Mitic: KFOR and NATO look away, letting Pristina do as it pleases

Aleksandar Mitić
Source: Kosovo Online

A Research fellow at the Institute for International Politics and Economics, Aleksandar Mitic, assessed for Kosovo Online that KFOR and NATO "look the other way," allowing Pristina and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti to do as they please, and emphasized that Serbs had to be prepared in the coming days for a series of dangerous actions that Kosovo authorities might carry out.

According to Mitic, the biggest losers in what happened overnight from Saturday to Sunday in Banjska are the families of the victims, as well as all Serbs and Albanians.

"Belgrade is also a loser because just a few days ago, at the UN General Assembly session, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic eloquently pointed out the double standards regarding respect for territorial integrity and why Serbia cannot give up Kosovo and Metohija, as it is being asked of it," Mitic said.

He states that pressures are being exerted on Serbia precisely through such escalating crises that Kurti, Pristina, and the Quint have been conducting for some time now.

"We can say that even greater losers than Belgrade are Kosovo Serbs who live and will continue to live in an atmosphere of fear and are currently experiencing a real horror. Everything we hear through the media, from friends and acquaintances, everything that is happening at this moment down there and what will happen in the next hours and days is frightening and indicates that the main goal of that terror is Serbs in Kosovo," Mitic said.

He believes that it remains to be seen who the winner will be.

"At first glance, it seems to be Kurti and the Quint. Each for their own reasons, but they have common interests. Kurti succeeded in legitimizing by force what he has been doing for a year now, which is to control the situation in northern Kosovo, despite violating all possible agreements that Belgrade had with KFOR and NATO. We see that KFOR has allowed Pristina to do whatever it wants, not only yesterday but also in the previous period," Mitic said.

He added that Kurti legitimizes himself as a factor controlling security in the north.

"He has been working on this with some members of the Quint for a year now. There were tactical differences within the Quint; some were against allowing violence, while others advocated a tougher stance, and it is evident that the tougher line ultimately prevailed," Mitić said.

He added that it was clear that NATO and KFOR were not reacting because there was a policy of "looking the other way."

"It is clear that there is this so-called 'carte blanche' or 'laissez-faire' policy, a policy where NATO looks the other way, does not do its job, and lets the Albanians legitimize by escalating violence what they consider the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Pristina over the entire territory of Kosovo and Metohija, including the north, which has had a huge problem since the end of the NATO aggression. What is clearer is that EULEX does not know what it is doing in Kosovo. Their members are probably having coffee in Pristina while all this is happening, and KFOR looks the other way, while Albanians with various, mostly illegal and illegitimate formations - given that many of them operate outside UN Security Council Resolution 1244 - act as they please," Mitic said.

He added that the main goal of the whole story was for Serbia to forget its interests.

"To forget what the position of both Belgrade and Kosovo Serbs was when they left the institutions almost a year ago when they opposed the violence of Pristina and Kurti and the inaction and insufficient pressure from the West on him to fulfill what was agreed in the Brussels agreements, whatever they may be. And in my opinion, they are not good for Serbian interests, as could be seen from what happened yesterday, when the Serbs were left to fight on their own, unarmed, in the sense that they did not have the support that could have come from Belgrade," Mitic said.

He added that "pressure on Kosovo Serbs forces Belgrade to return to dialogue and the implementation of the bad Franco-German plan and the agreements from Ohrid".

"On the other hand, there is no guarantee that Serbian demands will be met that the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities will be established, and that Kurti's violence will stop. This is a kind of shortcut through which pressure will be exerted on Belgrade. If Belgrade, after what happened yesterday, accepts to participate in the dialogue according to plans and schemes that are probably being discussed in Brussels at the meeting of Lajcak, Eskobar, and the Quint members at the moment, it will be bad for Belgrade. It will not improve the position of Belgrade or Kosovo Serbs," Mitic believes.

He adds that there is a fear of new pressures on the Serbs in the north.

"We see that we can no longer imagine where the next pressure will come from; there is a whole range of different methods used to discriminate against Serbs, whether it is harassment, arrests for alleged war crimes, bans on importing medicines and food, violence, throwing bombs. The atmosphere of fear and violence that has been created and is being created suits Pristina and those behind it in the Quint. This means that the Serbs in Kosovo must be prepared for a whole series of dangerous actions by Pristina, which unfortunately can lead to new victims," Mitic emphasized.