Kosovo: A new War in the Balkans? From supervised independence to unsupervised violence

I have been receiving a lot of emails recently, asking if there is going to be another war in Kosovo. This commentary is an attempt to respond to these inquires. What are the latest developments regarding the future of Kosovo? According to BBC, mediators in talks between Kosovo and Serbia have concluded that no agreement can be reached on Kosovo’s final status ahead of a UN deadline of December 10th. Who are these mediators? The mainstream media call them "troika": EU, US and Russia. After 120 days of deciding the fate of the Serbian, Albanian and Roma people who live in Kosovo, "troika" was "unable to break a deal" and solve the "looming Kosovo crisis". Kosovo, to remind ZNet readers, is still a Serbian province, at least under international law. It was "liberated" in 1999, in the course of "NATO’s first war", a humanitarian intervention whose aim was to promote democracy in this semi-barbaric part of the world, sometimes referred to as Wild Europe by its civilized western European neighbors. The newly established democracy is a colonial protectorate hosting American military basis and Guantanamo-like prisons used for interrogation purposes in the "War of Terror". The remaining Serbs and Roma are being periodically "cleansed", and pushed to remote enclaves. Roma, for the most part, live in camps built on contaminated ground. The colonial Government removed the Roma from three refugee camps built on toxic wasteland only to relocate them to a camp in north Mitrovica abandoned by the French because of the lead poisoning. They live in fear, waiting for the next move of the Albanian government.

The newly elected Albanian government of Hashim Tachi, war criminal of UCK (KLA) fame, and one of the leading members of the Kosovo criminal cartel, have threatened to declare independence unilaterally after the UN deadline. His threats are supported by the statements of the governments of the US, Britain, Germany, France and Italy who insist that the international community (and this community is truly international: it embodies international people outside of Kosovo, who are deciding the lives of people of Kosovo) "must honor its responsibilities to Kosovo". Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused his negotiation partners of impatience: "Regrettably, our Western partners are blocking such (talks) by saying that Kosovo’s independence is unavoidable". Nato spokesman James Appathurai is tired of talking: "the Nato point of view is … that the process should now move – that there needs to be movement towards resolution". Lt Col Grossmann of K-For says that, "NATO will stay here as long as it is needed, and as long as the international community sees it as a proper means to put out this conflict." NATO as a proper means of putting out the conflict? In his reaction to these "proper means", Aleksandar Simic, an advisor to Serbia’s prime minister Vojislav Kostunica, "told the Belgrade media that Serbia had the legal right to use war as a means of defending its territory if Kosovo declares independence. This made His Excellency Wolfgang Ischinger, the European member of a "troika", very angry and upset. How dares Simic! His Excellency told the reporters that he believes that, "it is inadmissible and intolerable that even before the troika report is out one of the parties expresses himself in this way". Interestingly enough, he does not find it "inadmissible and intolerable" for the envoys of the international community and NATO to say, even before the troika report is out, that the independence of Kosovo is "imminent". Nor does he mention Thaci, who has assured the EU and Washington that he, impulsive as he is, changed his mind, and that he will wait and declare independence after some more meetings of the international community, but not later then early in the new year. Kosovo’s Albanian President Fatmir Sejdiu also said independence for Kosovo "will happen very quickly" but refused to give an exact date. Colonial governor of Kosovo, Joachim Rucker, is certain that, " the people of Kosovo have enough maturity to let international mechanisms work". By these international mechanisms he probably means the forthcoming EU summit in Brussels on 14th of December, which is expected to send a signal of support to Kosovo from a majority of the EU states. It is also probable that Serbia will be offered a "carrot" : a promise that one day they will be permitted to join the European Union. It is also safe to say that as soon as this declaration is issued, Serbs and Roma from the "Serbian north" of Kosovo, as well as enclaves in the centre and south of the region, are going to be attacked. A new circle of ethnic violence will ensue, and Kosovo, "the crucible of Europe’s most divisive conflict in recent memory", will explode into a full-blown regional conflict. The International Crisis Group, which is strongly in favor of Kosovo independence, in a recent report expressed concern over possible "unsupervised, possibly violent, independence process". It is important to note that the independence being promised to Kosovo Albanians is a "supervised independence". This means that the independence given to the Albanians would be supervised and constrained by a so-called International Civilian Representative, and backed by a strong international military presence (this was, in more honest times, called occupation).

My answer, the only one I can give, to the question if there is going to be another war, between NATO and Serbia, and between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo minorities, is yes. There will be another war. If the "international community", with its army and its colonial apparatus, does not leave Albanians, Serbs and Roma to decide their future for themselves, the war, or, in the least, "localized" violence (and internationally supervised) and another wave of ethnic cleansing of Serbs and Roma, will be inevitable. The only chance for peace in the Balkans is the end of the occupation of the Balkans. In Kosovo as well as in Bosnia. European and American gentlemen, iternational "humanitarian" NGO’s, dear concerned members of the international community, please leave. And don’t forget to take the BBC journalists with you.

*Andrej Grubacic is an anarchist historian and Znet writer from the Balkans. He is a member of the post-Yugoslav "Freedom Fight" collective, "Global Balkan" network, and the editorial board of Balkan Z magazine. He can be reached at zapata@mutualaid.org

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