Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Italy's backing of Kosovo's independence is and remains extremely queasy - by way of analysis, "La Repubblica" is giving frontpage headline-links to an article and an animated map+audio+transcript in the geopolitics mag "Limes" - here's my quick translation of excerpts (apologies for not bilingual-formatting but don't have time just now to start learning how to do one of those nice parallel-text thingies...).

Kosovo or Kosova, it's still our problem

The three Kosovos. Declaration of independence and flag under the aegis of the "geopolitically-correct". Political dependency on the West but infrastructures dependent on Serbia.  The many hotheads. The organised-crime trafficking. Kosova will become more and more a problem of ours.

(...) It's certain that from now on Kosova will become more and more a problem of ours. A European problem, an Italian problem. Our soldiers are in the front line, in the NATO framework.  And the notorious criminal traffickings that from Asia reach into our country crossing through that Balkanic territory will become even less controllable than before, in the new geopolitical and institutional context. But as usual, we turn up at the appointment-date unprepared, with no  real idea what to do. We shall recognise Kosova so as to maintain our little niche in the Contact Group, pretending we count as much as the other Euroatlantic partners. To do what?

The Problems of Independent Kosovo

An independent Kosovo immediately brings two issues into the field, one at local level and the other in the international sphere.  

At the local level, the problem is the fate of the approximately 120 thousand Serbs who decided to remain in the Albanian-majority province after the Kosovo war. They are concentrated above all in northern Kosovo along the border with  Serbia and in the area of the city of Mitrovica, divided between Serbians and Albanians along the Ibar river, which is readying itself to become a new Berlin.

But one must not overlook the Serbian enclaves around the many orthodox monasteries, often located along strategic routes for the illegal traffickings that constitute the main item in Kosovo's economy. One of these cases is that of the monastery of Decani.

In Kosovo the armed groups linked to the various clans are still active, and on both sides various paramilitary militias are in training.

Another crucial point is the situation in the Presevo valley, which is outside Kosovo, in Serbia, but is populated by Albanians who have close ties both with the Kosovars and with the Albanian minority in Macedonia. The Albanians of Albania are more detatched, although Northern Albania, being inhabited by the same Kosovar-Albanian  ethnic group, could come into the orbit of more-advanced Kosovo.

In the international sphere Serbia can count on the support of  Russia, which on the one hand is taking advantage of the issue to extend its influence into the former-Yugoslavia area and on the other is threatening to recognise the self-proclaimed independence of the Russian enclaves in the former Soviet space, headed by Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

On the other front, Kosovo can count on the support of the United States and of the European countries that host large Kosovar communities (Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, Germany). The four "big powers" Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain intend to recognise the new State, unlike other European countries such as Spain and Greece, worried about their own independence movements. Kosovo's independence would in fact set a precedent favorable to independence movements all over the world.

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 02:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series