Balkans: September 16, 2004


A leaked UN report admits that the situation in Kosovo is bad and getting worse. The 1999 NATO effort to prevent Serbs from driving all Albanians out of Kosovo, has resulted in a situation where only UN sponsored peacekeepers are preventing the Albanians from driving the remaining 100,000 Serbs from Kosovo. The UN originally opposed the NATO attack. Only about 5,800 of the 200,000 Serbs (and several thousand Roma, Ashkaeli, Bosniaks, Gorani and Egyptians) have returned to Kosovo. But nearly all 850,000 of the Albanians that fled, have come back, to live with nearly a million Albanians that never left. The Albanians want an independent Kosovo, and the expulsion of all non-Albanians. Efforts by the UN and European Union to change the minds of the Kosovo Albanians have been unsuccessful. Moreover, armed Kosovo Albanians still raid into  the Presevo Valley of southern Serbia, where about 60 percent of the population of 100,000 is Albanian. Albanians want the Presevo Valley to become part of Kosovo. Serbia wants control of Kosovo again, and, technically, Kosovo is still a part of Serbia. The political uncertainty in Kosovo has scared off business investment, producing a 50 percent unemployment rate, and plenty of idle young men willing to pick up a gun and adopt a violent and criminal lifestyle. The report offered no hope of any solution in the near future, despite five years of effort, the presence of 20,000 peacekeepers and billions of dollars in economic aid. 




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