3pm is it

As of this afternoon, map makers will be forced to add yet another country to their product: Kosovo. At 15:00 today in Kosovo, the parliament will convene and vote on independence but that is merely a formality. The outcome has long been certain as I found out quickly while visiting in May.

By tonight we should expect a flurry of recognition by the US, UK and most of the EU. Cyprus and Romania will stay out. Yet, the real question isn’t as much what will become of Kosovo as the thousands of international troops there leave little to the imagination. No, the real uncertaintly is that of Russia’s reaction. Will Moscow suddenly recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both breakaway regions in Georgia?

In addition, although the massive international troop presence will contain and hopefully prevent violence within Kosovo, I worry that civil unrest could take hold in Serbia as the government is powerless to react with substantive measures. A blockade and perhaps even power cuts have been predicted. We’ll soon find out.

‘”No Negotiations. Independence!” (in Albanian) is a slogan spraypainted all over Kosovo. I’ll leave readers with some of my collection of pictures of that.

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About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
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