In October 1912, the Balkan Alliance – Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece – declared war on the Ottoman Empire. At its conclusion in 1913, the Ottomans’ presence in Europe was reduced to a bridgehead in Thrace. To the victors, this was the capstone of their centuries-long struggle for freedom from Ottoman yoke. To the great European powers, however, it was a catastrophe that threatened their imperial plans.
Among the many half-successes, pretend-successes and outright failures, until last week the Empire could still plausibly claim that it had scored a victory in the Balkans. Hashim Thaci's little adventure in northern Kosovo, which started on July 26, threatens to upset the validity of that claim.