This summer came 10 years since Nato stopped bombing Serbia. Agreement was made that Serb forces leave Kosovo and the province will be administrated de facto international protectorate by UN being however under sovereignty of Serbia (UNSC resolution 1244). So ten years has gone, the province declared independence and EU is now implementing its agenda after UN’s modest try – or better say failure. As my picture about Kosovo is much more negative than high flown UN/EU reports a small update about Kosovo case is justified.
From administrative point of view Kosovo is total mess-up. EU started its huge rule & law mission late 2008 under UN umbrella. Besides UN/UNMIK and EU/EULEX there is also other players twisting arms who is leading the international protectorate. There is European Union High Representative who simultaneously leads International Community Office wondering his role, same time Nato-troops (KFOR) tries to keep ethnic tensions moderate, OSCE do not know its role nor length of its mission’s mandate in Kosovo, EU delegation office, few influential foreign liaison representatives and of course sc. Kosovo government based to local tribes. It shows amazing creativity to establish this kind organizational nightmare in one tiny province and more amazing is that after nearly nine years of international administration and capacity building and squandered billions of Euros both the administration and the situation on the ground are beneath all criticism.
Multi-ethnic idea is far away despite EU’s billions. After bombing almost all Albanian refugees have returned while only tiny fraction of Serb refugees – or officially internally displaced persons – have returned to Kosovo. The remaining Serbs in Kosovo are barricaded into enclaves keeping their lives mainly with help of international KFOR troops or in de facto separated Serb majority region in North Kosovo. This has changed former multi-ethnic province more mono-ethnic one.
According the new report – -made by Minority Rights Group International (MRG) gives a bare picture about worsening situation of minority rights in today’s Kosovo. Instead to return to their homes after ethnic cleansing implemented by Kosovo Albanians after Nato intervention 1999 and again 2004 minorities are beginning to leave Kosovo, because they face exclusion and discrimination. More about this in my article “...Pogrom with Prize” –
The core problem in Kosovo from my point of view is organized crime. This keeps Kosovo still as tribe society where political parties are only one side of clan activities. As hub of famous Balkan route Kosovo Albanian mafia is distributing majority of heroin sold in western and centre Europe and is now also testing cooperation with Columbian cartels to start distribution more cocaine as well. Earlier (Kosovo) Albanian mafia based its logistics to help of al-Qaida because the heroin is coming from Afghanistan. It is estimated that the value of organized crime for Kosovo is some US 2 bn which btw is up to nearly 40 times bigger than the value of official export from province.
The aim of international community was to build “standards before status”, on 2005 the task was seen impossible so the slogan changed to “standards and status”. Even this was unrealistic so Feb. 2008 “European”standards were thrown away to garbage and “status without standards” precipitately accepted by western powers. For international community I don’t see any success story with this backward progress.
The outcome today is a quasi-state with good change to become next “failed” or “captured” state if international community does not firm its grip in province. Today’s Kosovo is already safe-heaven for war criminals, drug traffickers, international money laundry and radical Wahhabists – unfortunately all are also allies of western powers.
Now Europeans realize they were hoodwinked into recognizing Kosovo’s independence on the pretence it would resolve problems and bring peace. Kosovo case was not unique, like it was introduced into playgrounds of international politics, it was a precedent to numerous separatist movement on globe that violence is the right mean to achieve political aims instead of international law.
It’s said that The Balkans are a graveyard for foreign ambitions. This could be the “lessons learned” to both USA and EU. Some more sustainable solutions could also be implemented in Western Balkans. Withdrawal of Kosovo recognition can open real negotiations between local stakeholders with unpredicted but possible compromise can end one frozen conflict.