The Kosovo Quagmire

National Review Online has a piece by Damjan de Krnjevic-Miskovic on the continuing sectarian violence in Kosovo between Slavic Serbs and ethnic Albanian Muslims. This conflict has been going on for centuries, and now violence has broken out on the greatest scale since the 1999 war.

How did this week’s events begin? Just as in the 1930s, a rumor became a fact and prearranged plans were put into action. Members of the victimized community (in this case, Serbian children) were accused of chasing four Albanian children into a river and causing the death of three of them. Hours later, the U.N. Mission — which is what passes for authority in Kosovo — issued a statement that the accusation against the Serbs was false, adding that the surviving Albanian child had told the U.N. that no Serbs had been involved in the drownings. Nevertheless, anti-Serb violence did not abate. And today Kosovo burns still.

Beginning in the ethnically divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica, a horde of armed Albanians crossed into the Serbian half of the city and breached a Polish peacekeepers’ line. Half a dozen people of both ethnic groups were killed.

A series of 12th Century monasteries from the Serb Orthodox Church have been burned to the ground in the fighting. A NATO official has said that he believes that the fighting was organized in advance by the Albanian Muslims who were the victims of Serbian ethnic cleansing in the previous war.

The situation in Kosovo has only been simmering in the time that the province has been under the rule of the UN – five years of rule that has seen little progress in resolving the age-old ethnic tensions of the area. Quite the opposite, the UN has barely managed to keep the peace and has generally made Kosovo a UN protectorate that has no chance of standing on its own at any time without exploding into another war.

This is why the idea that the UN is an agency for peace is simply untrue – in nearly every case where the UN has intervened they’ve done nothing to address the actual causes of the conflict and only excerbate the situation. The UN’s first mission was to Cyprus – a mission that began 50 years ago and has yet to end. The UN operations in Korea, Somalia, Kosovo, and Iraq have either been ineffective or have ended with the UN fleeing because they can’t even protect themselves.

Imagine what Iraq could have been if the UN controlled it – there would be no hope of indepedence from the colonial rule of the UN bureaucracy, the old Ba’athists would still be sending their kickbacks to the UN, sectarian strife would quickly rise between the Shi’a and the Sunni, and the UN would eventually run just as they did after their lax security lead to the bombing of their Baghdad compound.

The UN is a broken dream, an ineffective and often dangerous organization that knows more about lining its own pockets than promoting world peace. They have become little more than a rostrum for dictators and an agency dedicated to profitting from tyranny.

It is time for the idea of the UN as being a knight in a blue helmet to die before more innocents do.

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