Balkans: March 21, 2005


On March 15 Kosovo's President Ibrahim Rugova. survived what appears to be an assassination attempt. The attack occurred in Pristina as Rugova's car passed a trash bin and the bin exploded. KFOR peacekeepers then rushed to the scene. Rugova was not hurt. Kosovo and UN police were looking for the perpetrators, but as of March 19 no arrests had been made. The Albanian National Army (ANA) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The ANA, which believes in an Albania that includes Kosovo, plus parts of Greece, Serbia and Macedonia,  is considered a terrorist organization, 

March 17 marked one year since the terrible anti-Kosovar Serb riots that left 22 dead and over 500 injured. Subsequent investigations suggested the riots were planned. Riots occurred Mitrovitsa, Ferizac, Peya, Lipyan, Pristina, Prizyen, Giylan, Fuse Kosovo, Caglavitsa and several other villages. On March 14 Rugova's bitter rival, former KLA commander and former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj pled "not guilty" to war crimes charges in an international court in The Hague. The charges against Haradinaj are the basics of "ethnic cleansing" -- rape, murder, and intimidation of Kosovar Serbs so that they fled their homes. The Hague may well put Haradinaj behind bars. That will be a blow to the Kosovar Albanian hardliners, and a deserved blow. However, the big issue remains Kosovo's independence. Serbs still claims the province, Albanian Kosovars almost unanimously want a separate state. Kosovo may well continue to be a UN protectorate for several more years.




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