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A country-by-country look at the Balkans

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ALBANIA

Current Crisis: The government has lost control in the north and is still recovering from massive riots in 1997. Rebels from Kosovo use Albania as a sanctuary and weapons source.

Ethnicity: Albanian.

Unresolved land claims: There is sentiment for a "Greater Albania," which would include parts of Yugoslavia and Macedonia.

Government: Made up of former Communists. Extremely unstable.

Infamous for: Hundreds of thousands of mushroomlike concrete bunkers built by Communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

Balkan relations: No allies.

Religion: Mostly Muslim, with Christian Orthodox and Roman Catholics.

Population: 3.3 million.

Defining moment: Mr. Hoxha's isolationist communism made Albania Europe's poorest and most backward country.

Reason to be optimistic: Albania, though supportive of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, has showed restraint in the crisis next door.

BULGARIA

Current crisis: By agreeing to let NATO use its territory for possible action against Yugoslavia, Bulgaria risks retribution from the Serbs.

Ethnicity: Slavic Bulgarian, Turk (8.5 percent).

Unresolved land claims: Although they recognize Macedonia, radicals have claims to Macedonia.

Government: Strong parliamentary system. Hampered by corruption.

Infamous for: Europe's leading producer of pirated music and computer software.

Balkan relations: Neutral.

Religion: Christian Orthodox, Muslim (17 percent).

Population: 8.2 million.

Defining moment: Joined losing sides in both world wars.

Reason to be optimistic: Trying to join NATO and European Union, though still far away.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Current crisis: Hard-line and moderate Bosnian-Serb leaders are protesting an international ruling in which Croats, Muslims, and Serbs will control the town of Brcko. Since the outbreak of war in 1992, Brcko was ruled by Serbs, who had "ethnically cleansed" the Muslims and Croats. The hard-line president of the ethnic Serbian half of Bosnia was recently fired, and the moderate prime minister resigned.

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