Europe’s only Muslim nation for some, and a secessionist region for others, Kosovo’s bid for recognition of its independence raises many questions with no answers. The question that has interested most of the world is – what precedent does Kosovo set for the rest of the world?
If one believes in the domino effect, Kosovo’s independence may see a boom in more states. But even as some European Union members don’t recognize Kosovo, one wonders if that “domino effect” is boom of self-declared republics recognized by some and unrecognized by others (such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia).
Whatever the case, Hungtington’s clash of civilizations is one theory not working in Kosovo. There is not a clear-cut clash of Christianity and Islam in the conflict – not at least in the walls of the United Nations.
Kosovo, reportedly, is failing to get Islamic support in the face of a Serbian-sponsored United Nations resolution that will ask an international court to consider the legality of Kosovo’s claim to independence.
Ironically, despite the fact that around 90 percent of Kosovo’s two million people are Muslims, only six members of the 57-state Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have recognized its independence.
The day after the independence declaration, OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu issued a statement declaring “our solidarity with and support to our brothers and sisters there.”
“There is no doubt that the independence of Kosovo will be an asset to the Muslim world and will further enhance joint Islamic action,” he said.
But at an OIC summit in Dakar, Senegal, less than a month later, OIC heads of state resisted an initiative led by Turkey and merely voiced “solidarity,” leaving recognition up to individual member states.
The only six to have taken the step so far are Turkey, Albania, Afghanistan, Burkino Faso, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
Analysts attribute the Islamic states’ unwillingness to support Kosovo to a reluctance to anger Russia, Serbia’s historical ally, which strongly opposed the independence move.
While Russia might have influenced such behavior (although we should be observant of conventional anti-Russian explanation lately), the idea of “territorial integrity” is crashing Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” in international relations. Azerbaijan, for one, won’t support Kosovo due to the fear of the “domino effect” on Nagorno-Karabakh, the breakaway Armenian region. What is the future of unrecognized states?