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Jingoism: A New Definition

At a time when a war between Russia and Ukraine is going on in Europe, tension mounts in the Balkans. In the last week of December 2022, Xhelal Sveçla, the Internal Affairs and Public Administration Minister of Kosovo, blasted Russia for provoking Serbia to wage a war against his country.

Tensions and clashes have been raging in Mitrovica, a predominantly Christian Serb area in the northern part of the Islamic nation in the Balkan region, for the past few days. The protesters have demanded annexation to Serbia, accusing the Kosovo Government of repression. Sveçla has alleged that efforts are being made to create unrest in that region with the help of the pro-Moscow Government in Belgrade.

Meanwhile, Miloš Vučević, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Serbia, has admitted that Belgrade, fearing an attack on Serbs living in Kosovo, has started making preparations for a war. He has said that the Serbian Army is at the highest level of combat readiness. As expected, the military preparation by the neighbouring country has made the situation more complicated in Kosovo.

Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, the President of Kosovo, is currently facing twin fears of disruption of internal peace and possible attacks by neighbouring Serbia. Residents of the Serb-dominated Kosovan city of Mitrovica are worried about the current political situation there. They believe that the Kosovan Forces can attack them at any moment. Since December 10 (2022), the Serbs have separated Mitrovica from other parts of Kosovo by parking huge trucks on the road, connecting the Serb-dominated and the Albanian-dominated areas of the city. Reports suggest that the Kosovan Army is fully prepared to break the barricade before launching attacks on the Serbs.

Once, Kosovo was part of the erstwhile Yugoslavia. Following the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the Muslim-majority Kosovo became a province of Serbia. Since then, there have been demands for secession from Serbia due to religious demographics.

Kosovo had been under the supervision of the UN since 1999. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its Independence from Serbia. So far, Kosovo has gained diplomatic recognition as a Sovereign State by 101 member states of the UN. However, Serbia still claims Kosovo as its integral part. The Christian-Serb population of northern Kosovo are in favour of joining Serbia.

Defence experts have noticed unrest in Mitrovica and surrounding Serb-majority areas in Kosovo for the past few days. The Western media, too, have noticed the “growing activities” of the Serbian Armed Forces near the Serbia-Kosovo border areas. Interestingly, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, popularly known as a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has accused the US and some Western European nations of creating troubles for the Serbs in Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Foreign Policy experts are of the opinion that the Balkan cannot afford a fresh conflict, right now. They have opined that Balkan is a sensitive region in Europe, and the Global Community should help both Serbia and Kosovo normalise the situation.

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