September 3, 2005
The recent shootings of four Serbs in Kosovo is part of increased agitation in Kosovo over independence. NATO agreed to recognize Serbian ownership of Kosovo, as part of the deal that got Serbian troops out of Kosovo. But the Albanians, who comprise 90 percent of the population, want to be free of Serbia. The 18,000 NATO peacekeepers spend most of their time protecting the 80,000 Serbs from the Albanian majority. Between March and June 2004, violence in Kosovo left 19 dead, over 900 were injured and some 4,000 homeless. NATO fears this level of violence will return. There is very high unemployment in Kosovo (over 30 percent), and much criminal activity. The gangsters use the Albanian Kosovars desire for independence as a cover for some of their violence.