Kosovo, after its incorporation into the Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia, became increasingly restive during the 1990s as Yugoslavia plunged into internal war and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian residents (Kosovars) sought autonomy. In March 1999, NATO forces began airstrikes against targets in Kosovo and Serbia in an effort to protect Kosovars against persecution. The bombing campaign ended in June 1999, and Kosovo was placed under transitional UN administration while negotiations on its status ensued. Kosovo eventually declared independence in 2008. Despite internal political tension and economic problems, the new nation has been recognized by many other countries and most of its inhabitants welcome its separation from Serbia.
In Liberating Kosovo, David Phillips offers a compelling account of the negotiations and military actions that culminated in Kosovo's independence. Drawing on his own participation in the diplomatic process and interviews with leading participants, Phillips chronicles Slobodan Milosevic's rise to power, the sufferings of the Kosovars, and the events that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia. He analyzes how NATO, the United Nations, and the United States employed diplomacy, aerial bombing, and peacekeeping forces to set in motion the process that led to independence for Kosovo. He also offers important insights into a critical issue in contemporary international politics: how and when the United States, other nations, and NGOs should act to prevent ethnic cleansing and severe human-rights abuses.
His lively account of the difficult negotiations makes fascinating reading; it shows that the newly developed “track-two diplomacy” is an effective tool for reconciling even intractable foes through fostering dialog, contact and cooperation.
An Uncertain Ally is a straightforward indictment of Erdogan. Drawing on inside sources in his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the police, the book reveals corruption and money laundering schemes that benefitted Erdogan, his cronies, and family members. Erdogan has polarized Turkish society and created conditions that led to the coup attempt of July 2016. He has also deepened divisions by accusing Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic teacher in Pennsylvania, of establishing a parallel state and masterminding the coup attempt. Erdogan has seized on the failed coup to justify a witch hunt, arresting thousands and ordering the wholesale dismissal of alleged coup sympathizers. Rather than foster reconciliation, he pursued vendettas and turned Turkey into a gulag.
An Uncertain Ally exposes Turkey’s ties to jihadists in Syria and the Islamic State, questioning its suitability as a NATO member. Under Erdogan, Turkey faces a dark future that poses a danger to the region and internationally.