Kosovo Declares Independence

So they’ve finally done it.

What do you think? The Kosovo (“Blackbird Field”) is of tremendous cultural importance to the Serbs. It’s, as they say, their national birthland.

I curious how some will respond to this, hopefully, we can get some serbs in here.

By the way, former Yugoslavia is now divided for the seventh or eighth time…

It’s a tragedy, really. Go to war to stop ethnic cleansing, only to sit back and watch it happen in Kosovo. The Serbian Orthodox church is being eradicated while Christian Serbs are driven out and occasionally massacred. Good job setting up a radical muslim state guys! I’m sure the KLA appreciates all your hardwork. And people wonder why I’ve become a non-interventionist.

You know what? The Serbs have my sympathy on this one. The Ottomans took their capital and after centuries of oppression and communism, the country is finally free and they can not even claim their old capital.

It is like someone taking over the US, and centuries later giving Washington DC and Philadephia to the Mexicans cause a lot of them moved there after the take over.

“Good job setting up a radical muslim state guys! I’m sure the KLA appreciates all your hardwork. And people wonder why I’ve become a non-interventionist.”

Yeah, ha, Milosovich started bitching about fighting al-qaeda just a tad too late. Do you suppose if what happened in the 90’s started after 9-11, no one would have lifted a finger toward interventionism?

[quote]Sloth wrote:
It’s a tragedy, really. Go to war to stop ethnic cleansing, only to sit back and watch it happen in Kosovo. The Serbian Orthodox church is being eradicated while Christian Serbs are driven out and occasionally massacred. Good job setting up a radical muslim state guys! I’m sure the KLA appreciates all your hardwork. And people wonder why I’ve become a non-interventionist.[/quote]

Yup, I wouldn’t have felt this way a couple years ago, but I do now.

You guys do realize who helped to deliver this whole idea of successful independence?

Let me phrase it this way:
If an american sextourist’s motivation’d be to get laid with european girls, he should check out this one, small, new country, where thousands of very thankful woman would welcome him with wide-opened thighs.

Who gives a shit? If there’s no oil there, why should we care? Let 'em all kill each other.

Let’s save our energies for conquering Venezuela — that’s where the black gold is!!

Maybe the Serbs should recognize an idependent Southern Confederate nation. Or a an independent Vermont. Or Lakota nation. Or whatever secessionist movement is active in the US these days.

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
You know what? The Serbs have my sympathy on this one. The Ottomans took their capital and after centuries of oppression and communism, the country is finally free and they can not even claim their old capital. [/quote]

Umm… I call complete bullshit on this one. You do realize that the Albanians (Ilyrians) were the original inhabitants of the Balkans, long before Slavs (Serbs being among them)came down here?

Serbs have a rather schizophrenic view of Kosovo. For them, Kosovo is not Kosovo proper, but some mythical place where their forebearers battled the Turks 600 or so years ago. So the Serbian view centers on King Lazar and their monasteries from the Middle ages, not the actual territory with the actual people.

And here lies the crux of the problem. Serbs always wanted to keep this “mythical” province full of history and important landmarks part of Serbia. However, they never wanted the PEOPLE (2 million Albanians) who inhabit Kosovo.

If you ask one of those Serbian protesters on the streets of Belgrade the following questions, their replies would be:

“Do you want to keep Kosovo, cradle of Serbian civilization as an integral part of Serbia?”

Answer: “HELL YES!!!”

“Do you want to keep 2 million ethnic Albanians inside Serbia’s borders?”

Answer: “HELL NO!!!”

The biggest mistake Serbia made was that they continued to treat ethnic Albanians like non-citizens, which was the standard practice before. When I was a kid, calling someone a “Shiptar” (Albanian) was the gravest possible insult. Albanians were considered semi-retarded creatures fit only for cleaning streets, making ice-cream and selling jewelery.

I mean why didn’t they allow ethnic Albanians from Kosovo to vote for the Serbian parliament? Why aren’t there any seats reserved for Albanian minority in Serbian Parliament?

Because if Kosovo is indeed Serbian, then those 2 million Albanians are Serbian citizens. And that’s what the Serbs cannot accept.

Growing up in former Yugoslavia, I remember Kosovo was percieved as a shithole. I presume less that 0.1 % of Serbs from Serbia proper have ever actually been to Kosovo.

The biggest punishment was being sent to do your military service on Kosovo. A rugged, windswept province filled only with mountains, wolves and… Albanians shudder

Despite this, Kosovo province was a SAP (Socialist Autonomous Province) in socialist Yugoslavia, with it’s own president and Parliament. Until Milosevic abolished it in 1989 during his rise to power. If the Serbs tried to win over the Albanians, Thaci and the others would never have had the chance to declare independence.

I’ve just checked the news, the protesters in Belgrade are chanting “Kosovo is Serbian” and burning Albanian bakeries and shouting “Kill Shiptars”. And this is the exact reason why it ended the way it did.

[quote]loppar wrote:
Gkhan wrote:
You know what? The Serbs have my sympathy on this one. The Ottomans took their capital and after centuries of oppression and communism, the country is finally free and they can not even claim their old capital.

Umm… I call complete bullshit on this one. You do realize that the Albanians (Ilyrians) were the original inhabitants of the Balkans, long before Slavs (Serbs being among them)came down here?

Serbs have a rather schizophrenic view of Kosovo. For them, Kosovo is not Kosovo proper, but some mythical place where their forebearers battled the Turks 600 or so years ago. So the Serbian view centers on King Lazar and their monasteries from the Middle ages, not the actual territory with the actual people.

And here lies the crux of the problem. Serbs always wanted to keep this “mythical” province full of history and important landmarks part of Serbia. However, they never wanted the PEOPLE (2 million Albanians) who inhabit Kosovo.

If you ask one of those Serbian protesters on the streets of Belgrade the following questions, their replies would be:

“Do you want to keep Kosovo, cradle of Serbian civilization as an integral part of Serbia?”

Answer: “HELL YES!!!”

“Do you want to keep 2 million ethnic Albanians inside Serbia’s borders?”

Answer: “HELL NO!!!”

The biggest mistake Serbia made was that they continued to treat ethnic Albanians like non-citizens, which was the standard practice before. When I was a kid, calling someone a “Shiptar” (Albanian) was the gravest possible insult. Albanians were considered semi-retarded creatures fit only for cleaning streets, making ice-cream and selling jewelery.

I mean why didn’t they allow ethnic Albanians from Kosovo to vote for the Serbian parliament? Why aren’t there any seats reserved for Albanian minority in Serbian Parliament?

Because if Kosovo is indeed Serbian, then those 2 million Albanians are Serbian citizens. And that’s what the Serbs cannot accept.

Growing up in former Yugoslavia, I remember Kosovo was percieved as a shithole. I presume less that 0.1 % of Serbs from Serbia proper have ever actually been to Kosovo.

The biggest punishment was being sent to do your military service on Kosovo. A rugged, windswept province filled only with mountains, wolves and… Albanians shudder

Despite this, Kosovo province was a SAP (Socialist Autonomous Province) in socialist Yugoslavia, with it’s own president and Parliament. Until Milosevic abolished it in 1989 during his rise to power. If the Serbs tried to win over the Albanians, Thaci and the others would never have had the chance to declare independence.

I’ve just checked the news, the protesters in Belgrade are chanting “Kosovo is Serbian” and burning Albanian bakeries and shouting “Kill Shiptars”. And this is the exact reason why it ended the way it did.[/quote]

Let the victors decide the borders, and get the US and EU out of it.

I can’t help but notice the lack of support for my position from certain non-interventionists…Come on guys, how about a little consistency?

[quote]loppar wrote:
Umm… I call complete bullshit on this one…Serbs have a rather schizophrenic view of Kosovo. For them, Kosovo is not Kosovo proper, but some mythical place where their forebearers battled the Turks 600 or so years ago…[/quote]

Solid post mate.

Am not picking sides, I really can’t be bothered. But I agree - why is it that Serbian nationalism and its grand mythologising - or fetishing of the past - is regarded as ‘quaint’, stalwart…charming even…??

If it were another ethnic group, with another religion…well, we’d all be calling it backward, medieval and concocted…

[quote]loppar wrote:

I’ve just checked the news, the protesters in Belgrade are chanting “Kosovo is Serbian” and burning Albanian bakeries and shouting “Kill Shiptars”. And this is the exact reason why it ended the way it did.[/quote]

Good post.

When the Great War comes, said old Bismarck, it will come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.”

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot the archduke and heir to the Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting in motion the train of events that led to the First World War.

In the spring of 1999, the United States bombed Serbia for 78 days to force its army out of that nation’s cradle province of Kosovo. The Serbs were fighting Albanian separatists of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). And we had no more right to bomb Belgrade than the Royal Navy would have had to bombard New York in our Civil War.

We bombed Serbia, we were told, to stop the genocide in Kosovo. But there was no genocide. This was propaganda. The United Nations’ final casualty count of Serbs and Albanians in Slobodan Milosevic’s war did not add up to 1 percent of the dead in Mr. Lincoln’s war.

Albanians did flee in the tens of thousands during the war. But since that war’s end, the Serbs of Kosovo have seen their churches and monasteries smashed and vandalized and have been ethnically cleansed in the scores of thousands from their ancestral province. In the exodus they have lost everything. The remaining Serb population of 120,000 is largely confined to enclaves guarded by NATO troops.

“At a Serb monastery in Pec,” writes the Washington Post, “Italian troops protect the holy site, which is surrounded by a massive new wall to shield elderly nuns from stone-throwing and other abuse by passing ethnic Albanians.”

On Sunday, Kosovo declared independence and was recognized by the European Union and President Bush. But this is not the end of the story. It is only the preface to a new history of the Balkans, a region that has known too much history.

By intervening in a civil war to aid the secession of an ancient province, to create a new nation that has never before existed and, to erect it along ethnic, religious and tribal lines, we have established a dangerous precedent. Muslim and Albanian extremists are already talking of a Greater Albania, consisting of Albania, Kosovo and the Albanian-Muslim sectors of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

If these Albanian minorities should demand the right to secede and join their kinsmen in Kosovo, on what grounds would we oppose them? The inviolability of borders? What if the Serb majority in the Mitrovica region of northern Kosovo, who reject Albanian rule, secede and call on their kinsmen in Serbia to protect them?

Would we go to war against Serbia, once again, to maintain the territorial integrity of Kosovo, after we played the lead role in destroying the territorial integrity of Serbia?

Inside the U.S.-sponsored Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the autonomous Serb Republic of Srpska is already talking secession and unification with Serbia. On what grounds would we deny them? continued

The U.S. war on Serbia was unconstitutional, unjust and unwise. Congress never authorized it. Serbia, an ally in two world wars, had never attacked us. We made an enemy of the Serbs, and alienated Russia, to create a second Muslim state in the Balkans.

By intervening in a civil war where no vital interest was at risk, the United States, which is being denounced as loudly in Belgrade today as we are being cheered in Pristina, has acquired another dependency. And our new allies, the KLA, have been credibly charged with human trafficking, drug dealing, atrocities and terrorism.

And the clamor for ethnic self-rule has only begun to be heard.

Rumania has refused to recognize the new Republic of Kosovo, for the best of reasons. Bucharest rules a large Hungarian minority in Transylvania, acquired at the same Paris Peace Conference of 1919 where Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were detached from Vienna and united with Serbia.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two provinces that have broken away from Georgia, are invoking the Kosovo precedent to demand recognition as independent nations. As our NATO expansionists are anxious to bring Georgia into NATO, here is yet another occasion for a potential Washington-Moscow clash.

Spain, too, opposed the severing of Kosovo from Serbia, as Madrid faces similar demands from Basque and Catalan separatists.

The Muslim world will enthusiastically endorse the creation of a new Muslim state in Europe at the expense of Orthodox Christian Serbs. But Turkey is also likely to re-raise the issue as to why the EU and United States do not formally recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Like Kosovo, it, too, is an ethnically homogeneous community that declared independence 25 years ago.

Breakaway Transneistria is seeking independence from Moldova, the nation wedged between Rumania and Ukraine, and President Putin of Russia has threatened to recognize it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in retaliation for the West’s recognition of Kosovo.

If Putin pauses, it will be because he recognizes that of all the nations of Europe, Russia is high among those most threatened by the serial Balkanization we may have just reignited in the Balkans.
http://townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJBuchanan/2008/02/19/does_balkanization_beckon_anew?page=2

It sets a real bad precedent for the US and some EU countries to support the Balkanisation of Serbia.

The Russians entered into world war one to protect the Serbs, who they share ethnic ties with. This is something that could put NATO into a direct military confrontation with Russia under circumstances where the Russians will not back down.

This is something we should take very seriously, because this could be the Cuban missile crisis in reverse.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
When the Great War comes, said old Bismarck, it will come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.”

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot the archduke and heir to the Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting in motion the train of events that led to the First World War.

/cut

[/quote]

Actually, most analysts fall into the trap of trying to explain the Balkans using historical analogies and references to “centuries old blood feuds”

However, the main reason for the Kosovo situation is the almost pathological urge of all US administrations to support the wrong guys throughout the world during the previous century.

Whether it is Chalabi in Iraq, Diem in South Vietnam or Batista in Cuba is seems that you don’t even have to pass a cursory examination of your political status to become the confidant of an US administration, and that you can bluff the Americans into supporting you quite easily.

I won’t dwelve into other countries, but just concetrate on few situations in the Balkans, where I experienced this first hand.

In 1989-90, the Warsaw Pact is crumbling, and it’s pretty obvious for us living in Yugoslavia, that Croatia and Slovenia - the most Westernized and what is most important - RICHEST federal provinces (two thirds of the Yugoslav state budget came from these two provinces) want to secede.

Two Yugoslav socialist constitution, drafted by Tito in the 70ies, technically allows for this secession, as an “escape clause” in case Serbian nationalism takes over the federation (there was a nationalist fever griping Yugoslavia in early 70ies, and despite Tito’s crackdown, he was always fearful of Serbs with their control the Federal Army trying to impose their will on other federal provinces, which exacly happened with Milosevic).

Instead of concetrating on the peaceful breakup, the Bush Sr. administration spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into supporting Ante Markovic, Yugoslav president and self proclaimed economic genius.

In 1989 the whole of Yugoslavia was virtually living on US money. Salaries for college graduates were in thousands of dollars, and with interest-free loans that didn’t have an inflation clause the country was undergoing a shopping spree.

When Milosevic started his bloody rampage two years later, James Baker, then Secretary of State gave the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army “four weeks to get their country in order” while again pledging support for Markovic the economic genius(ahem) and his “far sighted economic reforms”

The Serbs understood this as a free hand in Yugoslavia, and bloodbaths in Croatia and later Bosnia ensued.

Fast forward 8 years and 300 000 dead later. It’s 2000, Kosovo is under UN supervision and Milosevic is toppled in Belgrade. Again the US makes the crucial mistake of thinking that everyone who was against Milosevic was a peace-loving pro-Western liberal. They don’t understood that many of his old cronies, like the current prime minister Kostunica became “democrats” only when they saw the writing on the wall and proclaimed themselves “Western”. I mean, the guy actually arranged the murder on Serbia’s only true Western politician, Zoran Djindjic in 2003.

Instead of pushing forward actual democratic changes in Serbia, where a new, truly democratic goverment could face their troubled past, and ensure a permanent settlement between Serbian and ethnic Albanians in a loose federation or as an autonomous region, the Kosovo situation was “frozen”.

The logic was that Serbs will actually “forget” that they ever had Kosovo and keel over when the independence day comes. Albanians, on the other hand, after years of UN administration, saw any settlement with Serbs as a step backward. Therefore, any compromise was out of the question.

Now the Americans and Europeans are shocked that some of their “pro-Western” and “liberal” buddies in Serbia are singing praises to Putin and Russia (Putin became a honorary citizen in tens of Serbian towns) and openly promoting a “special relationship” between Serbia and Russia while denouncing US.

On the other hand, the current leaders of Kosovo are no better, but this is a completely different story…

[quote]loppar wrote:
Sloth wrote:
When the Great War comes, said old Bismarck, it will come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.”

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot the archduke and heir to the Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting in motion the train of events that led to the First World War.

/cut

Actually, most analysts fall into the trap of trying to explain the Balkans using historical analogies and references to “centuries old blood feuds”

However, the main reason for the Kosovo situation is the almost pathological urge of all US administrations to support the wrong guys throughout the world during the previous century.

Whether it is Chalabi in Iraq, Diem in South Vietnam or Batista in Cuba is seems that you don’t even have to pass a cursory examination of your political status to become the confidant of an US administration, and that you can bluff the Americans into supporting you quite easily.

I won’t dwelve into other countries, but just concetrate on few situations in the Balkans, where I experienced this first hand.

In 1989-90, the Warsaw Pact is crumbling, and it’s pretty obvious for us living in Yugoslavia, that Croatia and Slovenia - the most Westernized and what is most important - RICHEST federal provinces (two thirds of the Yugoslav state budget came from these two provinces) want to secede.

Two Yugoslav socialist constitution, drafted by Tito in the 70ies, technically allows for this secession, as an “escape clause” in case Serbian nationalism takes over the federation (there was a nationalist fever griping Yugoslavia in early 70ies, and despite Tito’s crackdown, he was always fearful of Serbs with their control the Federal Army trying to impose their will on other federal provinces, which exacly happened with Milosevic).

Instead of concetrating on the peaceful breakup, the Bush Sr. administration spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into supporting Ante Markovic, Yugoslav president and self proclaimed economic genius.

In 1989 the whole of Yugoslavia was virtually living on US money. Salaries for college graduates were in thousands of dollars, and with interest-free loans that didn’t have an inflation clause the country was undergoing a shopping spree.

When Milosevic started his bloody rampage two years later, James Baker, then Secretary of State gave the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army “four weeks to get their country in order” while again pledging support for Markovic the economic genius(ahem) and his “far sighted economic reforms”

The Serbs understood this as a free hand in Yugoslavia, and bloodbaths in Croatia and later Bosnia ensued.

Fast forward 8 years and 300 000 dead later. It’s 2000, Kosovo is under UN supervision and Milosevic is toppled in Belgrade. Again the US makes the crucial mistake of thinking that everyone who was against Milosevic was a peace-loving pro-Western liberal. They don’t understood that many of his old cronies, like the current prime minister Kostunica became “democrats” only when they saw the writing on the wall and proclaimed themselves “Western”. I mean, the guy actually arranged the murder on Serbia’s only true Western politician, Zoran Djindjic in 2003.

Instead of pushing forward actual democratic changes in Serbia, where a new, truly democratic goverment could face their troubled past, and ensure a permanent settlement between Serbian and ethnic Albanians in a loose federation or as an autonomous region, the Kosovo situation was “frozen”.

The logic was that Serbs will actually “forget” that they ever had Kosovo and keel over when the independence day comes. Albanians, on the other hand, after years of UN administration, saw any settlement with Serbs as a step backward. Therefore, any compromise was out of the question.

Now the Americans and Europeans are shocked that some of their “pro-Western” and “liberal” buddies in Serbia are singing praises to Putin and Russia (Putin became a honorary citizen in tens of Serbian towns) and openly promoting a “special relationship” between Serbia and Russia while denouncing US.

On the other hand, the current leaders of Kosovo are no better, but this is a completely different story…

[/quote]
Maybe I’m not being clear. The US and others should have remained outside of this conflict. I’m not arguing that that we should have aided the Serbs. Once we chose a side, and then recognized the other, we inherited the ramifications. The argument happens to fall on the side of the Serbs only on the surface, since we have intervened on behalf of the Kosovar Albanians.

So now we piss off Serbs, bear some responsibility for the almost unhindered plight of Serb minorties and Orthodox in Kosovo, possibly have pushed the Serbs that much closer to Russia, have sent mixed signals to other seperatist movements, have helped the KLA (wth?), etc., etc.

[quote]Sifu wrote:
The Russians entered into world war one to protect the Serbs, who they share ethnic ties with. This is something that could put NATO into a direct military confrontation with Russia under circumstances where the Russians will not back down.[/quote]

It will.

This, and the on-going dispute with Russia over NATO’s “missile defense system” in Eastern Europe.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
When the Great War comes, said old Bismarck, it will come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.”

We bombed Serbia, we were told, to stop the genocide in Kosovo. But there was no genocide. This was propaganda.

Albanians did flee in the tens of thousands during the war. …

If these Albanian minorities should demand the right to secede and join their kinsmen in Kosovo, on what grounds would we oppose them? The inviolability of borders? What if the Serb majority in the Mitrovica region of northern Kosovo, who reject Albanian rule, secede and call on their kinsmen in Serbia to protect them?

Would we go to war against Serbia, once again, to maintain the territorial integrity of Kosovo, after we played the lead role in destroying the territorial integrity of Serbia?

Breakaway Transneistria is seeking independence from Moldova, the nation wedged between Rumania and Ukraine, and President Putin of Russia has threatened to recognize it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia in retaliation for the West’s recognition of Kosovo.

If Putin pauses, it will be because he recognizes that of all the nations of Europe, Russia is high among those most threatened by the serial Balkanization we may have just reignited in the Balkans.
[/quote]

Some observations leading to a practicality.
The 1999 war was nominally to prevent a genocide which did not happen. At the time, there were reasons to believe it would happen, especially based on satellite photos of rail and military activity. Guesses, perhaps, but guesses aided by political perception, and then only reluctantly so (as I have posted before in criticism of Bill Clinton).

History of the Balkans is a sad and sanguine catalogue of impermissible occupations and assaults. A recitation here is not helpful to the practical question I pose.

A sovereign nation can control its borders (a novel notion to some of us in the US), and direct its affairs with other nations. Is this the case in Kosovo? Clearly not, without the sponsorship of the West, and were it not the case that the leaders in Pristina and Belgrade have pledged themselves to nonviolence–for the time being–Kosovo would have to give up up its fantasy of independence.

Would it:

  1. Join Serbia again in a federation, as an equal? Doesn’t seem likely now.
  2. Merge with Albania? Now that will be a real hotfoot for Bosnian Serbs as well.
  3. Entreat NATO for protection from Serb tanks, with or without a threat from Russia?

Sloth is correct. This time, NATO will not unite for the Balkans–Spain and Rumania won’t allow that–except perhaps under cover of a perceived genocide. This time, let’s hope we get the facts right.
Sometimes bastards need killin’, but I do not see that I have a dog in this fight.

[edited for clarity]

The Albanians were Muslim servants of the Turkish sultan and collaborators with Adolph Hitler. He had an Albanian Waffen SS division. They’ve been oppressing the Christian Serbs for a long time and deserved to be kicked out of Kosovo for illegally immigrating there in the first place. For shame that we bombed Christian Serbs in favor of Muslim terrorists (the KLA).

Well, Serbian rioters have burned our embassy in Belgrade…