The Kosovo Conflict

Written back in 1999 as a potential chapter for my PhD dissertation (in which it was ultimately not included), this paper looks at the conflict fought between the Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbian security forces between 1996 and 1998. Capturing, at the time, the attention of the world media and triggering hectic diplomatic activity, international outrage about human rights violations, and relief efforts of nongovernmental organisations in Kosovo, international actors did not manage to prevent the conflict from escalating. Thus, from September 1998 onwards, the main players discussed the idea of an interim solution. Apart from its shape, which was hotly debated, diagreements also existed about the feasibility and ultimate aim of such an approach. Both dimensions were closely linked to one another, as only a settlement that is acceptable to both Kosovo Albanians and the Serbian/Yugoslav government could have stood a chance of working even temporarily. Yet, the difficulties that the international efforts to manage the conflict have encountered can only be understood against the background of the variety of factors at work in the conflict which this paper examines.