JTIC Briefing: Ethnic Albanian insurgent groups - a lingering threat?

By Mia Soar Europe Editor of Jane's Sentinel Security Assessments

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA or UCK) was certainly the most well-known of the ethnic Albanian insurgent groups operating in the western Balkans during the late 1990s. However, other groups were also active in this period, including the National Liberation Army (NLA or UCK) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB) in south Serbia. A more shadowy group to emerge as the others swapped weapons for politics is the Albanian National Army (ANA or AKSh), about which less is known, but which seems to be principally made up of members of the other Albanian insurgent groups for the purposes of organised crime.

The memberships of all these groups overlap - it is no coincidence that the KLA and NLA share the same Albanian-language acronym - but the way former group members have been reintegrated into society has ramifications for how likely they are to return to violence were the security situation to deteriorate in any of their host countries. How have these groups, and their members, evolved past the ends of their respective armed campaigns? And what threat might they still pose to the security situation in the western Balkans?

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