Freedom by another name MOHD.ZEYAUL HAQUE (oct. 01, 2007)


 Freedom By Another Name

One of the welcome trends in international affairs in 2006-2007 has been the gradual inching of Kosovo towards independence from Serbia and (in the mid-term) statehood. However, the process seemed extremely complicated, much of the complication having been created by Serbia, which though guilty of massive ethnic cleansing of Albanian Kosovars, still tried desperately to cling to the territory.

Ninety percent of the inhabitants of Kosovo are Albanian Muslims, who after being subjected to genocide by Serbs, are no longer in the mood to have any truck with Serbia. The ferocious genocide could be stopped only after sustained and intensive bombing of Serb military targets by US-led NATO forces. A UN-led international force has been keeping peace in Kosovo since June 10, 1999. Kosovo has been under UN supervision since then.

Complicated independence talks under UN auspices have been going on between Serbia and Albanians in 2006. The talks were overseen by a former Finnish president Marti Ahtisaari. Meanwhile, a new Serbian constitution showed Kosovo as an inalienable part of the country. However, observers dismissed it as of little consequence.

The negotiators seemed to converge on making Kosovo independent, but without calling it so for some time, to soothe Serbia’s angst.

Now it is the turn of Serbs in Kosovo to feel uncomfortable. To allay their fears, the Serb inhabited north of Kosovo will be allowed to remain as it is, that is, virtually as part of Serbia. If Serbs in other areas of Kosovo don’t feel comfortable they can come to this part. Kosovar may allow Serb-inhabited north Kosovo to cede to Serbia if they get Albanian inhabited part of south Serbia in return.

The major player in shaping the future of Kosovo is the "Contact Group", in which the decisive role is played by the United States, UK and Russia. The US and UK firmly support Kosovo’s independence (to be declared, in all probability, unilaterally by Kosovo parliament at a future date) while Russia opposes independence plans.

It is important to remember that Russia was silent on the genocide of not only Kosovars but Bosnians as well and whole-heartedly supported the aggressor, the Serbs in late September 2007, the Russian foreign minister said that Kosovo’s independence would be a mistake, because it would lead to demands for indepence from ethnic groups like Georgia’s Abkhazian Turks and others. It did not name Chechens and  Daghestanis who have intermittently been fighting a fierce war of independence over the last two centuries against not Georgia, but Russia itself. The US and UK seem confident that Russian protests woul not be able to prevent Kosovo’s independence.g


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