The tension in Kosovo has existed for centuries, dating back as far as 1389 when Serbs lost an epic battle to the Ottoman Turks in Kosovo. Not until 1912, more than 500 years later did the Serbs regain control when Kosovo became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the conclusion of World War II, as an absolute monarchy under the name Yugoslavia, the country became a communist republic. Autonomy was granted to Kosovo in 1974 in a revised constitution. Kosovo, although a Serbian province, was largely occupied by ethnic Albanians who established Albanian-language schools and institutions. In 1987, Slobodan Milosevic rose to power in Yugoslavia, riding the wave of Serbian nationalism with his promises of a Greater Serbia. Escalating tensions between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanians and the fear of secession prompted Milosevic to strip Kosovo, though 90 percent Albanian, of its autonomy and army troops and police were deployed in battle strength to maintain order. Kosovos Albanian majority voted in 1992 to secede from Yugoslavia, voicing a desire to merge with Albania. President Bush warned Serbs that the United States would use force if the Serbs attacked Kosovo. In 1997, The Kosovo Liberation Army began killing Serb policemen and others supporters of the Serbs. The conflict turned into a guerilla war after Milosevic sent troops into the areas controlled by the Kosovo Liberation Army and killed 80 Kosovars. Shortly after, talks were held for the first time advocating a peaceful path to independence for Kosovo, but the Albanian side boycotted further meetings. Later, the United Nations Security Council called for an immediate cease-fire and political negotiations, but with little support from either side. NATO allies then authorized airstrikes against Serb military targets, but were not prompted to take action because Milosevic agreed t…
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