Mrdalj: Kurti seeks physical conflict, which is where is strength lies, while Serbia fails to leverage its advantages

Mladen Mrdalj
FOTO: Mladen Mrdalj

„Anything that can be used to trigger physical conflict (such as traffic signs, license plates, roads, ID cards, goods transport, flag display…), Kurti will use for conflict because this is where his strength lies. Serbia did not respond well on the fronts where it has trump cards: 1. Economic-cultural-administrative strengthening of settlements loyal to Serbia 2. Stronger diplomatic activity towards withdrawals of recognition 3. Stronger propaganda activity towards the Western public,“ political scientist Mladen Mrdalj assessed yesterday’s events in the north of Kosovo.

On Monday, the Kosovo police closed all five branches of the Poštanska Štedionica bank in the north and the Treasury Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia, whereby they confiscated over two million euros in various currencies, along with documentation and forced out the employees of these facilities.

The police acted in a synchronized manner, together with the Tax Service of Kosovo, at the order of the prosecution.

In an interview for KoSSev, Mrdalj underscored the gap in the balance of power between Pristina and Belgrade.

„The authorities in Pristina are stronger on the ground in a military sense because they operate within the NATO umbrella, so it is easiest for them to achieve success through violence,“ the political scientist stressed, adding that they have an additional incentive because Albanian voters reward such actions in the elections, while NATO does not punish them.

„In the worst case for the Albanians, NATO intervenes to calm the situation,“ he said.

„If NATO were to turn against the Albanians and if a bigger conflict broke out, it would completely sully the entire narrative of humanitarian intervention and Kosovo’s independence as a ‘cure against Serbian oppression,'“ Mrdalj emphasized.

Belgrade has an advantage in the diplomatic field, but it is on the defensive

On the other hand, despite Belgrade having an advantage in the diplomatic field, it is totally on the defensive, Mrdalj told KoSSev.

„That advantage is reflected in the fact that Kosovo cannot enter the UN. As long as Serbia in practice opposes Kosovo’s membership in the UN, many countries will consider it a unilateral and violent secession and will not be able to support Kosovo’s membership in the UN,“ he pointed out.

Russia and China might support Kosovo becoming a UN member, he stated, noting that this would only be done „in exchange for some big concessions that Western countries would refuse to accept.“

„For example, Russia could demand recognition that Crimea is part of Russia, but the US cannot do that. If they did that, it would cause widespread outrage in Ukraine, but also in the Western world, because doing so would recognize that the international order has returned to colonial times, to pure power relations and trade in the territories of small states.“

„It would signify the collapse of liberalism as the leading ideology of the creators of Western foreign policy in the last thirty years.“

Partition is a more realistic outcome, yet Belgrade is not prepared for it either

If former US President Donald Trump is elected again in the US elections, which are set to be held at the end of the year, Mrdalj foresees the possibility of such a global scenario actually taking place.

This political analysis, however, added that in that case „the partition of Kosovo would be more likely.“

Commenting on potential future scenarios under such circumstances, Mrdalj even presented the possibility of an internal Albanian conflict:

„Trump wants the role of peacemaker, Vučić desires the role of savior of anything, even if it is just the north of Kosovo, and the Albanians, frightened by the loss of American support, would probably turn against Kurti and accept to sacrifice the north of Kosovo in exchange for Serbia’s recognition. In that case, it is possible that there will be intra-Albanian conflicts, the dimension of which we can hardly imagine now. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the Serbian leadership is preparing for such a scenario.“

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