NATO has agreed to let Croatia and
Albania join. Macedonia also wanted in,
but was blocked by Greece (who is disputing the applicant calling itself "Macedonia",
when a province in northern Greece has the same name.) Now Croatia and Albania
are protected by the NATO mutual-defense treaty (an attack on one is an attack
2008: The Greco-Turk War (1920-1922) ended with a population exchange. Greeks
in Turkish territory went to Greece, Turks in Greek territory went to Turkey.
The exchange solved an immediate problem but bitterness remains. Greeks
descended from great-grandparents who fled "Ionia" (ancient Greek name for part
of Turkey's Aegean coast) still refer to Izmir (Turkey) as Smyrna. Now Russia
has now taken up the call for a "population exchange" in Kosovo. The idea has
been mentioned before, but not in polite diplomatic circles. A population
exchange amounts to "legal ethnic cleansing" though there is a big difference:
no murders, just a lot of angry people moving.
advocate partition and adding the town of Mitrovica to Serbia, but there are a number of Serb villages and
neighborhoods scattered throughout Kosovo (like the old Bosnian "pizza pie" of
ethnic groups). Partition would abandon these communities.
former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov raised the idea in mid-March, and since
he is a "former leader" that means the suggestion is not official policy but an
idea. However, the idea is now "out there" and no longer whispered. Primakov
called it a "partition along ethnic lines" with "population transfers."
Essentially, the scattered Serb communities in south Kosovo and western Kosovo
would move to Mitrovica and then that region would unite with Serbia.
reports on Primakov's suggestions did not mention Serbia's Presevo valley
region which abuts Kosovo. That area is predominantly ethnic Albanian. Would
the Serbs let the Presevo Valley join Kosovo? What about Montenegro's Sandjak?
Real "partition and exchange" involves in the Balkans could involve a lot of
territory. (Austin Bay)
3008: Bulgaria announced that it will supports NATO membership for Albania,
Macedonia, and Croatia.
2008: KFOR warned Kosovar Serbs that peacekeepers will use "all appropriate
means" if they are attacked. This does not look like a change in the Rules of
Engagement (ROE) in Kosovo. Peacekeepers have had the right to use lethal force
if they are attacked by lethal weapons. The KFOR warning is obviously spurred
by the riots of March 17 in Mitrovica.
2008: The government of Kosovo rejected another Serbian partition proposal.
Serbia has floated several partition "ideas" since Kosovo unilaterally declared
independence. The Kosovar government says Kosovo is "independent, sovereign,
and democratic" and is an "integral territory" (ie, cannot be divided). Well,
to tell the truth, it could be divided and at the moment the predominantly Serb
areas of Mitrovica (northern Kosovo) are engaged in a small-scale political
2008: The UN and NATO accused Serbs in Mitrovica of "orchestrating" violence
against police and peacekeepers. On March 17 crowds threw rocks and gasoline
bombs at KFOR peacekeepers and UNMIK police in Mitrovica, A UN spokesman said
that investigators had found that rocks had been stockpiled earlier in the week
for use by demonstrators in other words, it was a planned riot.