Kosovo: a hypothetical question

Because we just can’t get enough.

Imagine the US and Europe went to Putin tomorrow and said, “Vladimir, this Kosovo thing has gone on long enough. We want to get it off the table.

“So, we’ll agree to letting you annex Transnistria and those dangly bits down in Georgia. Abkhazia and, what, South Ossetia, right? All yours — they can join Russia tomorrow. All by free and fair referendum of course, cough cough.

” In return, we want you to sign off on Kosovar independence. No veto, no nothing. And full independence, too — ambassadors, an army, the works.

“Deal?”

Putin: “Da.”

There is a possible concern with China too, but let’s handwave that. [handwave] China very rarely casts a veto anyway anyway — only five times in nearly 40 years — and could probably be bought off with a resolution condemning the Dalai Lama or some such. So say China abstains.

A strong resolution on Kosovar independence flies through both the Security Council and the General Assembly. A Kosovar ambassador would take his seat in the UN a few weeks later.

This would be:

A) Cool. The UN is the most important source of legitimacy in world politics. If the UNSC reaches an agreement, it can grant sovereignty, and that sovereignty is totally valid. Don’t look too closely at how the sausage is made.

B) Evil. Sell out the Georgians and Moldovans to a raw, old-fashioned grab for territory by Putin’s authoritarian and xenophobic Russia? That would be totally immoral.

C) Sensible. The EU has very little interest in Transnistria or Georgia, while Kosovo is a continuing pain in the butt. And Putin’s Russia may be obnoxious, but it’s not going away. Cutting a deal makes sense.

D) Irrelevant. Who cares what the UN says? Kosovar independence is about facts on the ground, not resolutions and recognition.

E) Other.

Discuss.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros and tagged , , by Douglas Muir. Bookmark the permalink.

About Douglas Muir

American with an Irish passport. Does development work for a big international donor. Has been living in Eastern Europe for the last six years -- first Serbia, then Romania, and now Armenia. Calls himself a Burkean conservative, which would be a liberal in Germany but an unhappy ex-Republican turned Democrat in the US. Husband of Claudia. Parent of Alan, David, Jacob and Leah. Likes birds. Writes Halfway Down The Danube. Writes Halfway Down The Danube.

78 thoughts on “Kosovo: a hypothetical question

  1. ‘Willi Brandt didn’t serve in the German army; he certainly wasn’t personally responsible for any atrocity committed in Poland. ‘

    I’m not a fan of relativising or underplaying but historically speaking I dont accept the paralel with the holocaust and Nazi Germany. Certainly Serbia played a dubious role in everything that happened and obviously provided official military support to the Bosnian Serbs. We also have the role of the JNA in Croatia which is still argued.

    It is another matter whether the country will be found guilty of genocide at the international court vs Bosnia. I might consider my position again if Serbia is found guilty at the IC regarding apologies. That will depend on what statement the judges issue along with their verdict.

    ‘So, a Serbia that’s barely ahead of Albania in terms of GDP per capita and has a lot of oligarchs is willing to massively fund Kosovar economic development, just as in the 1970s and 1980s?’

    Whats the Serbia obsession, we are talking about Kosovo here. If you think that Kosovo doesnt need investment from its neighbours then you are wrong. Or perhaps you might want to say that Macedonia is piss poor, as is Albania, as is Bosnia and perhaps Kosovo can by some miracle just do trade (what trade?) with rich countries?

    Or are you suggesting that Kosovo which will be poorer than all of the above countries, doesnt need investment at all?

    Do you know that the US yesterday announced their entire aid package for Kosovo this year – it doesnt even come close to covering what will be Kosovo’s external debt when it achieves independence? Is that help with trade and development – what alternative are you suggesting?

    ‘Here, perhaps something on the lines of an apology for the anti-Albanian nationalism pioneered in the 1985 memorandum,’

    A lot of bunk is spoken about the memorandum (its 1986 by the way). Have you read it? Yes, some of the authors were (or turned out to be, scumbags) but much of what was written was factual enough. The point I disagree with is the way the word ‘genocide’ was used – a charge levelled against the Kosovo Albanians. That wasnt true according to standard definitions. I think there is a case to be made for ethnic cleansing against minority population in Kosovo (using the definition which doesnt seem to have a very high bar) in the 70’s and 80’s. However, by the same definition Serbs ethnically cleansed Albanians as well.

    There was obviously a problem in Kosovo – the problem was in the Serbian context the problem (above all economic but also ethnic et al) was either swept under the carpet (not good) or abused by unscrupulous politicians like Milosevic (even worse).
    You know in the early nineties when I wasnt living in Serbia, people used to deny the existence of the ‘Kosovo problem’ when I spoke of it. Living in denial combined with economic crisis and mixed with ethnic tension is a potent mix.

    ‘What moral claim does Belgrade have to sovereignty over Kosovo and its inhabitants,’

    Well my worldview doesnt much come into this one as borders and countries are in my opinion, a load or artificial bunk meant to keep people apart. More importantly the creation of new entities and countries serves a new and usually corrupt set of bureacrats who could not succeed in the old state. All the lemmings support the creation of the new state and then the hangover ensues. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Montenegro recently. They are not happy bunnies – neither ‘side’. Watch this space for the debate concerning the Constitution in Montenegro – It promises to be a rematch between pro independence supporters and anti, but this time the vote could be even closer. Im sure Doug will follow it.

    Moral claim. As I see it morality doesnt come into the creation of nation states or indeed the maintainance of current nation states. The priority is that you have a majority in that area, you call a vote which you win and then you hang on for as long as it takes and the world will eventually recongise you.

    I also belive in unified principles which means that if one can lose a moral right to govern a particular area then those that would like to govern the area can also lose this right. I think that by using this morality standard Kosovo Albanians dont come out as winners either. At this point one can qualify that by saying that the violence that Kosovo’s minorities today experience isnt as bad as the violence experience by Kosovo Albanians in the Kosovo war. But that doesnt wash with me. Two wrongs have never made a right. Additionally I am confident that Kosovo Albanians within todays Serbia will suffer from much less discrimination than Serbs and other minorities do in todays Kosovo. Of course that doesnt stand for much.

    ‘Is that enough?’

    I dont know, it isnt enough for Kosovo Albanians and it never will be. It wasnt enough even before the Kosovo war when a majority of Albanians supported independence. The point I’m trying to make isnt to lable Kosovo Albanians nationalist, I’m saying that one has to be realistic.
    Kosovo wont remain within Serbia because Kosovo Albanians dont want that.

    Morality, history etc is still no match for a majority.

  2. Dear Jon,

    It is important not to underrate the civil non-violent resistance in Kosovo during the 1990s. During these period many people from Kosovo were mistreated and even beaten to death, yet no one used violence in response. Unfortunately, this civil peaceful movement was seen as a weakness by some.

    Only after this civil non-violent resistance failed due to little or no support from the international community did the other, younger and more militant movement led by the KLA developed.

    This was followed by horrible war crimes and eventual NATO intervention.

    Following the removal of Serb forces from Kosovo there were acts of revenge and violence, which is, of course, totally unacceptable. However, there are two very important differences that need to be mentioned:

    (1) The violence that took place in Kosovo post-1999 has not been state-sponsored, it was not done by the Kosovar police or other Kosovo institutions and all these institutions always condemned it. This is very different to the Serb nationalism of the 1990s that was state-sponsored and it involved regular police, army and other paramilitary forces. In Kosovo, most of the violence was committed by criminal elements and extreme elements that have little or not support from the local population.

    (2) It has been years since any fatal attack against Serbs has taken place in Kosovo, thankfully. The level of inter-ethnic violence in Kosovo has gone down very significantly since March 2004, and this has to be taken into account. All the statistics of violence and refugees date back to 1999 and the 2-3 years that followed. I don’t think there has been a single serious inter-ethnic incident in Kosovo during 2005 and 2006, and this is real progress, which should not be underestimated.

    In addition, all (yes, all) the houses and property that was damages or destroyed during the March 2004 riots have been reconstructed by the Kosovar government, using the money from the Kosovo tax-payers. Serbia has yet to build a single house in Kosovo since 1999.

    Finally, one must never forget the inter-ethnic violence that has taken place in Kosovo post-1999 has not been only Albanian-on-Serb, but Serb-on-Albanian as well. Particularly, the ethnic cleansing of the north of Mitrovica by Serb extremists. In 2001 dozen Albanians were killed in a single night in Mitrovica, a higher number than the 9 Serbs that unfortunately died during the March 2004 riots.

    I want to finish this comment by saying that many, like Ambassador Kai Aide, argue that the reason why March riots 2004 happened was because the status of Kosovo was not solved and the extremist groups use this fact to cause trouble on both sides. If this problem is solved, the extremist will have a lot less room to manoeuvre and as a result there might be more inter-ethnic cooperation and tolerance.

    So, while you argue that it might be too early to grant Kosovo independence others argue that because of not addressing the issue earlier has led to more violence because extremists can think that they can still change “realities on the ground”.

    I think this logic makes sense.

    Yours,

    Fidel

  3. ‘Following the removal of Serb forces from Kosovo there were acts of revenge and violence’

    There is something else that needs to be pointed out here. Acts of ‘revenge’ occur against those who perpetrated the attacks. The Kosovo Albanian attacks against Serbs and other minorities, including the ransacking of one of the largest Roma settlements in Kosovo, were directed against civilians. Thus it isnt good enough to claim these were revenge attacks.

    Nor is it good enough to say that the March 2004 riots were because of Kosovo’s unresolved status. Surely the March riots were bad for moderate supporters of Kosovo independence which means one of 2 things. Either the attacks were simple ethnic attacks on Serbs because of simple intolerance or hatred or they were organised attacks by Kosovo Albanian hardliners who rather stupidly thought that this move might pressure the internationals into recongising Kosovo independence more quickly.

    Remember in effect your last point is one of a threat – you are saying that if independence is awarded there will be no more attacks on minorities. That is logical but its not moral.

  4. Fidel,

    You seem to be convinced that independence is the better path for Kosovo to follow. We can only hope that you’re right when you say that an independent Kosovo will bring peace.

    I firmly believe that Kosovo’s people will be better off if the Kosovo Albanian government normalizes its relationship with the rest of Serbia and learns to live in peace.

    If Kosovo ever does become independent, I sincerely hope that it will not be just another Albania, but a state of all its people where everyone can live peacefully (although this is doubtful because the past has shown us that this may be wishful thinking). In the end none of the things we say here on this blog can change the mentality of the politicians and people in the Balkans.

    By the way, you have argued very well that the 1990s were a violent period and that horrible things were brought about by Milosevic’s regime. I don’t think anybody can disagree with that. When I mentioned the Albanian’s violent separatist tendencies I was referring to the era of the old Socialist Yugoslavia (SFRJ), when Albanians had the chance to live in peace with everyone else, yet they still chose violence. Back then it wasn’t just Serbian police officers trying to quell the violence, but Slovenians, Croatians, and Macedonians as well.

    Jon

  5. Can you please sort this out Euro guys? In the last couple of days 3 of my posts have gone the way of the cybertrashcan including one I posted here.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one

  6. Dear Jon,

    I am a strong optimist on Kosovo. I can’t help it being an optimist. Kosovo has absolutely no other choice, it will have to become a place where all the different nations (not just Albanians and Serbs) will live peacefully. I know the people of Kosovo are too clever to let their country ruin itself. That’s why the liberal parties have always won the majority of the votes in Kosovo — a point that is often overlooked. I recall the Balkan “experts” writing off Rugova after the NATO intervention, but the people of Kosovo knew too well who can bring stability after an armed struggle.

    The people of Kosovo want a better life for their children, and their future lies in the European Union. It will be a long and painful process but they will get there eventually. I am yet to meet any other nation that is more pro-European, pro-EU and pro-US. They will not allow their politicians to derail their journey to Europe. To get there, they must help integrate the minorities — no doubt about that.

    Kosovo is an emerging democracy, I have seen signs that the politicians are learning their lessons, particularly post March 2004. The Kosovo Government has rebuilt all the homes that were destroyed, but the damage goes beyond physical destruction. Not a single Kosovar politician was against using the money of the Kosovar tax-payers to rebuilt homes, roads and bridges that were damaged during the riots. At first, the Serbian church was against Kosovar money being used to renovate the damaged churches but the Kosovar politicians proved to Western institutions (UN, EU, UNESCO, etc.) that they understood clearly what had happened, how much these riots had damaged Kosovo’s future and that they were ready to do everything to try and repair that damage. Believe you me, it takes some courage and commitment and finally the Serbian church was convinced that they should cooperate.

    It will take time, but I have seen signs that Kosovar politicians understand what they must do. Unfortunately, none of this has taken place in Belgrade who still see Kosovar Albanians as “shiptari” (a derogatory term), terrorists, criminals, drug dealers and the rest of it.

    On independence, my view is that the ‘marriage’ of Kosovo and Serbia did not work. Serbia violated Kosovo, and Kosovo deserves the right to divorce. Kosovo now needs to show that it can keep its house in order and the future can be bright. I also believe strongly that Serbia will do better without the Kosovo issue on its back.

    Things can get better and they will.

    Kind regards,

    Fidel

  7. ‘Unfortunately, none of this has taken place in Belgrade who still see Kosovar Albanians as “shiptari” (a derogatory term), terrorists, criminals, drug dealers and the rest of it.’

    You would be blind to ignore the fact that a political party in Serbia that supports Kosovo independence won over 5 percent of the Serbian general election vote. ‘None’ is over the top as are the accusations that most or all Serbs see Albanians in the way you describe.

    I also see that some Kosovo Albanian politicians have mended their ways. However, I’m still very dubious that killers turned politicians are the right people to govern.

  8. “bganon”,

    I am not blind to the fact that LDP has won over 5 percent of votes in the last general elections, however the fact remains that they have not taken their seats in the Serbian parliament yet. Hence, one cannot talk about potential future actions as ‘present and past’ actions. I was talking about the actions up to now (today).

    I would like us all to judge people based on their actions. That’s why I said earlier than based on their actions Kosovar leaders have undertaken steps to amend the inter-ethnic relations whereas Serbian leaders in Belgrade have done more or less nothing. I hope this changes!

    Regards,

    Fidel

  9. ‘Kosovar leaders have undertaken steps to amend the inter-ethnic relations ‘

    It remains to be seen whether this is genuine or is just a show for the internationals so independence can be gained. I think we both know that warlords know very little about human rights and ethnic tolerance. In fact those are the people who are likely to break human rights conventions and to encourage ethnic division.

    Let me put it another way. Would you doubt that Belgrade would behave responsibly if the reward would be Kosovo remaining in Serbia? In other words since Belgrade has nothing to gain its very logical that it wont put on an act to please the internationals. Likewise the reverse is true for Kosovo Albanians.

  10. bganon:

    “Let me put it another way. Would you doubt that Belgrade would behave responsibly if the reward would be Kosovo remaining in Serbia? In other words since Belgrade has nothing to gain its very logical that it wont put on an act to please the internationals.”

    What would Belgrade plausibly be willing to concede to Kosovo so that province would remain part of Serbia?

  11. “bganon”,

    You nearly have a point there, but not quite.

    Belgrade had an incredible chance to behave responsibly and keep control of Kosovo in 1999 — the truth is they screwed that change too. Tough words, but reality was such.

    I understand completely that Serbs mistrust the Kosovar Albanian leadership, however I think that Serbs are also suffering from the syndrome that they can no longer select the people to head Kosovo, hence whoever the people of Kosovo elect is no good to them. They will have to overcome this syndrome, and overcome it fast for their own good.

    There is no trust between the different sides, and we need some small measures to built some minimal trust. If Kosovars give (continuously) money from their tax payers to rebuild and renovate more homes and churches and Serbian leadership returns the stolen heritage of the Kosovo Museum then some trust might develop. The fact is that there are so many small steps that each side can do that it’s a shame that nothing is being done. Serbian leadership reacted to the fact that Prime Minister Agim Ceku said “hello, how do you do?” to President Boris Tadic at Skopje Airport, it’s shocking. You will have to live side-by-side no matter what.

    Greetings again,

    Fidel

    P.S. Dear Randy McDonald, the Serbian leadership lost their last chance to keep control of Kosovo back in 1999 when they could have avoided NATO bombing, but instead they chose the dangerous path of “all-or-nothing” — choosing to enter an armed conflict with the world’s most powerful alliance — and, unfortunately for them, they lost and get “nothing”.

  12. Randy ‘What would Belgrade plausibly be willing to concede to Kosovo so that province would remain part of Serbia?’

    Almost everything, but a new state. Truly, what Belgrade wants is not to control Kosovo but to not lose it.

    Dont make the mistake of thinking that my position and Belgrades are the same though. I dont need somebody with dubious intentions and less smart than I am to speak on my behalf. One of the primary reasons I support the Kosovo Serbs and other minorities isnt to do with Kosovo’s claim on Serbia, its to do with human rights.

    ‘Serbian leadership reacted to the fact that Prime Minister Agim Ceku said “hello, how do you do?” to President Boris Tadic at Skopje Airport,’

    You know Fidel its not that simple. As Albanians seem to enjoy talking about 1999 so much its not a dead subject to Serbs either. Agim Ceku is a suspected war criminal and a murderer. Personally I would have difficulty in shaking his hand – even if the Serbian media wasnt watching. I accept the argument that former warords may reform and decide that killing isnt the best way to achieve their goals as the IRA has in Ireland. However, Ceku has to prove and keep proving that he is a democrat.

    You also have to accept that there are levels of trust. Serbs will have no trust for Ceku, Haradinaj or Taci but they will have more trust for Suroi. They will also have a higher level of trust in other Albanian politicians who they know havent murdered Serbs or are not ethnic nationalists. Of course that trust will still be at a low level but I dont expect Kosovo Serbs to deal with people who were killing or cleansing them until yesterday.
    Luckily Kosovo Albanians dont have to deal with a Serb political leadership that murdered them. The Serbian Taci and Haradinaj – somebody like Arkan or Seselj are dead or in prison.

    Someday a new Kosovo Serb leadership will come forward with new priorities – whether that will be in a divided Kosovo or in a unitary one is another question.

  13. bganon:

    “Almost everything, but a new state. Truly, what Belgrade wants is not to control Kosovo but to not lose it.”

    Why does Belgrade think that it can retain control over a territory against the will of the overwhelming majority of the territory’s inhabitants, despite a history of catastrophic misrule and–what seems like–an apparent lack of public regret for what was been done to Kosovar Albanians in the 1990s?

    “Dont make the mistake of thinking that my position and Belgrades are the same though. I dont need somebody with dubious intentions and less smart than I am to speak on my behalf.”

    Are you talking about me?

  14. “bganon”,

    Again, you almost have a point, but not quite.

    Absolutely the same argument that you use against Kosovar leaders regarding their intentions and sincerity about an independent Kosovo and respect of human rights, the same could be said about the Serbian leadership. Maybe Serb leaders, just like Milosevic did at the beginning of 1990s, don’t want to “lose” Kosovo now but in 10-20 years they will endeavour to revoke Kosovo’s self-rule and “fully integrate” it into Serbia by force. There is no doubt that a large section of Serb people and Serb politicians would want to take full control of Kosovo in the future. If you think otherwise you are deluding yourself. Consequently, if Kosovar Serbs face risks in the future from Kosovar Albanians then Kosovar Albanians face the same, if not higher, risks from Serbia and Serb people.

    Second, please do not equate Agim Ceku with Arkan or Seselj. Agim Ceku has never been indicted let alone found guilty of any crimes. You seem to be a sensible and intelligent person and I would not expect you to believe that the Hague Tribunal is biased, and to date Agim Ceku has not even been indicted by the Hague Tribunal. Hence, your words describing him as a “suspected war criminal and a murderer” are too inaccurate to be taken seriously. Yes, he did fight against Serbian forces in Croatia and Kosovo but that does not make him a criminal let alone a murderer.

    It is precisely this sort of prejudice that might prevent Kosovar Serbs from living more freely in Kosovo in the years to come.

    Most importantly, and please remember this “bganon”, you do not make peace and negotiate with your friends but with your enemies. Kosovar Albanians disliked Slobodan Milosevic at least a hundred times more than Serbs dislike Ceku or Haradinaj, however Ibrahim Rugova and other Kosovar Albanian leaders went to Belgrade and meet him, shook hands in front of the world media and some were even asked to smile. It is things like these that Serbs seem to forget easily and need to be reminded frequently.

    Finally, Serbs seem to have developed this major dislike for Hashim Thaci and accuse him of all sorts of things, groundless accusations needless to say. Let me also remind you that Hashim Thaci was a political representative of the KLA and was not a military commander or a major military figure in the KLA as some would like to describe him. In other words, Hashim Thaci was a political opponent of “Milosevic et al” and I find it hard to understand why so many Serbs make fabricated allegations against him — of course, one never finds a detailed allegation raised against him. Therefore, if (as I am led to believe) many Serbs hate or dislike Milosevic (and there are good reasons for that), and Hashim Thaci was a political opponent of Milosevic, why then so much hate for Thaci? Both groups seem to have been against a “bad guy”, so to speak.

    Allow me to also say that if you have any other information to the contrary, then please contact the ICTY. There are offices in many places that are open to any information with regards to the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. If you don’t have, then your accusations will be (rightly) seen as groundless.

    And, yes, let us wait and see how things will turn out in Kosovo with regards to “partition”. However, one must not forget that the first principle of the Contact Group for Kosovo is “there must be no partition”, followed by “no union with other states (i.e. Albania)” and “no return to pre-1999 situation (i.e. Kosovo not under Serbia)”.

    Kind regards,

    Fidel Pardussi

  15. Fidel

    ‘the same could be said about the Serbian leadership’

    Like who? Which of the current Serbian leadership were involved in suspected war crimes or ethnic cleansing? You cant compare them. That may be painful to admit but its true. On the other hand I accept that some such as Kostunica have moral responsibility for supporting some of Milosevic’s policies on Kosovo.

    ‘There is no doubt that a large section of Serb people and Serb politicians would want to take full control of Kosovo in the future.’

    No, you are mistaken, they know that this is not possible. And even if some of them do believe their own rhetoric it does not alter reality does it? The Albanian majority in Kosovo will not vanish and numbers are everything – most serious people recognise that – if one makes basis for statehood only on numbers that is.

    ‘Agim Ceku has not even been indicted by the Hague Tribunal. Hence, your words describing him as a “suspected war criminal and a murderer” are too inaccurate to be taken seriously. Yes, he did fight against Serbian forces in Croatia and Kosovo but that does not make him a criminal let alone a murderer.’

    Well lets move his battle conduct in Kosovo to one side for the moment. Remember the ethnic cleansing operation Oluja and remember the medak pocket in Croatia? The suspected war crime – command responsibility. Yes he is a suspected war criminal, indicted by the tribunal or not.

    Another Croatian example Captain Dragan was not indicted by the Hague but he is still a suspected war criminal indicted by Croatia and my personal feelings dont come into whether he is guilty or not. There are other examples of suspected war criminals never indicted by the Hague as well.

    A soldier who isnt a murder? Dont make me laugh Fidel. What good is a soldier if he isnt a killer? And a good killer he is too, and now another ‘honourable’ profession a politician. Yes, I’m sure he’s a good guy! If thats prejudice then I’m guilty but at least I’ve never murdered anybody – and not in defending my home either, but as a hired gun and goodness knows what his motives were. (money, to kill Serbs, who knows?)

    ‘Kosovar Albanians disliked Slobodan Milosevic at least a hundred times more than Serbs dislike Ceku or Haradinaj’

    The crucial difference being that Milosevic made sure that Kosovo Albanians got indenepdence. Ceku and Haradinaj wont make the same mistake – that wont stop Kurti from trying though.

    ‘Allow me to also say that if you have any other information to the contrary, then please contact the ICTY.’

    Thats all very well but I dont know why you even bother to write this – you know as well as I do that they have already investigated and decided not to persue charges. As I’ve stated already that doesnt mean that an individual isnt guilty of war crimes.

    Additionally there is NO WAY they will open new investigations now. It is dishonest of you to even suggest the contrary.

    Actually I dont there is that much difference between us. The issue I have is that (and this is something you and other Kosovo Albanians will have to get used to) the Kosovo Albanians have the upper hand and power in Kosovo today and it is they who must behave responsibly. One can talk about history to try to muddy the waters but Kosovo needs to get its own house in order today rather than pass the blame onto the Serbs or relativise.

    After all in some months time when independence is awarded people will have some serious questions to answer when Belgrade can no longer be blamed.

  16. Dear “bganon”,

    1. You questioned the sincerity of the actions of the Kosovar Albanian leadership to improve the inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo. You said the following: “It remains to be seen whether this is genuine or is just a show for the internationals”. In other words, you are emphasising the fears of the Kosovar Serbs.

    Now, my argument was the following: the Kosovar Albanians are also questioning the sincerity of the Serbian leadership when they state that they don’t want to rule Kosovo, but merely wish to maintain the sovereignty over Kosovo. A Kosovar Albanian can ask, just like you did, whether the Serbian leadership’s request to maintain the sovereignty over Kosovo is genuine or whether in 25 years time a “new Milosevic” will come to power in Serbia and will promise to “stop the beating of Kosovar Serbs” and revoke Kosovo’s self-rule and “fully integrate” it within Serbia by force.

    You, unfortunately, did no address this point.

    What you seem to forget “bganon” is that Kosovar Albanians were just as big of a majority in Kosovo in 1990 when Serbian nationalists revoked Kosovo’s autonomy. I do not recall any Serb leader worrying about the Kosovar Albanian majority or the “numbers”, as you put it.

    And, no, I am not mistaken. The leaders of the Serbian Radical Party, the largest political party in Serbia since 2003, have not given up on Greater Serbia and still hope to occupy parts of Croatia and Bosnia, let alone Kosovo the “cradle…” And, they are not alone. If I were you I would not delude myself in believing otherwise.

    2. Serbia, I believe, is trying to build a fair and democratic society following the Balkan Wars. In such societies it is the word of the law that counts. You cannot possibly call a person a “suspected war criminal and a murderer” if that person is not even charged by a free and fair court. It just does not work like that in fair and democratic societies. No one will take you seriously if you think otherwise.

    You stated yourself that the ICTY has investigated and has found no evidence to indict him of any crimes. And you expect me and others to believe you that he is guilty of a crime just because you say so? Remember, a person is innocent until proven guilty, and you want me and others to believe you? Another person, Fatmir Limaj was indicted by the Hague Tribunal and he was found innocent in front of law. Serbs also suspected him of war crimes. Now, think, “the case” against Agim Ceku is even weaker, if there is a case.

    For your information, Agim Ceku is married to a Croatian woman. He is a citizen of Croatia, a Croatian passport holder. Two of his children were born and live there. Agim Ceku was fighting as a soldier for his (adopted) country, his wife and children. Now that you know his motives please do not raise further unfounded allegations against him that he fought for money or just out of pure pleasure to “kill Serbs”. These are your words, not mine.

    Furthermore, Agim Ceku’s father and other members of his immediate family were murdered by the Serbian troops during the Kosovo War. Hence, he had even stronger motives to return to Kosovo and protect his family, their property and help his nation.

    However, “bganon” you seem to loose all your credibility when you accuse every soldier of being a “murderer.” This is a very, very grave allegation and I hope you will change your mind on this. There are millions of soldiers around the world and surely, surely they cannot all be murderers.

    3. You still did not state why Kosovar Albanians could meet Milosevic and other Serb leaders in Belgrade during the 1990s, while Serb leadership should not meet Kosovar leadership, regardless of who they are. Again, one negotiates peace and accords with their enemy, not their friends — otherwise they would not be at war in the first place.

    4. It is absolutely not dishonest to ask people to share the information they have about possible crimes. How can it be dishonest to pursue justice and the truth? Only when the truth is unsuitable do people not want to pursue it.

    However, let me also inform you that the ICTY is not the only free, fair and impartial international court that can deal with potential cases of war crimes. If you have any accurate and reliable information about potential misconduct by Agim Ceku then do not despair. There is an international court called the International Criminal Court, the ICC, and you can address them. But, please, please don’t call me dishonest for encouraging people to seek the truth, if that’s what they want.

    5. “bganon”, I think that if you are sincere to yourself you will accept that I “do not muddy the waters” nor do I “relativise” (whatever that means — I noticed that Djordje Vukadinovic used the same expression). The point is that had the Kosovar Albanian leadership not acted and behaved responsibly since March 2004 we would not have reached where we have reached today in terms of Ahtisaari proposal and talks about the status of Kosovo.

    That’s all for now.

    Kind regards,
    Fidel Pardussi

    P.S. “bganon”, what makes you think that I am a Kosovar Albanian?

  17. ‘However, “bganon” you seem to loose all your credibility when you accuse every soldier of being a “murderer.” This is a very, very grave allegation and I hope you will change your mind on this. There are millions of soldiers around the world and surely, surely they cannot all be murderers.’

    Fidel this point is descending into the Twilight Zone. Soldiers are paid to kill, murder. What is it you think they are trained to do exactly – breakdance?!

    Certainly mercenaries are murderers willing to kill not to defend their families but for money. Unless you are saying that an independent Croatia was actually Yugoslavia it was not his country.Its pointless showing your English capablilities by referring to ‘credibility’ et al when your argument is so weak. However, his motives are irrelevant, its the allegations of war crimes that are important.

    ‘You, unfortunately, did no address this point’ (my sentiments exactly)

    Yes I did, look back, you however didnt address a number of points I made about Ceku and Medak, Oluja. But I will try again.

    Much as I’d like to talk about what might happen in 25 years time or what might not it is hardly relevant to the situation in Kosovo today. Whilst I am being sidetracked into talking about a hypothetical, the human rights situation in Kosovo TODAY is completely unacceptable. Amnesty International, Human rights watch and other international NGO will tell you the same. I am fundamentally concerned with solving the problems of today. That was my answer to Serbs (or Albanians) who want to talk about history (or mythology call it what you will) and it is my answer to you when you ask me to look into a crystal ball.

    Let me make this cystal clear – tens of thousands of Kosovo’s minorities remain ethnically cleansed. There was recently a conference on Kosovo which pointed to the lack of success in the return of minorities. This is a huge problem as returnees face threats, intimidation and severely limited freedom of movement. Those were the conclusions of the participants and again in line with NGO’s conclusions. Solid concerns of people today must take priority over conjecture about what might happen in 25 years.

    ‘For your information, Agim Ceku is married to a Croatian woman. He is a citizen of Croatia, a Croatian passport holder. Two of his children were born and live there. Agim Ceku was fighting as a soldier for his (adopted) country, his wife and children.’

    Well I guess that explains his role in the attrocities of Medak Pocket and in the ethnic cleansing of Operation Oluja!

    It makes no difference whether he didnt like Kosovo enough to live in and had moved to Zagreb and it makes no difference that he was still in the JNA when the Yugoslav conflict began (well it would make a difference in the eyes of Kosovo Albanian nationalists but he’s careful about his patriotic credentials as you probably noted).

    The point is that he is a suspected war criminal – there are certainly grounds for suspicion. I dont know why you feel the need to defend him so much. I generally dont like politicians of any description – particularly not warlords. Trust me if the guy was a Serb I’d have the same view. Warlords have no place in governing civilians – and if they do they must bend over backwards to prove they are worthy and not still dreaming of battle and ordering people about.

    ‘what makes you think that I am a Kosovar Albanian?’

    Its utterly irrelevant where somebody is from in my view – the important issue is what that persons views are. You obviously fully support an indepdendent Kosovo. I have sincere doubts based primarily on human rights grounds.

    Its dishonest to suggest that the Hague is still accepting evidence and would consider bringing new charges. That is what you suggested. You knew very well they are not investigating new cases, so why did you even mention it?

    ‘There is an international court called the International Criminal Court, the ICC, and you can address them.’

    That would be tricky, if Ceku’s suspected war crimes were committed in Kosovo then the court has no jurisdiction. If he can receive a fair trial I dont see why he could not be tried in Serbia – or even Croatia, again if he could receive a fair trial. There are concerns about that though.

    I wont however, sign off with a negative tone:

    ‘You still did not state why Kosovar Albanians could meet Milosevic and other Serb leaders in Belgrade during the 1990s, while Serb leadership should not meet Kosovar leadership, regardless of who they are.’

    Well I agree with your semtiment although will have to modify just a little and correct.

    Firstly Belgrade did negotiate with Pristina in Pristina during the 1990’s behind closed doors and out of the lens of the media. That was both for the ‘benefit’ of the Serbian and Kosovo Albanian media. The Kosovo Albanian and Serbian media would have jumped on this and nationalists would have got upset so the meetings were secret. These meetings were not documented and not top level but did take place. Take a look at Ratomir Tanic’s testimony – he lied a little on some issues but he was part of a Serbian negotiating team in Kosovo.

    However, if you are trying to paint some picture here suggesting that Kosovo Albanian leaders could negotiate in Belgrade without any political cost that would be untrue. I am more than familiar with Kosovo Albanian politics from the inside. If it werent for the remaining communist mentality of the Kosovo Albanians in supporting one leader (that mentality by the way was shared by all former Yugoslavs not just Kosovo Albanians – the evidence is easy to find) Rugova might well have lost all credibility and lets face it, he nearly did.

    The sentiment I agree with you on – if that is what you are suggesting, is that there should have been negotiations during the 90’s. Open negotiations, and frankly let the nationalists on both sides go to hell. We should have been thinking about how many people would suffer / die / be cleansed if negotiations didnt take place.

    Instead the problem was abused and used for political gain. The mixture of sweeping the problem under the carpet combined with ignorance and nationalism meant conflict was inevitable. The only odd thing was that it didnt happen sooner.

  18. Dear “bganon”,

    SOLDIERS

    Again, I am surprised at your ignorance with regards to soldiers. Soldiers have many different roles starting from armed fighters to technicians, from cooks to doctors, from simple people who might help a country with flood defenses when there are floods to helping people move out of dangerous areas in case of earthquakes, fires, and other emergencies. It is quite shocking to think that there are people out there who think of every (or most) soldiers as murderers.

    AGIM CEKU

    What you don’t understand is that you are starting from a false premise that “Agim Ceku was a mercenary” and therefore wrongly concluding that he must be a murderer. You try to play down the fact that Agim Ceku was a Croatian citizen (an internationally recognized independent country) and a soldier of the Croatian Army. Croatia was at war, Agim Ceku was a soldier of the Croatian Army and consequently he was fighting the enemies of Croatia. That does not make him a mercenary. You questioned his motives for fighting Serbs in Croatia, and I gave you his motives, so you cannot possibly call my “argument” as weak. And, if he didn’t like Kosovo (as you seem to suggest in your previous post) why would he later return to fight for it and live there now. People don’t leave their countries or home-towns just because they don’t like it there, but because of work, family (foreign wives, husbands) and similar reasons. It is not polite of you to imply such things.

    What do you want me to say about Medak or Oluja? You said it yourself, the ICTY has investigated all these allegations and they turn out to be false allegations resulting in no indictment. Do you expect me to believe you over the ICTY and free and fair courts?

    This is where you completely miss the point and even accuse me of defending Agim Ceku, but I am not defending him. What I am defending is the justice system and the right of people to be innocent until they are proven guilty. I did not accuse anyone of being a murderer or war criminal, you did. And, I am challenging that claim very strongly because I know that Agim Ceku has never been found guilty of any of these false accusations.

    Hence, unless you can prove that he is guilty of any of these crimes he remains innocent and you cannot call him a murderer and get away with it.

    With regards to the ICTY and ICC, what I said is that the search for justice and the truth never ends. Justice cannot possibly have an expiry date, as you seem to suggest. I am telling you, do not despair, if you have such critical information then there are always other international courts and tribunals that will continue taking cases of suspected war crimes. So, don’t call me dishonest – if you have any hard evidence, strong evidence that will stand in front of a free and fair trial then contact the ICTY and they will advise you what to do next, don’t call me dishonest. The ICC accepts cases from all over the world — that is why it was set up and there is nothing tricky about filing a case there, the only tricky part is proving your claims.

    KOSOVO

    Now, returning to the main issue of Kosovo. Stating that what might occur in Kosovo in 25 years time is ‘hardly relevant’ is completely foolish. Well, like it or not, it is relevant, very relevant. On the other hand, thankfully, there has not been a single fatal ethnically motivated attack in Kosovo in years. Thousands of people have returned to Kosovo since then and most of their homes and the related infrastructure was rebuilt using the money of the Kosovar taxpayers. Work is under way to reconstruct all the churches that were damaged or destroyed during the March 2004 riots. So, these issues are being addressed and are being taken seriously. All the fears are about “future violations”, i.e. looking at the crystal ball, your words not mine.

    This is why Ahtisaari proposes protection mechanisms for Kosovar minorities (Serbs et al) whereas it proposes (what amounts to) independence for Kosovo to protect it from Serbia and Serbian nationalism. Intelligent people call this planning and vision for the future; others might call it “looking at the crystal ball.”

    Finally, your argument that there should have been negotiations during the 1990s — but Agim Ceku saying “hello, how do you do?” at Skopje airport to President Tadic is unacceptable is fundamentally flawed. If Kosovar Albanians (Rugova and others, including the much loved Veton Surroi) went to Belgrade and met with Milosevic in his “castle”, I don’t see why can’t President Tadic say “hello, how do you do?” to Agim Ceku at Skopje airport. Your stand on this is less than balanced, to put it mildly.

    CONCLUSION

    To end this on a more positive note, Ibrahim Rugova agreed to meet Milosevic and he even traveled to Belgrade – not a neutral venue. And contrary to what many people think, and you indicated some of that in your last post, President Rugova never lost his credibility in front of Kosovars. That’s why immediately after the war (year 2000) he won over 50 percent of the votes, hardly a sign of lost credibility. This was because he never preached hatred or violence, and the majority of people reject hatred and violence. The majority of people are good people, both in Kosovo and in Serbia, and I hope that their message prevails.

  19. Well forgive me if I dont particularly like people who carry guns and murder. Maybe some of them end up as cooks and so on. I dont care frankly. I am not a militarist and I think that we should work towards making sure that soldiers and killers do not exist and not to praise them as the patriots do talking about ‘their boys’ and so on.
    Most soldiers are employed to murder – that is a fact you cannot change. Again I dont see what your problem is in accepting this. Putting on a uniform and looting houses does not earn respect with me.

    Call me old fashioned but I prefer jaw jaw to war war.

    ‘It is not polite of you to imply such things’

    He’s an ammoral warlord turned politician, I dont care about being polite to people like that. As soon as he starts with the nationalism he is free game. I can question the fact that he prefers Zagreb to Pristina when he drapes himself in patriotism. On the other hand were he to be an anti nationalist I would accept his decision. Rather like say a politician in the West that makes for example anti gay statements, but who is in fact gay, should be exposed. That may not be polite but politicians are fair game. They take from us alright so we (the people) must hold them to account. Again I dont know why you feel the need to defend him.

    Its very noble of you to defend people who havent been convicted. Then I suppose your opinion on Slobodan Milosevic was that he was innocent right? There is such thing as people who get away with things too. You are incredibly naive if you think the fact that Milosevic was not found guilty means he was innocent.

    I can certainly call Ceku or any other warlord / politician what I like and he can damn well get used to it. We are living in a democracy (Serbia / Kosovo) and we are not his soldiers to order about. Certainly he would love it if the citizens of Kosovo were as compliant as you are but they wont be. Thank heaven for a lack of servility.

    ‘there has not been a single fatal ethnically motivated attack in Kosovo in years’

    Once a population is ethnically cleansed there is nobody left to attack – that is hardly an achievement.
    You herald the return of Kosovo minorities to Kosovo but that is hot air. Do you know the statistics – you still think its succesful? Should the emphasis not be on defending the human rights of minorities rather than pretending everything is ok? It should if you are concerned with human rights above nationalism – that is above the creation of an independent state. I am, are you?

    ‘Ahtisaari proposes protection mechanisms for Kosovar minorities (Serbs et al) whereas it proposes (what amounts to) independence for Kosovo to protect it from Serbia and Serbian ‘

    Again that is such a naive view. Havent you heard of realpolitik? Ahtisaari and the UN administration in Kosovo is petrified of a Kosovo Albanian backlash against them. The type of backlash which Kurti, supported by Demaci are encouraging. What is going on with Kosovo is far closer to appeasement than fear from Serbia or Serbian nationalism.

    ‘I don’t see why can’t President Tadic say “hello, how do you do?” to Agim Ceku at Skopje airport. Your stand on this is less than balanced, to put it mildly.’

    Right, you mean the politicians should have a good laugh behind our backs and present a different view in public? Frankly I dont give a damn if he said hello or not. Its a superficial detail and there are so many much more important issues in the world and Kosovo. I would rather give a man bread than try to manipulate him.

    On Rugova – again you present a naive and unscientific view. Look at the evidence. All the leaders of the former Yugoslavia stayed popular. The fact that Rugova didnt have a militia (neither did Milosevic by the way) doesnt make him any less a nationalist. (and he was more of a nationalist than Milosevic ever was – Milosevic just pretended to be)

    He may have never preached hatred and violence but he was very slow to condemn it. Of course he cant be blamed too much for this, as you know hardline Kosovo Albanians nationalists tried to kill him many times. But he never stepped up to the task of building bridges with Kosovo Serbs – at least Suroi has which is something.

    I agree there are plenty of good people about – ordinary people who are led and misled. They are mostly misled by politicians.

  20. Dear “bganon”,

    OK. Things are a lot clearer now. You don’t like people in uniform, and that’s fine. I just wanted to point out that there are countless cases when soldiers in the developed world do a very good job in helping the population in cases of emergency and other similar situations. But being a soldier does not equate to being a killing machine or a murderer, as you suggested. There are soldiers who pilot helicopters and help people in remote areas when troubles strike (massive earthquake in Pakistan last year, for example), or transport other soldiers. That is not a killing machine. Soldiers often help establish and maintain peace and there are many cases of successful peacekeepers. And these soldiers (peacekeepers) are not murderers either. I just hope you will appreciate the difference between a soldier and a person who chooses to murder another person for personal gain.

    Second, many Kosovar Serbs have been forced out of their homes, however many still remain in their homes. Last time President Tadic went there thousands of people turned out in Gracanica, and many thousands travelled around Kosovo to see him. There are Serbs in Kosovo, and there are Serbs that are returning to Kosovo (not in large numbers, but they are returning). Thankfully, there have been no fatal attacks against them in years and no major ethnically-motivated accident has occurred lately. The numbers of ethnically-motivated crimes have fallen significantly since 2004. There are meetings at the UNSC every three months and the assessments since mid-2004 have been positive. A lot is left to be done, but progress is also being made. Now, if you care about the human rights and the situation of the Kosovar Serbs you would greet these changes and this (little and slow) progress. Politicians in Belgrade hate, absolutely hate the fact that any progress is being made. This, dare I say, is not in the interests of the Kosovar Serbs. I see a slight conflict of interests here. If the displaced Kosovar Serbs hear about the small progress made in Kosovo more may return. The UN is organising day trip for Kosovar Serbs to see the changes that have happened and to encourage them to return.

    I know that it is hard for many Serbs to imagine, given the media coverage in Belgrade, however, hundreds of Serbs are now living in Pristina. If living among half a million Kosovar Albanians is safe then it must be just as safe to return to other areas too. I just read a very interesting story about a Serbian woman living as a journalist in Pristina and working with Albanians in reporting the news as they see it. Here is the

    If there was no progress on the ground there would be no talks right now in Vienna. Do not forget that NATO troops are in Kosovo primarily to protect the Kosovar Albanians from Serbia, and if they left then no one would stand on the way of Serbian troops returning to Kosovo and a new war would break out. You see, you think that you know the situation very well, but in fact you miss some vital elements. Albin Kurti might be against the UN mission, but he is clever enough not to be against NATO (he does not want KFOR out!). If your theory that Ahtisaari is “petrified” of Kosovar Albanians then why would he take on the job in the first place, and second the Western governments could say “fine, you don’t want us here then deal with Serbian forces.” Believe you me; Kosovar Albanians are not in a situation to threaten neither NATO nor international missions because that would mean the end of an Albanian dominated (population-wise) Kosovo. Your argument that the West is somehow a hostage of Kosovar Albanians simply does not stand, because the West is in Kosovo primarily to protect the Albanians, hence an “international protectorate”. It is a shame, however, that most of their work has been protecting Kosovar Serbs from Kosovar Albanians.

    And, one more crucial point is that the Kosovar Albanians north of river Iber in Mitrovica have suffered the same fate as the Kosovar Serbs in the rest of Kosovo. Kosovar Albanians from the north of river Iber cannot return to their homes, have no freedom of movement, have been forcefully kicked out of their homes and dozens were murdered. So, the story in Kosovo is really not black and white. There are no good guys or bad guys in Kosovo, wherever the Kosovar Albanians are a majority Serbs have suffered, and wherever the Serbs are a majority Albanians have suffered — and while Kosovar Albanians have taken steps to improve the inter-ethnic relations, the Serbs in the north have done absolutely nothing.

    Finally, again on a positive note, how I wished, how I wished that Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia had leaders like Rugova during the 1990s. Remember that Rugova has won numerous international awards for his efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the Kosovo issue, and if every side did their bid the Balkans would not be an isolated island surrounded by the European Union.

    Best wishes,

    Fidel Pardussi

    P.S. Milosevic will be judged by the Serb people. Many Serbs saw his “other side” when Serbian police started beating Serb students in the streets of Belgrade. However, he is neither a convicted war criminal nor a murderer — some Serbs call him a dictator, maybe that’s what he was. The other option is that if the ICTY finds guilty other Serbs leaders of that time (the head of the army, police, defence minister…) and judge them as a group to be a “joint criminal enterprise” then Milosevic could be described as part of the joint criminal enterprise guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  21. ‘You don’t like people in uniform’

    Depends which uniform really. People who do things for others such as Doctors and Firemen are more worthy of automatic respect. A policeman or soldier has to prove himself before I respect him.
    You may talk about soldiers over the world but that is not our Balkan experience. Our experience is that men in uniform tend to rob, rape and murder. Ask the many thousands of victims of these men.
    Nor is it the exerience in Iraq, nor the experience of those in Guantanemo, nor the experience in Afganistan, nor the experience in Vietnam, Korea, nor North African experience of French rule.

    There are increasing amount of peace keeping troops who do work other than fight. But the vast majority of soldiers around the world are employed to kill. That is what they are trained for and is a fact. Besides if you want to help go join an NGO not a military machine.

    ‘Many Kosovar Serbs have been forced out of their homes, however many still remain in their homes.’

    This is a contradiction. How can many have been forced from their homes and many still remain in their homes? How many have returned to their homes – would you count a single figure percentage as ‘many’?

    The fact is that it is not safe to return this is acknowledged by all respected human rights organisations who talk about ‘resrticted freedom of movement’. Think about it. The most basic right denied.

    ‘however, hundreds of Serbs are now living in Pristina. If living among half a million Kosovar Albanians is safe then it must be just as safe to return to other areas too. ‘

    Rubbish, it has been relatively safe to visit Pristina for a few years now if you are a Serb or a gypsy but most attacks dont occur in Pristina. I cant stress enough how stupid your last comment is. (‘just as safe…’). I am ok with visiting Pristina and even both sides of Mitrovica (although with people watching the bridge it can be tricky) but I am certainly not safe in Kosovo Serb enclaves close to impoverished Kosovo Albanian dominated areas where attacks against Serbs are much more common. Farm animals are regularly stolen or even needlessly killed out of sheer spite.

    I dont need to be fed information by the media either I’m in contact with people who travel around the former Yugoslavia when I’m not moving around myself.

    I met the journalist at a press conference who was interviewed for that CSM article. She works for Danas as well. She may be upbeet in that piece but she is a lot more gloomy about the prospects for Kosovo’s minorities and generally when you speak to her.

    ‘If there was no progress on the ground there would be no talks right now in Vienna.’

    I dont agree. Its irrelevant whether there is no progress or not. Its all about who is more numerous at this point in time. The international answer to any deal other than indepdence for Kosovo is always the same. ‘You cant argue with over 90 percent of the population’. That is a point of course, the reality, but dont pretend its about human rights.

    ‘NATO troops are in Kosovo primarily to protect the Kosovar Albanians from Serbia’

    Thats a funny one Fidel. I also know a guy who works for NATO, he says the opposite. He says the real reason NATO and international troops are there to prevent any potential repeat attempt at ethnic cleansing on Serbs and other minorities by Kosovo Albanians. Not that NATO gives a damn really you understand. The problem is that Western decision makers are worried what another exodus of Serbs under their noses might have on their electorates and the media. They have decided to grant conditional independence but an Albanian rebellion could derail that plan – that is why they upped their troop numbers and were so heavy handed on Albin Kurti. Kurti is doing exactly as they fear so the West is over-reacting hoping hard line tactics will work. Its a dangerous game.

    Yes they are petrified of this scenario. What would they do if a number of UN personell were killed? How would they explain that they should hand over the running of a country to a people that are killing their troops?

    ‘It is a shame, however, that most of their work has been protecting Kosovar Serbs from Kosovar Albanians.’

    I hope you mean its a shame that they have to protect Serbs from Albanians rather than its a shame that Serbs are not left unprotected!

    ‘Kosovar Albanians north of river Iber in Mitrovica have suffered the same fate as the Kosovar Serbs in the rest of Kosovo. ‘

    Hmm, a small minority of Albanians who are experiencing the same fate of the majority of Kosovo’s Serbs and gypsies. I’d like to see the main problem solved first. After all if the Serbs were allowed to return to their homes in Kosovo those Serbs occupying Albanian homes in North Mitrovica would move out.

    I dont think Milosevic should only be judged by Serbs although I disagree with the common tendancy to blame everything on him.

  22. Why are my comments disappearing?

    I have posted my reply to “bganon” twice and over 48 hours later nothing appears on the website.

    Am I doing anything wrongly?

    Yours,

    Fidel Pardussi

  23. 1.

    By “people in uniform” I, obviously, meant soldiers — that was the context of the discussion, wasn’t it?

    If you read my previous post *carefully* you would have noticed that I meant soldiers in the developed world. The point is that you stated that soldiers are murderers and that was a very stupid statement. The bottom line is that you made a stupid comment and I was surprised by your ignorance. Your Balkan experience does not imply that a soldier in, say, Switzerland is a murderer or a killing machine and that soldiers in Switzerland do not contribute positively to the Swiss society.

    2.

    There is no contradiction in my statement. By “many Kosovar Serbs have been forced out of their homes in Kosovo” I mean, approximately, 65000 Kosovar Serb IDPs in Serbia (estimate figure by ESI: esiweb.org/index.php?lang=en&id=156&document_ID=53). That is “many”. By “however, many still remain in their homes in Kosovo” I mean, approximately, 130000 Kosovar Serbs still living in Kosovo (estimate figure by ESI, same URL). This is “many”, too. In fact these statistics show that you were very economical with the truth when you said that “there is nobody [Serbs] left [in Kosovo] to attack”. You see, you change your story way too often to be taken seriously.

    On the other hand UNHCR estimates that from 2000 to June 2006 15,280 minority returns have taken place in Kosovo (

    Again, you totally missed the point about the fact that Serbs are living in Pristina, more or less, freely. The point is that Serbs are living amongst Albanians, i.e. it is not a Serb village isolated from Albanians and under KFOR protection. If you are part of a group, a village community for example, you can speak and shop more freely within the community and there is KFOR protection around the clock, so to me that sounds at least as safe as living as an individual amongst Albanian neighbours and going to an Albanian café, market, shop, etc.

    It does not make sense that the Serb journalist sounded more upbeat in the report than in real life when you speak to her. Surely the CSM spoke to her – just like you spoke to her. This leads only to one conclusion: either she is lying or you are lying. The question is who?

    3.

    It is *very* relevant whether progress was made in Kosovo or not for the status talks to have began (and now nearly finished). What planet are you living in? The Kosovar Albanian leadership had to do a number of things for the talks to begin – don’t you recall that dreadful term “standards” (I know you will say that they did not matter, but the UNSC was measuring the progress and they gave the green light for the talk to begin. If I were to choose to believe UNSC or you, I would always go for UNSC). Your argument about “who is more numerous now” is fundamentally flawed. Kosovar Albanians have been a large majority in Kosovo at the very lease since the Ottoman empire collapsed.

    4.
    Wow, so you know a guy who works for NATO! Well, tell you friend in NATO that KFOR is there primary to ensure that Serbs troops do not set foot on Kosovo, i.e. to protect Kosovar Albanians from Serbia. I advise him to communicate more with his superiors. That is why NATO bombed Serbia to allow Kosovar Albanians to return to Kosovo and to ensure that no Serb troops enter Kosovo.

    Now, the only true contradiction in terms is the idea that NATO troops (i.e. the international mission in Kosovo) is petrified of the people that they are meant to protect and assist. If Kosovar Albanians were to kill “a number of UN personnel” then UN and KFOR could leave and the Kosovar Albanians would have to deal with Serbian troops.

    How dare you suggest that I could be saying that Kosovar Serbs should be left unprotected? To the contrary, I said that it was a shame that Kosovar Albanians have attacked Kosovar Serbs and that KFOR has had to try and protect the Serbs instead of there being no attacks and peace.

    5.

    It is an undeniable fact that Kosovar Albanians north of river Iber have been attacked by Serbs. The northern part of Mitrovica has been majority Albanian and dozens of them were killed and most others expelled. It is not realistic to expect only one side to act; both sides have to take actions simultaneously. As I have said earlier, all homes damaged and destroyed during the March 2004 riots have been renovated by the Kosovar institutions. There are other ongoing projects of rebuilding Serb homes around Kosovo. Kosovar Serbs should also act now. Treat others as you want them to treat you.

  24. Cry me a river Fidel really. If you cant accept differing opinions to your own then you shouldnt debate serious issues.

    Soldiers are trained to kill, live with it. If pro-militarism is your thing or you have served with the military then dont blame me for pointing out the obvious.
    Yeah its it stupid statement that soldiers kill or murder. 🙂 OK I agree! Soldiers dont murder or kill I am mistaken 🙂

    Yeah I’m a liar concerning that journalist, of course believe what you want to hear, really I dont care any more. Its obvious you are not interested in respecting the facts.
    I can hardly even be bothered to explain to you how the process of average journalism works either because you will obviously choose to disbelieve me on that as well.

    Anyway, one chooses a subject, has a general idea what one wants to write from the outset, then one chooses limited quotes carefully to prove a position you are putting forward. But hell in your simplistic world its about either me or her lying and its obvious that I’m the liar! OK I’m a liar!

    ‘How dare you suggest that I could be saying that Kosovar Serbs should be left unprotected?’

    The way your wrote it suggested it. Lighten up a bit. If you wanted to be serious about this point the way to retain respect would be to apologise for poor English, not to blame me because you didnt explain yourself properly.

    ‘Your argument about “who is more numerous now” is fundamentally flawed.’

    Right. If the Kosovo Albanians were a minority you are trying to tell me that Kosovo would get indepdence? Sorry Fidel you are not convincing anybody.

    ‘Again, you totally missed the point about the fact that Serbs are living in Pristina, more or less, freely. ‘

    REJOICE! Thats SUCH an achievement. Lets reward this great achievement with statehood!
    I’m sure Kosovo must now have the best human rights record in Europe.

    ‘The northern part of Mitrovica has been majority Albanian and dozens of them were killed and most others expelled.’

    Thats more like it, justify and defend the Kosovo Albanians and place as little responsiblity on the majority living in Kosovo today as possible. Dont even dare to criticise the actions of Kurti or God forbid agree with me that the murder of international troops would cause serious problems in Kosovo. Perhaps its the Serbs who are to blame again right for not cleansing themselves from Mitrovica then Kurti wouldnt have to attack the internationals. Is that what you think?

    Far more Serbs and gypsies remain cleansed in Kosovo than Albanians. But go on keep talking about Albanians and I’ll keep talking about human rights such as freedom of movement and right to return to ones home.

  25. 1.
    First of all, I am not the one crying here, in fact, quite the opposite. Moreover, I am not pro-military nor have I ever served in the army. Thank you, however, that you accept that it was silly to call soldiers murderers.

    2.
    Nowhere did I suggest that Kosovo Serbs should have been left unprotected. All I was saying is that it is a shame that hostilities have taken place in Kosovo post-1999 and that KFOR has had to police and protect the Serb minority. I was using the word “shame” to express sympathy with the Kosovar Serbs.

    3.
    If there is someone who cannot accept a different point of view that person is you. You stated that there were no Serbs left in Kosovo. I proved you were wrong. You questioned my statement that “many Serbs remain in Kosovo”, and I proved I was right – some estimates put the number of Serbs currently living in Kosovo at over one hundred thousand. And when I proved that the situation in Kosovo has improved and, hopefully, will continue to improve further you then made more silly statements like “I’m sure Kosovo must now have the best human rights record in Europe.” Needless to say, no one remotely suggested that. This makes me conclude that you are not only incapable of accepting a different opinion but also incapable of accepting unquestionable realities on the ground.

    4.
    I am only trying to state the realities on the ground – I am not trying to praise nor blame anyone. And the realities on the ground are the following: (i) wherever Albanians are a majority in Kosovo (mainly in the south of Iber river) Serbs have limited freedom of movement, their homes were damaged of destroyed and some of them were killed; and (ii) wherever Serbs are a majority in Kosovo (mainly in the north of Iber river) Albanians have limited freedom of movement, their homes were damaged or destroyed and some of them were killed. Are you strong enough to accept the unbiased realities on the ground, “bganon”? Are you ready to accept that if a Kosovar Albanian crossed the bridge over Iber River in Mitrovica s/he will most probably be attacked by the so-called “bridge watchers”? And, if Kosovar Serbs treat Kosovar Albanians in such a way why do you expect Kosovar Albanians to treat Kosovar Serbs any better? If the Serbian government has not paid a single cent to rebuild an Albanian house or a mosque that were damaged or destroyed by the Serbian troops why should the Kosovar government pay to rebuild Serbian houses and churches that were damaged or destroyed by Kosovar Albanians?

    Nevertheless, the realities on the ground show that Kosovar Serbs can somewhat move around Kosovo (Albanian cannot move at all north of Iber river). The Kosovar Ministry of Transport pays over 2 million Euros a year to provide free transport for Kosovar Serbs, there are undeniable facts that Serbs are not only working but also living in Pristina and other urban centres. Furthermore, all Serbian houses damaged or destroyed during the March 2004 riots have been rebuilt by the Kosovar taxpayer and work is underway to rebuild the churches. Are you strong enough “bganon” to accept that the situation on the ground is improving slowly, and there is a little progress and it is all due to Kosovar Albanian?

    This is neither a justification nor a defence of the Kosovar Albanian. This is merely stating the reality and the facts on the ground. And if it looks like a justification or a defence of Kosovar Albanians it suggests that the Kosovar Albanians are the only ones working on improving the inter-ethnic relations. I do not recall that it was a crime to work on improving the inter-ethnic relations and therefore you cannot attack someone just because they are working to do just that.

    5.
    Again, you seem to make one mistake after another. If you think that stating that Kosovar Albanians from the northern part of Mitrovica cannot go back to their homes is demanding from Serbs to ethnically cleanse themselves then you better seek help from someone who can help. Linking ethnic cleansing with the right to return to your house is beyond me, it really is.

    Furthermore, I don’t see the connection between Albin Kurti demanding self-determination and Serbs ethnically cleansing themselves. Albin Kurti does not have enough support to gain a single seat in the Kosovar parliament (despite the fact that OSCE has made it dead easy to get the first seat). I don’t know what actions of Albin Kurti do you want me to criticise? You want me to criticise the fact that two or three thousand people go out in a street protest in Prishtina and two of them get killed? OK, since you are so interested then tell me what actions of Albin Kurti do you want me to criticise and if they are valid I will criticise them unconditionally. But, if you endeavour to link Albin Kurti and the fact that Kosovar Albanians cannot return to their homes in the northern part of Mitrovica (and somehow accuse him of ethnic cleaning) then you will only make me laugh.

    Finally, I have told you in many occasions, I will tell you again now. The Kosovar Albanians do not dare to kill any (KFOR) international troops (they would be incredibly stupid if they did) because KFOR would response very harshly or even worse they would simply pack and leave. Kosovar Albanians would then have no one to protect them against Serbian troops and a new war would break out where only one side could lose: the Kosovar Albanians. Consequently, if Kosovar Albanians decided to commit mass suicide then yes they could kill a few international troops, but I doubt they would ever even contemplate that. It is absolutely illogical to kill someone who is protecting you, and I do not understand how someone is not capable of understanding this point.

    Kind regards,

    Fidel Pardussi

  26. Thank you, however, that you accept that it was silly to call soldiers murderers.

    Yes its utterly ridiculous to call soldiers killers or murderers. they spend hours every day training to put out fires and protect civilians and to heal people! Of course they dont focus on shooting, armed combat and of course they never kill civilians. They are just wonderful people! They never kill, they are Godly.

    ‘You stated that there were no Serbs left in Kosovo.’

    How can I respond? Oh yes I know. That is a simple lie, I never said any such thing. Why did you lie about that Fidel, thats really disapointing. Anybody can go back now and check and it makes you look bad.

    ‘Are you strong enough “bganon” to accept that the situation on the ground is improving slowly, and there is a little progress and it is all due to Kosovar Albanian?’

    Strong, I’ve never cared for being strong. Is that something to do with your admiration for the military? There is a little progress but its tiny. Are you able to admit that progress is not only very modest but also only carried out by Albanians because of the internationals and for no other reason? Or are there many Kosovo Albanians who support human rights I dont know about as there are in Belgrade?

    ‘Albin Kurti does not have enough support to gain a single seat in the Kosovar parliament (despite the fact that OSCE has made it dead easy to get the first seat). ‘

    If there was an election tomorrow Kurti would enter parliament and you know it.

    ‘It is absolutely illogical to kill someone who is protecting you, and I do not understand how someone is not capable of understanding this point.’

    I am not the one blowing up the internationals vehicles, its not me you have to explain this point to. Its the KLA soldiers (who dont kill or destroy) who are blowing things up.

    ‘what actions of Albin Kurti do you want me to criticise and if they are valid I will criticise them unconditionally’

    He calls for a greater Albania doesnt he? What do you think of that?

  27. Unfirtunately i do not see anything being resolve peacefully. There will be another war. Who wins will be determined upon americas influence and involvement ie: if theyre not too busy elswhere in the world. Europe doesnt have hte ability or will to stop a conflict in the area. The albanian in Kosovo are rampant nationalists, and so are the Serbs, so lets bring it on.

  28. Dear “bganon”

    Apologies for not getting back to you earlier, I was away for a few days.

    1. SOLDIERS = MURDERERS?

    When a person looses an argument, just like you did, they start accusing the winner of the argument, me in this case, of making claims that they never made. In particular, I argued strongly that if a person is a soldier it does not imply that that person is a murderer. You on the other hand, shamelessly started changing my statement and accusing me of saying that soldiers are “Godly” and that they “never kill”. Frankly, I am surprised at your ignorance and narrow-mindedness. There are thousands and thousands of soldiers, real soldiers, in countries like Switzerland and only an ignorant person can call them murderers. Dare I remind you that the fact that many soldiers and leaders of your country turned out to be mass murderers and war criminals does not imply that soldiers and their leaders in the developed world are murderers or criminals. As a matter of fact, the more you continue this argument the more you will expose your ignorance and distorted view of the world.

    2. ONLY ONE PERSON IS LYING HERE

    Again, when a person is caught lying, just like you were caught, they start accusing the person who caught them lying, me in this case, of lying. Therefore, I would advice you “bganon” not to get too excited because by doing so you are only emphasising your lies. Below I am going to prove beyond doubt that you were the person who was lying:

    “bganon” posted the following comment at February 21, 2007 6:42 PM

    “Once a population is ethnically cleansed there is nobody left to attack”

    Any reasonable person will interpret the statement “nobody left to attack” as saying that “no [Serbs] are left in Kosovo”, which is what I stated in my comment posted at February 27, 2007 6:44 PM.

    Consequently, the only person who is being economical with the truth (read: lying) here are you, “bganon”. All the international agencies that currently operate in Kosovo put the number of Serbs living in Kosovo today at, approximately, 130000 – very, very far from nobody or no one.

    3. THERE IS PROGRESS, SMALL BUT STEADY

    I am glad that we both agree that there is some progress in Kosovo, regardless of whether that progress is tiny or not. The reason I used the term “strong” has nothing to do with the military. One can be strong, say, ethically. I did not want to use the expression “are you man enough” because you could be a woman. So, no, I do not have any admiration for the military and I did not use the term “strong” because of any connection to the military whatsoever.

    The reason why there is progress is not that relevant, it is important that there is progress. It is in everyone’s interest to make progress in the inter-ethnic relations. If there is progress because of “the internationals” why didn’t Serbia stop the gross human rights violations in Kosovo pre-1999 because of “the internationals”? Whether you accept it or not, it is all a matter of political responsibility, and today the Kosovar Albanian politicians are showing more political responsibility and leadership than anyone else had shown before.

    Needless to say, Kosovar Albanians want Kosovo to become independent and to achieve that they need to make progress in the inter-ethnic relations. And that is what they are doing. On the other hand, the Serbian leadership should have known that the only way to keep Kosovo under its sovereignty was to stop the grotesque human rights violations and improve the inter-ethnic relations. And that is what they did not do. It is not the fault of the Kosovar Albanians that they know what they need to do to achieve their aims.

    4. SUPPORT FOR KURTI

    In order to gain a seat in the Assembly of Kosovo a political party needs approximately 8000 votes. In today’s protest by “Self-Determination” movement there were 4000 protestors and at the beginning of February there were 2-3000 protestors. Therefore, it is far from certain whether Albin Kurti would enter the parliament if he decided to run.
    Let us not forget that Self-Determination has the support of two political parties, the Popular Movement of Kosovo and the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo, and both these political parties get a few thousand votes in the general elections.

    Thus, it is far from conclusive whether Albin Kurti would manage to get a seat in the parliament or not.

    Based on these facts, we would be very generous to describe Albin Kurti as a marginal political figure in Kosovo. As such, his role and influence in the political scene is truly insignificant.

    5. KFOR’S AND UNMIK’S ROLES

    First of all, the KLA has been disbanded and consequently they cannot blow things up if they don’t exist. Second, it is not yet completely certain who is behind these explosions, but the assumption is that it is a Kosovar Albanian group.

    Anyhow, the vehicles that were damaged belonged to UNMIK, not KFOR. UNMIK’s role is to administer Kosovo, whereas KFOR’s role is to protect the local population from outside threats. The real danger would be attacking KFOR troops and they have not been attacked. It is now a general consensus that the UNMIK administration has run its course – hence, the status talks — and it is not too surprising that there is some resentment to their presence. The fact that the UN personnel are not attacked themselves is a sign that the situation is not out of control – explosions after all occur in other places too, like the explosion at the American embassy in Athens last month or so.

    Even Albin Kurti, your nemesis, calls for the end of UN presence in Kosovo but not KFOR presence because he differentiates the UN from NATO. NATO is protecting Kosovo whereas UN is administering it.

    6. KURTI AND ETHNIC ALBANIA? WHERE IS THE PROOF?

    As far as I know, Albin Kurti stands for self-determination and is against decentralisation. He is also calling for the end of UNMIK administration and complete independence of Kosovo. This is the first time I hear that Albin Kurti calls for a greater Albania. If you can provide any proof that he does call for a greater Albania then I will criticise him unconditionally.

    ##########

    Dear Vuk,

    The Kosovo issue was not resolved peacefully, hence the NATO bombing of Serbia. Serbia lost that war and, consequently, it lost Kosovo, too. I thought Serbia got a bloody nose last time and I am not sure another decade of international embargo would be very healthy for the Serb economy or the Serbs themselves. Any sensible person would advice Serbia that it is not wise to attack NATO troops in Kosovo because this issue is no longer simply between Albanians and Serbs, there is a third side involved and an unprovoked attack against NATO troops in Kosovo would be catastrophic. Not to mention the possibility of Albania acting to protect Kosovar Albanians and so on and so on.
    Anyhow, welcome to the 21st century. You seem to be living in 1998-99 or earlier.

    Kind regards,

    Fidel Pardussi

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