Fifteen years ago, NATO went to war with Serbia—again. This time, it was over Kosova. (Also known as “Kosovo”; spelling is, like many other things, a contentious topic.) Because of Serbian complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Croats and Bosniaks, it wasn’t a hard war to sell. But Kosova mattered more to Serbs, arguably, than Bosnia did, many seeing it as the spiritual homeland and national touchstone for their peoplehood. In 1389, some 610 years before that war—a number Muslims might identify with, for entirely unrelated reasons—Ottoman forces inflicted a massive defeat on the nascent Serbian state, making way for hundreds of years of Muslim rule. Over that time, many Slavs became Muslim, and many Albanians did, too.
Milosevic railed against that history.