Today Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, and was recognized by the United States and various European countries as a sovereign nation.
In 1999 the United States waged an air war against Serbia to drive Serbian forces out of Kosovo and allow the UN to take charge of the province. At the time some people insisted that Bill Clinton was using the opportunity presented by Kosovo to distract attention from his impeachment. However, he may just been making nice with the Saudis and doing a favor for the Europeans, who were alarmed by the bad press coming out of Serbia.
In any case, the Clinton administration started us down the path that led to today’s events. The Bush administration gladly took over the Kosovo project and pursued it vigorously. After 9-11 it was especially important to demonstrate that we weren’t anti-Islam, that we were willing to allow Christians to be ethnically cleansed and killed in order to benefit Muslims.
We’ve got nothing against you, Islam, and Kosovo proves it. So now do you love us? Well, do you?
An independent Kosovo is one of the most grotesquely wrong-headed policies ever pursued by the United States, ranking up there with Jimmy Carter’s love-feast with the Sandinistas in 1979.
It’s not just that Kosovo is Islamic. The province is a sinkhole of corruption, crime, and religious fanaticism all rolled together, and will be unable to function as a viable independent country for the foreseeable future. It’s the Gaza Strip of the Balkans.
In the nine years since the UN took over, Wahhabists funded by the Saudis have penetrated the area thoroughly, building mosques, recruiting violent radicals, and forming a “government” that is a deadly combination of Islam and mafia-style criminal gangs. The Kosovars have set themselves up as the kings of the European heroin trade, and an independent Kosovo will provide an unprecedented opportunity to compromise the new state’s banking system and make the government indistinguishable from a criminal enterprise.
An independent Kosovo in this form serves interests of no Western country. Drugs, gun-running, the prostitution of pre-teen girls, money-laundering, protection rackets, intimidation, and deadly turf wars, with all the proceeds going towards the funding of jihad and the further penetration of radical Islam into Europe.
Thank you, President Bush, for this present to southeastern Europe. It’s a gift that will keep on giving for decades to come.
The Serbs have vowed to resist the establishment of an independent Kosovo. They responded to today’s events by recalling their ambassador to the United States. According to the AP:
Serbia has recalled its ambassador to the United States in response to the Bush administration’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Monday.
“This decision by the United States will not turn the false state (of Kosovo) into a real one,” Kostunica told parliament. “The government has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the ambassador from Washington.”
The United States and key European countries recognized Kosovo as independent a day after the province’s ethnic Albanian leaders declared independence from Serbia.
Giddy Kosovars danced in the streets when they heard of the endorsements.
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Kosovo’s leaders sent letters to 192 countries seeking formal recognition and Britain, France, Germany and U.S. were among the countries that backed the request. But other European Union nations were opposed, including Spain which has battled a violent Basque separatist movement for decades.
“The Kosovars are now independent,” President Bush said during a trip to Africa. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush “has responded affirmatively” to Kosovo’s request to establish diplomatic relations.
“The establishment of these relations will reaffirm the special ties of friendship that have linked together the people of the United States and Kosovo,” Rice’s statement said.
As word of the recognition spread, ethnic Albanians poured into the streets of the capital Pristina to cheer and dance.
The European Union was unable to settle on a unified policy towards the new country — they ended up agreeing to disagree:
EU nations stood deeply divided over whether to recognize Kosovo as their foreign ministers met in Brussels, Belgium, to try to forge a common stance. At the end of the meeting, the ministers adopted a statement clearing the way for some member nations to endorse independence.
Kosovo’s declaration was “a great success for Europe, a great success for the Kosovars and certainly not a defeat for the Serbs,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in Brussels.
Spain, however, said the independence bid was illegal under international law.
And what will Serbia and Russia do?
Serbia’s government has ruled out a military response as part of a secret “action plan” drafted earlier this week, but warned that it would downgrade relations with any foreign government that recognizes Kosovo’s independence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued that independence without U.N. approval would set a dangerous precedent for “frozen conflicts” across the former Soviet Union, where separatists in Chechnya and Georgia are agitating for independence.
The further south and east you go in Europe, the more resistance there is to Kosovar independence. After much argument, Italy has decided to recognize Kosovo:
Italy will recognize the independence of Kosovo, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema said here on Monday The caretaker diplomatic chief added that the former Serb province would be recognised as a ‘‘sovereign state under international supervision’’.
But opinion within Italy was far from unanimous. According to AGI:
‘Italy should not recognise Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence and should not belong to the first group of countries to recognise the new state,’ said in a statement the minister for social solidarity Paolo Ferrero.
‘The decision made in Pristina, outside the UN framework, will further destabilise the Balkans. A region where the populations have been suffering for more than fifteen years from the effects of the war. The problem concerning the question of Kosovo is not side with someone against someone else, but to have at heart the reasons of peace and togetherness between the peoples.’
All the feel-good brouhaha in the media obscures the fact that Europe, and the EU itself, are deeply divided on the subject of Kosovo. After all the handshakes and photo-ops and bromides by President Bush the real trouble will begin.
According to ANSAmed:
United on the need to maintain stability and the European future for the western Balkans, including Serbia, but divided over recognising the independence of Kosovo.
It will be a difficult meeting, the one that the EU foreign ministers will have today in Brussels. Only a few hours after the declaration of independence by parliament in Pristina, they have to decide what to do after sending a civilian mission of 2,000 policemen and magistrates to Kosovo in order to assist its transition.
“Various EU member states are ready to recognise Kosovo,” Slovenian Foreign Minister and rotating president of the EU, Dimitrij Rupel, said specifying that the recognition is an individual act of each member state. And the EU does not want to be divided over a prerogative that it cannot even exercise. Therefore the EU presidency is working on a joint declaration that will only “take notice” of Pristina’s proclamation and will leave each member state free to act as they want.
Currently there are six states that have said that they will not recognise the new state: Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Spain. Madrid, which has already expressed its doubts, dismissed today all expectations to revise its position. “Spain will not recognise the unilateral proclamation of independence by the parliament of Pristina because it violates the international law,” Spanish minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said.
According to Madrid, the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence is an illegal act as it is made without an agreement between the two parties and outside of a UN mandate. “We do not know what the consequences of this act could be,” Moratinos added.
And what about the Kosovars? After we (meaning the UN) have done so much for them, they’re properly grateful, aren’t they? Now that we’ve proved we’re no Islamophobes, they love us — or do they?
Checkout this Swedish report from last June. It may not be up-to-the minute, but it’s unlikely that things have changed all that much since last summer. The author was reporting from Pristina:
“Revolution”, says Albin Kurti, emptying his cappuccino in one gulp, “we are going to make a revolution”. When he has said this for the third time people in the coffee shop start turning our way. They recognize him, they observe with expressionless eyes but prick up their ears.
He does not look like a revolutionary. More like an over-aged student from Berkeley. Somewhat chubby from hours spent at the computer, glasses, pale skin, soft white hands. But appearances can be deceptive. Albin Kurti is the idol of the young and that says a lot in a country where every second person has yet to turn 25. Ten years ago he had a Rastafarian hairdo and led the student protests against Milosevic. When peaceful actions turned out to be pointless he became a translator and an ideologue with UCK, the armed guerilla.
HE ALREADY HAS enough followers to poster the whole country with the word “Vetëvendosje”, (“self-determination”, which is also the name of his movement). Few people doubt that he could get the masses on to the streets.
Albin Kurti assures me that this revolution will be peaceful. One hundred thousand people will surround the headquarters, the police station and the court. They will stay as long as it takes. For a week, or maybe a month. That is how the colonial power will be chased out, this power that partitions his land, plunders its people and destroys its women. If I want to see where the Kosovo money went, says Kurti, I should look for newly built exuberant villas in London. Or in Amsterdam. If I want to learn about the morals of the colonial power I should count the number of brothels. “They were not here before you came.”
Outside jeeps pass by. The diesel-fuelled electric generators growl while Kurti quotes UN declarations, Malcolm X and African nationalist leaders. “Self-determination is the right of all peoples!” It could have been Congo in the sixties. But as I said we are in Kosovo, within a stone’s throw from Rome. And the colonial power, which will be thrown out — dear reader — is you and I. That is to say Sweden, one of the most dedicated members of the UN, who for seven years has governed Kosovo or in local slang “Unmikistan”, after UNMIK: United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.
WHEN THE UN LANDED almost eight years ago we were welcomed as liberators. Since then Swedes have been wounded and killed in this mission. More then eight billion crowns of taxpayers money (the biggest assistance per capita ever recorded) has been spent on security, rule of law, refugee help, education and economic development. But nowadays it actually happens that people spit in our faces or destroy our cars. In October there was a water closet placed outside the UNMIK headquarters inviting us to relieve ourselves there instead of in the country. “The only way to keep Kosovo clean is to kick you out of here” was Albin Kurtis message.
So after nine years of UN “protection” the Kosovars loathe the UN. Funny about that.
And they can’t wait to get rid of the blue helmets:
BEFORE WE PART Kurti says: “Do you remember Algeria? The guys who threw out the French had “freedom, equality, brotherhood” on their banners. We will throw out the UN in the name of the UN ideals, ideals which you betrayed in Kosovo.”
Kosovo is an economic basket case, or at least the legal part of the economy is:
WELL INTO THE EIGHTH YEAR of the UN mission, after spending close to twenty-two billion euros on an area the size of Scania (with a population of about 2 million), the black economy is thriving whereas the white one is close to collapse. There is a standard explanation to this misery: As long as Kosovo’s independence from Serbia is not confirmed, nobody dares to invest in the country. Very probable. But what investments do you need to grow cucumber?
I comb the markets to find some local produce. The soap is from Bulgaria, the shirts from Taiwan. How about the flour? Czech. Drinking water from Hungary. Kosovo’s GNP per capita is lower than Rwanda’s, so it is a surrealistic feeling to have to buy tomatoes from Turkey and salad from Italy — in an agrarian country where the fields lie fallow.
Why do they? Because, explains Mr. Bajrami at the Chamber of Commerce, it pays better to sell chewing gum to the UN staff than to toil in the fields. But also because the UN courts after seven years still have not managed to determine to whom the fields actually belong. Finally, what makes him most upset is the fact that the UN allows Europe to dump prices on food in Kosovo. (Yes, it is strange. One litre of milk travelling from Slovakia gets cheaper on its way. You can buy a bottle of imported Coca-Cola for only 29 cents.)
How is it possible, you ask yourself, that a UN-run state, possessing enough lignite to light up the whole of Balkans, who invested seven hundred million euros in its two power stations, has not managed to generate sufficient electricity, but instead create pollution 70 times above the limit permitted by the EU? Kosovo does not require much electricity, somewhere between 600 and 1,000 megawatts, similar to what is produced by one reactor of the Forsmark nuclear power plant. But most people have electricity only a few hours a day, others not at all.
Let’s look at the stakes. Next to ethnic hatred, corruption is Kosovo’s biggest problem. It drains the economy and dilutes justice. But a handful of brave individuals chose to do exactly what the UN have told them to. They defy clan culture (“never tell on your kinsman”) and take big risks by agreeing to give evidence to the investigators. (One person has been murdered in connection with this bribery business. The kind of risks the used women are running I need not tell.) They deserve all admiration and support.
But what a misunderstanding. It seems the villains are the ones enjoying protection by the UN.
You have to say that the persons who put their trust in the UN learned a lesson they will never forget.
Now that Kosovo is its own master, expect it to give the UN the boot, all the while holding its hand out for more “aid”.
But then who will protect the gangster state from the Serbs and the UN? Who will guard the borders and run the air patrols? Whose high-tech equipment and “advisers” will be called in when the need arises?
I’ll give you three guesses.
Hat tips: LN for the DNet report, insubria for the rest.