Kosovo: Two years of Pseudo-state

February 20, 2010

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 … consensus boils down to the fact that nobody knows where Kosovo is” (John Bolton)

The recognition of Kosovo was premature and conditioned by great pressure from the former American administration”… “Today, we can see that two-thirds of the international community does not recognize Kosovo … this shows that we are talking about a grave mistake” (Gerhard Schröder)


Two years has gone since Kosovo Albanians declared their independence from Serbia. However calling to Kosovo needs country code 381 – which is Serbia – or by GSM 377 44 (via Monaco Telecom) or others via Serbian operators. This because as at this time, Abkhazia, Kosovo, Transnistria, Somaliland, South Ossetia and others are not in the ISO 3166-1 standard due the absence of recognition by the United Nations. Situation is one minor example about Kosovo “statehood”. Besides formalities – like that the province is administrated as international protectorate by foreign powers – the on the ground status is more complicated and even going more far away from drawing board ideals of Washington and Brussels.

Those who supported Kosovo independence said that Kosovo was unique case and not precedent thousands of ethnic or separatist movements around the world made other conclusion – Abkhasia and South Ossetia came first from the “Pandora box” which Kosovo opened. To limit the degree of damage it is time to restore international forums and law.


Legal aspect

From legal aspect the Nato bombings and later orchestrated unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) of Kosovo Albanians were against international law and violation of the UN Charter, Helsinki Accords and a series of UN resolutions including the governing UNSC resolution #1244. Officially Kosovo is international protectorate administrated by UN Kosovo mission. Now the case (UDI) is in International Court of Justice and its statement is expected Mid 2010. (More “UN is sending Kosovo case to ICJ”).

Whatever – depending point of view – status Kosovo has, the province is de facto administrated by international community. However the administration is still in full chaos because there is administrators more than enough. 1st (not order of authority) we have European Union Special representative (EUSR) who is double hatted as chef of International Community Office; 2nd we have Head of EU Commission liaison office; 3rd we have EULEX mission; 4th there is KFOR troops including Europe’s second largest Nato base, 5th international administrator is from UN side – SRSG as Head of UNMIK mission. All these administrators and other supervisors like OSCE, Quint etc – are playing in the same sandbox wondering who is doing what and where. In addition in Kosovo is also local stakeholders like separatist governments institutions in areas habitat by Albanians and parallel Serb institutions in areas habitat by Serbs. (More e.g. in (“EULEX, UN and mess-up in Kosovo” )

The fact on the ground is that northern part of Kosovo is integrated to Serbia like it always has been, as well those pats south of Ibar river, which are not ethnically cleansed by Kosovo Albanians. Between ethnic groups a huge operation of international community is going on with its foggy ideas.


Refugees and unrealized returns

The refugee and IDP (“internally displaced persons”) question is of paramount importance in Balkans. In Serbia the refugee problem came when Serbs were expelled from East Croatia and Croatian Krajina. The IDP problem is a follow-up of Kosovo conflict when some 200.000 Serbs and some thousands of Roma were expelled from there to northern Serb-dominated part of province or to Serbia. During Nato bombings also Kosovo Albanians – about 700.000 – escaped from the province but most of them have returned back. Most of Montenegro refugees – 16259 – fled from Kosovo. Nearly all of Serbia’s IDPs fled also from Albanian majority parts of Kosovo province. Despite EU’s nice ideas about multi-ethnic Kosovo and implementation of housing and other return programs only a fraction (few per cent) of Serb IDPs have returned to Kosovo after ten years of international administration while majority of Kosovo Albanian refugees returned during last half of year 1999.

To table below I have collected the numbers of refugees and IDPs in western Balkans; the sum total includes also asylum-seekers, stateless etc. persons. As source I have used UNHCR report 16thJune 2009 and “Internal Displacement in Europe and Central Asia” report made by UNCHR and The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council.


Country Refugees IDPs Total
Albania 65 0 87
Bosnia-Herzegovina 7257 124529 194448
Croatia 1597 2497 33943
(FRY) Macedonia 1672 0 2823
Montenegro 24741 0 26242
Serbia 96739 225879 341083

The table above is maybe surprising to those who have the picture – made by western mainstream media – in their minds, that (only) Serbs were making ethnic cleansing. In reality today the Serbs are the biggest victims of Balkan wars. (More in my article Forgotten Refugees – West Balkans”).

Failed post-conflict reconstruction

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 minorities are beginning to leave Kosovo, because they face exclusion and discrimination.

One of the cruellest example of failed post-conflict reconstruction is the case of Roma children living in UN camps in North Mitrovica, Kosovo. So far 81 has already dead after ten years suffering in United Nations Camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), living in place which is described the most toxic site in Eastern Europe. Their case gives another perspective related to “humanitarian intervention” implemented by Nato and to international administration implemented afterwards and backed with billions of Euros EU financing. (More in my article “UN death camps, EU money, local negligence”)

Despite huge EU programmes and reports singing their praises the progress in Kosovo has been modest if not non-existing. Kosovo faces major challenges, including ensuring the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organised crime, the strengthening of administrative capacity, and the protection of the Serb and other minorities. EU Commision’s 2009 progress reports of Kosovo province and its neighbours can be found as pdf from my Document library.

The focus of international state-building efforts in Kosovo has been predominantly on political and security issues, and since 2008 in particular the rule of law. The long-term challenges are however related in general first to conflict between international law and present status and second to poor state of Kosovo’s economy. Today’s EU rule & law mission – Eulex – does not address either of these challenges.

Kosovo highlights the fact that states and international organisations intervening in post-conflict situations should be realistic about what socio-political change they can actually achieve. Despite huge resources and strong mandate international administration can fail if the situation analysis is combination of false supposition and actions based to high flown drawer desk plans. The state-building process can also cease due pressure. This was evident in Kosovo when the eruption of violence in March 2004 pushed the international community towards addressing the status question and throw earlier “standards before status” principle to litter box. (More e.g. in “Pogrom with Prize”)

Insignificant economic base and remarkable social challenge

Official statistics from year 2008 shows that export from Kosovo amounted about 200 millon Euro while import increased to 2 billion Euro, which makes trade balance almost 1,800 million Euro minus. If export is covering some 10 percent of import so from where is money coming to this consumption. The estimate is that when export brings mentioned 71 million Euro the organised crime (mainly drug trafficing) brings 1 billion Euro, diaspora gives 500 million Euro and international community 200 million Euro.

In 2007, more than 40 percent of contributes to direct tax revenues and sustains the delivery of public services Kosovo’s GDP was made up of foreign assistance, remittances and foreign direct investment – mostly privatisation proceeds and the issuing of a second mobile phone licence. All of these outside contributions are likely to decline substantially as a consequence of the global financial crisis, with dire consequences for Kosovo’s budget.

Kosovo has Europe’s youngest and fastest – growing population. Yearly 30,000 more young people enters working age than the number that leave labour markets which due Kosovo’s poor economy can not absorb them. Same time the education system is poorly governed, poorly resourced, and prone to corruption. Hardly any of the 30 private universities in Kosovo, for example, have met accreditation criteria (BritishAccreditationCouncil2008), and with few exceptions they provide sub-standard education. This leaves a whole generation of Kosovars without marketable skills and with very limited economic perspectives – at least legal ones.

The poor state of Kosovo’s economy combined to demographic challenge is likely to fuel a range of security threats, such as illegal trafficking, migration, and organised crime.

Organised crime

Links between drug trafficking and the supply of arms to the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) were established mid-90s. In West KLA was described as terrorist organization but when US selected them as their ally it transformed organization officially to “freedom” fighters. After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA leaders again changed their crime clans officially to political parties. This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society.

In some other important drug transit zones trafficking is reflected in high levels of violence but not in Balkans. UN report explains this that good links between crime organizations and commercial/political elites have ensured that Balkan organized crime groups have traditionally encountered little resistance from the state or rival groups. To keep fragile situation calm (western) international community don’t interfere criminal activities leaded its former allies.

The real power in Kosovo lays with 15 to 20 family clans who control “almost all substantial key social positions” and are closely linked to prominent political decision makers. German intelligence services (BND) have concluded that Prime Minister Thaçi is a key figure in a Kosovar-Albanian mafia network. Two German intelligence reports – BND report 2005 and BND-IEP report Kosovo 2007 – are giving clear picture about connection between politics and organized crime; both reports can be found from my document library under headline Kosovo.

I have earlier described circumstances in Kosovo with “Quadruple Helix Model” where government, underworld, Wahhabbi schools and international terrorism have win-win symbiosis. (More in “Quadruple Helix – Capturing Kosovo”) In general there is expectations that Kosovo is sliding to be a “failed state” I am however tending to the opinion that a “captured state” is better definition.

quadruple helix model

War crimes

The present day circumstances are shadowed also by the fact that most of the war crimes committed 1999 are still unsolved. On the other hand the situation declares null and void the efforts for multi-ethnic society, on the other hand it prevents transformation of Kosovo-Albanian political field from tribe level more democratic practice. For today’s politicians war crimes are important to keep non-existing due the imago reasons or because they now are part of regular (illegal) business. Occasionally some details pop up like it was case with organ trafficking (More in “New Cannibalism in Europe too?”)

The actions of the Nato campaign 1999 are quite well documented but despite bombings were against international and war crimes committed no trials has been made. Nato planes destroyed 4 % of its military targets during bombing – partly because for avoiding own casualties they launched missiles so high that could not make difference between wooden decoys and real weapons. Instead of military targets the main damage was made against civilian targets such as destroying an embassy (China), a prison (Istok), three column of Albanian refugees (81 dead March 13th and 75 April 14th), radio-tv station (Belgrade, 16 civilians dead), a passenger train (Grdelica bridge, 14 dead), also a number of infrastructure, commercial buildings, schools, health institutions, cultural monuments were damaged or destroyed. Some 2.500 people (mostly civilians) were dead, material civil infrastructure damage is estimated to be some 30 billion dollars. (More e.g. in “10th anniversary of Nato’s attack on Serbia”)

Kosovo is still suffering of some consequences of Nato’s 1999 bombings such as the effects of the use of depleted uranium (DU) on the civilian population. The Nato allegedly used shells with depleted uranium which are still today causing an increase in the number of cancer patients. (More from article Use of Depleted Uranium proved in Nato bombings”)

Epilogue

The outcome today in Kosovo is a quasi-independent pseudo-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.

From my viewpoint the only way to get sustainable solution to Kosovo is through real negotiations between local stakeholders. To get start of real talks US should freeze or withdraw its recognition of Kosovo UDI; otherwise it takes too long time for Kosovo Albanians to find out that some negotiated outcome ? be it cantonization, partition or whatever agreed – could be better than status quo. (About possible solutions “Dividing Kosovo – a pragmatic solution to frozen conflict” and Cantonisation – a middle course for separatist movements)

The readiness to open new talks over status question may be increasing. I quote Gallup

The latest Gallup Balkan Monitor survey conducted in September 2009 showed Kosovo Albanians are less positive toward independence. Seventy-five percent of Kosovo Albanians said independence was a good thing, down from 93% who said so in 2008. One in five Kosovo Albanians said they did not have an opinion. Furthermore, in 2009, 80% of Kosovo Serbs believed that independence was a bad thing, statistically unchanged since 2008.

When time runs so I think that more and more local population would like to un-freeze conflict and concentrate to issues that matters.

Of course if US wants keep one frozen conflict more in world and if EU is ready to squander more billions of euros for its capacity building efforts nothing needs to be done. (More e.g. in “Kosovo-update”)



UN death camps, EU money, local negligence

May 1, 2009

I was just watching a film“UN death camps in Kosovo April 2009” about protest which was hold by Roma children living in UN camps in North Mitrovica, Kosovo.  The protesters however were still living, so far 81 has already dead after ten years suffering in United Nations Camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), living in place which is described the most toxic site in Eastern Europe.  Their story gives another perspective related to “humanitarian intervention” implemented by Nato and to international administration implemented afterwards and backed with billions of Euros EU financing.  And this is happening in Europe and in this millennium.

The children hold a protest vigil on International Roma Day.  In the protest, their banners proclaimed “God Save Us from UNHCR” and”Welcome to Kouchner’s Hell”, reminding Bernard Kouchner – then Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), now FM of France – about his promise autumn 1999 to move families immediately from toxic camp.

In brief

“The place where the camps are, the UN had a plan to build a fence around it and say, ‘danger.’ But they didn’t do that. Instead they put the Roma there.” (U.N. toxic Shame)

While Nato troops arrived to Kosovo – for “humanitarian intervention” – on June 1999 their Kosovo Albanian allies started their revenge not only against Serbs but also against the Roma which the Albanians accused of collaborating with Serbs.  The largest Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (RAE) community was in south Mitrovica.  They were forced to move over Ibar river to Serb dominated north Mitrovica.

Under international administration those displaced families were placed in camps located heavily polluted mining and smelter complex.  The international administration know that camps were in dangerously toxic environment, the experts and non-governmental organizations demanded immediate evacuation for Roma families, however after nearly ten years – in post-war Kosovo, 200 km from the European Union’s borders – these families still are trapped in camps slowly dying from lead poisoning.

To get live picture about case I can recommend an excellent documentary film “Trapped – The forgotten story of Mitrovica Roma” by Katalin Barsony/Duna Television/Hungary which can be watched from here!

The Saga

A summary of main events related to Mitrovica Roma case is in insert below.  As source I have used a Chronology prepared by KMEG (The Kosovo Medical Emergency Group) –group of advocates with goal to achieve immediate evacuation and medical treatment for families abandoned in toxic camps in north Kosovo.  (The Chronology and other KMEG material can be found from here)

1999: June 16 After NATO troops arrived in Kosovo, black uniformed KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) soldiers begin visiting homes in the Romani (Gypsy) settlement (mahalla) of Fabrička in south Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, largest Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian (RAE) community in Kosovo, with about 1,000 families comprising about 8,000 people. The RAE families are told that Kosovo is only for Albanians and the RAE must leave if they want to save their families. Over the next three months, many RAE families lock up their homes and move across the Ibar River into north Mitrovicë/Mitrovica. But accommodation is unavailable as thousands of Serbs also flee from Albanian nationalists.

1999: August Paul Polansky, an adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  (UNHCR) on Romani issues, visits the Fabrička neighbourhood to assess the situation. He finds Albanians looting many of the abandoned homes. He asks French NATO troops in the area to intervene. Their Commanding Officer (CO) replies that they are not a police force, and that their mandate is only to protect Albanians from the local Serbs.

1999: September Baroness Nicholson meets Bernard Kouchner, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) at camps when he stated the families would be moved immediately.

1999: End of September UNHCR is renting a plot of land from abandoned lead mining site where the IDPs can be housed in tents until UNHCR can find a permanent solution for these 800 vulnerable inhabitants. According UNHCR this is a temporary solution for only 45 days. Also head of UNMIK (SRSG) Dr. Bernard Kouchner (founder of Medecins San Frontieres, and currently the Foreign Minister of France) personally assures that the camp will be closed within 45 days and the inhabitantsresettled elsewhere.

1999: December UNHCR contracts with ACT (Action by Churches Working Together) to build a camp in north Mitrovicë/Mitrovica called Česmin Lug/Çesmin Llug. These barracks are built next to the railroad tracks that border the tailing stands of the Trepča lead mines. These barracks are built with old lead-painted boards.

2000: Summer/Fall SRSG Dr. Bernard Kouchner orders his UN medical team to make an investigation of the lead pollution in the entire Mitrovicë/Mitrovica area. French army doctors have reported several cases of lead poisoning in their soldiers who are quartered in an old Serbian army base 100 meters from the IDP camp at Česmin Lug/Çesmin Llug.

2000: November Dr. Andreyew submits his written report to Dr. Kouchner, head of UNMIK and a report to the World Health Organization (WHO), recommending evacuation of the RAE camps and fencing off the land so that the public cannot accidentally enter. His investigation shows that the entire population of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica is suffering from unhealthy levels of lead poisoning. However, the highest levels (three to four times higher than the average in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica) were found in the children in the IDP camps of Çesmin Llug/Česmin Lug and Zhitkovc/Žitkovac. Dr. Andreyew’s report, which UNMIK refused to release to the public, was never acted upon, with one exception: several international UNMIK police officers were tested, since they jogged daily on a path by the slag heaps near the Česmin Lug/Çesmin Llug camp. Their lead levels were so high that UNMIK immediately repatriated them since lead poisoning cannot be treated at the source of poisoning without causing dangerous complications.

2002 UNHCR shelves all of its plans to resettle the camp Roma abroad. UNHCR contracts ACT (Action by Churches Working Together) office in Prishtinë/Priština to build barracks on the same toxic land in Zhitkovc/Žitkovac, replacing the tents.

2004: March/April After the investigation prompted by the death of Djenita Mehmeti, and the compiling of the information from the blood lead level (BLL) results, WHO Pristinë/Priština sends a letter to UNMIK calling for an immediate evacuation of the UN camps. UNMIK refuses, claiming that they have no place to take 500 Gypsies. UNMIK pleads lack of resources to tackle the problem. 

2004: November pregnancies and more than 50 have miscarriages. ICRC sends a letter to UNMIK demanding immediate evacuation of the camps. UNMIK refuses.

2005 A staff member of WHO, upset by UNMIK’s and WHO’s apparent cover-up of the tragedy, asks Paul Polansky to let the world know what is happening. Polansky publishes an opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune about the plight in these UN camps. Though several other journalists pick up the story, UNMIK authorities still refuse to evacuate the camps.  He also asks European Roma Rights Center   (ERRC) to file a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Strasbourg against UNMIK. The Human Rights Court in Strasbourg rejects the lawsuit saying that only a country, not an organization, can be sued.

2006 Finally admitting that the camps are located on highly toxic waste, UNMIK decides to bow to international pressure and take some steps to try to convince the public they are dealing with the lead pollution.

2008 An international advocacy group, known as the Kosovo Medical Emergency Group(KMEG), is formed to publicize the plight of the IDPs in the UN camps. The group– whose purpose is to push for an immediate medical evacuation – begins a press campaign and makes public the report from 2000, as well as all blood tests from 2004 to 2008 which WHO and UNMIK have refused to share with even the families in the camps. treat the more than 500 IDPs.

On 12 May, 2008, UNMIK officially turns over the three camps (Osterode camp, Česmin Lug/Çesmin Llug and Leposaviq/Leposavić) to the Kosovo government. As the year ends, it is noted that 78 RAE had died in the camps since Nov 1999, their lives foreshortened by the severe damage caused to their health by toxic conditions in the camps.

On January 22nd 2009 European Parliament highlights Roma camp case in its “EU resolution Kosovo” as follows: (EP) Is gravely concerned at the acute ill health of Roma families in the Osterode and Cesmin Lug refugee camps; believes that these are directly linked to the improper siting of those camps which find themselves on the highly toxic tailing stands of the Trepça lead mines; welcomes the Commission’s initial engagement with the Kosovo government and urges the Commission to continue to work with a view to relocating urgently the families concerned;

2009 April 81 deaths so far, the Kosovo government who took over responsibility on 2008, have not yet even visited the camps.

My view   

When I visited in those northern Mitrovica camps during 2000-2002 the risks about lead poisoning was well known.  Also we who lived in normal conditions in region were got some instructions to exercise some caution.  Already then there were plans to cure circumstances but nothing happened.  I hardly have imagination how it is possible to still have same problems.

This should not had been happen – not during and after “humanitarian intervention”, not during post-conflict capacity building and after billions of EU taxpayers money put to development projects, not in Europe 200 km from EU border, not in international protectorate with “European perspective”.

EU’s most ambitious rule of law mission – Eulex – has been operating in Kosovo already nearly one year.  I must ask if human rights have any priority in mission or is the aim only to train local police to write traffic tickets correctly.  EU Commissioner Rehn said in his letter 17.02.2009 to MEP Gay Mitchell, that funding is not primary problem but complicated political side.  When EU has funds and other resources ready to implement actions plus huge rule of law mission on the ground I really wonder why actions are not taken immediatelly.

The Way ahead

From my point of view at least following steps should be taken to correct situation and to prevent it happen again:

1)     According international law (UN Security Council resolution 1244) Kosovo still is international protectorate.  As officially highest authority is UNMIK so it could make immediate decision t evacuate camps and transfer Roma families from them to get medical treatment elsewhere.  The other international actors – Eulex, Kfor, ICO (International Community Office)/EU Special representative and EU delegation could help to implement this immediate action.

2)     For long term solution international – and donor – community should plan together with local representatives resettlement/housing program for Roma families.

4)     To increase responsibility in future missions the persons/organisations who have enabled situation described earlier should be put in international court charged about human rights violations, crimes against humanity, involuntary manslaughter and covering up the case (stupidity, laziness and incapability are probably not crimes but could be non-qualifying skills in future recruitments).

Roma families in Kosovo are people left in deathly camps years after a conflict. These are not only displaced, but their displacement happened while western nations, whose duty it was to protect them, stood by. Inactive at the scene, international administration subsequently placed them in a dangerously toxic environment, and for years thereafter effectively ignored their plight covering same time own mistakes.  EU’s speciality has been “soft power”, taking responsibility, initiative and leadership now could at least limit the damages in Roma camps in Kosovo and hopefully elsewhere afterwards.

More about UN Camps e.g.

  • Two-part film “UN Camps in Kosovo” from 2005 gives more perspective to case: Part I and Part II
  • KMEG portal with links to more films and articles


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!


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.


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