December 26, 2007: European Union diplomats
expect Kosovo to issue a declaration of independence sometime in the first two
to three months of 2008. Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain have informally
agreed to recognize Kosovo's independence. If they do that, other European
countries will recognize Kosovo, followed by the U.S. and Canada. Ultimately,
other former Yugoslav states like Slovenia will do so, as will Turkey. The
"order of recognition" is designed to create a political fait accompli so that
Serbia and Russia cannot accuse former Yugoslav republics like Croatia and
Bosnia, the Balkan state of Albania, and the former colonial power, Turkey, of
"dismembering Serbia." Presumably they would first have to accuse Britain and
France of dismembering Serbia. Of course the Russians could simply ignore the diplomats' plan and say it
doesn't matter what everyone else thinks, Russia and Serbia are against Kosovar
independence. Russia and Serbia would not recognize it. It is doubtful that the
Russians would start a shooting war over Kosovo, but a "colder peace"
throughout Europe could well be the result.
In a "colder peace" situation, Russian cooperation on other European
economic and security projects would either be impossible or very difficult to
obtain. At worst, it might trigger a resumption of the Cold War, with Serbia
becoming a client state of the new Russian empire.
December 22, 2007: Russia would only
permit European Union peacekeepers in Kosovo if Serbia and the UN Security
Council permitted them. What this means in diplomatic terms is not clear –
Serbia is against an EU force. Russia has a UN Security Council veto, and is
likely the only Security Council member who would veto an EU peacekeeping
December 19, 2007: The separatist
statelet, Transdniester, will try to become a sovereign nation and member of
the UN, if Kosovo becomes independent. Transdniester is a predominantly Russian
region of Moldova.
December 18, 2007: In Bosnia, two mine-disposal workers died while clearing
mines outside the town of Trebinje. So far, 34 people have died in mine
clearing operations since the end of the Bosnian war.
December 15, 2007: The Serbian Radical
Party (SRS) said that Serbia should ask Russia to post troops in Serbia, and
this suggested a permanent Russian troop presence in Serbia. The politics
behind this request are complex, but the general idea is that Russian troops
would give other European nations real pause if they recognized Kosovo's
December 14, 2007: Albania said it
would aid Kosovo if Serbia imposed economic sanctions on the region. Albanian
pointed out that it is building a new, improved highway that will reduce the
travel time from Albania's main port, Durres, to the Kosovo border. At the
moment the trip takes at least six hours (if you're lucky). The new highway
will reduce travel time to two hours.
The Bosnian government expelled an
Algerian Islamist militant who had acquired a Bosnian passport. The Algerian
had fought in the Bosnian civil war and had married a Bosnian woman. Bosnia is
cracking down on "foreign Muslims" that are determined to be security risks.
This is a euphemism for "potential Islamist terrorist."
December 11, 2007: The leader of Kosovo's
Democratic Party of Kosova (PDK), Hashim Thaci, was directed by Kosovo's
president to form a new government. Thaci is a former Kosovo Liberation Army
(KLA) commander. Thaci needs to assemble a coalition to actually form a
government in parliament. The PDK controls 37 seats in the parliament. The
second largest bloc belongs to the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), which is
regarded as a moderate democratic party.
Romania said that it does not agree
with the "claims by EU foreign ministers" that the European Union supports
Kosovo's independence. Romania has indicated that it would not support a
unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo. Greece has also indicated
that it would not support unilateral Kosovar independence.