Recognition of Kosovos Independence Lags Behind Western Sahara and Palestine
United Nations Role in Quandary: Whos in Charge?
NATO Blitzkrieg Solution Planned?
Albanian Terrorists Sale of Organs Torn from Living Serbian Prisoners
Editorial Comment from the American Council for Kosovo We apologize for the foregoing avalanche of headlines. But the rush of items needing urgent attention continues to grow, both in volume and in the number of interrelated topics all with one bottom line: the train wreck caused by Washingtons forcible and illegal attempt to separate the province of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia is getting worse by the day. Not only are the destabilizing consequences continuing to reverberate across the globe despite the State Departments breezy assurance that Kosovo is not a precedent (evidently someone forgot to tell separatist groups all around the world explicitly citing Kosovo as justification for changing borders by violence and foreign intervention), the notion that an independent Kosovo magically has come into being just doesnt pass the laugh test.
Lets look at the math. On February 17, the criminal and terrorist leadership of the UN-supervised Albanian Muslim administration in Kosovo declared the provinces independence from Serbia. Both the terrorists and their foreign cheerleaders smugly predicted rapid recognition by 100 countries. In particular, Americas European allies were subjected to merciless arm-twisting with the assurance that if the U.S. and Europe presented a united front, Serbia (and Russia, whose veto in the Security Council was being circumvented) would have no choice but to accept Kosovos loss. But not only did Serbia refuse to give in, the predicted international support has not materialized. To date (April 16), only 36 out of 192 member states of the United Nations have extended recognition. Thats under 19 percent.
How does that stack up against other putative states? The former colony of Spanish Sahara, now styling itself the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (also known as Western Sahara), is recognized by somewhere between 43 and 47 countries. The exact number is uncertain because 30-odd countries have cancelled, suspended, or downgraded their ties, reducing Western Sahara from a high point of over 80 recognitions. Western Saharas experience is illustrative of another fact of international politics: countries can and do withdraw recognitions, when they believe it is in their interest to correct what they later decide was a mistake.
Meanwhile, a couple of dozen countries (not including the United States) formally accept the claim extended over Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco, which took control of most of the former colonys territory after the Spanish withdrawal. It could be inferred that many other countries implicitly accept the Moroccan claim by withholding recognition of the aspiring independent Saharan state. Worthy of note is that due to Western Saharas membership in the African Union (AU), the Kingdom of Morocco is the only country on the continent that is not an AU member.
Another instructive example is the 1998 proclamation of a State of Palestine by the Palestine Liberation Organization, then in exile in Algiers. The State of Palestine, which never has had sovereign control over any territory, is recognized by about 100 countries -- more than half of the worlds total number -- and maintains embassies in most of them. Palestine also has a Permanent Observer Mission at the United Nations, the only non-sovereign entity to do so. So, does this mean there is a Palestinian state, and has been since 1988? Who knew?
The Saharan and Palestinian examples offer an interesting perspective on supposedly independent Kosovo. First, Kosovos number of recognitions lags behind both of the other highly dubious states, dramatically so compared to Palestine. Second, neither Western Saharas nor Palestines statehood claim involve separation from another state of which they were indisputably a part, as does Kosovos with respect to Serbia. Third, Polisario (the Algerian-supported guerrilla movement that proclaimed an independent Western Sahara) effectively controls at least some of the territory it claims, while even the part of Kosovo controlled by the Albanian Muslim regime remains under the tutelage of the UN, the EU, and NATO. Finally, some minimal level of international organization membership is held by Western Sahara (African Union) and the notional Palestinian state (Arab League, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and UN Observer), but Kosovo never will become a member of the Council of Europe, the EU, or the UN -- not even as an observer.
In short, for Kosovo its only a matter of time before the governments that were hoodwinked by the State Department into buying this dog decide they need to find a way out. With the feeble pace of recognitions slowed to a crawl, its only a matter of time before some countries pull back their recognitions, in fact if not yet in name.
Exposure of Kosovos bogus statehood claim goes hand-in-hand with Serbias increasingly effective presence in the Serbian enclaves in Kosovo, both north of the river Ibar in Northern Mitrovica and in the smaller pockets to the south. Those desperate to vindicate the Kosovo independence project recognize their efforts are doomed if the enclaves remain outside of the control of the administration of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commanders and the illegally deployed European Union mission EULEX. No doubt partly for that reason, Serbias Minister for Kosovo, Dr. Slobodan Samardzic, proposed that Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo continue to work with the UN authority in the areas of the province where Serbs are concentrated.
If accepted, Dr. Samardzics proposal to the UN means the acknowledged authority of Security Council Resolution 1244, which was adopted at the end of the 1999 NATO war against Serbia and which affirms Serbias sovereignty in Kosovo, would remain in force despite the violations that have occurred to date. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that the UN will continue to exercise its mandate until a new Resolution to replace 1244 is adopted by the Security Council, which wont happen because of opposition from Russia, China, and most of the non-permanent members. The Samardzic proposal challenges the international community to abide by the principles it claims to uphold. Naturally, those hostile to Serbias sovereignty over Kosovo have tried to misrepresent what he had proposed. Wrote Dr. Samardzic:
Some observers have denounced our proposal as an attempt to partition Kosovo, or to have Serbs secede. Such accusations are knowing and malicious falsehoods. It is patently obvious to any fair-minded observer that we seek not partition or secession but maintaining the integrity of Resolution 1244 where possible (the areas where Serbs live) as opposed to the Albanian-dominated areas, where the U.N.'s authority under Resolution 1244 has been negated by the separatist declaration of Feb. 17, the illegal deployment of EULEX, and null and void foreign recognitions. Any suggestion of partitioning Kosovo which would be a partition within a partition of Serbia's sovereign territory contradicts every argument Serbia has made. We consistently have rejected any attempt by any party to impose an illegal and forcible separation of any part of our country, however small. Serbia will never accept an independent Kosovo, in whatever portion of the province it may consist. One must wonder if the real agenda of those talking about partition of Kosovo and then blaming it on the Serbs is further Balkanization in other regions of the world.
It remains to be seen whether the UN will take Serbia up on its proposal. However, if it is refused, or if UN authorities on the ground begin a stealth transfer of competencies to the Albanians and EULEX, Serbia would have no choice but to reassume direct administration of the enclaves. Such an action, which would be peaceful because it reflects the wishes of the Serbian areas where the KLA administration and EULEX currently have no presence, would be another nail in the coffin of the bogus, nonviable terrorist statelet.
It is no wonder, then, that ominous noises have been made about a possible NATO blitzkrieg to impose the authority of the KLA criminals in Serbian-inhabited areas -- and present their residents with the choice of submission, flight, or death. Most Americans would find it hard to believe our government would insist on such an option, but given the sheer illegality that has formed the basis of the State Departments policy toward Kosovo, no enormity can be considered beyond the bounds of credibility. The more problematic aspect is mechanical. First, with our worldwide commitments, notably in Iraq and in Afghanistan, it is doubtful the United States has the manpower -- oops, personpower -- to undertake such a task. Second, with so many of our European allies feeling burned over going along with U.S. demands of recognition, would they allow themselves to be browbeaten into starting a new Balkan war? For that matter, Washington is having little success in getting our allies to pony up troops for the NATO operation in Afghanistan. Hopefully someone at the Pentagon, if presented with expending U.S. political capital to get European help either to defeat a resurgent Talibanistan or to midwife a stillborn Kosovastan, would know which is the right choice.
Clearly, theres no moral inhibition on the KLA side. Nothing better illustrates that point than the horrible accounts in the recently published book by former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte that Serbian prisoners of the KLA were held in special camps where their organs were removed and sold on the European black market. As described in the book:
These [i.e., Serbian] prisoners were initially held in sheds and other structures in Kukes and Tropoje [in northeastern Albania, near Kosovo]. According to the journalists' sources, who were only identified as Kosovo Albanians, some of the younger and fitter prisoners were visited by doctors and were never hit. They were transferred to other detention camps in Burrel and the neighbouring area, one of which was a barracks behind a yellow house 20 km behind the town. One room inside this yellow house, the journalists said, was kitted out as a makeshift operating theatre, and it was here that surgeons transplanted the organs of prisoners. These organs, according to the sources, were then sent to Rinas airport, Tirana, to be sent to surgical clinics abroad to be transplanted to paying patients. One of the informers had personally carried out a shipment to the airport. The victims, deprived of a kidney, were then locked up again, inside the barracks, until the moment they were killed for other vital organs. In this way, the other prisoners in the barracks were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source, pleaded, terrified to be killed immediately. Among the prisoners who were taken to these barracks were women from Kosovo, Albania, Russia and other Slavic countries. Two of the source said that they helped to bury the corpses of the dead around the yellow house and in a neighbouring cemetery. According to the sources, the organ smuggling was carried out with the knowledge and active involvement of middle and high ranking involvement from the KLA.
No more damning commentary could be made on Americas clients in Kosovo. The question now is whether the State Department will heap further dishonor on our country by bringing American force to bear on behalf of people who have perpetrated such acts, or whether we will pull back our support and allow the misbegotten KLA project to grind down to its ignominious and foredoomed conclusion.
James George Jatras, Director
American Council for Kosovo