Insurgency in Kosovo
The Hill — Insurgency many miles from Iraq
Five years into an indefinite mandate, the United NationsÃ¢€™ occupation of Kosovo Ã¢€” backed by the boots of NATO peacekeepers Ã¢€” is rapidly losing support among both Kosovar Albanians and ethnic Serbs.
The U.N. attempt to midwife a democratic nation here in the rump of the former Yugoslavia and NATOÃ¢€™s fractured and inconsistent response to ongoing ethnic violence offer a cautionary tale of nation-building elsewhere on the globe, especially Iraq, say seasoned diplomats, local journalists and aid workers in Pristina, Mitrovicia and Belgrade.
But diplomats and aid workers in this quasi-capital of a quasi-state caution that comparisons between Iraq and Kosovo, while apt in many ways, should not be overwrought, especially because the American contingent of NATOÃ¢€™s 18,000-strong force remains overwhelmingly popular with the local population. Most of the Kosovar AlbaniansÃ¢€™ ire is directed toward the U.N. administrative body, UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo), which has a $200 million annual budget for civilian and operational costs.
In addition to Albanian criticism of UNMIK, the handful or Orthodox Christian Serbs still living in Kosovo, a region roughly the size of MarylandÃ¢€™s Eastern Shore, accuse some NATO peacekeepers Ã¢€” especially the German and the French Ã¢€” of complicity in what Serbs regard as reprisal ethnic cleansing. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), who visited the region in May, told The Hill, Ã¢€œThe French didnÃ¢€™t protect the local Serb population and the monasteries, and the Germans didnÃ¢€™t either. The Greeks did, and the Italians did. Same with Americans and British.
Ã¢€œIt wasnÃ¢€™t until Admiral [Gregory] Johnson came and took charge did NATO troops act together.Ã¢€
So, the peacekeeping is going badly despite the imprimatur of the UN and NATO, the active participation of the French and Germans, and is being saved by the Brits and Americans. Hmmmm.
Just think how well it’d be going if John Kerry were president!
Hat tip: Bill Quick