Page 944 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 944

Dušan T. Bataković
  Kosovo & Metohija, Serb-inhabited Areas, 2002
it was rightly observed that “neither United Nations po- lice forces nor NaTO Kosovo peacekeeping forces (KFOR) were willing to acknowledge that as early as the previous summer there had been an increase in ethnic and criminal violence against minorities and police that had raised the total expulsions of Serbs, Roma and other minorities since 1999 to 240,000. Regardless of the warnings of minority leaders, checkpoints and sentries protecting Serb settle- ments and churches had been withdrawn. The number of KFOR personnel had been prematurely reduced, to 17,500 troops. Neither civilian officials nor the military command were prepared for the two-day pogroms by majority alba- nians against non-albanians. There simply were no con- tingency plans for such an emergency.”25
The March pogrom of 2004
in March 2004 it became obvious, at least to international observers, that some leaders of the Kosovo albanians be- lieved that by several orchestrated waves of ethnic cleans- ing of all the remaining Serb population from the Province they could present the international community with a fait accompli. The incentive for the next wave of ethnic cleans- ing was the mild international reaction to the previous eth- nic cleansing of two-thirds of Kosovo’s Serbs that had be- gun in mid-june 1999. although Kosovo’s Serbs had been
Kosovo & Metohija, March 2004 Pogroms
warning of the real nature of albanian nationalism in Ko- sovo for years, both the UN and the West assumed they were exaggerating, only to receive a confirmation of al- most all Serbian claims in just three days of orchestrated violence—the March pogrom—Kosovo’s Kristallnacht.
The previous destruction of at least 117 Serbian cultural sites, mostly churches and monasteries, passed almost un- noticed or was mildly criticized everywhere except in Ser- bia, Russia and Greece. ethnic purity, as envisaged by Ko- sovo albanian extremists, however, is not a concept that can be accepted as the legitimate foundation for either de- mocracy or state independence. it became evident that none of the values of the West would eventually take root in the lawless, illegal trafficking paradise of mafia-ruled Kosovo, a “Balkan Columbia,” as it was named by international ex- perts for drug trafficking routes to Western capitals.26
The official pretext for the three-day campaign of vio- lence against the Serb-inhabited enclaves triggered on 17 March 2003 was the tragic drowning of several albanian children in the ibar River near Kosovska Mitrovica. The
26 “international agencies fighting the drug trade are warning that Kosovo has become a ’smugglers’ paradise” supplying up to 40% of the heroin sold in europe and North america. NaTO-led forces, struggling to keep peace in the province a year after the war, have no mandate to fight drug traffickers; and—with the expulsion from Ko- sovo of the Serb police, including the ’4th unit’ narcotics squad—the smugglers are running the ’Balkan route’ with complete freedom.” (Maggie O’Kane [from Belgrade], “Kosovo drug mafia supply heroin to europe,” The Guardian, 13 March 2000). Cf. also Nick Wood [from Priština], “Kosovo ’mafia’ strikes,” The Guardian, 13 September 2000.
  Quoted from Marie-janine Calic, “Standards and Status. Vio- lence against minorities a year ago scared everyone,” internationale Politik, Munich 2005.

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