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What success story?


When the Kosovo War was a success, I am curious how bad a situation should be before Elizabeth Pond declares it a failure. For Mrs. Pond everything that went wrong in the last two decades is the fault of the Serbs, their stubborn "inat" and their ambition for hegemony in the Balkans. Even after 400,000 people have been permanently driven from Croatia and over 200,000 from Kosovo she refuses to see that Serb aggression in the wars was driven by realistic fears that should have been paid attention to by our Western mediators. The statement by Silajdzic in Bosnia some time ago that if Serbs don't like how they are treated in Bosnia they are free to leave but not allowed to take their land with them doesn't register with her as problematic. In fact it is a type of statement that is common in the run-up to ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately Western politicians condoned the statement. A look at any internet forum discussion on Bosnia nowadays will show how that has poisoned the inter-ethnic debate. On Kosovo Mrs. Pond fails to note that it had been agreed before the "technical" negotiations that as long as the negotiations last no side would try to unilaterally change the situation on the ground. The Kosovo Albanians have clearly broken that agreement. Mrs. Pond fails also to note that the both the Serbian "trade embargo" and the "lawlessness" in Kosovo's North are a direct result of Kosovo Albanian stubbornness. Kosovo insisted on using a customs stamp with symbols of independence. And Kosovo refused any compromise on justice in Northern Kosovo. The result has been some smuggling in Kosovo's North, but for the rest the situation is more peaceful and less lawless than in the Albanian controlled part of Kosovo. Kosovo's cities have been cleansed of their Serbs and other minorities. Over 200,000 minorities from Kosovo still are refugees. The remaining Serbs in Southern Kosovo live in the relative safety of mono-ethnic enclaves. But their need to depend on faraway Serb cities for urban services and the ongoing discrimination in Kosovo make their long term survival dubious. Young people are leaving en masse. For the anti-Serb pogrom of 2004 virtually nobody has been punished. Yet when the Serbs in North Kosovo - many of whom have fled from elsewhere in Kosovo - protest against Albanian attempts to rob them of their autonomy Mrs. Pond discards them as "radicals" and refuses even to consider that they might have a point. Somehow Mrs. Pond seems to have failed to notice that the Serbian government not only condemned the burning down of the border posts but also the unilateral Albanian actions and the way KFOR general Bühler has shed off his neutrality and become an active supporter of Kosovo's government against its Serb minority. It seems not unlikely that this NATO success story will generate yet another stream of refugees.
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