Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.

More over Kosovo case in my +30 articles here!


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.

More over Kosovo case in my +30 articles here!


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.

More over Kosovo case in my +30 articles here!


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.


Kosovo March/February 17th: Pogrom with Prize

February 17, 2009

It is nearly five years since the outburst of ethnic Albanian violence in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, when 19 people killed and 954 wounded and when 35 Orthodox holy sites were ruined in two days. This pogrom got its prize a year ago on February 17th when Kosovo Albanians unilaterally – but orchestrated by western powers – declared independence of this province.  The events showed way to all separatist movements on the globe that violence is accepted method to attain political goal.  They also uncovered the EU’s nonexistent skills with crisis management and designing anything else than already dead road maps for conflict resolution.

Those two dates are well remembered in all ethnic groups in Serbia and its separatist province, although from different perspectives. Also international community, especially EU should remember them as they have lost their perspective in West Balkans long time ago.

March 17th 2004  

Almost 4,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes, six town and nine villages were ethnically cleansed, 935 houses belonging to Serbs and 10 public institutions (schools, health centres, post offices…) were ruined or torched in addition to 35 Orthodox churches (total 150 since bombings 1999) . March 17th violence was sequel to the ethnic Albanian terror and war in Kosovo as a result more than 200.000 refugees or better say internally displaced persons (IDPs) from province.

March 17th showed the total failure of international community in Kosovo. Fabricated, biased or optimistic reports were singing the praises of conflict management and progress, intelligence – lacking touch with local community – didn’t know anything about planned terror. The response of peacekeepers and police was also delayed. The commanders were unreachable, drunk or had hangover due the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations after buckets of Irish whiskey and Guinness.

March 17th finalized IDP problem

After 72 days illegal bombing campaign 1999 international community started wide housing program for refugees and IDPs and with Albanians it was a success while Kosovo accommodated nearly half million more Albanians than before bombing (don’t ask from where those extras came).  Serbs instead were afraid to move back – like it was situation also with refugees from Croatia – so today Serbia is suffering one of the biggest (326,853 refugees and IDPs) refugee/IDP problems in the whole Europe (More in my article “Refugees and IDPs in Western Balkans” )

According to statistics from the UNHCR there are about 206,000 IDPs from Kosovo living in Serbia. This fact has mostly ignored in western mainstream media. Their attitude is understandable since this media from the very beginning had fixed their one-sided picture about good and bad guys so Serbs somehow deserved their fate. The outcome is that Serb Refugees and IDPs from Kosovo are one of the forgotten and forsaken victim groups in the former Yugoslavia.

After pogrom 2004 new housing program was planned but it is questionable if more people from non-Albanian ethnic groups moved in or out because lack of security. March 17th guaranteed that Serbs are not considering to come back to their earlier homes and those who still live in enclave ghettos are planning to move anytime.


Dream of “European” standards and forgetting them

After reverse ethnic cleansing during Summer 1999 UN started to administer its protectorate. Autumn 2002 UN started to plan and later launched a “standards before status” –policy, 8 milestones to achieve before starting status talks. The first independent review about these “European” standards came public October 2005 in Karl Eide’s report to UN .  Latest then it was clear that Kosovo will not reach European standards in foreseeable future. However growing frustration among Kosovo Albanians made international community to fear that March 17th pogrom could repeat again so status talks started regardless of standards.

On the behalf of UN Martti Ahtisaari – unofficial lackey of U.S.State Department and Nato – held ten rounds of pseudo talks with Pristina and Belgrade during 2006.  Ahtisaari published his biased report which soon found itself in garbage bin and UN started new negotiation round. This time facilitators were better balanced in sc. Troika including representatives of U.S., Russia and EU. This time real alternatives for future status were on table such as Åland and Hong Kong models, partition, confederation, new autonomy model.  Albanian side did not see necessary to negotiate anything because U.S. had already promised independence for them so also this round lead to stalemate. (More about negotiation events here)

February 17th 2008

In December 2007 NATO and EU started to implement coordinated declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Its elements were e.g. following:

  • the US and the EU would take leading roles in “coordinating and managing” Kosovo’s process towards independence
  • a “creative interpretation” of UN SC Resolution 1244 would allow for NATO to stay in Kosovo “no matter its status” and for the EU to send its ESDP mission without Security Council authorization
  • Pristina would be asked to “coordinate” their moves and not proclaim unilateral independence without prior signals from Washington and Brussels
  • Serbia would be sent a “sweetener” in the form of a promise of accelerated candidate status in exchange for “constructive disagreement”.

The EU would build a “unified” position by creating a framework which would allow for Kosovo’s independence, but decisions on recognition would be subject to national decisions, procedures and frameworks, meaning that EU members would not be obliged to recognize it.

This scenario was implemented and February 17th 2008 Kosovo declared its independence regardless international law and UN.  The first recognitions came from Afghanistan,  U.S. and other its lackeys followed.

Everything didn’t go like planned in Washington and its Brussels allies.  Bribing of Serbs wasn’t successful;  Russia with other rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries had their say in UN, recognitions stopped.

When Albanian majority declared Independence Feb. 2008 the idea was to transfer international administration from UN to EU.  However the only internationally accepted UN Security Council resolution 1244 – which says that Kosovo is part of Serbia – stayed valid. So that about independence which in mistake has accepted through some 50 countries.

The UN General Assembly was backing Serbia’s draft to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.  October 8th UNGA, by a recorded vote of 77 in favour to 6 against (Albania, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 74 abstentions, adopted a resolution drafted by Serbia and now the case is in Haague.

Today the actual situation on the ground is big mess without any clear exit strategy.  EU is administrating in Kosovo under UN umbrella.  Albanian dominated southern part is continuing its life under EU supervision while Serb dominated northern part will formally continue to be an UN protectorate de facto integrated to Serbia.  However a wider framework is international law and UNSC resolution 1244 are valid before new resolution will replace the existing one.

International situation escalated immediately by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence – some 5.000 ethnic groups had waited this signal that with violence one can achieve political goals despite international law.  Kosovo was already good excuse for separatist movements during last Summer and Autumn in Caucasia and South America.

From frozen conflict to frozen independence

After agreement with Serbia EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) finally started end of 2008 after half an year delay.  This filling of power vacuum came in right moment before Kosovo would slide to next “failed or captured state”.  Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem.

In an interesting interview of John Bolton in Interfax  , former US Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations made e.g. following remarks:

  • US recognition of severed Kosovo province was a serious mistake, leading to an escalation of tensions, instead of calming down the situation in the Balkans.
  • “support to the independence of Kosovo is an atavism that might have made sense 15 years ago, but makes no sense today.”
  • “consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is”

Normally I have doubts with thoughts of U.S. neocons but this time Mr. Bolton hit the nail on the head – I can only agree.

Conclusions

It’s easy to blame the today’s situation in Kosovo on U.S foreign policy.  After implementing its failed attempt to please Muslim countries, after increasing the profits of its military-industry-complex and after creating one of its biggest military complex in Europe U.S. is covering its track record and leaving the whole mess to its lapdogs in EU. As a result of EU’s short-sighted post-conflict management policy they must again throw away few billions of EU taxpayer money to keep flag in international protectorate and safe haven of drug cartels – in artificial unsustainable creature with no realistic visions nor exit strategy.

March 17th 2004 in Kosovo is an example for international community general and for EU missions especial about fatal failure of crisis management when they are short of right situation analysis, when practice is contrary to their ideals and when interests of local stakeholders and internationals differ. The outcome of EU’s nearly nine years efforts for capacity building to create economically sustainable multiethnic society with democratic values could be joke – unfortunately this never-ending story continued February 17th 2008 and is still continuing to unforeseeable future and it is not fiction.

More over Kosovo case in my +30 articles here!


US Intelligence: Balkans pose the Greatest Thread of Instability in Europe

February 14, 2009
This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

AFP/Washington reports Feb.13th 2009 that The Balkans pose the greatest threat of instability in Europe in 2009, according to an annual threat assessment presented Thursday by U.S. intelligence director Dennis Blair. The report said the principal challenge will come from the unresolved political status of the Serb minority in Kosovo, and the uneasy interethnic power-sharing arrangements in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The report concludes following:

“Events in the Balkans will again pose the greatest threat of instability in Europe in 2009, despite positive developments in the last year that included Kosovo’s peaceful declaration of independence from Serbia, the election of pro-E.U. leaders in Serbia, and offers of NATO membership to Croatia and Albania.”

“Belgrade openly supports parallel Kosov Serb institutions. It has used political and legal means to challenge and undermine Pristina’s sovereignty and to limit the mandate of the E.U.’s Rule of Law mission (EULEX) in Kosovo…This has reinforced the de-facto separation of Kosovo into an Albanian-majority south and a Serb-majority north and frustrated the Kosovo Albanians,” the report said.

As for Bosnia, the report said its future as a multiethnic state “remains in doubt, although neither widespread violence nor a formal split is imminent.Threats of secession by Bosnian Serb leaders and calls by some Bosniak leaders to eliminate the Bosnian Serb entity have increased interethnic tensions to perhaps the highest level in years,” report notes.

The report is similar with my own observations.However I disagree with conclusion that the principal challenge will come from the unresolved political status of the Serb minority in Kosovo.From my point of view the core problem is that Kosovo conflict is frozen with forced implementation of one-sided temporary solution designed mostly in Washington and not negotiated between local stakeholders.During sc. Kosovo talks – leaded by Mr. Ahtisaari – the Albanian side did not had any reason to talk alternatives while US had already supported their independence; the same positions were later in sc. Troika (USA,Russia, EU) talks.

United Nations send Kosovo case to International Court of Justice and its decision is coming maybe 2010. I hope that real Talks between Belgrade and Pristina are starting latest then.

About Bosnia-Herzegovina I agree with US intelligence report. My estimation about situation is even more negative because the dispute is not anymore between the two entities – the Serb Republic and Muslim-Croat Federation.Last year alarming reports started to come about rise of radical Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina (more e.g. in my article “Islamic terror …) and how Croatians in Bosnia felt that hey are victims of Bosnian Muslim terror. Also arms trafficking in Bosnia changed more alarming not because their selling in EU but because their planned use in Europe by radicals (more e.g. in my article “Radical Islamists arming their selves in Balkans).

 

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World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



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