Thursday, June 28, 2007

Reports from UNMIKistan ...

So the latest non-sex-related gossip in town these days is the "scandal" by a Swedish writer, who "dared" to write a series of articles portraying UNMIK in bad light. Her name is Maciej Zaremba and she ain't repentant folks :) [wait a minute ... why did I automatically assume the writer is female? Talk about bias....]. Maciej is a guy. Interesting set of articles for discource on Kosovo but I can see some holes in some of his claims. Regardless, I applaud the writer for daring to write this and making people think a bit. Who knows? The intended "target" audience might be reading and listening.

The articles can be found HERE in English. Read and enjoy them.


Part 1. Report from Unmikistan, Land of the Future
Part 2. The UN state and the seven robbers
Part 3. Complain in Azerbaijan
Part 4. Prowess, courage and plastic socks
A foundation for justice in Kosovo
A bizarre form of government
Kosovo - a pocket guide

And for those too lazy to go to the site, here is the exerpt of the "Kosovo- a pocket guide":

Kosovan means an inhabitant of Kosovo. A Kosovan can be Albanian (90% of the population), Serb, Roma, Bosnian or even Turk. At least half a million Kosovo Albanians live outside Kosovo.

Albanians are not Slavs and their language is as strange to a Serb as Finnish is to a Swede. Culturally they are Muslims (as a result of the Ottoman occupation, which lasted between the 14th century and 1878), but they are not particularly practicing nor are they orthodox. As an example the end of Ramadan can be celebrated by drinking raki (grape brandy) and dancing.

Serbias claim on Kosovo is based on the fact that the centre of Medieval Serbia was located in the province. It is also based on the late myth (from the 1880s) concerning the importance of the battle of Kosovo Polje (Field of the blackbirds, 1389), when Serbs and others were defeated by the Ottomans.

The present conflict dates back to at least 1912 when the Serbs reoccupation of Kosovo turned into a massacre on Albanians. Six years later they were expected to become loyal citizens of the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes". In post-Second World War Communist Yugoslavia, Kosovo Albanians were considered inferior people, comparable to how Gypsies were regarded in Sweden in the thirties. But the province enjoyed autonomy.

The hostilities started symbolically in April 1987 when a fairly unknown Communist functionary named Slobodan Milosevic in a speech at Kosovo Polje turned into a Serb nationalist. As the president of Yugoslavia he abolished the autonomy of Kosovo in 1989. The Albanians countered by proclaiming independence, with Milosevic in turn dismissing all ethnic Albanians in the provincial government. Thereafter Kosovo was governed from Belgrade as an occupied country.

The Balkan wars started by Serb attacks on Bosnia and Croatia in 1992 and Kosovo was abandoned by the media. Seven years of peaceful resistance (with a parallel clandestine government, school and health care) made little impression on the outside world. Milosevic was forced to give up Bosnia through the Dayton-agreement in 1995 but he was allowed to keep the control of Kosovo.

The Kosovo Albanian guerilla is called UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army). It started attacking Serb police and "disloyal" compatriots in 1996. Milosevic countered by sending in troops and paramilitaries. In 1998 they started torching villages, resulting in hundreds of thousands of people having to flee. Three years after Srebrenica another ethnic cleansing was in the making.

The UN Security Council issued resolutions urging Milosevic to stop the violence. When this did not help the Contact Group(France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Great Britain and USA) proposed a settlement between Serbia and Kosovo. In Rambouillet the parties were faced with an ultimatum: armistice and negotiations about Kosovos future status - or military intervention in Kosovo. Rugovas shadow government signed, Milosevics government refused. And so

On the 24th of March 1999 NATO was engaged in warfare for the first time in its history. It took three months of bombing to compel the Serbs to withdraw their troops from Kosovo. On the 9th of June, with Milosevic already indicted by the Hague tribunal, the UN security council agreed on resolution 1244 concerning UNMIK. United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo was to be the biggest mission in the history of the UN: the UN would be in charge of all governmental functions and keep them until a democratically elected provincial government could take over. The UNs functionaries began arriving in June 1999.

Revenge. When the Serb troops had withdrawn, after killing maybe 10,000 persons, the Albanians took their bloody vengeance. Whole Serb families were massacred. The passivity of the UN can be explained by the fact that in the autumn of 1999 in Kosovo there were 50,000 NATO troops, a few thousand UN functionaries, two thousand foreign journalists but not a single police officer. The international police started arriving much later and at a pace depending on the UN member states willingness to spare their constables.

UNMIK is headed by an SRSG, meaning Special Representative of the Secretary General, that is the envoy of the head of the UN. All the seven SRSGs (which in the text are called UN governors) were appointed by Kofi Annan. The UN and UNMIK draft laws (regulations") and exert executive power. A governor has four deputies, each heading a "pillar". Number one is responsible for law and order, number two for civil administration, number three for democratization (led and financed by OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), number four for economic reconstruction, financed by the EU.

In addition there are the NATO forces, Kosovo Forces (KFOR). All five entities are subordinated to the governor, who reports to the Secretary General of the UN, who in turn reports to the Security Council and to the General Assembly.

In this article and in the following ones the expression "UN-people" includes functionaries and soldiers within the four pillars and NATO since they are all operating under the UN mandate even if some are formally employed by the EU or by the Swedish Armed Forces. (See UN S/1999/672)

The seven SRSGs, or the Kings of Kosovo:
Sergio Vieira de Mello (June-July 1999), Bernard Kouchner, until January 2001, Hans Haekkerup, until December 2001, Michael Steiner until July 2003, Harri Holkeri until June 2004, Søren Jessen-Petersen until September 2006, Joachim Rücker - still on duty.

1 comment:

KM said...

Actually the writer, Maciej Zaremba, is a man. Polish origin but luckily, for Swedes at least, active in Sweden.

He's a brilliant writer going where few others dare. Never afraid to put the searchlight on things that need illumination.

Actually, I can't think of any better journalist for the moment...