The Balkans

Eastern Orthodox versus Muslims

As history buffs know, Yugoslavia was an artificial creation of the southern elements of the old Austria-Hungary Empire after World War I, which upon the fall of communism returned to its variety of separate states with separate agendas. Serbia, as the center of resistance to the Roman Catholic Austria-Hungary Empire now is the seat of the Orthodox Catholic religion in that area, whereas Bosnia remained true to the Empire as principally Roman Catholic.  On the other hand, the more southern states of Kosovo and Albania are basically Muslim.

For more information on the Orthodox church, click here

“Ethnic” conflict is sometimes the politically-correct way of describing religious-based conflict.  Such is certainly the case in Kosovo and related regions of the former nation of Yugoslavia where the Orthodox of Serbia have been in conflict with the Albanian and other Muslims of Kosovo for al least the last century.

In Kosovo, a small Balkan country sandwiched between Serbia to the Northeast, Montenegro to the Northwest, Macedonia to the Southeast and Albania to the Southwest, the religious-based conflict is between the Orthodox and the Muslims.  In 1999 it heated up to the point of US/NATO intervention, statedly as a humanitarian effort to stop the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs of the Muslims in Kosovo. It has been estimated that more than 10,000 Muslims were killed during the 18 month crackdown against this heretofore Serbian province.  Before that, the Muslim Albanians had ruled the Serbs from 1974 to 1981 with just as little justice for them. While the attack by NATO brought substantial property damage to Serbia and caused its then leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to temporally capitulate, it remains uncertain at this point as to just how successful it was in halting the religious conflict between the Orthodox Catholics and the Muslims.

During 2001 alone, the United States and other international donors granted US$1,28 billion to pay for the first year of a four-year plan for reconstruction aid to the area of the former Yugoslavia to assist in the rebuilding of damage caused by the Balkans religious-based conflict

Even though the United Nations is now involved in peacekeeping, violence and killing remains a feature of the area as of this writing.

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