Kosovo War

Kosovo War
Kosovo War
Part of the Breakup of Yugoslavia
Kosovo War header.jpg
Date February 28, 1998 – June 10, 1999[1]
Location Kosovo, Serbia, FR Yugoslavia
Result Kumanovo Treaty; Yugoslav security forces pull out of Kosovo; FR Yugoslavia maintains sovereignty.[2]
No legal changes to Yugoslav borders according to the Resolution 1244, but effective political and economic separation of Kosovo from the rest of Yugoslavia under United Nations temporary administration.
Kosovo Liberation Army Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)



NATO forces
 United States
 United Kingdom
Norway Norway[5]
and other NATO air, maritime and land forces

 FR Yugoslavia
Commanders and leaders
Kosovo Liberation Army Adem Jashari 
(KLA Chief Commander 1996–1998)

Kosovo Liberation Army Sylejman Selimi
(KLA Chief of Staff until May 1999)

Kosovo Liberation Army Agim Çeku
(KLA Chief of Staff from May 1999)

Kosovo Liberation Army Ramush Haradinaj
(2nd KLA Commander)

Kosovo Liberation Army Hashim Thaci
(3rd KLA Commander)

Tahir Zemaj
(AFRK Chief Commander)

Bujar Bukoshi
(2nd AFRK Commander)

 Wesley Clark

European Union Javier Solana
(NATO Secretary General,
EU High Representative,
1999 on)

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević
(VJ Supreme Commander)

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dragoljub Ojdanić
(Chief of Staff)

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Svetozar Marjanović
(Deputy Chief of Staff)

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nebojša Pavković
(Commander of 3rd Army)

Serbia Sreten Lukić
(Serbian Police commander)

Kosovo Liberation Army 9,000 - 40,000 KLA insurgents[7]

3,000 AFRK insurgents[8]

NATO: cca. 80 aircraft[9]

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 15-16,000 military (in Kosovo)[10]
Serbia unkown number of police

Casualties and losses
1,700 insurgents[11]

NATO: 2 non-combat deaths[12],
1 F-117[13] and 1 F-16[14], both from the US Air Force

Caused by KLA:
Caused by NATO:
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1,031 soldiers and police officers killed[15][16]
NATO bombings: Human Rights Watch was able to verify 500 civilian deaths throughout FR Yugoslavia (outside of Kosovo),[17][18] with other sources stating from 1,200 to 5,700.[17] 10,000 - 11,000 Kosovo Albanian civilians killed by Serb forces.[19][20][21] Around 200 Kosovo Albanian civilians were killed by NATO forces.[22][23]

3 Chinese diplomats killed in NATO bombing

The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998[24] to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA), who sought independence (classified as terrorists), against the Serbian police and Yugoslav Military. From March 24, 1999 to June 11, 1999,[25] NATO launched an air campaign on FR Yugoslavia, while the KLA continued battles with Yugoslav forces, amidst a massive population displacement estimated to be close to 1 million people.

The KLA, formed in 1991, began attacking police stations and government offices in February 1996, which resulted in an increase of security forces, and escalation of conflict, although it initially was viewed as an insurgency. The KLA was regarded by the US as a terrorist group until 1998 when it was de-listed for classified reasons,[26][27] and then the UK and the US lobbied France to do the same.[28] The U.S. and NATO then cultivated diplomatic relationships with the KLA leaders,[27][29][30] This happened despite the fact that General Klaus Naumann (Chairman of NATO Military Committee) stated that "Ambassador Walker stated in the NAC (North Atlantic Council) that the majority of violations was caused by the KLA."[30]

In 1999 the KLA was officially disbanded and their members joined the UCPMB in the Preševo Valley[31], and the NLA and ANA in the armed ethnic conflict in Macedonia.[32] UNMIK instituted NGOs within Kosovo such as the Kosovo Protection Corps (in accordance with UNSC resolution 1244 which required the establishment of a civilian emergency protection body to replace the former KLA) and the Kosovo Police (mainly of KLA veterans).[33]

NATO countries promoted the war in Kosovo as the first humanitarian war[34] based on short-term military reports and casualty reports that were later criticized as highly inaccurate.[35] It was the center of news headlines for months, and gained a massive amount of coverage and attention from the international community and media. The NATO bombing and surrounding events have remained controversial.[36]


Pre-NATO intervention

Kosovo in Tito's Yugoslavia (1945–1986)

Tensions between the Serbian and Albanian communities in Kosovo simmered throughout the 20th century and occasionally erupted into major violence, particularly during the First Balkan War, World War I, and World War II. The Socialist government of Josip Broz Tito systematically repressed nationalist manifestations throughout Yugoslavia, seeking to ensure that no Yugoslav republic or nationality gained dominance over the others. In particular, the power of Serbia—the largest and most populous republic—was diluted by the establishment of autonomous governments in the province of Vojvodina in the north of Serbia and Kosovo in the south. Kosovo's borders did not precisely match the areas of ethnic Albanian settlement in Yugoslavia (significant numbers of Albanians were left in the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia though the majority of its inhabitants were Albanian). Kosovo's formal autonomy, established under the 1945 Yugoslav constitution, initially meant relatively little in practice. Tito's secret police cracked down hard on nationalists. In 1956, a number of Albanians were put on trial in Kosovo on charges of espionage and subversion. The threat of separatism was in fact minimal, as the few underground groups aiming for union with Albania were politically insignificant. Their long-term impact was substantial, though, as some—particularly the Revolutionary Movement for Albanian Unity, founded by Adem Demaci—were to form the political core of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Demaci himself was imprisoned in 1964 along with many of his followers. Yugoslavia underwent a period of economic and political crisis in 1969, as a massive government program of economic reform widened the gap between the rich north and poor south of the country.

Student demonstrations and riots in Belgrade in June 1968 spread to Kosovo in November the same year, but were quelled by the Yugoslav security forces. However, some of the students' demands—in particular, representative powers for Albanians in both the Serbian and Yugoslav state bodies, and better recognition of the Albanian language—were conceded by Tito. The University of Priština was established as an independent institution in 1970, ending a long period when the institution had been run as an outpost of Belgrade University. The Albanianisation of education in Kosovo was hampered by the lack of Albanian-language educational materials in Yugoslavia, so an agreement was struck with Albania itself to supply textbooks. In 1974, Kosovo's political status was improved further when a new Yugoslav constitution granted an expanded set of political rights. Along with Vojvodina, Kosovo was declared a province and gained many of the powers of a fully-fledged republic: a seat on the federal presidency and its own assembly, police force, and national bank.

Power was still exercised by the Communist Party, but it was now devolved mainly to ethnic Albanian communists. Tito's death on May 4, 1980 ushered in a long period of political instability, worsened by growing economic crisis and nationalist unrest. The first major outbreak occurred in Kosovo's main city, Pristina, in March 1981, when Albanian students rioted over long queues in their university canteen. This seemingly trivial dispute rapidly spread throughout Kosovo and took on the character of a national revolt, with massive popular demonstrations in many Kosovo towns.[citation needed] The protesters demanded that Kosovo should become the seventh republic of Yugoslavia.

However, this was politically unacceptable to Serbia and the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Some Serbs (and possibly some Albanian nationalists as well) saw the demands as being a prelude to a "Greater Albania" which could encompass parts of Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo itself. The Communist Yugoslav presidency quelled the disturbances by sending in riot police and the army, and proclaiming a state of emergency, although it did not repeal the province's autonomy as some Serbian Communists demanded. The Yugoslav press reported that about 11 people had been killed (although others claimed a death toll as high as 1,000) and another 4,200 were imprisoned. Kosovo's Communist Party also suffered purges, with several key figures (including its president) expelled.

Hardliners instituted a fierce crackdown on nationalism of all kinds, Albanian and Serbian alike. Kosovo endured a heavy secret police presence throughout most of the 1980s that ruthlessly suppressed any unauthorized nationalist manifestations, both Albanian and Serbian. According to a report quoted by Mark Thompson, as many as 580,000 inhabitants of Kosovo were arrested, interrogated, interned, or reprimanded. Thousands of these lost their jobs or were expelled from their educational establishments. During this time, tension between the Albanian and Serbian communities continued to escalate.

In 1969, the Serbian Orthodox Church had ordered its clergy to compile data on the ongoing problems of Serbs in Kosovo, seeking to pressure the government in Belgrade to do more to protect the Serbian faithful. In February 1982, a group of priests from Serbia proper petitioned their bishops to ask "why the Serbian Church is silent" and why it did not campaign against "the destruction, arson and sacrilege of the holy shrines of Kosovo". Such concerns did attract interest in Belgrade. Stories appeared from time to time in the Belgrade media claiming that Serbs and Montenegrins were being persecuted. There was a perception among Serbian nationalists that Serbs were being driven out of Kosovo.

In addition to all this, the worsening state of Kosovo's economy made the province a poor choice for Serbs seeking work. Albanians, as well as Serbs, tended to favor their compatriots when employing new recruits, but the number of jobs was too few for the population. To that end, it is believed that a large number of those declaring Albanian ethnicity are in fact from the Roma community who happen to be of Islamic faith. Kosovo was the poorest part of Yugoslavia: the average per capita income was $795, compared with the national average of $2,635 (and $5,315 in Slovenia).


In 1981 it was reported that some 4,000 Serbs moved from Kosovo to Central Serbia after the Kosovo Albanian riots in March that resulted in several deaths of Serbs and desecration of Serbian Orthodox architecture and graveyards.[37] In 1982 It was concluded that the Serbs were victims of major prejudice and harassment, several murders had been committed by ethnic Albanians, and forming of serious nationalist groups was reality. 33 nationalist formations were dismantled by the Yugoslav Police who sentenced some 280 people (800 fined, 100 under investigation) and seized arms caches and propaganda material.[38]

In 1987 David Binder wrote a report on The New York Times about rising nationalism among Albanians in Kosovo. In his report he tells about Paracin massacre, where an Albanian soldier killed 4 soldiers and wounded 5 in a JNA barracks.[39]

The report quoting Federal Secretary for National Defense, Fleet Adm. Branko Mamula, shows that from 1981–1987, 216 illegal Albanian organizations with 1,435 members were discovered in the JNA. They had prepared the mass killings of officers and soldiers, poisoning food and water, sabotage, breaking in and stealing weapons and ammunition.[39]

Kosovo and the rise of Slobodan Milošević (1986–1990)

In Kosovo, growing Albanian nationalism and separatism led to tensions between Serbs and Albanians. An increasingly poisonous atmosphere led to wild rumors being spread around and otherwise trivial incidents being blown out of proportion.

It was against this tense background that the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU, from its Serbian initials, САНУ) conducted a survey of Serbs who had left Kosovo in 1985 and 1986.[40] The report concluded that a considerable part of those who had left had been under pressure by Albanians to do so.

Sixteen prominent members of the SANU began work in June 1985 on a draft document that was leaked to the public in September 1986. The SANU Memorandum, as it has become known, was hugely controversial. It focused on the political difficulties facing Serbs in Yugoslavia, pointing to Tito's deliberate hobbling of Serbia's power and the difficulties faced by Serbs outside Serbia proper.

The Memorandum paid special attention to Kosovo, arguing that the province's Serbs were being subjected to "physical, political, legal and cultural genocide" in an "open and total war" that had been ongoing since the spring of 1981. It claimed that Kosovo's status in 1986 was a worse historical defeat for the Serbs than any event since liberation from the Ottomans in 1804, thus ranking it above such catastrophes as the Nazi occupation or the First World War occupation of Serbia by the Austro-Hungarians. The Memorandum's authors claimed that 200,000 Serbs had moved out of the province over the previous twenty years and warned that there would soon be none left "unless things change radically." The remedy, according to the Memorandum, was for "genuine security and unambiguous equality for all peoples living in Kosovo and Metohija [to be] established" and "objective and permanent conditions for the return of the expelled [Serbian] nation [to be] created." It concluded that "Serbia must not be passive and wait and see what the others will say, as it has done so often in the past."

The SANU Memorandum met with many different reactions. The Albanians saw it as a call for Serbian supremacy at a local level. They claimed that all Serb emigrants had left Kosovo for economic reasons. Other Yugoslav nationalities, notably the Slovenes and Croats, saw a threat in the call for a more assertive Serbia. Serbs themselves were divided: many welcomed it, while the Communist old guard strongly attacked its message. One of those who denounced it was Serbian Communist Party official Slobodan Milošević.

In November 1988, Kosovo's head of the provincial committee was arrested. In March 1989, Milošević announced an "anti-bureaucratic revolution" in Kosovo and Vojvodina, curtailing their autonomy as well as imposing a curfew and a state of emergency in Kosovo due to violent demonstrations, resulting in 24 deaths (including two policemen). Milošević and his government claimed that the constitutional changes were necessary to protect Kosovo's remaining Serbs against harassment from the Albanian majority.

Constitutional change (1989–1996)

On 17 November 1988 Kaqusha Jashari and Azem Vllasi were forced to resign from the leadership of the League of Communists of Kosovo (LCK).[41][42][43] In early 1989 the Serbian Assembly proposed amendments to the Constitution of Serbia which would remove the word "Socialist" from the Serbian Republic's title, establish multi-party elections, remove the independence of institutions of the autonomous provinces such as Kosovo, and rename Kosovo as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.[44][45] In February Kosovar Albanians demonstrated in large numbers against the proposal, emboldened by striking miners.[43][46] Serbs in Belgrade protested against the Kosovo Albanian's separatism.[47] On 3 March 1989 the Presidency of Yugoslavia imposed special measures assigning responsibility for public security to the federal government.[46] On 23 March the Assembly of Kosovo voted to accept the proposed amendments although most Albanian delegates abstained.[46] In early 1990 Kosovar Albanians held mass demonstrations against the special measures, which were lifted on 18 April 1990 and responsibility for public security was again assigned to Serbia.[46][48]

On 8 May 1989 Milošević became President of the Presidency of Serbia, which was confirmed on 6 December.[46] On 22 January 1990 the 14 congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) abolished the party's position as the only legal political party in Yugoslavia.[49] In January 1990 the Yugoslav government announced it would press ahead with the creation of a multi-party system.[49]

On 26 June 1990 Serbian authorities closed the Kosovo Assembly citing special circumstances.[48] On 1 or 2 July 1990 Serbia approved the new amendments to the Constitution of Serbia in a referendum.[48][50] Also on 2 July, 114 ethnic Albanian delegates of the 180 member Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo an independent republic within Yugoslavia.[48][46] On 5 July the Serbian Assembly dissolved the Kosovo Assembly.[48][46] Serbia also dissolved the provincial executive council and assumed full and direct control of the province.[51] Serbia took over management of Kosovo's principle Albanian-language media, halting Ablanian-language broadcasts.[51] On 4 September 1990 Kosovar Albanians observed a 24-hour general strike, virtually shutting down the province.[51]

On 16 or 17 July 1990, the League of Communists of Serbia (LCS) combined with the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Serbia to become the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Milošević became its first president.[52][46] On 8 August 1990 several amendments to the federal Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) Constitution were adopted enabling the establishment of a multi-party election system.[50]

On 7 September 1990 the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo was promulgated by the disbanded Assembly of Kosovo.[50] Milošević reposed by ordering the arrest of the deputies of the disbanded Assembly of Kosovo.[51] The new controversial Serbian Constitution was promulgated on 28 September 1990.[45] Multi-party elections were held in Serbia on 9 and 26 December 1990 after which Milošević became President of Serbia.[46] In September 1991 Kosovar Albanians held an unofficial referendum in which they voted overwhelmingly for independence.[46] On 24 May 1992 Kosovar Albanians held unofficial elections for an assembly and president of the Republic of Kosovo.[46]

On 5 August 1991 the Serbian Assembly suspended the Priština daily Rilindja,[51][53] following the Law on Public Information of 29 March 1991 and establishment of the Panorama publishing house on 6 November which incorporated Rilindja, which was declared unconstitutional by the federal authorities.[54] United Nations Special Rapporteur Tadeusz Mazowiecki reported on 26 February 1993 that the police had intensified their repression of the Albanian population since 1990, including depriving them of their basic rights, destroying their educations system, and large numbers of political dismissals of civil servants.[54]

Crucially, as both provinces had a vote in the eight member Yugoslav Presidency, this gave Milosevic an automatic four votes when combined with Serbia and Montenegro (which was closely allied to Serbia). Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia thus had to maintain an uneasy alliance to prevent Milošević from driving through constitutional changes. Serbia's political changes were ratified in a July 5, 1990 referendum across the entire republic of Serbia, including Kosovo. As a result of these measures more than 80,000 Kosovo Albanians were expelled from their state jobs in Kosovo. A new Serb curriculum was imposed in all higher education in Kosovo, a move which was rejected by Albanians who responded by creating their parallel education system.

The impact on Kosovo was drastic. The reduction of its autonomy was accompanied by the abolition of its political institutions (including the League of Communists of Kosovo); its assembly and government were formally disbanded. As most of Kosovo's industry was state-owned, the changes brought a wholesale change of corporate cadres. Technically, few were sacked outright: their companies required them to sign loyalty pledges, which most Albanians would not sign, although a few did and remained employed in Serbian state companies right up to 1999.

Albanian cultural autonomy was also drastically reduced. TV and radio broadcasts in Albanian ceased. Albanian was no longer an official language of the province. The University of Pristina, seen as a hotbed of Albanian nationalism, was purged: 800 lecturers at Pristina University were sacked and 22,500 of the 23,000 students expelled. Some 40,000 Yugoslav troops and police replaced the original Albanian-run security forces. A punitive regime was imposed that was harshly condemned as a "police state". Poverty and unemployment reached catastrophic levels, with about 80% of Kosovo's population becoming unemployed. As many as a third of adult male Albanians chose to go abroad (particularly to Germany and Switzerland) to find work.[citation needed]

With Kosovo's Communist Party effectively broken up by Milošević's crackdown, the dominant Albanian political party position passed to the Democratic League of Kosovo, led by the writer Ibrahim Rugova. It responded to the abolition of Kosovo's autonomy by pursuing a policy of peaceful resistance. Rugova took the very practical line that armed resistance would be futile given Serbia's military strength and would lead only to a bloodbath in the province. He called on the Albanian populace to boycott the Yugoslav and Serbian states by not participating in any elections, by ignoring the military draft (compulsory in Yugoslavia), and most important, by not paying any taxes or duties to the State. He also called for the creation of parallel Albanian schools, clinics, and hospitals. In September 1991, the shadow Kosovo Assembly organized a referendum on independence for Kosovo. Despite widespread harassment and violence by Serbian security forces, the referendum achieved a reported 90% turnout among the province's Albanians, and a 98% vote—nearly a million votes in all—which approved the creation of an independent "Republic of Kosovo". In May 1992, a second referendum elected Rugova as President of Kosovo. The Serbian government declared that both referendums were illegal, and their results null and void.

The slide to war (1996–1998)

Rugova's policy of passive resistance succeeded in keeping Kosovo quiet during the war with Slovenia, and the wars in Croatia and Bosnia during the early 1990s. However, as evidenced by the emergence of the KLA, this came at the cost of increasing frustration among Kosovo's Albanian population. In the mid-1990s, Rugova pleaded for a United Nations peacekeeping force for Kosovo. In 1997, Milošević was promoted to the presidency of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (comprising Serbia and Montenegro since its inception in April 1992).

Continuing Serbian repression had radicalized many Albanians, some of whom decided that only armed resistance would change the situation. On April 22, 1996, four attacks on Serbian security personnel were carried out almost simultaneously in several parts of Kosovo. A hitherto-unknown organization calling itself the "Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA) subsequently claimed responsibility. The nature of the KLA was at first highly mysterious.

It is widely believed that the KLA received financial and material support from the Kosovo Albanian diaspora.[55][56] In early 1997, Albania collapsed into chaos following the fall of President Sali Berisha. Military stockpiles were looted with impunity by criminal gangs, with much of the hardware ending up in western Kosovo and boosting the growing KLA arsenal. Bujar Bukoshi, shadow Prime Minister in exile (in Zürich, Switzerland), created a group called FARK (Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosova) which was reported to have been disbanded and absorbed by the KLA in 1998.[citation needed] The Yugoslav government considered the KLA "terrorists" and "insurgents", attacking police and civilians, while most Albanians saw the KLA as "freedom fighters".

In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization,[56] and in 1999 the Republican Policy Committee of the U.S. Senate expressed its troubles with the "effective alliance" of the Clinton administration with the KLA due to "numerous reports from reputable unofficial sources ".[57]

In 2000, a BBC article stated that Nato at War shows how the United States, which had described the KLA as "terrorist", now sought to form a relationship with it.[58]

U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard referred to the KLA as terrorists.[59] Responding to criticism, he later clarified to the House Committee on International Relations that "while it has committed 'terrorist acts,' it has 'not been classified legally by the U.S. Government as a terrorist organization.'" [57] On June 1998, he held talks with two men who claimed they were political leaders.[59]

Meanwhile, the U.S. held an "outer wall of sanctions" on Yugoslavia which had been tied to a series of issues, Kosovo being one of them. These were maintained despite the agreement at Dayton to end all sanctions. The Clinton administration claimed that Dayton bound Yugoslavia to hold discussions with Rugova over Kosovo.

The crisis escalated in December 1997 at the Peace Implementation Council meeting in Bonn, where the International Community (as defined in the Dayton Agreement) agreed to give the High Representative in Bosnia sweeping powers, including the right to dismiss elected leaders. At the same time, Western diplomats insisted that Kosovo be discussed, and that Serbia and Yugoslavia be responsive to Albanian demands there. The delegation from Serbia stormed out of the meetings in protest.[citation needed]

This was followed by the return of the Contact Group that oversaw the last phases of the Bosnian conflict and declarations from European powers demanding that Serbia solve the problem in Kosovo.

KLA attacks suddenly intensified, centered on the Drenica valley area, with the compound of one Adem Jashari being a particular focal point. Days after Robert Gelbard described the KLA as a terrorist group, Serbian police responded to the KLA attacks in the Likosane area, and pursued some of the KLA to Cirez, resulting in the deaths of 30 Albanian civilians and four Serbian policemen.[60] The first serious action of the war had begun.

Despite some accusations of summary executions and killings of civilians, condemnations from Western capitals were not as voluble as they would become later. Serb police began to pursue Jashari and his followers in the village of Donje Prekaz. A massive firefight at the Jashari compound led to the massacre of 60 Albanians, of which eighteen were women and ten were under the age of sixteen.[61] This March 5 event provoked massive condemnation from the western capitals. Madeleine Albright stated that "this crisis is not an internal affair of the FRY".

On March 24, Serbian forces surrounded the village of Glodjane, in the Dukagjin operational zone, and attacked a rebel compound there.[62] Despite their superior firepower, the Serbian forces failed to destroy the KLA unit which had been their objective. Although there were deaths and severe injuries on the Albanian side, the insurgency in Glodjane was far from stamped out. It was in fact to become one of the strongest centers of resistance in the upcoming war.

Northern Albania served as another center of KLA activity, centered in the town of Tropojë. Following the 1997 Albanian civil conflict, parts of Albania ended up beyond the reach of national authorities. Moreover, the Albanian army's armories were looted. Many of these looted weapons ended up in the hands of the KLA whilst the KLA took over the border area. This was a staging ground for attacks and for shipping weapons to the Drenica stronghold. The path between these areas crossed Đakovica, the plains of Metohija, and to the Klina opstina, and were those areas hardest hit by KLA activity in the beginning.[citation needed]

The KLA's first goal was thus to merge its Drenica stronghold with their stronghold in Albania proper, and this would shape the first few months of the fighting.

The Serbs also continued their efforts at diplomacy, attempting to arrange talks with Ibrahim Rugova's staff (talks which Rugova and his staff refused to attend). After several failed meetings, Ratko Marković, chairman of the Serbian delegation to the meetings, invited representatives of Kosovo minority groups to attend while maintaining his invitation to the Albanians. Serbian President Milan Milutinović attended one of the meetings, though Rugova did not. He and his staff insisted on talking to Yugoslav officials, not Serbian ones, and only to discuss the modalities of Kosovo independence.[citation needed]

A new Serbian government was also formed at this time, led by the Socialist Party of Serbia and the Serbian Radical Party. Ultra-nationalist Radical Party chairman Vojislav Šešelj became a deputy prime minister. This increased the dissatisfaction with Serbia's position among Western diplomats and spokespersons.

In early April, Serbia arranged for a referendum on the issue of foreign interference in Kosovo. Serbian voters decisively rejected foreign interference in this crisis. Meanwhile, the KLA claimed much of the area in and around Dečani and ran a territory based in the village of Glođane, encompassing its surroundings. So, on May 31, 1998, the Yugoslav army and the Serb Ministry of the Interior police began an operation to clear the border of the KLA. NATO's response to this offensive was mid-June's Operation Determined Falcon, an air show over the Yugoslav borders.[63]

During this time, the Yugoslav President Milošević reached an arrangement with Boris Yeltsin of Russia to stop offensive operations and prepare for talks with the Albanians, who, through this whole crisis, refused to talk to the Serbian side, but not the Yugoslav. In fact, the only meeting between Milošević and Ibrahim Rugova took place on May 15 in Belgrade, two days after Richard Holbrooke announced that it would take place. One month later, Holbrooke, after a trip to Belgrade where he threatened Milošević that if he did not obey, "what's left of your country will implode", he visited the border areas affected by the fighting in early June; there he was famously photographed with the KLA. The publication of these images sent a signal to the KLA, its supporters and sympathizers, and to observers in general, that the U.S. was decisively backing the KLA and the Albanian population in Kosovo.

The Yeltsin agreement included Milošević's allowing international representatives to set up a mission in Kosovo-Metohija to monitor the situation there. This was the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM) that began operations in early July. The American government welcomed this part of the agreement, but denounced the initiative's call for a mutual cease fire. Rather, the Americans demanded that the Serbian-Yugoslavian side should cease fire "without linkage...to a cessation in terrorist activities".

All through June and into mid-July, the KLA maintained its advance. KLA surrounded Peć, Đakovica, and had set up an interim capital in the town of Mališevo (north of Orahovac). The KLA troops infiltrated Suva Reka, and the northwest of Priština. They moved on to the Belacevec coal pits and captured them in late June, threatening energy supplies in the region. Their tactics as usual focused mainly on guerrilla and mountain warfare, and harassing and ambushing Serb forces and police patrols.

The tide turned in mid-July when the KLA captured Orahovac. On July 17, 1998, two close-by villages to Orahovac, Retimlije and Opteruša, were also captured. Similar, even if less systematic events took place in the town of Orahovac and the larger Serb village of Velika hoċa. The Orthodox monastery of Zociste 3 miles (5 km) from Orehovac—famous for the relics of the Saints Kosmas and Damianos and revered also by local Albanians—was robbed, its monks deported to a KLA prison camp, and, while empty, the monastery church and all its buildings were leveled to the ground by mining. This led to a series of Serb and Yugoslav offensives which would continue into the beginning of August.

A new set of KLA attacks in mid-August triggered Yugoslavian operations in south-central Kosovo south of the Priština-Peć road. This wound down with the capture of Klecka on August 23 and the discovery of a KLA-run crematorium in which some of their victims were found. The KLA began an offensive on September 1 around Prizren, causing Yugoslavian military activity there. In Metohija, around Peć, another offensive caused condemnation as international officials expressed fear that a large column of displaced people would be attacked.

In early mid-September, for the first time, some KLA activity was reported in northern Kosovo around Podujevo. Finally, in late September, a determined effort was made to clear the KLA out of the northern and central parts of Kosovo and out of the Drenica valley itself. During this time many threats were made from Western capitals but these were tempered somewhat by the elections in Bosnia, as they did not want Serbian Democrats and Radicals to win. Following the elections, however, the threats intensified once again but a galvanizing event was needed. They got it on September 28, when the mutilated corpses of a family were discovered by KDOM outside the village of Gornje Obrinje; the bloody doll from there became the rallying image for the ensuing war.

UN, NATO, and OSCE (1998-1999)

On 23 September 1998 acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1199 demanding that all parties in Kosovo and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) cease hostilities and maintain a ceasefire. On 24 September the North Atlantic Council (NAC) of NATO issued an "activation warning" (ACTWARN) taking NATO to an increased level of military preparedness for both a limited air option and a phased air campaign in Kosovo.[64]

The other major issue for those who saw no option but to resort to the use of force was the estimated 250,000 displaced Albanians, 30,000 of whom were out in the woods, without warm clothing or shelter, with winter fast approaching.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Christopher Hill, was leading shuttle diplomacy between an Albanian delegation, led by Rugova, and the Yugoslav and Serbian authorities. It was these meetings which were shaping what was to be the peace plan to be discussed during a period of planned NATO occupation of Kosovo.

During a period of two weeks, threats intensified, culminating in NATO's Activation Order being given. All was ready for the bombs to fly; Richard Holbrooke went to Belgrade in the hope of reaching an agreement with Milošević with regards to deploying a NATO presence in Kosovo. He was accompanied by General Michael Short, who threatened to destroy Belgrade.

Yugoslav T-55A tank next to an OSCE vehicle

Officially, the international community demanded an end to fighting. It specifically demanded that the Serbs end its offensives against the KLA whilst attempting to convince the KLA to drop its bid for independence. Moreover, attempts were made to persuade Milošević to permit NATO peacekeeping troops to enter Kosovo. This, they argued, would allow for the Christopher Hill peace process to proceed and yield a peace agreement.

On 13 October 1998 the North Atlantic Council issued issue activation orders (ACTORDs) for the execution of both limited air strikes and a phased air campaign in Yugoslavia which would begin in approximately 96 hours.[65] On 15 October the NATO Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) Agreement for a ceasefire was signed, and the deadline for withdrawal was extended to 27 October.[66][67] The Serbian withdrawal commenced on or around 25 October 1998, and Operation Eagle Eye commenced on 30 October.[66][67]

The KVM was a large contingent of unarmed OSCE peace monitors (officially known as verifiers) that moved into Kosovo. Their inadequacy was evident from the start. They were nicknamed the "clockwork oranges" in reference to their brightly coloured vehicles (in English, a "clockwork orange" signifies a useless object.[citation needed]) The ceasefire broke down within a matter of weeks and fighting resumed in December 1998 after the KLA occupied bunkers overlooking the strategic Priština-Podujevo highway, not long after the Panda Bar Massacre, when the KLA shot up a cafe in Peć. The KLA also allegedly assassinated the mayor of Kosovo Polje.

The January to March 1999 phase of the war brought increasing insecurity in urban areas, including bombings and murders. Such attacks took place during the Rambouillet talks in February and as the Kosovo Verification Agreement unraveled in March. Killings on the roads continued and increased. There were military confrontations in, among other places, the Vučitrn area in February and the heretofore unaffected Kačanik area in early March.

On 15 January 1999 the Račak massacre occurred when "45 Kosovan Albanian farmers were rounded up, led up a hill and massacred".[68] The bodies had been discovered by OSCE monitors, including Head of Mission William Walker, and foreign news correspondents.[69][70] Yugoslavia denied a massacre took place.[70] The controversial Račak incident was the culmination of the KLA attacks and Serbian reprisals that had continued throughout the winter of 1998–1999. The incident was immediately (before the investigation) condemned as a massacre by the Western countries and the United Nations Security Council, and later became the basis of one of the charges of war crimes leveled against Milošević and his top officials. The massacre was the turning point of the war. NATO decided that the conflict could only be settled by introducing a military peacekeeping force under the auspices of NATO, to forcibly restrain the two sides.

The Rambouillet Conference (January–March 1999)

On 30 January 1999 NATO issued a statement announcing that the North Atlantic Council had agreed that "the NATO Secretary General may authorise air strikes against targets on FRY territory" to "[compel] compliance with the demands of the international community and [to achieve] a political settlement".[71] While this was most obviously a threat to the Milošević government, it also included a coded threat to the Albanians: any decision would depend on the "position and actions of the Kosovo Albanian leadership and all Kosovo Albanian armed elements in and around Kosovo."[citation needed]

Also on 30 January 1999 the Contact Group issued a set of "non-negotiable principles" which made up a package known as "Status Quo Plus"—effectively the restoration of Kosovo's pre-1990 autonomy within Serbia, plus the introduction of democracy and supervision by international organizations. It also called for a peace conference to be held in February 1999 at the Château de Rambouillet, outside Paris.

The Rambouillet talks began on February 6, 1999, with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana negotiating with both sides. They were intended to conclude by February 19. The Serbian delegation was led by then president of Serbia Milan Milutinović, while Milošević himself remained in Belgrade. This was in contrast to the 1995 Dayton conference that ended the war in Bosnia, where Milošević negotiated in person. The absence of Milošević was interpreted as a sign that the real decisions were being made back in Belgrade, a move that aroused criticism in Serbia as well as abroad; Kosovo's Serbian Orthodox bishop Artemije traveled all the way to Rambouillet to protest that the delegation was wholly unrepresentative. At this time speculation about an indictment of Milošević for war crimes was rife, so his absence may have been motivated by fear of arrest.

Equipment of 72nd Special Brigade Yugoslav Army in the 1999 Kosovo War.

The first phase of negotiations was successful. In particular, a statement was issued by the Contact Group co-chairmen on February 23, 1999 that the negotiations "have led to a consensus on substantial autonomy for Kosovo, including on mechanisms for free and fair elections to democratic institutions, for the governance of Kosovo, for the protection of human rights and the rights of members of national communities; and for the establishment of a fair judicial system". They went on to say that "a political framework is now in place", leaving the further work of finalizing "the implementation Chapters of the Agreement, including the modalities of the invited international civilian and military presence in Kosovo". During the next month, however, NATO, under the influence of US diplomats Rubin and Albright, sought to impose a forced, as opposed to invited, military presence. The tilting of NATO towards the KLA organization is chronicled in the BBC Television "Moral Combat: NATO at War" program.[72] This happened despite the fact, quoting General Klaus Naumann (Chairman of NATO Military Committee), that "Ambassador Walker stated in the NAC (North Atlantic Council) that the majority of [ceasefire] violations was caused by the KLA".

In the end, on March 18, 1999, the Albanian, American, and British delegations signed what became known as the Rambouillet Accords while the Serbian and Russian delegations refused.[73] The accords called for NATO administration of Kosovo as an autonomous province within Yugoslavia, a force of 30,000 NATO troops to maintain order in Kosovo; an unhindered right of passage for NATO troops on Yugoslav territory, including Kosovo; and immunity for NATO and its agents to Yugoslav law.[73] These latter provisions were much the same as had been applied to Bosnia for the SFOR (Stabilization Force) mission there.

While the accords did not fully satisfy the Albanians, they were much too radical for the Serbs, who responded by substituting a drastically revised text that even the Russians (traditional allies of the Serbs) found unacceptable. It sought to reopen the painstakingly negotiated political status of Kosovo and deleted all of the proposed implementation measures. Among many other changes in the proposed new version, it eliminated the entire chapter on humanitarian assistance and reconstruction, removed virtually all international oversight and dropped any mention of invoking "the will of the people [of Kosovo]" in determining the final status of the province.

Events proceeded rapidly after the failure at Rambouillet.[73] The international monitors from the OSCE withdrew on 22 March, for fear of the monitors' safety ahead of the anticipated NATO bombing campaign.[73]

On March 23, the Serbian assembly accepted the principle of autonomy for Kosovo and non-military part of the agreement.[73][74] But the Serbian side had objections to the military part of the Rambouillet agreement, particularly appendix B that foresees free access to all of Serbia for NATO troops, which it characterized as "NATO occupation".[73][75] The full document was described as "fraudulent" because the military part of the agreement was offered only at the very end of the talks without much possibility for negotiation, and because the other side, condemned in harshest terms as a "separatist–terrorist delegation", completely refused to meet delegation of FRY and negotiate directly during the Rambouillet talks at all.[76]

On 23 March 1999 at 21:30 UTC Richard Holbrooke returned to Brussels and announced that peace talks had failed and formally handed the matter to NATO for military action.[77][78] Hours before the announcement, Yugoslavia announced on national television it had declared a state of emergency citing an imminent threat of war and began a huge mobilization of troops and resources.[77][79]

The NATO bombing campaign

A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from the aft missile deck of the USS Gonzalez on March 31, 1999
A U.S. F-117 Nighthawk taxis to the runway before taking off from Aviano Air Base, Italy, on March 24, 1999
CK building in the moments after bombing.
Post-strike bomb damage assessment photograph of the Sremska Mitrovica Ordnance Storage Depot, Serbia

On 23 March 1999 at 22:17 UTC the Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana, announced he had directed the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), US Army General Wesley Clark, to "initiate air operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."[79][80] On 24 March at 19:00 UTC NATO started its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.[81][82]

NATO's bombing campaign lasted from March 24 to June 11, 1999, involving up to 1,000 aircraft operating mainly from bases in Italy and aircraft carriers stationed in the Adriatic. Tomahawk cruise missiles were also extensively used, fired from aircraft, ships, and submarines. All of the NATO members were involved to some degree—with the exception of Greece. Over the ten weeks of the conflict, NATO aircraft flew over 38,000 combat missions. For the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), it was the second time it had participated in a conflict since World War II after the Bosnian War[citation needed].

The proclaimed goal of the NATO operation was summed up by its spokesman as "Serbs out, peacekeepers in, refugees back". That is, Yugoslav troops would have to leave Kosovo and be replaced by international peacekeepers to ensure that the Albanian refugees could return to their homes. The campaign was initially designed to destroy Yugoslav air defenses and high-value military targets. It did not go very well at first, with bad weather hindering many sorties early on. NATO had seriously underestimated Milošević's will to resist: few in Brussels thought that the campaign would last more than a few days, and although the initial bombardment was more than just a pin-prick, it was nowhere near the concentrated bombardments seen in Baghdad in 1991. On the ground, the ethnic cleansing campaign by the Serbians was stepped up and within a week of the war starting, over 300,000 Kosovo Albanians had fled into neighboring Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, with many thousands more displaced within Kosovo. By April, the United Nations was reporting that 850,000 people, mostly Albanians, had fled their homes. On 25 March Arkan appeared at the Hyatt hotel in Belgrade where most of Western journalists were staying and warned all of them to leave Serbia.[83]

NATO military operations switched increasingly to attacking Yugoslav units on the ground, hitting targets as small as individual tanks and artillery pieces, as well as continuing with the strategic bombardment. This activity was, however, heavily constrained by politics, as each target needed to be approved by all nineteen member states. Montenegro was bombed on several occasions but NATO eventually desisted to prop up the precarious position of its anti-Milošević leader, Đukanović. So-called "dual-use" targets, of use to both civilians and the military, were attacked, including bridges across the Danube, factories, power stations, schools, houses, nurseries, hospitals, telecommunications facilities and, controversially, the headquarters of Yugoslavian Leftists, a political party led by Milošević's wife, and the Serbian state television broadcasting tower. Some saw these actions as violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions in particular. NATO, however, argued that these facilities were potentially useful to the Yugoslav military and that their bombing was therefore justified.

At the start of May, a NATO aircraft attacked an Albanian refugee convoy, believing it was a Yugoslav military convoy, killing around fifty people. NATO admitted its mistake five days later, but the Serbs accused NATO of deliberately attacking the refugees. On May 7, NATO bombs hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists and outraging Chinese public opinion. NATO claimed they were firing at Yugoslav positions. The United States and NATO later apologized for the bombing, saying that it occurred because of an outdated map provided by the CIA. This was challenged by a joint report from The Observer (UK) and Politiken (Denmark) newspapers[84] which claimed that NATO intentionally bombed the embassy because it was being used as a relay station for Yugoslav army radio signals. The bombing strained relations between China and NATO countries, and provoked angry demonstrations outside Western embassies in Beijing.

In another major incident at the Dubrava prison in Kosovo, the Yugoslav government attributed 85 civilian deaths to NATO bombing. Human Rights Watch research in Kosovo determined that an estimated eighteen prisoners were killed by NATO bombs on May 21 (three prisoners and a guard were killed in an earlier attack on May 19).

By the start of April, the conflict seemed little closer to a resolution and NATO countries began to think seriously about a ground operation—an invasion of Kosovo. This would have to be organized very quickly, as there was little time before winter would set in and much work would have to be done to improve the roads from the Greek and Albanian ports to the envisaged invasion routes through Macedonia and northeastern Albania. U.S. President Bill Clinton was, however, extremely reluctant to commit American forces for a ground offensive. Instead, Clinton authorized a CIA operation to look into methods to destabilize the Serbian government without training KLA troops.[85] At the same time, Finnish and Russian negotiators continued to try to persuade Milošević to back down. He finally recognised that NATO was serious in its resolve to end the conflict one way or another and that Russia would not intervene to defend Serbia despite Moscow's strong anti-NATO rhetoric. Faced with little alternative, Milošević accepted the conditions offered by a Finnish–Russian mediation team and agreed to a military presence within Kosovo headed by the UN, but incorporating NATO troops. WP:WEASEL

The Norwegian special forces Hærens Jegerkommando and Forsvarets Spesialkommando cooperated with the KLA in gathering intelligence information. Preparing for the invasion on June 12, the Norwegian special forces sat together with the KLA on the Ramno mountain on the border between Macedonia and Kosovo and had an excellent scouting point for what was happening inside Kosovo. Together with British special forces, Norwegian special forces were the first to cross over the border into Kosovo. According to Keith Graves with the television network Sky News, the Norwegians were already inside Kosovo two days prior to the marching in of other forces and were among the first to enter into Pristina.[86] The Hærens Jegerkommando's and Forsvarets Spesialkommando's job was to clear the way between the striding parties and to make local deals to implement the peace deal between the Serbians and the Kosovo Albanians.[87][88]

Yugoslav withdrawal and entry of KFOR

Yugoslav army withdrawing from Kosovo, handing the total control of the province to the Kosovo Force. Pictured, US Army M1 Abrams.

On June 3, 1999, Milošević accepted the terms of an international peace plan to end the fighting, with the Serbian parliament adopting the proposal amid contentious debate with delegates coming close to fistfights at some points.[89][90] On 10 June, the North Atlantic Council ratified the agreement and suspended of air operations.[91]

On June 12, after Milošević accepted the conditions, the NATO-led peacekeeping Kosovo Force (KFOR) began entering Kosovo. KFOR had been preparing to conduct combat operations, but in the end, its mission was only peacekeeping. It was based upon the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps headquarters commanded by then Lieutenant General Mike Jackson of the British Army. It consisted of British forces (a brigade built from 4th Armored and 5th Airborne Brigades), a French Army Brigade, a German Army brigade, which entered from the west while all the other forces advanced from the south, and Italian Army and United States Army brigades. The U.S. contribution, known as the Initial Entry Force, was led by the 1st Armored Division which was spearheaded by a platoon from the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment attached to the British Forces. Subordinate units included TF 1-35 Armor from Baumholder, Germany, the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment from Schweinfurt, Germany, and Echo Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment, also from Schweinfurt, Germany. Also attached to the U.S. force was the Greek Army's 501st Mechanized Infantry Battalion. The initial U.S. forces established their area of operation around the towns of Uroševac, the future Camp Bondsteel, and Gnjilane, at Camp Monteith, and spent four months—the start of a stay which continues to date—establishing order in the southeast sector of Kosovo.

During the initial incursion, the U.S. soldiers were greeted by Albanians cheering and throwing flowers as U.S. soldiers and KFOR rolled through their villages. Although no resistance was met, three U.S. soldiers from the Initial Entry Force lost their lives in accidents.[92]

Following the military campaign, the involvement of Russian peacekeepers proved to be tense and challenging to the NATO Kosovo force. The Russians expected to have an independent sector of Kosovo, only to be unhappily surprised with the prospect of operating under NATO command. Without prior communication or coordination with NATO, Russian peacekeeping forces entered Kosovo from Bosnia and seized the Pristina International Airport.

In 2010 James Blunt in an interview described how his unit was given the assignment of securing the Pristina in advance of the 30,000-strong peacekeeping force and the Russian army had moved in and taken control of the airport before his unit's arrival. As the first officer on the scene, Blunt shared a part in the difficult task of addressing the potentially violent international incident. According to Blunt's account, verified by General Sir Mike Jackson, there was a stand-off with the Russians, and the NATO Supreme Commander, US General Wesley Clark, gave orders to over-power them. Whilst these were questioned by Blunt, they were rejected by General Sir Mike Jackson with the now famous line, "I'm not having my soldiers responsible for starting World War III".[93]

Furthermore, in June 2000, arms trading relations between Russia and Serbia were exposed which lead to the retaliation and bombings of Russian Checkpoints and area Police Stations. Outpost Gunner was established on a high point in the Preševo Valley by Echo Battery 1/161 Field Artillery in an attempt to monitor and assist with peacekeeping efforts in the Russian Sector. Operating under the support of 2/3 Field Artillery, 1st Armored Division, the Battery was able to successfully deploy and continuously operate a Firefinder Radar which allowed the NATO forces to keep a closer watch on activities in the Sector and the Preševo Valley. Eventually a deal was struck whereby Russian forces operated as a unit of KFOR but not under the NATO command structure.[94]

Reaction to the war

The legitimacy of NATO's bombing campaign in Kosovo has been the subject of much debate. One immediate cause of this criticism was the timing of the NATO intervention, coming as it did on the heels of the Monica Lewinsky scandal which led many critics to suspect that the intervention was an opportunistic attempt to distract the American public from the same (references to the film Wag the Dog were a polite way to refer to this suspicion). Some support for this hypothesis may be found in the fact that coverage of the bombing directly replaced coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in American news cycles.[95] Still others point out that before the bombing, rather than there being an unusually bloody conflict, the KLA was not engaged in a widespread civil war against Yugoslav forces and the death toll among all concerned (including ethnic Albanians) skyrocketed after the NATO intervention.[95] In addition, NATO did not have the backing of the United Nations Security Council. NATO argued that their defiance of the Security Council was justified based on the claims of an "international humanitarian emergency". Criticism was also drawn by the fact that the NATO charter specifies that NATO is an organization created for defense of its members, but in this case it was used to attack a non-NATO country which was not directly threatening any NATO member. NATO claimed that instability in the Balkans was a direct threat to the security interests of NATO members, and military action was therefore justified by the NATO charter; however, the only NATO member country to which the instability was a direct threat was Greece, which opposed the bombing.

Many on the left of Western politics saw the NATO campaign as U.S. aggression and imperialism, while critics on the right considered it irrelevant to their countries' national security interests. Noam Chomsky,[96] Edward Said and Tariq Ali were prominent in opposing the campaign. However, in comparison with the anti-war protests against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the campaign against the war in Kosovo aroused much less public support.

The personalities were also very different—the NATO nations were mostly led by centre-left and moderately liberal leaders, most prominently U.S. President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema. Anti-war protests were generally from the libertarian right, the left, far-left and Serbian émigrés, with many other left-wingers supporting the campaign on humanitarian grounds. The German participation in the operation was one of the reasons for Oskar Lafontaine's resignation from the post of Federal Minister of Finance and the chairman of the SPD.

There was, however, criticism from all parts of the political spectrum for the way that NATO conducted the campaign. NATO officials sought to portray it as a "clean war" using precision weapons. The U.S. Department of Defense claimed that, up to June 2, 99.6% of the 20,000 bombs and missiles used had hit their targets. However, the use of technologies such as depleted uranium ammunition and cluster bombs was highly controversial, as was the bombing of oil refineries and chemical plants, which led to accusations of "environmental warfare". The slow pace of progress during the war was also heavily criticised. Many believed that NATO should have mounted an all-out campaign from the start, rather than starting with a relatively small number of strikes and combat aircraft.

Targets of the NATO bombing campaign

Post-strike bomb damage assessment photograph of the Kragujevac Armor and Motor Vehicle Plant Crvena Zastava, Serbia

The choice of targets was highly controversial. The destruction of bridges over the Danube greatly disrupted shipping on the river for months afterwards, causing serious economic damage to countries along the length of the river. Industrial facilities were also attacked, damaging the economies of many towns. In fact, as the Serbian opposition later complained, the Yugoslav military was using civilian factories as weapons plants: the Sloboda vacuum cleaner factory in the town of Čačak also housed a tank repair facility, while the Zastava car plant was wrongly bombed, because the weapons factory of the same name exists in the same city, but in a completely different location. There were more similar mistakes that showed a lack of intelligence services.

Only state-owned factories were targeted, leading critics to suspect that the bombing campaign was partly designed to prepare the way for a free market-based reconstruction by wealthy foreign powers.[97] No private or foreign-owned industrial sites were bombed. Perhaps the most controversial deliberate attack of the war was that made against the headquarters of Serbian television on April 23, which killed at least fourteen people. NATO justified the attack on the grounds that the Serbian television headquarters was part of the Milošević regime's "propaganda machine". Opponents of Milošević inside Serbia charged that the managers of the state TV station had been forewarned of the attack but ordered staff to remain inside the building despite an air raid alert.

Within Yugoslavia, opinion on the war was (unsurprisingly) split between highly critical among Serbs and highly supportive among Albanians, although not all Albanians felt that way; some appear to have blamed NATO for not acting quickly enough. Although Milošević was increasingly unpopular, the NATO campaign created a mood of national unity. Milošević did not leave matters entirely to chance, however. Many opposition supporters feared for their lives, particularly after the murder of the dissident journalist Slavko Curuvija on April 11, an act widely blamed on Milošević's secret police. In Montenegro, President Milo Đukanović, who opposed both the NATO bombardment and Serbian actions in Kosovo, publicly expressed fear of a "creeping coup" by Milošević supporters.

Opinion in Yugoslavia's neighbours was much more mixed. Macedonia was the only Yugoslav republic apart from Montenegro not to have fought a war with Serbia and had tense relations between the Macedonian majority and a large Albanian minority. Its government did not approve of Milošević's actions, but it was also not very sympathetic towards the Albanian refugees. Albania was wholly supportive of NATO's actions, as might be expected given the ethnic ties between Albanians on both sides of the border. Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria granted fly-over rights to NATO aircraft. Hungary was a new member of NATO and supported the campaign. Across the Adriatic, Italian public and political opinion was against the war, but the Italian government nonetheless allowed NATO full use of Italian air bases. In Greece, popular opposition to the NATO bombing reached 96%.[98]

Criticism of the case for war

History of Kosovo
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Early History
Prehistoric Balkans
Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
Middle Ages
Bulgarian Empire
Medieval Serbia
Battle of Kosovo
Ottoman Kosovo
Eyalet of Rumelia
Vilayet of Kosovo
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20th century
First Balkan War
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A number of critics have emerged since the end of the war. They have accused the coalition of leading a war in Kosovo under the false pretense of genocide.[99] U.S. President Clinton and his administration were accused of inflating the number of Kosovo Albanians killed by Serbians.[100] Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen, giving a speech, said, "The appalling accounts of mass killing in Kosovo and the pictures of refugees fleeing Serb oppression for their lives makes it clear that this is a fight for justice over genocide."[101] On CBS' Face the Nation Cohen claimed, "We've now seen about 100,000 military-aged men missing... they may have been murdered."[102] Clinton, citing the same figure, spoke of "at least 100,000 (Kosovo Albanians) missing".[103] Later, talking about Yugoslav elections, Clinton said, "they're going to have to come to grips with what Mr. Milošević ordered in Kosovo... they're going to have to decide whether they support his leadership or not; whether they think it's OK that all those tens of thousands of people were killed...". Clinton also claimed, in the same press conference, that "NATO stopped deliberate, systematic efforts at ethnic cleansing and genocide."[104] Clinton compared the events of Kosovo to the Holocaust. CNN reported, "Accusing Serbia of 'ethnic cleansing' in Kosovo similar to the genocide of Jews in World War II, an impassioned President Clinton sought...to rally public support for his decision to send U.S. forces into combat against Yugoslavia, a prospect that seemed increasingly likely with the breakdown of a diplomatic peace effort."[105] Clinton's State Department also claimed Yugoslav troops had committed genocide. The New York Times reported, "the Administration said evidence of 'genocide' by Yugoslav forces was growing to include 'abhorrent and criminal action' on a vast scale. The language was the State Department's strongest yet in denouncing Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević."[106] The State Department also gave the highest estimate of dead Albanians. The New York Times reported, "On April 19, the State Department said that up to 500,000 Kosovo Albanians were missing and feared dead"[107] (the entire prewar Albanian population of Kosovo was estimated at 1,300,000 to 1,600,000).

After the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin said that the US was using its economic and military superiority to aggressively expand its influence and interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Chinese leaders called the NATO campaign a dangerous precedent of naked aggression, a new form of colonialism, and an aggressive war groundless in morality or law. It was seen as part of a plot by the US to destroy Yugoslavia, expand eastward and control all of Europe.[108]

The United Nations Charter does not allow military interventions in other sovereign countries with few exceptions which, in general, need to be decided upon by the United Nations Security Council. The issue was brought before the UN Security Council by Russia, in a draft resolution which, inter alia, would affirm "that such unilateral use of force constitutes a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter". China, Namibia, and Russia voted for the resolution, the other members against, thus it failed to pass.[109]

On April 29, 1999, Yugoslavia filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague against ten NATO member countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the USA). The Court did not decide upon the case because Yugoslavia was not a member of the UN during the war.

In Western European countries, opposition to NATO's intervention was mainly from the libertarian right, and from the far left. In Britain, the war was opposed by many prominent conservative figures including former UK Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, and journalists Peter Hitchens and Simon Heffer, whereas opposition on the left was confined to The Morning Star newspaper and left wing MPs like Tony Benn and Alan Simpson. In the U.S. criticism was largely limited to the conservative Republican Party, many of whom voted to approve congressional funding for the war under the premise of "supporting the troops, not the policy" of Democratic President Bill Clinton. The war was opposed primarily by prominent conservative figures in the U.S., including (then Texas Governor) George W. Bush, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Majority Whip Tom Delay and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. The more liberal Democratic Party largely supported the policy of the Democratic president, with the exception of some elements of the far-left, led by liberal activists, like Ralph Nader.

The war inflicted many casualties. Already by March 1999, the combination of fighting and the targeting of civilians had left an estimated 1,500-2,000 civilians and combatants dead.[110] Final estimates of the casualties are still unavailable for either side.


Civilian losses

In June 2000, the Red Cross reported that 3,368 civilians (2,500 Albanians, 400 Serbs, and 100 Roma) were still missing, nearly one year after the conflict.[111][clarification needed]

A study by researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia published in 2000 in medical journal the Lancet estimated that "12,000 deaths in the total population" could be attributed to war.[112] This number was achieved by surveying 1,197 households from February 1998 through June 1999. 67 out of the 105 deaths reported in the sample population were attributed to war-related trauma, which extrapolates to be 12,000 deaths if the same war-related mortality rate is applied to Kosovo's total population. The highest mortality rates were in men between 15 and 49 (5,421 victims of war) as well as for men over 50 (5,176 victims). For persons younger than 15, the estimates were 160 victims for males and 200 for females.[citation needed] For women between 15-49 the estimate is that there were 510 victims; older than 50 years the estimate is 541 victims. The authors stated that it is not "possible to differentiate completely between civilian and military casualties".

In the 2008 joint study by the Humanitarian Law Center (an NGO from Serbia and Kosovo), The International Commission on Missing Person, and the Missing Person Commission of Serbia made a name-by-name list of 13,472 war and post-war victims in Kosovo killed in the period from January 1998 to December 2000.[113][114][115] The list contained the name, date of birth, military or civilian status of victim, type of injury/missing, time and place of death. There are 9,260 Albanians and 2,488 Serbs, as well as 1,254 victims that can not be identified by ethnic origin[116]

Civilians killed by NATO airstrikes

Yugoslavia claimed that NATO attacks caused between 1,200 and 5,700 civilian casualties. NATO's Secretary General, Lord Robertson, wrote after the war that "the actual toll in human lives will never be precisely known" but he then offered the figures found in a report by Human Rights Watch as a reasonable estimate. This report counted between 488 and 527 civilian deaths (90 to 150 of them killed from cluster bomb use) in 90 separate incidents, the worst of which were the 87 lives lost at Korisa, where Serb forces made civilians occupy a known military target.[117] Attacks in Kosovo overall were more deadly due to the confused situation with many refugee movements— the one-third of the incidents there account for more than half of the deaths.[118]

Civilians killed by Yugoslav ground forces

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers investigate an alleged mass grave, alongside US Marines

Various estimates of the number of killings attributed to Yugoslav ground forces have been announced through the years.

The estimate of 10,000 deaths is used by the U.S. State Department, which cited human rights abuses as its main justification for attacking Yugoslavia.[119]

Statistical experts working on behalf of the ICTY prosecution estimate that the total number of dead is about 10,000.[120] Eric Fruits, a professor at Portland State University, argued that the experts' analyses were based on fundamentally flawed data and that none of its conclusions are supported by any valid statistical analysis or tests.[121]

In August 2000, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced that it had exhumed 2,788 bodies in Kosovo, but declined to say how many were thought to be victims of war crimes.[122] Earlier however, KFOR sources told Agence France Presse that of the 2,150 bodies that had been discovered up until July 1999, about 850 were thought to be victims of war crimes.[123][page needed][dead link]

Known mass graves:[124]

  • In 2001, the bodies of more than 800 Kosovo Albanians were found in pits on a police training ground as outside Belgrade and in eastern Serbia.
  • 700 bodies were uncovered in a mass grave located in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica.
  • 77 bodies were found in the eastern Serbian town of Petrovo Selo.
  • 50 bodies were uncovered nearby the western Serbian town of Peručac.

NATO losses

A downed F-16 pilot's flight equipment and part of the F-117 shot down over Serbia in 1999 on show at a Belgrade museum.

Military casualties on the NATO side were light. According to official reports, the alliance suffered no fatalities as a result of combat operations. However, in the early hours of May 5, an American military AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed not far from the border between Serbia and Albania.[125]

An American AH-64 helicopter crashed about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Tirana, Albania's capital, very close to the Albanian/Kosovo border.[126] According to CNN, the crash happened 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Tirana.[127] The two American pilots of the helicopter, Army Chief Warrant Officers David Gibbs and Kevin L. Reichert, died in that crash. They were the only NATO casualties during the war, according to NATO official statements.

There were other casualties after the war, mostly due to land mines. After the war, the alliance reported the loss of the first U.S. stealth plane (an F-117 stealth fighter) ever shot down by enemy fire.[128] Furthermore an F-16 fighter was lost near Šabac and whose remains are on display in Museum of Aviation in Belgrade, 32 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from different nations were lost.[129] The wreckages of downed UAVs were shown on Serbian television during the war. Some claim a second F-117A was also heavily damaged, and although it made it back to its base, it never flew again.[130]

Yugoslav military losses

Wreckage of the Yugoslav MiG-29 jet fighter shot down on March 27, 1999, outside the town of Ugljevik, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Abandoned Tank near Prizren

NATO did not release any official casualty estimates. The Yugoslav authorities claimed 462 soldiers were killed and 299 wounded by NATO airstrikes.[131] The names of Yugoslav casualties were recorded in a "book of remembrance".

Of military equipment, NATO destroyed around 50 Yugoslav aircraft including 6 MiG-29s destroyed in air-to-air combat. A number of G-4 Super Galebs which were destroyed in their hardened aircraft shelter by bunker-busting bombs which started a fire which spread because the shelter doors were not closed. At the end of war, NATO officially claimed they destroyed 93 Yugoslav tanks. Yugoslavia admitted a total of 13 destroyed tanks. The latter figure was verified by European inspectors when Yugoslavia rejoined the Dayton accords, by noting the difference between the number of tanks then and at the last inspection in 1995. The NATO officers claimed that Yugoslav army lost 94 tanks (M-84's and T-55's), 132 APCs, and 52 artillery pieces.[132] Yugoslav officers claimed the real numbers were "14 tanks, not 120; 18 armored personnel carriers, not 220; 20 artillery pieces, not 450".[132][133] Most of the targets hit in Kosovo were decoys, such as tanks made out of plastic sheets with telegraph poles for gun barrels, or old World War II–era tanks which were not functional. Anti-aircraft defences were preserved by the simple expedient of not turning them on, preventing NATO aircraft from detecting them, but forcing them to keep above a ceiling of 15,000 feet (5,000 m), making accurate bombing much more difficult. Towards the end of the war, it was claimed that carpet bombing by B-52 aircraft had caused huge casualties among Yugoslav troops stationed along the Kosovo–Albania border. Careful searching by NATO investigators found no evidence of any such large-scale casualties.

However, the most significant loss for the Yugoslav Army was the damaged and destroyed infrastructure. Almost all military air bases and airfields (Batajnica, Lađevci, Slatina, Golubovci, Kovin, and Đakovica) and other military buildings and facilities were badly damaged or destroyed. Unlike the units and their equipment, military buildings couldn't be camouflaged. thus, defence industry and military technical overhaul facilities were also seriously damaged (Utva, Zastava Arms factory, Moma Stanojlović air force overhaul center, technical overhaul centers in Čačak and Kragujevac). Moreover, in an effort to weaken the Yugoslav Army, NATO targeted several important civilian facilities (Pančevo oil refinery,[134] bridges, TV antennas, railroads, etc.).

KLA losses

Kosovo Liberation Army losses are difficult to analyze. According to some reports there were around 1,000[135] casualties on KLA side. Difficulties arise in calculating an accurate figure. Things are complicated by the difficulty of determining who was a KLA member. For example, the Yugoslavs considered any armed Albanian to be a member of the KLA, regardless of whether he was officially a card-carrying member, so someone who is counted as a civilian by the Albanian side might be counted as a KLA combatant by the Serbs. Also, many members of the KLA were not wearing uniforms.[citation needed]


Refugee camp in Fier, Albania.

Within three weeks, over 500,000 Albanian refugees had returned home. By November 1999, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 848,100 out of 1,108,913 had returned.

During the war, 90,000 Serbs fled from Kosovo.[136] The Yugoslav Red Cross had also registered 247,391 mostly Serbian refugees by November. The persistent anti-Serb attacks and riots, including against other non-Albanians, had remained in the anarchic stage until some form of order was established in 2001. This order disintegrated during the 2004 pogrom against non Albanians.

War crimes

Serbian war crimes

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia charged Milošević with crimes against humanity, violating the laws or customs of war, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and genocide for his role during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

Before the end of the bombing, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, along with Milan Milutinović, Nikola Šainović, Dragoljub Ojdanić and Vlajko Stojiljković were charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with crimes against humanity including murder, forcible transfer, deportation, and "persecution on political, racial or religious grounds".

Further indictments were leveled in October 2003 against former armed forces chief of staff Nebojša Pavković, former army corps commander Vladimir Lazarević, former police official Vlastimir Đorđević, and the current head of Serbia's public security, Sreten Lukić. All were indicted for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

War crimes prosecutions have also been carried out in Yugoslavia. Yugoslav soldier Ivan Nikolić was found guilty in 2002 of war crimes in the deaths of two civilians in Kosovo. A significant number of Yugoslav soldiers were tried by Yugoslav military tribunals during the war.

KLA war crimes

The ICTY also leveled indictments against KLA members Fatmir Limaj, Haradin Bala, Isak Musliu, and Agim Murtezi for crimes against humanity. They were arrested on February 17 and 18, 2003. Charges were soon dropped against Agim Murtezi as a case of mistaken identity, whereas Fatmir Limaj was acquitted of all charges on November 30, 2005 and released. The charges were in relation to the prison camp run by the defendants at Lapusnik between May and July 1998.

In 2008, Carla Del Ponte published a book in which she alleged that, after the end of the war in 1999, Kosovo Albanians were smuggling organs of between 100 and 300 Serbs and other minorities from the province to Albania.[137] The ICTY and the Serbian War Crimes Tribunal are currently investigating these allegations, as numerous witnesses and new materials have recently emerged.[138]

On March 2005, a U.N. tribunal indicted Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj for war crimes against the Serbs. On March 8, he tendered his resignation. Haradinaj, an ethnic Albanian, was a former commander who led units of the Kosovo Liberation Army and was appointed Prime Minister after winning an election of 72 votes to three in the Kosovo's Parliament in December 2004. Haradinaj was acquitted on all counts. The Office of the Prosecutor has appealed his acquittal, and as of July 2008, the matter remains unresolved.

NATO war crimes

Sites in Kosovo and southern Central Serbia where NATO aviation used munitions with depleted uranium during 1999 bombing.

The Serbian government and a number of international pressure groups (e.g. Amnesty International) claimed that NATO had carried out war crimes during the conflict, notably the bombing of the Serbian TV headquarters in Belgrade on April 23, 1999, where 16 people were killed and 16 more were injured. Sian Jones of Amnesty stated, "The bombing of the headquarters of Serbian state radio and television was a deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such constitutes a war crime".[139] The ICTY conducted an inquiry into these charges,[140] but did not press charges, citing a lack of mandate.

Military and political consequences

Yugoslav Army M-84 tanks withdrawing from Kosovo
Members of the Kosovo Liberation Army turn over their weapons to U.S. Marines

The Kosovo war had a number of important consequences in terms of the military and political outcome. The status of Kosovo remains unresolved; international negotiations began in 2006 to determine the level of autonomy Kosovo would have, as envisaged under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, but failed. The province is administered by the United Nations despite its unilateral declaration of independence on February 17, 2008.

Seized uniform and equipment of U.S. soldiers 1999 in Kosovo War
US Marines captured Yugoslav soldiers on July 3, 1999 during the ceasefire and the implementation MTA from Kumanovo of 9 June.

The UN-backed talks, led by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari, had begun in February 2006. Whilst progress was made on technical matters, both parties remained diametrically opposed on the question of status itself.[141] In February 2007, Ahtisaari delivered a draft status settlement proposal to leaders in Belgrade and Pristina, the basis for a draft UN Security Council Resolution which proposes "supervised independence" for the province, which is in contrary to UN Security Council Resolution 1244. By July 2007, the draft resolution, which was backed by the United States, United Kingdom, and other European members of the Security Council, had been rewritten four times to try to accommodate Russian concerns that such a resolution would undermine the principle of state sovereignty.[142] Russia, which holds a veto in the Security Council as one of five permanent members, stated that it would not support any resolution which is not acceptable to both Belgrade and Priština.[143]

The campaign exposed significant weaknesses in the U.S. arsenal, which were later addressed for the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns. Apache attack helicopters and AC-130 Spectre gunships were brought up to the front lines but were never actually used after two Apaches crashed during training in the Albanian mountains. Stocks of many precision missiles were run down to critically low levels; had the campaign lasted much longer, NATO would have had to revert back to using "dumb" bombs for lack of anything better. The situation was not any better with the combat aircraft; continuous operations meant skipped maintenance schedules and many aircraft were withdrawn from service awaiting spare parts and service.[144] Also, many of the precision-guided weapons proved unable to cope with Balkan weather, as the clouds blocked the laser guidance beams. This was resolved by retrofitting bombs with Global Positioning System satellite guidance devices that are immune to bad weather. Also, although pilotless surveillance aircraft were extensively used, it often proved the case that attack aircraft could not be brought to the scene quickly enough to hit targets of opportunity. This led to the fitting of missiles to Predator drones in Afghanistan, reducing the "sensor to shooter" time to virtually nothing.

Kosovo also demonstrated that even a high-tech force such as NATO could be thwarted by simple tactics, according to Wesley Clark and other NATO generals who analyzed these tactics a few years after the conflict.[145] The Yugoslav army had long expected to need to resist a much stronger enemy, either Soviet or NATO, during the Cold War and had developed effective tactics of deception and concealment in response. These would have been unlikely to have resisted a full-scale invasion for long, but were probably effective in misleading overflying aircraft and satellites. Among the tactics used were:

  • U.S. stealth aircraft were tracked with radars operating on long wavelengths. If stealth jets got wet or opened their bomb bay doors they would become visible on the radar screens. An F-117 Nighthawk downed with a missile was possibly spotted in this way.[146]
  • Precision-guided missiles were often confused and unable to pinpoint radars, because radar beams were reflected off heavy farm machinery like old tractors and plows.[citation needed]
  • Many low-tech approaches were used to confuse heat-seeking missiles and infrared sensors. Decoys such as small gas furnaces were used to simulate nonexistent positions on mountainsides.
  • Dummy targets were used very extensively. Fake bridges, airfields and decoy planes and tanks were used. Tanks were made using old tires, plastic sheeting and logs, and sand cans and fuel set alight to mimic heat emissions. They fooled NATO pilots into bombing hundreds of such decoys, though General Clark's survey found that in Operation: Allied Force, NATO airmen hit just 25 decoys—an insignificant percentage of the 974 validated hits.[147] However, NATO sources claim that this was due to operating procedures, which oblige troops, in this case aircraft, to engage any and all targets, however unlikely they may be. The targets needed only to look real to be shot at, if detected, of course. NATO claimed that Yugoslav air force had been decimated. "Official data show that the Yugoslav army in Kosovo lost 26 percent of its tanks, 34 percent of its APCs, and 47 percent of the artillery to the air campaign."[147]
  • Old electronic jammers were used to block U.S. bombs equipped with satellite guidance.
  • Hispano-Suiza anti-aircraft cannon from the World War II era was used once effectively against slow-flying drone aircraft.

Military decorations

As a result of the Kosovo War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation created a second NATO medal, the NATO Medal for Kosovo Service, an international military decoration. Shortly thereafter, NATO created the Non-Article 5 Medal for Balkans service to combine both Yugoslavian and Kosovo operations into one service medal.[148]

Due to the involvement of the United States armed forces, a separate U.S. military decoration, known as the Kosovo Campaign Medal, was established by President Bill Clinton in 2000.

Weaponry used on all sides

A variety of weapons were used by the Yugoslav Armed Forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army, who fought about 90 percent of the conflict. NATO used only aircraft and unknown naval units since its arrival on March 24, 1999.

FR Yugoslavia

The following weapons used by FR Yugoslavia are listed below. Most of them were Yugoslav Made weaponry, while almost all of the AA Units and some other weaponry were Soviet Made. The flags pinned next to the weaponry represents Country of Origin.

Kosovo Liberation Army

The following weapons used by the Kosovo Liberation Army are listed below. They mostly consist of Soviet Kalashnikov weaponry, also Chinese Derivatives of the AK-47 and some Western Weaponry. The flags pinned next to the weaponry represents Country of Origin.


The following aircraft used by NATO are listed below. The flags pinned next to the aircraft represents Country of Origin and which of the following countries used it (More flags to be pinned later).


Kosovo, due to its strategical and historical place in the Balkans, has many sources of literature. Some of it is in Albanian due to its predominant ethnic Albanian population and the rest in other languages. There are many books which cover the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict written by international authors. A few books worthy of mention are:

  • The Dollar and the Gun: theme connected, documentary-based short stories, about or inspired by, the Kosovo war, written by novelist and thinker Shlomo Kalo. Published in Serbia, England, Israel, Greece, Italy, India.
  • Elegy for Kosovo: Stories by Ismail Kadare
  • From Kosovo to Kabul and Beyond: Human Rights and International Intervention by David Chandler
  • Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat by Wesley K. Clark
  • Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War by Peter Maass
  • The Tenth Circle of Hell (although about Bosnia parallels the situation in Kosovo) by Rezak Hukanovic
  • The Balkans: Nationalism, War & the Great Powers, 1804-1999 by Misha Glenny
  • Beyond the Mountains of the Damned: The War inside Kosovo By McAllester, Matthew
  • Madness Visible A Memoir of War By Di Giovanni, Janine

and in novels

  • From Bosnia with Love by Javed Mohammed, S: A novel about the Balkans by Slavenka Drakulic.

See also



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