Kosovo: Division in Europe

KosovoKosovo, which emerged from the Kosovo War of 1998 to 1999 and declared it’s independence in 2008, is an issue that still divides the nations of Europe.

The former Yugoslavia saw both Slovenia and Croatia secede in successful wars of independence, and both are internationally recognized as independent countries. However, Kosovo is still disputed despite it’s declaration. Serbia, for example, regards Kosovo as a part of it’s own territory and has thus refused to acknowledge Kosovo as independent. In Kosovo, pogroms were carried out against Serbs living in the region which resulted in destroyed homes and Serbian Orthodox churches.

The Russian Federation, a major superpower with considerable ties to the region, has also refused to accept Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Russia and Serbia are both Slavic nations, and it’s Russia’s support of Serbia that helped cause World War I. Russian peacekeepers also participated in KFOR, or Kosovo Force operated by NATO to help maintain peace in the region, although non-NATO countries contribute personnel as well.

One of the reasons for such division is NATO’s alliance during the Kosovo War with the Kosovo Liberation Army, an organization that had committed numerous crimes against Serbs, Albanians and their property. It doesn’t help that the KLA was involved in the drug trade which helped support their efforts during the war, as well as Kosovo’s current reputation for supposed organ theft and an unusually high amount of human trafficking.

However, the United States of America and other members of NATO support Kosovo’s independence, owing much of the peace in the region to the success of KFOR and the NATO air campaign over the former Yugoslavia. This is leading to a divide between most of Western Europe (Excluding Spain) and many countries in Eastern Europe, such as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Even though the issue is still debated and seems uncompromisable between the superpowers on each side, it only sparks conflict in the immediate region and fortunately nowhere near the scale it was during the late 90’s. Hopefully an agreement can be reached which will satisfy the nations involved.

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