KOSOVO Date Line

In 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 Turks.
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 furious.
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 Crewf.
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 Kosovo’s 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 Fascist Italy.
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. (Northern Serbia)
Kosovo Albanians are kept under control by a Communist Serb, Alexander Rankovic who was at the head of UDBA, Yugoslav Secret Police
After Rankovic’s 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 Yugoslav’s 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 Kosovo’s constitution. Tito’s 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 Kosovo’s 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 organization.
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 NATO’s 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 NATO’s 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 Orthodox Easter.
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 NATO’s 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 NATO’s 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 FRY’s 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 NATO’s alleged goal of building a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo has failed.