Kosovo for “Europe”: Serbia between “Holy Land” and Stepmother

The assassination of Kosovo’s Serb leader Oliver Ivanović on January 16th, 2018 in the northern (the Serb) part of the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica once again put on the agenda both the issue of contested land of Kosovo and Serbia’s policy toward the West, in particular, the EU.

The Western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s government is quite long time under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi-state for the exchange to join the EU but not before 2025. It is only a question of time that a Western colony of Serbia has to finally declare its position towards Kosovo’s independence. All pro-Western bots and trolls in Serbia, already publicly announced their official position in regard to this question: Serbia’s Government has to finally inform the Serbian nation that Kosovo is not anymore an integral part of Serbia and therefore the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Belgrade is only way towards a “prosperous” Euro future of the country that is within the EU (and the NATO’s pact as well). The fundamental Western quisling in Belgrade – president of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić (of the Bosnian origin from a Nazi-Croat district of Bugojno) recently clearly informed the nation not to be surprised if Serbia has to recognize the independence of Kosovo in order to join “Europe” (why Switzerland, Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway or Iceland are not in “Europe” he did not explain).

In the following paragraphs, the most important features of the “Kosovo Question” are going to be presented for the better understanding of the present political situation in which the Serb nation is questioned by the Western “democracies” upon both its own national identity and national pride.

Prelude

The southeastern province of the Republic of Serbia – under the administrative title of Kosovo-Metochia (in the English only Kosovo), was at the very end of the 20th century in the center of international relations and global politics too due to the NATO’s 78 days of the “humanitarian” military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the FRY composed by Serbia and Montenegro) in 1999 (March 24th–June 10th). As it was not approved and verified by the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations, the US-led operation “Merciful Angel” opened among the academicians a fundamental question of the purpose and nature of the “humanitarian” interventions in the world like it was previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, Rwanda in 1994 or Somalia in 1991−1995. More precisely, it provoked dilemmas of the misusing ethical, legal and political aspects of armed “humanitarian” interventions as the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) for the very reason that it became finally obvious in 2008 that the NATO’s “humanitarian” military intervention in 1999 was primarily aimed to lay the foundation for Kosovo’s independence and its separation from Serbia with transformation of the province into the US−EU’s political-economic colony, what Kosovo, in fact, today is [see more in Hannes Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009].

Kosovo as contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians

The province of Kosovo-Metochia (Kosova in the Albanian) is a landlocked territory in Central Balkans having borders with Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM), Central Serbia and Montenegro. It is almost of the same size as Montenegro but having more than four times Montenegro’s population [Sabrina P. Ramet (ed.), Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 359]. The province, as historically contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians, did not, does not and will not have an equal significance for these two nations. For the Albanians, Kosovo was all the time just a provincial land populated by them without any cultural or historical importance except for the single historical event that the first Albanian nationalistic political league was proclaimed in the town of Prizren in Metochia (West Kosovo) in 1878 and existed only till 1881. However, both Kosovo as a province and the town of Prizren were chosen to host the First (pan-Albanian) Prizren League only for the very propaganda reason – to emphasize allegedly predominantly the “Albanian” character of both Kosovo and Prizren regardless to the very fact that at that time the Serbs were a majority of population either in Kosovo or in Prizren. Kosovo was never part of Albania and the Albanians from Albania had no important cultural, political or economic links with Kosovo’s Albanians regardless the fact that the overwhelming majority of Kosovo’s Albanians originally came from North Albania after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690.

However, quite contrary to the Albanian case, Kosovo-Metochia is the focal point of the Serbian nationhood, statehood, traditions, customs, history, culture, church and above all of the ethnonational identity. It was exactly Kosovo-Metochia to be the central administrative-cultural part of medieval Serbia with the capital in Prizren. The administrative centre of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the medieval and later on the Ottoman-time was also in Kosovo-Metochia in the town of Peć (Ipek in the Turkish; Pejë in the Albanian). Before Muslim Kosovo’s Albanians started to demolish the Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries from June 1999 onward, there were around 1.500 Serbian Christian shrines in this province. Kosovo-Metochia is even today called by the Serbs as the “Serbian Holy Land” while the town of Prizren is known for the Serbs as the “Serbian Jerusalem” and the “Imperial Town” (Tsarigrad) in which there was an imperial court of the Emperor Stefan Dušan of Serbia (1346−1355) [see more in Миладин Стевановић, Душаново царство, Београд: Књига-комерц, 2001]. The Serbs, differently to the Albanians, have a plenty of national folk songs and legends about Kosovo-Metochia, especially in regard to the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in which they lost state independence to the Ottoman Turks. For the Serbs, Kosovo-Metochia is the “cradle of the Serbs” and real “Serbia proper” while for the Albanians, Kosovo is just a peripheral province of their nationhood and culture.

Prizren – A Serbian Orthodox Church (built in 1306) of Holy Virgin of Ljevish. However, the Albanian propaganda is presenting this church as all other (Serbian) Christian Orthodox churches in Kosovo-Metochia either as the Byzantine or even as the Albanian. In March 2004 the church was set on fire and seriously damaged by local (Muslim) Albanians. The church is proclaimed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006

Nevertheless, there is nothing similar in the Albanian case in regard to Kosovo. For instance, there is no single Albanian church or monastery in this province from the medieval time or any important monument as the witness of the Albanian ethnic presence in the province before the time of the administration by the Ottoman Sultanate. Even the Muslim mosques from the Ottoman time (1455−1912) claimed by the Albanians to belong to the Albanian national heritage, were, in fact, built by the Ottoman authorities but not by the ethnic Albanians. The Albanian national folk songs are not mentioning the medieval Kosovo that is one of the crucial evidence that they simply have nothing in common with the pre-Ottoman Kosovo. All Kosovo’s place-names (toponyms) are of the Slavic (the Serb) origin but not of the Albanian. The Albanians during the last 50 years are just renaming or adapting the original place-names according to their vocabulary what is making a wrong impression that the province is authentically the Albanian. We have not right to forget the very fact that the word Kosovo is of the Slavic (the Serb) origin meaning a kind of eagle (kos) while the same word means simply nothing in the Albanian language. Finally, in the Serbian tradition, Kosovo-Metochia was always a part of the “Old Serbia” while in the Albanian tradition Kosovo was never called as any kind of Albania.

The province became contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians when the later started to migrate from North Albania to Kosovo-Metochia after 1690 with getting a privileged status as the Muslims by the Ottoman authorities. A Muslim Albanian terror against the Christian Serbs at the Ottoman time resulted in the Albanisation of the province to such extent that the ethnic structure of Kosovo-Metochia became drastically changed in the 20th century. A very high Muslim Albanian birthrate played an important role in the process of Kosovo’s Albanisation too. Therefore, after the WWII the ethnic breakdown of the Albanians in the province was around 67 percent. The new and primarily anti-Serb communist authorities of socialist Yugoslavia legally forbade to some 100.000 WWII Serb refugees from Kosovo-Metochia to return to their homes back after the collapse of the Greater Albania in 1945 of which Kosovo was an integral part. A Croat-Slovenian communist dictator of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito (1892−1980), granted to the province of Kosovo-Metochia a considerable political autonomous status in 1974 with a separate government, Provincial Assembly, president, Academy of Sciences, security forces, independent University of Prishtina and even military defense system for the fundamental political reason to prepare Kosovo’s independence after the death of his Titoslavia. Therefore, Kosovo-Metochia in socialist Yugoslavia was just formally part of Serbia as the province was from a political-administrative point of view an independent as all Yugoslav republics. A fully Albanian-governed Kosovo from 1974 to 1989 resulted in both destruction of the Christian (the Serb) cultural monuments and continuation of mass expulsion of the ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins from the province to such extent that according to some estimations there were around 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins expelled from the province after the WWII up to the abolition of political autonomy of the province (in fact, independence) by Serbia’s authority in 1989 with the legal and legitimate verification by the provincial assembly of Kosovo-Metochia and the reintegration of Kosovo-Metochia into Serbia. At the same time, there were around 300.000 Albanians who illegally came to live in Kosovo-Metochia from Albania after 1945. Consequently, according to the official census, in 1991 there was only 10 percent of the Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo-Metochia, 87 percent of the Albanians and 3 percent of others. In one word, during one century of time, the Serbian population of Kosovo-Metochia from 65−70 percent fell down to 10 percent (according to the first Ottoman census in 1455, there was only 2 percent of the Albanians in Kosovo-Metochia) [see more in Р. Самарџић et al, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Друштво за чување споменика и неговање традиција ослободилачких ратова Србије до 1918. године у Београду−Српска књижевна задруга, 1989; Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007].

Fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession

The revocation of Kosovo’s political autonomy in 1989 by Serbia’s central government in Belgrade was aimed primarily to stop further ethnic Albanian terror against the Serbs and Montenegrins and to prevent secession of the province from Serbia with the final aim to restore the WWII Greater Albania and legalize the Albanian ethnic cleansing of all non-Albanian population what practically happened in Kosovo after mid-June 1999 when the NATO’s troops occupied the province and brought to the power a classical terrorist political-military organization – Kosovo’s Liberation Army (the KLA). Nevertheless, the Western mainstream media, as well as academia, presented Serbia’s fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession after 1989 as Belgrade policy of discrimination against the Albanian population which became deprived of political and economic rights and opportunities [typical examples of such approach are, for instance, propaganda and shameful books based on the falsification of historical facts and a partisan interpretation of political events Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: HarperPerennial, 1999; and Sabrina P. Ramet (ed.), Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010]. The fact was that such “discrimination” was primarily a result of the Albanian policy of boycotting Serbia’s state institutions and even job opportunities offered to them in order to present their living conditions in Kosovo as the governmental-sponsored minority rights oppression.

The Serbian Orthodox Church Samodrezha (second half of the 14th century) demolished by the (Muslim) Albanian mob in March 2004

In the Western mainstream mass media and even in academic writings, Dr Ibrahim Rugova, a political leader of Kosovo’s Albanians in the 1990s, was described as a person who led a non-violent resistance movement against Milošević’s policy of ethnic discrimination of Kosovo’s Albanians. I. Rugova was even called as a “Balkan Gandhi”. In the 1990s there were established in Kosovo-Metochia the Albanian parallel and illegal social, educational and political structures and institutions as a state within the state. The Albanians under the leadership of Rugova even three times proclaimed the independence of Kosovo. However, these proclamations of independence were at that time totally ignored by the West and the rest of the world. Therefore, Rugova-led Kosovo’s Albanian national-political movement failed to promote and advance Kosovo’s Albanian struggle for secession from Serbia and independence of the province with the final political task to incorporate it into a Greater Albania. I. Rugova himself, coming from the Muslim Albanian Kosovo’s clan that originally migrated to Kosovo from Albania, was active in political writings on the “Kosovo Question” as a way to present the Albanian viewpoint on the problem to the Western audience and, therefore, as a former French student, he published his crucial political writing in the French language in 1994.

One of the crucial questions in regard to the Kosovo problem in the 1990s is why the Western “democracies” did not recognize self-proclaimed Kosovo’s independence? The fact was that the “Kosovo Question” was absolutely ignored by the US-designed Dayton Accords of 1995 which were dealing only with the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A part of the answer is probably laying in the fact that Rugova-led Albanian secession movement was, in essence, illegal and even terrorist. It is known that Rugova himself was a sponsor of a terrorist party’s militia which was responsible for violent actions against Serbia’s authorities and non-Albanian ethnic groups in Kosovo. For instance, in July 1988, from the graves of the village of Grace’s graveyard (between Priština and Vučitrn) were excavated and taken to pieces the bodies of two Serbian babies of the Petrović’s family. Nevertheless, as a response to Rugova’s unsuccessful independence policy, it was established the notorious KLA which by 1997 openly advocated a full-scale of terror against everything that was the Serbian in Kosovo.

The KLA had two main open political aims:

  • To get an independence for Kosovo from Serbia with a possibility to include the province into a Greater Albania.
  • To ethnically clean the province from all non-Albanians especially from the Serbs and Montenegrins.

However, the hidden task of the KLA was to wage an Islamic Holy War (the Jihad) against the Christianity in Kosovo by committing the Islamic terror similarly to the case of the present-day Islamic State (the ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East. Surely, the KLA was and is a part of the policy of radicalization of the Islam at the Balkans after 1991 following the pattern of the governmental (Islamic) Party of Democratic Action (Stranka demokratske akcije – the SDA) in Bosnia-Herzegovina presided by Alija Izetbegović who was a member of Islamic SS Handžar Division in the WWII and the author of a radical Islamic Declaration in 1970.

That the KLA was established as a terrorist organization is even confirmed by the Western scholars and the US administration too. About the focal point of Kosovo’s War in 1998−1999 we can read in the following sentence:

Aware that it lacked popular support, and was weak compared to the Serbian authorities, the KLA deliberately provoked Serbian police and Interior Ministry attacks on Albanian civilians, with the aim of garnering international support, specifically military intervention” [T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79].

Epilogue

It was true that the KLA realized very well that the more Albanian civilians were killed as a matter of the KLA’s “hit-and-run” guerrilla warfare strategy, the Western (the NATO’s) military intervention against the FRY was becoming a reality. In other words, the KLA with his commander-in-chief Hashim Thaci (today president of Kosovo and still on the Interpol list of the wanted criminals) were quite aware that any armed action against Serbia’s authorities and the Serbian civilians would bring retaliation against the Kosovo Albanian civilians as the KLA was using them in fact as a “human shield”. That was, in fact, the price which the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo had to pay for their “independence” under the KLA’s governance after the war. That was the same strategy used by Croatia’s government and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslim authorities in the process of divorce from Yugoslavia in the 1990s [see more in Jelena Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize 1990−2000, 1−2, Beograd: ИГАМ, 2003].

However, as the violence in Kosovo escalated in 1998 the EU’s authorities and the US’s government began to support diplomatically the Albanian course – a policy which brought Serbia’s government and the leadership of the KLA to the ceasefire and withdrawal of certain Serbian police detachments and the Yugoslav military troops from Kosovo followed by the deployment of the “international” (the Western) monitors (the Kosovo Verification Mission, the KVM) under the formal authority of the OSCE. However, it was, in fact, informal deployment of the NATO’s troops in Kosovo. The KVM was authorized by the UN’s Security Council Resolution 1199 on September 23rd, 1998. That was the beginning of a real territorial-administrative secession of Kosovo-Metochia from Serbia sponsored by the West for the only and very reason that Serbia did not want to join the NATO and to sell her economic infrastructure to the Western companies according to the “transition” pattern of the Central and South-East European countries after the Cold War. The punishment came in the face of the Western-sponsored KLA.

Today, the Western gangsters of the NATO, the EU and the USA need from Serbia only a formal verification of the results of their dirty policy in Kosovo-Metochia – an official recognition of the “independence” of the Republic of Kosovo. Nevertheless, behind Kosovo’s secession from Serbia are both economic and geopolitical goals of primarily American Balkan policy. Firstly, the Americans build up in Kosovo one of their biggest military camps all over the world – Bondsteel. Secondly, the greatest part of Kosovo’s natural resources and economic infrastructure are under direct control and exploitation by the US companies including and a private company of General Wesley Clark – the NATO’s chief commander who bombed Serbia and Montenegro in 1999. Finally, why the West occupied Kosovo-Metochia in June 1999 and put it under direct their control one can understood from the very fact that this province has 45 percent of the lignite reserves in Europe [Sabrina P. Ramet (ed.), Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 359].

Prof. Dr Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Mykolas Romeris University

Institute of Political Sciences

Vilnius, Lithuania

sotirovic@global-politics.eu


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Gračanica – the Serbian Orthodox church near Priština (13th century)