Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
NATO has expressed its ‘regret’ that Kosovo has decided to upgrade its Security Force into an army, but the move is just the next, logical step on the road to full statehood, which western powers have encouraged.
It’s got a flag. It’s got its own FIFA-recognised football team. It’s in negotiations to join the Eurovision Song Contest. And now Kosovo has set out plans to have its own army. This week, the parliament in Pristina voted to transform the light-armed, crisis-responsive ‘Kosovo Security Force’ (FSK), into a proper army, with 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists.
As you might have expected, the development has been met with an angry response from neighbouring Serbia, which still regards Kosovo as its own territory and is concerned that the new army, despite Pristina’s assurances it would be multi-ethnic, might be used against the Serbian minority living there.
What is really interesting though is the response from NATO. The military alliance, which let’s not forget carried out a 78-day bombing campaign against the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 ostensibly to protect Kosovan Albanians, and which led to Kosovo’s separation from Serbia, has criticized the move, with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressing his ‘regret’.
Stoltenberg said that the North Atlantic Council would have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement with the Kosovo Security Force. Which is ironic, when we consider how the FSK came into being. It was set up almost ten years ago as the successor to the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). Which itself was established ten years earlier, in September 1999,