Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Since February 2008, the Kosovo Albanian political elite has been able to distract their population through political competition and bellicose statements and provocative actions on the north. But now they seem to face the possibility of having to make real compromises to reach an overall settlement on status. The US talks tough in private but none of the Quint seems ready to commit its personnel to a forceful takeover of the north and now even voices in Washington are suggesting the need for a political settlement with Belgrade over the north. The Kosovo leadership must be somewhat confused about what they need to do next to avoid losing the north.
Despite the aggressive chatter from the likes of the Interior Minister, the Albanians are unlikely to use force on their own. They would much rather provoke an occasion that would require or allow the internationals to step in and pacify the north. They have now made marginal arrests reportedly using their “special police” in the north while making cosmetic changes in the KPS command in the north. They will wait and see how the Serbs react. If there is no reaction, they may try something else. There is a danger that at some point, they do cross a Serb red line. But barring this, the Albanians cannot settle the question of the north through force alone.
So what next? There are quite clever people in the Kosovo leadership. They may be feinting now over a possible territory change: Presevo for the north. (The US apparently rejected this when raised by Belgrade.)