More NATO Troops Deploying to Kosovo After Violent Protests

    More NATO Troops Deploying to Kosovo After Violent Protests
    Last updated May 31, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • Following violent protests in northern Kosovo that left dozens of NATO peacekeepers injured on Monday — after they formed security cordons around town halls in the region to separate Albanian authorities from Serb demonstrators — NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) said on Tuesday that it will deploy additional forces, with protests continuing into Wednesday.[1]
    • Kosovar police and KFOR troops were seen protecting the municipality buildings in Zvečan, Leposavić, Zubin Potok, and Mitrovica on Monday as Serbs reportedly gathered in the first three cities to protest ethnically Albanian mayors that were to assume office in Serb-majority regions.[2]
    • Clashes between protesters and local police — which is almost entirely made up of ethnic Albanians after most Serbs quit the force last year — earlier erupted in Zvečan, with officers using pepper spray against the demonstrators who tried to force their way into the government offices.[3]
    • As tensions have risen, Belgrade has sent army reinforcements to the border with Kosovo — which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — almost ten years after the conclusion of the Balkan wars that ripped apart what was once Yugoslavia. The army has been put on a heightened state of alert.[4]
    • The US and EU managed to obtain verbal agreements from the Kosovar and Serbian governments in March to defuse the long-simmering situation by granting Kosovar Serbs more autonomy, with the government in Kosovo's capital Pristina retaining ultimate authority. However, tensions have remained on multiple issues, with Western nations calling on Kosovo's government to de-escalate the crisis.[4]
    • A powerful Serb party leader called for Kosovar forces to withdraw from the municipal buildings to be replaced by KFOR peacekeepers instead. The dispute has larger geopolitical implications, as Serbia is supported by Russia, and the US and Europe support Kosovo's independence.[5]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Though Pristina needs to avoid escalating this situation any further and shares some of the blame for recent tensions, ultimately, it's Serbia that is stoking conflict in Kosovo. The only reason there are now ethnically Albanian mayors in Serbian-majority regions is that the Serbs in those regions boycotted local elections, directly leading to their lack of political representation. Mediation and cooperation is the only way forward.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Kosovo's political leadership is stoking the current tensions between Serbs and Albanians. Voter turnout for the recent local elections in northern Kosovo was less than 5%, rendering the so-called "elected" mayors completely illegitimate. Ironically, though the only reason for Kosovo's separatist aspirations is Western pressure, the West is now condemning Kosovo's government for its violent actions against Serbs.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Serbia will recognize Kosovo by April 2036, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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