The city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo is a Christian Serbian enclave surrounded by Muslims who are happy at their nation’s declaration of independence from Serbia. Early this week, hundreds of Serbians in the town stormed the court house, took possession, and raised Serbian flags in protest. UN and NATO peacekeeping soldiers attempted to take back the court house, but hundreds of civilians poured into the street creating scenes of chaos in the town. The angry mob even freed a few dozen men who had been seized by NATO forces.
The Serbian government is engaged in a rather precarious game in which their goal is assuming control of areas in northern Kosovo where many Serbians still live and unite those areas with Serbia in an act of defiance to the world. The European Union and the United States fear any action to placate Serbians will initiate anger and violence on the part of Albania and Kosovo which could escalate into a more extensive war. On Monday, Serbian Foreign Minister for Kosovo said: “Have faith in Belgrade. We will pay back the international community for what they have done to us. Only Serbia should be responsible for Kosovo.”
The fighting words of the Serbian diplomat are certain to incite further action on the part of Muslims in Albania and Kosovo. The Serbian government realizes an invasion of Kosovo would bring down the wrath of NATO and the United States. In the meantime, they intend to keep things in a state of chaos.