Argument: Northern Kosovo serbs may secede from an independent Kosovo
- Craig Smith. "Kosovo's independence drive kindles ethnic fears". Herald Tribune. February 4, 2007 - "MITROVICA, Kosovo: Thuggish Serbian 'bridge watchers' still maintain their vigil on the north side of the Ibar River here, ready to punish any ethnic Albanian who dares to cross the unofficial boundary between Serbian and ethnic Albanian territory in Europe's unfinished war.
- Kosovo, still officially a province of Serbia, is bitterly divided between Serbian enclaves, including a large chunk of the north, and the rest of the territory, which is overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian. Now, as the United Nations nudges Kosovo toward what it calls "final status" and Belgrade calls independence, many of northern Kosovo's Serbs are threatening to break away.
- 'Northern Kosovo will secede,' warned Oliver Ivanovic, a moderate Serbian politician here. Mr. Ivanovic says he has been warning the United Nations, NATO, the European Union and the United States that, nearly eight years after a NATO bombing campaign drove the Serbian Army and other security forces out of Kosovo, it is still too early to settle the status of the disputed territory. 'Kosovo's independence will leave no space for the moderates to act.'
- Secession by northern Serbs could provoke Albanian reprisals against Serbian enclaves elsewhere in Kosovo, warn Serbs and Albanians alike, and could destabilize a still fragile region full of ethnic slivers separated from their homelands."
- Richard C. Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who helped broker the Dayton Accords ending the Bosnian war. "Holbrooke: Kosovo Independence Declaration Could Spark Crisis" (interview). Council on Foreign Relations. December 5, 2007 - "Around the town of Mitrovica in the north is a predominantly Serb population and then there are Serb communities scattered throughout other parts of Kosovo. It is my assumption that Serbian-populated districts, which did not participate in the recent elections at all, will announce that they do not accept the fact that they are part of a newly declared independent state of Kosovo. They’ll say, 'No, we’re still part of Serbia.' So you’ll have another one of these breakaway conflicts, which have dotted Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in the last fifteen years, such as in Nagorno-Karabakh [a de facto independent republic within Azerbaijan but claimed by Armenia], South Ossetia [a rebellious part of Georgia backed by Russia], Abkhazia [an independent republic within Georgia that is not recognized by any state but backed by Russia] and Trans-Dniester [a breakaway part of Moldova also backed by Russia]. I suspect these Serbian areas in Kosovo will fall into that category.
- I would have thought by now things had calmed down, but I guess not.
- Who knows? Most people hate each other, really hate each other, much more than in Bosnia. In Kosovo, there was almost no intermarriage, there are completely different languages, different cultures sitting in the same land—it’s much more like Arabs and Israelis. Bosnians, Croats, and Serbs all spoke the same language, all went to the same schools, all lived together—it wasn’t the kind of apartheid that you’ve got in Kosovo. And there’s so much history there. Even in the Middle East, you will not find people who hate each other as much as these people."