Geronimo : What if Osama Bin Laden was killed prior to 9/11?

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The Black Eagle

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Ooh, a Balkans update! Wonder how the Kosovo negotiations are going, will be interesting to see how the survival of the union between Serbia and Montenegro impacts the Kosovo negotiations. With a more emboldened/nationalistic Russia I can maybe see the UN talks on Kosovo falling apart quicker than OTL, since Russia was the biggest opponent of Kosovo independence. That and the prolonged instability of the confederation I can see Kosovo declaring independence in 2007 rather than 08 like IOTL. Crucially, with the West less willing to antagonize Russia I feel like there's a good chance that most countries don't recognize Kosovo's independence unlike OTL. Given that the confederation is already weak following the failure of the Montenegrin independence referendum I feel like it's possible the resulting crisis leads to Montenegro unilaterally declaring independence as well.
Libya having nukes is baddddd. Like, really really bad. If he started his program in 2003, and didn't stop then he definitely has tested one by now, right?
Oh, Gaddafi had been trying to get nukes since the 70s. 2003 was when he agreed to end the Libyan nuclear program and destroy the country's chemical weapon stockpiles. Per UN inspectors the program was still in early stages at the time of disarmament, although the director of the IAEA said it was his "gut feeling" that Libya would be able to produce a nuclear weapon in 3-7 years.
Part 77: The Black Eagle

The Black Eagle


Map of Serbia-Montenegro, with claimed Kosovo highlighted in Orange
The fields of southern Europe were awash with graveyards, the result of the many wars of the 20th century. The nationalist fury of the Balkans seemed unquenchable for generations, wars of autonomy, anti-colonialism, religion, race, and language. Combined with the ideologies of fascism, communism and everything in between. It’s no mistake that the region earned its title as the “powder keg of Europe” but by the early years of the 21st century, its powder seemed spent.

The final collapse of Yugoslavia was sealed with the overthrow of Serbian autocrat Slobodan Milosovic, broken and reformed into the ‘State-Union of Serbia-Montenegro’, the final peace treaties between the successor states drawn up and implemented, though the deep history and the engrained memories of brutal, genocidal conflict couldn’t be mutually forgiven, as the war crimes tribunals revealed the depths of the human depravity, they could be mutually ended “A mother dies, but her sons live on” Was the way that Steven Mirkovic a Yugoslav army chief chose to describe his emotional state, upon the nations final dissolution, a fairly nostalgic take on the collapse of Yugoslavia. But of the many scars left over from the conflict that had not yet healed over, the largest was Kosovo.

Its breakaway in 1992 precipitated a guerrilla and eventually an open war between the Yugoslav and ethnic Serbian authorities, and the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, years of failed international pressure and ineffective ceasefire agreements, ended in the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that forced Milosevic’s withdrawal, and in Serbia's place a transitionary government was installed, UNMIK the United Nations Mission in Kosovo.

Backed by NATO forces to police inter-ethnic violence between Serbian and Albanian Kosovans and help oversee the establishment of self-governing institutions, until a final status agreement could be negotiated.


(left to right) Map of violent incidents in Kosovo, Milosevic mourners, Spanish NATO forces in Kosovo

It proved a tough needle to thread, though the interim government was successful in building a Kosovan parliament, holding democratic elections, and the creation of multi-ethnic police and security forces. Unrest still stirred in the outlying towns and villages of Kosovo where racial strife, led to sporadic attacks on orthodox churches, and the scouring of non-Albanian homes, attacks equated by Serbs to the worst ethnic cleansings of the 90’s. Sectionalism, all stirred by sensational misinformation by ultranationalists, about renewed conflict and race war, required the deployment of additional NATO forces to secure heritage sites in Kosovo, and a renewed push to pursue a concrete treaty between Kosovo and Servia-Montenegro.

UN-managed talks between Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo representatives clarified the crux of the issue. The big I, independence was the sticking point. For Serbs, independence would be a step too far, a terrible wound to their pride and a loss of 15% of its ‘sovereign territory’, their negotiators instead favoured some version of home rule as would be achieved in Montenegro in 2006, that would preserve almost complete autonomy for Kosovo but without that final severance., Serb President Tadic phrased his position thusly “we cannot accept a defeatist position, our sovereignty has a right to be protected”.

But for Kosovans like the elected President Fatmir Sejdiu, it was the only step "Independence is the alpha and omega, the beginning and end of our position,". Too much blood had been spilt, to accept anything less than a total and complete separation of the two.

It didn’t take long for talks to deadlock, despite the hopeful language of U.N. envoy Martii Ajtisaari. “We intend to conclude these talks by the end of the year,” he said in 2006. And true to his word the talks continued.


(left to right) Serbian President Tadic, UN Envoy Ajtisaari and Kosovo President Sejdiu

As emissaries from the European Union, probed each side for any potential diplomatic openings, a major shift occurred in 2006, when on a technical basis, Montenegro voted in a referendum to remain in the State-Union with Serbia (A majority favoured independence, but a supermajority was required for an exit). This decision forced the Serbian parliament to adopt numerous concessions designed to soothe relations between Belgrade and Podgorica.

A series of reform committees were broached between Montenegrin PM Milo Đukanović and Serbian PM Vojislav Koštunica between whom great animosity had flared in the referendum campaign, but enough differences were set aside to put together a confidence-building programme that tried to weave a new national identity of their loose confederacy, that included separate currencies, police, and granted Montenegro its own department of foreign affairs, which immediately took to mostly supporting Kosovo’s stance in negotiations.

This dance quickly impacted the ongoing Kosovo talks, as one of Đukanovi’s chief demands for easing relations between the nations was a swifter path to EU membership “Failure to make progress on our entry [to the EU], makes our disunion inevitable” asking Serbian leaders to make concessions on war crime tribunals and negotiations with Kosovo, to progress Serbia-Montenegro’s bid.

By early 2007, there was evidence that the concerted lobbying of EU officials and Montenegrin MPs were having an effect, most obvious by the dramatic arrest of Serbian General and accused war criminal Ratko Mladić in December 2006, who was cornered by balaclava-garbed Serbian Police in suburbs of the capital


(left to right) Serbian PM Koštunica, Newspapers report Mladics arrest, Montenegro PM Đukanović

This arrest was followed up by Serbian parliamentary elections, which shifted the balance of its government, seeing the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party gain support at the expense of the coalition government. “The radicals are anti-reformist, anti-democratic, we are choosing to renew a responsible government,” said Koštunica, more reliant than ever on liberal Pro EU backing.

Then in March, the U.N. released its blueprint for a complex plan for ‘complete autonomy’ for Kosovo. Mr Ahtisaari pressed for an ‘everything but’ strategy for Kosovo, it would be allowed its own national symbols, security force and membership of international organizations without any direct reference to independence. Major powers largely supported the plan, including the United States Secretary of State George Mitchell and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both principal advisers in the talks who agreed that a “managed process of de-coupling” was much more preferable to unilateral independence, and President Putin was pleased that the United Nations was especially supportive of the right of separatists, hoping to apply the framework to the independence of the Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia “These are the universal principles, that sensible powers should abide … Russia will always support the national will of small nations” a statement viewed with scepticism by those disdainful of his Chechen war policies.

But despite the position of the major powers Serbia faced tough political downwind, foreign minister Draskovic warned that these plans could force Serbia “to turn away from the international space and significantly harm our position” for Serbia-Montenegro going forward. Increasingly diplomatically isolated, the Serbian leadership remained doggedly intransigent “Though I respect these party's interests” said PM Koštunica “We hope to defend our territorial integrity and sovereignty under international law”, and in the weeks that followed tensions flared among Kosovan Serb in yet more riots that U.N. police utilized aggressive force to curtail, and nationalist Serbs tarred the Finnish Ahtassari as a puppet of Albanian gangsters, and cried fowl at the coordinated betrayal by both Russia and the United States.


(left to right) The U.S. Secretary George Mitchell, Nationalist Serb protest, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Savrov

Their position in negotiations was undermined further by the position of the Montenegro parliament and government, which fully endorsed the Ahtisaari agreement using its own parliament and State-Union ministers to support ratification, as Đukanovic argued that it would be best for Serbia-Montenegro to cede ‘every meter’ of Kosovo “we need good relations with our neighbours” and that complained that further negotiations were time wasting and harming the countries extremely fragile fabric.

Kosovans were too becoming frustrated, pushing for either the U.N. Security Council or the European Council to unilaterally recognise their independence, should the status agreement negotiations fall through yet again. Kosovans like Vetto Surroi, vented their annoyance as he trudged to the Austrian mountains to enter what he called 'final negotiations', “We have been frustrated for many years, we are at the last lap of our marathon”, only to be surprised by the sudden progress of negotiations.

Shunned internationally, following reports of a failure to extract a veto commitment at the United Nations from either Russia or China, meant the agreement could be solidified with or without Serb backing and thus the Serbs offered new terms, either joint control over ethnic Serbian territory, or the creation of an autonomous Kosovan Serb territory, offers both refused by Kosovo. After that the Serbs finally conceded to the inevitable, knowing that unilateral independence of Kosovo, could lead to the unilateral independence of Montenegro and thus the complete swift and embarrassing collapse, one that Servia and the E.U. hoped to avoid, the negotiations committed Serbia to the framework of the Ahtassari ‘everything-but’ plan, able to at least claim at least de-jure sovereignty over Kosovo, despite exerting zero influence over any inch of the country.

The Vienna agreement was followed up by a unilateral vote in the Kosovo parliament ratifying the agreement, a move not mirrored in Belgrade which chose to use the opportunity to rehash the constitution, which continued to recognize complete control over Kosovo, but stubbornness aside, the writing was on the paper, and in time the United Nations welcomed its newest, 193rd member state, Kosovo in 2008


(left to right) Serbians fly Serbian flags, Kosovans fly the flag of Kosovo, Kosovans fly the Albanian flag
So, Kosovo is independent all but in name with Serb control consisting of writing in papers, and probably one or two concessions Serbs probably got (like a nominal Serb army general located in the region, whose only duty is to sit there and count the days until he is replaced by another Serb general?), right?
Good update about a subject most of us, I’m sure, are pretty unfamiliar with. I remember vividly being in downtown Vancouver BC with my parents in March 2008 when Kosovo became independent and the hundreds of people out waving flags and honking their horns in celebration.
Good update! Interesting to see China and Russia not opposing Kosovo independence like OTL. Is it just bc they have better relations with the west than OTL?

IMO the Serbia-Montenegro union won't last long, Kosovo becoming independent will embolden Montenegrin secessionists, as well as Serbian nationalists. I feel like it probably breaks apart in 2009; I remember that Montenegro is allowed to have a repeat referendum then.
So, Kosovo is independent all but in name with Serb control consisting of writing in papers, and probably one or two concessions Serbs probably got (like a nominal Serb army general located in the region, whose only duty is to sit there and count the days until he is replaced by another Serb general?), right?
Yes effectively completely independent, aside from a continued deployment of UN to Serb regions and requirements to respect rights etc.

Hey @Iwanh, what are the chances of the Iraqi Kurds establishing Kurdistan?
They might try but it would piss off everyone

Any news in Koreas?
As a result of round-table talks, North Korea has agreed to halt nuclear weapons development in exchange for a civilian nuclear energy programme
@Iwanh I have some questions :

1. Is it okay if I find some images and I think that is very suitable for some previous chapter, and then I ask your willing to add in ? (Is it suitable or not is your decision, of course )

2. Is it possible to see the Twin Towers again in any forms ? (Like the 2004 Democrat convention poster) before the 2009 New York update ?

3. So far basically most of the OTL 2000s pop songs still existed right? (Except some songs which were directly affected by 9/11, such as Where is Love, American Idiots, Holiday , the black parade)

4. You mentioned that Black Eyed Peas failed in 2005 pop culture chapter, is "My Humps" (2005) still existed?

I really like this TL very much
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