This weekend finally saw the much anticipated declaration of independence by Kosovo. We’ve been predicting this moment for a couple of months, so back in November we asked United States Institute of Peace scholar Daniel Serwer to help us anticipate some of the immediate consequences of a Kosovo’s declaration of independence. At the time, he was quite pessimistic.
What would be the fall-out [from Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence?] It could be bad. You could have efforts by Belgrade to grab the northern piece of Kosovo, which has a Serbian majority, and declare its own independence. And perhaps even Republika Srpska (the Serbian half of Bosnia) as well. Belgrade is in a position to make a lot of trouble in the aftermath of a Kosovo declaration of independence.
So far, things are relatively stable in Republika Srpska. But this is certainly not the case in the northern part of Kosovo, where Reuters is reporting that mobs of Kosovar-Serbs torched border crossings and a police station in protest. The New York Times even quotes one unnamed western diplomat, saying “we are minutes to partition.” Kosovo, a very small country, may soon become even smaller–and more ethnically homogeneous.