On Friday, the Kosovar parliament voted in favor of the creation of a 5,000-man standing army. The plan has been deeply criticized by NATO, which has warned it will force them to reexamine their own military presence.
The plan has been discussed for a few weeks, with NATO opposing the idea. The US endorsed the plan, saying it was an “historic” move for Kosovo. Serbia, which still views Kosovo as part of its territory, has warned they may have to react militarily to the new army.
The issue, from the Serbian perspective, is that the Western-backed Kosovo government is Albanian-dominated, and prone to violent crackdowns on the region’s ethnic Serbian minority. The concern is that the military will just be used to escalate this, and to try to expel what’s left of the Serbs from northern Kosovo.
NATO forcibly separated Kosovo from Serbia, and has continued to back their independence. The split left a number of Serbs who opposed separation on the Kosovo side of the NATO-imposed border, and Kosovo has been trying to prevent them trading and traveling across the border.
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