If you ever have the misfortune of stumbling onto a site called Prishtina Insight (a contradiction in terms), spare yourself the agony of reading even a single article. It appears to be a collection of Albanian “thinkers” pondering why things like visa liberalization don’t move faster for Kosovo (never mind that it’s not even a country yet, and was never supposed to be in the first place). A writer named Besa Shahini “analyzes” the “discrimination” against Kosovo on this front, while fellow columnist Gezim Krasniqi cheers “Kosovar sport’s fight for international recognition and glory” — despite international sports bodies generally only accepting membership of actual countries. Like EU membership itself. Yet in both cases, as always, rules are made up special for Kosovo as we go, and it muscles its way into all kinds of memberships, thanks to its Washington enforcers. An excerpt from Krasniqi’s May 11th article:
This month has been an exceptionally good one for Kosovo and its citizens. After a very long delay and a month after the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Kosovo entered into force, the European Commission recommended visa liberalisation for Kosovo passport holders for visa-free travel within the Schengen Area…Equally important…was Kosovo’s dramatic breakthrough in European and World Football associations, UEFA and FIFA respectively. On 3 May, the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) was admitted as the 55th member of UEFA….This brought a quarter of a century of international isolation of Kosovo football to an end and at the same time paved the way for admission into FIFA ten days later. With fast-track support from FIFA, Kosovo is expected to begin participating in World Cup qualifying matches in September.
“After a very long delay,” he says! Never mind the never-promised statehood that was fast-tracked in a tidy eight years (which itself wasn’t moving fast enough for Albanians, so they had to help it along with pogroms and other violence).
But let’s move on to Jusuf Thaci, who warns, “If the current Demarcation Agreement with Montenegro is ratified without being based on principles of international law, then Serbia must be behind it.”
As usual, “Serbia is behind (fill in the blank),” while suddenly Albanians are interested in principles of international law — unlike when they were seizing their Kosovo. Check it out:
Kosovo’s border demarcation with Montenegro: a Serbian Trojan horse (May 16)
On April 25, 2016, professor and former head of the Constitutional Court Enver Hasani published a research paper entitled “The demarcation of Kosovo’s borders is mostly an issue of international law.” Hasani, who is currently on trial for abuse of office and falsifying documents, presented a surprising paper which has [gone] mostly unnoticed by the general public.
Laws, norms and principles of international law that have to do with border demarcations between counties exist precisely to ensure an accurate and fair process so that neither party is negatively affected, intentionally or inadvertently. This is why international arbitration and courts exist in the first place.
Of all mythical creatures, a Kosovar — admonishing others about law and order! No wonder EULEX had such an easy time in Kosovo and was so welcome. Not.
In the case of Kosovo and Montenegro, these principles, norms, rules, laws and precedents (of international arbitration and courts) have been completely disregarded, seeing how almost everything is based on local legal documents (predominantly cadastral) and flawed local expertise (mainly that of geographers, topographers and surveyors), which in no way guarantees an accurate and fair border demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro.
Ah, so when cutting corners isn’t a win for Kosovo, cutting corners is bad.
…If Kosovo ratifies the existing Agreement for the Border Demarcation with Montenegro, which is not based on norms, rules, laws and precedents of international law that guarantee an accurate and fair demarcation, it will be the first ex-Yugoslav country that exclusively uses cadastral data as the only basis for demarcation (and not delimitation).
Through this, Kosovo would create a precedent that would obligate the country to use the same method for the border demarcation with Serbia (since Serbia itself will insist on it). This is extremely dangerous for Kosovo because Kosovar authorities (the now independent state of Kosovo) did not have control over cadastral books from 1989 until February 17, 2008 (when Kosovo declared independence).
Furthermore, almost every cadastral book of Kosovo’s territory (certainly not unintentionally) was taken by Serbia towards the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, and for years to come Kosovo did not have access to these documents. Even today, many cadastral books are not available to Kosovo because they are in Serbia. Simply put, the territory of the state of Kosovo in the original cadastral books is exactly how Serbia determined it [imagine a country determining its own regional borders!], completely outside the control, access and awareness of Kosovo institutions. When this is coupled with the fact that Serbia has territorial claims and is hostile towards Kosovo, then we can imagine how much territory Kosovo would lose in the demarcation of the border with Serbia, which spans hundreds of kilometres.
According to my personal judgment, if it is insisted that the current Agreement for the Border Demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro is ratified and come into force the way it currently is, then Serbia must be behind this.
In conclusion, Kosovo’s state institutions in cooperation and agreement with Montenegro’s state institutions and mediated by the United States of America and European Union need to agree on cancelling the existing deal for the Border Demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro and agree that the demarcation should be done through an international arbitration in full compliance with the principles, norms and rules of international law….It would subsequently protect us from a dangerous precedent, which would result in Kosovo losing swathes of territory during the demarcation of the border with Serbia. In other words, Kosovo needs to protect its territory based on international law.
DANGER! Danger of Albanians getting even an inch less than the entirety of what they stole. What they stole by way of visiting actual danger on life and limb of non-Albanians aged one to 80, and on non-cooperative Albanians. Moreover, the state created by flouting and trampling international law must now invoke international law to preserve the ‘territorial integrity’ that the West broke every law to rob Yugoslavia of.
Finally, we get to an April 22nd column by Shpend Kursani, whose summary paragraph at the top is a paraphrasing of Council of Europe’s Dick Marty’s conclusion from December 2010, when he released the results of his investigation of how ill-gotten Kosovo was. That is, it’s not a new take. Did Kursani miss it six years ago?
Fasten your seat belts, this one gets rich quick. Oh yes, the West failed Kosovo. Never mind that it was the Kosovo public’s KLA heroes that the West propped up.
How the West failed Kosovo
By seeking stability over rule of law through their missions in Kosovo, the West has created a fragile state in the heart of Europe, argues Capussela in his latest book translated recently in Albanian.
In his recently published book whose Albanian translation was promoted on April 21, “State-building in Kosovo: Democracy, Corruption and the EU in the Balkans”…[Andrea] Capussela asks “Why has the West created a fragile state in the heart of Europe’s least stable region?” …Capussela’s general conclusion is that the West (pretty much the Quint – The US, the UK, France, Germany, and Italy) was not committed to actually building a just state based on modern democracy and rule of law beyond making it look as such on paper (Constitution, laws, etc.), but has intentionally allowed the main political elite (criminal groups) to accumulate as much power as they can so to keep the region stable. This means that the West’s cooperation with these gangs was necessary for their interest in short term stability.
…The actors are willing to pay any price, including ensuring that criminal groups remain in power and sidelining any well-intended political actors who view Kosovo differently from these gangs.
But why? According to Capussela, this has been the case because despite its capabilities and abilities, the West, through its massive military presence, did not fully and properly establish an international monopoly of force while KFOR (NATO) and UNMIK were fully in charge of administering Kosovo. This means that the West did not disarm those who later turned out to be criminals leading the state and their future interlocutors. This has allowed these armed elites to always have the ability to threaten the West with the potential instability.
“…those who LATER TURNED OUT to be criminals leading the state”? Mr. Kursani, your KLA heroes didn’t “turn out” to be anything. They were what they always had been. As you know, the very genesis of the KLA was as a criminal organization. Its criminality continued and worsened into and through the war, so why should it have changed once they were crowned? Do stop playing dumb.
But let’s review: We have here an Albanian admission that the threat of violence is what kept us giving Albanians what they wanted — and we’re supposed to believe the Albanians had no idea this was how it worked. And again, Mr. Kursani is talking, after all, about his and the rest of the Albanians’ KLA heroes. That’s whom they cheered. That’s who was put in charge. He knows that.
This leads Capussela to argue throughout his book that “violence works,” and this is one of his strongest convictions.
Was the West capable of establishing the necessary international monopoly of force? According to Capussela, yes. He says that:
“[t]his was not inevitable, because immediately after the 1999 conflict the social order was still malleable and the elite had not yet entrenched itself. […] It could count on deterrent effect of NATO’s presence, on Kosovo’s near-complete dependence from international political and financial support, and on the fact that achieving independence entirely depended on the goodwill of the international community” (p.34)
Good point. And let me add that, once again, Kosovo serves as a microcosm of how the West manages — or rather, doesn’t manage — Islam in general. When we were still in the earliest post-9/11 years, we had the moral upper hand and the opportunity to make them come to us. Not the other way around. Make the Muslims decide what side they’re on, and prove themselves the way every other now-assimilated ethnic, national or religious group has always done, fair or not. Let them sweat their image, not us ours. Let them keep their heads down awhile, not us. Instead, our officials multiplied immigration from the Middle East, extolled Islam’s virtues, staffed themselves to the neck with Muslims, decried the First Amendment, and helped marginalize thinkers and artists who noticed the emperor had no clothes, rather than encourage more such dissent, which would have spread the risk around, thereby making it less dangerous to speak out. But back to where it all started. Kosovo, and Kursani:
He supports such arguments with compelling evidence…through his first-hand experience while directly involved in post-independence state-building processes in Kosovo as the head of the economics unit of the International Civilian Office…Studies on EULEX have mushroomed recently, and much like a few other critical studies on EULEX, Capussela shows how the EU mission intentionally dropped organized crime cases in which high profile elites were involved. Some of the cases which he reported to EULEX were simply sidelined and the mission was simply incapable of implementing its mandate. Capussela still believes that an externally driven rule of law mission can be successful with the right resources and, let’s say, under the right circumstances. I personally believe that a genuinely functioning rule of law has a chance to thrive mainly through indigenously-driven factors, possibly with some “discursive assistance” from the important international actors in Kosovo.
(Yet another Albanian who doesn’t know Albanians very well. Then again, who can argue with “belief”?)
…The reader of the book may get the impression that upon discussing organized criminal activities of many of the Western supported bandits in power, Capussela at times burdens such a discussion with an ethnic cloak. In other words, the discussion on organized crime seems to be laden, more than necessary, with ethnic adjectives, such as “Albanian criminal groups” and other Albanianization of such phenomena. This is my impression, and it may…not have been the author’s intention. With my experience in studying, dealing with, and observing political events in Kosovo and the region, such adjectives are not necessary as they are quite equally distributed among ethnicities, including within Kosovo itself. On the other hand and to his credit, Capussela successfully manages to dispel the usual rhetoric on corruption as cultural, drawing some comparative examples to other European cases. It is enough to read his section on EULEX to understand this perfectly.
So, once again, we see that, having wrested their “independence” based on ethnic identity, Albanians don’t want that identity identified. Meanwhile, here for once we have a Westerner with the courage to call our favored and propped-up nationality by its name, and it’s once too many for Albanians. As for the negative ‘political events’ that shouldn’t have the adjective “Albanian” — as for those being “equally distributed among ethnicities” in Kosovo, what can one say when the population is 95% Albanian? Certainly the writer could be speaking proportionally — that is, that the Serb, Roma and other almost-gone ethnicities of Kosovo have the same level of criminal groups in proportion to their numbers, but it’s still a pretty asinine thing to say. And one would still have to point out that the “Western-supported bandits in power” just aren’t Serb or Roma. And then one still would have to wonder what-all falls under Mr. Kursani’s “criminal” rubric, given that it’s been criminalized to be Serb in Kosovo, leading to creative survival tactics that include subverting Kosovo’s subversive statehood by cooperating with those who cooperate with Belgrade — and not with the thuggery that won Kosovo. Which Mr. Kursani himself now complains of. Finally, if the argument is that every ethnic group has its fair share of criminals, then tabloids around the world — and Interpol itself — must just be picking on Albanians, given the prevalence of that particular ethnic identifier in regard to so many drug, prostitution, weapons-trafficking, human-trafficking, domestic violence, and ISIS rings around the world.
It is interesting, however, that Capussela still remains optimistic about Kosovo. He believes that it cannot go like this for very long, and that there is a potential for non-elite groups and civil society to actually crack the gap…and penetrate the system and remove the bandits from power. [Though where does it leave us when that “civil society” is more politically radical than the thugs in power?]…However, as long as the well-established democracies of the West continue to support these bandits in power, I believe penetrating that gap will remain difficult….
The book should be particularly enlightening for Kosovo’s 50,000 plus students who have unfortunately been brainwashed through the elite controlled education system to believe that whatever the West does in Kosovo, especially when it supports these gangs, is best for Kosovo.
One imagines Mr. Kursani doesn’t have a problem with the same strong-arm tactics being used to further Kosovo’s statehood and the trappings of it. Such as visa liberalization, sports memberships, and EU, UN and NATO membership. All of which Washington twists arms to achieve, alternating between bribes and threats.
One also has to pause at this earlier sentence in the article:”…achieving independence entirely depended on the goodwill of the international community.” That’s of course accurate, and I notice that Mr. Kursani doesn’t take exception to it. But if Kosovo independence is lawful, legal, and consistent with international norms — as Albanians want you to think — then why would it “entirely depend on the goodwill of the international community”?
Lastly, an aside. While Mr. Kursani complains about the thugs in power, one tries not to be too distracted by the fact that his fellow columnists share the thugs’ names (Thaci, Krasniqi and, the woman’s first name is Besa, for crying out loud. The blood code itself). They’re all really the same brood, just favoring different tactics to achieve the same crime.
Give up the innocent act, guys.