The Pentagon has announced today that a unit of about 500 US ground troops, National Guardsmen, are to be deployed to the Kosovo region to join a NATO “peacekeeping” operation (KFOR) that has proven the longest in the alliance’s history.
The operation is the remnant of the 1999 NATO attack on Serbia, which ended with NATO announcing that Kosovo, which had been part of Serbia since the Middle Ages, would secede from Serbia. The ethnic Albanian population approved of this. The Serbian population in North Kosovo continues to oppose it.
That’s because the Kosovar Albanians, who are the overwhelming majority of the south, dominate the NATO-backed government,and they’ve gone out of their way to limit the northerners’ ability to trade across the Serbian border. Stopping this trade has often proved the job of NATO forces when the locals resist.
18 years in, Kosovo still lacks recognition from a number of states, particularly Serbia, and the intense ethnic division between Albanians and Serbs remains as big a problem as ever. NATO’s effort has been to just keep throwing more troops at the situation, and hope that somewhere along the line the situation will resolve itself and victory can be claimed.