Tomislav Nikolic, a former supporter and political ally of Slobodan Milosovic, has been elected President of Serbia over the weekend, which begs the question, “are the Balkans getting ready to boil over once again?” There are indications that the aggravated separatism of the Macedonian/Balkan region never dissipated – it just went under ground. With the election of Nikolic, who is a well documented radical nationalist with close ties to the violent regime of Slobodan Milosovic a decade ago, partisan political agitation among the dozens of socio-ethnic groups, culminating in violent uprisings, is again coming to center stage in the region.
After five Macedonian men were found killed near Skopje in Mid April, the ethnic tensions in the Republic of Macedonia seem to be getting worse by the hour. That’s why all viable solutions must be considered in order to avoid some new horror scenario for the entire Balkans. It won’t be fair to say that the recent murders near the Macedonian capital Skopje have opened the Pandora’s box of ethnic tensions between the Slavic Macedonians and the ethnic Albanians because that box has been wide open since before the brief civil war in 2001.
And the civil conflict back then was terminated only after the US and the rest of the West made it clear to the ethnic Albanian groups that the rebellion in Macedonia was way “too much” after Kosovo had just been snatched from Serbia in the 1999 NATO-Serbia War.
(Canada Free Press) Since then, the name of the game has been ethnic cleansing, the destruction of cultural and religious monuments of opposing ethnic groups, especially Christian ones by radical Muslims, and the heightening of ethnic tensions. Canadian leaders who were involved in the Balkans, namely General Lewis MacKenzie (he commanded NATO forces), and James Bissett (Canada’s former Ambassador to Belgrade), have for some time been cautioning the West about the imbalance and inequities created by the Dayton Accords.
(Peace and Conflict Monitor) This is the first time Serbia is attempting to hold elections in post-independent Kosovo, and also the first time that Kosovar Albanians are not obliged to participate in elections for Serbia. This is also the first time a hard reality will be sinking in for Serbs that Kosovo may be forever gone.
On the home front in the Balkans, technical talks between Belgrade (Serbia) and Pristina (Kosovo) are underway. Primary issues include roadblocks, distribution of identity cards, and security structures in the north – including border control in northern Kosovo, which continues to be an ongoing problem. The roadblocks are usually put in place in response to Kosovo authorities trying to establish border checkpoints. Belgrade claims they fully represent Serb opinions in northern Kosovo; however, Serbs in northern Kosovo are still largely marginalized. Property disputes are also very common in the region, as well; a Serb man recently shot an Albanian man after allegedly visiting property he claimed was his.
Beneath the Serbian and Kosovo fist fights, a stark political stunt was carried out in November of 2011 when around 50,000 Serbs residing in Kosovo began applying for dual citizenship with Russia. The political and economic factors of this move remain to be seen; the government in Belgrade called the action ‘un-patriotic’. However, this could be a clear indication of attempts by Serbs residing in Kosovo to state their strong disapproval of Belgrade’s policies towards Kosovo. Such actions pose another major problem for Serbia: a unified identity in Kosovo.
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