Monday, June 05, 2023

Partying Like it's 1999...

At least in Kosovo, they have been.

If you're like most Americans, including me, the events of the Global War on a Noun that spun out from the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks have kinda taken your mind off the Balkans.

In 2001, when we changed the channel from the former Yugoslavia to southwest Asia, the Serbian military had been chased by a NATO bombing campaign from the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, where they'd been busily oppressing the majority ethnic Albanian Muslim population.

NATO troops, including the U.S. military, set up a peacekeeping operation known as KFOR, to make sure the Serbian military didn't come back.

Now that the credits have rolled on Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, it...uh, appears that The KFOR Show is still up and running and is in its 24th season.

For those of you who need a synopsis of what's been happening while we've been tuned in elsewhere, Kosovo officially declared its independence as a country back in 2008, and it's been recognized as such by 101 of the 193 member states of the UN. Serbia, of course, does not. (Serbia is also the only country west of Minsk that's all buddy-buddy with Moscow.)

There have been a couple recent flashpoints that upped tensions. The first (and sillier) was when the Kosovar government in Pristina insisted that ethnic Serbs in the northern part of the country had to stop using Serbian license plates on their cars and use official Kosovar ones.

The more recent, and serious, incident was caused by ethnic Serbs boycotting recent municipal elections in the northern parts of the country. Since these areas are heavily Serb, it meant Albanian Muslim mayors winning elections...that saw only four percent turnout.

The Serbs rioted, claiming that these elections were illegitimate. The government in Pristina retorted that if they didn't want Albanian Muslim mayors, then maybe the Serbs should have, you know, showed up at the polls.

Rioting injured some NATO peacekeepers, and the peacekeeping mission is getting staffed up.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of The KFOR Show!