THE GANGLAND OF KOSOVOSTAN

Monitoring the Albanian Kosovostan Islamic Caliphate founded by ex-US President Bill Clinton in June 1999

Exporting Jihad: Bosnia and Kosovo



Ridvani

Bosnia and Kosovo are two of the biggest exporters of jihadists joining the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria) from the Balkans. As The Cipher Brief reported last month, legacies of the Communist era and the wars of the 1990s – presence of foreign fighters, economic and physical destruction, a lack of funding to rebuild, and the near eradication of moderate Islamic institutions – paved the way for Islamic extremist groups to establish a foothold in both countries. Now, ISIS recruiters are targeting Bosnia and Kosovo, and many Bosnians and Kosovars have left to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Bosnia

When war broke out in Bosnia in the early 1990s, the ultra-conservative Sunni Islam movement known as Salafism was brought to Bosnia “by Saudi-sponsored mujahedeen fighters mobilized to fight alongside the drastically under-armed and under-funded Muslim Bosniaks against both Serbs and Croats,” explains Cipher Brief expert Tanja Dramac Jiries. Some of these foreign fighters received citizenship and stayed in Bosnia after the war, says Adrian Shtuni, an expert on violent extremism in the Balkans.

Jiries notes that today, “Extremist communities [offer] an attractive refuge to young men and women deprived of any opportunity for economic prosperity.”

The number of those lacking economic wealth – and potentially turning toward extremist groups for both sociological and monetary reasons – continues to grow in Bosnia. A report released this month by Bosnia-based think tank Social Overview Service finds the Bosnian economic model unsustainable due to “budget deficits that are growing on almost all administrative levels” and a “serious liquidity crisis.” This, according to the report, is delaying salaries, pensions, and social benefits and causing deep unrest within society.

In addition, Bosnia is gearing up for local elections in October, which means polarizing pre-election campaigns have already begun. Jiries explains, “Local and general elections have become the ideal stage for nationalist leaders to not only remind citizens of the dangers that permeate their country, but also to lay out their plans for protecting their respective ethnic community – be it Croat, Serb, or Bosniak.”

Economic instability and radical rhetoric can foment extremist ideology. Indeed Balkan Investigative Reporting Network investigators recently found that since 2012, at least 200 Bosnian men are believed to have fought with jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq. Bosnia’s State Investigation and Protection Agency puts that number at 280 and reports about 120 of those are still fighting with ISIS or al-Nusra Front.

The U.S. State Department, in its recently released 2015 report on terrorism, notes the large number of Bosnians traveling to Syria and Iraq to join terrorist groups. But what may be even more worrying is that 50 Bosnians are believed to have returned home. And Bosnia’s complex security system of 15 different police agencies, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the Court means coordination and intelligence sharing is difficult, if not non-existent.

One positive: The State Department report praises Bosnia’s 2015 Strategy for Preventing and Combating Terrorism, the first of its kind for a Balkan nation. Plus, in April this year, CIA director John Brennan stopped in Sarajevo to discuss this issue of weak intelligence sharing and the problems it poses to fighting terrorism.

Kosovostan passeport

Kosovo

Kosovo’s story of extremist Islamic infiltration is similar to Bosnia’s. During the 1998 – 1999 Kosovo war, foreign fighters flocked to the country to participate, although in lesser numbers than in Bosnia. As the conflict came to an end, a handful of Saudi-funded faith-based charities set up shop in Kosovo, a predominantly Muslim nation, says Shtuni. “Besides providing much needed humanitarian aid, building schools, hospitals, orphanages, and community centers, they also erected Wahhabi mosques,” he explains.

Besiana Xharra, a journalist based in Kosovo and a fellow at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, reports more than a hundred unlicensed mosques sprang up all over Kosovo in a matter of a decade.

Moreover, Shtuni says the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya (SJRC) – whose activities have been linked to al-Qaeda – “reportedly built ninety-eight primary and secondary schools in rural Kosovo in the first few years after the war.”

However, Cipher Brief expert Haki Abazi, program director for the Western Balkans at Rockefeller Brothers Fund, notes that institutions such as mosques or schools don’t necessarily mean followers. Saudi efforts to introduce radical Islam into Kosovo, he says, have proved largely unfruitful. “New mosques built by wealthy individuals from Saudi Arabia stand empty. Saudi Arabia’s indoctrination efforts are producing nothing but disappointment for their investors,” he told The Cipher Brief.

Still, according to Cipher Brief expert Anita Rice, the Kosovo government believes at least 300 Kosovars have fought with jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq since 2012, with around 70 still fighting there and 130 who have returned home. And Shtuni claims that among the Balkans and greater European countries, Kosovo has the highest rate of recruitment for violent jihad relative to its population size.

The country’s economic woes and weak governance do not help. Kosovo has the highest rate of unemployment in the region, and it has been “struggling to establish proper accountable democratic institutions,” says Abazi.

Kosovo’s institutions for combatting terrorism – including investigative and prosecutorial apparatuses – remain weak as well. The State Department 2015 terrorism report notes Kosovo has limited capacity, resources, and experience to handle terrorism cases effectively, although Kosovo’s efforts to track and prosecute terror suspects are a positive sign, the report states.

As Bosnia and Kosovo attempt to work through a bloody recent history, the introduction of extremist Islam (especially Saudi-backed), institutional weakness, and economic distress, ISIS and other militant groups have established recruiting efforts within both countries. But the governments and their citizens are fighting back. Abazi points out, “In the last six months, not a single case of recruitment by ISIS or other extremist groups has been recorded in Kosovo.”

That does not mean the international community should believe the issue will fade away without help. Indeed, as Albania’s Former Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu told The Cipher Brief last month, the Balkans will need greater support from the U.S. and the EU in building institutional capacity and regional cooperation.


2016-06-24

About the author:

Kaitlin Lavinder is an International Producer with The Cipher Brief.

Source: The Cipher Brief

KOSOVO_010_3415084b

Save

Save

Save

Save 

RELATED POSTS
Syrian rebels get arms from Kosovo and Bosnia
The DEBKA website, close to Israeli military intelligence, knows well all the behind the curtain details of regional politics. A few days ago it reported about basically new turns of the way the events unfold in Syria. According to it, the Syrian extremists received a load of heavy weapons for the first time since the war started. The senders are the groups from Kosovo and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina linked to Al Qaeda. The package includes Kornet and Fagot anti-tank systems delivered by the Soviet Union to former Yugoslavia in the past. The weapons ended up in the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo secession linked to NATO expansion
The U.S. calls it “Operation Status.” The United Nations calls it “The Ahtisaari Plan.” It is the U.S./NATO “independence” project for Kosovo, which has been a province of Serbia since the 14th century. With NATO’s 17,000 troops backing it, Kosovo’s government is set to secede on Feb. 6, declaring itself a separate country. Kosovo’s president is Hashim Thaci, who was the leader of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK for its Albanian initials), which U.S. diplomat Robert Gelbard called “terrorist” in 1998, just before the U.S. started funding the UCK to use it against Yugoslavia. Thaci, whose UCK code name was ...
READ MORE
Kosovo and the noble lie
During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, military intervention by the US and NATO was precipitated by the use of outright lies and deceptions. The conflict was "ostensibly about preventing “genocide” on the scale of the Holocaust. This was the Big Lie. This was the Noble Lie. In fact, the conflict was about secession and separatism and the creation of a US-sponsored Greater Albania. Why was the Noble Lie needed? A deception was needed because US policy was supporting an illegal land grab, a forceful take-over of territory from a sovereign nation, Yugoslavia. Why and how could such lies and deceptions occur ...
READ MORE
NATO’s illegal war against Serbia
Facts And Truth @ YouTube: “Remember why NATO spent 78-days bombing Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999? There was the ethnic cleansing. The atrocities. The refugees chased out of Kosovo by the Serb army. The mass graves. The heaps of bodies tossed into vats of sulphuric acid at the Trepca mines. NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said there were 100,000 Kosovo Albanian Muslims unaccounted for. Problem is, none of it happened.” Forensic report throws doubt on US/NATO claims of Racak “massacre” By Richard Tyler wsws.org, 12 February 2001 A forthcoming article by three Finnish pathologists throws further doubts upon official descriptions of a “massacre” in ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An evil little war
Six Years Later, Kosovo Still Wrong In the early hours of March 24, 1999, NATO began the bombing of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. For some reason, many in the targeted nation thought the name of the operation was "Merciful Angel." In fact, the attack was code-named "Allied Force" – a cold, uninspired and perfectly descriptive moniker. For, however much NATO spokesmen and the cheerleading press spun, lied, and fabricated to show otherwise (unfortunately, with altogether too much success), there was nothing noble in NATO’s aims. It attacked Yugoslavia for the same reason then-Emperor Bill Clinton enjoyed a ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump: It was a great mistake to bomb the Serbs who were our allies in both world wars
Donald Trump with Larry King on the occasion of the anniversary of the bombing of Serbia criticized Bill Clinton and criminal attack on Serbs, the ally of America in both wars. "The Clintons have made a mess in the Balkans and Kosovo. Look what we did to Serbia in an aerial bombardment from a safe height. Those same Serbs rescued American pilots in World War II. It is a mistake that we bombed a nation that has been our ally in two world wars. Clintons believe that was a success, and I find it shameful. I extend an apology to all the Serbs ...
READ MORE
“Responsibility to protect” was not valid in Kosovo and isn’t valid in Ukraine
The same arguments used to justify a western 'humanitarian intervention' in Kosovo in 1999 could be used to support a Russian intervention in Ukraine. This article originally appeared at Irrussianality Yesterday, I gave a talk on ‘The Folly of Military Intervention’ at McGill University. Afterwards, one of the students asked me a question about parallels between the wars in Kosovo in 1999 and Ukraine in 2014/15. As I answered, I found myself thinking about the scale of the humanitarian crises in both cases and what this means for supporters of so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’. In 1999, NATO aircraft bombed Yugoslavia for three months. The aim, ...
READ MORE
Kosovo’s “Mafia State” and camp Bondsteel: Towards a permanent US military presence in Southeast Europe
In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a bizarre Obama Administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Washington will “help” Kosovo to join NATO as well as the European Union. She made the pledge after a recent Washington meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington where she praised the progress of the Thaci government in its progress in “European integration and economic development.”1 Her announcement no doubt caused serious gas pains among government and military officials in the various capitals of European NATO. Few people  appreciate just how mad Clinton’s plan to push ...
READ MORE
Balkan Islamist galaxy in a nutshell
The Balkan political environment is shaped-amongst other- by the existence of two political strains of Islam, the Wahhabis, related to the Saudis & Gulf states and the Muslim Brotherhood ones, related to the Turkish-Qatar axis. In both cases networking developed under a series of upturns since the 1990’s and is inexorably related to wider events of interest such as the ongoing wars in the Middle East and the culminations in countries such as Turkey, Egypt but also EU , Western European ones; including direct security affairs. Nowadays we are witnessing a massive buyout of land and corporations by mostly UAE, Kuwait and ...
READ MORE
Guess Kosovo wasn’t that ‘unique’: Separatism in the Caucasus
A study of differences and similarities between the break-away states of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh in the Caucasus and Kosovo in the Balkans. After February 2008 when Kosovo Albanian-dominated Parliament proclaimed Kosovo independence (without organizing a referenda) with obvious US diplomatic support (unilateral recognition) with explanation that the Kosovo case is unique in the World (i.e., it will be not repeated again) one can ask the question: is the problem of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo-Metochia really unique and surely unrepeatable in some other parts of the World as the US administration was trying to convince the rest of ...
READ MORE
Former President Bill Clinton talks to voters about Hillary Clinton in Concord, N.H., on Wedneday, Jan. 20, 2016. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Former President Bill Clinton continues to be feted around the world as a progressive champion of human rights. However, a European Union task force last week confirmed that the ruthless cabal he empowered by bombing Serbia in 1999 has committed atrocities that include murdering individuals to extract and sell their kidneys, livers and other body parts. Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from ...
READ MORE
NATO’s war against Yugoslavia was based on lies
Germany joined the war against Yugoslavia under the pretense of fabricated facts. Sensational confession of German policeman Henning Hentz who served in the OSCE in Kosovo in the 90s confirmed that. The reason here is that photographs taken by Hentz in late January 1999 were used by then German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping to justify the immediate interference of NATO in the Kosovo conflict. He presented the photographs of the militants killed in Rugovo as photos of innocent Albanian victims. What did really happen in Kosovo in late January of 1999, several months before NATO launched its operation against Yugoslavia? According to Serbian ...
READ MORE
“We have the right to live”: NATO’s war on Yugoslavia and the expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo
In the period before the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) waged a campaign to secede and establish an independent Kosovo dominated by Albanians and purged of every other ethnic group. In October 1998, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled the KLA’s vision: “We will never change our position. The independence of Kosovo is the only solution…We cannot live together [with Serbs]. That is excluded.” Once NATO’s war came to an end, the KLA set about driving out of Kosovo every non-Albanian and every pro-Yugoslav Albanian it could lay its hands on. The KLA left in its wake ...
READ MORE
epa04526148 Czech President Milos Zeman attends a press conference after the meeting of V4 presidents and Austria and Slovenia in Prague, Czech Republic, 12 December 2014. Presidents of the four Central European States (V4 Group) Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, and the presidents of Austria and Slovenia are visiting the Czech Republic for a two-day summit.  EPA/FILIP SINGER
  Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo’s independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal. Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence. This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich The recognition of ...
READ MORE
The Albanian Origin: The main challenges of research
We must be clear on the meaning of Albanian autochthony, anthroponymy and ethnogenesis. Actually, the question is: have the Albanians lived without interruption in the  present-day “ethnic” territories of the Albanians (Albania, the Eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, the Southern Central Serbia, the Western Macedonia and the Northern Epirus in Greece) since the ancient Greek and Roman times? In the other words, are the Albanians really the indigenous people of the Balkans as they claim or just newcomers to their present-day ethnic territories?  It is true, however, that the question of the Illyrian ethnic and cultural background of present-day Albanians ...
READ MORE
Making Balkan Caliphate: The Wahhabies – A new danger for the Balkan and European security
“God is our objective, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle is our way, and death for sake of God is the highest of our aspirations” Jihadi credo The West Europe before the 2014 Christmas became once again a target of several mini-terrorist acts by the radical Islamists among whom the Wahabbies are the most active and dangerous. On Tuesday, December 23rd, Germany’s security service warn of highest terrorist threat in decades as the German participation in the anti-ISIS struggle became the reason for potential terrorism. However, it turned that the Balkans became a center of their activities ...
READ MORE
Europe between “Kosovization” and “Jihadization”
Today the Old (dying out) Continent is under multi-faced crises pressure some of them having older roots but the others are product of current political decisions and moves by the European decision makers (and those who are behind them across the Ocean). The European oldest and mostly painful crisis-problem is a biological declination of the whole continent what from the economic point of view means, at least for the western countries, an import of a huge number of the „outsiders“ in order just to keep the same level of the economic production and national GDP. This solution of course produce as ...
READ MORE
An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 11, 2014 by jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants gathering at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Nineveh province. Militants took control of the Iraqi city of Tikrit and freed hundreds of prisoners today, police said, the second provincial capital to fall in two days. AFP PHOTO / HO / ISIL-/AFP/Getty Images
The DEBKA website, close to Israeli military intelligence, knows well all the behind the curtain details of regional politics. A few days ago it reported about basically new turns of the way the events unfold in Syria. According to Israelis, (1) the Syrian extremists received a load of heavy weapons for the first time since the war started. The senders are the groups from Kosovo and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina linked to Al Qaeda. The package includes Kornet and Fagot anti-tank systems delivered by the Soviet Union to former Yugoslavia in the past. The weapons ended up in ...
READ MORE
Documentary film: “Kosovo: Can you imagine?” (2009, Canada)
“Kosovo: Can You Imagine?” is a documentary film by Canadian film maker Boris Malagurski, about the Serbs that live in Kosovo and the lack of human rights that they have today, in the 21st century. Most of the Kosovo Serbs have been ethnically cleansed by the Albanians who make up the majority of Kosovo. Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatism in its province of Kosovo. In the years following the war, thousands of Serbs were expelled from their homes, kidnapped and killed. Their houses, cultural and ...
READ MORE
Syrian rebels get arms from Kosovo and Bosnia
Shaking Hands With a War Criminal
Kosovo secession linked to NATO expansion
Kosovo and the noble lie
NATO’s illegal war against Serbia
Kosovo: An evil little war
Donald Trump: It was a great mistake to bomb the Serbs who were our allies in both world wars
“Responsibility to protect” was not valid in Kosovo and isn’t valid in Ukraine
Kosovo’s “Mafia State” and camp Bondsteel: Towards a permanent US military presence in Southeast Europe
Balkan Islamist galaxy in a nutshell
Guess Kosovo wasn’t that ‘unique’: Separatism in the Caucasus
When the spoils of war are human organs
NATO’s war against Yugoslavia was based on lies
“We have the right to live”: NATO’s war on Yugoslavia and the expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo
Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a war criminal
The Albanian Origin: The main challenges of research
Making Balkan Caliphate: The Wahhabies – A new danger for the Balkan and European security
Europe between “Kosovization” and “Jihadization”
Syrian rebels get arms from Kosovo and Bosnia
Documentary film: “Kosovo: Can you imagine?” (2009, Canada)

Share

Categories: Yugoslavia

Tags: , ,

www.kosovo-metochia.org

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • SHARE
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn