The third anniversary of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence which is widely celebrated on February 17 highlighted the actual situation in Serbia’s breakaway province.The existence of Kosovo in its present condition reflects a combination of the crisis of the system of international law, the advent of the “new world order”, and the rise of “the Great Albania”, which is the world’s first country to be built on purely ethnic foundations.

A coalition deal between H. Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo and billionaire Behgjet Pacolli’s New Kosovo Alliance is expected to go through by the end of February in Pristina. As a result, Thaci who currently faces the Council of Europe’s charges of mass murder, weapons smuggling, and drug and human organs trafficking will retain the premier post, and the scandalous Pacolli suspected of fraud related to construction operations in Russia and the CIS will likely become the president of Kosovo.

Regardless of the fact that by now 75 countries recognized Kosovo’s independence (11 of them – in 2010-2011, by the way), formally the Kosovo statehood continues to lack legitimacy. Kosovo separatists may hate to admit it, but according to UN Security Council Resolution 1244 passed on June 10, 1999, which remains in effect, Pristina is to be represented internationally by the UN mission. As for the international community, it clearly has no intention to exert serious influence over Kosovo. On the one hand, the PACE passed a harsh resolution condemning the crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army. On the other, Thaci remains the key partner in Kosovo for the UN and the EU. Swiss prosecutors are in the process of probing into the abuses which are on the record of Pacolli’s Mabetex, but at the same time the EU expresses support for the deal which is about to propel Pacolli to presidency in Kosovo. The moment’s hot issue in Pristina is: can Pacolli’s connections in Moscow be employed to urge Russia to recognize Kosovo?

European parliament member and former UN Office on Drugs and Crime director P. Arlacchi said recently that in Kosovo the mafia and the government mean essentially the same thing and that, backing the Kosovo administration, the EU is pretending to be unaware of the province’s being run by a criminal elite. He also said that at the moment Kosovo is the center of organized crime in Europe and functions as a hub for heroin transit from Afghanistan. The revelation sheds light on both the political quagmire around Kosovo and the attempts made by Albanian separatists and, notably, certain external forces, to benefit in various ways from the province’s sinking into chaos.

On the conceptual level, the Kosovo settlement process was derailed back in 2005. At that time, then UN Secretary-General K. Annan sent a letter to the UN Security Council stating that the decisions on the province’s future should be made on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, that is, with due respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and Serbia as its successor. Also in 2005, the International Contact Group somehow passed a resolution asserting that the Kosovo situation must not revert to the condition of 1999, the year the UN Security Council Resolution was passed. The mess in the sphere of international law allowed the West to push for the Kosovo independence.

It is another example of the incoherence of the UN approach to Kosovo that while in 2005 former Kosovo Liberation Army field commander R. Haradinaj went to the Hague to face war crime charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, then head of the UN Kosovo mission S. Jessen-Petersen openly expressed support for Haradinaj. Jessen-Petersen said Hardinai had made great sacrifices in the name of Kosovo’s happy future and said he hoped to see him serve his country as before. Even the Hague Tribunal’s chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte was shocked – she criticized the UN Secretary-General’s envoy for taking sides in a case that the Tribunal was yet to hear and remarked that the statement exposed the UN mission’s weakness and total dependence on Albanians.

The January PACE debates over Kosovo showed that Europe is beginning to realize the nightmarish contours of the situation in Kosovo. A Kosovo-based commentator opined in this connection that currently the West’s perception of the province is a lot more negative than at the time the independence was proclaimed. Still, the US, the EU, and NATO invested too heavily in the Kosovo project politically and financially to ever back off, and the Albanian leaders who look at the Kosovo independence as the first step towards the creation of the Great Albania obviously count on that. The three years of Kosovo’s pseudo-independence were only the initial phase of the process.

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