Albanology and political claims of the Albanians



20thCentAlbania

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

35n0nqu

Save

Refuting a Greater Albania’s mythomania: The ancient Balkan Dardanians – The Illyro-Albanians, the Daco-Moesians or the Thracians?



Illyrian_Tribes_Visually_impaired_version_(English).svg

One of the claims of Albanian historiography is that the Central Balkan tribe – Dardanians, who settled in the southern portion of the territory of the Roman Province of Moesia Superior and northwestern part of the Roman Province of Macedonia, should be considered as one of the Illyrian tribes and an ancestor of the Albanians. With respect to this point, Albanian historians refer to the German linguist Norbert Jokl who wrote, according to the research of historical toponomastics, that the ancient cradle of the Albanians was Dardania, from where they moved westward to their present territories in late Roman times.[1] Consequently, the northwestern territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM), Kosovo and Metohija and present-day Southern Serbia (settled by the Dardanians in Antiquity as well as the northeastern portion of the present-day Republic of Albania) are considered as Albanian historical lands and thus had to be included into a united Albanian national state in the future. For Albanian proponents of the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian symbiosis, the most valuable information and evidence that the ancient Dardanians were the Illyrians (and thus Albanian ancestors) comes from the archaeological excavations in the Kukës region in Northeastern Albania which belonged to the western portion of the Dardanian state.[2] What is of extreme importance according to them, is that the traditional Illyrian names like Andinus, Annius, Dassius, Epicadus, Genthiana, Rhedon, Surus, Tata, Tridus can be found in the inscriptions in Dardania. The Yugoslav specialist in Illyrology, Henrik Barić from Sarajevo, also championed the idea that “the Balkan homeland of the Albanian people must have been Dardania-Paeonia, provinces which, judging from the known names of persons, were the Illyrian and not Tracian in Antiquity… Therefore, it can be said that Dardania and Paeonia were the provinces in which the early Albanian-Illyrian symbiosis took place in the interior of the Balkan Peninsula”.[3] Barić, in fact, disagreed with the theory of the Romanian linguist Mateescu who, in his detailed analysis of the epigraphic material, dated the Thracian infiltration into  the province of Dardania  to the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D.[4]

The Albanian exponents of the theory of the Illyrian-Albanian continuity and ethnic symbiosis repeatedly quote Arthur Evans that the same coins, pottery and other handcraft products from ancient Dyrrhachium and Apollonia (located on the Albanian littoral) are found in Kosovo and Metohija (in the regions of Peć, Đakovica and Prizren).[5] This fact is, however, only evidence of the Hellenization of the Illyrians as the coins were of the Greek origin. Greek was evidently the language of official inscriptions among the educated class of Illyrian society.[6] The Yugoslav historian Fanula Papazoglu discovered a Dacian-Moesian or Phrygian stratum in the formation of the Dardanians. For that reason, the Dardanians cannot be identified with the Illyrians and thus cannot provide support for the development of Illyrian-Albanian ethnic self-awareness.[7] Finally, modern European ethnographic and historical sciences suggest that the homeland of the Albanian nation lies in what is today Central Albania. The German Illyrologist-Albanologist, Georg Stadtmüller, stresses that the original Albanian native region includes the valley of the Shkumba river, both sides of the Mat river, Kruja, and some neighboring areas.[8]

The highlanders from Albania, however, began to migrate from their mountains in mid-14th century towards the more fertile lowlands of Thessaly, Boeotia, Attica, Euboea and Peloponnese, while from the end of the 17th century they migrated towards the north-east occupying the territories of Kosovo and Metohija (“Old Serbia” or Serbia proper) and the territories of present-day Serbia around the cities of Novi Pazar, Vranje and Niš.[9] Certainly, it was not until the 18th century that throngs of Albanian herdsmen came down from their native country’s highlands to the fertile areas of Kosovo and Metohija, which up to that time were populated almost exclusively by the Eastern Orthodox Serbs, and to the regions of today’s Western Macedonia (from Skopje to Bitola) whose population consisted of a majority of Macedonian Slavs and a minority of Serbs.[10] Practically, most of the territory of the former Roman province of Dardania mainly settled by Dardanian tribe was not affected by the Illyrian-Albanian elements before the migrations of the Albanian tribes from the highlands of Albania at the end of the 17th century.

The supporters of the theory of Illyrian-Albanian ethnic continuity and symbiosis, however, assert that at the time of the Slavic incursions into the Balkans there was no large-scale settling of the Slavs in the territory of Kosovo, Metohija and Montenegro, i.e. in the former Roman Provinces of Dardania and Praevalis. According to E. Dobruna, an Albanian archaeologist from Kosovo, who investigated ancient toponyms in this region, “we find the continuous presence of native Albanians as successors of the Illyrians in the same territory where they live today since ancient times”.[11] “From the banks of the Bojana river, as far as Ioanina, a unified and homogeneous people live. From Ioanina to Bay of Ambrazio, lies the territory denied by the Greek religious and other propaganda to the Albanians, who are predominant there – if not in number, than at least in strength and capacity to resist”.[12] Consequently, the Illyrian-Albanian historical rights to these territories are longer and stronger than Slavic-Serbian-Montenegrin-Macedonian and even Greek ones.[13]

A Question of the “Koman Culture”

The majority of Albanian archaeologists have claimed that the Koman Culture that existed in the 7th and 8th centuries, represents an historical-ethnic continuity of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis. The Koman Culture, according to them, included an extensive territory from Lake Skadar on the north to Lake Ohrid on the southeast. For them, the Illyrian-Albanian ethnic roots of the Koman Culture are more than obvious (although not scientifically proven).

The importance of this culture for the Albanian albanologists is of an extreme value as they are trying to prove that the Koman Culture is the direct continuation of the local Illyrian-Albanian culture of late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. In other words, according to them, the Koman Culture shows that at the time of Slavic migration to the Balkans the native Illyrian-Albanian territories were characterized by stability and vitality. They further claim that the material evidences of the Koman Culture, which lasted during the period of transition from the late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages, share a commonality with all Illyrian-Albanian regions including those of Kosovo and Metohija, Eastern Montenegro and Western Macedonia.

Albanian archaeologists disagree with the views of their Yugoslav colleagues on the Slavic or Roman-Byzantine character of the Koman Culture.[14] Thus, for Albanian scientists, the data archaeologists have discovered in many localities from the 7th and 8th centuries, clearly fill the gap of the Illyrian-Albanian cultural-ethnic continuity, the gap which could not be filled completely from written historical (primarily Byzantine) sources.  Thus, for the Albanian albanology, the Koman Culture is the crucial link in the chain of the unbroken Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis from the early Antique to the present. For them, it must serve as the pivotal proof of allegedly Albanian origins on the Balkan Peninsula.

However, it is  a matter of fact, that large Slavic settlements and toponyms existed in the area that came to be known as present-day Albania. After the first Albanian state was created in 1912, and especially during the rule of the Albanian communist dictator, Enver Hoxha (1945–1985), however, a great part of the non-Albanian (especially Slavic) population and toponyms were Albanized.[15] Simultaneously, “Albanian national soil” was (and continues to be) gradually cleansed of both the Slavs and the Greeks[16] and their national-cultural traces. In this respect, the province of Kosovo and Metohija experienced the most serious ethnic and cultural cleansing in the post-1945 Europe (together with the territory of former Republic of Serbian Krayina in present-day Croatia which was ethnically cleansed by the Croat military and police forces in August 1995).[17] This southern Serbia’s province, known (for the Serbs) as “Old/Ancient Serbia”, or “Serbia proper”, became almost totally ethnically and culturally cleansed by the local ethnic Albanians after the province was occupied by NATO troops in June 1999. Today, there is less than 3% non-Albanian population in the province (compared to 13% in 1998), the Slavic-Serb toponyms have been renamed to Albanian ones, the Serb cultural property, as the physical proof of Serbian national existence in the province from a historical perspective, has been largely destroyed (see figure 3) or officially called as the “Byzantine” one and the rest of the non-Albanian population (together with the local Serbs) has been expelled from the province which proclaimed its state independence in February 2008.[18]

It is in this way that Kosovo and Metohija have become an exclusively Albanian populated and culturally inherited land – a part of a united national state of ethnic Illyro-Albanians in the form of the Greater Albania. Nevertheless, from the perspective of relevant historical sources (the first Ottoman census in Kosovo and Metohija done in 1455), there was only a 2% Albanian population in the province in the mid-15th century.[19] One of the most famous South Slavic philologists in the 20th century, Pavle Ivić came to the conclusion after an in depth investigation of the case-study of Kosovo and Metohija that “the factual material clearly shows that there was no linguistic continuity between the ancient population of the present province of Kosovo’s population, and those who now inhabit the area”.[20] This is one of the most serious scientific refutations of the Albanian hypothesis of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis. In addition, even today, an overwhelming majority (if not all) of the toponyms in Kosovo and Metohija are of Slavic (Serb) origin.[21] The present-day Albanian practice of Albanizing them is quite understandable from the perspective of the political aims of the proponents of the hypothesis of the Illyrian-Albanian ethnogenesis.

Endnotes:

[1] Jokl N., Eberts Reallexicon der Vorgeschichte, I, 1924, p. 91.

[2] Anamali S., “The Illyrians and the Albanians”, Prifti K., Nasi L., Omari L., Xhufi P., Pulaha S., Pollo S., Shtylla Z. (eds.), The Truth on Kosova, Tirana, 1993, p. 7; Jubani B., “Features of Illyrian Culture in the Territory of Dardania”, Illyria, 2, 1985, pp. 211−220; Islami S., The Illyrian State – Its Place and Role in the Mediterranean World, I, Tirana, 1974, pp. 85–105.

[3] Taken from [Hymje ne historine e gjuhes shqipe, Prishtinë, 1955, pp. 49–50].

[4] Mateescu N., “Granita de apur a Tracilor”, Annuarul Institutului de Istoria nationale, III, Cluj, 1923, pp. 377–492.

[5] Evans A., “Antiquarian Researches in Illyricum”, Archeologia, XLIX, Westminster, 1883, p. 62.

[6] Papazoglu F., “Les royaumes d’Illyrie et de Dardanie, Origines et development, structures, hellenisation et romanization”, Iliri i Albanci, Beograd, 1988, p. 194; Ceka N., “Survay of the Development of Urban Life Among Southern Illyrians”, Illyria, 2, 1985, pp. 119–136. Compare with [Toçi V., “New Data About the Illyrian Onomastics in Durrhachium”, Illyria, 1, 1986, pp. 123–135].

[7] Regarding the problem of the Illyrian origin of the very important Central Balkan tribe Dardanians, see in [Garašanin M., “Considerations finales”, Iliri i Albanci, Beograd, 1988, pp. 370–372; Garašanin M., “Razmatranja o makedonskom halštatu-Materijalna kultura, hronologija, etnički problem”, Starinar, V−VI, 1954–1955, pp. 37–40; Garašanin M., “Istočna granica Ilira prema arheološkim spomenicima”, Simpozijum o teritorijalnom i hronološkom razgraničenju Ilira u praistorijsko doba, Sarajevo, 1964, pp. 138–141; Mack R., Grenzmarken und Nachbarn Makedonien in Norden und Western, Gottingen, 1951, pp. 170–173; Vulpe R., Gli Illiri dell’Italia Imperiale Romana, III, 1925, p. 163; Cerskov E., Rimljani na Kosovu i Metohiji, Beograd, 1969, p. 106; Mirdita Z., “Dardanian Studies”, Rilindja, Prishtina, 1979, p. 49; Papazoglu F., Srednjobalkanska plemena u predrimsko doba, Sarajevo, 1969, p. 402; Papazoglu F., “Dardanska onomastika”, Zbornik Filozofskog fakulteta, 8–1, Beograd, 1964; Papazoglu F., “Les royaumes d’Illyrie et de Dardanie, Origines et development, structures, hellenisation et romanization”, Iliri i Albanci, Beograd, 1988, p. 174; Jubani B., “Features of Illyrian Culture in the Territory of Dardania”, Illyria, 2, 1985, pp. 211−222; Вулић Н., “Дарданци, Илири и Далмати“, Глас Српске Академије Наука, CLV, Београд, 1933]. While the Yugoslav historian Novak claimed that the Dardanians were not of the Illyrian origin his compatriot Budimir claimed that they were one of the Illyrian tribes [Новак Г., “La nazionalità dei Dardani”, Архив за арбанашку старину, IV, Београд, pp. 72–89; Будимир М., “O etničkom odnosu Dardanaca prema Ilirima”, Jugoslovenski istorijski časopis, III, Beograd, 1937, pp. 1–29; Будимир М., Грци и Пеласти, Београд, 1950].

[8] Stadtmüller G., “Forschungen zur albanischen fruhgeschichte, zweite erweiterte auflage”, Albanische Forschungen, 2, Wiesbaden, 1966, pp. 167, 173.

[9] Оболенски Д., Византијски Комонвелт, Београд, 1996, p. 12, p. 245; Острогорски Г., Историја Византије, Београд, 1959, p. 464, p. 505; Lemerle P., “Invasions et migrations dans les Balkans depuis la fin de l’époque Romaine jusqu’au VIIIe siècle”, Revue historique, 78, 1954, p. 294; Lemerle P., Les plus anciens recueils des miracles de Saint Demétrius, II, Paris, 1981, p. 67; Јиречек К., Историја Срба. Политичка историја до 1537. gод., Књига I, Београд, 1978 (original written in German and published in Wien, 1911), pp. 85–86, 216; Јиречек К., Радонић Ј., Историја Срба. Културна историја, Књига II, Bеоград, 1978 (unfinished original by K. Jirechek in German, printed in Wien, 1911. Completed by J. Radonjić), pp. 33, 34, 101, 105, 145, 153. On the Albanian residents in South-East Serbia in the districts of Niš, Leskovac, Prokupjle and Kuršumlija in 1878, see [Protest of 6200 Albanian emigrants… (Priština, June 26, 1878), Politisches Archiv des Auswartigen Amtes, Bonn, Fund of the Acts of the Congress of Brlin, 2, 1878, doc. № 110 (telegram)].

[10] The Roman Catholic bishop in Skopje, Matija Masarek wrote in 1764 a report to Vatican in which he noted brand-new colonies of the Albanians who had just abandoned high Albania and settled themselves in the lowland of Metohija around the city of Đakovica [Radonić J., Rimska kurija i južnoslovenske zemlje od XVI do XIX veka, Beograd, 1950, p. 654]. On religious and ethnic situation in Albania, Kosovo and Metohija in the mid-17th century, see [Jačov M., Le Missioni cattoliche nel Balcani durante la guerra di Candia (1645–1669), vol. I–II, Città del Vaticana, 1992], in the mid-19th century in [Müller J., Albanien, Rumelien und die österreichisch-montenegrinische Granze, Prag, 1844], and in the years from 1804 to 1912 in [Стојанчевић В., Срби и Албанци 1804–1912, Нови Сад, 1994].  According to the Serbian historian Jevrem Damnjanović, the members of the following Albanian tribes (fisses) settled Kosovo and Metohija during the Ottoman rule: Kriezi, Tsaci, Shop, Dukadjini, Berisha, Bitiqi, Krasniqi, Gashi, Shkrele, Kastrati, Gruda, Shala, Hoti, and Kelmendi [Дамњановић Ј., “Мучеништво Косова”, Интервју, специјално издање, октобар, Београд, 1988, p. 5].

[11] Dobruna E., “On some ancient toponyms in Kosova”, Onomastika e Kosoves”, Prishtina, 1979, p. 46.

[12] Stulli B., Albansko pitanje, JAZU, Zagreb, Vol. 318, 1959, p. 325.

[13] 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.

[14] Anamali S., “La nécropole de Kruje et la civilisation du Haut Moyen Age en Albanie du Nord”, Studia Albanica, 1, 1964, pp. 149–164; Anamali S., “The Question of the Albanian Early Mediaeval Culture in the Light of New Archaeological Discoveries”, Studime Historike, 2, 1967, pp. 22–40; Spahiu H., “The Arber graveyard at the Dalmaca Castle”, Illyria, 9–10, 1979–1980, pp. 23–45; Komata D., “The Arber grave-yard of Shurdhah”, Illyria, 9–10, 1979–1980, pp. 105–121; Prendi F., “A grave-yard of the Arber culture in Lezha”, Illyria, 9–10, 1979–1980, pp. 123–170; Doda N., “The Arber Graves of Prosek in Mirdita Region”, Illyria, 1, 1989, p. 113; Spahiu H., Komata D., “Shurdhah-Sarda, a Mediaeval Fortified Town”, Illyria, 3, 1975, p. 249; Popović V., Byzantins, Slaves et autochthones dans les provinces de Prévalitane et Nouvelle Epire, Ecole française de Rome, 1984, pp. 181−243; Popović V., “Albanija u kasnoj antici”, Ilirci i Albanci, Beograd, 1988, pp. 202–283.        

[15] Hrabak B., “Širenje arbanaških stočara po ravnicama i slovenski ratari srednjovekovne Albanije”, Stanovništvo slovenskog porijekla u Albaniji, Titograd, 1991, p. 115. Regarding the Slavic toponyms in Albania, see [Popović V., “Albanija u kasnoj Antici”, Ilirci i Albanci, Beograd, 1988; Selischev A. M., Славианское население в Албании, София, 1931]. A Serb historian Sima Ćirković claimed that the Albanian toponyms in the present-day Albania can be found only in her central regions between the Shkumba and Mat rivers while the southern regions of Albania is covered by the Slavic toponyms. About this issue see more in the works on Albanian toponyms by the Austrian Byzantologist Johannes Koder.

[16] Gersin K., Altserbien und die albanische Frage, Wien, 1912, p. 29; Vlora B. E., Lebenserinnerungen, Band I (1885 bis 1912), München, 1968, p. 275; Vlora B. E., Die Wahrheit über das Vorgehen der Jungtürken in Albanien, Wien, 1911, p. 43. According to the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, from April 1941 until August 1942, the Albanians killed around 10.000 Serbs and Montenegrins in the areas of Kosovo and Metohija which were incorporated into Italian Greater Albania [Krizman S., Maps of Yugoslavia at War. Massacre of the Innocent Serbian Population, Committed in Yugoslavia by the Axis and its Satellites from April 1941 to August 1942, Washington, 1943].

[17] Operation “Storm” (“Oluja”).

[18] March Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija, March 17−19, 2004, with a survey of destroyed and endangered Christian cultural heritage, Belgrade: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia−Museum in Priština (displaced), 2004; http://crucified-kosovo.webs.com; http://www.kosovo.net; http://www.kosovo.lt

[19] Šabanović H. (ed.), Hadžibegić H., Handžić A., Kovačević E. (prepared by), Oblast Brankovića. Opširni katastarski popis iz 1455. godine (original title: Defter-I, Mufassal-I, Vilayet-I, VLK, sene 859), Monumenta Turcica. Historiam Slavorum Meridionalium Illustrantia, Tomus tertius, serija III, Defteri, knjiga 2, sv. 1, Sarajevo: Orijentalni institut u Sarajevu, 1972.

[20] Ивић П., О језику некадашњем и садашњем, Београд: БИГЗ−Јединство, 1990, p. 141.

[21] In the charter (muniment) to the monastery of SS Arhangels in Metohija by the Serbian Emperor Stefan Dushan from the mid-14th century is written that at that time the Albanians lived on the Mt. Prokletije (on the present-day Albania’s border with Montenegro and Metohija) and that Metohija itself was populated by the Serbs [Светоарханђелска повеља цара Стефана Душана, Збирка рукописа Народне библиотеке Србије: http://scc.digital.bkp.nb.rs/document/RS-759].


2. Sotirovic 2013

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirović 2017

Ancient_Tribes

Save

Save

Save

Understanding Albanian nationality and regional political-security consequences



2000px-Principality_of_Albania.svg

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

cropped-Balkan-geographic-map.jpg

Save

Save

Save

Albanian terrorists as official NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo members – photo evidence



1037692969

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): 

poggrroom Pogrom i pogrrromm 55101.b 55100.b 55077.b 55072.b (1)55058.b  35931_367372143312153_2259743_n

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

KOSOVO_08_3415078b
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

Save

Save

German intelligence service had mafia dossier on Kosovan President since 2005



1037692969

The leak of a secret BND dossier on Hachim Thaci which reports that the newly-elected Kosovan President had links to a contract killer and was involved in the trafficking of people, arms and drugs is more confirmation that Western politicians have chosen to support Thaci in the knowledge of his criminal past.

Wikileaks has leaked a secret German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) dossier on Hachim Thaci that dates back to 2005, after the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader had served the first of his two terms in office as Kosovan Prime Minister.

The dossier reports that Thaci, who has recently been elected president of Kosovo, was one of the leaders of organized crime in Kosovo, and part of an international criminal network with involvement in contract killings and the trafficking of people, arms and drugs.

“Kosovo is a center of organized crime that supervises criminal activity across Europe,” the BDN reports.

“Kosovo is divided into three zones of interest of organized crime – Drenica, Dukagjini (Metohija) and the north-eastern part of Kosovo around the river Lab, which are controlled by former KLA leaders. They are closely linked with the local government and Albanian politicians who also have influence in southern areas of Serbia and Macedonia.”

“The Drenica region is controlled by the so-called Drenica group organized around Thaci Hashim, Haliti Xhavit and Selimi Rexhep. This group works closely with organized crime structures in Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic,” the BND wrote.

The dossier reports that Hashim’s Drenica group of criminals established their own security forces, with the direct support of the Czech and Albanian mafia in the Czech Republic.

Tachi and Merkel

Kosovo’s National Intelligence Service (SHIK) also engages in criminal activity, the BND wrote.

“SHIK came into being in its current form in the second half of 1999 in Pristina at the initiative of Thaci … the service engages in spying, intimidation and elimination of democratic forces (via professional killers), particularly the opponents of organized crime. There are well-organized SHIK branches in the Albanian diaspora,” the BND writes, and goes on to name the leaders of the SHIK network in Germany.

The BND reveals that the Kosovan President-elect is suspected to have given orders to a contract killer called Bekimi, and has links to money laundering, fuel and cigarette smuggling through the Salbatring company in Pristina.

According to the agency’s intelligence from 2003, he was involved with wide-scale arms and drugs smuggling through a criminal network in Hamburg.

“One of the biggest financiers of Thaci and the KLA during the war in Kosovo in 1999 and the war in Macedonia was a group of organized criminals centered around Mehmeti Nazar, who lives in Dallas, Texas,” the BND wrote.

Another of Thaci’s backers is Ekrem Lluka, who is a “known smuggler of all kinds of goods: weapons, cigarettes, fuel, trucks and appliances” and suspected of involvement in the financing of Islamic terrorist groups.

​The existence of the decade-old BND dossier on Thaci is further evidence that western governments have supported Thaci’s government of Kosovo, in which he has twice served as Prime Minister, in full knowledge of his links to organized crime.

Thaci, who is currently Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, is due to be inaugurated as president of Kosovo on April 7 after a majority of Kosovo’s parliament voted for his election. Among those who congratulated him on the election were the German ambassador Angelika Viets, and her counterparts from the US, UK, France and Italy.


01-04-2016
original

Save

Save

Obama ignorance exposed: States Kosovo left Serbia only after referendum, but there was NO referendum at all!



 

terorista-pripadnik-ovk-uck

Barack Obama’s speech on Ukrainian crisis seems to have left the public confused as he claimed that Kosovo broke away from Serbia “after a referendum”. But attentive listeners quickly pointed Obama’s gaps in history – there was no referendum in Kosovo. Video here.

President Obama was speaking Wednesday at The Center for Fine Arts in the heart of Brussels, Belgium, and was telling the youth crowd mostly about Russian-Ukrainian conflict over the strategic Crimean Peninsula.

He lashed out at Russia for “violation of international law, its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Obama recalled the conflict around Kosovo and NATO’s involvement, making a counter-argument to Russia officials’ statements, in which they cited Kosovo independence from Serbia in 2008 as the precedent.

He said: “And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

In fact, “none of that even came close to happening” in Kosovo either.

What DID happen in Kosovo

Following a three-month NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia in June, 1999, Kosovo was placed under administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and a NATO-led peacekeeping force, KFOR, were authorized to enter the province.

Hasim-Taci-Bernar-Kusner-Agim-Ceku-Vesli-Klark-1-650x4911

Two years after UNMIK and KFOR arrived there, in May, 14, 2001, the UN approved a “constitutional framework for a provisional Self-Government in Kosovo.”

It called for a 120-seat Parliament, which would elect a president and a prime minister.

In November that year Kosovo held its first parliamentary elections that the UN hailed as a huge “success”.

The year of 2005 also became no less significant for Kosovo as the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Martti Ahtisaari to lead the Kosovo status process, thus, giving the province “a green light” to fight for its independence.

After numerous talks with both Serbia and Kosovo officials, in 2007 Ahtisaari came up with the plan that included “ten guiding principles,” which outlined the broad governing authority and structure of the Kosovo government.

The so-called “Ahtisaari plan” represented a compromise between both sides. It gave broad provisions for Kosovo autonomy, including the ability to enter into international agreements and become a member of international organizations.

Kosovo children wave Kosovo and British flags during celebrations marking the 6th anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, in Pristina on February 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Armend Nimani)

Backed by the Contact Group (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia) and by Kosovo, the plan still lacked Serbian agreement. Russia eventually rejected the plan along with Serbia and, as a result, negotiations reached a deadlock.

However, despite the stalemate within the Contact Group, Kosovo’s authorities still decided to declare independence in February, 2008.

On February 17, 2008, the Kosovo assembly adopted a declaration of independence “in full accordance with the recommendations of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari.” On the same day, the US and four European states recognized Kosovo as an independent country.

‘You can’t just make up facts’

“I honestly don’t know what President Obama is talking about,” Serbian historian Nebojsa Malic told RT. “There was never such a referendum. It never took place. It did not exist. I am completely baffled.”

Meanwhile, on Twitter Obama’s faux-pas also did not pass unnoticed.

People accused the US President of “lying about the referendum”.

Obama further claims there was referendum in Kosovo. I dnt remember that happening. I remember the US bombing frm yugoslavia for 2 months

– Tefo O Kelobonye (@TKelobonye) March 27, 2014

Dear Obama, where was the universal mandate for Kosovo secession? If it doesn’t exist then why support it and not Crimea referendum? Bye.

– Q (@Qpalestine) March 27, 2014

Some have pointed out that the US media chose just to “ignore” Obama’s mistake.

American News Media Ignores “Bogus Information” Given by Obama in Speech on Crimea & Kosovo http://t.co/rsPNlWaiHx #gapol@BreitbartNews

– gaunfiltered (@gaunfiltered) March 27, 2014

Speaking to RT, Nebojsa Malic suggested that it could be the case that Obama’s speechwriter just “mistook the non-existent referendum in Kosovo with the referendum in Montenegro that took place in 2006.”

“If that is the referendum they were referring to, first of all, it is just baffling that they can’t tell apart Kosovo and Montenegro. Secondly, that is not exactly a paragon of democracy in international laws either,” Malic said, stressing that that referendum was held under “very murky circumstances when people were being bought openly.”

“I am really not sure what sort of point they were trying to make, but you can’t just make up your own facts to boost your own argument. That is ridiculous,” he concluded.

Were there absolutely no independence referendums in Kosovo? Well, there was one in 1991 – its results were recognized by just one UN member, Albania.


 

Source: https://www.sott.net/article/276401-Obama-ignorance-exposed-states-Kosovo-left-Serbia-only-after-referendum-but-there-was-NO-referendum-at-all

Save

Save

Save

Save

“Mafia State”: Kosovo’s PM accused of running human organ, drug trafficking cartel



Bagra Kosova

In another grim milestone for the United States and NATO, the Council of Europe (COE) released an explosive report last week, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.”

The report charged that former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) boss and current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, “is the head of a ‘mafia-like’ Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe,” The Guardian disclosed.

According to a draft resolution unanimously approved December 16 in Paris, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights found compelling evidence of forced disappearances, organ trafficking, corruption and collusion between criminal gangs and “political circles” in Kosovo who just happen to be close regional allies of the United States.

The investigation was launched by Dick Marty, the Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACE) special rapporteur for human rights who had conducted an exhaustive 2007 probe into CIA “black fights” in Europe.

The PACE investigation gathered steam after allegations were published by former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Carla Del Ponte in her 2008 memoir.

After it’s publication, Ms. Del Ponte was bundled off to Argentina by the Swiss government as her nation’s ambassador. Once there, the former darling of the United States who specialized in doling out victor’s “justice” to the losers of the Balkan wars, was conveniently silenced.

A series of damning reports by the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIR), the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the BBC, confirmed Del Ponte’s allegations and spurred the Council to act.

Reporting for the BBC, investigative journalist Michael Montgomery learned that political opponents of the KLA and Serb prisoners of war “simply vanished without a trace” into a secret prison “in the Albanian border town of Kukes.”

According to sources who feared for their lives, including former KLA guerrillas, the BBC revealed that disappeared 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.”

In an uncanny echo of Nazi practices during the period of the Third Reich, The New York Times reported that “captives” were “‘filtered’ for their suitability as donors, based on sex, age, health conditions and ethnic origin. “We heard numerous references to captives’ not merely having been handed over, but also having been ‘bought’ and ‘sold,'” the special rapporteur told the Times.

“Some of the guards told investigators,” the Times reports, “that a few captives understood what was about to happen and ‘pleaded with their captors to be spared the fate of being chopped into pieces’.”

Mercy was in short supply however, behind KLA lines.

The report states: “As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.”

Once organs were removed from the victims they were auctioned off to the highest bidder and sold by a global trafficking ring still operating today.

The former prosecutor further alleged, The Guardian reported, that “she had been prevented from investigating senior KLA officials” who she claimed had “smuggled captive Serbs across the border into Albania, where their organs were harvested.”

In a classic case of covering-up the crimes of low-level thugs to protect more powerful criminals, Del Ponte has charged that forensic evidence gathered by ICTY investigators at one of the northern Albania death houses was destroyed at The Hague.

International Network

This brisk underground trade didn’t end in 1999 however, when the break-away Serb province was occupied by NATO troops; on the contrary, operations expanded and grew even more profitable as Kosovo devolved into a protectorate of the United States.

In fact, a trial underway in Pristina has revealed that “desperate Russians, Moldovans, Kazakhs and Turks were lured into the capital ‘with the false promise of payments’ for their kidneys,” The Guardian reported.

It was a “growth industry” that fed on human misery. According to The Guardian, recipients “paid up to €90,000 (£76,400) for the black-market kidneys [and] included patients from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel,” EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told the British paper.

“Donors” however, were left holding the bag, lucky to escape with their lives.

At the center of the scandal is the Medicus clinic. Located some six miles from downtown Pristina, Medicus was allegedly founded by university hospital urologist Dr Lutfi Dervishi, and a former permanent secretary of health, prosecutors claim, provided the clinic with a false license to operate.

imagesTwo of the accused, The Guardian revealed, “are fugitives wanted by Interpol: Moshe Harel, an Israeli said to have matched donors with recipients, and Yusuf Sonmez, perhaps the world’s most renowned organ trafficker.”

Prosecutors believe that Harel and Sonmez are the brains behind Medicus and that Shaip Muja, a former KLA “medical commander” who was based in Albania, may have overseen operations at the “clinic.”

Muja remains a close confidante of Thaçi’s and, in an macabre twist, he is currently “a political adviser in the office of the prime minister, with responsibility for health,” The Guardian reports.

Investigators averred they had “uncovered numerous convergent indications of Muja’s central role [in] international networks, comprising human traffickers, brokers of illicit surgical procedures, and other perpetrators of organised crime.”

Besides lining the pockets of Albanian, Israeli and Turkish criminals who ran the grisly trafficking ring, whose interests might also be served in covering-up these horrific crimes?

A Gangster State, but which One?

The veil of secrecy surrounding KLA atrocities could not have been as complete as it was without the intervention of powerful actors, particularly amongst political and military elites in Germany and the United States who had conspired with local gangsters, rebranded as “freedom fighters,” during the break-up of Yugoslavia.

As in Albania years before NATO’s Kosovo adventure, organized criminal activities and “the trade in narcotics and weapons [were] allowed to prosper,” Michel Chossudovsky wrote, because “the West had turned a blind eye.”

These extensive deliveries of weapons were tacitly permitted by the Western powers on geopolitical grounds: both Washington and Bonn had favoured (although not officially) the idea of a ‘Greater Albania’ encompassing Albania, Kosovo and parts of Macedonia. Not surprisingly, there was a ‘deafening silence’ on the part of the international media regarding the Kosovo arms-drugs trade. (“The Criminalization of Albania,” in Masters of the Universe? NATO’s Balkan Crusade, ed. Tariq Ali, London: Verso, 2000, pp. 299-300)

The consequences of this “deafening silence” remain today. Both in terms of the misery and impoverishment imposed on Kosovo’s citizens by the looting of their social property, particularly the wholesale privatization of its mineral wealth which IMF economic “reforms” had spawned, and in the political cover bestowed upon Pristina’s gangster regime by the United States.

In the intervening years NATO’s “blind eye” has morphed into something more sinister: outright complicity with their Balkan protégés.

Virtually charging the ICTY with knuckling under to political pressure from the Americans, the PACE report states that “the ICTY, which had started to conduct an initial examination on the spot to establish the existence of traces of possible organ trafficking, dropped the investigation.”

“The elements of proof taken in Rripe, in Albania” during that initial inquiry investigators wrote, “have been destroyed and cannot therefore be used for more detailed analyses. No subsequent investigation has been carried out into a case nevertheless considered sufficiently serious by the former ICTY Prosecutor for her to see the need to bring it to public attention through her book.”

This is hardly surprising, considering that the ICTY was created at the insistence of the Clinton administration precisely as a retributive hammer to punish official enemies of the U.S.

Hailed as an objective body by media enablers of America’s imperial project, with few exceptions, while it relentlessly hunted down alleged Serbian war criminals–the losers in the decade-long conflagration–it studiously ignored proxy forces, including the KLA, under the operational control of German and American intelligence agencies.

The report averred that human organ trafficking was only a part of a larger web of crime and corruption, and that murder, trafficking in women, control over global narcotics distribution and money laundering networks were standard operating procedure for Thaçi and other members of the “Drenica group,” the black widows at the center of the KLA spiders’ web.

For his part, Thaçi has called the PACE report “libelous” and the Kosovo government has repudiated the Council’s findings claiming that the charges “were not based on facts and were construed to damage the image of Kosovo and the war of the Kosovo Liberation Army.”

While one can easily dismiss prevarications from Kosovo’s government, the White House role in covering-up the crimes of their client regime should have provoked a major scandal. That it didn’t only reveals the depths of Washington’s own venal self-interest in preventing this sordid affair from gaining traction.

In all likelihood fully-apprised of the Council of Europe’s investigation through any number of American-friendly moles implanted in European institutions as WikiLeaks Cablegate files have revealed, last summer Thaçi met with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House.

Shamelessly, Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ full support for an independent, democratic, whole, and multi-ethnic Kosovo,” and “reiterated the United States’ firm support for Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to a White House press release.

Indeed, the vice president “welcomed the progress that Kosovo’s government has made in carrying out essential reforms, including steps to strengthen the rule of law.”

An all too predictable pattern when one considers the lawless nature of the regime in Washington.

The Heroin Trail

As I reported more than two years ago in “Welcome to Kosovo! The World’s Newest Narco State,” the KLA served as the militarized vanguard for the Albanian mafia whose “15 Families” control virtually every facet of the Balkan heroin trade.

Albanian traffickers ship heroin originating exclusively from Central Asia’s Golden Crescent. At one end lies America’s drug outpost in Afghanistan where poppy is harvested for processing and transshipment through Iran and Turkey; as morphine base it is then refined into “product” for worldwide consumption. From there it passes into the hands of the Albanian syndicates who control the Balkan Route.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported back in 1999, “Kosovars were the acknowledged masters of the trade, credited with shoving aside the Turkish gangs that had long dominated narcotics trafficking along the Balkan Route, and effectively directing the ethnic Albanian network.”

As the murdered investigative journalist Peter Klebnikov reported in 2000 for Mother Jones, as the U.S.-sponsored war in Kosovo heated up, “the drug traffickers began supplying the KLA with weapons procured from Eastern European and Italian crime groups in exchange for heroin. The 15 Families also lent their private armies to fight alongside the KLA. Clad in new Swiss uniforms and equipped with modern weaponry, these troops stood out among the ragtag irregulars of the KLA. In all, this was a formidable aid package.”

Despite billions of dollars spent on failed interdiction efforts, these patterns persist today as more than 106 metric tons of heroin flow into Europe. So alarmed has the Russian government become over the flood of heroin penetrating their borders from Central Asian and the Balkan outposts that some officials have likened it to American “narco-aggression” and a new “opium war, researcher Peter Dale Scott reported.

Scott avers: “These provinces” in Afghanistan, “support the past and present CIA assets in the Karzai regime (headed by Hamid Karzai, a former CIA asset), including the president’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, an active CIA asset, and Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former CIA asset. In effect America has allied itself with one drug faction in Afghanistan against another.” Much the same can be said for CIA assets in Pristina.

As the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published in their 2010 World Drug Report:

Once heroin leaves Turkish territory, interception efficiency drops significantly. In the Balkans, relatively little heroin is seized, suggesting that the route is exceedingly well organized and lubricated with corruption. … Another notable feature of the Balkan route is that some important networks have clan-based and hierarchically organized structures. Albanian groups in particular have such structures, making them particularly hard to infiltrate. This partially explains their continued involvement in several European heroin markets. Albanian networks continue to be particularly visible in Greece, Italy and Switzerland. Italy is one of the most important heroin markets in Europe, and frequently identified as a base of operation for Balkan groups who exploit the local diaspora. According to WCO seizure statistics, Albanians made up the single largest group (32%) of all arrestees for heroin trafficking in Italy between 2000 and 2008. The next identified group was Turks followed by Italians and citizens of Balkan countries (Bulgaria, Kosovo/Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and to some extent Greece). A number of Pakistani and Nigerian traffickers were arrested in Italy as well.

As has been documented for decades, U.S. destabilization programs and covert operations rely on far-right provocateurs and drug lords (often interchangeable players) to facilitate the dirty work. Throughout its Balkan campaign the CIA made liberal use of these preexisting narcotics networks to arm the KLA and then provide them with targets.

When NATO partners Germany and the U.S. decided to drive a stake through Yugoslavia’s heart during the heady days of post-Cold War triumphalism, their geopolitical strategy could not have achieved “success” without the connivance, indeed active partnership forged amongst Yugoslavia’s nationalist rivals. As investigative journalist Misha Glenny has shown,

Most shocking of all, however, is how the gangsters and politicians fueling war between their peoples were in private cooperating as friends and close business partners. The Croat, Bosnian, Albanian, Macedonian, and Serb moneymen and mobsters were truly thick as thieves. They bought, sold, and exchanged all manner of commodities, knowing that the high levels of personal trust between them were much stronger than the transitory bonds of hysterical nationalism. They fomented this ideology among ordinary folk in essence to mask their own venality. As one commentator described it, the new republics were ruled by “a parastate Cartel which had emerged from political institutions, the ruling Communist Party and its satellites, the military, a variety of police forces, the Mafia, court intellectuals and with the president of the Republic at the center of the spider web…Tribal nationalism was indispensable for the cartel as a means to pacify its subordinates and as a cover for the uninterrupted privatization of the state apparatus. (McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p. 27)

Thaçi and other members of his inner circle, Marty avers, were “commonly identified, and cited in secret intelligence reports,” published by the German secret state agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND “as the most dangerous of the KLA’s ‘criminal bosses’.”

Trading on American protection to consolidate political power, thus maintaining control over key narcotics smuggling corridors, the special rapporteur writes that “having succeeded in eliminating, or intimidating into silence, the majority of the potential and actual witnesses against them (both enemies and erstwhile allies), using violence, threats, blackmail, and protection rackets,” Thaçi’s Drenica Group have “exploit[ed] their position in order to accrue personal wealth totally out of proportion with their declared activities.”

Indeed, multiple reports prepared by the U.S. DEA, FBI, the BND, Italy’s SISMI, Britain’s MI6 and the Greek EYP intelligence service have stated that Drenica Group members “are consistently named as ‘key players’ in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime.”

As the Council of Europe and investigative journalists have documented, northern Albania was the site not only of KLA training camps but of secret detention centers where prisoners of war and civilian KLA opponents were executed and their organs surgically removed and sold on the international black market.

“The reality is that the most significant operational activities undertaken by members of the KLA–prior to, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the conflict–took place on the territory of Albania, where the Serb security forces were never deployed.”

The report avers, “It is well established that weapons and ammunition were smuggled into parts of Kosovo, often on horseback, through clandestine, mountainous routes from northern Albania,” the site of secret NATO bases, “yet only in the second half of 1998,” Marty writes, “through explicit endorsements from Western powers, founded on strong lobbying from the United States, did the KLA secure its pre-eminence in international perception as the vanguard of the Kosovar Albanian liberation struggle.”

“What is particularly confounding” Marty writes, “is that all of the international community in Kosovo–from the Governments of the United States and other allied Western powers, to the EU-backed justice authorities–undoubtedly possess the same, overwhelming documentation of the full extent of the Drenica Group’s crimes, but none seems prepared to react in the face of such a situation and to hold the perpetrators to account.”

While the special rapporteur’s outrage is palpable, the ascension of a political crime family with deep roots in the international drugs trade and other rackets, including the grisly traffic in human organs, far from being an anomalous event conforms precisely to the structural pattern of capitalist rule in the contemporary period.

“What we have uncovered” Marty informs us, “is of course not completely unheard-of. The same or similar findings have long been detailed and condemned in reports by key intelligence and police agencies, albeit without having been followed up properly, because the authors’ respective political masters have preferred to keep a low profile and say nothing, purportedly for reasons of ‘political expediency’. But we must ask what interests could possibly justify such an attitude of disdain for all the values that are invariably invoked in public?”

Marty need look no further for an answer to his question than to the “political masters” in Washington, who continue to cover-up not only their own crimes but those of the global mafias who do their bidding.

As we have seen throughout the latter half of the 20th century down to the present moment, powerful corporate and financial elites, the military and intelligence agencies and, for lack of a better term, “normal” governmental institutions are suborned by the same crooked players who profit from war and the ensuing chaos it spawns to organize crime, thereby “rationalizing” criminal structures on more favorable terms for those “in the loop.”

In this regard, the impunity enjoyed up till now by Thaçi and his minions merely reflect the far-greater impunity enjoyed by the American secret state and the powerful actors amongst U.S. elites who have profited from the dirty work allegedly performed by Kosovo’s Prime Minister, and others like him, who are counted amongst the most loyal servants of imperial power.


About the author:

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, his articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

Source: http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.lt/2010/12/mafia-state-kosovos-prime-minister.html

15616876567_44661e2c4f_b_Kosovo-Liberation-Army1

Save

Save

The CIA and Greater Albania: The origins of the US role in the Balkans



Kosovar Albanian Nazis with a swastika flag in Pec, 1944

What are the origins of the US role in the Balkans? Why was Albania of strategic importance for NATO? Why did US policy support Albania and Albanian separatists in the former Yugoslavia? Why did the US support Greater Albania in Kosovo and Western Macedonia?

The CIA and Greater Albania: The Origins of the US Role in the Balkans

By Carl K. Savich

Introduction: The Missing Link

Why did the US support the separatist and terrorist so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK in Shqip), which sought to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo based on ethnicity? Why did the US sponsor a criminal and illegal separatist movement that sought to ethnically cleanse non-Albanians and create an independent state of Kosova? Why was the US supporting and sponsoring the re-establishment of a fascist-Nazi Greater Albania that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini had initially created?

When did the US begin to play a role in Kosovo? Did the US role in Kosovo begin with the arming and training of the KLA terrorist group which began a separatist war for the creation of a Greater Albania in 1998? Did the US role in Kosovo begin in 1989 when the Yugoslavian government curtailed Albanian control and domination of the province because Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanians were being murdered and driven out of the province? Did US involvement in Kosovo begin with the death of Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980? Did it begin in 1981 following Albanian riots in Kosovo that sought to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosova “Republic”?

Did US support for the terrorist KLA emerge sui generis in 1998 as a response to the alleged genocide and ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Albanians by the Slobodan Milosevic regime? What is the missing link or connection between the Greater Albania created by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and US support for the KLA/UCK?

The recruitment of the former Nazi-fascist members of the Balli Kombetar by the CIA and MI6 in 1948 in order to engineer a regime change in Albania provides the origins and roots for US involvement in Kosovo and the creation of a Greater Albania or Ethnic Albania. The Balli Kombetar had been an ultra-nationalist, right-wing Greater Albania movement that had been created specifically to retain Kosovo as part of a Greater Albania. The issue of Kosovo and a Greater Albania was central to the Balli Kombetar movement. Operation Valuable/Fiend established the US government and CIA connections to the former Nazi/fascist leaders of Greater Albania, the Balli Kombetar, who are the forebears and precursors of the KLA Movement. Operation Valuable/Fiend by the CIA and MI6 provides the missing link between the Greater Albania of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and the Greater Albania created by the US, NATO and EU in the 1990s.

Regime Change in Albania

The first major paramilitary operation by the CIA in the Cold War took place in Albania. The secret CIA operation was conducted in conjunction with British MI6 and was known by the codename Operation Valuable, or as BG/FIEND by the CIA. The operation was conceived by British intelligence to depose the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha. It was one of the first attempts at “regime change” during the Cold War in the “denied areas” or “captive nations”.

There were several reasons why the UK sought to achieve a regime change in Tirana. It was meant as a “rollback” action, to deprive the Soviet Union of a client state. Strategically, Britain sought to deny the USSR naval bases on the Adriatic coast, which threatened British and US control of the Mediterranean. Britain was a naval power and securing sea lanes was of paramount concern. The operation was to consist of inserting UK and US trained commandos into Albania to organize guerrilla groups who would mount a coup that would overthrow Enver Hoxha. For the CIA, it would be “a clinical experiment to see whether large roll-back operations would be feasible elsewhere.”

Direct British and American involvement in Albania and the Balkans began with their support of anti-German and anti-Italian resistance and guerrilla groups during World War II. The goal was to undermine the German and Italian occupations. This necessitated supporting Communist resistance groups. In Albania, the US and UK supported the Communist movement headed by Enver Hoxha. Why did the US and UK support Communist groups which were determined to set-up Communist regimes? The policy was: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Winston Churchill stated that the only criteria of support was whether the guerrillas were killing German soldiers.

During the war, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) had armed and advised Enver Hoxha and his guerrilla forces. Now they were determined to overthrow the very regime they had put into power. The first British SOE liaison officers sent into Albania were Lt. Col. David Smiley and Neil “Billy” McLean. Along with Julian Amery, Alan Hare, Peter Kemp, John Hibberdine, and Tony Neel, they were known as “the musketeers”, who backed the Balli Kombetar. They all were right-wing, upper echelon apparatchiks of the British Empire who disdained any progressive or democratic movement. In their own words, they detested anyone or anything that smacked of “progressive ideas.” It was natural that they were the principal backers of the ultra-nationalist, right-wing Balli Kombetar movement.

Ironically and quixotically, they were forced to arm and support the Communist LNC Movement and Enver Hoxha. This was an absurd result. But the game was all about power. British and American intelligence operations in the Balkans make sense on the rationale that they were based on realpolitik, or power politics. The US and UK objective was to obtain pliant puppets and satellites and stooges in the Balkans. During the war, it was only the Communist forces that were perceived as fighting the German and Italian occupation forces. Part of this misperception was due to Communist sympathizers and double-agents such as H.A.R. “Kim” Philby who consciously and purposefully sought to create this image of the Communist resistance as the only genuine resistance against the Germans. So absurdly the US and UK were forced to support the very Communists that they later would attempt to overthrow through regime change. It was a short-term marriage of convenience necessitated by the fact that the major enemy that the US and UK faced at the time was Germany. It was a matter of priority.

The US even sent aid and weapons to a Communist country. Following the 1948 split between Joseph Stalin and Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslav government requested through CIA channels that the US provide arms to Yugoslavia, fearing an invasion by the USSR. Frank Lindsay, the Office of Policy Co-ordination (OPC) deputy to Frank Wisner, recalled: “Tito was the man for the West to back… We sent him five shiploads of weapons.”
The US and UK were also determined to keep the Communist guerrillas in Greece from taking power. Operation Valuable/Fiend was also a diversionary operation meant to deny bases for Greek Communist insurgents and to divert Soviet or Communist resources away from Greece.

In Italy, the first successful CIA operation was to sabotage the national elections in 1948 where the Communists were favored to win. The US and UK supported “democracy’ only when it meant that anti- or non-Communists would win.

A primary concern for both the British and US governments was the presence of Soviet advisers and potential Soviet naval and submarine bases on the Albanian coast. For Britain, always a colonial and imperialist sea power, securing sea lanes to British colonies, such as India, was paramount. Soviet submarines and destroyers in the Albanian port of Valona threatened British control of the Mediterranean, an important sea route to India, the largest British colony, and to the Suez Canal and the oil of the Middle East. Albania under Hoxha established close ties with the Soviet Union and neighboring Yugoslavia following the war. There were even plans to form a Balkan federation which would have included Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria. Soviet advisers were reported to have arrived in Albania at this time.

Outright military clashes between Albanian and British forces began on October 22, 1946 when two British navy destroyers, Saumarez and Volafge, were damaged by mines in the three-mile-wide Corfu channel. The British destroyers sustained heavy damage while 43 men on board the vessels were killed. Britain retaliated by retaining ten million pounds of gold which the Albanian government had deposited in the Bank of England during the war. In April, 1946, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled against Albania, but the Albanian government refused to accept the judgment. There was unrelenting hostility between Albania and the UK that preceded the launch of Operation Valuable.

Operation Valuable/Fiend

British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin approved the MI6 operation to overthrow the Hoxha regime in February, 1949. The chief of MI6, Stewart Menzies, was not enthusiastic about the paramilitary operation but saw it as a way to appease the former SOE “stinks and bangs people.” The Albanian regime change was a rollback operation meant to “detach” Albania, a “captive nation”, from the Soviet bloc. Strategically, the UK and US objective was to establish a strategic presence on the Balkan peninsula. The British wanted the US to finance the operation and to provide bases. Senior British intelligence officer William Hayter, who chaired the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), came to Washington in March with a group of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) members and Foreign Office staff that included Gladwyn Jebb, Earl Jellicoe, and Peter Dwyer of MI6 and a Balkans specialist. They met with Robert Joyce of the US State Department’s Policy and Planning Staff (PPS) and Frank Wisner, who was the head of the Office of Policy Co-ordination (OPC), which was administered by the CIA. Wisner had been an attorney who had represented the financial interests of wealthy Albanian refugees who had been members of the Nazi-fascist collaborative group, the Balli Kombetar. So there had also been a monetary connection between US intelligence and the former Nazi/fascist Albanian Balli Kombetar members.

The strategic goal was to establish a foothold on the Balkan peninsula. Before this could occur, the Soviet-backed Hoxha regime had to be overthrown. According to Wisner, the Albanian operation was to be “a clinical experiment to see whether larger rollback operations would be feasible elsewhere.” Amery revealed that the British planned to recruit Balli Kombetar insurgents in the regime change against the Hoxha government. He outlined his plans for the proposed operation to the military commander of the Balli Kombetar, Abas Ermenji.

On May 20, 1949, Harold Perkins, the director of the Special Operations Branch, Neil McLean and Ermenji flew to Rome to meet with Midhat Frasheri, the wartime leader and founder of the Nazi/fascist Balli Kombetar, to discuss the operation. Frasheri was supportive of the operation. Amery believed that “clandestine operations directed at Hoxha would lead to a major uprising” the success of which would “depend on the million odd Albanians living in the Yugoslav Kosovo region.” So Kosovo was always crucial to the planners and organizers of Operation Valuable/Fiend.

Recruiting Albanian Nazis and Fascists

The recruitment for Operation Valuable/Fiend consisted of 40 per cent from the Balli Kombetar, 40 percent from the monarchist Legalite or Legaliteti, and the rest from other Albanian factions. Midhat Frasheri (1880-1949) was a founder and leader of the Balli Kombetar (National Front). He was a known Nazi and fascist collaborator committed to creating a Greater Albania that would include Kosovo-Metohija. He initially fled to Turkey after the war to escape war crimes charges and prosecution as a Nazi-fascist collaborator, then moved to Italy. He later settled as a refugee in London. He was brought to New York City by the US to lead the émigré Albanians. He died suddenly, however, on October 3, 1949 of a heart attack at the Lexington Hotel in New York.

Frasheri had initially approached the US Ambassador in Rome in 1947 proposing to bring 50 Albanian former pro-Nazi, pro-fascist refugee leaders to the US to allegedly combat Albanian Communist infiltrators in the United States. That same year, the Hoxha regime had made a request to the Italian government that Albanian collaborators and war criminals be extradited to Albania. Many of the Albanian BK leaders were interned in Italian camps at the time. Fearing extradition, Frasheri sought US help.

The plan was initially rejected by the US State Department because many on Frasheri’s list of 50 were on a 1948 publication by the Albanian government which identified them as major Nazi-fascist collaborators and war criminals. The State Department held that it did “not believe it would be appropriate” to allow the BK entry into the US because it would “sooner or later occasion embarrassment to this Government.” These BK members “had collaborated with the Germans and Italians in the war.”

The way the US government got around these restrictions was by creating “private organizations” and “fronts” which would provide “plausible deniability” because official sanction and connections could be concealed. The privatization ploy was effective in organizing former Nazi and fascist war criminals by the US and UK governments during the Cold War. It was part of a larger US government scheme known as Bloodstone which recruited “collaborators” and “war criminals” for covert operations, “émigré liberation projects”. Carmel Offie was one of the major organizers. Hasan Dosti was brought to the US in April, 1949, although he lacked a passport. Dosti was to set up an Albanian National Committee in Exile. On May 12, Robert Joyce obtained a passport for Midhat Frasheri to enter the US based on the rationale that it was in the “national interest”. So Frasheri was granted a US visa, due to the efforts of Robert Joyce, the US State Department liaison with the CIA.

Frasheri brought with him Mustafa Merlika-Kruja, the former fascist premier of Greater Albania from 1941 to 1943 who advocated the genocide of the Kosovo Serbs, Hasan Dosti, a Justice Minister in the fascist regime, and Kosovar Muslim Xhafer Deva, who had been instrumental in the creation of the Nazi Skanderbeg SS Division that systematically murdered Kosovo Serbs and which had rounded up Kosovo Jews who were subsequently murdered in the gas ovens at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The Kosovar Deva was directly responsible for the deportation of the Jews and their subsequent deaths. These former Albanian Nazis and fascists established the CIA-financed National Committee for a Free Albania. Among other things, this group recruited Albanian refugees who were sent on failed infiltration missions in Albania. The British double agent Kim Philby oversaw Operation Valuable/Fiend and kept the Soviets and the Hoxha regime apprised of the clandestine operations. Many of these Albanian recruits were captured and tried as spies and imprisoned or executed by the Communist Enver Hoxha regime.

One person’s war criminal is another person’s freedom fighter. This is clearly exemplified by the US and UK position on alleged Albanian war criminals and collaborators such as those of the Balli Kombetar. Enver Hoxha recalled making official requests that Albanian war criminals and collaborators be turned over for trial, but the US and UK refused his requests:

We made official requests to the British and American governments for the extradition of war criminals, not only Albanians, but also Italians and Germans, who had stained their hands with blood in Albania and were now under their jurisdiction. Contrary to the declarations and the joint commitments of the allies during the war and the decisions which were taken later on this question, they turned a deaf ear and did not hand them over to us. On the contrary, they kept the chiefs in luxury hotels, while they trained their ‘fighting men’ in Rome, Munich, London, Athens and elsewhere.

Xhafer Deva, who was from Kosovo, had been the Kosovar Albanian Muslim Minister of the Interior under the Italian fascist-sponsored Greater Albania. Deva lived in the United States after the war. He died in 1978 in Palo Alto, California. Hasan Dosti had been the Minister of Justice in the Italian-sponsored Greater Albania regime. He lived in Los Angeles, California in 1988. Mustafa Merlika-Kruja had been the Albanian premier of Greater Albania from 1941 to 1943. He died in 1958 in New York. Rexhep Mitrovica was an Albanian official in the Nazi German-sponsored Greater Albanian government in July 10, 1944, when Germany had re-occupied Kosovo and Albania..

The number of Jews killed in Greater Albania during the Holocaust is estimated at 591. Albanians played a major role in the Holocaust. Many of the leaders the CIA and MI6 recruited for Operation Valuable/Fiend were directly involved in the murder of the Jews of Greater Albania.

5 velika albanija diaspora

The Balli Kombetar (BK) or National Front was founded and led by the former Albanian diplomat Midhat Frasheri and Abas Ermneji. The BK was set up essentially to retain Kosovo as part of Albania after the war. This was the defining platform of the BK Movement, the annexation of Kosovo. The BK was a right-wing, ultra-nationalist Greater Albania movement, which was anti-monarchist and thus regarded as “republican”. This became a propaganda selling point for the former BK members after the war by their American and British spook handlers/minders. The BK was made up primarily of Tosks with their main area of support in the Valona region of southern Albania. Unlike the Communist National Liberation Movement headed by Enver Hoxha and the Zogist monarchist Legalite Movement headed by Abas Kupi established in November, 1943, the Balli Kombetar was unique in that its platform consisted of retaining Kosovo as part of the Axis-created Greater Albania.

The war-time collaboration of the Balli Kombetar with the German and Italian forces was well-documented. In a December 17, 1943 SOE report, Brig. E.M. “Trotsky” Davies acknowledged that the Balli Kombetar and the Zogist groups “are co-operating with Germans, who are exploiting them with arms in large quantities, setting them to guard main roads, police towns, and lead patrols thus freeing the German troops.” He further noted that the Balli Kombetar had consistently refused to fight the German occupation forces: “I consider the Allies’ attitude should be made public forthwith, showing quislings, traitors and non-resisters to Germans will receive appropriate punitive treatment from the Allies in due course.” The musketeers themselves conceded that the BK nationalist “collaborate with the Germans.” Three weeks after making his report, Davies was ambushed by a pro-Nazi BK group in Albania. Moreover, the German emissary in Tirana had acknowledged that there had been “direct collaboration with the BK.”

In the July 1944 R and A report L38836 by the OSS on Albania entitled “Political and Internal Conditions”, it was stated that “Xhafer Deva, Rexhep Mitrovic and Midhat Frasheri are with the Germans….Anti-semitic measures are being adopted now. A captured SS document “revealed that Deva had been responsible for the deportation of ‘Jews, Communists and partisans’ to extermination camps as well as for punitive raids by the SS Skanderbeg Division. The small mountain territory had few Jews, so relatively few were captured and killed.” Christopher Simpson, in Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War, noted that relatively few Jews were captured and killed but “not for lack of trying by the Balli Kombetar organization and the Albanian SS” which had orchestrated “a series of anti-semitic purges that rounded up about 800 people, the majority of whom were deported and murdered.” At the Wannsee Conference, the Germans listed only 200 Jews in Albania. Moreover, the Italian occupation was chiefly responsible for the so-called rescue of Albanian Jews by their intervention. Deva was also accused of responsibility for “the Tirana massacre” which occurred on February 4, 1944, carried out by the German Gestapo “in collaboration with the Albanian gendarmerie.” By the summer of 1944, units of the Balli Kombetar were “integrated into the German command.”

When the Germans occupied Kosovo and Albania following the Italian surrender in 1943, they lacked the manpower to control Greater Albania. What the Germans relied on was “political conciliation,” that is, gaining Albanian support for the German occupation by promising them fulfillment of their Greater Albania illusions by ensuring them that Kosovo would be part of a Greater Albania. The Germans appealed “to the type of Albanian nationalist and republican represented in the Balli Kombetar.” The German forces created a Regency Council to govern Greater Albania, which consisted of Lef Nosi, Anton Harapi, and the pre-war Prime Minister Mehdi Frasheri, the brother of Midhat Frasheri, the leader of the BK. The German occupation forces also created an Albanian army which was under the leadership of General Prenk Previsi and a gendarmerie under Xhafer Deva, the Minister of the Interior from Kosovo. The German occupation authorities also sponsored the creation of the Second League of Prizren and put Deva in charge of it as the president. The Germans expanded the Kosovo Albanian four armed battalions in the SS Division Skanderbeg in 1944, which fought against the Communist LNC, the Yugoslav partisans, and systematically murdered Kosovo Serbs and which rounded up Kosovo Jews who were subsequently murdered.

Pixie insertions

Midhat Frasheri was “the lynchpin” of the plan to send commandos into Albania. The Committee for Free Albania included several collaborators, and alleged war criminals. James McCarger, the first US commander of Operation Fiend, was dissatisfied that Hasan Dosti was part of this group. Dosti had been the Justice Minister of the fascist Italian-sponsored Greater Albania. McCarger stated: “I and several others screamed bloody murder on this. I said, you can’t use somebody with that background, it’s a blot on everybody’s escutcheon.” Dosti was accompanied by “a bevy of Hitler-era stooges” which included the Kosovar Muslim Xhafer Deva “who used the SS Skanderbeg Division in a massacre of Albanian partisans” and to round up Kosovo Jews who were murdered in the concentration camps. There were “voluminous files” in the possession of the US government that documented Deva’s Nazi past. Nevertheless, these objections were dismissed by the US and these former Nazi-fascist Albanian leaders would play a major role in Cold War operations by the CIA. A US intelligence official maintained that Deva was a “pure patriot” and a “person of uncompromising personal honor.” It was held that hiring and training such Nazi collaborators was in the US national interest. There were thus Nazis and there were Nazis. Some former Nazis were of much greater service to the US in the Cold War so their Nazi past was spin doctored away as if by magic.

The National Security Act of July 27, 1947 established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The President Harry Truman Administration created the Central Intelligence Organization (CIA) as the successor to the war-time Office of Special Operations (OSS), which Truman had disbanded in 1945. The CIA was known as the Central Intelligence Group initially when it was headed first by Rear Admiral Sidney Souers and then by Hoyt Vandenberg. Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter headed the CIA from 1947 to 1950, he was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The CIA was set up specifically as a tool in the Cold War, an independent agency that reported to the President and was overseen by Congressional panels.

In September, 1949, British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin came to Washington to discuss Operation Valuable/Fiend with US government officials. The CIA released a report that concluded that “a purely internal Albanian uprising at this time is not indicated, and, if undertaken, would have little chance of success.” The CIA asserted that the Hoxha regime had a 65,000 man regular army and a security force of 15,000. There were intelligence reports that there were 1,500 Soviet “advisers” and 4,000 “technicians” in Albania helping to train the Albanian army. NATO was concerned that the USSR was building a submarine base at Valona. On September 6, 1949, when NATO met for the first time in Washington, Bevin proposed that “a counter-revolution” be launched in Albania. US Secretary of State Dean Acheson was in agreement. The US Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to use Valona as a potential forward naval base for NATO to establish US control of the Mediterranean. NATO, established as a defensive military alliance of the North Atlantic region, was now committed to launching offensive covert operations against a sovereign nation in the Balkans. NATO member countries agreed to support the overthrow of the Hoxha regime in Albania and to eliminate Soviet influence in the Mediterranean region. Bevin wanted to place King Zog on the throne as the leader of Albania once Hoxha was overthrown.

On October 3, 1949, the first group of 20 Albanian commandos, known as the “pixies’ by SIS, were landed on the Albanian coastline south of Valona, which was the former territory of the Balli Kombetar. This was the start of Operation Valuable/Fiend. The pixies had been brought across the Corfu channel on a British vessel, Stormie Seas. British intelligence officials had trained the Albanians since July on Malta. Albanian government security forces interdicted the commandos, killing four and forcing the others to flee south to Greece.

The US became directly involved in the pixie insertions in 1950. The US recruitment of the OPC commandos was disguised by creating “labor battalions” under US Army command in Germany. Carmel Offie set up Company 400 with the help of Lawrence de Neufville, a CIA “special adviser”. The Albanian recruits were assembled in July, 1950 by Major Caush Ali Bashom, a member of the Balli Kombetar. A Radio Free Albania was set up as well to broadcast CIA propaganda into Albania. In August, 1950, the US air dropped propaganda leaflets over Korca. On November 19, the US airdropped 9 Albanian commandos by parachute drops into Albania. They were either captured or escaped into Yugoslavia. The Sigurimi, the Soviet-trained Albanian secret police, was able to anticipate the landings and to interdict the commandos.

By 1952, the CIA had taken over all the intelligence operations of the British in the Balkans. On July 23, 1951, the US air dropped 12 commandos in Albania. Six were killed immediately, four were surrounded and burned to death in a house, and two were captured. The operation was a complete disaster. Abas Ermenji did not want to witness any more of his Balli Kombetar followers to take “another tumble through the meat grinder” and so discouraged any more missions. Wisner, nevertheless, sought to continue the pixie incursions, having the support of CIA Deputy Director Allen Dulles. The CIA airdropped Hamit Matjani, the Tiger, in 1952, who was killed during this operation, his 16th mission. Dulles stated: “At least we’re getting the experience we need for the next war.”

Up to 200 agents would be killed during the operation with an estimated additional several thousand Albanian civilians killed in reprisal. Abas Ermenji stated: “Our ‘allies’ wanted to make use of Albania as a guinea-pig, without caring about the human losses, for an absurd enterprise that was condemned to failure.” Halil Nerguti stated: “We were used as an experiment. We were a small part of a big game, pawns that could be sacrificed.” There is no question that the CIA and MI6 used the operation as a small-scale exercise in regime change. The stakes were small. Failure would not be noticed. John H. Richardson, the CIA Director of the South-East Division, terminated Operation Fiend and by 1954 the Company 400 was disbanded and the training facilities in Heidelberg, Germany shut down, as well as the CIA base on the Greek island. The remaining Albanians were resettled in the US, UK, and the Commonwealth countries.

The CIA financed a new Albanian Committee of the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN) which was controlled by the Political Committee, made up of former members of the Balli Kombetar, who dominated this organization for much of the 1950s.The ACEN was headed by Nuci Kota, Zog’s military commander, who had lead the Free Albania Committee and had founded the Albanian National Committee. The former Nazi-fascist wartime collaborator Hasan Dosti was a key figure in ACEN. Gratian Yatsevich, the new commander of Operation Fiend, inserted Albanian members of the Catholic Independenza group, many of whom had collaborated with the fascist Italian regime, into the Free Albania Committee.

During Operation Valuable/Fiend, the US and UK disregarded Albanian’s sovereignty, engaged in subversion, subterfuge, interference in the affairs of an independent nation, and sought to implement a regime change, which was an act of war and aggression. And this was what CIA propaganda said was “the free world”.

Conclusion: Balli Kombetar and KLA

Operation Valuable/Fiend and the recruitment of former Albanian Nazis and fascists from Albania proper and Kosovo provides the missing link between the Greater Albania created by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and the Balli Kombetar and the KLA/UCK Movement supported by Joseph DioGuardi, Thomas Lantos, Robert Dole, Joseph Biden, Richard Holbrooke, and Madeleine Albright. The recruitment of the Nazi-fascist Greater Albania Balli Kombetar by the CIA and MI6 and Operation Valuable/Fiend are the origins and the roots of US involvement in Albania/Kosovo. It was inevitable that US foreign policy would focus on Kosovo. The fascist foreign minister of Italy Count Galeazzano Ciano, who was the architect of the fascist greater Albania from 1939-1943, saw Kosovo as a knife aimed at the back of Yugoslavia. When Germany occupied Kosovo and Albania, their occupation policy focused on the creation of a Greater Albania with their support of the Second League of Prizren and their sanction of the genocide of Kosovo Serbs and Jews. Similarly, US foreign policy during the Cold War focused on using Kosovo as a knife to extort, blackmail, and pressure Yugoslavia, or as a way to destroy the Communist Yugoslavia. Like Nazi Germany, the US and the NATO countries used Kosovo as a way to destroy Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was the only obstacle to the NATO takeover of eastern Europe. Kosovo provided the means by which to establish NATO control and occupation of Europe. The KLA/UCK terrorist/separatist group provided the vehicle by which to achieve NATO control. The KLA was the successor to the Balli Kombetar. Operation Valuable/Fiend thus is the missing link between the fascist Greater Albania created in World War II and the US support of Greater Albania during and after the Cold War. Operation Valuable/Fiend provided the modus operandi or MO. This was how the US allowed the former Croatian Ustasha/Roman Catholic alleged war criminals to escape through Italy and the Vatican, through the “ratlines” established by Croatian Roman Catholic priest Father Krunoslav Draganovic. This was how the powerful ultra-nationalist and neo-Ustasha separatist lobby was created in the US with the backing of US Roman Catholic groups. The objective was always the same. The US and Britain sought to control the Balkans and eastern Europe through NATO. The game was always about power. Human rights, humanitarianism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing had nothing to do with it.

6siptarskiuckteroristasafantomkom

Bibliography

Dorril, Stephen. MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. NY: The Free Press, 2000.

Kane, Steve. “The 21st SS Mountain Division.” Siegrunen: The Waffen-SS in Historical Perspective. October-December 1984. Volume 6 Number 6, pp.22-30.

Prados, John. Presidents’ Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations from World War II through Iranscam. NY: Quill, 1986.

Simpson, Christopher. Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War. NY: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988.


Original source of the article: http://www.pogledi.rs/en/the-cia-and-greater-albania/

Illustrated by Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

6850112411_e999d3d4d5_b_Skanderbeg

Save

Save

Albanian jihadist’s easy passage to Syria’s brutal war



ISIL Army

A former Islamist fighter in Syria recalls why he went to Syria, how easy it was to get there – and why he would go again, if he could.

Aleksandra Bogdani, Flamur Vezaj BIRN Tirana

90 Albanians went to Syria between 2012 and 2014 to take part in what they believed was a holy war. Photo: BIRN

On his first trip abroad, he left with 400 euros in his pocket, a printed map from the internet and the belief that he was fulfilling his destiny in eyes of Allah. The destination was the frontline of the war in Syria, but his jihad ended faster than it started.

Two years later, in a bar full of people in his hometown in northern Albania, Ebu Merjem stands out with his long beard and his trousers cut short above the ankle.

He does not like the attention he attracts and chooses a half-empty corner of the bar to explain what that pushed him towards a far-away war.

 “If I had the chance, I would go even today and fight in Syria,” Ebu Merjem says. “It was God that created jihad and you have to love something that God loves,” he added.

The 37-year-old unemployed father-of-two has been a practicing Muslim for 17 years.

He is one of 90 Albanians who went to Syria between 2012 and 2014 to take part in what they believed was a holy war.

Since the Syrian conflict began, ten Albanian jihadists have lost their lives there. Thirty others returned home before the adoption of a law that criminalizes participation in conflicts abroad.

According to documents obtained by BIRN, nearly 50 Albanian jihadists identified by the security services are still fighting in Syria.

Albania is a Muslim majority country with a long tradition of interfaith coexistence, and few understand why local Muslims like Ebu Merjem have traveled to fight in Syria.

Merjem has lived all his life in Albania, but believes his homeland is wherever there are Muslim believers. If his Muslim brothers are being attacked, even if they are thousands of kilometers away, he feels it his duty to protect them.

 “My brother is the American, Syrian or French Muslim. My enemy may even be my brethren,” he says.  “This has nothing to do with nationality or blood. I went there for my faith and my biggest regret is that I couldn’t experience war,” he added.

The road to Syria

The majority of the Albanian jihadists became part of the Jabhat al-Nusra front, a branch of Al-Qaeda. Photo: BETA/AP

Syria was the last country in the Middle East to be engulfed by the wave of anti-government protests in spring 2011 known as the Arab Spring. The conflict there soon took the nuances of a civil war.

The involvement of militant Islamic organizations in this war and its geographical proximity to Europe soon turned Syria into a hub for jihadists from all over the world.

The use of the internet and social networks directly from the battlefield popularized calls for jihad, especially in Europe where a considerable number of second-generation immigrants from the Middle East have embraced religious extremism.

From the beginning of the conflict until now, over 12,000 foreigners from 81 countries have joined militant organizations fighting in Syria. Nearly 3,000 are believed to have come from Western countries.

Ninety of these fighters are Albanian followers of the Salafist brand of Islam, preached on the fringe by imams, often in isolated mosques whose legal standing the official Muslim Community of Albania questions.

These believers started to show up in force at Tirana airport in the autumn of 2012, where they declared they were travelling to Turkey for health reasons. From Turkey, the jihadists jumped the border illegally into Syria and landed in the war.

The head of Albanian League of Imams, Justinian Topulli, lists several reasons for the involvement of Albanian Muslims in the war in Syria.

He says they felt a form of religious solidarity with the Syrian Muslims in their struggle against Bashar al Assad’s dictatorship, but it was also a way of escaping the Albanian reality, in which many Muslims do not feel comfortable.

Another no less important reason, according to Topulli, is the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of religious texts about the Apocalypse, which some preachers mistakenly tie with current events in Syria.

In contrast to Topulli, Ebu Merjem believes that a Muslim’s highest purpose is the sacrifice of jihad.

“A man must seek the eternal. One day we will all die, but to die as a Muslim martyr is the highest death of all,” says Ebu, sounding very convinced.

This is what he was looking for when he went to Syria on November 17, 2012, with three other believers from Albania.

For three months he went from one camp to another, but he never got the opportunity to go to the front even for a day, which disappointed him deeply.

He returned on February 2, 2012, a few days after two of his other comrades also returned home. The fourth member of the group, Denis Jangulli, was killed on the first day he went to fight against the government forces of Assad.

Many things have changed since then, both in Albania and Syria. The Albanian police have either arrested the religious leaders of the Albanian fighters in Syria or they are on the run.

After turning a blind eye to the Albanian jihadists traveling to Syria for a long time, the authorities opened an investigation in December 2013.

On March 11,a joint operation by the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office, the National Intelligence Service and the police resulted in eight arrests and warrants being issued for five others.

On August 19, Albania passed a law that mandates jail sentences of up to 15 years for anyone who gets involved in the Syrian conflict or who recruits people to take part in the war.

Two of the suspects detained in the joint operation were imams, accused of organizing the recruitment of the jihadists.

Genci Balla and Bujar Hysa used to preach jihad in two mosques; one located in a suburb of Tirana and the other in the village of Mezez, a few kilometres from the capital. Some more isolated cells were identified in Leshnicë, near Pogradec, the city of Elbasan, the town of Cerrik and the village of Dragostunje, near Librazhd.

The third organizer was Gerti Pashaj, a student radicalized in Turkey, who is thought to have acted as a guide for the Albanian jihadists seeking to reach the war front.

Ebu Merjem denies having been recruited or paid by any of them. He says he went to Syria of his own free will and adds that Denis Jangulli helped him only with the details of the trip.

He describes Jangulli, who was killed, as a brother and as a devoted believer who spoke four foreign languages and had strong connections in Kosovo and Macedonia.

Ebu Merjem cannot speak any foreign language and only embraced Islam after getting in touch with two Albanian students who had studied religion in Saudi Arabia.

The cleric Justinian Topulli says a lack of understanding of Islamic text is the main reason why so many Albanians that have gone to fight in Syria, believing they are engaging in holy war.

Topulli explains that while a good Muslim must fulfill the commandments of the Koran, armed jihad is not one of them.

“Armed jihad is not an individual obligation either for Albanians or for the others, but for communities and countries if they have the possibility to do something in this case,” he said. “Our jihad is to help our country and family to deal with the problems of our common home, called Albania,” Topulli added.

Forced oath of allegiance

The journey to Syria for jihadists is a simple one. Photo: BETA/AP

According to Ebu Merjem, the journey to Syria for jihadists is a simple one. They travel to Istanbul, buy a bus ticket worth 80 euro to the border town of Rehanlia and find a man there to jump the border.

He describes the region between Turkey and Syria as easy terrain for would-be jihadists; dozens of young people from France, Sweden, America or Belgium go in and out from a fence, which is the only barrier between the two countries.

Smuggling jihadists from one side of the border to the other is no different from the other kinds of human smuggling.

Ebu Merjem says he gave a Turkish shepherd a few euros to help him cross the border mostly because he was afraid he would spy on him rather than show him the way.

After they crossed the border, Ebu Merjem and his comrades sought the city of Aleppo, which has been the scene fierce fighting between government forces and rebels since the start of the conflict.

However, the Albanians got stuck for a long time in the camps in Tal Rifat, a town in the Aleppo region controlled by the Al-Nusra front, a branch of al-Qaeda.

The Albanian jihadist were eager to reach the front but underwent a series of background checks by leaders of the foreign jihadists. “They looked at as with suspicion and gathered our passports in order to verify us. We didn’t like this but they were afraid of infiltration,” Merjem says.

The Albanian jihadists stayed for the first 10 days in a house and were then sent to a real training camp. The camp was also in the region of Tal Rifat. This time, they stayed in a luxury home occupied by the radical Islamic group, a phenomenon that the media call the “5-star jihad”.

They spent their days studying the Koran and were trained to use Kalashnikovs or snipers. “We also used to run a little but it was no big deal. The lack of weapons was the main problem and none of us had 1,500 dollars to buy a Kalashnikov,” he said.

According to the Albanian prosecution file obtained by BIRN, the majority of the Albanian jihadists became part of the Jabhat al-Nusra front, a branch of Al-Qaeda. Some arrived there as part of a Turkish extremist group, Murat Gezenler, while the Albanians from Macedonia fought under Chechen fighters.

However, in a chaotic civil war this configuration changed over time. By 2013, most of the Albanians had gathered in a brigade of 45 to 50 persons on the outskirts of Aleppo led by Numan Demolli, from Kosovo, and, after he was killed, by Lavdrim Muhaxheri.

Until ISIS emerged, they stayed under the protection of Al-Nusra. Today, most of the 50 Albanians remaining in Syria are fighting with Islamic State.

In his interview for BIRN, Merjem says they couldn’t stay in the camp unless they swore an oath to Al-Nusra. If they had not done so, their presence there would have become even more suspicious and unwanted.

“The people from Jabhat al-Nusra came and asked us to swear an oath to them but we didn’t do that,” he says.  “We told them that we were sworn to Allah and were there to help the Syrian people,” he added.

During his three months stay in Syria, Merjem had another problem. He had not got his mother’s permission to engage in holy war. This is a big concern for believers, because jihad is seen as invalid if it is undertaken without a parent’s permission.

After his mother refused to give her permission, Ebu Merjem decided to return to Albania. During this period, his fellow Albanian jihadist, Jangulli, was killed in an attack outside Aleppo.

“I was saddened because I would miss a friend; at the same time I was also happy because God received him as a martyr,” Merjem recalled.

Merjem returned to Albania on February 2, 2013. Since then, the authorities have not allowed him to leave the country.

He keeps informed about everything happening in Syria and now question some of the actions of the Islamic State.

Merjem says that the war is causing death on all sides, endless atrocities, including the crimes that “the Muslim brothers” of ISIS are displaying with pride in social media. But still he does not like it when their crimes are judged by non-believers.

“They are shedding a lot of blood in the name of religious misunderstandings and misinterpretation of the Koran,” he says. “Even scholars have talked about this. But we don’t want their mistakes being judged by anyone else except Muslims,” Merjem added.

European Union countries and Europol suspect that former jihadists like Merjem pose a threat to European security.

In the West, the de-radicalization of the jihadists is often compared to the rehabilitation of alcoholics or drug addicts.

Albania’s authorities are uncertain how to best respond to this threat. Since adopting the law that penalizes involvement in the war in Syria, the government has set up a massive antiterrorism structure to monitor its citizens that have returned home.

But Prime Minister Edi Rama believes that Albania is no more exposed to Islamic radicalism than other countries. “This risk is everywhere, just like Ebola,” said Rama in an interview.

The Albanian police told BIRN that jihadist returning from Syria do not pose a particular threat to the country, although their social isolation may become problematic in the future.

Topulli, from the League of Imams, agrees, arguing that the integration of these people back into society is the challenge lying ahead. He urges the authorities to show caution and avoid using repressive measures that could add to tensions.

“The people who returned from Syria are part of us and must be treated like all normal people so that they do not feel like strangers in this society,” Topulli said.

Merjem confirms that he doesn’t quite fit into Albanian society. Because of his faith, he has had to quit one job after another and he often finds it difficult to support his family.

He does not believe in the Muslim Community, the state or the international community. He thinks they collaborate all to interfere with his Muslim brothers in Albania and the world.

He would rather live in a remote land than Albania, if he could find spiritual peace there. “If they established a good Islamic state in future, I would choose to live there. People like us feel despised here,” he concluded.


Ebu Merjem is the religious name of the interviewee after he returned from Syria. Mejrem agreed to give this interview to BIRN in November 2014, without revealing his real identity.

Original Source of the article: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/albanian-jihadist-s-easy-passage-to-syria-s-brutal-war-11-25-2015

kosare-albanians

Save

Save

Save

www.kosovo-metochia.org