Kosovo crisis: Vucic is not Assad, Serbia is not Syria

29.05.2019

The end of the war in Yugoslavia and the de facto separation of Kosovo from Serbia did not end the standoff in the Balkans. In Serbia, there are three Albanian enclaves - Medvedzha, Presevo and Buyanovac. On the territory of Kosovo, there are two large regions with compact Serb living: Kosovska Mitrovica on the northern border with Serbia and the smaller Strpze region on the southern border with Macedonia.

Pristina seeks to absorb the two enclaves inhabited by the Serbs, and ideally to join the three Albanian-Muslim regions controlled by Belgrade. Today’s actions of the Kosovo police are aimed at solving the first task.

Extrusion of Serbs from Kosovo

On the morning of May 28, the Kosovo special forces began a large-scale operation in the north of the Kosovska Mitrovica region and in the municipality of Zubin Potok. As a result of the raid, about 23 people were detained - Serbian police and civilians.

The arrests caused clashes between Serbs and Albanian special forces. The Serbs built about four barricades in order to block the path of the Kosovo Special Forces vehicles. According to the Serbian TV channel RTS, the Kosovo police broke through several barricades, used tear gas and threw protesters with shock bombs. Firearms were also launched.

During the clashes in Zubin Potok, several people were injured.

The Kosovo authorities call the special operation the fight against crime. Ramush Haradinai, Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed republic, said that the measures are aimed at combating smuggling, organized crime groups and corrupt police and customs officers.

Serbian President Alexander Vucic led the army to full combat readiness and deployed units to the border of Kosovo. The director of the Kosovo office in Vučić’s office, Marko Djurić, said that if Pristina did not stop the operation, Belgrade “would react within a day.”

Will Vucic go to war?

Vucic threats are logical. The Serbian President seeks to protect the rights of his citizens in the territory illegally seceding from Serbia in 2008. But will Vucic go to war? On the other side of the border, he will be confronted not only by the newly formed forces of the Kosovo army, but also by NATO, which has already warned Belgrade against entering troops into Kosovska Mitrovica.

The realities are that Serbia does not control the territory of Kosovo and does not have security forces there. Therefore, any attempt to do something in fact could lead to an instant war.

The US and NATO countries, taking advantage of the restrictions of Belgrade, encourage impunity for the actions of the Kosovo authorities.

The Serbian President seeks to establish peace with Kosovo in order to ease his way into the European Union. Without recognition Pristina in Brussels are not ready to let Belgrade into the ranks of the EU. After the entry of Montenegro into NATO, Serbia lost its free access to the sea. When Macedonia is accepted into the alliance, Belgrade will be completely surrounded by NATO countries. In addition, most of the Serbian exports are oriented to the West, so it can be stifled by sanctions.