Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Why Will Kosovo Be a Real Flashpoint

Kosovo the spiritual home of the Serbs may be the the real flashpoint of the East and West. Frankly this is a Slavic/Orthodox homeland of which Russia is the historical guardian. WWI started here and destroyed three if not four empires and killed millions.
Even pro American Slavs recognize the potential to worsen American relations in the area.

" - We warned the U.S. against a unilateral resolution of the Kosovo question," said Konstantin Remchukov, an opposition friendly editor-in-chief of the Putin-critical Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "We said that it would irreversibly lead to a broad wave of anti-Americanism in Russian society and accusations of double standards."

" - Everyone agreed that, after such an event, there would be little to keep Transdniestria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia from seceding from Moldova and Georgia," said Irina Yasina, program director of the U.S.-supported Open Russia foundation and a former guest at the George W. Bush White House."

To add to the complications is the potential Turkish role which , given the situation in Iraq, may become even more complex:

"Today, June 5, Turkish NATO forces in Kosovo assume a one-year command of NATO’s Multinational Task Force South (MNTF-S), one of NATO’s five regional commands of Kosovo Force (KFOR), responsible for establishing and maintaining security in the disaffected Serbian province. NATO peacekeepers have been deployed in Kosovo since 1999 under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244.
Turkish Brigadier General Ugur Tarc─▒n will command MNTF-S, which also includes Azerbaijani and Georgian teams. Ankara is to send an additional 300 soldiers to reinforce the contingent. In a collateral “hearts and minds” initiative, a Turkish medical unit within the battalion will also provide health services for Kosovar civilians. Turkey will hand over command of the Task Force to Austria in May 2008. At this year’s transfer ceremony Tarcin said, “We will be putting another stone to ensure and to improve security and stability. I believe that everyone knows how necessary a safe atmosphere is for the reconstruction and development of Kosovo.” It seems most unlikely that Belgrade will be pleased with the deployment, especially given the historic Turkish presence in the province.

Turkey has a longstanding presence in Kosovo, having ruled it for nearly six centuries following the battle of Kosovo in 1389, when Ottoman forces defeated the Serbian army of Prince Lazar. The current deployment suggests that NATO has concluded that Turkey, the sole Muslim member of the alliance, has a unique peacekeeping role to play in Muslim areas of NATO operations; last month Turkey also assumed command of NATO's Kabul Command, part of its Afghan International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), NATO largest ground operation in its history."

With U.S. Russian tensions, U.S. Turkish tensions who knows what will happen? Its likely to be an unpredicted outcome .

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