2000 BC, the Illyrians settle in the Balkan peninsula. The present day
Albanians like to refer to them as their predecessors, which is highly
controversial and doubtful to say the least
In the late 6th and early
7th Centuries various Slavic tribes including Serbs settle in the region
After accepting Christianity
in 874 from Constantinopolis, first Serb Christian Kingdom is established
in the 9th Century which is centered in Kosovo
In the 14th Century Serb
Kingdom reaches its peak when it turns into an Empire under Czar Dusan,
stretching from Belgrade to 20km North of Athens and from Drina to Plovdiv.
Capital city of the Empire is Prizren, second largest city in Kosovo
in which according to the latest statistics seven Serbian families remain.
On June 28th in the year
of 1389 at the Battle of Blackbirds or Kosovo Polje, mainly
Serbian force together with some Croats and Hungarians under the Supreme
Commander of Serbian Prince Lazar are defeated by invading Islamic Ottoman
By the end of 15th Century, the whole of Serbia is subjected to Ottoman
rule. During these times Kosovo becomes the center of Serbian myth and
inspiration for the future nationhood.
By the end of 17th Century
Albanian conversion to Islam has ended. 30% remain Catholic while only
5% is Orthodox.
In 1804 Serbian uprising
led by Karadjordje Petrovic fails, but by 1815 de facto independent
Serbia is established, that does not include Kosovo yet.
At the Congress of Berlin
in 1878 as a result of German initiative which is supported by Russians
and French big powers officially recognize independent Serbia.
In 1912 Bulgaria, Greece,
Montenegro and Serbia declare war on Ottoman Empire driving Turks completely
out of Europe.
Serbs after nearly 500
years enter Kosovo. French government congratulates Serbian King Petar
for liberating its historical lands. Muslim Albanians inhabiting
Kosovo do not consider Serbs to be liberators, but rather occupiers.
To the south of Kosovo
first independent Albanian state ever is established.
Serbs confiscate land from Albanian Muslim landowners in Kosovo and
distribute the land to Serbian peasantry. Local ethnic Albanians are
In the summer of 1914 World
War One breaks out and Austria-Hungary invades Serbia. After two offensives
to conquer Serbia fail, third joint Austro-Hungarian, German and Bulgarian
attack in 1915 succeeds. Serbian civilian population, army and the entire
government withdraws through Albania to the nearby port from where they
are evacuated by the French and Italian fleets to the Greek island of
Ethnic Albanian gangs out
of revenge for Serbian treatment of Albanians in 1912 go on a rampage
against Serbs that fall behind while retreating through Albania.
In January of 1918, the Serbs land in Thessaloniki and with the help
of British and French push Austrians out of Serbia.
In 1918 Kingdom of Serbs,
Croats and Slovenes is proclaimed, while Kosovo is once again incorporated
into a Serb state.
Serbian reprisals against
ethnic Albanians are heavy as a result of Albanian treatment of Serbian
troops and civilians during World War One.
Just before World War Two,
Serbs compose 60% of Kosovos population, while Albanians are 38%.
Other 2% are mostly Gypsies, but also some Jews, Turks, Egyptians and
other irrelevant minorities.
As Kingdom of Yugoslavia
(proclaimed in 1929) disintegrated after German, Romanian, Italian,
Bulgarian and Hungarian aggression in 1941, Kosovo and Western Macedonia
are incorporated into Greater Albania, which was run by
Albanian repression against civilian Serb population reaches yet unseen
proportions, as 200 000 Serbs are forced out of Kosovo and thousands
are slaughtered. Also, during this period, another 500 000 Albanians
from Albania settle in Kosovo.
After World War Two, Communists
led by (self-proclaimed) Marshall Tito (A Croat who before WW II worked
as a door knob repairman) take control. Illegal Albanian immigrants
are allowed to remain in Yugoslavia while Serbian refugees are not allowed
to return to Kosovo, but are given houses of expelled Germans from Vojvodina.
Kosovo Albanians are kept under control by a Communist Serb, Alexander
Rankovic who was at the head of UDBA, Yugoslav Secret Police
After Rankovics removal
as the head of UDBA in 68, control over Kosovo is relaxed
In 1974 Kosovo is given a high degree of autonomy. It still remained
a Serbian province on paper, but it had all the powers of other Yugoslavs
Republics. Kosovo government was also in position to veto any constitutional
change in Serbia, while Serbia could not have intervened if Albanians
decided to change Kosovos constitution. Titos move to appease
Albanian separatists did not satisfy either side. Serbs thought it was
a step toward independence, while Albanians were still made to be a
part of Serbia against their will.
On May 4th 1980, Marshall Tito dies. Ethnic tensions that were corked
under his rulere-emerge. By 1981, Albanians are demanding full independence.
United Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia crush
separatist tendencies with brutal force. Police is brought from as far
away as Slovenia.
In 1987 a minor communist
politician, Slobodan Milosevic, visits Kosovo Serbs to listen to the
grievances of local Serbs who were discriminated against by the Albanian
majority. As the crowd of angry Serbs got restless, predominantly Albanian
police started beating the people. Milosevic uttered his famous line
that catapulted him to power two years later: Nobody should dare
beat you. The crowd started chanting Slobo! Slobo! Slobo!
In 1989 Slobodan Milosevic is elected as President of Serbia. During
the first year of his mandate Milosevic through appropriate institutions
stripped Kosovo of its autonomy with full backing of the Serbian people.
In 1991 Slovenia, Kosovo
and Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia. In 1992 Bosnia and
Macedonia followed. All of the newly created countries were recognized
by the international community except for Kosovo.
Ibrahim Rugova, who opposed
military confrontations with Serbian Police and Yugoslav Army, headed
Kosovos illegal and unrecognized government.
From then on, up until
March 98, ethnic Albanians grew restless, but were kept under
rigid control by the Serbian heavy police presence.
In the March of 1998 Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA) emerged. Its early activities included murdering
Serb civilians, moderate ethnic Albanians and conducting occasional
ambushes on Serbian police routine patrols. Serbs referred to KLA as
terrorists, while KLA was perceived by Albanians as a freedom fighting
KLA controlled some 25%
of Kosovo, mostly remote villages at the beginning of the conflict.
Milosevic ordered KLA to be crushed and in April of 1998, 40 000 well
trained and battle hardened soldiers, hundreds of tanks and helicopters
were moved into the Serbian province.
By October of 1998, KLA
was forced out of Kosovo into neighboring Albania where it re-grouped
and re-armed. During that same year under NATO pressure, 2 000 international
observers were allowed to enter Kosovo, in order to monitor the cease-fire
signed between Yugoslav Army and the KLA.
Cease-fire was not a stable
one. International observers in February concluded that the so-called
KLA has violated the cease-fire in most of the cases but that Yugoslav
Army always retaliated with unnecessary force against both KLA and Albanian
civilians. In that same month, Serbian border guards annihilated 37
out of 40 KLA terrorists smuggling weapons into Kosovo from Albania.
KLA retaliated by executing six Serbian teenagers in a bar, who were
playing pool and drinking beer in the town of Pec. Yugoslav forces launched
offensives against KLA, while the so called KLA took eight Yugoslav
soldiers hostage. As Serbian General Perisic prepares for full scale
offensive assembling Mig21s and Mig29s, helicopters and hundreds of
tanks, William Walker through negotiations saved the day by convincing
Hasim Thaci, the leader of the so called KLA to release the hostages.
By February the cease-fire
crumbled completely and fighting erupted again. In that same month,
the bodies of forty killed Albanians were discovered in the village
of Racak. It was expected and presumed that Serb Security forces committed
the crime, however Western Forensic experts did not make a conclusion
until well into the NATOs war on Yugoslavia.
Americans took the initiative
to organize peace talks in Rambouillet, near Paris.
Albanians were told that if they refused to sign the already prepared
treaty they would meet isolation from the International Community, while
if Serbs declined to sign, NATO would launch air strikes. On the political
front negotiations failed (not on all fronts though - in less then two
weeks, over 400 bottles of best French wine were consumed), and were
rescheduled for March. In March, Albanian delegation agreed to the given
treaty, while Serbs refused to sign it.
On March 24th 1999, NATO
begun its campaign against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On the same
day, United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright addressed Serbian
people in (not so good) Serbian that she has no quarrel with them, but
only with their leadership. Skeptics wondered what would have she done
if she in fact did have a quarrel with Serbian people?
The Yugoslav Army went
on the offensive as NATOs bombs fell all over Serbia. After only
a few days into the bombardmdent campaign, thousands of Albanian refugees
emerged in Albania and Macedonia. By the end of the war between the
FRY and NATO countries, which lasted for 78 days, nearly 90% of the
Albanian population in Kosovo became refugees.
On April 6th, NATO rejected
the Easter cease-fire offered by Milosevic during the Christian
On May 27th, Milosevic
and four other men were indicted for war crimes.
On June 9th , Yugoslav
and NATO military representatives signed the Military Technical Agreement
governing Serbian withdrawal from Kosovo. The next day, the UN passed
Resolution 1244, permitting the deployment of the international military
and civilian authorities in Kosovo.
During the nearly three
month war, NATO has admitted to losing a F-117 Stealth Fighter (also
known as invisible until shot down), A-10, F-16 and two
Apache helicopters. All of these except the A-10, Wesley Clark and Brussels
have maintained, were lost due to crashes caused by mechanical errors
and not Serbian surface to air missiles. The entire operation cost NATO
over $5 billion, in addition to billions of dollars annually to retain
a military presence in Kosovo. On the other hand, Yugoslav sources have
claimed a lot more downed NATO jets. Estimating Yugoslav casualties
is difficult. The Yugoslav Army has claimed that not more then a few
hundred men were lost with no serious loss to heavy equipment. On the
other hand, NATO estimated that over 5 000 Yugoslav troops were eliminated,
75% of radar and SAM sites, 85% of the Yugoslav Air Force, and 50% of
Yugoslav tanks. The massive Yugoslav withdrawal from Kosovo, and newly
available evidence makes a mockery of NATOs claim to virtually
complete destruction of the Yugoslav military, (see in Various
Articles section on the Yugoslav Army vs. NATO) prompting many
experts to conclude that Yugoslav figures were more accurate.
US Defense Secretary Cohen declared that 500 Serbian civilians lost
their lives as a result of NATOs bombardment, however, considering
that he claimed over 100 000 Albanians were massacred by Yugoslav Army
and Serbian Police during the war when K-FOR discovered only 1 100 bodies
of all nationalities and races in mass-graves across Kosovo; the FRYs
official figure of up to 2 500 seems more accurate. Material damage
to Yugoslavia is estimated at $100 000 000, not an insignificant number
for a nation of 10 000 000 devastated by economic isolation, sanctions
and war since 1991.
In June of 2000, exactly
one year will pass since Kosovo has been occupied by K-FOR, which is
composed of mostly NATO countries but also a few Russian, Ukrainian
and UAE contingents. Ethnic cleansing has been reversed but not stopped
. 200 000 Serbs were forced from or have fled out of Kosovo, from an
original population of less than 260 000. Over 1 000 Serbian civilians
were murdered by Albanian thugs leading most observers to conclude that
NATOs alleged goal of building a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo