Kosovo and ongoing de-Christianization



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The ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo continues and unlike the past frenzy of the anti-Serbian mass media in the West, we mainly have a deadly silence about the reality of Kosovo and the continuing Albanianization of this land. However, how is it “just” and “moral” to persecute minorities and to alienate them from mainstream society; and then to illegally recognize this land without the full consensus of the international community?

How ironic it is that the same United States of America and the United Kingdom, two nations who were in the forefront of covertly manipulating the mass media; remain mainly silent about the destruction of Orthodox Christian churches, Serbian architecture, and of course the past killings of Serbians and other minorities in Kosovo.

After all, according to America and the United Kingdom the initial conflict was about human rights, democracy, and liberty. However, what about the liberty and freedom of Orthodox Christian Serbs, Gypsies, and other minorities in Kosovo? Are these minorities free in modern day Kosovo and can they move around without the fear of discrimination, persecution or death?

Obviously, vast parts of Kosovo are out of bounds for the majority of minorities in Kosovo, therefore, the answer is no and many areas which were cleansed of  Serbians and other minorities remain cleansed.

According to Minority Rights Group International (MRG) which is based in the United Kingdom, it is apparent that exclusion and discrimination is rife. Therefore, minorities face a bleak future and Serbians, Bosniaks, Roma, Croats, Turks, Gorani and Ashkali Egyptians are either being forced out because of alienation or because of limited economic opportunities.

The MRG is not alone in thinking that minorities have been badly betrayed because it is clear that Kosovo remains in limbo and minorities will continue to leave because of the ongoing situation.

The late Patriarch Pavle (His Holiness the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, Patriarch of Serbs) was highly respected and a man of reason. He stated the following many years ago ( http://kosovo.net ):

“This humble publication is our cry and appeal to the Christian and civilized world. It is distressing to learn that in the year of the greatest Christian Jubilee, at the end of two millenniums of Christianity, Christian churches are still being destroyed, not in a war but in the time of peace guaranteed by the international community. We hope that these photos of the destroyed and desecrated Orthodox shrines will awaken the conscience of those who are able to stop the crimes and believe that they who already stood up against one evil will not remain just passive witnesses of another evil happening now in their presence.”

“We also make our appeal to all Kosovo Albanians, who reasonably see their future in their joint life with Serbs, to resist and prevent the acts of insanity.”

“In Kosovo and Metohija there will be no victory of humanity and justice while revenge and disorder prevail. No one has the moral right to celebrate the victory complacently, as long as one evil is being replaced with another and the freedom of one people is becoming the slavery of another.”

Patriarch Pavle stated this many years ago and sadly his words of wisdom have been ignored and instead America and the United Kingdom decided to create a new world order; this new world order was to carve up Serbia and to break international law. This breach of ignoring international law ultimately had greater repercussions because the Russian Federation would support Abkhazia and South Ossetia after conflict erupted in Georgia.

Therefore, a “new can of worms was opened” and the “Kosovo model” could inspire future mayhem because it is clear that international law was rendered to be unimportant.

Like I stressed in my last article about Kosovo (Kosovo and Systematic Persecution by KLA) it is clear that all sides committed atrocities, just like what happens in all wars. Pain can be felt on all sides and sadly many innocents were killed during the various civil wars which engulfed the former Yugoslavia.

However, the Serbian story war largely untold and the same can be said about the persecution of other minorities in Kosovo. Yet what is clear is that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was involved in running brutal death camps and this even applies to the killing of people for organs.

At the same time the KLA supported the ethnic cleansing of Serbians and other minorities, and the same applies to the destruction of Christian churches, monasteries, and other historical architecture which was a clear reminder of the roots of Kosovo.

Also, the hard sell by America, the United Kingdom, and other nations who support independence, is that independence was justified on the grounds of Serbian atrocities. Yet if the KLA was found to be involved in killing civilians for organs then “the spin machine” collapses and “democracy” rings hollow.

Therefore, in one part of Europe we are a seeing the silent destruction of Serbian Orthodox Christianity and the ongoing persecution and alienation of minorities in Kosovo.

It would appear that the violation of international law is deemed to be a viable policy for both America and the United Kingdom. Therefore, important questions, for example the role of the KLA in killing innocents for organs, the rise of the KLA in such a short space of time and a host of other vital questions remain unanswered.

However, it is vital to counter this cover-up and blatant violation of international law because it is clear that murky covert acts have been implemented by higher powers. Also, the world is still divided about the future of Kosovo but why did some nations behave so hastily without the full facts, and without taking into consideration the ongoing persecution and alienation of minorities in Kosovo?


2010-07-17

By Lee Jay Walker, The Modern Tokyo Times

Source: Islamic Terrorism and Religious Persecution

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UN, France & US in Libya and Ivory Coast: Using violence and Islamic forces just like Kosovo



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The current problems in Libya and Ivory Coast are complex and clearly the opposition has different aspirations.  After all, both sides are involved in a bloody conflict and the use of violence is being used by each faction in these divided nations.  Therefore, it appears that the “new democratic warriors” of peace and freedom carry guns and kill their enemies, just like their enemies would kill them.

This article is not about defending the leaders of either nations and clearly the leader of Libya is known for being despotic and obsessed by political power.  Also, forces loyal to Gaddafi care little about human rights and political freedom and it is abundantly clear that Libya does not have a future under him.

However, the United Nations and France, which are involved in bombing both Libya and the Ivory Coast,; do seem to have an agenda where you support the uprisings and if they kill in “whatever name” then it is fine but if central forces fight back then they deserve to be bombed into submission.

In the Ivory Coast it was reported that forces loyal to the Muslim led forces of Alassane Ouattara have just massacred between 800 and 1,000 Christians in the Ivory Coast.  Alassane Ouattara is being supported by America, Europe and the United Nations and it is noticeable that once the forces who are loyal to the Christian leader, Laurent Gbagbo, were bombed by France and the UN; then the Muslim led forces of Alassane Ouattara began their onslaught and massacres are ensuing.

However, in the new democratic world order of President Obama, the European Union and United Nations, this will not infringe on them supporting Alassane Ouattara and the massacre of up to 1,000 Christians will bite the dust before the dust is even settled.

Also, the uprising in Libya is complex because it appears to be an uprising based on regionalism, military splits, nationalists, Islamists, secularists, and a hot-botch of others; but clearly you do have an Islamic angle and Al Qaida hopes to spread radical Sunni Islam in Libya.

It is difficult to see a democratic savior amongst the opposition to Gaddafi in Libya.  This in itself does not mean that Gaddafi must be left alone to kill and attack innocent citizens but once you take sides then the situation becomes even more chaotic.

Added to this is the confusing nature of Libyan politics and power structures and it is hard to see what the future holds for Libya.  It may just be that it is a case of “the devil you know” against the “possible devil that you don’t know” but with the hope that somehow a policy can work.

However, look at Kosovo and the military intervention of this part of Serbia because the objectives in Kosovo appear to be to downsize Serbia and to install a mainly Islamic state at the expense of the deep-rooted Orthodox Christian community.

Kosovo, just like Libya, is witnessing a combined Western elite force which is unifying itself with radical Sunni Islamic and nationalist/regional factions in order to reach an agenda which is only known to the powers that be.

Therefore, in Abidjan the military forces who are loyal to the Christian leader, Laurent Gbagbo, were attacked by a joint operation of United Nation forces and the French army.  This will lead to deadly silence in the so-called “Muslim street” because just like Bosnia, Cyprus, and Kosovo; the “Muslim victim card” does not wash and Christians are once more expendable while power games are being played in higher circles.

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Kosovo 1998: Hashim Tachi (sitting in the middle) as commander of terrorist and criminal Kosovo Liberation Army

America, the United Kingdom, Iran, and a host of other nations and Islamic terrorist movements, were allies in Bosnia and thousands of Islamists were given a free hand to massacre innocent Christian civilians.  At the same time, the Islamic network of Al Qaida (Al Qaeda) obtained a foothold in Europe via Bosnia. Therefore, some Islamic terrorists who were involved in September 11 and Madrid had helped the Islamic jihad in Bosnia by killing Christians and plotting future terrorist attacks.

Why is it that when four million mainly African Christians and Animists were killed in Sudan by the Arab Sunni Islamic elites that nothing was done?  Why is it deemed allowable for Sunni Islamic forces to kill and persecute Shia Muslims in Bahrain and Yemen?

However, when it comes to the Ivory Coast and Libya then the West desires to get involved.  More alarming, even after a massacre of between 800 and 1,000 Christians took place in the Ivory Coast then very little was said by President Obama and other leading political figures.  Yet the power mechanisms of the UN and France are still supporting the massacres alongside the Muslim leadership despite the complex nature of the civil war.

The lesson from Kosovo was that it was fine to massage reality and then to allow the dismantlement of Orthodox Christian churches throughout Kosovo.  Indeed, it is obvious that elements within the American administration, under Bill Clinton, and the British government, under Tony Blair, had hoped that the Christian Orthodox community would be cleansed entirely because this would solve any lingering doubts of who owned Kosovo.

Therefore, Western forces supported the terrorist deemed KLA according to America prior to the conflict in Kosovo.  However, Bill Clinton overturned this and the KLA became freedom fighters over night. This pro-Muslim Albanian policy meant that an alliance of democratic nations, Islamists, Albanian nationalists, narcotic gangs, and others; formed an alliance with the upshot being the support of a narcotic tainted and organ transplant tainted leader called Hashim Thaci.

Despite Hashim Thaci and other leaders in Kosovo being implicated in the organ transplant scandal where people were murdered for organs. Little appears to change and this episode is a watershed because it shows you the complete lack of morals within the elites of the democratic world.

Also, the media logic and Western logic is very fickle and based on a short time frame in order to pander and indoctrinate by using massive propaganda.  Say for example that Slobodan Milosevic was wrong and that he was an evil dictator; does this vindicate taking Kosovo from Serbia?

How can a short period of history over-run hundreds and hundreds of years of Christian persecution, massacres, pogroms, and utter dhimmitude at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.  Yes, an Islamic empire in the heart of Europe which enslaved and took Christian boys from their parents by implementing the barbaric devsirme system and converting them to Islam.

However, in the bankrupt policy of Kosovo, which is now being implemented in the Ivory Coast; you have outsiders intervening within complex areas and you have no simple answers.

The same applies to Libya and while the leader of this nation does not deserve people to shed tears for him because of his despotism and past policies; this does not mean that the West should once more support Islamists, just like they did in Bosnia and Kosovo, because this policy is not only immoral it is dangerous.  After all, September 11 and Madrid, and other major terrorist attacks, have their links to the Bosnian Islamic jihad.

Steven Emerson, The Investigative Project on Terrorism and leading international figure in exposing terrorist networks, highlighted the current reality of Libya by stating that:

The mounting violence in Libya could have the unintended consequence of reviving radical Islamists including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a terror organization aligned with al-Qaida.” 

“As Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year-old dictatorship totters on the brink, U.S. policymakers should pay close attention to reports that LIFG members are being released from Libyan jails, according to Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury Department official who monitors jihadist organizations. Until now, the LIFG has been essentially moribund inside Libya since Gaddafi’s regime launched a repression campaign against it in the late 1990s.”

In Bosnia and Kosovo the Clinton administration only paid attention to terrorist Islamic networks by working towards “similar objectives” and maintaining channels which were distant, however, it is hard to keep this channel too distant when America and other nations allowed nations like Iran to violate the UN military arms embargo.

Also, thousands of Islamists from nations like Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, and homegrown Islamists in the United Kingdom, were given the green light to enter and somehow escape all those national security passport agencies.  Not only this, the Bosnian Muslim government was issuing passports to Islamic terrorists and clearly the Clinton administration understood the “Islamic rat lines.”

Steven Emerson continues by commenting that In February 2006, the Treasury Department announced it was formally designating four organizations and five individuals as financial supporters of the LIFG, “an al Qaida affiliate known for engaging in terrorist activity in Libya and cooperating with al Qaida worldwide.” Patrick O’Brien, assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crime, said the LIFG “threatens global safety and stability through the use of violence and its ideological alliance with al Qaida.”

The current situation in Libya is complex and how do you keep Islamists out of the opposition and how do you unite an ad hoc mixture of radical Sunni Islamists, disgruntled army units, democrats, socialists, and a mixture of other forces and added to this you have regionalism and tribal based loyalties.

Similarly, how can America, France, the UN, and others, support the Muslim opposition leader against the Christian leader of Laurent Gbagbo?  Who is to say which side is open to democracy and greater religious freedom and what policies are in place in order to stop the bloodletting?

Therefore, we have the global disgrace of UN forces and France bombing forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo in the Ivory Coast and this is happening amidst a massacre of between 800 Christians to 1,000 Christians in Duekoue by mainly Muslim forces who are loyal to Alassane Ouattara.

This shame applies to many democratic nations who still support Hashim Thaci and Kosovo independence.  After all, Kosovo Albanians have destroyed countless numbers of Christian churches and ancient monuments after the war and more alarming the leader is being implicated with organ trafficking and other evil deeds.

Vojin Joksimovich, in his article called Grisly Albanian Organ Harvesting Crimes: Is Justice Going To Be Served, comments that:

In my late December essay Amorality of US Kosovo Policy: Friends with the Snake “I have published reactions to the Council of Europe (CoE) 27-page report authored by the Swiss-Italian politician, senator and prosecuting lawyer Dick Marty. The report, after his two-year investigation, claimed that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs headed by the current Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci, known as the “Snake,” abducted mostly Kosovo Serbs but also some Albanian so called “collaborators,” transported them to northern Albania, murdered them, extracted their organs like the kidneys, and sold them on the black market. These macabre Nazi/Croatian Nazi style crimes were covered up by the leading international organizations such as the UN, NATO, OSCE as well as the governments of leading western countries. NATO’s secret documents as well as an UN report have been leaked out clearly demonstrating that both of those international organizations had full knowledge of these grisly crimes and opted to cover them up in addition to several western governments, the U.S. and Germany in particular. While a EULEX investigation is being launched, it will focus on the grisly crimes committed by the Snake and his thugs but will not include an investigation of those who enabled these crimes to be covered up for over a decade. In addition, it is doubtful if EULEX is capable of conducting an all-encompassing inquiry. Hence, the most important question needs to be posed: Is the justice going to be served?”

The question raised by Vojin Joksimovich is important and it also applies to the Bosnian civil war whereby Islamists from all over the world were given a free reign to slaughter Orthodox Christians.  It now also applies to the massacre of Christians in the Ivory Coast where UN forces and France are in collusion with one faction over another, despite the massacre that their allies have just done.

Also, like Steven Emerson warns about Libya, the situation on the ground is very complex and Islamists may fill the vacuum or just like Bosnia and Kosovo; then Islamists in Libya may be supported from a distance.

Of course Bosnia, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, and Libya respectively are complex and you have no easy solutions but supporting either terrorist organizations or turning a blind eye to massacres, while continuing to support forces deemed “legitimate,” can’t be the answer.

Also, the West may have stepped into Bosnia and helped the Muslim cause just like they supported the Turkish invasion of Cyprus or at worse allowed it to happen; but despite this some Sunni Islamists used Bosnia on their way to doing September 11 and Madrid; if this does not alarm you then you can ignore the “fog of war” in Libya but the long term consequences are still unknown apart from the fact that Al Qaida will try to fill part of the vacuum or to at least exploit the situation.

Meanwhile, the debacle in Ivory Coast is shaming the name of France and the UN because nothing was done to stop the massacre of between 800 and 1,000 Christians and not only this, both France and the UN are supporting the mainly Muslim forces which did this massacre.


2011-04-07

By Lee Jay Walker, Modern Tokyo Times

Source: Islamic Terrorism and Religious Persecution

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Bosnia, Cyprus and Kosovo: America and Islamism in the Balkans



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Destroyed Serbian Orthodox church complex in Kosovo in March 2004

The conflicts that engulfed the former Yugoslavia still remain unresolved in the political arena and open to Western political shenanigans and covert meddling from Turkey and Saudi Arabia in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Orthodox Christianity faces many attacks and only a naïve individual would claim that America and the hands of Turkey and Saudi Arabia are clean.

America and other Western nations did little to stop Turkey invading Cyprus in 1974 and creating a de-facto nation and altering the demographics of northern Cyprus and using this area for military purposes.

Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of Cyprus you have no vindication of allowing a foreign army to invade another nation and then altering the ethnic and religious nature of the society that was invaded. However, the response by America to this Turkish and Islamic invasion was not only minimal but it clearly wasn’t important enough to the elites who pull the strings.

The invasion was both nationalist in nature and religious because what is left of Orthodox Christianity in northern Cyprus?  Also, are Orthodox Christian religious leaders free to convert and spread the faith in northern Cyprus?

In Turkey ethnicity and religion is fused together by the current leader of Turkey but anti-Christian themes run deep within the psyche irrespective of the leader.  After all, Turkey is the cradle of Orthodox Christianity and “old Byzantium” but this “cradle” was destroyed by constant Islamic invasions, Turkish migration and Islamization which enslaved and sold European Christian slaves for many centuries.

The one uniting theme of the 1915 Turkish genocide which is still denied by modern day Turkey is that millions of Armenian/Assyrian/Greek Christians were slaughtered and just like “old Byzantium” and modern day northern Cyprus and Kosovo – you have very few traces of Orthodox Christianity.

Therefore, in northern Cyprus, Kosovo and “old Byzantium” the virtual 100% Christian lands have become a graveyard because of past Islamic invasions and because of recent factors. These recent factors apply to the combined forces of America, Turkey, Islamic terrorists, Saudi Arabian funding, and other important areas alongside a distorted media which is anti-Orthodox Christian.

In many Western academia circles and according to Islamic apologists we are told that Islam means peace, but in truth it means “a piece of Christianity to swallow” and then to Islamize.  How do virtual 100% Christian areas become “Orthodox Christian graveyards?”

Shaul Shay in his book called Islamic Terror and the Balkans comments on page 191 that:

“The “Afghan model,” in which an “ad hoc” alliance was forged between radical Islam and the West with the aim of defeating a common adversary – the Soviet Union – has recurred in the arena of confrontation between Islam and its Slav (Orthodox Christian) enemies in the Balkans. In both conflicts in the Balkans – in Bosnia and with even more intensity in Kosovo – radical Islamic factors and Iran (which is defined as a state that supports terror) chose the same side as the United States and the NATO countries.”

On page 192 Shaul Shay comments that:

“The case of the Balkans proves that radical Islam has apparently succeeded in developing an effective model in which it harnesses the West to realize the objectives of Islam, as reflected in the “Afghan model” and subsequently in the “Balkan model.” With regards to the Afghan case, the West did not comprehend the implications of the success of radical Islam and failed to draw the necessary conclusions, forcing it to pay a heavy toll for its errors (the September 11 offensive).”

Therefore, when Serbian troops tried to stem the tide of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in their own country, a massive Western media campaign went hand in hand with political elites in America and the United Kingdom. At the same time the Islamic terror networks were welcomed by policy makers in Washington because of past links in Afghanistan. This applies to the CIA, other agencies and government programs which trained radical Sunni Islamists to fight against the secular government of Najibullah in Afghanistan by establishing bases and allowing religious indoctrination in Pakistan.

The same America which didn’t lift a finger to help Orthodox Christians and force Turkey out of northern Cyprus, was involved in Kosovo in a flash and clearly the KLA and Islamic networks had a well-organized plan which had Washington stamped all over it.  Therefore, in three wars in the Balkans since the end of World War Two the United States supported the forces of Islam in Bosnia, northern Cyprus and Kosovo.

It mattered not if the Muslims were a minority or a majority or if an area was invaded by Turkish Muslim forces in northern Cyprus. Simply put, America sided with Islamic forces every time irrespective if outright Islamists like Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia or with nationalist Muslims in Turkey.  The end result was the same and this applies to being anti-Orthodox Christian and implementing hypocritical policies.

Alija Izetbegovic was a Bosnian Islamist who worked hand in hand with the Clinton administration. The same Izetbegovic welcomed international Islamic terrorists and clearly in his mind he had a long-term objective. Therefore, while the first phase was military he understood that the second phase was more potent and this applies to Islamization by stealth.

Izetbegovic commented that:

“… the Islamic movement should and must start taking over the power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough to not only overthrow the existing non-Islamic, but also to build up a new Islamic authority. …”

“… In one of the thesis for an Islamic order today we have stated that it is a natural function of the Islamic order to gather all Muslims and Muslim communities throughout the world into one. Under present conditions, this desire means a struggle for creating a great Islamic federation from Morocco to Indonesia, from the tropical Africa to the Central Asia. …”

The second phase is more important because it is long-lasting and based on stealth jihad and this applies to Islamization through the educational sector and other important areas.  Shaul Shay comments that:

“Money from Muslim states serves to fund the dissemination of Islam, mainly through educational frameworks. Some 100,000 Muslim Bosnian youths study in Islamic educational institutions today that advocate the extremist Wahhabi ideology.”

In modern day Kosovo the Orthodox Christian community is facing the brunt of Albanian nationalism and Kosovo Islamism. Ironically, for some Kosovo Albanians they also fear the growing rise of Kosovo Islamism because while Albanian nationalism and Kosovo Islamism share some common themes, it is clear that Kosovo Islamism hopes to swallow Albanian nationalism. Either way, the Orthodox Christian community is fighting for its survival in pockets of Kosovo because the “Orthodox Christian graveyard” is literal in many parts of modern day Kosovo and all in the name of democracy according to Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

The destruction of Orthodox Christian churches and protection of children by international armed forces from Kosovo Albanian extremists is an ongoing reality. This, and the organ scandal, doesn’t seem to alter anything because Serbian power is all but a distant memory. Therefore, a de-facto nation is being created literally on “the organs of innocents and narcotic trafficking alongside Islamic terrorist networks in Kosovo.”

Paul Lewis in an article published in The Guardian (British newspaper) on Dec 14th, states that:

“Kosovo’s prime minister is the head of a “mafia-like” Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through Eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organized crime.”

“The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi’s inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.”

In another article published by Modern Tokyo Times it is commented that “The report is clearly damning and this applies to not only the PM of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, but to all nations who have recognized Kosovo. This applies to breaking international law and making clear fabrications about the nature of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the reality of what was happening on the ground.”  

Paul Lewis continues also stated that:

“The report paints a picture in which ex-KLA commanders have played a crucial role in the region’s criminal activity. It says: “In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics.”

Therefore, the policies of Bill Clinton included the green light for thousands of Islamists to enter Bosnia and in time they would slit the throats of Orthodox Christians. Not content with this, he also supported the terrorist and criminal KLA in Kosovo who have been involved in organ trafficking and heroin alongside destroying Orthodox Christianity.

In an article published by Modern Tokyo Times called Bosnia and Clinton’s Radical Islamists it was stated that:

“Sky news has obtained clear and proper evidence of a major cover-up and footages of massacres against Serbian Christians.  According to the investigation and footages which were shown, it is abundantly clear that thousands of radical Islamists from all over the world were given a free reign in Bosnia.”

“This free-reign meant that innocent Serbian Christians were to meet terrible and disturbing deaths at the hands of radical Islamists who celebrated openly while cutting the heads off innocent civilians.  The same Islamic forces which unleashed September 11th and which stone people to death in order to create “year zero,” were welcomed openly by Clinton and by people within his administration.”

In another called The Forgotten Orthodox Christians of Bosnia and Kosovo it was mentioned that “Maybe one day the Serbian Orthodox Christian community in Bosnia will face the same fate which befell their co-religionists in Kosovo.  After all, Islamic nations and organizations are funding many Islamic institutions throughout the region and added to the higher Muslim birthrate and pro-American policies towards the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo then this could become a future reality.”

Turning back to northern Cyprus then it is clear that de-Orthodox Christianity is a reality and the same applies to the invasion by Turkey being tolerated for so long.  This is in stark contrast to America’s intervention in Kosovo and not only this, just look at the hypocrisy of NATO because why isn’t Turkey expelled for violating the sovereignty of Cyprus?

If anybody wants to deny the religious element of northern Cyprus then an article by the Washington Times called Religious artifacts in Cyprus in “great peril” should make you think again. The article highlights the destruction of 500 Orthodox Christian churches which have been pillaged, 133 monasteries desecrated, 15,000 religious paintings have disappeared, 77 churches turned into mosques, 28 converted into military hospitals/camps and 13 have been turned into barns.

The US administration went into a panic over one Koran which was burnt but the systematic destruction of Orthodox Christianity in northern Cyprus doesn’t enter the radar. This is because either allies of America are doing this, like Turkey, and because covert policies by past leaders including Clinton have given the “green light” to Islamists in the Balkans.

It is clear that America’s lack of concern for Orthodox Christianity in northern Cyprus was a clear indicator to events in Bosnia and Kosovo. Killing two million mainly African Christians and Animists in Sudan in the 1980s and early 1990s by Arab Islamists didn’t witness intervention.  Also, when Timorese Christians were being massacred by Indonesia this wasn’t deemed to be a crime at the time because America, the United Kingdom, and other nations, kept on selling military arms to Indonesia.

Iraqi Christians should have understood the reality of the Balkans because they have been left to defend themselves and unlike past secular law, they are now governed by Islamic Sharia law.  Not surprisingly approximately 50 per cent of all Iraqi Christians have fled and at no time was special protection given to them from the sword of radical Islam.

Therefore, de-Christianization in northern Cyprus was done by an ally of America, the ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo and Iraq respectively is happening under the watch of international troops and so-called friendly governments in Kosovo and Iraq – and Saudi Arabia is intent on spreading Islam in Bosnia and Europe while not allowing one single Christian church in their own nation.

If history tells us anything then the de-Christianization of Kosovo is a constant theme of America’s anti-Orthodox Christian policies in the Balkans. Therefore, Izetbegovic’s pan-Islamic dream remains a possibility because of America’s collusion, Islamic terrorist networks, Saudi Arabian and Turkish funding of Islamic institutions and if all this fails – then other covert ways will be found.

Macedonia should take note because the gap between events in northern Cyprus and Bosnia is many years apart but pro-Muslim policies remained the same. The current status quo in Macedonia will be put under further strains in the future because of the demographic reality and the rise of Islamism in the Balkans.


2011-10-19

By Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Source: Islamic Terrorism and Religious Persecution

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Destroyed Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo in March 2004

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Those who have erected the monument to Bill Clinton now flee from the valley of tears, through the land of the people they hunted and hated, burning their churches!



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Former slogan that has been so thunderously shouted within  pre-election debates, and that was the last glimmer of declarative patriotism, dear both to politicians and football fans, by the development of the situation  these days gets quite a different meaning.

Kosovo is Serbia sometimes means that the Serbs, if not otherwise, at least in their souls will not give up the holy Serbian land.

However, it might sound completely different today.  Columns of Albanians from Kosovo carrying everything they own, leave Kosovo, pushing to catch last buses for a better life, moving towards Subotica, in order to try to reach some of the EU states. Many of them were caught illegally crossing the border  and therefore returned, but many were able to get somewhere, beyond the Balkan  Valley of tears. Official data show that Kosovo in the last few months left about one hundred thousand people, and off the record the figure is twice as much.

“The young Kosovar democracy”  has created a good life for powerful criminals, meanwhile ordinary people were left without anything. Sounds familiar? No job, no future, no social support, nothing except brutality of the new transitional master criminal patriarchy and opacity, non traspareny of crucial decisions, and the propaganda of hatred towards Serbia and Serbs cannot feed the hungry.  When a state in unable to secure any future for ordinary people,  at the end  she can just wave to those who are leaving.

Seven years after the declaration of independence, and after the unconditional support primarily the United States, Kosovo is facing the voluntary exodus of thousands of its citizens who have erected a monument to Bill Clinton on the main square in Pristina, and who, in return,  got a state together with American companies as major shareholders in profitable enterprises engaged in telecommunications, coal or counseling in state institutions that are paid from the budget.

Those who were “defending” Kosovo 1999. by bombing Serbia (Albright, Clinton, Wesley Clark with their businesses) have returned to Kosovo to make fortune as they deserved,  which has been described by “The New York Times” few years ago.

“There’s no such a runaway from a prosperous, functional, legally regulated country, no one leaves a good land, thus you can not the mere fact that it’s not somebody’s  recognitions that ipso iure makes a state. No state could never be established that way.

One entity becomes a state when it’s based on historical heritage, developed economy,  the rule of law, and ability to provide social and political consensus in the area considered their own state,” –  says Serbian Minister of Labour, Veteran and Social Affairs, Aleksandar Vulin.

While these unfortunate buses run through Serbia Kosovo Albanians could  glimpse some similarities between the country  they flee and the country they hated, believing that they would do everything better .

They can see the blurry Ibar, which sails  to the north tons of garbage, and people hunched with hands in pockets, staring into the mud, they can see the consequences of neglect, poverty, floods, they can see the ruined bridges, plastered houses, bolted factories and even entire cities killed; former economic giants in the silent dying, closed craft shops and boutiques and the nub. They can see billboards with political slogans and advertisements of mainstream world brands; they can see traces of the bombing, desperate peasants and empty villages, they can see young people who have nothing to do, they can see the poor at every step, and beggars, they can see the trash containers and dumps as the only suppy not only for the homeless anymore, deserted cultural centers, posters, folk singers, they can see abandoned orchards,  –  there are strife and anger and misery, on whichever side of the bus they look at.  They can see the billboards that say  “Celebrating Belgrade”, but also the strikes of teachers, students, but they can also see furious and fancy cars, huge agricultural land owned by the transitional winners and Bank in front which people change their last Euro to pay for electricity or gas; they can see the same kind of Serbia as presented on social networks – neither more nor less than that. 

Land of bitterness, resentment and loss of hope, a state of confusion and impatience, with her eyes directed to distant destinations in hope for investment, or to the West who provided only with praise that the state  is ‘moving in the right direction.’

These buses are real but they are also a metaphor –  a metaphor of the Balkans where a better life is always something  what is ‘yet to happen’ , something probably best described  by mantra from famous TV serial about Djekna,  …” who, so far, hasn’t died, and we don’t know when she will.”


March 2015

Author: Mirjana Bobic Mojsilovic

Source: Vecernje Novosti

Translated by TMBJ

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War crimes by British General Sir Michael Jackson: From Bloody Sunday in Derry, Northern Ireland to Croatia, Kosovo and Iraq



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More than forty years later: The 5000 page Saville Commission Report into the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry, Northern Ireland, while calling for compensation to the victims’ families, fails to identify who were the perpetrators, both within H.M government and the British Army.

“The North’s Public Prosecution Service (PPS) is continuing to scrutinise the Saville report to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against British soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday on January 30th, 1972. While progress has been made on the issue of compensation there have been no substantial developments in relation to the possibility of British soldiers being charged. The PPS confirmed yesterday that the 5,000-page report by Lord Saville into Bloody Sunday remains under examination but that it is not yet in a position to rule on whether or not criminal cases can be taken against British soldiers involved in the shootings over 39 years ago.” (Irish Times, September 22, 2011)

The payment of compensation is intended to whitewash Her Majesty’s government.

bloodysundayrunningsoldierWere these spontaneous killings or were members of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment obeying orders from higher up?

While the possibility of bringing criminal charges against British soldiers has been raised, the broader issue of  “Who” within the British military and intelligence apparatus ordered the 1972 killings in Derry has never been addressed.

What was the underlying command structure of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment which carried out the massacre?

General Sir Robert Ford  was the Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland in 1972. The First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment was under his jurisdiction.

Lieutenant Coronel Derek Wilford  was commander of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (1 PARA), which constituted an elite special force unit of the British Army.

Wilford described by the BBC as “a well-respected high-flying officer” was exonerated by the 1972 Widgery Tribunal.

While attention has been placed on the role of  Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford, the role of  his adjutant, Captain Michael Jackson (who at the time had links to the Army’s Intelligence Corps) has been obfuscated since the outset of the investigation in 1972. Jackson was allegedly also instrumental in the cover-up.

Captain Michael Jackson was second in command (Adjutant) of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.  He started his military career in 1963 with the Intelligence Corps. The Int Corps is a unit of military intelligence and counter-intelligence attached to the British Army, which played a key role in Northern Ireland. The so-called “14 Intelligence Company” also referred to as “14 INT” or ‘The Det” “was a British Army special forces unit, established during the Troubles, which carried out surveillance operations in Northern Ireland”. ( http://www.eliteukforces.info/the-det/).

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Under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford, Captain Michael Jackson and thirteen other soldiers of the parachute regiment opened fire

“on a peaceful protest by the Northern Ireland civil rights association opposing discrimination against Catholics. In just 30 minutes, 13 people were shot dead and a further 13 injured. Those who died were killed by a single bullet to the head or body, indicating that they had been deliberately targeted. No weapons were found on any of the deceased.” (Julie Hyland, “Head of NATO Force in Kosovo was Second-in-command at “Bloody Sunday” Massacre in Ireland”, World Socialist Website, 19 June 1999).

Both Wilford and Jackson were rewarded rather than prosecuted for their role in the 1972 massacre.

Wilford, who subsequently retired from the Armed Services, was awarded the Order of the British Empire by H.M. Government in October of 1972,  less than a year following the January 1972 massacre.

Michael Jackson’s role in Bloody Sunday did not hinder his military career. In fact quite the opposite. He ascended to the highest rank of the British military, before retiring in 2006 from the rank of Commander of the General Staff (CGS).

In 1982 he became Commander of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, and Brigade Commander in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s.

From his stint in Northern Ireland, he was reassigned under United Nations auspices to the theatre of ethnic warfare, first in Bosnia and Croatia and then in Kosovo.

In the immediate wake of the 1995 ethnic massacres in the Krajina region of Croatia largely inhabited by Serbs, General Michael Jackson was put in charge as IFOR commander, for organising the return of Serbs “to lands taken by Croatian HVO forces in the 1995 Krajina offensive”. (Jane Defense Weekly, Vol 23, No. 7, 14 February 1996).

And in this capacity Jackson “urged that the resettlement [of Krajina Serbs] not [be] rushed to avoid tension [with the Croatians]” while also warning returning Serbs “of the extent of the [land] mine threat.”(Ibid)

Following his stint in Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia, Lieutenant General Mike Jackson led the June 1999 land invasion of Yugoslavia and was posted to Kosovo as KFOR Commander.

In Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, General Michael Jackson applied the counter-insurgency skills acquired in Northern Ireland. In Kosovo he actively collaborated with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) headed by Commander Agim Ceku.

Ceku and Jackson had worked together in Croatia in the mid-1990s. Agim Ceku was Commander of the Croatian forces which conducted the Krajina massacre under “Operation Storm”.  Meanwhile, Jackson was responsible for the repatriation of Krajina Serbs, under UN auspices.

In turn, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), a mercenary outfit on contract to the Pentagon was responsible for advising the Croatian HVO forces in the planning of “Operation Storm”. The same mercenary outfit was subsequently put in charge of the military training of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) largely integrated by former KLA operatives.

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1999 War Criminals Join Hands (Kosovo 1999). From Left to Right:

Hashim Thaci, Head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which had links to Al Qaeda and organized crime. Hashim Thaci had ordered political assassinations directed against the Party of Ibrahim Rugova. Thaci was a protégé of Madeleine Albright. [Later became President of Kosovo, still on the Interpol wanted list]

Bernard Kouchner, Head of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in Kosovo (July 1999- January 2001), instrumental in elevating the KLA to UN status through the formation of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC).

General Michael Jackson, Commander of KFOR Troops in Kosovo.

General Agim Ceku, Military Commander of the KLA and the KPC, investigated by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) “for alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia between 1993 and 1995.” ( AFP 13 Oct 1999)

General Wesley Clark, NATO Supreme Commander.

While General Michael Jackson during his tenure as KFOR Commander in Kosovo (1999-2000) displayed token efforts to protect Serb and Roma civilians; those who fled Kosovo during his mandate were not encouraged to return under UN protection. In post-war Kosovo, the massacres of civilians were carried out by the KLA (and subsequently by the KPC). Both NATO and the UN turned a blind eye to the KLA’s targeted assassinations.

Upon completing his term in Kosovo, General Sir Michael Jackson was appointed Commander in Chief, U.K. Land Command (2000-2003).

And in February 2003, barely one month before the onslaught of the Iraq war, he was promoted to Chief of the General Staff (CGS)

As Chief of General Staff General Michael Jackson played a central role in the 2003 Iraq military campaign in close liaison with his US counterparts. He also played a key role in the military occupation of Southern Iraq, led by British forces based in Basra.

“Bloody Monday”, September 19, 2005 in Basra, Iraq

On Monday September 19, 2005, two British undercover “soldiers” dressed in traditional Arab garb, were arrested by the Occupation’s Iraqi police driving a car loaded with weapons, ammunition and explosives.  Several media reports and eyewitness accounts suggested that the SAS operatives were disguised as Al Qaeda “terrorists” and were planning to set off the bombs in Basra’s central square during a major religious event.

The two SAS soldiers were “rescued” by British forces in a major military assault on the building where they were being detained:

“British forces used up to 10 tanks ” supported by helicopters ” to smash through the walls of the jail and free the two British servicemen.”

The incident resulted in 7 Iraqi deaths and 43 injured.

(The Times, 20 Oct 2005 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-1788850,00.html)

“Compensation” to the Families of the Victims

Instead of investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the Basra massacre led by British forces. the British government confirmed that it  “will pay compensation for injuries and damage caused during the storming by the army of a police station in Basra in the operation to release two SAS soldiers” (The Scotsman, 15 Oct 2005).

The wording was reminiscent of the Bloody Sunday massacre: no prosecution, no investigation, no justice, but “compensation” as a cover-up to war crimes.

Captain Ken Masters of The Royal Military Police (RMP) in Basra had the mandate to investigate the circumstances of the “rescue” operation. To this effect, he also indicated that he would cooperate in his investigations, with the civilian Iraqi authorities.

The Royal Military Police (RMP) is the corps of the British Army responsible for the policing of service personnel, both in the U.K. and overseas.

As part of his RMP mandate, Captain Masters was to investigate “allegations that British soldiers killed or mistreated Iraqi civilians”. Specifically in this case, the inquiry pertained to the British attack on the prison on 19 September, where the 2 SAS soldiers were being detained for subsequent interrogation. The attack had been authorized by CGS General Sir Michael Jackson and British Defence Secretary John Reid.

 ”Compensation to the families of alleged Iraqi victims who died during the fracas depended on the official investigation being carried out by Captain Masters [of the Royal Military Police in Basra] and his team.”

That investigation was never carried out. Captain Ken Masters of the RMP allegedly “committed suicide” in Basra on the 15th of October 2005.

According to the MoD  “the circumstances [of his death ] were not regarded as suspicious.” [emphasis added] The MoD report suggested that Captain Masters was suffering from “stress”, which could have driven him to commit suicide. In the words of a Defense analyst quoted by the BBC:.

“Capt Masters was part of quite a small outfit and his job would have been quite stressful. It’s quite an onerous job….. I think, [there is] quite a lot of stress involved” (BBC, 16 October 2005, emphasis added).

There were apparent disagreements between the MoD and Captain Masters who was responsible for investigating “the actions and behavior of military personnel”. (The Independent 17 Oct 2005).

The attack on the 19th of September to “rescue” the two SAS men was launched under the command of Brig John Lorimer. In a statement, Lorimer said that the purpose of the raid was to ensure the safety of the two SAS men.

On October 12, CGS General Sir Michael Jackson  was in Basra for consultations with Brigadier John Lorimer.

CGS General Michael Jackson, had previously approved the rescue operation of the elite SAS men:  “Let me make it clear that it was important to retrieve those two soldiers.” (quoted in The Times, 12 Oct 2005).

Three days later, following General Jackson visit to Basra, Captain Masters was dead:

“Captain Ken Masters, the top British military police investigator working in Iraq, was found hanged at his barracks in Basra [on October 15].”

No subsequent RMP investigation into the Basra “rescue” following Captain’s Masters untimely death was undertaken.

No police investigation was carried out into the unusual circumstances surrounding the death of Captain Masters.

It was an open and closed case.

The matter passed virtually unnoticed in the British media. Nonetheless, the Daily Mail (17 Oct 2005), dismissed the suicide thesis: “Little is known of his private life and it is said to be unlikely that the pressures of work would have led him to commit suicide.”

Apologizing for War Crimes

From Bloody Sunday in January 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland to Croatia, Kosovo and Basra, Iraq in September 2005.

Last year in June 2010, General Sir Michael Jackson “apologised for Bloody Sunday” in a TV interview broadcast by the BBC.

(Click link to hear Jackson’s statement

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8742373.stm

“The former head of the British Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, has offered a ”fulsome apology” for the events of Bloody Sunday, following the publication of the Saville report into the events of 30 January 1972 in Londonderry. The findings called the fatal shootings of civilians by British soldiers a ”catastrophe” for Northern Ireland. Prime Minister David Cameron has said the killings of 13 marchers was ”unjustified and unjustifiable”.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8742373.stm

Prime Minister David Cameron said “He was “Sorry”.

Apologizing for War Crimes? What are the legal implications? Indictment or “Self-indictment”?


2011-09-11

About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at crgeditor@yahoo.com

Source: Global Research

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Muslim Albanian women from Kosovo are training ISIS terrorists



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Accoring to the “Zeri” news agency from the city of Priština, women who join the Islamic state are mostly 23 years of age, and before joining them they were “modern girls“.

One of them is Laura Huseni who was, according to the editor-in-chief of the “Zeri” magazine, a typical teenage girl from Kosovo who used to go out and have fun with her mates.

She would take a cab and go with her friends for a drink. She used to dress like all her friends, she would wear skirts of jeans. She was very modern – said Faik Ukasmajli, whose son married the young woman.

More and more women from Kosovo are joining the jihadists.

In a month, local Islamic religious leader and his wife made a strong influence here and many youth changed  their way of thinking and behaviour. My sons Arbnori and Albert were open-minded and hospitable. Suddenly Arbnori grew a beard and started constantly talking about Shamina (religious name for Syria).

Laura started to wear headcover and soon covered herself completely;  she abandoned going out of home and even talking to  anyone – said the father.

Arbnori was killed while fighting for ISIS. Laura is still in Syria with her two children.

Security experts claim that women mostly start fighting for ISIS while following their husbands, but there are those that think it is their moment to join the “holy mission”.

Chamilje Tahiri from the city of Kosovska Mitrovica left with her husband and went to Syria to become a leader of ISIS military camps.

According to the information from the security sector, she is leading a women’s camp and recruits new members online.

This is no surprise that Albanian women show such cruelty. In June 1999, after NATO entered the province, when the armed conflict in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) had ended, some of the most bestial crimes committed took place in the Province.  And the torturers were – Albanian women.

Slavica Vuksanovic (45)  was  one of the few that survived the terror and torture by Albanian terrorist KLA “Gnjilane group”. This Serbian woman will remember 23 June 1999 as the beginning of four hardest days of her life. (That was when NATO  ‘peacekeeping’ forces had took over control in Kosovo)

– It happened In front of the bakery, in the bread line. Five Albanians wearing black uniforms with terrorist KLA insignia came. They immediately pulled us out of queue and duct taped our mouth. – reminds of the traumatic event Slavica.

They pushed us into the car and drove to the building of secondary school student’s accommodations in the village of Gavran. They beat us, hitting with guns and kicking, all the way. 

But the torture was just to begin. Upon the arrival to the student’s accommodations, the newly kidnapped Serbs have been separated in various rooms, in order to make them see the condition of Serbs  who have already been abducted and tortured.

– When we heard screams and cries for help we realized that there was a hundred people  in the building-  Slavica continues while her eyes start to water.  – Moans and calls for help could be heard from all sides. The two of us were then taken to a dark cellar in which there have already been our martyrs.

After being kidnapped, they were first taken there, stripped naked, tied up, severely beaten, mutilated, sexually assaulted and stabbed with knives. Parts of their bodies were cut off before they were viciously murdered.

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Albanian terrorists KLA: Albanian women were even worse than men  

We were mostly beaten by an Albanian women. She enjoyed in kicking  us with boots, batons, pulling hair …

Slavica reminds that the monstrous women was interrogating, threatening shouting  and torturing them in order to ‘recognize’ where Serbian police and army were at the moment.

— After each question the Serbs have been subject to increased torture and harder punches –

– After the torture they took us to the rooms on the second floor and tied for radiators. Then, even though we were already beaten and mutilated, KLA continued with torture.

The Albanian monster  – woman was present all the time, actively participated in torture. She was  pushing pillows and clothes into prisoner’s  mouth in order to silent their screams and cries for help during the rape.

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This young Serbian father and his little baby were brutally butchered by the Albanian Islamist Nazi KLA bandits, after t NATO Forces entered Kosovo. One of the KLA Islamist Nazi bandits grabbed the baby by his tiny legs and smashed his head against a brick wall. His father was first shot, then beaten to death with an iron pipe

Serbian prosecutor charged the Gnjilane group terrorists with kidnapping 159 Serb civilians and killing at least 51 in just few months, between June and October 1999, after NATO arrived to the occupied Serbian province.

Only few years later, NATO installed regime withdraws the charge and releases all the Albanian terrorists.

Even their methods are the same in Syria as they did in Kosovo i Metohija province

The first major Kosovo Albanian group of terrorists in Syria came to media focus after Lavdrim Mudyahiri (Albanian: Lavdrim Muhaxheri)  from Kacanik was killed in a car bomb explosion in the Iraqi town of Tel Afar.

The 24-year-old from the town of Kacanik in Kosovo first “joined Jihad” in Syria and committed brutal crimes there. In late July he posted photos on Facebook showing him holding a Syrian teenager, preparing to decapitate him with a knife, and then holding the severed head in his hands, posing in front of the camera.

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Kosovo Albanian ISIS jihad solder in action in the Middle East

In an interview published by the Tirana daily Ditari on August 2, he stated that he “did nothing more than what members of the KLA did during the war (in Kosovo).”

And the young Albanian jihadist certainly was telling the truth.


2016-01-30

Source: There Must be Justice

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Britain’s collaboration with pro-jihadist forces in Kosovo



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In British mainstream commentary, the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia is seen as a ‘humanitarian intervention’. Tony Blair still receives much praise for coming to the defence of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, whose plight was surely serious as they were subject to increasingly brutal abuses by the Yugoslav army towards the end of 1998 and early 1999. Yet the NATO bombing that began in March 1999 had the effect of deepening, not preventing, the humanitarian disaster that Milosevic’s forces inflicted on Kosovo. The bulk of the atrocities committed by Yugoslav forces took place after the NATO bombing campaign began. In fact, some NATO intelligence agencies, including Britain’s, knew in advance that any bombing might well precipitate the full-scale ‘ethnic cleansing’ which they used as the public pretext for conducting their campaign.

However, there is another critical aspect to this war that undermines its supposed ‘humanitarian’ motives, involving British collusion with the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought alongside al-Qaida militants and essentially acted as NATO’s ground forces in Kosovo. The big debate in government and mainstream media circles during the war was whether NATO should put troops on the ground or whether Yugoslav forces could be sufficiently pounded from the air to stop their atrocities in Kosovo. The British and American governments were reluctant to commit ground forces, mainly for fear of incurring high casualties and getting sucked into a more protracted conflict; instead they turned to finding local allies and used these forces as a tool in their foreign policy. It was in this context that Islamist militants, working alongside the British-supported KLA, essentially took on the role of Western proxies, carrying out some of the dirty work that NATO could not. This story is, as we have seen, by no means unfamiliar in the postwar world.

Much later, in October 2006, then Chancellor Gordon Brown said in a speech on ‘meeting the terrorist challenge’ to an audience at Chatham House: ‘The threat from al-Qaida did not begin on September 11th – indeed the attacks on the twin towers were being planned as the United States was taking action with Europe to protect Muslims in the former Yugoslavia.’ Brown was right; in fact, the British were providing military training to forces connected to the very people planning the 9/11 attacks.

The nature of the KLA

The Kosovo Liberation Army comprised ethnic Albanians committed to securing independence for Kosovo and promoting a ‘Greater Albania’ in the sub-region. Consisting of a mix of radicalised youths and students, professionals such as teachers and doctors, members of influential families and local rogues, it took to armed struggle and made its military debut in early 1996 by bombing camps housing Serbian refugees from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and by attacking Yugoslav government officials and police stations. By mid-1998 the KLA controlled parts of Kosovo and had armed and organised around 30,000 fighters; it was thus a formidable force on the ground when, amidst a growing civil war, the Yugoslav army launched a brutal full-scale offensive in Kosovo in March 1999.

From its inception, the KLA also targeted Serbian and Albanian civilians, especially those considered collaborators with the authorities. The US and Britain clearly recognised it as a terrorist organisation. In February 1998, the Clinton administration’s special envoy to Kosovo, Robert Gelbard, described the KLA as ‘without any question a terrorist group’. British ministers were equally unequivocal. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told parliament in March 1998: ‘We strongly condemn the use of violence for political objectives, including the terrorism of the self-styled Kosovo Liberation Army.’ Indeed, in November 1998, and again in January 1999, Cook said that ‘most of the killings’ in Kosovo recently had been carried out by the KLA, whose activities against ordinary Kosovars were only serving to ‘prolong their suffering’. Parliamentary statements by British ministers make clear that they continued to regard the KLA as a terrorist organisation right up to the beginning of the bombing campaign in March. The KLA was also widely known to be involved in heroin trafficking into Britain while MI6 was investigating its links to organised crime.

Moreover, the KLA had also developed connections to al-Qaida. Bin Laden reportedly visited Albania and established an operation there in 1994. In the years preceding the NATO bombing campaign, more al-Qaida militants moved into Kosovo to support the KLA, financed by sources in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. By late 1998, the head of Albanian intelligence was saying that Bin Laden had sent units to fight in Kosovo while the media noted CIA and Albanian intelligence reports citing ‘mujahideen units from at least half a dozen Middle East countries streaming across the border into Kosovo from safe bases in Albania’.

US intelligence reports were also noting that al-Qaida was sending funds and militants to join the KLA, while numerous KLA fighters had trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and Albania. One of the ‘links’ between Bin Laden and the KLA identified by US intelligence was ‘a common staging area in Tropoje, Albania, a centre for Islamic terrorists.’ The KLA was helping hundreds of foreign fighters to cross from Albania into Kosovo, including ‘veterans of the militant group Islamic Jihad from Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan’, carrying forged passports. One KLA unit was led by the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s right-hand man, according to a senior Interpol official later giving evidence to the US Congress. One Western military official was quoted as saying that the Islamist militants ‘were mercenaries who were not running the show in Kosovo, but were used by the KLA to do their dirty work.’

Asked in parliament in November 1998 about a media article stating that mujahideen fighters had been seen with KLA forces in Kosovo, Robin Cook stated: ‘I read that report with concern.’ His deputy, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons claimed, however, that the government had ‘no evidence’ that Bin Laden was funding the KLA. In March 1999, another Foreign Office minister, Tony Lloyd, told the House of Commons that the government was aware of media reports of contacts between Islamic terrorist groups and the KLA but ‘we have no evidence of systematic involvement’; the use of word ‘systematic’ was likely instructive, implying that the government did indeed have some knowledge.

The covert war

At some point in 1996 British intelligence, along with the US and Swiss services, made its first known contact with a senior KLA official in Albania, likely to have been Shaban Shala, a commander who would not only fight in Kosovo in 1999 but also inside Serbia in 2000. Formal contacts between the KLA and the US took place in July 1998 when Chris Hill, the US special envoy for Kosovo, met KLA officials; the following day a British diplomat also met KLA officials in their headquarters in the central Kosovan village of Klecka. The British government later claimed that ‘an initial meeting’ between an official in the British embassy in Belgrade and KLA leaders was held on 30 July 1998. If so, this came two days after Baroness Symons recognised in an answer to a parliamentary question that the KLA was a ‘terrorist’ organisation and that ‘it was clear’ that it had ‘procured significant quantities of arms in Albania’. By October, Robin Cook was making clear that Britain was opposed to the KLA’s political objective of forging a greater Albania: ‘There is no place on the international map for a greater Albania – any more than there is for a greater Serbia or a greater Croatia.’

9781846687648Yet it was around this time that Britain started to train the forces it recognised as terrorists, whose political agenda it was opposed to and which had documented links to al-Qaida: a level of expediency that would have impressed British officials collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood or Ayatollah Kashani in the 1950s, for example.

At some point in late 1998, the US Defence Intelligence Agency approached MI6 with the task of arming and training the KLA, the Scotsman newspaper later reported. A senior British military source told the newspaper that: ‘MI6 then subcontracted the operation to two British security companies, who in turn approached a number of former members of the (22 SAS) regiment. Lists were then drawn up of weapons and equipment needed by the KLA.’ ‘While these covert operations were continuing,’ the paper noted, ‘serving members of 22 SAS regiment, mostly from the unit’s D squadron, were first deployed in Kosovo before the beginning of the bombing campaign in March.’

A few weeks into the bombing campaign, the Sunday Telegraph reported that KLA fighters were receiving SAS training at two camps near the Albanian capital Tirana, and at another near the Kosovan border, most likely near the town of Bajram Curri. This was the centre of the KLA’s military operations, where a series of training camps were dotted in the hills and from where arms were collected and distributed. Crucially, it was also where jihadist fighters had their ‘centre’ and common staging area with the KLA, as noted by the previous US intelligence reports. The British training involved instructing KLA officers in guerrilla tactics and weapons handling, demolition and ambush techniques, as well as conducting intelligence-gathering operations on Serbian positions. The whole covert operation was funded by the CIA while the German secret service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), provided weapons and training. The BND had been providing covert support and training to the KLA since the mid-1990s.

British ministers consistently denied any knowledge of the KLA’s sources of arms or training when asked in parliament. On 13 April, three weeks after the bombing campaign began, and just days before the Telegraph reported the British training, Tony Blair told parliament that ‘our position on training and arming the KLA remains as it has been – we are not in favour of doing so … We have no plans to change that.’ Sometimes ministers used revealing language. Baroness Symons stated on two occasions, in March and May 1999, that there was ‘no firm evidence’ and ‘no reliable information’ on the KLA’s sources of weapons and training – the use of the words ‘firm’ and ‘reliable’ being usual ways in which officials feign ignorance of issues they are perfectly aware of. One reason for secrecy was that such training was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1160, which forbade arming or training forces in all Yugoslavia.

James Bissett, a former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia and Albania, later noted that the US training of the KLA in 1998 involved ‘sending them back into Kosovo to assassinate Serbian mayors, ambush Serbian policemen and intimidate hesitant Kosovo Albanians.’ ‘The hope’, he wrote, ‘was that with Kosovo in flames NATO could intervene and in so doing, not only overthrow Milosevic the Serbian strongman, but, more importantly, provide the aging and increasingly irrelevant military organisation [NATO] with a reason for its continued existence.’ KLA leaders similarly explained that ‘any armed action we undertook would bring retaliation against civilians [by Serbian forces]’ and that ‘the more civilians were killed, the chances of intervention became bigger.’ It seems that the KLA’s escalation of ethnic tensions was an integral part of London and Washington’s strategy – a familiar theme of postwar covert action in relation to collusion with Islamist groups.

The KLA certainly proved useful to Anglo–American planners. Tony Blair stated a month into the bombing campaign that ‘the KLA is having greater success on the ground in Kosovo and indeed has retaken certain parts of it’. Described in media reports as NATO’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground in Kosovo, the KLA was using satellite telephones to provide NATO with details of Serbian targets. Some of this communications equipment had been secretly handed over to the KLA a week before the air strikes began by some US officers acting as ‘ceasefire monitors’ with the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); they were in reality CIA agents. They also gave the KLA US military training manuals and field advice on fighting the Yugoslav army and police. It was reported that several KLA leaders had the mobile phone number of General Wesley Clark, the NATO commander. Robin Cook, meanwhile, held a joint press conference with KLA representatives at the end of March and was in direct telephone contact with its commander in Kosovo, Hashim Thaqi; the latter would in February 2008 go on to become the first prime minister of post-independence Kosovo.

By early April 1999, more than 500 Albanians living in Britain had volunteered to go to fight in Kosovo, according to KLA representatives in London, though who were likely exaggerating the numbers. Just as during the Bosnian War a few years earlier, Britain and the US allowed, and may have facilitated, British and other Muslims to travel to Kosovo volunteering for the jihad. Indian intelligence analysts B. Raman notes that Pakistani militants associated with the Harkat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) terrorist group who had fought in Bosnia were diverted to Kosovo by the CIA.

Following the 2005 London bombings, John Loftus, a former US Justice Department prosecutor and US intelligence officer, claimed that MI6 worked with the militant Islamist organisation al-Muhajiroun (The Emigrants) to send jihadists to Kosovo. Al-Muhajiroun was founded in Saudi Arabia in 1983 by Omar Bakri Mohammed, who in 1986 fled to Britain after Saudi Arabia banned the organisation, and set up its British branch in early 1986. By the mid-1990s Bakri was being described in the British media as the ‘head of the political wing of the International Islamic Front’, founded by Bin Laden in 1998, and openly supported Bin Laden’s calls for jihad; he told the media he was raising funds for the KLA and supporting their struggle in Kosovo. Loftus told a US television station that al-Muhajiroun leaders ‘all worked for British intelligence in Kosovo’ and that ‘British intelligence actually hired some al-Qaida guys to help defend Muslim rights in Albania and in Kosovo.’ He claimed the CIA was funding the operation while British intelligence ‘was doing the hiring and recruiting’. These claims were, Loftus said, based on an interview given by Bakri himself to al-Sharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic-language newspaper on 16 October 2001. However, despite extensive research, I have not been able to locate this interview on this or any other date; Bakri also denies (not surprisingly) ever working alongside British intelligence.

Loftus also claimed that one of the Britons recruited for Kosovo by al-Muhajiroun was Haroon Rashid Aswat, a British citizen of Indian origin who later became Abu Hamza’s assistant at the Finsbury Park Mosque, and who would later crop up in the investigations surrounding the 2005 London bombings. According to Loftus, Aswat was a ‘double agent’, working both for the British in Kosovo and after, and for al-Qaida. Soon after Loftus made the claim, a Times report on Aswat’s possible connections to the London bombings of July 2005 noted that questions were being asked about whether Aswat was a ‘useful source of information’ to British intelligence and noted that ‘senior Whitehall officials … deny “any knowledge” that he might be an agent of MI5 or MI6’ – a cautious formulation that can only add to suspicions.

One Briton who can be more definitively linked to the Kosovo camps was Omar Khan Sharif, who in 2003 would become notorious for his aborted attempt to blow himself up inside a Tel Aviv bar: he pulled out at the last minute, but his accomplice detonated a bomb, killing himself and three others. According to a BBC documentary, Sharif spent three weeks at a camp in Albania during the Kosovo jihad, but the film (predictably) failed to mention that covert British training was also taking place in Albania at the time. Sharif had attended al-Muhajiroun meetings in Britain and was an admirer of Abu Hamza, who became his mentor; he also met Mohamed Siddique Khan, the 7/7 bomber with whom he tried to recruit other jihadists in 2001.

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US covert support of the KLA guerrillas did not stop when NATO’s Kosovo campaign was brought to an end in June 1999, or even with the fall of Milosevic in October 2000. After the Kosovo conflict, KLA forces launched new wars in southern Serbia and Macedonia to promote their aim of a greater Albania, both of which were initially supported by the US – but, not apparently, by Britain. The BBC reported in January 2001 that ‘Western special forces were still training’ the KLA as a result of decisions taken before the fall of Milosevic. Now the KLA was reported to have several hundred fighters in the 5-kilometre-deep military exclusion zone on the border between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, and were fighting to promote the secession of certain municipalities from Serbia. Moreover, ‘certain NATO-led’ forces ‘were not preventing the guerrillas taking mortars and other weapons into the exclusion zone’, and guerrilla units had been able to hold military exercises there, despite the fact that NATO was patrolling the area. Other media reports noted that European officials were ‘furious that the Americans have allowed guerilla armies in its sector to train, smuggle arms and launch attacks across two international borders’, and that the CIA’s ‘bastard army’ had been allowed to ‘run riot’ in the region.

Of interest from the perspective of British foreign policy is that when, in March 2001, the guerillas began another war, this time across the other nearby border with Macedonia, it was led by several commanders previously trained by British forces for the Kosovo campaign. Now fighting under the banner of the National Liberation Army (NLA), formed in early 2001, two of the Kosovo-based commanders of this push into Macedonia had been instructed by the SAS and the Parachute Regiment at the camps near Bajram Curri in northern Albania in 1998 and 1999. One was organising the flow of arms and men into Macedonia, while the other was helping to coordinate the assault on the town of Tetevo in the north of the country. Another NLA commander, Gezim Ostremi, had been previously trained by the SAS to head the UN-sponsored Kosovo Protection Corps, which was meant to replace the KLA.

NLA forces were being called ‘terrorists’ by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and ‘murderous thugs’ by NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson, just as they had been before the March 1999 bombing campaign, when, as with the KLA, the British were  cooperating with them. The NLA’s ambushes and assassinations in Macedonia were little different from those perpetrated as the KLA. It also, initially at least, continued to be covertly supported by the US, which in one operation evacuated 400 NLA fighters when they became surrounded by Macedonian forces, and whose arms supplies helped the guerillas take control of nearly a third of Macedonia’s territory by August 2001; it was only after this that Washington, under pressure from its NATO allies, started to rein in its proxy force and throw its weight behind peace talks.

The following month, al-Qaida struck New York and Washington.


This is an edited extract from Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam

Full references are in the book version.

2016-09-04

By Mark Curtis

Source: Mark Curtis

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President B. Clinton’s Kosovostan



Kosovo ISIL Ridvan Haqifi and Lavdrim Muhaxheri

Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal speaking at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative thanks former U.S. President Bill Clinton for “delivering Bosnia-Herezegovina and Kosovo into Muslim hands and for near deliverance — within a hundred meters — of Palestine from occupation.”


2012-11-15

By Meira Svirsky

Source: Clarion Project

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Dusseldorf axe attacker: “Fatmir H,” Muslim Albanian from Kosovo



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If a German had showed up in London in 1944 and opened fire, would police have ruled out any connection to Nazism? Fatmir H comes from a hotbed of jihad activity. The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have issued repeated calls for Muslims in West to murder civilians. We have seen the perpetrators of numerous jihad terror attacks declared mentally ill, often absurdly. In light of all that, the possibility that this was a jihad terror attack cannot be ruled out.

“‘He jumped out of the train and started to strike at people with an AXE’: Horror in Dusseldorf as Kosovan attacker injures seven before he is caught after leaping from a bridge – but police say it’s NOT terrorism,” by Alex Matthews and Kelly Mclaughlin, Mailonline, March 10, 2017:

Seven people including two police officers were injured when a man wielding an axe went on the rampage at a train station in Dusseldorf.

The suspected culprit, identified as Fatmir H, from Kosovo, has been arrested and German anti-terror police confirmed they are not hunting anyone else.

The 36-year-old ran towards a nearby underground station and jumped from a bridge as he attempted to flee.

But he was arrested after seriously injuring himself in his unsuccessful escape attempt and is now being treated in hospital.

Police said he was in an ‘exceptional mental state’ at the time.

Pictures from Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main station, showed one of the victims lying helplessly on the floor as paramedics rushed to their aid.

His victims included three men, a woman and a 13-year-old girl, with the teenager suffering lacerations to her upper arm. Three were seriously injured.

A motive for the attack has not yet been determined but the suspect, believed to be from Kosovo, suffers from mental health problems. Police said this morning that they had ruled out an Islamic fundamentalist motive for the attack.

‘A person, probably armed with an axe, attacked people at random,’ police said in a statement. Seven people were injured, three of them seriously, they said.

The suspect, who was earlier described as being from ‘the former Yugoslavia’ and living in the nearby city of Wuppertal, suffered serious injuries and was being treated in a hospital.

‘The suspect appears to have had psychological problems,’ police said….


2017-03-10

By Robert Spencer

Source: Jihad Watch

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“Independent” Kosovo: Gangland spills savagery worldwide



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The Western power centers use the “Republic of Kosovo” as a testing ground for working out the ways to create a quasi-state that could be defined as an abnormal criminal case of global scope. The final goal is reshaping the whole of South East Europe. (www.strategic-culture.org)

The states below the «first echelon» are subject to the formula «back to slavery and barbarity». This is a model of authoritative outside governance entailing devastation of natural environment, extraction of resources and creation of disastrous economy and ‘stillborn» state structures along with extreme pauperization of population. And this is not all. Control over vast space presupposes no independent way of development for a national state along with the creation of destructive criminal potential. The accelerated criminalization of East Europe (including the Balkans) has already been initiated. The crime has achieved the scope that makes Jean-Francois Geiro, a well-known French criminologist; say an almost perfect laboratory of deviant states functions as part of new Europe’s criminal corps. (1)

The wave of crime and corruption has hit the Balkans. The «Republic of Kosovo» plays the role of mafia’s citadel that freely intensifies all kinds of dangerous criminal activities under the protection of US military bases. First of all drugs transit.

Mainly the drug flows come to Europe from Afghanistan and Asian states crossing the corridors in Turkey and the Balkans. 80% of traffic goes through the Balkans. The Northern heroin (Afghanistan – Turkey – Hungary – Romania) and Southern cocaine (Turkey – Greece – Macedonia – Albania – Italy) are the two major routes. Turkey has become a key foothold of drug dealers. Even the small part of cargo captured by police is impressive: only in the second half of 2011 Turkey confiscated more drugs than all the 27 states of the European Union together. Albanian criminal groups are responsible for the major part of trafficking to the Balkans and Western Europe. They are closely connected to Italian, Montenegrin, Turkish and Kurdish drug cartels (the last ones control the vast network of drug traffic routes from Afghanistan), as well as Caucasian criminal gangs. (2)

«The Pristina Republic of Kosovo» carries out two criminal functions. It itself serves as a source of organized crime. The very existence of paramilitary subversive-terrorist formation called the Kosovo Liberation Army, thinly veiled as the so called Kosovo security force or Kosovo police, confirms the fact. On the other hand, the region has become an area of «crime dissemination» into Europe and other parts of the world.

The first criminal function of «Kosovo project» presupposes full control of the «Republic of Kosovo» quasi-state by former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) militants. They hold strategic positions, fully control «the state», social and political life; the civilian population is subject to institutionalized political, psychological and physical coercion.

According to Western special services the Kosovo national intelligence service K-SHIK is responsible for the terror against its own population, it carries out punitive actions against the political opponents of ruling clique. It’s the «boss of Kosovo project» who approves the activities. This fact is confirmed by Kadri Veseli, former head of the Kosovo Intelligence Service, a key political partner of «Kosovo Prime-Minister» Hashim Thaçi, who said the service was supported by many partners – 25 intelligence services, the US contribution was very significant.

The Kosovo national intelligence service launched a campaign of political terror after the Yugoslavia bombings by NATO in 1999 and deployment of international forces in Kosovo. Back then thousands of Serbs and Albanians, who were not loyal to the Kosovo Liberation Army, were killed. A US top official in Kosovo (he prefers anonymity) asserts the CIA sponsored the K-SHIK and that the special service was converted into an instrument crime and politics control in Kosovo. Florin Krasniqi, a former Kosovo Liberation Army militant, who then became a member of Kosovo parliament, says Veseli had direct contacts with US and British intelligence services and offered everything they wanted on a silver plate. Kadri Veseli received funds and all kinds of support and supplies from them. The USA and other NATO states still support the K-SHIK. Hashim Thaci still enjoys the support of Washington… (3)

The Kosovo criminal organizations are far from being a shadow government, quite to the contrary the dysfunction of the «Republic of Kosovo» state structures makes them the only real ruling power. The specific feature is that there is no merger of crime with clan and «state» system. It was an integral part of it from the very start. The crime is «militant»; its methods are very aggressive. It’s a phenomenon of international scale: the criminal cartels control the whole regions; their «industry» conquers more and more space in Europe and the USA becoming a nightmare of police. The Albanian mafia is the fifth organized structure in the world that distinguishes itself by «immense potential of growth». The language, traditions, and ties of blood make it a fertile ground impenetrable for police operatives. The family connections let the Albanian mafia create an unbreakable criminal chain: the clans members have their daughters married to the «comrade in arms» from Afghanistan and Turkey. They create a producer-consumer chain. This way the family criminal business prospers. 

Part of income goes to the Kosovo Liberation Army (there is no whatsoever control exercised over the «black funds» of drug clans) that acts under the protection of US «Kosovo project» promoters.

The US needs Kosovo for deployment of military installations on its territory in order to control South East Europe where the routes to Middle East oil riches start. There are the following NATO or NATO used military facilities in the Balkans: Hungary (Taszar), Romania (Deveselu, the port of Constanza, Mihail Kogalniceanu air base ), Bulgaria (the Novo Selo Training Range, Aitos Logistics Center near Burgas, Bezmer Air Base near Yambola, Graf Ignatievo air force base), Bosnia and Herzegovina (installations near Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, a small facility near Doboj), Croatia (Shepurin, Slun, Đakovo, Pula), Macedonia (Petrovec, a base near Kumanovo, Krivolak), Greece (Crete, and installations near Larissa) and finally Kosovo, (Bondstill and two installations near Montiff near Gnillane, a base near Vitina, artillery installation near Kaçanik, a base near Balovac near Podujeva). (4) According to Geiro the Kosovo Liberation Army is a punitive force that includes heads of mafia clans and is destined to oppress civilian population. It could never come to power without NATO and other Western power centers. (5)

The disguised Kosovo Liberation Army starts to intensify its activities to the degree of becoming a force capable of exploding the region again. For instance, in April 2012 a brutal murder took place in Macedonia, five Macedonians killed by Albanians. According to Macedonian special services a large Albanian paramilitary unit appeared near the Kosovo border, the uniform worn had the Kosovo Liberation Army insignia on it. Armed Albanian formations wearing the KLA emblems appeared in the vicinity of Macedonian cities Skopje and Tetovo. Bulgarian media outlet Novinite says the destabilization of Macedonia may spark an international conflict in Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey in half an hour. (6)

The merger of Albanian mafia involvement in drug trafficking along with international terrorists and radical Islamist groupings is a special case to talk about. Al Qaeda units were based in Kosovo and Metohija during the Kosovo conflict. Bashkim Gazidede, a former head of Albanian secret police unit, headed the organization’s Balkans branch. Muhammad Rabee al-Zawahiri, the brother of Ayman al-Zavahiri, the current Al Qaeda leader, was one of Kosovo Liberation Army commanders. (7) Now Kosovo has become a training center of Syrian militants. The Syrian «opposition» asked the Kosovo Liberation Army for help in April 2012. It promised the recognition of Kosovo by «new Damascus» in return. The terrorist KLA leaders and Islamic extremists from Bosnia and Herzegovina rendered «support» in training Syrian paramilitary groups. Dzevad Galiashevic, member of expert team for South East Europe in fight against terrorism, claims the training centers are still based in the previous KLA locations, including the territory of Macedonia. Abdussamed Bushatlic, a former Al-Mujahedeen militant, a Wahhabi movement leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was among those who were seen there. According to Galiashevic missionary and ideological activities are conducted in Macedonia, Kosovo is a place of military preparatory activities. All terrorist activities are done under the patronage of NATO- led Kosovo Force (KFOR). The training camps are located in Drenitsa (the hamlet of Likovats, Yablanitsa and Glodjana). There are new training facilities built for mujahedeen from Muslim countries. One of them is situated in Drenica, another in Metohija (the hamlet of Smonitsa near Djakovica. Zoran Stijovic, former Serbian State Security officer in the 1990s, says the training is conducted for two types of operations: subversive-terrorist activities and intelligence gathering. The instructors are not Albanians only, the export model of Syrian revolution is prepared with the help of CIA operatives, Albanian KLA terrorists and the extremists from Bosnia and Herzegovina. (8) On June 20 2012 the Syrian army started a battle for the second largest city Aleppo, there were 400 «rebels» liquidated. The identification of the dead showed Kosovo Albanians fought on the side of terrorists along with the mercenaries from other countries.

Bil-Klinton-Pristina

It seems to be unexplainable; while the Western intelligence services «beat the drums» and tell breath taking details about local and international scale «operations» of Albanian criminals’, the Western political circles and international bodies seem to ignore the activities that threaten the security of their own countries…

A feature common to the serial outbreaks of unrest in the course of the Arab Spring and the conflicts in the post-Yugoslavian space was the involvement of the armed opposition which had grown out of local criminal or downright terrorist groups in the resulting transitions. The Arab countries which ended up on the US hit list over the past years – Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and, at the moment, Syria – came under the neocolonial pressure from Washington for their stable statehoods and tendency to handle natural resources independently. The coups aimed at wrestling control over the resources from the respective governments employed NATO as the main force with local groups, mostly those of politicized Islam, contributing crucial assistance. The US, Qatar, and the European trio comprising Germany, Great Britain, and France armed and nourished financially the Muslim fundamentalists in Libya. The US, the trio, and Turkey, backed by the league of Arab princes, gave money to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, the country where the group used to be banned. The new and de facto occupational regimes which pop up on the ruins of the bulldozed statehoods and readily pass the respective nations’ key assets to transnational companies typically agree to a ridiculously narrow political autonomy of the nations under their control.

In the Balkan region, the occupation of a part of the Serbian territory and its political separation from the original country  during the 1999 NATO aggression led to the now maturing Kosovo independence. When the conflict over the province was brewing, the opposition in it was armed and already acted as a group with a subversive and terrorist agenda. In 1999, the US Republican Political Committee issued a report titled “The Kosovo Liberation Army: Does Clinton Policy Support Group with Terror, Drug Ties? From ‘Terrorists’ to ‘Partners’”. The document contained a description of one of the first offensives launched by the Kosovo Liberation Army – a series of 1996 attacks on Serbian refugee camps in Croatia and Bosnia. According to the document, KLA officers were supposed to receive US training with an eye to transforming the group into a political force (1).

In July, 2008, Serbia’s Kurir shed light on a secret resolution passed in Brussels on March 13, 1999 by the NATO top brass. It combined the finalized decision to bomb Yugoslavia with a plan for the creation of an independent Kosovo which would function with the NATO backing and would eventually merge into a Greater Albania, drawing along Serbia’s southern part up to Aleksinc, the west of Macedonia, Montenegro’s Malësi, and a chunk of northern Greece. The projected mission of that Greater Albania was to dominate the Balkans as a region and the entire transit web linking it to Asia and Africa (2).

The Pristina regime whose record opened with a campaign of terror against the civilian population was quick to acquire, with NATO’s help, a serious military component: when the armed phase of the conflict with Belgrade was over, the KLA did not put down arms but re-entered the scene in the guise of the Kosovo Protection Corps which was renamed to the Kosovo Security Force in 2009 and to the Kosovo Army by the end of 2011. The criminal groups involved continued to exist side by side with NATO, various Western missions, and countless NGOs in Kosovo as the captioning game played out.

In December, 2010 Swiss prosecutor and Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty confronted the world audiences with the Balkans’ open secret – his sensational report detailed the region’s sweeping organized crime and, particularly, the illicit human organs trafficking in which the Kosovo administration and KLA top commanders were heavily implicated. Somebody Rexep, an Albanian from the KLA, says that in Kosovo everything in and around the illegal business is in the hands of the administration and that – for fear of death – nobody has any chance to run drug or human trafficking or anything like that without the regime’s blessing (3).

Dick Marty’s report showed that the KLA headed by Kosovo present-day premier Hashim Thaci (a notorious butcher nicknamed the Snake) kidnapped Serbs resident in the province and the Albanians suspected of collaborating with Belgrade, to traffic them to the north of Albania, where the people were killed and their organs carved out for sale on the black market. The UN, NATO, and OSCE, as well as the majority of the Western governments, pretended to be unaware of what was going on. K-144, a protected witness of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, claims that 4 million Deutsch marks landed in Thaci’s pockets as proceeds from dealing organs extracted from slain Serbs (4).

Bernard Kouchner was the first Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Oddly enough, the Médecins Sans Frontières group of which he was co-founder smuggled weapons when the conflict was raging in the post-Yugoslavian space and was caught red-handed at 43 checkpoints in Bosnia, 25 – in Croatia, and 14 – in Kosovo (5). The withdrawal of the Serbian police from Kosovo enabled Thaci’s gangsters to kidnap people in the province with no risk of meeting with resistance. Some sources are convinced that the kidnapped were placed and subjected to illicit extractions in the NATO bases. Indeed, 6 – 14 aircrafts took off at Camp Bondsteel NATO base in Kosovo daily, and suspicions multiply that the flights could be used to deliver human organs to recipients in West Europe, mostly in Great Britain (6).

On January 7, 2011, 50 British surgeons voiced a call for the legalization of human organs trade, citing the steady increase in demand and the freedom of choice for those eager to be donors due to financial regards (7). No doubt, human organs trafficking has a potential to become a source of criminal enrichment on pars with the drug business. Der Spiegel argues that, in the global distribution of roles in the market of illicit transplantations, most of the buyers are found in the US, Canada, Israel, and  Saudi Arabia while most of the donors – in China, India, the Philippines, Egypt, and Moldova (8). The independent Kosovo, a territory with a reputation of horror land, acts as a major trafficking hub in the framework.

Kosovo ISIL Ridvan Haqifi and Lavdrim Muhaxheri

Investigating the nightmare pictured in Marty’s report is supposed to be the responsibility of EULEX. The mission currently oversees two probes in Pristina: prosecutor Clint Williamson looks into the 1998-199 story around the Yellow House near Burrel in central Albania, and prosecutor Jonathan Ratel – into the Medicus clinic case. Initially, in November, 2008, the latter case was opened by the Kosovo police and its UNMIK colleagues, but later EULEX took over. The probe is still incomplete, but, shockingly, it seems clear at this point that only 9 people are to face charges, the key figures in the number being Pristina University professor of medicine Lutfi Dervishi, Medicus founder Ilir Recaj, Turkish surgeon Yusuf Sonmez, and an Israeli named Moshe Harel. The Medicus inquiry is at least    conducted in an open mode, while the Yellow House drama is being dealt with under wraps for the stated reason that the investigators must be kept safe on site. The real parallel between the two cases, however, is that both are stalling: Williamson, for example, says no completion should be expected within the next couple of years. Importantly in the context, EULEX rejects any form of cooperation with Serbia’s law-enforcement agencies  (9) and maintains that internationalizing the case is off the table. Even if the Medicus case unravels to some sort of a final point, it will continue to revolve around the tiny clinic, with the Kosovo administration and its influential international patrons unaffected.

The inescapable conclusion stemming from the pertinent materials is that the heinous crimes can be traced to the uppermost administration levels  in Pristina. The office of Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor says the KLA command posts were sited in the Prifc and Tropojë villages. Tropojë, the place to which mujahideen flocked from across the world, was where the KLA headquarters functioned. For a reason that invites guesswork, the Haradinaj brothers – Nasim, Shkelzën, Daut, and  Ramush – are known to have frequented the village hospital. Tropojë, Kukës, and Bajram Curri served as the training bases, the latter also hosting wounded KLA guerillas at a medical centre. Captive Serbs, Roma, and Albanians “guilty” of disloyalty were held in hangars near the abandoned barracks and firing ranges. An illicit detention facility was set up at the Deva deserted mine, with tunnel outlets on both sides of the border, and used to torture the captives or to extract organs from the healthier of them. The Viçidol village is located not far from Tropojë – in April, 1998, it was visited by the entire KLA command which stayed at a house owned by the family of Albanian premier Sali Berisha. The reception was coordinated by Suleiman Berisha, the brother of the premier’s uncle and the man who kept in touch with the Kosovo envoy to Tirana. The village was the start of a route massively supplying arms to Kosovo (to the Junik and Borovina villages in the proximity of Decani), and, moreover, members of the Berisha family tentatively were a part of the hierarchy in a criminal group which kidnapped people to extract their organs for sale in West Europe where a heart or a kidney can cost as much as Euro 120,000. A big camp where up to 200 guerillas per shift were trained existed right in Tirana and was equipped with a hospital. Funds were poured into the KLA internationally, mostly from Switzerland, via the Tirana-based Dardania Bank (10).

A scandal erupted in 2012 when Der Spiegel released facts concerning the Kosovo administration’s complicity in human organs trafficking, a partnership between the Kosovo criminals and several German citizens, and the organs supply from  Medicus to medical institutions in Berlin, Göttingen, and Regensburg. The organs went illicitly to recipients who paid large sums of money and received treatment ahead of other patients. Reportedly, Vera, an immigrant from Russia, sold her kidney for Euro 8,000, and it was bought by Walter, a German industrialist, for Euro 81,000. Medicus was, in reality, owned by Manfred Ernst Beer, an urologist from Berlin with business ties to the registered owner Lufti Dervishi, whose family suggested opening a clinic in Kosovo. EULEX would not comment on the hypothesis that Medicus was an element of a wide international network of illicit transplantology (11). It came as a vivid illustration of the proportions of the phenomenon that Carla Del Ponte quoted a Middle Eastern intelligence service in her “The Hunt: Me and War Criminals” as asserting that a sheik said he regretted that he had been given a Serbian heart but was glad to be alive (12). Up to date, the abundance of implicating materials does not appear to translate into any progress in the probe. The stalemate is in part owed to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia where, unbelievably, the whole bulk of evidence pertinent to the Yellow House case opened in January, 2005 was destroyed in 2006, with no indictments produced. Evidently, the investigation spotlight reached figures too important to be disturbed.

The KLA commanders turned independent Kosovo’s leaders are confident of their immunity to prosecution and are not going to tone down their criminal activities. In a conversation which took place shortly after the assassination of Serbian premier Zoran Đinđić, Hashim Thaci and Agim Çeku discussed plans for exporting illicit money to Serbia, buying into the country’s investment funds, and thus grabbing enterprises and land lots across it. Thaci said Pristina’s agents should start companies in London or – even better, as he remarked – in Russia, take part in the privatization in Serbia, buy lands, food-processing factories, and real estate in major cities within a money-laundering campaign. He also suggested partnering the Croats who already got plenty of land in Vojvodina cheap (13).

Monah na rusevinama crkve

The Euro-Atlantic blueprint for the future of South East Europe gives a big role to the criminal enclave called the Republic of Kosovo. It is to become a base of world-level organized crime, and that is already happening. Drug supply to Europe, illicit organs extraction and trafficking, campaigns of terror against the resident populations and ethnic cleansing are hallmarks of the Kosovo independence which sends criminal metastases all over Europe while it stays under a delusion that its civilization standards are intact…

The KLA was instrumental in NATO’s game aimed at undermining Yugoslavia. Now that the federation is gone, Serbia is nevertheless the top regional power which can, moreover, anytime boost its potential by truly engaging with Russia. Clearly, the KLA will be preserved and cultivated as a counterforce. It has full political control over Kosovo, including the predominantly Serbian north of the province, is heavily armed and well-funded,  and enjoys permanent support from Washington. With the Pristina administration enthroned, Kosovo is a territory of chaos dominated by criminal groups thinly disguised to look like credible officialdom. While the probes into the organized crime in Kosovo remain an imitation of justice, the problem is spilling worldwide.

Endnotes:

(1) http://www.vesti-online.com/Vesti/Hronika/233286/Kriminalci-vladaju-Balkanom-

(2) Balkanski koridori heroina i kokaina // Daily Survey. Atina, Ankara, 22 januara 2012. http://www.mfa.gov.rs/Srpski/Bilteni/Srpski/b230112_s.html

(3) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/110321/kosovo-intelligence-services

(4) http://www.fakti.org/oruzje/nato-oko-srbije/za-kontrolu-balkana-i-opkoljavanje-rusije

(5) http://www.vesti-online.com/Vesti/Hronika/233528/Mafijasi-americki-saveznici-

(6) http://www.vesti-online.com/Vesti/Srbija/220576/Gorece-pola-Balkana

(7) http://kpolisa.com/KP17/kp17-I-2-VeselinKonatar.pdf

(8) http://www.novosti.rs/vesti/naslovna/aktuelno.291.html:380208-Albanski-t…

(9) Petras J.  The Washington – “Moderate Islam” Alliance: ContainingRebellion Defending Empire // The Law Projects Center New York City Area Offices. 12.16.2011.

(10) http://www.kurir-info.rs/ubijajte-civile-clanak-23588

(11) McAllester Matt, Martinovic Jovo Kosovo’s Mafia: A hotbed of human trafficking // Globalpost, March 27, 2011

(12) pressonline.rs

(13) NATO protiv Srbije. Transkripti razgovora stranih obaveštajaca u Srbiji i inostranstvu

(6) NATO protiv Srbije. Transkripti razgovora stranih obaveštajaca u Srbiji i inostranstvu

(7) vesti-online.com

(8) blic.rs

(9) http://www.novosti.rs/dodatni_sadrzaj/clanci.119.html:390530-Vampiri-zute-kuce

(10) http://www.novosti.rs/dodatni_sadrzaj/clanci.119.html:391694-Biznis-brace-Berisa

(11) blic.rs

(12) http://www.novosti.rs/dodatni_sadrzaj/clanci.119.html:390675-Dokazi-protiv-Tacija

(13) NATO protiv Srbije. Transkripti razgovora stranih obaveštajaca u Srbiji i inostranstvu


2012-09-20

By Anna Filimonova

Source: The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies

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Kosovo and the jihadist Green Corridor in the Balkans



kosovo-jihad-flag

The Green Corridor[1] is a geopolitical concept with two meanings: (a) The Islamists’ goal of creating a contiguous chain of Muslim-dominated polities from Istanbul in the southeast to northwestern Bosnia, a mere 120 miles from Austria [2]; and (b) The process of increasing ethno-religious assertiveness among the Muslim communities along that route. The process entails four key elements:

  1. Expanding the area of those communities’ demographic dominance;
  2. Establishing and/or expanding various entities under Muslim political control with actual or potential claim to sovereign statehood;
  3. Enhancing the dominant community’s Islamic character and identity within those entities, with the parallel decrease of presence and power of non-Muslim groups; and
  4. Prompting Muslim communities’ ambitions for ever bolder designs in the future, even at the risk of conflict with their non-Muslim neighbors.[3]

The purpose of this article is to give some clarity to this concept. Such clarity is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the motives, actions, and emerging expectations of different actors in the Yugoslav wars of 1991-1999 and their aftermath.

greencorridorReality Denied – Political, cultural, religious and demographic trends among Muslim communities in the Balkans strongly suggest that the Green Corridor is taking shape, either deliberately or spontaneously.[4] Nevertheless, many Western academic experts and media commentators (especially in the English-speaking world) have shown the tendency to be a priori dismissive of any suggestion that a long-term Islamic geopolitical design exists in the Balkans, let alone that it is being deliberately and systematically pursued. The notion of the Green Corridor was thus criticized as a product of Serbian propaganda with “Islamophobic” overtones, although its most authoritative proponents in recent years have been institutions and experts (British, Italian, American, Israeli etc.) with no ethnic or personal axe to grind in the Balkan imbroglio.

The Bosnian war was still raging when Sir Alfred Sherman, former advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of the Centre for Policy Studies, warned that the Muslims’ objective was “to create a ‘Green Corridor’ from Bosnia through the Sanjak to Kosovo” that would separate Serbia from Montenegro.[5] Western powers are “in effect fostering this Islamistan,” Sherman warned, and developing “close working relations with Iran, whose rulers are keen to establish a European base for their politico-religious activities.” In addition, “Washington is keen on involving its NATO ally Turkey, which has been moving away from Ataturk’s secularist and Western stance back to a more Ottomanist, pan-Muslim orientation, and is actively helping the Muslim forces.”

Sherman’s 1994 diagnosis proved to be prescient. A decade later it was echoed by Col. Shaul Shay of BESA Center at Bar-Ilan University. He noted that “the Balkans serve as a forefront on European soil for Islamic terror organizations, which exploit this area to promote their activities in Western Europe, and other focal points worldwide.” His conclusions regarding the Green Corridor are disquieting: “[T]he establishment of an independent Islamic territory including Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania… is one of the most prominent achievements of Islam since the siege of Vienna in 1683. Islamic penetration into Europe through the Balkans is one of the main achievements of Islam in the twentieth century.”[6]

Shay’s account shows how the Bosnian war provided the historical opportunity for radical Islam to penetrate the Balkans at a time when the Muslim world – headed by Iran and the various Islamic terror organizations, including al-Qaeda – came to the aid of the Muslims. The Jihadist operational and organizational infrastructures were thus established.

John R. Schindler, professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer, concurs: in his view the Balkans provide the missing piece in the puzzle of al-Qa’ida’s transformation from an isolated fighting force into a lethal global threat.[7] Radical Islam played a key role in the Yugoslav conflict, Schindler says: like Afghanistan in the 1980s, Bosnia in the 1990s became a training ground for the mujahidin, leading to blowback of epic proportions.

The Green Corridor paradigm reflects Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, which used the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a paradigmatic case of the so called “fault-line wars” between Islam and the rest. Many years before the first shots were fired in Bosnia in 1992, that paradigm was confirmed by the late Bosnian-Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic. In his Islamic Declaration Izetbegovic denied any chance of “peace or coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic societies and political institutions”: “Islam contains the principle of ummet, the tendency to unite all Muslims into a single community – a spiritual, cultural and political community… It is a natural function of the Islamic order to gather all Muslims and Muslim communities throughout the world into one.”[8] During the Bosnian war (1992-1995) Izetbegovic presented a “pluralist” image to the West, but his followers acted in accordance with his primary message. The fruits of their labor – and that of their coreligionists in another half-dozen countries in the region – are clearly visible along a thousand miles’ trail through the middle of today’s Balkans.

Ottoman Legacy – Unlike other European peninsular regions (Iberia, Italy), the northern boundary of the Balkans is not marked by mountain ranges that separate the peninsula from the heartland of Europe. That boundary, along the easily fordable Sava and Danube rivers, is open and crossed by several key transit corridors connecting Central and Western Europe with the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean. Poor in energy and natural resources, the region is significant mainly because of its location as the hub of pan-European corridors. This has been the bane of its history, too, inviting invaders and turning the Balkans for most of the modern era into an object of competing designs and interests of outside powers. The Ottoman conquest and occupation, in particular, left an indelible mark on the region.

The initial onslaught of Islamic conquerors on Europe started twelve centuries ago across the Straits of Gibraltar. The second attack of Islam on Europe came at the southeastern fringe of the Old Continent, starting in 1354, when Ottoman Turks crossed the Dardanelles from Asia Minor and established a foothold on the northern shore. The subsequent spread of Islam in the Balkans was “by the sword”: it was contingent upon the extent of Ottoman rule and the establishment of political and social institutions based on the teaching of Kuran and the previous seven centuries of Islamic legal and political practice. The line of the attack went from Thrace via Macedonia to Kosovo; through the Sanjak into Bosnia all the way to the Una river, was finally stopped at the Habsburgs’ Military Frontier created in the 16th century.

It is noteworthy that the geographic thrust of the Ottoman attack and later colonization of Muslims from other parts of the Empire in the Balkans coincided exactly with the “Green Corridor.” This is not to suggest that Ottoman strategists had devised an elaborate plan of conquest along those lines, but – rather – that the Green Corridor has a geopolitical logic that influences political and military decision-making either consciously or spontaneously. The historical record further indicates that Ottoman efforts at Islamization of the local population were more determined, and far more successful, along the “Transverse” axis (Thrace-Macedonia-Kosovo-Sanjak-Bosnia) than in other conquered Christian lands (e.g. in mainland Greece, central Serbia, northern Bulgaria, or Wallachia).

The Ottoman conquest destroyed the materially and culturally rich Christian civilization of Byzantium and its dynamic and creative Slavic offspring in Serbia and Bulgaria. The conquered populations became second-class citizens (“dhimmis”), whose physical security was predicated upon their abject obedience to the Muslim masters.[9] They were heavily taxed (jizya, or poll tax, and kharaj) and subjected to the practice of devshirme: the annual “blood levy” (introduced in the 1350s) of a fifth of all Christian boys in the conquered lands to be converted to Islam and trained as janissaries. In the collective memory of Balkan Christian nations, five centuries of Turkish conquest and overlordship – with all their consequences, social and political – are carved as an unmitigated disaster. Conversions to Islam, a phenomenon more strongly pronounced along the Green Route than in the central regions of the Empire, contributed to a new stratification of the society under Ottoman rule and a new power balance. That balance shifted in favor of those individuals and communities that embraced the conquerors’ faith. They soon assumed the role of officials and tax collectors, holding power over and oppressing their neighbors, former co-religionists. People of the same ethno-linguistic community, sharing the same ancestors, thus often evolved into members of two fundamentally opposed social and political groups.

The Ottoman zenith was reached under Suleyman the Magnificent in the first half of the 16th century. As that decline gathered pace after the defeat at Vienna (1683), the provincial Ottoman governors and local warlords in the Balkans grew stronger and disobedient of the Sultan. They were often local converts to Islam, eager to assert their power over their former co-religionists, Christian gaiurs. This resulted in far harsher treatment of their Christian subjects than was mandated from the Porte, and helped ignite uprisings in Serbia (1804) and Greece (1821). The 19th century witnessed a more thorough oppression of the Christian communities under Ottoman rule than at any prior period. At the same time, some great powers (Great Britain in particular) supported the continued Turkish subjugation of Balkan Christians on the grounds that the Ottoman Empire was a “stabilizing force.” France’s and Britain’s alliance with Turkey against Russia in the Crimean War (1853-1856) reflected a frame of mind and a strategic calculus – the desire to score points in the Muslim world vis-à-vis another, non-Muslim power – that has manifested itself in recent years in the overt or covert support by those same powers for the Muslim side in Bosnia and Kosovo, and somewhat less overtly in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Demography – The most enduring, and politically and culturally relevant consequence of the Ottoman rule in the Balkans is the presence of large indigenous Muslim communities. The Balkan Peninsula is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse regions in the world, all the more so considering its relatively small area (just over 200,000 square miles) and population (around 55 million).[10] Of that number, Eastern Orthodox Christians – mainly Greeks, Bulgars, Serbs and Slavic Macedonians – have the slim majority of around 53 percent; Sunni Muslims (11 million Turks in European Turkey and a similar number of Albanians, Slavic Muslims and ethnic Turks elsewhere) make up just over 40 percent; and Roman Catholics (mainly Croats) are at around 5 percent.[11] Those communities do not live in multicultural harmony. Their mutual lack of trust that occasionally turns into violence is a lasting fruit of the Turkish rule. Four salient features of the Ottoman state were institutionalized, religiously justified discrimination of non-Muslims; personal insecurity; tenuous coexistence of ethnicities and creeds without intermixing; and the absence of unifying state ideology or supra-denominational source of loyalty. It was a Hobbesian world, and it bred a befitting mindset: the zero-sum-game approach to politics, in which one side’s gain is perceived as another’s loss. That mindset has not changed, almost a century since the disintegration of the Empire.

KosovoIslamMost Balkan Muslims live in continuous swathes of territory along the Green Corridor, from Istanbul in the southeast to Cazin in the northwest. There are but two major gaps in the chain. One is in northeastern Macedonia, where 80 miles divides easternmost Albanian villages near Kumanovo from the westernmost Bulgarian-Muslim (i.e. Pomak) villages in the country of Blagoevgrad. The other is in the region of Raska (northern Sanjak) in southwestern Serbia, along the main road and railway from Belgrade to the Montenegrin port of Bar.

The Christian communities all over the Balkans are in a steep, long-term demographic decline. Fertility rate is below replacement level in every majority-Christian country in the region.[12] The Muslims, by contrast, have the highest birth rates in Europe, with the Albanians topping the chart. On current form it is likely that Muslims will reach a simple majority in the Balkans within a generation.

The Role of Modern Turkey – Turkey’s European foothold on the Straits and in Eastern Thrace is populous (over 11 million) and overwhelmingly mono-ethnic (Turkish) and mono-religious (Muslim); the Christian remnant is negligible. A nation-state of 72 million, the Turkish Republic is based on a blend of European-style nationalism and an Islamic ethos that breeds a sense of intense kinship with the Muslim communities further west in the Balkans. The Kemalist dream has never penetrated beyond the military and a narrow stratum of urban elite. For decades described as the key to U.S. strategy in eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East, and—more recently—in the oil-rich Caspian region and the sensitive ex-Soviet Central Asia, the country is ruled by the ever-more-openly Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His antics at Davos vividly illustrated the problem: the AKP “espouses an ideology of cultural divide, tension, and conflict, despite all of the pro-Europe rhetoric in which Islamists in Turkey engage in their pursuit to exploit the European Union for their agenda of Islamization.”[13] That agenda is no longer confined to the borders of the Turkish state. There is a rekindled sense of kinship among the growing ranks of Turkish islamists with their Balkan co-religionists and with the old Ottoman domains further west. The re-Islamization and assertiveness of Turkey under Erdogan is essential to the revival of Islam and ethnic self-assertiveness all along the Green Corridor:

“The [Yugoslav] wars of the 90s opened whole areas where they [Muslims] were in the majority: While the regional realities modified, so did geopolitics between those who remained in the their traditional homes in the Balkans and the ever expanding Islam over Europe itself. … [with] pan-European Islamic clusters from the West southward into the Balkans themselves. Of the utmost importance to Muslims in Western Europe, but especially the Balkans, is the admission of Turkey into the EU, for Ankara will be a voice for all Muslims inside the E.U. itself.”[14]

Without a strong, solidly supportive anchor at its southeastern end, no Muslim revival in former Ottoman lands along the Green Corridor would be possible. The mix of nationalism and Islamism in Turkey aims not only at reversing the process of modernization of the past 85 years; it also aims at reversing the outcome of the preceding period of Ottoman decline. Under the AKP Turkey is becoming increasingly revisionist, potentially irridentist, and detrimental to stability in the Balkans.

Bulgaria – Of the country’s 8 million inhabitants, ethnic Turks account for just under ten percent (750,000). Their numbers were reduced through forced emigration under the Zhivkov regime in the 1980s, but many have returned following Bulgaria’s entry into the EU. Southern Bulgaria is also home to several hundred thousand Pomaks, Islamized Slavic speakers. Their number is unknown as they are not recognized as a distinct ethnic group: officially they are “Muslim Bulgarians.” Most Pomaks and Turks live in six counties that are situated between Turkey and FRY Macedonia: Haskovo, Kardjali, Smolian, Blagoevgrad, and southern parts of Pazardzhik and Plovdiv. The Pomaks are experiencing an intense Islamic religious revival, mainly financed from the Arab world. Hundreds of new mosques have been built in recent years. Middle Eastern “charities” are also establishing Kuranic schools, paying for trips to the Hajj, and offering scholarships to young Pomaks to study Islam in Saudi Arabia. Since religion defines their identity, “these poor, pastoralist Slavic Muslims have become prime targets for Arab proselytizers seeking to make inroads in Bulgaria, the EU country with the largest indigenous Muslim population.”[15]

In addition to the religious revival, the Pomaks are establishing a new form of ethnic identityand demand the recognition of their separate nationality.[16] Some Pomak activists assert that, far from being “Islamized Bulgarians,” they are descended from ancient Thracians.[17] Others assert Arab descent and an Islamic identity that antedates Turkish conquest. Some Bulgarians see the assertion of a separate ethnic identity as the first step in a future call for the establishment of a Pomak state – Islamic in character – in the Rhodope region as the key link to the Western Balkans. Some politicians warn of “unprecedented aggression based on religious and ethnic grounds” and accuse Muslim activists of “contempt for the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria.”[18] Even pro-Western sources in Sofia concede that “it is stretching credibility to imagine” that Bulgaria is not a target of radical Islam.[19]

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – FYROM is widely considered the weakest state in the Balkans. Macedonian Slavs account for 66 percent (1.3 million) and Albanians for 25 percent (500,000) of the republic’s two million people. The latter, 98 percent Muslim, have had a remarkable rate of growth since 1961, when they accounted for 13 percent of the total. Albanian birthrate is more than twice that of Slavs. Following the signing of the Ohrid Agreement that ended the 2001 Albanian armed rebellion by the “NLA” (a KLA subsidiary), the state itself is effectively becoming bi-national and bilingual. Albanians are de facto the second constituent nation in FYROM. They are guaranteed proportional share of government power and ethnically-based police force. Having secured their dominance along the borders of Albania and Kosovo, the current main thrust of the Albanian ethno-religious enroachment has the country’s capital city as its primary objective. It is a little-known fact that today’s Skopje is effectively as divided as Nicosia, or Jerusalem, or Mostar. Once a city quarter becomes majority-Albanian, it is quickly emptied of non-Albanian (i.e. Slavic-Macedonian, non-Muslim) population. The time-tested technique is to construct a mosque in a mixed area, to broadcast prayer calls at full blast five times a day, and to create the visible and audible impression of dominance that intimidates non-Muslims (“sonic cleansing”). In those mosques a Wahhabi-connected imam or administrator is invariably present to keep an eye on the rest.[20] Through their links with Arab donors they can influence the payment of salaries to imams and administrative staff.

63 raspeto kosovo1

During the 2001 Albanian rebellion the NLA was largely financed by the smuggling of narcotics from Turkey and Afghanistan, but in addition to drug money, “the NLA also has another prominent venture capitalist: Osama bin Laden.”[21] French terrorism expert Claude Moniquet estimated in 2006 that up to a hundred fundamentalists, “dangerous and linked to terrorist organizations,” were active or dormant but ready in sleeper-cells in Macedonia. New recruits are offered stipends to study Islam in Saudi Arabia, and they are given regular salaries and free housing to spread the Wahhabi word on their return to Macedonia.[22] Both demographically and politically, the Republic of Macedonia has a precarious present and an uncertain future. In the long term its stability and sustainability is open to doubt.

Kosovo – Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton warned a year ago that “Kosovo will be a weak state susceptible to radical Islamist influence from outside the region… a potential gate for radicalism to enter Europe,” a stepping stone toward an anti-Christian, anti-American “Eurabia.”[23] His was a rare voice in Washington to warn of the ongoing merger of aggressive greater-Albanian nationalism and transnational Islamism. Bolton’s verdict is shared by former UN commander in Bosnia, Canadian Gen. Lewis McKenzie. In 1999 the West intervened “on the side of an extremist, militant Kosovo-Albanian independence movement,” he says. “The fact that the KLA was universally designated a terrorist organization supported by al-Qaeda was conveniently ignored.”[24]

Since the 1999 US-led NATO intervention, Kosovo has become the crime capital of Europe.[25] Crime is the province’s main economic activity: hard drugs (primarily heroin), followed by human trafficking, associated sex trade, and arms smuggling.[26] But no less significant, from the vantage point of the Green Corridor, has been the symbiosis that has developed between Kosovo’s Albanian crime families and the Jihadist networks abroad.[27] As a result, according to a 252-page report compiled by U.S. intelligence agencies in April 2006, Islamic militants with ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have been freely crisscrossing the Balkans for more than 15 years: “extremists, financed in part with cash from narcotics smuggling operations, were trying to infiltrate Western Europe from Afghanistan and points farther east via a corridor through Turkey, Kosovo and Albania.”[28]

This process started well before the 1999 NATO intervention, but the Clinton Administration ignored the warnings.[29] The relationship was cemented by the zeal of KLA veterans who joined Bin Laden’s network in Afghanistan.[30] Iran also supported the Albanian insurgency in Kosovo, hoping “to turn the region into their main base for Islamic armed activity in Europe.”[31] By the end of 1998 U.S. DEA officials complained that the transformation of the KLA from terrorists into freedom fighters hampered their ability to stem the flow of Albanian-peddled heroin into America.[32] By that time the NATO bombing of Serbia was in full swing, however, and the mujaheddin were, once again, American “allies.” A decade later Kosovo is run by those “allies.” It is the worst administered and most corrupt spot in Europe,[33] a mono-ethnic hotbed of criminality and intollerance, a major source of irridentism and regional instability – and a key pillar of the Green Corridor.

Sanjak – The region known to Muslims as Sandžak (“administrative district” in Turkish) is one of the most critical geopolitical pressure points in the Balkans. It covers some 8,500 square kilometers along the border between Serbia and Montenegro, linking Kosovo to the southeast with Bosnia to the northwest. The demographic picture of the region is exceptionally complex. According to the census in Serbia (2002) and Montenegro (2003), the population of Sandžak was 420,259. Of that number 235,567 lived in Serbia and 184,692 in Montenegro. Bosniaks and Muslims-by-nationality accounted for 52 percent while Serbs and Montenegrins had 43 percent, with smaller groups making up the balance. The crucial demographic gap in the Green Corridor exists in the northwestern half of Sanjak, comprising three municipalities in Serbia (Priboj, Nova Varos and Prijepolje) and Pljevlja in Montenegro. If there is to be a fresh crisis in the Balkans over the next decade, it is to be feared that this will be its location.

The leading figure in local politics is Muamer Zukorlic, an Arab-educated imam with pan-Islamic credentials. Zukorlic is in dispute with the leadership of the Islamic Religious Community of Serbia (IVZ), the authority of which he refuses to accept. The leaders of the IVZ, reis-ul-ulema Adem Zilkic and his predecessor Hamdija Jusufspahic, are powerless to bring Zukorlic to heel because he is supported by the Muslim leadership in Sarajevo and well-endowed from foreign (mainly Arab) sources. While both sides in the dispute claim to be opposed to Wahhabi infiltration, Zukorlic’s position is ambivalent. Even after a secret Wahhabi training camp stocked with weapons and explosives was discovered 20 miles from the city of Novi Pazar he said that the problem was “blown out of proportion. After Montenegro proclaimed independence in May 2006, the Muslim demand for autonomy is focused on the six municipalities on the northern side of the border, in Serbia. Such an entity would have a 58% overall Muslim majority. More importantly, even in the reduced format it would still provide the all-critical land bridge between Kosovo and Bosnia.

Bosnia – Alija Izetbegovic’s memorable assertion in his Islamic Declaration that “there can be no peace or coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic societies and political institutions,” and that his goal is “a great Islamic federation spreading from Morocco to Indonesia,” was not unusual for a sincere Islamist.[34] Izetbegovic meant business. Bill Clinton was still in the White House when a classified State Department report warned that the Muslim-controlled parts of Bosnia were a safe haven for Islamic terrorism.[35] It warned that hundreds of foreign mujaheddin, who had become Bosnian citizens and remained there after fighting in the war, presented a major terrorist threat to Europe and the United States. Among them were hard-core terrorists, some with ties to bin Laden, protected by the Muslim government. This was confirmed in November 2001 when Bosnian passports were found in a house in Kabul used by the fleeing Taliban.[36]

The core of Bin Laden’s Balkan network are the veterans of El Moujahed brigade of the Bosnian-Muslim army. It was established in 1992 and included volunteers from all over the Islamic world . The unit was distinguished by its spectacular cruelty, including decapitation of prisoners to the chants of Allahu-akbar.[37] El Moujahed was the nursery from which an international terrorist network spread to Europe and North America. After the end of the Bosnian war, many Muslim volunteers remained.[38] The Bosnian-Muslim government circumvented the Dayton rules by granting Bosnian citizenship to several hundred Arab and other Islamist volunteers. Less than a year after the war’s end they were well established, having taken over Serbian-owned properties and married local women, sometimes by force.[39]

The Bosnian veterans went on to perpetrate murder and mayhem in many countries in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and North America.[40] Osama Bin Laden’s links to the Bosnian Muslims were known to the Clinton Administration, but they were tolerated by Washington.[41] The Millennium Plot at the end of December 1999, the narrowly averted al-Qaida attempt to blow up Los Angeles International Airport, was planned by a cell operating in Montreal – most of them veterans of the Bosnian war – and the operation was controlled out of central Bosnia.The Bosnian Connection was also present in the bombing of the Al Khobar building in Riyadh[42] and in a plot to blow up U.S. military installations in Germany.[43] Even 9/11 itself had a Bosnian Connection: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, who planned the 9/11 attacks, was a seasoned veteran of the Bosnian jihad, as were two of the hijackers.[44]

Iran had already obtained a foothold of its own in Bosnia when the Clinton Administration got Teheran’s help in supplying the Muslim army with weapons.[45] This was done in violation of the UN arms embargo initially demanded by the U.S. and behind the back of its European allies.[46] The CIA and the Departments of State and Defense were initially kept in the dark.[47] Iranian intelligence operatives came with the weapons. The result is a symbiotic relationship between the ruling Muslim establishment in Sarajevo and the Tehran regime.[48]

Last but not least, Bosnia remains a staging post for thousands of illegal Muslim immigrants from the Middle East making their way into Western Europe.[49] Izetbegovic stepped down in 2000, but the hard-liners who have internalized his teaching and his vision remain active at all levels of Bosnia’s Muslim nomenklatura. As Jane’s Intelligence Review concluded in 2006, “The current threat of terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina comes from a younger, post-war generation of militant Islamists, radicalized by US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Шиптарски геноцид

The Green Corridor and the War on Terrorism – In the Balkans, a phenomenon initially based on local groups is morphing into an integral part of a global network. Al-Qaeda and its loosely linked Balkan offshoots, or self-starting independent cells merely inspired by it, are capable of fielding operatives who are European in appearance and seemingly integrated into the Western society – the “white al-Qa’eda.”[50] Western law-enforcement officials concede that the region has become “a paradise” for Islamic radicals.”[51]

By contrast, Western politicians and diplomats are typically evasive. They do not deny the existence of the problem, but tend to relativize it by adding that it is unlikely to disturb the political and security balance in the region, or to damage Western interests. As a former diplomat from the region notes, “Then usually follows the reassuring mantra about the pro-European orientation of secularized Balkan Muslims with the optimistic conclusion that the accelerated process of the Euro-integration of the whole region would narrow the space for radical Islamism until such tendencies will finally disappear.”[52]

The problem with such optimistic assessment is not that it is totally wrong but that it becomes less right with each passing day. A major fault of the Western approach is its naïve faith in the attractive powers of secularisation. There is a growing gap between the reality of Islam in the Balkans and Western mainstream narrative about the allegedly moderate and tolerant “Balkan Islam.” The problem of the Green Corridor will not be resolved without critical reexamination of Western policies as well as Western illusions. That problem has morphed over the past two decades into a demographic, social and political reality: “[W]hile the Muslims have established a continuity which drives a wedge within Christian Central Europe, the West is looking with indifference at that evolving situation which they hope will create a docile, Turkish-like Islam. But in view of the trouble Turkey itself is suffering from Muslim fundamentalists, it is doubtful whether these hopes will be fulfilled.”[53]

The U.S. policy in Southeast Europe over the past two decades has had the effect, by design or default, to favor the aspirations of various supposedly pro-Western Muslim communities in the Balkans along the geographic line extending from Turkey north-westwards towards Central Europe.[54] That policy was based on the expectation that satisfying Muslim ambitions in a secondary theater will improve the U.S. standing in the Muslim world as a whole.

The policy has never yielded any dividends, but repeated failure only prompts its advocates to redouble their efforts. Former U.S. Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns thus declared on February 18, 2008, a day after Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence: “Kosovo is going to be a vastly majority Muslim state, given the fact that 92 to 94 percent of their population is Muslim, and we think it is a very positive step that this Muslim state, Muslim majority state, has been created today. It’s a stable – we think it’s going to be a stable state.” If it is intrinsically “a very positive step” for the United States that a “vastly Muslim state” is created on European soil that had been “cleansed” of non-Muslims then it should be expected that Washington will be equally supportive of an independent Sanjak that would connect Kosovo with Bosnia, of a centralized, i.e. Muslim-controlled Bosnia that will abolish the legacy of Dayton, or of any other putative Islamistan in the region – from yet-to-be federalized Macedonia to a revived Eastern Rumelia in southern Bulgaria. It is worthy of note that the Organization of the Islamic Conference statement, to which the State Department referred so approvingly, announced that the Islamic Umma wishes its borthers and sisters in Kosovo success: “There is no doubt that the independence of Kosovo will be an asset to the Muslim world and further enhance the joint Islamic action.”[55]

Kosovostan passeport

“There is no doubt,” indeed. Far from providing a model of pro-Western “moderate Islam,” Kosovo, Muslim Bosnia, Sanjak, western Macedonia, and southern Bulgaria are already the breeding ground for thousands of young hard-line Islamists. Their dedication is honed in thousands of newly-built, mostly foreign-financed mosques and Islamic centers. The intent was stated by the head of the Islamic establishment in Sarajevo. “The small jihad is now finished … The Bosnian state is intact. But now we have to fight a bigger, second jihad,” Mustafa Ceric, the Reis-ul-Ulema in Bosnia-Herzegovina, declared over a decade ago. This statement reflects the inherent dynamism of political Islam: a truce with Dar al-Harb is allowed, sometimes even mandated, but a permanent peace is impossible for as long as there is a single infidel entity refusing to submit to Dar al-Islam.

If Western and especially U.S. policy in the Balkans was not meant to facilitate the Green Corridor, the issue is not why but how its effects paradoxically coincided with the regional objectives of those same Islamists who confront America in other parts of the world. Far from enhancing peace and regional stability, such policies continue to encourage seven distinct but interconnected trends centered on the Green Corridor:

(a) Pan-Islamic agitation for the completion of an uninterrupted Transverse by linking its as yet unconnected segments.

(b) Destabilization of Bosnia resulting from constant Muslim demands for the erosion of all constitutional prerogatives leading to the abolition of the Republika Srpska.

(c) Growing separatism among Muslims in the Raska region of Serbia, manifest in the demand for the establishment of an “autonomous” Sanjak region.

(d) Continuing intensification of greater-Albanian aspirations against Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, and rump-Serbia.

(e) Further religious radicalization and ethnic redefinition of Muslims in Bulgaria, leading to demands for territorial autonomy in the Rhodope region.

(f) Ongoing spread of Islamic agitation, mainly foreign-financed, through a growing network of mosques, Islamic centers, NGOs and “charities” all along the Route.

(g) Escalation of Turkey’s regional ambitions and Ankara’s quiet encouragement of all of the above trends and phenomena.

In all cases the immediate bill will be paid by the people of the Balkans, but long-term costs of the Green Corridor will haunt many Western policy-makers for decades to come.

Endnotes:

[1] The term “Zelena transverzala” first gained prominence 25 years ago, just before the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo in 1984. The organizing committee of the Olympics – dominated by Bosnian Muslim members of the Communist Party (“League of Communists,” SKJ) – decided to give the sports hall built for the event an unusual name, “Zetra.” This was the acronym for the Green Corridor (Zelena-TRAnsverzala); it supposedly referred to the belt of urban parkland in central Sarajevo. Some observers – including Bosnian anti-terrorism expert Dzevad Galijasevic, himself a Muslim – believe that the choice of the name was not incidental, and that its Islamist-geopolitical connotations were anything but unknown to those who had selected it.

[2] In a 2001 report by the Italian security services, the dorsale verde is defined as “the project of Islamic colonization of the Balkans that aims at the gradual establishment of a green corridor to include all regions in which predominantly Muslim ethnic groups prevail.” Cf. Fiorenza Saranzini: “Soldi e moschee, Osama avanza nei Balcani.” Corriere della Sera, November 8, 2001, p. 11. See also “Come nasce la dorsale verde” in Limes, 3/1998, pp. 15-27

[3] Massimo Nava, “Il nostro Afghanistan”, in Limes Quaderni Speciali 4/2001, pp. 177-185

[4] Cf. Laura Iucci: “La Bosnia resta un serbatoio di terroristi.” Limes (Rome), No 6-2003, pp. 203-208.

[5] Sir Alfred Sherman: “Let’s Remove the Blinkers.” The Jewish Chronicle (London), September 30, 1994.

[6] Shaul Shay, Islamic Terror and the Balkans. Transaction Publishers, 2008.

[7] John R. Schindler, Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa’ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad. Zenith Press, 2007.

[8] Alija Izetbegovic, Islamska deklaracija. Sarajevo: Mala muslimanska biblioteka, 1990.

[9] “The attitude of the Muslims toward the Christians and the Jews is that of a master toward slaves,” a British diplomat, H.E.W. Young, reported as late as 1909, “whom he treats with a certain lordly tolerance so long as they keep their place. Any sign of pretension to equality is promptly repressed.”

[10] All data based on official statistics, adjusted for Panonian (non-Balkan) regions of Serbia and Croatia.

[11] The region’s once-thriving Jewish community was destroyed during World War II, with the enthusiastic participation of two Waffen SS divisions, Hanjar (Bosnian-Muslim) and Skenderbey (Kosovo-Albanian).

[12] It now stand at -0.83 percent in both Bulgaria and Greece.

[13] Bassam Tibi, “Turkey’s Islamist Danger.” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2009.

[14] “The Role of the Balkan Muslims in the Shaping of Europe,” Muslim Media Network, May 4, 2008.

[15] Christopher Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate. Praeger, 2007, p. 106.

[16] In November 2008 the “Justice Federation,” a Pomak NGO in the town of Gotse Delchev, declared at a press conference that Pomaks were separate ethnicity and demanded their own TV channel and political party.

[17] This claim is similar to the Albanian assertion of “Illyrian” descent: by implication, Orthodox Christian Slavs (Serbs, Bulgarians) are the relative “newcomers,” whose claim to the land is therefore more tenuous.

[18] FOCUS News Agency, January 10, 2009: www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n166573

[19] Clive Leviyev-Sawyer,“Radical Islam in Bulgaria?” The Sofia Echo, April 16, 2007.

[20] Deliso, op. cit., p. 84

[21] The Washington Times, June 22, 2001.

[22] “Fissures in Balkan Islam,” The Christian Science Monitor, February 14, 2006.

[23] Voice of America interview, February 17, 2008.

[24] Lewis Mackenzie, “We Bombed the Wrong Side in Kosovo.” The National Post, April 6, 2004.

[25] Less than a year after NATO intervention, on 10 March 2000, the UN human rights rapporteur Jiri Dienstbier declared that “Kosovo is in chaos,” having become “a mafia paradise.” Reuters, 20 March 2000.

[26] Cf. Norbert Spinrath, president of the Association of German Police Officers, in Der Spiegel, December 15, 1999. In March 2008, a similar picture was presented in a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

[27] Cf. The American Council on Kosovo’s information resources on: www.savekosovo.org

[28] “Terrorists use Balkan corridor.” International Herald Tribune, April 18, 2006.

[29] The Jerusalem Post, September 14, 1998.

[30] USA Today, November 26, 2001.

[31] The Sunday Times (London), March 22, 1998.

[32] The Washington Times, May 4, 1999.

[33] In a November 2008 progress report, the European Union said “corruption is still widespread and remains a major problem in Kosovo… due to insufficient legislative and implementing measures.”

[34] Cf. Lieutenant Colonel John E. Sray, USA, Selling the Bosnia Myth to America: Buyer Beware. U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS, October 1995.

[35] The Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2001.

[36] AP, November 21, 2001.

[37] Videos of such gruesome spectacles are circulated through Islamic centers and Internet sites in the West.

[38] The Washington Post, November 30, 1995.

[39] “Mujaheddin Remaining in Bosnia,” The Washington Post, July 8, 1996.

[40] “Le troisième membre du ‘gang de Roubaix’ se revendique proche du FIS.” Le Monde, October 6, 2001.

[41] L’Express, December 26, 1996.

[42] The New York Times, June 26, 1997.

[43] The Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2001.

[44] John Schindler, author of Unholy Terror, in World Magazine, Vol. 22, No. 35, September 27, 2007.

[45] “Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base,” U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, January 16, 1997.

[46] See “Fingerprints: Arms to Bosnia, the real story,” The New Republic, October 28, 1996.

[47] “U.S. Had Options to Let Bosnia Get Arms, Avoid Iran,” The Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1996.

[48] “Iran, Bosnia to Exapend Ties.” IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting), December 21, 2003.

[49] “Bosnia opens the door to Europe for Iranian illegal immigrants.” The Times (London), August 31, 2000.

[50] “Terrorist Cells Find Foothold in the Balkans,” The Washington Post, December 1, 2005.

[51] Gregory Katz, “Terrorists said to be getting aid in Balkans,” Houston Chronicle, December 27, 2005.

[52] Chronicles Online, April 6, 2006. www.chroniclesmagazine.org

[53] Raphael Israeli: From Bosnia To Kosovo: The Re-Islamization Of The Balkans. Ariel Center for Policy Research, Policy Paper No. 109, 2004.

[54] Cf. a “programmatic” article on the U.S.-sponsored Greater Middle East by two New Republic editors, Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind: “The Third American Empire.” The New York Times, January 2, 1996.

[55] Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the head of the OIC, as quoted by Reuters, February 19, 2008.


2010-02-11

By Srđa Trifković

Source: The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies

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From Pristina to Damascus: Understanding Kosovo’s fighters in Syria (a Western pro-Albanian propaganda article)



Kosovostan passeport

A more holistic policy that examines the stagnation of EU integration efforts and addresses Kosovar identity as it relates to empathy with Syrians is necessary to approach the issue of foreign fighters in full.

Type “Syria” and “Kosovo” into an internet search engine and the results produce a predictable medley of opinion pieces comparing Western involvement in the Kosovo conflict of the late nineties to hypothetical Western involvement in the Syrian conflict of the 2010s. These articles, the bulk of which were penned in 2013, do not surprise me.

More alarming are the other headlines, appearing with increasing frequency in recent months: headlines detailing a worrisome phenomenon of men and women traveling from Kosovo to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIL.

As of January 2015, the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) reported more than 232 instances of fighters from Kosovo joining militant organizations in Syria and Iraq. That number places the country highest amongst other countries in the Balkans region, an area that has been referred to as ISIL’s “new recruitment hotspot” by media and intelligence sources.

The statistics are troubling: 125 foreign fighters per capita for every 1 million citizens, and reports of a growing radical Islamist trend in Kosovo, particularly among the country’s youth. Kacanik, a southern town of less than 40,000 occupants, has been branded “Kosovo’s jihadist capital” and has gained notoriety as the home of ISIL leader and recruiter Lavdrim Muhaxheri, designated by the US Department of State as a terrorist after photos of a graphic beheading surfaced on social media in 2014 [underlined in bold by Vladislav B. Sotirovic].

It is difficult to reconcile these reports with the Kosovo I know from my experience in the region. Studies paint a portrait of a country shifting rapidly towards religious conservatism; I remember passionate discussions of atheism with Muslim-identifying youth. Articles focus on instances of fanaticism and fundamentalism, on burqas and beards; I remember bustling shopping malls, lively coffee shops, and robust political dialogue.

Alongside these darkly prophetic reports are accounts of the government’s efforts to halt the flow of potential fighters to ISIL. Recently, Kosovo made news with its arrest of Arben Livoreka and Nexhat Behluli on terrorism charges. Kosovo courts have ordered jail sentences for offenders conducting propaganda for ISIL through social media. Arrests were made over an alleged ISIL plot to poison Pristina’s water supply made headlines in July 2015.

But these heavy-handed reactions may prove counterproductive in the face of religious extremism, driving those most susceptible to ISIL recruitment into a defensive, threatened mindset. Reactionary law enforcement needs to be coupled with proactive societal efforts to address the root causes of the phenomenon and to transform the energy of Kosovar citizens eager for action in Syria.

Lavdrim_muhaxheri

Anger and poverty certainly play roles in driving extremism, and both are present in Kosovo. Frustration born from economic stagnation, high unemployment rates – particularly youth unemployment rates – and weak governmental structures are certainly present in the region. The nuances of Wahhabism and its role in radicalization may also play a part, and have been examined at length.

However, additional factors specific to Kosovo may be exacerbating this phenomenon. Identity-related narratives and anger over the prospects of EU integration need to be further examined and continuously addressed in the discussion of Kosovo’s fighters in Syria.

I first visited Kosovo in 2012, more than a decade after the establishment of the UN Mission there, and memories surrounding the 1999 conflict were still integral to the identities of those around me. Stories of small-town heroism in the face of ethno-religious oppression were something to be celebrated as a community, and local fighters something to be continuously honored. Stretching back beyond the 1990s, generations of struggle in the Balkans pre-date the conflicts of WWI; residents of Pristina stress the importance of the 14th century Battle of Kosovo to their present day identity.

In the land of blood and honey, the idea of shedding blood for a noble cause remains attached to the historic identity of many citizens: particularly to their youth, who have yet to fight in such a conflict. For this reason, participation in the Syrian conflict may appeal to certain individuals as an expression of this identity. Though cases vary, for some fighters, participation in the Syrian conflict is viewed as an honorable means of defending the Syrian people. This stems from the desire to help a civilian population that many in the Balkans view as victims, reminiscent of the victimhood that they have experienced historically.

Understanding and addressing the relationship between Kosovars’ historic identities and their parallels to civilians in Syria could be an important step in exploring alternatives such as greater participation in Syrian aid programs and refugee initiatives in Kosovo.

A second factor unique to the country is frustration with the prospects of EU integration. International travel for Kosovars is difficult, and I remember the palpable sense of entrapment experienced by Kosovars eager to leave their country, whether for travel or for job opportunities abroad, yet unable. Delays in visa liberalization and setbacks within the EU integration process have left a sense of hopelessness, augmented in the wake of the “Brexit”. Radicals may play on the sentiment that the West simply does not want Kosovo, while highlighting the sense of belonging and involvement that comes from participation in ISIL. For this reason, continued efforts at integration would prove useful in thwarting the growth of radicalization and recruitment in Kosovo.

Reading articles designating Kosovo the new “hotbed” for ISIL activities deeply concerns me, but what concerns me equally is the fact that these articles sometimes paint a picture of Kosovo as a nation of angry, religiously fundamental radicals. And while arrests and jail sentences may curb the problem on a case-by-case basis, a more holistic policy that examines the stagnation of EU integration efforts and addresses Kosovar identity as it relates to empathy with Syrians is necessary to approach the issue in full.


2016-09-26

About the author:

Brenna Gautam is currently a student at the Georgetown University Law School, hoping to specialize in international law and nonproliferation.

Source: TransConflict

Note and all illustrations by Vladislav B. Sotirovic:

This is a Western pro-Albanian propaganda article for the sake to support and legitimate Albanian Kosovostan jihad terrorism in Kosovo and Syria. Nevertheless, the basic truth was unavoidable to be mentioned in the text that is underlined in bold. The rest is up to the readers to understand and interpret correctly if they want.

Ridvani

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Kosovo: The US “psyche”, US culture and US foreign policy



Ridvani

Michigan-based filmmaker Michael Moore makes the connection between Kosovo and the Columbine shooting in his Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002). Moore puts Kosovo in the context of a broader U.S. foreign policy agenda and a domestic culture of violence. Moore asks: “Are we a nation of gun nuts or are we just nuts?”

In the first scene, Moore walks into the North Country Bank in Michigan to open an account. He saw an ad in the newspaper that the bank would give out free guns to those who open accounts there. Moore walks into the bank and tells the teller that he wants to open an account there. The teller asks him what type of account he wants. Moore answers:

“I want the account where I can (pause) get the free gun.”

The bank functions as a bank and as a licensed fire-arms dealer. Moore fills out an application and is given his free gun, a rifle. Moore asks the bank employee:

“Do you think it’s a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?”

Moore is shown leaving the bank with the rifle slung over his shoulder. Fact is stranger than fiction. Moore understands this perfectly. You don’t have to invent anything, merely observe. His analysis and satire work perfectly to show the absurdity of the American obsession with violence and guns. Guns and violence do not make us more secure, but only feed our paranoia and feelings of panic and fear and insecurity.

Moore analyzes the “gun culture” and obsession with violence and fear and paranoia in America. To understood the Kosovo conflict, you have to understand the US “psyche” and US culture and US foreign policy. The Kosovo conflict is Made in the U.S.A. You cannot comprehend the conflict without an understanding of the US culture of violence, the American “psyche” or national character.

Moore uses the Kosovo conflict and the illegal US and NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 to show the connection between a society and culture of violence and the implications for US foreign policy. The bombing of Serbia by the US is central to the plot of the Oscar-winning movie Bowling for Columbine. Kosovo is central to the movie.

In the key scene of the movie, the date “April 20, 1999” flashes on the screen. This was the day of the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado. This was also the “largest one day bombing by the U.S. in the Kosovo war.” Moore plays news footage for that day. The announcer notes that “22 NATO missiles fell on the village of Bogutovac near Kraljevo. Deadly cargo was dropped on the residential part of the village.” This village is in lower central Serbia, not Kosovo, located in southern Serbia. The mutilated and contorted corpses of several Serbian civilians were shown. Then a news conference with US President Bill Clinton was shown. Clinton rationalized the civilian killings and the massive destruction to civilian buildings. Clinton said that the US wanted to “minimize harm to innocent people.” The announcer reported: “On the hit list were a local hospital and primary school.”

Here is a link to photos from the US bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

Then Moore segues into the Columbine shooting. On the screen flash the words: “One Hour Later.” One hour after Clinton tried to explain away the murder of innocent Serbian civilians, Clinton again appeared on US national TV to explain the Columbine shootings. Clinton announces: “We all know there has been a terrible shooting at a high school in Littleton, Colorado.”

Moore’s central thesis is that there is a direct link between the US murders of Serbian civilians and the murders at Columbine high school. To understand the former you have to understand the latter. And to explain both, you have to understand US foreign policy during the Cold War and the American culture of violence, a gun culture rooted in racial paranoia and fear. “Happiness is a warm gun.”

The movie opens with Moore describing April 20, 1999 as a typical day in the US. The farmer did his chores. Moore shows a scene of James Nichols, the brother of convicted Oklahoma bomber Terry Nichols, working on his tofu farm in Decker, Michigan. Moore then shows bombing damage from US air strikes in Serbia. Moore says: “The President bombed another country whose name we couldn’t pronounce.”

Moore then sets out to explore why the Columbine shooting happened. Why did the kids do that? Why did they murder their fellow students and a teacher in cold blood that day? How do you explain such mindless and senseless violence?

Lockheed Martin, the largest weapons and arms manufacturer in the world, is located outside of Littleton. Moore seeks to find a connection between Lockheed and the manufacture of weapons and the Columbine shooting. The US is the largest weapons and arms exporter in the world. The US has the largest military budget in the world. Lockheed is also the largest employer in Littleton. NORAD is located outside Littleton, as is a closed-down plutonium plant. Moore also showed the B-52 bomber monument with a plaque that honored the killing of Vietnamese civilians. Does Littleton’s proximity to this military and arms nexus have anything to do with a culture of violence?

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Moore interviewed Evan McCollum, the public relations spokesperson for Lockheed. Moore asked him whether he saw a connection between the “mass destruction” that Lockheed creates in the world and the “mass destruction” that occurred in Columbine. Isn’t it the same? Doesn’t Lockheed make weapons of mass destruction that kill innocent people around the globe so that Americans can earn their living and corporations can earn their profits? When in doubt, we bomb. We bomb early and often. Bombs or ballots? What good are bombs if you don’t use them? What good are ballots if the opposition wins? McCollum denied the connection. The US does not export violence and does not murder and kill innocent civilians around the world. We don’t bomb other countries just because they don’t kiss our asses and buy our Big Macs and Whoppers. We bomb for all the right reasons.

Moore then had a satirical refutation of McCollum’s rhetorical claims. With a recording of Louis Armstrong’s 1968 non-hit “What a Wonderful World” playing in the background, Moore then showed footage of the 1953 US ouster of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, who was democratically elected. Mossadeq sought to help the Iranian population exploited by foreign oil interests. The US instigated a “regime change” of this democratically elected reform leader and put in his place the Shah as dictator, who would protect US and British oil interests at the expense of the Iranian people. Could this have anything to do with the 1979 Iran hostage crisis and Iranian rage against the United States? In 1954, the democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala was overthrown by the CIA and a military junta under US-installed dictator, Colonel Carlos Armas, was imposed, who subsequently murdered thousands of civilians. Arbenz initiated land reforms that would help the Guatemalan poor but which threatened the property holdings of the US company United Fruit. United Fruit, closely linked with the CIA, compelled the CIA to organize a regime change. The US-installed junta murdered 200,000 Guatemalans.

During the Vietnam War, US forces killed four million Vietnamese civilians in order to maintain in power a US-installed dictator, Ngo Diem. The US had initially installed Diem to prevent democratic elections that would express the majority will of the Vietnamese population. On November 2, 1963, US President John F. Kennedy approved the assassination of Diem, who was murdered by a more subservient dictator. Diem’s wife, Madame Nhu, blamed the US government for the assassination: “Whoever has the Americans as allies does not need enemies.” Twenty days later, Kennedy would himself be assassinated.

In 1973, the democratically elected Salvador Allende regime was overthrown by the US after a three year regime change campaign by the CIA that began in 1970 when the US tried unsuccessfully to prevent his assuming his elected office of President of Chile. The US put in the genocidal dictator Augusto Pinochet. The US right-wing puppet Pinochet then murdered 5,000 Chilean civilians, the “disappeared”. In 1977, the US backed the El Salvadoran military forces and death squads who murdered 70,000 civilians and four US nuns.

Nothing shows the true American national character better than US support of Saddam Hussein, the Ayatollah Khomeini regime in Iran, and Ossama bin Laden in the 1980s. In 1982, Moore alleged that the US gave Saddam Hussein “billions in aid” so he could continue the war against Iran. Donald Rumsfeld even flew to Baghdad to personally meet and greet our staunchest ally, Saddam Hussein. In 1983, the US sought to provide Iran arms and weapons to kill Iraqis, the Iran-Contra operation spearheaded by Oliver North under the Ronald Reagan administration. The US was supporting both sides in the Iraq-Iran conflict. The US just wanted Muslims killing Muslims. There was nothing about “freedom” and “democracy” and “genocide”. It was just about getting Muslims to kill other Muslims. It was a quite simple game back then. In 1991, the US returned to power the dictator Emir Jaber Al-Sabah in Kuwait, a country where only 15% of the population could vote and where women were not allowed to vote. Kuwait was of vital strategic importance to the US because of US reliance on Gulf oil.

Moore explained how the Clinton administration bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan in 1998 which it mistook for a terrorist base. Indiscriminate bombing substitutes as a band-aid solution for a failed foreign policy. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US had killed what the UN had estimated as “500,000 Iraqi children” through sanctions and non-stop bombings in the no-fly zones.

A remarkable revelation is that Clinton gave the Taliban government in Afghanistan $245 in aid during 2000-2001, just before the 9/11 attack, which was planned and organized in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the home base for Al-Qaeda. Finally, Moore alleges that Ossama bin Laden used his CIA training as a US-backed and US-funded mujahedeen “freedom fighter” in Afghanistan to plan the 9/11 attacks. Moore alleges that the US gave the mujahedeen $3 billion in aid during the 1980s. The US training by the CIA came in mighty handy for 9/11, as did the $245 million in aid from the Clinton administration.

Are guns the problem then? Do we just get rid of all the guns? Cruise missiles and guns and air strikes are just the outer manifestations of a deeply-ingrained American culture of violence and insecurity and fear. Moore explained it this way. Even if we got rid of all the Tomahawk cruise missiles and guns, “we would still have the psyche problem—the problem that says we have a right to resolve our disputes through violence. That’s what separates us from other countries.”

This is something that has to be understood if anyone wants to grasp the Kosovo conflict. This is a movie everyone should see. Here is a link to the Bowling for Columbine site.

This is a link to the War Crimes Complaint against William J. Clinton et al.


2006-09-26

By Carl K. Savich

Source: Serbianna

Serbs fighting ISIS

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Disappeared people in Kosovostan



16 uck sa srpskom glavom

During and after the the Kosovo conflict in 1998-1999, the KLA abducted and kidnapped over 2,000 Kosovo civilians, Serbs, Roma, and Albanians that opposed the KLA, who were tortured and murdered. Ten years after the conflict, these 2,000 remain missing. Approximately 1,000 to 1,3000 Kosovo Serbs are missing and presumed dead. How did they die? UNMIK occupation forces have been reluctant to investigate these mass murders of Kosovo civilians. What happened to them? Evidence has emerged that the KLA ran a series of prison camps, in Kosovo and in Albania itself, where they tortured and murdered Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and Albanians. Moreover, Carla Del Ponte disclosed that the KLA had detention centers where they murdered Kosovo Serbs and harvested their organs. What happened to the 2,000 kidnapped and murdered, the missing, Kosovo’s disappeared?

The Kosovo conflict was always, first and foremost, about secession, taking land from another country criminally and making it your own, a land grab, a shifting of borders. Secession is illegal under the UN Charter and under international law. This is why it was never openly disclosed before or during the conflict. It was only revealed after the war. So the public had to be deceived and hoodwinked. The people had to be lied to. And this was done in so-called democracies of the West, the so-called free world. Because secession is inherently illegal, a crime, a smokescreen had to be devised. The people had to be told lies through the mass media network. Instead of secession, which was never mentioned, the masses in the U.S. and elsewhere were lied to, told that Albanians wanted greater rights. In fact, Albanians sought a Greater Albania, an illegal land grab based on ethnicity. The gullible were told that the Kosovo conflict was about human rights and “oppression”. But it was known that Kosovo Albanians enjoyed more rights and freedoms than any other minority in the world. They had their own university, their own Albanian language, their own Albanian-language newspapers, their own court system, their own educational system, and they controlled the police. Why was there a conflict in Kosovo then? The issue was that the Albanian population, largely Muslim, wanted to secede from Serbia and Yugoslavia. This is illegal under international law and the UN Charter. This necessitated the manufacturing of a propaganda war which pictured the Albanian Muslims as victims and the Yugoslav and Serbian governments and police as “oppressors”. Such a black and white scenario meant that crimes by the Albanian secessionists were downplayed, minimized, and even dismissed and ignored.

19 UCK sa lavom

The KLA secessionists, first described by the U.S. government as terrorists, later became proxies and allies of the U.S. and of NATO. They went from terrorists to “freedom fighters” and a “liberation army”. Once they became a proxy army and shock troops for the U.S. and NATO, they could do no wrong and had a free hand. All was permitted during “a period of terror”.

The KLA secessionists took the green light to abduct, kidnap, torture, and murder Kosovo Serb civilians, but also Kosovo Roma, Gorani, and Albanians that opposed the KLA secessionist agenda. U.S., NATO, and UNMIK forces gave them the green light and go-ahead to terrorize and to murder Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo. Why did the KLA secesionists murder Kosovo Serb, Roma, and Albanian civilians? This seems rather paradoxical if the goal of the uprising was human rights and greater freedoms. But this was never the goal or objective. The goal was always to create an independent Albanian state out of Kosovo. Secession was always the goal, although Albanians already had a national state of Albania. Kosovo would be a second Albanian state. Murdering and ethnically cleansing non-Albanians was always the goal because the KLA secessionists and their U.S. and Western backers wanted them to create an Albanian state, not a multi-ethnic state. So all non-Albanian Muslims had to disappear. And they did. The U.S., NATO, and UNMIK occupation forces made sure it happened.

American reporter Michael Montgomery investigated the disappearance of the over 2,000 missing in Kosovo. He noted that many Kosovo Serbs “simply vanished without a trace. There were no demands for ransom, no news of any kind.” He spoke of the camps where Kosovo Serbs were tortured and murdered: “I had met sources who spoke vaguely about secret camps in Albania where Kosovo Serbs, Albanians and Roma were interrogated, tortured and in most cases killed.” A former KLA secessionist disclosed information about the prison camps. Montgomery admitted that the goal of the KLA secessionists was independence and secession, not the U.S. propaganda line of greater human rights and oppression from the Slobodan Milosevic regime: “He had returned from a successful career abroad to join the KLA in its fight for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.” Once the U.S. and NATO had occupied the Kosovo province, why lie anymore? Indeed, there was no further need for lies and deceptions. Secession was always the goal. Of course, that we as citizens of democracies had been brainwashed and treated like cattle did not even enter into the equation. Why did our media and government lie to us? The ends justified the means undoubtedly for American journalists like Michael Montgomery. The truth can now be revealed ten years after the conflict. But on the positive side, we have engineered an illegal secession and created a second Albanian Muslim state in Europe, an illegal entity only maintained by U.S. and NATO occupation troops, by military force alone. This criminal entity, propped up by force, by a foreign power, the U.S., will remain a focal point of instability and future conflict. It will remain a time bomb and powder keg.

In the April 10, 2009 BBC story “Horrors of KLA Prison Camps Revealed” on the prison camps by Nick Thorpe he stated that Kosovo is a part of Serbia which Serbs “regard as their own”. Hold on a second. We need a reality check. Is the legal status of Kosovo up in the air? Kosovo is a part of Serbia under the UN and under international laws. This is a subtle brainwashing and propaganda trick. The BBC journalist seeks to brainwash the listener or viewer into thinking that Serbs “regard” Kosovo a part of Serbia when, in fact, Kosovo is a part of Serbia under international law and the UN. Why this subtle brainwashing? Are we pigs or human beings? Why is he lying to us? This is, in reality, the nature of journalism and news reporting in the U.S. and Western countries, a delusional system of subtle mind control, or, to put it another way, a system of persuasion and suggestion.

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His KLA informant “had become haunted by the treatment of civilians he had seen at a KLA prison camp.” He needed to disclose the truth. He admitted that KLA commanders had ordered the abuses and murders and had tolerated them. These alleged abductions and murders of Kosovo Serb civilians were war crimes. He explained that many of the Kosovo Serbs disappeared: “He said the civilians were Serbs and Roma seized by KLA soldiers and were being hidden away from Nato troops. The source believes the captives were sent across the border to Albania and killed.” A total of eight former KLA secessionists gave information on the prison camps. Another KLA witness stated: “Yet another source spoke of driving trucks packed with shackled prisoners – mainly Serbian civilians from Kosovo – to secret locations in Albania where they were eventually killed.”

In the BBC report, Brankica Antic, a Kosovo Serb, described how her husband Zlatko was kidnapped by the KLA in 1999 after NATO occupied the Serbian province and has been missing since then. His body has never been recovered. He is presumed to have been murdered by the KLA under the auspices of U.S. and NATO occupation troops.

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In the Albanian towns of Kukes and Tropoje, Carla Del Ponte revealed that over 300 Kosovo Serb civilians were transported using trucks by KLA forces where their organs were harvested. Kidneys were removed from Kosovo Serbs and taken to the airport to be transpoted to Turkey. This was all done after NATO and U.S. troops occupied Kosovo. There was a house, the infamous “yellow house”, in the Albanian town of Burrel where organs were harvested from kidnapped Kosovo Serb civilians. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stated that these allegations needed to be investigated and regarded the allegattions as “serious and credible”. Del Ponte revealed that Kosovo Serb civilians “were stripped of their organs in Kosovo war” by the KLA and that the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague has evidence of these crimes.

The UN war crimes tribunal has, however, never investigated these alleged war crimes. Jose Pablo Baraybar of the UN Office of Missing Persons in Kosovo stated that evidence of these crimes that the UN tribunal possessed was destroyed. Montgomery had investigated evidence of these war crimes in February, 2004. UN war crimes prosecutors, however, took no action and filed no charges. Nick Thorpe of the BBC explained that this was done because “stability seemed more important than justice.”

Sian Jones, a researcher for Amnesty International (AI) told the BBC that the UN had abandoned its legal obligations and duties: “To see a UN body failing to abide by the international standards to which it holds its member states accountable is really quite shocking. And, more than that, the impact on the families who want to know the fate of their family members, they want to know where their bodies are, they want to know what happened to them.”

“What we have is a massive failure to protect members of the minority communities from human rights abuses whilst that very international community was supposed to be there to protect them.”

One secret KLA prison camp was in Kukes in northeastern Albania, which was an important and key supply base for the KLA secessionists who used the base to smuggle weapons and fighters into Kosovo.

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The Kosovo Serb civilians were tortured before they were murdered: “He recalled hearing two of the captives begging to be shot rather than tortured and ‘cut into pieces’.” He noted that the KLA goal was to target Kosovo Serb civilians: “‘I was sick. I was just waiting for it to end,’ the source told me. ‘It was hard. I thought we were fighting a war [of liberation] but this was something completely different.’” Montgomery stated that “it was about killings, it was about greed”. Montgomery noted that these KLA war crimes that approached genocide were suppressed and covered-up in the U.S. and Western media: “A long silence over the atrocities has held strong throughout Kosovo.” Kosovo Serbs continue to be persecuted based on their ethnicity and religion in Kosovo along with other non-Albanians but the egregious human rights violations have not received any attention in the U.S. or other Western countries.

Why was there no interest in investigating and punishing these war crimes in Kosovo? Why was Michael Montgomery and the BBC revealing them ten years after the conflict? The reason was because these facts were now irrelevant and meaningless. Thus, they could safely be disclosed. As Montgomery himself noted, once secession, once independence had been achieved for the Serbian province and it was now an Albanian Muslim state, a new, second Albanian nation, “Europe’s most controversion state”, achieved through criminality and aggression, revealing the information could do no harm or be of any value to anyone.


2010-12-09

By Carl Savich

Source: Serbianna

18 UCK sa glavom

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Media literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya



Јужна Косовска Митровица 2015 новембар

The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999.

Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a war of independence. So we have history being rewritten. This is in an Associated Press article by AP reporter Nebi Qena.

Moreover, a standard brainwashing paragraph must appear in every news account from Kosovo. The new brainwashing paragraph is: Kosovo is recognized by such and such number of countries including the US. Is this something out of George Orwell’s 1984 (1949)? It is much more subtle and sophisticated than anything in 1984.

The media is not merely changing the wording or engaging in semantics. InLibya, a humanitarian no-fly zone ostensibly to protect civilians becomes a military overthrow of a legal and legitimate government, a regime change. In Yugoslaviain 1999, a humanitarian intervention to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing becomes a war of independence. This is not just changing the wording. This is a total and complete rewriting of history. Like in psychology, in journalism there are no accidents or mistakes. These accidents are systematic, planned, and organized. The media are not incompetent. They are well-paid, well-organized, and knowledgeable.

The way this systemic pattern of spin or manipulation evades analysis is because the assumption is that in Western democracies, there is a “free press”, there is a neutral, independent, unbiased media. Propaganda and state-run and state-controlled media, however, have always been a hallmark of Western journalism. In 1984, George Orwell wrote a satire and parody of the British Ministry of Information (MOI) in 1948 based on his experiences as a broadcaster working for the BBC during World War II. The Ministry of Information became the Ministry of Truth in 1984. Most people think he was writing about the future or about the USSR but he was writing about British propaganda and the British government’s control of the media during World War II. To be sure Orwell was satirizing the Soviet system, but what most miss is that he was also satirizing British or Western media. British propaganda is similar to American or Western propaganda in general.

On December 12, 2010, a report by Dick Marty to the Council of Europe was released to the media that accused Hacim Thaci of being the leader of a group that harvested the organs from Serbian prisoners during the Albanian secessionist war in 1999. The report made headlines across the world but was suppressed and censored in the United States. The report received scant if any attention in the U.S. But if the media role in the U.S. and the West is to report on vital and major news, why was this major story suppressed and ignored? This presented a vital humanitarian issue. Serbian civilians were abducted, held captive, and then murdered for their organs, which were harvested and sent to customers in Istanbul, Turkey. This is a bombshell. This is a major story. But it was suppressed in the U.S. Why?

The media in the U.S. reports what the U.S. government tells it to report, or allows it to report. This is especially true with regard to foreign policy issues. In foreign policy matters, the U.S. media only reports what the U.S. government tells it to report. With regard to Kosovo, any news reporting is meticulously controlled and filtered by the U.S. government. The media did not report on the organ harvesting story because the U.S. government did not want them to. The U.S. media, and so-called Western media in general, is not very different from state-controlled or state-run media that the U.S. government always rails against. The U.S. State Department tells the media what to report and when and how often. It is as simple as that. Even bombshells and major news stories that shatter our perceptions and assumptions are reported only if the U.S. government wants them to be covered. And the Kosovo organ harvesting story was one the U.S. government wanted suppressed and not given any media coverage. That is the end of the story.

The biggest fallacy is that the media are incompetent and that they make mistakes and cannot understand the news. The opposite is true. One need only analyze the US and Western media coverage of Kosovo. It is easy to notice that a brainwashing paragraph occurs in every news account from Kosovo. Such and such number of countries have recognized Kosovo. That is hardly an accident or factual mistake or incompetence. And, moreover, the whole conceptual framework of the 1999 Kosovo conflict is changed. Now it is merely a war of independence, a secessionist conflict. Far from being accidental, the media goal here is to control how and what you think.

Libya is about “regime change”, overthrowing the government of a sovereign country. The issue here is international law and sovereignty. Britain, France, and the US are violating international law and the sovereignty of a UN member state. These are acts of war. Libya is not about humanitarianism or human rights. Libya is about overthrowing a legal government and installing a new one by force, by military means, by war. That is called “regime change” in the US foreign policy lexicon.

The US and Western media, however, will not reveal that Libya is not about “humanitarian intervention” but about “regime change”. Why are Britain, France, and the US violating international law and Libyan sovereignty?

There is a cost or price. One casualty is the US economy. Another casualty is societal, the dehumanization and desensitization of the American people, who become mindless, amoral, robotic autobots watching the mass murder of civilians as video game entertainment. The media will not show what is happening. There is a self-imposed censorship. We are basically choosing to delude ourselves and brainwash ourselves. No one is forcing us. We acquiesce. We agree to be self-deluded and brainwashed. Assassinating foreign leaders becomes a form of entertainment. Overthrowing legal governments becomes a sport.

Muammar Gaddafi has been the legitimate and legal leader of Libya for 41 years, since 1969. Gaddafi overthrew and abolished a monarchy in 1969 and established a secular republic. The new Libyan rebel regime, by contrast, seeks to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law. Many of the Libyan rebel leaders are linked to Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorist groups. Why overthrow him now, in 2011? Why do “regime change” now? Did Gaddafi not guarantee certain rights for his people only now? Or did the US and NATO see an opportunity for regime change now?

Every government has the inherent right to prevent its overthrow and to punish treason. The Libyan conflict is about overthrowing Gaddafi because the US wants a more pliant and servile regime. NATO and US bombing has killed more Libyan civilians than Gaddafi did. This is classic US “regime change”. It is the overthrow of a legal and legitimate government based on a bogus humanitarian rationale.

In media reporting on the Serbian majority area of Kosovska Mitrovica, the media avoid the obvious term Serbian “majority”. They have to come up with rather awkward and tortured terminology such as “Serb-populated” and “Serb-dominated” northern Kosovo. Why not just use the more obvious and more natural terms here? Why not say that northern Kosovo is a Serbian “majority” region or district?

In the “free world”, the media and the press are all corporate actors. In other words, they are businesses. The objective is not to be objective and balanced and factual, but to make money. They look to a profit margin. The bottom line is: The media is in it to make money. They report the “news” in a way that ensures that they maximize their profits. It makes perfect business sense.

Who controls the media? There are many news agencies and services in the world. But the “Big Four” news agencies—United Press International, Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse—provide over 90 per cent of foreign news printed by the world’s newspapers. AFP is French and based in Paris. Reuters is British and based in London. AP and UPI are American and based in New York. What is remarkable is that each has areas that they cover that correspond to spheres of influence, regions that were former imperial or colonial spheres of domination. AFP is dominant throughout French speaking Africain former colonial possessions. Likewise, British Reuters is dominant in the English-speaking Commonwealth countries, countries which were colonies of Great Britain. US agencies AP and UPI dominate in Latin America and in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, former US colonies and occupied areas of Asia under US control in the post World War II period.

What are some of the ways in which news agencies control the news? Embeds are editorial sentences or paragraphs that appear in every news account during a conflict. Embeds are brainwashing editorials that tell the reader how they must think about an issue. Embeds are a technique of mind-control, thought-control, government-control of public perception, a subtle form of persuasion or spin. Embed “messages” appeared gratuitously, consistently, systematically, and uniformly in all news accounts during the Kosovo conflict and after. Embeds are the government watching over your shoulder to see that you are thinking the correct thoughts, that you think like everyone else does or should in the Western democracies, the “free world”.

Who is the hidden persuader behind the embeds? Embeds are created by governments: In the Kosovo scenario, the US government, the British and French governments, and the other NATO governments. But how do they get in the media?

News is a business. A news agency is an organization that gathers and disseminates information or news for clients, subscribers, news networks, banks, governments, newspapers, and magazines. There are hundreds of news agencies in the world, but over 90% of all the news is by the Big Four. This is why there is no diversity of views in the news, why there is no marketplace of ideas, no debate. There is monopolistic control of the media.

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The governments, economic and financial institutions, media outlets, political institutions of the three countries where the agencies are based, are intertwined and overlap in a symbiotic relationship. All are members of NATO. All are members of the same international economic, political, military, social organizations, groups, and alliances. For all practical purposes, their interests are the same.

Moreover, AFP is essentially government-run and government-controlled media, state-run media. The French government subsidizes AFP and representatives of the French government make policy decisions in the agency. AFP functions exactly like TASS, the former Soviet news agency, both being state-run media. The only difference is that very few people who read AFP realize this fact. AFP is part of the “free world” or the “West” so the automatic assumption is that it is independent.

Similarly, US media can function as state-run or government-controlled media. During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, for example, Pentagon psyop specialists routinely worked on the staffs of major news outlets, such as CNN. The AP and Reuters are publicly owned corporate conglomerates with a monopoly on information dissemination. AP and Reuters are part of the capitalist or globalist economy and “free” market system, they are corporate actors in the marketplace themselves. There is a conflict of interest. This is, however, never revealed.

AP and Reuters thus have an economic or financial stake in the information being disseminated. They will always spin doctor or manipulate the news to advance their own economic or financial interests. How is this done?

AFP, AP, and Reuters invariably manipulate information to benefit their respective parent governments. This fact is essential in understanding the media role in Kosovo, Bosnia, Krajina, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now in Libya, and potentially new conflicts in the future. Their subsidiary role is to maintain and foster information favorable to capitalist or globalist corporate interests, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), “humanitarian” and “human rights” front groups for the respective governments, the Open Society Institutes of George Soros, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and other Western corporate conglomerates, organizations, and groups. But the primary role of the news agencies, AFP, Reuters, AP, UPI, is to support and foster the foreign policies and interventionist agendas of their respective governments. For all intents and purposes, the Western news media are government-run and government-controlled. The interests of the media and their governments are the same, the relationship is a symbiotic one, where each benefits from the other.

The Big Four are a monopoly. This explains why the news is uniform, monolithic, consistent, presenting a single propaganda or Party line not much different than Soviet-style media. The four major news agencies are market actors, part of the economic, financial, and political framework of globalist or capitalist free market systems. They have an interest and stake in the market. They cannot be unbiased and neutral actors. This would amount to economic suicide and bankruptcy. This is why news reports contain embeds, planting, oversimplification techniques, and inclusion/exclusion techniques of condensation/abridgement. This is why there is systematic and planned bias, advocacy journalism, and handout journalism. The news agencies are businesses, corporate actors that have a stake in the market and symbiotic relationships with their respective governments.


2011-09-13

By Carl Savich

Source: Serbianna

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Kosovo under Nazi Germany: Nazi-created Albanian security forces in Kosovo during the World War II



3. regrutacija za SS Skenderbeg diviziju Kosovo april 1944

Greater Albania under Nazi Germany

During World War II, 35,000 to 40,000 Kosovo Albanians were recruited by Nazi Germany as part of the German occupation forces and security formations in Greater Albania, a state created by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini that included Kosovo-Metohija, western Macedonia, and territory from Serbia and Montenegro. In Albania, there were 30,000 Albanians who were in the German occupation forces. In 1941, the German occupation forces created a Kosovo Albanian Gendarmerie with headquarters in Kosovska Mitrovica. In 1944, these forces were incorporated into the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division. In 1942, Balli Kombetar organization battalions were established by the German forces, which existed until 1945. In 1943, a Kosovo Regiment was created in Kosovska Mitrovica made up of Kosovo Albanians by German forces. In 1944, these troops were also incorporated into the Skanderbeg SS Division. The German forces also established the Pec and Pristina Territorial Police Regiments from 1944 to 1945. The Albanian Macedonian Militia was created in Macedonia in 1943-1945.

Most of the Albanian Nazi collaborationist forces were made up of Albanian Muslims from Kosovo-Metohija. The Nazi-created Gendarmerie, the special police, the paramilitary formations, the militias, and the Ushtars, Albanian security forces, were mostly from Kosovo-Metohija. It was only the Albanian Army that was made up of Albanians from Albania.

After the Italian surrender on September 8, 1943, the construction of a Nazi German Greater Albania began. This effort was led by Hermann Neubacher, and Franz von Scheiger and Martin Shliep of the German Foreign Ministry in Albania. Abwehr II or German Military Intelligence agents were also sent into Albania at this time. Three German divisions in the XXI Corps under General Hubert Lanz occupied Greater Albania. The 297th Infantry Division occupied Pristina and Prizren in Kosovo. The 100th Jaeger Division occupied Elbasan and Struga in western Macedonia. The 118th Jaeger Division advanced from Niksic and occupied the Albanian coastal areas.

Kosovo Albanian Muslim hodzas or Islamic clerics pray for Nazi occupation forces with Nazi swastika flags and Nazi-fascist officers, 1942.

The German plan to secure the occupation was based on Hermann Neubacher’s initiative to achieve “national mobilization”. Neubacher, who was from Austria, acted as the envoy of the German foreign ministry and was German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop’s representative in Albania.  This Nazi plan was to be realized by creating an Albanian Army that was led and organized by German forces. The Germans also sought to create an Albanian gendarmerie corps. They planned to arm and use certain Greater Albanian ultra-nationalist groups such as the Balli Kombetar. A Nazi Waffen SS Division in Kosovo made up of “Kosovar” Muslims was also created by Nazi Germany.

Neubacher’s military adjutant attached to Abwehr II, Captain Lange, sought to create an Albanian national militia of 30,000 which would be a reserve force. The Germans were able to find collaborators with the Roman Catholic Albanians in the Mirdita region of northern Albania. They had been collaborators with the fascist Italian forces and with the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I. They were able to open the Prizren to Shkodra road for German forces. Gjon Marka Gjoni, the leader of the Roman Catholic Albanian Ghegs in the Mirdita, stated that: “The Germans have been my friends. To betray my friends is immoral.” They remained Nazi Germany’s closest allies. The Germans provided them with weapons and paid them for this collaboration.

Armed Albanian gendarmes or police under fascist-Nazi control walk in front of Nazi swastikas on walls above the fascist “V” symbol with a mosque in the background.

Another group the Germans collaborated with were the opportunistic Greater Albania ultra-nationalist Balli Kombetar (National Front), “Balisti” or “Balists”. The BK group was founded by Midhat Frasheri with the single objective of annexing Kosovo to a Greater or Ethnic Albania. The BK was the key collaborationist group with the Nazis in Kosovo. Bernd Fischer noted that “the Germans did win the cooperation of many BK cetas”. This disproves the pro-Albanian propagandistic historiography which seeks to portray the BK as anti-Nazi and anti-fascist. The key to the German occupation was making Kosovo-Metohija a part of Greater Albania. That was the linchpin of Nazi policy. As long as Nazi Germany supported Kosovo as a part of Greater Albania, they would have Albanian support.

The head of the Gestapo in Kosovska Mitrovica in northern Kosovo was Gunther Hausding. The Germans established Kosovo Albanian Gestapo agents who were part of the fascist Albanian Committee. Perijuc Mamut, Ramiz Mulic, and Osman Ibrahimovic were Kosovo Albanian agents of the Gestapo who seized and looted Jewish property and businesses in Kosovska Mitrovica. This followed an order by Dzafer Deva, the president of the Kosovska Mitrovica district, that Jewish property be seized and that commissioners be appointed by the Albanian Committee to oversee Jewish businesses. Ibrahimovic ordered the destruction of the Jewish synagogue.

Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Kosovo-Metohija place responsibility for the genocide against Jews in Kosovo on the fascist Kosovo Albanian Committee. The members were Rushid Mehmet, Sahsivar Alic, Husen Pristina, Tahir Kaldziu, Malus Kosova, and Sadik Galimuci. They incited the first and second waves of arrests of Jews in Kosovo-Metohija. Miljus Kosova was the president of the Albanian Kosovo Committee.  Dzemal-beg Ismail Kanli was the chief of police. Rashid Mehmed Ali was the president of the district. Rifat Sukri Ranadan, Jahnja Asan, and Mahmud Saban Pasic were also members of the Committee.

An Albanian fascist-Nazi Ushtar or gendarme escorting a group of Albanian Muslim hodzas or clerics. He is wearing the goat’s head Skanderbeg symbol on his cap, the emblem of the fascist-Nazi security forces in Greater Albania.

There were several internment or prison camps set up in the Albanian cities of Preza, Berat, Kavaja, Burrel, Lakosnik, Shijak, Elbasan, and Kruja, where Kosovo Serbs and Jews were sent. In April, 1942, 100 Jews from Pristina were transferred to the prison camp at Berat, while 79 were transferred to Preza. In July, 1942, 88 Jews were transferred from Pristina to the prison camps at Burrel, Kruja, and Kavaja in Albania. There were also prisons in Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica. According to Fischer, of the 400 Kosovo Jews sent to Bergen-Belsen, about 100 survived.

Josip Josifovic, a Kosovo Jew, recalled the Albanian role in the Holocaust in Kosovo. He stated that “Albanians brought us more harm than the Germans did as occupiers.” He recalled that the Albanians interned the Kosovo Jews and sent them to the Berat prison in Albania in 1942. On their work documents the word “Jude” was stamped and they had to wear a yellow card.

An Albanian member of the Nazi German occupation militia forces in 1943, wearing fascist Italian uniform.

There is overwhelming evidence that proves the Balli Kombetar collaborated with the German forces. Based on NARS Microfilm T-501, Roll 258, Frame 000628, the Balli Kombetar “would be courted by the Germans and…they would throw their support on the German side.” The new Nazi-created government for Greater Albania gained the support of the BK. Steve Kane noted that “the remnants of the Balli Kombetar entered into open collaboration with the new government.”

All of the officers in the Albanian Fascist battalions were Italians while the NCOs were a mixture of Albanians and Italians. The 1st Legion was stationed in Tirana while the 2nd Legion was at Korce, the 3rd at Valona, and the 4th at Scutari. They were dissolved in 1943. They were battalion strength in size. Many of them were later incorporated in the German occupation forces. They wore Italian blouses, Italian helmets, and a collar tab described as a flame or Fiamme which showed a goat’s head. This was the goat’s head symbol of Skanderbeg. In the fascist Albanian Militia forces, members wore helmets with the goat’s head symbol over the “V” symbol, which was the emblem for fascism. Italian M33 helmets and captured French helmets were also used.

Gunther Hausding, the Gestapo chief in Kosovska Mitrovica.

The Albanian Gendarmerie and the civil administration welcomed the Nazi German occupation in 1943. Albanian Muslim hodzas or clerics were photographed in Islamic prayer services for the Nazi forces. They supported the Nazis because they would put them in control of Kosovo.

In September, 1943, the Germans sent the 100th Jaeger Division to occupy Tirana. This was the beginning of the German military occupation of Albania. The 92nd Independent Motorized Grenadier regiment was also sent. In September, 1943, the 181st Infantry Division, the 297th Infantry Division, and the 21st SS Division Skanderbeg were meant to garrison Albania.

In October, 1943, the Germans sent three Feldkommandanturen numbered 1030, 1039, and 1040. This was the beginning of the German attempt to create an Albanian Gendarmerie or police or security apparatus. These were sent to Tirana, the capital of Greater Albania, Prizren in Kosovo, and Struga in Macedonia. A German Plenipotentiary in Albania or DGA was created.  The post was given to Oberst Dr. Westphal, whose duty it was to coordinate German military moves in the country with those of the Albanian collaborationist civil and military authorities. The members of Albanian Gendarmerie were known as Ushtars and they wore collar tabs that were red while the uniform was green. The emblem on their caps was the goat’s head symbol of Skanderbeg which was worn in metallic.

General Gustav von Myrdacz, on right, the Austrian-born commander of the fascist-Nazi Albanian Army wearing a goat’s head Skanderbeg symbol on his cap walking in front of a fascist Albanian militia member. U.S. National Archives

An Albanian militia formation, wearing Italian uniforms, consisting of a battalion of 600-700 Albanian volunteers from Kosovo, was formed by Nazi Germany under Hermann Neubacher. Neubacher sought to use them to safeguard German lines of communication in Kosovo and Albania. The battalion was under the command of Albanian Lieutenant Colonel Adem Boletini. The Germans trained the battalion in Zemun, then part of the Nazi-created Ustasha NDH. Neubacher even contemplated having the battalion occupy Tirana. In September, 1943, the Germans redeployed the battalion to Tirana.

Dzafer Deva, the Kosovar Albanian Muslim Interior Minister of Greater Albania, redeployed 1,200 Albanian Gendarmes from Kosovska Mitrovica to Tirana in December, 1943. The SS Leader in Albania Josef Fitzthum was in control of the Albanian security forces, which were described as “a thoroughly undisciplined version of storm troopers.” These Nazi Kosovar storm troopers “ravaged the countryside”. It was an example of “Kosovar brutality”. The Germans provided 14,000 rifles and 425 machine guns and funds and supplies to the Kosovo Albanian security forces.

The Germans sought to create a Nazi-led Albanian gendarmerie force and an Albanian Army. General Gustav Fehn, the commander of the German XXIst Corps and SS Leader Fitzthum organized the formation of the Albanian Army. Heinrich Himmler had initially sent Fitzthum to Albania to provide expertise on security and police matters. Fitzthum had been born in Loiersdorf, Austria on September 14, 1896. He died in an auto accident on January 10, 1945 in Vienna. He had joined the SS in April, 1932. He had earlier commanded the SS Volunteer Legions “Flandern” and Niederlande”. In 1945, he was the commander of the 18th Volunteer Panzergrenadier SS Division “Horst Wessel”.

Inmates in the Preza internment camp in Albania where Kosovo Jews were interned, 1942.

Josef Fitzthum was the Higher SS and Police Leader in Albania, Hoherer SS und Polizei Fuehrer “Albanien”, with a headquarters in Tirana from August 1, 1944 to January 1, 1945. He had originally been the SS und Polizei Fuehrer “Albanien” from October, 1943 to August 1, 1944. He was also the Beauftragter des Reichsfuehrer SS fur Albanien, Heinrich Himmler’s representative in Albania, from October, 1943 to January 1, 1945.

The German plan was to create an Albanian Army consisting of 8,250 men. The Gendarmerie was to consist of 2,400 men.

Fitzthum, who had been an oberleutnant in the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I, planned to create an Albanian Waffen SS Division. This would be based on the Albanian Legion formed during World War I as part of the Austro-Hungarian Army. Himmler wanted to revive the Austro-Hungarian recruitment of Balkan Muslims from World War I. Bosnian Muslims, Albanian Muslims, and Sandzak Muslims had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I. Himmler, thus, strongly backed the creation of an Albanian SS Division. SS General Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the head of the SD, Neubacher, and the German Foreign Ministry in Albania, opposed the plan.

SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Talbot von Pistor, the supply officer of the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division.

In February, 1944, Adolf Hitler approved the formation of the Skanderbeg Division “because the Albanian government itself favored the plan” and because German occupation forces in Greater Albania needed more manpower. Bedri Pejani had even written Himmler personally to request that an Albanian Nazi SS Division be formed. According to Fischer, the “’Skanderbeg’ Division was to serve only in Kosova and was to protect ethnic Albania.” This is incorrect. The Skanderbeg Division was deployed to Kosovo, but also in Montenegro and Macedonia. The division became notorious for massacres of Kosovo Serbs. Fischer noted: “Units of the division gained an unenviable reputation, apparently preferring rape, pillage, and murder to fighting, primarily in Serbian areas.” According to Fischer, the Germans arrested Albanian officers in the SS Division at Pec and Prizren due to war crimes against Kosovo Serbs. Those arrested were sent to the Pristina prison and to incarceration in Germany. The Skanderbeg Division thus engaged in the genocide of Kosovo Serbs.

Troops in the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division.

The Final Solution in Kosovo

The Skanderbeg Division also contributed to the Final Solution, playing an important role in the genocide of Kosovo Jews. There was a Jewish presence in Kosovo. Based on 1931 population statistics for Yugoslavia, there were a total of 488 Jews in Kosovo-Metohija: 373 in Pristina, 109 in Kosovska Mitrovica, and 6 in Djakovica. In Pristina, the Beth Israel synagogue had been built in 1897. In Kosovo, the Skanderbeg Division rounded up the 281 Jews who were sent to the camp at Pristina and later to Bergen Belsen where they were killed.

The first operation of the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division was to round-up 400 Kosovo Jews in Pristina on May 14, 1944. From May to June, 1944, Skanderbeg rounded-up 519 Kosovo Serbs and Jews. Haim Solomon, a Kosovo Jew from Lipljan, described how he was apprehended by the Skanderbeg SS Division:

I was captured on May 14, 1944 by troops of the SS division “Skanderbeg” which was made up of Albanian soldiers, but whose officers were German. All of us in Lipljan were captured only after a few hours after the Jews of Pristina were rounded up. From Pristina we were transported to the prison in Kosovska Mitrovica where we stayed for three weeks.

August Schmidhuber, on left, the commander of the Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division, leaving a hospital for wounded Waffen SS troops.

Solomon was sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. On April 23, 1945 he was freed by advancing Soviet troops when prisoners from the camp were transported by rail to Czechoslovakia.

Josip Levi, a Kosovo Jew from Pristina, recalled how he was captured by the Skanderbeg division:

They captured us on the night between May 13 and 14. The round-up of us Jews in 1944 in Pristina began in the night, exactly at midnight, and lasted until eight the next day…Our round-up was conducted by the SS division “Skanderbeg” which consisted of Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija, particularly from Drenica, but the officers were German. We were captured based on addresses which the Germans had received from the Albanian fascist civil administration. In Pristina we were put in a “G” wagon, a cattle wagon, and sent to the “Sajmisate” prison in Zemun, which was under the control of “SD” police, but where the Ustasha was in charge of the administration and security.

Levi was sent to Bergen Belsen. He survived and was able return to Pristina.

Genocide against Kosovo Serbs

The ethnic cleansing and genocide committed against the Kosovo Serbs is described by Bernd Fischer as follows:

The wholesale expulsion of Serbs by the Albanians created special problems for the occupation, however, since the Serbs had performed important functions in Kosova. The Serbs had run most of the businesses, the mills, the tanneries, and the public utilities. Once the Serbs had gone, there were no pharmacists in Kosova. Serbian peasants, somewhat more technologically progressive than their Albanian counterparts, were responsible for much of the surplus agricultural production for which Kosova was so useful.

Fascist Albanian Ushtar or gendarme wearing the goat’s heat Skanderbeg insignia of fascist-Nazi Greater Albania on cap.

Bedri Pejani, the president of the Nazi-created Second League of Prizren, a revival of the ideology of Greater Albania, wanted 150,000 weapons from the German forces to be used to kill and drive out the remaining Serbian population in Kosovo-Metohija. The expulsion of Serbs is described as follows by Fischer:

By April 1944, German documents tell us, 40,000 Serbs had been forced to leave, and Neubacher anticipated that the Germans might have to deal with as many as 150,000 Serbs leaving Kosovo.

The policy of genocide against the Kosovo Serbian population had been officially announced in June, 1942, by Albanian Muslim Mustafa Kruja, the fascist Prime Minister of Greater Albania:

The Serbian population of Kosovo should be removed as soon as possible. Serbian settlers should be killed.

Albanian Gendarmerie under Nazi Germany

In August, the DGA office and its command were integrated into the Higher SS and Police Leader “Albania” under the command of SS Gruppenfuehrer und Generalleutnant der Waffen SS Josef Fitzhum or Fitzthum. SS Oberfuehrer Karl Gstottenbauer of the German Consular Office in Tirana was also to be attached to the HSSPF command. Fitzthum reorganized the Albanian Gendarmerie and the Army. By April, 1944, the total Albanian forces raised were two Jaeger light infantry regiments and four militia battalions.

The Albanian Order of Battle was as follows:

1. Albanian Jaeger Regiment 1
2. Albanian Jaeger Regiment 4
3. Albanian Militia Battalion “Pec”
4. Albanian Militia Battalion “Pristina”
5. Albanian Militia Battalion “Prizren”
6. Albanian Militia Battalion “Tetovo”

Three of the battalions were set up in Kosovo-Metohija, while the fourth was set up in Macedonia, known as Illirida in the Greater Albania ideology. According to German military sources, these formations were under the German Order Police or Orpo and were fighting the guerrillas. These four militia battalions were made up of 2,000 men and were under the command of Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Spruny.

The leaders of the Nazi-fascist collaborationist Balli Kombetar (BK): From left, Ekrem Peshkopi, Vasil Andoni, Midhat Frasheri, Ali Klissura, Koco Muca.

The Skanderbeg Waffen SS Division was also being formed with recruits from Kosovo and central and northern Albania. The Balli Kombetar (Shqip, National Front) also provided men for this Nazi SS Division. Between July 14 and 30, 1944, the 1st and 2nd Battalion/1st Regiment and its 1st battalion/ 2nd Regiment performed field maneuvers south of Berane in Montenegro and near Gusinje. The four militia battalions also participated in these maneuvers as did the 14th Mountain Regiment of the Prinz Eugen Division.

General Gustav von Myrdacz (1874-1945), a former Austrian officer who commanded the pre-World War II Albanian Army under Zog, was put in charge of the reorganized Albanian security police, but was captured by Communist guerrillas. Myrdacz was the liaison officer between the Albanian Army and the XXI Army Corps. He joined the Albanian Army in 1921 and became chief of staff by 1925. He had been an engineer-officer on the staff of the Austrian Army. He was a highly decorated military officer. He was awarded four Austrian orders, one Turkish war decoration, and a Grand Cordon of Skanderbeg Order from the Albanian government. During World War I, he had been the chief of staff of the XIVth division and had commanded a regiment at Tonale. He had been the chief of staff of the military commander in Sarajevo. He was involved in the engagements at Isonzo and Piave in 1917. After Myrdacz was captured, Albanian General Prenk Previsi was put in his place.

Once it became clear that Nazi Germany would lose the war, the Albanian Gendarmerie and militia battalions began deserting and switching sides.

The German occupation forces were better able to use the Albanian security and military forces than the Italians. German occupation forces were able to integrate Albanian forces into their security and military forces. Moreover, German policy was able to fully exploit the Albanian nationalist and political objective to achieve a Greater or Ethnic Albania first envisioned and enunciated by the 1878 League of Prizren. Nazi Germany revived the League of Prizren in 1943. The key to the Nazi occupation was to maintain the collaboration of the Balli Kombetar and the Albanian population by advocating a Greater Albania that would include Kosovo-Metohija. This was the crux to Nazi policy. Kosovo was the key.

An Albanian member of Nazi-fascist Albanian occupation forces armed by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

Greater Albania Realized

There was widespread Albanian popular support for the Nazi occupation regime. Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler allowed Albanian nationalists to create a Greater or Ethnic Albania. This had been an unrealized goal of Albanian nationalism since the League of Prizren in 1878. Greater Albania was realized by Nazi Germany. Kosovo was thus crucial in Nazi policy. Making Kosovo a part of Greater Albania was crucial to maintain the Nazi German occupation.

The Nazi realization of Greater Albania had implications and political repercussions for the future status of Kosovo. Albanian ultra-nationalists had a precedent and a model for Greater Albania. Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler showed them how to realize a Greater Albania. The history of a Greater Albania from 1941 to 1945 under Nazi Germany is covered-up and censored in the US and the so-called West. Consequently, it is not known that Kosovo was “independent” under Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. Kosovo was annexed to a Greater Albania from 1941 to 1945.

Albanian popular support for fascism and Nazism was widespread. Nazi Germany exploited the Greater Albania nationalist ideology to gain popular support for the Nazi German occupation of Kosovo. Bernd Fischer noted that “numerous Allied sources give evidence of widespread support for the Germans and their government. In the north and northeast support was widespread.” The Nazi creation of a Greater Albania that incorporated Kosovo-Metohija would have future political repercussions and implications.

Bibliography

Fischer, Bernd Jurgen. Albania at War, 1939-1945. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1999.

Ivanov, Pavle Dzeletovic. Jevreji Kosova i Metohije. Beograd: Panpublik, 1988.

Kane, Steve. “The 21st SS Mountain Division”. Siegrunen. Volume 36. October-December 1984.

Munoz, Antonio, ed. The East Came West. NY: Axis Europa Books, 2001.

Trye, Rex. Mussolini’s Soldiers. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife, 1995.


By Carl Savich

Source: Serbianna

1. Siptarska regrutacija za SS Skenderbeg diviziju na Kosovu april 1944

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Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans (Second part)




pecka_patrijarsija

Noel Malcolm – Kosovo – A Short History

A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans

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Historical Institute of the Serbian Academy of
Sciences and Art
Belgrade, 2000

Response to the Book of Noel Malcolm
Kosovo – A Short History

Milorad Ekmecic, Academician
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Belgrade

Historiography By the Garb Only

Reading, from necessity, the books by some Western, particularly American scholars, dealing with the past of the Serbs and the Balkans, I recall the impressions that are in my memory, for some reason, related to the socially committed painter Georg Grosz. Today the flashes of those recollections of my college days bring back a melancholy feeling that this is not a thing remote or unknown. One of those prints shows two horsemen armed with guns, a Nazi and a Bolshevik one, distributing from their saddlebags books to Polish peasants, I believe history books. Reading the two volumes by Noel Malcolm, one dealing with the history of Bosnia and the other with the history of Kosovo, now I feel miserable and humiliated like those Polish peasants on the eve of 1939 whose soul was catered to by their powerful armed neighbours who care about their souls and write voluminous and expensive books for that purpose. At present it is being done in Russia, too.

This is classic war propaganda literature, as it was called once. It is written to serve definite purposes of those countries and political organizations paying for it. And I am trying to recollect what has survived in my memory of my college Latin. Because the author of these two books about which I write by necessity is an intellectual mercenary, salarius, mercennarius scribae, the ancient “Epigonos, a philosopher only by his garb”, as Amian Marcelin calls him. The toga is speaking, not knowledge and conviction. To publish, one after another, within the short span of four years, two voluminous books, in order to prove, on the basis of history, that the Serbs have invaded somebody else’s territories in Bosnia and in Kosovo, that can be accomplished only by a man paid for his craft. Some people are paid for their skill in handling arms, some for their skill in writing. The first lesson learnt by historical methodology students is Droysen’s rule that scholarship is only what is written with scholarly intentions. If one in advance defines as his aim to prove the political responsibility for claiming as one’s own what belongs to someone else, then that science lacks the main ground on which it must stand. The books by Noel Malcolm are a subject more fitting for international police to investigate than for scholarly criticism, because it is the duty of that police to investigate the phenomenon of hired labour.

In my review of Malcolm’s first book, dealing with the history of Bosnia, my initial point of departure was my doubts about the scholarly credibility of the text. All the conclusions, the comments on sources as well as the bibliography in this book are characteristic of Croatian political emigrant writings, as well as of those by ideologists of the new Muslim nation in Bosnia. The latter phenomenon reached its clearest expression in the writings and authors identifying themselves, after 1990, as the followers of the “Muslim Bosniac Organization” of Adil Zulfikarpasic and Muhamed Filipovic. Zulfikarpasic became immensely rich through arms reexport and trade, but he has founded, for the sake of his homeland and people, a grand “Institute for Bosnian Studies” in Zurich. In my review of that short history of Bosnia, which a former American ambassador and the person responsible for the demolition of the state of Yugoslavia, called “a pavanne for Bosnia”, I proceeded from the assumption that there are striking coincidences between the views of the author and those of the people around Zulfikarpasic’s Institute. In the introduction to his new book, “Kosovo. A Short History” Noel Malcolm acknowledges his debt to his “generous and ever-resourceful friend” Ahmed Zilic. This lawyer from Sarajevo might have something to do with history studies, only because he was a member of the central committee of Filipovic’s and Zulfikarpasic’s “Muslim Bosniac Organization”. What kind of superior knowledge of Kosovo could this political agitator possess which could be helpful to a British researcher?

In a book which, relying on someone else’s, perhaps God’s help, he has put together in two years, Noel Malcolm has set himself the touching task to arbitrarily turn upside down an entire picture so far established by sober historical studies. The book can be understood only if, as in reading the Quran, one reads its last sentence first: “When ordinary Serbs learn to think more rationally and humanely about Kosovo, and more critically about some of their national myths, all the people of Kosovo and Serbia will benefit – not least the Serbs themselves.” Let us not invoke Droysen any longer, to spare his tortured bones from upsetting in that other, better world, on account of Serb history, of which he had known less than of any other.

While in his short history of Bosnia (1994) Malcolm borrowed its thematic matrix, argumentation, literature and thought pattern from Croatia-oriented intellectuals, in this, short history of Kosovo, he placed the entire structure of the book upon the foundations which had already been formulated by Albanian nationalist ideology even before the book was conceived. Hence his tendency to echo the naive literature which Albanizes the entire ancient period of the history of the Balkans. The general summary of the scholarly foundations of Albanian nationalist ideology formulated by Muharem Cerabregu in 1996 (Distortionism in Historiography. 19th Century Falsifications. A Contribution to the Historical Geography of Kosovo, New York, 1996) anticipated the entire structure of Noel Malcolm’s book. Cerabregu defined the framework of that structure in six points: Kosovo cannot be the historical cradle of Serbia because it used to be the ancient Roman province of Dardania where the core of the Albanian people was formed; Emperor Dusan’s was not a Serbian empire; the claim, on the basis of medieval churches as proof, that the Kosovo Battle in 1389 was fought by the Serbs, is a fake, bearing in mind that the majority of their army consisted of the Dacians, Poles and Hungarians, as well as that it was the Albanians that were defending the Christian West, whereas the Serbs were siding with the Ottoman Turks; Serb scholars have no right whatsoever to assign to the Serbs the uprising of the Albanian population of 1683-1690, after which the Serbs along with the Albanians began to migrate to Austria. Cerabregu says that the majority of ancient population of Macedonia was Albanian, that at present three out of four million of Orthodox Albanians live in Greece, that it is an established fact that the words “Apollo” and “Aristotle” are Albanian words, the latter meaning in Albanian “rocky waterflow”. “Kosovo”, according to Cerabregu, derives from the Albanian word for “high” and “wide” (“a high plateau”).

There is a clear disproportion between the scanty knowledge, miserable competence of the Albanian scholars and the grandiloquent theories that they propose. The scantier knowledge, the more grandiloquent theories. Cerabregu is of the opinion that world’s scientific circles make a serious mistake in not calling the Balkan Peninsula the Illyrian Peninsula. According to this author, the latter is a compound word made up of the concepts “Il” for “high” and “Ir” for “hilly”. The region, he claims, has been the homeland of the Albanian people since times immemorial. The Serbs are a more recent population in the region. They should not be allowed to think that Kosovo represents their historical centre, “when it is known that they have such a short history, without permanent dwelling territory? They did not have adequate time to develop their own original culture there.” They (the Serbs) have usurped their present lands from the neighbouring peoples, beginning from 1804, when they burnt Belgrade down, razing it to the ground. All the Serb churches and monasteries have been erected on the foundations of an earlier date places of worship which were not theirs. In the manner in which it is attempted to bring up the issue of who lived in Judea two thousand years ago and who has a right to it, the Albanian ideology is trying, through this mythological scietific works, to transplant this claim into Europe. “One must know”, says Cerabregu, “who is who in the Illyrian Peninsula. Who is the native, and who is alien.” Behind this philosophy of life “Either we or they”, a future is showing so horrible that it is too benign to call it mythological. That philosophy of life represents opening up the gates of ideology to the triumphal march of collective death.

Malcolm does not refer to this book by Cerabregu but he does dwell upon Cerabregu’s work dealing with Kosovo’s historical geography. He does not hesitate to build Cerabregu’s entire list summarizing the Albanian nationalist ideology into the structure of his own book. Malcolm made sure not to reiterate the original claims of Albanian nationalist ideology, which turns that entire literature into a part of modern entertainment culture, so he sought some more convincing solutions to provide him with proofs. His roots have, however, remained identical, and also the entire Albanian moralizing on Serb mythological scietific works. Cerabregu has written this book catering to the needs of Albanian politicians.

It is difficult to enter into a rational polemic with Noel Malcolm, because his initial approach is not rational at all. His handling of the history of Bosnia and the history of Kosovo, raises the essential issue of his views of the

Bosnian and Albanian people, the demonstration of their existence being his permanent concern. A people must always have the attributes of a people, its members have to share some characteristics identifying them as an entity. It need not be a state, though each and every nation has tended to establish its own independent state. Malcolm sees the Albanians, as he does the Bosnians, as a homogeneous population, as a demographic group bearing the respective name. The felicitous thing about it all is that his elementary interpretations regarding the origin of individual peoples and ethnic groups (such as the Serbs, Croats, Vlachs, Albanians and, in his interpretation, certain – mythical – Bosniacs) in the two books do not go hand in hand.

In his former book – Bosnia. A Short History, published in 1994, Malcolm claims that the Croats settled in the Balkans within north-western Croatia, which they inhabit even at present, but that they “probably settled even in a major part of Bosnia itself, except for the eastern strip of the Drina Valley”. Malcolm took over from the Bosnian historians, especially from Muhamed Filipovic, a distorted translation of the record of Constantin Porphyrogenitus describing the settling of the Serbs and the Croats, separated in Bosnia by the rivers Pliva, Imota and Cetina. Malcolm also took over, with the same, entertaining effect, the translation by Cynamos saying that Bosniacs are a people different from the Serbs. In this, his new history book, dealing with Kosovo, Malcolm flatly states that the Croats originally settled in western Bosnia. He does not mention the shame he incurred with his translations of Constantin Porphyrogenitus and Cynamos, though in the meantime he must have read the originals and he failed to disclose the truth. The Serbs settled in Rascia, the north-western areas of Kosovo, and in Montenegro. Later, the Serbs from Dalmatia Bosnia and northern parts of Serbia moved to Kosovo. In any case, Malcolm does his best to prove that Kosovo is not the historical cradle of the Serbs. Several parts of Malcolm’s two books seem to have been written by two different authors.

As for Malcolm’s first book, the one dealing with the history of Bosnia, explaining the origin and nature of the Vlachs, the author drew heavily on Dominik Mandic’s theory but he toned down the fact that the Vlachs are descendants of Roman legions in Pannonia that were interspersed with African blacks. Malcolm is now complying with the standard theory of Albanian nationalists that the Vlachs are survivors of a population living in the Roman Empire, that they spoke a Latin language and are, in origin, Albanians! The “Albanian-Vlach Symbiosis” has probably been effected to the west of Kosovo. In view of the fact that there were no Serbs there before the twelvth century, it is important because there a Proto-Albanian population emerged deriving from the Dardanians! So that stage – of the early medieval Kosovo – is relevant because it was during that period that the “survival of the Albanians” was secured. Next, according to Malcolm, Kosovo was the cradle of the Vlachs. In the end, he concludes that “this is more a speculation than a conclusion.” It is useful, because “the idea that the Illyrian Dardanians were ancestors of the Albanians may be of some sentimental interest to Kosovo Albanians today”. Malcolm does not agree with Albanian historians that the Albanians represented the majority of the population of Kosovo in the Middle Ages, but that before the coming of the Turks it couldn’t be known because by the Orthodox Church they used to be registered as Serbs. His conclusion is that the Albanian population has lived in Kosovo continuously throuth the history, but as a minority.

Malcolm does not explain in what ways the Albanians are to be legitimized as a people, and not as a demographic group which counts because in history it has existed along with others. The “Kanun of Lek Dukagjin” emerged at a time when the Albanians were, under Turkish pressure, broken into clans. The “Kanun” remained unchanged from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, then the Albanians tried to publish it. Similar to the history of Scotland, clans and zadrugas (stem families), emerging among the Albanians after the collapse of the central power, as institutions organizing the society on the basis of common law under the circumstances of survival. The idea of a homogeneous Albanian people was revived during the rebellions caused by the Berlin Congress, when the “Prizren League” was founded. The true historical root of the “League” was completely autochthonous, emerging in the early seventeenth century. The interclan councils (kuvends) played a major role in it. So the clans, emerging in the history because of the disintegration of the whole state, and later became again an instrument for the formation of the nation and once again and in the some time of the state as a whole. Malcolm uses the term “national renaissance”, but he knows about it as much as they knew about it three centuries ago. After which state did the clans emerge?

Malcolm’s book is not a history of a nation, and it is even less a study of its historical making. This is a political treatise trying to prove the presence of the Albanian population in Kosovo from its very beginnings. Though they do not have their state, or some higher form of social organization, the Albanians represent a special political factor everywhere. The Kosovo Battle was not fought by the Serbs only, Malcolm says, so he meticulously challenges that Serb myth which has become a historic symbol and trademark of the Serb nation. Though Malcolm does not accept the current theory of the Albanians that “the Albanians played a marked role” in the Battle of Kosovo, his overall endeavour is calculated to consistently demonstrate that it was a multiethnic clash with the Turks, including even the Vlachs from Wallachia.

The participation of the Hungarians in the Battle of Kosovo is very important because even some outstanding Serb knights whowere Hungarian noblemen took part in it.

Milos Obilic is most probably a Hungarian, Malcolm goes on to say, though his very family name “had a Vlach-Albanian background”. Its original form was “Kobilic”, a derivation from the Hungarian word “koborlovag” – “knight errant”. If it owes its origin to the Albanian or Vlach languages, then it is derived from the word “kopile” (a bastard), which exists in both languages but has different meanings. The existence of this word in the Serb language is ignored. The nine Jugovic brothers are, of course, of Hungarian origin, which is “evident” from the possibility that the “ugarovici” was somehow turned into “Ugovici”, which finally obtained the Serb form.

The Albanians, in the same manner, played a very important role in the Great Migration of the Serbs headed by Arsenije Carnojevic, as they did generally throughout the war. Malcolm challenges the Serb mythology related to the intended migration and the privileges promised by the Habsburg emperor to the Serbs. The Serb historians have made up a mythology of that migration following the example of Christ. They argue that the Serbs, like Christ, appeared in three stages – that they died in 1690, were buried, and were resurrected in 1912. The chapter dealing with this Austrian-Turkish war offers much evidence found by Malcolm in various archives, so that one has the impression that he might have really become a serious scholar, had he already not radically compromised himself as an intellectual mercenary and warmonger. All that snooping around archives ended up with the conclusion that the Habsburg Emperor did not recognize the Serbs as a people, that he invited them to move out and granted them privileges.

Albanians-and-Serbs-a-common-epic

He says, that the Serbs fabricated the key document (Inviatorium), because the Austrian Emperor invited them to proceed with their rebellions on the Turkish side of the border which had not yet been taken by the Turks.

Malcolm did his best to explain the concept of the “Rasciani”. He painstakingly searched for details concerning the differences between Raska (Rascia) and Serbia, between the Orthodox and Catholic Rascians and Serbs, only to end up by quoting the conciliatory definition given by Lazaro Soranzo, in 1598, that the Rascians are “a people from Serbia and Rascia who now live north of the Danube”. The finale of this entire analysis is the conclusion that the Serbs were not the key agents in the rebellions of the Christian population, but the Albanians.

Noel Malcolm frequently points out, as he does here, that the popular revolts against Turkish rule did not have a political, but exclusively a resistance to the tax policy of the Turkish state.

This is an outcome of his joining the currently flourishing historiography claiming that the Ottoman state was a just society, equally good for the Muslims, Christians and Jews.

All those conclusions were generated by the estimate of contemporary American geo-strategists – that the Western security was far better than the existence of a stable Turkish and Habsburg state, during by the sufferings of the independent nations of South-East Europe today.

To me, this strenuous attempt of Malcolm to shatter the Serb mythology surrounding some of great Serb deeds (such as the Kosovo Battle, the Great Migration, the Eastern crisis of 1875 is tantamount to saying that last week football game between the Italian “Milan” and German “Bayern” should be considered a game played by an Italian one team versus a German team because the Italian team had a British player in it.

The central issue, that of the birth of modern Albanian movement for a unified nation and an independent state should have been explained where the emergence and nature of the “1878 Prizren League” had been discussed. Though he views it as a purely Albanian political enterprize having nothing to do with the previously established Istanbul Committee controlled by the Turkish government, Malcolm, nevertheless, unconsciously describes the “Prizren League” as a purely Muslim, conservative movement for the preservation of the old order of the Ottoman state. They rejected the idea of the Latin alphabet, decreeing the reintroduction of the Muslim law (seriat) and prohibited European clothing. Malcolm over-emphasizes the responsibility of the Serbian government in Belgrade for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Serbia during the 1877-1878 war, yet he is expected to know that before the Berlin Congress in 1878 no European country except Russia pursued the policy of the protection of Muslim population. If they want to stay in a Christian state, their religion does not enjoy civil protection. As a rule, during all wars prior to the Berlin Congress in 1878, when an army of Christian states was approaching, Muslim population was not to expect anything good. The Serb historian of today has no moral right to justify the attempt of his 1878 government to displace the Muslim population, but it is his obligation to say that the international law was responsible for it, as well as that Muslim population remained only in the areas where it was not predominantly urban, the latter resorting to migration as soon as an army which was not their own was within sight. Where the Muslims were farmers, e.g. in Montenegro, Bulgaria and Bosnia, the laws and regulations made it possible for them to stay in place. The Serb historian cannot ignore the fact that all migrations have a moral and humane aspect, but it is not his duty to abuse it by turning it into political propaganda and promote the idea of the “twisted” character of his own nation.

The main weakness of Noel Malcolm’s books is their author’s strikingly arbitrary way in which he interprets the formation of a national consciousness and the processes leading to the establishment of an independent state. The entire existing scholarly literature dealing with the Albanians defines, as the crucial issue, the relationship of Islamic and secular motives in what is called a “Nation’s Building Process”. I believe that it was so far interpreted in a most satisfactory way in Stavro Skendi’s book The Albanian National Awakening 1878/1912 (1967). World historiography generally has been tormented by the question why national revivals, viewed as historical processes leading to independent national states, had a delayed emergence in all Islamic societies. For the idea of independence to be victorious, a new social structure must appear in a society because the feudal order in of a community cannot generate an independent nation.

Instead of summing up the existing historiographic works dealing with the relationship of Islam and the nation, Noel Malcolm starts by stating that the Albanians have always been a separate nation because they have had their “Kanun of Lek Dukagjin”, and have always shielded themselves from other Balkan peoples proclaiming during their great rebellions the Islamic law (seriat). I doubt that Malcolm has read the “Kanun of Lek Dukagjin”, which was recently published in our translation (1986). The others, too, who use that law as a proof, had better respect a demarcation line which is to be strictly respected by any serious scientist, namely the fact that the history of nations has known great laws and not that they have won their independent states thanks to the re-institution of those ancient laws while fighting for independence. An identical case would be had the Serbs, after the Congress of Berlin, reinstituted “Emperor Dusan’s Code”, or the “Vasojevicis Code in Twelve Points”, which correspond to the Albanian kanun. Noel Malcolm, however, explains the establishment of modern Albanian national state in precisely that way. He says that the proclamation of the seriat law and the “Kanun of Lek Dukagjin” before and following the foundation of the Prizren League (1878) represented the project that would result in the establishment of a new state independent from the Turkish Empire.

The case is just the opposite. Contemporaries of these events have always stressed that the Albanian nationalist movement was burdened with Islamic goals and that for that reason it was not recognized in time as a nationalist movement. The scholar and political emissary Baldacci Antonio wrote as early as 1899 that the Albanians were “almost incapable of the national idea but were on the other hand fanatically religious”, and so split their national movement into three wings. The conclusion to be derived is that the reinstitution of a common law code rather represented an obstacle to the winning of national independence than vice versa. The question is still unsettled of what in the “Kanun of Lek Dukagjin” is authentically from the fifteenth century, and what are later amendments and additions. The version translated into our language says that the suitors going to negotiate the purchase of a bride are obliged to bring with them coffee, sugar and edible oil. The prices for more beautiful girls were fixed in Austrian early twentieth century currency. In addition, Malcolm believes that “Kanun” proposes a philosophical definition of the nation. In the “Kanun” there are quite detailed specifications of the roads to be used by individual clans, but also of the importation roads to be used by the people as a whole. By his conclusion that this law remained unchanged from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, Malcolm has contributed an epoch-making discovery to world civilization – that coffee was not introduced into Europe by seventeenth century Turkish tradesmen, but that it was used by the Malesors two hundred years before that. Following that line of thinking, he would have to conclude that the definition of the nation within the rationalistic philosophy was contained in the code of the Albanian clans, which prescribed blood send and bese in the 15th century. Here in the Balkans there is enough local nonsense, so I don’t see any need to import it from a more civilized country such as Britain.

Modern Albanian nation emerged from the bases of that people which were a result of historical development. It is both an advantage and tragedy of the Albanian people that one or another of the great world powers has always played an important role in its striving for independence. Mr. Malcolm is expectably ignorant on the role of Austro-Hungarian administration in stirring up the initial steps in the Albanian nation-building process. In Sarajevo and Dubrovnik existed centres in which the projects of language standardisation, national alphabet and the first history handbooks were elaborated. They worked under the supervision of distinguished historian Leopold Thallocy from Vienna. He organized the design of the national insignia, such as the coat of arms and the flag. A red banner with the doubleheaded black eagle was selected. In the Sarajevo “State Archive” is preserved even the bill by which a painter in Vienna in 1897 was paid 15 florins “fur Ausfuhrung des Wappens sammst Fahne”. Contemporary Albanian historians (Luan Maltezi) are wrong in believing that the flag and coat of arms are stemming from mediaeval times. Thallocy himself wrote in German a Populare Geschichte der Albanesen. It was translated in Turkish and published “in geheim” in Alexandria (Egypt). The book had to “help awakening the national feeling and the sense of common dependence of Albanians with no difference in language and religion”. A natural nation-building process in the European type missing, people in Vienna attempted an artificial and virtual one. Only after the institution of communism, after 1945, the Albanian people, following the Russian model of rapid urbanization, tried on its own to shape its future on realistic foundations. Only then a society was created that served as a weak but anyway sufficiently firm basis for industrialization. By that time the social leadership of Muslim owners of large estates had been steering the development of Albania towards the building of an Islamic, not European nation.

Noel Malcolm tried to prove that modern Great Albania was being created according to the geographic distribution of that people from prehistory. He reduced the entire problem of the creation of the nation to the permanent ability of the Albanian people to restore that totality of theirs. He quotes the words uttered by a Skopje bishop towards the end of the eighteenth century to the effect that the Albanians are a “people increasing in number in a most rapid manner”, that they massively move to Kosovo, and that he demanded that the prayer “Ab albanesibus libera nos Domine” should be introduced into Catholic churches, because that settling “has taken over and crammed the entire Serbia”. The bishop goes on to say that this was accompanied by anarchy and Islamization of the immigrant Catholics. However, Malcolm rejects the theories that in that way, due to these processes after 1690, Kosovo lost its character of a Serb ethnic region. He is hanging on to his thesis that Kosovo is not the cradle of the Serb people, that there the Serbs were newcomers and that there the Albanian-Vlach symbiosis functioned as a solid foundation on which to develop to this very day.

If Noel Malcolm did contribute anything to the elucidation of the genesis and character of the Vlachs, it is only his absurd success in linking this issue with allegedly inferior and superior civilizations in the Balkans. The literature dealing with the issue of the Vlachs belongs to two categories. One category presents archival research and derives conclusions from the findings of that research. Serbian scholarship had a good beginning, it has attained enviable results, but its mission has not been completed the way it was began. The evident fact that the Serb people in the Balkans is not that same people that migrated from the north in the early Middle Ages has been used by some authors to fabricate it into the ideological issue about the inferiority of Byzantine civilization. This ideological alternative is legalized in current world scholarship by Noel Malcolm. He too proceeds from the assumption that the Vlachs were an ethnic group once, that in the seventeenth century there are traces of their language, and that this process continues down to modern times.

It is still questionable whether the Slav appellation “Vlah” was applied to all persons speaking Latin or a Latinate language really referred to a homogeneous ethnic group. In Slovenia and Poland even today the Italians are called Vlachs, and that name is even today applied to the citizens of the Rumanian province Wallacchia, of Valois and Wales. It is obviously not a Slav word as it is held to be. Did the entire Illyrian population during the disintegration of the Roman Empire use the same Latinized variant, and is the assertion justified that they all constituted a homogeneous ethnic group? The most absurd thing is that Malcolm does not specify the sources from which he quotes trying to explain these specific issues. He quoted the words of Lazaro Soranzo from 1598 discussing the differences between the Rascians and Serbs, but why doesn’t he also use the data by the same author pertaining to the Vlachs and geographical distribution of the Albanian population? Soranzo was a native of the province of Veneto, inhabited by the Veneti, an official in the Roman Curia, and his descriptions of the Balkans were written on the ground of possible plans to stir up the Christians to rebel and expand the union. His description is rather a testimony that the population under discussion was not a separate ethnic group but a nomadic community of cattlebreeders which in its turn was not an ethnic group, that its language was Slavicized, that its retaining of the original name was a social phenomenon. In his book of 1598 (“L’Ottomano. Dove si da pieno ragguaglio, non solamente della potenza del Signor de Turchi… ma ancora di varii popoli, siti, citta, e viaggi con altri particolari di stato, necessarii a sapersi”), Soranzo says about the Morlachi and Vlachs: “But having mentioned the Morlachi, I would not like to leave them without saying who they are. In those areas all Christian inhabitans of the mountains are called Morlachi, in particular those living in the mountain in Lika being situated between Novigrad and Senj. In principle, the Slav word ‘Morlakija’ has emerged since the Barbarians came to Italy, because when passing through Wallacchia, they gave that name even to peoples living at the Adriatic Sea, seeming to mean that they lived at the sea coast. Because by the names ‘Vulachi’, or ‘Vuloschi’ – the way the Turks use the name ‘Franks’ for the French – pass all Italians.” The opinion that there we deal with a mountain, cattle-breeding population is almost identical to that of Stojan Novakovic voiced early in this century. We could only add that there is no evidence that they were united through ties characterizing an individual ethnic group, but that to them the Serb language furnished, earlier than it is believed, that internal integration instrument. Even Noel Malcolm states that no traces of that Vlach language have survived except for personal names and toponyms, though he asserts, giving no evidence, that this language did exist in the 17th century. The language, not mixed marriages, integrates numerous clans and vernaculars.

The Albanians as a people were integrated into one whole late in history. The strengthening of the clan structure and common law after the coming of the Turks delayed that process. The name “Albanians” itself emerged late. The first great Albanian historian Wassa Effendi thought in 1879 that the word “Albania” was coined by foreign travellers as late as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; that their real name was ‘shqiptar’; that this word, on the other hand, was not in use but, for the sake of identification, always religious affiliation of the person was given. Prior to the institution of communism in 1945 a general feeling of community did not prevail, and religion always was an obstacle in its way.

The question of the historical boundary lines between the Albanian people and the Serbs is not settled yet. Soranzo says that the Rascians and the Serbs are one entity, that at the Council of Constance they “sono ditti Sirfi”. Soranzo then goes to explain that they are “the people living from the Albanian mountains all the way up to the Danube”. Of them, those living in Dardania and those living near those mountains are capable of making various stirrings (i. e. rebellions: “possono far molti moti”). Those are the Piperi, Kuci, Clementi, Bjelopavlici and others in the lands of Plave. Among them there are many Albanians living as Catholics”. As for the Albanians, or their part which he calls the “Dukagjins”, he says that they “live in the Sar mountains (Scardo) bordering with Prizren or Prizderma as it is called by the Slavs, or Perenopolis as it was called in ancient times, and it is situated in Dardania near the borders of Albania, and is inhabited by more Albanians than Serbs. From the Adriatic Sea, Albania is divided by highest mountains.” Soranzo states that the Albanians cannot be expected to take part in any rebellions, because they are all siding with the Turkish state.

The Croatian historian Milan Suflaj outlined, in 1925, the origin of the Albanian people, which was first mentioned by Byzantine authors in the eleventh century. They were descendants of the ancient Illyrians and re-established themselves “with a powerful nucleus around Kruja”. Both Byzantine and Latin sources used for this people the name Arbanasi (Arbanenses)”, and after 1271 “almost exclusively” Albanians. In the second century, Ptolemy mentions them as “Arben”, whereas Albanopolis is his name for Kruja. North of this centre, they had flexible borders, and in the south their borders were fixed. Towards the end of the twelvth century their northern boundary lines approached the road Skadar – Prizren, whereas in the fifteenth century they spread out to include Bar and reach as far as Kotor and Podgorica. In the fourteenth century they expand, encompassing “the quadrangle Bar-Avlona-Ohrid-Prizren”. In the Middle Ages, in the quadrangle from Ulcinj, Dubrovnik and Prizren, up the Drim river and as far as the Prokletije and Ljuma, a symbiosis of the Albanian-Vlach cattlebreeding population with the Slav agricultural population is accomplished. Due to Turkish raids, the next three centuries witnessed migrations by the Serbs and Croats towards the Danube and Drave, whereas Albanian migrations northwards followed in a slow succession.

Scientific circles have always paid due attention to wars and violence as factors changing the demographic structure of these regions, but the largest depopulation was brought about by the “modernization of agriculture and institution of ciftliks in the seventeenth century… Here as elsewhere, the price for progress was social oppression.” Yet, the great wave of Islamization among the Albanians was already under way between 1620 and 1650. In that period more than 300.000 Albanians adopted Islam, and as early as 1610 a papal legate emphasized the propaganda carried out by fanaticized hojas and mullahs. Waves of a massive migration took place in the following century, after the 1690 migration.

The question remains to be settled how just the estimate of Noel Malcolm in this book is that “the Albanians of Kosovo today are in many ways a politically mobilized people, but religion has played almost no role at all in that mobilization”. Religion is a political factor on the Orthodox side only. This view is not confirmed by other researchers of the role of Islamic religion in current Albanian nationalistic movement. Their general point of departure is that the Muslim factor represents the pivotal pillar of the society, whereas Islam as religion represents an instrument in the building of a national identity.

Noel Malcolm’s book has a very important function in the escalation of the Kosovo crisis. Like other books produced about the history of Bosnia, this is a text designed to justify the policy of interference and military intervention. In December 1992 the American President Bush warned Serbia’s President that the American army was going to intervene in Kosovo and in Serbia should any conflict take place in Kosovo as a consequence of Serbia’s actions. The American President Clinton repeated that warning in 1993. Prior to the stationing of 500 hundred American soldiers to Macedonia in 1998, the political literature was designed to “enlighten” that part of the public opinion in Western countries supported by their governments. Quite in accordance with this, Noel Malcolm, beginning the story of his book says that after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, “the wars themselves were launched not by ordinary civilians but by armed forces directed from above”. In the history of Bosnia and Croatia, he says, there had been no ethnic wars, except for some conflicts caused by political leaders, and the target of all of his argumentation are the Serbs and their political and cultural leadership. Like the works of Marc Wealer and Robert Donia, this book is a source of the accusation that the Serbs are responsible for the Yugoslav crisis in 1992.

Among the many meanings that future historical studies will be uncovering in the Kosovo crisis and the war started on March 24th 1999, the most significant one raises the question of what the western countries expect from it. Do they expect that, on the ruins of the order established in 1918 and then restored in 1945, they will ley the foundations for better societies and make it possible for those peoples to join more easily the community of more developed European countries? Judging by their workings so far, the western countries do not seem to have set the foundations for future democratic societies in that area. One would rather say that Malcolm’s book and similar literature are failures in that respect.

The most dependable analysis of the consequences of the destruction of the communist state in Albania was given by the Italian scholar Morozzo della Rocca (1998). A naturally vital nation, the Albanians represent the youngest population in Europe. Its 35% are aged under 15, and only 7% are older than 60. A poll conducted in East European countries in 1995 found that only 32% of the population in Hungary were convinced that capitalism was better than the crumbled communism, in Russia 35%, in Bulgaria 46%, in the Czech Republic 62%, and in Albania 81%. However, it was these most devoted believers in capitalism who possessed the economy, which an analyst likened it “to a retired person living on international aid and cheques sent by emigrants”. Among all East European countries, in Albania the transition towards capitalist economy of the free market was effected most rapidly. In the market, the only home products are onion and garlic. The new government designed plans for the reconstruction of economy based on trade. While in times of communism a university diploma was viewed as social privilege, after the collapse of communism the educational system was affected more deeply than any other domain. Shunning the school has been increasing, the number of college students has been decreasing. Worst of all, the idea that the nation and state do represent the main refuge of political security collapsed. Though they are devoted nationalists, the Albanians during the new crisis do not seek support in their own nation but in their one-time clan, to their communal family (zadruga) and to the common law (the “Kanun”). Instead of the democratic laws, which are improvised when the need arises, the individual there places his trust in the provisions of the common law buried long ago. Beyond one’s own family and clan nothing is respected. National unity is supported by the Orthodox part of the population, whereas the Muslim minority keeps resisting it. In the five years after the crumbling of communism, the population of their capital was doubled. The reasons for this are in the simple fact that in the thriving of “small scale” trade, at booths and in open market places, around a thousand dollars are annually made – seven times as much as in highland towns. The peace-loving politics of their government and their “pacifism were not a result of choice, but of necessity” because there was no longer the army. The industry, built with difficulty by the communists, has collapsed. Some textile goods and shoes are still manufactured, mainly by women. Men hawk about. In Albania there are more Mercedes-Benz cars than in Italy. The society is being feudalized. Under the circumstances of the collapse of all central state institutions, men are constantly armed. The majority of the male population plans to emigrate to Italy and western countries, but even for that bypassing the law is a must.

Bearing all this in mind, one cannot but conclude that the only historical project to lay the foundations of a European type of society came from the dethroned communism which, in spite of its overall political tyranny, was laying solid foundations for urbanization and an industrial community. At present that part is played by foreign governments, particularly by the Italian government. All their efforts end up in Tirana and Drac and the only vent affecting the society in a positive way is the readiness of the Italian government to have the Albanians as seasonal workers. Former communists of the Orthodox south have put an end to the general collapse brought about by the earlier Muslim government.

This gloomy picture of the future is not an Albanian exception. The situation in presentday Yugoslavia is similar, especially in its Montenegrin part, where feudalization has the upper hand, falling back on one’s clan and the common law, the black market thriving – the only sign that something is changing.

The messages of Noel Malcolm’s book dealing with Kosovo open the gates to historical hopelessness, not to the prosperity of emancipated nations. To me, the meaning of his books dealing with the history of Bosnia and Kosovo, including the dubious background of financial and research support making them possible, is revealed to me by the American bombers whose distant droning I can hear through my window. If something in this contribution of mine remains inappropriately said, it is accounted for by circumastances – I gathered material for it during several spells in February 1999, and I started writing it on March 24th, when the American bombers started rending the quietness of our sky. Both this book and the war for which the literature of its kind have supplied the requisite ideological foundations, throw all these nations back, at least temporarily, into the past when common law was the basis of social and state organization.

FOOTNOTES:

1. Milorad Ekmecic: Shorter History (Noel Malcolm, Bosnia. A Short History), “Dialogue”, 15, Paris 1995; “Istorijski casopis”, 1993-1994, 323. – The critical review was written for the London “Times Literary Supplement”, but it it was returned saying that they had already published a review of the book.
2. Warren Zimmermann: A Pavanne for Bosnia, in “The National Interest”, No. 37, Fall 1994, 75. “Pavanne” or “Pavana” is a court dance originally from South Europe. After 1535 it spread into Europe from Pavia, after which it was named.
3. The book “Bosnia. A Short History” 1994, is dedicated to “Ahmed and Zoran”. The identity of the two persons becomes clear only from the preface to “Kosovo. A Short History” 1998, from this reference to Ahmed Zilic. “Zoran” is Zoran Pajic”, professor at the Sarajevo Law Faculty, who at the time of the publication of the book was staying in Great Britain. He is Enver Redzic’s son-in-law. During the entire civil war in Bosnia he sided with the Muslims.
4. Noel Malcolm: Bosnia. A Short History, 8.
5. Noel Malcolm: A Short History, London, 1998, 11.
6. Ibid, p. 24. – On the settlement of the Serbs in Kosovo, p. 11.
7. Ibid, 40.
8. Ibid, 115.
9. Ibid, 221.
10. Ibid, 72, 74.
11. Ibid, 145.
12. Ibid, 225, 226.
13. Stjefan Konstantin Djacovi: Kanon Leke Dukadina, Zagreb, 1986.
14. Antonio Baldacci: L’Italia e la questione albanese, 1899, 2.
15. See the analysis in Milorad Ekmecic: Stvaranje Jugoslavije 1790-1918. II. Belgrade 1989, 118, 119.
16. Noel Malcolm: Kosovo. A Short History, 173.
17. Soranzo’s book contains a thorough list not only of the powers of the ruling Turk, of his dealings with various princes, of his actions against Christianity, of what we could have been done on our part to suppress those actions. In addition, it offers information concerning various peoples, places, towns and roads, as well as other details about the state worthy of attention. (Milano, 1598). – My quotation is from the Italian translation from Latin (Ferrara, 1607, 103).
18. Wassa Effendi: Etudes sur l’Albanie et les Albanais, Constantinople, 1879, 19, 20.
19. Lazaro Soranzo: L’Ottomano, 167. About the Council of Constance see the Introduction, LXXXVIII.
20. For the quotations from Lazar Soranzo, cf. Ibid, 174-175; Dr. Milan Sufflay: Srbi i Arbanasi. (Njihova simbioza u srednjem vijeku), Beograd, 1925, 27-28 – on the homeland of the Albanians after Ptolemy’s reference in the second century in Macedonia and around Kruja. – On the quadrangle from Dubrovnik and Ulcinj as far as Prokletije and Luma, 75; on the withdrawal of the Serbs and Croats under Turkish pressure and coming of the Albanians to their areas, 79. Sufflay quotes from Stavrou: Etudes sur l’Albanie, Paris, 1922; Thalloczy: Die albanische Diaspora. Illirisch-albanesischen Forshungen, 1; other literature. In the foreword for that book, Stanoje Stanojevic (1922) shared Sufflay’s opinion that on the Slav-Albanian borderlines “two worlds, the Eastern and the Western, have been facing each other, sometimes in a friendly, but mainly hostile way for thousands of years “, III.
21. George Joffe: Muslims in the Balkans, in the collection F. Wgarter and H. T. Norris (eds): The Changing Shape of the Balkans, UCLA Press, London, 1996, 83. Joffe quotes from F. Braudel: The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Time of the Reign of Philip II, London, 1975, 725.
22. Ataullah Bogdan Kopanski: Islamization of Albanians in the Middle Ages. The Primary Sorces and Predicament of the Modern Historiography, in Islamic Studies”, Vol. 36, No. 2/3, Islamabad 1997, 196.
23. Noel Malcolm, o. c., Introduction, XXVIII.
24. Nathalie Clayer, Mohhamad Khalid Masud: National and Religious Identity among Albanian Muslims after the Political Upheaval from 1990, “Islamic Studies”. Vol. 36, No. 2-3, 407, 411.
25. Hugh Miall: Kosovo in Crisis – Conflict Prevention and Intervention in the Southern Balkans, published by “Peace and Security, the International Institute for Peace Research Qurterly”, Vienna, Vol. XXX, June 1998, 7. The extent of the coincidence between the historical picture of Bosnia and Hercegovina arising from Noel Malcolm’s book and the political measures taken by a high-ranking international official implementing them in practice can be seen from a report of the SRNA News-Agency (by Branka Novakovic) from Amsterdam, dated November 3, 1998. The Bulletin of the paper Inter, published by non-governmental associations close to OESCD and the Office of a high-ranking international official, is quoted there. It advocates the establishment of a “civil society in Bosnia and Hercegovina, where there will be no national traits or identity, in order to create a specific Bosnian environment”. It is asserted that it is in the interest of the European Community and NATO to be stationed there until 2000: “Immediately after the establishment of mixed population municipalities in the Republic of Srpska and weakening of the national block power, the second stage of unification is to follow which should include a reform of the media and school system, i.e. the establishment of a neutral and impersonal system… We will try to exert our influence so that maximal shared elements are introduced in the educational system in both entities – says the project report aaccepted by the World Bank, which allotted 17 million DEM for its implementation, the Republic of Srpska obtaining only 5% of the sum. Additional funds will go to the Republic of Srpska if it complies with the media and school system reform, including changes in the interpretation of history, especially of the Turkish occupation period, a different treatment of Serbian epic poems, disavowal of Serbia’s school curricula and turning religious instruction into an elective course. The Latin alphabat and the jekavian dialect are particularly emphasized, because they are used in the larger part of Bosnia and Hercegovina.” It is concluded that “the Muslim party too participated, with several persons, in the composition of the educational system reform referred to.”
26. Noel Malcolm: Kosovo, XXVII, XXVIII. On page 340 he discusses the “Declaration 216” signed by Serbian intellectuals and the “Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts” of the same year. He does not quote from the official edition by the Academy but from a French translation of an earlier version, in Grmek, Didara, Simac: “Le nethoyage etnic. Documents historiques sur une ideologie serbe”, Paris 1993. In contrast to Samuel Huntington – Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York, 1996, 260-261 – that this protest was a natural reaction of Serbian national elite against the changes in the ethnic structure of Kosovo effected through demographic expansion, Noel Malcolm doggedly blames the breaking out of the civil war on the “Memorandum” of 1986. However, he toned down that conclusion a lot.
27. Roberto Morozzo della Rocca: Socio-Cultural Aspects of the Albanian Crisis”, in “The International Spectator. A Quarterly Journal” of the “Instituto per affari internationali”. Vol. XXXIII, No. 2, Roma 1998.
28. Ibid, 71.
29. Ibid, 74.
30. Similar conclusions are drawn by Giuseppe Milunco: Albania nella storia, Lecce 1997, and by Patrizia Resta: Un popolo in cammino. La migrazione albanese in Italia, Lecce 1996. A comprehensive overview of the problem is given by Maria Teresa Ianitto, in “Italia contemporanea”, 212, settembre 1998, 699. The migration of the Albanians to Italy has been going on since the 15th century. In central Italy the areas of the “Arberesh” immigrants have emerged who use their old dialect, differing from both variants of the modern Albanian language, Geg and Tosk. The clans and bajraks were crushed as late as the days of communism, which established “la famiglia nucleare”. After the fall of communism migration continued, mainly to Italy, where the migrants first concentrate around the remaining “Arbersh” communities. Maria T. Ianitto challenges the theories that the myth of ethnic unity existed throughout the past. In March of 1991 28000 fugitives from Albania migrated to Puglia. Europe first received them anti-communist heroes, but when in three days in the same year new 28000 escaped, the authorities sent them back noiselessly from the border. The emigrants do not tend to form an “ethnic or national group”: “Dal canto loro gli albanesi in terra straniera non tendono a formare un gruppo etnico o nazionale: si raccogliono in piccoli gruppi familiari di tipo prarilineare” (p. 700). This is a process similar to that characteristic of some southern Serbian areas.


Source: www.kosovo.net

Albanians

ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians



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U.S. air strikes continue against the terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State” — formerly the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS — in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan. American military action has been impelled by the genocidal ISIS threat to Christians and various small Kurdish and other religious minorities, including Yazidis, whose faith is linked to Zoroastrianism, and the ancient monotheistic community of Mandaeans. Meanwhile, questions about the extremist movement and its foreign recruits have spread throughout the Muslim lands and the Muslim minority communities in the West, from Belgium to Australia.

On Monday, August 11, authorities in the Kosovo Republic — among the most pro-Western Muslim-majority states in the world — announced the detention of 40 Kosovar citizens suspected of participation in terrorism in Iraq and Syria. The arrests came after raids at 60 locations in the Balkan country, and were carried out under procedures established by the Kosovo Penal Code protecting “constitutional order and security in the Republic.”

The individuals jailed were identified only by initials and ages, and comprised eight in the Kosovo capital, Prishtina; seven in the eastern town of Gjilan, near the Serbian border; 11 from Ferizaj in the southeast; five from Prizren in the south; four from Peja in the northwest, and five from Mitrovica in the extreme north. The latter city is divided between Albanians and Serbs. Dates of birth ranged from 1962 to 1994.

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Evidence seized included explosives, weapons and ammunition. Kosovo police noted that 16 Kosovar Albanians have been reported killed in fighting in Syria.

According to the Kosovar newspaper of record, Koha Ditore (Daily Times), police said the sweep followed a two-year investigation, which is ongoing. Koha Ditore quoted Sevdije Morina, Kosovo’s acting chief special prosecutor, who declared that several local Muslim clerics are also under scrutiny. The same newspaper cited Blerim Isufaj, the prosecutor of the case, saying the majority of the suspects were affiliated with ISIS or Jabhat Al-Nusra, rival splinter groups from al Qaeda.

In Western Europe, alarm over ISIS and its appeal to the local Muslim diaspora emerged after the Brussels attack on the city’s Jewish Museum on May 24. Four people were killed in that incident, allegedly by Mehdi Nemmouche, a French Muslim who had fought in Syria. French interior minister Manuel Valls had warned in January that the return of jihadists from distant combat zones to Europe is “the greatest danger that we must face in the coming years.” Valls referred to ISIS influence in Muslim minorities as “a phenomenon of unprecedented size.”

On August 11, Australia was shocked as its media reported that Khaled Sharrouf, a convicted terror conspirator in that country, who went to Syria last year, had posted an image on his Twitter account of a child believed to be Sharrouf’s son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier.

In between, both in time and space, Albanians were repelled when, on July 31, a Kosovar in the ranks of ISIS, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, posted photographs on his Facebook page of himself decapitating a Syrian soldier.

Muhaxheri has a history in Kosovo of supporting extremists in Syria. On May 12, the Kosovo daily web-portal Express, in a reportage signed by its intrepid investigator of radical Islam, Visar Duriqi, said that Muhaxheri had worked in the official Kosovo Islamic Community apparatus in Kacanik, a city near the southern Kosovo border with Macedonia. In Facebook posts before his atrocity photo was posted, Muhaxheri claimed he controlled the appointment of the imam at the Central Mosque in Kacanik, which has become a center of conflict between Islamist radicals and local traditional Muslims.

Muhaxheri threatened to kill Kacanik clerics as well as politicians and public figures in Kosovo who denounced incitement of young Albanian Muslims to fight in Syria.

As described by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) on its portal, Balkan Insight, for July 31, Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga summoned a meeting with security officials of the Balkan republic the day Muhaxheri’s Facebook images appeared. She called for “treating this threat to the security of Kosovo as a priority.” Jahjaga said, “It is our responsibility as institutions and as a society to condemn these ugly phenomena. We must distance ourselves from these brutal acts of criminals, and we must denounce and treat them as such.”

Kosovo justice minister Bajram Rexhepi stated that an international arrest warrant had been issued for Muhaxheri.

The involvement of Albanians in ISIS has not escaped the attention of more influential global commentators. On August 7, David Gardner, a Middle East expert and reporter for the London Financial Times, pointed out that when, at the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, corresponding with the end of June, the “Islamic State” proclaimed its authority over all the Sunni Muslim believers in the world, the text was “translated into English, French, German, Turkish, Russian – and Albanian.” Gardner asked, “Why… take the trouble?”

Gardner attributed the appeal of the “Islamic State” for Albanian Muslims to penetration of the Muslim communities in the Western Balkans by Wahhabism, the fundamentalist doctrine originating in Saudi Arabia.

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Radio Free Europe reported on August 8 that Naim Maloku, a prominent veteran of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1998-99 war for the territory, and now a military and security expert, said that Kosovo legal institutions must prevent local citizens from fighting abroad and that the official Islamic Community must be more involved in countering jihadist propaganda. “In their preaching, [Muslim] religious leaders should be more active in their statements,” Maloku said.

During the fighting in Gaza, radical voices were heard in Kosovo demanding that Albanians support Hamas. On August 1, the “Islamic Movement to Unite,” also known as “Join!,” and by its Albanian initials as LISBA, was supported by fewer than 100 people in a pro-Gaza protest held in Prishtina.

Kosovar Albanians are sympathetic, within limits, to the Palestinians. Many Kosovars are bitter about close relations between Serbia and Palestine. Muhammad Nabhan, ambassador of the Palestinian Authority in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, since 1974, has stated repeatedly that Palestinians support Serbian claims to rule in Kosovo and has even denied that Serbia – which invaded and annexed Kosovo in 1912 — ever “occupied” Kosovo. In 1999, the Palestinian Authority invited the late Slobodan Milosevic to visit Bethlehem for Orthodox Christian Christmas in January 2000. Israel then warned that if the Serbian dictator attempted to cross its borders, he would be arrested and sent to the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia at The Hague. The visit never took place.


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Prof. Dr. Petar V. Grujić: Twenty principal misconceptions about the Kosovo issue (2014)



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TWENTY PRINCIPAL MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE KOSOVO ISSUE

 1. Kosovo issue is a conflict between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs over the territory

Wrong: It is a part of the conflict between Balkan Albanians and the surrounding populations, in Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece (ex. clashes between Albanians and Macedonians in Macedonia from 1991 onward including and open rebellion in 2001

  1. The issue is a fight of Albanians for their political rights

Wrong: The crux of the matter lies at the biological level. The real rationale is a demographic explosion which is going on within the Albanian population for a century or so (rate of growth by Albanians four to five time faster than the average rate in other European countries) and the ensuing expansion for Lebensraum

  1. The southern Serbian province is called Kosovo

Wrong. It is Kosovo and Metohia, abbreviated KosMet. Kosovo itself is an abbreviation of Kosovo Polje, what in Serbian language means Blackbird Field (in German Amselfeld). Metohia is a corrupted Greek name for Metohi, meaning dependency to monastery, referring to the land bestowed by Serbian kings and other rulers to the monasteries and churches in KosMet like of Pecka Patrijarshija, Dechani, Grachanica etc. (the 13-14 century).

  1. Ethnic Albanians at KosMet (Shqipetars in the following, as they call themselves) constitute a majority of 90% out of total KosMet’s population

Wrong. In the last reliable census carried out at KosMet in 1961, Shqipetars constituted 67% of the overall population, with (predominantly) Serbs and others sharing the rest. As for the subsequent censuses (1971, 1981, 1991) Shqipetars refused to take part in them. All figures quoted for the period after 1961 are estimates only

  1. Shqipetars are autochthonous population at KosMet

Wrong. In the Middle Age KosMet was the central part of Serbian state, culture and civilization. Shqipetars were tiny minority (about 2%, according to the Ottoman census in 1455), nomadic herdsmen mostly. They came to KosMet from North and Central Albania mainly after the First Great Serb Migration in 1690 from KosMet to Vojvodina (then in Habsburg Empire), after an abortive uprising against the Ottoman rule in 1689. When KosMet was liberated from Ottoman rule in 1912, by Serbia, Serbs and Shqipetars shared equally the overall population there (50% versus 50%). All toponyms (place names) at Kosmet are Slavonic-Serb, except for a few of them (as opposite to the state in Albania)

  1. KosMet is an undeveloped, poor region

Wrong. It is the most fertile land in Serbia (apart from Vojvodina). The average DNP per family is the same as in the rest of Serbia. It is low only if counted per head, since the Shqipetars’ family has six times more children than Serbian family (and former Yugoslavia’s one, for that matter. We are referring to a proper family here, not to the so-called fis, extended Shqipetar family, which may comprise hundreds members). In fact, accounting for the fact that proportionally more Shqipetars are working in the Western Europe, their income are not accounted for when estimating family earnings and KosMet appears better off than the rest of Serbia. That KosMet is a prosperous region can be verified by direct inspection at the spot. KosMet is the biggest coal reservoir in Europe

7.The aim of Shqipetars is an independent Kosova

Wrong. It is a common goal of all Albanians to live in a single (united) national state of (a Greater) Albania. The political program of a Greater Albania is designed in 1878 by the Albanian First Prizren League (1878-1881). This aim has been practically already achieved. KosMet has been practically annexed by Albania as there is no border between KosMet and Albania. As for the West Macedonia, it is a matter of the near future. The next step is Cameria, as the Southern Epirus (today in Greece) is called by Albanians and the East Montenegro

  1. The expulsion of Serbs from KosMet after June 1999 is an act of retaliation

Wrong. The process of Shqipetar committed ethnic cleansing of KosMet goes on for the last century and refers to all non-Shqipetars (Roma, Turks, Croats, etc). It is a clear case of well planned ethnic cleansing, whose rationale is an extreme xenophobia. As a matter of fact, Albania appears the most pure ethnic state in Europe, 98%, with Greeks, Slavs, Jews, Roma, etc. banished in one or other way. After the NATO occupation of KosMet in 1999 the ethnic “purity” has reached the figure of 97%.

  1. Kosmet used to be economically supported by the rest of former Yugoslavia

Wrong. Since the Serbia’s contribution to the Yugoslav Federal Fund for the undeveloped regions matched exactly the amount donated by the Fund to KosMet, it was Serbia which helped KosMet to construct the infrastructure, schools, the Prishtina University, hospitals, factories, mines, etc. Further, since the Shqipetar population consists mainly of children and teenagers, who used to get children allowance, it was another source of enormous income from the rest of Serbia, which had on average less than 1.5 children per family (as compared with 8 with Shqipetars)

  1. There is no such an entity as a Greater Albania

Wrong. Although there not publicized, the maps of that projected united national state of all Albanians do appear occasionally in the Western press, either explicitly, or as the region with predominant Albanian population. The point with the latter is that these regions exceed the (semi) official maps of the future united Albanian state, and even include regions without Albanian population at all!

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  1. Albanians are autochthonous Balkan population descending from the ancient Balkan llyrian tribes

Wrong. They appear in the mid-11th century in the Balkan history and their origin appears uncertain (most probably they came to the Balkans from the Caucasus Albania via Sicily, according to the Byzantine sources, in 1043). As for the claims of Illyrian heritage (which is more a political wishful thinking than a very historical fact), distinguished English linguist Potter wrote “Some would associate it with extinct Illyrian, but with so doing they proceed from little known to the unknown”

  1. The rebellion in Southeast Serbia at Preshevo valley is due to the Belgrade repression on the Shqipetar population there

Wrong. This region was not included into the KosMet (autonomous) region after the WWII, for the simple reason that Shqipetars were a tiny minority at that time there. Now, many villages, which were purely Serb, are inhabited exclusively by Shqipetars. The influx from KosMet, plus the enormous natural birth rate, made this population to be majority in two of three rebellious counties. Due to this fast change in the ethnic structure, and due to the large percentage of young people not eligible for voting, Shqipetars’ representatives there are not proportional to the overall share of the population in the region. In fact Preshevo issue is a paradigm of the Albanian syndrome, as conspicuous at KosMet, and at Macedonia. First comes land occupation, then fight for the “political rights” and finally secession. It is the system which Henry Kissinger called “Domino Game” (referring to the Communist tactics in spreading over the borders). What Slobodan Miloshevic did at Kosmet in 1998 was much the same as J. B. Tito did in 1944-1945, after the Albanian rebellion of the Kosovo Liberation Army (the KLA) at Drenica (February 1998), when the military rule had to be imposed in the Province

  1. Shqipetars used to be friendly with their neighbors. They were protecting Orthodox monasteries there

Wrong. After the World War II more than 250.000 non-Shqipetars moved from KosMet due to the “demographic pressure”, not to mention violence. After NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” in 1999 at least 200.000 (according to some claims up to 300.000) non-Shqipetars fled away from massacres (including and Muslim Turks, Muslim Gorani, Muslim Roma population, etc.). At the same time, more than 200.000 Albanians moved to KosMet after the WWII (most probably even more than 300.000), and about 300.000 after the expulsion of non-Shqipetars in 1999. As for the shrines, they are protected in the same manner as the synagogues in Germany by the NSDAP party members. Only from 1999 to 2001 about 100 monasteries and churches have been leveled to the ground at KosMet. The peak of KosMet Albanian organized ethnic cleansing and destruction of Serb Orthodox shrines came in March 2004 (the „March Pogrom“, March 17-19th, 2004)

  1. The „blood feud“ has been extinguished among Albanians

Wrong. It was much reduced during the communist regimes in the area (Albania, Montenegro, KosMet), but has been revived after the “democratic governments” have taken power in Albania. It is widely spread at KosMet, despite the opposite claims by the local politicians. In fact, the persecution and expulsion of non-Shqipetar population in 1999 was experienced by Shqipetars as a collective blood feud as it is, for instance, recognized by Shqipetar girl Rajmonda from KosMet in the British Channel 4 documentary movie „Why Rajmonda Lied“ (June 1999)

  1. The KFOR holds control at KosMet and helps the region reestablish the order and law

Wrong. It has no control whatsoever over the local population, in particular the irregulars of the KLA, turned into mock police forces. The whole region, y compris North Albania (and Montenegro for that matter) is the European center for drug traffic and smuggling of arms, tobacco etc. There are no proper juridical system, no effective police, prisons, etc. What KFOR/EUFOR can do the most is to protect itself, but it is well aware that when Shqipetars conclude the UN/EU presence is a nuisance for them, international forces will be expelled easily. A single step from “protection force” to hostages would be sufficient, and everybody at the spot is aware of that

  1. Americans are siding with Albanians in the current Balkan affairs

Wrong. They are directly involved, at all levels, from financing, organizing, training, arms supplies, diplomatic supports, etc. Training camps at the North Albania, KosMet, and Macedonia are lead by American instructors, who are engaged even at the front line, as the case with Arachinovo near Skopje illustrates, for instance

  1. The rationale for the American interference into the Albanian issue is a humanitarian concern for human rights in the area

Wrong. All events that lead to the violation of human rights and massacres were induced by Americans and (to a lesser extent) by Germans. Nothing of those would have happened had not the NATO (sic) intervened in the region. The USA is interested in the peace, not in justice. Since Albanians do not appear convenient interlocutors for political discourse, Americans insist to the rest to submit to the Albanian demands, who have made their political goals their political rights! As a “collateral gain” the USA have got an important stronghold in the region (like the  military base Bondsteel at KosMet), a secure (sic) passage for the oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea, via Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, to the Adriatic cost, etc. Another “collateral gain” is, of course, a free traffic of heroin from Afghanistan (occupied and controlled by the USA in 2001) through the area, right to the USA schools, colleges, etc (among other destinations). It is a claim that even 90% of the West European drug market is controlled by Albanian narco-dealers

  1. It was Slobodan Miloshevic who was to blame for the NATO ‘s intervention in 1999

Wrong. It was the Belgrade government responsibility to protect interest of the state of Yugoslavia, in face of a violent rebellion. The manners this state affairs have been conducted, including all eventual misdeeds committed over civilians is a matter of humanitarian concern and should be cleared up at the Hague Tribunal (or other international tribunal for the war crimes). But it does not justify bombing of Yugoslavia nor deprivation of a state to conduct its internal affairs. KosMet issue is much older than Slobodan Miloshevic and much deeper than disputes over political rights and state borders. Macedonia 2001 affairs clearly demonstrate this

  1. Former Yugoslavia disintegrated because of Slobodan Miloshevic

Wrong. His political (sic) manners only provided an excuse to Slovenia and Croatia for leaving Yugoslavia. The real rationale for this understandable decision was to leave the state that was burdened with the time bomb called KosMet, which the Federal Police hardly dismantled in 1981. And, of course, Slovenia and Croatia decided to leave Yugoslavia, a country in which they could not enjoy any more a privileged economic and political position as they used to have after the WWII. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to the dispute between Montenegro and Serbia from 1999 to 2006

  1. It is the duty of the international community to help the Albanian issue settled down

Wrong. The international community does not comprehend the nature of the problem, for good reason, since it is not a political one, but a clash between a Middle Age (tribal) mentality and a (quasi) modern European standard of civilization. The only reasonable way towards a permanent and rational solution would be an a agreement between Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and Albania, on mutual responsibilities and a civilized settling down of this Balkan affair, without interference from the outside, certainly not from the USA. If the USA want to compete for a role of an arbiter, they should first qualify by helping a permanent settling down of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East


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Author: Prof. Petar V. Grujic

2. Sotirovic 2013

Corrector: Assoc. Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

29-11-2014

© Petar V. Grujic & Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2014

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Inside Kacanik, Kosovo’s jihadist capital



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Nestling in a wooded valley that its citizens laid their lives down to defend, the town of Kacanik in southern Kosovo is fiercely proud of its war dead.

Well-kept cemeteries include nearly 100 victims of Serb-led ethnic cleansing in 1999, while in the town centre, a statue clutching an RPG honours fallen members of Brigade 162 of the Kosovan Liberation Army.

But a decade and a half on from the war that brought about Kosovo’s independence, there is rather less pride in Kacanik’s new crop of warriors.

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Infamous son: Lavdrim Muhaxheri, from Kacanik, in Syria 

In the last three years, some 24 local menfolk have gone to fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, giving the town of just 30,000 people an unwanted reputation as the jihadist capital of the Balkans.

To add to the sense of shame, one of them, a 25-year-old recruiter named Lavdrim Muhaxheri, has committed atrocities as gruesome as any of those carried out in Kacanik in 1999, when British troops unearthed a mass grave containing 81 bodies.

Last summer, in an act that sent shockwaves across Kosovo, Muhaxheri posted Facebook pictures of himself apparently beheading another man suspected of spying against the Islamic State. Another shows him executing a Syrian man using an RPG.

“Muhaxheri has given Kacanic a name as the most radical city in Kosovo, if not the whole Balkans,” said Musli Verbani, a local imam, who claims that hardliners forced him from Kacanik’s Islamic Association four years ago. “I warned that this kind of thing was coming, but no-one listened.”

Kosovo, of course, is not alone among European nations in acquiring its own equivalent to Britain’s Jihadi John. But for a nation of just 1.8 million people, it now punches well above its weight in terms of the number of citizens joining Isil.

The interior ministry estimates that some 300 Kosovans have followed in Muhaxheri’s’ footsteps, making Kosovo Europe’s biggest contributor per capita. Along with neighbouring Albania, which has fielded around 200, and nearby Bosnia, which around 160, it is now seen as a potential launch pad for Isil in its bid to establish a new front against Europe in the Balkans.

What also alarms Western security officials, though, is why any Kosovans would join Isil’s fanatics at all.

After all, back in 1999, it was the West that rescued Kosovo’s mainly Muslim population, with Nato bombing raids that halted the campaign of ethnic cleansing by Serb extremists.

Since then it has been staunchly pro-Western, with the capital, Pristina, boasting both a statue of Bill Clinton and a road named after George W Bush, who was president when Kosovo formally gained independence in 2008. There are even young Kosovans named “Tony” in honour of Tony Blair.

Most Kosovans also follow moderate Islam that allows bars on the same street as mosques, and which is enshrined in a new constitution promoting the diversity suppressed during Communism.

Yet those same liberal values have also allowed less tolerant voices to flourish, including hardline Islamic charities that arrived during the chaotic post-civil war years.

Such is the foothold of radicalism in towns like Kacanik that last week, its modest town hall received a personal visit from Kosovo’s interior minister, Skender Hyseni.

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Kacaniku in southern Kosovo where some residents have left to fight in Syria. To the left is the mosque where Imam Musli Verbani was forced from by extremists  Photo: Will Wintercross

“Kosovo is a multi-cultural state, not a terrorist one,” he told assembled officials, speaking at a conference table decked out with the American and Kosovan flags. “Those going overseas are joining groups that spread violence and terror.”

In its defence, the Kosovan government argues that other European nations actually have higher rates of radicalisation if it is counted per head of Muslim population.

But since Muhaxheri’s shocking Facebook post last summer, Mr Hyseni has backed words with action, arresting around 100 suspected extremists, including the grand mufti of the main central mosque in Pristina.

Prosecutions are already pending of various recruiting networks, including one that passed messages via go-betweens at a kebab shop near the Bill Clinton statue.

It is, however, already too late, according to Mr Verbani, the Kacanik imam.

A former KLA fighter, he personifies the moderate face of Kosovan Islam. He studied in Cairo and speaks fluent Arabic, yet looked just like another drinker in the cafe bar where he met The Telegraph, wearing neither a beard nor robes.

It was precisely that secular outlook that he found himself having to defend as far back as 2006, when a confrontation with a young local radical named Jeton Raka turned violent.

“At first Jeton was just another good Kacanik kid, but he became more extremist by the day,” said Mr Verbani. “He said the government of Kosovo was against faith, and that school taught children to be unbelievers. I told him he couldn’t speak like that at my mosque, and eventually he came to my house, saying ‘I will burn you and your family’, and petrol bombed my car. Even then, though, the municipality and the police didn’t help me.”

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Kacaniku in southern Kosovo where some residents have left to fight in Syria  Photo: Will Wintercross

Raka is now believed to be in Syria along with Muhaxheri, while the government crackdown has largely driven the rest of Kacanik’s radical fringe out of town. Even so, locals remain reluctant to talk about the town’s most infamous son, although in such a small community, most know someone now fighting abroad.

Among them is Sadek Dema whose nextdoor neighbour, Hetem Dema, 41, was killed in January after apparently going to fight with Isil’s rival al-Qaeda faction Jabat al-Nusra.

“He fought in the KLA and was always a good and religious man, although he never showed signs of being radical,” said Mr Dema, as Hetem’s five year-old son, Harith, cycled past on his bicycle.

“Nobody is my father now,” Harith shouted out, before Mr Dema could usher him out of earshot. “Now my uncles look after me.”

Quite why Kacanik in particular has become such a hotbed of radicalism is unclear. Some cite its closeness to the border with Macedonia, where they say hardline preachers remain unchecked. Others blame the same lack of prospects that blight everywhere in Kosovo, where the annual GDP is only £2,500 and where youth unemployment is up to 60 per cent.

That same poverty, they also point out, has made Kosovo fertile ground for Islamic charities from the likes of Saudi Arabia, which offer education and welfare programs but also peddle a hardline vision.

Arbana Xharra, a Kosovan journalist who has investigated their activities, says that anyone who speaks ill of them can find themselves denounced and threatened as “Islamophobic”.

“I’ve had to change my kids’ school after I got messages online from people saying they would cut my children’s throats – they even knew what time they went to class,” she said.

Like many moderate Kosovans, she also points the finger at Turkey, whose Islamist government has funded networks of mosques across its Ottoman-era provinces of Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania. And while the Turkish government has denied recent claims that has offered tacit support for Isil in Syria, Kosovans are not the only ones to voice concerns.

One senior diplomat from a moderate Arab regime recently told The Telegraph that radicalism would foster in the Balkans as long as Turkey’s influence remained unchecked. “The EU’s best chance s to get countries Kosovo and Albania into its club,” he warned.

That is a view echoed by Ramadan Ilazi, Kosovo’s 30-year-old deputy minister for EU integration, who says the EU is being too slow in accepting Kosovo’s membership bid. Kosovo’s constitution, he says, is everything that a liberal EU bureaucrat could want, complete with a national anthem that has only music rather than words so “as not to offend anyone”.

Yet to this day, Kosovans cannot even travel to Europe without visa, giving small town youth in places like Kacanik little chance to broaden their horizons.

“Kosovo was built as an antidote to nationalism and the causes of the war,” said Mr Ilazi, who has a picture on his office wall of him shaking President Clinton’s hand as a 14-year-old boy. “But when people don’t see tangible results of their desire to become part of Europe, that allows radicals to suggest that Europe doesn’t want us.”

Still, with Kosovo still also suffering problems with corruption and organised crime, and with Brussels suffering enlargement fatigue, most estimates are that it may be another decade before Pristina enters the Brussels club. That, gives the radicals plenty more time to urge men in towns like Kacanik to head East rather than West.


2015-08-23

By , Chief Foreign Correspondent

Source: The Telegraph

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The myth of NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” in Kosovo



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Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo.

However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness.

This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after.

Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.


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September 4, 2013

Original source of the article: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com

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The killing of Serbian children in Kosovo: The story of a survivor



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At the age of 15 on a riverbank he was shot eight times just for being Serbian. He survived and a few days later during the religious holiday of Transfiguration he was out of his coma. But until now he has not received an answer to his question: who shot the children bathing in the river near the Kosovo village of Gorazdevac on August 13, 2003? In his interview to the Voice of Russia Bogdan Bukumiric tells a wonderful story of his rescue.

“It is not so scary to die as to be buried alive” – this is the inscription on the monument to the victims of Albanian terrorists and the NATO aggression in the small town of Gorazdevac, an oasis and at the same time a ghetto for the Serbian population in Metohija. There are portraits of two boys on the monument – Panto Dakic and Ivan Jovovic. They died on August 13, 2003 on the bank of the Bistrica River when unknown persons opened fire at the people resting there. Four more teenagers were wounded at that moment. Concerning one of them, Bogdan Bukumiric, 15 years of age, the doctors gave the following forecast: 96% chance of death and 4% chance of survival. He survived. He is 24 now, he lives in Belgrade, and when he read the story about the recent acts of vandalism in Kosovo (the monument in Gorazdevac was shot at) published by the Voice of Russia web site, he agreed to share with our journalists his memories of that horrible crime that nobody has been held responsible for.

Bogdan was born in Gorazdevac, where according to him after 1999 people turned immune to the sounds of shooting. After the war and the NATO aggression, which ended in the withdrawal of Serbian troops, the life there was difficult. The village had a population of 1000 and was surrounded by only Albanian settlements. The closest large city is Pec. They had to go there to buy food escorted by KFOR. There was no end to the Albanian provocations: Bogdan’s aunt, Milica Bukumiric, was killed at the doors to her house as somebody threw a grenade into her yard. The youth was isolated from the world – there was no entertainment, no chance to travel from the village; all they had left was only the community at school and around it. There was not even a swimming pool. Why “even”? Perhaps that fact played the lethal role in the whole story…

“My house was the closest to the river. On August 13 all my friends who passed by my house called upon me to go for a swim. I asked my father if I could go. My dad had something like a premonition. He said that I should not go, that the water was still cold. But then I asked again, and as a result went along with my friends. There were a lot of kids at the Bistrica River, as well as lots of youth and parents. I entered the water, it was really cold, and so I went to the fire. Less than ten minutes later I heard machine gun fire. My friends and me stood closest to the terrorists. Three bullets hit me in the left side. The guys and I knew that forest they were shooting from pretty well. I realized that if they came out of the bushes, I would see them. I sharply turned in that direction they were firing from – a few more bullets hit me in the breast and stomach. My legs gave in, I began to fall down, and at that moment a bullet hit me in the head. And the eighth bullet hit my left leg”.

Bogdan cried for help and still tried to get up. The villagers brought the boy to the hospital at the KFOR military base, but the doctor was not there. The wounded boy received the first aid at the local clinic; primarily they tried to stop the bleeding. Bogdan was conscious and kept asking the doctors to take his brother away from the room, as he did not want him to see him in such a state. The local resident demanded that the KFOR personnel take the boy to the hospital in Pec, but they found millions of excuses not to do it. As a result, Bogdan’s brother and his neighbor at their own risk drove him in a car to the completely Albanian town of Pec. “Bogdan, hold on, you are a hero, you will live”, – they kept saying. “I will not surrender”, – was Bogdan’s answer.

“Unfortunately, near the farmers’ market in Pec our car engine stopped. Our license plates were Serbian, so the Albanians attacked us. They destroyed the car, crushed the windows and wanted to drag us out of the car. They hit my neighbor who was trying to start the engine with their fists on the head; my brother was hit with a stone. There was neither mercy nor pity, although they saw a person who was hardly alive. If they dragged us out, we would have not survived. But fortunately, two KFOR patrol cars appeared and started shooting into the air. Up until that moment I was still conscious, but then I was in coma. What happened next I know from the stories of those who were with me”.

Bogdan Bukumiric was first admitted to the local hospital. Another victim of the shooting, Panto Dakic, was there as well.

“Panto was in a bed next to mine. Both the medical personnel and the patients had fun: “You wanted Kosovo, here you go!”, “Whoever did this, he is a good guy!”. Panto’s father would hold his son’s hand in one hand and mine in the other. An Albanian doctor came, but Panto’s father did not let him examine us, since he did not trust him. At that moment my friend died. The doctors believed that I died as well. However, a doctor who came from our village established that I was still alive. She insisted that they transport me by helicopter to the Northern part of Mitrovica. KFOR people said that they needed to get permission. She tried to convince them for three hours, and finally, a helicopter brought in another wounded, Marco Bogicevic to Prizren, and then they took me to the hospital of the French KFOR troops in the Southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica”.

Milenka Cvetkovic, a doctor from the Northern part of Mitrovica played the most important role in saving Bogdan’s life. When she found out about what had happened, despite the risk she went to the Southern, Albanian, part of the city where the French KFOR doctors operated on Bogdan’s spleen (the bullet passes in two millimeters from his left kidney). But when there was a delay in getting a neurosurgeon, the doctor insisted that the boy was taken to Belgrade. Naturally, a Serbian helicopter could not be allowed to land on the territory of Kosovo, but first that information was not openly stated. So in a car Bogdan was taken to central Serbia and from there – to the Military Medical Academy in the capital. Bogdan’s blood pressure went down to 40, but the doctor took all the necessary measures and it was stabilized. Due to the endless bureaucratic delays of KFOR, the entire process of transporting half-alive boy took 11 hours.

“When the doctors at the Military Medical Academy found out that in my body there was only 1.4 liters of blood instead of the normal 5-5.5 liters, they decided not to do the surgery right away. I was given a blood transfusion and the surgery was planned for the next morning. They forecast was the following: 4% chance for survival, 96% chance to die. On August 19, at Transfiguration I was out of coma. My neurosurgeon said that he did not believe that I would regain consciousness, it all depended on my organism”.

But it was only the beginning: Bogdan had a high fever and it turned out that the splinters of the bone damaged the cortex. Bogdan survived through four surgeries, had meningitis, and was motionless for four months – only the right side of his body functioned. But thanks to the exercises and of course, his perseverance he got back on his feet. Many high-ranking officials visited him at the hospital, including Harri Holkeri, who at that time was the UNMIK chief.

“He hurried to catch a plane; he asked me about my health and wished me a fast recovery and return to my home village, where everything was peaceful and under control. I asked him: Mr. Holkeri, can I ask you a question? Have you arrested the criminals? He clearly did not expect such a question from a 15-year old boy. He was at a loss and said that they were working on it, but had not collected sufficient evidence”.

For many years has Bogdan corresponded with various international organizations in Kosovo. They promised to «leave no stone unturned » in order to find the murderers: between 2003 and 2007 nothing much was done, then a new group started the investigation from scratch. They wrote to him that if new evidence came up, the investigation would be continued. But all the same, – says Bogdan, – justice will eventually take over.

“Monsters did that. To shoot at children who are having fun at the river… The youngest kids were about five years old. And it was a specifically developed plan – to scare us. They could not drive us away from the village and decided to strike at the most sensitive place for every person – the children”.

Bogdan has gone through many recovery courses, but even now he cannot fully control his left arm. Maybe in Russia there are doctors that can help me, because after all that I have gone through, I deserve to have everything right, – he says. However, the fate has another «surprise» in store for Bogdan Bukumiric. In 2003 he received an apartment in the Serbian capital as a long-term use with the right to buy it out. Then the decision was changed, and now every year he has no sign an agreement to extend the lease. Bogdan is afraid that one day they would come to remind him of such a thing as market driven terms and would tell him to move out.

“The publication “Vecernje novosti” has launched a campaign to collect funds to buy out the apartment. They estimated its value to be 59 thousand euro; I do not have that much money. Thus, I am forced to ask others for help, as it appears that the state is not interested in my problem. Right now about 6 thousand has been raised. I don’t know where to get the remaining sum. This problem needs to be resolved within a month or two”.

Bogdan lives with his brother and father. His mother died when the boy was five. He is currently not working, although he graduated from a school for electricians. He is completely dedicated to staying healthy. Bogdan Bukumiric cannot go back to Gorazdevac as he has to constantly be under the observation of the best available doctors in the capital. But the other children wounded on August 13, 2003, continue to live in the village of Gorazdevac. The families of the killed Panto and Ivan are also there.

“At the Gorazdevac cemetery there is a church that is the oldest in the Balkans. It was built without a single nail eight centuries ago. And I believe it protects my homeland. Gorazdevac was not burned down during World War I, it was not abandoned in World War II, or in the 1999 war or during all the events that followed; my village lived through all that”.

Irina Antanasijevic, the teacher of the Russian language and literature, who has lived in Kosovo for any years wrote in her memoires about the early 2000s: “The disarmament of Kosovo was the disarmament of the Serbian peasants, the shooting of who then turned into a sport of some sort. It was not even an extreme kind of sport. There was no danger. Go… shoot… leave, and then soldiers would arrive who would deal with the evacuation of the dead bodies and turning the stones…”


2013-02-13

By Timur Blokhin

Source: American Council for Kosovo

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Book: Prof. Petar V. Grujic, KOSOVO KNOT, Pittsburg, PA: Rosedog Books, 2014, pp. 450 (available on amazon.com)



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Kosovo has been a troublesome region of West Balkan for the last half millennium. The latest events, which have resulted in NATO occupation of the southern province of Serbia, marked the culmination of the violence that includes both domestic and international agencies.

p_grujicMany authors have dealt with the Kosovo affair, but none of them endeavored to present a complete picture of the case. This book attempts to provide a broad and objective analysis of the problem from the historical, anthropological, political and sociological points of view. The emphasis is on the sociological side of the conflicts.

Only by understanding the differences of the mental structures and civilizations of the populations involved can one hope to achieve a just and sustainable solution. It is shown that the Kosovo affair is a part of the perennial issue of montagnards versus plane people.

This forms the background of the conflicts West Balkan has witnessed in the last decades. The Kosovo case cannot be considered isolated from the global political situation and this book provides bold, even provocative, examinations of the principal players from outside.

It provides also a detailed account of the political situation in Serbia for the last half century, with a detailed account of the struggle to overthrow Milosevic’s regime.

From the book review

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Albanology and political claims of the Albanians



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The interest of European scholars, primarily German and Austrian, in research on Albanian ethnical origin rose gradually during the second half of the 19th century.[1] Their interest in Albanian and Balkan studies came later in comparison with the study of other ethnic groups and regions in Europe. The reason was that Euro-centrism of the late 19th century and the early 20th century defined the Balkans and its nations as the territory and peoples of obscure identity. In contrast to the  “real Europe”, the Balkans was seen as the “Orient”, not part of Europe at all, and above all it was considered as an “uncivilized” part of the world.[2]

Nonetheless, when the studies of the Albanians began the research was focused on the relationships of  the Albanian language to other European languages. However, the first hypothesis with respect to Albanian ethnic origins was quite indistinct and very soon discarded by the majority of scholars. According to a nebulous hypothesis proposed by A. Schleicher, the Albanians originated from the Pelasgians who were supposed to be the most indigenous Balkan population, settled not only on the entire territory of the Balkan Peninsula, but also inhabited a major portion of the Mediterranean basin in pre-historic times.[3] Moreover, it was erroneously believed that Indo-European languages such as Greek, Latin and “ancient” Albanian (i.e., the Illyrian language) were derived from the ancient Pelasgian language. However, some of Albanian scholars at present still believe that this hypothesis has real scientific foundations regardless of the fact that later 19th century linguists and researchers in comparative philology undermined the “Pelasgian” hypothesis and finally at the beginning of the 20th century overturned it.[4]

The German linguist Franz Bopp was first to claim (in 1854) that the Albanian language had to be considered as separate branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The scientific foundation of the hypothesis that the Albanians derive their ethnic origin from the Balkan Illyrians based on language criteria was laid out by the late 19th century Austrian philologists Gustav Meyer. He claimed that  the contemporary Albanian language was a dialect of the ancient Illyrian language. His claims initially were based on the results of the analysis of a few hundred basic Albanian words, tracable to their Indo-European origin. Later, Albanian national workers transformed Meyer’s hypothesis into the “Illyrian” theory of the Albanian ethnic background. Meyer’s hypothesis was based on the results of his linguistic investigations and comparisons of ancient Illyrian language to contemporary Albanian. Meyer argued that the modern Albanian language had to be considered as the last phase of the evolution of the old Illyrian language. Specifically, according to him, the 19th century Albanian language was a dialect of the ancient Illyrian language.[5] However, the critical problem with Mayer’s methodology was the fact that we do not have any evidence of the ancient Illyrian language as the Illyrians were illiterate. The reconstruction of this ancient language is a matter of the science of fantasy. Nevertheless, G. Meyer, a professor at Graz University from 1880 to 1896 wrote several works in which he opposed A. Schleicher’s Pelasgian theory of Albanian origin. Mayer claimed in his works (Albanesischen Studien, Albanesische Grammatik, Etymologische Wörterbuch der Albanesischen Schprache) that Albanian language was nothing more than a dialect of the ancient Illyrian language.[6]

Meyer’s hypothetical claims were taken up by a majority of Albanian authors, primarily from Italy, who made use of them for the propaganda directed to the realization of Albanian territorial claims, especially by the Albanian nationalist movement in the coming decades. The final aim of this propaganda work was to prove, using the evidence derived from scholarly research, that the Albanians were not members of ethnic Turk, Greek or South Slavic populations, but rather members of a totally different ethnic group, which had its own language. In other words, they fought for international recognition of the existence of separate Albanian nationhood which had certain national rights, including the basic right to create their own national independent (Albanian) state. Such a national state of the Albanians would embrace all Albanian populations of the Balkan Peninsula. For instance, on May 30th, 1878 the Albanian Constantinople Committee proclaimed their desire for  peaceful coexistence between the Albanians and their Slavonic and Greek neighbors, but only under the  condition that the Albanian ethnographic lands would be included into a unified Albanian national state.

The so-called Italo-Albanians, or Arbereshi, whose predecessors emigrated from Albania after the death of Scanderbeg in 1468 to the southern Italian provinces of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, formulated this political program for the  unification of  Albanians into a united or Greater Albania. The program underlined that the achievement of national unity and the liberation of the Albanians required their territorial unification, joint economy, joint standardized language and a pervasive spirit of patriotism and mutual solidarity. The Albanian national leader from the end of the 19th century, Naïm Frashëri (1846–1900), described what it meant to be Albanian: “All of us are only single tribe, a single family; we are of one blood and one language”.[7] It is obvious that on the question of national unification at the turn of the 20th century Albanian workers would seek an Albanian ethnic and cultural identity primarily in common language since in Albanian case religion was a divisive rather than unifying factor. Additionally, and for the same purpose of national unification, they demanded that Albanian language be written in the Latin alphabet in order to distinguish themselves from the neighboring Greeks, Serbs, Montenegrins and Ottoman lords. This was totally irrelevant to the overwhelming majority of Albanians who could read neither the script.[8] However, the national unification of Albanian people on the basis of language was not completely successful, and even today it is still difficult for the Gheg Albanians to fully understand the Tosk Albanian dialect.[9]

Endnotes:

[1] The question of Albanian ethnogenesis was first examined by Johan Thunmann (1746−1778) in 1774 (Research on history of the East European peoples, Leipzig) and Johan Georg von Hahn (1811−1869) in 1854 (Albanian studies, Jena). Both were of the opinion, but not based on any source, that the Albanians lived in the territories of the ancient Illyrians and they were natives and Illyrian in essence. Hahn thought that ancient names like Dalmatia, Ulcinium, Dardania, etc. were of Illyrian-Albanian origin. This hypothesis is fully accepted by modern Albanian linguists. For example, “The name of Ragusium (present-day Dubrovnik), which in the mouth of the Albanians was Rush Rush, shows that the Adriatic coast was part of the territory inhabited by the ancestors of the Albanians beyond the present ethnic borders. The adoption of this name by the Albanians belongs to the time since 614 B.C… I conclude that there is a continuity of the Albanians in their present territories since ancient times. The old place-names in their present form indicate that this population has continuously inhabited the coasts of the Adriatic from that time until today” [Çabej E., “The problem of the autochthony of Albanians in the light of place-names”,Buletini i Universitetit Shteteror te Tiranes, № 2, 1958, pp. 54–62]. This standpoint is usually unquestionably recognized as truth by Albanian and German researchers like Peter Bartl in his book: Albanian. Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, Regensburg, Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1995 [Serb language edition: Бартл П., Албанци од средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, p. 15]. However, the Illyrian theory of  Albanian origin (the Albanians were considered even as the oldest European people) was created by German and Austrian scholars for the very political purpose: to unite all ethnic Albanians around the central political ideology and national consciousness [Батаковић Т. Б., Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, Друго допуњено издање, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, pp. 66−67; Екмечић Е., Стварање Југославије 1790−1918, II, Београд, 1989, pp. 450−455]. At that time, like today, the ethnic Albanians were divided into three antagonistic confessions (Islam, Roman-Catholicism and Orthodoxy) and many hostile clans based on the tribal origin. In fact, the German scholars invented for the Albanians both artificial tradition and artificial “imagined community” in order to be more scientifically stronger in their territorial claims against the Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks. In this context, we cannot forget that the first Albanian state was created and supported exactly by Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1912−1913. In the other words, the Albanians have been the Balkan clients of German political expansionism in the region.   

[2] Mishkova D., “Symbolic Geographies and Visions of Identity: A Balkan Perspective”, European Journal of Social Theory, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2008, pp. 237−256.

[3] On ancient Balkan Pelasgians as the Greek tribes, see [Zorzos G., Greek Pelasgian Tribes Textbook, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2009 (in Greek)].

[4] However, even today there are many non-Albanian scholars who believe in a theory of Albanian Balkan origin as one of the oldest European nations. See, for instance [Jacques E. E., The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Jefferson, N. Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2009].

[5] Regarding the contemporary scientific results on this question, see [Hamp E. P., “The Position of Albanian”, Proceedings of Conference on Indo-European Linguistics, Los Angeles, 1963].

[6] Батаковић Т. Д., Косово и Метохија. Историја и идеологија, Друго допуњено издање, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, p. 66.

[7] Gut Ch., “Groupe de Travail sur l’Europe Centrale et Orientale”, Bulletin d’Information, № 2, June 1878, Paris, p. 40.

[8] The international political aspect of the Albanian struggle for a pan-Albanian national unification into a Greater Albania is evidenced by the fact that Albanian national workers tried to obtain the support of Western Europeans by claiming that Greater Albania would be the crucial bulwark against Russian penetration to the Balkans via Russian client (Orthodox) nations and states – the Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks. For instance, Montenegro was presented by the Albanians as “the Russian outpost at the Adriatic Sea”. The Albanian Sami Frashëri published an article in Istanbul newspapers Tercüman-i şark on September 27th, 1878 in which the borders of Greater Albania were defined by the borders of four “Albanian” provinces (vilayets) of the Ottoman Empire – Scodra, Bitola, Ioanina and Kosovo. These four provinces would be united into the so-called “Albanian Vilayet” (see figure 1). The First Prizren League, as the first organized Albanian political organization, accepted this concept in autumn of 1879 as the programe of the organization [Бартл П., Албанци од средњег века до данас, Београд: CLIO, 2001, pp. 96, 100−101].

[9] Hobsbawm E. J., Nations and Nationalism since 1789. Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 52, 115. About the language basis of (non)identification among the Albanians from the beginning of the 20th century see: Durham E., High Albania, London, 1909, p. 17. On Albanian modern history, see [Vickers M., The Albanians: A Modern History, London−New York: I. B. Tauris, 2006].


2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017

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The Albanian Origin: The main challenges of research



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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 (i.e., the ethnogenesis of the Albanians) has been politicized subsequent to the Second World War. The question is related both to the ancient history of the Albanians and to the pre-history of their language.

For some German and Austrian 19th century linguists and historians it was evident that the Albanians had been an autochthonous population in Albania since pre-Greco-Roman times. These scholars accepted the theory that the 19th century Albanian nation represented a direct ethnic continuity of the autochthonous Balkan people – the ancient Illyrians. For Albanian scientists it is incontestable that not only cultural, but also, ethnic continuity extends from the ancient Illyrians to present-day Albanians. Many of the 20th century scholars, especially after the Second World War, however, held an opposite opinion, i.e., that the theory of the Illyrian origin of the Albanians is not supported by any single historical source! They claimed that the Albanians are not a native Balkan population but newcomers to present-day Albania from more or less distant regions.

The main two arguments for the second “anti-Illyrian” hypothesis or theory are: 1) the Dacian-Albanian-Romanian linguistic connections (but not the Illyrian-Albanian one); and 2) the place-names in Albania, which indicate a lack of Illyrian-Albanian continuity. Nevertheless, the second approach to the question of Albanian ethnogenesis, i.e. that the Albanians are the newcomers to the Balkan Peninsula who came later compared to all Albanian neighbors, is backed by several historical sources.

The Albanians believe themselves to be the last pure and direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians, the Balkan people who lived on the peninsula in Antiquity. Many scholars consider the Albanians the offspring population of the ancient inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula, either the Pelasgians or the Illyrians, i.e. the population residing in this part of Europe before the Middle Ages. During the mid-19th century and especially after the establishment of the Albanian national-political organisation – the First League of Prizren in 1878 the romanticist understanding of nationhood based on the linguistic principle prevailed among the Albanian intellectuals, particularly among those living as the emigrants in Italy (the Arabëresh, as the Italo-Albanians called themselves).[1]

The Albanian national movement Rilindja assumed an anti-South Slavic (mostly anti-Serbian) and anti-Greek political-ideological orientation, which in any case cannot be considered as anti-Christian. The Albanian national identity is derived from confrontation with, and from, differences relative to their neighbours. The majority of Albanian political activists from the time of the Rilindja accepted the German-Romanticist principle of “linguistic” nationhood and they created the notion of the designation of the Albanians as an ethnic group as their mother tongue was the Albanian language.[2] However, referring to the linguistic evidences some scholars defend the thesis that the Albanians are descendants of the ancient Dacians who inhabited the lands south of the Danube river (the Roman provinces of Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior) and migrated south-west to the territory of present-day Albania. There are some serious indications that point to the Albanian ethnic origin in Dacian-Moesian roots. This is supported by the fact that Albanian name for themselves–Shqiptars, is a word of Dacian-Moesian origin, which means the “highlanders” in the Bulgarian language.  

However, the proponents of the Illyrian theory of Albanian ethnogenesis connected the modern international name for the Albanians with Albanoi which was the name of the Illyrian tribe living in present-day North Albania, mentioned for the first time in the works of the Greek geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D.

The ideology and efforts of the Albanian national movement from 1878 to 1913 to unify the entire Albanian Balkan population who lived in compact masses in a single independent ethnically homogenous state of the Albanians jeopardazied the territorial integrity of Serbian, Montenegrin and Greek national states. Since the Second World War that situation has been replaced through various projects to re-create the 1941−1945 “Greater” Albania.

As would be expected, various historical developments have brought about numerous transformations of the Albanians that produced an alternation of their real (the Caucasus) ethnic entity. There are no “pure” peoples (nations) in the world and the Albanians are not “pure”, either. There is an ethnic substratum that is present in all Balkan peoples (nations). However, it is evident that the Albanians have retained some of the Illyrian elements in their ethnic make-up for this very reason: they were settled in Illyrian territory in 1043. But, on the other hand, all the peoples (nations) who today live in the Western and Central Balkans possess Illyrian  traits.[3] However, in the other regions of the Western and the Central Balkans, the Slavic element is predominant. Among the Albanians the Latinized Illyrian elements are strong, especially with respect to language. Nevertheless, this fact cannot be utilized to claim that Albanian historical and ethnic rights to certain Balkan territories are stronger and older than Slavic or Greek ones. In making this point, the Illyrian-Albanian cultural-ethnic continuation could gain a new political dimension with the inter-ethnical conflicts in the Balkans, which already exist, as a “Greater” Albania is from 1999 in the process of re-creation. The first Balkan province already de facto incorporated into the united national state of the Illyro-Albanians with the capital in Tirana is Kosovo and Metohija.  

Endnotes:

[1] On political ideas in the Romantic Age in Europe, see [Berlin I., Political Ideas in the Romantic Age, Vintage Digital, 2012].

[2] On Albanian renaissance in political thought, see [Ypi L. L., “The Albanian Renaissance in Political Thought: Between the Enlightenment and Romanticism”, East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2007, pp. 661−680].

[3] On ancient Illyrians, see [Stipcevic A., The Illyrians: History and Culture, Noyes Press, 1977; Wilkes J., The Illyrians, Oxford, England−Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1995; Evans A., Ancient Illyria: An Archaeological Exploration, London: I. B. Tauris, 2007].


2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017

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Understanding Albanian nationality and regional political-security consequences



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The Albanian nationhood as understood in the 19th century was part of a romanticist notion of nationality, i.e., the Albanians were the Balkan people whose mother tongue was Albanian regardless of any confessional division of Albanian people into three denominations (Moslem, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox). Within the north Albanian tribes, especially among the Miriditi, the Roman Catholic Church was very influential. The Roman Catholic Church became the main protector of the Albanian language and cultural heritage and the main protagonist of the national identity of the Albanians in the Northern Albania.[1] The expression of common notions of the Albanian nationhood were expressed by the Albanian political leadership in the years of the Balkan Wars 1912–1913 in slogans such as: “Neve Shqiptar nuk jemi Greke, Sllav, or Teerk, neve jemi Shqiptar” (“We Albanians are not the Greeks, Slavs, or Turks, we are the Albanians”).

The Albanian political “methodology” from the time of the First Prizren League in 1878 until the Balkan Wars was applied in preparation for unification of all “ethnically Albanian territories” in the Balkans into (a “Greater”) Albania – a single national state of all Albanians, i.e., within the ethnic borders demanded by the League in the years of its existence from 1878 to 1881. Essentially similar national-state concepts were also included in the political programs of the Albanian Peja (Pejë) League, from 1899, the Greater Albanian Kosovo Committee, from 1920, and the Second Prizren League, from 1943. This included preservation of the traditional, common law and local community[2] as the organizational basis of the national movement followed by the demand for unification of all territories populated by the Albanians became Albanian primary national interest from 1878 onward.

Clearly, the process of creation of Albanian nationality was not yet completed at the end of the 19th century. The Albanian nation was not considered a political reality in Europe by many politicians at that time. The Albanian people were among the last ones in Europe to build up their own national identity and national community.[3] When during the sessions of the Congress of Berlin in 1878 the question of Albania and the Albanians was put on the agenda, the German Chancellor (Kanzzelar) Otto von Bismarck decisively rejected discussing it with the explanation that there was no Albanian nationality.[4] For him, the Albanians were the Turks. At the same time, the Serbs (either from Serbia or from Montenegro) and the Greeks considered themselves as a nation (i.e., ethnic groups which had their own state organizations), and as such were understood by Europe, while the Albanians were understood as the Balkan ethnic group (i.e., the group of people who did not have its own state). Consequently, the ethnic group of Albanians could live only as an ethnic minority included into some of the Balkan national state(s) and could not expect more than the right to autonomy within it (them). At the turn of the 20th century many politicians in Serbia, Montenegro and Greece shared the opinion that the ethnic group of the Albanians was culturally and politically incapable of a modern national development and above all unable and  insufficiently competent to establish and rule their own national state.[5] The backwardness of the development of Albanian society at the beginning of the 20th century was evidenced by the fact that the initiation of a  process of modernization shook the Albanian tribal society, but failed to replace it with a modern industrial, parliamentary and civil society. The Albanian national movement was seen as an archaic social movement that could not reach a level of national cohesion in modern terms. This movement produced among the Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks a feeling of jeopardization of the political and territorial integrity of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.[6] For them, the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian continuity was in essence a nationalistic ideological construction which became a driving politically-ideological force for Albanian politicians to create, from the Albanian point of view, their ethnic borders according to Albanian acquired rights.[7] Geopolitically, this project, from 1878 to the present, demands not only the territories which ethnically and historically belong to the Albanians, but goes beyond them and encompasses the entire Illyrian-Albanian ethnic population, dispersed in different areas over the neighboring Balkan regions: Kosovo and Metohija, southern parts of Central Serbia, Çameria (Greek Epirus and Greek Western Macedonia), the western portion of the Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM) and the Eastern Montenegro.[8]

Albania ISIL flag

However, contrary to the theory of the backwardness of Albanian social development, the Albanian political and intellectual leadership from the turn of the 20th century has argued that the Albanians met all conditions required by contemporary political science to be recognized as a nation: 1) they have their separate ethnic, linguistic and cultural identity; 2) the Albanian settlements in the Balkans are compact; 3) the Albanians have a very precisely defined national program; and 4) they possess the abilities to build up a community and their own independent state which would be self-governed.[9]

The Albanian political and intellectual leadership often stressed that the Albanian people with their own national idea would never be successfully integrated either into Serbian, Montenegrin or Greek societies and states. That is, in addition to numerous and diverse causes, also due to the fact that the Albanians do not belong to the Slavic or Greek linguistic and cultural groups. There is also significant divergence of national development of the Serbs, Montenegrins, Greeks, on the one hand, and the Albanians, on the other. These nations had a different kind of national movements and distinctly different political elite and national ideology. However, the Albanian national ideology of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis was created and still exists as a pure myth in the form of a quasi-scientific political propaganda for the sake of the creation of a “Greater” Albania.

Finally, the Albanians surely were among the very few Balkan peoples who managed to find an internal balance between three faiths and to build up the national identity associated with each one as Islam is followed by 70% of Albanian population (primarily from Albania proper, Kosovo and Metohija, the Western Macedonia and the Eastern Montenegro), Eastern Orthodoxy is professed by 20% of the Albanians (chiefly from the Southern Albania and the Greek Northern Epirus) and Roman Catholicism is adhered by 10% of the Albanians (mainly from the Northern Albania proper and Kosovo and Metohija).[10] In one word, the Illyrian theory of the Albanian ethnogenesis played a crucial role in forming a common Albanian identity regardless on confessional division of the Albanians.

The 19th century movement of the Albanian national awakening started half a century later in contrast to a similar process of other Balkan nations and an entire century after similar movements in Central Europe. The cause of this delay was a general national-cultural underdevelopment of the Albanian people who lived under the Ottoman Empire for centuries without cultural and ideological connections to Western Europe where the ideology and movement of nationalism emerged and spread throughout the European continent. Subsequently, the ideas of national identification, national statehood and the concept of historical-ethnic territorial boundaries was realized by Albania’s neighbors (the Greeks, Serbs and Montenegrins) well in advance of the Albanian people. When Albanian intellectuals during and after the Great Eastern Crisis 1875–1878 theoretically shaped the thought and concept of the Albanian national idea related to the question of fixing Albanian national territories and creating an Albanian national state, they faced, and had to struggle with, Serbian, Montenegrin and Greek national aspirations towards the realization of their own national statehood. This ideological, political and military fight was focused primarily on the question upon certain “national” soils on the Balkans which would be included either into a united Serbia, united Montenegro, united Greece or united Albania: Kosovo and Metohija, Northern Epirus, Western Macedonia, Skadar (Skutari) region in the Northwest Albania and the territories around the city of Ulcinj and the Bojana river in the Eastern Montenegro.

The national program of the First League of Prizren set up the following two ultimate national goals of the Albanians: 1) the national liberation of all Albanians, of whom a majority lived within the Ottoman Empire and a minority in the independent states of Serbia and Montenegro; and 2) the creation of a national state of the Albanians in which the entire Albanian historical and ethnic territories would be incorporated into Greater Albania. This second requirement led the Albanians in subsequent decades into open conflict with the neighboring Christian states: Serbia, Montenegro and Greece. The national awakening of the Albanian people in the years of 1878–1912 resulted in the establishment of an ideology of nationhood and statehood that was, to a greater or lesser extent, challenged and opposed by all  of Albania’s neighbors today – the Serbs, Greeks, Montenegrins and the Macedonian Slavs.

Endnotes:

[1] Draškić S., “Nadmetanje Austro-Ugarske i Italije koncem XIX i početkom XX veka u Albaniji”, Albansko pitanje u novoj istoriji, III, Beograd: Marksistička misao, 2-1986, pp. 129–132. See also: [Starova G., “The Religion of the Albanians in the Balkan European Context”, Balkan Forum, Skopje, vol. 1, № 4, 1993, pp. 201–204].

[2] On Albanian traditional common law, see [The Code of Lekë Dukagjini, New York: Gjonlekaj Publishing Company, 1989; Salihu V., Qerimi I., Social Organization and Self-Government of Albanians According to the Costumary Law, GRIN Verlag, 2013 (in German); Gjeçovi Sh., Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014].

[3] On this issue, see more in [Schwandner-Sievers S., Fischer J. B., Albanian Identities: Myth and History, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2002].

[4] Logoreci A., The Albanians. Europe’s Forgotten Survivors, Colorado, 1977, p. 41.

[5] Such approach can be understood as an old theory, which was used during the Balkan Wars 1912–1913 to justify Serbian conquest of the Northern Albania, Greek occupation of Southern Albania and Montenegrin military taking of the city of Skadar/Scutari [Туцовић Д., Србија и Албанија, један прилог критици завојевачке политике српске буржоазије, Београд, 1913, pp. 177–118].

[6] The Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonian Slavs and Greeks accuse Albanian intellectuals and politicians of using the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnic, linguistic and cultural continuity for the sake of realizing the political concept of a “Greater Albania” in the Balkans (see figure 2). This concept cannot be realized without a radical change of the borders of the Balkan states established in 1912–1913, following two Balkan Wars. Such a change in the borders would violate the territorial integrity of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. In conclusion, the concept of a “Greater” Albania, based among other ideological constructions and on the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis, may serve as a prelude to a Third Balkan War. Regarding the concept and consequences of creation of a “Greater” Albania at the Balkans, see [Čanak J. (ed.), “Greater Albania”. Concept and possible Consequences, Belgrade: the Institute of Geopolitical Studies, Belgrade, 1998; Borozan Đ., “Greater Albania”-Origins, Ideas, Practice, Belgrade: the Institute of Military History of the Yugoslav Army, Belgrade, 1995]. It should be stressed that in addition to Orthodoxy and the so-called St. Sava’s spiritual legacy, the province of Kosovo and Metohija (i.e., Serbia proper) is the third pillar of Serbian national identity. Contrary to the Serbian case, Kosovo and Metohija are not of any significance for Albanian national identity. Regarding the (crucial) importance of Kosovo and Metohija for the Serbs from historical perspective, see: [Самарџић Р. и други, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Српска књижевна задруга, 1989].

[7] See more in: [Илири и Албанци, Научни скупови, књ. XXXIX, Београд: САНУ, 1988].

[8] According to the map of United Albania, composed by Ali Fehmi Kosturi and distributed since 1938. Historically, there were two attempts to create a “Greater” Albania: first in 1912 supported by Austria-Hungary, and second in 1941 with the direct intervention of fascist Italy and the logistic support of the Third Reich. In both cases the concept of “Greater” Albania reasserted the demands of the 1878–1881 Albanian First League of Prizren to create an Albanian state inside alleged Illyrian-Albanian historical-ethnic borders.

[9] Similar arguments referring to Kosovo and Metohija were presented by the Albanian Kosovo intelligentsia in the 1990s during the Kosovo crisis and the war. See, for example: [Maliqi S., “Strah od novih ratnih uspeha”, Borba, Beograd, September 16th, 1993].

[10] To date, the Albanian Muslims are the main corps of the Albanian national movement and nationalism. The concept of “United”, or “Greater”, Albania, in its original form (from 1878), was under the strong influence of conservative, political Islam.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017

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Kosovo-Metochia: What does it mean?



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Five facts about Kosovo the #fakenews media is lying to you about



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1. Kosovo is not ancient Albanian land

Its very name comes from the Serbian word “kos,” meaning blackbird. Its Albanian name, “Kosova,” means nothing whatsoever.

Kosovo was the heartland of medieval Serbian state and the site of the 1389 battle in which both the Serbian prince and the Ottoman sultan died, checking the Turkish expansion into the Balkans for almost 70 years. Ethnic Albanians were settled there by the Ottomans over the intervening centuries, and became a majority due to pogroms and persecution of Serbs – which began under Ottoman rule but continued under Austro-Hungarian occupation in WWI and German/Italian occupation in WWII.

Kosovo was never a political entity of any kind until 1945, when the Communist regime that reconstructed Yugoslavia after Axis occupation (with which Albanians overwhelmingly collaborated) created the “Autonomous Region of Kosovo & Metohija” – the latter being a Greek word describing church lands.

The Communists also forbid any Serbs expelled in WW2 to return to Kosovo, cementing its ethnic Albanian majority, which further grew through an influx of illegal immigrants from Enver Hoxha’s Albania and the ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians since the NATO occupation began in 1999.

2. Operation Allied Force

The 1999 NATO bombing campaign, was not a legitimate humanitarian intervention approved by the UN.

It was a war of aggression, in violation of both the NATO and the UN charter. Contrary to what the mainstream Narrative says today, NATO’s justification for the war was not Serbian “human rights violations” against the Albanians. No, the bombing began as a way to force Serbia to accept the ultimatum issued at the French chateau of Rambouillet, in which NATO demanded a 3-year occupation of the province and a NATO-organized referendum that would give the ethnic Albanians independence.

It was at Rambouillet that the US negotiated on behalf of the “Kosovo Liberation Army,” a separatist group it had previously acknowledged as terrorists. As part of its terrorist campaign to separate Kosovo from Serbia, the KLA has engaged in murder, assassination, extortion, torture, and trafficking in drugs, guns, sex slaves and even human organs.

3. Serbia did not kill 10,000 ethnic Albanian civilians during the 1999 war

That figure is an estimate based on assertions by NATO, entirely unsupported by any facts whatsoever – same as the “up to 100,000 men” speculated by NATO propagandists during the war itself. Western media continue to repeat it the same way they repeated the claim of 300,000 dead in Bosnia, which was later revised down to under 100,000.

4. There was no Serbian plan to deport a million ethnic Albanians

The so-called “Operation Horseshoe” was concocted by German and Bulgarian intelligence to provide justification for the illegal and illegitimate NATO war (see #2 above), to the point where they used the Croatian word for horseshoe. While there was a mass exodus of Albanians towards Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro (odd, since it was part of Yugoslavia same as Serbia), some evidence suggests that may have been orchestrated by NATO and the KLA.

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5. Kosovo’s “independence” is neither legal nor legitimate

UN Resolution 1244, which authorized a NATO-led peacekeeping mission after the June 1999 armistice, reaffirmed Kosovo’s status as a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Legally, it remained a province of Serbia, whose integrity was sacrosanct on the same grounds as Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia (and later Montenegro) were recognized in their Communist-drawn borders when the proto-European Union and the US decided to declare Yugoslavia nonexistent in 1992.

In February 2008, the provisional administration of Kosovo set up under the UN viceroy and NATO occupation, declared independence – based on a plan rejected by the UN Security Council, the final arbiter of Resolution 1244.

The International Court of Justice later tortured logic and language to rule that international law didn’t say anything about random people making such declarations – but these were not random people. Their very legitimacy rested on the UN mandate, which their declaration violated.

President Barack Obama lied in March 2014 that there was internationally recognized and supervised referendum on the issue; there wasn’t. No mainstream media outlet ever called him on it, though.


2017-01-30

Source: Gray Falcon

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A short history of Kosovo-Metochia



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The region of Kosovo & Metohija (Metochia in English) was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of Peć in the western portion of the region called Metohija. The capital of Serbian Empire proclaimed in 1346 was also in Metohija in the city of Prizren which is known in Serbian history as the “Imperial city” or “Serbian Constantinople”. The term Metohija means the land in possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church and according to the archival documents c. 70% of the territory of Kosovo & Metohija was in the legal possession of the Serbian Orthodox Church till 1946 when the new Serbophobic Communist authorities, lead by non-Serb party cadre, “nationalized” the land of the church under the policy of agrarian reform and delivered it to the Albanian peasants.

However, contrary to the Serbian case, for Albanians Kosovo & Metohija is not central national land: moreover it is just peripheral for the very reason they started to settle Kosovo & Metohija from the northern Albania only after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo & Metohija in 1690 during the Austrian-Ottoman War (Vienna War) 1683-1699. That the Albanians, contrary to the Serbs, are not aboriginal people in Kosovo & Metohija is clearly showing the first preserved Ottoman census (“defter”) related to Kosovo & Metohija done in 1485, i.e. only 30 years after this province became occupied by the Turks and included into administrative system of the Ottoman Empire (in 1455). By analysing the personal names and place names from this document already ex-Yugoslav linguists claimed that it is obvious that only 2% of them are of Albanian origin. However, after the First (when c. 100.00 Serbs emigrated from Kosovo & Metohija to the Southern Hungary) and the Second (during the new Austrian-Ottoman War in 1737-1739) Great Serbian Migrations from Kosovo & Metohija, the ethnic composition of the region gradually was changed for the reason that the Ottoman authorities invited neighbouring loyal Muslim Albanians (in Turkish language „Arnauts“) from the Northern Albania (the speakers of the Geg dialect of the Albanian language) to settle this region. Consequently, according to the Austrian historiography and statistoics, only at the end of the 19th c. a tiny Albanian majority became reality at Kosovo & Metohija: in 1899 it was 47,9% of Albanians compared to 43,7% of the Serbs, while in 1871 Serbian majority was clear with 63,6% of the Serbs vs 32,2% of the Albanians. According to official Serbian statistics made immediately after the Balkan Wars 1912-1913 when Kosovo & Metohija became re-included into the state territory of Serbia, it was 50% of all non-Albanians and 50% Albanians living in this region.

There are three reasons for such population change:

1) Constant Albanian immigration to Kosovo & Metohija from Northern Albania after 1699
2) Permanent Albanian terror against and ethnic cleansing of the local Orthodox Serbs (for instance, 150.000 Serbs are expelled from Kosovo & Metohija in the years 1878-1912)
3) A higher Albanian natural birth-rate in comparison to the Serbian one

Differently to the Serbian case, Kosovo & Metohija (except during the WWII) was never part of Albanian state that was, by the way, established for the first time in history only in 1912. Thus, undoubtedly, Serbs have pure historical and legal rights on Kosovo & Metohija in comparison to the Albanians (like Lithuanians on Vilnius and Trakai areas in comparison to the Poles).

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The most important Serbian Christian Orthodox shrines in Kosovo & Metochia from the Middle Ages

Kosovo and Metohija is very fertile and clement plane (differently from mountainous Albania – that was the main reason for ethnic Albanian migrations from Albania to Kosovo & Metohija) with mild climate, reach in water resources, with high mountain chains bordering with Albania. It has been God-blessed environment for a fruitful development of the highest achievements in all cultural fields in medieval Serbia. The cultural and demographic strength of the Serbs is best illustrated by the presence of c. 1.500 monuments of Serbian culture. Numerous outstanding noble Serbian families used to live in this province (known as “Old Serbia”), as families Branković, Hrebeljanović, Musić, Vojinović, some of which were the inceptors of Serbian dynasties. In addition, a great number of Serbian noble castles existed all over Kosovo with rich aristocratic life going on inside their walls. They were also meeting places of Serbian nobility and centers where important political and other decisions have been taken and places attended by foreign envoys and outstanding guests from the noble foreign ruling families. In Svrčin castle, for example, the famous Serbian Emperor Dušan (1331-1355) was firstly crowned king in 1331, and Pauni, famous for its beauty, were favoured place of Serbian king Milutin (1282-1321) – a founder of monastery of Gračanica. In Pauni in 1342 Serbian Emperor Dušan had received Jovan VI Kantakuzin, one of the pretenders to the Byzantine throne at that time. Nerodimlja, with the strong fortress over the castle, was favourite residence of Serbian king Stefan Dečanski (1321-1331) who built up the famous monastery of Visoki Dečani in Metohija – a meeting place of western (Roman Catholic) and eastern (Byzantine Orthodox) architecture styles.

However, for the mediaeval Albanian history Kosovo & Metohija is of no importance: no one Albanian feudal lord or dynasty originated in Kosovo & Metohija, no Albanian religious shrines (churches) in Kosovo & Metohija, and mostly important, no Albanian place-names in the province. Even today, 90% of place-names in Kosovo & Metohija are of Serbian-Slavic origin – even in Albanian language the name for the province („Kosova“) has Serbian-Slavic root/origin: „Kos“ (=blackbird).

Serbian elite and minor nobility has built in the Middle Ages in this region hundreds of smaller chapels and several dozens of monumental Christian monasteries and churches. Some of them have been preserved to date, such as Patriarchy of Peć (since 1346 site of the Serbian Patriarch), Dečani, Gračanica, Bogorodica Ljeviška, Banjska, Sveti Arhanđeli near Prizren and others. Serbian churches and monasteries had been for centuries owners of great complexes of fertile land. As it is said, Metohija, the name originated from the Greek word metoh, means church land (administratively, Kosovo province is divided by Serbian authorities into Kosovo covering the eastern part and Metohija covering the western part). Highly developed economic life was an integral part of a high level of civilization attained in the medieval Serbia. The city of Prizren, for example, was a famous economic and commercial center, with developed silk production, fine crafts, and numerous settlements where the merchants from Kotor (today in Montenegro) and Dubrovnik (historically independent republic) had their houses, and in the 14th c. Prizren was the site of the consul from Dubrovnik for the whole Serbian state. And many other commercial centers such as Priština, Peć, Hoča, Vučitrn, are testifying the strength of highly developed economic life in this region. The region of Kosovo & Metohija was also famous in Europe after its very rich silver-mining centers as Trepča, Novo Brdo and Janjevo, out of which in the 15th c. Novo Brdo had become one of the most important mining centers of the Balkans and Europe. Mainly silver, but in certain extent and gold, were exported to the big European centers in great quantities especially during the first half of the 15th c. However, the Ottoman authorities totally neglected mine exploitation in Kosovo & Metohija (likewise elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire) and at such a way this very rich province did not contribute to the economic prosperity of the Ottoman citizens.

Turkish-Ottoman invasion from the mid-14th c. (1354) means a fatal turning point in the Balkan and Serbian history during the second half of the 14th c. The military advance of the Turks towards the Central Europe via the Balkans was a rather slow process. Serbian ruler prince (known in Serbian epic songs as the “emperor”) Lazar Hrebeljanović (1370-1389) and Serbian nobility in the famous „Kosovo Battle“ on June 28th, 1389 did everything to stop the Turkish invasion towards the South Eastern Europe. It was not only a clash of two armies led by their rulers Serbian prince Lazar and Turkish sultan Murat I (1362-1389), who both are killed during the battle, but also a clash of two civilizations, one Christian-European and one Islamic-Asiatic. During the Ottoman yoke in Serbian national conscience the „Kosovo Battle“ has acquired a mythical dimension of a crucial historical event (even today chronology of Serbian national history is divided into two periods: before and after the „Kosovo Battle“), greatly affecting the national identity of the Serbs. The Serbian epic poetry is very rich and the cycle of poems devoted to Kosovo & Metohija are a pearl of that treasure and moral and psychological support to Serbian people during the centuries of slavery under the Turks till the 19th c. Kosovo & Metohija have been longest under the Turkish lordship in comparison to all other ethnic and historic Serbian lands as this region became finally liberated from the Turks only in 1912. On the opposite side, in Albanian national epic poetry there are no examples of devotion to the Kosovo & Metohija land and history. However, even the “father” of Albanian national pride – the feudal lord Georgie Kastriot Skanderbeg (1405-1468, ruler of Central Albania from 1443 to 1468) was in fact of Serbian origin. Contrary to Albanian case, in Serbian national poetry we find such a great number of representatives of Serbian nobility, of Serbian castles and outstanding Serbian monasteries from Kosovo & Metohija.

The Turkish-Ottoman invasion of the South Eastern Europe including and the Serbian lands, have not only brought about the fall of Christian civilization, but is also responsible for the destruction of all social structures, the elimination of the Serbian elite and the destruction of the most outstanding cultural achievements. One part of Serbian nobility was killed, one part expelled to Asia, one part took Islam (mainly voluntarily), and one part managed to emigrate north, west and to across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. Average people (the peasants) deprived from its national leaders had no option but to stick to the traditional national values. It is thanks to the Serbian Orthodox Church which managed to revive its work in 1557 (renewal of the Patriarchy of Peć by the sultan’s decree), that Serbian people kept alive the awareness of the mediaeval national state and high achievements of its civilization. Many mediaeval castles and towns were destroyed, many churches were raised to the ground, and even some of them turn into the mosques. For example, at the beginning of the 17th c., the church of the Holy Angels (Sveti Arhandjeli), where Serbian emperor Stefan Dušan was buried, that was in fact the monumental mausoleum of Emperor Dušan, was totally destroyed, and the stone of which the church was built was used for building the Sinan-paša mosque, still existing in the city of Prizren today. Bogorodica Ljeviška, the monumental church of King Milutin, in 1756 was turned into the mosque and only after the WWI it was again restored into the Christian church. Contrary, there is no one example of conversion of the Muslim mosque into the Christian church in the 20th c. when the Christians (Serbs) ruled the province.

Turkish invasion and the consequences of their conflict with Christian Europe, particularly since the siege of Vienna in 1683, had considerably changed the ethnic and demographic picture of that part of Serbia. The Orthodox Serbs were the absolute majority population until the end of the 17th c., and before the First Great Migration of the Serbs in 1690, due to the defeat of the Christian Europe (the Habsburg army) in the conflict with the Turks and the participation of the Serbs in that conflict on the side of the Christian Europe. After 1690 the Turks have been settled in Kosovo & Metohija’s towns and cities, but the turning point in history of Kosovo & Metohija was the fact that the Albanians have been coming from the mountains of Northern Albania to both (firstly) Metohija and (later) Kosovo. The colonisation of Kosovo & Metohija by Albania’s Albanians has been continued after 1941 up today. Surely, until the 18th c. there are no Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija in bigger agglomerations. In addition to the newly settled Albanians who were mostly Muslims, i.e. originally the Christians converted to Islam already in Albania or soon after settling in Kosovo & Metohija, it was also and the process of Islamization of the Serbs that brought about great changes in the cultural environment of the province. Many of Islamized Serbs (the „Arbanasi“) gradually fused with predominantly Albanian Muslims and adopted their culture and language. Thus, a great number of today Kosovo “Albanians” are in fact of Serbian ethnic origin. The process of Islamization and a change of ethnic structure of Kosovo & Metohija further continued at the beginning of the second half of the 19th c. when the Turks settled the Cherkeses in this province which at that time enjoyed a status of a separate Ottoman administrative unit („Kosovo vilayet“) but with a bigger territory in comparison to Kosovo & Metohija are today (including and Northern Macedonia and parts of present-day South West Serbia). Consequently, due to of all these artificial demographic changes, but also and due to high birth-rate of Kosovo Albanians, the Orthodox Serbs decreased for almost 50% of the total population living in Kosovo & Metohija c. 1900.

In the second half of the 19th c. and at the beginning of the 20th c. the Serbian middle class in Prizren, Peć, Priština and other cities was the main driving force of the urban and economic development of the province. The newspaper “Prizren” was published in both in Serbian and Turkish language. In 1871 the „Orthodox Theological School“ was founded in Prizren by Sima Igumanov. During the eighties and the nineties of the 19th c. a great number of new schools, cultural institutions and banks were founded and many of them have been sponsored by the independent Kingdom of Serbia whose consulate was established in Priština.

It was during the WWII, that the most drastic changes in the demographic picture of Kosovo & Metohija took place. In this region, which became part of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s protected Greater Albania from 1941 to 1944 (composed by Albania, Kosovo & Metohija, Western Macedonia and Eastern Montenegro), the Albanian nationalists got free hands to terrorize and exterminate the Serbs. Under such pressure no lesser than 100.000 Serbs left this region. In their empty houses about the same number of Albanians from Albania are settled (the „Kosovars“). Such policy definitely changed the balance in the Albanian favour. Thus, the first official census in post-WWII Yugoslavia (in 1948) showed 199,961 Serbs (including and “Montenegrins”) in Kosovo & Metohija and 498,242 Albanians. Moreover, the federal National Assembly in Belgrade issued a special law in 1946 according to which all expelled Serbs/Montenegrins from the region during the years of 1941-1944 are prohibited to return back to their homes under the official pretext that such move would provoke tensions between Serbs/Montenegrins and Albanians in Kosovo & Metohija.

After 1945, as a result of unbelievable demographic explosion (up today the biggest in Europe) Albanian population in Kosovo doubled till 1971. The official Yugoslav census for that year shows 916,168 Albanians living in Kosovo & Metohija, while Serb and Montenegrin (the “Montenegrins” as a separate nation from the Serbs are declared in 1945) population reached only to number 259,819. This demographic trend clearly demonstrates that the theory of Serb repression over Albanians after the WWII is absolutely not correct. The truth is that the Serbophobic Yugoslav Communist authorities (lead by Austro-Hungarian Croat Josip Broz Tito who was fighting in 1914 in Austro-Hungarian uniform at the territory of Serbia) gave favour to the Albanians at the expense of Serbs/Montenegrins allowing uncontrolled settlement of Albanian immigrants from North Albania and tolerating different methods of ethnic discrimination over the Serbs/Montenegrins which made more and more Serbs and Montenegrins leave the province to seek more secured life in Central Serbia or Montenegro. The new wave of Serbian and Montenegrin exodus from Kosovo & Metohija started after mass Albanian demonstrations in 1968 in the region with a requirement to transform Kosovo & Metohija into the new (7th) Yugoslav republic in order to easily secede the region from Serbia with a final aim to include it into a Greater Albania. By the 1990s more than 800 settlements in which Serbs lived with Albanians became ethnically pure Albanian villages. From 1974 (when a new Yugoslav (con)federal constitution was adopted) Kosovo & Metohija’s Albanians got extremely huge political-national autonomy only formally within Republic of Serbia. However, it became practically an independent seventh republic within Yugoslav (con)federation having its own president, government, parliament, Academy of Science, flag, police, territorial defence and school systems and even a constitution which was in many articles in direct opposition to the constitution of the Republic of Serbia.

Monah na rusevinama crkveDestroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox Church in Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians in March 2004

In an attempt to prevent the secession of Kosovo & Metohija after pro-Greater Albanian demonstrations in this province in the spring 1981 (when Albanians openly required unification with Albania), Serbian government in the 1990 abolished only Albanian political autonomy (i.e independence) at Kosovo & Metohija. When the rebels of Albanian classical terrorist „Kosovo Liberation Army“ (established in 1995 and sponsored by the USA) began attacks on both Serbian police forces and Serbian civilians in February 1998 the Serbian government brought the army and stronger police troops to put the rebellion down. In the course of the „Kosovo War“ in 1998 and 1999 which ended by the NATO intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) more than 500.000 Kosovo & Metohija’s Albanians, in order to escape from the NATO bombing and to perform a political refugee show-programme for the West) fled the province to Macedonia and Albania. After the war, despite the international presence, „Kosovo Liberation Army“ organized persecutions of Serbian, Montenegrin and all other non-Albanian population with a result that more than 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins left Kosovo and Metohija. Only 90.000 Serbs remained living in total isolation, dispersed in several KFOR protected Serb enclaves. After the self-proclamation of Kosovo state independence on February 17th 2008 Balkan ethnic Albanians are living in two national states with a great possibility to create in the recent future a united Greater Albania following the borders from 1941-1944.

By means of the United Nations’ Security Council Resolution 1244 (June 1999), the mandate of the warrant for the effective protection of universal values of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family (which is foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the World) on the territory of the southern Serbia’s Autonomous Region of Kosovo & Metohija (in English known only as Kosovo) after the war against Kosovo Albanian secessionist terrorists (the so-called “Kosovo Liberation Army”, established, financed and supported by the USA administration) from February 1998 to June 1999 was given to the United Nations.

Responsibility for protection of human lives, freedom and security in Kosovo & Metohija was thus transferred to the international public authorities (in fact only to the NATO): the administration of UNMIK (United Nations’ Mission in Kosovo), and the international military forces – (KFOR, Kosovo Forces). Unfortunately, very soon this responsibility was totally challenged as more than 220.000 ethnic Serbs and members of other non-Albanian communities were expelled from the region by local ethnic Albanians. Mostly suffered the Serbs: it left today only 10% of them in Kosovo & Metohija in comparison to the pre-war situation. Only up to March 2004 c. 120 Christian religious objects and cultural monuments were devastated or destroyed.

The most terrible in the series of Kosovo Albanian eruptions of violence against the Serbs living in this region was organized and carried out between March 17th-19th, 2004, having all the features of Nazi organized Pogroms. During the tragic events of the March Pogrom, in a destructive assault of tens of thousands by Kosovo Albanians led by armed groups of redressed Kosovo Liberation Army (Kosovo Protection Corpus), a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs was carried out, together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Serbian Orthodox Christian religious sites. However, the international civil and military forces in the region have been only “stunned” and “surprised”.

The March Pogrom, which resulted in the loss of several dozens of lives, several hundreds of wounded (including the members of KFOR as well), more than 4.000 exiled ethnic Serbs, more than 800 Serbian houses set on fire and 35 destroyed or severely damaged Serbian Orthodox Christian churches and cultural monuments, revealed the real situation in this European region 60 years after the Holocaust during the Second World War. Unfortunately, the attempts of the Serbs to call attention to the situation proved to have been justified in the most shocking way.
It is thus necessary to reiterate that ethnic cleansing of the Serbs (and other non-Albanian population) in the region by the local Albanians after the mid-June 1999 means putting into practice the annihilation of a Serbian territory of exquisite historic, spiritual, political and cultural top-level significance in terms of the Serbian nation, state and the Church, and its every-day visible transformation into another Albanian state in the Balkans with a real wish and possibility to unify it with a neighboring motherland Albania. The main geo-political goal of the First Albanian Prizren League from June 1878 is being brought to its attainment, including its implications for the Preshevo valley in South-East Serbia, Western Macedonia up to Vardar River, Greek portion of Epirus province and Eastern Montenegro.

The Albanian national movement, established in accordance with the program of the First Prizren League in 1878, is keeping on with its terrorist activities up today. It was before after June 1999 particularly active in the period of Italian and German Greater Albania from April 1941 to May 1945, when it undertook the organization of the Albanian Quisling network of agents. During this period of time c. 100.000 Serbs from Kosovo & Metohija have been expelled from their homes to addition to extra 200.000 expelled during Croat-run Titoslavia from 1945 to 1980. The process of articulation of the Albanian secessionist movement in the geo-political sense continued throughout the post-Second World War period marked by the rule of Yugoslav-Albanian anti-Serb communist partocracy. The process became particularly intense and successful in the period between 1968 and 1989. The entrance of the NATO troops in the region in June 1999 marks the beginning of the last stage of the Albanian-planned and carried out “Final Solution” of the Serbian question on the territory of Kosovo & Metohija – a “Cradle of Serbian nation”.
In the light of the main Albanian goal – to establish ethnically pure Greater Albania – it is “understandable” why it is so important to destroy any Serbian trace in the territory defined by the aspirations. Albanian terrorism has been developing for more than two centuries. It has the profile of ethnically, i.e. Nazi-racist style motivated terrorism (like Croat one), marked by excessive animosity against the Serbs. Its principal features are the following:

1. Repressive measures directed against the Serbian population
2. Carrying practical actions to force the Serbs to leave their homes
3. Devastation of the Serbian Orthodox Christian religious objects and other cultural monuments belonging to the Serbian people and testifying to its ten centuries long presence in Kosovo & Metohija
4. Destruction of the complete infrastructure used by the members of the Serbian community
5. Destruction of Serbian cemeteries

Long standing Muslim Albanian Nazi-style terror against the Serbian community in Kosovo & Metohija is a specific phenomenon with grave consequences not only for the local Serbs. It became, however, clear that sooner or later it will bring about severe problems for the whole Europe.

The origins of the endowments of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the heritage of the Serbian state and nation in Kosovo & Metohija, as well in other Serbian ethnographic territories, can be traced in historical sources and other relevant documents since the Early Middle Ages. Unfortunately, throughout the course of their long history, Serbian religious (and at the same time national) objects have often been exposed to physical attacks of numerous foreign invaders including and Albanians who came to the Balkans from the Caucasus’ Albania via Sicily and South Italy only in the year of 1043. In the centuries of the Islamic Ottoman rule (1455−1912) over Kosovo & Metohija, both Serbian nation and its cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, suffered very much by both Turks and especially (Muslim) Albanians who came to this region from present-day Albania after the Great Vienna War that is finished in 1699. However, not those sufferings can be compared to the hardship borne by them since mid-June 1999, when the region of Kosovo & Metohija became turned into the first NATO’s established concentration camp and U.S. 19th c.-style colony in Europe run by both the local Albanians and their numerous fellows emigrated to Kosovo & Metohija from Albania.

It is in Kosovo & Metohija that the richest group of monuments of religious endowments bequeathed by the Christian East to the European Christian civilization can be found. According to the official inventory of protected cultural properties of the Republic of Serbia, as of 1986 and 1994, more than 300 cultural properties, belonging to the “1st and the 3rd categories”, have been granted protected status in Kosovo & Metohija. There is also a considerable number of properties having status of “recognized heritage”, i.e. preventively protected properties.

A considerable number of cultural properties in the highest categories – mediaeval monumental heritage in particular – distinctly shows that the Serbian mediaeval state (early 9th c.−1459), marked by the Nemanjić’s dynasty (1167−1371), which gave ten rulers in the course of two centuries, once (before the Ottoman rule) belonged to the developed countries of Europe. This is the heritage that continued the tradition of the Byzantine architecture: numerous religious objects and cities (for instance Novo Brdo/Novaberda) were built on Byzantine foundations, while in some of them elements of Western European mediaeval architectural styles – before all Romanesque – were incorporated in a unique, original manner. The fact that Serbian king Stephen (Stefan) Uroš III Dečanski (1321−1331) dedicated to Christ Pantokrator his great burial church in the monastery of Dečani (in Metohija near Peć), entrusting its construction to the Franciscan Vito, a member of the order of Friars Minor from Kotor, is an obvious and respectable example of an unbiast approach. The architecture of Kosovo & Metohija acquired some specific features owing to the fact that some other Serbian royal mausolea were built in this region – like burial churches of king Uroš III Milutin (1282−1321) in Banjska and emperor Stefan Dušan “Mighty” (1331−1355) in the monastery of Holy Archangels (in Metohija near Prizren) – and that the Patriarchate of Peć, an important religious centre, with church of Holy Apostles, was the burial place of the highest prelates of the Serbian Orthodox Church since the 13th c. (more than 200 years before Columbus discovered America).

It has to be clearly noted that there is no a single Albanian built mediaeval shrine or profane object on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija for the very historical reason – the Albanians did not live in this region before 1699. Even the term “Kosova” used in Albanian language is in fact of Slavic-Serbian original “Kosovo” what means nothing in Albanian language but it means a kind of eagle in Serbian (“Kos”).

Both Kosovo and Metohija have been the homeland of numerous Serbian aristocratic families like the Musić’s, Lazarević’s or Branković’s. Their estates are situated in this region. The greatest portions of Kosovo & Metohija’s land, rich in ores, belonged to Serbian rulers and to Serbian Orthodox Church. The rulers have been periodically granted to the monasteries vast estates, including villages and shepherds’ settlements (the so-called “katuni”), so that the major part of the present territory of Kosovo & Metohija was occupied with church estates – metochies. It was for that reason that the western part of this region got the name of Greek origin – Metohija.

In the centuries of the Ottoman lordship, Serbian people gathered around their churches and monasteries. After the sudden change of fortune in the war operations of the Habsburg general Piccolomini, whose military campaign against the Ottoman Empire (Great Vienna War, 1683−1699) was readily supported by the Serbian population of Kosovo & Metohija, c. 100.000 of local Serbs were forced to migrate to northern areas, across the rivers of Sava and Danube in the year of 1690 (The First Great Serbian Migration) in order to escape retaliation. In the opening decades of the 18th c., the great Ottoman Empire, together with a policy of mass settlement in the region of loyal Muslim ethnic Albanians from the neighboring mountainous and poor Albania, began to show clear signs of political and military weakening. After the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks (1804−1813), the Ottoman authorities were compelled to accept requests of European great powers, and Russia in particular, regarding protection of the Christian population in the Balkans. When two Serbian states, Serbia and Montenegro, finally managed to liberate Kosovo & Metohija and the whole region of Old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohija, Raška and Vardar Macedonia) in 1912/1913, not a single of the most important monuments of Islamic architecture was destroyed or desecrated – Bayraki mosque in Peć (Metohija), Sinan-pasha’s mosque in Prizren (Metohija), built in the 17th c. of stones and fragments of sculptural decoration brought from the ruins of the monastery of Holy Archangels near Prizren (an endowment of Serbian emperor Dušan), the Imperial (Fetih) mosque in Priština (Kosovo) or Hadum-mosque in Đakovica (Metohija).

2177800481_785277bdf2_b_KosovoA rapid process of Islamization of Christian Kosovo & Metochia after June 1999

However, the major part of Serbian Christian religious objects, which despite all managed to survive centuries of hardship and Muslim Albanian attacks, could not withstand the latest devastations lasting since mid-June 1999 when NATO troops occupied the region. Destruction and devastation of Serbian Christian cultural heritage in Kosovo & Metohija, which in NATO’s countries acquires special treatment, is unprecedented in the whole history of Europe.

The most genocidal action committed by local Albanians under the auspicious by the NATO’s troops in Kosovo & Metohija from the mid-June 1999 was the “March Pogrom” from March 17th to March 19th of 2004. These three days and nights of Albanian vandalism and ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians from the region, primarily the autochthonous Serbs, in the Nazi “Kristallnacht”-style resulted in devastation of 19 cultural monuments, 6 of which fall into 1st category – churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and 16 religious objects without heritage value, which makes a total of 35 recorded cultural properties and churches of Serb nation.

Only during the period between 1999 and 2004 (the first 5 years of NATO’s occupation of Kosovo & Metohija), in this region 15 cultural monuments from the 1st category and 23 from the 3rd category have been destroyed, which makes a total of 38 recorded cultural properties out of much more destroyed Serbian cultural properties of minor importance. The group of cultural properties at risk , i.e. preserved monuments, includes 88 properties: 31 from the 1st and 57 from the 3rd category.

After the “March pogrom” in 2004, as the most remarkable vandalistic assault of the Muslim Kosovo Albanian terrorists, the number of devastated most important cultural properties has reached 21 for the 1st and 36 for the 3rd category, which makes a total of 47 monuments and objects (end of March 2004). If we take into account all the other destroyed cultural properties, as well as ordinary religious objects, the total surpasses 140 cultural monuments, churches and other religious objects up to mid-2004.

It is clear that Europe is facing the organized and deliberate destruction of monuments and religious objects alongside with devastation of private property of Serbian nation in the cradle of Serbian civilization and history by militant-fanatic Albanians who took example of Catholic Croat-run genocide against the Serbs committed three times in the 20th century (1914-1918; 1941-1945 and 1991-1995) in Croatia, Dalmatia, Slavonia, Srem, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim in both cases was and is to erase any trace of Serbian Orthodox civilization and the Serbian cultural heritage westward from the Drina River and in Kosovo & Metohija. The genocide is accompanied with promotion of totally false historical data, undue claims to cultural and historic heritage belonging to other people and the changing and renaming of geographical names and toponyms. We have not to forgot that many Kosovo-Metohija Albanians took participation in ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from the Krayina region (Republic of Serbian Krayina) in Titoist-Tuđman’s Greater Croatia in 1991-1995 as volunteers or mercenaries in Croatian army or ultra-right party-military detachments. Some of these Albanians even received the rank of the generals in the Croatian Army like terrorist and war-criminal Agim Cheku who later became one of the leading commanders of the Albanian “Kosovo Liberation Army” and later the chief-commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps” (transformed KLA). The other KLA top war criminals after the mid-June 1999 took an active part in political life in the region and one of them, Ramush Haradinaj (a leader of the “Alliance for the Future of Kosovo” and deputy-chief-commander of the “Kosovo Protection Corps”), even became “Prime Minister” of “Kosova” in 2004. Unfortunately, but not and surprisingly, such a situation in Kosovo & Metohija, likewise in Croatia, met no adequate response from the international professional circles coming from the “democratic West” with the exclusion of Serbian professionals and institutions from the heritage protection system.

During the time from the mid-June 1999 up today as the major problems in the context of protection and preservation of the Serbian Christian Orthodox cultural heritage in Kosovo & Metohija are:

• Access to cultural properties and work on their protection is impossible for the exiled Serbian experts,
• For the most monuments and objects no protection has been provided,
• Recommended regimes of protection are not being improved nor implemented,
• Measures of protection are not being put into effect, or, to be more precise, they are being implemented in a discriminative manner,
• Not a single process of rehabilitation of devastated or destroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox monuments has been initiated,
• Supervision by responsible higher rank institutions of the Republic of Serbia has been precluded,
• Vandalization of cultural properties is still occurring, but the offenders have not been condemned never mind apprehended,
• Disrespect for the international legal acts, and
• Application of a policy of “double standards” by UNMIK and NATO

Historically, Serbian Christian Orthodox artistic, cultural and religious heritage of Kosovo & Metohija (both movable and immovable properties) has been exposed to the most severe damages and devastation by local Muslim Albanians during the last 250 years, but particularly after the arrival of the civic “UN Mission in Kosovo” (UNMIK) and NATO military occupation of the region under the label of the “Kosovo Protection Forces” (KFOR) in the mid-June 1999. The territory of Kosovo & Metohija is Serbian centre of cultural, religious and artistic heritage of the highest value in European context that is, first of all, a testimony of historical presence of the Serbs, Serbian culture and Serbian civilization. This heritage belongs to the mankind and is thus worth of protection in accordance with the principle of the “European common heritage”. Salvaging and preserving the Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is a great challenge and duty to be undertaken by modern and democratic Europe if it is.


Source:

March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija. March 17-19, 2004 with a survay of destroyed and endangered Christian cultural heritage (2004). Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia-Museum in Priština (displaced)

Improved and corrected by Prof. Dr.  Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Note:

The text is not approved by Noel Malcolm! We apologize for any inconvenience.

10 I morto i SerbiDestroyed Serbian Christian Orthodox Church in Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians in March 2004

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The emergence of “Balkan Jihad” and its progress in the region



Kosovo ISIL Ridvan Haqifi and Lavdrim Muhaxheri

Two Kosovo Albanian Muslim muhajedeens (with the passports of Republic of Kosovo) as members of ISIL in Syria in 2015 (Official ISIL’s video material)

After the 9/11, a worldwide “War on terror” begun in order to disband and neutralize Islamic terrorist networks across the globe. The main focus of the largest anti-terrorist campaign in history is focused in the Middle East area, as well as in Afghanistan.

The Balkan Peninsula is the European area where this campaign has also taken place, with numerous arrests and a continuous effort into riding the fundamentalist out of the area. The question arising though, is how did the extremists gain a foothold in South Eastern Europe in the first place, and what was the reaction of the international community over the previous years.

The presence of Islam in the Balkans dates back in the 13th century.

In order to create the much needed mercenary armies, against the then archenemy, the Francs; Byzantine Emperors allowed Muslim Turks into modern day Bulgaria. They were used mainly as cavalry forces due to their excellent techniques in that kind of war. Over the coming decades the antagonism between the Francs and the Vatican from one side and the Byzantium from the other, led to the final conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Gradually virtually the whole of the Balkans came under Muslim dominance and were included in the Dar al Islam territory stretching from the Hindu river and up to Gibraltar.

In Bosnia in particular the sect of Vogomils –Eastern Orthodox sect-, converted to Islam for a variety of societal and spiritual reasons. Since the Vogomils were the affluent class of the central Balkans they soon became the ruling class over millions of Christians of mostly Slavic descent.

In Albania the Islamic takeover had a dramatic effect and in a matter of 150 years 2/3rds of the population converted from the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholicism into Islam. The main reason for such a large proselytism in Albania had been the traditional adherence towards the stronger ruler that the mountainous Albanians have showed since their early history. During the Roman Empire times, the Albanians served as elite corps in the Armies of the Emperors Empires –i.e. Diocletian was of Albanian descent- and tended to absorb the cultural and religious norms of their regional superintendents. The same was the case in the more or less Greek dominated Byzantium. As soon as the “Eastern Roman Empire” waned in favor of the Western one; there was a mass conversion to Catholicism in the early 13th century .

The historical collective path of the Albanian people can be compared with that of the mountainous Swiss that have eloquently absorbed influences and norms by the much larger and influential neighbors (Germany, France, and Italy).

It is against this historical background that the Islamic fundamentalist drama in the Balkans evolved in the 1990s. Evan F. Kohlmann, author of Al-Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe: The Afghan-Bosnian Network argues that “key to understanding Al Qaida’s European cells lies in the Bosnian war of the 1990s” . Using the Bosnian war as their cover, Afghan-trained Islamic militants loyal to Osama bin Laden convened in the Balkans in 1992 to establish a European domestic terrorist infrastructure in order to plot their violent strikes against the United States.

So, the outbreak of the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 presented an unparalleled opportunity for the international Mujaheedin to storm Europe, establish safe havens in the area and thus initiate re-conquest of regions they previously ruled . The leader of Bosnia, Alia Izebegovic was eager to obtain as much assistance as possible and didn’t hesitate in providing the necessary framework by which the Islamic ties were forged . In the same year, a variety of Islamic mercenaries flocked into the Balkans in order to support the “Holy cause”, meaning the establishment of the first Islamic state in Europe .

The end of the war in 1995 saw quite a few of those mujahedin, acquiring Bosnian citizenship and establishing the first Islamic community in the village of Bocinja Donja . During 2006 and 2007, hundreds of citizenships were revoked by Islamists residing in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nevertheless the whereabouts of most of them remain unknown, raising fears for potential terrorist acts by them in the future and in an European soil . What is more, the Novi Pazar town in Sanjak area in Southern Serbia; has become a core for Islamic fundamentalism, linked with Al-Qaeda cells. Novi Pazar is the focus of the Islamist attempt to build a landbridge from Albania and Kosovo to Bosnia. Further to the East, in southern Serbia’s Raška Oblast, are three other concentrations of Muslims: Sjenica and Pester area (lightly populated but mostly Muslim), Prijepolje (some 50 percent Muslim) and — very close to the Bosnia border where Republica Srpska controls the slender Gorazde corridor — Priboj (also some 50 percent Muslim).

The land between is Serbian farmland, but the Islamist goal is to link the cities as “evidence” that the entire region is, or should be, Muslim territory. The same strategy worked successfully in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Serbian farmers were driven off their lands during the civil war.

Just south of the Serbian area of Raška Oblast is the Montenegrin part of Raška region, where, for example, Bijeljo Polje is some 60 to 80 percent Muslim, and Pijevlja, close to the Bosnian border, is about 40 percent Muslim. These Montenegrin towns, like those of the Western Serbian Raška region, are the key to the illicit arms and narcotrafficking across the Gorazde Corridor to Bosnia.

An Islamist university has opened in Novi Pazar, ostensibly a normal college, but led by an Islamist mufti of little formal education. This modern institution — whose officials proclaim it a normal educational institution — reveals its character in its symbol: the Wahabbi/Salafi Dawa symbol, an open Q’uran surmounted with a rising sun. The university, in a renovated former textile factory, is a known center of radical Islamist thinking. A book fair held there in early October 2003 distributed very radical Islamist literature, specifically advocating conflict with the West.

The Dawa sign indicates that the university is predominantly Saudi-funded, although some Western funding is known to have been pumped into the institution, reportedly largely to undermine Serb interests in the region .

Western tolerance of Islamic radicals, however, was one of the gravest mistakes of modern times . In addition, a well organized criminal network has already been established in Sarajevo that in a large extent facilitates illegal immigration from Asia to Europe . That activity is coupled with the narcotics trade that is being supplemented by the infamous “Balkan Drug route”  It is illuminating to note that the areas from where this route is passing are under Muslim influence mostly.

Sources

Chicago-Kent College of Law and the Illinois Institute of Technology (1996), ” Nationbuilding in the Balkans-History of Albanians”. Web Site: http://pbosnia.kentlaw.edu/resources/history/albania/albhist.htm

Evan F. Kohlmann, “Al-Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe“,Berg Publications, Preface, Oxford-UK, September 2004.

Kokalis Foundation; Kennedy School of Government; Harvard University, Presentation paper by Xavier Bougarel, “Islam & Politics in the Post-Communist Balkans. Website: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/kokkalis/GSW1/GSW1/13%20Bougarel.pdf

Foreign Military Studies Publications (02/1995), By LTC John E. Sray, U.S. Army, “Mujahedin Operations in Bosnia”. Website: http://leav-www.army.mil/fmso/documents/muja.htm

Department of the USA Navy; Naval Historical Centre Publications (26/07/2005), By Steven Woehrel, “Islamic terrorism & the Balkans”. Website: http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/islamic_terrorism.htm

Reuters, Alert Net Service (11/04/2007), By Daria Sito-Sucic, “Bosnia revokes citizenship of Islamic ex-soldiers”. Web Site: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L1151505.htm

Information was provided by a variety of ISSA Reports, informal journalist sources from Serbia, Albania & FYROM. The material has been made publicly else were and has not been contended for its reliability.

For extensive and sensitive information on the subject see: ISSA Special Report (17/09/2003). Web Site: http://128.121.186.47/ISSA/reports/Balkan/Sep1703.htm#App1

Council on Foreign Relations; Open Edition (13/02/2002), By David L. Phillips, “Keeping the Balkans free of Al-Qaeda”. Website: http://www.cfr.org/publication/4344/rule_of_law.html?breadcrumb=%2Fregion%2F385%2Fbalkans

European Commission; External Affairs Service (2004), “The Contribution of the European Commission to the Implementation of the EU-Central Asia Action Plan on Drugs”. Website: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/drugs/hero.htm


19-05-2013

By Ioannis Michaletos

Source: Modern Diplomacy

9 Samodreza

Destroyed 14th century Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo (Samodreza) by Kosovo ISIL

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Inside Kosovo’s Islamist Cauldron



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Kacanik, KOSOVO – A plume of smoke hangs over our table in the corner of a dark, shabby café in this rugged town in southern Kosovo. The lanky 19-year-old sitting next to me is chain-smoking through half a pack of L&Ms, his hands trembling as he recalls how he joined one of the world’s most brutal militant Islamist groups.

Through his neatly trimmed beard, Adem, who asks me not to use his real name for fear of arrest, says he had never even left Kosovo. But two years ago, he found himself on the perilous and far-off Turkey-Syria border — a major entry point for foreigners seeking to join the ranks of Islamic State (IS).

He was taken by IS recruiters to a Turkish village, where he waited to be smuggled into a war zone. After a two-week training camp in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Syrian and Iraqi territory that the group calls its “caliphate,” he would be assigned to a fighting unit.

Hours before the recruiters were to sneak him across the border, however, Adem turned back and made his way home.

“I realized that what was going on in Syria had nothing to do with Islam,” says Adem, who keeps looking over his shoulder as if he might be found out at any moment by Kosovar authorities. He looks like any other teenager, in skinny jeans and a silver chain hanging over his T-shirt.

Kacanik lies in southern Kosovo’s Sharr Mountains, a pathway between central Europe and the southern Balkans since at least the Bronze Age.

Jihadist Capital Of The Balkans

The government estimates that more than 300 Kosovars have traveled to the Middle East to wage jihad, or Islamic holy war. That makes this predominately Muslim country of under 2 million people, which unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, Europe’s biggest contributor per capita of IS foot soldiers.

Kacanik in particular has gained a reputation as the jihadist capital of the Balkans. In the past three years, at least 24 men from its population of 30,000 have left to fight for extremist groups like IS or Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

Adem’s own path toward radicalization began when he received a Facebook invitation to attend a sermon hosted by an imam from a nearby town. He says he was “curious” about Islam. For the next five months, Adem attended sermons and Koran classes at a makeshift mosque where he and other young men lived.

The sermons were organized by Rinia Islame (Islamic Youth in Albanian), an Islamic charity operating in Kacanik. It is one among dozens of secretive organizations funded by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states that promote an extreme version of Islam. The groups are accused of brainwashing youth and recruiting them for extremist causes abroad.

Adem says the sermons he attended were “very strict and harsh.” “They told us not to shake hands with women and don’t go to cafes or bars,” he says.

There are indeed mounting outward signs of Islamic fundamentalism in Kacanik, where it is no longer uncommon to see women in Islamic veils or men with untrimmed beards and calf-length trousers, none of which has much real tradition in the country.

As Adem tells it, the sermons worked their way up from Koran lessons, to the meaning of jihad, to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

“My family doesn’t practice religion very much,” says Adem, who lives with his parents and two sisters in a crammed flat in Kacanik. “Only my grandfather and I.”

He says his family picked up on signs that he was becoming radicalized. “They said that if I want to practice religion, I can do it — I can pray — but not become a radical.”

The sermons attended by Adem were given by Zeqirja Qazimi, a notorious imam who was jailed for 10 years on May 20 after he and six associates were convicted for fighting for IS militants in Syria from 2012 to 2014 and for trying to gather IS recruits.

“Imam Zekerija Qazimi came from Gjilan,” says Adem, referring to a town in eastern Kosovo. “He was telling us about jihad.”

Qazimi also posted a video on YouTube in which he said that the “blood of infidels is the best drink for us.” Local media reported that Qazimi was responsible for recruiting 11 Kosovar fighters to IS; three were said to have been killed in Syria.

When I ask whether Adem has been threatened since turning his back on the extremists who radicalized him, his answer belies the bloodthirsty reputation of a group that routinely kills captives en masse and is said to ruthlessly execute suspected traitors. “I’ve never felt danger,” he says. “It was my decision.”

The Middle Eastern-funded charities have penetrated poor, rural communities like Kacanik that have been neglected by the government and where unemployment is around 40 percent, making young men easy targets for indoctrination.

The Islamic charities often run schools, dormitories, and welfare programs. But they also push a hard-line agenda that appears to have gained at least a minor foothold in Kacanik.

Fertile Ground For Extremism

Adem believes the Arab-funded charities targeted poor families, and often single mothers. He says in exchange for attending the sermons, the charity would give students accommodations, expense money, and new clothes and shoes.

“There were many people who attended the sermons,” says Adem, who had just finished high school and was jobless when he started attending the classes. “There were people in poor economic conditions.”

“These charities were not registered and they worked with certain radical individuals and they have manipulated the poor,” says Kacanik Mayor Besim Ilazi.

Ilazi, a tall, balding man, points at derelict buildings and defunct factories at the foot of the green hills around Kacanik and adds, “The economy is the main reason why some people joined.”

Locals also point to the town’s proximity to Macedonia as one of the reasons Kacanik has become such a hotbed for radicalism. Macedonia is a short 30-minute drive away, and locals say hard-line ethnic Albanian preachers often visit Kosovar communities to deliver sermons.

Radical Charities Going Underground

In late 2014, Kosovar officials closed 14 charities — including the one that provided religious classes to Adem — when they were suspected of having ties to Islamic extremist groups. Under a new law, Kosovo can jail citizens for up to 15 years if they participate in foreign wars.

Kosovo authorities say around 50 homegrown jihadists have been killed in fighting in Syria and Iraq, and around 120 have returned to Kosovo. More than 100 people in Kosovo have been arrested or are under investigation for recruiting or fighting abroad on behalf of IS.

Ilazi insists the government crackdown has largely driven Kacanik’s radical fringe out of the town. But he also acknowledges that some extremists have simply gone underground and continue to operate in “private houses.”

Locals talk of cabins in the woods where the extremists hold meetings and sermons. One local points to a rocky hill in the distance. “Over there is where they meet at night,” he says, talking on condition of anonymity. “No one can go there because they have armed guards.”

“The radicals were allowed to operate freely for too long.”

Florim Neziraj, head of the Islamic Community of Kosovo in Kacanik

Recruits ‘Never Came Back’

Adem, sipping Turkish coffee from a tiny cup, says that several months after attending religious classes some of the young men “left and never came back,” referring to locals who went to Syria to fight.

“We were in a small place and we heard everything,” says Adem. “Yes, there were people who went to Syria. I saw them leave Kacanik.”

Florim Neziraj is the head of the local branch of the Islamic Community of Kosovo, the main officially sanctioned Islamic organization in the country. The young, ginger-haired imam has been leading efforts to prevent young men from joining radical Islamic groups.

“Those who have gone to Syria are often very young,” says Neziraj, who is wearing a tight navy suit and sporting a trimmed beard. “They come from the best families in Kacanik. You couldn’t say anything bad about them. We saw no signs of radicalization. They were manipulated and fell victim to certain individuals.”

Neziraj argues that blame must be apportioned to the government, which he says “neglected the problem” of radicalization. “The radicals were allowed to operate freely for too long,” he adds.

Kosovo has traditionally been a secular state with a liberal Muslim population, with bars on the same street as mosques. But less tolerant voices have flourished, including among the radical Islamic charities, which have thrived since arriving after the war ended in Kosovo in 1999.

Neziraj says many such charities came under the guise of “humanitarian organizations,” often building schools and hospitals. But he says these charities were often bent on “indoctrinating the youth.”

He fears it might be too late to tackle spreading radicalism.

IS Recruiter

One product of the radicalization in Kacanik is Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a 25-year-old IS recruiter who fights in Syria. He has been described as one of IS’s top leaders.

Last year, Muhaxheri sent shockwaves around Kosovo when he posted photos on Facebook of himself beheading a prisoner in Syria. Another post purportedly showed him executing a Syrian man with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Adem is reluctant to talk about Kacanik’s most notorious former resident, but admits he saw Muhaxheri attending the local mosque for prayers, saying he looked “normal.”

He says Muhaxheri’s path is a lesson for young men in Kacanik thinking of fighting in Syria.

“I live a normal life again, but I’m one of the lucky ones,” Adem tells me between cigarettes in the café, where he now works as a waiter. “Not everyone who takes the wrong path can find their way again.”

But for the older tombs, he said, “I think the bones should stay in their graves.”

June 2016

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frud Bezhan is a Prague-based correspondent for RFE/RL.

Source: RFE/RL

Kosovo ISIL Ridvan Haqifi and Lavdrim Muhaxheri

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Is Kosovo a Contested Land?



guilty-ring-call-trade

Serbia entered on December 14th, 2015 a final stage of the negotiations to become a full member of the European Union’s (the EU). The western (the USA/EU) client Serbia’s Government is currently under the direct pressure from Brussels to recognize an independence of the narco-mafia Kosovo’s quasi state for the exchange to join the EU but not before 2020. It is only a question of weeks that a western colony of Serbia has to finally declare its position towards Kosovo’s independence. The President of Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, like all other western bots in Serbia, already publicly announced his official position in regard to this question: Serbia’s Government has to finally inform the Serbian nation that Kosovo is not any more an integral part of Serbia and therefore the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Belgrade is only way towards a prosperous future of the country that is within the EU (and the NATO’s pact as well).

In the following paragraphs we would like to present the most important features of the “Kosovo Question” for the better understanding of the present political situation in which the Serb nation is questioned by the western “democracies” upon both its own national identity and national pride.

Prelude

The southeastern province of the Republic of Serbia – under the administrative title of Kosovo-Metochia (in the English only Kosovo), was at the very end of the 20th century in the center of international relations and global politics too due to the NATO’s 78 days of the “humanitarian” military intervention against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (The FRY which was composed by Serbia and Montenegro)[1] in 1999 (March 24th–June 10th). As it was not approved and verified by the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations, the US-led operation “Merciful Angel” opened among the academicians a fundamental question of the purpose and nature of the “humanitarian” interventions in the world like it was previously in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, Rwanda in 1994 or Somalia in 1991−1995.[2] More precisely, it provoked dilemmas of the misusing ethical, legal and political aspects of armed “humanitarian” interventions as the responsibility to protect for the very reason that it became finally obvious in 2008 that the NATO’s “humanitarian” military intervention in 1999 was primarily aimed to lay the foundation for Kosovo’s independence and its separation from Serbia with transformation of the province into the US−EU’s political-economic colony.[3]

Kosovo as contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians

The province of Kosovo-Metochia (Kosova in the Albanian), as historically contested land between the Serbs and the Albanians, did not, does not and will not have an equal significance for those two nations. For the Albanians, Kosovo was all the time just a provincial land populated by them without any cultural or historical importance except for the single historical event that the first Albanian nationalistic political league was proclaimed in the town of Prizren in Metochia (the western part of Kosovo) in 1878 and existed only till 1881. However, both Kosovo as a province and the town of Prizren were chosen to host the First (pan-Albanian) Prizren League[4] only for the very propaganda reason – to emphasize allegedly predominantly the “Albanian” character of both Kosovo and Prizren regardless to the very fact that at that time the Serbs were a majority of population either in Kosovo or in Prizren.[5] Kosovo was never part of Albania and the Albanians from Albania had no important cultural, political or economic links with Kosovo’s Albanians regardless the fact that the overwhelming majority of Kosovo Albanians originally came from the North Albania after the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690.[6]

However, quite contrary to the Albanian case, Kosovo-Metochia is the focal point of the Serbian nationhood, statehood, traditions, customs, history, culture, church and above all of the ethno-national identity. It was exactly Kosovo-Metochia to be the central administrative-cultural part of the medieval Serbia with the capital in Prizren. The administrative center of the medieval and later Ottoman-time Serbian Orthodox Church was also in Kosovo-Metochia in the town of Peć (Ipek in the Turkish; Pejë in the Albanian). Before the Muslim Kosovo’s Albanians started to demolish the Serbian Christian Orthodox churches and monasteries after June 1999, there were around 1.500 Serbian Christian shrines in this province.[7] Kosovo-Metochia is even today called by the Serbs as the “Serbian Holy Land” while the town of Prizren is known for the Serbs as the “Serbian Jerusalem” and the “Imperial town” (Tsarigrad) in which there was an imperial court of the Emperor Stefan Dushan of Serbia (1346−1355). The Serbs, differently to the Albanians, have a plenty of national folk songs and legends about Kosovo-Metochia, especially in regard to the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in which they lost state independence to the Ottoman Turks.[8]

Nevertheless, there is nothing similar in the Albanian case with regard to Kosovo. For instance, there is no single Albanian church or monastery in this province from the medieval time or any important monument as the witness of the Albanian ethnic presence in the province before the time of the rule by the Ottoman Sultanate. Even the Muslim mosques from the Ottoman time (1455−1912) claimed by the Albanians to belong to the Albanian national heritage, were in fact built by the Ottoman authorities but not by the ethnic Albanians. The Albanian national folk songs are not mentioning the medieval Kosovo that is one of the crucial evidences that they simply have nothing in common with the pre-Ottoman Kosovo. All Kosovo’s place-names are of the Slavic (Serb) origin but not of the Albanian. The Albanians during the last 50 years are just renaming or adapting the original place-names according to their vocabulary what is making a wrong impression that the province is authentically the Albanian. We have not to forget the very fact that the word Kosovo is of the Slavic (the Serb) origin meaning a kind of eagle (kos) while the same word means simply nothing in the Albanian language. Finally, in the Serbian tradition Kosovo-Metochia was always a part of the “Old Serbia”[9] while in the Albanian tradition Kosovo was never called as any kind of Albania.

The province became contested between the Serbs and the Albanians when the later started to migrate from the North Albania to Kosovo-Metochia after 1690 with getting a privileged status as the Muslims by the Ottoman authorities. A Muslim Albanian terror against the Christian Serbs at the Ottoman time[10] resulted in the Abanization of the province to such extent that the ethnic structure of Kosovo-Metochia became drastically changed in the 20th century. A very high Muslim Albanian birthrate played an important role in the process of Kosovo’s Albanization too. Therefore, after the WWII the ethnic breakdown of the Albanians in the province was around 67 percent. The new and primarily anti-Serb Communist authorities of the Socialist Yugoslavia legally forbade to some 100.000 WWII Serb refugees from Kosovo-Metochia to return to their homes after the collapse of the Greater Albania in 1945 of which Kosovo was an integral part. A Croat-Slovenian Communist dictator of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito (1892−1980), granted to the province of Kosovo-Metochia a considerable political autonomous status in 1974 with a separate Government, Provincial Assembly, President, Academy of Science, security forces, independent university in Prishtina and even military defense system for the fundamental political reason to prepare Kosovo’s independence after the death of his Titoslavia.[11] Therefore, Kosovo-Metochia in the Socialist Yugoslavia was just formally part of Serbia as the province was from political-administrative point of view an independent as all Yugoslav republics. A fully Albanian-governed Kosovo from 1974 to 1989 resulted in both destruction of the Christian (Serb) cultural monuments[12] and continuation of mass expulsion of the ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins from the province to such extent that according to some estimations there were around 200.000 Serbs and Montenegrins expelled from the province after the WWII up to the abolition of political autonomy of the province (i.e. independence) by Serbia’s authority in 1989 with the legal and legitimate verification by the Provincial Assembly of Kosovo-Metochia and the reintegration of Kosovo-Metochia into Serbia.[13] At the same period of time, there were around 300.000 Albanians who illegally came to live in Kosovo-Metochia from Albania. Consequently, in 1991 there were only 10 percent of the Serbs and Montenegrins who left to live in Kosovo-Metochia out of a total number of the inhabitants of the province.[14]

Fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession

The revocation of Kosovo’s political autonomy in 1989 by Serbia’s central Government was aimed primarily to stop further ethnic Albanian terror against the Serbs and Montenegrins and to prevent secession of the province from Serbia that will result in the recreation of the WWII Greater Albania with the legalization of the policy of Albanian ethnic cleansing of all non-Albanian population what practically happened in Kosovo after June 1999 when the NATO’s troops occupied the province and brought to the power a classical terrorist political-military organization – the Kosovo’s Liberation Army (the KLA). Nevertheless, the Western mainstream media as well academia presented Serbia’s fighting Kosovo’s Albanian political terrorism and territorial secession after 1989 as Belgrade policy of discrimination against the Albanian population which became deprived of political and economic rights and opportunities.[15] The fact was that such “discrimination” was primarily a result of the Albanian policy of boycotting Serbia’s state institutions and even job places offered to them in order to present their living conditions in Kosovo as the governmental-sponsored minority rights oppression.

Gazimestan 2

In the Western mainstream mass media and even in academic writings, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, a political leader of Kosovo’s Albanians in the 1990s, was described as a person who led a non-violent resistance movement against Miloshevic’s policy of ethnic discrimination of Kosovo’s Albanians. I. Rugova was even called as a “Balkan Gandhi”.[16] In the 1990s there were established in Kosovo the Albanian parallel and illegal social, educational and political structures and institutions as a state within the state. The Albanians under the leadership of Rugova even three times proclaimed the independence of Kosovo. However, these proclamations of independence were at that time totally ignored by the West and the rest of the world. Therefore, Rugova-led Kosovo’s Albanian national-political movement failed to promote and advance the Kosovo’s Albanian struggle for secession from Serbia and independence of the province with a very possibility to incorporate it into a Greater Albania. I. Rugova himself, coming from the Muslim Albanian Kosovo’s clan that originally migrated to Kosovo from Albania, was active in political writings on the “Kosovo Question” as a way to present the Albanian viewpoint on the problem to the Western audience and therefore, as a former French student, he published his crucial political writing in the French language in 1994.[17]

One of the crucial questions in regard to the Kosovo problem in the 1990s is why the Western “democracies” did not recognize self-proclaimed Kosovo’s independence? The fact was that the “Kosovo Question” was absolutely ignored by the US-designed Dayton Accords of 1995 which were dealing only with the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.[18] A part to the answer is probably laying in the fact that Rugova-led Albanian secession movement was in essence illegal and even terroristic. It is known that Rugova himself was a sponsor of a terroristic party’s militia which was responsible for violent actions against Serbia’s authorities and non-Albanian ethnic groups in Kosovo.[19] For instance, in July 1988, from the graves of the village of Grace graveyard (between Prishtina and Vuchitrn) were excavated and taken to pieces the bodies of two Serbian babies of the Petrovic’s family.[20] Nevertheless, as a response to Rugova’s unsuccessful independence policy, it was established the notorious KLA which by 1997 openly advocated a full-scale of terror against everything what was Serbian in Kosovo.

The KLA had two main open political aims:

  • To get an independence for Kosovo from Serbia with possibility to include the province into a Greater Albania.
  • To ethnically clean the province from all non-Albanians especially from the Serbs and Montenegrins.

However, the hidden task of the KLA was to wage an Islamic Holy War (the Jihad) against the Christianity in Kosovo by committing the Islamic terror similarly to the case of the present-day Islamic State (the ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East. Surely, the KLA was and is a part of the policy of radicalization of the Islam at the Balkans after 1991 following the pattern of the governmental (Islamic) Party of Democratic Action (the PDA) in Bosnia-Herzegovina.[21]

That the KLA was established as a terroristic organization is even confirmed by the Western scholars[22] and the US administration too. On the focal point of the Kosovo’s War in 1998−1999 we can read in the following sentence:

Aware that it lacked popular support, and was weak compared to the Serbian authorities, the KLA deliberately provoked Serbian police and Interior Ministry attacks on Albanian civilians, with the aim of garnering international support, specifically military intervention”.[23]

Conclusions

It was true that the KLA realized very well that the more Albanian civilians were killed as a matter of the KLA’s “hit-and-run” guerilla warfare strategy, the Western (the NATO’s) military intervention against the FRY was becoming a reality. In the other words, the KLA with his Commander-In-Chief Hashim Thaci were quite aware that any armed action against Serbia’s authorities and Serbian civilians would bring retaliation against the Kosovo Albanian civilians as the KLA was using them in fact as a “human shield”. That was in fact the price which the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo had to pay for their “independence” under the KLA’s governance after the war. That was the same strategy used by Croatia’s Government and Bosnian-Herzegovinian Muslim authorities in the process of divorce from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, as violence in Kosovo escalated in 1998 the EU’s authorities and the US’s Government began to support diplomatically an Albanian course – a policy which brought Serbia’s Government and the leadership of the KLA to the ceasefire and withdrawal of certain Serbian police detachments and the Yugoslav military troops from Kosovo followed by the deployment of the “international” (the Western) monitors (the Kosovo Verification Mission, the KVM) under the formal authority of the OSCE. However, it was in fact informal deployment of the NATO’s troops in Kosovo. The KVM was authorized by the UN’s Security Council Resolution 1199 on September 23rd, 1998. That was the beginning of a real territorial-administrative secession of Kosovo-Metochia from Serbia sponsored by the West for the only and very reason that Serbia did not want to join the NATO and to sell her economic infrastructure to the Western companies according to the pattern of “transition” of the Central and South-East European countries after the Cold War. The punishment came in the face of the Western-sponsored KLA.

2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

Mykolas Romeris University

Institute of Political Sciences

Vilnius, Lithuania

vladislav@sotirovic.eu

ENDNOTES:

[1] The FRY became renamed in February 2003 into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (the SCG) and finally the federation ended in June 2006 when both Serbia and Montenegro became independent states.

[2] On the “humanitarian” military interventions, see [J. L. Holzgrefe, R. O. Keohane (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003; T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007; D. Fassin, M. Pandolfi, Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions, New York: Zone Books, 2010; A. Hehir, The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention,  London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; G. Th. Weiss, Humanitarian Intervention, Cambridge, UK−Malden, MA, USA: 2012; A. Hehir, Humanitarian Intervention: An Introduction, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; B. Simms, D. J. B. Trim (eds.), Humanitarian Intervention: A History, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013; D. E. Scheid (ed.), The Ethics of Armed Humanitarian Intervention, Cambridge−New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014].

[3] H. Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009.

[4] On the First Prizren League, from the Albanian viewpoint, see [S. Pollo, S. Pulaha, (eds.), The Albanian League of Prizren, 1878−1881. Documents, Vol. I−II, Tirana, 1878].  

[5] In 1878 the Serbs were about 60 percent of Kosovo population and 70 percent of Prizren inhabitants.

[6] On the First Great Serbian Migration from Kosovo in 1690, see [С. Чакић, Велика сеоба Срба 1689/90 и патријарх Арсеније III Црнојевић, Нови Сад: Добра вест, 1990].

[7] On the Serbian Christian heritage of Kosovo-Metochia, see [M. Vasiljvec, The Christian Heritage of Kosovo and Metohija: The Historical and Spiritual Heartland of the Serbian People, Sebastian Press, 2015].

[8] On the Kosovo Battle of 1389 in the Serbian popular tradition, see [Р. Пековић (уредник), Косовска битка: Мит, легенда и стварност, Београд: Литера, 1987; R. Mihaljčić, The Battle of Kosovo in History and in Popular Tradition, Belgrade: BIGZ, 1989; Р. Михаљчић, Јунаци косовске легенде, Београд: БИГЗ, 1989]. The President of Serbia – Slobodan Miloshevic, started his patriotic policy of unification of the Republic of Serbia and promulgation of the human rights for the Kosovo Serbs exactly on the 600 years anniversary of the Kosovo Battle that was celebrated on June 28th, 1989 in Gazimestan near Prishtina as the place of the battle in 1389. However, this event was commonly seen by the Western academia and policy-makers as an expression of the Serb nationalism [R. W. Mansbach, K. L. Taylor, Introduction to Global Politics, London−New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2012, 429] and even as the Serb proclamation of the war to the rest of Yugoslavia.

[9] Р. Самарџић et al, Косово и Метохија у српској историји, Београд: Друштво за чување споменика и неговање традиција ослободилачких ратова Србије до 1918. године у Београду−Српска књижевна задруга, 1989, 5; Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија: Историја и идеологија, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2007, 17−29.

[10] See, for instance, a Memorandum by Kosovo and Macedonian Serbs to the international peace conference in The Hague in 1899 [Д. Т. Батаковић, Косово и Метохија у српско-арбанашким односима, Београд: Чигоја штампа, 2006, 118−123].

[11] From Josip Broz Tito, however, the Serbs in Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina did not receive any kind of political-territorial autonomy as Kosovo Albanians or Vojvodina Hungarians enjoyed in Serbia. Nevertheless, for the matter of comparison with Kosovo Albanians in Serbia, the Kurds in Turkey are not even recognized as a separate ethno-linguistic group.

[12] For instance, the Muslim Albanians tried to set arson on the Serbian Patriarchate of Pec’s church in the West Kosovo (Metochia) in 1981, but just accidentally only the dormitory was burnt.

[13] J. Palmowski (ed.), A Dictionary of Contemporary World History From 1900 to the Present Day, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 428.

[14] On the history of Kosovo from the Western perspective, see [N. Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History, New York: New York University, 1999; T. Judah, Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2008].

[15] T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79.

[16] Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869−1948) was an Indian national leader against the British colonial occupation of India. He became well-known as a leader who organized an Indian civil disobedience movement against the British colonial authorities which finally led to the independence of India. On his biography, see [J. Lelyveld, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his Struggle with India, New York: Knopf Borzoi Books, 2011].

[17] I. Rugova, La Question du Kosovo, Fayard, 1994. It has to be noticed that Rugova’s father and grandfather were shot to death by the Yugoslav Communist authorities at the very end of the WWII as the Nazi collaborators during the war.

[18] On the Dayton Accords, see [D. Chollet, The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005].

[19] On this issue, see more in [В. Б. Сотировић, Огледи из Југославологије, Виљнус: приватно издање, 2013, 190−196].

[20] We cannot forget as well that the KLA-led “March Pogrom” of Serbs in Kosovo (March 17−19th, 2004) was executed when I. Rugova was a “President” of Kosovo. The pogrom was in fact “…a systematic ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs…together with destruction of houses, other property, cultural monuments and Orthodox Christian religious sites” [D. Kojadinović (ed.), The March Pogrom, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia−Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004, 8].

[21] On the threat of radical Islam to the Balkans and Europe after 1991, see [Sh. Shay, Islamic Terror and the Balkans, Transaction Publishers, 2006; Ch. Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West, Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007].

[22] T. B. Seybolt, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, 79.

[23] Ibid.

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Kosovo and Other Countries Destroyed by Hillary Clinton



Hillary-Clinton-Nukes-Nuclear-War

In an email sent to his business partner and Democratic fundraiser Jeffrey Leeds, former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote of Hillary Clinton, “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”

Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s first term was an unmitigated disaster for many nations around the world. Neither the Donald Trump campaign nor the corporate media have adequately described how a number of countries around the world suffered horribly from Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy decisions.

Millions of people were adversely harmed by Clinton’s misguided policies and her “play-to-pay” operations involving favors in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.

The following is a before and after chart illustrating, country by country, the destabilizing effects of Clinton’s policies as Secretary of State:

Abkhazia

Before Hillary: In 2009, more and more nations began recognizing the independence of this nation that broke away from Georgia and successfully repelled a U.S.-supported Georgian invasion in 2008.

After Hillary: Clinton pressured Vanuatu and Tuvalu to break off diplomatic relations with Abkhazia in 2011. The State Department pressured the governments of India, Germany, and Spain to refuse to recognize the validity of Abkhazian passports and, in violation of the US-UN Treaty, refused to permit Abkhazian diplomats to visit UN headquarters in New York. The Clinton State Department also threatened San Marino, Belarus, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, Somalia, Uzbekistan, and Peru with recriminations if they recognized Abkhazia. Georgia was connected to Clinton through the representation of Georgia in Washington the Podesta Group, headed by Tony Podesta, the brother of Mrs. Clinton’s close friend and current campaign chairman John Podesta.

Argentina

Before Hillary: Under President Nestor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina’s economy improved and the working class and students prospered.

After Hillary: After former president Nestor Kirchner’s sudden death in 2010, the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires became a nexus for anti-Kirchner activities, including the fomenting of political and labor protests against the government. Meanwhile, Clinton pressed Argentina hard on its debt obligations to the IMF, also crippling the economy.

Bolivia

Before Hillary: Bolivia’s progressive president Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous Aymara leader, provided government support to the country’s coca farmers and miners. Morales also committed his government to environmental protection. He kept his country out of the Free Trade Area of the Americas and helped start the Peoples’ Trade Agreement with Venezuela and Cuba.

After Hillary: Clinton permitted the U.S. embassy in La Paz to stir up separatist revolts in four mostly European-descent Bolivian provinces, as well as foment labor strikes among miners and other workers in the same model used in Venezuela.

Brazil

Before Hillary: Brazil’s progressive presidents, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, ushered in a new era for the country, with workers’ and students; rights at forefront and environmental protection and economic development for the poor major priorities.

After Hillary: Clinton’s authorization of massive electronic spying from US embassy in Brasilia and consulate general in Rio de Janeiro resulted in a “constitutional coup” against Rousseff and the Workers’ Party government, ushering in a right-wing, CIA-supported corrupt government.

Central African Republic

Before Hillary: Under President Francois Bozize, the CAR remained relatively calm under a peace agreement hammered out under the auspices of Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya.

After Hillary: In 2012, Islamist terrorists of the Seleka movement and supported by Saudi Arabia conducted an uprising, massacring Christians and riving Bozize’s government from power. The CAR became a failed state under Clinton’s State Department.

Ecuador

Before Hillary: Ecuador began sharing its oil wealth with the people and the economy and the plight of the nation’s poor improved.

After Hillary: Clinton authorized a 2010 National Police coup against President Rafael Correa. The economy soon plunged as labor disputes wracked the mining and oil sectors.

Egypt

Before Hillary: Under Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was a stable secular nation that suppressed jihadist politics in the mosques. The jihadist-oriented Muslim Brotherhood was kept at bay.

After Hillary: After Clinton’s 2011 “Arab Spring” and the toppling of Mubarak, Egypt saw Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood elected president. Immediately, the secular country began a process of Islamization with Christian Copts experiencing repression and violence, including massacres. Morsi’s rule resulted in a military coup, thus ending Egypt’s previous moves toward democracy.

Germany

Before Hillary: The nation was a peaceful country where German culture, as well as religious freedom and women’s rights were guaranteed.

After Hillary: Clinton’s “Arab Spring” eventually resulted in a flood of mainly Muslim refugees being welcomed into Germany from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Today, Germany is wracked by Muslim refugee street crime, unsanitary and harmful public health habits of migrants, sexual assaults by migrant men of women and children, increased acts of terrorism, and a diminution of German culture and religious practices.

Greece

Before Hillary: Greece was a nation that saw government safety net social services extended to all in need. It also remained a top tourist destination for northern Europeans.

After Hillary: The 2010 debt crisis emaciated the Greek economy and Clinton remained adamant that Greece comply with draconian economic measures dictated by Germany, the European Union, and the IMF/World Bank. Making matters worse, Clinton’s “Arab Spring” eventually resulted in a flood of mainly Muslim refugees being welcomed into first, the Greek isles, and then mainland Greece, from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Today, Greece, especially the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Symi, Rhodes, Leros, and Kos, are wracked by Muslim refugee crime, unsanitary public health habits of migrants, sexual assaults by migrant men of women and children, acts of arson and vandalism, and a diminution of Greek culture and religious practices.

Guatemala

Before Hillary: Under President Alvaro Colom, the nation’s first populist progressive president, the poor received access to health, education, and social security.

After Hillary: Clinton authorized the U.S. embassy in Guatemala to work against the 2011 election as president of Colom’s wife, Sandra Torres. Colom was succeeded by a right-wing corrupt president who resigned for corruption and then was arrested.

Haiti

Before Hillary: Haiti was prepared in 2011 to re-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide, forced out of office and into exile in a 2004 CIA coup. The prospects of Artistide’s return to power was a blessing for the slum dwellers of Haiti.

After Hillary: Clinton refused to allow Aristide to return to Haiti from exile in South Africa until it was too late for him to run in the 2011 election. Under a series of U.S.-installed presidents, all approved by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Haiti is a virtual cash cow for the Clintons. The Clinton Foundation diverted for its own use, international aid to Haiti, and the Clintons ensured that their wealthy friends in the hotel, textile, and construction businesses landed lucrative contracts for Haitian projects, none of which have benefited the Haitian poor and many of which resulted in sweat shops and extremely low wage labor practices.

Honduras

Before Hillary: Emergent multi-party democracy with a populist progressive president, Manuel Zelaya. Children received free education, poor children received free school meals, interest rates were reduced, and the poorest families were given free electricity.

After Hillary: Clinton authorized a military coup d’etat against Zelaya in 2009. Clinton family “fix-it” man Lanny Davis became a public relations flack for the military dictatorship. Resulting fascist dictatorship involved in extrajudicial death squad killings of journalists, politicians, and indigenous leaders followed the “constitutional coup” against Zelaya. During 2012, Clinton ordered U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa to work against 2013 election of Xiomara Castro de Zelaya as president.

Iraq

Before Hillary: Under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq experienced small moves toward an accommodation with the Kurds of the north and Sunnis. Iran acted as a moderating political force in the country that deterred any attempts by Saudi-supported jihadis to disrupt the central government in Baghdad.

After Hillary: Clinton’s Arab Spring resulted in the rise of the Sunni/Wahhabist Islamic State in northern and western Iraq and Iraq’s plunge into failed state status. Shi’as, Kurds, Yazidis, Assyrian Christians, and moderate Sunnis were massacred by the jihadis in northern, western, and central Iraq. The Iraqi cities of Mosul, Kirkuk, and Nineveh fell to ISIL forces with non-Muslims being raped, tortured, and executed and priceless antiquities being destroyed by the marauding jihadists.

Kosovo

Before Hillary: Kosovo, which became independent in 2008, initially granted its Serbian minority in northern Kosovo and Metohija some degree of self-government.

After Hillary: In 2009, Kosovo increasingly became a state ruled by criminal syndicates and terrorists of the former Kosovo Liberation Army. The rights of Serbs were increasingly marginalized and Kosovo became a prime recruiting ground for jihadist guerrillas in Arab countries subjected to Clinton’s “Arab Spring” operations, including Libya and Syria.

Clinton pressured states receiving U.S. aid and other U.S. allies to recognize Kosovo’s independence. These included Pakistan, Palau, Maldives, St. Kitts-Nevis, Dominica, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Burundi, East Timor, Haiti, Chad, Gambia, Brunei, Ghana, Kuwait, Ivory Coast, Gabon, St. Lucia, Benin, Niger, Guinea, Central African Republic, Andorra, Oman, Guinea-Bissau, Qatar, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Honduras, Somalia, Djibouti, Vanuatu, Swaziland, Mauritania, Malawi, New Zealand, Dominican Republic, Jordan, Bahrain, and Comoros. In the Kosovo capital of Pristina, there is a 10-foot-high statue of Bill Clinton standing over Bill Clinton Boulevard. Not far away is a women’s clothing store called “Hillary.”

Libya

Before Hillary: Under Muammar Qaddafi, post-sanction Libya saw a boom in urban construction and a new major international airport to serve as a hub for Africa. Plans announced for an African dinar, supported by Libyan gold holdings, to serve the needs of Africa. All Libyans received free education and medical care. There was a program for revenue sharing of Libya’s oil wealth with the Libyan people.

After Hillary: Clinton’s 2011 regime change operations against Qaddafi, which saw the Libyan leader sodomized, beaten, and shot in the head by U.S.-supervised jihadist rebels, resulted in Clinton laughing about the incident in the infamous, “We came, we saw, he died” comment. Libya became a failed state where Islamic jihadist terrorists vied for control of the country and Qaddafi’s arm caches were given or sold to jihadist terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the pan-Sahel region, and sub-Saharan Africa. After Qaddafi’s ouster, black African guest workers and their families were massacred by jihadist forces.

Malaysia

Before Hillary:Malaysia, before 2009, was a religiously tolerant nation where Buddhists, Christians, and Hindus enjoyed freedom of religion.

After Hillary: In 2009, Najib Razak became prime minister and he began accepting bribes from Saudi Arabia that totaled some $2.6 billion with additional Malaysian public money in Razak’s personal bank accounts plus the Saudi cash totaling some $3.5 billion. Razak began allowing Saudi-influenced clerics to push for sharia law throughout Malaysia and Christians in Sarawak, Sabah, and Penang began experiencing Wahhabist repression. Clinton was silent about Malaysian persecution of non-Muslims. The reason may have been a reported several hundred million donation from Razak’s slush fund into the Clinton Foundation’s coffers.

Palestine

Before Hillary: In 2012, Palestine was granted non-member observer status in the United nations. The 2009 Goldstone Report of the UN found that Israel violated international humanitarian law in its war against Gaza in 2009. Palestine was gaining more support and sympathy internationally and was successfully putting to rest Israeli propaganda disinformation.

After Hillary: Hillary Clinton rejected the Goldstone Report as “one-sided.” Clinton’s unbridled support for expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and its silence on the dehumanizing Israeli blockade of Gaza, emboldened Israel’s theocratic right-wing government to further encroach on Palestinian territories and cementing into place an apartheid-like series of Palestinian “Bantustans” in the West Bank and an open-air ghetto in Gaza.

Paraguay

Before Hillary: The country under Fernando Lugo began lifting out of poverty the nation’s rural campesinos and urban workers. Paraguay also began a steady move toward democratization after years of military  dictatorships.

After Hillary: Clinton’s 2012 “constitutional coup” against Fernando Lugo brought back into power the military-industrial oligarchy with the nation’s campesinos being forced back into poverty and repressive rule.

South Sudan

Before Hillary: Prior to independence in 2011, South Sudan, while rife with intra-tribal feuding, was relatively calm.

After Hillary: After being rushed into indepenence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan, a special project of Clinton, George Soros, and actor George Clooney, descended into civil war and chaos. It beat all records in being transformed from a newly-independent state into a failed state.

Syria

Before Hillary: Syria was a multi-cultural and multi-religious secular state championing the concept of pan-Arab socialism and progressive policies advanced by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. Syria was not a safe place for jihadism.

After Hillary: After Clinton’s 2011 green light for the “Arab Spring,” Syria became a failed state where the Islamic State gained a firm foothold. Minority Alawites, Christians, Druze, and Kurds were massacred by jihadist groups aided and abetted by NGOs and other interests backed by Clinton.

Thailand

Before Hillary: Thailand’s Red Shirt movement was a powerful force that demanded a return to democracy in Thailand and the restoration of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 military coup, to power.

After Hillary: A Red Shirt protest in 2010 resulted in a bloody crackdown by the Thai military. Clinton remained silent about the Thai army’s killing of protesters and the mass arrests of Red Shirt leaders. U.S. military assistance to the Thai government was continued by Clinton. When Thaskin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, became prime minister in 2011, Clinton began working to undermine her and her government in a manner not unlike Clinton’s subterfuge against Rousseff in Brazil and Cristina Kirchner in Argentina. When iot comes to women leaders, Clinton only tolerates conservatives who kow-tow to the United States. The pressure against Yingluck eventually resulted in her ouster in 2014 and her being criminally charged in the same manner that saw Rousseff charged in Brazil.

Tunisia

Before Hillary: Tunisia was one of the most secular nations in the Arab and Islamic world. A top destination for European tourists, the country was more European in its outlook than North African.

After Hillary: After Clinton’s 2011 “Jasmine Revolution,” a textbook themed revolution crafted by Clinton’s friend George Soros, Tunisia descended into Islamist rule and violence. Today, Tunisia is the top country for recruits to the Islamic State.

Turkey

Before Hillary: Turkey was moving steadily closer to European standards on human rights and democracy. Even under the Islamist-oriented Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country remained committed to pluralism.

After Hillary: Clinton authorized the shipment of Libyan weapons captured from Qaddafi’s arms caches to Turkish middlemen in the employment of Erdogan’s government for transfer to the jihadist rebels in Syria. A complication in this arrangement resulted in the September 11, 2012 jihadist attack on the CIA warehouse facility in Benghazi, which killed U.S. envoy Chris Stevens and other State Department personnel. Turkey’s dalliance with jihadist rebels in Syria was mirrored by increasing Islamization of Turkey. The events of 2011 and 2012 resulted in Turkey today being ruled by an Islamist strongman, Erdogan, with open political opposition being stamped out.

Ukraine

Before Hillary: Ukraine was a stable and neutral country that neither aligned itself with the West and NATO nor with Russia under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, elected in 2009 and inaugurated in 2010.

After Hillary: Clinton tried everything possible to ensure the 2009 defeat of Viktor Yanukovych. The State Department and its friends in the George Soros camp provided assistance to Clinton’s favorite candidate Yulia Tymoshenko to defeat Yanokovych. It was this early interference in the 2009 election that ultimately led to the “Euromaidan” themed revolution in 2014 against the government, resulting in civil war, the retrocession of Crimea back to Russia, and secessionist states in eastern Ukraine. Clinton’s policies directly led to a failed state in Europe.

Venezuela

Before Hillary: Under Hugo Chavez, the country provided basic social services to its poorest of citizens. Venezuela also provided discounted gasoline to several Caribbean and Central American countries through the PetroCaribe consortium.

After Hillary: After Clinton allowed the U.S. embassy in Caracas to foment anti-Chavez labor and political protests, the country began to falter economically. After Chavez’s 2012 diagnosis of terminal cancer, the State Department stepped up pressure on Venezuela, crippling the nation’s economy and political system.

Western Sahara

Before Hillary: Recognized by the African Union and several nations around the world as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Western Sahara saw some hope for an evacuation of illegal Moroccan occupation trops from its territory.

After Hillary: In 2010, Moroccan troops began entering Sahrawi refugee camps and attacking residents, even in UN-protected exclusion zones, where Moroccan troops were prohibited from entering. Clinto ensured that UN talks and a proposed popular referendum on the future of Western Sahara were stalled. Clinton pressured a number of states to withdraw their recognition of the SADR, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Paraguay, Haiti, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Malawi, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia, Panama, and Burundi. The Clinton Foundation received a 2011 donation of $1 milion from a Moroccan phosphate company owned by the Moroccan government and which has mining operations in Western Sahara.

Yemen

Before Hillary: Yemen was a largely secular state that was transforming into a federation where the rights of South Yemen and the Zaidi Houthis of north Yemen were being recognized.

After Hillary: Clinton’s “Arab Spring” of 2011 and the fall of Abdullah Saleh from power saw Yemen become a failed state. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State gained control over several areas of North and South Yemen. The fall of Saleh permitted Saudi Arabia to conduct a genocidal war in the country with Mrs. Clinton’s full support.

Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist who consistently exposes cover-ups from deep within government. Want to be the first to learn the latest scandal? Click on the banner above and subscribe today!

2016-09-22

About the author:

Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist who consistently exposes cover-ups from deep within the government. Want to be the first to learn the latest scandal? Go to WayneMadsenReport.com subscribe today!

Source: Info War

Bil-Klinton-Pristina

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Albanian terrorists as official NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo members – photo evidence



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Remember watching ancient Orthodox Christian monasteries in flames in Kosovo dozen times.
Old, noble constructions, spiritual and historical testimonies of past times.
I also remember that majority of Orthodox Christian monasteries, churches and relics has been attacked and destroyed after NATO forces (officially: KFOR) took full control of the Serbian province.
It amazed me to see how Western soldiers, under full equipment and heavy armament, often didn’t make a single move to stop Albanian violence; over 200 000 Serbs had to flee, in order to save their bare lives, bearing whole their lives in few suitcases if they were lucky enough. 264960_193007560748613_8317034_n
Photo: NATO peacekeepers calmly observe Albanians destroying Christian heritage

It turned out that indeed, Albanian terrorists WERE  (stil are?) part of NATO, so called peacekeeping forces in the province of Kosovo and the evidences are here. There’s the Albanian nationalist guy, wrapped in Greater Albania flag, certain Lami, who is at the same time – a Swiss peacekeeper!
Incredible.
Lami Lami KLami KF Lami KFOLami Kfor
So this opens more questions: How many ISIS members have been deployed in Iraq as peacekeepers?
ISIS in morning, anti ISIS in the afternoon?
I
SIS uses the same method Albanians applied in the province of Kosovo Metohija – destroying and removing every trace of Christianity (the picture below are from Kosovo province): 

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KFOR / NATO in Kosovo observed all, allowing it to happen. When Serbs tried to complain, addressing both international community and global media, nothing ever happen.
I was told that that there were the KLA terrorist wearing KFOR uniforms, and that people often heard the ‘peacekeepers’ speaking -Albanian language.
I heard that there are plenty of KLA terrorists under the USA, Belgian, German, Danish flag operating as part of their peacekeeping forces.

LON50D:YUGOSLAVIA-NATO-DEPLOYMENT:KACANIK,YUGOSLAVIA,14JUN99 - Capt. Vicki Wentworth from Swansea, in the United Kingdom, views the site of a possible mass grave of nearly 100 ethnic Albanians in southern Kosovo June 14. If confirmed, it would be the first uncovering of such a grave since NATO forces entered the province two days ago it is reported. The site is located near the graveyard in Kacanik village some 50km (30 miles) south of Pristina. jb/Photo by Russell Boyce REUTERS

Reuters says: A young (Albanian !?) captain from the British KFOR contingent pays her respects at the site of a possible mass grave of Kosovar Albanians in the village of Kacanik, Kosovo, on 14 June 1999. 
(Reuters photo – 32Kb)

The same Reuters have never apologized since SIXTEEN years we know that there was no  Albanian mass grave in Kacanik area.
(meanwhile there are still over 3000 Serbs missing; but who is going to investigate and search for them, Albanian nationalists disguised as peacekeepers?)
Who is going to take responsibilities for all the consequences of such lies (i.e. mass grave, over hundreds of thousands dead Albanians, etc) ?
I can’t even imagine what kind of stories have been served to real and honest peacekeepers by Albanian Trojans among them.

And here we got, In August anno domini 2015 (16 – 17 years later) repetition of the same Albanian propaganda. The Telegraph, in article titled  Inside Kacanik, Kosovo’s jihadist capital  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/kosovo/11818659/Inside-Kacanik-Kosovos-jihadist-capital.html)  speaks about Kosovo Albanian terrorist groups, (what a surprise. We have been writing about the Albanian terrorism here in TMJ for years) but pushes the old proven to be false, stories.

The caption of the photo bellow says (quote):
Captain Andy Phipps from the British Army holds his head in hands as he looks over the site of a possible mass grave of nearly 100 ethnic Albanians in southern Kosovo  Photo: Reuters

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Even though Kosovo Metohija province has been under NATO and Albanian rule since 1999, and, despite all their investigations and research – no mass graves containing murdered Albanians have been discovered ( at the same time no serious search for still missing 3000 Serbs ever occurred; no officials mourns near and around Klecka, or Radonjicko lake, no Reuters to target these locations as places of mass murder of Serbs!)  – we go it in British Telegraph!
There must be a place in hell for corrupted journalists, for sure.

Whenever Serbs civilians complained about the alliance between Albanian nationals and NATO forces,  local HQ -es ignored the complains.

Meanwhile over one hundred Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries has been completely destroyed (That’s the same method ISIS implements nowadays in Syria).
Another interesting question rises, after so called Kosovo PM, Hasim Taci, attempts to list all the  Serbian Orthodox heritage, bulid and raised by medieval Serbian kings and emperors, as ‘Kosovo’ heritage; could we expect similar request from Albanian Middle eastern alter ego, ISIS. the same request concerning Malaua and Palmyra, just to mention the two?
crkve-kim-c-vDestroyed Serbian Orthodox monasteries and churches by Albanians in Kosovo in March 2004

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ISIL International



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ISIL 1

ISIL 2

Bil-Klinton-Pristina

Цлинтониѕација

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How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS



Kosovo ISIL Ridvan Haqifi and Lavdrim Muhaxheri

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

“They promoted political Islam,” said Fatos Makolli, the director of Kosovo’s counterterrorism police. “They spent a lot of money to promote it through different programs mainly with young, vulnerable people, and they brought in a lot of Wahhabi and Salafi literature. They brought these people closer to radical political Islam, which resulted in their radicalization.”

After two years of investigations, the police have charged 67 people, arrested 14 imams and shut down 19 Muslim organizations for acting against the Constitution, inciting hatred and recruiting for terrorism. The most recent sentences, which included a 10-year prison term, were handed down on Friday.

It is a stunning turnabout for a land of 1.8 million people that not long ago was among the most pro-American Muslim societies in the world. Americans were welcomed as liberators after leading months of NATO bombing in 1999 that spawned an independent Kosovo.

 American bombing of Serbian positions in Kosovo in 1999 during the air campaign by NATO. Credit Jerome Delay/Associated Press

After the war, United Nations officials administered the territory and American forces helped keep the peace. The Saudis arrived, too, bringing millions of euros in aid to a poor and war-ravaged land.

But where the Americans saw a chance to create a new democracy, the Saudis saw a new land to spread Wahhabism.

“There is no evidence that any organization gave money directly to people to go to Syria,” Mr. Makolli said. “The issue is they supported thinkers who promote violence and jihad in the name of protecting Islam.”

 A portrait of Bill Clinton on a back street in Pristina near Bill Clinton Boulevard. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Kosovo now has over 800 mosques, 240 of them built since the war and blamed for helping indoctrinate a new generation in Wahhabism. They are part of what moderate imams and officials here describe as a deliberate, long-term strategy by Saudi Arabia to reshape Islam in its image, not only in Kosovo but around the world.

Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2015 reveal a system of funding for mosques, Islamic centers and Saudi-trained clerics that spans Asia, Africa and Europe. In New Delhi alone, 140 Muslim preachers are listed as on the Saudi Consulate’s payroll.

All around Kosovo, families are grappling with the aftermath of years of proselytizing by Saudi-trained preachers. Some daughters refuse to shake hands with or talk to male relatives. Some sons have gone off to jihad. Religious vigilantes have threatened — or committed — violence against academics, journalists and politicians.

The Balkans, Europe’s historical fault line, have yet to heal from the ethnic wars of the 1990s. But they are now infected with a new intolerance, moderate imams and officials in the region warn.

How Kosovo and the very nature of its society was fundamentally recast is a story of a decades-long global ambition by Saudi Arabia to spread its hard-line version of Islam — heavily funded and systematically applied, including with threats and intimidation by followers.

 Idriz Bilalli, an imam in Podujevo, has sought to curb extremists and has received death threats. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

The Missionaries Arrive

After the war ended in 1999, Idriz Bilalli, the imam of the central mosque in Podujevo, welcomed any help he could get.

Podujevo, home to about 90,000 people in northeast Kosovo, was a reasonably prosperous town with high schools and small businesses in an area hugged by farmland and forests. It was known for its strong Muslim tradition even in a land where people long wore their religion lightly.

After decades of Communist rule when Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia, men and women mingle freely, schools are coeducational, and girls rarely wear the veil. Still, Serbian paramilitary forces burned down 218 mosques as part of their war against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, who are 95 percent Muslim. Mr. Bilalli needed help to rebuild.

When two imams in their 30s, Fadil Musliu and Fadil Sogojeva, who were studying for master’s degrees in Saudi Arabia, showed up after the war with money to organize summer religion courses, Mr. Bilalli agreed to help.

The imams were just two of some 200 Kosovars who took advantage of scholarships after the war to study Islam in Saudi Arabia. Many, like them, returned with missionary zeal.

Soon, under Mr. Musliu’s tutelage, pupils started adopting a rigid manner of prayer, foreign to the moderate Islamic traditions of this part of Europe. Mr. Bilalli recognized the influence, and he grew concerned.

“This is Wahhabism coming into our society,” Mr. Bilalli, 52, said in a recent interview.

Mr. Bilalli trained at the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s, and as a student he had been warned by a Kosovar professor to guard against the cultural differences of Wahhabism. He understood there was a campaign of proselytizing, pushed by the Saudis.

“The first thing the Wahhabis do is to take members of our congregation, who understand Islam in the traditional Kosovo way that we had for generations, and try to draw them away from this understanding,” he said. “Once they get them away from the traditional congregation, then they start bombarding them with radical thoughts and ideas.”

“The main goal of their activity is to create conflict between people,” he said. “This first creates division, and then hatred, and then it can come to what happened in Arab countries, where war starts because of these conflicting ideas.”

From the outset, the newly arriving clerics sought to overtake the Islamic Community of Kosovo, an organization that for generations has been the custodian of the tolerant form of Islam that was practiced in the region, townspeople and officials say.

Muslims in Kosovo, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, follow the Hanafi school of Islam, traditionally a liberal version that is accepting of other religions.

But all around the country, a new breed of radical preachers was setting up in neighborhood mosques, often newly built with Saudi money.

In some cases, centuries-old buildings were bulldozed, including a historic library in Gjakova and several 400-year-old mosques, as well as shrines, graveyards and Dervish monasteries, all considered idolatrous in Wahhabi teaching.

From their bases, the Saudi-trained imams propagated Wahhabism’s tenets: the supremacy of Sharia law as well as ideas of violent jihad and takfirism, which authorizes the killing of Muslims considered heretics for not following its interpretation of Islam.

The Saudi-sponsored charities often paid salaries and overhead costs, and financed courses in religion, as well as English and computer classes, moderate imams and investigators explained.

But the charitable assistance often had conditions attached. Families were given monthly stipends on the condition that they attended sermons in the mosque and that women and girls wore the veil, human rights activists said.

“People were so needy, there was no one who did not join,” recalled Ajnishahe Halimi, a politician who campaigned to have a radical Albanian imam expelled after families complained of abuse.

Gjilan, a town of about 90,000 where a moderate imam was kidnapped and beaten by extremists. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Threats Intensify

Within a few years of the war’s end, the older generation of traditional clerics began to encounter aggression from young Wahhabis.

Paradoxically, some of the most serious tensions built in Gjilan, an eastern Kosovo town of about 90,000, where up to 7,000 American troops were stationed as part of Kosovo’s United Nations-run peacekeeping force at Camp Bondsteel.

“They came in the name of aid,” one moderate imam in Gjilan, Enver Rexhepi, said of the Arab charities. “But they came with a background of different intentions, and that’s where the Islamic religion started splitting here.”

One day in 2004, he recalled, he was threatened by one of the most aggressive young Wahhabis, Zekirja Qazimi, a former madrasa student then in his early 20s.

Inside his mosque, Mr. Rexhepi had long displayed an Albanian flag. Emblazoned with a double-headed eagle, it was a popular symbol of Kosovo’s liberation struggle.

But strict Muslim fundamentalists consider the depiction of any living being as idolatrous. Mr. Qazimi tore the flag down. Mr. Rexhepi put it back.

“It will not go long like this,” Mr. Qazimi told him angrily, Mr. Rexhepi recounted.

Within days, Mr. Rexhepi was abducted and savagely beaten by masked men in woods above Gjilan. He later accused Mr. Qazimi of having been behind the attack, but police investigations went nowhere.

Ten years later, in 2014, after two young Kosovars blew themselves up in suicide bombings in Iraq and Turkey, investigators began an extensive investigation into the sources of radicalism. Mr. Qazimi was arrested hiding in the same woods. On Friday, a court sentenced him to 10 years in prison after he faced charges of inciting hatred and recruiting for a terrorist organization.

Before Mr. Qazimi was arrested, his influence was profound, under what investigators now say was the sway of Egyptian-based extremists and the patronage of Saudi and other gulf Arab sponsors.

By the mid-2000s, Saudi money and Saudi-trained clerics were already exerting influence over the Islamic Community of Kosovo. The leadership quietly condoned the drift toward conservatism, critics of the organization say.

Mr. Qazimi was appointed first to a village mosque, and then to El-Kuddus mosque on the edge of Gjilan. Few could counter him, not even Mustafa Bajrami, his former teacher, who was elected head of the Islamic Community of Gjilan in 2012.

Mr. Bajrami comes from a prominent religious family — his father was the first chief mufti of Yugoslavia during the Communist period. He holds a doctorate in Islamic studies. Yet he remembers pupils began rebelling against him whenever he spoke against Wahhabism.

He soon realized that the students were being taught beliefs that differed from the traditional moderate curriculum by several radical imams in lectures after hours. He banned the use of mosques after official prayer times.

Hostility only grew. He would notice a dismissive gesture in the congregation during his sermons, or someone would curse his wife, or mutter “apostate” or “infidel” as he passed.

In the village, Mr. Qazimi’s influence eventually became so disruptive that residents demanded his removal after he forbade girls and boys to shake hands. But in Gjilan he continued to draw dozens of young people to his after-hours classes.

“They were moving 100 percent according to lessons they were taking from Zekirja Qazimi,” Mr. Bajrami said in an interview. “One hundred percent, in an ideological way.”

Evening prayer at the mosque of the radical imam Fadil Musliu on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Extremism Spreads

Over time, the Saudi-trained imams expanded their work.

By 2004, Mr. Musliu, one of the master’s degree students from Podujevo who studied in Saudi Arabia, had graduated and was imam of a mosque in the capital, Pristina.

In Podujevo, he set up a local charitable organization called Devotshmeria, or Devotion, which taught religion classes and offered social programs for women, orphans and the poor. It was funded by Al Waqf al Islami, a Saudi organization that was one of the 19 eventually closed by investigators.

Mr. Musliu put a cousin, Jetmir Rrahmani, in charge.

“Then I knew something was starting that would not bring any good,” said Mr. Bilalli, the moderate cleric who had started out teaching with him. In 2004, they had a core of 20 Wahhabis.

“That was only the beginning,” Mr. Bilalli said. “They started multiplying.”

Mr. Bilalli began a vigorous campaign against the spread of unauthorized mosques and Wahhabi teaching. In 2008, he was elected head of the Islamic Community of Podujevo and instituted religion classes for women, in an effort to undercut Devotshmeria.

As he sought to curb the extremists, Mr. Bilalli received death threats, including a note left in the mosque’s alms box. An anonymous telephone caller vowed to make him and his family disappear, he said.

“Anyone who opposes them, they see as an enemy,” Mr. Bilalli said.

He appealed to the leadership of the Islamic Community of Kosovo. But by then it was heavily influenced by Arab gulf sponsors, he said, and he received little support.

When Mr. Bilalli formed a union of fellow moderates, the Islamic Community of Kosovo removed him from his post. His successor, Bekim Jashari, equally concerned by the Saudi influence, nevertheless kept up the fight.

“I spent 10 years in Arab countries and specialized in sectarianism within Islam,” Mr. Jashari said. “It’s very important to stop Arab sectarianism from being introduced to Kosovo.”

Mr. Jashari had a couple of brief successes. He blocked the Saudi-trained imam Mr. Sogojeva from opening a new mosque, and stopped a payment of 20,000 euros, about $22,400, intended for it from the Saudi charity Al Waqf al Islami.

He also began a website, Speak Now, to counter Wahhabi teaching. But he remains so concerned about Wahhabi preachers that he never lets his 19-year-old son attend prayers on his own.

The radical imams Mr. Musliu and Mr. Sogojeva still preach in Pristina, where for prayers they draw crowds of young men who glare at foreign reporters.

Mr. Sogojeva dresses in a traditional robe and banded cleric’s hat, but his newly built mosque is an incongruous modern multistory building. He admonished his congregation with a rapid-fire list of dos and don’ts in a recent Friday sermon.

Neither imam seems to lack funds.

In an interview, Mr. Musliu insisted that he was financed by local donations, but confirmed that he had received Saudi funding for his early religion courses.

The instruction, he said, is not out of line with Kosovo’s traditions. The increase in religiosity among young people was natural after Kosovo gained its freedom, he said.

“Those who are not believers and do not read enough, they feel a bit shocked,” he said. “But we coordinated with other imams, and everything was in line with Islam.”

The entrance to the grounds of the Serbian Orthodox monastery in Decani in western Kosovo. In January, four armed Islamists passed through the checkpoint and were arrested at the monastery gates. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

A Tilt Toward Terrorism

The influence of the radical clerics reached its apex with the war in Syria, as they extolled the virtues of jihad and used speeches and radio and television talks shows to urge young people to go there.

Mr. Qazimi, who was given the 10-year prison sentence, even organized a summer camp for his young followers.

“It is obligated for every Muslim to participate in jihad,” he told them in one videotaped talk. “The Prophet Muhammad says that if someone has a chance to take part in jihad and doesn’t, he will die with great sins.”

“The blood of infidels is the best drink for us Muslims,” he said in another recording.

Among his recruits, investigators say, were three former civilian employees of American contracting companies at Camp Bondsteel, where American troops are stationed. They included Lavdrim Muhaxheri, an Islamic State leader who was filmed executing a man in Syria with a rocket-propelled grenade.

After the suicide bombings, the authorities opened a broad investigation and found that the Saudi charity Al Waqf al Islami had been supporting associations set up by preachers like Mr. Qazimi in almost every regional town.

Al Waqf al Islami was established in the Balkans in 1989. Most of its financing came from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, Kosovo investigators said in recent interviews. Unexplained gaps in its ledgers deepened suspicions that the group was surreptitiously funding clerics who were radicalizing young people, they said.

Investigators from Kosovo’s Financial Intelligence Unit found that Al Waqf al Islami, which had an office in central Pristina and a staff of 12, ran through €10 million from 2000 through 2012. Yet they found little paperwork to explain much of the spending.

More than €1 million went to mosque building. But one and a half times that amount was disbursed in unspecified cash withdrawals, which may have also gone to enriching its staff, the investigators said.

Only 7 percent of the budget was shown to have gone to caring for orphans, the charity’s stated mission.

By the summer of 2014, the Kosovo police shut down Al Waqf al Islami, along with 12 other Islamic charities, and arrested 40 people.

The charity’s head offices, in Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands, have since changed their name to Al Waqf, apparently separating themselves from the Balkans operation.

Asked about the accusations in a telephone interview, Nasr el Damanhoury, the director of Al Waqf in the Netherlands, said he had no direct knowledge of his group’s operations in Kosovo or the Balkans.

The charity has ceased all work outside the Netherlands since he took over in 2013, he said. His predecessor had returned to Morocco and could not be reached, and Saudi board members would not comment, he said.

“Our organization has never supported extremism,” Mr. Damanhoury said. “I have known it since 1989. I joined them three years ago. They have always been a mild group.”


Kosovars celebrating the independence of Kosovo from Serbia in 2008. Credit Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press

Unheeded Warnings

Why the Kosovar authorities — and American and United Nations overseers — did not act sooner to forestall the spread of extremism is a question being intensely debated.

As early as 2004, the prime minister at the time, Bajram Rexhepi, tried to introduce a law to ban extremist sects. But, he said in a recent interview at his home in northern Kosovo, European officials told him that it would violate freedom of religion.

“It was not in their interest, they did not want to irritate some Islamic countries,” Mr. Rexhepi said. “They simply did not do anything.”

Not everyone was unaware of the dangers, however.

At a meeting in 2003, Richard C. Holbrooke, once the United States special envoy to the Balkans, warned Kosovar leaders not to work with the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo, an umbrella organization of Saudi charities whose name still appears on many of the mosques built since the war, along with that of the former Saudi interior minister, Prince Naif bin Abdul-Aziz.

A year later, it was among several Saudi organizations that were shut down in Kosovo when it came under suspicion as a front for Al Qaeda. Another was Al-Haramain, which in 2004 was designated by the United States Treasury Department as having links to terrorism.

Yet even as some organizations were shut down, others kept working. Staff and equipment from Al-Haramain shifted to Al Waqf al Islami, moderate imams familiar with their activities said.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia appears to have reduced its aid to Kosovo. Kosovo Central Bank figures show grants from Saudi Arabia averaging €100,000 a year for the past five years.

It is now money from Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — which each average approximately €1 million a year — that propagates the same hard-line version of Islam. The payments come from foundations or individuals, or sometimes from the Ministry of Zakat (Almsgiving) from the various governments, Kosovo’s investigators say.

But payments are often diverted through a second country to obscure their origin and destination, they said. One transfer of nearly €500,000 from a Saudi individual was frozen in 2014 since it was intended for a Kosovo teenager, according to the investigators and a State Department report.

Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations were still raising millions from “deep-pocket donors and charitable organizations” based in the gulf, the Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David S. Cohen, said in a speech in 2014 at the Center for a New American Security.

While Saudi Arabia has made progress in stamping out funding for Al Qaeda, sympathetic donors in the kingdom were still funding other terrorist groups, he said.

Today the Islamic Community of Kosovo has been so influenced by the largess of Arab donors that it has seeded prominent positions with radical clerics, its critics say.

Ahmet Sadriu, a spokesman for Islamic Community of Kosovo, said the group held to Kosovo’s traditionally tolerant version of Islam. But calls are growing to overhaul an organization now seen as having been corrupted by outside forces and money.

Kosovo’s interior minister, Skender Hyseni, said he had recently reprimanded some of the senior religious officials.

“I told them they were doing a great disservice to their country,” he said in an interview. “Kosovo is by definition, by Constitution, a secular society. There has always been historically an unspoken interreligious tolerance among Albanians here, and we want to make sure that we keep it that way.”

 Albert Berisha, sentenced to prison for going to Syria to fight, says he did not join the Islamic State. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Families Divided

For some in Kosovo, it may already be too late.

Families have been torn apart. Some of Kosovo’s best and brightest have been caught up in the lure of jihad.

One of Kosovo’s top political science graduates, Albert Berisha, said he left in 2013 to help the Syrian people in the uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. He abandoned his attempt after only two weeksand he says he never joined the Islamic State — but has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, pending appeal.

Ismet Sakiqi, an official in the prime minister’s office and a veteran of the liberation struggle, was shaken to find his 22-year-old son, Visar, a law student, arrested on his way through Turkey to Syria with his fiancée. He now visits his son in the same Kosovo prison where he was detained under Serbian rule.

And in the hamlet of Busavate, in the wooded hills of eastern Kosovo, a widower, Shemsi Maliqi, struggles to explain how his family has been divided. One of his sons, Alejhim, 27, has taken his family to join the Islamic State in Syria.

It remains unclear how Alejhim became radicalized. He followed his grandfather, training as an imam in Gjilan, and served in the village mosque for six years. Then, two years ago, he asked his father to help him travel to Egypt to study.

Mr. Maliqi still clings to the hope that his son is studying in Egypt rather than fighting in Syria. But Kosovo’s counterterrorism police recently put out an international arrest warrant for Alejhim.

“Better that he comes back dead than alive,” Mr. Maliqi, a poor farmer, said. “I sent him to school, not to war. I sold my cow for him.”

Alejhim had married a woman from the nearby village of Vrbice who was so conservative that she was veiled up to her eyes and refused to shake hands with her brother-in-law.

The wife’s mother angrily refused to be interviewed. Her daughter did what was expected and followed her husband to Syria, she said.

Secretly, Alejhim drew three others — his sister; his best friend, who married his sister; and his wife’s sister — to follow him to Syria, too. The others have since returned, but remain radical and estranged from the family.

Alejhim’s uncle, Fehmi Maliqi, like the rest of the family, is dismayed. “It’s a catastrophe,” he said.


21-05-2016

By Carlota Gall

Source: The New York Times

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Kosovo history – Fifth part



Serbs fighting ISIS

The series of long-scale Christian national movements in the Balkans, triggered off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the earlier centuries, the fate of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the European provinces of Ottoman Empire. At a time when the Eastern question was again being raised, particularly in the final quarter of 19th and the first decade of 20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey’s policy in crushing the liberation movements of other Balkan states. After the congress of Berlin (1878) an Albanian national movement flared up, and both the Sultan and Austria-Hungary, a power whose occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina heralded its further expansion deep into the Balkans, endeavored, with varying degrees of success, to instrumentalize this movement. While the Porte used the ethnic Albanians as Islam’s shock cutting edge against Christians in the frontier regions towards Serbia and Montenegro, particularly in Kosovo, Metohia and the nearby areas, Austria-Hungary’s design was to use the Albanians national movement against the liberatory aspirations of the two Serbian states that were impeding the German Drang nach Osten. In a rift between two only seemingly contrary strivings, Serbia and Montenegro, although independent since 1878, were powerless (at least until the Balkan wars 1912-1913) without the support of Russia or other Great Power to effect the position of their compatriots within the borders of Ottoman Empire.

karadjordjeDuring the Serbian revolution, which ended with the creation of the autonomous Principality of Serbia within the Ottoman empire (1830), Kosovo and Metohia acquired special political importance. The hereditary ethnic Albanian pashas, who had until then been mostly renegades from the central authorities in Constantinople, feared that the flames of rebellion might spread to regions they controlled thus they became champions for the defense the integrity of the Turkish Empire and leaders of many military campaigns against the Serbian insurgents, at the core of the Serbian revolution was the Kosovo covenant, embodied in the “revenge of Kosovo”, a fresh, decisive battle against the Turkish invaders in the field of Kosovo. In 1806 the insurgents were preparing, like Prince Lazar in his day, to come out in Kosovo and weigh their forces against the Turks, However, detachments of Serbian insurgents reached only the fringes of northern Kosovo. Metohia, Old Raska (Sandzak), Kosovo and northern Macedonia remained outside the borders of the Serbian principality. In order to highlight their importance in the national and political ideologies of the renewed Serbian state, they were given a new collective name. It was not by chance that Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic, the father of modern Serbian literacy, named the central lands of the Nemanjic state – Old Serbia.

Fearing the renewed Serbian state, Kosovo pashas engaged in ruthless persecution in an effort to reduce number of Serbs living in their spacious holdings. The French travel writer F.C.H.L Pouqueville was astounded by the utter anarchy and ferocity of the local pashas towards the Christians. Jashar-pasha Gjinolli of Prishtina was one of the worst, destroying several churches in Kosovo, seizing monastic lands and killing monks. In just a few years of sweeping terror, he evicted more than seventy Serbian villages between Vucitrn and Gnjilane, dividing up the seized land among the local Islamized population and mountain folk that had settled there from northern Albania. The fertile plains of Kosovo became desolate meadows as the Malisor highlanders, unused to farming knew not to cultivate.

The revolt of the ethnic Albanian pashas against the reforms introduced by the sultans and fierce clashes with regular Turkish troops in the thirties and forties of the 19th century, emphasized the anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia, causing fresh suffering among the Serbs and the further devastation of the ancient monasteries. Since neither Serbian nor Montenegro, two semi-independent Serbian states, were able to give any significant help to the gravely endangered people, Serbian leaders form the Pristina and Vucitrn regions turned to the Russian tsar in seeking protection from their oppressors. They set out that they were forced to choose between converting to Islam or fleeing for Serbia as the violence, especially killings, the persecution of monks, the raping of women and minors, had exceeded all bounds. Pogroms marked the decades to come, especially in period of the Crimean War (1853-1856) when anti-Slav sentiments reached their peak in the ottoman empire: ethnic Albanians and the Cherkeses, whom the Turks had resettled in Kosovo, joined the Ottoman troops in persecuting Orthodox Serbs.

The brotherhood of Decani and the Pec Patriarchate turned to the authorities of Serbia for protection. Pointing to the widespread violence and increasing banditry, and to more frequent and persisted attempts by Catholic missionaires to compel the impoverished and spiritually discouraged monk communities to concede to union. Prior Serafim Ristic of Decani loged complaints with both the sultan and Russian tsar and in his book Plac Stare Srbije (Zemun 1864) he penned hundreds of examples of violence perpetrated by the ethnic Albanians and Turks against the Serbs, naming the perpetrators, victims and type of crime. In Metohia alone he recorded over one hundred cases in which the Turkish authorities, police and judiciary tolerated and abetted robbery, bribery, murder, arson, the desecration of churches, the seizure of property and livestock, the rape of women and children, and the harassment of monks and priests. Both ethnic Albanians and Turks viewed assaults against Serbs as acts pleasing to Allah acts that punishing infidels for not believing in true God: kidnapping and Islamizing girls were a way for true Muslims to approach Allah. Ethnic Albanian outlaws (kayaks) became heroes among their fellow-tribesmen for fulfilling their religious obligations in the right way and spreading the militant glory of their clan and tribe.

Eloquent testimonies to the scope of the violence against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia, ranging from blackmail and robbery to rape and murder, come from many foreign travel-writers, from A. F. Hilferding to G. M. McKenzie – A. P. Irby. The Russian consul in Prizren observed that ethnic Albanians were settling the Prizren district underhidered and were trying, with the Turks, to eradicate Christians from Kosovo and Metohia. Throughout the 19th century there was no public safety on the roads of Metohia and Kosovo. One could travel the roads which were controlled by tribal bands, only with strong armed escort. The Serbian peasant had no protection in the field where he could be assaulted and robbed by an outlaw or bandit, and if he tried to resist, he could be killed without the perpetrator having to face charges for the crime. Serbs, as non-Muslims, were not entitled to carry arms. Those who possessed and used arms in self-defence afterwards had to run for their life. Only the luckiest managed to reach the Serbian or Montenegrin border and find permanent refuge there. They were usually followed by large families called family cooperatives (zadruga), comprising as many as 30-50 members, which were unable to defend themselves against the numerous relatives of the ethnic Albanian seeking vengeance for his death in a conflict with an elder of their clan.

Economic pressure, especially the forced reducing of free peasants to serf, was fostered by ethnic Albanian feudal lords with a view to creating large land-holdings. In the upheavals of war (1859, 1863) the Turkish authorities tried to restrict enterprising Serbian merchants and craftsmen who flourished in Pristina, Pec and Prizren, setting ablaze entire quarters where they worked and had their shops. But it was the hardest in rural areas, because ethnic Albanians, bond together by tight communities of blood brotherhoods or in tribes, and relatively socially homogeneous, were able to support their fellow tribesman without too much effort, simply by terrorizing Serbs and seizing their property and livestock. Suppression in driving of the Serbian peasantry, space was made for their relatives from northern Albania to move in, whereby increased their own prestige among other tribes. Unused to life in the plains and to hard field-work, the settled ethnic Albanians preferred looting to farming.

Despite the hardships, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia assembled in religious-school communes which financed the opening of schools and the education of children, collected donations for the restoration of churches and monasteries and, when possible, tried to improve relations with the Turkish authorities. In addition to monastic schools, the first Serbian secular schools started opening in Kosovo from mid-1830s, and in 1871 a Seminary (Bogoslovija) opened in Prizren. Unable to help politically, the Serbia systematically aided churches and schools from the 1840s onwards, sending teachers and encouraging the best students to continue with their studies. The Prizren seminary the hub of activity on national affairs, educated teachers and priests for all the Serbian lands under Turkish dominion, and unbeknownst to authorities, established contact on a regular basis with the government in Belgrade, wherefrom it received means and instructions for political action.

33. ZvecanEthnic circumstances in Kosovo and Metohia in the early 19th century can be reconstructed on the basis of data obtained from the books written by foreign travel writers and ethnographers who journeyed across European Turkey. Joseph Miller’s studies show that in late 1830s, 56,200 Christians and 80,150 Muslims lived in Metohia; 11,740 of the Muslims were Islamized Serbs, and 2,700 of the Christians were Catholic Albanians. However, clear picture of the ethnic structure during this period cannot be obtained until one takes into account the fact that from 1815 to 1837 some 320 families, numbering ten to 30 members each, fled Kosovo and Metohia ahead of ethnic Albanian violence. According to Hilferding’s figures, Pec numbered 4,000 Muslim and 800 Christian families, Pristina numbered 1,200 Muslim, 900 Orthodox and 100 Catholic families with a population of 12,000.3

Russian consul Yastrebov recorded (for a 1867-1874 period) the following figures for 226 villages in Metohia: 4,646 Muslim ethnic Albanian homes, 1,861 Orthodox and 3,740 Islamized Serbs and 142 homes of Catholic Albanians. Despite the massive departure of the population for Serbia, available data show that until Eastern crisis (1875-1878), Serbs formed the largest ethnic group in Kosovo and Metohia, largely owing to a high birth rate.

The biggest demographics upheaval in Kosovo and Metohia occurred during the Eastern crisis, especially during the 1876-1878 Serbo-Turkish wars, when the question of Old Serbia started being internationalized. The Ottoman empire lost a good deal of territory in its wars with Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the second war with the Turks, Serbian troops liberated parts of Kosovo: their advance guard reached Pristina via Gnjilane and at the Gracanica monastery held a memorial service for the medieval heroes of Kosovo battle… After Russia and Turkey called a truce, Serbian troops were forced to withdraw from Kosovo. Serbian delegations from Old Serbia sent petitions to the Serbian Prince, the Russian tsar and participants of the Congress of Berlin, requesting that these lands merge with Serbia. Approximately 30,000 ethnic Albanians retreated from the liberated areas (partly under duress), seeking refuge in Kosovo and in Metohia, while tens of thousands of Serbs fled Kosovo and Metohia for Serbia ahead of unleashed bashibozouks, irregular auxiliaries of Ottoman troops.4

On the eve of the Congress of Berlin in the summer of 1878, when the great powers were deciding on the fate of the Balkan nations, the Albanian League was formed in Prizren, on the periphery of ethnic Albanian living space. The League called for the preservation of Ottoman Empire in its entirety within the prewar boundaries and for the creation of autonomous Albanian vilayet out of the vilayets of Kosovo, Scutari, Janina and Monster (Bitolj), regions where ethnic Albanians accounted for 44% of overall population. The territorial aspirations of the Albanian movement as defined in 1878, became part of all subsequent national programs. The new sultan Abdulhamid II (1878-1909) supported the League’s pro-Ottoman and pro-Islamic attitude. Breaking with the reformatory policy of his predecessors, sultan adopted pan-Islamism as the ruling principle of his reign. Unsatisfied with the decisions taken at the Congress, the League put up an armed opposition to concession of regions of Plav and Gusinje to Montenegro, and its detachments committed countless acts of violence against the Serbs, whose very existence posed a permanent threat to Albanian national interests. In 1881, Turkey employed force to crush the League, whose radical wing was striving towards an independent Albanian state to show that it was capable of implementing the adopted reforms. Notwithstanding, under the system of Turkish rule in the Balkans, ethnic Albanians continued to occupy the most prominent seats in the decades to come.

Surrounded by his influential guard of ethnic Albanians, the Abdulhamid II became increasingly lenient toward Islamized Albanian tribes who used force in quelling Christian movements: they were exempt from providing recruits, paying the most of the regular taxes and allowed at times to refuse the orders of local authorities. This lenient policy towards the ethnic Albanians and tolerance for the violence committed against the Serbian population created a feeling of superiority in the lower strata of Albanian society. The knowledge that no matter what the offense they would not be held responsible, encouraged ethnic Albanians to ignore all the lesser authorities. Social stratification resulted on increasing number of renegades who lived solely off banditry or as outlaws. The policy of failing to punish ethnic Albanians led to total anarchy which, escaping all control, increasingly worried the authorities in Constantinople. Anarchy received fresh impetus at the end of the 19th century when Austria-Hungary, seeking a way to expand towards the Bay of Salonika, encouraged ethnic Albanians to clash with the Serbs and disobey the local authorities. Ruling circles in Vienna saw the ethnic Albanians as a permanent wedge between the two Serbian states and, with the collapse of the system of Turkish rule, a bridge enabling the Dual Monarchy to extend in the Vardar valley. Thus, Kosovo and Metohia became the hub of great power confrontation for supremacy in the Balkans.

The only protection for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia until the end of 1880s came from Russian diplomats, Russia being the traditional guardian of the Orthodox and Slav population in the Ottoman Empire Russia’s waning influence in the Balkans following the Congress of Berlin had an unfavorable impact on the Serbs in Turkey. Owing to Milan and Alexander Obrenovic’s Austrophile policy, Serbia lost valuable Russian support at the Porte in its efforts to protect Serbian population In Kosovo and Metohia, Serbs were regarded as a rebellious, treasonous element, every move they made was carefully watched and any signs of rebellion were ruthlessly punished. A military tribunal was established in Pristina in 1882 which in its five years of work sent hundreds of national leaders to prison.

The persistent efforts of Serbian officials to reach agreement with ethnic Albanian tribal chiefs in Kosovo and Metohia, and thus help curb the anarchy failed to stem the tide of violence. Belgrade officials did not get a true picture of the persecutions until a Serbian consulate was opened in Pristina in 1889, five centuries after a battle in Kosovo. The government was informed that ethnic Albanians were systematically mounting attacks on a isolated Serbian villages and driving people to eriction with treats and murders: “Go to Serbia -you can’t survive here!”. The assassination of the first Serbian Consul in the streets of Pristina revealed the depth of ethnic Albanian intolerance. Until 1905, not a single Serbian diplomat from Pristina could visit the town of Pec or tour Metohia, the hotbed of the anarchy. Consuls in Pristina (who included the well-known writers Branislav Nusic and Milan M. Rakic) wrote, aside to their regular reports, indepth descriptions of the situation in Kosovo and Metohia. Serbia’s sole diplomatic success was the election of a Serbian candidate as the Raska-Prizren Metropolitan in 1896, following a series of anti-Serbian orientated Greek Bishops who had been enthroned in Prizren since 1830.

Outright campaigns of terror were mounted after a Greaco-Turkish war in 1897, when it appeared that the Serbs would suffer the same fate as the Armenians in Asia Minor whom the Kurds had wiped out with blessing from the sultan. Serbian diplomats launched a campaign at the Porte for the protection of their compatriots, submitting extensive documentation on four hundred crimes of murder, blackmail, theft, rape, seizure of land, arson of churches. They demanded that energetic measures be taken against the perpetrators and that the investigation be carried out by a joint Serbo-Turkish committee. But, without the support of Russia, the whole effort came to naught. The prime minister of Serbia observed with resignation that 60,000 people had fled Old Serbia for Serbia in the period from 1880 to 1889. In Belgrade, a Blue Book was printed for the 1899 Peace Conference in the Hague, containing diplomatic correspondence on acts of violence committed by ethnic Albanians in Old Serbia, but Austria-Hungary prevented Serbian diplomats from raising the question before the international public. In the ensuing years the Serbian government attempted to secretly supply Serbs in Kosovo with arms. The first larger caches of guns were discovered, and 190l saw another pogrom in Ibarski Kolasin (northern Kosovo), which ended only when Russian diplomats intervened.

The widespread anarchy reached a critical point in 1902 when the Serbian government with the support of Montenegrin diplomacy again raised the issue of the protection of the Serbs in Turkey, demanding that the law be applied equally to all subjects of Empire, and that an end be put to the policy of indulging ethnic Albanians, that they be disarmed and that Turkish garrisons be reinforced in areas with a mixed Serbian-ethnic Albanian population. Russia, and then France, supported Serbia’s demands. The two most interested parties, Austria-Hungary and Russia, agreed in 1897 to maintain the status quo in the Balkans, although they initiated a reform plan to rearrange Turkey’s European provinces. Fearing for their privileges, ethnic Albanians launched a major uprising in 1903; it began with new assaults against Serbs and ended with the assassination of the newly appointed Russian consul in Mitrovica, accepted as a protector of the Serbs in Kosovo.

The 1903 restoration of democracy in Serbia under new King Petar I Karadjordjevic marked an end to Austrophile policy and the turning towards Russia. In response, Austria-Hungary stepped up its propaganda efforts among ethnic Albanians. At the request of the Dual Monarchy, Kosovo and Metohia were exempt from the Great Powers Reform action (1903-1908). A new wave of persecution ensued: in 1904,108 people fled for Serbia from Kosovo alone. Out of 146 different cases of violence, 46 ended in murder; a group of ethnic Albanians raped a seven-year-old girl. In 1905, out of 281 registrated cases of violence, 65 were murders, and at just one wedding, ethnic Albanians killed nine wedding guests.

The Young Turk revolution in 1908, which ended the “Age of Oppression” (as Turkish historiography refers to the reign of Abdulhamid II), brought no changes in relations between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The Serbs’ first political organization was created under the auspices of the Young Turk regime, but the ethnic Albanian revolt against the new authorities’ pan-Turkish policy triggered off a fresh wave of violence. In the second half of 1911 alone, Old Serbia registrated 128 cases of theft, 35 acts of arson, 41 instances of banditry, 53 cases of extortion, 30 instances of blackmail, 19 cases of intimidation, 35 murders, 37 attempted murders, 58 armed attacks on property, 27 fights and cases of abuse, 13 attempts at Islamization, and 18 cases of the infliction of serious bodily injury. Approximately 400,000 people fled Old Serbia (Kosovo, Metohia, Raska, northern and northwest Macedonia) for Serbia ahead of ethnic Albanian and Turkish violence, and about 150,000 people fled Kosovo and Metohia, a third of the overall Serbian population in these parts. Despite the persecution and the steady outflow of people. Serbs still accounted for almost half the population in Kosovo and Metohia in 1912. According to Jovan Cvijic’s findings, published in 1911, there were 14,048 Serbian homes in Kosovo, 3, 826 in Pec and its environs, and 2,400 Serbian homes with roughly 200,000 inhabitants in the Prizren region. Comparing this statistics dating from the middle of the century, when there were approximately 400,000 Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohia, Cvijic’s estimate that by 1912 about 150,000 refugees had fled to Serbia seems quite acceptable.

The Serbian and Montenegrin governments aided the ethnic Albanian rebels against Young Turks up to a point: they took in refugees and gave them arms with a view to undermining Turkish rule in the Balkans, dispelling Austro-Hungarian influence on their leaders and curbing the violence against Serbs. But it was all in vain as intolerance for the Serbs ran deep in all Albanian national movements. Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece realized that the issue of Christian survival in Turkey had to be resolved by arms. Since Turkey refused to guarantee the Christians the same rights it had promised the ethnic Albanian insurgents, the Balkan allies declared war in the fall of 1912.


Source: http://nokosovounesco.com/the-age-of-oppression/

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Donald Trump: We created chaos, we should not have attacked Serbia!



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Donald Trump, influential billionaire and a candidate for the president of United States, back in the 1999, as a guest of the famous host Larry King on CNN, spoke about that time ongoing topic of the bombing of Serbia.

Asked by Larry King, what does he think and what would he do if he was in Clinton’s place, Trump criticized the decision to bomb Serbia.

“So, I would do something different and I know it will sound ghastly to everybody. But, look at the chaos which we created in Kosovo. I think, we can say that we lost only few people. Of course, we were in the airplanes 75 hundreds of meters above the ground and we were throwing bombs. But, look what we did to that country, to those people and how much death and suffering we have caused” said Trump.

“We should have gone there with the troops. There would be killings probably even then, but less. We would not have that chaos which we have now” said the influential republican.

“I am not sure if that is considered as our success, but I would not call that successful” explains Trump, condemning the bombing of Serbia.

“People are being expelled from their land, from the whole territory, everyone is running away from there, and nobody knows what is happening. There are thousands of dead” said Donald Trump.

We remind, Trump is against most of the US military actions, he criticized bombing and aggression against Serbia on many occasions.

Donald Trump wants to change the course of foreign affairs of the US and highlights that he would be a friend with president Putin, which sparkled great attention by the American public.


07-09-2015

Source: South Front

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Kosovo: An evil little war



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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 quickie in the Oval Office: because it could.

Most of the criticism of the 1999 war has focused on its conduct (targeting practices, effects, “collateral damage”) and consequences. But though the conduct of the war by NATO was atrocious and the consequences have been dire and criminal, none of that changes the fact that by its very nature and from the very beginning, NATO’s attack was a war of aggression: illegal, immoral, and unjust; not “unsuccessful” or “mishandled,” but just plain wrong.

Illegal

There is absolutely no question that the NATO attack in March 1999 was illegal. Article 2, section 4 of the UN Charter clearly says:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Some NATO members tried to offer justification. London claimed the war was “justified” as a means of preventing a “humanitarian catastrophe,” but offered no legal grounds for such a claim. Paris tried to create a tenuous link with UNSC resolutions 1199 and 1203, which Belgrade was supposedly violating. However, NATO had deliberately bypassed the UN, rendering this argument moot.

Article 53 (Chapter VIII) of the UN Charter clearly says that:

“The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority. But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council.” (emphasis added)

Furthermore, Article 103 (Chapter XVI) asserts its primacy over any other regional agreement, so NATO’s actions would have been illegal under the UN Charter even if the Alliance had an obligation to act in Kosovo. Even NATO’s own charter – the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 – was violated by the act of war in March 1999:

“Article 1

“The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. […]

“Article 7

“This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.” (emphasis added)

The attack violated other laws and treaties as well: the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 (violating the territorial integrity of a signatory state) and the 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (using coercion to compel a state to sign a treaty – i.e., the Rambouillet ultimatum).

Yugoslavia had not attacked any NATO members, nor indeed threatened the security of any other country in the region; it was itself under an attack by a terrorist, irredentist organization. What NATO did on March 24, 1999 was an act of aggression, a crime against peace.

Illegitimate

Perfectly aware that the bombing was illegal, NATO leaders tried to create justifications for it after the fact. They quickly seized upon a mass exodus of Albanians from Kosovo, describing it as “ethnic cleansing” and even “genocide.” But as recent testimonies of Macedonian medical workers who took care of Albanian refugees suggest, the Western press was engaging in crude deceit, staging images of suffering refugees and peddling the most outrageous tall tales as unvarnished truth.

Stories abounded of mass murder, orchestrated expulsions, mass rapes, seizure of identity papers, even crematoria and mine shafts filled with dead bodies. Little or no evidence was offered – and not surprisingly, none found afterwards. The stories were part of a Big Lie, aimed to justify the intervention, concocted by professional propagandists, and delivered by the KLA-coached refugees. The KLA ran every camp in Macedonia and Albania, and there are credible allegations they organized the exodus in many instances. Albanians who did not play along were killed.

Eventually, the “genocide” and other atrocity stories were debunked as propaganda. But they had served their purpose, conjuring a justification for the war at the time. They had allowed NATO and its apologists to claim the war – though “perhaps” illegal – was a moral and legitimate affair. But there should be no doubt, it was neither.

Unjust

Even if one can somehow gloss over the illegal, illegitimate nature of the war and the lies it was based on, would the war still not be justified, if only because it led to the return of refugees? Well, which refugees? Certainly, many Kosovo Albanians – and quite a few from Albania, it appears – came back, only to proceed to cleanse it systematically of everyone else. Jews, Serbs, Roma, Turks, Ashkali, Gorani, no community was safe from KLA terror, not even the Albanians themselves. Those suspected of “collaborating” were brutally murdered, often with entire families.

According to the Catholic doctrine of “just war,” a war of aggression cannot be just. Even if one somehow fudges the issue, “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.”

The evil conjured by NATO’s and KLA’s propaganda machine was indeed grave. But it was not real. In contrast, what took place after the war – i.e., under the NATO/KLA occupation – is amply documented. At the beginning of NATO’s aggression, there were fewer dead, fewer refugees, less destruction, and more order than at any time since the beginning of the occupation. NATO has replaced a fabricated evil with a very real evil of its own.

Monument to Evil

What began six years ago may have been Albright’s War on Clinton’s watch, but both Albright and Clinton have been gone from office for what amounts to a political eternity. For four years now, the occupation of Kosovo has continued with the blessing – implicit or otherwise – of Emperor Bush II, who launched his own illegal war in Iraq. Kosovo is not a partisan, but an imperial issue; that is why there has been virtually no debate on it since the first missiles were fired.

Six years to the day since NATO aircraft began their onslaught, Kosovo is a chauvinistic, desolate hellhole. Serbian lives, property, culture, and heritage been systematically destroyed, often right before the eyes of NATO “peacekeepers.” Through it all, Imperial officials, Albanian lobbyists, and various presstitutes have been working overtime to paint a canvas that would somehow cover up the true horror of occupation.

Their “liberated” Kosovo represents everything that is wrong about the world we live in. It stands as a monument to the power of lies, the successful murder of law, and the triumph of might over justice. Such a monument must be torn down, or else the entire world may end up looking like Kosovo sometime down the line. If that’s what the people in “liberal Western democracies” are willing to see happen, then their civilization is well and truly gone.


By Nebojsa Malic

25-03-2005

Source: Antiwar.com

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Kosovo: An evil little war (almost) all US candidates liked



NATO missiles and warplanes attacked military targets across Serbia including Kosovo ©

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