Crossfire War – Belgrade – Athens – Tehran Watch – Central – Southeast Europe Theatre: Belgrade – Tehran – Athens – Moscow – Zagreb – Bratislava/Budapest – Ljubljiana – Vienna – Brussels – Warsaw; Nationalistic – Territorial Dispute Threatens to Break Out in Slovakia – Maritime Dispute Resurfaces Between Croatia/Slovenia – UN Kosovo Envoy Not Optimistic – Talks Will Not Extend Beyond February
Night Watch: BRATISLAVA – While the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are understandably concentrating their undivided attention on the flashpoint of Kosovo, other divisive ethnic and nationalistic disputes are threatening to break out in Central Europe.
It is now reported, by TA3-TV in Slovakia, that the more than 500,000 ethnic Hungarians, who live in the south and southeast of the country are watching very closely the progress ethnic Albanians are making in their attempt to secede from Serbia. [SERBIANNA]
According to the ruling coalition in Slovakia, the Smer-Social Democracy party and the Slovak National Party, the ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia, just across from Hungary, are viewing Kosovo as a model, since it seems the UN is willing to redraw a national boundary for the benefit of an ethnic minority. Of course, what they are not saying publicly, is that this is being done after heavy fighting began by various Albanians militias against Serbian units in 1997 and even more attacks against the Serbian population in Kosovo after 1999. The Hungarians in Slovakia are 10% of the 5 million population.
Anna Belousovova, one of the officials of the ruling coalition in Bratislava stated, “I remember very well how Miklos Duray, from the Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK) sent congratulations to Kosovo Albanians pointing out that it would be they who will test the possibility of such a path.”
When Czechoslovakia agreed to divide in 1992 a Brtish observer warned that Eastern and Central Europe were in danger of descending into tribalism. That was obviously no exaggeration. Serbian leaders have been warning for more than a year if Kosovo is recognized by the UN it would encourage secessionist movements from the Balkans to the Caucasus. They now have to include Central Europe.
Another territorial dispute, which has flared up again, is the maritime issue between Slovenia and Croatia. It revolves around an oil drilling contract, a five year extension to the Slovenia state controlled oil company INA. Zagreb is accusing Ljubljiana of appropriating territory of the Republic of Croatia. Both captials are organizing a joint session of their Parliaments and observers are saying the confrontation could be extremely acrimonious and lively.
Shooting is not expected to erupt but very little shooting was expected when Yugoslavia divided in 1991. The perfect understanding the European Commission in Brussels expected that would solve the crisis calmly went out the window in what was supposed to have been an example of the new European unity. [SERBIANNA]
Back to Kosovo, UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari is now saying if anyone comes up with “a brilliant idea” on how to bridge the gulf between Serbs and Albanians please let him know. Otherwise a solution will have to be imposed to prevent violence. But what he refuses to realize such an imposition will cause the Serbs to attack any sign of independence, while any further dely will cause the Albanians to attack. Ahtisaari has also stated talks to resolve the issue will not be extended beyond this month and that NATO peacekeepers may be withdrawn. [SERBIANNA]
I just can’t see how NATO can avoid the trap it set for itself when it agreed to recognize this regressive process of European nationalistic-ethnic-religious, hateful identity. Any Barony, County, Duchy, Principality or City State with a flag or standard since the time of Charlemagne can unfurl it and demand recognition. After all, they recognized Croatia and its twisted boundary, so why not ours? There is virtually no end to this.