• From thieves to nation-builders: The nexus of banditry, insurgency and state-making in the Balkans, 1804-2006

      Anderson, Bobby (2007)
      The Yugoslav wars of the 1990s - namely Croatia/ Bosnia (1991-1995) and Kosovo (1998-1999) - were the focus of unprecedented, and uninformed, international attention. This attention accepted at face value an ethnic rationale for the conflict that was often peddled by the combatants themselves; such rationales served to mask the economic and political aspirations of engaged state- and non-state actors. The wars allowed organised crime to take root and proliferate exponentially across geographical, political, and economic spheres. It became a tool of states, militaries and militias; states co-opted criminals, and vice-versa. The Serbian state became a criminal entity (as did, to a lesser extent, surrounding states) in partial control of a thoroughly criminalised regional combat economy, often in collusion with supposed ethnic `enemies.¿ Reconstruction, development, and governance interventions conducted by international actors in the successor states of the former Yugoslavia remain stifled by an absence of understanding of both the systematic infrastructural presence of organised crime, and a lack of acknowledgement of the economic rationales underlying the wars themselves.