Recognise Kosovo (FEBRUARY 20, 2008)

If the world can live in peace with five countries that broke away from Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) why can't it do with the sixth, asks DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM

As was already expected worldwide the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo, who form 90 percent of its population, declared independence from Serbia on February 17. We, along with the rest of the world, were expecting it to come a couple of weeks earlier, as indicated in the IOSCA's global trend analysis several weeks ago.

Serbia, which takes itself as a successor of Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), is naturally upset. However, the fact remains that Serbs alone are responsible for the destruction of FRY, and the blame can in no way be passed on to anyone else.

Serb excesses were compared with Nazi atrocities against Jews, and the Serb leader Slobodan Milosevich was appropriately compared to Hitler. For a while it looked as if Europe had slid back into the Nazi era. Then came the NATO intervention that drove Serb forces away from Kosovo in 1999. Since then Kosovo has virtually been independent, protected by a NATO force. The formal declaration of independence was only a formality.

Sadly, instead of quick recognition some countries have started playing petty politics. The largest and most influential countries of the European Union recognised it straight away and the United States extended formal recognition (through a statement of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice) on February 18. President Bush had already "acknowledged" its independence several hours earlier in Africa. So far "only" 100 or so countries have recognised it.

Serbs, being Slavs, are of the same racial stock as Russians. Largely because of this racial consideration Russians consistently supported Serb atrocities against Bosniaks and Kosovars. Russians also fear the consequences of their brutal oppression of Chechen Muslims, who have been struggling for the last two centuries to regain freedom.

China is one of the major countries opposing it because it fears that Xinjiang (Chinese Turkestan) Muslims might have to be grant independence, or Tibet's case for regaining its freedom from China may be strengthened. Spain, too, is opposing recognition fearing that its own Basques will intensify the struggle for independence. Incidentally, Spain's problem is not "Islamic" in nature as Basques are not Muslim. India is not opposing recognition, but is not recognising Kosovo either. India is "examining" the legality of things.

The sole point here is whether we support ethnic cleansing and Nazi-style atrocities against two million people or we want them to live in peace and security. If we accept the Russian-Serb racist argument we accept Nazi-style genocide, and if we recognise Kosovo we support the right of a persecuted people to live in peace and security. The choice is ours.


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