Kosovo and Serbia
The UN has been run out of Northern Kosovo by the 'Serbian insurgency'. Reuters reports that NATO troops now hold a strip of north "after Serb riots" unceremoniously evicted UN personnel from it "in the most serious challenge to the state since it split from Serbia last month."
The U.N. mission that has run Kosovo since the 1998-99 war said the withdrawal of its police and civilian staff from the Serb stronghold of north Mitrovica was only temporary, but could not say when they would return. ...
"We will maintain our intention to deploy the mission throughout the territory of Kosovo," the EU's new Kosovo envoy, Pieter Feith, told a news conference. The violence, sparked by a U.N. police operation to retake a U.N. court seized three days earlier by protesting Serbs, was the worst since Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia on Feb 17.
Feith's intentions are empty because the UN doesn't have the capability to deploy in the face of Serbian opposition. It must rely on NATO security to do that. What the UN's capability is has already been demonstrated.
The violence, sparked by a U.N. police operation to retake a U.N. court seized three days earlier by protesting Serbs, was the worst since Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia on Feb 17.
NATO said its troops came under automatic gunfire as Serbs converged on the court following the dawn raid. Serb media reports said about 70 civilians were wounded, along with dozens of U.N. police and soldiers of the 16,000-strong NATO-led peacekeeping force.
The UN attempted a "show of force" and a "look who's boss" operation at the courthouse. Just who showed the force and who proved the boss was amply demonstrated in one phrase. The UN withdrew. UN farces quit in the face of "grenade and gun attacks", described by the Times Online in a paragraph evocative of how much moral authority the World Body has on the ground.
Diplomats told The Times that a confrontation had been brewing in Mitrovica for days and was expected after Friday, when Serbs seized the courthouse from where the UN has overseen local justice since Serbian forces were ejected from Kosovo by Nato in 1999. About 300 Serbs demanding the establishment of their own court refused to leave the building after negotiations with UN officials failed at the weekend.
The confrontation began at dawn on the fourth anniversary of attacks on ethnic Albanians by Serbs, which triggered the final, fruitless round of international talks on Kosovo's status. It also coincided with a visit by the Serbian Minister for Kosovo to the region. Several hundred UN special police backed by Nato peacekeepers stormed the building, arresting 53 occupiers.
As word of the raid spread, the UN vehicles were attacked with stones, grenades and firecrackers. Several were set alight and at least ten of those arrested released by the mob. Nato troops were left to try to restore order. “We used automatic weapons to respond but fired only warning shots,” Etienne du Fayet de la Tour, a French Nato spokesman, said. “We shot in the air, not into the crowd. Eight French soldiers are injured with grenades, stones and Molotov cocktails.”
What happens next is that the UN plans to express its unqualified outrage, absolute indignation and an categorical protest from behind the protection of NATO and wait for the military alliance to pacify the Serbs, so that they can invent further employment for themselves investigating that operation at one of their humanitarian tribunals.
But in reality there is no long term way the UN can keep the rump of Serbian territory in Kosovo short of an indefinite occupation by NATO troops. The Serbians don't like the UN plan; and probably they don't like the UN either. Should NATO "end the war?" and "bring home the troops?" (Where's Will.I.Am when you need him?) Unfortunately there is one further wrinkle. What if the Serbs attempt to take back parts of Kosovo under the argument that Kosovo's indepdendence is illegal under international law? Kosovo can hardly defend itself. How far will NATO go to preserve the independence of Kosovo? If NATO doesn't protect Kosovo from the Serbs the Global Jihad will flood into Kosovo to assume the role of their protector. And if NATO abandons the field it will have defeated by a Russian backed proxy within Europe, which it cannot allow. So it may have to back the UN against its own best interests. What a mess.
Let's refer the problem to the UN. Oh, wait ...
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