Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Ultranationalists in Serbia Speak Out

The leader of the Serbian Radical Party, an ultranationalist group in Serbia, stated that if Kosovo became independent Serbia would fight to get it back.  Far more conservative, Prime Minister Kostunica has stated that Serbia will not give up Kosovo in order to gain EU membership.  The next round of talks are scheduled for the 7-8th of August.  Mediators hope to focus on local reform and minority rights during the talks. 
In other news, the International Crisis Group has issued a report that states that Kosovo should have its own army if it gains independence.  The report has raised a great deal of debate on both sides as to why Kosovo should or shouldn't have an army.  ICG cites economic and stability factors for creating an army.  In addition to the creation of a Kosovo army, ICG calls for KFOR to remain in Kosovo after the status is resolved in order to ensure external protection (from Serbia maybe?!) and to a "lesser extent" internal stability.  ICG also says in their report that full demilitarization is not a practical idea and suggests an army of between 2-3000 personnel.

ICG also state that the army should be multi-ethnic (like KPC is supposed to be) but personally I think that it is wishful thinking on their part.  KPC (Kosovo Protection Corp or TMK in Albanian) is supposed to be multi-ethnic as well but they always are flying the Albanian flag outside their facilities...does that garner trust and cooperation with minorities?  I think not!  Granted KPC boasts that they are comprised of 7% minorities but go on to admit that they have had difficulty gaining the trust of the Serbian community.  To many, KPC basically became a legitimized version of the KLA, integrating many of the "freedom fighters" into the fold.  While integrating the fighters was part of the idea, mostly KPC was to serve as a sort of National Guard of Kosovo to serve in times of emergency/disasters.

While the next article is about Albania, it kind of gives you an idea about Kosovo as well because many of the people live the same way.  The description of how organized crime is very accurate.  While the article is full of humor and sarcasm, it is a very interesting read and partly true :)