January 1 , 2005: The commander of Kosovo's Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) said on December 29th that the KPC should be officially turned into the "Army of Kosova" even before Kosovo's "final status" (as independent, or remaining a part of Serbia) is resolved. This is another political move by Albanian Kosovars who favor full independence from Serbia. However, it is precisely this kind of unilateral political action by Albanian Kosovars that undermines international support for an independent Kosovo.
Is this a recipe for a new Kosovo War or just an extended, bitter political struggle? A Balkan newspaper quotes Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj (a former KLA commander) as saying that Kosovo will be "soon" be independent. In fact, Haradinaj indicated that independence will be achieved by the end of 2005. Serbia has accepted the reality of an autonomous Kosovo. The UN has kept pushing a decision on autonomy versus independence into the future. Serbs do not trust Haradinaj to protect Kosovar Serbs. Haradinaj is right that the issue must ultimately be resolved, but his belligerent demands may become a political impediment. The best way to achieve independence is demonstrating responsible governance and fair treatment of both Kosovar Serbs and Kosovar Albanians.