Tag Archives: Milosevic

Kosovo Declares Independence. Again.

18 Feb

Kosovo actually declared independence in 1990. As Wikipedia explains,

Albanians organized a peaceful separatist movement. State institutions and elections were boycotted and separate Albanian schools and political institutions were established. On July 2, 1990 Kosovo Parliament declared Kosovo an independent country, the Republic of Kosovo, this was only recognized by Albania. In September of that year, the parliament, meeting in secrecy in the town of Ka├žanik, adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. Two years later, in 1992, the parliament organized an unofficial referendum which was observed by international organizations but was not recognized internationally. With an 80% turnout, 98% voted for Kosovo to be independent.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence has been inevitable since the late 70s and early 80s, when riots first broke out in Prishtina, protesting oppression at the hands of the then-communist Belgrade authorities. A post-Titoist power struggle was ultimately filled in Serbia by Slobodan Milosevic, who appealed to long-dormant Serbian nationalism and sense of primacy in the region. As Milosevic abolished the Titoist autonomy for Kosovo, and stirred anti-Albanianism among the local Kosovar Serb population, the Kosovar Albanians – now 90% of the population – fought back with their own brand of nationalist extremism.

But that didn’t happen until the late 90s; not until after Dayton.

After the settlement of the wars to Serbia’s west in Dayton, Ohio, Milosevic was able to use all the power of the Serbian state and independent militias towards the South, engaging in the type of ethnic cleansing there that they had conducted in Bosnia and Croatia 8 years earlier. Well over a million Albanian refugees escaped to Albania or Macedonia, creating a massive, almost unprecedented post-WWII European refugee crisis. (edit)

This time, however, the West had had enough of this war criminal’s shenanigans, and repelled the Serbian onslaught with a 78-day air war.

On the subject of Kosovo, caution and negotiation is most necessary. This inevitable step – and a plebiscite on joining with Albania proper is probably coming down the pike – is a result of hundreds of years’ worth of social engineering dating to the mass conversion of Orthodox Christians to Islam due to the discriminatory taxation policies of the Ottoman empire, right up to the west’s border-drawing in the post-Ottoman, post-Hapsburg era. This was aggravated by ethnic clashes during World War II, Communist oppression, and ethnic provocations by both sides.

Excluding the former Soviet Union, Kosovo represents the last of the European post-Communist struggles, and represents a continuation of a thread that Milosevic began in 1987 to destroy Yugoslavia and consolidate his power. In the process, he created a national socialist kleptocracy that enriched itself at its people’s expense, and started or aggravated wars for territorial gain. When Yugoslav republics and provinces clamored within Yugoslavia’s legal system for increased autonomy and confederation, Milosevic refused, demanded further centralization, and hastened the breakup of that country. He was truly the monster everyone made him out to be. Seriously – even worse.

Don’t permit the politically gullible and ignorant to try and convince you that this is a massive struggle of Muslims against Christians, or al Qaeda west, or that the aggressors are the victims and vice-versa. Like Bosnians, Kosovars are among the most westernized and secular Muslims in the world.

While Prishtina celebrates and Belgrade riots, I hope that a fifth Balkan war since 1990 can be averted and cooler heads can prevail, as they did when Montenegro did the same thing in 2006. Belgrade is concerned about a 10% Serbian minority in Kosovo, and obviously its safety and rights must be guaranteed, the issue is a highly emotional one for Serbs because the Serb Kingdom was defeated by the Ottomans at Kosovo Polje in the year 1389; that field is considered to be the heart of the Serbian nation. 2007 is far different from 1389. It’s also much different from 1945, 1964, 1987, 1989, and 1999.

Frankly, I think a fascist Putinist Russia is much scarier than an independent Kosovo, which has a per capita GNP lower than Rwanda’s.