NATO Troops Close Kosovo Border

NATO has intervened to prevent rioting along the Kosovo-Serbia border from getting out of hand.

Kosovo Riot Photo Nato troops have sealed the northern borders of Kosovo after Serbs angry at its weekend declaration of independence ransacked two crossings. Hundreds of protesters torched customs and police posts at Jarinje and Brnjak, manned by UN and Kosovo police.

Closing the borders will infuriate both Kosovo Serbs and Serbia’s government, says the BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Kosovo. The move cuts Kosovo’s mainly Serb north off from Serbia, the country to which they insist they still belong. Nato said it was shutting the crossings, initially for a 24-hour period.


The attacks on the crossings and the Nato response put the international community on a collision course with both Kosovo Serbs and the Serbian government, our correspondent says. He says that what is emerging on the ground is a second Kosovo.

Students in the Serb-dominated town of Mitrovica are organising daily protests at 12.44 pm, referring to UN Security Council resolution 1244 under which Serbia insists it still has sovereignty of Kosovo under international law.

That’s technically true until and unless the UN recognizes the breakaway republic. Practically, however, it’s a done deal, with the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom having already extended recognition with many others to follow.

NATO is the obvious intergovernmental organization to intervene here, given its regional legitimacy. If it is going to become the collective security force of first resort, it has to take care of problems in its own backyard.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Given the standard set by the Kosova self-declaration of indepandence, the Serb majority areas can likewise vote to secede and rejoin Serbia. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the Serb majority areas in Bosnia and Croatia. Could be a repeat of the 1990s.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    What’s the unit of measure of national sovereignty?

    I hasten to add that the European countries who’ve opposed Kosovar independence, e.g. Russia, Spain, Cyprus, all have separatist minorities themselves. The United Kingdom, with Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish minorities, may find itself hoist on its own petard.

  3. Anderson says:

    to prevent rioting along the Kosovo-Serbia border from getting out of hand.

    When is rioting ever *not* out of hand?

  4. markm says:

    What a bad deal for the Serbs. It’s going to go on from here like the Jews and Palestinians. A never ending nit-pick fight.

  5. markm says:

    So I work with a Serb. He just talked to some inlaws over there. It’s heating up…and not only in Belgrade.