Kosovo PM, Ramush Haradina (right) and Kosovo minister of Foreign Affairs, Begjet Pacolli (left). Photo: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLE
A steady stream of US and European diplomats are passing through Kosovo, meeting with senior government officials. Their message is more or less the same – revoke the trade tariffs imposed against Bosnian and Serbian goods entering Kosovo and return to the Brussels-mediated negotiations.
Pristina’s heels remain firmly dug in however. The government is refusing to budge. Analysts and opposition politicians warn that this – as well as a fresh Interpol application – are all part of an erratic foreign policy which is beginning to alienate Kosovo’s key allies. Our analysis looks at the problem in greater detail.
Read more: Kosovo’s Erratic Foreign Policy is Alienating its Allies (March 18, 2019)
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Ankara, Turkey, 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/STR
Were Croatian intelligence agencies involved in a clandestine effort to plant weapons and explosives in Bosnian mosques, as part of an effort to paint the country as a hotbed of radical extremism? These are the claims published by the independent Sarajevo outlet Zurnal and since ‘confirmed’ by Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic.
If it is confirmed that there is any truth to these claims, they could be the biggest scandal in Bosnian-Croatian relations since the end of the 1992-1995 war. Croatia has vehemently rejected the accusations, while Bosnian prosecutors have opened an investigation. As Aleksandar Brezar notes in his comment for Balkan Insight, while this is hardly the first case of Croatian meddling in Bosnian politics, it takes ‘meddling’ to a whole new level.
Read more: Croatia Looks Implicated in Serious Hybrid Warfare Against Bosnia (March 15, 2019)
Shpend Ahmeti. Photo: Atdhe Mulla
Once the rising star of Kosovo’s politics, Pristina Mayor Spend Ahmeti has gone from being a symbol of potential political change to a faded hope. As a vocal civil society activist, he led the New Spirit party for a brief period of time in 2010, merging into Vetevendosje in 2011. On the Vetevendosje ticket, he managed to dethrone the LDK, one of the oldest parties in Kosovo, from the long-held Pristina mayor’s office, sending shockwaves through Kosovo’s politics.
Since then, Ahmeti and a number of his MPs have split from Vetevendosje and gone their own way. At the end of last year, his new Social Democrats drifted towards propping up the ruling coalition. Ahmeti and his supporters argue that they are using their support for the government to condition certain changes. Yet Kosovo analysts warn that Ahmeti has seemingly changed his colours so many times that he has lost most of his former credibility.
Read more: Shpend Ahmeti – Kosovo’s Faded Symbol of Political Hope (March 20, 2019)
Armed police patrol across the road from the Al Noor Masjid on Deans Rd in Christchurch, New Zealand, 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
In the scramble to report on the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand, it is perhaps not surprising that local news outlets tried to frame it in a way that would be most interesting to local audiences in the Balkans. Ultimately, however, regional coverage of the massacre, as well as reactions to it, seems to tell us more about the region than about the massacre itself and the motives of the attacker.
Much of the reporting focused on whether – or not – the attacker had been influenced by Serbian and other Balkan nationalisms in some way or not. Yet, as Aleksandar Kokotovic argues in his comment for Balkan Insight, such interpretations were usually extremely crude and simplistic, exposing a real lack of understanding of internet culture and far-right online communities which really inspired the attacker.
Read more: Christchurch Massacre Symbolism Provokes Toxic Balkan Disputes (March 19, 2019)
Ghosts of the Past
Poster in Banja Luka in 2018 showing Radovan Karadzic and Milorad Dodik. Photo: BIRN.
On March 20, the UN Tribunal in the Hague upheld a previous conviction for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic. It also increased his sentence to life in prison.
Read more: Karadzic Verdict Will Reinforce Ethnic Divisions, Analysts Predict (March 19, 2019)
Milo Djukanovic in Podgorica, Montenegro, 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/BORIS PEJOVIC
However big the anti-government protests in Montenegro may have become, it would still be safer to bet on President Milo Djukanovic and his DPS riding out this storm than being swept away by it. Yet a lasting legacy could be an awakening to the power of civic activism and protest.
Some analysts believe that Montenegrin citizens are finally realising that society – or groups within it – can affect change outside political parties. A case in point are not just these protests, but also previous protests in different corners of the country which mobilized local groups around specific issues. We look at this new rising tide.
Read more: Montenegrins Wake up to Power of Popular Protest – Analysts (March 21, 2019)
- Best Nikon lenses 2018: 10 high-end optics for full-frame Nikon DSLRs
- Best Canon lenses 2018: 10 high-end optics for full-frame Canon DSLRs
- Is the brilliant, quirky, flawed Surface Pro right for you?
- Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review: A stylish midrange choice
- Best Nikon lenses 2018: 10 top options for Nikon APS-C DSLRs
Erratic Highs and Hybrid Lows have 855 words, post on balkaninsight.com at March 21, 2019. This is cached page on TechNews. If you want remove this page, please contact us.