Prime Minister of the breakaway Serbian region, Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has announced Kosovo is ready for an armed conflict with Serbia.
Tensions between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the region’s north have flared in recent months, after a directive was issued which attempted to force Serb populations in the north that do not recognize Kosovo’s independence, to start using car number plates issued in the capital Pristina.
This resulted in Serbs setting up roadblocks which were taken down by NATO forces in the area, and the plan’s abandonment until September 1st.
“We have our institutions and organs of security and defense; Kosovo is a state now, this is not the year 1998,”Kurti was quoted as saying. “This is 2022, so we are much more prepared to defend our sovereignty, territorial integrity, to defend our democracy, rule of law, constitutionality, and to defend our progress.”
Kosovo’s ‘sovereignty’ and ‘’territorial independence’ was first achieved in 1999 following NATO’s illicit 78 day aerial bombardment campaign against Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, which killed thousands, exacerbated the violence and refugee flows, and let to the territory’s annexation. In 2008 the territory formally declared independence from Serbia, which many nations across the globe, not least Serbia, still refuse to recognise.
Kurti’s conception on ‘the rule of law’ and ‘democracy’ in Kosovo, were also first realised through a campaign of terror unleashed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the mid to late 90’s. With the covert support of Washington, London and Berlin, the KLA’s tactics of abduction, murder, and narcotics and organ trafficking, created a lawlessness and culture of organised crime in the region, which persists til this day.
Many of the former KLA leaders also went on to occupy senior government positions in the new democracy, before being subsequently indicted for war crimes, as is the case of former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, who is still detained pending trial in the Hague.
Opposition parties have criticised Kurti for spreading needless fear and scaring investors, while Kurti has ignored such suggestions, and quite predictably launched attack on Russia for stirring up tensions in the region by virtue of its allyship with Serbia.
“Despotic (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin is a man of war and he would have interest in spreading war because he wants to normalise war,” Kurti said, alluding to Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
While Kurti takes aim at Russia, it should be remembered that Kosovo hosts the largest US military base built in Europe since the Vietnam war, Camp Bondsteel. With around 3,700 NATO troops stationed in Kosovo, it has also announced it would intervene in line with its mandate if regional stability was threatened.
Given NATO’s brazen posturing on Ukraine’s borders prior to the escalation of military action in February, it would seem their intentions and methodology may now be mirrored in Kosovo. Before taking aim at Russia, Kurti along with western publics would do well to take into account the rich history NATO member states have had in destabilising the Balkans. From the economic assaults throughout the 80’s, the unjustified military interventions in the 90’s, to NATO’s current abuse of nations it uses as geopolitical chess pieces and glorified military bases, in its incessant flexing against states that fail to adhere to its demands.