Fears of Imminent Serbia-Kosovo Clash Begin to Ease

December 30th, 2022 - by Larry Johnson / Sonar21 & Steven Starr & Fox News & TASS & Antiwar.com

Serbian Army has Russia’s backing in disputes with Kosovo.

On The Precipice of World War III?

Larry Johnson / Sonar21

(December 26, 2022) — Not content with provoking Russia into invading Ukraine, the West, with the United States and the United Kingdom as the biggest instigators, is stirring the pot in Serbia and encouraging Kosovo to open a new front in hopes of diverting Moscow from completing its Special Military Operation in Ukraine.

This is not the first time that the Balkans plays a bit role in lighting the fuse that detonates a conflagration in Europe. When Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary on June 28, 1914, it sparked the ensuing “World War” pitting England, France and Russia against Germany, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary.

History does not repeat exactly. The current set-up pits Russia against most of Europe (except Serbia and Hungary) and the United States. If the tensions along the border of Serbia and Kosovo erupt into a shooting war, it will reinforce Moscow’s belief that the West is hell bent on destroying Russia and will make negotiations for peace impossible.

I don’t know about you, but I wake each day with a sick pit in my stomach. There are no adults leading the Western governments who have labored under the delusion that they have Russia cornered and reduce it to a pauper.

I believe we are witnessing the end of Pax Americana. Americans are pretty parochial and certainly do not see themselves as an imperial power intent on ruling the world. But the political class that infests Washington, DC certainly believes it has the sole right to impose its will on the world.

The wake-up call that will come with the collapse of Pax Americana will shake the United States to its core and a new world order will emerge. I hope it does not come from a massive bed of smoldering embers.

Steven Starr — The ambassadors from the US, UK, France, Italy, and Germany have threatened the Serbian government, giving the green light to Kosovo to take military action if the Serbs do not act to remove roadblocks set up between Serbia and Kosovo.  Russia is a historical ally of Serbia and could take military action to come to Serbia’s aid if war breaks out.

Armed Serbian troops gather along the Kosovo border.

Serbia Deploys on Kosovo Border

Steven Starr / Special to EAW 

(December 27, 2022) — In July, NATO said it was prepared to intervene in Kosovo “if stability is jeopardized.”

The Fox News report omitted the actions of Kosovo that triggered the setting up of roadblocks, as this is the official US narrative (see the second article copied below).  The US apparently is eager to send in NATO troops to Serbia, as this will almost certainly trigger a Russian response.

The Archduke Ferdinand is being sent in to negotiate.

Serbia Deploys Troops for
‘Combat Readiness’ on Kosovo Border

A Decades-long Feud between Serbia and Kosovo Sparka Security Concerns

Fox News

(December 27, 2022) — Serbia has placed combat-ready troops along its border with Kosovo as tensions soar and long-simmering ethnic divisions resurface.

Serbia’s Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said Monday he “ordered the full combat readiness” of the troops on the border after he was instructed to do so by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

The order was issued to ensure that “all measures be taken to protect the Serbian people in Kosovo.”

Kosovo police officers patrol at a roadblock near the northern part of the ethnically-divided town of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Dec. 27, 2022. (REUTERS/Florion Goga)

Hours later, Serbs in the ethnically divided northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica erected roadblocks for the second time since August.

The moves come after months of roiling tension and claims that Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, is preparing to attack the ethnic Serbs in its northern regions.

The Kosovan government accused Serbia on Tuesday of attempting to destabilize the government.

“It is precisely Serbia, influenced by Russia, that has raised a state of military readiness and that is ordering the erection of new barricades, in order to justify and protect the criminal groups that terrorize… citizens of Serb ethnicity living in Kosovo,” Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla said, according to Reuters.

Serbia has denied these accusations.

Serbian Armed Forces Put on High Combat Alert

TASS News Service

BELGRADE (December 27, 2022) — The president of Serbia in the capacity of the supreme commander-in-chief has ordered to put the Serbian Army on high combat alert.

Serbian armed forces were put on a high combat alert upon an order from Commander-in-Chief and President Aleksandar Vucic, Defense Minister Milos Vucevic told the Tanjug news agency.

“The president of Serbia in the capacity of the supreme commander-in-chief has ordered to put the Serbian Army on high combat alert…,” the minister said. “It ups us to the highest level of actions, which the Serbian Army must follow protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia and its citizens.”

Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic said: “In line with the order of President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Alexandar Vucic, I have ordered to put on full combat alert all units of the Interior Ministry.”

Serbia’s Vecernje Novosti daily reported late on Monday citing sources close to a NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR) that the authorities of the unrecognized Kosovo put their troops on full combat alert preparing for an operation on dismantling barricades in northern Kosovo and Metohija.

According to the newspaper, about 1,500 servicemen received orders to remain at their deployment sites or within reach being ready for a possible relocation at the night time.

On December 25, the ambassadors of the Quinta countries (the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Italy) demanded from the Serbian president to remove the barricades within 24 hours, threatening that otherwise they would not hinder attempts by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti to resolve the situation on his own. Kurti stressed that the dismantling of the barricades in northern Kosovo may involve casualties and should be completed as soon as possible.

The situation in Kosovo escalated abruptly on December 6, when Kosovo special forces accompanied by EU mission patrols started capturing electoral commission buildings in the northern parts of the region. The Serbian population organized itself and repelled the Kosovars, pushing them past the River Ibar.

On December 8, some 350 Kosovan policemen invaded the Serb-populated northern part of the region using armored vehicles and blocked the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. On December 10, the Kosovan police arrested Dejan Pantic, a Serb and former policeman, under contrived charges. In response, the Serbian population started mass protests and barricaded highways in several settlements.

Serbia Ends State of Alert for Military
As Kosovo Stand-Off Eases

Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo began dismantling roadblocks.

Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

(December 29, 2022) — Serbia on Thursday lifted the combat readiness alert for its troops that it enacted on Monday as ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo agreed to remove barriers they erected in protest against authorities in Pristina.

As the Serbs began dismantling roadblocks on Thursday, Kosovo also reopened a border crossing with Serbia that it had closed. The roadblocks were erected this month after a former ethnic Serb police officer was arrested for allegedly attacking an election commission office.

Kosovo also stepped up its police presence in the north Serb-majority areas, raising tensions even more. When Serbia placed its military on high alert earlier this week, it said they were ready to deploy troops to Kosovo to protect ethnic Serbs, but tensions appear to have eased, at least for now.

The Serbs who populate the northern areas don’t recognize Kosovo as a country and don’t consider the authorities in Pristina as their government. Most of Kosovo’s population outside of the northern areas are ethnic Albanians.

Tensions have been high in Kosovo since the summer when Pristina tried to enact a law that would ban Serbia-issued license plates. The Serbs in northern Kosovo still use license plates and other documents issued by Belgrade and are against the idea of using Pristina-issued plates.

Pristina is backed by NATO and the alliance’s force in Kosovo, known as KFOR, stepped up its patrols in the north due to the recent tensions. There are about 3,700 NATO troops deployed in Kosovo under KFOR, including over 600 US troops.

NATO has had a presence in the region since its 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia that resulted in the creation of the state of Kosovo, which formally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but isn’t recognized by many countries.

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