|These political events form the premise for the essay:
As of 1999 Kosovo is a region within the nation of Yugoslavia. Kosovo's population is predominantly muslim, 90%. They come from Albania and speak Albanian. The Serbs, who speak Serbian and are in the majority in the nation of Yugoslavia, are Greek Orthodox Christians. Serbs have historical monuments in Kosovo but had largely emigrated north from there over the course of centuries.
Kosovo had had local autonomy within Yugoslavia up to 1989. The Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, had then limited its autonomy and sent Serb troops into Kosovo. He had risen to power on a Serbian nationalist platform and was antipathetic to the muslim Albanians in Kosovo. In the fall of 1998, agitated by the guerrilla activity of the Kosovo independence movement, these troops began a program of "ethnic cleansing" against the Albanian speaking muslim Kosovars. Forcibly expelled from their homes something like 600,000 Kosovo Albanians fled to bordering Albania and Macedonia in a massive exodus from where they had lived for generations.
In March of 1999, NATO, led by the United States, attacked the Serbian forces in Kosovo. It also bombed Belgrade, the Serbian capital city. The stated purpose was to stop the ethnic cleansing; to stop the mass expulsion, by the Serbian dominated Yugoslav government, of its muslim Albanian citizens, from their homes because of their ethnicity. By June of 1999 this purpose was achieved.
|Time-line synopsis following 1999.
Serbian President Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) begins ethnic cleansing - the expulsion of muslim Kosovars to Albania. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) responds by the bombing of Belgrade. The NATO bombing of the FRY is effective but it does do considerable collateral damage - killing civilians in a hospital, a market, on bridges and even bombs the Chinese embassy by mistake. Fighting continues through 78 days.
International War Crimes Tribunal indicts Milosevic
FRY agrees to Serbian withdrawal from Kosovo and NATO bombing stops. NATO peacekeeping force enters. Refugees return - 600,000 from Albania. But 200,000 ethnic Serbs and others, fearing reprisals flee their homes in Kosovo to go north.
Milosevc resigns presidency amid large street demonstrations in Belgrade
Milosevic arrested by Yugoslave authorities. He is sent to The Hague to stand War Crimes trial. This lasts for 5 years.
Milosevic dies of heart attack in his cell.
Voters in a referendum in Serbia approve a new constitution which declares that Kosovo is an integral part of the country. Kosovo's Albanian majority boycotts the ballot and UN sponsored talks on the future of the disputed province continue.