Tsarizm
Analysis

Balkan Land Swap May Solve Current Leader’s Problems, But Could Start WWIII

Image by David Liuzzo
Location of Serbia in Europe, the disputed territory of Kosovo is highlighted

It seems the political leaders in and around the Balkans have a plan to swap land between Kosovo and Serbia, and potentially solve the most serious of Balkan problems. Although tensions have eased somewhat between the two formerly warring parties, many issues remain unresolved. Chief among them are the Serbian enclaves in northern Kosovo. On a recent trip to Albania, Tsarizm spoke with multiple experts and analysts in the region.

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For its part, the Trump administration has essentially outsourced diplomacy in the region to Alex Soros, backed by his father of course, George Soros, unaware of possible pending ‘troubles’. We have written about this before…here. However, what are the possible motivations of the world and local leaders themselves that are pushing this ‘solution’?

It seems the prospect of a ‘border correction’ between Kosovo and Serbia could be a classic example of a Trumpian negotiating tactic. By proposing such a shocking, momentous adjustment, the parties are attempting to get the international community to accept other smaller changes to ease tensions on the Balkan Peninsula. The world’s big powers have always wielded influence here and their involvement in a solution is critical.

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia knows a remedy needs to be found in recognizing Kosovo, and wants it to happen; however, he is also keenly aware that he needs to bring some ‘glory’ back home to Serbia in exchange for such a concession. With the land swap, he can declare he returned the Serbian, Orthodox, glory lands to the Slavs. He also wants a ticket to the EU. “If we ever reach an agreement (with Pristina), Serbia would need to get clear guarantees that it would become an EU member state in 2025,” Vucic told Reuters in an interview.

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci needs support from the international community said one source to Tsarizm. He has corruption in his past. This will help him get past that issue with the European Union. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wants glory; he wants to be the savior of the Balkans, and will do what Soros tells him to do, added another Balkan pundit.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, is manic to get a deal between the two nations. Her term ends next year. “Think John Kerry looking for a peace deal in the Middle East. She wants the Nobel Peace Prize,” said one analyst.

The outlier is Russia, who obviously supports the Serb position. Any deal to swap land and fix borders would give legitimacy to Russian efforts to do the same in its ‘near abroad’. Think Crimea, East Ukraine, and maybe Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the future.

The Turks have long had influence in the region (through the Ottoman Empire) and have been quietly building capability to shape policy throughout the Balkans, especially Albania, Bosnia, and Kosovo. President Recepe Erdogan would like nothing else than to develop an autonomous Muslim enclave with the states that have a history of Islam, and correct the losses of the Ottoman wars.

The EU has mostly been against such a deal. The response from Kosovars and ethnic Albanians in the region could be explosive, leading to unrest and possible violence. The ‘solution’ may also open up problems in other Balkans frozen conflicts. If one piece of land can be swapped, one border moved…why not another, and another and another? Ethnic tensions could flare once again in this volatile region of the world.

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In any event, those pushing to swap lands in the Balkans are playing with fire. In Kosovo there is a determined opposition to such a policy and they are becoming more vocal. Kosovo’s opposition political parties sent a letter to the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini saying that Thaci “does not represent us, nor the people of Kosovo in this process.” They said any territorial swap or change is “dangerous for peace in the region and therefore are unacceptable,” reported Associated Press recently.

Thaci would be seen as traitor and the agreement would never get through the Kosovar parliament, said an analyst in Albania to Tsarizm.

There is pressure on all sides to find a way forward so Serbia and Kosovo can join the EU, before Turkey, Russia, and even China make further inroads to pull the Western Balkans back towards the East.

Once again, the Balkans are boiling. The next six months will be very interesting for those interested in The Great Game.

“It’s always the Balkans in the springtime,” warned a source in the area.

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