Saturday, February 3, 2007

Sigh, another new country

Yesterday the United Nations released its much anticipated report on the future of the disputed territory of Kosovo. They recommend that Kosovo should become an independent country under constant international "supervision."

This has the Serbs mad, of course. Historically Kosovo has been the capital of Serbian Christendom and civilization. Their "Jerusalem," as they are fond of saying. But the territory has not been either Serbian or Christan for quite a long time. Right now it's a mostly Muslim area, inhabited by ethnic Albanians. Good old Slobodoan Milosoevic tried to fix that when he was president of Yugoslavia, using the Serbian army to "ethnically cleanse" as many Albanian-Muslims out of Kosovo as possible. But that didn't really endear the Kosovars to Serbia, and only furthered their desires for independence.

After the 1999 NATO bombing campaign to drive out the Serbs, Kosovo was placed under UN occupation, and became non-sovereign territory. I once went to school with an exchange student from Kosovo and he had to travel around with UN documents instead of a passport because he was no longer legally a citizen of anywhere.

The effective ruler of Kosovo is a UN-appointed individual known as the "special representative of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission." The first man to hold the job was Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a highly respected Brazilian diplomat who had been active in all manner of humanitarian causes and conflict-resolution initiatives. He was later killed in Iraq when a car bomb blew up his hotel.

There have been eight administrators since him, two from the US, two from Denmark, two from Germany, and one each from France and Finland. The current guy is from Germany, his name is Joachim Rücker. According to his low-budget website, he was previously mayor of the German city of Sindelfingen.

Since 2002 Kosovo has had a non-UN government as well, but it is highly subsidiary to the UN authority. It's also very much dominated by the Muslim-Albanians. 99% of Serbs refused to vote in the last parliamentary election because they don't consider it legitimate for Kosovo to have an independent government.
There have been five prime ministers in the last four years. It's mostly because the second prime minister, elected in 2004, was indicted for crimes against humanity and sent to the Hauge. It's been a bit of a scramble to find a stable replacement ever since. The current PM is Agim Çeku, who is a strong supporter of the independence plan.

That plan now must be approved by the Security Council, and it probably will. There are some fears that Russia might veto it, because the Russians don't want to give precedence to the practice of allowing uppity Eastern European Muslim provinces to separate from their master states, *cough cough Chechnya cough.*

Oh yeah, and what about Serbia. A while ago I reported the election results over there, which saw the self-styled Radical Party win the most seats. It now seems unlikely that the fascist nut who runs that party will become prime minister, but it still remains to be seen exactly what form the government of that country will eventually take, because of the "pizza parliament" syndrome they are currently experiencing. It will either be an alliance government of all the non-Radical parties (who have little in common except opposing the Radicals) or a joint government of the Radicals and the second-largest party, the moderates.

It's boring, but I will keep you informed.


megs said...

"It's boring, but I will keep you informed."

That's why I read!

Panonija said...

First of all, your cartoon is a bit wrong, because Serbia was never in Austria-Hungary. Province called Vojvodina was in Austro-Hungary, but 2/3 were parts of Hungary and 1/3, Srijem was part of Croatia. Vukovar, the most destroyed city after WWII (by Serbs), is still in Croatia and it's the most western point of Srijem which Serbs call Srem. During the 90s, The members of Radical party, under Vojislav Seselj, expelled last 30,000 native Croatians from Vojvodian part of Srijem. The relative majority in Srijem was held by Slovaks , in 1918., Croatians were second, before Serbs came. Vojvodina is quite mixed, it has still about 300,000 Hungarians, 100,000 remaining Croatians + bunch of Slovaks, Czechs, Ukranians, Rumanians, Austria-Hungary in little, but during 50 years of communism, by ethnical engineering, Serbs won majority in 2 million of inhabitans. Before WWII, native Germans had quite strong community, but Tito expelled them, took their land and gave it mostly to Serbs. In 1918. Hungarians, Slovaks, Germans and Croatians were majority, there were off course Serbs, but not in majority. And Radical party isn't0 a a new party. It holds tradition of 19th century Serbian radical party, which formed "Great Serbia program" that had started all these Balkans problem, including murder of Franz Ferdinand. Serbs killed him, because he was pro-Croatian. Plain madness. And today they have 34% popular vote and all other parties have quite similar programs.

Anonymous said...

I think the Kosovo should become a Federal Lolpublic.


na said...

I am not bored by this in the slightest.