intelligible reason why the UN and the EU and the U.S. have not taken any steps to conduct at least an interim census since the one key issue in this region is the ethnic cleansing of minorities by all-powerful majorities. Their inaction to establish the facts on this point is more revealing than anything else I have witnessed.

5. How could your reporter fail to comment on the glaring conflict of interest of Gen. Kerabon first serving as the NATO general physically enforcing the separation of Kosovo from Serbia and his current reincarnated civilian self now heading a neutral "law and order" mission that has repeatedly and explicitly violated international law? If your reporter is not going to ask his interviewees a question about such completely transparent inconsistencies, one wonders why he even conducted an interview instead of simply transcribing a press release and allowing the brave general to get on with his work of patrolling the wire enclosures around the ghettos for the Serbs and other undesirables.

6. As for his (mis)presentation of Dutchman Peiter Feith, one must ask your reporter "have you no shame?". Yes, Feith is a “diplomat”, but what has been the nature of that diplomacy? The longest entry on his Wiki write-up is:

"1995 - 2001 - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Personal Representative of Secretary General Lord Robertson for Yugoslavia, Director of the Crisis Management and Operations Directorate, Head of the NATO Balkans Task Force and Political Advisor to Commander IFOR Bosnia-Herzegovina."

To translate that into plain English, Feith was the top NATO official directly under the NATO Secretary General during the 1999 bombing of Serbia to achieve the separation and NATO occupation of the province of Kosovo from sovereign Serbian territory. And now this "executioner" is presented as being a “diplomat” in charge of the implementation of some "negotiated" settlement?? Did your reporter ask Feith how he could refer to NATO’s 78 days of bombing, which he himself directed, as "negotiations"? The so-called Ahtisaari “Plan" (diktat would be more accurate) was never negotiated but merely drawn up by the US State Department for regurgitation by the nearest available pliable Finn. As for the plan itself, the Serbs rejected it wholesale as illegal and the UN Security Council truned it down as well -- and yet now Feith turns up to implement it?? On what basis?? This is theater of the absurd.

7. Your reporter writes of "Kosovan" authorities, thereby introducing yet another invented descriptive for a nation that does not and never has existed. If you ask any Albanian in Kosovo what he is he will tell you he is an Albanian and laugh at your naivete if you ask him anything about the make-believe terms Kosovan or Kosovar and so on. Every Albanian knows that "Kosovo" is nothing but a temporary state of (un)consciousness until the momentum can be achieved for a 21st century version of Hitler's Anschluss unification of Austria with Germany, this time in the form of Albania's swallowing up of "Kosovo" into a greater Albania that also seeks to devour FYROM, part of Greece and Montenegro... So don't worry, the excitement is not nearly over in NATO's re-make of the Balkan wars coming soon...

8. In his most blatant insult to the native non-Albanians living in Kosovo, your reporter even took his use of make-believe names to the point of racial discrimination with his phrase: "But the segregation between Kosovans and the Serb community’s...". Now what do we have here… the Serbs are the longest recorded continuous historical native population of Kosovo, but when one refers to Kosovans, it is to the exclusion of the "Serb community"?? Indeed! Is this racist hate literature or a news article?

9. Your reporter writes of two priorities for the Albanian ruling group: kick-starting the economy despite the "lack of foreign investment" and asserting control over the Serb enclaves. In a single phrase he denies the massive multi-billion dollar umbilical cord of funds that have simply disappeared into Kosovo over the past decade (thereby clearing the Albanians themselves of stealing it) with much the same sleight of hand that saw George Bush's wristwatch disappear in a visit to Albania:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1921296.ece

As for the call to assert their unlawful "authority" over the Serb enclaves, even NATO won't let the Albanians do that for fear that the ensuing bloodbath to be suffered by the unarmed Serbian civilians might doom the entire Kosovo-as-a-U.S.-aircraft-carrier project once and for all.

10. When even EUlex is explicitly not allowed by its UN terms of reference to refer to Kosovo as independent, it is amazing that your reporter can cobble together a phrase like: "Eulex must remain neutral regarding the status of Kosovo, say the Serbs, so its police and customs officers cannot defend the former province’s territorial integrity." First it is not the Serbs saying what EUlex can do, it is the United Nations Security Council. Second, no one can defend the territorial "integrity" of a non-integral non-state such as the NATO occupied territory of Kosovo. There is no "integrity" to defend in any of this affair, no matter which way your reporter might try to mis-define the word.

11. The closing insult to both the Serbs and to your readers' intelligence is the phrase: The "parallel" Serb authorities in north Mitrovica take a radical line that rules out any form of dialogue.

The facts speak of a diametrically opposite reality: The Serbian leadership in both Kosovo and Belgrade went to the greatest lengths to engage in dialogue with the Albanians before, during and since NATO's 1999 bombing. Any google search will tell you that it was the Serbs who came to the table with hundreds of variations for compromise and that it was the Albanians who rejected absolutely everything other than the "independence" that NATO dangled in front of their noses in order to get them to sleepwalk themselves into the status of a minor military colony of the biggest killing machine the world has ever seen.

Might I please suggest that next time your reporter goes to Kosovo, he should take an interpreter with him…

Collegially critical,

John Bosnitch

Journalist

Belgrade, Serbia

__________________

6 posted on 03/12/2009 5:47:34 AM PDT by Ravnagora
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To: Ravnagora
with much the same sleight of hand that saw George Bush's wristwatch disappear in a visit to Albania

Some rebuttal. Do serbs still believe that Bush's watch was stolen?

The last Jew left soon after getting his "you leave now" departure phone call from the KLA. The remaining Turks are perfecting their Albanian pronunciation and trying to blend in. The last Moslem Gorani highlanders are fleeing north to central Serbia. The Gypsy (Roma) population that Nazi Albanians tried to wipe out in WWII did not need long to get the message and almost all have fled

For the record, Many minorities are joining KSF, Kosovo police, and the Kosovo government. Also, Milan Nedic and his Serbian nazis helped the German Nazis make Belgrade the first Judenfrei city in the world.

Serbs have a habit of reminding the world that 6000 Albanians joined the Nazis, so it's only fair. Here is Serbia's prince with his happy pal:


7 posted on 03/13/2009 7:07:33 AM PDT by nameless-fool (Dobrica Cosic: "Lying is a trait of our patriotism and the proof of our innate intelligence.")
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