Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Fifth Frozen Conflict

Vladimir Socor , on the tactics Moscow is using to exploit the issue of Kosovo’s independence for its own geopolitical ends, both in order to establish a linkage that will enable it to continue freezing the resolution of the four post-Soviet secessionist conflicts, and as a way to block Serbia’s prospects of partnership and association with the European Union, and thus draw Serbia towards a closer reliance on Russia.

For its part, Russia threatens to veto any kind of solution on Kosovo’s status at this time. Instead, it aims for stalemate and lumping settlement in Kosovo with settlement of the post-Soviet conflicts. Such linkage would enable Moscow to use one negotiating process to obstruct or manipulate the other negotiating processes, either prolonging all of them indefinitely or offering concessions in one theater to obtain satisfaction in other theaters.

While the United States and the European Union reject any such linkage as baseless, Russia seeks to convert several EU and NATO member countries to the linkage thesis by exploiting variously their fears or ambitions. Discomfiting its post-Soviet secessionist clients, Moscow tilts clearly toward settlements ostensibly based on the territorial integrity of states at this stage, when its top priority is to win over Serbia as strategic ally while consolidating the gains already achieved in the post-Soviet conflicts.

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