“Kosovo is a republic — an independent, democratic and sovereign state,” Kosovo’s parliament speaker Jakup Krasniqi declared on February 17, 2008.
The new flag of Independent Kosovo is a dark blue field with a map of Kosovo in yellow centered on the field with an arc of six five-pointed white stars in an arc above the map each star representing one ethnic group within Kosovo.
“Kosovo had formally remained a part of Serbia even though it has been administered by the U.N. and NATO since 1999, when NATO airstrikes ended former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic’s crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.
Kosovo is still protected by 16,000 NATO-led peacekeepers, and the alliance boosted its patrols over the weekend in hopes of discouraging violence.” (from news reports)
Serbia and Russia strongly denounced the declaration of independence and will insist on restoring territorial integrity and will do so formally with a meeting with the United Nations Security Council.
The area known as Kosovo today began as Dardania as early as the 4th century BC. The Romans conquered Dardania in 28 BC and absorbed it into one of its provinces on the Macedonian border. It later became part of the Byzantine Empire, then the Bulgarian Empire, then returned to the Byzantines until the Serbs took control in the 12th century. Then the history gets complicated from there.
It is the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 that is still being fought in this area of the world. This is the time when the Serbs and the Christians were beaten by the Ottoman Turks who eventually controlled Kosovo until the Serbs took control to preserve “old Serbia” in the 1870s. The claims of a Greater Serbia resulted in continual conflict through the 1990s even after the breakup of Yugoslavia.
The area known as Kosovo today is still technically part of Serbia until it is recognized by an outside group of nations such as the European Union or the United States, which is expected soon.
This may just be the start of a new round of ethnic and territorial warfare that has been consistent with this part of the world for more than 2000 years.