THE CONFLICT IN KOSOVO AND SYRIA IN THE CONTEXT OF TITO AND HAFIZ AL ASSAD’S POLICIES
THE CONFLICT IN KOSOVO AND SYRIA IN THE CONTEXT OF TITO AND HAFEZ AL-ASSAD’S POLICIES
Global Affairs Program
Thesis Supervisor: Dr.Sean Cox
June 2019, 70 pages
This study addresses a set of Tito and Hafez Al-Assad’s policies provided a fertile ground to the conflict in Syria and Kosovo, at the time some of studies and media are still portraying these periods and policies as the “stable period” or “Successful policies”. However, it did not take into account the suppression of many demands and rights related to the issues of freedom and social justice. Moreover, the imposition of the one-party ideology “communism and socialism” regardless of the ethnicities and components of peoples. These policies did not discredit by all segments of society in Syria and Kosovo, rather it led to increased racial and ethnic dissonance which sparked violent conflict in later stages. Both Syria and Kosovo were in a temporary phase of social, political and economic stability imposed by the iron fist and it has fallen short of sustainable stability.
Keywords: Conlict, Syria, Kosovo, Serbia, Jozip Tito, Hafez Al-Assad.
TİTO VE HAFEZ ESAD’IN POLİTİKALARI BAĞLAMINDA KOSOVA VE SURİYE ARASINDAKİ ÇATIŞMA
Yüksek Lisans Programı
Tez Danışmanı: Dr. Sean Cox
Haziran 2019, 70 sayfa
Bu çalışma, Tito ve Hafez Esad’ın, Suriye ve Kosova çatışmasına verimli bir zemin sağlamak için birtakım politikalarını anlatıyor, aynı zamanda medya ve bazı çalışmalar hala bu dönemleri ve politikaları ‘durağan dönem’ yada ‘başarılı politikalar’ olarak tasvir ediyor. Ama özgürlük ve sosyal adalet konuları ile ilgili bazı hak ve talep baskıları hesaba katılmadı. Dahası halkların bileşenleri ve etnik kökenlerinin dikkate alınmadan tek partili ‘komünizm ve sosyalizm’ yükümlülüğü. Bu politikalar, Kosova ve Suriye’deki toplumun tüm katmanları tarafından itibarsızlaştırılmadı, daha doğrusu ileri düzeylerde kıvılcımlanan şiddet çatışmaları olan artan ırksal ve etnik uyumsuzluğa neden oldu. Hem Suriye hem Kosova, demir yumruk tarafından maruz bırakılan sosyal, politik ve ekonomik durağanlık açısından geçici bir evrede ve bu, yetersiz olan sürdürülebilir durağanlığı düşürüyor.
Anahtar Kelimeler: Çatışma, Suriye, Kosova, Sırbistan, Jozip Tito, Beşar Esad.
KLA : Kosovo Liberation Army
NATO : North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces
CPY : Communist Party of Yugoslavia
CPA : The Communist Party of Albania
PLO : Palestine Liberation Organization
The end of the Cold War is considered a significant turning point in the nature of the international conflict, as the traditional inter-State conflict turned into to be intra-State conflict within the same state, which led to the emergence of the ethnic groups in the Balkan states, especially after the collapse of The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It collapsed as a result of the failure of the regime in managing the internal changes within the state; hence the marginalized minorities rebelled against the integration attempts made towards the socialist ideology as they have maintained the ethnic and religious identity as a result of the marginalization. Hatred policies and oppression that they suffered in particular when Slobodan Milosevic came to power in former Yugoslavia, then the Serbs have taken over all leadership positions in the territory.
Accordingly, the Kosovo Albanian community has suffered a greater oppressive policy that reached its peak after the termination of autonomy of the Albanians in the territory in 1989 by Serbs; hence, the Kosovo community has divided into two main components from Albanians and Serbs, while the Serbs accessed to the leadership positions in the territory.
The Political regime could not meet the substantive demands for Albanians. At the same time, Slobodan Milosevic has made all his efforts to what it could be mean “the serbianzation” of all political, social, and economic aspects of the state through using the oppressive and exclusionary measures. As a result, the Albanians have staged peaceful protests against these practices, which developed rapidly through carrying the weapons by Albanians. As consequence, they established what is commonly known as (Kosovo Liberation Army) (KLA), which fought to liberate the territory of Kosovo from Serbs with the assistance of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces (NATO). For these reasons, the conflict in Kosovo was the beginning of the end for the communist and Socialist regime, where Kosovo issue has proven the failure of such a strategy to manage the affairs of the main components of the state that consists of Albanians, Serbs, Muslims, Christians, Orthodox, and Catholics.
In Syria that experienced the revolutions and uprisings, one after the other against its political regimes decades ago, this began against the French occupation at first and continued up to the present. however; none of the attempts made were successful for various reasons, including: the failure of revolutions to introduce an alternative plan (all-inclusive) that guarantee the rights of all segments of Syrian People of all sects, and the eradication and elimination of the national plans that aim at creating a sovereign independent state in Syria that provide the equal rights for all people of all sects. Syria has suffered from its political elites who are simply an integral part of international and regional mobilization, as they served the interests of foreign countries instead of their home country.
The Arab Baath Socialist Party has emerged by Hafez Al-Assad, whom he was a part of world socialist system at that time, as he adopted the ideology of exclusion against the prominent figures belonging to various intellectual currents that disagree with him. This exclusion policy extended even to National Socialists and Communists, then he relied on stirring up the sectarian conflict for the purpose of maintaining his rule. After Hafez Al-Assad’s death, his son Bashar came to the power to promote these policies, the situation has exploded in Syria during his reign at the beginning of the year of 2011, when the demonstrators staged a peaceful protests for simple demands, however; the peaceful protects developed to military confrontation among various revolutionary forces of Syrian people and the regime and its regional and international allies.
Taking into account the differences in geography and timing, the military confrontation in both Syria and Kosovo is considered the height of the conflict, this difficult situation that Syria reached, came after the discrimination among the parties to the conflict that their ideology was based on an ideological, ethnic and sectarian basis. These tough circumstances that Syria goes through, has resulted from the policy of the governing elite which described by John Young as “ethnically based elite that use the state to protect its material interests and creates a false harmony through imposing its culture and ideology on the peoples of these countries”(Hamdan& Pearson2014.P271). Furthermore, the existing regime has sometimes failed or rejected to secure even a tight margin of rights and freedom for the population segments belonging to the ethnic origin as the case with Syria and the territory of Kosovo. These regimes were unable to respond to the significant questions pertaining to the identity, as they replaced the matters of identity by the ideology of one-party, security solution, repression, and violence. Such tough policy led to the loss of confidence among the components of people, which pushed them to gather and cluster in the narrow circle – ethnic and sectarian groups – which led to the promotion of loyalty to sectarian groups and race instead of the loyalty to the state.
These repressive regimes have not actually adopted any program to build a society based on “ethics of dialogue instead of conflict” (Meghrani2017.p1)  or engaged the marginalized local ethnic groups that suffered from cultural and political oppression within certain range of democracy, which enable all people to express their cognitive and cultural thoughts, and backgrounds, and enables them either to exchange the discussions around acceptable suggestions from all of them (Hayhoh2013.p1).
2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
Nahla Hamdan, The specialized author in the political conflict management and mediation, as well as the author Frederic.S Pearson have previewed in their book that entitled: “Arab Approaches To Conflict Resolution”, the content of the conflict management and the features of the conflicts in the Arab world whether such conflicts was between Arab countries themselves or between an Arab country against foreign country, or even intra-State conflicts.
The author indicated to some statics through analyzing some data obtained, and mentioned, “About 55 percent of the Arab-Arab violence includes an ethnic war, and 45 percent did not include ethnic war. With regard to Arab violence against non-Arab violence, there was 100 percent of ethnic war, compared with 77 percent of non-Arab violence against non-Arab violence. The author attributes this findings, compared to the global percentage, to the tendency towards ethnic diversity in the Arab States, or to the success of the governments either in suppressing ethnic hostility without causing a comprehensive war, or through using the traditional means in settling the ethnic conflicts without war (Hamdan& Pearson2014.p132).
The second option is considered the most preferable option for the Arab leaders who have multi-ethnic groups in their countries, as they deliberately use the principle of “divide et imperia”, and impose the security solution instead of managing the ethnic components in the context of sustainable development that could promote the national unity and would enhance the well-being and adherence of their communities, and pave the way towards mutual confidence between the governments and their communities.
In Yemen, for instance; Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, “who was dubbed as the “one who dances on the heads of snakes” which mean his policies depended on driving a wedge between one ethnic group and another, a policy that he pursued during his rule, led to his death during the civil war between the militias of Houthi and pro-government militias.
The situation in Yemen like most of The Arab States, as these policies provided only the fertile ground for the conflicts that we witnessed in the Arab world after Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. It should be noted that This revolution has revolutionized the concept of “stability” that the Arab States have described themselves under the governments that harnessed the ethnic groups for the purpose of stabilizing their rule. However, the Arab revolutions have confirmed the fragility of the concept “ stability” Because it was imposed by force, and compelled the major powers in the world to reconsider their relations supporting these regimes, albeit indirectly, on the pretext of maintaining security and peace in the region.
The two authors provided a number of Arab-Arab conflict models, such as the Yemeni Civil War (1962-1970) and the role of Arab states such as Saudi Arabia during the reign of King Faisal and Egypt during the reign of Gamal Abdel Nasser in the conflict between the south and northern Yemen. They also referred to the role of regional mobilization in fueling and settling the internal conflicts, in addition to the Arab conflicts with non-Arabs, such as the Sudanese civil war between the north and the south, at the time when the south was striving to separate, where it is inhabited by a group of non-Arab African tribes.
The author focused on the role of the gender in peacekeeping process in the Arab world, as the absence of women from the political party agendas and civil society organizations have resulted in the absence of women voice at the negotiation table, Which led to the absence of women rights in conflict-management processes, while women are the most affected victims during the conflict through harassment, persecution, extortion and sexual assault. This is what happened in Syria during the war between the armed groups and the Syrian regime. The regime harassed many women at the checkpoints erected inside and outside the cities, not to mention extortion and sexual assault in order to obtain confessions during the investigation.
In the context of settling the Arab-conflicts under the revolutions of the Arab Spring, the author refers in the 7th chapter of the book, to the Arab Spring and the variable factors pertaining to “ the outbreak of the conflicts and the settlement of the conflicts in the Middle East” (Hamdan & Pearson2014.p323). The author stressed the end of the validity of these kinds of regimes in the Arab World, alongside their traditional policy in governing the peoples, that concentrated in the use of power and the exclusion of economic and social reforms, if any reforms, they would be in narrow range, in the first place, in order to satisfy the Western countries and in line with some personal interests.
The authors mention three categories of the Arab states the first one is: the “historic state” that is established based on the political patronage, especially in oil-rich states, where the patronage is based on the existing inducement of kinship, tribes, and clan relations. The second one is the “modern state” which includes a group of technocrats educated in the West, who are working in every level of the state bureaucracy. The third one is “the state of repression” which is above the society and law, as it could sometimes create its own laws to protect the ruling class, the political elite, and the owners’ classes” (Hamdan&Pearson2014.p324). In the three categories mentioned above, the first and last objective was to soften resentment and impatience towards the ruling regime, which created a set of grievances that did not receive a fair hearing with the ruling elites throughout their tenure.
Accordingly, there are various reasons for the dissatisfaction and discontent, which lead to one result; more conflict, tension, and instability. “The origins of the Arab Spring may back to the early the 19th century when the Arabs began to rise from the yoke of foreign colonial domination, where the independent Arab states, emerging after decades of Western colonialism, preferred to show “manifestations of power, so they seem to have paid little attention to their social, economic and intellectual foundations” (Hamdan & Pearson 2014.p324).
The authors of the book, quoted from the book “The collapse of middle eastern authoritarianism” that written by the authors Salamey and Pearson: The local techniques used by the powerful rulers, in both modern and traditional nationalist regimes to evoke the fear and to strengthen the pillars of their rule, such techniques that their effectiveness began to erode by the end of the twentieth century:
- The information campaigns led by the regimes, aim at charging the opposition with treason, such campaigns is prepared against the opponents to accuse them of conspiring with Americans, British, Zionists and sometimes with the Soviets and the Iranians for the purpose of bringing the new colonialism. Over time especially in the post-colonial phase, these propaganda tricks gradually lost their ability to persuade.
- Accusing the opponents of violating the sanctity of the state or apostasy. This is the method used by conservative nationalist regimes, which adopted the concepts of thinking about different groups, women, political equality and social rights. The traditional states in the region have tended to use aspects of statutory laws, and have given their states and rulers a kind of sanctity or transcendence for their survival.
- The tactics adopted by the updated authoritarian regimes in the region, played on people’s fear of Islamic threat and public chaos. It is assumed that the extremism is directed against “moderate” authoritarian regimes, whether they are some cases a scholar or royal regimes (Hamdan&Pearson2014.p329).
The above three techniques apply to internal and external policies of the Syrian regime under the reign of Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar, while he was rising the slogans of resistance against Israel, there were many secret negotiations made to protect Israel’s borders. Hence, The sanctity of the ruling regime that it surrounded itself with is eroding, as it raises the slogans of non-handling with the anti-Arab States represented by Israel, according to the widespread claims published in the official media and state institutions (service, security and military institutions). In contrast, there are many economic, military and cultural agreements signed with Iran, which it is well-known for its aggressive stance towards the Arab nationalism, as it still occupies Arab territories.
In the reference to the Albanian-Serbian conflict in Kosovo, Dr. Mohamed Arnaout mentioned in his book that entitled “Kosovo between the past and present”, the Serbian role in this conflict, especially after the success of the last Albanian uprising, in the summer of 1912, to take control of the main cities in the province of “Qusoh” including the capital Askop, which forced the Ottoman government on 18 August 1912, to accept the uprising’s demands )the self-government for the Albanians in Kosovo). The Albanian-Ottoman agreement which means the continuation of the Ottoman rule in Balkan, did not satisfy the Serbian far-right circles and the neighbouring countries, which eventually led to First Balkan War against the Ottoman Empire, that ended with the capture of “Kosovo” (Arnaout 2008.p54) by Serbian forces that consider Kosovo as sacred territory.
At this point, the fundamental causes for the Albanian-Kosovo conflict on Kosovo, has begun with the policies of “the serbianzation” that aimed at the quick getting rid of undesirable majority (Albanian), In order highlight the scared historic character of the Serbian presence on the ground which would justify their demands to the de facto annexation of the lands.
In this context, the Serbian authorities forced the Muslim Albanians (95%) and the Catholics (5%) to convert to Orthodoxy, by this way; melting them into the Orthodox-Serbian character could be easy (Arnaout 2008.p56). In this regard, the Religious nationalism had a prominent role in this conflict, however, it was not only religious conflict between Muslim and Christian but also was Christian-Christian conflict. As in the case of many Arab nationalist regimes, especially the Syrian regime, which relies on the idea of the integration and strengthening the nationalist sentiment despite the existence of multiple nationalist and ethnic groups in Syria, where many other non-Arab ethnic components has been marginalized by using the same means of playing on demographic changes and creating inter-ethnic disputes among the components of Syrian people.
In Kosovo, the settlement policy has begun after issuing the decree of February 1914, that entitled “Decree on the Settlement of Newly Liberated” In which the government promised the Serbian settlers granting each family of them a piece of land, in addition to the exemption from tax (Arnaout 2008.p56). Kosovo has obtained the self-government during the First World War, when Austrian forces penetrated Belgrade, then Kosovo entered into the scope of the state of Yugoslavia in 1918, afterwards the Albanians lost the self-government that they enjoyed after the entry and defeat of the French troops in 1918, accordingly; the Serbian repressive policies against Albanians re-emerged again through the eradication of all the Albanian cultural and educational manifestations obtained under the Austrian rule, alongside with the continuation of settlement policies.
In an important development in response to the Serbian policies, the activates of the left-wing militants affiliated to the political opposition has escalated against the violent repression practiced against the Albania, which paved the way to the emergence of armed Albanian resistance (Kachaks).
After the Italian occupation to Albania in 1939, and the earlier understandings around the division of Albania between Italy and Yugoslavia in order to get rid of the Kosovo problem, the World War II has broken out, in which Yugoslavia was invaded by Germans and Italians in 1941, accordingly; the Greater Albania has been formed which includes Kosovo and other areas where the Albanians live (Macedonia and southern Montenegro), but a liberation war broke out at the far ends of former Yugoslavia, which led by Yugoslav Communist Party, that established the Communist Party of Albania, which called for launching a “public liberation war” As a result, the Albanian people divided into two main groups; the first group includes the proponents of the idea of the party and the second group includes the opponents who thought that the problem of Kosovo has been settled by the unity with Albania(Arnaout 2008.p60).
There were many proponents to the idea of the establishment of “Anti-Fascist Assembly of the People’s Liberation of Kosovo” which included a various components of the people from Kosovo, and headed by the Albanian President (Mohamed Khouja) (Arnaout 2008.p60). the assembly issued a historic decision stating that the territory of Kosovo is “ a territory inhabited by a majority of the Albanian people who are always desire to unite with Albania, and It is necessary to clarify the way in which the Albanian people are achieving their ambition: a common war with the people of Yugoslavia against the Nazi occupier”
The first dissension occurred among the leaders of “ Liberation Army” that participated in the “liberation” of Kosovo, as they considered that their mission has ended in Kosovo at the time of obtaining the self-determination, While the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party believes that these forces must continue to fight until the liberation of all Yugoslav territory is completed, for this reason; The “military administration” has been imposed by the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party after the elimination of counter-revolution “ the dissidents”, hence the decision of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the People’s Liberation of Kosovo to unite with Albania has been disregarded. After that date, Kosovo forcibly joined Serbia / Yugoslavia rule under the president Tito ‘rule, and granted the self-government within the scope of “Federal Republic of Serbia”.
Kosovo had entered into the empty promises phase once again, and a new phase of the oppressive policies against Albanian majority under the rule of the president Tito. The emergence of Tito’s popularity raised the concerns of Stalin whom issued a statement through the Communist Information Bureau in 1948, the statement included the deviation of Yugoslav leadership from the Marxist line, the Albanian president Anwar Khouja declared his support to that statement for purpose of getting rid of Serbian leaders whom have a close relationship with Tito and to obtain the his power as a president at that time, the Kosovo Albanians is caught between the hammer of the communist regime of Stalin and Tito, which forced the Albanian part of Kosovo to face its own destiny alone, as the security agencies activities has increased against Kosovo Albanians, which returned Serbian character again on Kosovo.
Many prominent Albanian figures have been arrested in Kosovo in the ground of the sympathy for Albanian regime, and many of the participants in the founding conference were executed on 1 January 1944. Afterwards; the expanded meeting of Preparatory Committee pertaining to the Albanian Communist Party has convened, and it revealed a series of abuses practiced by security agencies, hence a new phase of political reforms has begun, but the Serbs constructed it as a new defeat in Kosovo similar to 1389. Kosovo was granted autonomy under the 1974 Constitution by which Albanians could engage in cultural, educational and economic activities apart from Serbs intervention.
The phase of détente was short-lived, as Tito did not present fundamental and long-term solutions that guarantee Albanians’ rights in Kosovo apart from stirring up the nationalist sentiment of the Serb party.
All of these benefits that the Albanians obtained, have ended immediately after the death of Tito, then The country entered into severe economic crises throughout the country, for this reason a group of students at the University of Pristina staged a protest against the services of the university, which transformed into political demands calling for the reunification of all Albanians people under one state (Arnaout 2008. p60).
The chairmanship of the central committee of the party considered the student’s protest under the pressure of Serbia and Macedonia as a “counter revolution” and any kind of these protests is considered illegal act. accordingly, The Serbian forces launched a massive security campaign against the Albanians included thousands of the students and professors (Arnaout 2008. p60), and fueled the public opinion against the student demands “the counter revolution” as the participants calling for the condemnation of “the counter revolution” and the dismissing them from the party. The political offences included 10 thousand persons.
In conclusion, the Serbian leadership, after the death of President Tito, found an opportunity to regain the control of Kosovo and regain its dominant status, as it deliberately holds the educated elite the responsibility for the previous events to justify its intervention in the education, in order to clean everything related to the spirit of Albanian nationalism.
In 1986 in Serbia, the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic has taken over the party’s presidency, as he fueled the nationalist spirit of Serbia and strengthened the hostility against the Albanians. He called for the unification of Serbs in neighboring countries, which means his desire to exercise control over of Montenegro and Bosnia.
Milosevic accepted the invitation of the Serbs of Kosovo to attend and listen to their demands in the district of “Kosovo Polje”, where the battle of Kosovo took place in 1389. During the meeting with the furious Serbs with Kosovo leadership, Milosevic fabricated a clash between the Kosovo police forces and the Serb participants, which was the reason for rise of Milosevic. After that date, he removed all his opponents and imposed amendments to the constitution to end self-government in Kosovo which ended by the end of 1989. As a result, thousands of demonstrators protested in the streets in Kosovo in response to his decisions, which let to deaths and injuries and the declaration of a state of emergency.
A new campaign against intellectuals began with the detention of dozens of them and dozens of them were also killed, then the first Democratic Party has established (Democratic League of Kosovo) which elected the leader Ibrahim Rugova as president, and thousands of former members of the Communist Party joined the new party to become a platform against Serbian domination. The majority of members of the Kosovo People’s Assembly (KPC) met outside the building after Serbian police prevented them from entering, to approve the “constitutional declaration” which provides for Kosovo’s people the independence and the equality in other federal unit in Yugoslavia(Arnaout 2008.p84). This led to the increase in tension and the People’s Assembly has been dissolved in addition to the government upon a resolution of Serbian People’s Assembly. For this reason, the crisis in Kosovo to enter a new phase of conflict, as the majority of members of the People’s Assembly of Kosovo rejected the resolution of dissolution the assembly and the government through declaring the “Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo” in September 1990.
The author Mohamed Arnaout previewed a number of Serbian policies and historical contexts that the Albanians lived under Ottoman, Austrian, and Italian and German rule. And then under the Yugoslav government before and after World War II. all the political elite that ruled Kosovo played on that paper to achieve their personal interest and to stabilize their rule, and this what the Albanian suffered from at various times even under the rule of Tito, in which Kosovo is being thought lives in a phase of well-being and stability. The aggregation of these polices let to a fertile ground for future phase of endless conflict, these policies only contributed in deepening the internal differences that were in favor of the ruling regime as the case with Syria during the reign of Hafez al-Assad.
Dr. Jamal Wakim, in his book “The Great Power Struggle on Syria,” described these policies as the secret of the success for a leader like Hafez al-Assad, as he portrays the playing on the contradictions and minorities factors as the keys to a successful policy in running the country. He did not refer to the consequences of these policies on the Syrian internal situation in the distant future.
He focused also in his book on the geo-strategic importance of Syria, which has been the strategic depth of many international powers since the dawn of history. Syria’s fate has become a battleground between Mesopotamia and those who rule it, and the Anatolia or whoever rule it, and Egypt or whoever rule it, because of its importance to each of those regional powers at that time as a safety valve for all of them and the mere fall of Syria in favor of any of these forces is considered the beginning of the end for the others.
At a later stage during the World War, the international power that was being struggling on Syria was crystal clear, At the time when the British forces of the crown of India sought to extend its influence on Syria to guarantee its strategic depth from the German influence that invaded France, at the same time, when the German planes supported the Kilani revolutions in Iraq in May 1941 against the British from Syrian territory, and before that either at the time of the French occupation to Syria that attempted to control Syria in the form of war outside the European border.With regard to the political life in Syria, there was no political project in proportion to the social and intellectual structure of the Syrian society.
In this context, Syria suffered from many conflicts between the partisan currents because of Ideological differences that have not been and will not be provide the Syrian people anything. The founder of the nationalist social party, Anton Saada, in eighties of the past century, influenced by French nationalism and the French concept of the nation, while his rival party Al Baath, founded by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Bitar, was influenced by the concept of German nationalism. 100
Dr. Jamal Wakim says in his book “The Great Power Struggle on Syria” Al Assad has ruled Syria for a long period of the time as a result of his ability to manage these political balances effectively (Wakim 2012.p129), in this context the author focuses on the outcomes that brought Syria in this empty balances, these balances would not have been for the security agencies, whom are keen to stabilize the regime through various repressive means such as fueling the internal conflict.
Lanhue S Shan, pointed out in his study that entitled “Analysis of Tito’s Policies On Ethnic Conflict: The Case of Kosovo”, the most important policies that led to the strengthening of ethnic disputes in Yugoslav Federation in general and specifically between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians. Tito relied on three major policies to deal with Kosovo. These policies included; the economic, social, political, and migration situations. However; he has neither succeeded to change the Albanians’ attitudes towards Serbs, nor the Serbs’ attitude towards Albanians. On the contrary, the situation has become more complicated. The integration attempts on the Yugoslav ethnic identity basis, have negatively affected the ethnic conflict between Serbs and Albanians, and disregarded the Albanians situations and their demands before the formation of Yugoslavia in 1945, which in turn led to the lack of confidence by Albanians towards the ruling elite again, as such attempts did not effectively enhance the living conditions of Albanians, which led to social instability and ethnic tension. “During this time, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian populations gained an unprecedented level of influence as they were included as minority representatives in Yugoslavia’s federal government, and were protected under Serbian law. This peace however, did not last” (Shan 2014.p54).
2.2 MY REASONS FOR CHOOSING THE TOPIC
This research lay with my concerns about the international ethnic sectarian conflicts, and for the importance of the file of the conflict in Kosovo and Syria, which its disastrous affects reached the neighboring countries in both the two countries and across the border in terms of the refugee crisis and security.
- The importance of dedicating the comparative approach to compare the conflict in Syria with Kosovo as the latter is a part of or the last existing model based on socialist ideology on the borders of Eastern Europe, which should have been taken into account as one of the lessons learned for many Arab countries that adopt this ideology. There is a similarity between the regime of the Yugoslav – and Syria’ regime which fits the comparative approach.
- The importance of highlighting the similar reasons for the development of the conflict in both region Syria -Kosovo, as the model of nationalist state based on ethnic and sectarian tendencies has failed at the time when the Serbian minority was governing Kosovo and Alawite regime in Syria.
- The importance of the both countries in the international balance of power, as they did not hesitate to speed up to protect their interests in the light of the rigorous competition resulting from the importance of those countries on the map for Russia, America and European countries.
2.3 RESEARCH IMPORTANCE
- The largest displacement of Syrian refugees after the Second World War, where the number of refugees reached about 5 million refugees distributed across the world (msf.org 1999).
- Likewise, but not as the extent that Syria reached, due to the difference in the number of population between the both countries, the number of refugees in Kosovo reached 60,000 refugees distributed in different countries.
- The emergence of the Islamic state during the Syrian crisis and the intervention of the international coalition led by the United States of America that intervened in Syria militarily for the first time since the crisis.
- The differentiation in the international power reaction towards the both issues, at the same time, NATO has intervened to end the genocides practiced against the Albanian in Kosovo, as it applied for the first time in the history, the theory of humanitarian intervention as the criteria of implementing this theory, but it did nothing towards the Syria’s conflict despite many humanitarian crimes and genocide made in it.
2.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the role of the regime in the period of President Tito and Hafez Al-Assad in the conflict that the two countries suffer from?
What role did Hafez Al-Assad and Tito play during their ruling terms in postponing this conflict?
2.6 THE RESEARCH LIMIT
The reign in which Hafez Al Assad and Tito were in power, as we cannot neglect the coups period that Syria seen and the role of the ruling regime and the policies of the presidents that governed Syria, besides the period in which Kosovo was under the control of Yugoslav Federation.
2.7.1 Comparative Approach
- The comparison between the conflict in Kosovo and the conflict in Syria, and in particular the cumulative and distant causes pertaining to the regime and the policies of the presidents within the scope of research and the development of the conflict by this way. Although the demands of the Albanian majority in Kosovo eventually evolved to call for the independence of Kosovo form Yugoslav Federation in order to guarantee its right in the territory that affected by the aggressive policies of the Serbs, while the demands of Syrian ‘people is to the change the regime because of the policies and form of government, but the reasons of the conflict in both countries could met, even nearly match in many points, such as ideology and the idea of one-party , the use of the security solution to stabilize the regimes, and the marginalization and oppression of minorities.
- Accordingly, if the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo was a victim of political regimes, the Syrian people of all its ethnic and components are also a victim of the policies and regimes that adopt one ideology similar to the territory.
2.7.2 Historical and Descriptive Method
- The historical through reviewing the historical events led to the strengthen of the ethnic and sectarian conflict in Syria and the territory of Kosovo, which was referred to in the most studies, research and media reports as the reasons for the success and stability, especially at the period of President Tito and Assad, but even more so, there is a highly promotion for those models as one of the most successful model.
- Descriptive: describing and the variables that the both countries experienced from their regimes and the interactive of the ethnic units with them.
2.7.3 Analytical Approach
Analyzing the polices of the ruling elite that ruled both of Syria and Kosovo, that was good at playing on ethnic and sectarian tendencies, and their role in fueling the conflict among the component segments of the people simply by the absence of the security solution tied with certain person like Tito or Hafez Assad.
3. CONFLICT IN KOSOVO
3.1 THE ROOT OF SERBIAN-ALBANIAN CONFLICT
In fact, Kosovo has echoed strongly in the heart and the conscience of the Serbian national history, wherein the Serbian legendary hero “Lazar” was defeated by Ottomans in the historic battle of Kosovo in 1389 AD. This defeat is considered the beginning of the end to the Serbian nation in the medieval centuries, that is because it remained for five centuries under the domination of the Ottoman Empire. For this reason, the Serbs hold a painful memory towards this region as they consider it as the birthplace of the Serbian nation. “Kosovo is a holy place for Serbs as much as Jerusalem is a holy place for Jews” according to “Warren Zimmermann” (1995, p.1).
It should not be forgotten that Albanians have fought side by side with Serbian against the Ottoman conquest especially in the battle of Kosovo, because at that time, the Albanians were belonging to the Christian religion, and they converted to Islam during the Ottoman rule. Each party in the conflict does not recognize the thoughts and viewpoints of the other party, and each party either strongly feel that his opinion is the proper opinion. The ethnic Albanian group enjoyed a multiple benefits during the Ottoman rule. When Ottoman Empire defeated in Balkan war, Yugoslavia state has established and Kosovo has been integrated into Yugoslavia or occupied by the Serbs in 1912, since then Serbs became in distinctive standing compared Kosovo Albanians.
For many centuries, the territory of Kosovo has constituted the source of conflict between Albanian and Serbs, Kosovo’s issue surfaced again after the compliance of Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan war in 1912, for this reason “London” conference has been held to arrange the situations, and to divide the Kosovo-populated areas. Albania state has formed from one part of these areas (the newly formed state), while the other part remained in Kosovo and Macedonia, so they had to live in Serbia, based on the fact that the territory of Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia.
Subsequently, the constitution of 1974 granted Kosovo “autonomy” or (semi-state), the only thing that Albanians benefited was to strengthen its ties with the neighboring Albania, especially after the high pressure made by Albanians against the Serb minority, and the extreme poverty that the territory suffered at that time, besides the cessation of “reserbainazation” procedures, all these factors led to the massive migration of Serbian population as a result of the discriminatory actions and the feeling of being threatened in this territory. For these reasons, more than 160,000 Serbian left the territory between 1961 and 1986, at that same time there was a growing increase in the number of the Albanians population in the territory (M. Khalilzad 1993, p:56). Accordingly, the number of Serbs living in Kosovo was about 170.000 in 1948, while in1986 the number of Serbs in Kosovo became about150,000 . As for Albanians, they increased from 500,000 to 1.700.000 in 1999.
The geographical and geopolitical importance of Kosovo stemmed from the fact that it is located in the southern part of the former Yugoslavia, at the same time the southern part of Republic of Serbia is located there; it also has common borders with Serbia, Montenegro, the Republic of Albania and Republic of Macedonia. The Territory has a total area of 11 square kilometers; this area represents only 4.26% of the total area of Yugoslavia state. Although this geographic area is relatively small, it is considered the source of historic conflicts which extended up to the Year 2000 between the ethnic Serbian group and the Albanians ethnic group.
Figure 3.1: Map of Kosovo
Albanians call it Kosova or Kosove, while Serbs insisting on the name of Kosovo and Mitohija altogether or the abbreviation kosmet (Arnaout 1997.p18), but the former American president used the term Kosovar on the people living in Kosovo whether they are Albanians or Serbian, and the term Kosovo most commonly in English and French language. Hence, we could find some authors using both terms Kosovo and Kosova respectively, so each party in this conflict insists on his own name for the Territory, which represents evidence that each party herein remains committed to his historic demands “known as Southern Serbia in Serbia, and Eastern Albania in Albania”
Economically, Kosovo is rich in natural resources as it contains 50% of the nickel reserves existing in Yugoslavia, 48% of zinc and lead, and 47% of the magnesium existing in Yugoslavia (M.Vickers 1998.p318). In spite of all these natural resources existing in the Territory of Kosovo, it remained one of the poorest regions in Yugoslavia and less developed than other Yugoslav republics. In this regard, the Territory is considered as one of the poorest regions as it suffers from unemployment problems, the highest unemployment rate in Yugoslavia is found in Kosovo, where its unemployment rate represents two and a half times the general Yugoslav rate, and 70% of young people between the age of 20 and 25 are unemployed. Between 1970 and 1982, the unemployment rate has increased from 76% to 77.6%, while unemployment in the Serb ethnic group declined from 17.6% to 15.1% and the following table shows the unemployment rate between the Serbian ethnic group and the Albanians.
Table 3.1: Serbians and Albanians ethnic group
Resource: Momcilo Pavovic,Kosovo Under Autonomy 1974-1990
These statistics shows that, although Serbs have a relatively small number of people in Kosovo, but the unemployment rate has declined while it has increased among Albanians. Demographically, this factor has played a key role in fueling ethnic rivalry between the two groups, and the most important points in the dispute are the higher percentage of Albanian population compared with Serbian population that witnessed a major decline. It is notable that, the low number of Serbs does not mean the lack of influence to Serbs over the Territory. The situation in Syria is similar to Kosovo, Alawite group like Kosovo Serb minority; both of them take control of all political, economic, and military institutions.
3.2 THE DEMOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION OF THE POPULATION
The Territory of Kosovo has multiple ethnic groups, the ethnic conflict is not with the other ethnic groups living in the Territory, but the conflict is limited between Serbs and Albanian. The following table shows the numbers of the population and the nationalities that live in Kosovo, although there are more than 8 nationalities, the most important conflict is between Serbs and Albanians.
|Percentage and Year||%||1948||%||1953||%||1961||%||1971||%|
Resource: Momcilo Pavlovic,op.cit.p.5
The above statics shows that there is a decline in the number of Serbs Population living in Kosovo, especially in 1961 as it continued to decline until the end of 1981. The percentage of Serbian population has declined from 23.6% to 13.2% respectively. in other words, the percentage of Albanians population has increased in that period from 76.2 to 73.4 to 74.4. This statics also indicates that the demographic growth tends to be in favor of Albanians ethnic group.
Referring to historical contexts which Kosovo has gone through, the demographic change in Albanian and Serbs population can be attributed to the following reasons:
- The political, social, and economic situation, whereas the migration movements of Albanians and Serbian people affected by the situations mentioned above.
- The policies of political elites that ruled Kosovo, played considerably on the nationalist sentiment for both ethnic groups to implement its agenda and to stabilize itself in the rule.
- The regional and international situation, there has been a significant increase in Serbs numbers due to the international and regional position at that time. On the contrary, Italians and Germans granted many advantages for Albanians that led to the demographic change in favor Albanians.
For instance, in 1966 during the rule of the leader Tito, as that year was a turning point in the Albanians lives, before that date the repressive policies made by Serbs has been condoned, which led to many abuses against Albanian in Kosovo. After that date, Albanian has been granted many political and economic advantages that affected the demographic situation in favor of Albanian.
From the Serbian point of view, there was abnormal increase in the population, as they attributed that increase to the immigration of Albanians from the Republic of Albania to Kosovo, however; Albanians rejected these claims. The migration issue became one of the most important political issues that the Serbs has exploited, as they maintained their previous position, that the migration is a predominantly political issue whose objective was to purge Kosovo from Serbian ethnic group by Albanian. However, the Albanians confirmed that the economic factor was the main reason for the immigration of both Serbs and Albanians, and the Albanians group has left Kosovo to European countries for employment opportunities as a result of the unemployment and poverty that hit the Territory.
Albanians refuted the Serbian claims and relied on the historical sources in particular the genocides made by Serbs against the people of Kosovo for instance “during the period between 1912 and 1941” wherein at least 300 Albanians have been evicted. In this period, 14.000 Serb families were settled in the Territory, in addition to; between 1918 and 1938 the Serbs Army has burned and destroyed 320 villages inhabited by Albanians and killed 12346 persons and captured 51.15 houses and burned 6125 houses (Z. Dasklovski 2007, p.5).
The ethnic cleansing in Kosovo against Albanians by Serbs has begun since the collapse of Ottoman Empire, and then the Serbs leadership has captured the Territory of Kosovo. According to Daily Chronicle newspaper in the issue published on 12 November 1912: thousands of Albanians had been subject to genocides by Serbs, 2000 Muslims also had been slaughtered in the capital of Macedonia besides 5,000 others slaughtered near the city of Perzin and the Serbs openly declared that Albanian Muslims must be exterminated because they are the only way to restore peace in the country(R. Elsie 2008, p.8).
From the Serbian point of view, there was abnormal increase in the population, as they attributed that increase to the migration of Albanians from the Republic of Albania to Kosovo, however; Albanians rejected these claims. The migration issue became one of the most important political issues that the Serbs has exploited, as they maintained their previous position, that the migration is a predominantly political issue whose objective was to purge Kosovo from Serbian ethnic group by Albanian (R. Elsie 2008, p.32). However, the Albanian confirmed that the economic factor was the main reason for the immigration of both Serbs and Albanians, and the Albanian group has left Kosovo to European countries for employment opportunities as a result of the unemployment and poverty that hit the Territory.
Serbs used many means to displace Albanians from Kosovo:
- Forced migration: The forced migration came after the Serbian oppression, as the Albanians suffered from many kinds of oppressive measures that make the Albanian’s life impossible, so they forced to leave their homes.
- The measures utilized to encourage the people to leave their homes: There was multiple means used by Yugoslav Authorities to force the Albanians to leave their countries: For instance, people were being threatened with death, Serbs also imposed a restriction on the freedom in all spheres of life, prohibited teaching the Albanian language, and prevented the national sentiment to be expressed.
- Migration for Albania Kosovo, Albanians have been pressured to migrate to Albania and forced to be registered as a Turkish people within the statics regulations to facilitate their migration to Turkey.
Serbian migration issue from Kosovo began to take a major priority for Serbian authorities whether in Kosovo or Republic of Serbia, therefore; Serbian writers and intellectuals warned on the potential consequences resulting from cleaning Kosovo from Serbian people. Serbs have spread their propaganda due to the lack of neutral statics in particular after Albanian’s boycott for the census of 1991, hence Serbs seized the opportunity and conducted the one-sided census. Such statics show the percentage of Serbs and Montenegro that emigrated from Kosovo according to Serbs’ claims(R. Elsie 2008.p8).
Table 3.3: Emigration from Kosovo (1948-1991)
|Total of population||727,820||936,188||1,243,693||1,584,558||1,956,196|
Resource: Momcillo Pavlovic,op.cit.,p.27.
According to the above tables that indicate: the percentage of Albanian population has increased between 1948 and 1991 from 68.4% to 81.59 an increase of 13.9%, while the percentage of Serbian population in the same period had declined from 23.6 to 10.97, an decline of 12.63. The aforesaid percentages mean that half population of Serbs left Kosovo.
Figure 3.2: Ethnic composition of Kosovo 2005
The policies of the ethnic Serbs groups from long ago, were to evict non-Serbs minorities such as Roma, Hungarian, and Albanian from both of Serbia and Kosovo. To clarify this policy we are cite the note published on 3rd of November 1944 by the Serbian writer Vaso Cubrilovic which calling for the capture of the Backa Territory “if we desired to settle our problems with minorities we should occupy the Backa Territory and Kosovo, besides evicting hundreds of Hungarian and Albanian, and it is necessary cleansing the Germans and Hungarians from Ancient Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia (Atanassova 1999.p2) Hence migration is an alibi they hide behind.
Serbian ethnic group is distributed in many republics: Croatia, Montenegro,Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Serbia, and the Albanian ethnic Group is also distributed in Several republics and European countries, and the highest proportion of Albanians existing in the Republic of Albania and then Kosovo, Macedonia, and the following table shows us the distribution of the Albanian population.
Table 3.4: The distribution of the Albanian population
Resource: Atanassova,The impact of Ethnic Issues on Security of East Europe
On the other hand, religion has played a major role in the outbreak of conflicts in the Balkan, especially among Muslims, Albanian Catholics and Serbian Orthodox.
Table 3.5: The religious structure in Kosovo
|Muslims||1.7 million Muslims|
Resource: Denitch, 1994, p.113.
Serbs belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church and non-Serbs embrace the religion of Islam, Catholics. And there is an Albanian minority belongs to the Orthodox Church, Serbs is considered Kosovo as the holy place of the Serbs because it is the birthplace of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The most of Serbian Orthodox churches located in Kosovo as it the region wherein most of the monuments relating to Serbian culture in medieval centuries. It is the place of the historic battle that witnessed the collapse of the Serbian empire in medieval centuries by the Ottoman Empire which ruled the middle region for more than five centuries(Arnaout 1999.p60).
3.3 THE ARRIVAL OF JOSIP TITO TO POWER
Tito joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY), and was an effective member in the party before his detention in 1929. He has released from prison in 1934, and has quickly became a prominent member in (CPY), then he named himself Tito, which it was an alias name and used that name to work in secret. He went to the Soviet Union to work with the Soviet-led international communist organization – and in 1937-1938 escaped from the purge of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to senior leaders of the Communist Party. In 1939, Tito became Secretary-General of the Communist Party.
In 1941, Axis forces invaded and occupied Yugoslavia, and Tito and his Communist Party emerged as leaders of the anti-Nazi resistance. In 1944, Soviet forces liberated Yugoslavia, and in March 1945 Marshal Tito was appointed as head of the new federal government of Yugoslavia. Non-Communists were fully evicted from the government, and in November 1945 Tito was elected as a Yugoslav prime minister in elections limited to candidates from the Communist-dominated National Liberation Front. In the same month (History.com.1999).
the second Yugoslavia was established on the ruins of the Second World War, which was called Yugoslavia Tito 1945-1980, which included Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and two the autonomous regions of Kosovo, and he encouraged Serb migrations to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Kosovo Territory, which administratively annexed to Serbia, as well as migrating to Macedonia, he tried to create human balances that contribute to the stability of his regime.
Albanians was granted autonomy over Kosovo under the 1963 Constitution which paved the way for Kosovo to be represented within the Yugoslav Federal Parliament under the 1974 constitutional amendments, which eased the ethnic conflict between Albanians and Serbs, and curbed the Soviet-Serbian nationalism’s ambition to control Kosovo. Some media studies and institutions, as mentioned earlier, referred the stability of Kosovo under President Tito thanks to a series of security policies that had only a role to complicate and deepen the conflict between Serbs and Albanians, these policies imposed a phase of false social and cultural stability between the two main components of the region, and led to the postponement of the conflict as evidenced by its appearance on the surface as soon as his death in 1980.
After the formation of “Greater Albania”, as part of the Italian Empire, which included most of Kosovo and other areas inhabited by Albanians (Western Macedonia and southern Montenegro), where Albanians received many cultural, economic and commercial advantages, at the same time, Tito and a group of his colleagues were being established the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (Britannica.2019). The party called for the building of a new Yugoslavia based on the equality among the community of Yugoslav nationalities, and induced Albanians to establish Communist Party of Albania. The party also provided messages of support for Kosovo Albanians to exercise their right to self-determination.
In this context, Albanians formed a council representing all the people to voice their interests and destiny. In 1944, the founding conference of Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation held in Kosovo, and released its historic statement that provides “The Territory of Kosovo is inhabited by the majority of Albanian people that desire to unite with Albania, accordingly; the path in which the Albanian people take shall be clarified for purpose of achieving this ambition: In addition to: the joint war with Yugoslavia people against the Nazi occupier (Arnaout.1999)”
However, some Kosovo units have defected after the liberation of Kosovo, as they thought their mission has ended with the conference’s decision that granted Kosovo Albanians the right to self-determination, The leadership of the Communist Party did not respond to the decision at that time, as it considered the decision as a rebellion “counter-revolution”. In1945, the leadership of the Communist Party imposed the military administration on Kosovo for the purpose of forcing them to continue fighting. Such procedures were considered at that time as a coup against the “historic decision” that issued by the conference in which it stressed the right of Albanians people to self-determination. The counter-revolution has been eradicated, and the “Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation” has been forced to declare the accession of Kosovo to the Republic of Serbia within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At the same time during February 1945, the destiny of Kosovo was decided by Tito in the closed meetings that included the close circle officials (Arnaout.1999.P68).
3.4 THE ROLE OF HIS POLICIES IN SERBIAN-ALBANIA CONFLICT
3.4.1 The Security Policy
The Territory of Kosovo constituted one of the most important factors that has had a major impact on the dissolution of Yugoslavia, which continues to be a factor of the instability of the entire region of the Balkan, because the root causes of this problem are basically associated with the formation of Albania state as an independent state after Balkan wars. The Territory of Kosovo is one of the regions located in Yugoslavia, which had not attained the level of the Republic but remained autonomous before abolishing the autonomy by Slobodan Milosevic in 1989. As a consequence, a wave of turmoil erupted in Kosovo and resulted in the death of 10 Albanian demonstrators, however; these incidents were not the beginning point in Kosovo crisis.
In spite of the impact resulting from the abolition of the autonomy in 1989, which worsened the current conflict between Serbs and Albanians over Kosovo, there are a set of economic, political, and social factors remained effective thanks to the policies that Tito pursued towards this crisis. Tito has taken a communist approach in his political journey, that meet with the Soviet ideology, and relied on secret police group known as “Ozna” to implement his policy in the country and to eliminate his opponents as well. He did not pursue a reform policy that takes into account the ethnic tension between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. On the contrary, all solutions provided at that time, was based on deepening the hostility and hatred between the two conflicting parties. Whereas, the link between the Serbs and Albanians (Marxism) in their fight against the Italian invasion during the Second World War turned into loyalty to ethnicity.
Addressing the ethnic problems during Tito reign was prohibited and punishable by the law that is because the Constitution stated that people in Yugoslavian have equal rights and duties. At all events, Tito’s policy has fueled the national strife and conflict, and at best racial tension has been encircled and tackled only on the surface, through ideological constraints, while social differences have evolved and intensified at the bottom.
Accordingly, The security agencies intensified their activities against Albanians in Kosovo simply for their loyalty to the Albanian government on the other side of Yugoslav borders, Especially after the deterioration of the relations between both countries, due to the support of Albanian president Anwar Khouja, to the decision of Communist Information Bureau of the Government of Stalin. Whereas the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) was accused of deviating from the principles of the Communist Party, the economic, social strangulation increased on Yugoslavia.
As a result, the security agencies began a large-scale campaign of arrests against Albanians in Kosovo instead of gaining them in their favor in the face of the blockade imposed by Stalin and the neighboring countries, which might be reflected on the internal tense situation as a result of the regional situation. In this regard, once a person is suspected of supporting Stalin’s decision, he is arrested without trial. the Yugoslav agencies dealt with all the Albanians in Kosovo as third class citizens, especially because they are stationed along the border with Albania (Arnaout 2008, p.72).
These oppressive practices extended even to the intellectual elite, that has not been immune from detention, unfair trials, and execution as these procedures included the participants in Bojan conference 1/1/1944. The participants in the conference declared the desire of the Albanian people to unite with Kosovo, for this reason, the Albanian prisoners were accused of co-operation with the foreign conspiracies and treason, and they also were accused of imposing the viewpoint of the security agencies and returning Kosovo to the atmosphere of the former Serbian policies. Once a person is calling for the unity with Yugoslavia, it considered a dangerous act that entails charging him with treason.
On the other hand, the policy of Tito towards the conflicting parties is among the factors that reflected on the Serbs-Albanian conflict, as he played considerably on the principle of the historic conflicts among ethnic groups to impose a sort of stability that many studies have described as the full “stability.” In this regard Tito said, “a weak Serbia means a strong Yugoslavia, and a weak Yugoslavia means a weak Serbia” These declarations strengthened ethnic oppression, so Tito sought to weaken the Serbian ethnic group that it is the biggest ethnic group in Yugoslavia as it constitutes about 42% of the population according to the census of 1961 and 36% of the population according to the census of 1991(Dode1999.p11).
3.4.2 The Demographic Change
Tito attempted to promote the Yugoslav identity through imposing it on the ethnic components of the state by using the security legislation and the policies. In the context of the conflict between Serbs and Albanians, these measures have highly increased the Albanian ambition to live within the space of the union that is histrionically full of ethnic strife between Albanians and Serbs without providing a real solution to solve the real causes of the problem that its roots back to the Ottoman rule of Balkan states. This policies were not separated from the Albanians’ mental image towards many Serbs nor the abuses they incurred by Serbs during Yugoslav Civil war in 1941-1945, as they were subject to “reserbainzation” of the community and its local institution, together with the massive displacement.
These policies have spread to hit the economic, educational, and social system in Kosovo through dismissing many teachers, employees off their jobs on the pretext of their supporting to the Albanian Government. A new wave of Serbian settlers had systematically migrated to Kosovo on the basis of covering the existing shortage in educational and economic cadres etc… In this context, teachers and intellectuals put under pressure, as the Albanian language has been prohibited, and there was no expansion in education for the purpose of employing Serbian cadres and experts throughout the country.
Serbian authority forced Albanian to declare that they are “Turkish” in the census of 1953, to facilitate the scheme that aimed at resolving Albanian matter of Kosovo by emptying the Territory of the Albanian component. As a result of these pressures, the number of Turks in Kosovo increased from 1,350 in 1948 to 34,583 in the 1953 census. This scheme facilitated the large-scale emigration for Turkey, as the continual pressures pushed thousands of Albanian to emigrate during the 1950s. In 1953 only, 13,000 Turks emigrated while 17,000 Turks emigrated in 1954(Arnaout 2008.p73). By the year 1956, these pressures extended to what was known as “carrying Arms”, the agencies launched a series of raids and arrested dozens of thousands to investigate them for purpose of obtaining information about weapons. The campaign was the worst memory for decades in the hearts of Albanians and had a major role in driving tens of thousands to migrate to Turkey.
These policies remained associated with the conflict between Serbs and Albanians, as emigration issue was being dealt according to the political situation in Kosovo, and the number of both components to the Territory (Serbs and Albanians) was being increased and declined according to the policies pursued. In 1966, Kosovo has granted autonomy in accordance with a package of constitutional reforms enabled Albanian Kosovo to be represented in the Communist Party; as a consequence there was further involvement in Yugoslav local administration (ausa.org 1999, p.5).
These reforms did not take into account the other side – Serbs – who consider themselves a victim of ethnic injustice like Albanians. These reforms came as a temporary solution to impose a false balance of “brotherhood” that Tito called for, rather than an integrated plan to address the root causes of the ethnic conflict. These reforms have raised the concerns of Serbs who constructed what happened in 1966 similar to what happened In 1389 that they consider it another big loss for Kosovo and another defeat to Serbs, in particular, the tension was being increased with the approach of the 600th anniversary to the battle of Kosovo 1389 (Arnaout 2008, p.79).
Tito has conducted the demographic change for the purpose of curbing the Serbian dream that was intended to put Kosovo under Serbian control, and he has given Albanian Kosovo many constitutional advantages that were in the Albanian interest in general. In the other side, he facilitated the “reserbainzation” process to many Albanian institutions in Kosovo through facilitating the emigration of a significant number of Serbs. As a result of these policies – even we supposed they were well-intended, but the real intention was to stabilize the rule of Tito through playing considerably on the demographic composition of Kosovo.
3.4.3 The Economic Policies
Yugoslavia’s experience in handling different kinds of ethnic groups proved the contrary, as the ethnic spirit is strongly rooted in the lives of the people, so melting these sentiments into the crucible of modern state failed even at the economic level, however; these problems have reflected on the federal regime that suffered from all factor of division and dispersion. Tito’s experience showed social and economic differences between the developed north and the underdevelopment south which means the minority-rich in the north and the majority-poor in the south, and upon the death of Tito in 1980, the nationalism replaced the empty that left by the communist regime then the ethnic strife and sectarian intolerance have increased.
Although Kosovo is rich with mineral resources, its economy highly depending on agriculture as 68% of its land is suitable for cultivation. It suffers from a severe shortage of energy sectors and roads, and most of the industries are operational industries in addition, a severe shortage of infrastructure and a lack of long-term investments that could cover the existing deficit in the economy.
These economic circumstances were accompanied by a systematic eviction of Albanian workers especially in 1966. This issue as mentioned above contributed to evicting Albanians from the state institutions (education, economy, police, etc…) which had a clear economic impact on the unemployment rate. Tito has pursued a different kind of economic policy to deal with poor regions as he relied on Blood Transfusion (S.Shan 2015.p55).This means strengthening the economy of the poor regions depending on rich countries such as Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Croatia.
As a result of this strategy, most of the investment projects were targeting the rich countries, but he did not rely on resources existing in Kosovo to establish a heavy industry. The industries built was heavily dependent on the raw materials that were – available in advance – in Kosovo with a low margin of profit. This in turn led to an unstable economy in the union countries in general. On the other hand, the Federal Fund for the Development of various regions of Yugoslavia was formed, and Kosovo has a share of about two thirds of this fund (Arnaout 2008, p.76).
The economic solutions did not pay attention to the ethnic situation, as a result, these policies only contributed to increasing the social deterioration and worsen the living conditions of Albanians, at the same time, the per capita income of the national income was in Kosovo $ 800 was $ 5,000 in Slovenia. The situation did not change much even after the death of Tito, as at the beginning of 1990 the per capita income of the national income was in Kosovo 1302$ compared with 12618$ in Slovenia (S.Shan 2015, p.55). The difference moved from 5 to 10 doubles.
This policy contributed to deepening the ethnic disputes among the countries and the territory of the union. As the rich countries saw that these policies draining its local economy. Rich countries have begun to refuse to participate and sacrifice for the sake of building Kosovo’s economy. This is one of the reasons that led Slovenia to secede from the Union in 1990. On the other hand, in the poor areas such as Kosovo, Albanians felt they had been exploited to concentrate most of the investments in countries such as Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia. Most industries in Kosovo were operational industries and were not upgraded to be heavy industries or to be real infrastructure projects that would reduce high unemployment rates, rather than relying on ready-made financing.
The economic situation has reflected on the ethnic tension between Serbs and Albanians, each party a range of grievances to mistrust on the other party, so the economic policy depended on short-term solutions, but there will no investment in infrastructures and basic industries that pave the way to sustainable economic renaissance consistent with the living conditions in Kosovo and enhance the relations between Serbs and Albanians. Albanians felt inequality due to the distribution of industries and investment on a regional basis, which widened the gap and strengthened the conflict between the Albanians and the rest of the peoples of the Union, particularly with the Serbs.
This conflict evolved into a war between the Yugoslav and NATO forces. The territory of Kosovo was separated from Belgrade that no longer has any political authority or sovereignty over the territory, the Territory has become under United Nations administration that protects it from any internal and external threat, Kosovo is the last territory to escape from Serbian control, Belgrade lost Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Montenegro. Montenegro held a referendum for self-determination and more than 50 percent expressed their desire for independence. It no longer bears the name of the Republic of Yugoslavia and Montenegro after the emergence of the Republic of Montenegro.
Kosovo crisis established the international basics and criteria for humanitarian intervention, which involved a media furor and academic controversy between international lawyers and diplomats, as a result of NATO intervention without Security Council authorization especially over the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the intervention and its relationship to the ethnic cleansing. . For the purpose of avoiding a humanitarian disaster in the Territory, the crisis entailed the intervention without Security Council authorization for fear of the use of Veto by Russia. On the contrary, the Security Council did not intervene in Syria crisis due to Russian and Chinese Veto. An international committee has been developed to set a criteria for the humanitarian intervention and submitted its report to the Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
At the same time, the Albanian people resolutely refused to back to the autonomy that was applied before 1989, which mean the return to the oppressive Serb’s rule that evicted and persecuted Albanians. It is difficult for Albanians to accept any Serbian soldier in their land because this will provoke the feelings and emotions of the Albanians
The losses in each Syria and Kosovo as a result of this conflict are limited to:
- The full destruction of economic infrastructure in Syria and Kosovo such as: transportation, bridges, fuel depots, plants, power stations, and civil and military airports. The material losses estimated at billions of dollars. Which requires a long time to recovery the economy, provided that providing a local and international funds.
- On the humanitarian side: the problem of refugees has emerged as a result of the repression and genocides in both countries, which considered as the biggest population movement that Europe has seen since the Second World War. This problem affects the neighboring countries in both countries for securing housing and feeding those refugees.
- The international organizations have intervened in Kosovo under the administration of the United Nation, which led to the collapse of the power and authority of Serbian leader Milosevic as a result of the military defeat, besides removing his power and prosecuting him at the International Tribunal against war crimes committed by him. In Syria, the head of the regime has lost all influence over all regions and Governorates. Moreover; his movement became conditioned by the interests of the countries that supporting him, which has taken the control of most of the Syrian territory
- The continuation of the tension between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. Even after the entry of multinational forces, that led to the United Nations administration over the Territory. In Syria, although there were many international agreements and the truces signed, but the tension continued.
4. CONFLICT IN SYRIA
4.1 THE ROOT OF THE CONFLICT IN SYRIA
Syria was vulnerable to migrations of the peoples of the neighboring regions, which were gathered around the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris since the third millennium BC. It was a center of many communities as it was the cradle of many civilizations of peoples in the region, which was gathered around the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. Whereas the region was in continuing tension due to the conflict between different civilizations on the banks of the two rivers, but the river Nile was the center of only gathering civilizations in the Egyptian state.
Syrians declared their independence under the leadership of King Faisal I, son of Sharif Hussein. But Britain and France, the victors in the First World War, were planning to divide the Arab regions. According to the Sykes-Picot Treaty in 1916, the two countries agreed to divide the Middle East into the influence of British and French and agreed that Syria would be in the French influence zone. In the early 1920 the French troops landed on the Syrian coast and after series of battles with the Syrian army that was less in numbers and arms, The French troops, after the sacrifices made by the warriors that fought the French, enabled to put Syria under its control, in 1923, the beginning of French mandate has been declared over Syria with authorization from United Nations.
Geographically, Syria is located in west of Asia within the region that geopolitically known as the Middle East, and is bounded by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan and Palestine to the south, and Lebanon and the Mediterranean to the west. Damascus is the capital of Syria that consists of fourteen governorates.
Figure 4.1: Map of Syria
The Syrians decided to resist the new occupation. In 1925, Syrians declared (the Great Syrian Revolution) that led by Sultan Pasha al-Atrash (Druze from Jabal al-Arab located in the south of Syria) against the mandate. There were fierce battles between the revolutionaries and the French troops at Jabal al-Arab region and around Damascus, the French troops stroke the capital in retaliation for the assistance of its people, eventually; French troops succeeded to suppress the revolution but it continued in its political form. In 1936, France agreed to grant Syria partial independence and signed a treaty between the two countries that provided Syria incomplete independence. However, France disavowed the treaty quickly, and its forces remained on Syrian land and remained the de facto ruler of the country.
During the Second World War, Syria became under the control of the French pro-German Vichy government, The Syrian territory witnessed a fierce clash between Vichy government forces and the Free France forces and the British forces, these confrontations ended by capture of Syria by Allied forces in 1941, then a new phase of promises has begun to grant Syria the complete independence that French disavows them again. Syrians resisted the occupation; on 29 May 1945, France responded brutally again, as it stroke the Syrian Parliament Building in Damascus, which sparked further protests in Syria and the rest of Arab world, then the crisis was referred to UN Security Council that demanded French troops to leave the country. On 17 April 1946, under increasing international pressure, the latest French troops withdrew from Syria, and that day, which marked the beginning of a new era, was declared a national holiday.
The United States of America rejected the survival of British and French forces in the Middle East region, in order to inherit the spoils of those Empires in particular in the Middle East. The post-independence period was characterized by political instability. In 1948, Israel was declared as a state above the ruin of Palestine (The United State of America and the former Soviet Union was among the early countries that recognize Israel), accordingly, Syria was among the Arab countries that sent its troops to Palestine in order to confront the emerging country Israel. Arabs forces defeated in the war. In July 1949, under the rule of Hosni al-Za’im, Syria was the latest Arabian country that signed the Armistice Agreement with Israel. This was only the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which has continued thus far.
In 1949, Syria witnessed the first military coup in the country led by Hosni al-Za’im. The British and Iraqis supported the coup but the leader rule lasted for only 139 days, after which he was overthrown by a coup led by Sami al-Hinnawi, who quickly was overthrown by Colonel Adib al-Shishakli. These coups have taken place under the competition of the internal nationalist parties and their sponsors existing in Arab countries that sought to a leading role in the region. (Egypt and Iraq that represent a socialist nationalist trend and Saudi Arabia that represents the conservative trend in the Arab world).
Al Shishakli remained in power until 1945, then the increased popular opposition forced him to resign and to leave the country for Lebanon and then to Saudi Arabia. However, Syria suffered from the political turmoil that also came from the foreign countries.
While the relations between Syria and the Soviet Union developed in the mid-1950s, its relations with the West began to worsen. Accordingly, Syria found itself in the maze of the Cold War, at the resulting of the alliances and rallies in the Middle East. In 1957, the dispute between Syria and its northern neighbor Turkey almost reached the point of military confrontation. The rapprochement between Syria and The Soviet Union reached an unprecedented level, but the disagreements with West have increased, for this reason, Western threats were one of the factors that pushed the Syrians to unite with Egypt in one state called the United Arab Republic, which was declared on 22 February 1958.
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was appointed as president to the emerging state, and he demanded the dissolution of all political parties in exchange for his approval to be the president. It was a terrible blow to all parties in Syria, including the Ba’ath party. But the officers who pushed for unity, namely the Baathists themselves, was counted for promotion, in response to their assistance to Nasser. However, the opposite was the case. Most of the non-Sunni officers were dismissed from the army’s leadership positions by Nasser, who kept them in marginal positions or kept them in Egypt away from direct influence, including Hafez al-Assad, who established with his colleagues Mohammed Omran and Salah Gaded and others, the secret military committee of the Ba’ath Party.
The unity with Egypt did not remain for a long time, because of The dissolution of the Syrian political parties was one of the reasons that led the Syrian army to leave the unity and declare the separation from the United Arab Republic on 28 September 1961. It should be noted that the coup against the unity led by Abdul Karim Nahlawi. On March 8, 1963, The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party – led another coup and later popularized it until it became known as the 8th March Revolution. The Ba’ath Party ended the estrangement with Egypt and declared its intention to restore the unity, but the negotiations in this regard failed. The disputes that emerged inside Ba’ath Party itself constituted an obstacle towards implementing its development project in Syria, as the mid-1960s were marked by further political unrest, that led to a coup on 23 February 1966, which was followed by the arrest of officers of the leadership, such as the President of the Republic Amin Hafiz.
Economically, Syria located in the trade route between the Mediterranean and the Gulf states. .Furthermore, it located between Jordan, the Arabian Gulf, Turkey, and Europe, and it was the route towards the waters of the Mediterranean and the European market. Syria relied heavily on the transit trade lines that pass from Beirut to Damascus to Saudi Arabia towards Saudi Arabia. Since 1945, Damascus merchants class strengthened their commercial relations with Saudi Arabia. By 1949, Oil Projects began to emerge, hence the importance of Syria as it geographically connected with oil-rich countries without water barriers and it has a Mediterranean coastline. The first project sponsored by British and extended from Mosul through Syrian territory towards the Mediterranean. The second is sponsored by the United States of America and extends from eastern Saudi Arabia across Jordanian territory to Syria and then to the Mediterranean through Lebanon (Wakim 2013.p100).
In spite of unity attempts between Egypt and Syria as a result of the emergence of unionist nationalist spirit during Nasser rule, but this unity had no impact on unifying the geography of peoples with one root, such as Syria and Lebanon or Syria and Iraq or Syria and Jordan. Ba’ath Party played considerably on the Sectarianism, nationalism, and stratification to stabilize its rule and to impose the national identity (the ruling party) which its policy based on the repression, the marginalization and the accusation of treason against the groups that refused state project. Since then, Syria has never known the stability Up to the present.
Since the French occupation, the ruling elite is considered as a part of foreign mobilization that has its own agendas as it sought to at least to strengthen the colonialist policies in a way that would serve to stabilize its rule for as long as possible. Even political parties that established in Syria were heavily influenced by Western ideas. the Syrian Social Nationalist Party has been established by Antoun Saadeh whom influenced by the French thoughts to nationalism, while Baa’th Party has been established by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar that influenced by German thoughts to Nationalism.
Syria and Kosovo, both of them suffered for a long time from long-term of conflict, and they were the scene of international and regional conflict, which in turn has also affected the internal situation. The neighboring countries used the ethnic issue in addition to their affiliated allies inside Syria, even the political parties in Syria were a simulation of some Western and communist models. Even the regimes did not take the advantage of the long period rule that both of Tito and Hafez al-Assad remained, to create economic, social, and political prosperity based on the ethnic and sectarian diversity that serve the two countries for a long time. On the contrary, as mentioned above, the problem of ethnicity was one of the methods that used to overthrow the opponents and to stir up nationalist projects that had received no acceptance from the people in Syria or Kosovo.
Syrian population of, tribes, and clans across all Syrian borders, have a kinship relation through marriage as a result of the political, economic and wars that Syria has gone through, or through the circumstances that the other countries seen which led a movement of emigration from and to Syria. Syrian society is an extension to the rest of the peoples of the neighboring countries, that interacting with each other when either side of the border is exposed to any political, social or economic changes. Some clans and families living in the Syrian territory are an extension to the clans and families of Arabian, Kurdish, Syriac and Assyrian Christian origin from the different sectarian existing in Mesopotamia or Iraq with its current borders. While other clans and families are belonging to Arabian, Kurdish and Syriac Christian origin of Anatolia.
The Alawite communities exist along the Syrian coast, and they are an extension to Turkish Arab Alawites in the province of Kilkia or what is so-called Hatti region in Turkey nowadays. The southern of Syria is inhabited by Arabian Sunni families and Druze families as well, that are considered an extension to the tribes that came from Arabian Peninsula and Jordan with its current borders. in addition to the major cities such as Damascus and Aleppo, are considered as a mixture of the indigenous peoples and the peoples that came to it as a result of its location that exists in vital trade line throughout the history. Followed that the period in which the major countries played a major role in dividing the region by Sykes-Picot Treaty and according to their interests. Accordingly, Syria was divided by its natural borders, which included Syria, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon into four countries, Syria and Lebanon given to France, while Jordan and Palestine given English occupation.
Syria is characterized by great ethnic and religious diversity due to the fact that it is one of the most vital areas in ancient history. And one of the oldest lands where the human remains have been discovered that back to the prehistoric era, there are some people near Damascus in Maaloula speaking the Aramaic language that spoken by Jesus. . Syria was the land that the Prophet Abraham, the father of all prophets, passes through before the emergence of Jews’ religion five centuries ago, and it was a scene for the major confrontations that had not been interrupted among the old empires such as Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, and Pharaoh
The population of Syria is currently estimated at more than 23 million. According to the United Nations Annual Demographic Report of 2008, the population of Syria is distributed to the main governorates as follows:
Table 4.1: Syria top 20 cities by population
Resource: World Population Prospects (2017 Revision) – United Nations population estimates and projections. http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/syria-population/
Some studies indicate that there are about 20 million people of Syrian origin in the other countries of the world, especially in the Americas, Europe, and Australia.
Due to the internal migration movement, it is impossible to limit certain geographical area with a separate ethnic or religious group, while it is possible to talk about a general Sunni majority concentrated in the main governorates: Damascus, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Raqqa and Daraa. While Muslims of the Alawite sect, who follow the Jaafari Shi’ite sect, are concentrated in the villages of the Syrian coast and some interior areas and close to the interior areas. With regard to the Druze, the highest density are concentrated in the southern region of Al Gabal in the governorate Al Suweida, as well as there are more than 40.000 Druze in the occupied Golan Heights.
As for Christian, they are spread in all over the country, they concentrated in certain cities or in some entire villages, with reference to the presence of various ethnic groups such as Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriac, and Armenians While the Armenians are mainly concentrated in Aleppo, Latakia, and Qamishli. With regard to Kurds, their number is estimated at more than one million Kurds and they are concentrated in the north-east areas.
It is noteworthy that, the Act granting Syrian nationality, that issued on the beginning of April 2000 for the unregistered births, because of the census of Hasaka 1962, indicates that there an increase in the number of Kurds officially registered in the state register by 200,000. As for the Turkmen in Syria – they are Sunni Muslims – there are no accurate statistics, but some sources are estimated their number by 3% of the total population.
Turkmen are distributed in Syria between the villages and the cities and the most important gatherings in Aleppo, Damascus, Lattakia and Homs in which there is a region called Bab al-Turkman. In Damascus they are concentrated on Saruja district, that was named after Turkish Mamluk leader, Sarem al-Din Saruja. In Aleppo Turkmen are concentrated on the northern villages of Aleppo.
The Syrian Turkmen divide into two parts:
- Turkmen of the cities: Turkmen among the Syrian families whose their roots extend back to Turkic dynasties that existed in Syria since the arrival of the Seljuks and then the Mamluks and the Ottomans. Some of these Turkmen families were being worked as officials in the Ottoman army during the Ottoman reign. Among those families: Qabbani family (Nizar Qabbani), Mardam Bak, and others.
- Turkmen of the villages: A mixture of Turkoman clans (their origins back to from Oghuz tribes) and all the Turkoman villages in Syria from Oghuz.
Figure 4.2: Ethnic composition of Syria
Resource: Ethnic Composition. Each color represents an ethnic or religious group. (Michael Izady / The Gulf/2000 Project at Columbia University)
Due to the absence of accurate statistics on religious distribution, many studies refer to various statistics, including the 1985 census, which lists the proportions as follows: 76.1% Sunni Muslims, 11.5% Alawites, 3% Druze, 1% Isma’ilis, between 4.5% and 0.4% a Twelver Shia, but there are some researchers have strong doubts about the accuracy of these proportions as they believe that The proportion of Sunnis in Syria is not less than 80% and reaches 85% if the Sunnis Kurds added to them besides 9% Alawites and 5% Christians many of whom emigrated abroad(Aljazeera 2011 ).
While The US State Department’s report on religious freedoms states that the percentage of Sunni Muslims in Syria is 77%, 10% Alawite, 3% Druze, Ismailis, and Twelfth Shi’a, and 8% of the population are Christians of belonging to different sectarians affiliated to the Eastern Church. The Orthodox denomination is largely dominated on the Christian distribution, There is also a Yazidi minority in the Jabal Sinjar region on the border with Iran. As for the Jews, most of them emigrated after the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad allowed them to leave the country in the early nineties of the last century, and statistics indicate that the survivals are very few and do not exceed thousands in Aleppo and Damascus exclusively, and there are studies indicating that their number does not exceed a few hundreds (Aljazeera 2011 ).
There are multiple Ethnic and sectarian groups in Kosovo and Syria as well, as those ethnic and sectarian groups extended along the borders of the neighboring countries such as Kosovo Albanians, even though the Albanians issue surfaced only due to the brutal practices against them. In Syria, too, there were many ethnic problems, the most prominent of which was the sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Alawites which was covered by Tito’s security policies and a kind of balance that did not last long. The main objective of these balances are to stabilize the ruling regime and the use of the minority or the majority in fighting any component that could pose a danger to the ruling regime in Syria, for example Kurds against Arabs or Alawites against Sunnis and vice versa. Just as the same policies that applied to the situation between Serbs and Albania.
Syria witnessed a political division or subordination for two major Arab power, the first one called Baghdad Axis or Fertile Crescent, and the second one is the Egypt-Saudi Arabia axis and behind each axis a foreign countries. The arrival or lack access to the power in Syria was depending on the support of their allies. Politicians also contributed some way in the politicization of the military through attracting the officers in favor of each party or axis. This military personnel, later became involved in the appointment of the government and ministers, dissolve the parliament if their interests and positions are threatened.
The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party – came to power in Syria through a military coup on 8th March 1963, led by a five-year military committee. The party dismissed at least 700 high-ranking opponent’s officers, it replaced them with officers of minorities, in particular, the Alawite minority, then another coup in 1966 followed the first one, in which the president Amin Hafez” has been overthrown and the opponents had been evicted as well. The nationalist leadership has been eradicated, and the coup liquidated the Sunni officers which led to growing representation of the religious minority again. Hafez al-Assad was appointed as defense minister, and his opponents has been liquidated even who assisted the Ba’ath Party.
In 1967, the war erupted between Israel and (Egypt – Jordan – Syria)Israel had managed to occupy Gaza, Sinai, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Syrian army involvement to assist Egypt and Jordan in this war was weak. It has even been said that the Syrian participation in this war was one of the causes of the Nakba and led to the huge material loss in the lives, equipment in addition to the new territories that seized by Israel, as the Minister of Defense (Hafez al-Assad) reported the fall of Quneitra three hours before occupying it.
The disagreements began to emerge among the coup partners Salah Gaded (Assistant Secretary of the Arab Ba’ath Party) and Hafez Al-Assad (Minister of Defense)..Such disagreements reached its peak when Hafez Al- Assad rejected to provide that air support of Syrian forces that intervened in favor of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in its war with Jordan in what became known as Black September War, which led to the failure of the Syrian force’s mission. Accordingly, Salah Gaded called on 30th of October for an emergency meeting at the level of national leadership, to hold the Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad the accountability. The meeting issued its famous decision to remove Hafez al-Assad from the post of defense minister. Hafez al-Assad quickly ordered the army to occupy all the branches of the party with the help of Mustafa Tlass, the chief of staff, and Rafat al-Assad Hafez’s brother, who headed the security forces.
Salah Gaded was detained besides the President of the Republic, Nour Al Din Al-Atassi “Sunni” on 13/10/1970, many of the members of the meeting fled to Lebanon to avoid detention. Maj. Salah remained in Mazza prison until his death on 19th of August 1993, while Nour Al Din Al-Atassi was released after more than 20 years in jail and died shortly afterwards. Many Baathists of Hafiz al-Asad’s comrades, whether the military leaders or civilian received the same destiny.
Ahmad Hasan Al-Khatib “Sunni” was appointed as interim President, then a pro forma referendum was held on 22 March 1971 over the coup leader that falsely dubbed himself the leader of (Corrective Movement), The government media claimed that 95% of the people participated in the referendum process, which was won by Hafez al-Assad (99.2%). Then he became the first Alawite president to Syria for seven years term and followed by similar referendums in 1978, 1985, 1992 and 1999.
Al Assad played considerably on the population structure with its extension whether in Syria or in the neighboring countries, either through strengthening or supporting a positions for political figures belongs to certain families or tribes or even from certain cities on ideological, sectarian and class basis in the regime, or through strengthening the disagreements among them in which serve the objective that Assad aimed at for the purpose of stabilizing his rule. He was aware that the continuation of the regime and its stability in Syria depending on a person who understands the demographic structure well, who also have the ability to use the contradictions and divergence as a tool to rule in which he promoted the ethnic class in the Syrian society.
In addition to, there was a further confiscation of public freedoms that began in 8th of March 1963, as he integrated the existing parties within meaningless national front with no real role in political life. No party law was issued during his rule, as he prevented the establishment of any new parties, and imprisoned any person seeking to form a political organization for a period of up to a quarter of a century. Syria moved from the coups phase to the one-party, and security agencies phase, as he harnessed the economy to serve the regime only.
It was also the solution in Kosovo under the rule of Josip Tito. He did not take into his account the Albanians rights and the political, social, economic conditions in which the Albanians suffered, which ended with demands for independence, this is the situation in Syria. Although it has not been formally announced, Syria now has three major powers. An area ruled by the ruling regime representing the Alawite community and areas controlled by Sunni groups in the north and areas controlled by Kurds and Arab tribes in the north-east. In the context of comparison, the Kosovo issue is similar to the problem of each region in Syrian separately.
4.4.1 The Security Policy
In their modern history, the Syrians experienced multiple violent events for a number of political conflicts, especially during the rule of Al Assad régime. Hafez al-Assad, who was an air force officer, and little by little came to power, after disposing of his comrades and colleagues then he built an absolute and despotic regime, managed to hold all the keys of authority and transformed the state into a security agency serving his violent and cohesive power. Al Assad began to stabilize his regime through the establishment of several security agencies, that its duties were concentrated on monitoring the citizens, beside; he demanded from the security agencies to monitor each other and to raise reports to the head of power.
Hafez al-Assad’s main objective, in order to stabilize his rule, was “to disrupt the ability of the military to carry out any coup.” As he disrupted the functions of the General Staff and the Ministry of Defense, leaving them like the empty structures without real powers. All the division and brigade commanders and the military contingent was linked to him exclusively and individually, he chose them by himself, and encouraged them to compete, so as not to agree against him.
The security system in the reign of Al Assad senior consists of Air Force Intelligence (AFI), Military intelligence, Political intelligence, and state security. These measures were accompanied by the consolidation of sectarian and ethnic strata in state security and the army. The supreme positions were handed over to Alawite officers while Sunni officers have been excluded. Furthermore, the employment system within the security agency was based on sectarian allegiance and hence ideological allegiance which mean the loyalty to one-party (The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party) These agencies have become involved in the daily affairs of citizens in order to stabilize the ruling regime and to create problems among the components of Syrian people for easy control.
These agencies followed Satan’s methods and intimidated all opposition movements. These practices extended to even the movements that were demanding of some basic rights to improve the living conditions, through the threat of Israeli danger on the Arab Nation and Syrian State, the security agencies have promoted to fictitious achievements made by Al-Assad in the face of this aggression. But addressing issues like the rights of sectarians and ethnic groups was one of the issue that could be end with genocide or murder. As such in the Hama Massacre in 1982, in which the regime killed thousands of Syrian people and enforced the material law.
Hafez al-Assad transformed Syria into a security state with its complete description, as he doubled the volume, branches and networks of security agencies, and expanded his authority to interfere in any matter. He chose the leaders by his own and linked them with himself directly, and deliberately overlapped their powers to facilitate monitoring them. People had gone to Security Officers and Military Officers to address their matters instead of the State institutions, Al Assad also eradicated all oppositions forms and he introduced the Brotherhood example during his confrontations with them at the late of the 1970s and the beginning of 1980s as a brutal example to his practices. His brutal practices reached its peak against Syrian in1982, as he destroyed a large part of the city of Hama, and killed thousands of civilians to provide an example of what he would do against anyone opposing his authority (Aljazeera 2011).
The activities of these agencies have reflected on the structure of Syrian people, in particular, the helpless groups and sects. The proportion of inequities has increased with many components of Syrian people that believed that the basic role of the security agencies that have sectarian or socialist ideology was to assist Al Assad regime. With regard to the judicial system, the cases were adjudicated on the basis of affiliation, not on the basis of rights, which raised the repression of the Syrian people. The rift between the components of Syrian people has increased and the stratification has been strengthened on the regions. There was a way to handle issues belonging to the groups close to Al Assad or who are benefited from him, but such way was different from the way in which the rest of Syrian people handled.
Tito’s security policy did not differ from Al Assad’s regime policy. Both of them depended on the use the security agencies to stabilize his rule and to fight the opposition movements. At the same time, holding the accountability to any attempts seeking for addressing the ethnic and sectarian disputes, which led to the postponement of many injustices and sense of injustice of the oppressed groups for a long time . On the other hand, the security agencies duty limited to decriminalize any attempt tends to revolt against the melting into the one-party pot (The Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Syria, The Communist Party of Yugoslavia), thus, both regimes did not establish security agencies representing all segments of society and taking into their account the cultural and social background and the conflicts.
4.4.2 The Demographic Change
There has been a change in the way Ba’athist dealt with the demography of the Syrian society, once Al Assad senior taking over the authority, he practiced selective policies to internally manage this matter, as he used it externally in his relations with regional countries. In his turn, Al Assad attracted the majority through restoring the radical leftist orientations of the Baath, as well as he was interested to be consistent with the identity of the majority to deny the sectarian charges about his regime. On the other hand, Al Assad continued in his policies to destroy the main elements of the majority through targeting their security and military institutions and promoting the existence of the minority in the state institutions in particular Alawites. Externally, Al Assad has used the Kurdish and Shiite paper to obtain political gains for his regime, whether in his relation with Turkey or with Iran. In conclusion, Al Assad senior did not target producing a demographic change because he understood the difficulty of this matter but intended to manage the demographic matter through critical balance policies aimed at weakening the Sunni majority in a way that ensures the stability of his regime.
There are events bear witness to the above mentioned, in particular when Al Assad relied on Naji Jamil- the mayor of Deir al-Zour – in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he did not carry out his duty as perfectly as required. Due to the sympathy of the people of Deir al-Zor with them, and the Saddam Hussein’s support to Muslim Brotherhood and the people of Deir al-Zor, at the same time, because the latter was cousins of the tribes in central Iraq, whom were the pillar of Saddam Hussein(wakim 2013.p180). So he replaced them by another Sunni community through providing many advantages for Daraa and Houran tribes, which led to the strengthening of Sunni figures role during the rule of Hafez al-Asad senior such as: the foreign minister Farouk al-Shara, former Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Zu’bi, Deputy Secretary General of the Ba’ath Party Suleiman Qaddah, and Brigadier General Rustam Azal.
At the same time, he opened the door towards the spread of Iranian culture. For the purpose of causing the change in the fabric of the Syrian society in exchange for keeping some external interests, in order to address the threat of Israel and at the same time to use it in his relationship with Arabian Gulf Countries as a trump card. For this reason, many Arabian Gulf Countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait financed many projects in the capital Damascus in exchange for reducing the spread of Shiite in Syria. This policy has had a major impact on Sunnis in Syria, that considered this policy is a threat to their existence. Furthermore, this policy had a major role in escalating the sectarian dissonance between the Sunni and Shiite components in Syria, which was strongly present in the events of 2011.
He also played considerably in fueling the nationalist sentiments pertaining to Kurdish left-wing movements such as terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the purpose of putting pressure on Turkey. Which was the cause of destroying the lives of hundreds of young Kurds and separating them from their families at the childhood age. At the same time, the Arab tribes were used to bring about change in the north-eastern areas inhabited by the Kurdish components.
This policy, started under the name of land reclamation, whereby a lot of piece of lands owned by the Kurdish bourgeois class in north-east Syria distributed to the Arab families – in Ar Raqqah and rural southern Aleppo that was affected by the flood. Accordingly, the Kurdish-Arab dispute was deepened in order to stabilize the regime of Assad. Which evoked feelings of denunciation and hatred between both components towards each other, which somehow reflected on the cohesion of the Syrian society for the long-term.
The demographic crisis, in connection with the economic, political, development and moral crisis that Syria experienced at the level of the state and society as a whole, led to the emergence of a protest movement in March 2011 which gradually developed into an open war with direct regional and international involvement in the Syrian scene. . In this war, Al Assad Junior used all the components of the Syrian people against each other for the purpose of keeping his regime alive as long as possible. These disagreements did not appear in public thanks to the false slogans of Arab nationalism and the security policy pursued by Assad. However, there was no role to the policy of “balances” that made the Syrian society at a stage of stability throughout the rule of Hafez al-Assad. On the other hand, Tito also managed to maintain the stability of society by raising nationalist slogans and the integration within the scope of the Yugoslav Federation. The mechanisms (demographic change) were similar, to stabilize the regime, and it is difficult to turn a blind eye about the Socialist and Communist ideology whereby both of them originated.
4.4.3 The Economic Policies
Once Hafez al-Assad came to power, he attracted the Damascus bourgeois class to secure the allegiance of Damascus to his regime. During his rule, that extended between 1970 and 2000, he pursued one-party policy, as all economic resources were under his control. He nationalized the property of the companies of the private sector, that was not nationalized before. Then the nationalization process extended to include agricultural land, as his reign was similar to the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union, and to Yugoslavia state.
The continuity of the public sector was subject to the directions and the relations of “regime” with the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe countries. The Syrian economy was mainly depending on agriculture, although the country is rich in oil and minerals resources existing in a large area. Most of investments were confined on the rich cities like (Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia) While there were no real investments in the eastern or northern east regions that are rich in oil resources. Although these regions stretch on an area of large plains suitable for the cultivation of many vegetables and grains, the state’s interest was very weak because of its interest in the oil wealth, which its revenue was confined on specific individuals in the ruling family.
There was a circulation in using the abusive names for The marginalized regions, as many of these names has spread on the poor regions under the name “remote areas”, especially within the official state specification, and through economic and educational state’s plan, even though the fundamentals are available, that could transform these regions to be an economic pillar whose deliver the benefits and relieve many economic problems existing in these regions. All Syrian society’s strata were felt that they were not obtained a fair treatment, which allows to instills the disputes among these strata. Likewise, Albanians and Serbs, who blame each other for the poor living conditions that they go through.
Assad economic policy contributed to strengthening the stratification based on the region location, which led to the emigration of a huge number of people towards the big cities for employment opportunities especially after neglecting their sufferance in their regions. He did not pay any attention to the real irrigation projects in particular after the drought that hit many agricultural areas. These projects could meet the domestic needs and allow the surplus to be exported. There was disproportion in the infrastructure, services, and public utilities between the big cities and the marginalized regions. The developed economic, commercial, educational and health centers (universities, hospitals etc…) are not available in a balanced manner between the Syrian cities, where most tourism investments are located along the Syrian coast and in major cities. Although there are hundreds of tourist sites in various Syrian cities.
Assad senior policy affected two major groups:
- Middle class (inside the big cities itself), as they suffered from growing economic burden and they are now at risk.
- The marginalized cities in the middle and northern east of Syria although these cities are rich in many resources and owns many economic fundamentals.
These policies evoked the anger of poorer strata that felt that the rich strata are the reason for their poor living conditions, at the same time created a tense situation between the larger governorates and the marginalized governorates. For these reasons, some Turkmen and Arab tribes demanded secession from the central state, because they did not benefit from any resources existing their land. In conclusion, the economic policy of Al Assad was in favor of the personal interests only and confined on certain regions only despite the existence of the economic potential in other regions in the Syrian map. Likewise, Tito preferred some regions in the Federation to the others. As some long-term investments concentrated in the big countries that were already rich. and Kosovo has not been experienced any projects that could achieve sustainable economic stability.
The conflict had started with protest demonstrations at first, and then evolved to military confrontations. Then peaceful popular revolution has started, in which Syrian people had been exposed all oppression and suppression methods, in addition to; the revolutionaries’ failure to be unified despite the popular support from the beginning of the revolution.
Revolutionaries obtained light weapons through the division that occurred in the Syrian military, in addition to, many military commanders transformed into the opposition, as they formed an entity know as ( National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces) which replaced the National Council after its failure to unify the opposition forces.
Although the progress made by the armed opposition as it liberated many cities, the regime changed his plans and strategies for the purpose of avoiding the attrition. Syrian regime focused his power in the important and strategic cities, Hezbollah and Shiite militias also engaged in the conflict at the beginning of 2013 besides Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which constituted a double pressure on the opposition that retreated due to the massive confrontations on many fronts, which led to the confusion and uncertainty.
Due to the uncertainty in the political landscape, the international power had the opportunity to intervene in Syria, but their objectives differed according to their interests. Basher, who killed a thousands of his people and emigrated millions of them, has become a legitimate regime entails protecting him, which encouraged Russia to intervene in the conflict after the international recognition of Iran’s existence in Syria and the region as a whole. Furthermore, the failure of Sunni opposition to overthrow the Alawite regime that benefited from Iranian support and the multiplicity of armed forces in Syrian scene.
Daraa was the first region to revolt against the regime that faced the popular revolution with repression. The demonstrations against the regime extended to other governorates such as Banias, Lattakia, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Damascus and its countryside, then the protests and demonstrations extended in its path towards the coastal cities of Latakia and Jabla. Although Al Assad canceled the Emergency Law, State Security Court, enacted a law for peaceful protests, as he also released some detainees, formed a new government, granted the nationality to dozens of thousands of Kurds, and removed the governor of Homs.
But these political procedures that regime pursued did not reach the minimum demands to the demonstrators. In particular the situation in the streets was different from what media transmit, because the confrontation between the demonstrators and the military forces left thousands of dead. The military forces carried out various military campaigns on some governorates and cities, the most brutal incident occurred at Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs.
Noteworthy, the regime provided insufficient political reforms, in particular, the referendum on the Constitution to cease the domination of the Ba’ath party, according to Syrian what said by media reports, such claims have been made in parallel with military campaigns in Hama and other regions such as Homs and Adlib.
In the meantime, the first defection in the military forces has emerged by Hussein Harmoush with a group of officers. He established the Free Officers Movement, which considered as a qualitative step followed by the formation of the Free Syrian Army in July from the same year by Lt. Col Riad al-Asaad. Since then, the conflict has become more dangerous than the first, because the confrontation with the regime become militarized, and the Free Syrian Army attacked many government buildings most notably the intelligence headquarters in the countryside of Damascus. As these confrontations increased, the number of officers who were dissident from the ranks of the state’s army increased. The ranks of the Free Army began to increase, reaching about twenty thousand by the end of the first year.
During the first year of the revolution, the military opposition against the regime, was accompanied by the formation of political opposition entity known as (The National Transitional Council) in August 2011, which headed by Burhan Ghalioun, but the disputes erupted among its members in addition to the members of this council were not consistent with the street’s demands , hence its existence become useless, so it has been replaced by the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.
On the other hand, the first year of the conflict had witnessed an international diplomatic moves, The most important of which are the new US sanctions on the Syrian regime, the European Union also has taken punitive decisions in May 2011 against the regime, but the Americans and Europeans were unable to pass resolutions through the Security Council because of Russian-Chinese’s veto, that constituted a major obstacle in front of American-European attempts in October 2011 and February 2012.
The Arab League, in its turn, has sent observers in December 2011, to save what can be saved, but they could not achieve any significant results, hence Syria’s membership in the league was suspended, but Syria sent on conformity with the United Nation, a joint envoy namely: Former Secretary-General of the United Nations «Kofi Annan» as a regime’s envoy, accordingly; the regime delivered a suggestions to ride out the crisis, but the continuation of the crisis undermined the Arab and international attempts, which pushed some countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council to break off any diplomatic relations with Syrian regime.
5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5. 1 CONCLUSION
Limiting the reasons of the conflict in Syria and Kosovo in the minorities or the basic components that inhabit these countries is not enough despite its importance. In this regard, Elizabeth Picard the researcher at the Center for International Studies and Research in Paris, and the minority specialist, said in her study about Lebanon and the Kurds cases; the minority’s problem comes from the failure of the modern state to achieve its objective that established for; which it is in the Third World Counties; the development, and in the West is the welfare and modernization. Hence, the communities’ loyalty shifted from the state to the public with their interests and desires or to their own culture. The economic problems and the foreign interventions also fueled the conflicts and increased them, in addition to; the conflict becomes associated with intellectual and cultural movement, alongside with the new economic interests, social links, and the structures that are contrary to the state’s policy and its objectives. From this standpoint, the interrelated factors of the conflict that reinforced and formed by some internal and external policies of some leaders should be reviewed, as those policies are described as the best way to manage the components of the people and ethnic groups in Syria and Kosovo.
All the solutions that provided, focused on the integration in favor of the ideology of (communism), ethnic cleansing which did not receive any acceptance from any ethnic groups in Syria and Kosovo, in contrast, it reinforced the ethnic conflicts as the social, economic, and security policies that came from the earlier phases contributed to the conflict that Syria and Kosovo witnesses nowadays. This study is prepared to the comparison between the problems of both countries to learn from the mistakes, as mentioned above in evaluating the previous experiences to learn from the mistakes, this is where the role of self-constructive critical attitude and the political reforms that assist in developing the ruling regimes to deal with the changes and to meet the demands of the components of their people.
These policies established a very complicated ethnic conflict which its effects extended to many neighboring countries and even the rest of the world countries in connection to the security issues and refugee’s crisis that bore the host countries economic, policies, social burdens. Ethnic conflict has the potential to spread, infect and impact on the instability internationally and regionally. The situation in Kosovo and Syria has become bloody conflict and costs the conflicting parties hundreds of thousands of lives and material and moral losses. Although there was a major role to the security agencies in stirring the conflict through the cruel treatment with the events, that sparked the conflict in Kosovo and Syria. Nor Tito or Assad Junior seized the opportunity of the long period they spent in power as mentioned above to harness the ethnic groups and sectarians to promote the peace in the region. But their policies, through a range of policies, contributed in the conflict the extended after the death of Tito and Al Assad in a period not exceeding 11 years.
Table 5.1: Conflict starts after 11 years of death Tito and Hafez al-Assad
|President||Date of Death||Date of conflict||Difference|
|Hafez al-Assad||2000||2011||11 years|
In this context, we infer the following:
- Syria goes through a very complex conflict, just like the situation in Kosovo. The policies of the socialist regimes have for a long time suppressed the demands of the peoples of the two regions, which contributed to the uncontrollable burst of conflict that cannot be controlled by the traditional ways.
- The period that both countries experienced, on the pretext of “stability”, cannot be disregarded. Because it was only a phase of “stability” imposed by security policies.
- The proportion of minority to the majority does not mean necessarily the strength of the majority, the minority may have the influence over most state institution, accordingly; this issue, which neglected by all ruling elites in both Syria and Kosovo, is considered as one of the main causes of the conflict in Kosovo and Syria. In this study, I have determined president Tito and Hafez al-Assad for the following reasons:
- The use of Nation term and stirring the nationalist sentiment at the expense of the basic rights of the people of Syria and Yugoslavia – have not yet brought about the expected results.
- Both leaders had many opportunities that have not been properly exploited.
- The absence of reconciliation between the ethnic groups, that was perceived as a threat to the power of Hafez al-Assad and Tito.
- Addressing the ethnic discrimination among the ethnic groups was one of the punishable matters by the socialist communist regime. As they assumed that the national identity and the integration within “the national identity” is the best solution. But it led to the postponement of grievances of other ethnic groups during the reign of Hafez al-Asad and Tito, and increased the anger and fueled the conflict, which paved the way for the external intervention on the basis of protecting the minorities.
- The policy of creating the balance between the ethnic groups to “reduce the tension” means “divide and conquer”, was designed for stabilizing the communist regime. The most successful solution is to give the basic rights to the ethnic minorities, which create real stability, not the balances policies
- Most of the experiences of ethnic groups began with minor demands but did not take into account. These demands developed later to be major inequalities and mistrust, and the subsequent, demand independence.
- The failure to take these demands into consideration will lead to the emergence of parallel entities at an advanced phase to manage the economic, social and political affairs of minorities within the state at a phase of conflict, this was evident in the conflict between the Albanians and the Serbs as soon as the 1974 autonomy was abolished. Albanians boycotted all Serbian economic and political institutions, and established a parallel and alternative institutions in Kosovo. The parallel system is managing the educational, health and employment affairs, and are financed by Kosovo Albanians inhabited in Kosovo and immigrant communities, accordingly Serbs and Albanians become living separated from each other.
- The situation in Syria was not much different, many civil society organizations and parallel entities have emerged, as they manage many sectors that the state restricting them such as health, security, education, and the basic services. Educational institutions have emerged in the north and east north of Syria to cover the shortage made in this field, and to print curriculum contrary to the regime’s curriculum. . In addition to the emergence of some institutions to serve in the security sector and the issuance of official papers, in addition to; registering in the Civil Register, issuance of passports.
- The policies of the imposition the communist ideology by Assad and Tito opened the way for ethnic cleansing by the ruling elite within the oppressed ethnic and sectarian groups. The absence of ideology has been exploited as a result of the death of Tito and Assad, in particular after an economic crisis, which led to the search for alternative ideology to fill the political gap, so they found only in the ethnicity and was used to mobilize the popular.
- Granting some privileges for some persecuted ethnic and sectarian groups in Syria and Kosovo was not intended to reduce the existing tension but to curb the nationalist ambitions and reinforce the hatred among all sectarians. For example, granting certain privileges to Albanians under Tito’s reign was not intended to reduce the tension between Albanians and Serbs, but to counter the Serbian nationalism that posed a threat to the ruling regime and to Yugoslavia. At the same time, the Hafiz al-Assad regime granted some privileges to some Sunnis from Daraa and Horan in the military forces and state institutions. These privileges were granted to them not to reduce the existing tension between Sunnis and Alawites, but in order to fight the Muslim Brotherhood 1982.
- Communist socialist regimes were apart of the international and regional axes at this time. This ideology emerged before the end of the World War II and shortly before the end of the First World War. As the international directions at that time, were towards the peace and denounce wars that destroyed Europe at the economic, political, social level. As a result, the international interest was in the direction of international stability that these regimes were apart of, regardless of the tools that were used internally.
- Fighting the idea that enables a minority belonging to a certain family, to control the absolute majority in Syria and Kosovo in addition to the nation’s wealth under false slogans like “ reluctance” and “resistance” as these slogans are used to justify the oppression, the policy of extortion, and the violation the rights of peoples.
- The Yugoslav political system did not satisfy the Serb ethnic group as well, because the Republic of Serbia is the only Yugoslav country that divided into two autonomous regions within the Republic, namely Kosovo and Vojvodina, which includes the Hungarian ethnic group. This type of political regimes is considered as an application to the emergence of Tito that said “a weak Serbia means a strong Yugoslavia, and a weak Yugoslavia means a weak Serbia.
- The idea of ideology and national unity during the reign of Al Assad and Tito did not guarantee the allegiance of basic components of the people within the state. In Serbia and Kosovo, loyalty has changed towards the Serbian ethnicity and the Albanian ethnicity. As the loyalty of Serbs population living in Kosovo was and still to Yugoslavia not to Kosovo. Likewise, the loyalty of some Arabs or Alawite tribes are to the regions that they inhabit not to Syria. Which led to the absence of trust between them.
- The difference between the situation in Syria and Kosovo is that; Kosovo was a territory and then became a state after it declared independence, and was recognized by many countries. But the status of the Albanians people has never been different from any Syrian component (Sunni – Shiites – Alawites – Druze – Arabs – Kurds …) That suffered from Al Assad regime. Which have not any solution except the separation to escape from the oppression and depression and to obtain their basic rights.
Building trust-based relations and promoting mutual tolerance, through the education system, where the participation of all components of people highlights the building of the joint history of the state itself. And submitting the programs and the studies that keep the peace, community security, and coexistence within joint programs:
- Media has a major role in providing moderate inclusive media discourse to all spectrum of the people. Not to stirring the nationalist’s sentiment to serve certain agenda, which could complicate the dispute existing on the ethnic root.
- The role of religious and spiritual prominent figures is very important, because the conflict in both regions has a national religious character, and The religious discourse has contributed to reinforcing the hostility between them for the purpose of achieving gains for the ruling regime or for certain group. The Orthodox Church in Serbia exploited religious feelings and recalled historical glories that were clearly present during the conflict between Serbs and Albanians. At the same time, Shia and Sunni clerics played a major role in fueling the enmity feeling during the conflict in Syria.
- The International Community has a key role in promoting the reconciliation between peoples in the troubled and disputable regions, rather than supporting the regimes that their policy contributed to suppress and oppress societies. Most foreign countries dealt with Hafez al-Assad and Tito under the pretext of maintaining international stability. There was a proposal for the accession of Yugoslavia to the NATO forces to counter the Soviet spread at that time. at the same time, Hafez al-Assad obtained dozens of billion dollars in exchange for the participation Gulf War. In spite of the policy of these regimes against their people, as is concentrated on the oppression and depression that led to the inevitable conflict,
- . It is important to take into account the history of each component of the people and their relations with each other and to spread the dialogue and cultural exchange among those components. For the purpose of reducing the tension between these components,
- Establishing an independent and fair judicial system that can achieve justice and equality, regardless of intellectual and ideological affiliation.
- Activating different and innovative ways for communication within communities. Which mean the communication should not be based on coercion and force any one to adopt a thought or ideology that serves the interests of a narrow group in society This is what the German philosopher Haber Mas wanted, the communication that leads to understanding and compatibility with the other and this type of communication that does not come in terms and conditions that must be observed by both parties, but violators must be held accountable, On the contrary, the understanding that is outside the influence and which establishes different social relations from those that resulted from the policies of Hafez al-Assad and Tito.
- The use of the military machine to make progress on the ground and force one of the parties to sit at the table of the commissioners does not mean the end of the conflict. Signing the peace agreement does not mean peace either, as long as there is no condition that any party is committed to this peace.
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