March 30, 2004
KOSOVO VIOLENCE THREATENS TO SET OFF 'EUROPE'S
papers blame economic despair, UNMIK "failure" for outbreak of
Serbian commentators say Kosovar extremists seek "an ethnically
problems will remain "as long as the status of Kosovo is not
Kosovars 'hostage to arrogance of UNMIK'-- Dailies in Kosovo attributed the roots of
recent violence there to Kosovo's "catastrophic economic situation"
and its masses of "unsatisfied, unemployed and marginalized"
residents, including "a whole army" of young people. Papers blamed "extremist elements"
for the outbreak of "arson and persecution" but also upbraided
"the silence" of the political and intellectual elite which
"failed to condemn and distance themselves" from those seeking to
"to expel Serbs" and "accelerate the departure of" the UN
Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.
Many agreed with independent Kosova Sot that UNMIK policies were
to blame for Kosovo's "hard social situation" and "one-sided
justice." Serbian writers condemned
the "new toll of madness," labeling it "Kosovo's
'Kristalnacht'" and chastising the "Kosovo Albanian ruling
elite" for failing to "marginalize extremists."
Europe must 'act swiftly'-- Editorialists elsewhere warned that rekindled
ethnic clashes risked "losing everything" that had been achieved in
the past decade. Critics judged the West
had been "dragging out" a settlement on the final status on Kosovo,
encouraging "Milosevician Serbs" and nourishing radicalism. "The strategy of postponing talks about
the status of Kosovo has not prevented violence, but has increased
uncertainty," said Croatia's government-owned Slobodna Dalmacij. The international community should press for
talks with "no 'forbidden themes'."
Other observers opined that it was "high time" for the West to
"wake up to the realities of Kosovo" and "complete the job"
in the former Yugoslavia, "even if that means questioning the Dayton
accords and the precarious results of the war in Kosovo." A reformist Russian paper concluded that
violence had "exploded" the "two myths" that different
ethnic groups could live "side by side harmoniously" in Kosovo and
that "Albanian moderates...will not pursue nationalistic goals or try to
push the remaining Serbs out."
'There are no good solutions'-- Future arrangements for Kosovo remained a
matter of dispute. Declaring that the
"Albanians lost a moral right to request independence because of the
repression against the Serbian minority," the independent Serbian weekly Nin
contended that "Serbs in Kosovo are a little closer to
cantonization." Kosovo papers
retorted that cantonization "is not the solution" and that "at
no price should" Kosovars agree to it.
"Autonomous Serb enclaves in Kosovo would be bombs that Belgrade
could activate whenever it wanted,” proclaimed the pro-PDK daily Epoka e Re. A British weekly, arguing for an
"improved version" of the status quo, maintained that either
independence or cantonization would result in ethnic cleansing and have
"worrisome implications for Macedonia." Germany's left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau stated that to "establish Kosovo as a strong and autonomous
region in a Serbian-Montenegrin state would be the best solution."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
57 reports from 19 countries and territories March 19-28, 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
The leading independent, top-circulation daily Koha
Ditore commented (3/28): “Kosovo has
a problem. And that problem is called
the past of the KLA and its former fighters....
It is not enough that the government of Kosovo has allocated money for
the rebuilding of the churches and houses of the persecuted ones. It is also not sufficient the readiness of
the Kosovar political leaders for addressing (in cooperation with UNMIK and
Brussels) firmly the problem of the protection for minorities, especially for
the Kosovar Serbs. As a consequence, it
is logical to say that these former fighters could not and cannot be the only
ones who set the houses on fire. There
are also masses of the unsatisfied, unemployed, marginalized ones who face the
catastrophic economic situation in Kosovo--they are those who expressed this
dissatisfaction by thinking that Kosovo Serbs are to blame for every failure of
UNMIK so far, or the failures of the fragile Kosovo institutions. But if there were no organizers, they would
certainly express their dissatisfaction in a different manner."
"Serbia Again Commits A Serious Crime
Pro-LDK, mass-circulation daily Bota Sot
editorialized (3/28): “With its Friday’s
resolution-- which in fact is a declaration of war on Kosovo--Serbia has once
again committed a serious crime against mankind from its positions of the
barbarian, Greater Serbian
revanchism. In its declaration of war
Serbia again announces its objective to reoccupy Kosovo, an objective that is
very tragic for the region and continent.
This reconfirms the serious crimes that Serbia and the Serbian
revanchism have continuously committed against humanity, which culminated again
in the events of March 17, 18.... The
silence of the international community in front of the new resolution of
Belgrade is similar to the silence...of the international community towards
Serbia in the case of the notorious preamble of the Serbia-Montenegro
constitution.... The consequences of
this approach were seen in the increasingly miserable status quo that was
imposed on Kosovo, in the increasing aggressiveness of Serbia towards Kosovo,
with increasing intervention of Serbia in Kosovo’s affairs; all these have and
will always produce bitter results. In
an attempt to remove the blame from itself for all these things that have
happened and are happening, the international community will do nothing but
create a boomerang effect, while the consequences will be suffered by Kosovo
and the Illyrian Peninsula.”
"Against The Kosovo Authorities That Is For
Publisher Blerim Shala wrote in independent daily
Zeri (3/27): “Based on the
resolution approved on Friday by the Serbian Assembly and on the speech
delivered by the Serbian PM Kostunica, it seems that...they don’t intend to
respect much the reality of Kosovo. With
poetry and mythology, old proposals and new packaging, Belgrade is trying to
benefit from the disturbances of March 17, 18.... With or without this year’s March 17, 18,
with or without March 24, 1999 [start of NATO campaign], there was never shown
readiness to recognize the validity of Kosovar authorities over the whole
territory and for all citizens of Kosovo.
Nevertheless, our officials should deal with the fate of all
Kosovars. In that context, they should
regard the lessons of this year’s upheaval in their entirety. If they do that sincerely, the Kosovar
society will recover in the coming months. ”
Independent daily Kosova Sot had the
following editorial (3/27): “The
approval of the [Serbian] resolution--that affirms a futile attempt (as usual)
for keeping Kosovo under its control--is...without a doubt...another Serbian
provocation for Kosovo, the latter just calmed after the protests that
degenerated in a violence of big consequences.
Stressing that Kosovo remained part of the Serbian state, Belgrade aims
to provoke those Albanians who are unsatisfied with the long delay in resolving
the status of the country. The
destructive objective of this resolution is very clear but it is surprising how
the high officials of the European Union made no response to this very
dangerous policy. Javier Solana (who is
angry at some extremist elements that are linked to some unnamed parties)
should also put his focus to the Serbian territory, where the projects to
destabilize Kosovo.... Apart from some
weak reactions, the international community has never taken seriously the
negative influence of Serbia on Kosovo.”
"How About A Resignation, Gentlemen?"
Editor of the leading independent, top
circulation daily Koha Ditore, Avni Zogiani suggested (3/25): “After every escalation of the situation,
people, especially those who lead an entity, stop and reflect. They reflect on what has happened, reflect on
their responsibility and who’s to blame for what has happened.... But what happened in Kosovo? If one excludes the effort of Prime Minister
Rexhepi for taking the responsibility, there was no other sign that the leaders
of the institutions have reflected at all.
Only a few days after the calming of the situation, they have returned to
what has been their main activity for two years now: posing and giving statements on camera. In fact, in the events like the ones of the
last week there are two kinds of responsibility: official and criminal. If they feel patriotic, those who have
criminal responsibility for the violence of March 17, 18 should surrender to
KFOR and the police.... The indifference
of the Kosovar and international institutions for some social parameters and
the continuous distancing of the leaders from the problems of the people
(especially in the past year), has made such an eruption (of violence)
inevitable. Kosovar leaders have chosen
the easiest way to lead the country, i.e., they escaped from facing the things
that happen in real life. On the other
side, they have continuously neglected the lethal power of the armed extremist
Publisher Migjen Kelmendi commented in
independent weekly magazine Java (3/25):
“Worse than the arson and the persecution of the innocent people was the
silence of the political class, the silence of the intellectuals and cultural
milieu, for they failed to condemn and distance themselves from the crimes
committed by the Kosovar extremist elements.
The issue is whether Kosovar society agrees or disagrees with the crime. The Kosovar political class, intellectuals,
and the cultural milieu did not raise their voices--strongly and clearly--to
condemn the crimes committed against the Serb people and culture. No one but the prime minister took the
courage to visit Serb and Roma villages and the burned houses and
churches. As if they were and are not
citizens of Kosovo. If the Serbs are
citizens of Kosovo then the president, the president of the Assembly and the
prime minister should have gone to visit and help these innocent people, rather
then using these moments to refine their empty rhetoric about independence.”
"The Threat Of Anarchy"
Independent daily Kosova Sot took this
view (3/25): “By not dealing with the
real causes of the eruption of violence, the officials of UNMIK are trying to
escape responsibility in order to justify themselves before their boss Koffi
Annan.... Now everybody knows that privatization
has been blocked due to UNMIK policy, that powers were not transferred because
of that policy, that the hard social situation is a consequence of this
governing concept, that one-sided justice is a direct consequence of the UNMIK
system. For all these, one cannot blame
the Kosovars but they have certainly made a big mistake by expressing their
anger through violence. For all that has
happened, UNMIK is an accomplice of those who revolted.”
"A Mirror For All Kosovo"
The economic editor of the leading independent,
mass-circulation daily Koha Ditore, Ibrahim Rexhepi wrote (3/24): “The revolt of last week culminated after the
tragic event in Cabra and the Serb blockade of the main commuting
arteries. However, the speed of the
protest organization, its massiveness and aggressiveness say a lot. In fact, there was a very fertile ground for
such a rebellion. The common name for
all these developments is:
disappointment, the lost perspective and the failure to keep the
promises given by locals and internationals.
The disappointment comes from the fact that even in 2004 we have to
endure the slogan ‘Kosovo has just come out of war,’ whereas the war ended in
June 1999 and things have moved ahead very little. Unemployment is the highest in Europe and
without any hope that it would be beaten soon; investments in the public sector
have failed totally, electricity and water supply are irregular; roads are
catastrophic compared to all our neighbors (not to speak about other European
countries); the railway does not function at all; the airport operates only in
a sunny weather; telephone services are not high quality and are too
expensive.... This problem is likely to
grow even more because there is a whole army of an incoming youth that does not
see any prospective in the current circumstances. There will always be a potential for
rebellion.... The vast majority of
protesters were youngsters who are about to start life. But one should not forget one fact: last week they expressed revolt against the
acts of Serbs and Serbia but also against the acts of UNMIK, and if nothing
moves in the future, they will engage the local institutions in the same
manner. Therefore the locals need a
mirror to see themselves and their work.
Addressing the blame to UNMIK and Serbia only is nothing more than their
tendency to escape from the responsibility.”
"About Statements And Problems"
The independent, mass circulation daily Zeri
observed (3/24): “We don’t believe that
there is a single politician, either UNMIK’s or a local one, who knows what
will happen next, how Kosovar society is going to proceed, how it is going to
prepare for the final status. The
tendency to stabilize the factual situation in Kosovo is not followed by a
stability of views and statements expressed by Kosovo authorities. Chief administrator Holkeri leads here; his
appearances do not have the firmness and continuity they should. On the other side, local politicians, except
few, have a big emptiness in the words they say. Of course, partition should not be considered
at all, as they say, but in order to eliminate this solution (that is dangerous
not only for Kosovo but for the whole region as well) our officials and
politicians should change a lot in their work and approach.... As for the cantonization, let us use
diplomatic language: it is not the
source of the solution to Kosovo problems.
On the contrary, it is the source of the problems in Kosovo.”
"Last Alarm For Kosovo"
The deputy editor in chief of the leading
independent, mass circulation Koha Ditore, Agron Bajrami wrote
(3/23): “Certainly there is a cocktail
of reasons that brought Kosovo to this point and certainly one should not seek
the answer only in Ibar river that flows by the village of Cabra. The terrible distance of leaders from the
people and its problems, mistakes of UNMIK and local authorities' governance,
Serb political provocations in form of parallelisms and enclaves, the mutual
animosity between the leaders of Kosovar politics, clandestine activities of
the Serbian and other secret services, the catastrophic economic situation,
unemployment, anger over the lack of the economic and social progress, impunity
for economic and ordinary crimes. All
these, separately or altogether, do not justify violence and the damage that it
inflicted to people, property and heritage....
Our part of the job to at least partially improve the situation...will
be to deal with our own failures, not the failures of the others, the failures
that left Kosovo ashamed.... Because, if
we don't take today the responsibility that belongs to us, tomorrow it will be
too late.... A week full of despair is
behind us. Ahead is the week that marks
the fifth anniversary of the air attacks that brought Kosovo salvation.... Somewhere between the last week and those
weeks of five years ago, we have lost our way.
And the recent violence seems to me rather as an alarm for Kosovo to
urgently find its lost way, before we lose reason and hope as well."
"The Protest Of Despair"
Prominent Kosovo intellectual and academic Rexhep
Qosja opined in his regular column to the pro-PDK daily Epoka e Re
(3/23): “This was the first powerful
protest after the war that instantly spread across Kosovo and clearly
articulated political demands. In fact,
it was a protest of the despair and revolt (about many things and many people)
that was covered by political demands.
It was a big protest, a comprehensible one, but it ended with
incomprehensible and unacceptable acts [such as] the violent behavior against
KFOR and UNMIK members, the burning of the churches and houses of the Serbs, as
well as the burning of Roma houses in Vucitrn.... We should not forget at any moment that our
policy, our humanism, our culture, and finally, our demands for independence,
are all judged through our position on ethnic minorities.... Every Albanian in Kosovo should know that
there is no American and European politician and statesman that would agree to
the creation of a state that would not show the necessary tolerance towards the
members of other ethnicities.... No
matter how unacceptable it is still for the international factor, we should not
discard as unacceptable the idea of changing the border between Kosovo and
Serbia. At no price should we agree to
the cantonization of Kosovo for it makes Kosovo dysfunctional in the political
and administrative sense, and it makes Kosovo unsafe from the aspect of the
freedom of movement. Autonomous Serb enclaves in Kosovo would be bombs that
Belgrade could activate whenever it wanted.”
"Two Interpretations Of The Violent
Independent daily Kosova Sot had the
following editorial (3/20): “Officials
are afraid of the division of Kosovo’s territory in a time when no one speaks
about an even greater violence that that option (division) could spark.... The biggest damage is the interpretation of
the violence as an ethnic cleansing.
Five years after the war that aimed to stop an ethnic cleansing, this
could be the worst news for Kosovo. It
is understandable that the violence did not erupt with that intention in mind,
it rather seemed to have been spontaneous....
If these protests were premeditated, the violence would have taken other
dimensions.... Of course, the violence
with tragic consequences has had very negative effect and should be condemned
by all, citizens should be more restrained, not to fall victims of the
criminality that showed its face these days.
But no one can deny the fact that these days have created a new thinking
about Kosovo and about the death of the policy that was pursued so far.”
"Now All Of Kosovo Is A Hostage"
The leading independent, mass circulation Koha
Ditore had a column by its publisher Veton Surroi stating (3/19): “After five years as of this morning, we are
hostages of the violence that misused Mitrovica and that brought out its brutal
concept: violence to expel Serbs and violence to accelerate the departure of
UNMIK. After five years, we have come to
a situation to be treated as hostages of those who thought in 1999 that using
the confusion of war troops, under the pretext of revenge, they would carry out
ethnic cleansing, and as a result we got the problem of Mitrovica, enclaves and
parallel structures. Now we are hostage
of their eventual results: direct
violence against Serbs in Çagllavica, Obilic, Lipjan, or elsewhere with burning
houses and the chasing of Serbs will be used as a direct argument that the only
form of a solution to the final status of Kosovo is its territorial division on
an ethnic basis. Violence against UNMK
and KFOR will turn us into confronting sides and not partners. As such, we will not be in a position to
successfully complete the joint project of statehood together.... We are hostage to the distance and arrogance
of UNMIK.... The three past UNMIK
administrations, along with the present one, have done little to fulfill their
mission.... And we are hostages of
Belgrade that is playing with this situation: if UNMIK and the Kosovars are not
able to keep the situation under control, then that situation should be the
final testimony before the Security Council that Belgrade should take the
sovereignty over Kosovo, although this is the most unstable country in the
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO:
"The Fight For Cantonization"
Independent weekly Nin commentator Ljiljana Smajlovic wrote
(3/26): "Serbs in Kosovo are a
little closer to cantonization than they were before March 17. But is it worth the price they paid?... Serbs paid a horrible price and Serbia
improved its position in negotiations just a little bit.... The meaning of PM Kostunica's proposal on
cantonization is to provide territorial autonomy to Serbs in Kosovo, who live
in constant fear for their lives and without basic freedom of movement... If the Serbs lost a moral right to govern over
Albanians, then Albanians lost a moral right to request independence because of
the repression against the Serbian minority....
The real question in Kosovo is:
why do Albanians in Serbia have guaranteed rights, personal and
collective security while Serbs in Kosovo are deprived from such rights? They do not have basic security rights
although Kosovo is under international governance and under the protection of
20,000 NATO soldiers."
Independent daily Danas commented (3/26): "Javier Solana's anger towards the
Kosovo Parliament's Deputies who tried to fabricate facts on the current situation, although Brussels'
delegation saw the ugly reality, is not just a result of the Kosovo
establishment's undiplomatic behavior.
It is more than that. It is an
indication that an ideal picture of 'Kosovo's progress' is destroyed mainly
because it existed only in bureaucratic reports and not in the field.... It is clear that political members of the
Kosovo Albanians failed to condemn ethnic violence or they expressed mild and
late reactions. It is an approving
silence that has a big significance....
Solana's anger because of false and fabricated reports is a message to
Kosovo Albanians to fight their own extremists.... It seems that the honeymoon is over."
"The Crime Scene"
Influential Belgrade daily Politika commented (3/26): "Serbia was bombed because of
Kosovo.... As NATO's spokesperson said,
this happened for two reasons: to defend Albanians from Serbian terror, and
to force Milosevic to step down. That
was a big crime over Serbia. However,
all that power didn't help. Kosovo today
is a bigger problem than it ever was.
Milosevic is gone, but not because of NATO's bombs....
Serbia was an experimental field, a military test range for NATO's
survival.... Five years later Serbia is
not present in Kosovo. The Albanians are
becoming nervous and are expressing their nervousness with violence. Serbia hasn't been able to stop Albanian
extremism for years. However, the world
too hasn't been able to achieve a multi-ethnic paradise. Such a garden cannot exist in the middle of
such huge hatred. And after all that,
the world will not give up its idea.
Kosovo has long ago been projected as an 'entity.' Serbia is not even mentioned."
Political weekly Vreme published a commentary on the Kosovo
violence by journalist Dejan Anastasijevic (3/25): "On March 17, several
days before the 5th anniversary of NATO airs strikes against Yugoslavia because
of Kosovo, the international administration and KFOR were rudely awakened after
a several-years long nap. Small but
well-organized groups of extremists, discreetly supported by the leading Kosovo Albanians' political parties,
tried to achieve an ethnically clean and independent Kosovo through quick and
surprising action.... A plan on
resolving Kosovo's final status in the next two years was burned in the same
fire that destroyed Serbian churches and villages in the province.... Albanian politicians lost the international community's trust but we should
not deceive ourselves: Belgrade's
politicians have to do much more to gain that trust."
"High Price For Cheap Advice"
Independent daily Danas wrote (3/25): "Kosovo was an internal [Serbian]
problem until five years ago. It is a
pity that there wasn't some willingness then to find a solution.... The Albanians convinced the international
community that they are the victims, and they had been awarded: they were allowed to expel the Serbs.... Milosevic ridiculed his supporters, his
opponents, the international community and couldn't care less for Kosovo. Serbia will have to pay much more until it
pays off his debts. Unfortunately, the
present government doesn't have as much time as Milosevic had. Kosovo Serbs have been sacrificed. Europe is generously offering them standards
that will not be implemented soon.
Russians are generously sending tents and beds for those expelled. Kosovo's PM is promising reconstruction of
destroyed objects and the patriots are advising them not to leave
Kosovo.... All of them are hypocrites,
even when their intentions are good.
Kosovo today is the black hole of Europe. Five years ago, Kosovo Albanian leaders
persuaded the public that they are the victims.
Last week the Serbian leaders did not manage to do the same."
"The Main Priority Of Authorities"
Independent daily Blic News commented on recent violence in
Kosovo (3/24): "It is clear now
that attacks on Serbs in Kosovo can disturb Serbia more than any other
event. Therefore, a solution to the
Kosovo problem has to be priority number one for any authorities in
"On The Wrong Feet"
Independent political weekly Reporter wrote (3/23): “Among the illusions which set the rhythm and
intensity of hatred and crime in Kosovo, the key illusion is that of the
possibility of establishing a democratic and multiethnic Kosovo. Following all the failure to act by
Milosevic’s repressive state, after the hypocrisy of NATO’s humanitarian
intervention which moved the right to ethnic terror from the Serb ethnic
minority to the Albanian majority and legalized it, it really takes an
irresponsible naiveté or ruthless lack of interest to claim that a multiethnic
Kosovo under the terror of the Albanian majority is a possible and achievable
project.... There are just two possible
ways out now: the first is an immediate
abandoning of the project of a multi-ethnic Kosovo which, after everything the
Serbs and Albanians have experienced during their life together over almost a
century, is advocated by the Serbian government. The second counts on the ethnic majority in
Kosovo to abandon terror as a means of getting an admission of the standards
having been achieved and the conditions having been created for an independent
Kosovo.... When we take a step forward
in exposing the political construction named after the formula 'standards
before status' we notice that the terror of the ethnic Albanian majority is
based on the belief that the status of an independent Albanian state in Kosovo
is something that inherently belongs to the ethnic majority.... From the Serb point of view, there is the
question of who--and on the basis of which arguments--supports the Albanians in
Kosovo in their conviction that Kosovo belongs only to them, even though the
Serb presence in the province was documented long ago, among other things with
monuments of material culture several centuries old which the Albanian
majority, despite its territorial and statehood aspirations, does not
have. How much that fact hurts the
Albanian side is evident in the fact that monuments of Serbian culture are
constantly targeted by the Albanian independence initiative.”
"On the Wrong Side"
Belgrade weekly Reporter noted (3/23): "Kosovo formally belongs to Serbia,
practically it is run by the UN and protected by NATO. Kosovo is a...failure torn between many
illusions. One of the illusions is the
story of establishing a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo. After Milosevic's repressive actions [in
Kosovo], after the hypocritical humanitarian NATO intervention...only naive
people could claim that a multi-ethnic Kosovo is a possible goal. There are only two possibilities now--to
urgently give up the concept of a multi-ethnic Kosovo, or that the ethnic
majority in Kosovo stops exercising terror.
Both possibilities are excuses for the international community, the
latter however is more favorable for them.
The Albanian terror moved Serbia to look for help.... However, Serbia is doing it wrongly. It better should sit down and hear what the
world is expecting it to do, and what kind of support it can expect."
"Coordinated And Planned Violence"
Influential, traditional Belgrade-daily Politika,
highlighted (3/19): “This latest wave of
violence in Kosovo has escalated thanks to expertly planted
disinformation.... Like in a vicious
circle, violence causes violence, and the events in the course of the past
several days have dispersed all illusions regarding possible coexistence in
some future multiethnic and democratic Kosovo.
For this reason, it is perhaps the last moment for the international
factors, which have taken the role of the guarantor of peace in Kosovo, to
realistically review the situation and adapt their declarations and practical
Independent daily Danas commented (3/19): "Dozens of killed, several hundred
wounded, many Orthodox churches, hospitals, schools, houses destroyed. This is the new toll of madness, hatred, the
international community's misunderstanding of the real dimensions of the
Balkans problem, and above all, the inability of the Kosovo Albanian ruling
elite to marginalize extremists in its nation.
There are no good solutions for Kosovo in the near future, but only more
or less bad. Because all of that energy
should be used to find the right solution, the one that will be equally painful
to all, a solution that will take a little from every side, and also offer
something in return. If extremism and
intolerance take over the public scene--then farewell to Kosovo and Serbia,
farewell to civilization and the future.“
Kristalnacht--The Spring of Serbian Despair"
Influential Belgrade daily Politika wrote (3/19): "Kosovo went through organized ethnic
catastrophe/cleansing. It was a
'Kristalnacht.' Anything that reminded
of Serbian presence was torched and ended in flames. The new fascism in the middle of the Balkans
is attempting to erase people and memories.
Serbs can not defend themselves.
Today they are the victims of myths, deceptions, defeats and
stupidity. For Albanians, politics is
the same as violence, because...every Albanian violence so far has paid well.
In 1999 the international community attacked Serbia and pushed it out of
Kosovo. Only a few Serbs struggling with
many problems remained. The Serbian
state is in great pains and today it can only beg and preach.... The international community will not admit
that it made a mistake and will not accept ideas on dividing Kosovo. The parents will not give up on their
baby. Albanians may do what they
please. However, this time they attacked
the international community who is an ally.
Will that fact change something for the better for the Serbs? Tactically maybe, strategically definitely
not. The perpetrators and victims will
all be equalized by an official statement....
An ethnically clean Kosovo is a reality.... Serbia must make a strong impression that it
is a state with goals. It must change
its impotent foreign policy and work much harder."
ALBANIA: "Now All Kosovo
Is A Hostage"
Widely circulated center-left Korrieri commented
(3/19): "We are hostage to...the
direct violence against the Serbs in Cagllavica, Kastriot, Lipjan and
elsewhere, by burning down houses and forcing out [the Serb] population, which
will be immediately used as an argument that he only possible solution of the
permanent status of Kosovo is its territorial and ethnic partition. The violence against UNMIK and KFOR will make
us confronters and not partners.... If
the situation is dictated by figures who are almost anonymous in our
institutional life, then we should not even talk about any institutional
life.... The last three UNMIK
administrations, the current one included, have done little to fulfill their
mission, have isolated themselves, and once in a while have lifted an accusing
finger to us: 'You should not forget
that we liberated you.'... We are hostages
of the Kosovar incompetence that makes UNMIK arrogant...and we are hostages of
Belgrade that takes advantage of this situation.... We are hostages of yesterday."
Ferdinand Brahimi noted in right of center, mildly sensational Ballkan
(3/19): "Rekindling of interethnic
clashes, accompanied by human losses does not represent sporadic violence, but
a new, urgent warning.... If Kosovo
still is an international priority, diplomacy should refrain from rhetoric, and
grant Kosovo independence as its final status."
"Kosovar Peace That Scares Chauvinists"
Rightist, sensationalist 55 carried an op-ed by Mexhit
Prençi stating (3/19): "The Unites
States, United Nations and European Union bear the primary responsibility for
dragging out the status of Independent Kosovo, in a time when any delay
complicates things, encourages Milosevician Serbs to sparkle new conflicts, to
create new hot spots to destabilize Kosovo and the whole region.... The current events...are alarm bells warning
that only the status of Kosovo's independence brings peace, order and stability."
BULGARIA: "Europe And
The Virus of Hatred"
Krasimir Uzinov commented in top-circulation,
moderate Trud (3/22): "The
aim of the military and the police missions in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Macedonia
was to guarantee peace and a consistent transition toward a reasonable, civil
government. It is in this very part that
the missions are currently failing to glean success.... The current Kosovo crisis was unquestionably
provoked.... The responsibility of the
Albanian political leaders in Kosovo for the situation is undeniable. Yet one could hardly accept that they would
go about declaring independence by setting churches and monasteries on fire and
chasing off what few Serbs remain there.
Slowly and unwaveringly, Kosovo is heading toward independence, and the
state leadership in Pristina that is already in place has no advantage from
spoiling its relations with the international community.... Belgrade will obviously try and extract as
high a benefit as possible from the situation, in order to avert attention from
its own policy and delay declaring independence, with our without the secession
of Mitrovica.... It is highly likely
that the responsibility for the events will be transferred completely to the
Kosovo Albanian leaders, and that the international equations for peace in
crisis regions will be put to new tests.
However, without such working equations, it would be unthinkable to
achieve a secure, unified Europe."
"White House Should Talk Sense Into
Proteges in Kosovo"
The leftist Monitor opined (3/22): "People in Belgrade think that the
outbreak of violence in Kosovo is an attempt by the Albanian radicals to drive
the Serbs out of there completely and to spread the conflict to other regions
in Serbia inhabited by compact masses of Albanians. This is why, at a large rally yesterday, the
Serbs raised the following slogan:
'Europe, wake up, this is happening at your door.' It seems that Europe is about to wake up and
has already sent several hundred of additional troops under the NATO emblem to
the unruly region. Let us hope that this
move is not shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted.... Given the increased activity of Islamic
terrorists in Europe, it is unlikely that the situation in Kosovo has
deteriorated by accident.... The
situation in the Balkans is becoming rather tense. It is well known that Macedonia, Serbia,
Montenegro, and other countries might also catch fire after Kosovo. We have already watched this movie. It was the U.S. brothers that imposed the
current order in Kosovo, even though they did that under the United Nations'
aegis. Is it not time for them to make a
more serious commitment and to rein in their proteges? Perhaps the White House wants Europe to see
what the fire is like on which it is being cooked in Iraq. Let us hope that this is not the case."
Marko Barirsic held in Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik
(3/22): “Krga and Radovic (Serbian
Orthodox Church metropolitan bishop) should leave Croatia alone, and not burden
the domestic public with their losers’ frustrations, because the only thing
which can come out of the outdated JNA model based just on production of new
enemies is a new Serb defeat in Kosovo.
Krga and Radovic obviously haven’t learned anything from their own and
Serbian history, and it is not surprising that, as the saying goes, they are
condemned to repeating it.”
"Kosovo Volcano Has
Dejan Jovic judged in split-based government-owned Slobodna
Dalmacij (3/20): “The strategy of postponing
talks about the status of Kosovo has not prevented violence, but has increased
uncertainty--both in Kosovo and in Serbia.
The uncertainty is the main source of radicalism, and sometimes
violence. Instead of postponing talks
about the status of Kosovo, the international representatives should encourage
them. There should be no ‘forbidden
themes’ in these talks. The sides should
also be able to present all ideas, including those which international
representatives do not want to hear--such as complete separation of Kosovo from
Serbia, division of the province between Serbs and Albanians, and/or peaceful
reintegration into Serbia. Until the
moment international representatives accept giving legitimacy to the even most
radical ideas, they will find a non-political (violent) path in imposing
GREECE: "The Homelands
and the Hatred"
Rikhardhos Someritis wrote in small-circulation,
influential To Vima (3/23):
"One must always call a spade a spade: the recent tragic events in Kosovo constitute
ethnic cleansing. At the limited, local
level, of course, but this does not change the nature of what happened and our
obligation to unreservedly condemn it.
Nor does it dispel the suspicion that we are not dealing with an
accidental outburst, but an organized campaign.... UN resolutions call for autonomy for Kosovo,
but not independence from Serbia.
Albanian-speaking Kosovars--and not just the UCK--want independence.... The Serb plan was to make Kosovo exclusively
Serbian. Now extremist Kosovars plan to
make Kosovo exclusively Albanian-speaking....
Can Albanian-speaking Kosovars and Serb Kosovars coexist in a
semi-independent or independent Kosovo?
This is what the international community has tried to do
militarily...and politically, by building or rebuilding local administrative
hierarchies. The results are not
negligible. If nothing else, free
elections took place, and were not dominated by the extremists. The international community, however, did not
achieve everything it should have. The
political and financial mafia still has control over many things. Hatred against the few Serbs who have not
left remains strong, and stands in the way of a normal communal life. Especially when the Serbian side
systematically and persistently maintains the nationalist historical myth that
describes Kosovo as 'the cradle of the Serbian homeland.'... It is certain that all those who sparked the
events of the past days must be severely penalized. It is, however, equally certain that all of
must avoid any actions that would make a political solution even more
difficult.... The government...must
resist advice to distance itself from European efforts in the Balkans and from
the policies of those who want every attempt at peaceful coexistence between
various ethnic groups to fail. Among
other things, also because some would want the same for Cyprus."
MACEDONIA (FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF): "Time To Settle the Score"
Agim Mehmeti commented in privately owned
Albanian-language Fakti (3.26):
"The recent turmoil that enveloped Kosovo once again showed the
painful servility and incompetence of Albanian politicians.... No one asked them anything, and no one heard
what the rock-hurling Albanians that were being treated as sitting ducks by the
Serbian and French KFOR snipers had to say.
The Albanians were clearly saying that they are tired of the
discrimination and the injustice suffered from the confused UNMIK
administration and from the lies and the false promises of the local fossilized
politicians.... Shame on them for not
having the guts to go public and preventing the children from going towards
their death; and shame on them because the warmongering Serb machinery that is
always ready began to put events--even before blood was spilled--to their
advantage.... You either have or do not
have national, cultural, and political identity. It is a futile to attempt to create an
identity by trying to give ideal answers to the foreigners while they seek
concrete, objective, and real answers.
The Albanian people in Kosovo and Macedonia seek the same thing
too. I don't doubt that many in the
Albanian political elite in Macedonia are hurt by the possibility that the way
the Kosovo issue is solved reflects and impacts Macedonia, and that the present
Albanians will try to get the same status that the Serbs will gain in Kosovo.
These reflections are unavoidable, just as unavoidable as the people
seeking new elections if the Ohrid Agreement is not fully and urgently
implemented. This is the pulse of the
"Kosovo, Second Time"
Dragica Hristova commented in independent Makedonija
Denes (3/19): "The drowning of
the children is an insurmountable loss primarily for their parents, regardless
of whether they are Albanians or Serbs.
What is worrying is the fact that all the citizens in the province
appear to have been looking forward to a motive to take things into their own
hands, believing an incomplete and uncertain media report. Kosovo citizens and the people who protested
these developments in several towns in Serbia and Montenegro only make things
harder by seeking revenge for something that has obviously not been
investigated. However, the fact that
violence began as a coordinated action, that is, in several places and at the
same time, indicates that this had been planned in advance, bearing in mind
that it has nothing to do with the alleged cause. It has become apparent that UNMIK and KFOR
have failed to establish order in Kosovo over the past four years. The multiethnic concept, which was sustained
in an artificial way over the last four or five years, has simply gone up in
smoke.... In any event, Kosovo's
independence will most likely be attained much sooner than expected, because
someone obviously is impatient. On the
other hand, it has been proved that Kosovo's unresolved status is only a
smoldering volcano that has recently been activated once again to the detriment
of the entire region. he current
developments in the province, in which many people have lost their lives and
many have been injured, can cause larger explosions not only in the province,
but also in the region. Macedonia will
certainly be included in this, so it must not be caught unprepared, as was the
case in 2001. Therefore, we must not
fool ourselves that Kosovo's fate has nothing to do with us and that it has no
influence on Macedonia. On the contrary,
it has been indicated so far that the situation in Kosovo has always affected
Macedonia. This is why the last thing we
need at such dramatic times for the entire region is to turn a blind eye to
"Kosovo, Or The Tragedy Of Small Countries"
Miruna Munteanu contended in independent,
centrist Ziua (Internet version, 3/22):
"The destiny of small countries is much too often at the mercy of
the big countries. A typical example in
this sense is the recent history of the province of Kosovo. Five years ago, NATO's bombardment devastated
the Serb Republic to persuade the Belgrade authorities to withdraw their troops
from the separatist province and practically accept losing a national territory
that is loaded with symbols, but also with resources. The justification for the attack against
Serbia, a sovereign and independent state entitled to defend its sovereignty,
was the 'humanitarian' nature of the operation.... The Serbs were the executioners, while the
Albanians were the innocent victims. We
all remember what happened next. Kosovo
is still the same keg of gunpowder today, but the world has changed
fundamentally.... Islamic terrorism became
the main threat to the civilized world.
The Kosovo problem is seen in a totally different light in the new
international context.... The
international community seems to have suddenly remembered that al-Qaida once
acted on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, on the Muslims' side.... It is bad luck for the Kosovo Albanians that
the perception of Washington has radically changed in the meantime and to their
disadvantage. The creation of a large
Muslim enclave in the center of Christian Europe no longer seems to be such a
good idea.... Strategies can change at
lightning speed in the offices of the leaders of the big countries of the
world, behind closed padded doors, in keeping with the interests of the moment.
Yesterday's ally can become the enemy of tomorrow, and the other way
around. But hatred has a terrible
inertia, and the vicious circle of violence continues to affect the population
in the conflict zones."
"Kosovo Is Same Barrel Of Gunpowder"
In the independent daily Ziua, foreign policy analyst
Miruna Munteanu commented (3/22): “The
destiny of small countries is, too often, in the hands of the great
powers. One significant example in this
regard is the recent history of Kosovo.
Five years ago, NATO bombing was devastating Serbia, to force the
Belgrade authorities to withdraw their troops from the separatist
province.... Today, Kosovo is the same
barrel of gunpowder, but the world has fundamentally changed. In the White House, Bill Clinton was replaced
by George W. Bush. 'The butcher in Baghdad' (President G.W. Bush) has
replaced 'The butcher in the Balkans'
(former President Clinton). The same
rhetoric, different objectives. The
United States has identified other enemies and has fought other wars. Islamic terrorism has become the main threat
against the civilized world. In the
great chancelleries of the world, behind doors, strategies can change in the
blink of an eye, depending on the interests at the moment. Yesterday’s ally can be tomorrow’s enemy and
the other way round. Hatred, though, has
a huge inertia. For the populations in
the conflict areas, the violence may continue forever.”
"Military Force Can Solve Very Little"
In the English language daily Nine O’Clock, analyst Victor
Lupu opined (3/22): “The Balkans have
always been known as the ‘hottest’ part of Europe. After Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo is yet
another example where ethnic issues and religion have taken the lead in human
expression.… Recent history proved that
the use of military force in such regions of the world can solve nothing, or
very little. Iraq, Afghanistan and
Kosovo are best examples of this. Under
military enforcement, discontent grows, giving birth to instability, ethnic
clashes or bursts of terrorism, no matter the period of so-called peace imposed
by military forces.”
Choices Need To Be Made"
Special correspondent Francois-Xavier Delisse
wrote in left-of-center Le Soir (3/25):
"The UN and NATO have managed to thwart ethnic cleansing attempts
by Albanian extremists. But the
situation remains explosive, and some choices must urgently be made.... Albanians have always said that the arrival
of one single Serb soldier in the province would be considered a war
declaration. Europeans are facing urgent
choices. Kosovo must remain multiethnic,
in order not to depart from Europe's basic principles, and its independence
should be postponed as long as possible in order to avoid a domino effect in
the Balkans. Indeed, Bosnia and Macedonia
would run the risk of imploding in case of a unilateral Albanian secession in
Kosovo. Having believed that the Kosovo
problem was solved was a mistake. And
playing for time only would have incalculable consequences throughout the
BRITAIN: "Kosovo Must
Not Submit To Violence"
A commentary in the independent Financial Times
(3/22): "Former Swedish prime
minister Carl Bildt says we must contemplate a tougher approach to some
fundamental issues in Kosovo or risk setting up a state destined for
failure.... In many respects, Kosovo
looks like a Palestine in Europe. More
than 70 per cent of the population is below the age of 30, unemployment is
above 50 per cent, the economy is moribund, even emigration has become more
difficult. If these issues are not
addressed properly, we risk setting up a state destined for failure. It is high time we wake up to the realities
of Kosovo--not in order to accept betrayal of our principles, but in order to
"Prisoners Of Liberation"
Andrew Gilligan commented in the right-of-center
weekly Spectator (Internet version, 3/27): "Straight after [the 1999 NATO
intervention], the Albanians became the oppressors, and 200,000 Serbs, the vast
majority, were expelled from Kosovo.
Many have seen last week's violence, described by the NATO commander
Admiral Gregory Johnson as 'orchestrated', as the beginning of the final act,
an anniversary attempt to remove the last 40,000 Serbs from their remaining
Babim Most-style pockets in the Albanian south of Kosovo. At least in part, it probably was. But there was another dimension to it. In some ways, the Kosovar Albanians, too, are
trapped in a kind of pocket.... Many
Albanians feel imprisoned in a place which is politically and economically
stagnant.... The surprise and dismay of
the 'internationals' who rule Kosovo as their compounds came under attack...was
poignant. Until last week, they thought
they were doing all right.... What both
the Serbs and Albanians want so impatiently is some kind of resolution of
Kosovo's 'final status'. But there is
simply no palatable option. Full
independence within Kosovo's existing borders, the Albanian demand, would never
be acceptable to the northern slice of Kosovo where Serbs are a majority, and
would probably lead to the ethnic cleansing of the Serb pockets further
south. It also has worrying implications
for the stability of Macedonia... and indeed for other borders throughout the
Balkans. Belgrade's tacit position
(dressed up as 'decentralization' or 'cantonization') edges towards partition,
with the north going effectively to Serbia and the south effectively becoming
independent. But that would cause
essentially the same problems with ethnic cleansing and Macedonia. Partitionists have been growing in number
since last week.... The wish for clean,
neat solutions is a bit of a Balkan curse, especially when they turn out less
clean and neat than anticipated. The
best approach in Kosovo might also be the weediest and most boring: to muddle along with an improved version of
the mixture as before. Keep up the
increase in troop numbers even after the newspapers have lost interest, work
harder at stopping anti-Serb discrimination, pay more attention to detail and,
frankly, cross our fingers and hope for the best. Not a great outlook for the villagers of
Babim Most; but maybe better than the alternatives."
"Kosovian Dejá Vu"
Pavel Masa pointed out in the center-right daily Lidove Noviny
(3/19): "It is clear who should
take the main responsibility [in Kosovo].
Neither the UN, nor NATO soldiers, but the European Union. Brussels and individual member states must
not allow people to be killed in the 'backyard of civilized Europe' in violence
dating back not five years but centuries.
If the EU does not act soon, it clearly can put its concept of joint
security and foreign policy into cold storage.
It would be astonishing if the Americans would pull the EU's chestnuts
out of the fire."
Military Intervention Cannot Create Democracy"
Centrist Kristeligt Dagblad commented (3/22): “Military intervention in this kind of region
that is only followed up by half-hearted reconstruction efforts, will not
create democracy, progress or conciliation.”
Former Defense Minister Hans Hækkerup commented in center-right Jyllands
Posten (3/22): "The political
process between the Serbs and Kosovo-Albanians must be continued until they are
sufficiently close to one another to establish a lasting peace. We’re still a long way from that but we must
stay focused on the goal."
Ulrich Clauss commented in right-of-center Die Welt of
Berlin (3/25): "Despite the deep
rifts between the ethnic communities on the Balkans, people there have
something in common: they are deeply
involved in organized crime. The
undefined status of Kosovo has attacked bandits and gamblers of any
kind.... The problems will remain as
long as the status of Kosovo is not defined, because the question of authority
is only resolved temporarily and no long-term security structures come into
being. If Europe doesn’t act swiftly,
not only ethnic conflicts will become more severe, but Kosovo and its
surrounding regions will finally turn into the robber's den of southeast
"Courage To Resolve Kosovo Conflict"
Martin Winter editorialized in left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau (3/24): "Of course,
one cannot conciliate ethnic and historical enmity that was built up over
centuries, but one can create a firm context that forces everybody involved to
recognize realities. To establish Kosovo
as a strong and autonomous region in a Serbian-Montenegrin state would be the
best solution. Then the Balkans can
finally dedicate themselves to the European course, which means that borders
become less important in an ever more integrated EU."
Martin Winter commented in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau
(3/23): "The Balkans are calling
again. Shocked by the violence in Kosovo
and the Serbian reactions, the EU must admit that it diverted its focus too
easily to other crisis regions in the world.
Certainly, Afghanistan, Iraq and
the fight against terrorism are taking up a lot of energy, but it is in the
Balkans where Europeans have to prove themselves."
"Taboo And Alibi"
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine opined (3/22): "Kosovo has again reached the stage
where it was taken into the international community's care in 1999. The only factor that creates order is NATO
and the only future-oriented perspective is its unlimited presence. The great taboo of the protectorate--
standards before status'--has not resulted in disciplining the Serbian and
Albanian claims nor has it been able to obscure the fact that the 'protective
powers'--the Americans for the Albanians, the Russians for the Serbs--have been
working for a long time to maintain the current status. The EU wanted to avoid new turmoil not only
in Kosovo but the whole region by dodging a decision between independence and
status quo. But this will now happen
anyway. And every eruption of violence
that is not really spontaneous creates facts not in the sense of the standards
of a civil order, but in the sense of Albanian independence plans. If NATO, EU, and the UN want to avoid accusations
from President Putin that the standards only served as an alibi, they can't
help but accept the status quo."
"Balkans...Much More Unstable Than Many Want To Accept"
Center-right General-Anzeiger of Bonn editorialized
(3/20): "Kosovo is burning again,
and NATO reacted immediately. Several
nations, including Germany, have sent additional soldiers who are supposed to
support KFOPR in its efforts to protect Serbs and Kosovo Albanians from each
other.... This is not a nice, but
necessary mission. The Alliance is well
advised to stop the new wave of violence as quickly as possible. If there is one region in Europe which
presents a large amount of bloody evidence on how quickly violence can develop to
organized genocide, this is the Balkans, the most recent clashes in Kosovo are
also evidence that the region is still much more unstable than many want to
"West Must Fill Political Vacuum Again"
Centrist Stuttgarter Zeitung had this to say (3/20): "If the West abandons the region, a vast
greenhouse for fanaticism, and organized crime will develop along the European
fringes. Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania,
Bosnia, and Montenegro could become part of it.
The currently largest NATO mission--17,000 soldiers are in Kosovo--will
not be able to resolve the problem. The
West must fill the political vacuum again.
It should start talks on the status of the province as soon as possible."
"Problems Not Yet Resolved"
Center-right Frankfurter Neue Presse said (3/20): "In the end, the debate over
international law in Kosovo--like in Iraq--was only a discussion that was
supposed to distract attention from the real problem. The political assessment was decisive. In 1999, NATO did not want any political unrest
in Kosovo, in the EU's front yard. And
last year, the United States wanted a new order in the Middle East with its
operation in Iraq. Old Europe did not
support this mission, because it had a more skeptical view of the
situation. The governments in Berlin and
Paris thought that the negative circumstances of this war could outdo the
positive effects of Saddam's ouster. The
revival of terror in Iraq and in Europe seems to prove them right. But in the Balkans the problems have not yet
been resolved. The most recent fight in
Kosovo and the newly rekindled nationalism in Serbia demonstrate that the
export of democracy can succeed only if the addressees are willing to accept
this expensive good."
HUNGARY: "Old Tune Is
Playing Again in Kosovo"
Laszlo Gabor Zord remarked in right-wing
conservative Magyar Nemzet (3/19):
"It will be five years next week that the then still more united
NATO, we could say the West, suppressed Balkan violence with violence.... It is a great pity that creating and maintaining
peace after the military campaign known as the Kosovo war did not prove to be
more than the separation of the opposing sides.
The events of recent days show that neither the physical nor the
spiritual injuries have been healed and people who lost their property have not
been able to recover from the tragedy....
Whichever way we look at it, hatred and desperation have remained in the
people, which made it certain that everything would continue where it left off
in 1999, if the outside forces left.
However, is it the point that the irreconcilable and centuries-old
opposition of coexisting cultures, ethnic groups, and religions has been
renewed, or that those who took on the task of creating order have not done
their job properly? The answer is extremely
difficult.... Although Kosovo is now in
the center of attention, one must not forget that, as a problem, the Balkans is
a single unit, mainly because of the former Yugoslavia.... After the end of the bombing, the West had a
good chance to initiate real changes in the region. It has noticeably failed to do this and the
moment suitable for action is gone. It
is easier to get people who are tired from the war to build peace than those
who, after five years in their houses ruined by bombing and in a destitute
state because of unemployment, are still pondering about how to take revenge on
their former neighbor from another nation."
"Two Strategies Inside The Vacuum"
Sergio Romano opined in centrist, top-circulation Corriere
della Sera (3/20): “In Bosnia and
Kosovo we’ve created two soft protectorates that are incapable of preventing
rivalries between factions, of capturing fugitives, of convincing exiles to
return, of eliminating organized crime.
Instead of restoring dignity and prosperity to Serbia, we’ve humiliated
it. America agreed to provide aid in
return for the handover of Serbian leaders to The Hague: the effect of this policy was the death of a
prime minister (Zoran Djindjic), the rise of the nationalist party and the
success of Milosevic’s socialists in the last elections. The only person we allowed to follow a plan
in the former Yugoslavia was a Swiss prosecutor, meaning an official with no
political powers who was dominated by a thirst for justice.... Is it so surprising that the Albanians and
Serbs, in the midst of this vacuum, have the desire to finish what we left half
done? And is it purely coincidental that
this crisis has broken out just as Europe and the U.S. are dealing with the
Islamic issue in Madrid, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Palestine and in
Chechnya? Therefore, it will not suffice
to re-establish order in Mitrovica and Pristina. We must complete the job and we must put
forth a new map for the former Yugoslavia, even if that means questioning the
Dayton accords and the precarious results of the war in Kosovo.”
Maksim Yusin stated on the front page of reformist Izvestiya
(3/22): "The latest events in
Kosovo have exploded two myths: one,
Kosovo may become multiethnic, with Albanians and non-Albanians living side by
side harmoniously; and, two, Albanian moderates in the local administration are
civilized people and will not pursue nationalistic goals or try to push the
remaining Serbs out.... The bottom line
is that the Kosovo headache is there to
stay. It will be awhile before Western
governments recall their peacekeepers.
NATO's presence is the only way to keep the 'Greater Albania militants'
in check and keep them from launching new 'liberation wars' in neighboring
republics that have Albanian communities."
Katerina Labetskaya said on page one of reformist Vremya
Novostey (3/22): "It has
happened. The world has seen for itself
that the Kosovars, with Western connivance, have turned the historical Serbian
homeland into a purgatory to cleanse away ethnic minorities, primarily the
Serbs.... NATO has changed its mind and
will not pull out in 2006.... It is less
than five years since NATO, Washington and the EU spoke triumphantly of an
idyll in Kosovo following the 1999 bombings in Yugoslavia. At that time the West brushed aside all
reports about the violation of the basic rights of ethnic minorities in Kosovo
and warnings, including by Moscow, on the admissibility of a deviation from the
UN Security Council's Resolution 1244 regarding the sovereign rights of Serbia
and human rights in that land."
"Russia Again Claims A Role In Kosovo"
Yulia Petrovskaya wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(3/22): "With the Balkans in a new
crisis, Moscow, unexpectedly, is claiming a special role. President Putin's call for a tough reaction
to defend the Serbs in Kosovo sounded sensational to many.... Russia's Emergencies Minister Sergey Shoigu
has been entrusted with a task to beat a new trail to the explosive
area.... In the meantime, Moscow has
said nothing of coordination with the UN mission, the KFOR command or NATO,
which are playing a key role in the Balkans.
Nor do those structures know anything about Russia's new plans. A lack of coordination may seriously hamper
the Shoigu mission. Moreover, Moscow may
again be accused of a one-sided, pro-Serbian approach and have to go by the
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
Conflict In Kosovo"
The liberal Asahi editorialized (3/22): "Keep a close eye on the 'powder keg of
Europe.' Bloody conflict reminiscent of
the Yugoslavian meltdown that shook the world for 10 years in the 1990s is
spreading again in the autonomous province of Kosovo in the dual republic of
Serbia and Montenegro.... Almost five
years have passed since the Kosovo conflict was ended by airstrikes by NATO
forces battling what they called 'crimes against humanity.'... The recent violence is the worst since the
conflict ended, and it is obvious that ethnic hatreds have not
disappeared. The latest clashes could
easily lead to a resurgence of conflict, and international society must
intensify its involvement to settle the situation.... Several big issues need to be tackled to
achieve genuine peace. Ethnic Albanians,
who account for more than 90 percent of the Kosovo population, are dissatisfied
because they do not see a chance of independence from Serbia. Serb President Vojislav Kostunica stirred
opposition when he took office at the start of March, saying that he will not
grant independence to Kosovo. For ethnic
Serbs, the situation is also far from acceptable. There are said to be 200,000 Serb refugees
who escaped war-torn Kosovo, and many have not returned home. Even people who managed to return are now
isolated among ethnic Albanians and are forced to live under the protection of
the international force. The United
Nations plans to begin talks to determine Kosovo's future when various issues
such as reconciliation among ethnic groups, democratization and the refugees'
return have been resolved. Before that can happen, thousands of weapons in the
region must be collected, policing must be strengthened and the economic
situation must be improved from the current unemployment rate of 60
percent.... The Balkans are far from
Japan. However, helping to build peace there will diversify this country's
contributions to the world and enhance its reputation. Japan should help establish democracy and a
legal system, and send Japanese police officers to train much-needed police in
"Cleansing Serbs, Courtesy Of NATO"
George Jonas took this view in the conservative National
Post (Internet version, 3/22):
"The Western powers that went into Kosovo to prevent ethnic
cleansing have ended up presiding over it.
Last week, nearly 1,000 Serbs fled their homes after Albanian Muslims
attacked Serb Christians in their churches and villages. They were the latest of about 200,000 Serbs
driven from the province since NATO bombed Serbia into submission in
1999.... To stop the expulsion of
Kosovar Albanians by Serbs, NATO engaged in a war that ended up facilitating
the expulsion of Serbs by Albanians. Had
this been an unforeseeable result, it might be excused-- ut it was entirely
predictable. Had it been the West's aim
to wrest Kosovo from Serbia, NATO's entry into the conflict on the side of
ethnic Albanians would have made sense--but the West had no such aim. In terms of our own policies and interests,
including humanitarian considerations, NATO action in Kosovo can only be
described as a mystery. Why did the West
go to war in Kosovo? Probably for three
reasons. One, to make the world safe for
multiculturalism; two, to appease the Muslim world; and three, to avert another
humanitarian tragedy in Europe. Though hardly
evil motives, in the circumstances all three amounted to a profound misreading
of the time and place to which they were being applied.... NATO's war in Kosovo didn't stop ethnic
cleansing; it only elevated it from Mr. Milosevic's project to a project
sponsored by the West."