Kosovo independence tomorrow

So Kosovo will declare its independence tomorrow.

Regular readers of this blog will already know my position on Kosovar independence: I completely lack enthusiasm for it, but think it’s the least bad solution. It’s been almost nine years since the 1999 war, and pretty much every alternative has been explored at length. The current situation, where Kosovo is run by the UN, has become deeply dysfunctional. Giving Kosovo back to Serbia is not an option.

So what will happen? Well, the Albanians are getting ready for a huge two-day party. The Serbs are divided; it’s pretty clear that President Boris Tadic prefers a policy of dignified inaction, while Prime Minister Kostunica is hinting broadly about something more aggressive. Closing the border? Turning of Kosovo’s lights? We’ll see in a day or two.

As for international recognition: somewhere between 20 and 30 countries are poised to recognize Kosovo pretty quickly, with a larger number inclined to recognize but planning to wait a bit. There’ll probably be a UN Security Council meeting next week, which will lead to much discussion but nothing concrete.

So, unless Serbia does something stupid — which is certainly possible — in the short run, not much will change. In the longer run, well, I’ve used the phrase “Balkan Taiwan” before. It’s not very close; really, Kosovo is unique. But I expect a long war of diplomatic attrition rather than a crisis. Again, we’ll see soon enough.

46 thoughts on “Kosovo independence tomorrow

  1. If there’s a crisis, it will an interal one–Serbia’s policy options are exceedingly limited, turning off the lights would be a ridiculous self-inflicted wound. The international community is clearly focusing on Mitrovica, but I’m a lot more worried about what happens to the enclave Serbs in the south if tension flares in the north . . .

  2. Independence for the North, Serbian cantons in the south, and general hysteria from the K albs when they realise just how much they are NOT in charge of their “nation building”.

  3. I have never undestood what was wrong with the Serbian proposal for substntial autonomy for Kosovo offered during the negotiantions? Kosovo would have everything except control of the borders and protection of Serbian cultural heritage. Is it the Albanian dream of another state in the Balkans that the whole world has to cherish?

  4. @Mijawara: “a ridiculous self-inflicted wound.” That’s not a bad description of the last 20 years of Serbian history.

    @Mila: “what was wrong with the Serbian proposal?” Well, that depends on your point of view. It would have given the Kosovars a lot, true. But OTOH, they’d have no vote in the UN, no economic support from Serbia, the Serbian flag would fly at the borders, and their passports would still be Serbian. At the same time, they wouldn’t have any representation in Belgrade — nobody in Parliament, no Ministers. If you’re a Kosovar Albanian, you could reasonably ask why a country that dislikes you and doesn’t want your representatives in its Parliament should still be “your” country, even in the most nominal way.

    Note that the Montenegrins had much more than this — Montenegro had half the seats in the Federal Parliament, several Ministries, and a guarantee that at least a third of all ambassadors would be Montenegrin. It still wasn’t enough, and Montenegro voted for separation after just three years. So why, ask the Kosovars, should they have to settle for less than what the Montenegrins had?

    Doug M.

  5. I’m surprised by the apparent paucity of concern for the precedent that it sets. The prominence of the phrase that Kosovo is unique is especially disturbing, as it fairly remarkably sets up a prospect of arguing that other separatist conflicts are in fact not. The weighing of options has taken place against the backdrop of fully lacking motivation to pay attention to Serbia and its backer. I think the pratical irrelevance of anything beyond a US-EU consensus is really what’s fairly unique here looking around and into the future. Not perhaps such a big deal from this side of the Atlantic, but the level of unconcern is odd from the circles who have more at stake in blunting their legalistic tools. There seems to be too much inertia here carried over from the attitudes of 1999, when power balances had different trajectories and the status quo was indeed unsustainable.

  6. @Doug: . But OTOH, they’d have no vote in the UN, no economic support from Serbia,

    They will not have vote in UN either — do you think that they will get Security Council recommendation for membership?

  7. @Srdjan: not yet, and not for a while.

    But in ten years, or twenty? Good chance. Look at the Macedonian name issue. Or UN recognition for mainland China — that took over 20 years, 1949-73.

    Doug M.

  8. @Doug: no economic support from Serbia,

    They had this support for 50 years (from whole Yugoslavia) and decided that they do not need it anymore…

    Doug, you and western liberals can talk as much as you want about need to remove Kosovo from that terrible Serbia, but I and others Serbs with family from Kosovo will know what was nightmare was for Serbs from 1968 till today. In SFRY, in alleged peace time in 70’s and 80’s, my grandma was wearing a gun on the belt to protect herself from Albanians, who were known to kill people just fun. Courts in Kosovo were full of Albanian judges who were always ruling in favor of Albanians wherever Serb would bring case forward.

    I was in military school in SFRY and I had classmates Albanians from Kosovo — they were suposedly the best of Kosovo — but they were coming without knowing a word in Serbo-Croatian and our school was keeping them for a year before first year just to learn the language enough so they can follow lectures. Not any other nation or minority had this problems — I had Slovenians, Macedonians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians in my class — each single of them was talking Serbo-Croatian fluently, even after schooling in their mothertongue whole life.

    This just shows that Albanians never accepted Yugoslavia as their country — they always flew Albanian flag on weddings.

    Similarly, Serbs will never accept independent Kosovo as their country. They will never fly the flag of independent Kosovo (neither Kosovo Albanians will — they prefer Albanian national flag).

  9. My previous diatribe was quite emotional and that’s were problem lies in Kosovo conflict. All sides acts from emotional not rational reasons.

    If Serbs would think rationally, they would say “What we need 1.5 million hostile people in our country?”

    If Albanians would think rationally, they would say: “What is difference if we call ourselves independent? With Serbia, we would get into EU faster, economically would not be worse.”

    If EU was thinking rationally, they would say: “It is better if we keep Kosovo at least nominally attached to Serbia, that way they will enter EU together and issue of borders will not need to be addressed.”

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  11. Srdjan:

    “Not any other nation or minority had this problems — I had Slovenians, Macedonians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians in my class — each single of them was talking Serbo-Croatian fluently, even after schooling in their mothertongue whole life.”

    THe only thing that proves is that ethnic Albanians, the largest but also most isolated non-Slavic population in the SFRY, had weren’t fluent in Serbo-Croatian. This hardly requires malign intent: As English Canadians vis-a-vis French, they might simply not have encountered the language(s) in their day-to-day life.

    “Similarly, Serbs will never accept independent Kosovo as their country. They will never fly the flag of independent Kosovo (neither Kosovo Albanians will — they prefer Albanian national flag)”

    Cite?

    It’s worth noting that pan-Albanian nationalism is significantly weaker than pan-Serb nationalism. Politicians in Republika Srpska are calling for that entity’s independence from Bosnia and federation with Serbia. Are any Kosovar politicians calling for Kosovo’s unification with Albania?

    As for the European Union, are we sure that Serbia will get into the European Union before Kosovo? With the exceptions of Croatia and (somewhat) Macedonia, the European Union really doesn’t seem at all anxious to take on new member states. A single big bang expansion in the remaining non-EU western Balkans at some point might be more likely, especially considering that most of the states in the region are at the same lower-middle income level of economic development.

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  13. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Kosovo & Serbia: Independence Blogging

  14. @Randy:
    “Similarly, Serbs will never accept independent Kosovo as their country. They will never fly the flag of independent Kosovo (neither Kosovo Albanians will — they prefer Albanian national flag)”

    Cite?

    As someone with family expelled from Kosovo, I do not need to cite anything — I know as you will never know, as you are not Serb.

    As for flags, look at any agency picture from Prishtina and you will see only Albanian national flags.

    @Randy:
    It’s worth noting that pan-Albanian nationalism is significantly weaker than pan-Serb nationalism. Politicians in Republika Srpska are calling for that entity’s independence from Bosnia and federation with Serbia. Are any Kosovar politicians calling for Kosovo’s unification with Albania?

    That’s because they are smart and do not want to antagonize their sponsors. Serb politicians do not have sponsors on the west, so they do not have to care what they talk. Thing is, there is no Kosovo nation, just one of states in Albanian nation. Kosovo Albanians are Albanians first, Kosovar second (similarly how inhabitants of California are Americans first, then Californians).

    For them, Kosovars are not a nation, but just regional designation. And I do not have to give you any citations, I grew up with them, not you.

  15. Srdjan,

    So you were in military school in Serbia and you have relatives in Kosovo. What did those relatives do in the 80s and 90s? Were they involved in military/police actions against Kosovars?

    If you are going to claim some mystical Sebianness, it might behoove you to consider what your relatives in Kosovo were actually doing.

  16. Srdjan:

    “As someone with family expelled from Kosovo, I do not need to cite anything — I know as you will never know, as you are not Serb.”

    I’m actually quite willing to consider new evidence. I agree that Serbs in Kosovo will be unwilling to live in an independent Kosovo, in all fairness; archbishops calling on Serbia to import Russian weapons suggest so.

    “As for flags, look at any agency picture from Prishtina and you will see only Albanian national flags.”

    Fair enough.

    “That’s because they are smart and do not want to antagonize their sponsors. Serb politicians do not have sponsors on the west, so they do not have to care what they talk. Thing is, there is no Kosovo nation, just one of states in Albanian nation. Kosovo Albanians are Albanians first, Kosovar second (similarly how inhabitants of California are Americans first, then Californians).”

    They couldn’t be, say, Albanians shaped by a historical experience in Kosovo separate from those of their co-ethnics in Albania or Macedonia? There hasn’t ever been a unified ALbanian state, unless you count the Ottoman Empire and the 1941-1945 period. Austrians and Germans have had a longer history in common states. Writing from Canada, it doesn’t seem at all impossible that Kosovar Albanians see their fates, while linked, as separate from their counterparts in Albania proper. The public opinion polls in Albania and Kosovo which suggest that support for unification is in the 10% range.

    ; Austria had less.

    For them, Kosovars are not a nation, but just regional designation. And I do not have to give you any citations, I grew up with them, not you.

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  18. Srdjan, as as Serb, can you explain why it is so important for Serbs to keep Kosovo in Serbia? After all, the majority of the actual population are ethnic Albanians. Serbs are only a minority there.

    Is it because of Kosovo Polje, the old battlefield place 619 years ago? If yes, then I must say it is a quite unusual reason. There are many separatist regions in the world, with ethnic minorities on both sides, but Kosovo is the only one I know where the history of a battlefield is the main reason, why the actual homeland (Serbia) is strongly against a separation.

    Or is it because Kosovo is the former cultural central region of the Serbs, which still had a Serb majority 150 years ago? But then they lost their majority for several reasons, during many decades. Even Tito encouraged Albanians to move to Kosovo!

    In Europe, old cultural centres of nations move, inside countries and sometimes even outside. Poland has been moved several times, losing e.g. the historical town of Lwów. Finland has lost Viipuri/Vyborg, a very old town quite close to St.Petersburg. Lithuania lost even Vilnius to Poland between the WW’s. Some have to cope with changes, some others will get their old regions back, most often if the ethnic consistence of the region really includes those who want “go back”… which is not the case in Kosovo now.

    If Serbs would have treated Kosovo Albanians better, maybe they would not have needed independence? Every nation should think, what to do to avoid problems with neighbours or ethnic minorities. Otherwise those of course will think independence is a much better solution.

  19. @Hektor:

    Srdjan,

    So you were in military school in Serbia and you have relatives in Kosovo. What did those relatives do in the 80s and 90s? Were they involved in military/police actions against Kosovars?

    No. They were not in government in any capacity.

    My relatives were poor peasants — village where my grandparents grew up was 100% Serbian 25 years ago (It was founded by Serbs). By the 1987, there were in minority. In 80’s, my grand-aunt was wearing handgun when working in the field because many Serbian women were raped by Albanians at the time.

    In 1999, when Americans came after the war, same grand-aunt stayed home while younger ones were fleeing to central Serbia. We didn’t hear from her for two months until she emerged out of Kosovo. She told us that group of local young Albanians broke into her house and started to prepare to slaughter her like animal for sacrifice (you know, butcher knife on the throat), when one older Albanian came along and ordered young guys to leave. He told her that she has to leave immediately because if stays, she will be dead.

    Today, village is 100% Albanian.

  20. @Randy:

    They couldn’t be, say, Albanians shaped by a historical experience in Kosovo separate from those of their co-ethnics in Albania or Macedonia?

    You do not have to believe me, but I was going to school with Albanians from Kosovo, I was living in Germany a while and I have relatives in Austria.

    I know that for Albanians there is one Albanian nation. Not single one of my classmates were saying that they are Kosovars — they were Albanians who happen to live in Kosovo.

    I know that most Austrians feel that they are different than Germans and separate Austrian nation exists.

    Kosovo Albanians are same as catholics in Northern Ireland — they accept that they live in different state than rest of the Irish, but they are Irish first and foremost.

  21. > I know that for Albanians there is one Albanian nation. Not single one of my classmates were saying that they are Kosovars — they were Albanians who happen to live in Kosovo.

    To bring a parallel elsewhere in the Balkans:

    There is one Croat nation and one Serb nation: Croats and Serbs in Bosnia (mostly) do not see themselves as Bosnians — they are Croats and Serbs first and Bosnian is just regional designation.

    Serbs in BiH accept the reality that BiH exists as a state and that they have to live there, but they will never be part of Bosnian nation.

    Bosniaks (moslems) in Bosnia wants to project image that there is one Bosnian nation, but they are failing with that.

    Kosovo Albanians currently present image as that Kosovo is nation, but it is not. It is one of Albanian states (pretty much as Germany was two states with one nation).

  22. Srdjan, that does sound horrible. Unfortunately, poor people everywhere pay for the mistakes of their leaders.

    What village? What was their situation in the 90s? A lot happened in that decade, after all.

  23. @Mitra:

    > Srdjan, as as Serb, can you explain
    > why it is so important for Serbs
    > to keep Kosovo in Serbia? After all,
    > the majority of the actual population
    > are ethnic Albanians. Serbs are only
    > a minority there.

    This is hard to explain, but I’ll try (note that I will talk in emotional categories, not rational ones — as I said earlier, I do not see that anybody is acting in this conflict rationally).

    Mostly it comes from sense of injustice — most Serbs feel that different set of laws applies to them. For example, everyone says that Serbs in Bosnia do not have right to secede, but Kosovo Albanians do have that right. Then, when we were negotiating with Albanians, US and its partners essentially said to Kosovo Albanians: You just have to sit this one, because you are getting what you want anyway.

    We had two sides: Side A and Side B, each hold respective positions (Position AA and Position BB). Then mediator says to everyone: If A and B doesn’t reach an agreement, we are going with position BB. So, mediator asks side A to concede defeat and accept position BB. There is no incentive for side B to negotiate at all, because they will get position BB any way or another. How is this fair for side A?

  24. Srdjan:

    “Mostly it comes from sense of injustice — most Serbs feel that different set of laws applies to them. For example, everyone says that Serbs in Bosnia do not have right to secede, but Kosovo Albanians do have that right. Then, when we were negotiating with Albanians, US and its partners essentially said to Kosovo Albanians: You just have to sit this one, because you are getting what you want anyway.”

    As I understand it, the difference is that Republika Srpska wasn’t a federal unit of the SFRY before 1991 and has a territory that was mostly non-Serb before the Bosnian War and made non-Serb through ethnic cleansing and the occasional act of genocide, while Kosovo was a federal unit of the SFRY before 1991 and had a strong Albanian majority (~80%) long before that year.

    As for the conclusion of the Kosovo negotiations, well, what else was possible? The idea that the Republic of Serbia and Kosovo could be melded into some west Balkans version of Belgium is ludicrous, not least because it’s unclear that many Serbs don’t view Albanians as violent thieving birthing machines who don’t deserve to live on sacred Serbian territory. When side A is seen as behaving irrationally, what other solution is possible but that offered by side B?

  25. Well, the “rien ne va plus” came some time in 2006. A three-way federation including Montenegro might have been possible, and if the Serbian government had at least made a token effort to register the Kosovo Albanians on the voters’ list before the referendum on the new constitution, Serbia would have had somewhat higher ground during the negotiations in Vienna. So yes, it’s over when it’s over.

  26. @Randy:

    As I understand it, the difference is that Republika Srpska wasn’t a federal unit of the SFRY before 1991 and has a territory that was mostly non-Serb before the Bosnian War and made non-Serb through ethnic cleansing and the occasional act of genocide, while Kosovo was a federal unit of the SFRY before 1991 and had a strong Albanian majority (~80%) long before that year.

    Majority of territory of Republika Srpska was inhabited by Serbs even before the war.

    Kosovo was subject of federation, but as a part of Republic of Serbia, not as one of constituent republics.

    And Constitution of SFRY didn’t give right of secession to republics but to nations. Preamble of constitution says:

    Nations of Yugoslavia, grounded on right of every nation for self-determination, including the right to secede […]

    [Translated from: http://sr.wikisource.org/wiki/%D0%A3%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B2_%D0%A1%D0%BE%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%98%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%BA%D0%B5_%D0%A4%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B5_%D0%A0%D0%B5%D0%BF%D1%83%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B5_%D0%88%D1%83%D0%B3%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%98%D0%B5_%281974%29%5D

    Nowhere it says that republics were sovereign, only nations. One of reasons why war in Bosnia started is because Serbs, as constituent nation of Bosnia, were over-voted by Muslims and Croats — Serbs were against declaration of independence, but were ignored.

  27. Republika Srpska’s territory was 56% Serb by population before the war, but it became homogeneous through the deportation or murder of more than 90% opf the region’s large Croat and Muslim populations. Before 1999, in contrast, something like 85% of Kosovo’s population was Albanian.

    As to the point of the right of secession, I take your point that however it actually happened, the constitution the right of secession belonged only to the constituent peoples, not the republics. I’d further stipulate that the constituent peoples of Yugoslavia consisted only of the Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Bosnian Muslims and Montenegrins, and not the Albanians, Kosovar or otherwise. I think the identification of that last population as a national minority was untenable: Not only were there nearly as many Albanians as there were Slovenes, Bosnian Muslims or Macedonians, but Albanians had a language and history quite distinct from that of Yugoslavia’s Slavs. That, I suppose, may have been the problem.

    http://mondediplo.com/1998/11/14yugo1

  28. Srdjan wrote:

    >Mostly it comes from sense of injustice — most Serbs feel that different set of laws applies to them. For example, everyone says that Serbs in Bosnia do not have right to secede, but Kosovo Albanians do have that right. >

    If somebody would have asked me, I would have divided Bosnia into parts that could consider themselves as “nations”. I would have given the whole northern Bosnia, with Banja Luka as capital, to the Bosnian Serbs, to create their Republika Srpska, preferably with the name “Northern Bosnia” to not be mixed with Serbia. And I would have attached eastern Bosnia to Serbia, maybe. But the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina would have stayed in Moslem and Croat hands, with Sarajevo as capital. If Moslems and Croats could not stand to be together, then I would have split also their territory into 2 parts: Herzegovina (Mostar as capital) and “Southern Bosnia” (Sarajevo as capital). But in each country, minorities had to be respected with democratic and religious rights. No language problems, as they all would have the same language in practice.

    Same apply to Kosovo Albanians. What is better, to let them be independent or to join Albania? I bet the independence should be easier to be accepted by Serbians, after all. In Kosovo, ethnic Serbs are about 10 % of the population, right? If Kosovo would have joined Albania, they would be maybe 1%!

    After have read Wikipedia yesterday about Kosovo history, I can in a way understand why Serbs are so angry. Imagine if the area around Marseille in France would in 50 years have an Arab majority (due to huge immigration) and those would want to create an independent republic. Ethnic French people living in that area would never accept this.

    But, here comes the difference: French army and police or French people, I believe, would not kill thousands of Arab civil people! But Serbs have already done this in Bosnia and Kosovo… I think the international community does not want every nation to have its independence everywhere, but for the most clear persecuted cases, yes, if this is practically possible.

    >An estimated 10,000-12,000 ethnic Albanians and 3,000 Serbs are believed to have been killed during the conflict.> (Wikipedia, Kosovo, Kosovo war (90’s))

    This is why Serbs are not trusted. Sorry to say, but Serbs are known as one of Europe’s most nationalistic nations, who seem to think that every place where some Serbs live should belong to the Great Serbia proclaimed by Milosevic in the 80’s? What about other nations? Wouldn’t you give anything to them? Where are their rights?

    This said, I am really sorry for what happened to your grand-aunt and her village. But I bet everything would have went better if, from the beginning, the Albanian minority in Kosovo would have been better treated by the Serbian government. Of course this was impossible under Milosevic. This man created only hatred.

    Serbs should begin to improve their image by helping to catch Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic who should be punished for their war crimes. It is impossible to understand why they are considered as heroes. Killing 9000 civilians in Srebrenica, do Serbians still not know this??? Where is their sense of justice?

  29. Finally officaly seperated from serbia, what a great feeling :).
    We had a great big party on 17th, something i would never forget.
    I don’t like to start talking about history, as I and all know Kosova was never serbia.
    I’d like to thank all American people and others for helping us to put justice in place.
    someone said albanians won’t accept the Kosova flag, and thats not true, we will accept it as our State flag but we will also have our national flag, red and black.
    for serbs no comment (the world finally knows who they are).
    Diellza from New Born State KOSOVA

  30. @Randy:

    If Bosniaks are so nice, why there were virtually no Serbs at the end of the war, outside R. Srpska?

    As I do not support ethnic cleansing, truth is that all three sides in Bosnian war cleansed their areas — as much as Bosniaks fled territory under control of Serbs, Serbs fled territory under control of Bosniaks, too. That’s mostly conveniently overlooked.

    As for 1999, I believe (and that’s just my opinion, I have no means to know that for sure) that Milosevic was encouraged with ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatia in 1995 (12% of pre-war population of Serbs was driven out virtually overnight from Croatia, with blessing of western powers). He saw that and said “I should do similar”.

    As it is true that some crimes happened during the Kosovo war, mass exodus of Kosovo Albanians happened only after bombs started falling. And I believe (again, my observation, as I was in Belgrade during 1999 war and had many relatives drafted into armed forces) that majority of Albanians was strongly encouraged by KLA to move to create effect of humanitarian catastrophe.

    Usually, at this point, someone will bring point that ‘Serbs left Croatia on their own will, nobody was forcing them out’ and that ‘Kosovo Albanians were driven out forcibly’.

    So lets answer this point preemptively: Why double standard here? For sure, Serbs in Croatia were lead to believe that Croats will be indiscriminate in killing after they enter Serb-held areas. And that actually happened: many old people who stayed at their homes were brutally murdered by Croat soldiers — that’s why we have Croat generals on trial for war crimes. However, maybe, if they negotiated before hostilities started, they may have stayed peacefully, if accepted Croatian state as their own.

    Similarly, Kosovo Albanians were driven out of fear, based or not in reality. Good portion of that fear was instilled by their leaders, who needed catastrophe to justify NATO intervention. If they accepted Serbian state as their own, and negotiated, maybe they would not move out of their homes.

    How come someone with straight face say that 12% Serbs in Croatia had to accept government which was publicly praising Croatian puppet state of WWII (NDH) which murdered so many Serbs, and that 10% of Albanians in Serbia have right to secede?

    I will tune out now — I have to pay some attention on some other things in life, more important to me than Kosovo.

    I hope that will agree to disagree:

    I believe that compromise offered by current, democratic government of Serbia (full autonomy, just a sliver short of independence, imagine how Faroe Islands are represented internationally in almost anything except diplomatic services) was fair. Other side didn’t offer any concession.

    Time will tell (and most probably, we will have frozen conflict here for next several years, and I am afraid that it will slip in new war in future)

  31. Srdjan,

    Your precis on the Bosnian war is incorrect. A number of Serbs served in the Armija BiH, and some of them were high-ranking. There are way more Serbs in the Federation than there are non-Serbs in the RS, and those Bosniaks who were able to return to places like Srebrenica are desperate to get out of the RS through secession. There is no parallel on the Federation side of the scale of concentration/rape camps run by Serbs or the genocidal slaughters of places like Srebrenica. All sides committed war crimes, but the Serbs were the kings at this behavior, and that’s why the Bosniaks suffered the greatest casualties.

    You are also wrong about the Kosovo war – the majority of Albanians were loaded onto trains or driven into other countries by Serbian security forces. They weren’t driven out by “fear”, they were deliberately forced out by the Serbs after about 10,000 of them were killed.

    The situation with the Krajina Serbs was more mixed. Some were forced out and about 200 were killed. The Croatian state wanted them gone, just as the Krajina Serbs exerted utmost efforts to ethnically cleanse their Croats. The Krajina Serbs rejected the Z4 plan, which would have given them autonomy. They wanted their own state, ethnically cleansed of Croats. At every step, they resisted any compromise, even after Milosevic washed his hands of them and ended Yugoslav support.

    There weren’t any concessions at all toward the Kosovar Albanians – autonomy was taken away and a colonial semi-apartheid administration enacted that the Kosovars put up with for a decade.

    So, you want to equate a situation where the Krajina Serbs rejected any autonomy in Croatia and founded their own state after ethnically cleansing the local minority Croat population with the Kosovar situation where their autonomy was taken away, they put up with it for 10 years, and only declared independence after the Serbian authorities ethnically cleansed their population, while some Serbs still remain in Kosovo. The situations aren’t comparable.

    As has been said upstream, the autonomy proposal from Serbia was worse than the one Montenegro got with about a third of the population of Kosovo.

    Don’t be so eager for the next war. Serbia has a talent for losing those.

  32. Srdjan,

    One more thing – I’m still curious what village it was and what your relatives did in the 90s in Kosovo under the Milosevic regime.

  33. @Hektor:

    Village is Tankosić (I believe Albanians changed the name of the village, because it is too Serb — it is Serbian surname).

  34. @Hektor:

    As I said, I am not eager, I am _afraid_ — for same reason you say…

    I am referring to latest proposals in 2007, not any other old autonomies.

  35. @Hektor: I’m still curious what village it was and what your relatives did in the 90s in Kosovo under the Milosevic regime.

    As for what they did — as far as I know, nothing of importance. Tilling field, raising cows, I suppose…

  36. mitra:

    “After have read Wikipedia yesterday about Kosovo history, I can in a way understand why Serbs are so angry. Imagine if the area around Marseille in France would in 50 years have an Arab majority (due to huge immigration) and those would want to create an independent republic. Ethnic French people living in that area would never accept this.”

    Agreed, but it’s worth noting that for at least a century, and likely longer, Kosovo has had an Albanian majority population.

    Srdjan:

    “If Bosniaks are so nice, why there were virtually no Serbs at the end of the war, outside R. Srpska?”

    Please don’t put words into my mouth.

    I didn’t say that Bosniaks were nice. I was talking, instead, about the expulsion of >90% of the non-Serb population from the territory of the Republika Srpska.

    Yes, ethnic cleansing of Serbs by Croats and Bosniaks did happen during the war, but Bosniaks in particular took the brunt of it.

    Why did Serbs leave the Federation afterwards? Encouragement from pale didn’t help.

    http://www.nytimes.com/specials/bosnia/context/0222yugo-bosnia.html

    The exodus of fearful Serbs from their homes around Sarajevo continued on Wednesday, with caravans of trucks and overloaded automobiles clogging the icy roads that lead toward Serbian-controlled regions of Eastern Bosnia.

    Hundreds of families fled, trusting their instincts and their leaders rather than U.N. assurances that they would be treated fairly after the Muslim-dominated government takes control of the suburbs in the coming days.

    Radio broadcasts from Pale the Bosnian Serb headquarters, kept up warnings that life would be impossible for ethnic Serbs after Bosnian government police arrive.

    Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, said: “People seem to be listening to Pale radio and Pale TV, and seem to believe a lot of what is being said to them,” he said. “Pale is ranting every day, trying to discredit the international community and portray it as the enemy of the Serb people.”

    In the northern suburb of Vogosca, where government police are scheduled to arrive on Friday, angry residents screamed curses at Mayor Rajko Koprivica after he told them he could not produce the trucks they demanded for their evacuation.

    “Please be calm,” he begged the volatile crowd. “Yesterday someone tried to punch me, and I was spat on.”

    “I believe that compromise offered by current, democratic government of Serbia (full autonomy, just a sliver short of independence, imagine how Faroe Islands are represented internationally in almost anything except diplomatic services) was fair. Other side didn’t offer any concession.”

    That’s a tendentious reading.

    Serbia chose to reject the Ahtisaari plan under the United Nations, instead offering a counterplan offering rather less autonomy that Kosovo and its allies rejected. The negotiations failed to reach an end, and the unilateral declaration of independence followed.

  37. ROTFL at all you solemn people taking “Srdjan” so terribly seriously. This is a guy who claims to have relatives in Kosova who were badly treated by generic “Albanians”, yet doesn’t know what those relatives did for a living or whether they took part in anything untoward themselves; who claims to be an expert on Bosnia, yet provides only the usual blatant and obscene lies about the war the Milosevic regime launched against that country; and who asserts that there is a powerful and secret movement for a “Greater Albania” which he knows all about but which nobody else has ever heard of, least of all any Albanians. He is either a troll, or a Serbian propagandist, or a paranoid fantasist, or all three, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves for wasting time on his drivel.
    Long live independent Kosova, if only because its existence annoys so many people who thoroughly deserve to be annoyed.

  38. More than four IIIyrian Entities compose Albania.
    LABEATS, TAULANTS, ALBANS, ENKELEIS, DARASETS and KAONS.
    All of them speaks Illyrian language but with different dialects. Three first has a very distinct Illyrian dialect named GEGE and the rest has another Illyrian dialect named TOSKE.
    On 1912 they united in one single state and agreed to be named Eagle’s Land. SHQIPERIA.
    The foreign “SKOLARS” named Albania based on the name of only one of the Entities.
    This was not only Ignorance but also a big mistake of these “very educated Scholars“.
    The situation then was so critical for SHQIPETARET, so they accepted any injustice and compromise. This was the big price they pay to gain the independence. Of course many other Illyrian entities was ignored. This has been done in purpose to use Illyrian territories as a trade merchandise to please slavics, which in return were used in two wars. The Slavics paid their price. They lost 56 million people 1908 – 1946. Illyrian paid bigger price. They were spread over 5 different states.
    It’s about time to recognize the historical right of Kosova (Dardania) to have its destiny fulfilled-That is full independence. Kosova never was a Serbian province. It was there, since the times of birth of European civilization, a very distinct Dardanian/llyrian identity. Always populated by Dardanias who, although under constant pressure of forcefully migration by Serbian shovinism, Tito’s Yugoslavia & Milloshevic’s Serbia, still make up 92% of the population. They speak ilirian language with the dialect GEGE. Serbs always have been a minority there. We know that Serbs appeared in Balkans (then llyria) only by the 6th Century AD. They have always been a minority and ‘the story’ of Kosova being the Heartland of Serbia is just a pure Serbian nationalist fantasy. Facts Speak Louder Than Words and Serbian’s Lies Will Collapse by Themselves. Serbs always have been considered as oppressors there, not just by Albanian majority, but also by other ethnic groups too. Serbs just occupied Kosova during the rise of the Serbian nationalism early 20th century from Ottomans, who by then were loosing the Balkans after 500 years of occupation. Now Kosova should be Free!
    To find the answer for the question “do you think Kosovo’s independence will strengthen separatist movements elsewhere”, please refer to:
    http://www.acesofww2.com/germany/aces/Hartmann.htm
    Erich Hartman – top ace of all the time. German Luftwaffe Bf 109 Pilot.
    Near the end of WWII, in early May 1945, Hartmann, then Gruppenkommandeur of famous Jagdgeschwader 52, and his Commodore, Hermann Graf, ground crew, family members, and other civilians, who had joined the squadron, seeking protection approaching Russian army, moved west in direction of territory already occupied by US troops. On May 8th, 1945, the soldiers and civilians surrendered to US troops in the region between Bavaria (German province) and Czech border. But on May 17th, the US Army delivered all of these German troops and civilians to the Red Army. How did the Russian troops treat the civilians? They tortured, raped German woman, children at least 12 years old. Some woman were shot after the rapes. Others were not so lucky. A twelve year old girl whose mother had been raped and shoot being raped by several solders. She died from these acts soon afterward. Then more Russian came, and it began all over again. During the night, entire German families committed suicide with men killing their wives and daughters, then themselves. This is the way the slavics treat the human been, the innocent civilians. This is the way the Serbs treated innocent Croatian, Bosnian and Dardanian civilians. If any entity of human been will be treated like that, then they are in title to ask and gain the independence.

  39. To Adrian:

    Wikipedia says a.o. like this:
    >By the end of the 19th century the Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant people in Kosovo.>

    I suppose this can be understood so, that before that, Serbs were in majority… Or then, that they were just “dominant” even while being a minority?

    The impression I have got is this:

    – Kosovo was a heart of the old Serbian Kingdom, which lost its battle against the Turks in 1389. It is however not mentioned, who was in majority there. In the Middle Age in Europe, there certainly was many kingdoms ruled by some minority ethnicities with more power over other majority ethnicities with less power. People certainly were not so aware of their ethnic rights at that time…

    – The Ottoman Empire favourised Muslim Albanians before Orthodox Serbs, but probably without considerable cruelnesses

    – The Kingdom of Serbia did not include Kosovo when becoming again independent in 1878, except Prishtina and Mitrovica

    – Between 1878 and 1912, Kosovo Albanians (the Prizren League) tried to unite four Albanian Vilayets by merging the majority of Albanian inhabitants within the Ottoman Empire into one Albanian State, under the Ottoman umbrella.

    – In 1912, Serbia got Kosovo and started to recolonise it. Numerous colonist Serb families moved into Kosovo, equalizing the demographic balance between Albanians and Serbs. Many Albanians fled into the mountains and numerous Albanian and Turkish houses were razed.

    – Albanians supported the Central Powers in WW1, but lost. During Serbian (war time?) control of Kosovo, the Serbian Army committed atrocities against the population.

    – The 1918–1929 period of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians witnessed a rise of the Serbian population in the region and a decline in the non-Serbian.

    – In WW2, the greatest part of Kosovo became a part of Italian-controlled Fascist Albania. Mustafa Kruja, the Prime Minister of Albania, wanted to cleanse whole Kosovo from Serbs and send them to concentration camps in Albania.

    – In the 1970s, the ethnic balance of Kosovo tilted as the number of Albanians tripled, rising from almost 75% to over 90%, but the number of Serbs dropped from 15% to 8% of the total population.

    It is clear that nobody will ever be happy about the administration in that region, no matter how it is organised, Albanian or Serb. Both parts have committed genocides and been oppressed during the history.

    But I agree that the more important should be the actual population balance. It is very clear that Albanians are in majority now and should rule over most of Kosovo. On the other hand, Serbia could get northern Mitrovica? And maybe the Bosnian Serbs their republic? But the problem is that even there, there are smaller minority territories with Albanians, Muslims etc.

    I guess there should, in the Balkans, be regions with a “fuzzy logic” concerning which state they belong to. Demilitarised small regions, where every inhabitant could be citizen of whatever state he/she wants! Public services could be privatised and rented from all the sides. In other words, one city could have the right to belong to several states at the same time. Balkan needs some radical innovations 😉

    There could be a minimum area size for an “independent country”, which both Kosovo and Bosnian Republika Srpska would exceed. Smaller ethnically differing regions would not get independence but instead become such “fuzzy regions”.

    It is time the world makes new principles for which regions may be own states and which not!

  40. A very one sided point of view. And an undisguised display of double standards. Why do you think it is so easy to cut up the country? May be because it is’n yours? Still you can’t block the Sun and you can’t kill the truth.
    It’s already out. American`11` controlled media cannot make the rest of the world think like them.

    To all of you I pose this question..Which none of you can answer.. If Serbs are truly so unjust to minorities, if they are truly so evil and so genocidal. Then why is Serbia, BY FAR the most ethnically diverse country in the Balkans. All the other nations are “pure”. Serbia is the only place where they live in harmony. Think about this VERY HARD. If Serbs truly wanted to cleanse Serbia of Albanians, why didn’t they start with the 100,000 Albanians living in Belgrade? Or the over 500,000 living in other parts of Serbis? No amount of propaganda can answer these questions can it…

    It’s that simple, that easy to break the propaganda bubble.. It really is.. If you don’t believe me, check yourself.

  41. If human trafficking, corruption and drug running were prerequisites for deserving independence Kosovo would satisfy such criteria hands down.

    Now…HOW Kosovo came to be predominantly Albanian during the 70’s and 80’s. History does not start when CNN cameras start rolling. Any opinion can be justified as fact if you cherry pick historical events so let’s put those aside for a moment.

    Accepting that Albanians cannot live under Serbian rule on Serbian territory, surely you can also accept that Serbians cannot live under Albanian rule on Albanian teritorry (Kosovo after independance).

    Any statement you make regarding the Albanian minority in Serbia should surely also apply to the Serbian minoroty in Kosovo. Don’t they also deserve independance from Kosovo as Kosovo does from Serbia? (Even though the tourching of their houses and churches got far less coverage)

    Either you have sovereign multiethnic countries, or you have newly formed enthnicly pure ones

    Take your pick, but you cannot have it both ways

  42. Kosovo is “unique” case?! LOL
    I see Britain,Americans and the rest have not yet got rid of the habit, acquired in them hedonistic imperial days, of dividing other peoples lands, and feel all magnanimous and righteous about it! It must be easy to be generous with someone else’s property.

    That Kosovo was “unique” has been the Western propagandist mantra for months.

    Well yes, Kosovo is a unique case, and is the only one recognized by the United States until the next “unique case” comes along.

    When legal criteria have been thrown out, we just have one “unique case” after another.

    The “uniqueness” claimed by the United States/EU is a propaganda construction. It is based on the supposed “uniqueness” of Milosevic’s repression of the armed secessionist movement, which was not unique at all.

    It was standard operating procedure throughout history and the world over, in such circumstances. Deplorable, no doubt, but not unique.

    It was minor indeed compared to the similar but endless and far bloodier anti-insurgency operations in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Chechnya, not to mention Northern Ireland, Thailand, the Philippines.

    Unlike the counter-insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which kill incomparably more civilians, it was carried out by the legal, democratically elected government of the country, rather than by a foreign power.

    The propaganda “uniqueness” is an abstraction. Like every place on earth, Kosovo is indeed unique. But in ways that have nothing to do with the U.S./EU pretext for taking it over and turning it into a military outpost of empire

    The West’s entire approach to Kosovo has been marked by sordid dishonesty and bad faith, supporting national self-determination and the right to secession in one place and territorial integrity in another, cheering on ethnic cleansing by one ethnic group and demanding war crimes trials for another, trumpeting the virtues of majority rule when it’s convenient to do so and threatening to impose sanctions and penalties on majorities when that’s convenient. For the Americans, Kosovo is nothing more than the hinterland of a giant military base, a key presence in the eastern Mediterranean should Greece or Turkey prove unreliable. As for the duly grateful Albanians, they are expected to repay their benefactors by agreeing to be cannon fodder in future imperial wars. For the Europeans, Kosovo is an opportunity to show the world that Europe counts for something and to conduct various pointless social experiments in multiculturalism and multiconfessionalism — particularly pointless since Kosovo will be one of the most ethnically homogeneous places in Europe.

    What else would you expect from USA government and their puppets that do not live in a “reality based community” that has trillions of dollars and millions of brainwashed subjects? We have the clinically insane leading a brainwashed population. The only smart thing to do would be to get out of their way, until we figure out a way to stop them. Meanwhile, Serbians, sorry, but there’s really not much us sane people can do here in America. Don’t worry, you’ll get Kosovo back one day.

  43. “Avanger” sorry to bring ur hopes down as well as the serbians hopes but one thing that y’all have to know is that yall will not in a millionyears get Kosova back ….

    And Sardjan ..
    im sorry for wat happened to ur aunt and other family that u had but i can assure you that none of it came close to what the Serbs did to Kosovars in the 1990s you have no idea …

    as that is all i want to say for now other then that i would like to say thank u to all th ppl that helped us to get our independence..

  44. Srdjan,

    Not a city, town or a village was never ever 100% of one or the other nationality in Kosovo. Until the 90s over 80% of population was Albanian, the rest were Serbs (10%), Croats, Turks, Romas, Gorans, Torbeshs. There were only areas in cities or villages of a certain nationality. In both Serb and Albanian nationalities about 10% of population left Kosovo every 2 decades ( approximately). However, statistics counted only Serbs, not the entire population. For this reason Serbian government created different projects to keep Serbs in Kosovo, also to bring new families from Serbia and Montengro mostly, less from other Republics of former Yugoslavia, by offering them high positions and/or property. The law was always different for Albanians. Example: property law: An Albanian could buy any kind of property from Serbs but they could never transfer it to their names because that meant that Serbs were being pushed away even if Serb still lived within Kosovo. ( I hope I make sence) Some foolish Albanians actually bought properties, but later they had to pay for the same thing again and again. This was a big problem before the war, but a huge problem after the war. I know a family who bought a land and payed three times for it, and than again, the fourth time after the war.
    Serbia always played tricks to chase the Albanians away. The biggest success was during the NATO bombing. I know that for a fact because I was born and lived in Kosovo till March 28th, 1999 (I was 22 years old). We had only 5 minutes to leave the house or else…
    So, after the war if we look at the numbers, about the same percentage did not make it to get back to Kosovo for different reasons. Some don’t even dare to go back, some have no place to go to, some found a better future (I’m including all nationalities).
    So hopefully, the new state is a new beginning of a successful future and the ones who want to go back to live in it will go.
    Happy Independence of Kosovo to all!