Bosnians are once again discussing
making changes to their constitution. Bosnia's Muslims (Bosniaks) favor the "single
state" organization. However, Bosnian Serbs in the Republika Srpska (the
Bosnian Serb "statelet") want greater autonomy. The Bosnian Serbs want a
"federal" structure. What that means is unclear. The UN and NATO urged Bosnia
to integrate its armed forces. That has happened. Other state functions have
also been merged.
March 18, 2007: The US State Department warned the
US Congress that a pending resolution on the "Armenian genocide" issue could
harm US-Turkish relations. Many Armenians claim Ottoman Turkey committed
genocide against Armenians in 1915. The State Department warning had a definite
defense angle: the State Department said that Turkey could deny the US military
use of the vital Incirlik Air Base (in southern Turkey) if the U.S. pushes the genocide
issue. Incirlik is a huge "NATO base complex." It supports operations in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and throughout Central Asia. Turkey might also deny the US
military overflight privileges. A number of US legislators support the bill,
which is seen as an attempt by the Democrats to undercut the Iraqi war effort
by cutting off Turkish support. .
March 15, 2007: UN diplomats are preparing to
recommend that the Security Council recognize Kosovo as an independent state.
There is a catch: the UN phrase will be "independence under international
supervision". Diplomats indicate the UN envoys will make that
recommendation in April. The diplomatic tussle over a possible Russian veto of
the proposal is well underway. It's believed that, if Russia vetoes the UN independence plan,
Kosovo will go ahead and declare independence anyway. Some nations would
recognize Kosovar independence, some would not. This could cause another war in
March 14, 2007: The Liberation Army of Presevo,
Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) has reappeared. The guerillas fought a
low-grade war with Serbia in the late 1990s through 2001, then disbanded. The
"Presevo" region is a predominantly Albanian ethnic area in southern Serbia.
The UCPMB wants to join Kosovo.
March 13, 2007: A group claiming to represent
Kosovar Albanians in the Gora region (along the Macedonian border) is seeking
official recognition as a Kosovar minority. The "Gorani" identify themselves as
Macedonian Muslims. They were Orthodox Christian Slavs who converted to Islam
in the 18th century. Balkan borders are sensitive areas. The Gorani have
brethren in Macedonia, some who claim dual citizenship in Macedonia and Kosovo.
Pakistani police said they arrested a Bosnian
Muslim who may be connected to Al Qaeda. The arrest took place in Islamabad.
The man was identified as Nihad Cosic. EUFOR peacekeepers in Bosnia are tasked
with monitoring Islamist terrorist activities. Radical groups like Al Qaeda are
interested in recruiting "European" (ie, Caucasian) Muslims.
March 12, 2007: The US insisted it was "still
hopeful" that Russia will agree to support the looming UN resolution of
Kosovo's "final status." The U.S. does not believe that Kosovo is not a precedent for any other
area seeking independence, like
Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Chechnya, Transdniestr or Corsica. Russia is concerned that allowing
Kosovo to separate from Serbia will lead encourage other secessionist movements
- such as the one Russia faces in Chechnya.
Violent Corsican separatists have long fought to secede from France. Transdniestr is a
"Russian statelet" within Moldova. And
March 10, 2007: Members of Slobodan Milosevic's old
regime might try to topple the Serbian government if Kosovo is given its
independence. Though Milosevic's old Socialist Party of Serbia won only six
percent of the vote in the last election, the Serbian Radical Party won 28
percent. The Serbian Radical Party is "ultra-nationalist" and opposes Kosovo's
independence from Serbia.