Kosovo’s Geography and Conflict
Kosovo region is located in the middle of hostile and friendly countries. Kosovo borders Serbia in the north and northeast, Montenegro in the northwest, Albania in the west and Macedonian in the south. It covers a total of 10,887 squared kilometers and its population is around two million, 90 percent of which are ethnic Albanian.
The hostility in Kosovo is mainly due to the surroundings of their regions and the many ethnic backgrounds. In past decades, Yugoslavia was the main region in which geography played a major role for the conflict in Kosovo. Yugoslavia lies on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. 63 percent of Yugoslavia are Serbs and 14 percent are Albanians. This dramatic difference between different ethnic identities and tight regions causes major complications and conflict in Kosovo. Furthermore, the past histories of these regions are another indicator on how geography plays a vital role in the Kosovo conflict.
In 1945 Socialist Yugoslavia was declared. The communists were able to deal with national aspirations by creating a federation of six nominally equal republics- Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonian, In Serbia the two provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina were given autonomous status.
By 1992 the Yugoslavian Federation was falling apart. Nationalism had once
again replaced communism as the dominant force in the Balkans. Slovenia and then Croatia were the first to break away, but only at the cost of renewed conflict with Serbia. The war in Croatia led to hundreds of thousands of refugees in the 1940’s. By 1992, a further conflict had broken out in Bosnia, which had also declared independence. Since the revocation of Kosovo’s self-rule the Serbian authorities closed schools in the Albanian language, massively dismissed Albanians from state-owned enterprises, and suspended Kosovo’s legal parliament and government. The oppression of the Albanian population in Kosovo by the Serbian Government, and flagrant violations of basic rights of Albanians, occurred frequently.
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Initially the Albanians responded to the repression with peaceful and passive resistance. In 1992, the Albanians of Kosovo held free elections in which they chose their leadership expressed their determination for the independence of Kosovo in the 1991 referendum, and in the same year the Kosovo parliament declared the independence of Kosovo. They formed a parallel government, found means of continuing Albanian-language education outside of occupied premises and providing health care.
In 1995, American pressure to end the war eventually led to the Dayton Agreement. The Dayton Agreement created two self-governing entities within Bosnia- the Bosnia Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croatia Federation. The settlement’s aims were to bring about the reintegration of Bosnia and to protect the human rights. The Muslim-Croatia and Serb entities have their own governments, parliaments and armies. Croatia, meanwhile, took back most of the territory earlier captured by the Serbs, which also
resulted in the mass exodus of around 200,000 Serbs from Croatia.
In January 1998, after almost a decade of nonviolent opposition to Serbian repression in Kosovo, a group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) announced its intention to unify Kosovo with the country of Albania. The Kosovo’s Liberation Army, a guerilla movement that emerged after it became apparent that peaceful approach was ineffective in face of the brutal regime of Milosevic, was supported by the majority ethnic Albanians and who came out in open rebellion against Serbian rule. In response, Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic sent Serbian police to Kosovo. As they had during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995), Serb forces engaged in the practice of ethnic cleansing in an effort to rid Serbian-held areas of Kosovo of all non-Serbs.
Bosnia The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina began in 1992. It has left at least a quarter of a million people dead or missing and made refugees of more than half the nation's population. A Treaty was signed on December 14, 1995 in Paris to formally end Bosnian War. It was signed by the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia as well as other international heads of state. Bosnian Serb nationalists were ...
Many ethnic backgrounds are in the Balkans, which include Serbs, Croatians, Muslims, Slovenes, Albanians, Hungarians, Montenegrins and Macedonians. Each region that is surrounded or is near Kosovo has some type of tension with each other. For example, Macedonian, who is located south of Kosovo, has tensions with the Serbs because of their escalating increase in Albanians.
The Kosovo Liberation Army’s continued fight for freedom from Serbia could also spill over into surrounding nations. An all out assault on ethnic Albanians by Serbia could ignite a major regional war, since several surrounding nations are heavily populated with ethnic Albanians sympathetic to Kosovo’s struggle. Therefore, tensions and conflicts in the Balkans are all part of the underling area in which contains many regions with many ethnic backgrounds.
In conclusion, geography is a major factor in the Kosovo conflict. Many of these regions can play a vital role for the outcome of the future.