June 2008


Ah, Indonesia. One of those “responsible Muslim governments” whom deceased U.S. senator Tom Lantos last year called upon to take note of the fact that the U.S. is creating Muslim states in Europe. Indonesia is also the Muslim country most frequently cited by dhimmis — pointing out that it’s the most populous Muslim country — when trying to illustrate that “they’re not all like that.” Part of making them “all like that” is empowering the radicals as “moderates” at the expense of the true moderates — a practice that the West is as guilty of as the Muslim world (see America in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran and Palestine). Note also the absence of any outcry by organized Islam or its leftwing minions in the West when the radical “moderates” are bullying the moderates.

Building on my recent Indonesia blog, here is the Wall St. Journal (Asian edition, since the U.S. edition doesn’t like to say unfriendly things about the Muslim world), from earlier this month:

Muslim and Indonesian

If the war on terror teaches anything, it’s that radical Islam cannot tolerate religious pluralism. So it’s worrying, and dangerous, to see the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia, restrict a moderate religious group at the behest of a radical fringe. This is no way for a democracy to behave.

The government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Monday ordered “all Ahmadiyah followers to stop their activities” or face jail. The Ahmadiyah is a small Muslim sect concentrated mostly in South Asia, with about 200,000 adherents in Indonesia. Its followers revere the Quran and have formally renounced the idea of violent jihad. They respect interfaith dialogues.

By restricting the Ahmadiyah, the President isn’t acting in accordance with the country’s constitution, which guarantees “all persons the right to worship according to their own religion or belief.” Instead, he’s kowtowing to the thuggish Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which beat up a peaceful gathering of religious moderates in Jakarta last week and called for the Ahmadiyah to be banned.

The President’s refusal to stand up for the Ahmadiyah is part of a pattern. In 2005, the Council of Indonesian Ulama issued a fatwa banning the Ahmadiyah as a “heretical sect” because the group recognizes its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be a prophet like Mohamed. The President’s office said nothing. In recent years Ahmadiyah mosques have been forced to close by angry mobs. Again, the President’s office was silent. Last year, a few local governments banned the faith. Once more, no word from Jakarta.

Last week the President waited 48 hours before ordering the arrests of the FPI members who led the violence in central Jakarta – until after local media exploded in outrage. The police chief explained that arresting the FPI members immediately would only have “triggered bigger riots.” Which tells you something about Jakarta’s resolve to enforce its own laws. [Incidentally, Bosnia is going through precisely this process: local outrage at the radicals taking over and the government’s unwillingness to do anything about it.]

Mr. Yudhoyono’s decree increases the danger for Ahmadiyah members, who now have had targets painted on their chests. It’s also dangerous for any other religious minorities to whom the FPI or other radical Islamists object. They have done so in the past. From 1999 to 2002, to take one example, Muslim extremists carried out execution-style killings of more than a thousand Christians in Poso on Sulawesi Island.

…Violence against Christians is also starting to percolate in conservative Muslim areas, like West Java.

It is unclear how local governments will interpret the President’s edict. Will Ahmadiyah mosques be shuttered? Will members be allowed to worship in their homes? The government already has had to dispatch police around the country to protect Ahmadiyah worshippers. Where will it end?…Anything but full religious freedom is a betrayal of Indonesia’s pluralism and a dangerous precedent for the country’s future.

On a web page profiling Dancing with the Stars’ Tony Dovolani, who is an Albanian from Kosovo, Albanian fans who take pride in their countryman’s dancing accomplishments left some comments. Interspersed between ones like “Go Albania!!!!! and WOWW Albania!!! was this one:

It is marvelous to see someone like Tony Dovolani just fly while dancing in a ballroom…wearing his national Albanian/Kosovarian outfit shows that he does not forget his native home…

I watch the show regularly, but I didn’t see Tony wearing any dead Serbs.

For the record, I am very glad that Dancing with the Stars has Tony Dovolani and am glad that he is serving as a role model for Albanians everywhere. Hopefully it will inspire more Albanians to become dancers instead of drug dealers, sex traffickers, car thieves and killers.

Here was another funny comment, from a female Albanian:

We love you Tony and I am proud to be from te same background as you. Marissa is so cute she even makes you smile all the time, just the way she does and you trying to protect her, I love it because that’s how Albanian man are, if they have you on their hands they will protect you. Keep on going both of you, can’t wait to see you again on tv.

Just the latest of a number of such articles:

Kosovo’s women suffer
Stemming domestic violence and human trafficking remains a challenge in the newly independent nation (March 10, 2008)

PRISTINA, KOSOVO — She purses her lips in a “tsk-tsk” when asked difficult questions. Questions about her life, about the husband who beats her, the father who denies her an inheritance and a place to live.

Slightly hunchbacked, her thin frame barely fills the several layers of donated clothing she wears. At 26, she looks 15. She has three children and an elementary-school education. When she showed up at the door of a women’s shelter here, purple bruises blotched her face and framed her shattered, crooked nose. Chunks of her hair had been ripped out.

“I’ve been beaten a lot,” said Fatima. “They beat me so badly the last time, I could not care for my children.”

Fatima is actually luckier than many women in Kosovo, a harsh region weighted by twin burdens of poverty and unenlightened tradition. A United Nations study in 2000 estimated that one-fourth of the female population of Kosovo suffered physical or psychological abuse; Kosovo police last year recorded 1,077 cases of domestic violence.

Fatima and her children were able to escape to a shelter, one of a dozen or so that now operate here. It has given her refuge from the violent men of her family and an alternative to an even darker fate: being sold into the expansive networks that traffic women like chattel in this part of the world.

But for every woman in Kosovo who is saved, an untold number do not make it, according to women’s advocates and social workers.

Dominated by ethnic Albanians, Kosovo broke away from Serbia last month, proclaiming itself an independent nation, with fervent backing from Washington. Among Kosovo’s many challenges, from building state institutions to combating rampant corruption, is improving its historically unjust and often criminal treatment of women.

Like much of the surrounding, rugged Balkans, Kosovo has long served as a notorious transit point for the international trafficking of women, mostly from Eastern Europe, who are forced into prostitution or slavery.

…Kosovo evolved from a transit point into both a source of and destination for trafficked women. Often, Kosovo officials and former guerrilla commanders were complicit in the lucrative trade — and the resident international community, including peacekeepers and civilian consultants, its market.

The question now is whether independence, which is still in an embryonic stage and not universally recognized, will result in a change of status for women and eradication of the trafficking networks. Or whether organized criminal gangs, with allies in the new government, will be given an even freer hand.

The first thing our government must do, and they’ve promised a lot, is to fight unemployment. The violence is linked directly to economic conditions,” said Naime Sherifa, director of the Center for the Protection of Women and Children in Pristina, the first such organization here.

Igballe Rogova, head of the Kosova Women’s Network, an umbrella coalition of about 40 groups, said she was hopeful the government, with the independence issue more or less settled [???], could put into practice laws that exist on paper.

“Today we have really incredibly good mechanisms on gender equality,” she told a European Parliament committee on women’s issues in Brussels late last month. “We have a law on gender equality, we have an office on gender equality at the prime minister level and, in every ministry, gender equality officers. We are not happy with the implementation of these mechanisms, but we are very optimistic.”

Sherifa said laws grant women the rights to own and inherit property on the same terms as men. But it often does not happen that way.

In the case of Fatima, for example, her father owns nearly nine acres of land, which he has divided among her brothers. But he refuses to give Fatima any, forcing her to live with her husband and children in her father-in-law’s tiny house. Seven people live, cramped and unhappily, in the two-room shack.

Both her husband and her father-in-law beat her, Fatima said. Her “offenses” ranged from asking for money to buy medicine for a sick child, or asking for food. Sometimes, she said, she goes days without eating. Fatima has ended up in the shelter three times in the last two years, each time after a beating so severe she could not stand the pain any longer.

More than anything, Fatima seems weary. “I just feel sorry for my children,” she said. “They see all this violence all the time. I’m afraid it will affect them.” [Indeed. This does explain…a lot.]

The bad news is the shelters are full, unable to meet the demand; abusers are rarely prosecuted, witnesses too terrified to come forward.

WOWW Albania! You rock!

In typical media fashion, a major Obama bombshell is being ignored: the man doesn’t like ice cream. Can we really afford to risk the Oval Office on someone who dislikes the one undislikeable food on the planet? And what accounts for his dislike of the cold, creamy, pacifying more-American-than-apple-pie stuff? The fact that he worked at a Baskin & Robbins as a teenager.

Well that explains a lot. Baskin & Robbins ice cream is frozen sugar water. To banish an entire category of food based on his experience with the cheapest, most flavorless version of it is racist. I worked at Ben & Jerry’s, Darrell’s Almost Famous Ice Creamery and Friendly’s — and I still eat more ice cream than anything else.

Not liking ice cream is like not liking dogs — which, incidentally, the Obamas don’t have. Slightly Muslimy, I’d say.

You would think that, given how supposedly hunky dorey things are turning out for Montenegro after it declared independence from the Yugoslavian carcass known as “Serbia and Montenegro”, it would leap at the opportunity to recognize neighboring Kosovo’s independence. But in fact just the opposite is occurring:

Montenegro: No Kosovo recognition

PODGORICA — Montenegro has rejected as untrue a statement by Kosovo interim assembly speaker Jakup Krasnici that Podgorica will “soon recognize Kosovo”.

Krasnici told Podgorica daily Vijesti Saturday that Montenegrin leadership has informed authorities in Priština that Podgorica will soon officially recognize Kosovo Albanians’ unilateral declaration of independence of four months ago.

Montenegrin foreign ministry spokeswoman Irena Radović, however, reiterated that Montenegro will not hurry with a decision on recognizing Kosovo’s independence, the Podgorica media report.

Montenegrin opposition parties also reacted to Krasnici’s statement by “expressing hope that common sense will prevail and that Montenegrin authorities will not recognize the illegal violation of Serbia’s integrity, as that would undermine regional stability and good neighborly relations”.

What experience might Montenegro be drawing on to suggest that an independent Kosovo wouldn’t be good for regional stability? How ironic that Serbia’s most recent (but negotiated) divorcee is denying Kosovo the same privilege, after becoming the 192nd country whose recognition Kosovo must seek.

Berisha-Thaci: No merging between Kosovo and Albania

There will be no unification of Albania and Kosovo, said the prime ministers of the two countries Sali Berisha and Hashim Thaci.

“Albanians have never been so close and stabile like they are now,” Kosovo’s PM Thaci said, adding that he is against shifting of borders, but supports regional integration.

The two prime ministers said that they would not allow any partition of Kosovo, either on ethnic or territorial basis.

“Kosovo is an independent, sovereign and indivisible state. There will be no enclaves, but the free movement of citizens on the entire territory will be ensured,” Thaci said.

Albanian PM Sali Berisha added that Kosovo is an independent state and as such, its sovereignity must be respected.

The two premiers signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will serve as a basis for signing of the future agreements between Pristina and Tirana.

From the U.S.-based International Analyst Network, by Balkans security expert Ioannis Michaletos:

Alert level rises for Jihadi attacks in the Balkans

In early May 2008 a new political party was formed in Kosovo, named “National Party for Greater Albania”, that has as a main purpose the unification of the Albanian communities in one state centered on Kosovo. According to estimations the finance of this party will come from American-Albanians in New York and New Jersey, whilst they are also willingly supported by radical elements in Tetovo and Albania. They are also planning to enact a series of referendums in the aforementioned regions in order to complete the creation of a “Grand Albanian” state and from what it seems their ultimate goal is to make Pristina the capital of this state.

Moreover for the first time in recent history, an Albanian crowd gathered in the Slavic majority sector of Skopje [Macedonia] chanting the acronyms “UCK-UCK” on the 30th of May.

“UCK” is the Albanian acronym for “KLA” — the supposedly (if you ask our government or any other Albanian apologist) Kosovo-only “liberation” movement. So why would Macedonian “citizens” have such feeling for a Kosovo group?

There was also this related paragraph from the State Dept.’s recent “Report on Terrorism - Kosovo“:

International prosecutors and the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office (KSPO) also initiated four terrorism-related investigations and filed two indictments, which were pending confirmation at year’s end. One of the indictments was related to Albanian National Army (AKSH) activity, and one of the investigations involved the Front for Albanian National Unification (FBKSH), the AKSH’s political wing.

But let’s see what happens if a single reporter (not American, of course) asks our State Dept. about this business of a Greater Albania:

State Dept. Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey, March 31 press briefing:

MR. CASEY: Okay, Mr. Lambros.

QUESTION: On Kosovo, Mr. Casey…former Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger in an interview with the Greek daily Kathimerini stated once again that the so-called independence of Kosovo is the first step of the creation of “Great Albania.” Any comment?

MR. CASEY: Well, I’m not sure what former Secretary Eagleburger might have said, but the great thing about being a former government official is that you’re a private citizen and you can say what you want. The policy of the U.S. Government, as you know, is to recognize the independence of Kosovo. We have recognized it. So have many other countries throughout the world. I am not aware of anyone here or there that is proposing any kind of “Greater Albania.”

A terrorist charity operating for years in Kosovo since Western intervention in 1999 (as well as in Bosnia) has finally had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury, which last week finally designated it a terrorist organization. From a Treasury dispatch posted online:

Kuwaiti Charity Designated for Bankrolling al Qaida Network

Washington - The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) for providing financial and material support to al Qaida and al Qaida affiliates, including Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya. RIHS has also provided financial support for acts of terrorism.

…Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence [said,] “RIHS has used charity and humanitarian assistance as cover to fund terrorist activity and harm innocent civilians, often in poor and impoverished regions…”

The RIHS offices in Afghanistan (RIHS-Afghanistan) and Pakistan (RIHS-Pakistan) were designated by the U.S. Government and the United Nations 1267 Committee in January 2002 based on evidence of their support for al Qaida. At that time, there was no evidence that the Kuwait-based RIHS headquarters (RIHS-HQ) knew that RIHS-Afghanistan and RIHS-Pakistan were financing al Qaida.

Since that time, however, evidence has mounted implicating RIHS-HQ in terrorism support activity…Suspected of providing support to terrorism, RIHS offices have been closed or raided by the governments of Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Russia.

In countries where RIHS activities are banned or scrutinized by local governments, RIHS-HQ has developed multiple methods to continue its operations. After the Government of Bangladesh closed RIHS offices, RIHS-HQ funneled money into Bangladesh through another organization to continue RIHS activities and to help shield it from scrutiny there…In some countries, including Albania and Kosovo in particular, RIHS senior officials have assisted RIHS branch offices with name changes, and then continued to provide financial support to the new organizations.

Keep in mind that, officially, until this report last week — there are no terrorist or Islamist organizations operating in Kosovo, according to our government. So let’s see. We’re at mid-June, 2008, whereas published work on this terrorist charity operating in Kosovo had appeared in both Serbian and Albanian media in November 2007 (and that’s just the most recent), and Chris Deliso’s 2007 book mentions that the news broke about RIHS activities in Bosnia in June 2006. First, the local media on RIHS in Kosovo:

TABLOID SAYS ARABIC CHARITY LINKED TO “TERRORISM” OPERATING IN KOSOVO
BBC Monitoring International Reports - November 26, 2007 Monday

Text of report by Serbian private independent news agency FoNet

Pristina, 24 November: The Pristina-based [tabloid] Express reported today that the Arabic organization Islamic Heritage Revival Society, which the US and the UN characterize as an organization linked to terrorism, is operating in Kosovo as a humanitarian society.

According to the paper, the Bosnia-Hercegovina judiciary is looking for the head of this organization, Utam Alihadidar [name as received].

Although former organization members told Express that it had not been operating in Kosovo for some time, the paper has managed to find reliable documents confirming that the organization is still active in Kosovo. […]

And from Deliso’s The Coming Balkan Caliphate:

Indeed, the continued resilience of terrorist-linked charities in Bosnia is indicative of this paralysis [of the Sarajevo government to clean up its backyard]. In June 2006, the news broke that an al Qaeda-linked charity, the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), was nevertheless flourishing in Bosnia. Although it had taken care to change its structure and address, this radical Wahhabi group was openly announcing its “humanitarian” projects and had received some 14 million euros into its accounts in two Bosnian banks….The money came directly from its high-leve sponsors in Kuwait. The RIHS had been blacklisted by the Bush administration years earlier in Afghanistan and Pakistan, collaborated with Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Albania during the 1990s, stoked religious unrest in Azerbaijan, and was blamed for involvement in 500 simultaneous bombings carried out in Bangladesh on August 18, 2005.

On June 2nd, a column by Balkans security analyst Ioannis Michaletos also mentioned the terrorist charity:

Developments on Balkan Islamic terrorism

The previous days witnessed a series of revelations and developments regarding the spread of Islamic terrorists in the Balkans, many of those active for the better part of the last decade and virtually untouched by the authorities up to date.

In the former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia, the Imam Bekir Halimi, was arrested recently by the authorities in Skopje due to his involvement in illegal funding by pro-terrorist organization. The Albanian descent Halimi received 2,115 euros payments from the Kuwaiti Organization “Revival Islamic Heritage Society” – RIHS.

…The organization operated over the previous years in Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania, whilst it seems that it aimed at penetrating FYROM through Bekir Halimi’s actions. According to reliable information [Halimi] was under supervision by the local security forces and he was also about to complete his work by importing into the country, radical Islamic figures from the Middle East.

The Balkans remains a hot bed for the Islamic driven terrorism in Europe and it should be noted that they still remain a convenient entrance for the transfer of radicals from the Middle East…

Mickey Bozinovich at Serbianna.com reminds us how this all began, and how the hijackers who have been calling themselves the U.S. Government for the past 20 years endanger Americans:

Kosovo is a Serbian province violently overtaken by Islamic Albanian extremists that have declared independence in February that got recognized by Washington and several other countries.

Kosovo’s Islamic separatists are actively courting Islamic countries seeking their recognition.

Although for the Western media Kosovo’s Islamic separatists say that the constitution they are promulgating today is “a modern act that protects human rights and ethnic minorities’ rights” on Islamic media the ruling Kosovo Muslims present their “country” as an Islamic Sheikdom of Kosovo.

“We need Muslim assistance to join international organizations such as the United Nations,” says Kosovo’s Muslim Albanian separatist Abdullah Klinako.

In a February email, former OSCE security chief in Kosovo Tom Gambill also reminded of the big picture:

We…supported the Islamic extremist[s] and KLA to murder innocent Serbs and Albanians; supporting the Albanian Mafia; inviting them to our Fourth of July celebrations at the Embassy as I met two of them personally — Xhevit Haliti and Ramush H[aradinaj] — dangerous guys.

…I gave assessments in meeting after meeting that Russia and China would go to war over Kosovo because of the big picture. The precedence that it would set. The example that it would set was the exact reason that we supported kosovo independence…

An Army Warrant Officer in intelligence at Camp Bondsteel and a Major over the period were really pissed off at my retort that Kosovo belonged to Serbia long before Albanians got there, that Al Qaeda was running [amuck]… in Kosovo [with] impunity. They even had their damn RIHS stenciled on the side of their cars for goodness sake. A CivPol Officer sneaked me a report and picture as he was told by his AMERICAN supervisor to file it…

Finally, just a related report about another such “charity”:

Saudis financed terror in Kosovo (From July 2007)

Confidential reports by the Central Intelligence Agency have found that a prominent Saudi banking family, Al Rajhi, is a major financier of jihadist activities in Kosovo and Bosnia and their bank, the Al Rajhi Bank, is the most favored bank by the world’s extremists to funnel money for violent Muslim activities across the globe.

“There is no reliable estimate of how much the Al Rajhis have given to promote Islam over the years,” assesses the Wall Street Journal after examining the secret CIA documents, [concluding] that the “overseas money went to aid embattled Muslims in Kosovo, Chechnya and the Palestinian territories and to finance Islamic instruction.”

The Journal says that in the aftermath of 9/11 the American officials agonized over what to do about the bank’s financing of terror.

The Al Rajhi name also [be]came prominent in Bosnia after [the seizure of] “golden chain” documents listing [the] world’s major donors of such Jihad[s] as in Bosnia and Kosovo.

“A 2003 German police report said Sulaiman Al Rajhi and other family members had contributed more than $200,000 in 1993 to a charity that financed weapons for Islamic militants in Bosnia, in addition to providing humanitarian aid,” [the Wall St. Journal reported].

A Jidda-based charity called the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), arranges for Muslim donors to send their money directly to the Al Rajhi Bank. The International Islamic Relief Organization has its branches in Kosovo.

The UN has labeled the IIRO branches and some of its officials as al Qaeda supporters.

In April of 2000, NATO forces raided a house rented by the SJRC [Saudi Joint Relief Committee] in Pristina, Kosovo, because the organization was acting as a cover for several Usama bin Laden operatives, including SJRC former directors Adel Muhammad Sadi Bin Kazem and Wael Hamza Julaidan who is the Secretary General of the Rabita Trust in Pakistan and co-founder of Al-Qaida….According to the official publication of the Islamic Community in the Balkans, the Preporod, Saudis [had] promised financial support in the 1990s for waging jihad in the former Yugoslavia explicitly citing Bosnia and Kosovo as the Islamic targets of interest.

While we’re on the subject of Saudi “aid” to Bosnia and Kosovo, here is a photo of a street sign in Riyadh, Sauddi Arabia. Note the name of one of the upcoming streets. It’s named after the “secular, nominally Muslim” fundamentalist Muslim wartime Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic:

Two reports:

UN may remain for “limited duration,” Kosovo president tells Ban (June 17)

Pristina - President Fatmir Sejdiu…told the United Nations that its mission would be allowed to remain in Kosovo for a ‘limited duration’ after governing it for eight years.

‘We take note of your decision to have the UN perform certain limited residual functions in Kosovo,’ Sejdiu said in the letter also that was released to local media.

Sejdiu responded to UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s proposal last week to reshape the UN presence in order to reflect the new developments.

The new facts include Kosovo’s declaration of independence, its new constitution and the European Union mission, the EULEX, which was deployed, but amid legal and diplomatic controversy, to help Kosovo implement laws while taking first sovereign steps.

Ban acknowledged that his hands were tied as the UN Security Council remains divided over Kosovo - the West endorses its independence and Serbia’s ally Russia blocks it.

Kosovo on Sunday started enforcing its new constitution, which however makes no room for a UN role. Pristina wants EULEX, a lighter, law-enforcing mission deployed by the European Union to take over.

‘We understand that the UN will continue to perform, for a limited duration, rule of law functions … until the European Union is able to perform its operational role,’ the letter said.

Sejdiu stressed that UN would have to consult Pristina for ‘viable arrangements.’ […]

Translation:

Dear UN,
Thank you for all your help.
Kosova

p.s. Get out.

p.p.s. If you have to stay longer, you’ll have to be my bitch.

Kosovo’s president pledges to cooperate with extended UN mission

Kosovo’s government will cooperate with an extended United Nations mission, the president said Tuesday, though Kosovo officials eager to assert their declared independence have said they want the U.N. to fully withdraw by autumn.

The European Union had planned to send a policing and judicial mission to replace the U.N. after Kosovo’s constitution came into effect, which happened Sunday.

But Russian officials worry that handing that authority to the EU — many of whose member nations have recognized Kosovo’s declared split from Serbia in February — would help cement Kosovo’s claim to independence.

Serbia is against Ban’s plan, saying only the Security Council can make changes to the U.N. mission.

Kosovo’s constitution came into force on Sunday. The document gives the government sole decision-making authority. However, Kosovo’s leaders have conceded they will not be able to exercise their authority in Kosovo’s north, controlled by the Serb minority.

Kosovo Serbs have ignored the declaration of independence and are to set up their own assembly by the end of June and deepen the territory’s partition.

Amid fears that tensions could spill over into the rest of the Balkans, NATO deployed 600 more British troops to the north to quell any violence.

And just a follow-up to the item about the second recent attack on UN officials in Decani after UNMIK dared try to un-steal stolen church property. I hadn’t blogged about the original attack which, according to the translated report below from the Serbian news agency Tanjug, involved UN officials and a Serb returnee:

Media in Kosovo say that behind the attack are a group of veterans from KLA gathered around Abdullah Mushkoljaj who personally threatened Patrick Buse, a UNMIK official who left the district of Decani a few days ago.

Attacks on UNMIK offcials and a Serb returnee to Decani, Bozidar Tomic last month, have had serious repercussions for returning of Serbs because, as the media reports, a group of Serbs that announced that they will return on Monday have cancelled their plans because of security.

The report asks the following question:

Sources in Kosovo media say that the attack on Peres has caused serious concern among Serbian population in Pec region and the monastery of Great Deacni and are asking how will they be protected when the international officials are not.

Just wanted to let readers know that yesterday the Atlas Shrugs blog posted the first of a series of rebuttals I will be doing to the otherwise reputable blogger Michael Totten, who has gone full-force pro-”Kosova”, thinking he has found signs of pro-American life in the universe. The introduction is new, but the post that follows it appeared last month on JihadWatch.com.

Totten, who has only just now tuned in to Kosovo along with the rest of the world, has since filed two more blogs based on his uninformed observations from Serbia (including Kosovo), and I will try to address these when I can. Although it’s not my habit to respond to every parroted idiocy out there about the Albanian-Serbian conflict, it’s important that I do respond to Totten’s, since he is a respected and well-known blogger.

This seems to be turning into a July 4th-era pattern. Here’s a short reminder of what I was forced to write last July 4th:

One thing that comes with researching and trying to talk about the Balkans for eight years, and something that’s important for this readership to understand, is that people we otherwise respect — people who seem to “get it” on every other vital issue of the day, including Islam — are utterly clueless on the Balkans — and, alternately, agenda-laden. The Balkans are every respectable commentator’s blind spot. Notice that in their daily opining on the war on terror since 9/11, our best minds don’t touch on the Balkans, a key region in the fight for civilization. In trying to engage people — including the conservative intelligentsia that went along with the peaceniks on our 1990s “humanitarian” wars — I find that people are confused, confounded, overwhelmed and bored by the subject.

Name your favorite conservative pundit, your most trusted jihadwatcher, and in deconstructing the war on terror and the danger of Islam and jihad, there is always, always one exception that he or she will make: the Balkans. That’s where we give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt, where world trends don’t apply, where Muslims don’t stage atrocities or provoke military responses or use Western dupes; the area is suspended in its own context, immune to the tactic of nationalism followed by separatism — which we buy and then Americans die as that separatism morphs into Islamism.

This is nothing personal against anyone who has attacked me in these pages, but a simple statement of fact that I and the handful of other Balkans observers out there have noticed over the better part of a decade: The Balkans make smart people stupid. And that includes people and publications we conservatives generally respect, such as the Wall St. Journal, National Review, Weekly Standard, and so on.

As well, it is a favorite vocation of conservatives who want to earn their “I’m not anti-Muslim” stripes — to pile even more on those most expendable of whities, the Serbs. The Balkans are the bone we toss to the Islamic world in its perpetual but elsewhere transparent imaginings of genocides, massacres and hate crimes against them. At the policy level, attempting to win over the Muslim world by giving them Serbian territory and all the interventions that this included was a clearly stated goal — not only by Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) in April, but early on by Lawrence Eagleburger who, as Dr. Srdja Trifkovic wrote in his book Defeating Jihad, “said that a goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world and to counter any perception of an anti-Muslim bias regarding American policies in Iraq in the period leading up to Gulf War I.” Added Trifkovic, “The result of years of policies thus inspired is a terrorist base in the heart of Europe, a moral debacle, and the absence of any positive payoff to the United States.”

What is it about the Balkans that makes it such an exception? What is it about the Serbs that makes “Serbian propaganda” which is consistent with our own intelligence less preferable than Muslim propaganda? At the same time, what is it about the Serbs and the Balkans that makes George W. Bush indistinguishable from William Jefferson Clinton; Henry Hyde indistinguishable from Tom Lantos; John McCain indistinguishable from Joe Biden; Condoleezza Rice indistinguishable from Madeleine Albright; Joe Lieberman indistinguishable from Eliot Engel; and Wesley Clark from Bob Dole?

This confusion has found its way to the pages of American Thinker. As we finally, finally are confronted on our own shores with the direct consequences of our actions, as Americans pay the price of their leaders’ still unadmitted foreign policy disasters, some opinion makers — without following the direction the region has taken and without reading even a shred of Hague transcripts or articles based on those transcripts — have the gall to come out of the woodwork and do their piece to keep the Balkans chapter closed.

Tiny Shetland island declares independence

LONDON (Reuters) - The owner of a tiny island in off Scotland declared its independence from the United Kingdom on Saturday, saying he wanted the territory, population one, to be a crown dependency like the Channel Islands.

In a declaration on his Web site, Stuart Hill, who owns the 2.5 acre island of Forvik in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, said he no longer recognised the authority of the government or the European Union, and cited a centuries-old royal marriage dowry deal as the basis for his claim.

“Forvik owes no allegiance to any United Kingdom government, central or local, and is not bound by any of its statutes,” Hill wrote.

Hill, 65, has lived in the Shetland Islands on the edge of the Atlantic since 2001, when his boat capsized there during an unsuccessful attempted to circumnavigate Britain.

He is Forvik’s only resident, and his home is a tent on the storm-battered island. He says on his website that he plans to create Forvik’s own currency — the “gulde” — print his own stamps and raise his own flag.

“I also invite anyone from any country in the world, who supports these aims, namely to become free of liars, thieves and tyrants in government, to become a citizen of Forvik,” he added.

The U.S. State Department is scrambling to send an envoy to Forvik in recognition of Hill’s unilateral declaration and is reportedly lobbying the 192 member states of the UN to follow suit. The U.S. is also keeping its NATO bombers on alert in the event that Britain attempts to send in its military to prevent Hill’s separation.

I was remiss in not thanking reader Milan Koprivica for originally alerting me to the Fox-Philly interview in which the travel agent suggested Egypt as a lower-cost destination for summer vacation.

Does anyone have anything more original than “hat tip”? Milan suggested “props”, so maybe I’ll use that. Props to Milan, and to everyone else who has been sending me stuff for which I haven’t been acknowledging them, especially Liz M.

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