Editorial

Cutting of the Balkan Melon

There seems to be no end to the cutting of the Balkan melon. The process of disintegration of the region is not going to end with Kosovo’s UDI. Instead, it is sure to have a domino effect not only on the Balkans but also on other parts of the world plagued by separatism. Georgia has become the first casualty of the ethno-political chain reaction that Kosovo’s breakaway has triggered. Ossetia and Abkhazia, South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity has said, have more political and legal jurisdiction than Kosovo to declare independence. It is feared that he may put his words into action. This alone is ample proof of what is in store for that fragile region prone to ethnic violence and fragmentation.

The immediate reaction of the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo might be to secede in protest from the newly carved out state thus compounding an already bad situation. Kosovo might have to resort to the same repressive methods that Serbia once used to deal with secessionist forces. If it does so, it will be a supreme irony. Belgrade will go all out to make Kosovo go through hell at least at the initial stages of its transition to a fully-fledged state as it is still at the mercy of the former, where electricity and water are concerned. However, it is highly unlikely that Serbia will contemplate military action, which will certainly be counter-productive and disastrous. For, such action, instead of warranting a direct military response from the US and the EU, will be indefensible for its close allies like Russia determined to torpedo Kosovo’s UDI in the UN Security Council.

Declaration of independence is the easiest of all the tasks involving the creation of a state. Problems come later. The bitter experience of Timor-Leste is far from encouraging to those who seek secession as panacea. It is mired in a crisis and slowly disappearing from the radar of its sponsors whose focus is now on its newborn baby, Kosovo.

The unity of Bosnia also stands threatened. Its Serb-dominated region may be prompted to merge with Serbia creating an intractable problem which might lead to fresh ethnic bloodletting of an unprecedented proportion. How do the backers of Kosovo’s independence propose to tackle such a mega crisis on the horizon?

The US lost no time in recognising Kosovo. So did the EU except five members. After all, Kosovo wouldn’t have resorted to UDI without their blessings. One may recall how Nazis manipulated the Balkan regimes during the World War II to bolster their rule. They used Croatian violence against Serbs and pitted Albanians against Serbs. What we are witnessing at present is a more sophisticated method employed by the US and its allies that are turning the Balkan states into willing or unwilling satellites vis-à-vis the influence of reviving Russia. The strategy of the present-day world powers seems to create a host of eunuch states so that they could reign supreme till kingdom come a la the ancient Chinese emperors who had a coterie of eunuchs as confidants.

Kosovo’s UDI has naturally sent a shudder down the spine of every nation battling separatism. Sri Lanka was prompt to reject Kosovo’s independence as a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and grave threat to international peace and security. Kosovo’s action, as the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry correctly pointed out, militates against the UN Charter, which enshrines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states.

If independent states are to be carved out haphazardly according to the whims and fancies of a handful of powerful nations, then the UN ought to be given a grand funeral. The UN has become a handmaid of not only the US and its allies but also some separatist movements. How certain UN functionaries are aiding and abetting separatist terror in this country is a case in point. Moreover, the very forces that engineered Kosovo’s breakaway are at work in Sri Lanka’s conflict resolution process. Little wonder that there is so much of resistance to the attempts by the UN Human Rights Commission to hang out its shingle in this country.

Strangely, the LTTE propagandists who were cock-a-hoop over Montenegro’s independence in 2006 are not so upbeat this time round. The beating the LTTE is getting in the Wanni cannot be the reason. (They are threatening to turn the tables on the military sooner or later.) It looks as if they had chosen to tread cautiously on Kosovo’s independence, because of India’s fears and concerns about their Eelam project, at a time when their political allies in Tamil Nadu are in hot water and they are doing their damnedest to win back India’s sympathy. Prabhakaran’s reference to the predicament of ‘80 million’ stateless Tamils the world over in his last heroes’ day speech had a hidden message—creation of a greater Eelam encompassing part of India, with a separate state in Sri Lanka as the launching pad, is the real plan of the separatist lobby.

Another reason for the LTTE sympathizers’ nonchalance may be the US stand on Sri Lanka, which has been consistent. Whatever the reason may be, the much maligned US has ruled out the possibility of the establishment of Eelam, though its close ally, the UK, has, as spelt out by its envoy Dominick Chilcott a few weeks ago, not rejected the LTTE’s goal as something illegitimate. The most hard-hitting pronouncement of the US policy towards Eelam came in 2000. Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering minced no words when he said that Eelam could exist only on ‘Planet of the dead’.

However, whether or not Sri Lanka is affected by Kosovo’s secession, it has created a dangerous precedent, which will boost the morale of the separatist movements the world over. The world has enough cause to worry about its future.

There is a strong possibility of the dark forces that the US and the EU have unleashed in the Balkans coming home to roost.

 

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