Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know


On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence, becoming the seventh state to emerge from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. A tiny country of just two million people, 90% of whom are ethnic Albanians, Kosovo is central-geographically, historically, and politically-to the future of the Western Balkans and, in turn, its potential future within the European Union. But the fate of both Kosovo, condemned by Serbian leaders as a "fake state" and the region as a whole, remains uncertain.

In Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, Tim Judah provides a straight-forward guide to the complicated place that is Kosovo. Judah, who has spent years covering the region, offers succinct, penetrating answers to a wide range of questions: Why is Kosovo important? Who are the Albanians? Who are the Serbs? Why is Kosovo so important to Serbs? What role does Kosovo play in the region and in the world? Judah reveals how things stand now and presents the history and geopolitical dynamics that have led to it. The most important of these is the question of the right to self-determination, invoked by the Kosovo Albanians, as opposed to right of territorial integrity invoked by the Serbs. For many Serbs, Kosovo's declaration of independence and subsequent recognition has been traumatic, a savage blow to national pride. Albanians, on the other hand, believe their independence rights an historical wrong: the Serbian conquest (Serbs say "liberation") of Kosovo in 1912.

For anyone wishing to understand both the history and possible future of Kosovo at this pivotal moment in its history, this book offers a wealth of insight and information in a uniquely accessible format.


Why Kosovo? If location is all when it comes to property then geography counts when it comes to people and countries. Kosovo is a tiny place with a tiny population, yet it was the reason that NATO fought its first war. Recently it has been a major subject of international discord, especially between European and American leaders on the one side and a resurgent Russia on the other. If Kosovo were in central Asia, or Africa, or in the Caucasus, this would not have been the case. Kosovo counts because it is in the middle of Europe. On February 17, 2008, it declared independence, becoming the world’s newest and most controversial of states.

Look at the map. Kosovo and the rest of the Western Balkans are countries that are now surrounded by the territory of two of the most important and powerful organizations on the planet. On every side the region is enveloped by the European Union and NATO. So Kosovo and its neighborhood are not some place out there in Europe’s backyard, but rather they constitute its inner courtyard. Nobody wants trouble here. They want peace and quiet, and good and reliable neighbors, not noisy, destitute troublemakers.

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