Germany is threatening to cut over $100 million in foreign aid if Kosovo
does not release three German BND intelligence agents, who were arrested as
they examined the site of a recent bombing. The Kosovo police blamed the
Germans for the bombing, even through the BND guys showed up after the
explosion. The Germans are not happy with the newly independent Kosovo, which
appears to be run by gangsters. The arrest of the BND men smacks of official
kidnapping, and the Germans are letting Kosovo know they will not play that
game. Not yet, anyway.
2008: Serbian nationalists are arguing that "more war is inevitable" because no
one can guarantee the safety of Kosovar Serbs. Leaders in the Serbian Orthodox
Church are particularly vocal about the plight of Kosovo's Serb minority. Most
factions in the former Yugoslavia have been predicting a resumption of
fighting, ever since the peace deals were made 10-15 years ago.
2008: Greek Cyprus accuses Turkey of "harassing" a ship conducting oil
exploration in Cypriot waters. In the past Turkey has claimed that oil
exploration off Cyprus "infringes" on Turkey's (Mediterranean) continental
shelf. Greece and Turkey have sparred over oil and mineral exploration rights
in the Aegean Sea.
14 bombing in Pristina continues to vex the Kosovo government and UNMIK. Now a
previously unknown ethnic Albanian militia named "The Army of the Republic
of Kosovo" has claimed responsibility for the attack. Kosovo also announced
that it would turn over the three Germans who were arrested after the bomb
attack to a UN-appointed judge working with the UN office in Kosovo.
2008: Three Germans have been arrested on suspicion of being involved with the
November 14 bombing attack on the EU office in Kosovo. Sound odd? Several reports have tied the Germans to
2008: The European Union announced that it intends to have its EULEX mission in
Kosovo deployed by December 2008. Both Kosovar Albanians and Serbs have
objections to the way the EU's EULEX (European Union law enforcement mission)
operation is being organized. The Albanians object to the fact that in
ethnic-Serb dominated portions of Kosovo EULEX will report to the UN. That
smacks of "Serb separatism" (the code phrase is "de facto separatism" or de
facto partition). The Serbs don't like the fact Kosovo is separated from Serbia
and see the European Union as being one of the organizations that brought
Kosovo independence about.
2008: The series of negotiations that began September 11 continues between the
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris
Christofias. Talat and Christofias are trying to hammer out a "common" Cypriot
approach to ending the confrontation on the island and ultimately creating some
type of "federal" Cypriot state. Huge issues remain, like control of a federal
2008: A bomb blew up outside an EU office in Pristina, Kosovo. No injuries were
2008: There's some backtracking going on. In October the European Union decided
that it would withdraw its peacekeeping force from Bosnia (though it did not
set a withdrawal date). Now that is being reconsidered. Germany has qualified
its position by saying that the peacekeeping force should remain as long as
Bosnia has an international administrator.
2008: The Romanian military continues its modernization program. A senior
Romanian defense ministry official said that Romania will acquire "new armored
transport vehicles" and drones. Romania committed itself to a long-term
military modernization process when it
joined NATO. Romania is also talking to China about expanding "defense-related"
contacts. Earlier this year China expressed an interest in improving "defense
cooperation" with Romania. Remember, both Romania and China are concerned
about Russia's new militancy.
2008: Serbia complained that the European EULEX Kosovo mission "in order to be
acceptable to Serbia" requires UN Security Council approval. Serbia maintains
that EULEX is "not neutral." Serbia's right. EULEX is designed to help Kosovo
become fully independent.
2008: NATO's Secretary-General asked
Russia to fulfill its commitment to withdraw Russian forces from Transdniestr,
the "separatist state-let" in eastern Moldova. Russia said in 1999 that it
would withdraw its forces and equipment. They are still there.
Serbs fought with Kosovar Albanians in the city of Mitrovica. Five ethnic Serbs
were reportedly injured. A police report claimed that the fight started when
"ethnic Albanians" entered the Serbian half (the northern half) of Mitrovica.