The Kosovo Crisis: Origins and History
by Carl K. Savich
Table of Contents
Medieval Serbian Empire
Ottoman Rule and Serbian Migrations
Failure of the Medieval Albanian State
Ethnography of Kosovo
Kosovo During World War II: 1941-1945
Kosovo in Post-War Communist Yugoslavia: 1945-1981
Economy and Migrations
Evolution of the Autonomy of Kosovo
Epilogue: Kosovo or Kosova? (An Epistemological Analysis)
Why is there a Kosovo crisis? What are the origins, roots, and causes of the ethnic and political conflict in Kosovo? What issues are crucial in understanding the crisis? Are the roots to the conflict in Kosovo found in the historical development and evolution of the region, in "ancient ethnic hatreds", in the occupation of the region by foreign powers, in the demographic changes which resulted from war and occupation, the migrations and immigration, or in recent political policies. President Bill Clinton stated that the crisis in Kosovo can be blamed on a single individual, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic: "The roots of this conflict lie in the policies of Mr. Milosevic, the dictator of Serbia. For more than 10 years now, he has been using ethnic and religious hatred as a path to personal power and a justification for the crime of ethnic cleansing and murder of innocent civilians." What "solution" does President Clinton offer to the Kosovo crisis? The solution Clinton offers is that the people of Kosovo be given "the autonomy they were guaranteed under their constitution before Mr. Milosevic came to power." But will autonomy create stability and political integration of Kosovo within Serbia and Yugoslavia or will the opposite more likely occur? To determine the answer to this question, the evolution of Kosovo's autonomy within Serbia and Yugoslavia will be examined.
The history of Kosovo and Metohija is central and crucial in the development and emergence of Serbian national and religious consciousness and in the formation of a Serbian identity. During the Nemanjic Dynasty, Kosovo-Metohija, which made up a region called Old Serbia (Stara Srbija), was the religious and political center of Serbia. Pec was the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church while Prizren was the political capital of the medieval Serbian state.
To understand the significance of Kosovo for Serbs, one has to examine the medieval history of Kosovo, which is so central in the Serbian national consciousness.
With the occupation of Kosovo by the Ottoman Turks following the Battle of Kosovo on June 28, 1389, the Serbian Orthodox Christian population began to slowly migrate out of Kosovo due to threats, intimidation, and to an inferior and subservient position as Christians in a Muslim state. The Serbian Orthodox population was gradually replaced by Albanian Muslims. The fact of ethnic migration is crucial in understanding why there is a continuing conflict in Kosovo today, a conflict based in large part in demographic change.
The Austrian-Turkish wars led to the Great Migration of 1689-90, when thousands of Serbian families were forced to abandon their homes and villages in Kosovo and leave the province. This migration pattern will be examined because it explains why the demographic changes occurred in Kosovo.
Under Muslim rule, many of the Albanians converted to Islam and attained dominance over the subordinated Serbian population. A dichotomy or division emerged between Christians and Muslims, between Serbs and Albanians. There was a further split between Roman Catholicism and Eastern or Greek Orthodoxy. The Serbian Orthodox population was discriminated against and Serbian peasants faced oppression under Albanian Muslim landlords and rulers.
Kosovo played a crucial and central role in nineteenth-century Serbian nationalism and the Serbian nationalist goal to reclaim and unite former Serbian lands occupied by the Ottoman Turks. Similarly, Kosovo played a key role in Albanian nationalism with the formation of the League of Prizren in 1878 which sought to unite all the territories settled by ethnic Albanians. The two nationalist goals clashed and were in conflict with each other.
Kosovo became a part of Serbia after the First Balkan War of 1912. During World War I, Kosovo was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian and German armies. In 1918, Kosovo again became a part of Serbia with the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which in 1929 became Yugoslavia. Albanian guerrillas and separatists, known as kachaks, began a guerrilla war against the new government, seeking secession from Serbia and unity with Albania. The Serbian government sought to resettle Kosovo during the interwar period, 1918-1941, with the colonization programme, which sought to restore ethnic diversity and ethnic balance in Kosovo by settling Orthodox Serbs.
During World War II, Kosovo was annexed to Albania and a Greater Albania emerged, albeit one controlled by Benito Mussolini's Italy and Adolph Hitler's Germany. Not only Kosovo-Metohija, but also parts of Montenegro and western Macedonia were annexed to the Italian-German sponsored Greater Albania. The plight of the Kosovo Serbian population will be examined during this Albanian rule. The role of the Balli Kombetar and the 21st Waffen SS Division "Skanderbeg" will be examined in creating an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo.
Kosovo emerged with defined political and geographic boundaries only in 1945, when it was made an autonomous region of Serbia. Was the nationalities problem "solved" by the Yugoslav Communist leadership? Yugoslav Communist nationalities policies will be examined. The evolution of the autonomy of Kosovo did not lead to stability and integration. The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution granted to Kosovo de facto republic status within Yugoslavia. Albanian nationalism and secessionism only increased.
What are the origins and roots of the Kosovo crisis? Is the root of the Kosovo crisis to be found in the policies of Slobodan Milosevic within the last ten years as President Bill Clinton claimed, or are the roots to the conflict more complex and based on the political and demographic changes wrought by centuries of occupation and wars?
During the pre-historic period, the Balkan Peninsula was settled by tribes speaking dialects of the Indo-European language groups. Among the Illyrian group were the Pannonian and Dalmatian tribes who mixed with Celtic tribes. Ancient Illyria was a region from northern Epirus to the Danube river. The region of Rhaetia was made up of Illyrians and Celts. In the 6th century BC, Greek cities were established on the Illyrian coast. Philip II and Philip V waged war against the Illyrian tribes. In the 3rd century BC, an Illyrian kingdom was created based in Scodra. To combat piracy, the Romans fought two wars against the Illyrians in 229-228 and 219 BC. The Dalmatian tribes broke off and established their own rule shortly thereafter. The Roman colony of Illyricum was established by the Romans in 168-167 BC after King Genthius of Scodra was defeated by Roman forces. In 156, 119, 78-77 BC, all of Dalmatia was conquered. Augustus conquered southern Illyria in 35-34 BC. In 12-11 BC, the Pannonians were conquered as well. By 6-9 AD, the Roman colony of Illyricum was divided into the provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia, provinces which were on important trade routes to Asia Minor. In 1809, Napoleon re-instituted and revived the name "Illyria" for the region north of the Adriatic in the area of present-day Slovenia and Croatia, which he termed the Illyrian Province. From 1816-1849, this same region was called the Illyrian Kingdom in the Austrian Habsburg Empire.
Slavic groups began settling the Balkan Peninsula beginning in the sixth century AD. In the fifth and sixth centuries AD, Serbs, part of this large Slavic tribal population, occupied parts of central Europe north of the Danube. The Serbs had been based in the Czech region and in Saxony. The Serbs had earlier migrated from the north and north-east region of the Black Sea. After the 586 siege of Thessaloniki, Slavic groups settled the Praevalitana and the region south of the Shkumbi river where Slavic place-names predominate. Serbs developed small tribal territories called a zupa, which were ruled by tribal chiefs known as zupan. By the middle of the 7th century, Serbs were moving from the coastal land in Montenegro and were settling northern Albania. The Serbs were "agriculturalists" and settled in river valleys and plains. By the 11th century, "almost all arable soil in the northernmost part of what is now Albania and in the region of present-day Kosovo was in Slavic hands." The original homeland or base area for the Serbian population in the Balkans was the Rashka region, or Rascia, a region just north of Kosovo. By the end of the 12th century, the Serbian population moved south and settled the area of what is present-day Kosovo. In 1166, the Nemanjic dynasty emerged in Serbia, headed first by Tihomir and then by his brother Stefan. The Serbian Nemanjic dynasty would base the Serbian empire in Kosovo-Metohija, making Kosovo the political, cultural, and religious center of the Serbian people and nation. The Nemanjic dynasty would endure until 1371 when it would end due to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks and defeat at the 1371 battle of Marica.
The Albanians are first mentioned in historical records in 1043 when they are described as being soldiers in a Byzantine army. According to Noel Malcolm, while the name "Albania" has a continuous history, "it does not amount to proof that the Albanians have lived continuously in Albania" because "place names can endure while populations literally come and go." He noted that "Albanians do not use this word to describe themselves", instead, Albanians refer to themselves as a Shqiptar, and to Albania as Shqiperia, and to their language as Shqip. Malcolm rejected the claims of Albanian historians that attempted to show an Albanian national or ethnic continuity, especially the claim of Illyrian-Albanian continuity, evidence for which according to Malcolm "must also be described as inconclusive. "
The ancient Illyrians described in Greek and Roman histories inhabited an area on the Adriatic from Epirus in the south and Macedonia in the south-east to Istria in the north. . Albanian historiography claims that the Albanians are descended from the Illyrians and thus are the "indigenous inhabitants of Kosovo." That is, Illyrian-Albanian continuity is used by Albanian historians in the ideological-political debate to prove that they have the more valid historical claim to Kosovo-Metohija because they were the original inhabitants of the region. Thus the historical discussion of ancient Illyria becomes a presentist and agenda-driven debate motivated by political considerations. As Miranda Vickers noted, "the issue has been consistently obscured by political and ideological arguments which have prevailed over academic ones." Moreover, the ancient Dardanians, who inhabited Kosovo, northern Macedonia, and southern Serbia, are claimed to be an Illyrian people by Albanian historiography. Serbian historians, on the other hand, argue that since the Serbs arrived in the Balkans in the 6th century, Serbs have "dominated the Kosovo region". The bulk of the Albanian population only arrived in large numbers in the 17th century. Thus, Serbian historiography presents the Albanians as colonists and immigrants who began settling Kosovo in large numbers only after the Ottoman invasion and occupation and "under the protection of Islam." Archaeological excavations in Kosovo have shown that in the 8th century BC a Dardanian culture existed in Dardania In 70 BC, the Roman Empire fought the Dardanians and incorporated them into the Empire and "thus the Illyrians disappeared into the Roman Empire" according to Vickers. There is historical debate, however, whether the Dardanians were Illyrian or Thracian. In the 4th century AD the Roman province of Dardania was created, which included the area of Kosovo and Skopje. The northern Macedonian towns of Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga, and Ohrid were part of the province of New Epirus, while the Albanian-settled regions of Montenegro were then part of the province of Praevalitana. During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Huns invaded the Illyrian regions. In addition, the Romans settled Saxon miners from Hungary in the Kosovo region. This was the state of affairs in the Kosovo region by the time of the 6th century AD when Slavic tribes started crossing the Danube river and established settlements in the Balkans.
Medieval Serbian Empire
As the Serbian empire sought an outlet to the Adriatic coast, the administrative and religious center of the empire shifter to Shkoder, Prizren, and Decani. From 1180 to 1190, Stefan Nemanja or Nemanjic conquered the Kosovo and Metohija regions, northern Macedonia, Skopje, the upper Vardar; later, Zeta, southern Dalmatia, and northern Albania would be added. After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, Kosovo became the cultural and administrative center of the Serbian Empire established by the Nemanjic dynasty. In 1219 the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church was moved to Pec after the church obtained autocephalous or independent status. King Milutin built the Gracanica Monastery in 1321 near Pristina. In 1054, the Christian church had split into the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. Northern Albania became predominately Roman Catholic and was thus incorporated into the powerful anti-Serb coalition of the Catholic monarchs of Europe that the papacy attempted to construct" according to Vickers." This created a divisive and confrontational setting for Albanians and Serbs. During the reign of Stefan Dusan, 1331-55, the area o Antivar (Bar), Prizren, Ohrid, and Vlora were added to the Serbian Empire by 1343. In 1346 the patriarchal throne was permanently established at the Pec Monastery. In 1346, after Epirus and Thessaly were added to the Serbian Empire, Dusan was crowned the emperor of the Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Albanians. A legal code was promulgated and the bishopric of Pec was proclaimed a patriarchate which established the Serbian Orthodox Church as independent from Constantinople. Prizren became the political capital of the Serbian Empire and was the chief Serbian city of trade and commerce. After the death of Dusan in 1355, Kosovo was ruled by King Vukasin Mrnjavcevic, who was a co-ruler with Tsar Uros, the last of the Nemanjic rulers. On September 26, 1371, the Ottoman Turks scored a major military victory at the Battle of Marica near Crnomen over the Serbian forces of the Nemanjic empire. In 1386, the Ottoman Empire invaded Serbia and captured the town of Nis. The Bosnian King Tvrtko Kotromanic sent a detachment of troops to bolster the Serbian army and a combined force of Serbs and Albanians defeated the Ottoman Turkish army in Montenegro. Ottoman Turkish Sultan Murad I, 1362-1389, then in Asia Minor, began preparing a massive army to invade and conquer Serbia. This set the stage for one of the greatest battles in history, the 1389 Battle of Kosovo.
The Battle of Kosovo took place in Kosovo Polje ("field of blackbirds" in Serbian) outside of Pristina on June 28, 1389, on St. Vitus Day, or Vidov Dan. Northern Kosovo was then ruled by Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic, while his brother-in-law, Vuk Brankovic, ruled Metohija. Bosnian King Tvrtko sent a large contingent of Bosnian troops under the command of Vlatko Vukovic, while Vuk Brankovic led his troops himself. Thus, the Ottoman army was confronted by a Serbian army which included Hungarian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, and Albanian nobles. The Albanian princes were close allies of the Serbs at that time and there were close political and economic ties between the two groups. Both Murad and Lazar were killed in the battle which involved approximately 30, 000 troops on each side. As the battle ended, the two Serbian contingents and the one Bosnian contingent withdrew, while the Turkish troops held the field. But the death of Murad created a crisis in Ottoman leadership, so his successor, Bayezid, also had to withdraw his troops, lacking the manpower to continue the offensive. Thus it can be argued that the battle was inconclusive. In 1448, a "second battle of Kosovo" occurred when the forces of the Hungarian noble Janos Hunyadi were defeated by an Ottoman Turkish army under the command of Murad II. By 1455, all of Kosovo fell to the Ottoman Turks. By 1459, all of Serbia was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the surrender of Smederevo.
Ottoman Rule and Serbian Migrations
At the time of the Ottoman occupation of Kosovo-Metohija, the population was almost entirely Serbian Orthodox. Miranda Vickers noted that "Albanian historiography asserts that Albanians were the majority in Kosovo even before the Ottoman conquest." She concluded that "in fact, the documents do not show any such thing." She examined the evidence of the defter, a Turkish register of landed property for 1455, that "record an overwhelming Slavic (Serb) majority. In The Kosovo Chronicles, Dusan T. Batakovic examined the 1330 Decani Charter which showed that out of 2, 166 farming homesteads and 2, 666 houses in cattle grazing land, 44 were registered as Albanian, which is 1. 8 % of the population. In the 14th century, the non-Serbian population of Kosovo-Metohija never exceeded 2% of the total population. During Ottoman rule, the Serbian Orthodox majority population became second-class citizens and faced religious discrimination. The Ottoman Empire was organized on the basis of religion and not on nationality. So by converting to Islam, one could obtain privileges and status not available to non-Muslims. By converting to Islam in mass numbers, Albanians were able to gain social, political, and economic dominance in Kosovo. Batakovic noted that "it was only with the process of Islamization that the ethnic Albanian colonization of Serbian lands took on an expansive character." According to Batakovic, "it is not until the end of the 17th century that one can establish the colonization of Albanian tribes in Kosovo and Metohija." The ethnic balance of Kosovo-Metohija, nevertheless, did not change significantly until the 17th century. .
The migrations of the Serbian population from Kosovo during the 17th and 18th centuries would alter the ethnic balance in Kosovo-Metohija and create "a massive social upheaval." According to Batakovic, the Serbian migrations "upset the centuries-old ethnic balance" and that the "period opened by the Great Migration of the Serbs marked the beginning of three centuries of ethnic Albanian genocide against Serbs in their own native heartland." In The Great Migration of 1690, Sima Cirkovic assessed the impact of the migration as follows: "The great migration of 1690 constitutes one of the gravest and most decisive events in Serbian history." According to Batakovic, "the great migration of the Serbs in 1690 was a major turning point in the history of the Serbian nation." Many Kosovo towns were deserted and depopulated which Albanian tribes from the Malisor highlands settled. Both Batakovic and Vickers refer to the great migration as causing a "demographic upheaval". The great migration resulted from the wars between Austria and the Ottoman Empire.
By 1690, the Austrians had advanced through Serbia and Kosovo and had reached Skopje in Macedonia. In Skopje, the Turks defeated the Austrian forces. The Turks retaliated against the Serbian population of Kosovo, which had allied themselves with Austria, "killing and plundering on a large scale." Serbs were massacred and their homes looted. The massacres and looting continued for three months. The Serbian population was granted asylum by Austrian Emperor Leopold I to settle in Austrian territory. Led by Patriarch Arsenius Crnojevic III, 37, 000 Serbian families from the Kosovo region settled in Hungary, Syrmia, Slavonia, the Banat, and Backa. In Kosovo: A Short History, Noel Malcolm, however, stated that the Great Migration (Velika Seoba) is an "essential element of Serbian national-religious mythology" and that it is a "Serbian national myth". Malcolm noted that Albanian historians had offered a "different interpretation of the events of 1689-90." According to the Albanian "claim", the rebellion against the Ottoman Empire was made up of local Albanians, that Patriarch Crnojevic was never in Kosovo, that Catholic Archbishop Ndre Bogdani met the Austrians in Prizren, and that the number of Kosovo Serbs that did in fact migrate "was not very large... not enough to have a major effect on the demographic balance in Kosovo. " After a lengthy and convoluted analysis, Malcolm concluded that "nevertheless, a large number of Serbs did travel north into Hungary, including the Patriarch." Malcolm's key criticism is that Patriarch Crnojevic in his petition gave two estimates of the number of persons in the migration, in one account he gave the total as "more than 30, 000 souls" while in another as "more than 40, 000 souls". Malcolm argued on this evidence that the "popular tradition of 37, 000 families derives from ... a Serbian monastic chronicle" which "contains errors" and was "written many years after the event." But even if 30, 000 persons and not families left Kosovo, and even if not all the Serbs came from Kosovo, the migration represented a significant and major demographic change in the ethnic balance of Kosovo. Malcolm does not consider the fact that for that time, 1690, such a change in population would have major consequences on the demography of the region. Instead, Malcolm sought to dilute the number of Kosovo Serbs in the total number and to emphasize and grossly exaggerate the number of Albanians in the number. Malcolm is thus argumentative, polemical, and dogmatic in his analysis which he uses to support his pro-Albanian position and argument of the text that Kosovo should become independent from Yugoslavia. So Malcolm definitely has an pre-set agenda and presentist motivation in his analysis as he explained in his introduction and concluding chapter. Nevertheless, Malcolm admits that the migration occurred and that "after the fall of Belgrade 30, 000 people had come to Hungary." The Great Migration of 1690 did alter the demographic balance of Kosovo and set in motion migratory waves of Kosovo Serbs which would transform Serbs from an overwhelming majority to a minority of Kosovo. A second migration of Kosovo Serbs occurred after the Austro-Turkish War of 1737-39, when Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanovic led "several hundred Serbian families ... from the mining settlements around Janjevo, Pristina, Novo Brdo and Kopaonik" according to Miranda Vickers. According to Vickers, the migrations along with a plague epidemic "left hundreds of villages deserted" and this "demographic upheaval which followed the Serb migration witnessed the arrival of more migrants from the impoverished highlands of northern Albania." Following the Crimean War, 1853-1856, "whole villages fled to Serbia or Montenegro," because Kosovo Serbs were victimized and targeted for massacre because like the Russians, they were Orthodox and were perceived by the Muslim Turks and Albanians as a common enemy.
Migrations of Kosovo Serbs from Kosovo continued. In the beginning of the 19th century, "Jashar-Pasha Gjinolli of Pristina ... destroyed a number of churches in Kosovo, seizing monastery lands and killing priests... he moved out more than seventy Serbian villages between Vucitrn and Gnjilane" according to Batakovic. According to Batakovic, "from 1876-1883, approximately 1, 500 Serbian families fled Kosovo and Metohija for Serbia in the face of ethnic Albanian violence." Batakovic maintained that until the 1875 Bosnian Insurrection, when Bosnian Serbs rebelled against Ottoman rule and the ensuing Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, "Serbs formed the largest ethnic group in Kosovo and Metohija, largely because of the high birth rate." So according to him, the "biggest demographic upheaval in Kosovo and Metohija" occurred during the period 1875-1878, the period when Serbs became a minority in Kosovo and Metohija.
Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, Albanian nationalist leaders convened a meeting on June 10, 1878 in Prizren, attended by 300 delegates, mostly from Kosovo and Western Macedonia. They founded the Prizren League which had as its main purpose "to organize political and military opposition to the dismemberment of Albanian-inhabited territory." The Prizren League had a goal to unite the vilayets of Janina, Monastir, Shkoder and Kosovo into a single administrative and political unit, a territory which united all the Albanian-inhabited regions of the Balkans into a Greater Albania. The Prizren League was important in uniting the Albanian leaders in creating a political and nationalist program to create an Albanian nation or state. This was a important development precipitated by the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1878. In the Ottoman Empire, status and position is achieved through religion and not through nationality. After 1878, nationality and nationalism became more dominant in the Ottoman Empire as ethnicity and nationality became decisive. The League of Prizren is significant because the Albanians now emerged with a nationalist agenda and had a political goal to create a united Albanian state.
After the Greek-Turkish War of 1897, Kosovo Serbs were again massacred and driven out of Kosovo. Batakovic quoted the Prime Minister of Serbia as stating that "60, 000 people fled Kosovo and Metohija for Serbia in the period from 1890 to 1899" at the time when Serbia was preparing a so-called Blue Book that was to be presented at the 1899 Peace Conference at the Hague. The Blue Book documented the acts of violence and deportation of Kosovo Serbs, acts which today would be termed genocide and crimes against humanity. Austria-Hungary, however, prevented the presentation of the Blue Book at the Hague and thus prevented an international discussion of the Kosovo issue.
Crimes against Kosovo Serbs continued into the 20th century. In 1904, 108 persons fled to Serbia from Kosovo, while 46 were murdered. In 1905, 65 Kosovo Serbs were murdered. Batakovic cited the case where ethnic Albanians killed nine members at a wedding and a case where Albanians raped a 7 year old girl.
The forced migrations of Kosovo Serbs which began with the Great Migration of 1690 resulted in a "demographic upheaval", transforming the Kosovo Serbs from an ethnic majority into a minority. Centuries of foreign occupation by the Ottoman Turks, a Muslim empire, led to the exodus and migration of the Serbian populations from Kosovo and the Old Serbia region. This population change would lead to crises as Kosovo Albanians would seek to secede Kosovo from Serbia solely on the basis of their majority population, on demography.
After the First Balkan War of 1912, when Serbian and Montenegrin forces defeated the Ottoman Turks, Kosovo became a part of Serbia. Serbian and Montenegrin troops and irregulars, continuing the cycle of massacres and counter-massacres, engaged in massacres of Albanian soldiers and civilians and committed atrocities against Albanians. After five hundred years, Kosovo had again become an integral part of a sovereign, independent Serbian state. During the five centuries of foreign occupation and rule by the Ottoman Turks, the population of Kosovo had changed. Ethnic Albanians, most of whom were Muslims, were the largest ethnic group in Kosovo. Following the 1878 League of Prizren, ethnic Albanian nationalism regarded Kosovo as an integral part of an emerging Albanian state. Serbian and Albanian nationalist claims and aspirations thus clashed over Kosovo which for both acquired an ideological or nationalist dimension. For Serbs, Kosovo was part of Old Serbia, the region that was the religious and political center of the ancient Serbian state. There had been over 1, 300 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries and other structures in the Kosovo-Metohija area. The battle of Kosovo had become an essential part of Serbian epic poetry, folklore, and nationalism. Kosovo was regarded as the Jerusalem of the Serbian people. So Kosovo had symbolic and nationalist meaning for the Serbian population. For Albanians, Kosovo was where the League of Prizren announced its nationalist goals to create an Albanian state that would incorporate all the Albanian-settled lands of the Balkans. Albanians were the largest ethnic group in Kosovo. During Ottoman rule, Albanian Muslims in Kosovo dominated and controlled the region. After the Ottoman Empire was defeated, ethnic Albanians sought to preserve Albanian control of Kosovo and to unite the Albanian-settled population of Kosovo-Metohija, and of Montenegro and Macedonia into the new Albanian state. The Albanian nationalist goals came into direct conflict with Serbian nationalist goals. Conflict and ethnic tension were inevitable.
Following World War I, Kosovo became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes in 1918; the name of the country was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. The Yugoslav government sought to reintegrate Kosovo as part of Serbia. According to the 1921 census, Kosovo had a population of 280, 440 Albanians, or 64% of the population , 73% of whom were Muslim. Ethnic Albanians were a national minority of the new state. The goal of the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo was to seek union to or annexation with Albania. Resistance to Serbian rule resulted in the Kachak movement (from Turkish kachmak, meaning to runaway or hide) aided by Italy whose key objective was "to persuade the international community to agree to Kosovo being annexed to Albania." The Kachak movement , coordinated by the Kosovo Committee, was called a "national-liberation" movement by Albanians, while the Serbian regime referred to it as a terrorist-outlaw organization, it was a guerrilla movement similar to the 1990s so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK, Ushtria Clirimtare E Kosoves, in Albanian) guerrilla movement. Kachak guerrillas attacked and murdered government officials and authorities and Serbian civilians, especially settlers. By 1924, support for the kachak movement dwindled. Nevertheless, the goal of Albanians in Kosovo continued to be annexation to Albania.
Beginning in 1918, the Serbian regime sought to resettle Kosovo-Metohija with ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins in what is called the "colonization programme", which lasted until 1941. According to Alex Dragnich and Slavko Todorovich in The Saga of Kosovo: Focus of Serbian-Albanian Relation, "60, 000 Serbs from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Lika, and Montenegro homesteaded in the region". Dragnich maintained that "there were pieces of land that nobody claimed" and that "most of the land available for homesteading belonged to Turks who had left with the Turkish army or who had left for Asia Minor." According to Vickers, 10, 877 families were settled on 120, 672 hectares of land, that 330 settlements and villages were built, along with 12, 689 houses, 46 schools, and 36 churches. Some Kosovo land was expropriated from Albanians who could not document ownership. The official policy of the Yugoslav government was to encourage Albanian and Turkish emigration. According to Dragnich, "about 40, 000 Turks left Kosovo and other South Serbian regions", while 40, 000 Albanians left during the same period. Nevertheless, the so-called colonization programme was meant to establish a ethnic balance in Kosovo and to remedy the results of the forced migrations and expulsions of the Serbs when Kosovo was occupied by the Ottoman Turks. The programme resulted in creating greater tension and animosity between the Albanian-Serbian populations in Kosovo. Following the German invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, Kosovo-Metohija was annexed to Albania and the German-Italian occupation regime encouraged the ethnic Albanians to drive out the Serbs and to create an ethnically pure and homogenous Kosovo, thus reversing and destroying all the attempts to achieve ethnic balance and diversity in Kosovo which the colonization programme in part sought to achieve.
Failure of the Medieval Albanian State
In "Genesis and Failure of the Albanian State in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries", in Studies on Kosova , Alain Ducellier analyzed the evolution and development of the medieval Albanian state. His conclusion is that "there was no Albanian state before 1912."He noted that the Ottoman Turkish invasion and occupation of the Balkans was a "negative factor" in the process of forming a Albanian state only after 1415, although they had intervened in Albania first in 1385. He maintained that "whereas elsewhere the Turks disrupted and afterward destroyed previously established states, in Albania they found only a conglomerate of heterogeneous and rival princedoms."Ironically, it was only due to Ottoman Turkish pressure that "Albania almost succeeded in becoming a State" during the period of George Kastrioti, Skanderbeg.
Beginning in the eleventh century, a "compact Albanian nucleus", Arbanon, did exist, but "neither Arbanon, nor much less Albania as a whole, constituted a political entity." He concluded that "Albania did not at the time have even administrative status.". According to Ducellier, Albanians are "mentioned for the first time" in historical documents in 1040. By the 12th century, Arbanon achieved a "semi-autonomous status" being a part of the duchy of Dyrrachion" but recognizing the authority of the Byzantine Empire. In 1256, a Byzantine Governor was appointed to Albania and according to Ducellier "the princes of Arbanon disappeared definitively from the records." Arbanon, "the first sketch of an 'Albanian sate'" failed because it was not "politically viable", making up only a small portion of the area and population then settled by Albanians. Moreover, Arbanon "continued to conceive of herself" as part of the Byzantine Empire. Finally, Arbanon "represented a regression in the process of unification of the Albanian people." Arbanon failed to produce a unified state because the majority of the Albanian population was outside of its borders, in Kosovo-Metohija and the rest of Albania. Being a "rump state", Arbanon could not resist the expansion of the established and unified Slavic states, such as Serbia and Bulgaria. The Albanian state failed also because of the cultural and linguistic divisions in Albania. North of the Shkumbin river, the Gheg linguistic group predominates. South of the Shkumbin, the Tosk is dominant. According to Ducellier, this differentiation occurred during the 12th century . This split between the Gheg and Tosk groups was a further divisive factor which prevented unity of the "embryonic Albanian state" and prevented union of the "two Albanias".
By 1343, Albania was a province of the Byzantine Empire and had close commercial and trading links to Ragusa and Venice. Beginning in 1343, the Serbian Empire expanded westward and encompassed Albanian-settled areas. Ducellier called this era the "period of the great Serbian expansion which ... spread over Albania." Byzantine rule was replaced by Serbian rule until the death of Stephen Dusan in 1355 which resulted in the disintegration of the Serbian Empire. According to Ducellier, the disintegration of the medieval Serbian Empire allowed the "Balshas-the Slavic-Albanian lords of the Shkoder region-to secure for themselves the Zeta, the coast of Budva and Bar and the entire northern Albanian plain by the year 1362." Nevertheless, throughout this period, Albania remained the "business of others", that is, the regional powers sought to prevent a unified Albanian state. Because Albania was the "key to the Adriatic" strategically, Venice sought to preclude the unification of Albanians into a single state because such a state would "hinder her links with the Mediterranean." Venice sought to maintain a colonial economy in Albania which was well-suited for this because it was arable land that produced salt, wood, and grains. Throughout this era, Albania remained a "mass of heterogeneous principalities" which were under the control of either the Ottoman Turkish Empire or of Venice.
The rebellion against the Ottoman Turks led to the only time during the medieval period when unity was attempted. In March, 1444, Gjergj Kastrioti, Skanderbeg, assembled a convention in Lezhe, the League of Lezhe, which united all Albanian lords "in a common struggle against the Ottomans" and created a common army and a common treasury . According to Lucellier, the League of Lezhe was the "only real attempt in the Middle Ages to unify the country." Nevertheless, the League remained "a loose political structure" and was not centrally organized. Venice and Turkey exploited the "internal divisions in the country". The Venetian-Albanian war of 1447-48 resulted when Venice sought to prevent Skanderbeg from seizing the Venetian possessions of Durazzo, Dagno, Scutari, and Antibari.
Why did no medieval Albanian state emerge? According to Ducellier, it was because Albania "belonged to an economic network whose system of command was out of her hands. " In other words, the great powers, Turkey, Venice, sought to keep Albania disunited and divided to maintain the region as a colonial outpost suitable for economic exploitation. Thus, outside powers had divided the country and prevented unification. The lack of a unified Albanian state was not, however, due to a "fundamental incapacity to become a nation and afterwards a state" according to Ducellier. There was a "community of language and customs" which demonstrated that an Albanian state would have emerged if not for the Republic of Venice, the Pope and the Sultan," who sought to keep Albania divided and "fanned conflicts in the domains".
The new administrative system of the Ottoman Empire, instituted in 1480, revived the Byzantine divisions, dividing the population and territory of Albania into four areas, "cut off Kosova from the western provinces of the country, and even from the nuclei of Albanians inhabiting the fringes of Montenegro and Macedonia, from the Lake of Shkoder to the Peje [Pec] region." Thus, the Ottoman Empire sought to prevent a unified Albanian state from emerging. These powers prevented the emergence and evolution of an Albanian state because they sought to exploit Albania as a colony.
The weakness of Ducellier's analysis is that he assumes that Kosovo and Metohija were originally settled by ethnic Albanians and that the population of Kosovo and Metohija remained static throughout this period. The historical evidence does not support such an assumption. Miranda Vickers, Noel Malcolm, Alex Dragnich, and Dusan Batakovic all are in agreement that the population of Kosovo changed over time and that Albanians were not the majority population of Kosovo in the medieval period. Noel Malcolm dismissed this Albanian ideological argument as follows: "Some modern Albanian writers argue, quite implausibly, that there was always an Albanian majority in Kosovo." Serbian village and town names clearly show that the Serbian population was the dominant one of Kosovo and Metohija during the medieval period. Moreover, he totally discounts emigration and immigration, the migrations which dramatically altered the population make-up of Kosovo and Metohija. He gives short shrift to the Serbian medieval state and empire which was based in Kosovo-Metohija, referred to for that reason as Old Serbia (Stara Srbija). The political capital of the Serbian Empire was Prizren while the ecclesiastical or religious capital was Pec. He gives an erroneous impression that the Serbian presence in Kosovo was fleeting and minor. In fact, the historical evidence shows that Kosovo and Metohija were the center of the Serbian state and nation in the medieval period. Moreover, his thesis is contradictory. He stated that only the threat of outside powers could bring the disparate Albanian regions to attempt a united front. Without a foreign threat, unity was not possible. But then he concluded that Albanian unity was not possible because foreign powers sought to keep Albania divided.
Ethnography of Kosovo
Gerhard Grimm, in "Ethnographic Maps of the Kosova Region from 1730 to 1913" in Studies on Kosova, analyzed the ethnographic maps of the Kosovo-Metohija region by Vadim Karic, Carl Ritter von Sax Guillaume Lejean Ami Boue, G. Muir Mackenzie , A. P. Irby, and Jovan Cvijic, among others. He concluded that "external political influences prevented the information of unprejudiced science concerning the ethnic situation in the Kosova region from being utilized for a appropriate solution to the problem." Each of the cartographers produced maps which usually had a political or nationalist agenda which was to be advanced. The influence of external political factors has continued to the present day with regard to Kosovo. According to the 1981 Yugoslav census, ethnic Albanians were 77. 5% of the population of Kosovo, 1, 226, 736. By 1991, this figure was put at 1, 830, 000, an increase of over 600, 000. . In 1981, the ethnic Albanian population of Macedonia was 377, 726, while in 1991 it was listed as 900, 000, that is, that it had almost tripled within 10 years. Currently, the US media, US State Department, put the Albanian population of Kosovo currently at 1. 5 million, 1. 6 million, 1. 8 million, and 2 million. The larger the population estimate, the greater the Albanian claim to secession. But because there is no reliable population census, the population figures are inflated to buttress the secessionist agenda. There is no question that population statistics are used for propagandistic purposes by ethnic Albanians and the US media and government much like ethnographic maps had been used for such purposes earlier. Grimm concluded that "in view of this, it must be concluded that political will almost always is stronger than scientifically grounded insight." Grimm's article is important in pointing out a perhaps not so obvious aspect of any analysis or discussion on Kosovo and Metohija, that almost all such analyses are biased and seek to advance agendas. Just the name one chooses to refer to the region indicates a position. Those who support Albanian claims on the Serbian province refer to it not as Kosovo, but as Kosova. Moreover, the historical name for Kosovo, Kosovo and Metohija, or Kosmet, is unacceptable to those who support Albanian nationalist claims because Metohija derives from the Greek word metoh, meaning church property, and denotes a Orthodox religious history, i. e. , Serbian history, which Albanians reject. The 1990s are a period of spin, when spin doctors, public relations consultants, and media consultants, manipulate, distort, and spin doctor virtually all aspects of discussion and debate. Historical analysis is not exempt. Politically correct and spin doctored history books are common in the 1990s. In any analysis of Kosovo, one must always be aware of this. Facts are never given merely as facts, but are presented to advance a pre-determined agenda. We have to use what Richard Mitchell called "informed discretion", weighing all the evidence and deciding for ourselves.
Grimm's analysis, moreover, emphasizes the fact that the boundaries for Kosovo and Metohija have not been constant, but have changed over the centuries. The ethnic population of Kosovo, Serbs, Albanians, Turks, identified their national identity with Serbia, Albania, and Turkey, or, in the era before nationalism, with their religious, ethnic, group. In other words, it is problematic and controversial to argue for a distinct and separate national, political, and ethnic identity for Kosovo. As Malcolm pointed out, unlike Bosnia, Kosovo lacks historical continuity and unity: "The precise politico-geographical borders of Kosovo... were created for the first time in 1945." There was a vilayet of Prizren from 1868 and a vilayet of Kosovo was established in 1877, but the area within the vilayets differed from that under the present day provincial borders of Kosovo. A vilayet under the Ottoman Empire was initially a small taxation district, while after 1864, a vilayet became a large province, which replaced the earlier Turkish provincial administrative division known as an eyalet. Malcolm admitted that there was "something rather artificial about writing the history of territory, as a unit." Miranda Vickers stated that the "actual name 'Kosovo'... was used to designate the Kosovo vilayet which... covered the territory of Sandjak, Gornje Polimlje, Kosovo and Metohija, as well as northern Macedonia up to Veles, and eastern Macedonia up to the Bregalnica catchment." Vickers noted that "the whole region is called by Serbs Kosovo-Metohija or 'Kosmet'. "So Vickers and Malcolm agree that the geographical boundaries of Kosovo have changed and that the use of the name Kosovo to designate the region originated only in the late nineteenth century with the establishment of the vilayet of Kosovo.
Kosovo During World War II: 1941-1945
Genocide in Kosovo
Eyewitness to Genocide in Kosovo in Archives
Kosovo in Post-War Communist Yugoslavia: 1945-1981
The evolution and development of Kosovo's autonomy after Kosovo was integrated in post-war Communist Yugoslavia demonstrates a total and complete failure in the attempt to politically integrate Kosovo within Serbia and Yugoslavia. The policies and constitutional changes of the federal government led to what they sought to avoid, secession and independence from Serbia and Yugoslavia. The post-war policies only exacerbated the nationalities question and did little to solve it.
In Studies on Kosova, edited by Arshi Pipa and Sami Repishti, are presented a collection of papers delivered at an International Conference on Kosova at the City University of New York on November 6, 1982, dealing with the historical, social, economic, political, and historical aspects of Kosovo. The conference was held following the mass riots in Kosovo in 1981.
Albanians, or Kosovars, made up 77. 5% of the Socialist Autonomous province of Kosovo according to the 1981 census, which is part of the Socialist Republic of Serbia. In 1945, Kosovo had been an autonomous region, becoming a province in 1963. Gradually, beginning in 1968, following riots that year, greater autonomy was achieved in the province. The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution expanded autonomy to the extant that Kosovo had de facto although not de iure status as a republic. This created rising expectations among ethnic Albanians that Kosovo would become a republic within federal Yugoslavia and not merely a province dependent upon and subordinated to Serbia. Yugoslavia was made up of six republics, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia. Serbia had two autonomous provinces, Vojvodina in the north and Kosovo in the south. The 1981 riots in Kosovo, which left at least eleven dead, resulted when the Kosovars demanded that Kosovo be made the seventh Republic of Yugoslavia. Simultaneously, ethnic Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia, where Albanians were 22% of the population, demonstrated for greater political autonomy there.
These demonstrations threatened to destabilize the region. In 1981, there were 1, 754, 000 Albanians in Yugoslavia, in Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia , and the Kosovo province, while there were 2, 800, 000 in Albania proper. The attempts to unite ethnic Albanians into a single state, Greater Albania, would destabilize the entire region and threatened neighboring countries. Greece, for instance, claimed southern Albania, Northern Epirus, with a Greek population, as part of Greece. Thus, Kosovo threatened to lead to an explosion in the Balkans.
Studies on Kosova offers several discussions on the political, historical, cultural, and economic development and evolution of Kosovo. The first article examines the emergence, development, and evolution of the medieval Albanian state which "was nipped in the bud by the intervention of neighboring states" and thus an Albanian state failed to survive. Before 1912 there had never been an Albanian state. The next article examined medieval ecclesiastical reports which discussed Kosovo-Metohija and Macedonia. An examination of ethnographic maps of the Kosovo region from 1730 to 1913 showed that they were in many instances motivated by political and nationalist agendas rather than a concern for objective analyses. Linguistic analyses were presented which examined the Kosovo dialects which offered the thesis that Albanians were present in Kosovo-Metohija before the "Slavic invasion of the province". The 1389 Battle of Kosovo as reflected in Serbian and Albanian oral epic songs and frontier epic cycles is examined. The second part begins with the economic analysis of the province of Kosovo. The article examines the economy of Kosovo and explains why it is behind the rest of the country, which is attributed to "a discriminating federal credit policy". Economic backwardness in Kosovo is due to political reasons, because "Serbian tutelage fosters a sense of political impotence that foils initiative in the economic field." The Yugoslav economic system favors the more developed regions while neglecting Kosovo. The 1981 riots are explained as the "result of feelings of humiliation and anger accumulated during two generations." The argument is that granting Kosovo full de jure republic status would lead to greater economic initiative and development. According to these articles, the problem of Kosovo can "be solved only through rational dialogue between the interested parties. "The two editors, however, envision a solution that involves Albania and Yugoslavia. That is, an internal solution is not practicable to them. They state : "We envision the solution of the problem in a international rather than bilateral context. "Thus, they seek to internationalize the crisis and preclude an internal solution within Yugoslavia. They concluded that the conference was needed to analyze the Kosovo crisis because knowledge about that region would contribute to peaceful existence in the Balkans." They concluded as follows: "For lasting peace cannot be built on deceptions and mirages. And the best service a scholar can do humankind is to pursue the truth."
Economy and Migrations
In "Kosova's Economy: Problems and Prospects", Peter Prifti noted that the Serbian population of Kosovo decreased by 18, 172 from 1971 to 1981 while the Montenegrin population decreased by 4, 680. He warned, however, that "statistical data on Kosova need to be read with caution. They vary... from one source to another. "Serbian government sources maintained that 57, 000 Kosovo Serbs and Montenegrins migrated out of Kosovo during the same period. He explained this population decrease as due to economic factors and not, as the Serbian population and government claim, due to Albanian pressure. He cited the Albanian newspaper Rilindja (Rebirth), the organ of the Communist League of Pristina, which blamed the Serbian exodus and out migration on widespread unemployment, housing shortage, and lack of educational opportunities in the province. The exodus of Kosovo Serbs has depleted the province of professionals and specialists in technology, industry, science, and the professions.This depletion has contributed to the making the Kosovo province the poorest and least developed regions in Yugoslavia. Moreover, Kosovo is the most densely populated region in Yugoslavia, in 1975, 133 persons per square km, compared to 84 for the rest of Yugoslavia. Kosovo has the highest birth rate in Yugoslavia and in Europe, in 1979, 26. 1 per 1, 00 population, compared to 8. 6 for the National Yugoslav average. Such a "demographic explosion" has had deleterious consequences for the Kosovo economy. These factors, a rising Albanian birth rate and Serbian migration out of Kosovo, have destabilized not only the economy but the political equilibrium in the province. In 1981, this instability resulted in the riots and the breakdown of the autonomous political structure for the province.
In The Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija: Results of the Survey Conducted in 1985-86, by Ruza Petrovic and Marina Blagojevic, the conclusion is that of 103, 000 Serbs and Montenegrins that migrated out of Kosovo, 17% migrated prior to 1961, while 83% migrated during the "two critical decades" of the 1960s and 1970s. From 1981-1987, 20, 000 Serbs and Montenegrins migrated out of Kosovo. Dusan Batakovic, based on "official figures", put the number as follows: From 1961-1980, 92, 197 Serbs and 20, 424 Montenegrins migrated out of Kosovo, while after the "separatist revolt of ethnic Albanians" in 1981, "another 38, 000 Serbs and Montenegrins moved away under duress." Petrovic and Blagojevic analyzed the migrations based on two different interpretations of why the migrations occurred. The first thesis is that the Serbian migrations are "normal migrations" motivated by "economic reasons" and that other ethnic groups in Kosovo migrated out as well during the same period. The migrations are ascribed to the process of "overall economic growth" and the "relative lag in economic development." The second interpretation was that the Kosovo Serbs were being driven out by Albanian separatists and by the policies of the Albanian authorities who ruled Kosovo when it achieved de facto republic status. The results of the survey show that the migrations of the Serbs and Montenegrins out of Kosovo was an "abnormal, pathological phenomenon", the result of "ethnic homogenization of Kosovo and Metohija", which was "one of the main goals of Albanian chauvinists and secessionists." Petrovic and Blagojevic concluded that the "pull factors" for migration were "mostly of a non-economic nature, not the kind of contemporary migrations prompted by the desire to improve one's economic and social position." They analyzed the conflict in ethnic relations, the threats to property owned by Serbs and discrimination at the workplace against Kosovo Serbs, and "ideological and institutionalized discrimination". Their conclusion is that while some left for economic reasons, most emigrated out of the Kosovo province due to non-economic reasons, such as threats to personal safety, threats to property, ethnic discrimination, institutionalized discrimination of Albanian authorities, a policy of "ethnic homogenization" of Albanian nationalists-separatists.
Dimitrije Djordjevic, a professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara, testified before a United States Congressional Hearing on April 27, 1988, explaining that the Kosovo Serbs were migrating out because of pressure by Albanians:
Exposed to daily pressure, with personal and family existence threatened (desecrated graveyards, mutilated cattle, damaged crops, orchards and vineyards) and feeling unprotected by the Albanian authorities, Serbian peasants are responding in two ways. They are either moving out of the Province, selling their property to Albanians and trying to find refuge in Serbia proper, or they are spontaneously organizing their self-defense and are electing their own leaders. Thousands of these desperate people crowded trains and buses to come to Belgrade, their only hope, to present their grievances and to ask for help and protection.
Two differing explanations emerge for the mass exodus and migrations of ethnic Serbs out of Kosovo. The Albanian explanation is that Kosovo Serbs are migrating solely due to economic factors and that Kosovo Albanians are migrating out as well for the same economic reasons. The Serbian explanation is that while there are some economic factors for the migrations, most of the migrations of Serbs are motivated by non-economic reasons. From the evidence, two factors, both economic and non-economic, are motivating the migrations. Significantly, the emergence of a de facto Kosovo republic, with greater autonomy, has resulted in an increase in "ethnic homogenization" and an increase in Serbian migration out of the province, due to institutionalized discrimination, lack of safety, threats based on ethnicity derived from Albanian separatist nationalism.
Evolution of the Autonomy of Kosovo
In "The Evolution of Kosova's Autonomy Within the Yugoslav Constitutional Framework", Sami Repishti traces the development and evolution of Kosovo's autonomy in Yugoslavia. Meeting in Bujan, Albania, the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council of Kosovo-Metohija announced the Bujan Resolution after the meeting ended on January 2, 1944. The Bujan Resolution declared that "Kosovo and the Dukagjin Plateau is a region predominantly inhabited by Albanians who, now as always before, desire to unite with Albania." The Yugoslav Communist Party and the Yugoslav Army Headquarters rejected the Bujan Resolution but envisioned only a regional autonomy status for Kosovo within the republic of Serbia. A large-scale insurrection broke out in Kosovo in November, 1944, by Kosovo Albanians who sought to maintain Kosovo as part of Albania. From 1941, Kosovo had been a part of Albania under Italian-German sponsorship. On February 8, 1945, Kosovo-Metohija was declared a "war zone" by the leader of the Yugoslav Communist Party, Josip Broz Tito. A Military Directorate was established for Kosovo when the rebellion was quashed in May, 1945. Kosovo-Metohija was made an autonomous region (oblast) of the republic of Serbia after the July Resolution of 1945. In 1963, Kosovo became an autonomous province (pokrajina) under the 1963 constitution, which gave the province greater autonomy, the Regional Council became the Provincial Assembly, the number of delegates increased in the House of peoples, and a Supreme Court was established in Kosovo. According to Repishti, from the 1944 Bujan Resolution to the 1963 Yugoslav Constitution, "the Albanian population of Kosova-Metohija experienced a downhill spiral of decreasing political power." Following the 1966 Brioni Resolution and the Constitutional amendments in 1971, the "province became similar, but not identical to the republic." The 1974 Constitution of Kosovo was the first referred to as a "constitution' (ustav) and not a "statute". Thus, in 1974, the Kosovo province, like the other republics, had its own constitution. Moreover, "sovereign rights" outside of the province, at the federal and republic level, were granted to Kosovo that allowed the province "'to decide' on a federal level." Kosovo thus attained de facto republic status within the Yugoslav federation. The evolution in the autonomy of Kosovo is described by Repishti as a "progress-regress cycle of constitutional amendments, according to the political climate of the day."Repishti argued that the crux of the problem is denial of de jure republic status for Kosovo, the denial of nation status for Albanians. He pointed out that Montenegrins, though "mainly people of Serbian stock" were granted nation status, even though the Albanian population in Yugoslavia is almost three times the size of that of the Montenegrin. Moreover, the Bosnian Muslims were granted nation status in 1961 although they are Slavic because of their "religious affiliation". Yugoslav Albanians had developed a "national identity" since 1945 like the Macedonians, who were recognized as a nation at that time for the first time. According to Repishti, Albanians share the feeling of belonging to a single people" who "now think of themselves as a separate nation, with its own history and cultural heritage." According to him, nation status to Kosovo must be granted: "The denial of a nation's status to Kosovars is an untenable tenet."
In "The Government and Constitutional Status of Kosova: Some Brief Remarks", Paul Shoup concluded that the Kosovo crisis was created by the "inability or unwillingness to grant the Albanian population symbolic equality with the Slav nationalities." But he noted that "something approaching de facto equality has already existed since 1971." But as he implies, this de facto equality has only increased the desire of ethnic Albanians to secede and has not lead to stability and normalcy in the province. Indeed, the increase in autonomy from 1968-1974 only resulted in a time bomb or powder keg waiting to explode.
The 1946 Yugoslav federal constitution created the Socialist Autonomous region of Kosovo and Metohija and the Socialist Autonomous province of Vojvodina. But unlike Vojvodina, Kosovo had no supreme court, independent legislature, or local provincial administration, but were administered by the Serbian Republic as integral administrative units. Kosovo-Metohija did, however, send a delegation to the Chamber of Nationalities in Belgrade and provincial statutes were promulgated for the region. But with the abolition of the Chamber of Nationalities in 1953, the autonomous status of the Kosovo region had little practical meaning and significance until 1967. In the 1963 federal Yugoslav constitution, Kosovo was made a province, whereas before it had been an autonomous region.
In 1967, the Chamber of Nationalities was reinstated. In November, 1968, riots in Kosovo forced the federal government to make changes in the autonomy of the province. In January, 1969, a constitution for Kosovo itself was adopted by the Serbian parliament in Belgrade. A Supreme Court was created for Kosovo and all the ethnic groups which made up the province were allowed to display their own flags. The Kosovo Albanians, the so-called Kosovars, displayed the Albanian national flag, a double-headed black eagle on a red background. These constitutional changes were incorporated in the 1971 federal constitution which allowed Kosovo to gain "equal representation with the republics in the organs of the federation." Thus, by the 1974 Yugoslav federal constitution, Kosovo (Metohija was now dropped from the name of the province) had achieved de facto republic status, as Shoup explained: Most important... was the power of the provincial delegations in the Federal Executive Council to veto or block legislation of which they did not approve. After 1974, this right of veto was extended to the decisions of the Chamber of Republics and Provinces. Thus, in the 1970s, Kosova emerged as an independent actor in the federation... . This was a remarkable transformation, given the fact it was paralleled by a consolidation of power of the Albanians in the provincial government under the leadership of Mahmut Bakalli and David Nimani, presidents of the provincial party and government, respectively.
Under the provincial constitution, the provincial assembly can decide the foreign policy of the federal government because it had the power to debate and approve that policy. Kosovo had its own national bank, its own supreme court, and its own administrative apparatus independent from the Serbian Republic or federal ones. In time of war, the provincial presidency could organize its own defense planning for Kosovo. Most importantly, the provincial assembly could veto any legislation passed for the entire Republic of Serbia, of which Kosovo was a part. Thus, what resulted was the tail wagging the dog. To pass laws for the entire Republic, the prior approval of the Kosovo Province was required. This veto power did not exist with regard to questions of national security, defense, property relations. But with regard to economic policy, taxation, education, culture, the province had veto power. This veto power allowed the Kosovo government, which was highly tolerant of Albanian nationalism in the province, to prevent the 1977 "Blue Book" , which detailed grievances and abuses of the Serbian minority, from being presented on the federal level for discussion. A legislative assembly consisting of three chambers, exercised legislative power, while the Executive Chamber (Izvrsno Vece) exercised executive power. A nine member Presidency was the highest body in the province, consisting of the President of the assembly and the President of the Communist Party. Thus, de facto republic status was achieved for Kosovo following the 1974 Yugoslav federal constitution.
Shoup remarked that the 1974 Constitution "resulted in an unprecedented degree of autonomy for Kosovo" and that "nowhere in Europe have such far-ranging concessions to national rights been granted in regions considered as potentially separatist." Why did such measures fail to achieve stability in Kosovo? Shoup argued that these "constitutional solutions" were motivated by "political expediency" and did not accurately assess the "underlying national outlooks and emotions". From 1971 to 1981, the Kosovo government and party ruled the province with "minimal restraints" from either the federal or Serbian governments. The crux of the problem remains that the 1974 constitutional changes resulted in a de facto but not a de jure republic status for Kosovo.
Yugoslav Albanians, non-Slavs, like Hungarians, Gypsies, Romanians, Germans, Turks, and other ethnic groups in Yugoslavia were classified as "nationalities" or "national minorities", termed "socio-political communities". Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and in 1961, Bosnian Muslims, all Slavic, were classified as "nations"(narod). Under the Yugoslav political, constitutional, and national system, only nations could have republic status, not nationalities or national minorities. The rationale was based in part on the fact that the national minorities in Yugoslavia had homelands and nations outside of Yugoslavia, while the nations of Yugoslavia did not. To grant nation or republic status to Yugoslav minorities such as Hungarians, Romanians, and Albanians, would be tantamount to creating a second Hungary, a second Romania, and a second Albania. The Kosovo scenario was similar to the Sudetenland crisis which emerged following the creation of Czechoslovakia. The Sudeten region was made up of a population of 3. 2 million ethnic Germans who were a minority in the nation of Czechoslovakia. Like the Sudeten Germans, the Kosovo Albanians argued that based on the size of their population, they were justified at the least in being an equal constituent nation of the country of Yugoslavia. But in granting nation status to Kosovo Albanians, the dichotomy between nation and national minority becomes meaningless and contradictory. If nation or republic status were granted to Kosovo, then Serbia, of which Kosovo is a constituent and integral part, would cease to be one nation, but would become two. This is why granting republic status to Kosovo is opposed by the Serbian and Yugoslav governments.
During the decade 1971-1981, 102. 000 Kosovo Serbs are estimated to have emigrated out of Kosovo. An estimated 26, 000 Kosovo Serbs and Montenegrins migrated out of Kosovo from 1981 to 1988. As Miranda Vickers noted, "the increasing migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo had become one of the most pressing political issues of the Yugoslav federation as a whole and of the Province of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia in particular." This fact, the forced migration of Kosovo Serbs from Kosovo, a policy termed "ethnic cleansing", began the process of the collapse of Yugoslavia. But remarkably, the ethnic cleansing of the Serbian population of Kosovo went, for the most part, unnoticed. Indeed, human rights groups, such as Amnesty International (AI) and Helsinki Human Rights Watch, focused exclusively on the treatment of Albanian separatists by the Yugoslav police and totally ignored the rape of Serbian women, the murder of Serbian civilians in Kosovo, the threats and intimidation against Kosovo Serbs by Albanian authorities and civilians, and the desecration of Serbian graves and churches. Under Article I of the 1949 UN Genocide Convention "genocide . . is a crime against international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish." Genocide is defined as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group." The Polish jurist Rafael Lemkin had developed the term 'genocide' in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe in 1944. The forced migrations of Kosovo Serbs from Kosovo, due to rapes, murders, intimidation, desecration of graves and churches, however, went unnoticed in the so-called West. But in Yugoslavia, the forced migration of Serbs created a political crisis that threatened to destroy Yugoslavia.
A Newsweek article of October 24, 1988, "Power to the Serbs", by Harry Anderson and Theodore Stanger, reflected the perceived victimization of the Kosovo Serbs not only in Kosovo but in the rest of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and the outrage and anger it engendered: One account speaks of 1, 119 attacks on Serbs and Montenegrins by ethnic Albanians since 1986. Many of the stories allege rape and other atrocities. One described how a group of Albanian adolescents dug up the corpse of a Serbian child from a Kosovo cemetery and began tossing it around. "It is hard for anyone who calls himself a Serb to remain cool when he hears of such outrages, ' said Stefan Pilic, a medical student in Belgrade. 'We are on the verge of a revolution, ' said Milovan Djilas, Yugoslavia's best- known dissident.
United States foreign policy, based on a principle of safeguarding and ensuring human rights, like international human rights groups, ignored the human rights abuses committed against the Kosovo Serbian refugees. Only when the Serbian and Yugoslav governments took actions to halt and to reverse the human rights violations against Kosovo Serbs did the United States government and so-called human rights groups take notice. And then it was to condemn the Yugoslav government for human rights abuses. Due to mounting outrage and mass demonstrations and protests by Serbs over the forced migration of the Kosovo Serbs, the Yugoslav government was forced to take action.
On March 28, 1989, the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Serbia was amended to suspend the work of the Kosovo Executive Council and the Kosovo Assembly. These constitutional amendments began the erosion of Kosovo's autonomy. Kosovo was now more directly under the rule of Serbia. On July 11, 1990, the Presidency of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) approved the dissolution of the government and Assembly of Kosovo, putting the Kosovo Province under the authority of the Serbian National Assembly. Moreover, the Province was renamed 'Kosovo-Metohija', whereas under Albanian autonomy it was referred to officially as 'Kosovo' because Albanians rejected the name 'Metohija' because of its Serbian Orthodox religious history. Both terms, 'Kosovo' and 'Metohija' are Serbian in origin (Kosovo is derived from the Serbian word, kos, meaning, "blackbird", the suffix -ovo, means literally, "place of", Kosovo is the "place of the blackbirds"; Metohija is a Serbian word derived from the Greed, metoh, meaning Orthodox church property, Metohija is the "place of church property"), but Albanians accept the one Serbian term and reject the other. These constitutional amendments had the effect of abolishing the wide-ranging autonomy granted in the 1974 Yugoslav constitution. The Kosovo Albanians reacted by boycotting elections and by not participating in the Yugoslav political system and process. Instead, Kosovo Albanians created a "parallel" or "underground government". The goal of Albanian separatists was secession. As Vickers and Malcolm correctly noted, a return to the autonomy of the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution would be unsatisfactory and unworkable for both Albanian separatists and the Serbian government. Under this scenario, Kosovo is a secessionist problem, not unique or different from any other secessionist conflict: the Kurdish goal to create a Kurdish state or to obtain autonomy in Turkey, the Palestinian goal to achieve statehood, abolished in 1948 with the creation of Israel, the Basque goal to achieve independence from Spain, the Corsican goal to achieve independence from France, the Kashmir goal to secede from Hindu India and to unite with Muslim Pakistan, the goal of Quebec to secede from Canada, the goal of Chechnya to secede from Russia, the goal of Puerto Rico to remain independent from the United States, the goal of Chiapas to break away from Mexico, the goal of the Irish Catholics to expel the British Army from Northern Ireland and to unite it with Ireland proper, and similar secessionist movements. Unlike many of these other secessionist movements, the Kosovo secessionist movement is weakened by the fact that Albanians have a national homeland, Albania. The Kosovo Albanians are seeking to achieve what the Bosnian Serbs and the Krajina Serbs sought to achieve, a re-adjustment of borders. A re-adjustment of borders, however, is not a national liberation movement or a movement to achieve "independence" or "freedom" as those terms are traditionally understood. A re-adjustment of borders is problematic and usually involves a civil war because under the United Nations Charter each sovereign member state of the UN has the right to control its borders and to safeguard its sovereignty. Under the United Nations Charter and all international laws, agreements, norms, and covenants, the Kosovo Albanians have no right to secession from Serbia or Yugoslavia. This is the reason why the so-called Kosovo peace process is being conducted not under United Nations or international law guidelines, but by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), a defensive military alliance established by the US in 1949 to wage war against the Soviet Union. The UN Charter and international law are not invoked with regard to the Kosovo crisis, unlike the Bosnian and Croatian civil wars, where US policy was to rely on international law and the UN Charter. NATO, on the other hand, is directly under the control of the US government. With regard to the Kosovo crisis, US policy is not consistent. The US rejects international laws and customs and the UN Charter. With regard to Bosnia and Croatia, US policy was to uphold the primacy of the sovereignty of the state, Bosnia and Croatia, and to relegate minority rights, of Bosnian and Krajina Serbs, to a secondary position. With regard to the Kosovo crisis, US policy has reversed itself completely, upholding the primacy of minority rights, of Kosovo Albanians, and relegating the sovereignty of the state, Yugoslavia, to a secondary position. For example, even though the Bosnian regime was made up almost entirely of Muslims and was ruled by a Muslim political party that represented little more than a third of the population of Bosnia, nevertheless, US policy was to regard this Muslim regime as the Bosnian Government representative of the people of Bosnia. Conversely, the Albanian minority of Yugoslavia, 18% of the total Yugoslav population, has primacy under US policy over the Yugoslav Government which represents 82% of the population. Indeed, the Yugoslav government is referred to as a "regime" and the President of Yugoslavia is referred to as "the dictator of Serbia", thus, the Yugoslav government lacks legitimacy and full recognition under US policy. The Kosovo crisis, therefore, is not being addressed under the norms and guidelines of international laws and covenants and treaties and agreements meant to resolve such crises. Instead, Kosovo has become a military-political conflict between the United States and Yugoslavia. As such, the Kosovo crisis is about the expansion of NATO into the Balkans, establishing a strategic US military-political presence in the Balkan Peninsula, establishing client states and military bases, and procuring economic markets, i. e. , creating "banana republics", pliant client states economically, politically, and militarily dominated by the US and ruled by US imposed "dictators" on the South American model using "gunboat diplomacy". In other words, the Kosovo crisis for US policy is defined not by concerns about international law, the UN, human rights, or sovereignty, but by US national interests. Unlike most of Europe, Yugoslavia (made up of Serbia and Montenegro) is not a client state of the US and rejects the status of a US satellite state. Thus, a conflict between Yugoslavia and the United States (through its satellite states of the NATO bloc) existed and the two states were in a confrontational and mutually antagonistic posture even before the Kosovo crisis began in 1998. The Kosovo crisis cannot be adequately understood or comprehended without an analysis of the US role in the crisis and US policy towards Kosovo.
Kosovo is no different from any other secessionist movement. Populations change and states and nations are constantly in flux and evolving, creating conflicts and civil wars. In 1999, there were over 60 civil wars globally. As we have seen with the Kosovo crisis, such conflicts are rarely, if ever, simple and easy to resolve in a just and equitable way. The Kosovo crisis is complex and a solution can only be achieved at the expense of either the Serbian or Albanian populations. The roots to the Kosovo crisis are not to be found in the policies of Slobodan Milosevic, but in the centuries-old history of the region, which experienced occupation, wars, and migrations. Unfortunately and tragically, such crises are complex and insoluble, and stability and normalcy results only after civil wars destroy one or the other of the populations.
The broadened autonomy granted to Kosovo since 1945 did not lead to political stability in Kosovo. The political, cultural, and economic integration of Kosovo within Yugoslavia did not result. Instead, Kosovo Serbs migrated out of the province in large numbers as ethnic homogenization was achieved in Kosovo, which was contrary to the multi-ethnic structure of Yugoslavia. In short, greater autonomy only strengthened the desire and impetus for secession of Kosovo from Yugoslavia. Closer relations with Enver Hoxha's Stalinist Albania only strengthened the bonds between Kosovo Albanians and Albanians in Albania proper. The 1981 riots were the denouement of this self-defeating policy on the part of the Yugoslav government. Ironically, measures meant to increase autonomy for Kosovo only resulted in greater instability and a failure to integrate within Yugoslavia. By 1981, the Communist policies of the Yugoslav League of Communists were incapable of resolving the Kosovo crisis. That is, it became apparent that Communist nationalities policy had failed and that there was no method by which the regime could resolve the Kosovo crisis.
Yugoslav leaders, like Soviet leaders, claimed that "they had solved the nationality problem in Yugoslavia". But the Yugoslav Communist "solution" to the nationalities problem, like the Soviet model, was flawed and based on contradictory assumptions. V. I. Lenin, in 1914 in "Concerning the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", like Karl Kautsky, argued that the "state of diverse composition is something backward or an anomaly" and that "both the example of all progressive mankind and the example of the Balkans" showed that multi-ethnic or multi-national states were not the norm under a modern capitalist system. Like Karl Marx, Lenin saw nationality as subordinate to the class struggle, and once the proletariat developed its class consciousness, nationality would wither away. Yugoslav Communist leaders and theorists sought to create a "Yugoslav consciousness", a "Yugoslavness" (Yugoslovenstvo), based in "brotherhood and unity" (Bratstvo i Jedinstvo) much like the Soviet attempt to create "a Soviet man", and a Soviet identity. But both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were multi-national states that were made up of national republics which were based on nationality and ethnicity. That is, the "solution" to the nationalities question was based on contradictory assumptions. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were states not based on class identity, but ethnic and national identity. This ethnic and national identity was always present in the Communist states, which Communist ideology failed to subordinate or to destroy. In Kosovo, the so-called solution to the nationalities question was a total and complete failure What resulted was a time bomb or powder keg that was insoluble under the policies of the Yugoslav government and based upon Communist principles. What resulted was an explosion of Albanian nationalism and a nationalist ideology of a Greater Albania, an ideology that dated at least from the 1878 League of Prizren and during 1941-1944 when Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini had created a Greater Albania incorporating Kosovo -Metohija, a nationalist ideology which continued and developed during the Communist regime and rule. The U. S. policy was to exacerbate the Kosovo crisis by adopting and adapting the policies of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini on Kosovo. Adolph Hitler's policies on Kosovo differed very slightly from those of Senator Bob Dole, Madeleine Albright, James Rubin, and President Bill Clinton. NATO adopted the techniques and strategies for resolving the Kosovo crisis initiated by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, occupation and expulsion of the Orthodox Serbian population of Kosovo-Metohija. Hitler's objective was a Greater Albania; Clinton's objective is a Greater Albania. The Kosovo crisis has not been resolved, but only exacerbated by NATO military occupation of the Serbian province. Up to 300, 000 Kosovo Serbs have been ethnically cleansed since the NATO occupation and dozens of Serbian Orthodox churches have been demolished under the auspices of the US-led NATO forces. Serbian civilians, including children, and the elderly are daily murdered by Albanian nationalists supported and sponsored by the U. S. and Germany. Many Kosovo Serbs and Roma have been kidnapped and abducted. Kosovo Serbs face repression and genocide in Kosovo. But now those committing the genocide are "clients" of the U. S. Thus, the repression and human rights abuses and genocide against Kosovo Serbs is censored by the U. S. government and the media it controls in a cover-up and propaganda campaign. Kosovo has become more unstable and the crisis has been exacerbated. There are 300, 000 Kosovo Serbs who are in Yugoslav refugee camps who wait to return to their land and homes in Kosovo. Daily, Kosovo Serbs are murdered and terrorized in an ethnic cleansing campaign sponsored and fostered by the U. S. and Germany. The U. S. goal is to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosova, a Greater Albania. Such a plan will destabilize the entire Balkans region and will create the potential for the next war or conflict. Is the Kosovo crisis resolved? The opposite is true. Kosovo is a time bomb and Balkan powder keg.
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(1) Miranda Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo(NY: Columbia University Press, 1998), p. 4.
(2) Ibid. , p. 5.
(3) Ibid. , p. 6.
(4) Ibid. , p. 6.
(5) Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History (New York: New York University Press, 1998), p. 33.
(6) Ibid. , p. 34.
(7) Ibid. , p. 37.
(8) Ibid. , p. 34.
(9) Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, p. 6.
(10) Ibid. , p. 5.
(11) Ibid. , p 7.
(12) Ibid. , p. 4.
(13) Ibid. , p. 5.
(14) Ibid. , p. 7.
(15) Ibid. , p. 6.
(16) Ibid. , p. 3.
(17) Ibid. p. 7.
(18) Ruza Petrovic, The Migrations of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija (Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1992), p. 18.
(19) Ibid. , p. 15.
(20) Robert Elsie, ed. Kosovo: In the Heart of the Powder Keg (Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, 1997), p. 217.
(21) Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, p. 160.
(22) Ibid, p. 161.
(23) Ibid. , p. 160.
(24) Ibid. , 161.
(25) Ibid. , 162.
(26) Ibid. , p. 161.
(27) Ibid. , 160.
(28) Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, p. 6.
(29) Ibid. p7.
(30) Ibid. , p. 9.
(31) Ibid. , p. 30.
(32) Petrovic, The Migrations of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija, p. 30.
(33) Ibid. , p. 31.
(33) Vickers, Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, p. 95.
(34) Sami Repishti, Studies on Kosova (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), p. 3.
(35) Ibid. , p. 4
(36) Ibid. , p. 5.
(37) Ibid. , p4.
(38) Ibid. , p5.
(39) Ibid. , p5.
(40) Ibid. , p7.
(41) Ibid. , p. 6
(42) Ibid. , p. 8
(43) Ibid. , p. 8.
(44) Ibid. , p. 10.
(45) Ibid. , p. 10.
(46) Ibid. , p. 10.
(47) Ibid. , p. 11.
(48) Ibid. , p. 14.
(49) Ibid. , p. 14.
(50) Ibid. , p. 15.
(51) Ibid. , p. 14.
(52) Ibid. , p. 15.
(53) Ibid. , p. 17.
(54) Ibid. , p. 16.
(55) Ibid. , p. 17.
(56) Ibid. , p. 17.
(57) Ibid. , p. 50.
(58) Elsie, ed. , Kosovo: In the Heart of the Powder Keg, p. 205.
(59) Ibid. , p. 50.
(60) Repishti, Studies on Kosova, p. 129.
(61) Ibid. , p. 129.
(62) Ibid. , p. 128.
(63) Ibid. , p. 127.
(64) Petrovic, The Migrations of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija, p. 8.
(65) Repishti, Studies on Kosova, p. 208.
(66) Ibid. , p. 213.
(67) Ibid. , p. 213.
(68) Ibid. , p. 218.
(69) Ibid. , p. 223.
(70) Ibid. , p. 222.
(71) Ibid. , p. 233.
(72) Ibid. , p. 233.
(73) Ibid. , p. 234.
(74) Ibid. , p. 234.
(75) Ibid. , p. 235.
(76) Ibid. , p. 237.
Epilogue: Kosovo or Kosova?
(An Epistemological Analysis)
To understand the Kosovo crisis and to comprehend and appreciate the problem, one must deconstruct the issue, or conduct an epistemological analysis. In an age of spin, with New World Order spin doctors, information warfare, political war propaganda, brain-washing techniques of U. S. media, NATO, Pentagon, and State Department, lobby groups, and public relations firms, it is difficult to obtain an objective, unbiased, accurate analysis of the Kosovo crisis. As Noam Chomsky has noted, one has to deconstruct the problem by going "behind the rhetoric". The Kosovo crisis, like the earlier Bosnian civil war, was permeated with rhetoric and self-serving assertions. For example, few know that the three ethnic factions in Bosnia met in early 1992 in Lisbon, Portugal and agreed to a partition plan for Bosnia called the Lisbon Agreement. US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, who styled himself "the last ambassador to Yugoslavia", informed the Bosnian Muslim faction that the United States would support them in rejecting the Lisbon Plan and allowing them to create a Muslim-ruled and Muslim-dominated Bosnia, although Muslims were at most 43% of the population, while Christians were 57% of the population. Zimmermann promised diplomatic, political, economic, and ideological support, i. e. , information warfare, the American euphemism for propaganda. Thus, the US and US policy was crucial and instrumental in causing and maintaining the Bosnian civil war. To create an imperative for military intervention by the US, information warfare was utilized to create images of "genocide", "ethnic cleansing", "mass rapes', "rape motels", "concentration camps", "war crimes", "crimes against humanity", "humanitarian disaster", and "atrocities". But the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Butros-Butros Ghali, dismissed Bosnia as a "rich man's war" and pointed to a dozen places on the globe much worse than Bosnia in terms of carnage and human suffering. Indeed, during the Bosnian civil war, a legitimate genocide did in fact occur in Rwanda, where close to a million civilians were brutally murdered. But there were no UN peacekeeping troops in Rwanda and the US government and the US media hardly paid any attention to one of this century's most horrendous acts of genocide, in Rwanda. Moreover, the Kurds of Turkey were denied autonomy and "freedom" and Kurdish "freedom fighters" or "terrorists", depending on what spin one wishes to give the conflict, had their entire villages obliterated by Turkish Army troops, who shelled Kurdish villages with artillery fire. Following the creation of Israel in 1948, there were close to a million Palestinian refugees who were "ethnically cleansed" by the Israelis or "fled", most living in decrepit refugee camps in Jordan. Meanwhile, Palestinians who seek independence and "freedom" and the creation of their own state are hunted down by the Israeli Army and their homes are demolished by bulldozers. Something is wrong with this picture. But we may ask, even if this spin and hypocrisy and selective morality exist, surely historians and the academic community are immune from such arbitrary and inaccurate factors. History treatises and history books are not written and published in a vacuum. Moreover, books are a commodity and those history books sell which appeal to the mass audience and which reflect a common denominator approach. In short, the scholarly historical studies on the Kosovo crisis mirror perfectly the public or popular perception, which is totally induced by the US government and the media it controls (the information or propaganda machine of mass media), of the crisis. The Kosovo crisis played out almost as if there was a script or pre-designed blueprint or formula. The crucial question is: Is the Kosovo crisis one based in human rights abuses, oppression/repression by the government of a minority, or, on the other hand, one based on a movement of separatism and secession based on the creation of a Greater Albania?
As we have noted, the Albanian population was given rights and privileges in Kosovo under the 1974 Constitution that no other sovereign nation had given to a minority group. Such minority rights were unprecedented. Kosovar Albanians spoke their own language, published their own Albanian language newspapers, ran their own schools and universities, conducted lessons from textbooks imported from Albania, and displayed the Albanian flag. Political, social, economic, and social institutions were all controlled by Albanians. As German author Matthias Kuentzel noted in his analysis of the Kosovo conflict, The Road to War: Germany, NATO, and Kosovo, "Yugoslavs of Albanian origin in Kosovo were enjoying greater political and cultural rights than any other minority in any other state in the world." The United States, for example, through legislation has sought to eradicate and stamp out a separate and distinct Spanish/ Hispanic cultural and language identity in states with a majority Hispanic population. The English language and English culture are indoctrinated and imposed on Hispanics in a conformist policy of assimilation. The U. S. itself would never grant the kind of "autonomy" the Albanian population of Kosovo enjoyed. So in part, the Yugoslav/Serbian government is in part responsible for the crisis in Kosovo. The Yugoslav government fostered separatism and secession. Greater Albania was the inevitable and ineluctable goal.
The basis of the Kosovo crisis is separatism and secession. The 1981 riots in Kosovo and the Yugoslav government reaction in 1989 were based solely on separatism and secession, not human or minority rights. The Albanians were free to participate in the Yugoslav/Serbian political process. Seeking secession and separation from Serbia, Albanian leaders naturally refused to participate in a political process they did not wish to be a part of. Moreover, by participating in the process, they would be giving the process legitimacy and stability and would not advance the goals of separatism/secession. The boycott added more fuel to the fire, increasing the level of tension and maintaining instability and a lack of legitimacy. The 1981 riots showed that the basis of the Kosovo crisis is based in Albanian nationalism, a goal to create a Greater Albania. The slogans of the rioters were, "We are Albanians, not Yugoslavs", "We want a Kosovo Republic". This separatist nationalism was based in a racist policy to ethnically cleanse all non-Albanians from Kosovo and to create an ethnically pure Kosovo, or Kosova. As part of this Albanian nationalist policy, Kosovo Serbs were driven from the province and those that chose to remain were discriminated against and had no security from nationalist attacks. This policy of ethnic cleansing against Kosovo Serbs led to the changes in the status of Kosovo in 1989 to safeguard and to protect the minority and human rights of Kosovo Serbs. But throughout the crisis, the Albanian goal was to create a Greater Albania through secession and separatism or independence, precisely the kind of independence denied to the Krajina and Bosnian Serbs. Why was one supported and the other was not? Simply, because the Kosovar Albanians were clients of the U. S. government (and thus media) and the Serbs were not. Likewise, Palestinians, Kurds, and Basques are not clients of the U. S. government (and thus media) and therefore their separatist movements are not supported. Only client states or client "freedom movements" which have the support of the U. S. have legitimacy and military, economic, and political support. The KLA is in fact a proxy army for the United States, armed, trained, and supplied by the U. S. government, like the banana republic death-squads in Central America which the U. S. sponsored. The Kosovo crisis is thus based in human rights or in separatism and secession. We have seen that it is a separatist movement that has nothing to do with human rights. As clients of the U. S. , the Albanian leaders of the separatist KLA movement have the propaganda support of the U. S. government and media. Thus, the information war is controlled by Washington. Washington can define the issue and the nature of the crisis. How is the issue/crisis defined? The U. S. has an incoherent and inexplicable position on the crisis. The U. S. State Department policy opposed secession based on ethnic nationalism. But at Raimbouillet, the Albanians were given the right to vote on secession after 3 years. The U. S. also sponsors and supports the Albanian policy to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of Serbs and other non-Albanians and to make Kosovo an ethnically pure region, 100% Albanian. This policy follows the similar one in the Krajina which U. S. -trained Croat troops ethnically cleansed of Krajina Serbs in 1995 in the largest single act of ethnic cleansing during the entire Yugoslav conflict. The Krajina is now "Serbien and Juden frei" (Serbian and Jew free). The stated U. S. government and media policy is to make Kosovo Serbien and Juden frei. This genocidal policy does not have its origins in the U. S. State Department, but derives from the policies of Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Ante Pavelic, and Bedri Pejani and the Balli Kombetar. The adopted and adapted U. S. policy is obscured by a smokescreen of propaganda and disinformation. The U. S. goal is to create a Greater Albania. So the U. S. position too is not based on human or minority rights but is based in Albanian separatism and secession. Why isn't the actual reason or basis for the Kosovo crisis revealed? Why is there a propaganda and information war? Why is the public hoodwinked by brain-washing techniques and political propaganda? Only the U. S. State Department and media know the answer to this question for certain.
Is it Kosovo or Kosova? The CIA has already made its choice: Kosova. The CIA propaganda machine, based in Prague, Czech Republic, sends propaganda messages through Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RE), anachronistic CIA propaganda outlets from the Cold War, which refer to the province as Kosova. The U. S. government and media have decided: Kosova. The whole issue of whether it is Kosovo or Kosova has thus been resolved. An epistemological analysis is required to deconstruct the political rhetoric and propaganda and brain-washing techniques of the U. S. government and media. A future conflict is inevitable when the U. S. seeks to create the future Kosova. The U. S. goal is to create a Kosovo by fait accompli, based on the Israeli government model. Israel builds settlements and ethnically cleanses Palestinian Muslims off their land. Gradually, an ethnically pure Jewish region is the result. This is how James Rubin and Madeleine Albright seek to create a future Kosova.
Kosovo is a time bomb and Balkan powder keg, an accident waiting to happen. Kosovo has the potential to spark the next future war in the Balkans. Kosovo or Kosova? What is the difference? It is the difference between war and peace.
©1999 Serbian National Defense Council of America -