Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know®
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On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence, becoming the seventh state to emerge from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. A tiny country of just two million people, 90% of whom are ethnic Albanians, Kosovo is central-geographically, historically, and politically-to the future of the Western Balkans and, in turn, its potential future within the European Union. But the fate of both Kosovo, condemned by Serbian leaders as a "fake state" and the region as a whole, remains uncertain.
In Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Tim Judah provides a straight-forward guide to the complicated place that is Kosovo. Judah, who has spent years covering the region, offers succinct, penetrating answers to a wide range of questions: Why is Kosovo important? Who are the Albanians? Who are the Serbs? Why is Kosovo so important to Serbs? What role does Kosovo play in the region and in the world? Judah reveals how things stand now and presents the history and geopolitical dynamics that have led to it. The most important of these is the question of the right to self-determination, invoked by the Kosovo Albanians, as opposed to right of territorial integrity invoked by the Serbs. For many Serbs, Kosovo's declaration of independence and subsequent recognition has been traumatic, a savage blow to national pride. Albanians, on the other hand, believe their independence rights an historical wrong: the Serbian conquest (Serbs say "liberation") of Kosovo in 1912.
For anyone wishing to understand both the history and possible future of Kosovo at this pivotal moment in its history, this book offers a wealth of insight and information in a uniquely accessible format.
What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
from Kosovo at all, but from central Serbia.1 Such are the vicissitudes of history. Even with regard to such a key event in Kosovo’s history, there is no agreement. The 18th and 19th centuries were ones in which Kosovo was periodically racked by revolt and war, interspersed with years of relative peace. In 1766 the Pec´ Patriarchate was abolished and the center of Serbian Orthodoxy shifted northward to Sremski Karlovci in Habsburg Vojvodina. The 18th century saw an increased pace of conversion to
more people began to give to the KLA’s Homeland Calling fund instead of contributing to Rugova’s coffers. 82 KOSOVO The KLA itself was unprepared for what was now happening, not least because it did not fully control the situation on the ground—many villages arming themselves and, with little link to the KLA, calling themselves KLA. Most signiﬁcantly, during this period, the KLA was establishing itself in areas that were almost entirely ethnic Albanian and, for now, Serbian forces were making
Rwanda is a little larger than Israel, and Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since 1975, despite a judgment from the UN’s International Court of Justice that it possessed the right of self-determination. Nobody said that the world was a fair place. In Kosovo’s case, apart from geography, there is also the issue of precedent. Or, depending on your point of view, maybe not. When wondering why anyone in the outside 128 KOSOVO world cares about Kosovo or the Western Balkans in general,
minister of Abkhazia, “it does not mean that we do not want it.” The same is true in South Ossetia. “Those rules which work for Kosovo will work for South Ossetia,” says Alan Pliev, its deputy foreign minister, in Tskhinvali, the muddy, village-like capital of South Ossetia whose main thoroughfare is called “Stalin Street.” But South Ossetia has a tiny population— anywhere between 22,000, as the Georgians claim, and 70,000, according to the South Ossetians. It is hardly a candidate to be a viable
Ahtisaari Plan, and a European Union-led rule of law mission.”3 That referred to the ICO and EULEX. All of this was confusing. It was unclear as to who was actually going to be in control. According to Resolution 1244, the SRSG was the boss. If Kosovo was independent, the last word on governing the country should lie with the members of its elected government, but, on the other hand, the declaration welcomed the ICO, whose head could, should he see ﬁt, sack them. Kosovo Albanians celebrated for a