Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Dua Lipa at the Grammys in January. Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Pop star Dua Lipa faced backlash on Sunday after tweeting a flag of "Greater Albania," showing Albania expanding its borders to include some portions of Kosovo, Serbia, Greece and North Macedonia.

Why it matters: The flag represents an ultra-nationalist idea that historically ethnic Albanian parts of the Balkans should be returned to Albanian control. Lipa, 24, was born in the U.K., but her parents are Kosovar Albanians — and Kosovo is central to much of the dispute.

The backstory: Kosovo, which is 93% ethnically Albanian, declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — a decade after rebel Kosovar Albanians fought to break away from what was then Yugoslavia in the Kosovo War. More than 1 million people were displaced in the conflict.

  • Some nationalists have advocated for the unification of Kosovo and Albania, particularly in the decade since Kosovo's independence, though little concrete action has been taken.
  • Lipa also included the definition of the word "autochthonous" in her tweet: "indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists." That definition, too, refers back to the Albanian nationalist argument for expansion.
Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic tears down a "Greater Albania" flag from a drone in 2014 as Albanian defenders look on. Photo: Alexa Stankovic/AFP via Getty Images

The state of play: The flag in her tweet was flown by a drone over a 2014 soccer match between Albania and Serbia, prompting the match to be suspended after it brought the two teams to blows and sent Serbian fans spilling onto the field to join in, per the BBC.

  • Albanian fans weren't even allowed to attend the match in Belgrade, given the already heightened tensions between the two nations.
  • "If someone from Serbia had unveiled a flag of Greater Serbia in [Albania's capital] Tirana or [Kosovo's capital] Pristina, it would already be on the agenda of the UN Security Council," Serbia's foreign minister said after the incident.

The big picture: Political scientist Florian Bieber, who studies ethnic conflict in the Balkans, called Lipa's tweet "stupid nationalism."

  • "It claims that one group has more rights because it was there earlier, which is not a credible claim considering that nations are modern. ... It also suggest that migrants should be excluded or less worthy. Hardly a message for anybody who, like herself, represents the ability for the child of migrants to succeed," he added.

The bottom line: The regional tensions will get some international attention in the coming months, as the European Union moved to open formal accession talks earlier this year with both Albania and North Macedonia.

Go deeper

Biden to Trump: My son "wasn't a sucker"

During a speech on the latest jobs report, Joe Biden directly addressed President Trump for reportedly calling American war heroes "losers" and "suckers," slamming Trump with a personal anecdote about his late son, Beau.

What they're saying: "When my son volunteered to join the United States military, as the attorney general, and went to Iraq for the year — won the bronze star and other commendations — he wasn’t a sucker," Biden said.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.