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Kosovo's Post-Independence Inter-Clan Conflict
Unformatted Document Text:  4 Kosovo and Serbia in 1999, cases of blood vengeance began reappearing. In the first four years after the war, the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms in Pristina recorded approximately 40 blood feud murders. 13 According to the Council’s President, Pajazit Nushi, many people who agreed to besa in the 1990s have “restarted the old family blood feuds.” 14 By December 2004, the number of blood feud murders reached 70, the majority of which had taken place in the western mountainous regions of Dukagjini which includes the towns of Decani, Klina and Peja. 15 The abovementioned explanation of Anton Cetta’s reconciliation movement corresponds to Lewis Coser and Georg Simmel’s causal explanations of social conflict. 16 The scholars hypothesize that in the presence of a common enemy, conflicting groups are likely to disregard their differences and unite against the common enemy. However, once the common threat is no longer a part of the equation, conflicting groups are likely to resume their confrontational behavior. In this respect, while the first eight years of post-war Kosovo have already seen a sharp increase in the number of blood feuds, is this trend likely to continue after Kosovo gains independence? Coser and Simmel’s theories would suggest a high likelihood for the escalation of blood feuds. Once the international community grants Kosovo independence, even if it is conditional, neither Serbia nor the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) or KFOR would constitute a common enemy for the feuding clans. Hence, in the absence of a common enemy, inter-clan tensions are likely to resume. One could argue, however, that the principle enemy in the face of Serbia was reduced to a minimum with the end of the 1999 war. However, such limited interpretation of the situation between 1999 and 2007 omits the role of UNMIK, which could be perceived by clans as a “quasi-enemy.” International oversight of Kosovo politics prevents clans from maximizing their wealth, power and status. While, UNMIK is not literally an enemy, its presence and steering of Kosovo in directions according to UNMIK’s own liking have allowed clans to perceive the enemy as both UNMIK and Serbia. II. Theoretical Frameworks Based on studies of Central Asia, Katheleen Collins offers one theoretical framework of clan politics. She defines clans as “informal identity organizations with a kinship basis.” 17 A clan, therefore, embodies both an identity and an organization. Kinship lies at the core of clan identity and defines intra- and inter-clan relations. Immediate or more distant kinship ties connect the many individuals who form a clan. A 13 Quoted in Bytyci, “Blood Feuds Revive in Unstable Kosovo.” 14 Quoted in Bytyci, “Blood Feuds Revive in Unstable Kosovo.” 15 Renate Flottau, Kosovo: A Prime Minister with a Kalashnikov, Center for Research on Globalization, 1 May 2007. Available online at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=FLO20041213&articleId=332 . 16 See Lewis Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict, Free Press, Glencoe, IL, 1956, and Georg Simmel, Conflict, Free Press, Glencoe, IL, 1955. 17 Kathleen Collins, Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2005, at p. 24. See also Edward Schatz, “Reconceptualizing Clans: Kinship Networks and Statehood in Kazakhstan,” Nationalities Papers, (Volume 33, Issue 2), 2005.

Authors: Kaltcheva, Tzvetomira.
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4
Kosovo and Serbia in 1999, cases of blood vengeance began reappearing. In the first four
years after the war, the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms in
Pristina recorded approximately 40 blood feud murders.
13
According to the Council’s
President, Pajazit Nushi, many people who agreed to besa in the 1990s have “restarted
the old family blood feuds.”
14
By December 2004, the number of blood feud murders
reached 70, the majority of which had taken place in the western mountainous regions of
Dukagjini which includes the towns of Decani, Klina and Peja.
15
The abovementioned explanation of Anton Cetta’s reconciliation movement
corresponds to Lewis Coser and Georg Simmel’s causal explanations of social conflict.
16
The scholars hypothesize that in the presence of a common enemy, conflicting groups are
likely to disregard their differences and unite against the common enemy. However, once
the common threat is no longer a part of the equation, conflicting groups are likely to
resume their confrontational behavior. In this respect, while the first eight years of post-
war Kosovo have already seen a sharp increase in the number of blood feuds, is this trend
likely to continue after Kosovo gains independence? Coser and Simmel’s theories would
suggest a high likelihood for the escalation of blood feuds. Once the international
community grants Kosovo independence, even if it is conditional, neither Serbia nor the
UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) or KFOR would constitute a common enemy for the
feuding clans. Hence, in the absence of a common enemy, inter-clan tensions are likely to
resume. One could argue, however, that the principle enemy in the face of Serbia was
reduced to a minimum with the end of the 1999 war. However, such limited interpretation
of the situation between 1999 and 2007 omits the role of UNMIK, which could be
perceived by clans as a “quasi-enemy.” International oversight of Kosovo politics
prevents clans from maximizing their wealth, power and status. While, UNMIK is not
literally an enemy, its presence and steering of Kosovo in directions according to
UNMIK’s own liking have allowed clans to perceive the enemy as both UNMIK and
Serbia.
II. Theoretical Frameworks
Based on studies of Central Asia, Katheleen Collins offers one theoretical
framework of clan politics. She defines clans as “informal identity organizations with a
kinship basis.”
17
A clan, therefore, embodies both an identity and an organization.
Kinship lies at the core of clan identity and defines intra- and inter-clan relations.
Immediate or more distant kinship ties connect the many individuals who form a clan. A
13
Quoted in Bytyci, “Blood Feuds Revive in Unstable Kosovo.”
14
Quoted in Bytyci, “Blood Feuds Revive in Unstable Kosovo.”
15
Renate Flottau, Kosovo: A Prime Minister with a Kalashnikov, Center for Research on
Globalization, 1 May 2007. Available online at
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=FLO20041213&arti
cleId=332
.
16
See Lewis Coser, The Functions of Social Conflict, Free Press, Glencoe, IL, 1956, and
Georg Simmel, Conflict, Free Press, Glencoe, IL, 1955.
17
Kathleen Collins, Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2005, at p. 24. See also Edward Schatz,
“Reconceptualizing Clans: Kinship Networks and Statehood in Kazakhstan,”
Nationalities Papers, (Volume 33, Issue 2), 2005.


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