Skip to main content Accessibility help

From Pararepublic to Parastate: International Leverage in Shaping Kosovo’s Secession

  • Mladen Mrdalj (a1)


The Kosovo Albanian political movement in the 1990s contained three fluctuating factions with distinct strategies: boycotting Serbian institutions, participating in elections, and resorting to an armed insurgency. This article shows how expectations of external assistance, primarily from the Clinton administration, influenced which strategy was to dominate the movement at certain periods. It also shows how the movement successfully conflated the issues of human rights and the ethnonationalist secessionist agenda, even though the secessionist agenda predated the claims of human rights violations following the rise of Slobodan Milošević to power in Serbia. In the end, the article discusses how the Clinton administration’s failure in the Rambouillet peace talks, the diplomatic result of the NATO attack on Serbia, and the fall of Slobodan Milošević set the foundations for freezing the conflict and turning Kosovo into a parastate.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email:


Hide All
Besim, Abazi. 1996a. “Crveno i crno.”
Besim, Abazi. 1996b. “15. godina od albanskih demonstracija.”
ADST (The As sociation for Diplomatic Studies & Training). 2012. Bosnia – Herzegovina: Country Reader. (Accessed May 14, 2018.)
Ahrens, Geert-Hinrich. 2007. Diplomacy on the Edge: Containment of Ethnic Conflict and the Minorities Working Group of the Conferences on Yugoslavia. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Albright, Madelaine. 2013. Madam Secretary. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
AP. 2015. “France: Kosovo: Serb President Milutinovic at Loggerheads With NATO.” (Accessed June 24, 2018.)
Barani, Jon. 1994. “Dva problematicna “K”.” (Accessed May 23, 2018.)
Bataković, Dušan. 2012. Serbia’s Kosovo Drama: A Historical Perspective. Belgrade: Čigoja.
Bataković, Dušan. 2017. “The Case of Kosovo: Separation Vs. Integration Legacy, Identity, Nationalism.” Polska akademia umiejętności: Studia środkowoeuropejskie i bałkanistyczne 24: 105123.
BBC. 2001. “The Fall of Milošević – Defiance.” (Accessed June 26, 2018.)
Bellamy, Alex. 2002. Kosovo and International Society. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Bieber, Florian. 2003. “Serbia After the Kosovo War: The Defeat of Nationalism and the Change of Regime.” In Understanding the War in Kosovo, edited by Bieber, Florian and Daskalovski, Židas, 321339. London: Frank Cass Publishers.
Binder, David. 1982. “Yugoslavs Seek to Quell Strife in Region of Ethnic Albanians.” The New York Times, November 9.
Bird, Chris. 1999. “Racak Report Finds Serbs Guilty.” The Guardian, March 17.
Bouckaert, Peter. 2004. “Failure to Protect: Anti-Minority Violence in Kosovo, March 2004.” (Accessed November 5, 2018.)
Brubaker, Rogers, and David D., Laitin. 1998. “Ethnic and Nationalist Violence.” Annual Review of Sociology 24: 423452.
Bugajski, Janusz. 1995. Ethnic Politics in Eastern Europe: A Guide to Nationality Policies, Organizations and Parties. Washington, DC: The Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Bugajski, Janusz. 2015. Ethnic Politics in Eastern Europe: A Guide to Nationality Policies, Organizations, and Parties. New York: Routledge.
Caplan, Richard. 2005. Europe and the Recognition of New States in Yugoslavia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Caplan, Richard. 2009. Europe and the Recognition of New States in Yugoslavia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Caspersen, Nina. 2011. “Democracy, Nationalism and (Lack of) Sovereignty: the Complex Dynamics of Democratisation in Unrecognised States.” Nations and Nationalism 17 (2): 337356.
Clark, Howard. 2000. Civil Resistance in Kosovo. London: Pluto Press.
CNN. 1998. “Contact Group: Serbia Must End Crackdown in Kosovo.” (Accessed June 12, 2018.)
Daalder, Ivo, and O’Hanlon, Michael. 2000. Winning Ugly: NATO’s War to Save Kosovo. Washington, DC: Brookings.
Daskalovski, Židas. 2003. “Claims to Kosovo: Nationalism and Self-Determination.” In Understanding the War in Kosovo, edited by Bieber, Florian and Daskalovski, Židas, 1129. London: Frank Cass Publishers.
DioGuardi, Joseph. 1992. “Memo on Meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.” (Accessed August 12, 2018.)
Duka, Valentina, and Dusan, Janjić. 2013. “Kosovo under the Milošević Regime.” In Confronting the Yugoslav Controversies: A Scholars’ Initiative, edited by Ingrao, Charles and Emmert, Allan, 274303. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
Emini, Donika, and Stakic, Isidora. 2018. Belgrade and Pristina: Lost in Normalisation? (Accessed May 10, 2019.)
Ertel, Manfred. 2006. Negotiations Lean Toward Independence. (Accessed May 10, 2019.)
Fearon, James, and Laitin, David. 2003. “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War.” American Political Science Review 97 (1): 7590.
Fearon, James. 1995. “Rationalist Explanations for War.” International Organization 49 (3): 379414.
FHP-HLC (Fond za humanitarno pravo - Humanitarian Law Center). 2015. “31.600 dokumenata nedvosmisleno potvrđuje smrt ili nestanak 13.535 osoba tokom rata na Kosovu.” (Accessed July 21, 2018.)
Gagnon, V. P. 2004. The Myth of Ethnic War: Serbia and Croatia in the 1990s. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Goldgeier, James. 1999. Not Whether but When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
Guzina, Dejan. 2003. “Kosovo or Kosova: Could It Be Both? The Case of Interlocking Serbian and Albanian Nationalisms.” In Understanding the War in Kosovo, edited by Bieber, Florian and Daskalovski, Židas, 3153. London: Frank Cass Publishers.
Hajdari, Ismet. 1993. “Jos jedan bojkot”. (Accessed June 19, 2018.)
Helsingin, Sanomat. 2008. “Helena Ranta: Foreign Ministry Tried to Influence Kosovo Reports.” (Accessed October 16, 2008.)
Hill, Christopher. 2014. Outpost: Life on the Frontiers of American Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Hosmer, Stephen. 2001. The Conflict Over Kosovo: Why Milošević Decided to Settle When He Did. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Howe, Marvin. 1981a. “Roots of Yugoslav Riots: Vague ‘Enemy’ Blamed.” The New York Times, April 20.
Howe, Marvin. 1981b. “Yugoslavs, Shaken by Riots, Fear Plot.” The New York Times, April 27.
Howe, Marvin. 1982c, “Exodus of Serbians Stirs Province in Yugoslavia.” The New York Times, July 12.
ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia). 2009. (Accessed May 12, 2018.)
ICJ (The International Court of Justice). 2010. Page 27. (Accessed June 13, 2018.)
J.J. 2015. “Kandić: Na Kosovu 13.535 žrtava rata.” (Accessed June 29, 2018.)
Johnson, A. Ross. 1983. Political Leadership in Yugoslavia: Evolution of the League of Communists. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
Johnson, A. Ross. 1982, Impressions of Post-Tito Yugoslavia: A Trip Report. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
Jović, Dejan. 2009. Yugoslavia: A State That Withered Away. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
Judah, Tim. 2000. Kosovo: War and Revenge. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Judah, Tim. 2008. Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kalyvas, Stathis, and Balcells, Laia. 2010. “International System and Technologies of Rebellion: How the End of the Cold War Shaped Internal Conflict.” American Political Science Review 104 (3): 415429.
Kaufman, Michael. 1992. “A Different Kind of War in Kosovo: Serbian Repression vs. Quiet Resistance.” The New York Times, June 23.
Kostovicova, Denisa. 2005. Kosovo: The Politics of Identity and Space. London: Routledge.
Krasniqi, Arben. 1998a. “Nemaglovite Gelbardove poruke.” (Accessed June 19, 2018.)
Krasniqi, Arben. 1998b. “Uprkos svemu - pregovori!?” (Accessed June 21, 2018.)
Kuperman, A.J. 2002. Tragic Challenges and the Moral Hazard of Humanitarian Intervention: How and why Ethnic Groups Provoke Genocidal Retaliation. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD thesis.
Little, Alan. 2000. “Moral Combat: NATO at War.” (Accessed July 2, 2018.)
Malcolm, Noel. 1999. Kosovo: A Short History. New York: Perennial - Harper Collins.
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 1994a. “1995: godina prestrojavanja oko Kosova.” (Accessed June 7, 2018.)
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 1994b. “Mesovite albansko-srpske banke na Kosovu?” (Accessed June 10, 2018.)
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 1995a. “Kriza na juznom Balkanu.” (Accessed June 26, 2018.)
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 1995b. “Dejton preloman i za Kosovo.” (Accessed June 3, 2018.)
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 1996. “Kosovo - novi balkanski splav?” (Accessed June 21, 2018.)
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 1998. “Pregovori o ocuvanju kosovskih granica?” (Accessed June 5, 2018.)
Maliqi, Shkëlzen. 2014. Kosovo i raspad Jugoslavije. Beograd: Most Art.
Meier, Viktor. 1999. Yugoslavia: A History of its Demise. London, New York: Routledge.
Memeti, Ibrahim. 1993. “Intervju: Iljaz Halimi.” (Accessed July 21, 2018.)
Mertus, Julie. 1999. Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Mertus, Julie. 2000. Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Milošević, Slobodan. 1989. Godine raspleta. Beograd: Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod.
Nikolić, Lazar. 2003. “Ethnic Prejudices and Discrimination; The Case of Kosovo.” In Understanding the War in Kosovo, edited by Bieber, Florian and Daskalovski, Židas, 5379. London: Frank Cass Publishers.
Norris, John 2005. Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo. Westport, CT: Praeger Publication.
NYT – The New York Times. 1981a. “Yugoslavia Adds Police in Troubled Albanian Area.” The New York Times, June 14. (Accessed January 20, 2019.)
NYT – The New York Times. 1981b. “Rioting by Albanian Nationalists has Left Scars in Yugoslav Region.” The New York Times,October 19. (Accessed January 21, 2019.)
Oroši, Violeta and Džezairi, Seljadin. 1991. “Svi zatvaraju oči.” Belgrade: Vreme.
Oroši, Violeta and Džezairi, Seljadin. 1992. “Većini veća odgovornost.” Belgrade: Vreme.
Pacarizi, Rrahman. 1998. “Okupljanje politickih partija oko OVK?” (Accessed June 17, 2018.)
Paquin, Jonathan. 2008. “Managing Controversy: U.S. Stability Seeking and the Birth of the Macedonian State.” Foreign Policy Analysis 4: 437458.
Pellet, Alain. 1992. “The Opinions of the Badinter Arbitration Committee.” European Journal of International Law 3 (1): 178185.
Perritt, Henry H. Jr. 2008. Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency. Chicago: The University of Illinois Press.
Petersen, Roger. 2002. Understanding Ethnic Violence: Fear, Hatred, Resentment in Twentieth Century Eastern Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Petrović, Ruža, Blagojević, Marina. 1992. Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija: Results of a Survey Conducted from 1985 to 1986: Summary, Statements Made by Serbs and Montenegrins (Excerpts). Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Demographic Studies, Vol. III, Belgrade.
Putin, Vladimir. 2007. Munich Security Conference Speech. (Accessed June 19, 2018.)
Rainio, Juha, Lalu, Kaisa, and Penttila, Antti. 2001. “Independent Forensic Autopsies in an Armed Conflict: Investigation of the Victims from Racak, Kosovo.” Forensic Science International 116: 171185.
Ramet, Sabrina P. 2005. Thinking About Yugoslavia: Scholarly Debates About the Yugoslav Breakup and the Wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. Cambridge. UK: Cambridge University Press.
Rexhepi, Fehim. 1996. “Ne!(?) - srpskim izborima.” (Accessed July 22, 2018.)
Rexhepi, Fehim. 1998. “Srpsko-albanski pregovori bez garancije uspeha.” (Accessed July 20, 2018.)
Rohter, Larry. 1990. “Panama and US Strive to Settle on Death Toll.” (Accessed July 17, 2018.)
RTS. 2010. “Svedok: Milan Milutinovic.” (Accessed July 22, 2018.)
Rossi, Christopher R. 2016. “Impaled on Morton’s Fork: Kosovo, Crimea, and the Sui Generis Circumstance.” Emory International Law Review 30 (3): 353390.
Sefki, Morina. 1995. “Intervju sa predsednikom Helsinskog komiteta Kosova Gazmendom Puljom.” (Accessed June 30, 2018.)
Sell, Louis. 2003. Slobodan Milošević and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Serwer, Daniel. 2004. “Kosovo: Status with Standards.” (Accessed November 21, 2018.)
Simić, Predrag. 2000. Put u Rambuje: kosovska kriza 1995-2000. Beograd: Nea. Sociology 24: 423452.
Spoerri, Marlene. 2015. Engineering Revolution: The Paradox of Democracy Promotion in Serbia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Stefanović, Nenad. 1996. “Pobuna demokratske Srbije.” (Accessed June 12, 2018.)
Treverton, Gregory F., and Miles, Renanah. 2015. Unheeded Warning of War: Why Policymakers Ignored the 1990 Yugoslavia Estimate. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence.
UN (United Nations). 1999. “Resolution 1244 (1999).” (Accessed July 23, 2018.)
USIP (United States Institute of Peace). 1999. “Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo. Rambouillet, France - February 23, 1999.” (Accessed July 28, 2018.)
Vickers, Miranda. 1998. Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo. New York: Columbia University Press.
Vladisavljević, Nebojša. 2008. Serbia’s Antibureaucratic Revolution. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Weller, Marc. 2008. Peace Lost: The Failure of Conflict Prevention in Kosovo. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.
Zimmerman, Warren. 1996. In: U.S. and Russian Policymaking with Respect to the Use of Force, edited by Azrael, Jeremy and Payin, Emil, 177201. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
Zimmerman, Warren. 1999. Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers. New York: Times Book.
Vujačić, Ivan. Lecture to Northeastern University Students in the hotel “Prag.” Belgrade, Serbia. August 1, 2015.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

From Pararepublic to Parastate: International Leverage in Shaping Kosovo’s Secession

  • Mladen Mrdalj (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.