KFOR opens fire on Serbs in Northern Kosovo
Jun 1, 2012 16:41 Moscow Time
There are reports in the Serbian media and international news outlets that US KFOR troops have opened fire on unarmed Serbs in Northern Kosovo and there are wounded.
The reports are as follows and are being sent to me by my Serbian sources, apparently KFOR attempted to remove a barricade on a bridge and opened fire on Serb protestors. According to reports by the local Serbian KIM Radio inured civilians are being taken to Kosovska Mitrovica Hospital
According to Reuters at least five Kosovo Serbs and one NATO soldier were wounded in the armed clashes which occurred after NATO (KFOR) forces tried to remove road barricades.
NATO forces fired tear gas and opened fire on Serbian protesters, however, it is not clear if these were just warning shots. There are hundreds of Serbs gathered at the barricades in near Zvecan where the Serbs are the majority.
According to a report in Serbian media a NATO spokesperson in Kosovo, Uwe Nowitzki sated that "If needed KFOR will respond defensively."
A more detailed report transmitted by the Serbian daily Kurir states that all of the roadblocks that lead to Zvecan including the large concrete barricade in Dudino are in rubble and were removed by KFOR this morning. According to the people gathered in Dudino Karst, KFOR used heavy machinery to remove the barricades. Kosovo Serbs have also set up a concrete barricade on the road to the southern Kosovo Mitrovica to prevent the passage of special units of the Kosovo police, The infamous "Rosa" SWAT units.
The Serbian Daily Kurir reports that the Zvecan situation remains extremely tense and that there are a large number of citizens on the bridge that leads to the barricades in Rudare. KFOR is on the other side of the bridge and has set up barbed wire and heavy equipment is not allowing citizens across the bridge. The whole village of Rudare is under a lockdown and citizens are afraid to leave their homes and helicopters constantly fly over the area and drop "infrared bait" to block possible missile attacks from the ground.
12:42 – KIM Radio cites the Director of the Kosovska Mitrovica Hospital, Milan Jakovljevic, as saying that injured Serbs from Zvecan are still being brought to the hospital. Some have been released and at least 3 are undergoing treatment.
12:40 - Negotiations are currently underway between American KFOR officers and the mayors of Zvecan and Zubin Potok reports KiM radio.
12:12 - The commander of the police station in Gracanica, Bratislav Trajkovic told KIM Radio that the situation in his part of Kosovo is currently calm.
12:08 - The Government of Kosovo has promised to release a statement sometime today regarding the developments in Northern Kosovo but has so far not done so.
12:03 - Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi does not want to comment on developments in the north. KIM Radio said briefly that the information should be sought from KFOR.11:57 - KFOR broke through the barricade in Malom Rudaru and continued advancing
- Gerard Gallucci
- Served in the US Foreign Service in Latin America & Africa and as a UN peacekeeper in Kosovo & East Timor. Now I bike, bake, brew beer, read and watch crime shows. I'm on Twitter as deaconblue1103.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Kosovo: Time to Change the Paradigm
The order for KFOR to upset peace and calm in Kosovo must have come from some cabbadost somewhere within the Quint who has not yet learned the lesson that force won't subdue the Serbs. People are never convinced of the position of those who repress simply because they are subject to acts of repression. Didn't work in Libya, Egypt, or Tunisia and isn't working in Syria. The northern Kosovo Serbs have not surrendered and are unlikely to do so now. Indeed, the recent actions - Pristina's political arrest of a Serb staff member of UNMIK and the June 1 assault by NATO - will only harden their resistance to being included in the Albanian-dominated "independent" Kosovo. Perhaps that was the aim of some.
It may also have been that these Quint "thick-heads" thought it a good thing to teach the new Serbian President a "lesson" just as he takes office. Lay down the law - demanding he give up Kosovo - and present him with the brute reality that NATO and the EU can make his political life miserable by upping the ante there. They probably also saw this as a good way to "soften" up the local Serbs - like an off-shore artillery barrage or some bombs from the sky - before pushing them to accept the Potemkin administration being put up by Pristina. This hasn't worked and won't work. More likely it has closed the door for any compromise reached through dialogue.
So, it seems time to recognize that any effort to find a compromise that keeps north Kosovo within the territory of Kosovo as established under UNSCR 1244 also won't work. With the behavior of the Quint and the Albanians since 2009, the Serbs have absolutely no reason to trust any agreement that puts them in any relationship whatsoever with Pristina. Finding a formula for allowing full Serbian authority to return to the region north of the Ibar may now be the only way to provide long-term peace and stability and set the stage for a fuller accommodation on the independence of the rest of Kosovo.