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Monday, February 18, 2008

Could Kosovo Independence Ignite a War Like World War One?

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:



History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.


"...with the governments...whose independence we have acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling, in any other manner, their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as a manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States." -James Monroe, Annual Message to Congress; the Monroe Doctrine.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG: Is Kosovar independence as inflammtory in 2008 as Serbian resistance to Austria was in 1914? Will it touch off international tensions? Beneath the shifting political borders of the Balkans lies an older ethnic map and under that map lies another map- a religious map. The Slavonic Christian Orthodox rite followed by the Serbs has always bound them more closely to traditionally Slavonic Orthodox Russia than to Western Europe.

IN THE NEWS: KOSOVO DECLARES ITS INDEPENDENCE WITH SUPPORT FROM THE UNITED STATES, E.U. AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES DESPITE RUSSIAN DISSENT ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL. PRESIDENT PUTIN FEARS IT WILL SET A PRECEDENT FOR ETHNIC SECESSIONS AROUND THE WORLD, BUT ESPECIALLY IN RUSSIA. KOSOVARS CELEBRATE. SERBS IN MITROVICA PROTEST. SERBS RIOT AT US EMBASSY IN BELGRADE.

REARVIEW MIRROR:
*1389- Serbia is defeated by the Ottoman Empire in Kosovo.
*1830- Serbia wins autonomy from the Ottomans.
*Kosovo becomes the centre of an Albanian national revival.
*1878- Serbia becomes independent.
*1913- Kosovo occupied by Serbia.
*1991- Kosovo declares independence from Yugoslavia and Serbia by referendum.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In 1150, the Nemanja dynasty ruled a Serbia that was increasingly independent from the Byzantine Empire. The religious and political heart of the new Orthodox Christian kingdom was Kosovo. By 1350, the Serbian state had started to disintegrate and Kosovo was the site of its final defeat by the Ottomans in 1389. By 1500 Serbia had been absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Serbia regained autonomy from Constantinople in 1830, around the time that Kosovo became the centre of an Albanian nationalist movement against the Ottomans. In 1913, an expansionist Kingdom of Serbia annexed Kosovo from Albania, the same year that an independent Albanian state was recognized. By the end of World War Two, Kosovo had become an autonomous region within Serbia. For the next forty-odd years of Communist Serbian rule, Kosovo experienced alternate periods of repression and accommodation. By the 1990s, a post-Communist Yugoslavia led by Serbia and its president Slobodan Milosevic, moved to prevent by force all the ethnic secession movements from Yugoslavia unleashed by the end of Communist rule. The mid-to late 1990s saw a Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo to make it more Serbian and prevent the area from breaking away. A NATO bombing campaign against Serbia's military occupation of Kosovo ended Serbian rule there. Kosovo then became nominally independent under UN supervision.

IN A NUTSHELL: On the eve of World War One Germany was faced by the Triple Entente of Britain, France and Russia. Independent Serbia, meanwhile, felt menaced by expansionist Austria. When a Serbian nationalist assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Austria declared war on Serbia and Germany backed Austria. The Russians were moved by their Slavic and Slavonic Orthodox brotherhood with the Serbs to defend Serbia. And Britain and France were bound in turn by the triple alliance to support Russia. Europe was already a powder-keg with British commercial dominance faced by German rivalry, nationalism, her sense of political and economic isolation and rapid armament. Her Austrian ally's cause in Serbia was all Germany needed. Now, in 2008, it's Russia that feels isolated, with the Eurpean Union and NATO encroaching on her western borders. As in World War One, Russia is backing Serbia as Serbia protests the loss of her southern region of Kosovo to pro-western independence. Could Kosovo become the touchstone for Russia's grievances with the West, much as Serbia became the flash-point for Austro-German resentment of the Triple Alliance?

THEN AND NOW: In 1989, in the face of protests by Albanians in Kosovo, Serbia rescinded the region's autonomy, withdrew Kosovo's legislative powers and integrated Kosovo fully with Serbia. In 2008, Kosovo is formally independent, though the European Union still has the power of veto over Kosovar legislation until the arrival of real independence.

CONTENTS: SCROLL DOWN FOR
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RELEVANT DATES
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
PREVIOUS ENTRIES
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
LOCATION OF NOTE
PROFILE
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY
EYEWTNESS
PRESENT SITUATION
PLUS CA CHANGE
CURIOSITY
TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF KOSOVO

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: In 1878, Serbia, having become an autonomous area within the Ottoman Empire, declared its independence. Meanwhile, Kosovo, in northern Albania, was still considered Sebia's historical heartland. In 1913, after Serbia's victory in the Balkan Wars, Albania became independent while Kosovo was occupied by Serbia and the Albanian majority subjected to discrimination. After Serbia expelled the Nazis in 1945 and Marshall Tito came to power, Kosovo was given autonomous status within Serbia while Albania nand Serbian became Kosovo's official languages. However, Albanians gradually felt renewed oppression as Tito strengthened his police state and manipulated the ethnic politics of Yugoslavia in order to increase his grip on power. After the hard-line interior minister Alexandre Markko Rannkovic was dismissed in 1948, conditions for Albanians again improved. In 1974, Yugoslavia recognized Kosovo's cultural distinctness and the region was given autonomy. But throughout the 1980s, it was clear that Serbians were given preferential treatment while Albanians suffered discrimination even as the Albanian birthrate increased and that of the Serbs declined. After the fall of the USSR and the accession to power of Slobodan Milosevic over Yugoslavia, Kosovo lost its autonomy as it was annexed by 'greater Serbia'. As Albanian Kosovars rioted, repression increased. In 1991, Kosovo voted by referendum to separate from Serbia and Yugoslavia , a result which Serbia refused to recognize. In 1992, nationalists won the elections in Kosovo and Ibrahim Rugova became president. Again, Serbia's Milosevic refused to recognize the result. In 1996, Serbia extended its program of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Croatia to Kosovo where the KLA, the Kosovo Resistance Army mounted a resistance. In response, the European Union imposed an economic boycott on Serbia in 1998. Ethnic cleansing in Kosovo intensified with NATO, led by US warplanes, launching air strikes against Serb military positions in Kosovo. The Serbs were forced to withdraw and KFOR, the Kosovo UN peace keeping foce was deployed. Kosovo was then placed under UN administration.

RELEVANT DATES:
-1150: (circa) Kosovo is the birthplace of the first independent Serbian state and the heart of medieval Serbia. The Nemanja Dynasty rules an increasingly independent Serbian kingdom.
1389- Serbia defeated by the Ottomans in Kosovo.
1500- Southern Balkans occupied by the Ottomans.
1830- Serbia becomes autonomous within the Ottoman empire.
-Kosovo is the center of the Albanian national revival.
1878- Congress of Berlin: Serbia becomes independent.
1912-1913- Serbia victorious in Balkan wars.
1913- first Albanian state formed with recognition from Europe.
-Kosovo occupied by Serbia. Serbia launches ethnic cleansing. The Albanian majority experiences discrimination.
1940-45- Italian Fascists, having occupied Albania, include Kosovo in the Albanian state.
1944- Marchall Tito of Yugoslavia leads a resistance, expelling the Nazis.
1945- Kosovo becomes an autonomous region within the Yugoslavian region of Serbia. Albanian and Serbian are official languages.
1946- repression of Albanians in Kosovo increases as Serbian police become more powerful.
-condition of Kosovo Albanians improves after hardline Interior Minister Alexandre Markko Rankovic is dismissed.
1974- Kosovo’s distinctness within Yugoslavia is recognized in new constitution. Kosovo granted autonomy within Yugoslavia.
1980- after the death of marshal Tito, Albanians protest discrimination as Kosovo remains poor and Serbs are still given preferential treatment.
1981- Albanian students demand that Kosovo become the seventh Yugoslav republic. Riots lead to a state of emergency.
1989- the Communist party has the nationalist Slobodan Milosevic elected President of Serbia to ensure the Party’s survival in the region.
-continuing Albanian demonstrations in Kosovo. Serbia removes Kosovar autonomy, withdraws its legislative powers and fully integrates Kosovo into Serbia sparking rioting by Kosovo’s 90% ethnic Albanian majority.
1991- Kosovo referendum won by the nationalists, declaring independence from both Yugoslavia and Serbia. Mostly moderate Muslim, with a sizeable Roman Catholic population, Kosovo does not want to be part of Eastern Orthodox Serbia.
1996- Serbs begin to carry out ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
1998- new elections organized by Kosovar Albanians. Ibrahim Rugova is acclaimed as president. As Rugova is sworn into office, the Albanian parliament is dissolved by the Serbian police.
-Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) mounts armed resistance against Serbs. The Serbian army and police occupy Kosovo, fighting the UCK and massacring populatins in Kosovo as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing.
-the EU, UN and U.S. take notice of violations of human rights in Kosovo.
-the EU mounts an economic boycott while NATO goes after Serbian president Milosevic who maintains a hard line.
1999- January-  Serbs driving out Kosovars through mass murder or ethnic cleansing. NATO bombs Serb Positions in Kosovo.
1999- 24 March- 10 June- NATO, led by US NATO forces, launches air strikes, destroying government offices, bridges over the Danube, and power stations. The Serbs are forced to withdraw from Kosovo.
-Kosovo under UN Administration.
-KFOR- a international UN contingent of American, German, French and Italian soldiers are deployed at peace-keeping in Kosovo. Kosovo is officially administered by the UN.
-Albanian Kosovars begin to set up their own political institutions.
2000- Rugova’s Kosovar Democratic League party wins local elections. Ibrahim Rugova is interim president while KFOR administers Kosovo and keeps the peace between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority.
2002- Rugova is elected president of Kosovo in parliamentary elections after power-sharing deal among Albanian parties. Bajram Rexhepi becomes prime minister.
2003- December- Serbian and Kosovar leaders hold direct talks for first time.
2004- March- in Serbian-Kosovar town of Mitrovica, ethnic clashes take 19 lives.
2005--February Serbian Boris Tadic visits Kosovo, commits himself to the defense of Kosovar Serbs.
-October- Rugova’s pro-independence Democratic League wins Kosovo parliamentary elections though they are boycotted by Serbs.
- December- Rugova is re-elected in Kosovo. Former rebel leader Ramuch Haradinaj is elected prime minister. His party is in a coation with Rugova.
2006- January- President Rugova dies of cancer. He is succeeded by Fatmir Sejdiu.
-March- Ramuch Haradinaj is indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal. He is succeeded as prime minister by Bajram Kosumi
-bombing attempt on President Rugova’s convoy in Pristina.
-July- UN and Kosovo parliament buildings bombed. No injuries.
-Fatmir Sejdu is president of Kosovo.
-March- UN talks on the future of Kosovo. Russia opposes an independent Kosovo. The Kosovar Albanian majority looks to the West for support while Serbian Kosovars look to Serbia and Russia.
-Agim Seki succeeds after resignation of Prime Minister Kosumi.
-July- direct talks in Vienna between Serb and Kosovar leaders.
-October- Serbs, voting in a referendum, declare that Kosovo is part of Serbia, Kosovars boycott the vote.
2007- February UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari declares plan for Kosvo independence. Serbs reject the plan. Albanian Kosovars accept it.
-March Martti Ahtisaari declares Kosovar and Serbian leaders cannot come to an agreement and internationally supervised independence is the only alternative left for Kosovo.
-July- a UN Security Council Resolution on the independence of Kosovo is rejected by Russia.
-August- the EU, Russia and the US hold a round of talks on Kosovo.
-November- International Kosovo talks are stalled.
-November- former KLA leader Hasim Thaci wins Kosovo elections.
2008- Jan 16- the UN Security Council remains split over Kosovo. Russian president Putin maintains that an independent Kosovo will set a dangerous precedent for secessionist groups inside Russian borders but also world wide to deparate without UN approval
Jan 28th- EU foreign ministers plan a mission to Kosovo.
-Kosovo prepares for its own declaration of independence.
-Feb 15- Serbian president Boris Tadic sworn in for a second term.
-Feb 16- the EU replaces the UN mission in Kosovo for building police, judiciary and customs institutions.
-Feb 16- Serbs in northern Kosovo border town of Mirtovica remain adamantly opposed to Kosovar independence.
-UN’s KFOR increases patrols of peace-keepers in the Serbian north of Kosovo.
-February 17- Kosovo formally becomes independent under UN supervision; the UN still has the right of veto over Kosovar independence. In an emergency session Russia opposed Kosovo independence in the UN Security Council.
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. In 2000, Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League won the Kosovo elections and Rugova bevame interim president. Meanwhile, the UN's KFOR contingent kept the peace between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority. In 2002 Rugova was re-elected while Kosovar and Serbian leaders held their first direct talks. However all was not well; in 2004 ethnic clashes in the north Kosovo Serbian enclave of Mitrovica took 19 lives. Serbian president Boris Tadic visited Kosovo in February, 2005, only to incite resistance among the Serbian minority. In the elections of October, 2005, Rugova's democratic league won the parliamentary vote but this time the elections were boycotted by the Serb minority. In December, Rugova was re-elected. In 2006, after the death of President Rugova from cancer and his succession by Fatmir Sejdiu, the UN opened talks on the future of Kosovo which resulted in a split on the security council between Russia which asserted historical support for the Slavonic Orthodox Serbs and their continued rule of Kosovo and the West which supported an independent Kosovo with its Catholic but mostly Albanian Muslim majority. After direct talks between Serbia and Kosovo in July, Serbs voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to retain Kosovo while Kosovars boycotted the vote. The UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari announced, in Fenruary 2007, a plan for Kosovar independence which was rejected by the Serbs and acccepted by Kosovars. That was when Ahtisaari declared that agreement was impossible and that internationally supervised independence was the only alternative. In July, Russia rejected a UN Security Council Resolution to that effect. Throughout the remainder of the year, the UN, the European Union and the U.S. attempted, in vain, to negotiate a solution. In November, veteran KLA resistance fighter, Hasim Thaci was elected president of Kosovo. By this January, the UN Security Council was permanently split over Kosovo, Russian president Putin warning that Kosovo's independence would only encourage secessionist movements all over the world, but especially in Russia. In February, the EU replaced the UN's role in building Kosovar customs institutions, a police force and judiciary. On February 17, Kosovo officially became independent with vociferous Serbian protests in the north and in Belgrade and increased U.N. KFOR patrols in the north Kosovo Serbian town of Mitrovica.
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. In the last centuries BC, the southwestern Balkans were occupied by the Kingdom of Macedonia in the south and east and the tribes of Illyricum in the west and north west. By 27 BC and the reign of Augustus, the area was ruled by Rome. Two hundred years later it consisted of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia on the Adriatic and Moesia Superior in the interior. In the fifth century, as the Empire was Christianized, the area was occupied by the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Dacia. By 500 AD, the area had been lost by the Eastern Roman Empire but was soon reconquered by Justinian. Only Turkey and Thrace were ruled by the eastern or Byzantine Empire in 700 AD while the First Bulgarian Empire ruled the southern Balkans in the east and Serbia ruled the south west. The Byzantine Empire had extended its rule over the Balkans to the Danube; while Byzantium maintained Greek Orthodoxy, the southern Balkans, despite rule by Byzantium, adhered to Russian Slavonic Orthodoxy. 1150 saw an independent Kingdom of Serbia ruled by the Neanja Dynasty. The Adriatic coast retained Latin Christianity. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the area was ruled by the Second Bulgarian Empire which survived invation by the Mongols. In 1350, with the fall of Stephen Sushan, the Serbian State began to disintegrate and the Ottomans conquered the Serbs at Kosovo Field in 1389. 'Kosovo Field' or 'Field of the Blackbirds' was the site of another Ottoman victory, this time over a Hungarian army led by John Hunyadi in 1448; hence the emotional importance of Kosovo to the Serbs- and their consequent repression of Kosovo's Albanian majority. Only in 1450 did the Albanian warrior, Skanderbeg, stop the advance of the Ottomans- again at Kosovo Field. But by 1500, the southern Balkans were occupied by Constantinople. In 1830, however, Serbia won autonomy within the Ottoman Empire while Kosovo, in southern Serbia became the site of an Albanian revival. As Serbia became independent, in 1878, the Albanian nationalist movement began. In 1883, Serbia was declared a kingdom.
LOCATION OF NOTE: Kosovo Polje- 'Field of the Blackbirds'- the battlefield for which the region is named. The battlefield of Kosovo, on the plain of Kosovo, lies in the valley of the Sibnitza River, west of the capital of Pristina.

PROFILE: Skaderbeg- (Sikander Beg) Albanian leader who held back the Ottomans at Kosovo in 1445. Son of an Albanian chieftain, he originally served Turkey, for which he was named Skander Beg (Lord Alexander). Later, however, he turned against the Turks, defeating them on the same filed in Kosovo where which the Serbs had lost to the Turks in 1389. After his death in 1468, Skaderbeg was immortalized as an Albanian folk hero.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Kosovo shared a common history with the Illyrian and Dalmatian provinces of the Roman Empire and with the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires that followed. Only in the middle ages when Serbs and Albanians developed distinct identities against Byzantium and then against the Ottoman Turks, did Serb and Albanian interests begin to come into conflict. Kosovo was the site of national resistance both for Serbs and Albanians. After Serbia gained its independence in the 19th century, the nation of modern Albania came into being. Serbia annexed Albanian Kosovo to the south where it had a Serbian minority but also because it had religious importance and was the site of Serbia's historical resistance. Kosovo, with its Abanian majority, was never comfortable under Serbian rule and even Marshall Tito, the Communist head of Yugoslavia alternately applied and eased repression there. With the end of Communist rule in Yugoslavia, Serbia responded by trying to hold the centrifugal, ethnically heterognenous country together by force which included repression and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. With western intervention, Kosovo was saved, separated from Serbia and placed under UN supervision pending full independence.
EYE-WITNESS: From the dossier of a highly placed Serbian officer unsympathetic to the campaign of extermination carried out by Serbia in Kosovo in 1912-1913. The dossier was sent to the German Reichspost. In it, the officer gave the following personal account of Serb operations near Kumanova, Kosovo: "As I speak Serbian fluently, many Serbian officers and soldiers regarded me as one of theirs. And so it was that a Serbian soldier boasted to me of their attack on an Albanian village near Kumanova: 'Many of the villagers who were not able to flee hid in their attics. We smoked them out and when their houses were in flames, they came out of their hiding places like moles, screaming, cursing and begging for mercy. We shot them at the doorways, sparing our bullets only with the children on whom we used bayonets. We destroyed the whole village because shots had been fired out of one of the houses bearing a white flag.' The military authorities did nothing to hinder these bloodbaths and many officers took part in them themselves. There was no Serb to be found who had not acted in the full conviction that, with these atrocities, he was doing his country a great service and one which his superiors wanted of him."- GATHERING CLOUDS, The Roots of Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo. Early Twentieth Century Documents. Compiled, edited and translated by Robert Elsie.

PRESENT SITUATION: Despite its protests, Serbia knows there's little it can do about Kosovar independence. Russia has wisely chosen to object on grounds of international precedent rather than blood brotherhood with fellow slavonic Slavs. At this point, only Russia could upset the peace by supporting a Serbian move to end Kosovo's independence. One can only hope that civil unrest among Serbs and their minority in Kosovo won't take on national momentum. If it does, Russia will be put on the spot.

PLUS CA CHANGE: In 1912-1913 Serbia, victorious in the Balkan wars, annexed and occupied Kosovo, massacring Albanians who resisted and terrorizing the rest. In 1996, after Kosvo protested annexation by Serbia once again, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing, the extermination of all Albanian resistance.

CURIOSITY: During World War Two, Fascist Italy occupied Albania and with it included Kosovo. When the Italians switched and joined the allies, Albania stayed with the Axis powers. With the defeat of Germany, Albania became Communist and Serbia annexed Kosovo.

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF SERBIA AND KOSOVO:

The Ancient Balkans.

-200BC- 27 BC- Serbia and Kosovo cover the area where the barbarian region of Illyricum on the eastern Adriatic coast, met north-westen Macedonia. The area fell to Rome in the last centuries BC.
211 AD- the area was ruled as the Adriatic Roman province of Dalmatia and toward the interior, the province of Moesia Superior.
400 AD- the area was divided between the Roman province of Pannonia in the northern Balkans and Dacia in the southern Balkans.

526-565- the southwestern Balkans were controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire but reconquered by Justinian. Meanwhile they resisted invasion by the Avars of southern Russia.

The Slava- the Medieval Period.

650 (circa) the Slavs settle the Serbia-Kosovo region.

700- while Byzantium was centered mainly in Turkey and Thrace, the southwestern Balkans were divided between the Kingdom of Bulgaria in the east and Serbia in the west.

850- (circa) the Kingdom of Bulgaria includes Serbia-Kosovo.

1050- Byzantium rules the Balkans up to the Danube. While Byzantium adheres to the Greek Rite of Orthodox Christianity, the Balkans retain the Slavonic Rite which they share with Muscovy. The Adriatic coast stays with Latin Christendom.

1150 (circa) -Kosovo is the birthplace of the first independent Serbian state and the heart of medieval Serbia. The Nemanja Dynasty rules an increasingly independent Serbia within Byzantium.

1186-1396- the southern Balkans are ruled by the Second Bulgarian Empire.

1241-1242- the area is invaded by the Mongols.
1350 (circa) the fall Stephen Sushan; the Serbian state disintegrates.
Ottoman Rule of Serbia.

1389- Serbia defeated by the Ottomans under Murad I at the battle of Kosovo Field which means 'field of the blackbirds'.
1448- the Ottoman sultan Murad II defeats a Hungarian army lead by John Hunyadi- also on 'Kosovo Field'.
1450 (circa) Albanian warrior Skanderbeg stops the Ottoman armies.
1500- Serbia, Kosovo and the southern Balkans occupied by the Ottomans.
1830- Serbia becomes autonomous within the Ottoman empire.

Emergence of Modern Albania and Kosovo.

-Kosovo is the center of the Albanian national revival.

Serbian Independence.

1878- Congress of Berlin: Serbia becomes independent.
-Albanian nationalist movement begins.
1883- Serbia declared a kingdom.

1903- Serbia: assassination of King Alexander I Obrenovic. Peter I Karadordevic is crowned.

-Serbia: Pasic leads the radical party, dominating the new parliamentary system.

Turn of the Century Balkan Conflicts.

1908- Austro-Hungarian Empire absorbs Bosnia-Herzegovina, threatening Serbia which entrenches its opposition to Austrian hegemony in the Balkans.
1910 -in Albania, popular uprisings against the spread of Turkish culture as Albanian nationalist movement gains momentum.
1912- 28 November- Albania declares its independence.

1912-1913- Serbia victorious in Balkan wars.
First Serb Occupation of Kosovo

1913- first Albania state formed with recognition from Europe.

1913 (circa) Kosovo occupied by Serbia. The Albanian majority experiences discrimination.

1914- assassination of Austria's Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo provokes Austria, setting off World War I.

WW I- Serbia occupied by Austria.

-Serbia occupied by Austria. Serbian king and government flee to Corfu.

-Serbia signs the Corfu Pact with Slovenia and Croatia.
-Albania occupied by Italy to stop Greek expansionism.
1917- Albania declared an Italian protectorate. Attempts by Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia to partition Albanian fail in the face of Albanian resistance led by Ahmen Zogu.
The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

-1918- The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is formed from the Corfu Pact.

-1921- Alexander becomes king of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
-Albania, recognized as Italian troops withdraw, is ruled by King Zog (Ahmen Zogu).
1922- Communist Party outlawed in Serbia.

1929- Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes becomes Yugoslavia, though it is dominated by Serbia.

1937- Moscow makes Tito General Secretary of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Tito returns from Russian exile to build the Yugoslav party.
1929- Mussolini invades Albania. King Zog flees. Italian King Victor Emanuel III is declared King of Albania. Albania fights alongside the Axis powers.
World War II

-1940-45- Italian Fascists include Kosovo in Albania

1941- Nazi Germany invades Serbia.

-Serbian nationalist Chetnik guerrillas fight against the Nazis in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Serbian enclaves in Croatia.
1943- the Albanian Parliament separates Albania from Italy after Italy joins the allies but continues to fight for Germany while Enver Hoxha leads the Communist Partisan resistance to Fascism.
Triumph of Tito’s Communists.

1944- Tito leads a resistance, expelling the Nazis and afterward turns against the Chetniks.

1945- Kosovo becomes an autonomous region within Serbia. Albanian and Serbian are official languages.

-Marshall Tito, although expected by the allies to form a government of national unity, rules communist Yugoslavia, repressing all nationalist identities and expelling his opponents. As a Slovenian-Croat he knows how to manage the ethnic politics.

-Tito adopts a policy of turning away from Stalin.

Serbian Domination of Yugoslavian Minorities.

1946- repression of Albanians in Kosovo increases as Serbian police become more powerful.
11 January- Albania declares itself a People's Republic under Enver Hoxha. Albania becomes radically Stalinist.
-Serbia continues to dominate Yugoslavia during the Communist period.

Kosovo begins to get Recognition.

-condition of Kosovo Albanians improves after hard-line Interior Minister Alexandre Markko Rankovic is dismissed

1948- Tito leads Yugoslavia to break away from the USSR, making him hugely popular in his own country while winning western approval.
1961- due to its continuing Stalinism, Albania is distanced from the USSR.
1968- Albania leaves the Warsaw Pact and leans toward Maoist China.
1974- Kosovo’s distinctness is recognized in new constitution. Kosovo granted autonomy.

Kosovo’s continued Grievances.

-after death of marshal Tito, Albanians protest discrimination as Kosovo remains poor and Serbs are given preferential treatment.
1977- Albania, resolutely Stalinist, splits from China
1981- Albanian students demand that Kosovo become the seventh Yugoslav republic. Riots lead to a state of emergency.
1985- After Hoxha's death, President Alia leads Albania out of international isolation.
-1988 (circa). High Abanian birth rate in Kosovo- Serbians migrating back to Serbia for 40 years. Serbians in Kosovo decrease from 30% in 1946 to 10%.
-unrest in Kosovo
Fall of the USSR- Slobodan Milosevic.

1989- Communist party has the nationalist Slobodan Milosevic elected President of Serbia to ensure the Party’s survival in the region.

Serbia Clamps Down on Kosovo.

1989- continuing Albanian demonstrations. Serbia removes Kosovar autonomy, withdraws its legislative powers and fully integrates Kosovo into Serbia. Rioting by Kosovo’s 90% ethnic Albanian majority follows.
1990- Serbian Chetnik resistance fighters re-emerge in Serbian enclaves in Croatia.

1991- Slovenia secedes from Yugoslavia, followed by Croatia.

1991- Kosovo holds a referendum won by the nationalists, declaring independence from both Yugoslavia and Serbia. Mostly moderate Muslim with a sizable Roman Catholic population, Kosovo does not want to be part of Eastern Orthodox Serbia.

1992- Kostunica forms his own ultra-nationalist Serbian Democratic party.

1992- Kosovo holds its own elections won by the nationalists and which Serbia refuses to recognize. Rugova’s Democratic League of Kosovo wins election.
March- Albanian Democratic party's Sali Berisha wins parliamentary elections.
April 29- Serbia and Montenegro unite to form the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Bosnian Civil War.

-Bosnian Civil War- the Muslim majority of Bosnia-Herzegovina moves for independence from Serbia while Serbs in the region resist with assistance from Serbia,

-the Bosnian Muslim army, crippled by an arms embargo, experiences defeats by Serbia.

-tensions mount as Serbs leaving Croat and Muslim-controlled areas are resettled in Kosovo as a way of securing Kosovo within Serbia.

-the Serbian army supports Serbian enclaves in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina by ethnic cleansing or extermination of local Muslim populations. The aim is to present the international community with an “ethnically pure” Bosnia as a fait accompli.

-Bosnian military forces employ rape and torture and herd Muslims into concentration camps.

-Europe, the UN and UN peace keepers try continuously to mediate.

1994- May 31- Bosnia is reinforced by the formation of a Muslim-Croat alliance.

The Dayton Accords.

1995- August- diplomatic intervention by the US.

-1995- Milosevic signs the Dayton Accord with Bosnian president Itzebegovic and Croatian president Tudjman in order to get international sanctions lifted and to ratify Serbian gains in the war. By the Accord, a united Bosnia-Herzegovina has a single foreign and defense policy: the Muslim-Croat section has its capital in Sarajevo, separate from the Bosnian Serb section.

-Serbia contols 70% of Bosnia.

Serbs undertake Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo; Kosovar Resistance.

1996- Serbs begin to carry out ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

1997- Milosevic’s nationalist party loses power as parliament splinters among more extreme nationalist parties.
-Rexhep Mejdani of the Albanian Socialist party wins elections. He brings Albania closer to Europe and the West. He brings about an economic revival.
1998- new elections organized by Albanians. Ibrahim Rugova is acclaimed as president. As Rugova is sworn into office, the Albanian parliament is dissolved by the Serbian police.

-Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) mounts armed resistance against Serbs. The Serbian army and police occupy Kosovo, fighting the UCK and massacring populatins in Kosovo as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing.

-the EU, UN and U.S. take notice of violations of human rights in Kosovo.

-the EU mounts an economic boycott while NATO goes after Serbian president Milosevic who maintains a hard line.

1999- January- Kosovars being driven out by ethnic cleansing.

NATO bombs Serb Positions in Kosovo.

1999- 24 March- 10 June- NATO, led by US NATO forces, launches air strikes, destroying government offices, bridges over the Danube, and power stations. The Serbs are forced to withdraw from Kosovo.

Kosovo under UN Administration.

-KFOR- a international UN contingent of American, German, French and Italian soldiers are deployed for peace-keeping in Kosovo. Kosovo is officially administered by the UN.

-Albanians begin to set up their own political institutions.

-Milosevic withdraws Serbian forces to Serbia and tries to shore up his own party by changing the constitution and reining in Montenegro’s attempts at autonomy.

-Kostunica accuses Milosevic of selling Serbia out to Kosovo and the West.

Kostunica becomes president of Serbia.

2000- Milosevic tries to rig elections against Kostunica, his nationalist rival, and the coalition surrounding Kostunica’s Serbian Democratic Party.

-Milosevic and his Socialist Party are forced from power by mass demonstrations. Kostunica is installed as president of Serbia.

-as Yugoslavian president, Milosevic tries to hold on to Montenegro and to negotiate with his Serb Prime Minister, Djindjic.

Rugova interim president of Kosovo.

2000- Rugova’s Kosovo Democratic League party wins local elections. Rugova is interim president while KFOR administers Kosovo and keeps the peace between the Albanian majority and the Serb minority.

2002- Rugova is elected president of Kosovo in parliamentary elections after power-sharing deal among Albanian parties. Bajram Rexhepi becomes prime minister.

2003- December- Serbian and Kosovar leaders hold direct talks for first time.

2004- March- in north Kosovar town of Mitrovica, ethnic clashes take 19 lives.
2005- February- Serbian President, Boris Tadic visits Kosovo, commits himself to the defense of Kosovar Ser
2005-October- Rugova’s pro-independence Democratic League wins Kosovo parliamentary elections though they are boycotted by Serbs.

2005- December- Rugova is re-elected in Kosovo. Former rebel leader Ramuch Haradinaj is elected prime minister. His party is in a coalition with Rugova.

2006 -March- Ramuch Haradinaj is indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal. He is succeeded as prime minister by Bajram Kosumi

-bombing attempt on President Rugova’s convoy in Pristina.

-July- UN and Kosovo parliament buildings bombed. No injuries.

Fatmir Sejdu is president of Kosovo.

2006- January- President Rugova dies of cancer. He is succeeded by Fatmir Sejdiu.

March- UN talks on the future of Kosovo. Russia opposes an independent Kosovo. The Kosovar Albanian majority looks to the West for support while Serbian Kosovars look to Serbia and Russia.

-Agim Seki succeeds after resignation of Prime Minister Kosumi.

Attempted mediation of Serbia-Kosovo Dispute.

-July- direct talks in Vienna between Serb and Kosovar leaders.

October- Serbs, voting in a referendum, declare that Kosovo is part of Serbia, Kosovars boycott the vote.

2007- February UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari declares plan for Kosvo independence. Serbs reject the plan. Albanian Kosovars accept it.

-March- Martti Ahtisaari declares Kosovar and Serbian leaders cannot come to an agreement and internationally supervised independence is the only alternative left for Kosovo.

Struggle in UN Security Council over an Independent Kosovo.

-July- a UN Security Council Resolution on the independence of Kosovo is rejected by Russia.

-August- the EU, Russia and the US hold a round of talks on Kosovo.

-November- International Kosovo talks are stalled.

-November- former KLA leader Hasim Thaci wins Kosovo elections.

2008- Jan 16- the UN Security Council remains split over Kosovo. Russian president Putin maintains that an independent Kosovo will set a dangerous precedent for secessionist groups inside Russian borders and, internationally, to separate without UN approval

Jan 28th- EU foreign ministers plan a mission to Kosovo.

-Kosovo prepares for its own declaration of independence.

Feb 15- Serbian president Boris Tadic sworn in for a second term.

EU’s Role in Kosovo.

Feb 16- the EU replaces the UN mission in Kosovo for building police, judiciary and customs institutions.

February 16- Serbs in northern Kosovo border town of Mirtovica remain adamantly opposed to Kosovar independence.

-UN’s KFOR increases patrols of peacekeepers in the Serbian north of Kosovo.

-February 17- Kosovo formally becomes independent under UN supervision; the UN still has the right of veto over Kosovar independence. In an emergency session, Russia opposes Kosovo independence in the UN Security Council.

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