Sunday, December 09, 2007

What Lies Ahead After Kosovo

Geography@About.com links to a story which accurately states Kosovo is about to declare independence. The drive for independence is so overwhelming that all the parties in the recent Kosovar election (which was boycotted by Serbs) had independence in their platform. The winners, Democratic Party of Kosovo (headed by an ex-leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army), stated their intentions to declare independence unilaterally. The European Union and United States have hinted at recognizing Kosovo while Serbia and Russia will not.

The first question after Kosovo's independence is what will happen to the ethnic Serbian minority. After the war there were reprisal attacks and most of the Serbs who stayed moved to the northern part of the country to be close to Serbia proper. These Serbs refuse to participate with the ethnic Albanian government and want to remain in Serbia. Serbia and Russia will probably push for either an autonomous zone or secession to Serbia for the Serbian zone.

Spreading of violence is another concern. Already Albanian terrorist groups have waged war against Macedonia and sought to annex part of Serbia proper. On the flip side there is rising fear of Russians using shadowy means to do hit-and-run attacks for the Serbs against the Albanians.

Geopolitically there is a question of precedence. If it is okay for Kosovo to unilaterally declare independence then what is stopping the Serbian political entity in Bosnia, the Republika Srpska. Russia may then push South Ossetia and Abkhazia into formalizing their independence and into Russia's geopolitical orbit. Elsewhere there are also concerns. While the drive for Kurdish independence from Iraq has tapered off as of late there will always be the Kosovo model to look at.

5 comments:

Edd said...

Balanced, informed and to the point - a great post. ...if only someone had the answers.

Anonymous said...

Anybody wants Kosovo i Metohija independence to happen, can’t bypass legal implications of UN Resoluion 1244. Legal implication is that Kosovo is Serbian land. Another legal implication is that 250,000 Serbs must return safely home back to Kosovo i Metohija. If international force is not up to task then they have to leave Kosovo i Metohija. Pushing independence by any mean will just bring violence and instability.

cokaygne said...

No answers here. Just wondering what the impact is for US-EU relations. If things get ugly, does the EU have the will or the power to step in? If not, would "world opinion" expect the US to bail out the EU again? What if American voters, burned by the Iraq fiasco refuse?

Andy said...

I don't see it as "balanced" at all. Lots of mention of Albanian terrorist groups - very little of Serbian ones, or the organized state terror that lead to the war back in 1999 in the first place. The Kosovars aren't "unilaterally" declaring themselves independent - the entire world community via the UN and the EU and their agencies, as well as international troops on the ground are involved in the process. The Serbs aren't necessarily agreeing, but it is far from "unilateral". As for the "precedence" of breaking away - heck, if we didn't allow that, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslavakia would all still be in existence. Pakistan and Ethiopia would be whole, etc.
I'm not advocating or offering any solutions - just I wouldn't necessarily be so quick to characterize this account as "balanced"

Catholicgauze said...

Andy,
Even though I didn't link to them in this post... GTWC! has in the past discussed the Serbian terror regime in Kosovo pre-1999.