K. Albanians "pressuring EULEX"
30 August 2009 | 16:56 | Source: Beta
BELGRADE -- Disputes between the west and Kosovo over the EU mission "indicate a growing security challenge" for both, Stratfor think-tank writes.
The agency refers in its analysis to ethnic Albanian Self-Determination Movement and its leader Albin Kurti as "the leader of a Kosovo nationalist nongovernmental organization", and quotes his statement that demonstrations against EULEX would continue.
Earlier this week, 21 members of the movement were arrested after they demolished 28 EULEX vehicles parked in a Priština lot, in protest of an announced cooperation protocol between EULEX and Serbian police (MUP).
The analysis claims that tensions between Kosovo residents, that it refers to as "Kosovars", and the west "have been simmering for years", and that "the problem is not one that will be solved so long as EULEX remains in Kosovo".
"The latest uptick in anti-EU sentiment could foreshadow a serious problem for the Western law enforcement effort in the nascent Balkan state," says Stratfor.
The article continues to state that while "it is clear that Priština soured on the presence of international forces long ago" it remains "unclear" how far Kosovo Albanian leaders are prepared to go "towards using" groups like Self-Determination "to pressure EULEX to leave".
"Should Priština begin to openly support popular movements aimed at attaining complete sovereignty over Kosovo," the article continues, the West’s position in Kosovo "will become increasingly tenuous".
Reminding that first UNMIK and then EULEX were tasked with maintaining order in the territory, the agency writes that "Priština sees the EULEX presence as palatable only so long as it is confined to two policy missions: training the nascent Kosovo police forces to international standards, and containing the restive Kosovo Serb minority population. Beyond these two mandates, the raison d’etre for any international mission within its borders ceases to exist."
But, according to this, the west views the situation "much differently".
"Brussels fears that a Kosovo left to its own devices, with porous borders that span Albanian populated regions in Macedonia and Albania, rampant corruption and a lack of meaningful economic activity, would turn into exactly that. This would become a serious security threat to Europe. And that is why EULEX has shown no indications it is prepared to leave or abate its efforts to curb organized crime activity in Kosovo."
The analysis also looks at the support from the west for the ethnic Albanians' unilateral secession declaration – that it refers to as "Kosovo's independence" – and says it came because of foreign policy reasons "affected by geopolitics", and, "in relation to the existence of a belligerent Belgrade".
"Support of an independent Kosovo reduced Serbia’s size, territory and power projection, rendering it incapable of threatening its Balkan neighbors," says Stratfor, and adds that the west "never thought out fully what a Kosovar state would actually mean".
The agency believes that "Belgrade, meanwhile, is undoubtedly enjoying the show from the sidelines".
"For years, Serbia was cast as a pariah state by the west, one whose reputation was stained by the legacy of Slobodan Milošević," and its perpetual "failure" to apprehend "a slew of war criminals", says Stratfor.
"Lately, the mood toward Belgrade seems to be changing in the west, while ironically, it is Kosovo that has increasingly shown signs of antagonism toward those who made its independence possible."
But the article concludes that "the fact remains that no western powers wish to see Serbia regain control" over the province.