Why Do Serbia and Albania Hate Each Other?

Earlier this month, a mass fight broke out during a football match between Serbia and Albania after a drone carrying Albania's flag flew onto the field. The violence amongst players and fans captured the deep animosity between the two countries. So why are the two nations so mad at each other? TestTube Daily takes a look.

To put the recent violence at the soccer match in perspective, here's a brief timeline of key events in Serbia-Albania relations, beginning in 1945:

1945 - Along with Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, Serbia joins the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, ruled under Josip Broz Tito.

1946 - Kosovo declared an autonomous region of Serbia.

1974 - Under the fourth iteration of Yugoslavia's constitution, Kosovo is rewarded even more autonomy, though still a part of Serbia.

1980s - Tensions rise in Kosovo between the Albanian majority and Serbian minority.

1987 - Slobodan Milosevic, a senior Serbian Communist Party official, visits Kosovo and reaches out to Serbs, rallying Serbian nationalism in the area.

1991 - Slovenia, Macedonia, Coratia, and Bosnia leave Yugoslavia.

1992 - Montenegro and Serbia form Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

1997 - Milosevic is elected President of Yugoslavia.

1998 - The Albanian-led Kosovo Liberation Army starts fighting against Serbian rule. Serbian authorities respond with brute force and hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians flee the region for Albania. Tens of thousands Albanians are killed by Serbian forces. About 1,500 Serbians are killed in the conflict.

1999 - NATO begins airstrikes against Serbian military targets in response to Milosevic's actions. Serbia eventually withdraws its forces. Kosovo becomes a UN protectorate, but still part of Serbia.

2001 - Authorities arrest Milosevic in Belgrade, charged with misuse of state funds and abuse of power. In June, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindic overrules this and extradites Milosevic to be tried at the Hague war crimes tribunal. Later, in November, Kosovo elects Ibrahim Rugova as its first president.

2002 - In February, Milosevic goes to trial in The Hague, facing charges of genocide and war crimes. Several of Milosevic's top aides are also called to face trial. In 2006, as his trial was still going on, he was found dead in his cell and returned for burial in his hometown of Pozarevac.

2004 - Violent clashes break out in Kosovo between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, prompting intervention from NATO forces.

2006 - In October, voters in Serbia approve a new constitution that declares Kosovo part of Serbia. Kosovo's Albanian majority protests the ballot measure and boycotts the election.

2007 - UN ambassador Martti Ahtisaari presents a plan for Kosovo to gain independence. Albanians in Kosovo welcome the initiative, but it's rejected by Serbia. This leads to a stalemate in negotiations, with Kosovo's ethnically Albanian leadership saying it will push for unilateral independence. Serbia vows to resist any moves to independence.

2008 - In February, Kosvo declares itself an independent state. This is immediately rejected by Serbia and the two will not engage in diplomatic talks until March 2011. Later that year, the talks are called off after 16 ethnic Serbs and four NATO peacekeepers are injured in clashes over Kosovo border crossings.

2013 - Serbia and Kosovo reach landmark agreement and resume diplomatic relations.

BBC has a thorough rundown of the histories of Albania and Serbia.

Learn More:
KQED Frontline: Kosovo (via PBS)
"The following chronology traces the roots of the war in Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power in the late 1980s and through the diplomatic gambles and military threats that failed to head off the conflict. It charts the escalation of the air war with Serbia and the steps that finally led to NATO's victory in early June 1999."

The Kosovo Memory Book: 1998-2002
"Approximately 100 victims' family members attended a presentation held in the Belgrade City Hall on October 6th 2009 where the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the results of the list of the killed, dead, and missing Serbs, Roma, Bosniaks, and other non-Albanians in Kosovo in the period from 1998 until 2000."

Council of Foregin Affairs: Kosovo and Serbia Make a Deal (via Foreign Affairs)

NATO's Role in Kosovo (via NATO)
NATO's objectives, background on the conflict, facts, and figures Watch: Drone Disrupts Serbia-Albania Soccer Match (via Washington Post)