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Introduction Applying Path-Dependence, Timing, and Sequencing in Conflict Analysis Over the past few decades some Eastern European postcommunist states with large ethnonational minorities managed to participate in nonviolent transitions while in others ethnic conflicts turned into civil wars. Some consolidated their democracies, and by 2007 were full members of the European Union (EU). Others started democratic transitions but did not complete them. Instead, disagreements between majorities and minorities evolved into civil wars, arrested political development, and led to significant loss of life. Despite the EU’s mitigating effects on its neighbors, some con- flicts displayed remarkable resilience and others developed anew. The global media reported on the capture of indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic and their delivery to the International Tribunal on Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and on multiple counts of criminality and corruption in structures of government. They also covered more mundane topics such as elections and initiatives related to the EU integration of the Western Balkans. But violence continues to be a viable option in this part of the world. Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008,1 triggered new riots in the heart of Serbia. The city of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, divided by the Ibar River into Albanian and Serbian communities, became a new center for violent clashes. Disputes in July 2011 involved the ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo government , the ethnic Serb minority, and some NATO troops still deployed there.2 The dual governance in Mitrovica complicates Kosovo’s political development and Serbia’s EU aspirations.3 Kosovo’s international status, though not recognized by a majority of the UN General Assembly, also 2 Introduction complicates the uneasy peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where fears of secession by Republika Srpska, a constituent component, prompted highranking Western diplomats to warn: ‘‘It’s time to pay attention to Bosnia again if we don’t want things to get nasty very quickly.’’4 Macedonia is not spared interethnic violence, despite being celebrated as a conflict prevention success story following brief warfare in 2001. Relations between Albanians and Macedonians have been deteriorating. In February 2011 Macedonian and Albanian protesters clashed in Skopje over construction of a museum-church, which Macedonians supported and Albanians opposed.5 In April 2012 the bodies of five Macedonian men were found near Skopje. Attackers remained unidentified, but the killings triggered violent clashes and numerous demonstrations.6 Inter-ethnic peace in Bulgaria prevailed in the 1990s, and was important for the country to join the EU in 2007. Yet the ultranationalist party Ataka emerged in the mid-2000s and challenged this peace. In the streets of Sofia in 2008, one could hear Ataka supporters spreading hate speech against ethnic Turks in a manner rare even in the transition years when relations were fragile. In May and June 2011, Ataka launched demonstrations against the loudspeakers of the central Sofia mosque. Muslim worshippers were attacked and severely beaten.7 These examples illustrate the importance of two major questions posed by this book. Why do ethnonationalist conflicts reach different levels of violence? And why do they often persist despite strong international conflict resolution and peace- and institution-building programs? I approach these questions through a decade-long comparative study of three places where majority-minority relations escalated to different degrees of violence after the end of communism: Bulgaria, Macedonia, and the then province of Kosovo in Yugoslavia.8 Conflicts were characterized by low violence in Bulgaria , mid-range in Macedonia, and high in Kosovo. Conflict analysis is a well-established field, but with some exceptions, inquiries about the variation in degrees of violence using a joint theoretical framework are not common.9 This is not surprising given the challenge of coherent comparisons across sub-state conflicts that spread widely after the wars of decolonization in the 1940s and 1970s, and continued with new vigor after the collapse of communism.10 Scholars are currently divided into two major camps in approaching these conflicts. A large number concentrate on civil wars and other intrastate conflicts where violence is usually high. This interest is also not surprising given the global shift from inter- to Path-Dependence, Timing, and Sequencing 3 intrastate wars after the end of communism: only 7 wars between 1989 and 2004 were between states; the remaining 118 were intrastate.11 The conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, East Timor, Liberia, Kosovo, Mozambique , Nagorno-Karabakh, the Palestinian territories, Sierra Leone...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780812208375
Related ISBN
9780812245226
MARC Record
OCLC
867739599
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2013-08-12
Language
English
Open Access
No
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