Yugoslavia's World War
Two partisan leader and long time ruler Field Marshall Josip Broz Tito remains
a controversial figure in Croatia. In early February several thousand Croats
demanded that a square in Zagreb, Crotai's capital be renamed. It is currently
named Marshall Tito Square. The demand may reflect more than Croatian
nationalism. Some of Tito's bitterest rivals were Croatian Fascists in the
Ustase movement. The Ustase established a pro-Nazi government in Croatia during
World War Two, and were very active in fighting Serb communist guerillas.
February 27, 2008: Serbian government offered
police to protect Serbian town in Kosovo. Serb police and military forces
withdrew in 1999 after Serbia was defeated by NATO in the Kosovo War. The
Serbian National Council (a Kosovar Serb organization) asked Russia to
re-deploy Russia troops as part of the KFOR peacekeeping force. The Serbs
believe Russia troops would "help stabilize" the situation in Kosovar Serb
majority areas of Kosovo. This is a thinly disguised appeal for the insertion
of Russian forces that would provide a "buffer" for separating predominantly
Kosovar Serb areas from the rest of Kosovo.
Serbia called Kosovo's "illegal"
unilateral declaration of independence something "worse than the
dismemberment of Czechoslovakia under the 1938 Munich agreement". The Serbs
accused the United States of breaking international law in helping create a "a
fake state" (ie. Kosovo).
February 26, 2008: A coalition group of
political organizations in Transdniestr (separatist statelet within Moldova)
asked the world to recognize Transdniestr's "de facto independence" from
Moldova. The Transdniestrians are also insisting the world call Transdniestr
"Pridnestrovie" (which also mean Transdniestr).
February 22, 2008: The UN Security
council condemned violence in Serbia and Kosovo, specifically attacks on
foreign embassies in Serbia. The European Union also warned Serbia that attacks on western embassies and
supporters of Kosovo independence would harm Serbia's chances to join the EU or
reach new trade agreements with EU nations. The Russia said Western governments
should have anticipated "backlash" by Serbs who object to Western support of
February 21, 2008: Approximately 100,000
Serbs in Belgrade demonstrated against Kosovo's unilateral declaration of
independence. During the demonstrations a large group (estimated at 1000
people) attacked the US embassy in Belgrade and set it on fire. One person died
in the arson attack, a young Serbian man. The US State Department said that
Serbia had failed to provide adequate police protection for the embassy.
In the predominantly ethnic Serb town
of Mitrovica (orth Kosovo) thousands of Kosovar Serbs demonstrated against
Kosovo independence. The crowd taunted UN police on the scene.
In the Republika Srpska (the Bosnian
Serb statelet within Bosnia) members of the government said they would hold a
secession referendum if a majority of the EU and UN support Kosovo's
independence. Presumably the Bosnian Serbs would secede from Bosnia and join
KFOR reported that "several hundred
uniformed Serbian reservists" demonstrated on the Kosovo-Serbia border. The
military reservists threw rocks at KFOR peacekeepers and set fire to trash and
tires. The reservists claimed to be veterans of the fighting in Kosovo
Venezuela declared that it will not
recognize Kosovo's independence. Speaking on his country's behalf, Venezuela's
president (dictator) Hugo Chavez said Kosovo's independence set a dangerous
precedent. This is also Russia's diplomatic view of Kosovo's independence.
Chavez has in the past two years bought several billion dollars worth of arms
from Russia. Spain, China, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Sri Lanka also oppose
Kosovo's independence. Spain asserted that Kosovo's independence had "no legal
basis." Spain is battling Basque separatism. Interestingly enough, Italy
recognized Kosovo's independence but with qualifications. Italy's stance could
be a "diplomatic bridge" to reach out to China and Russia. The Italian
government said that it recognized that Kosovo is " an independent state under
international supervision." That means NATO and other international
peacekeepers will remain in the country The UN and EU will continue to provide
governmental and financial assistance.
February 19, 2008: The US and major
members of the European Union recognized Kosovo's independence. 17 EU states
recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence.
Serbia's President Boris Tadic declared
that in the wake of Kosovo' "illegal" separatism no nation's sovereignty and
borders were secure.Ths is another way of saying that Kosovo's independence
sets a "dangerous precedent" for resolving ethnic and nationalist