Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scenario's for the future of Kosovo

IWPR has an interesting article by Tim Judah in which he sketches the most probable future of Kosovo.

The scenario is as follows:
- the UN will assign Kosovo some status, but will avoid the word "independent" that would draw vetoes. It will get an international mission that is patterned on that in Bosnia.
- Kosovo's parliament will declare itself independent and some countries will recognize it.
- Kosovo's Serbs will de facto secede.
- Kosovo will end up looking a lot like Bosnia with an international mission trying to weld together two units that don't want to.

I think this is a very probable scenario.

In a Reuters article today the probable recommendations of Ahtisaari about Kosovo's future were summarised as follows "Kosovo get[s] the right to join world bodies normally reserved for sovereign countries. States would be able to recognise it and it could apply for a UN seat.". It differs a bit from Judah's prediction but the outcome is the same.

I just wonder how long the international community will continue with their fruitless efforts. Both Bosnia and Kosovo give the idea of "nation building" a bad name. Sure, you can have several nationalities live together in one state. But only when that state is prepared to treat them as equals...

8 comments:

WARchild said...

The articles also say that ultimately Serbia will have to concede if it ever wants to enter EU. Why waste time?

Wim Roffel said...

No self-respecting Serb politician will set his signature under the expulsion of 70.000 Serbs from Kosovo.

Obviously they hope that the world finally will realize that the Badinter doctrine (no borders changed) does not work.

WARchild said...

Just the opposite. Self-respecting Serb politicians should set their signatures if only for the sake of the 100,000-200,000 Serbs from Kosovo. But I don't think they care about K-Serbs. The later are pawns of the daily Belgrade politics and they haven't learned anything from Krajina.

One of the self-respecting politicians you're talking about is Nikolic. He has 90% support among K-Serbs and 40% support in Serbia. Nikolic the Self-respecter.

Wim Roffel said...

UN estimates are that 70.000 Serbs would leave Kosovo when it becomes independent. Not surprising when you wonder how they survive: they have hardly any possibilities to make money. For many it is too unsafe to work on their lands. And in the cities they encounter in addition to the high unemployment a lot of discrimination. And to top it off many are target of robberies and violence.

Many of those people survive on their savings and on transfers from family that works in Serbia. It is clear that they can't go on like this forever. Unfortunately the Kosovo government is doing nothing to improve their position and only giving empty talks that the Serbs should be loyal to the Kosovo government.

I see their voting for Nikolic mainly as a sign of despair. But I agree with you that Nikolic is quite an idiot, who may bring them more harm than good.

Nina Brenjo said...

Here are a couple of [url=http://www.alertnet.org]Reuters AlertNet[/url] blogs that pull together the world media's opinions on Kosovo:

Will Kosovo's independence be an anti-climax?
http://www.alertnet.org/db/blogs/1265/2007/01/5-181317-1.htm

Kosovo's 'independence lite'
http://www.alertnet.org/db/blogs/1265/2007/00/26-202824-1.htm

Regarding some of the media's concerns about the consequences of Kosovo independence/partition/other solutions on the region, there is a good article by Tihomir Lozo in Transitions Online. This is from the first blog.

"...Tihomir Lozo, writing for Internet magazine Transitions Online says it's crazy to predict that Kosovars will "freak out" because independence isn't even mentioned in Athisaari's proposal. "Kosovo Albanians are not wild political animals who fly into raging fits every time they are denied immediate gratification of their desires," he writes. Besides, they know that all they need to do now is be patient in order to get what they're striving towards.

But surely Serbia wouldn't give up Kosovo without fight? The chance of Serbia mustering support for military action in Kosovo is "precisely zero", Lozo says. The democratic parties, which when counted together were the real winners of the recent Serbian elections, have explicitly ruled out military intervention.

And what about Bosnia? Another media myth, in the eyes of Lozo. Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik effectively confirmed this when he threatened to use force against anyone looking to exploit the likely dissatisfaction with Athisaari's proposal..."

Wim Roffel said...

Nina, I tried to react to your Alertnet blogs. But my reactions seem to disappear into the big void at Alertnet.

Kosovo's society is controlled by some clans and march 2004 could happen because these clans believed it would be advantegeous for them. They were right: the international community became indeed more responsive to Albanian wishes. It is improbable that they will at this point employ the mobs, but they may do so at a later stage when things are not going as they want. Alban Kurti is definitely busy to keep the public opinion ready.

Serbia may not go to war over it, but I am afraid that the international community is underestimating how harmful it will be when Serbia does not fully recognize Kosovo's new status.

Nina said...

Wim, How strange you couldn't leave a comment on AlertNet's blogs. Hopefully you won't have the same problem again. As for the Kosovo status, could it be that Serbia's leadership is bluffing as well? They may have realised how harmful it would have been, had they gave Kosovo away as soon as the international community demanded it. Instead, they're waiting for the decision to be imposed on them, so that they can say to the Serbian electorate, as well as Kosovo Serbs: You see, it wasn't us, they made us do it. This is just one theory, of course.

Wim Roffel said...

Already soon after the Kosovo war Serb politicians proposed a partition of Kosovo. This was a very reasonable proposal that unfortunately was rejected by the internationals on ideological grounds.

Instead the internationals insist on making Kosovo independent in its present borders allthough they are well aware that that means the ethnic cleansing of nearly all the remaining Serbs. It will take some time, but some Albanians will just keep the harrassment going until most have left.

So I think the Serbs have been reasonable and their refusal to accept the Ahtisaari proposal is based on justified indignation.