Skip to comments.KOSOVO:How a 'Success Story' Became Such a Mess
Posted on 02/29/2008 11:45:46 AM PST by Doctor13
PRISTINA, Feb 28 (IPS) - After the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo on Feb. 17, ethnic tensions are rising dangerously again in the region, especially in Northern Kosovo and the other Serbian enclaves scattered around the province.
Daily protests in northern Mitrovica, an area with an ethnic Serb majority, the attacks on border checkpoints Jarinje and Brnjak by thousands of Serbs, and regular damaging of buildings and vehicles used by United Nations staff indicate a Serb determination to counteract the proclaimed independence of Kosovo.
But there is something more than raw anger that cultivates tensions in this case. A senior member of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and a customs official, both told IPS on condition of anonymity that UNMIK's serious incapacities in administering post-independence Kosovo, and the organised disobedience by the Serbs point to gloom prospects for Kosovo's future.
The customs official said the civil disobedience in Northern Mitrovica is radicalising Serbs in Kosovo and keeping the atmosphere tense.
"The most important development is that for some time already the Serbian Kosovo Police (KPS) personnel have been disobeying orders coming from the central police authority in Pristina," he said. KPS is the multi-ethnic police force of Kosovo that deploys both Serbian and Albanian officers.
"Replacing them with Albanian officers is impossible, as well as releasing them from duty, because you need police presence," he said. The security vacuum is causing concern to UNMIK leaders who see their control over Kosovo fading rapidly.
According to resolution 1244 passed by the U.N. Security Council in June 1999, UNMIK was the supreme administrative authority for facilitating the process of defining Kosovo's status.
After unilateral independence UNMIK is supposed to have fulfilled its role. After a 120-day transitional period following the declaration of independence, it will be formally replaced, and practically incorporated, by the International Civilian Office (ICO) led by the European Union. ICO will supervise the legislative work of Kosovo's government and the implementation of the Ahtisaari Package.
The package, named after United Nations special envoy Martti Ahtisaari, who mediated negotiations for the status of Kosovo between Belgrade and Pristina until their collapse in December 2007, was the basis for a draft UN Security Council Resolution which proposed "supervised independence" for the province. Serbian leaders in Belgrade have rejected the plan though it provides for a decentralisation of powers along ethnic lines that would allow the Serbian population to retain control over their own communities all over Kosovo.
According to the plan, new legislation is valid only if ratified by the supervising international authority. However, as the U.N. official told IPS, "after independence the government has already introduced ten laws without seeking the supervisor's validation. In an internally circulated letter the PM Hashim Thaci is telling UNMIK that the authority to sign new legislation falls on the elected president of Kosovo."
International authorities have not reacted to this. The reason is that legal complications have rendered unclear where responsibilities lie between UNMIK and the ICO.
The Thaci administration still remains committed to implementing the Ahtisaari Package. But Visar Ymer, political analyst at the popular Albanian activist organisation 'Self-Determination' believes that decentralisation undermines independence itself.
"Implementation of the Ahtisaari Package will pave the way for a future frozen conflict in Kosova," he told IPS. "The declared state will be non-functional territorially in the future since the Serbian municipalities formed according to it will remain linked to Belgrade's parallel structures. The plan foresees the involvement of Serbia in local politics, but in a new way."
The 'parallel structures' are the maintenance of educational, welfare and security structures, and financial support offered to Serbians who remained in the province after 1999.
They have been used as a vehicle from Belgrade to preserve its influence in the area and make sure that Kosovo Serbs do not integrate into Kosovo's state structures.
While UNMIK attempts to downplay the importance of recent developments, people are becoming increasingly aware how dangerous the complications might become.
UNMIK head Joachim Rucker was asked during a visit to the Serbian enclave of Gracanica, 10 kilometres south of Pristina, whether "after losing control over northern Kosovo, you are going to lose the enclaves as well."
Such Serbian moves could provoke retaliation from Albanian militants, so far calm.
Hasim Thaci has stated that "Kosovo borders are the most secure in the region." This provoked Milan Ivanovic, leader of the Serbian National Council that maintains strong political control over northern Kosovo and the enclaves, to say that in the areas populated by Serbian majorities, Kosovo's leadership "can implement their presence only by force." He said such action would result in widespread violence.
This is a totally biased story. Serbs are causing all the trouble? I suppose all the murders and church burnings by the Muslims were OK? And the unilateral and illegal “declaration of independence”?
The UN never authorized the attack on Serbia, but by consenting to police Kosovo they too have become complicit in these crimes.
And given the Kosovan precedent, why isn’t it equally legal for Mitrovica to declare independence, eh?
I wonder how the stupid people took over the world.
Precisely because the Russians and Serbs say Kosovo independence is not legal. If it's not legal then where is the legal precedent? It certainly hasn't been recognized by the UN. If Kosovo independence is illegal, then so would Mitrovica independence be illegal. For Serbia to recognize Mitrovica independence, they would have to recognize Kosovo independence first.
More simple for Mitrovica to re-iterate that they are a part of Serbia, regardless of what Kosovo thinks.
Not saying they should do it. I just can’t get over the one-sided stupidity of the UN. They just stand there while the Albanian terrorists run amok, and then they bitch when the Serbs suggest they might not lie down like good dogs and roll over.
The UN is obviously biased pro-Islam.
Therefore, we need to just classify it as a hostile entity.
The UN is also bitching that Kosovo is passing legislation that is not valid because it is not ratified by the “supervising international authority.” They’re just bitching because nobody is paying any attention to them. The UN’s irrelevance is well deserved.
There was a big window of opportunity when Bush could have dismissed the UN, or at least made a big cut in our contribution, after the oil for food scandal. For the first time, American public opinion was very disillusioned with the UN.
Regretably, he did nothing, let the whole affair drop out of sight, and it looks like we’re stuck with it for another four years, at least.
UN Resolution 1244 is the closest thing to international law on record regarding the status of Kosovo and it clearly recognizes that Kosovo-Metohija is a province of Serbia.
It all depends on whether one supports the rule of law, in which case Kosovo is Serbian, or thuggish anarchy, in which case NATO tries to appease the Jihadists.
Can’t say I’m a big fan of the UN myself. “International law” is an oxymoron.
Maybe so, but we agreed to UN Resolution 1244 at the end of Clinton’s bombing of Serbia (which did get Monica off the front page).
So now the question is simple, can the word of the United States of America be trusted, yes or no?
Can a promise from Billary Clinton be trusted? I think you know the answer to that.
Well, "they" promised full support for an "independent Kosovo" and look where we are now.
No, they were the ones who agreed to the UN resolution. Now you expect America to keep promises Billary made to the UN? Fat chance.
The one-sided stupidity of the UN is apparently shared by the US.
And, to make myself clear, yes, you are correct, it is stupidity.
Actually, I expect America would be smarter than to support a bunch of Jihadist illegal immigrants from grabbing someone else’s property.
“This is a totally biased story. Serbs are causing all the trouble? I suppose all the murders and church burnings by the Muslims were OK”
Of course it’s OK. Muslims will be Muslims!
What other treaties and international agreements that the Clinton administration negotiated do you think that the United States should also ignore. If we don’t keep our word when we sign international agreements then we are no better than the Germans at the start of World War I when Kaiser Wilhelm declared that the treaty which recognized the nuetrality of Belgium was just a scrap of paper. I disagree with a lot of what Clinton did but in foreign policy matters we can’t have each new administration feeling that they are not bound by any international agreements which were signed by the previous administration - that would be anarchy.
No. Northern Kosovo isn't going to proclaim independence. It is going to proclaim that it doesn't wish to separate from Serbia. Since it is majority Serbian, I think those people have the right to decide for themselves where they want to live, following the example set by Kosovo Albanians. However, given that pretty much all the mineral wealth is situated north of the Ibar (i.e. North Kosovo)...
It's up to the international community to decide whether they want another Middle East or Northern Ireland or a frozen conflict such as Cyprus, where the two sides can work it out in peace, at the table.
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