In Kosovo, Violence Gets Results

In Kosovo, Violence Gets Results

Following a violent struggle for control of two checkpoints on the Kosovo-Serbia border, the immediate danger of an escalating crisis has been averted. But the cost has been to reinforce the message that violence delivers results.

On the night of July 25, Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci sent special police to seize a pair of border posts in the country's lawless, Serb-dominated north, resulting in the death of one Kosovo Albanian police officer and injuries to four others. The police withdrew under fierce resistance from the locals, leaving Kosovo Serbs barricading roads to prevent their return. Others torched one of the disputed border posts on July 27. For the Serbs of northern Kosovo, the line between Kosovo and Serbia is not a national border, just an administrative boundary within Serbia.

KFOR, NATO's force of 6,300 peacekeepers, including around 800 Americans, moved units into the area to prevent the situation deteriorating further while negotiators scrambled to find a solution. The police had been sent to enforce an embargo on Serbian imports that Pristina had imposed on July 20 in a sudden response to Serbia's refusal to lift its own embargo on imports from Kosovo, which has been in place since Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008. Serbia refuses to accept Kosovo's customs stamps, in contrast to states such as Cyprus, Hungary, Romania, Spain and Slovakia that acknowledge the stamps despite not recognizing Kosovo's independence.

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