Susan Sontag: Why are we in Kosovo?
1.1 Historical Development of the Kosovo Conflict
• Roots of the conflict in Kosovo are commonly traced back to the defeat of Serbian Prince Lazar by Ottoman Turks in 1389 (Amselfeld).
• The Kosovo remained under Ottoman rule until 1912 when Serbia and the other independent Balkan states united to force the Turks out of their European territory.
• Reconstituted in 1945 under Tito, the “People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” consisted of six republics (Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia) and two autonomous regions within Serbia (Vojvodina and Kosovo).
• In 1974, Kosovo was granted full autonomy, giving it a status approaching that of a constituent republic. ( More than 90 % of the population of Kosovo is Albanian).
1.2 The Current Crisis
• The spark that ignited the current Crisis in Kosovo was Serbian President’s Slobodan Milosevic decision to remove Kosovo’s autonomy in 1989
• 1991: Proclamation of the Republic of Kosovo (not officially recognized)
• Events escalate in February and March 1998 with dozens of suspected Albanian seperatists being killed by Serb police and vice versa. Serbian troops start an offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK).
• After several massacres by Serbian Forces from October 1998 to January 1999 NATO threatens with air-strikes, but both Russia and China signal that they would veto any UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force.
1.3 NATO Air Strikes (Operation Allied Force)
• After peace negotations in Ramboulliet (France) from 6 to 23 february had failed, NATO commences air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 24 March 1999 without UN Security Council resolution.
• Russia and China opposed the action as a violation of the UN Charter.
• Reports of ethnic cleansing by Serbian Troops. Many refugees try to cross the borders of Albania and Macedonia.
• 6 May 1999: G 8 Peace talks in Bonn