Friday, December 3, 2004

"What the Hague?" - War criminal at the helm in Kosovo?

/ balkans / success stories / war criminals /
With Ramush Haradinaj, a man charged with war crimes and suspected mafioso as Prime Minister, the Kosovar Albanian electorate sent a message of love and reconciliation to the beleaguered Serb minority in the province... finally we've come full circle to the time that the area was under an indicted war criminal's control, haven't we? Of course now it's different, and it represents "democracy at work" according to the United Nations Governor in Kosovo, Soren Jessen-Petersen. Meanwhile, Serbian President Boris Tadic (who represents the least aggressive position inside Serbia on the issue) made it clear recently, that he is adamant in his opposition to Kosovo's independence.

Speaking of Tadic, apparently just the other day he survived an assassination attempt... um... actually a road rage attack, by a Serbian US embassy employee, whetting the appetite of conspiracy theorists around the Balkans - and indeed the world, despite the obvious lack of motive...

1 comment:

talos said...

old comments

Doug Muir:

Of course, if the Kosovar Serbs had turned out to vote, instead of boycotting the elections, then it would almost certainly have been impossible for Haradinaj to claim the PM's job…

I note in passing that the Serb representatives (elected to reserved seats by the tiny minority of Serbs who voted) have decided to support this government, and are taking over two of the 14 Ministries — minorities and agriculture.

Doug M.

2004-12-13 07:54

Yes, well I said the same with regard to Albanian Kosovar non-participation in Yugoslav elections…. The fact is that the Albanians were not interested in voting because having to deal with Milosevic lent legitimacy to their nationalist aspirations, and the Kosovar Serbs will not legitimize the Kosovar elections because they see them as the first step towards Kosovar independence. This is the logic of Balkan nationalism, which doesn't really understand all of this hippy multiculturalism and coexistence nonsense folks like Kuchner seemed determined to enforce on them. It would be nice if it did, there probably are real societal processes that might lead to this wonderful future of inter-ethnic harmony (heck Tito invented one!), but the road the region currently is travelling most definitely doesn't pass by there (and I really, really hope I'm wrong).

Anyway, are you sure about the effect of Kosovar Serb participation? The arithmetic hardly suggests that they would have had much of an effect:

Ramush Haradinaj, an ethnic Albanian who led Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) units, won by a vote of 72 to three. [emphasis mine]…

2004-12-13 17:20
Doug Muir:

Yah. There are 120 seats. 72 yeses, 3 nos, and the other 45 members abstained.

Had the Serbs turned out in force, they would have claimed 22-25 seats, making them the third largest bloc. It would have been quite difficult to form a government without them — they would have been able to form a government with either of the two biggest Albanian parties. And of course, the Europeans would have been leaning hard on the Albanians to invite them in.

You have a point WRT hippy-dippy multi-culti, but there's more than one path to living together in peace if not love.

Consider the Hungarians in Romania. In the early '90s they and the Romanians were murdering each other in the streets, and there was serious talk of civil war. Never happened, and now UDMR has been part of three Romanian governments in a row (and is probably about to join a fourth).

What's making the difference? Internal discipline, pragmatism, and cool self-interest. These guys play for the long term, and I have a lot of respect for them. Note that they've crushed a couple of "rebellions" by would-be rival Hungarian parties.

This is not a perfect solution, and one day things may have to change, but UDMR does represent a very attractive model for the short and medium term.

Doug M.

2004-12-14 11:29

Hungarians in Romania is a good example… However Hungarian seccessionism, if it ever existed realistically, was never encouraged by a NATO bombardment of Bucharest, nor was the area ever occupied by NATO forces and half-cleansed from its Romanian population. Thus some sort of pragmatic formula for coexistence was rendered necessary.

2004-12-14 14:22
Doug Muir:

As you know, I think that if the Serbs had been left to their own devices, Kosovo would be even worse — a Balkan Chechnya. Yes, I know you don't agree.

But consider Croatia, on one hand; and on the other, Bosnia.

It's not just about necessity.

Doug M.

2004-12-15 18:30