Saturday, March 22, 2008

The US starts its next Balkan conflict

Previously I blogged about the major role of the American deputy Raffi Gregorian in Bosnia (together with other American diplomats) in the conflict on police and parliamentary reform - while his boss Lajcak stayed mostly invisible.

Now we are seeing a similar development in Kosovo. While Peter Feith and Joachim Ruecker are giving the obligtory lectures about tolerance, unity and condemn certain Serb policies it looks like it was Rueckers American deputy Larry Rossin who ordered the attack on the court house in northern Mitrovica despite objections from other UNMIK officials. Rossin seemed to have some unclear communication with Samardzic too what only adds to the impression that the US is once again following a policy of polarisation in the Balkan. The Europeans - who are supposed to be in charge - appear once again to be impotent bystanders.

One may have the opinion that Kosovo's independence is right, that the Serbs are wrong to resist it and that the protestors should have been removed from the courthouse. But even then one has to concede that Kosovo's Serbs have the right to believe otherwise and that right should be respected. In the way UNMIK handled the courthouse this respect was clearly lacking. The date (the 4 year aniversary of the march 2004 riots for which Serb demonstrations were expected), the unannounced character of the attack and the mass arrests were all meant to humiliate the Serbs in submission. It was a clear indication that the Kosovo that the US and Kosovo's Albanian government want to build is not the democratic multiethnic society as it is advertised.

Postscript: Byzantine Blog has the English translation of an interview with Scott Taylor in Glas. He believes that the riots of 17 march were a preparatory excercise for an "Blitzkrieg Against Kosovo Serbs". According to his information in the next round Kosovo's Serb leaders will be arrested and the northern part of the city brought under Albanian control.


stories from the other side said...

They have freedom of expression but not freedom to threaten the UN as they did. No Serbs were killed while a young Ukrainian "succumbed" to the injuries as the new Serb propaganda outlet, B92, put it.

Albanians are not interested in any conflict and wants peace but this is not an option for the war mongers in the Government of Serbia. We can not do that much. We are tired of all the conflict and want to live in a democratic Kosovo where everyone is welcome but Serbs are opposed to multiethnic Kosova, even though they being a micro minority will have the same rights as the Albanians according to our constitution due to be approved soon.

Koha Ditore, the most respected newspaper in Kosova, could on Tuesday inform her readers that Serbs had plans to declare the partition of Kosovo on March 17th, same day as UN intervened.

I have respect for you Wim but I still have the impression that you have adopted the Serb victim mentality. You see the Balkan problems through Serb eyes.

Happy Eastern to you and yours. I hope once again I am not disturbing you with my writings. I as other people may from time to time say things I should not have said but you know I always want to be as respectful as possible.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone person who speaks albanian translate a sentence?

It is this

"Bashkia e shqetesuar

Prerja e pyjeve popullon Korcen nga dhelprat."

thank you

Wim Roffel said...

Stories, the partition plan as promoted by Samardzic is now all over the international news. As I wrote: I see nothing that proves me that Kosovo's government is serious about multi-ethnicity. They do what the US asked them as a condition for recognition, but beyond that their anti-Serb attitude hasn't changed.

In my the opinion the arguments that can be used for an independent Kosovo are exactly the same arguments that can be used for a partition of Kosovo. You may say that everyone is welcome in Kosovo but I haven''t seen that translated in refugee returns.

It seems that the number of casualties of the courthouse battle is rather evenly spread between UN and Serbs. They have about the same number of wounded and opposite one dead Ukranian is one Serb who is in coma.

Protests are a sensitive thing: I think that demonstrations and even occassionally occupations of buildings are allowed. But violence not. But it is sometimes difficult for the organisation of an action to control violent acts by individual members of a crowd - specially in unexpected circumstances like the UNMIK action against the courthouse occupiers.

Happy Easter to you too.

stories from the other side said...

If Kosova is partioned since Serbs "can not live under Albanian rule" why should Albanians in Serbia live under Serb rule in what is known as Presheva valley? They can use the same arguments or can't they?

It is really sad that you have not the ability to realize that "Kosovo is Serbian" is a racist policy that exludes anyone but Serbs from living in Kosova.

For me it is still i mistery how some can support such a policy.

The Serb Prime Minister is an Albanian-hater by birth and he is poising the hearts of Serbs with extreme hate. While I am writing this I am remembering something a Serb student said to me : "When we protested against Milosevic, we wanted a new Serbia, and not the same Serbia as during 90s but only without Milosevic"

Rada Trajkovic, a former SRS member, told Blic, a Serbian newspaper: Kostunica and Samardzic bear all the responsibility, while their experimenting and detrimental ideology, masked with the policy of national interest, if it isn’t soon unveiled, will cost highly both the Serbs on the ground and entire Serbia. Even when people in Kosovo sober up and understand that they have been manipulated with a wrong policy, many will decide to leave Kosovo, which places us in a far worse position. I know that the biggest national interest is for us to preserve the Serb community in Kosovo, but I’m afraid that, when they sober up, one part of them will leave and we as a community will weaken and become more insignificant.

stories from the other side said...

anon, are you kidding?

I will translate it anyway

"The muncipality is worried, Felling of trees is populating Korca with foxes "

WARchild said...


Shedding tears for Kostunica?! That's very sad my friend. Mark my words, Milosevic didn't give a damn about Krajina and those people still today live in decrepit refugee camps in Serbia without the rights of other Serb citizens. K-Serbs will have the same fate thanks to Kostunica.

E pata nje pyetje per ty. Dergoma nje email ne Flm!

Wim Roffel said...

Thank you Warchild for threatening Kosovo's Serbs with a similar expulsion as happened to the Krajna Serbs. It shows better than any point that I could make the delicate position of Kosovo's Serbs and the reason why I favor partition.

"Kosovo is Serbia" claims only that Kosovo is a part of the country Serbia. There is nothing in that sentence that forbids Albanians from living there. So I can't see it as racist. Some people may take the claim that Kosovo will "forever" stay part of Serbia seriously, but I think many understand that that scenario is not the most probable. It is just a negotiation line.

What gives Kosovo's Albanians their claim to independence and Kosovo's Serbs their claim to partition includes a history of expulsion, many killings and a climate of unsafety and discrimination that in the case of the Serbs continues until today. Presevo doesn't have such a bad history.

Due to discrimination and the unsafety to work on their lands in many places many of Kosovo's Serbs have been reduced to poverty and without financial support many would have left already. The resistance of Kosovo's government against that support is one of the many indicators that they don't have good intentions in this regards.

But I hear some Serb complaints about the Albanisation of South Serbia. So Serbias povernment might find it in its interest to give up parts of the Presevo Valley. It depends on the negotiations skills of the Albanians to get that. If they make too greedy proposals Kostunica will hide behind the formal rule that Kosovo cannot become independent without Serbia's consent. But if they are prepared to real negotiations I think a solution is possible.

I believe too that it is in Kosovo's (economic) interest to keep the Serbs there. But I don't see any sign that Kosovo's government has the same conviction. So I think that a solution that places Kosovo's Serbs under the protection of Belgrade would be the best.

stories from the other side said...

Warchild did not say anything that Rada Trajkovic, former hardline nationalist turned now to rationalist, hasn't said to Blic and a quote was included in my previous post.

I get upset when I hear some foreigners claim killings of Serbs are continuing. When was last Serb killed in Kosova? Who often are Serbs killed? All of us who read newspapers daily know that this happens almost never.

Wim, you knowledge of Balkan i very defragmentated and you only focus on Serb suffering and totally ignore what others have suffered. I don't know where this comes from but maybe from the fact that Serbs have been better than us to promote their point of view.

For example you don't know that the number of Albanians in Presheva valley have declined every year since 1999 and most of them have settled in Kosova. If you go to Fushë Kosova you have a neighbourhood where almost all the inhabitants are Albanians from Southern Serbia. Serbia have learned during the 90's and know knows that they can not expell Albanians by using force but they can do it by making it impossible to live in Serbia. The south recieves almost nothing from the government, the Albanian children are not allowed to have proper education in Albanian, the Army have surround them, the bilinguality part of the agreement with Serbia is not being respected, the walls all over Bujanovc, Medvegjë and Preshevë and are painted "Ubij Siptari", everythings is done to create division between Albanians, bakeris are being boycotted both in the extreme south but also in the extreme north of Serbia (Sombor), they are humiliated when they cross the border to visit their family in Kosova, they are closed out from the University of Belgrade, Krusevac, Novi Sad

All this I have mentioned have only one name and it is aggressive discrimination aiming to force Albanians to leave Presheva valley.

You favorite Serb poltician explains what "Kosovo is Serbia" means:

Kosovo – that’s Serbia’s first name.
Kosovo belongs to Serbia.
Kosovo belongs to the Serb people.
That’s how it has been for ever. That’s how it’s going to be for ever.

You finished reading? Read line number three once more! What is Kostunica saying? "Kosovo belongs to the Serb people." How can Kosovo belong to them, doesn't Kosovo belong to those who live in it and we know 92 % of them are Albanians.

Have a nice evening,Wim.

WarChild I will come back to you but right know I don't have time. Wish you a nice evening.

WARchild said...


I am afraid many of your conclusions don't have any bearing on the reality on the ground. I think we have already had this conversation once before so I'll stop with this comment.

As stories said, I was quoting Serbs themselves, including Rada, when I said that first statement. Serbs themselves state that they will either live in a Serbian Kosovo or leave for good. Where it gets interesting is that that they also add that they want to leave Serbia all together.

You need to explore a little bit more what Rada is saying and people like Fr Sava who was recently chastised for his communications with Prishtina and UNMIK. These people actually live with KS Serbs and care about their future in KS.

If you are willing to pay your airplane ticket I am willing to take you around in Kosova. It will amaze you how wrong you are on your assumptions. But since you are so dedicated, it is only moral that for once you see the damn place with your own eyes.

Let me know if you are willing to come for a visit.

Take care!

Wim Roffel said...

Warchild, when Rada says that protests against Kosovo's independence may result in the expulsion of Kosovo's Serbs than that testifies of a very deep distrust of Kosovo's Albanians and their leaders. In any democratic society protest is a basic right. By copying her statement you basically say: yes, we Albanians are as bad as she says and we are proud of it.

It seems to me that mrs Trajkovic and Kostunica don't have very different views about the bad situation that Kosovo's Serbs are in. They just differ on what is the best strategy now.

Stories, I am not denying that Albanians have been victims too. What I am aiming for is a balanced solution.

WARchild said...

No, don't misinterpret my and her words. She didn't mention expulsion. Here is another Serb politician, this time from Mitrovica worrying about K-Serbs. Notice that nowhere does he mention Albanians.

You didn't answer me whether you are willing to visit and see Kosova for yourself or not. I extended an invitation, it's only polite that you answer.

Wim Roffel said...

Thank you for the invitation to come to Kosovo. I have been there twice and at some time in the future I hope to go again. But not very soon.

I saw Ivanovic at a conference in Holland some time ago and he certainly hasn't the opinion that everything is well for the Serbs in Kosovo.

The article you refer to is about the conflict of interests between the Serbs north and south of the Ibar. The northerners would prefer to secede, but the southerners don't have that option and are afraid that a separation of the north would worsen their position.

Ivanovic seems to suggest (the article is not very clear) that he considers the Samardzic "partition" proposal an election stunt. He thinks that the partition as far as it concerns the Serbs south of the Ibar will be unfeasable due to Albanian resistance. And so to him it looks like another proposal for partition along the Ibar.