Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Quiet Support Behind Ceku's Political Rise

This analysis by Statfor claims that Gen. Agim Ceku was propelled to power(PM) by U.S. influence. While it’s hard to verify such claims, one thing is sure: Ceku has had a very special relationship with the U. S military for over 15 years; Starting with the war in Croatia in 1991, when US military advisers helped to train the Croatian Army, then during NATO’s War against Serbia, and finally his cooperation with the American KFOR in Kosovo after the war. In addition to that, Mr. Ceku has a very close relationship with several Military Colleges in the United States where he has been sending members of KPC to train. He is known to have visited these colleges regularly in the last couple of years.

March 03, 2006 19 40 GMT


Summary

Kosovar Lt. Gen. Agim Ceku appears poised to become prime minister after President Fatmir Sejdiu asked him to assume the role March 2, one day after Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi resigned. Although Ceku's guerrilla background worries Serbia and some other European countries, Kosovo's political leadership and the United States are ready for Ceku's ascension to power.

Analysis

Kosovo's newly elected President Fatmir Sejdiu asked Lt. Gen. Agim Ceku to become prime minister March 2, one day after Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi resigned during a government shake-up. Ceku, a former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrilla leader and current head of Kosovo's Protection Corps, is a controversial figure. He has been accused of masterminding at least two massacres of Serbs during the Kosovo war. He is also allegedly involved in organized crime.

So why would a former guerrilla with no previous political affiliation suddenly skyrocket to power? Ceku is considered a hero in Kosovo and is known for his effective leadership style. He also has never openly sided with one political party until now. More importantly, Ceku has quiet support from the United States. Ceku cooperated with NATO and Washington in 1999 and 2000 in the last stages of the Kosovo war. As a result, the United States has intervened more than once to prevent Ceku's indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague.

For the United States, which has significant influence in Kosovo, Ceku is a known quantity. Kosumi was not. Kosumi was a student activist and teacher, which meant Washington could do little to pressure him. Kosumi even received criticism from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for failing to implement required changes, including filling all government positions. This led Kosumi's Alliance for the Future of Kosovo party to press for his resignation after he failed to comply with international protocol. U.S. military leaders likely know a great deal, both good and bad, about Ceku and can take some comfort in NATO's ability to influence him.

European leaders said March 2 they will withhold judgment on Ceku until after he assumes power. Europe's capitals intend to see how well he abides by human rights agreements, which means Brussels will be watching to see how many Serbs die or are run out of Kosovo after Ceku becomes prime minister.

The ministerial substitution comes during a delicate period between the first and second rounds of U.N.-mediated talks between Kosovar Albanians and Serbians regarding Kosovo's status. The United Nations, which has administered the province since 1999, believes Kosovo will gain independence by the end of 2006. However, Ceku's sudden appearance on the political scene will exasperate Serbia, because Belgrade considers him a war criminal. Ceku's possible appointment seems to be a slap in the face for Serbia, but that will matter little if the U.S. and Kosovar political leadership want Ceku in a position of power

2 comments:

arianit said...

Nice! Ceku rocks. I love his patience. He didn't join politics immediately but instead took his time and let things develop. He's a coolhead and yet a guy that gets things done. He enjoys respect among all parties and is a respected war figure by the people of Kosova.

Balkan Update said...

Well said. Ceku is the only public figure that is respected by all political parties.According to opinion polls, he is the most respected politician in the country.