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  The Balkans: Background Stories

The following are links to major stories and resources on the Balkans from The Washington Post.

Top NATO Generals To Warn Milosevic, Jan. 18, 1999
NATO ambassadors, meeting in Brussels, condemned the killing of 45 ethnic Albanians by Serbian security forces and dispatched the alliance's top two generals to warn Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that the patience of Western governments was running out.

Villagers Slaughtered in Kosovo 'Atrocity', Jan. 17, 1999
At least 45 ethnic Albanians were found slaughtered in the village of Racak in the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo in what appeared to be the bloodiest spree in the year-long conflict between the warring sides.

New Kosovo Clashes Raise Specter of War, Jan. 16, 1999
Serbian forces unleashed a new attack on Kosovo's ethnic Albanian rebels, reportedly killing at least 15 guerrillas in heavy fighting that raised fears among NATO commanders that a full-scale conflict could resume in the province.

Kosovo Accord Eases Crisis, Oct. 14, 1998
U.S. special envoy Richard C. Holbrooke and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic confirmed they had agreed on a plan to end the conflict in Kosovo.

Milosevic Defiant Amid Kosovo Uncertainty, Oct. 8, 1998
The NATO allies struggled to reach agreement on whether to launch punitive airstrikes against military targets in Yugoslavia.

Attack Could Strengthen Yugoslav's Standing, Oct. 8, 1998
Some in Belgrade say military intervention will spark a wave of nationalism and political repression that would strengthen Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Much Misgivings About Airstrikes, Oct. 7, 1998
The United States faced deep misgivings in Congress and among some NATO allies about the use of force as well as warnings from Moscow that military action could disrupt future cooperation between Russia and the Western alliance.

Fear and Suspicion Follow Refugees Home , Oct. 5, 1998
With temperatures dropping and violence here abating under the threat of imminent NATO airstrikes against government targets, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians displaced by six months of fighting in Kosovo also face a hard choice about whether to try to return to their villages.

Yugoslavia Trims Kosovo Presence , Oct. 4, 1998
With Western pressures growing for a coercive NATO military strike, the Yugoslav government has ordered scores of tanks and other heavy armor in the embattled province of Kosovo to return to their garrisons.

U.S., NATO Preparing To Strike Yugoslavia, Oct. 1, 1998
The Clinton administration and the NATO alliance gave strong indications that punishing military action against Yugoslavia is imminent, because of continuing violence by Serbian forces against the Albanian ethnic majority in Kosovo province.

Serbs Leave Sites of Civilian Slayings, Oct. 1, 1998
Some Serbian special police forces pulled out of central Kosovo, giving Western investigators the chance to move in and gather evidence of what appeared to be a systematic pattern of atrocities committed against ethnic Albanian civilians.

Thousands Flee as Serbs Shell Villages in Kosovo, Aug. 25, 1998
Serbian government forces pounded positions held by separatist rebels in Kosovo province, forcing thousands more ethnic Albanians to flee their homes.

Serbs Blame Leader for Risking Kosovo, June 29, 1998
Several local Serbian officials in Kosovo denounce Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic saying he has pursued ruinous policies that could provoke Kosovo's eventual surrender to ethnic Albanians and the exodus of all remaining Serbs.

Lawlessness Pervades Albanian Border Region, June 29, 1998
Albanian police are powerless to prevent brazen daylight crimes by local criminal gangs, much less arms smuggling by the energetic Kosovo Liberation Army.

Albanians, Serbians Clash Along Border, June 18, 1998
A gunfight reportedly broke out between Serbian soldiers posted along the border with Kosovo and Albanian men trying to retrieve the body of a man, described by family members as a shepherd from the nearby town of Tropoje.

Albania Rattles Rusty Saber Over Kosovo, June 11, 1998
The upsurge of violence against ethnic Albanians in neighboring Kosovo has ignited nationalism here and stoked war passions, making it difficult for the country's weak government to advocate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

U.S. Backs Europe On Serbia, June 9, 1998
Facing the threat of a new Balkan war, the Clinton administration signaled its intent to join European nations in imposing fresh sanctions on Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia as NATO accelerated plans for possible military intervention to stem the conflict in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

West Seeks Kosovo Intervention , June 6, 1998
A Yugoslav military drive to force tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians from the southern region of the Serbian province of Kosovo this week has provoked some top Western officials to call for urgent consideration of military intervention to halt the shelling, shootings and expulsions.

Albanians in Border Town Gird for War , June 4, 1998
The hillsides around this north Albanian village crackled with gunfire. Target practice, residents explained. Older men, veterans of the Yugoslav army, were teaching their sons and nephews how to pull the trigger, preparing to send them off to Kosovo to do battle against the Serbs.

Serbs Intensify Attack On Ethnic Albanians , May 30, 1998
Serbian forces have escalated their attacks on ethnic Albanian villages near Kosovo's mountainous border with Albania, burning and shelling homes and sending refugees fleeing, international observers and refugees crossing the frontier said today.

Secret Meetings Killed Karadzic Plan , April 23, 1998
U.S. and allied military forces abruptly shelved plans for an operation late last summer to capture Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb president indicted for war crimes, after Washington discovered that a senior French military officer had held secret meetings with Karadzic, according to senior U.S. and diplomatic officials.

NATO Arrests War Crimes Suspects , April 9, 1998
British special forces arrested two Bosnian Serb war crimes suspects wanted for alleged atrocities at the Omarska concentration camp, and they were transported immediately to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands.

Serbia Sends More Police to Kosovo , March 27, 1998
Serbian forces in the volatile southern province of Kosovo have been beefed up despite repeated international demands that Belgrade withdraw its paramilitary police and defuse a standoff with secessionist rebels according to U.S. officials.

Yugoslav Leader Pressed on Kosovo, March 20, 1998
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic continues to defy Western demands that he end a police crackdown on ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo or face new sanctions that could cause further damage to his country's feeble economy.

Ruling Again Delayed on Control of Brcko, March 13, 1998
An American arbitrator plans to postpone again a final decision about the future of the town of Brcko when a deadline expires Sunday, U.S. officials announced. The dispute is whether control of Brcko should remain in Bosnian Serb hands or go to the Muslim-Croat federation.

Kosovo Leader Takes 'Go-Slow' Approach, March 13, 1998
Reaching an accord on the proper title for Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of the majority ethnic Albanian party here, may be one of the biggest challenges in ending the ethnic conflict in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Kosovo Victims Given A Muslim Reburial, March 12, 1998
The relatives and friends of more than 50 ethnic Albanians who died in attacks by Serbian police last week used pick-axes, shovels and their own hands to dig up the victims' bodies from a hilltop and rebury them according to Muslim custom.

NATO, Albania Discuss Kosovo, March 12, 1998
Faced with the danger of another Balkans war, the NATO allies held emergency talks with Albania and agreed to increase military and civilian aid to prevent bloodshed in Yugoslavia's Kosovo region from spilling across its borders.

U.S. Envoy Warns Serbs, Kosovo Rebels, March 11, 1998
President Clinton's special representative for the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, flew into this tense city today to denounce Serbians' crackdown against ethnic Albanians and to ask Albanian leaders in exercising restraint in responding to the violence.

At Least 46 Albanians Killed in Kosovo Fighting , March 10, 1998
Women and children died along with at least 21 men–six of them elderly–during a three-day assault by government forces on ethnic Albanian residents, according to villagers in Kosovo. The evidence was indisputable that the death toll was much higher than reported by Serbian police and civilian officials.

Nations Agree to Sanction Yugoslavia, March 10, 1998
The United States and five other nations that oversee the troubled former Yugoslavia agreed on an arms embargo and other steps to pressure Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end violent repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Ethnic Brethren Express Concern for Albanians , March 10, 1998
Although thousands of Albanians in both Albania and Macedonia took to the streets to demonstrate emotional support for their ethnic brethren, no one is offering much more to end the suffering. One of the greatest fears is that a Serbian crackdown in Kosovo will unleash a tide of refugees into this country, one of the poorest in Europe.

Eerie Quiet Follows Assault in Kosovo, March 9, 1998
Central towns and villages in the Yugoslavian province remained disturbingly still after three days of gunfire and bombardment by government forces left scores dead and forced thousands to flee their homes.

Albright: Kosovo Conflict May Widen , March 8, 1998
On a swing through Europe, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned that the conflict in Serbia's Kosovo province could spread elsewhere in the Balkans. She exchanged ideas with German and French leaders on how to stop the fighting before it does.

Serbia Attacks Ethnic Albanians, March 5, 1998
Serbian forces launched a new assault against ethnic Albanian rebels, attacking villages outside Pristina, Yugoslavia.

U.S. Troops Capture 'Serb Adolf', Jan. 23, 1998
U.S. troops seized a former concentration camp commander accused of killing at least 16 Muslims and abusing or terrorizing scores of others.

Dutch Troops Capture 2 Croat War Crimes Suspects, Dec. 19, 1997
Dutch troops from the NATO-led peacekeeping force captured two Bosnian Croat war crimes suspects in central Bosnia. They were later handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for trial.

Clinton Will Keep Troops in Bosnia, Dec. 19, 1997
With a blunt admission that he misjudged how long it would take to build lasting peace in Bosnia, President Clinton yesterday announced that he has decided in principle to keep U.S. military forces there past a June 1998 deadline and into the indefinite future.

Clinton Plans Bosnia Visit to See Troops, Dec. 16, 1997
President Clinton has decided to visit Bosnia, both to spread some holiday cheer among U.S. peacekeeping forces there and to underscore what he believes is the need for an extended American presence to finish reconstructing the war-torn country.

In Bosnia, a War Crimes Impasse, Dec. 9, 1997
A gap exists between NATO's stated policy — that its soldiers will arrest suspected war criminals if they run across them — and the reality in which 31,000 NATO troops take pains to avoid men sought by The Hague.

Bosnian Serb Hard-Liners Lose Ground, Dec. 8, 1997
Bosnian Serb hard-liners loyal to war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic lost ground to supporters of the Western-backed Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic in last month's parliamentary elections, but the Karadzic camp may still be able to form a government and retain control of the Serb-held half of Bosnia.

Bosnia Not Sold on Multiethnic State, Dec. 7, 1997
Since the warring armies were separated by NATO peacekeepers two years ago, the peace process has produced only modest gains toward inter-ethnic reconciliation.

Cohen Plays Skeptic Role on Bosnia, Nov. 30, 1997
After months of resistance, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen is moving toward reluctantly accepting the view of colleagues in the Clinton administration that U.S. troops must remain in Bosnia past a June deadline, his aides say.

Bosnian Serb Parliamentary Vote Begins, Nov. 23, 1997
Under raw, rainy skies, hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Serbs voted in parliamentary elections that the West hopes will loosen the stranglehold on power exercised by unyielding nationalists.

NATO Seizes Serb Faction's Police Station, Nov. 11, 1997
NATO-led peacekeeping troops seized a Bosnian Serb special police station in a move intended to punish hard-line Serb nationalists on the eve of important local elections.

White House Seeking Consensus on Size of Cuts in Bosnia Force, Nov. 9, 1997
Although they have generally agreed on the need to keep U.S. troops in Bosnia past next year's scheduled withdrawal date, top administration officials still lack consensus on how many of the 8,500-member U.S. contingent can be cut without jeopardizing the international mission.

Albright Says Troops Need to Stay in Bosnia, Nov. 6, 1997
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright became the first top-level Clinton administration official to state publicly that a U.S. military presence will be needed in Bosnia beyond the June deadline set earlier for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

U.N. Prosecutor Sees Breakthrough in Arrest of Serb War Crimes Suspect, July 1, 1997
The arrest of a Croatian Serb ex-mayor wanted in the 1991 killing of 260 civilians in eastern Croatia marked a breakthrough in the frustrated effort by U.N. investigators in apprehending war crimes suspects.

The Case Against the Serb War Criminals, Sept. 8, 1996
Author David Rieff makes a case against the men indicted as Serb war criminals.

Balkan Leaders OK Bosnia Pact, Nov. 22, 1995
The presidents of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia initialed a U.S.-sponsored peace settlement for Bosnia, pledging to bring to an end the fratricidal 3½-year war that killed nearly a quarter-million people.

NATO Continues Extensive Bombing, Aug. 31, 1995
NATO warplanes, dodging antiaircraft gunfire and missiles, continued a massive assault on Serb military positions around Bosnia in an effort to force the Bosnian Serb leadership to cease attacks on Sarajevo.

Shelling of Sarajevo Market Kills 66; More Than 200 Wounded, Feb. 6, 1994
A mortar shell landed in a crowded open-air market in Sarajevo, killing at least 66 people and wounding more than 200 in the bloodiest single attack on Sarajevo's civilians since the war began.

Yugoslavia's Multiethnic Makeup Could Lead to Its Unraveling, Dec. 17, 1989
By 1989, it was apparent that ethnic tensions threatened to destroy Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia to Get Aid From Western Nations, Sept. 18, 1971
The West gave millions in aid to ensure stability in Yugoslavia.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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