Two weeks ago, I forwarded the following appeal to Pamela Geller, who was good enough to post it immediately on her widely read website, popular among freedom-lovers and Israel defenders. So a big thank you to the ever-efficient Pamela and everyone who responded. I, on the other hand, am only now getting to posting this critical appeal.
The message below is from the priest in our church, St. Archangel Michael in Saratoga. We are still raising money to help the children and elderly in Milosevo (a village near Pristina) and in Slivovo. Information how to donate is in the message below.
We got a very generous donation of $3000 through the web site of Pamela Geller - Atlas Shrug[s].
Thank you all who participated in this fund raise and who spread the information about our fund raise and helped us collect more than $7000.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
…We appeal to all other parishioners and friends of our church and our people to bring or send your donations as soon as possible. This second round of fundraising is planned to reach Kosovo and Metohija for Saint Sava, January 27th. The help will be hand carried to the people of Miloševo (a poor Serbian village located only 7km from Priština) by the parish Priest Boško Klisarić, and utilized to help and donate school supplies to Serbian children in the north and other parts of Kosovo. Recipients of these funds have committed to confirm receipt of the help they receive and provide information on how this help was utilized. Instructions on how you can make your donation are included below. Thank you in advance!
God Bless All!
INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR DONATION IN SUPPORT OF THIS EFFORT:
Credit card and donations through your checking/savings account can be made as follows:
. Go to our church website www.samichael.org
. Click on the “Donate” button under “Donations for Kosovo humanitarian fund”
. Enter the amount you wish to donate
. Click on “Update amount”
. Enter your Paypal login and password (setting up a Paypal account is quick and free)
. Select payment method (credit card, bank account, etc), and
. Click on “Donate $ amount now”
Checks (with memo “Kosovo”) can be mailed to our Church at:
St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church
18870 Allendale Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070
Checks (with memo “Kosovo”) can be dropped off with:
Dragoslav Grbović or Nenad Vukićević, or in the big-brown collections box (labeled with the Kosovo poster) located in the church hall’s lobby
One comment posted to the Atlas Shrugs site read as follows:
We are a Christian humanitarian aid organization in Finland with our own 40 ton truck and a staff of 6. (Every year we send 30-40 truckloads to East Europe) We have clothes and shoes in abundance and could send clothes and shoes to Serbia. We have no contacts there. Only diesel and the boat trip to Tallinn from Helsinki costs us money. Dry heating wood is about 60 €/m3 here.
Looking for reliable contacts in Serbia.
I’ve made several attempts to contact Star of Hope, as have at least two other people, but so far there has been no response, at least to my knowledge. The only email address I found on the site is as follows: first firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps there isn’t supposed to be a space between “first” and “name,” but I’ve tried emailing both ways and have had no luck. Perhaps there is a contact form on the site, but I haven’t found it. On the other hand, there are a few Finnish names and phone numbers listed.
I would like to put them in touch with the following group that I heard from:
I am writing to you on behalf of the Serbian society Zadužbina, an organization dedicated to helping the Serbian population in the regions of Kosovo and Metohia. Our headquarters are situated in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, and for the past four years we have provided continuous aid to Serbian families all over Kosovo and Metohia, especially in areas where the Serbian population is isolated and where living conditions are most difficult.
…We are a serious and [reliable] group dedicated to our cause, and one that is at your disposal. You are welcome to contact us via email: email@example.com in case you have any questions regarding ways for us to cooperate as successfully and effectively as possible.
Thank you in advance for your willingness to help those who need our help the most, and whose bare survival depends on it.
Serbian organization Zadužbina
СРПСКО ДРУШТВО ЗАДУЖБИНА - ХУМАНИТАРНА ФОНДАЦИЈА ЗА СРПСКИ КОСМЕТ
ТРР за уплате добротворних прилога: NLB d.d. 02068-0257912364
За уплате добротворних прилога из иностранства:
IBAN: SI 56020680257912364 SWIFT:LJBASI2X
NLB D.D., TRG REPUBLIKE 2, LJUBLJANA
Forced marriage in Germany: Turkey, Serbia, Kosovo leading the list (by Muhamet Brajshori, SE European Times, Jan. 11)
According to a report by the German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, forced marriage primarily affects young Muslim women. Of those forced into marriage 83.4% were Muslim, nearly a third were 17 or under, while 40% fell between the ages of 18 and 21.
Many of the victims were threatened with violence and even death.
As for the parents of these young women, the most common country of origin is Turkey at 44%, followed by a combined area of Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro, then Iraq and Afghanistan.
There are nearly 3 million Turkish immigrants in Germany, making them the largest non-German ethnic group in the country.
Social workers and other experts are concerned that the countries of Southeast Europe figure so prominently.
Burbuqe Llapashtica, head of the Kosovar Cultural Centre in Hamburg, tells SETimes that the findings surprised her. She says that measures must be taken in Kosovo and elsewhere in the region.
“I did not expect it, [We did!] but surely due to the high number of migrants from the region it is a fact. German legislation is good enough, offering … strong protection for victims, but those ‘crimes’ happen in the home countries where legislation is weak,” Llapashtica says. […]
In other “unexpected” news about Kosovo…
Kosovo Turns Blind Eye To Illegal Mosques (by Besiana Xharra, Balkan Insight, Jan. 13)
An illegal construction boom that has carpeted Kosovo’s cities and villages with unlicensed buildings is not confined to homes and shops.
A survey of Kosovo municipalities by Balkan Insight has revealed that more than 100 mosques have been built without planning permission in the past ten years.
To date, action has been taken against just one illegal mosque and local authorities told Balkan Insight they are hesitant about committing themselves to removing such buildings in the future.
The Islamic Community of Kosovo, BIK, through various funding channels, has been reconstructing 113 war-damaged mosques, as well building as 155 new places of worship, since 1999. An investigation by Balkan Insight can reveal that almost all have been erected illegally. [Really? In our lawless Kosovo?]
“We have repaired or rebuilt 113 of those [mosques] 218 destroyed during the war,” says Sabri Bajgora of the BIK. “Besides those, we have also built another 155 news mosques by the end of 2010, and are currently building another 20.”
Balkan Insight has researched the situation in Kosovo’s seven largest municipalities: Pristina, Prizren, Urosevac/Ferizaj, Pec/Peja, Djakovica/Gjakova, Gnjilane/Gjilan and Mitrovica.
Each town or city hall acknowledged that illegal mosques have been erected under their jurisdiction, especially in rural areas, though some refused to provide exact figures.
Prizren, city of illegal minarets:
Prizren is fabled for its ancient Ottoman architecture, but is now becoming better known for its skyline of garish illegal minarets that have been springing up since 1999.
It’s nice of Balkan Insight to catch up to Chris Deliso’s 2007 book “The Coming Balkan Caliphate“:
Kosovo’s Albanian leaders have sought to reassure the West, and especially Israel, that an independent Kosovo will present no threat of Islamic radicalism. And with the past couple weeks of constant cameras panning over a province awash in American flags, while helpful Western journalists make a point of witnessing Muslim Albanians drinking beer, the average reader might be forgiven for believing them. The reality, however, is more complex…In every case, it only takes a radicalized minority to present a problem. To claim that Kosovo does not have such a population, let alone to deny that it is slowly increasing, is simply whistling in the dark…The establishment of strong cross-border logistical networks, ‘safe houses’ and propaganda channels blossomed after August 1999, when the United Nations began administering Kosovo following NATO’s bombing campaign. At that point, Wahhabi proselytizers from the Arab world descended on Kosovo in force.
…American and European police investigators and advisers within Kosovo’s UN administration have noted a slow yet steady increase in the number of committed Islamists being inserted into positions of influence within the Kosovo governmental bureaucracy…Indeed, regardless of what its leaders may say, the Islamist internationale sees a definite opportunity in the new Kosovo.
Albanians, whether from Albania, Kosovo, or Macedonia, have scoffed at the idea of a major religious fundamentalist incursion in their midst. So have their Western yes-men. The West heavily backed the Kosovo Liberation Army during the NATO bombing, despite the presence of mujahedin in its ranks, and for Western publics to suspect that this cause has been muddled up with an Islamist one would amount to a public relations disaster for both Clinton-era political veterans and for the Albanians themselves. Indeed, it would call into question the entire rationale for Western intervention in Kosovo.
Although both then and now the vast majority of Muslim Albanians are neither radical nor pro-Arab, as in Bosnia, a small but stubborn Wahhabi movement was being established…
Back to Balkan Insight:
The city council told Balkan Insight that 70 per cent of the mosques in the city had no planning permission. Kosovo’s Islamic community said Prizren is home to the highest number of mosques in the country, 77. [Prizren, huh. Hmm. Hmmm. ]
If the municipal figures are accurate, this would put the number of illegal mosques in Prizren at 54. Director of urban planning Sadik Paçarizi said: “Of all religious objects, such as Catholic or Orthodox churches, mosques are those that violate the law most.
About 70 per cent of mosques in the municipality have no building permit.” He added that a plan had been drawn up to knock down the illegal mosques but had been shelved pending a resolution of the broader problems of illegal builds in the city.
Gjilan mayor Qemajl Mustafa admits that in his municipality almost all mosques built since the war lack building permits. But he said that since he became mayor in 2007 the situation had improved.
“From the time I became mayor, this phenomenon has stopped because we have made an agreement with BIK on this issue,” he said. “Now they apply for permits before starting to build any new mosque,” Mustafa added.He confirmed that no illegally built mosque had been destroyed, however.
In the western city of Gjakova, not a single illegal mosque has been tackled since the end of the 1999 conflict.
“The reason I didn’t want to destroy any of these illegal buildings is because such buildings are considered sacred and of benefit to citizens,” Gjakova mayor Pal Lekaj said.
Officials at Ferizaj and Mitrovica declined to comment on the issue.
“Pristina municipality has given permission for the restoration of mosques, but not for new ones,” he added.The issue is particular[ly] sensitive in Pristina as the Islamic community this year has protested about the municipality’s failure to find what they consider a suitable spot for a new city-centre mosque.
They complain that their situation is markedly different to that of the city’s small Catholic community. The city hall offered them a prime location for a new cathedral, which opened last year.
Muhamet Gashi said that the municipality had already issued the BIK a permit to build on a large plot on the edge of the city centre. But the BIK has so far rejected this.
“The site [offered] near the PTK [Post and Telecommunications] is not good because it is a small site and is not in the centre,” he said. “The best place to build a big mosque remains near Pristina University, in front of the Albanology Institute.
Behxhet Shala, director of the Council for Human Rights, says the reason why Kosovo mayors have not tackled illegal mosques is that it could be construed as an attack on religious freedom.
Sabri Bajgora of the BIK admits that mosques have been built without planning permission.
“To be honest, mostly in villages, some mosques are built without permission from municipalities. But no mosque is built without our permission,” he said. Bahri Sejdiu, head of the BIK for Pristina, also admits that most mosques in the city centre have no building permit, but blames the municipality for the omission.
“Most Pristina mosques have been built without permission because the municipality sits on such requests for months,” Sejdiu said.
Closing with some related excerpts from recent years, to bring the slowly awakening Balkan Insight up to speed. From Hiding Genocide in Kosovo (2007):
[W]hen I visited the village [of Cernica] after the Kosovo-wide pogrom of March 2004, I went to the church and found that it was protected by US KFOR. There were three pleasant young soldiers from California and one from Florida. They seemed a little lost perched as they were on a hilltop beside a newly restored church that they had to defend. Three California surfers and a Miami beach veteran who really did not know where they were or for that matter why. From that vantage point a large new mosque dominated the horizon and they asked me and the people with me if we had built the mosque. I was a little surprised by the question and assured them that we had not and pointed out to them that it was likely enough that like all the new mosques in Kosovo the money almost certainly came from Saudi Arabia and other Wahhabi countries. They seemed a little perplexed with this news as if hearing of such a possibility for the first time.
From NPR, Oct. 2010:
…One of the countries most at risk is Kosovo, where unemployment is running at 45 percent.
“What I saw during the past 10 years was a strong infiltration of Saudi money,” says Flaka Surroi, owner of the independent Koha Media. “They brought in the mosques, they brought in their dogma and ideology at the same time. They identified the poorest people in the communities, they offered them a steady salary every month just so they take over the ideology and start wearing the veil.”
The Hasan Beg mosque in Kosovo’s capital Pristina is brand new and Saudi-financed.
At midday Friday prayers, there’s an overflow crowd of mainly young people — both bearded men and veiled women. They are reluctant to talk to foreign reporters.
Traditionally in Kosovo, religion was not very important. But the dire state of the economy combined with growing poverty and corruption is inspiring many people to turn to religion.
Kosovo authorities were caught by surprise by a recent demonstration in which thousands of people protested against the education ministry’s ban on headscarves in public schools.
Ilir Deda is one of the co-founders of a new reformist political party that aims to fight corruption and impose rule of law.
“The institutions have not dealt with this issue,” he says. “Radical Islam is mid- to long-term one of the biggest dangers for Kosovo, because they are aiming to change our social fabric.”
Deda says that in the past decade, Middle Eastern charities have invested some $800 million in Kosovo…
From an American soldier who served in Kosovo:
5. Islamic extremism is on the rise in Kosovo. KFOR soldiers have been attacked in Gjilan, Ferizaj, and Prizren when I was there. You just won’t see or hear about it in the news. More Mosques have been built in Kosovo in the last five years than schools, roads, health clinics, and all other sanitation project[s] combined. Compliments of Muslim charities from the Middle East.
6. Mass graves of Kosovo Serbs and Roma have been found during my rotation and reported to the UN. Yet nothing has been done. Why? When we posed the question to our UN contacts in Pristina they replied: “During the transitional stage of Kosovo this would be destabilizing. We’ll wait until there is a final resolution before we proceed.” All those journalists interested in a real story…start looking in around Novo Brdo.
From New Europe in Sept. 2007 (reprinted on The Examiner website in Oct. 2009 as “Kosovo Fast Becoming Next Fertile Breeding Ground for Jihadi Terrorists” ), “Wahhabism Tightening Grip Over Kosovo…Independence May Help Terrorism Flourish”:
…It will not be long after the “independence” of Kosovo that the Kosovoan version of “Muttawa,” the religious police since 1926 of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia that enforces prayer five times a day, monitors mobile SMS and arrests women for failing to cover themselves completely, will be a reality on the streets of Kosovo. One look at the local media reports in Kosovo and neighbouring arena will suffice to convince any sceptic about the dangers of Wahhabism form of Islam…
Two recent explicit cases involving Wahhabis in Kosovo can be put forward in addition to every day media reports of Wahhabis being arrested, exchanging fire with law-enforcing agencies or simply taking over mosques that have been there for hundreds of years in Turkish style and converting them to conform to Wahhabi way of architecture and worship. The first case is in the Gazimestan area which has historic values with a famous medieval battlefield dating back to 1389, stretching from Pristina to Mitrovica. In addition to the remains of Serbian Prince Lazar and Ottoman Sultan Murad, there in the vicinity are two shrines called “Turbe” existing for hundreds of years and have never got disturbed until recently when these were vandalised.
According to local reliable sources who wanted to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, it was allegedly the work of Wahhabis as they believe tombs should not be kept as shrines…
Another important case that did stir strong local resentment happened in Prizren, an old historic town that has a history of multiethnic population represented by an Orthodox Church, a Catholic Church and a Mosque, more than 350 years old from the days of Ottoman Empire. According to local sources, the mosque was getting refurbished with Saudi money and the new Imam allegedly preaches Wahhabism. The local Muslim population is disgruntled with the actions of the new Imam who without consultations first made living quarters for himself as an extension of the ancient Mosque and then replaced “irreplaceable” decorative wooden work on the inside ceiling and other parts with new aluminium frames thus the Mosque lost forever its historic heritage.
Another practice that is prevalent in Kosovo today is Wahhabis allegedly paying poor people to wear visible signs of Islam. According to local sources the alleged rate today varies from 100 Euro to 300 Euro per month depending on how much of face or body is covered in Islamic clothing.
Money talks and it sure does as is evident with its contribution to the replacement of moderate Islam in Kosovo with the financing of “Islamic studies” trips for youngsters. After a stint of such religious learning abroad in Saudi Arabia or Egypt, lasting around six to 12 months, the youngsters upon returning back in Kosovo sport Islamic beards and robes instead of their jeans.
Watching those alarming signs in Kosovo, socio-religious pundits and political observers warn that slow but steady moderate Islam with its Turkish roots is on its way out and with the talk of independence in Kosovo picking up, soon the days when girls sport western clothes will be history…
By supporting…Kosovo’s independence, many Western governments are unwittingly working to carve out a safe haven for criminality and fundamentalist Islam in the heart of Europe.
It’s time to rethink Kosovo independence: another Taliban in the making and this time right in the heart of European Continent from where it will be easier not only to strike in Europe but also travel across the Atlantic.
From Jim Jatras, Director of American Council for Kosovo:
Over 150 churches and monasteries have been destroyed, with crosses and icons of Christ attracting particular vandalistic rage, a testament to Kosovo Albanians’ supposed secularism and pro-Western orientation.
Hundreds of new Saudi-funded mosques fomenting the extreme Wahhabi doctrine have sprung up. Kosovo is visibly morphing from part of Europe into part of the Middle East. In contrast to Under Secretary Burns’ cheerleading, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton has warned: “Kosovo will be a weak state susceptible to radical Islamist influence from outside the region, with the support from some Albanians, in other words, a potential gate for radicalism to enter Europe.” If allowed to consolidate, an independent Kosovo would become a way station toward an anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Christian “Eurabia.”
The phenomenon has of course long spread to Macedonia. From Deliso’s Caliphate again:
…[I]n Macedonia’s southwestern town of Struga, an ethnically mixed tourist destination on Lake Ohrid whose civil administration changed from Macedonian to ethnic Albanian control…permission was given to remove a small Ottoman mosque, which had been built over a Byzantine church, replacing it with a huge, Saudi-style mosque…Built very close to a hotel on Struga’s placid lakeshore, the new mosque’s well-amplified minaret blasts out the call to prayers five times a day, something that has irritated local non-Muslims and, significantly, foreign hotel guests. As a manager at one hotel on the shore opposite the mosque sadly conceded, “the European tourists coming for a quiet vacation get jolted out of bed by the noise coming from the mosque…and don’t return.” When asked whether such a policy was fair to non-Muslims, an imam at the Islamic Community of Struga…suggested that music wafting from cafes in the evenings was equally offensive to Muslims.
From DEBKAfile: “New Jihadist Army Forming in Balkans” (June 24, 2002)
The next radical Islamic terror attack in America could well originate in a corner of the Balkans, where a new jihad force is taking shape quietly and unhindered. In its last issue, published on Friday, June 21, DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources reported that close to 20,000 fighters, battled-hardened veterans and eager young recruits, are already under arms, with more joining up all the time.
An Islamist bloc of nations…made up of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, al Qaeda and Hizballah, with active Palestinian support - is behind the new Muslim Balkan army. Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi intelligence services and al Qaeda operations officers in Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania are tasked with recruitment, training and organization. The units are armed with modern weaponry, including missiles and artillery, while handpicked young Muslim recruits have been sent to sign up at private flying schools, especially in the CzechRepublic and Bulgaria, as the nucleus of an air force.
Recruitment is brisk among the ethnic Albanian Muslim populations of Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia, as well as Albania proper. Hundreds of mosques are sprouting in these countries, funded from deep Saudi pockets. The mosques open cultural societies to attract boys aged 15 to 16 and enroll them at medressas which, like their Pakistani prototypes, integrate military training in their curricula.
Each mosque has its Saudi imam, who takes orders from Saudi intelligence. The military instructors are Iranian and Iraqi officers, as well as al Qaeda commanders who fought the Americans in Afghanistan…A month later, [the best recruites] are given uniforms and personal weapons, which they take home and hide. Drilled into them is the consciousness that their wages depend on perfect obedience to their instructors and religious mentors.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Pazdaran) have set up a logistical command center in the Iranian embassy in Skopje [Macedonia] to coordinate the swelling movements of Iranian, Iraqi and Saudi instructors, organizers, couriers and bagmen in and out of the Balkans, usually from the Middle East. Most of the Saudis are al Qaeda operatives who fought in Afghanistan.
Until recently, they all traveled to the Balkans by indirect routes, careful not to draw attention to themselves, especially from agents of the US intelligence services attached to US Special Force contingents based in Kosovo and Bosnia. When they saw that no US intelligence service appeared interested in their activities, the travelers began to throw caution to the winds, freely using Skopje’s international airport for their comings and goings.
Our sources have failed to turn up any hand obstructing the emergence of the Balkan Muslim terrorist force, although…the movement [is] dedicated to violent assault against the West, primarily the United States.
The government of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, headed by its president Boris Trajkovski, is painfully aware of the threat. But, 11 months after concluding a ceasefire with Albanian insurgents, its army can scarcely stand up alone to the youthful terrorist force, led by professional Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi military instructors as well as al-Qaeda terror experts.
As a provisional containment measure, the Macedonian government has secretly closed the country’s borders to the passage of goods to and from Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania, hoping to block the flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to the Muslim army. But it is probably too late to have much effect. Nevertheless, Macedonian forces are believed to be preparing to go into the regions taken over by the Jihadist force for the urgent but hopeless task of flushing [it] out…
From The Sunday Times (of London): “Saudis fund Balkan Muslims spreading hate of the West”
SAUDI ARABIA is pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into Islamist groups in the Balkans, some of which spread hatred of the West and recruit fighters for jihad in Afghanistan.
According to officials in Macedonia, Islamic fundamentalism threatens to destabilise the Balkans. Strict Wahhabi and Salafi factions funded by Saudi organisations are clashing with traditionally moderate local Muslim communities.
Fundamentalists have financed the construction of scores of mosques and community centres as well as handing some followers up to £225 a month. They are expected not only to grow beards but also to persuade their wives to wear the niqab, or face veil, a custom virtually unknown in the liberal Islamic tradition of the Balkans.
Government sources in traditionally secular Macedonia (official title the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), said they were monitoring up to 50 Al-Qaeda volunteers recruited to fight in Afghanistan.
Classified documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that Macedonian officials are also investigating a number of Islamic charities, some in Saudi Arabia, which are active throughout the Balkans and are suspected of spreading extremism and laundering money for terrorist organisations.
“Hundreds of millions have been poured into Macedonia alone in the past decade and most of it comes from Saudi Arabia,” said a government source. “The Saudis’ main export seems to be ideology, not oil.”
Sulejman Rexhepi, leader of the Islamic community in Macedonia, said a number of mosques had been forcibly taken over by radical groups. Four in central Skopje are no longer under the control of the official Islamic authorities. New imams claim they have been “spontaneously” installed by the “people”.
Bekir Halimi, an imam trained in Syria, runs Bamiresia, an Islamic charity that has been investigated for alleged terrorist links and money laundering. Police raided its offices but failed to find any evidence of terrorist links.
“We are fully entitled to receive funding from both governmental and non-governmental organisations from Saudi Arabia,” said Halimi, who refuses to name the sources of his funding but rejects any suggestion of criminal activity.
Macedonia’s law enforcement agencies warn that the European Union and America have failed to recognise the growing problem of Islamic extremism in the Balkans.
Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, has declared stability in the region to be her top priority, but local politicians complain that the EU and Nato are reducing their presence in troublespots such as Bosnia and Kosovo.
In Macedonia, Fatmir, a former disc jockey, explained how he became an adherent of Salafism. The father of two has grown a beard and instructed his wife to wear a niqab. He now makes his living by selling Islamist literature. “Ours is the Islam of the 21st century,” he said.
Now, tell me again that Kosovo wasn’t jihad. What confuses people is that it was jihad-plus. (Check out the infiltrating Saudis complaining in 2000 of not getting NATO protection from the lawless Albanians. But I mainly refer to this aspect: “In Kosovo, an intolerantly violent nationalism (the Albanian flag) has its complement in the Islamic jihadism as Albanian mosques are springing up across the province while churches are being destroyed and looted” ; and this: “Kosovo Serb refugees at Obilic container camp live in containers donated by Russia. They were ethnic cleansed by Albanians. Hot in summer and freezing in winter, the people have little assistance. Some are handicapped, and other are aged. Since 1999, over 200,000 Kosovo Serbs have been ethnic cleansed by Albanians, over 1000 murdered. Many have had their land, livestock, houses and posessions violently expropriated from them by Albanians, with no protection of justice offered by NATO, the EU or UN who occupy the Serbian province. Meanwhile, UNICEF has spent billions of dollars renovating mosques in the province. )
From “Behind Kosovo’s Facade“:
The official response of US Government officials to questions about the role of jihadist and radical Islamist elements in the Kosovo Albanian independence movement is that it is an inconsequential phenomenon, and that most Albanians are secular nationalists. However, Western military intelligence officials have extensively documented the inroads made by jihadist/terrorist elements, and their presence throughout Kosovo, and links to global Islamist terror networks and narco-mafias is widely known. In many areas young Kosovo Albanians are being converted to the Wahabist faction, and are highly visible in their telltale short haircuts, beards, and ankle-length pants. As well, many Arabs are present from the Middle East and France, presumably leaders of jihadist cells. Moreover, anti-Western jihadist sermons are now a regular feature at many of the new mosques. Western military intelligence officials have stated that the findings of their investigations into the jihadist terror networks is routinely ignored or blocked by NATO, UN and US officials.
And Jatras again:
The myth of “moderate,” “secular” Kosovo Albanian society is persistent and misleading. Kosovo Albanians are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims. Even as hundreds of Christian shrines have been destroyed since 1999, they have been replaced by hundreds of mosques paid for by Saudi Arabian and Gulf States money — complete with the Wahhabist ideological software that goes with them. Catholics, once up to five percent of Kosovo’s population, are now under one percent, and half of those are Croats living in Serbian enclaves.
Projecting pious hopes of “moderation” on supposedly secular Muslims because they drink alcohol, don’t wear veils, etc., is a dangerous misunderstanding of jihadist mentality. As expositors of jihadist ideology have pointed out, even an apostate Muslim, like Saddam Hussein or Gamal Abdel Nasser, when claiming to fight for a “nationalist” concept are really advancing the cause of Islam if leading the ummah against the kafirun. Just as Palestinian “nationalism” has morphed into a jihad movement, leaving no place for Christians (no matter how militant they are, like the terrorist George Habash), there will soon be no place for the tiny remnant of Albanian Catholics in a monoreligious Islamic Kosovo.
What was I just saying? This:
…Why is it so crucial for Muslims to have their desperately sought genocide?
…Muslims see the Jews as deriving much of their influence, moral authority, and sympathy from the Holocaust. To compete, they must secure their own. That they are achieving it in between committing genocides themselves (Sudan, Turkey, Kosovo, WWII Croatia-Bosnia, 1990s Bosnia) is a testament to their prowess, and to the West’s stupidity and servility.
…[Srebrenica is] a concoction whose key purpose is to remove what Muslims see as the Jewish advantage. Jews being the prime target of whom to turn the world against before swallowing up the rest of it. In the process, another benefit is achieved: With 8,000 (sic) Muslim soldiers sharing the same category, the Holocaust is diminished. As are the real genocides that Muslims carry out.
And so here we are, at the next stage: Bosniaks want UN seat, mufti says
SOURCE: DANAS 24 Dec 2011
NOVI PAZAR — The World Bosniak Congress will request its representation in the UN, says Islamic Community in Serbia Chief Mufti Muamer Zukorlić.
He added that The World Bosniak Congress was an umbrella organization of all the Bosniaks in the world.
The mufti explained that Bosniaks would request to have their representative in the UN in accordance with the World Jewish Congress model.
“Jews got their seat in the UN because they had survived the Holocaust. We survived genocide and we have the right to have our own World Congress and our seat in the UN,” Zukorlić stressed.
He announced that the Bosniak National Foundation in Sarajevo would be formed in the next few days and that it would “consolidate financial strength of Bosniak businessmen”.
The mufti added that “Bosniaks also need a Bosniak national university that will be founded in Sarajevo in the next period”.
He supported Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina Chief Mufti Mustafa Cerić’s proposal to embassies of the Islamic countries in Sarajevo to deny their hospitality to Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik. […]
That last bit is a reference to, essentially, the fatwa that’s been put out on the Bosnian-Serb president, Milorad Dodik. Not a literal fatwa, but we know that Muslim leaders leave it to the wider community to interpret for themselves what needs to be done with someone who is “anti-Muslim.”
Back to the point of the World Bosniak Congress. They’re trying to buttress their false ethnicity — Bosniak (which evolved from a false nationality — Bosnian), via genocide. That is, they’ve managed to create a national and ethnic identity based on genocide. Which didn’t happen. (The ICTY may have ruled that it happened, but forgot to show any evidence demonstrating that it happened.) In response to the above news item, I can’t do better than the comments section, an excerpt from which Liz — who circulated the item — provided:
By “Analyst,” Dec. 24, 12:47:
What a nonsense to compare Bosniaks with the Jews, living all around the world. As far as I know, Bosnia is already an UN member, so Bosniaks are already represented.
By Ari Gold, Dec. 24, 12:38:
What the hell does that even mean? So in an organization full of member STATES, you want your organization to have a seat as valuable as an entire country? I’m actually not too sure what in the world hes trying to say.
If that in fact is exactly what he means then I’m afraid the mufti has gone completely insane. Adem Zikic and the rival Islamic community to Zukorlic consider themselves as Serbian Muslims and their seat is in Beograd. I don’t know how the Serb government could not support them 100% fully rather than even treating them as equal communities. One is separatist and radical Wahhabi the other are moderates… wtf?
By Zoran, Dec. 24, 12:19:
“Jews got their seat in the UN because they had survived the Holocaust. We survived genocide and we have the right to have our own World Congress and our seat in the UN,” Zukorlić stressed.
The term genocide doesn’t have the same meaning as before. Claiming Srebrenica is genocide has a political motive, whereas it would generally be considered a massacre. The countries pushing this claim are the ones now accusing each other of [genocide]. Turkey against the Armenians, France against the Algerians and lets not forget the US of A was built on genocide against the native Indians. Croatia committed genocide twice against the Serbians and are now joining their genocidal EU family with Germany at the helm.
If the massacre of a few thousand soldiers is considered genocide then so is the Dasht-i-Leili massacre committed with US blessing in Afghanistan. So are the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings. The list goes on and on.
By Winston, Dec. 24, 12:09:
The mufti Zukorlić is spreading his holiday cheers already. Every time he opens his mouth, out comes pure venom. And he has the [gall] to criticize Dodik. BTW, what’s a Bosniak? Are those the Serbs in Bosnia that gave up their faith in Christianity and converted to Islam during Ottoman rule, for the sake of a few privileges?
Bosnia’s Muslims urged to “boycott New Year”
SARAJEVO — The Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina has called on Muslims in that country to boycott the upcoming New Year celebrations.
By taking part, said the organization, they would “violate Allah’s boundaries, and do something their master hates and despises”.
The Islamic Community statement on Wednesday quoted from a book by Almir Dumica, entitled, “Pearls of the Sunnah in the Mosaic of Time”:
“On that night, turn off the lights early and let everyone see you’re boycotting everything happening on that night. Do not fear anyone’s objections. Don’t you have a right to choose? Do not say, ‘how can I do that, I will change nothing, most people do it… I will be declared a black sheep’.”
Muslims are taught that by this behavior they can change a lot, and firstly demonstrate to themselves that the love for their master is much stronger and greater than the fear of objections made by people, said the quote.
“On that night go to bed on time, happy and satisfied that the Allah gave you many benefits that you do not consider often, and which you would become aware of only if you lost them,” the Islamic Community release further said.
“Think about your health and family… the peace and security you enjoy. Then, each night of the year will be much more dear to you than the New Year’s night is to any of those who eagerly await it all year, while a blessed feeling of triumph will overcome your soul and body, because piousness and reason will have won over passions and ugly customs,” the message concluded.
Muslims this year celebrated their New Year on November 25, marking it in mosques, by studying the Koran.
Just like the Albanian salvos that got last year off to a rocking start, once again they come in twos:
Deme Nikqi, Alleged Leader Of Human Smuggling Ring, Charged In New York
NEW YORK — The reputed mastermind of a migrant smuggling ring that allegedly smuggled hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Eastern Europe into the U.S. was arraigned on Saturday in federal court in Brooklyn after his extradition from Albania on Friday.
A 34-page federal indictment depicts Deme Nikqi, 53, of Kosovo, as the leader of an international criminal network dedicated to smuggling ethnic Albanians from the Balkans into the U.S. across the Mexican and Canadian borders using fraudulent passports and visas. [Wait, are the Clintons getting a cut?]
His arrest was the result of a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Nikqi pleaded not guilty to all 28 felony counts.
The most serious criminal charge in the indictment stems from a fatal accident near the Mexican border in Feb. 2010, when a car carrying undocumented immigrants crashed while being pursued by the Texas Highway Patrol. Prosecutors allege that Nikqi was responsible for arranging for the group’s transit across the border. Federal law allows a sentence of up to life in prison for traffickers found to be directly or indirectly responsible for the death of a migrant being smuggled across the border.
In court documents, Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the alleged smuggling network exploited undocumented immigrants and exposed them to danger. According to Lynch, Nikqi charged Kosovars more than $15,000 for illegal transport to the U.S., including the production of fraudulent passports and visas.
Nikqi allegedly facilitated the transport of migrants overland through Central America and Mexico and then across the U.S. border, often hiding them in luggage compartments of buses and inside locked trailers with little or no food or water, prosecutors said.
Lynch added that Nikqi’s alleged smuggling network not only placed migrants at risk, but represented a “grave threat to our nation’s borders.”
“Transnational smuggling organizations such as those headed by Deme Nikqi are rightly viewed as a threat to national security, and will be vigorously prosecuted,” she said.
Lynch requested that Nikqi be denied bail, arguing that he represented an “extraordinary risk of flight.”
“If anyone in the world could quickly and easily obtain a fake passport to flee the United States, it is Deme Nikqi,” she said.
Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky, of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, agreed, ordering Nikqi detained until trial.
And so Washington keeps rewarding Kosovo and punishing Serbia….
Progress! Last year it took ’til almost two months into the new year for us to hear from our non-Muslimy Balkans Muslim friends whom we “rescued” from Christian Serbs and the jaws of civilization. This year, we’re only about a week in, and already we’re experiencing that familiar Balkan gratitude. (Though 2010 beats out 2012 by a day.)
Suspected Islamic Extremist Arrested in Alleged Florida Bomb Plot (AP, via FoxNews.com, Jan. 9)
URGENT: A 25-year-old man described as an Islamic extremist was arrested in an alleged plot to attack crowded areas in the Tampa, Fla., area with a car bomb, assault rifle and other explosives, authorities said Monday.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the former Yugoslavia, was arrested Saturday night.
Osmakac, from Pinellas County, allegedly told an undercover agent that “We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?’” according to a federal complaint.
FBI agents arrested Osmakac on Saturday after he allegedly bought explosive devices and firearms from an undercover agent. The firearms and explosives were rendered inoperable by law enforcement. The federal complaint says that shortly before his arrest, Osmakac made a video of himself explaining his motives for carrying out the planned violent attack.
He has been charged with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. His first appearance in federal court is scheduled for Monday at 2 p.m. ET.
Sources close to the investigation told Fox News that Osmakac was being “closely monitored by law enforcement” for months in what authorities have described as a “sting operation.”
Federal officials said a confidential source told them in Sept. 2011 that Osmakac wanted Al Qaeda flags. Two months later, the federal complaint said, Osmakac and the confidential source “discussed and identified potential targets in Tampa” that Osmakac wanted to attack.
Osmakac allegedly asked the source for help getting the firearms and explosives for the attacks, and the source put him in touch with an undercover FBI employee.
On Dec. 21, Osmakac met with the undercover agent and allegedly told the agent that he wanted to buy an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, grenades and explosive belt. During a later meeting, Osmakac gave the agent a $500 down payment for the items.
“According to the complaint, Osmakac also asked the undercover employee whether he/she could build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, near where Osmakac would conduct a follow-up attack using the other weapons he requested,” a press release from the Department of Justice said. “The undercover employee said he/she could possibly provide explosives for one vehicle. Osmakac also allegedly said that he wanted an explosive belt constructed to kill people.”
On Jan. 1, Osmakac told the agent that he wanted to bomb night clubs, the Operations Center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and a business in Tampa, Florida.
Osmakac told the undercover FBI agent that he wanted to detonate a car bomb and use the explosive belt to “get in somewhere where there’s a lot of people” and take hostages.
He also allegedly told the agent that “Once I have this…they can take me in five million pieces,” in an apparent reference to a suicide blast. During that meeting, the agent told Osmakac he could always change his mind about his plot.
Osmakac had created a “martyrdom video” and tried on a bomb belt before being arrested Saturday, law enforcement officials told Fox News.
Sure enough, it’s “Former Yugoslavia” that strikes again. Say, I thought the U.S. recognized Kosovo’s identity as an independent state. So why suddenly does no one recognize it? This Fox/AP report casually uses the term “Former Yugoslavia” as if its obfuscating purpose hasn’t already been exposed a dozen times (that is, to not pin the terrorist down to America and Germany’s (Germerica’s) most challenging client “state”).
Then again, we know that Fox News isn’t sure of the relationship between words like “Albanians,” “Yugoslavia” and “Balkans,” so using simply “Former Yugoslavia” avoids having to sort out the places and people.
Which is something I’m trying to do at the moment, given that all the reports identify Osmakac as being from Kosovo, which usually implies Albanian, yet the last name doesn’t sound Albanian. Perhaps he’s a Bosnian Muslim from there, or comes from a mixed marriage. Then again, maybe he’s Albanian after all. A few more reports/updates:
Muslim man charged in attempted Florida car bombing
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan 9 (Reuters) - A 25-year-old Muslim man born in Kosovo was charged on Monday with trying to obtain explosives and firearms to attack Florida businesses and a police station, authorities said.
Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Kosovo - a disputed Balkan state once a part of the former Yugoslavia that declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 - was charged with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
He was arrested Saturday night after taking possession from an undercover FBI agent of what he believed to be explosives and firearms. He then armed what he thought was a car bomb intended to explode outside an Irish bar, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney. The devices were rendered inoperable by the agents.
Osmakac also planned to strap on an explosive belt and “get in somewhere where there’s a lot of people,” according to the release. Osmakac hoped to take hostages and demand the release of some unidentified prisoners. He told the undercover agent that police could “take me in five million pieces,” according to the release.
Shortly before his arrest, Osmakac made an eight-minute video of himself, recorded at his request by the agent, explaining his motives for carrying out the planned attack, according to the release.
Osmakac said in the video that Muslim “blood” was more valuable than that of people who do not believe in Islam, and that he wanted “payback” for wrongs to Muslims.
The investigation was triggered by someone who told the FBI in September that Osmakac asked about obtaining flags representing al Qaeda….
Osmakac identified his targets as several nightclubs in Ybor City, Tampa’s historic Cuban community and a popular tourist district; and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s operations center.
Osmakac’s shopping list, for which he provided the undercover agent a $500 down payment, included the explosive belt which he specified should be constructed to “rip flesh.”
He asked for enough explosives for three car bombs with cell phone triggers, but settled for one car bomb when the agent told him a bigger purchase would draw attention. He also requested an AK-47-style machine gun, Uzi submachine guns, high capacity magazines, and grenades.
Muslim man from Kosovo charged in Fla. bomb plot
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Kosovo-born man was charged with plotting to attack Tampa-area nightclubs and a sheriff’s office with bombs and an assault rifle to avenge wrongs done to Muslims, federal authorities said Monday.
According to a federal complaint, 25-year-old Sami Osmakac recorded an eight-minute video shortly before his arrest explaining why he wanted to bring terror to his “victims’ hearts” in the Tampa Bay area. Osmakac is a naturalized American citizen born in Kosovo, then part of the former Yugoslavia in eastern Europe.
In the video, Osmakac is seen cross-legged on the floor with a pistol in his hand and an AK-47 behind him…The area’s Muslim community helped provide authorities with information, said Steve Ibison, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa division.
“This case is not about the Muslim religion and it’s not about the Muslim community,” Ibison said. “It’s about an individual who committed a crime.” [Keeping us children in line.]
Hassan Shibly, a Tampa attorney and the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he met Osmakac briefly over the summer. Osmakac was “ranting” about how CAIR was an “infidel organization,” Shibly said.
“It was very clear he was very disturbed very angry and very misguided about the Islamic faith,” said Shibly, adding that Osmakac did not appear to be a member of any of the area’s mosques and had “disassociated himself” from those houses of worship. “He was very, very ignorant of Islam. He didn’t know Arabic or anything about basic Islamic teachings about promoting peace.”
Shibly said the CAIR office received calls from people in the Islamic community who were concerned about Osmakac’s extreme views.
“Contact the authorities as soon as possible,” Shibly said he told those people. [Wow, a “Europeanized, secular, not-like-that” Balkans Muslim scared the crap out of the “like that” Muslims. Or perhaps he risked blowing their cover, so they called the godfather asking what to do.]
Osmakac gave only brief answers to basic questions during his first appearance in federal court Monday.
Osmakac lived with his parents in a tan stucco home in Pinellas Park, Fla., a small city west of Tampa. He worked occasionally at the Balkan Food Store and Bakery in St. Petersburg, a small store owned by his parents.
On Monday, a man identifying himself as Osmakac’s older brother was at the store. He would not give The Associated Press his name but said his brother was innocent.
“It’s all made up,” the man said. “I don’t believe it.”
According to public records, Osmakac had one prior brush with the law. In April 2011, Tampa Police said Osmakac, dressed in “what appeared to be traditional Middle-Eastern attire with a small cloth” on his head, got into an argument over religion outside a Lady Gaga concert in downtown Tampa.
A police report said anti-gay Christian protesters outside the concert saw Osmakac driving by in a truck and turned their attention to him because of his appearance.
“The protesters began verbally berating the man and the Muslim faith and their attacks became personal and nasty,” wrote Tampa officer Kevin Krupa. [Though, it would appear, not inaccurate.]
The report said Osmakac parked his vehicle, walked up to the protesters and got into an argument with one man who insulted Allah, Mohammed and the Quran. Osmakac was accused of head butting one man and was charged with battery — although Krupa noted that the protesters were “not promoting peace or tolerance, but rather inciting violence and hate.” [Ah, so the Muslim’s violence is the Christian protesters’ fault.]
That case had not yet been resolved, according to court records.
Federal officials say Osmakac’s new charges stem from information given to them by a confidential source in September 2011.
According to the federal report, Osmakac walked into the source’s business looking for al-Qaida flags. The confidential source then hired Osmakac and was in constant contact with federal officials and audio or video taped their conversations.
Osmakac also asked the undercover employee to build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, the U.S. Justice Department said in a press release. Osmakac then planned to follow up with an attack using the other weapons he asked for, authorities said.
Osmakac told the agent that after he took hostages he wanted to demand something from the “kuffar” — an Arabic word that means infidels or disbelievers of Islam, federal authorities said.
According to the affidavit, he also said, “Honestly, I would love to go for the Army people, but their bases are so locked up, I have to do something else.”
Osmakac said he wanted to take down the bridges that link Tampa to neighboring Pinellas County.
“This will crush the whole economy,” he allegedly said to the agent. “This would crush everything man, they would have no more food coming in. They would, nobody would have work.” […]
Closing with an abridged press release from the Dept. of Justice:
Florida Resident Charged With Plotting To Bomb Locations In Tampa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2012
…Sami Osmakac, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the former Yugoslavia (Kosovo), was arrested Saturday night. He is charged in a criminal complaint in the Middle District of Florida with one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) and is scheduled to make his initial appearance today at 2:00 p.m. in federal court, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli, in Tampa. If convicted, Osmakac faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“The perseverance and diligence of law enforcement caused this investigation to conclude in a successful manner,” said U.S. Attorney O’Neill. “I would like to commend them for their hard work. This investigation was also predicated, in part, by assistance from the Muslim community. I would like to thank them as well.”
“The Tampa FBI Division has always considered its relationships with regional community groups throughout Central and Southwest Florida extremely important. In this case, we are grateful for the Muslim community’s continued support. This incident clearly demonstrated how citizens can help law enforcement keep our neighborhoods and our nation safe,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Ibison.
According to the complaint, Osmakac also asked the undercover employee whether he/she could build bombs that could be placed in three different vehicles and detonated remotely, near where Osmakac would conduct a follow-up attack using the other weapons he requested. The undercover employee said he/she could possibly provide explosives for one vehicle. Osmakac also allegedly said that he wanted an explosive belt constructed to kill people.
During a subsequent meeting with the FBI undercover employee on January 1, 2012, Osmakac allegedly described his attack plans by stating that he wanted to obtain a hotel room; park the vehicle with the bomb in it at his target; leave the area; detonate the car bomb, and then retrieve the weapons and explosives from the hotel room…
*****SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM*****
Yes, I know that places can’t be intelligent or stupid, but I loved this response by the acting foreign minister of Nagorno-Karabakh to Kosovo’s latest round of lobbying for recognitions. He said his country would recognize Kosovo if Kosovo recognized Nagorno-Karabakh.
I ADVISE ALL SECESSIONIST and IRREDENTIST REGIONS to ANSWER EXACTLY as Foreign Minister ATAJANYAN has ANSWERED.
(Please also note that in the first sentence by this Economist writer the word “country” appears in quotes with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh; that’s exactly how the word “country” or “state” should be appearing in all media with reference to Kosovo.)
According to the piece, Kosovo’s “foreign minister” Enver Hoxhaj declined. After all, Kosovo is still in the position of taking orders from Washington, and Washington would never allow Kosovo’s precedent-setting power, which it desperately denies, to be confirmed (and for Russia to indirectly “score a point” on that count). (Which is related, of course, to Russia’s long-put request for a little coherence and consistency via breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia — a little quid pro quo that would have led Russia to grant us our “friendly Islamic state” at Serb expense.)
Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo (Economist, Dec. 28)
States of independence
PRISTINA AND STEPANAKERT
EARLIER this year Vasily Atajanyan, the acting foreign minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, told me that his “country” would recognise Kosovo if the former Yugoslav province reciprocated. I conveyed this message to Enver Hoxhaj, Kosovo’s foreign minister. He declined to take up his counterpart’s offer, but thought long and hard about how to do so politely.
This little episode speaks volumes for realpolitik in international relations, especially when it comes to small countries.
In Soviet times Nagorno-Karabakh was a mostly Armenian-populated autonomous region in Azerbaijan. In Yugoslav times Kosovo was a mostly Albanian-populated autonomous province of Serbia.
Armenians fought a war against the Azeris in the early 1990s, and the Kosovo Albanians against the Serbs in 1998-99. Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence in 1991…On the face of it there are plenty of similarities between Soviet breakaway statelets like Nagorno-Karabakh and Kosovo. But there are also many differences. No countries have recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state, but more than 80 have recognised Kosovo. Western countries emphasise that they believe that the Kosovo case is not a precedent for others. [”Because we say so!]
In Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, this argument cuts no ice. Indeed, some have a clear case of “recognition envy”. Marcel Petrosian, a foreign-ministry official, says that Nagorno-Karabakh has “stronger arguments” for independence than Kosovo does.
European and other countries that recognise Kosovo are, he says, practising “double standards.” Mr Atajanyan echoes this. “We see Kosovo as a precedent,” he says. “It is a vivid example of how conflicts like ours can be solved.”
The two conflicts see Armenians and Kosovars arguing in favour of a people’s right to self-determination, and Serbia and Azerbaijan defending the the right of a state to defend its territorial integrity.
There are inconsistencies everywhere you look. Russia, an ally of Serbia, does not acknowledge the independence of Kosovo. But, unlike any Western countries, it recognised the breakaway states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia following its war with Georgia in 2008. [IF THAT AIN’T PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE!] Serbia might like to make common cause with Georgia but does not wish to irritate Russia. Likewise Georgia won’t work with Serbia because of the potential damage to relations with the United States.
Likewise, the Armenians have been forced to fashion shrewd arguments for not recognising Kosovo’s independence in order not to antagonise their Russian patrons. Armenia has not in fact recognised Nagorno-Karabakh, as it reminds American diplomats when they come calling asking for it to recognise Kosovo.
Serbia and Armenia may be on different sides when it comes to territorial integrity. But they have much in common, too. Both are ageing nations with falling populations. Both talk of their respective enemies in the same terms, fearing the respective facts that both Kosovo Albanians and Azeris are young and Muslim, and dominate areas which they consider theirs by historic right.
Hayk Khanumyan, an Armenian journalist and civil-society activist, employs a novel argument. Kosovo, he says, is an “historic region of Serbia” that Albanians have taken. (Albanians, needless to say, would disagree with this analysis. [BECAUSE THEY WANT IT.] But the real comparison is between Kosovo and Nakichevan, a large Azeri exclave separated from Azerbaijan proper by Armenian territory.
Nakichevan, says Mr Khanumyan, was once Armenian. It was lost to the Azeris as Kosovo was lost to Albanians. Nagorno-Karabakh, by contrast, has not been lost and must be defended.
Back to Mr Hoxhaj. His message to Mr Atajanyan is that…”We understand the aspirations of others but we have to be careful,” he adds. “We can’t shape the destiny of other small nations but we have to protect what we have and sometimes doing nothing is better than making a mistake.”
In other words, just as the Armenians sympathise with the Kosovars but don’t want to annoy the Russians, the Kosovars don’t want to irk their Western backers…
Then again, we can’t assume that Armenians sympathize with the “Kosovars.” Like other breakaway regions with a better case for independence (well, let’s say with “a case for independence,” since Kosovo has none), they may well be annoyed by the privileged status and attention that Kosovo gets.
But that’s what they get for not being terrorists. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson: you won’t get anywhere with us without threats and violence.
At the start of this post I mentioned that Kosovo is still in the position to take orders from Washington. The worry of rational minds, who knew which direction “America’s” Kosovo would ultimately go in since 1999, has been that this would change to a place that’s more Islamic than Washington (if you can find one). And so, just as Turkey has unmistakably showed its true Islamic colors over the past few years, Albanians are suggesting that Turkey take over for America’s Bondsteel, with Albanian-American lobbyists such as Joe DioGuardi reportedly calling Turkey a “loyal ally of Pristina.” Big surprise. Albanians want their old masters back. (And imagine — Orthodox Serbs to have that promised “protection of minority rights” — elusive even with America and EU there — enforced by the Turks):
NOA: US withdrawing soldiers from Kosmet by the end of the year [sic] (Glas Srbije/Voice of Serbia, Jan. 2):
By the end of the year USA will withdraw their troops from Kosmet, as part of the measures of saving among the armed forces, writes the NOA agency from Tirana, as quoted by the Serbian national TV. The Albanian agency communicates that the announcement of US soldiers withdrawing from the Bondsteel base near Urosevac could be the alarm for possible instability in Kosmet. President of the American-Albanian Citizen league Joe Diogardi and [a] few more Albanian lobbyists had talks on that issue with President of the Armed Forces Board in the US Congress House of Representatives Buck McKeon and insisted that the decision be postponed until the situation in northern Kosmet is solved. NOA underlines that Bondsteel has become a financial burden on USA, so the new military budget and strategy envisage its extinguishing. The Albanian lobbyists in USA wish that the Americans turn the base over to Turkey, for which they believe is a loyal ally of Pristina. In relation [to] that base, several controversies are mentioned, like the Council of Europe report from 2005, which describes Bondsteel as the smaller version of Guantanamo, as allegedly it hosted murky activities regarding the persons suspected of radical Islam.
In response to reports of U.S. troops leaving Kosovo, KFOR issued a clarification — or perhaps made an adjustment to its plans after concerns were voiced that it was too soon:
“U.S. troops won’t leave Kosovo in 2012” (Jan. 4)
U.S. KFOR troops Commander Colonel Jeffrey Liethen has stated that the U.S. troops will not withdraw from Kosovo in 2012.
He told Uroševac-based TV Tema that the current U.S. contingent would remain in Kosovo until September 2012 and that a new contingent would replace the current troops and remain in Kosovo until June 2013.
“This is what I know for sure,” Liethen stressed.
He said that it was natural that the U.S. troops would leave Kosovo at some point and that he understood that Kosovo citizens were upset because their hopes were tied to the U.S.
Commenting on the claims that the number of U.S. troops coming from Turkey to Kosovo was increasing, the U.S. commander stressed that this was not true.
“The people who will take over the responsibility from me are from South Carolina and they will be the 16th contingent of the U.S. KFOR in Kosovo,” Liethen said.
There are currently 1,447 U.S. soldiers in Kosovo. They are stationed in Camp Bondsteel and Camp Nothing Hill near Leposavić.
Media have been reporting that the U.S. troops will withdraw from Kosovo and that it is possible that Turkish soldiers would replace them at Camp Bondsteel.
Here were some of those other reports, just to have it on record:
Report: U.S. soldiers are to withdraw from Kosovo (DiePresse.com, Jan. 3, translated from German)
The U.S. government wants to save and retrieve their soldiers. That would also mean the closure of U.S. base Bondsteel…This was reported by the newspaper “Kosova Sot” on Tuesday.
Kosovar politicians would not comment on the message first. Other media reported…referring to American sources, the U.S. and the NATO allies would leave 6,000 soldiers in Kosovo - to ensure security and freedom of movement in the country.
Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi [told] “Kosova Sot”…there is “nothing official yet.” He conceded, however: “We would hope that the U.S. troops to stay here.”
[A] gradual KFOR withdrawal plan was active. This was however suspended indefinitely.
Kosovo: The Americans plan to close the base Bondsteel - Albanian rebels lobby (TASR, Jan. 3, translated from Slovak)
U.S. troops will soon leave Kosovo, despite the loud protests of the Albanian lobby in the U.S., which claims that such a move could spark a new instability in the region…
In Kosovo [is] closing large U.S. base Bondsteel….The United States planned for the end of this year [to] withdraw its troops from Kosovo in accordance with the general austerity measures in the U.S. Army.
These reports were met with some opposition [by] politicians and analysts, said
the Albanian Agency NOA…
President of the Albanian-American Civil League Diogardi Joe and several other Albanian lobbyists on this issue discussed with U.S. Congressman McKeon Buck….
League leaders insist on the fact that the withdrawal of U.S. troops was postponed pending resolution of the situation mostly inhabited by Serbs in northern Kosovo - U.S. troops, according to them is “the only real obstacle to Serbia’s expansionist goals.” … Albanian lobbyists in the U.S. would like to [see] Bondsteel handed [to] the Turks, who are “staunch allies” of Kosovo.
So the Albanians want us to make good on delivering the entirety of the demanded turf and sealing the Serbs’ coffin, and then the Turks can take over.
“SERBIA’s expansionist goals,” they say as they chop off 15% of that country, along with 30-some percent of Macedonia, plus make moves on southern Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.
Bondsteel is more than a military outpost (Slovenian Dnevnik, Jan. 4)
It turns out I’d been sent (thank you, Anna) the actual DioGuardi item on Bondsteel closing and the prospects of Turkey taking over. So here is the relevant part, quoted from the primary source, the Albanian-American Civic League:
AACL Meeting with Congressman Buck McKeon,Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
On December 12, 2011, Albanian American Civic League President Joe DioGuardi, Balkan Affairs Adviser Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, and some members of the Executive Committee of the AACL’s Board of Directors met with Congressman Buck McKeon (R-CA) in Manhattan. The purpose of the meeting was to brief Congressman McKeon…about the escalating conflict in northern Kosova [sic] and the need to resolve the conflict before the projected departure of US troops from Camp Bondsteel occurs.
The following presentation was made by Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi on behalf of the Civic League in support of maintaining US leadership at Camp Bondsteel:
We are all aware of the fact that cuts will be made in the defense budget and that this will include the closing of some of America’s military bases at home and abroad. For the past year, it has been rumored that Camp Bondsteel…will be put under Turkish command. Since Turkey is a strong ally of Kosova [sic], in theory removing US troops from Camp Bondsteel would make sense. However, in practice, I would argue that it is premature for the United States to signal its departure from Kosova, since it is the only real impediment to Serbia’s expansionist aims. […]
*****UPDATE***** An anonymous reader commented:
That’s right. A full-on mass, in a church, by a member of the Catholic clergy.
Act of a renegade priest? Seems not, as further masses were held in Zagreb, and elsewhere.
The mass was attended by hundreds of Croats, wearing the obligatory Ustashe shirts, pins, and the like.
This isn’t merely about a couple of neo-fascists doing something on the street, or in the basement. This took place in actual churches. I wonder how the Catholic hierarchy will respond? If the fact that this has been happening annually, without condemnation, is anything to go by, there will be NO reaction.
Congratulations, Europe, on your newest member. Poland, keep applauding.
No sooner did I mention Croatia’s resort town of Split than we have more standardly farcical and obnoxious news from there — and from Zagreb. As Rodney Atkinson’s note with the item put it, “The latest state with impeccable Fascist credentials to be welcomed by the European Union”:
Nazi memorial in Croatia a disgrace to Europe (Efraim Zuroff, J-Post, Jan. 4)
A service for Hitler is unthinkable. So why is the world quiet in response to a service for Ante Pavelic
Imagine for a minute that memorial masses were held in two major cities in Germany on the anniversary of the death of Adolf Hitler. Needless to say, such a ceremony would arouse fury, indignation, and widespread protests not only in Germany, but throughout the entire world. Last week, the local equivalent of such an event took place in Croatia, but instead of anger and demonstrations, not a single word of protest was heard from anywhere in the country.
I am referring to the December 28 memorial masses conducted in Zagreb and Split (and perhaps elsewhere as well) to mark the 51st anniversary of the death of Ante Pavelic, the head of state of the infamous Independent State of Croatia, created by the Nazis and their Italian allies in 1941. Following its establishment, rule was turned over to the local fascist movement, the Ustasha, headed by its Poglavnik (leader) Ante Pavelic.
During the entire course of its brief existence (1941-1945), the Ustasha sought to rid the country (which consisted of the area of today’s Croatia plus most of Bosnia-Herzegovina) of all its minorities, as well as their local political opponents. In order to do so, they established a network of concentration camps all over the country, the largest and most notorious of which was Jasenovac, located on the banks of the Sava River, southeast of Zagreb. There, many tens of thousands of innocent civilians were murdered in a variety of brutal ways, which earned the camp the nickname of the “Auschwitz of the Balkans.”
To this day, there continue to be disputes regarding the total number of civilians murdered by the Ustasha, but the number is certainly no fewer than several hundred thousand, primarily Serbs, along with Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croats. And while all those who participated in these atrocities bear criminal responsibility, the individual with the greatest culpability was undoubtedly Ante Pavelic, who headed the most lethal regime in Axis-dominated Europe.
THE MEMORIAL masses to honor Pavelic, who died in Spain in 1959 from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt two years earlier, mark a renewal of a tradition which began in the 1990s following the reestablishment of Croatian independence. In the wake of the conviction in Zagreb of Jasenovac commandant Dinko Sakic and in response to protests by the Wiesenthal Center, the mass was stopped and the priest responsible, Vjekoslav Lasic, left Croatia.
Unfortunately, however, Lasic returned to Zagreb a few years ago and renewed his neo-fascist activity with impunity. At the funeral of Sakic, who insisted on being buried in his Ustasha uniform although in prison for his World War II crimes, it was Lasic who administered final rites. According to the Dominican priest, although Dinko Sakic did not observe all the Ten Commandments (Thou shalt not murder?), he was a model for all Croatians, and every Croat should be proud of his name.
The question now is, how does such an event to honor the memory of one of the biggest mass murderers of World War II pass with nary a word of protest or condemnation? The obvious address for such indignation would be in Croatia itself, where many people fought with Tito’s partisans against the Ustasha, and a significant sector of the population have a strong anti-fascist tradition. But the same question applies outside the country as well.
Croatia is well on its way to membership in the European Union (slated for 2013), a membership which is ostensibly contingent on the acceptance of EU values and norms. Is a memorial mass for one of Europe’s worst war criminals compatible with EU membership?
The sad truth is that in this respect, the European Union has failed miserably in dealing with the resurgence of neo-fascism and the promotion of Holocaust distortion in its post-Communist members. Once admitted to the EU (and NATO), countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary and Romania have begun to take active steps to rewrite their World War II histories, minimizing or attempting to hide the highly-significant role played by their nationals in Holocaust crimes, with barely a word of protest or condemnation from Brussels.
I wish I could conclude with the good news that Israel and the Jewish world have responded appropriately, but unfortunately that is not the case…
Last week’s masses in honor of Ante Pavelic are a mockery of Christian values and an insult to all the victims of the Ustasha, their relatives, friends, and people of morality and conscience the world over. The time has come for effective protests from within Croatia, as well as from the European Union, the United States and Canada, Israel and the Jewish world. That is the minimum that we owe the victims of that notorious mass murderer.
And clearly, Croatia feels perfectly secure, in the midst of a year-long accession process that still can be held up, to engage in these displays. So clearly, there is an understanding of what the EU really is. Likewise, Europe’s non-condemnation is proof-positive that permanently Nazi-loving Croatia fits right in with what we already know was a fascist design, the EU. (And, as always, one must ask: Where is the condemnation from the Vatican?)
However, the EU is still not fascist enough for a large minority of Croatians (about 35%), who are against joining the EU until its values become more “Croatian.” Indeed, as if on satirical cue, just a day after the above item came out, the term “Christian values” again came up in a Croatian context. According to Croatians, it is the imprisonment of their war criminals that constitutes “a trampling of all Christian values”:
Croatia: Rightist intellectuals aim to postpone EU referendum (AKI, Jan. 5)
More than one thousand right-leaning Croatian intellectuals have signed a petition for postponement of a referendum on joining the European Union, local media reported on Thursday.
Among the signers were university professors, academicians and former foreign minister and Croatia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zvonimir Separovic, the reports said.
The intellectuals are campaigning for the postponement of a referendum until appeals panel of the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia brings final verdict in the case of two Croatian generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, accused of war crimes against Serb civilians.
Gotovina and Markac are considered national heroes by most Croats and the tribunal’s verdict sparked wide discontent and protests, pending the appeal.
It was a “historic example of dishonor and trampling of all Christian values”, the petitioners said. Croatia has its own values, “which are dying away in Europe” and the EU must stop the policy of double standards and a “racist attitude towards some nations”, the petition concluded.
Ah, and there it is again: attempts to stem charges of blatant bias by the tribunal — and therefore belatedly prosecuting some non-Serbs — constitutes “racism” against Croatians. Only in the Balkans, Folks. Only in the Balkans.