Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More fallout from Kosovo's declaration of independence

At least this time, the police were there in time to defend the Consulate.

Bosnian Serbs Try to Storm US Consulate

By IRENA KNEZEVIC – 2 hours ago

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Police fired tear gas at Bosnian Serb rioters Tuesday to prevent them from storming the building of the U.S. consulate after protests against Kosovo's independence.

A group split away from the almost 10,000 peaceful protesters in Banja Luka and headed toward the consulate, breaking shop windows and throwing stones at police who blocked the streets leading to the building with armored vehicles.

A rain of stones poured down on police before officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Several officers were seen limping. Police were also seen detaining several demonstrators as they withdrew to a nearby park.

Hundreds of hooligans attacked the U.S. embassy in downtown Belgrade Thursday, setting part of it on fire and smashing windows. One person died and hundreds were injured and arrested.

Some bystanders returning from the peaceful part of Tuesday's protest yelled "shame on you!" at the rioters and one man, apparently a former Bosnian Serb soldier, shouted, "This is not what I fought for!"

The incident occurred despite repeated calls by organizers to hold a peaceful protest against Kosovo's independence. Police secured diplomatic missions in the city and warned it would use all legal means to prevent violence.

Tuesday's protest begun with participants gathering peacefully at the main square in downtown Banja Luka, carrying Serbian flags, pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin and banners reading "No America." At least one U.S. flag had a swastika scribbled on it.

Bosnia consists of two mini-states, one run by Bosnian Serbs, the other by Bosnians and Croats. The Bosnian Serb parliament has condemned Kosovo's declaration of independence and said it will consider a referendum to secede from Bosnia if more countries recognize an independent Kosovo.

8 comments:

PhilippinesPhil said...

So, if enough Mexicans move to Southern California and then decide to "secede," shouldn't we respect their wishes ala the Kosovar Albanians and let them? I know Serbia has been viciously heavyhanded in the past, but it sure seems like we should have thought out this "recognition thing" a little first.

Digger said...

My friends and I have been having some interesting coversations about this very thing. But because I am open here about being a Foreign Service Officer, I unfortunately can't comment on issues of foreign policy.

Mark said...

1. As an FSO, are you allowed to comment on foreign policy as long as you say it is your PERSONAL opinion and not the opinion of the US government?

2. What options do you have to influence or voice opinion on US foreign policy if you have special insight or information that leads you to believe that a certain policy would be a disaster?

PhilippinesPhil said...

That must suck Digger. So, just comment in your own post as anonymous. Easy squeezy!

I just realized that you are one of women at the top of your blog? Oops. I think I called you "buddy" before.

Digger said...

Mark,

I probably could while I am here in the states comment and say something is my personal opinion. But it is a really fine line and because I don't want them to make me stop blogging about the service, I try to stay well on the safe side of the line.

We have channels within the service to express our opposition to any particular policy. There used to be a stigma to it, but that thankfully seems to be lessening.

Digger said...

Phil,

That occurred to me...but then what would be the point? People can probably figure out what I think by what I don't comment on anyway. Otherwise I'd probably say, "this is great, and here's why!"

Yes, I am one of the women in the photo. But I took no offense at being called buddy.

Mary said...

Interesting opinion piece on Kosovo independence in today's Washington Post: "Welcome to Kosovo, the Next Failed State" by Mark Kramer. Well put.

Digger said...

The Op-Ed Mary refers to is at:

Welcome to Kosovo, the Next Failed State?