Balkans: Exploiting Dead Armenians

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March 22, 2007: 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 the Balkans.

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 so on.

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.

 

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