War in Kosovo Research
Document Type:Research Paper
Kosovo is mainly of mountainous terrain besides having two major plains and several lakes and rivers. Despite having so many of its citizens and inhabitants speaking Turkish, Bosnian, Croatian and Romani, the official language in Kosovo is Serbian and Albanian. Kosovo is largely made up ethnic Albanians, up to 90% of the population, who mainly practice Islam2(Gilberto 2013, 6). The other 10% of the population mainly practice Orthodox Christianity. Historically, the Kosovo Albanians, who are popularly referred to as Kosovars are thought to have been descendants of the ancient Dardanians. Tension grew between the Serbs and the Albanians because the Serbs were feeling, and they were, outnumbered by the Albanians who has moved into Kosovo. The war period was marked by ethnic cleansing that caught the attention of the international community.
The war grew from Tito’s socialist strategy of suppressing some ethnicities in Kosovo to undermine the Serbian Culture. The autonomy given to Kosovo sparked a lot of political unrest in Serbia. Albanian call for independence and the aggressive response of the Serbian government led to rising tensions between the two ethnicities, Albanians and Serbians5(Andrew 2009, 599). He achieved this by creating autonomous states/governments in the provinces of Kosovo and Metohija and Vojvodina. Despite being formally autonomous, Kosovo did not practice full independence since the government practiced much control of it even having secret police crack down on some of its very outstanding separatists among who some were charged for subversion and espionage. The short impact of the separatists was minimal at that time, but it is significant to recognize that some of its initiatives became a core foundation of the Kosovo Liberation Army9(Nardulli et al 2002, 157).
College and University students played a key role in the build up to the war through riots and demonstrations where they had Tito formally recognize the representative powers for Albanians in Yugoslav and Serbian States in addition to a better recognition of the Albanian language10 (Wilson 2009, 459-56). In 1974, a new constitution granted Kosovo the status of a province and thus it gained mandate of a fully operational republic which included having a seat on the federal presidency, national bank, police force, and its own assembly 11 (O'Connell 2005, 35). The memorandum was received with critique and love in equal measure. Old guard communists led by the Serbian Communist party official Slobodan Milosevic opposed the memorandum while Albanians saw this as move to establish a stronger and more superior Serbia15(Sörensen 2009, 200).
Milosevic proclaimed an anti-bureaucratic revolution in 1989 in Vojvodina and Kosovo limiting the autonomy of both besides imposing a state of emergency and curfew in Kosovo following violent demonstrations. Several causalities were registered. Milosevic and his administration provided that the changes in the constitution were essential to shield the remaining Serbs in Kosovo against the aggression of the Albanians. KLA through its spokesperson Jakup Krasniqi, announced that its goal was to unite all Albanian inhabited lands19(O'Connell et al 2005, 175). KLA was listed as a terrorist organization by the Yugoslavian and the United States department of State20 (Weller 2009, 130). However, in 1999 the USA secretly started giving support to KKLA terming their relation as an effective alliance. Historians claim that KLA soldiers received paramilitary training from the United Kingdom.
The USA maintained its sanctions on Yugoslavia. The United States under President Bill Clinton declared a state of emergency based on what they termed as extraordinary and unusual threats to its national security as well as foreign policy22 (Cottey 2009, 601-85). The attributed the threat to directly come from Serbia and Yugoslavia due to their war with Kosovo. The united nations on the other hand, following reports it has received on the use of excessive force by the Yugoslavian army and Serbian security forces and that at least 230,000 individuals had been displaced, demanded for ceasefire from all parties23(Arraiza and Massimo 2009, 422-21). On the 24th of September 1998, NATO’s North Atlantic Council gave out an activation warning thus getting ready for limited air option and phased air campaign in Kosovo.
Many of the nations that supported the use of force reasoned that more that 250,000 Albanians had been displaced and out of this number at least 30,000 were out in the woods, with neither shelter nor warm clothing and winter was approaching24(Arraiza and Massimo 2009, 422-21). It was their belief that the NATO involvement would help prevent a possible humanitarian disaster in Kosovo. The war also received support from several intellectuals and commentators, groups and individuals. An example is the description by Michael Ignatieff who provided that the intervention of NATO is a “morally justifiable response to ethnic cleansing and the resulting flood of refugees, and not the cause of the flood of refugees29 (Nardulli 2002, 123). ” Several news websites and publishers such as The Guardian, and The Nation weighed in on the matter.
Despite the support the war received from many nations, China was outstandingly against the war. Implementing this Resolution presents a major test for the international community and thus will affect internationally on similar conflicts and the resolution. It is noticeable that there was insufficient preparation on the part of the international community in forming a civilian government and thus created loopholes for organized crime and violence by radical Albanian nationalist who mainly target the Serbian population34(Roberts 1999, 105). Many Serbs have thus moved out of Kosovo. The moderates in Kosovo have gained political strength. They have embraced the international community policies on multi-religious and multi-ethnic community as part of coexistence within a nation. "FPC Briefing: The path to inclusivity and stability in Kosovo.
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