What is likely to happen on Monday, the day after Kosova's unilateral declaration of secession from Serbia? Perhaps not a lot - but I hold this likely, sooner or later:
- violence here and there in Kosovo, increased powerlessness and hatred;
- many of those who are not too old or poor will leave for Serbia and elsewhere - Romas and Serbs in particular;
- none of the 200.000 Kosovo-Serb refugees who were expelled under the eyes of the UN, EU, OSCE and NATO's in reverse ethnic cleansing in 1999 and have been sitting for 9 years in Serbia will come back, and the international community will continue to do nothing to help Serbia carry this burden;
- counter-moves by Serbia - the only modern lawful state dismembered by NATO bombings lacking UN Security Council endorsement; one can imagine sanctions against Kosovo, cutting off energy supplies to Kosovo, introducing visa requirement for anyone from states recognising Kosovo, lowering diplomatic exchanges with them, deploying troops at the border with Kosovo;
- probable ongoing conflict about northern Kosovo being part of Kosova;
- rapid development of an over-sized Kosova Army and future clashes along that border;
- traumas and hatred for decades - sooner or later violence/war again;
- Albanian secessionist voices will be increasingly heard in Western Macedonia and Montenegro, stimulated by this event;
- a huge economic burden on the EU - as Kosova has little production but a truly successful black economy with mafia connection in East and West;
- possible civil war-like tendencies when Albanian politico-mafia clans/families begin to divide the treasures of a new state – including Serb state property - between themselves;
- since independence is merely a symbolic act, the Kosova-Albanians will wake up Monday and recognise that not much has changed and they may increasingly become dissatisfied with their leaders; remember, they have been told for almost 20 years that everything bad in their lives was caused by Belgrade and everything would be fine after Independence when they were masters of their own house; nationalist leaders seldom bother much about the quality of their society but hinges everything on formal status, flas, anthems and rhetorics - it's a different thing to run a state;
- preservation and expansion of the largest US military base built between the Vietnam War and Iraqi invasion, the Bondsteel Base outside Kosovo's capital, Pristina (a very important factor for the US backing to independence and thus never mentioned by the media);
- Serbs in Bosnia's Republika Srpska will ask themselves and the world why they must be locked up in Dayton Bosnia which they never wanted when Albanians can get their freedom;
- deep scars, nationalist and anti-EU sentiments inside Serbian society, a strong and not unfounded sense of being object of collective punishment once again;
- even more Cold War-like developments between the US and Russia;
- secessionist movements will refer to Kosovo and begin to see their chances: Kashmir, Chechnya, Tibet, Taiwan, the Basque country, you name them – why not them if Kosovo?
- in the future some may ask themselves whether we have established an Israel in the Balkans with Serbs in the role of Palestinians and begin talk about a two-state solution in Kosovo.
So, 17 possible dangers and sorrows ahead? I can only hope that I will be proven wrong on many of them!
In short, I predict we will see anything but the “peace” and “stabilization” which pro-independence advocates all over the West wishfully – to soothe their own fears and calm down public opinion – assert will be the outcome of the independence.
The international community in general and those who recognize Kosova today or tomorrow are likely to blame "the Serbs" and Belgrade for everything bad that may happen after this Sad Sunday. You will even hear modern Europeans and Americans say that these poor guys do not understand that the independent Kosova is in their own best interest...
You’ll also hear them repeat that Serbia has lost the right to keep Kosovo because of Milosevic policies. But a) Serbia is the only republic that has made up the account with its wartime leadership and b) how many other countries would lose such a right dues to human rights violations, and what should the US then lose proportionately after Afghanistan, Iraq??
You will also hear the unique-to-Kosovo argument that no solution could be found over 9 years through negotiation and this we do a fait accompli. Imagine that that principle had been applied to the Middle East or to North and South Korea!
Be sure that no on will explain to you aloud WHY "the Serbs" are not happy with this.
The reason being that there is not one single thing they have gained or won in this historic drama and for them as a people and minority there has not been and will not be any justice. The winners take it all on Sad Sunday. Let's see in the future how wise it was.
I am sorry to present you with a heretical thought prior to Sad Sunday: The Serbs may have a point too and it would have been wiser to not present the most important Balkan player with 10 million multi-ethnic citizens with this series of humiliations and this fait accompli.
It is the EU, the US and the UN that has failed since 1990. At least as much as the Serbs. The formula of archtype human folly and conflict illiteracy applies: “The winners take it all - the loser shall be humiliated. To hell with mutual understanding, reconciliation and fairness. We’ve done it to foes around the world for cventuries, to the Russians since 1989 with such excellent results - and now we do it with the Serbs.”
The unavoidable result of Sunday February 17, 2008, then? The beginning of a new round of conflict and violence for future generations to suffer from.
When will they ever learn?
February 17, 2008