In Kosovo, a debate in parliament led many to tears, but this may not be in the way one would expect. Tear gas is often deployed in protests and riots. However, it is not usually used by protesters. In Kosovo’s parliament, opponents to the government showed their dissatisfaction through detonating tear gas cannisters. This is not the first time this has happened. The incident on the 30th of November was only the latest in a string of these actions. The fifth incident this year, the culprits intend to derail debate or discussions on which they disagree.
When is a state not a state?
[via Sofia Globe]
Kosovo is a tiny state, and its very existence is contentious and a subject of great debate and controversy. Kosovo is disputed territory, and is only partially-recognised. 112 states recognise the country, leaving 85 which do not. As such, Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, however it enjoys membership of the International Monetary Fund and other international bodies, and competes in the Olympics. The nations which support its claim to independence and self-determination are an interesting mix. 82% of European Union member states recognise Kosovo, and it has been earmarked for future EU expansion. 86% of NATO, and 60% of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also recognise the country. However, it is the lack of recognition that has helped to ferment tensions (and deploy tear gas) in the Kosovan parliament.
All or nothing
[via Kosova Haber]
With any movement, there is a mix of opinions. Even when defined goals are similar, methods and means may vary significantly. This lies at the heart of Kosovo’s political situation. Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 1991, in response to genocide against ethnic Albanians, declaring independence formally in 2008. Currently, the state is not recognised from Serbia, which considers it as part of a region within Serbian territory. Russia also does not recognise Kosovo. The 1991 secession was aided by NATO bombings which took place over almost three months, in an attempt to stop the expulsion and killings of ethnic Albanians. This explains why most of NATO supports the country’s independence. The fissure in Kosovo’s political establishment lies with deals made with Serbia.
Kosovo’s government agreed to grant more powers to ethnic Serbians within Kosovo, and on its border with Montenegro. Any deals with Serbia and Montenegro are seen by hard-liners as acquiescing, and the first step towards losing total control of the country. The opposition party Vetëvendosje (Self-Determination Movement Party) is one such group, and it is responsible for deploying the tear gas. “There will be confrontation. We shall not allow holding of the assembly sessions,” declared opposition politician Glauk Konjufca. There have been calls from Kosovo’s government for the opposition to be banned for its tactics. With mounting tensions inside Kosovo’s parliament, it seems unlikely that any issues will be soon resolved.