>REPORT FROM International Herald Tribune. 16th February 2008.
The EU remains divided over Kosovo, and diplomats said that it would be hard to get several countries - including Spain, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Cyprus - to sign the EU declaration Monday.
Some of these countries fear that Kosovo's unilateral declaration will spur secessionist movements in their own territories. Others are worried that the UN provides the basis of for peace and stability for Europe and the world, and that this linchpin of world peace is being undermined, especially the principle that territory cannot be gained and lost except by United Nations Resolutions.
Even with the EU's internal splits, however diplomats said the EU was preparing to give final approval for an 1,800-strong police and judicial mission that will help Kosovo's government administer its new country after the United Nations leaves........
How will 1800 officials and policemen adequately replace the far higher numbers of NATO troops that will be leaving, one wonders?
The high risk strategy being engaged in by the EU to deprive Serbia of Kosovo which has been Serbian territory since the Middle Ages, makes more sense when it is seen as part of a deliberate EU policy to destabilise not only Serbia but also its own member states.
The EU will only acquire power finally over its member states once it has successfully dismembered them. Kosovo is the EU grabbing an opportunity to set a precedent.
What will be the effects?
At the same time as upsetting Spain and Greece which have their own problems with difficult minorities, the destabilisation is also providing Putin with just the excuse he's been looking for to destabilise his neighbours - especially Georgia which seceded from the Russian Federation, trapping many Russians inside its territory. Serious commentators doubt that Putin will actually carry out the threat he is making for real, but he is clearly itching to register his disapproval of Kosovo being taken from the Serbs in some way, if he can.
The IHT article continues....
Russia suggested Friday that Kosovo's expected independence declaration would affect its policy on two separatist regions in Georgia, but stopped short of saying it would recognize the breakaway provinces, The Associated Press reported from Moscow.
"The declaration and recognition of the independence of Kosovo will doubtless have to be taken into account as far as the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is concerned," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement, released after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with the pro-Russian regions' leaders, did not say how Russian policy toward the provinces might change.
Moscow formally supports the territorial integrity of Georgia, but has granted Russian citizenship to most residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and has warned the West that recognizing Kosovo would add legitimacy to their independence claims - with the implicit threat that Moscow could recognize them.
Whatever the moral case for helping Kosovans to break away from Serbia over time, is there really a case for undermining the stability of many other parts of Europe, and territories inside Russia, ignoring international law at the same time? Kosovo is stipulated by a UN Resolution to be Serbian territory, so the EU in recognising an independent Kosovo, will be in breach of it.
And if the situation becomes highly unstable at some point, where is the EU army that's ready to police the trouble spots needlessly pushed into crisis. The Serbians are unlikely to engage in open warfare again, providing targets for NATO"s bombers. But low level terrorism is a distinct possibility.
Trouble has already started in Belgrade, although you wouldn't know anything about it if you watch CNN and the BBC, or read British newspapers. See thisreport from al-jazeera.
An explosive device has gone off in a shopping centre in Belgrade (the centre has Slovenian connections, and the Slovenians have backed Kosovo's declaration of independence) and another mall has been evacuated..
The blast came a day after a right-wing group, chanting names of Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives, disrupted a show by Kosovo Albanian artists in the city. Nationalists are angry that Kosovo, Serbia's medieval heartland, is expected to secede within days.
Also reported on Al-jazeera on February 15th was another explosion which was ignored by the BBC and all other western media - this time aimed at the EU's headquarters in Kosovo....
Serbia has urged the UN Security Council to oppose Kosovo's declaration of independence, saying it will do everything to stop the secession short of using violence.
The call came as the council held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of the province.
Highlighting the tensions in the region over the province's intention to secede, Serbian police reported an explosion on Thursday in a northern border town divided between Serbs and Albanians (Mitrovica).
Police said early reports show that the explosion in Mitrovica was near the site earmarked as the base of the future European Union mission.
as the film clip from Al Jazeera shows, the attack was directly on the EU's intended headquarters building.
Of the EU's 27 countries, 7 are not in support of what the EU is doing in Kosovo. Those countries are Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria plus one other yet to be identified by me. Here we have the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty in action, where only a majority of EU countries is now needed to commit the EU to foreign policy adventures.
What the hell is Britain doing supporting an illegal act which undermines the United Nations, and threatens peace in The Balkans? Would David Cameron like to ask Gordon Brown about this in Parliament?
READ THE SERBIAN VIEWPOINT - that as in Afghanistan America has backed the wrong side HERE
OR READ THE BRUSSELS JOURNAL - an all the likely negative consequences which will flow form the granting of Kosovan independence, written by an American. -
For all this, the United States should not accede to Kosovo’s independence. The reasons present themselves:
* Kosovo is not politically ready. A would-be state with a pervasive internal culture of violence and persecution is a disaster-in-waiting. Imagine, for example, granting statehood to the Gaza Strip: its political culture would make a mockery of the very term, and the fiction demanding co-equal status between it and, say, France would ill-serve all concerned. Until Kosovo can function as a reasonably inclusive democracy with reasonable guarantees for its minorities, and have regular, peaceful transfers of power, it does not merit statehood. The province, for many reasons, is simply not there yet.
* Kosovo is not culturally ready. The campaign of brutalization against non-Albanian and non-Muslim minorities has been addressed at length here. Suffice it to say that this is not a polity ready for just self-governance; and suffice it to say that we ought not be a party to cultural erasure.
* Kosovar independence would generate instability elsewhere. The old Wilsonian idea that a geographically-bounded majority population deserves its own sovereignty dies hard. In this decade, with American foreign policy predicated more than ever on quasi-Wilsonian principles, it is especially formidable. It is also a recipe for disaster: with the United States engaged in two wars in multiethnic states, to explicitly affirm this precedent in Kosovo invites more serious problems and bloodshed elsewhere. With Kosovo independent, what grounds do we have for dissuading the independence aspirations of the Kurds, the Pashtuns, the Baluchis, the Assyrians, the Arab Shi’a, et al.? Furthermore, what prevents Russia from seizing upon this precedent to cause trouble in the Caucasus and Moldova? (They say they won’t — for now — but why give them the leverage?) Contra the rhetoric of some neoconservatives, we ought not be in the business of redrawing borders, nor sponsoring particular ethnic groups for their own sake.
* Kosovar independence would reverse progress in the Balkans. Memories are short, but in the 1990s, the Balkans were a cauldron of bloodshed and horror. If they are peaceful now, and if Sarajevo has a tourist industry, there is nothing inherent or irreversible about this. Since the last Balkan war in 1999, Serbia has modernized, liberalized, and moved toward the European Union; Bosnia has been, if divided, at least quiescent; and we’ve not seen Albanian irredentism cause an international crisis apart from an abortive 2001 insurgency in Macedonia. Kosovo independence threatens all this: the imminent declaration of independence has already damaged Serb-EU relations; the rationale for the existence of the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina fades dramatically if the three parts believe they may simply separate; and Albanian irredentism receives a massive boost. The history of the Balkans in the past century has been the history of nations either pursuing irredentist aims, or reconciling themselves to abandoning those claims. Albania, with claims against each of its neighbors — Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Macedonia — is also the only Balkan nation with a shot at making good on significant portions of them. Kosovar independence is thus the worst of all possible worlds for the Balkans, in reviving one source of Balkan instability in a resentful Serbia, and with the Albanians rewarding precisely the sort of irredentist sentiment that has repeatedly plunged the peninsula into savage war.
* Kosovar independence would further strain the US-Russian relationship. This relationship is already under sufficient pressure thanks to Vladimir Putin’s decision to reclaim much of the old Soviet-era paranoia and tension as Russia’s own. This is, to be sure, mostly Russia’s own doing — but it defies reason to assume that the United States ought to therefore aggravate it further. The American relationship with Russia is self-evidently more important and enduring than the American relationship with Albania, to say nothing of Kosovar Albanians. The Russians have warned us repeatedly of their profound reservations over Kosovar independence: in being sensitive to their sensitivities, we lose nothing, and stand to gain in the long run.
So much for what ought to happen: what will happen?
This is regrettably easy to predict: on Sunday, February 17th, 2008, Kosovo will declare its independence. Many if not most of the remaining Serbs will migrate to Serbia proper. Some Serbs will stay and try to force a partition of the province; this will swiftly degenerate into violence as the Kosovar Albanian government seeks to extend its writ to the full territory it now claims. The NATO forces in place will be forced to act as the gendarmerie of a sovereign state, or to oppose that state in its quelling of Serb resistance. Neither are good options. Within Serbia, the citizenry will ask themselves what exactly rapprochement with the West has brought them and theirs.
Within the coming few years, the issue of Kosovo’s political union with Albania will come to the fore, and this will draw in Greece at minimum, and Turkey and Russia at worst. From benign if cruel stasis, the Balkans will again remind us why the word is also an adjective.
And we Americans will feel quite blameless about it, no doubt.