August 2012

Jordan withdraws three athletes from Paralympics after they are charged with sex offences (Daily Mail, Aug. 21, 2012)

Three members of the Jordanian Paralympic squad charged with sex offences will not be taking part in the Games, organisers have confirmed.

The three men – two wheelchair power lifters, including a bronze medallist from the Beijing Games, and a trainer – are accused of sexual assault and voyeurism against women and girls during a training camp in Northern Ireland.

Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, Faisal Hammash, 35, and Motaz Al Junaidi, 45, all members of the Jordanian power-lifting squad, are now returning to Jordan after the country’s king began looking into the case.

Motaz Al Junaidi, 45, who won bronze at the Paralympics in Beijing, is accused of sexual assault.

Team-mate Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, faces three charges of sexual assault, two against a child, and one of voyeurism after allegedly entering a women’s changing room at the Antrim Forum leisure centre where the squad was training.

Police said he was identified by a girl aged 14, who claimed that on August 18 she posed for photos with him before he groped her between the legs in Antrim town centre.

Trainer Faisal Hammash, 35, is accused of inciting two girls to engage in sexual activity. Mr Cahir said he was merely photographing the girls in the Antrim area.

Leaving court: Power lifter Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, (left) allegedly entered a women’s changing room at the Antrim Forum leisure centre while fellow power lifter Motaz Al Junaidi, 45, is accused of sexual assault

Accused: Trainer Faisal Hammash (back with hood) was arrested along with Omar and Motaz in Antrim on Monday night

Applying for bail, Tony Cahir, solicitor for the three accused, said Al Junaidi was born with polio.

Mr Cahir said Qaradhi had not had any legs since birth and was incapable of sexual gratification.

In granting bail, district judge Richard Wilson said he accepted the argument that the embarrassment should they fail to reappear in court would outweigh the resulting financial loss.

The Jordanian team has been training in Antrim, about 22 miles from Belfast, in advance of the Paralympic Games starting next week.

Arriving for hearing: Omar (left) was allegedly identified by a girl aged 14 who claimed that on August 18 she posed for photos with him before he groped her between the legs, while one of the alleged victims made claims against Motaz (right) after police had begun their investigation and several days after the disputed incident. […]

In late April, I was forwarded this short AP video news report called “West Point Cadet mission to NJ bridges Mideast culture gap”

Sensing it was another marker charting the progress of the pro-Islamic indoctrination of our military, no doubt complete with a warm and fuzzy spin on the universal mind-f*ck that started happening within months of 9/11, I tuned in:

Cadets from The United States Military Academy at West Point went on a mission this week, to New Jersey. The Cadets are part of a post-9/11 effort to build cultural understanding within the U.S. Military.

“Cadets from West Point…hit the ground in Jersey City to learn about Islamic culture and different religions,” narrates AP reporter Warren Levinson, with a shot of four female cadets in a mosque wearing Islamic headdresses and giggling. “The field trip was part of a class called Winning the Peace. The idea came after the attacks of September 11th 2001. The mission: to expose the cadets to as much diversity as possible before they encounter it in the theater of war.” (Where that ‘diversity’ can really kick them in the ass.)

“Over the three-day trip, the cadets spent the night at the Islamic Center, witnessed Islamic prayer, and went to several churches in the area,” continues the narration.

(Of course, they can just as easily witness Islamic prayer when it occupies New York’s Union Square during the Muslim festivals, and no one can say or do anything but avert their eyes from the future that’s on display.)

“This trip is really all about accepting diversity and being willing to learn about different groups of people,” begins West Point Cadet Megan Kelty (gee, we don’t usually have any of that going on in this country). “Seeing how everyone interacts with one another is very interesting to me and I’m particularly interested in some of the religious diversity too.”

No kidding. What an original. This one gets an A for absorption. She may even become a candidate for conversion, which the U.S. Military encourages, even building extra mosques as an extra hint.

It turns out this was the eighth time that Jersey City has hosted West Point cadets, indicating this may have started about 2004, which would be around the time that the post-9/11 boomerang effect started taking shape, in a phenomenon described last year by historian Srdja Trifkovic: ‘…a kind of psychological jiu-jitsu…capitalized on by such accredited victims as the gay rights movement and Islam, both of which turned what should have been great moral vulnerabilities — respectively, AIDS and 9/11 — into powerful ideological weapons, namely ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia.’”

“There were communities that questioned whether or not a program like this could succeed in a post-9/11 world,” Major Andrew A. Gallo tells the reporter. “The community here has proven that it definitely can.”

Note the stilted speech of all the military personnel who speak in the video, talking around the obvious. Something not being said, something unaddressed hangs in the air. This is of course very familiar to those of us who come from places where the same sort of “re-education” process was long-standing; you learn to speak this way to survive. It eventually develops into an art form, one described rather masterfully (if memory serves) by David Remnick in a chapter called “The Double Talkers” in his book Lenin’s Tomb.

The West-Point-Goes-to-the-Mosque video cleverly opened with priests performing for the cadets in a church, rather than with imams at a mosque, to catch you in an assumption as well as to buttress the officially intended impression that this was an ecumenical exercise, and not just about fostering love and understanding for Islamic culture. But the church part of the trip was mere window-dressing; after all, church-visiting probably wasn’t on the West Point curriculum prior to 9/11, so what do churches have to do with 9/11? It’s all about the Islam.

While the cadets may be looking at a live case of co-existence in New Jersey, I’m not sure what relevance it has to the places where they’ll be deployed, where they won’t see much co-existence, desire for co-existence, or even the bumper stickers that remind us to co-exist (which these other places could use a lot more). Indeed, the only real-world benefit of the church part of the field trip is getting to know Christianity as if from a museum: to experience something of the past, something on its way out, in this case the religion they’ll be helping the Muslims clear out, as the U.S. has made happen in Lebanon, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Egypt, Syria and virtually every other place it’s touched.

The face of the new “American” soldier will probably have a headscarf or turban above it:

U.S. Army uniforms to include Muslim headscarves, turbans?
Islamic groups tied to international jihad continue to infiltrate American military
(Dec. 23, 2011)

So who, then, will be the new enemy?

Us, of course.

And if you’ve got a problem with this strange new “American Way,” then you just might be apprehended on suspicion you’re a terrorist, given that patriotism is the new terrorism:

Homeland Security on guard for ‘right-wing extremists’
Returning U.S. military veterans singled out as particular threats


Joe Biden likened tea partiers to terrorists;

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff orders military to purge all training material of truth about Islam: “[T]he result of this totalitarian thought control and war on the truth will be a U.S. military and intelligence apparatus that is ignorant, complacent, and wholly unequipped either to spot jihad threats or deal with them…”;

No mention of Islam in official Ft. Hood Report

In related developments from around the time of the West Point video:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s defense attorney, Cheryl Bormann, wore a hijab in the courtroom and asked prosecutors to have all women in the courtroom dress modestly out of respect for the five defendants. Former SNL comedian John Lovitz dissed the president over his tax views, and bimbo talk show host Dr. Drew Pinsky called it a threat. A Marine was discharged for an opinion.

Blair: I Know Nothing of KLA Organ Claims (Balkan Insight, Fatmir Aliu, June 19)

One of the most vocal supporters of NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, Britain’s Tony Blair says he heard nothing about organ harvesting by KLA rebels during the conflict with Serbia.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that during his time in office he heard nothing about organ harvesting allegations in relation to the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, during the Kosovo war.

“I never heard of organ harvesting and cannot comment on it,” Blair said in Pristina, when asked about the Council of Europe report in 2010.

This alleged that a criminal network linked to Hashim Thaci, now Kosovo’s Prime Minister, executed kidnapped civilians and sold their organs after the 1999 Kosovo war.

As Prime Minister of Britain, Blair was one of the most vocal supporters of NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999…. [In which case, why is it surprising that he wouldn’t have heard anything about it?]

“I saw first hand what happened here and I did what I could with others to make things better,” he recalled. [Which means that all he can do is make things worse.]

Blair, who visited Kosovo on Monday, said the country had made progress since the end of the conflict, and deserved wider recognition.

“Kosovo is a fact. Even if some countries may be slow in recognizing it, Kosovo is a fact…” [It’s also, uh, f*cked.]

Blair was in Kosovo to launch two new programmes as part of his Faith Foundation’s work, and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Kosovo’s government.

He also signed partnerships with Kosovo’s Public University and the American University of Kosovo, aimed at helping understanding of the role that religion plays in society.

Blair met local leaders, including the Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, and the EU Integration Minister, Vlora Citaku.

“We bow to you, with a great recognition for what you did for the freedom of Kosovo,” Hoxhaj said.

“We express our greatest gratitude to hundreds, thousands of British soldiers, who prevented our physical liquidation and contributed a lot for Kosovo,” he added. […]

The only reason to run an article like this is to cast doubt on the already long suppressed story of the KLA killing people for their organs. But why would anyone give weight to what a head of state did or didn’t hear about the picture on the ground? The KLA went to great lengths to conceal its operations. And it got help concealing it from the NATO and UN people who couldn’t afford this public relations disaster. So if the information wasn’t acted on and was contained, why does it mean anything that a head of state wasn’t made to know about it either? All the article does is reaffirm the blackout on entire grisly chapters of the most suppressed war story in recent memory.

Of course, the writer is Albanian Fatmir Aliu, whose motivations for his Albanian-shilling we just discussed a few days ago.

Anyway, having established this figurehead’s ignorance, we’re then supposed to listen to his opinion on the region with any weight? Moments after it’s been proved worthless? If anything, the article tips off even those who don’t know anything about the conflict that if Blair didn’t know much about the organ-harvesting funding the KLA, there’s a lot else he might not know about, and got wrong — including his judgment to get into that conflict.

Indeed, it appears Tony Blair isn’t much less air-headed than the actors who have portrayed him. And it seems that wars are utilized by politicians and journalists alike for their own glory –mere vehicles for their own careers, given how divorced, disinterested, and often bemused they are a few years later when confronted with subsequent revelations about the very conflict off which they got a Pulitzer or a place in history.

[A]n amazing scene I witnessed one night in the autumn of 1999 while watching CNN. The Clintons were in Kosovo…sitting and chatting with a refugee child. Television cameras were burring away, but then a print cameraman leaned down with his Nikon. Bill Clinton noticed him — I saw it. And at that point he moved his head close to the first lady’s, so that their heads touched as they looked soulfully, together, at the poor children. It was — there is no other phrase for it — cringe-making.

– Peggy Noonan, The Case Against Hillary Clinton

Politicians, like journalists, are egomaniacs, who search for a vehicle through which to leave their mark and attain prominence. This is why actors, singers and other artists are actually superior to politicians and journalists. They channel their egos into something creative, which doesn’t play with the world as if a chessboard, wreaking havoc and destruction in their wake. An egomaniac’s vehicle should always and only be the arts, not statecraft, religion or journalism.

Meanwhile, if the reaction of Kosovo officials over the past two years since the Council of Europe’s organ report came out sounds genuinely indignant and unknowing, recall this line from an article in the May-June 1999 issue of Foreign Affairs, by The NY Times’ Chris Hedges: KLA leaders are “given to secrecy, paranoia, and appalling mendacity when they feel it serves their interests, which is most of the time.”

One also notes that on the day of Blair’s arrival in Kosovo to sign a partnership between his Faith Foundation and the American University of Kosovo — June 18th — a typically strange Kosovo death was downgraded from homicide to suicide: The director of Kosovo’s privatization agency, who “was associated with several controversial deals…including the expropriation of land for a new campus for the American University in Kosovo,” seems to have stabbed himself 11 times:

Asanaj murder raises Kosovo questions
(June 14)

Kosovo privatisation head took own life - autopsy (Jun 18)

The head of Kosovo’s state privatisation agency mortally wounded himself by stabbing himself 11 times and was not murdered as initially thought, Kosovo and European Union justice officials said on Monday.

Dino Asanaj, 55, was found in his office on Thursday with stab wounds and was rushed to hospital, where he died hours later due to severe blood loss.

The autopsy report has been met with some scepticism in Kosovo media that a person could self-inflict so many wounds.

But a Western official close to the investigation told Reuters that there were no “defensive wounds” on Asanaj’s body of the kind that would be expected had he tried to protect himself from an attacker. [No chance he was restrained, is there? Especially given that the linked report (above) for some reason uses the plural term “unknown assailants.”]

Asanaj ran the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo, in charge of selling state-owned companies. He was also a successful businessman who built a new residential development of more than 100 luxury houses in the suburbs of the capital Pristina.

Out of nowhere, on Aug. 1st appeared a seemingly out-of-place news item in the UK Jewish Chronicle, delivering a stale and inaccurate bit of information concerning Alex Cvetkovic, the subject of my Algemeiner article this week:

Israel Approves Extradition of Serb Wanted for Srebrenica Massacre

An Israeli court has ruled that a Bosnian Serb should be extradited to face trial for war crimes during the Srebrenica massacre.

Aleksandar Cvetkovic is wanted for his involvement in the 1995 atrocity, which saw more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by the Serbian Republic Army.

Cvetkovic has a Jewish wife and gained Israeli citizenship after he moved to the country five years ago.

But in January the 42-year-old was arrested following an extradition request from the Bosnia and Herzegovina government. He has until the end of the month to appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court.

Small things first: Serbian Republic Army? It’s actually the Bosnian-Serb Army. And it’s “Serb Republic,” not Serbian Republic, which would imply that something is of or within Serbia.

Stranger, though, was this outdated update suddenly appearing at this time. Observe the last line: “But in January the 42-year-old was arrested…He has until the end of the month to appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court.”

The January that Cvetkovic was arrested in was January 2011. And it was after his August 2011 hearing that he had “until the end of the month to appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court.” As we know, his appeal is already in progress, and the Supreme Court is poised to rule on it.

Knowing now that whoever is behind this Jewish Chronicle lacks basic journalistic skills, I was intrigued and looked found and found the following Aug. 2nd article:

The Muslims Who Admire Israel

There are not many Muslim politicians in the world who openly admire Israel. In fact, Emir Suljagic, an author and former member of the Bosnian Social Democratic party, may just be in a minority of one.

To understand why, one word helps above all others: survival. Mr Suljagic evaded death during the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in July 1992 thanks to a piece of good fortune that echoes many near-miss tales from the Holocaust.

Well the first reason he may have evaded it in 1992 is that the supposed massacre didn’t happen until 1995. So again, these people can’t even get the year right. And notice that no editor or reader caught the error. One merely had to go back to the previous inaccurate article — from just the day before — and compare years, as that one did have “1995.”

When he was 17, he fled the ethnic cleansing taking place in the Drina Valley and took refuge in Srebrenica. As the town fell to Serb forces and the round-up of Bosniaks began, Mr Suljagic encountered none other than the Serb general, Ratko Mladic.

Mladic asked Mr Suljagic who he was, upon which he produced his identity card. The general looked at the card and let him go, only because was a UN-employed translator.

Yes, let’s take Mr. Suljagic at his assumption that this was the “only” reason Mladic didn’t just snuff him out right there. (Though one wonders what the reasons are for the thousands of other Muslims Mladic didn’t kill. They couldn’t all have been 17-year-old translators.)

In his book, Postcards from the Grave, Mr Suljagic wrote of his bemusement at having been spared, a clear case of survivor’s guilt and one that can be found in the accounts of many who lived through the Holocaust. Most other members of Mr Suljagic’s family were killed.

Under what circumstances, we’re not told.

Today, Mr Suljagic speaks with the lexicon of a survivor. While he stresses that what happened to the Jews during the Second World War was on a scale far beyond the attempt to wipe out Bosnia’s Muslims [which, if that had happened, would have been on a scale far beyond a few thousand dead Muslim soldiers, which is what “Srebrenica” actually was], Srebrenica has become the symbol of a long battle for the survival of a people and, just as that struggle is not over for Israelis, nor is it over for Bosniaks.

“Like Israel, we are a small group in a hostile environment. Like Israel, our neighbours would be happy if we ceased to exist. We are still fighting. Look at the recent comments of the Serbian president, Tomislav Nikolic, who denied that a genocide was committed in Srebrenica,” he said.

Projection, anyone? Bosnia’s Muslims are the at-risk group even as they breach the Dayton agreement and impose their religion on the Catholic Croats and Christian Serbs? [See links below about education curricula in Sarajevo, and Sir Alfred Sherman’s piece.] It’s the Bosnian-Muslim hostility that has Croats and Serbs alike wanting to secede from fast-Islamicizing Bosnia. And no one is talking about the Muslims ceasing to exist, or else Muslims and Serbs wouldn’t be bringing Ramadan and Christmas trays over each other’s houses — as many more were doing before the West ‘helped.’

…The relevance of the Holocaust for the Bosnian Muslim public was apparent at last month’s memorial to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

New York Rabbi Arthur Schneier, whose entire family was murdered at Auschwitz, was invited by the Grand Mufti of Sarajevo to speak at the event.

When I wrote about this tool’s visit to the memorial last month, I hadn’t realized he’d been invited by the Islamo-supremacist Mufti Mustafa Ceric himself. I would have spent an extra page making fun of this “rabbi” if I had known that. Ceric is friends with the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah — who in March issued a fatwa that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” The two are fixtures at “interfaith” and “cultural” “dialogues” that Muslims use to further their ambitions over infidels. It’s significant that the chief imam of the “moderate” Bosnian Muslims has such friends, all the while being welcomed by gullible Westerners on his tours visiting synagogues and churches here.

“I personally know the pain that you have endured and that you continue to suffer. I am a survivor of the Holocaust,” he told the audience.

“The reaction was unbelievable,” he said, adding that the Muslim crowd mobbed him after the speech.

Of course they did. He just gave them what they’ve been hankering for: equating the deaths of their Islamic fighters with the Jewish Holocaust.

For those who are having difficulties understanding Israel, the story of Bosnia’s Muslims should be recommended reading.

Yes, take it from a publication that doesn’t know its ass from its elbow in the Balkans, on how to view Israel vis-a-vis Bosnia. Self-hating Jews much?

Then again, they’re also Brits. So they’re predisposed to Muslim-love and self-destruction.

The judgment of the Jews behind this rag is seriously in question before we even start, given their fascination with Bosniaks — and their credulousness toward Balkan-Muslim shills. It’s precisely when there’s such a historical and intellectual void that Islam rushes in to fill it. And so we have the next set of duped Jews.

Here’s where things get even stranger. The mufti whom Suljagic stumps for here — Ceric — is the same man who forced Suljagic out of his job as provincial minister of education in March. Having tried to make religious instruction classes optional (thus endangering the sinecures of hundreds of imams), he resigned after his mother got a live bullet in the mail, from the peace-loving, multi-culti Bosnian Muslims. Gee, Suljagic, whatever you need to tell yourself about Mladic and Serbs to make bearable the cognitive dissonance of your existence. Here is an item about the threat:

A bullet for Suljagić, an award for Cerić (Osservatorio balcani e caucaso, Andrea Rossini, March 20)

After a death threat last month, the Minister of Education in the Sarajevo canton resigned. Emir Suljagić’s offence was to have proposed that the mark for religion should not count (towards the average) in the schools of the canton, so as not to discriminate against those students choosing not to study it at school. His proposal set off furious reactions….One of his chief antagonists was the powerful head of the Islamic community in Bosnia Herzegovina, the Reis-Ulema Mustafa Cerić who today in Rome will receive an important award for his contribution to Peace.

Emir Suljagić is one of the few [sic: many] Bosnian Muslims to survive the siege and fall of Srebrenica. Having taken refuge in that town in Eastern Bosnia at the start of the war, he became an interpreter for the UN forces, thanks to the fact that he spoke English. He was the youth seen in the film at the Hague tribunal as he translated for the meeting between Mladic and the leader of the Dutch forces after the town had fallen…The author writes of the ferocity of the siege, of the crimes committed by the Bosnian Serb army and of the genocide. But Suljagić does not avert his gaze from the crimes committed by his “own people” — he describes the exploitation, misappropriations and corruption which prevailed in a town subject to the discretion of its military leaders…After the war, as a journalist, Suljagić covered the trials in the Hague Tribunal. Finally he entered politics, with the Social Democrats, becoming a Minister in January 2011.

“Leave Allah and his religion alone, or the hand of the faithful will strike you.” This was the message Suljagić found in an envelope in his letter box last February 8. Inside there was a 7.32 calibre bullet. Already the previous year his proposal to reduce the weight given to religion in schools had roused strong reactions leading him to offer his resignation. His Party (SDP) colleagues, however, at the head of the Sarajevo Canton, had given him their support and convinced him to remain. This time, though, he was alone and, after such a serious threat, decided to give up.

Criticism of his position came mainly from the leader of the Bosnian Islamic community, Reis-ulema Mustafa Cerić. In May last year, in a particularly biting speech to 30,000 faithful at Blagaj, Cerić attacked the Minister’s proposals, warning that the Muslims would take to the streets and create a “Sarajevo summer”…affirming that “the schools are ours” and condemning “those who want to do in Sarajevo what had been done in Srebrenica”, that is genocide. [NOTE: So a non-privileged, non-supreme status for Muslims in education is equivalent to the Srebrenica “genocide.”] In the same speech Cerić accused Vera Jovanović, President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia Herzegovina, who had backed Suljagić, of “hatred” towards Muslims. [NOTE: Being anything but Muslim is considered hatred toward Muslims. We learn further down that his objection to Jovanovic is that she’s Serb, not that she’s “anti-Muslim.”]

Following this, the Minister and his family had started to receive threats and hate mail. The episode of the bullet was the last of a long series. In his letter of resignation published on the Canton government website, Suljagić wrote, “those who hide behind religion to threaten me and my family use (religion) to keep the power and privileges they illegitimately acquired.”

After his resignation was announced, slogans appeared on the walls of the capital in favour of the Minister. The most frequent phrases, reported in the local newspapers, were, “We are all Emir”, “Dignity instead of ministerial posts” and “Beware of bullets”. A large banner stated that Suljagić was not “Minister for Obscurity” as he had been defined by a well-known Bosnian daily paper, but “the Minister for the teachers and their pupils” (Oslobodjenje, 14 February). In mid February in Sarajevo, some hundreds of people, including many teachers, took part in a demonstration in support of Suljagić. But the Minister did not go back on his steps. Some say he had already left the country.

…The signatories of the petition [against giving Ceric the Italian award]…describe Cerić as “a person who spreads hatred and intolerance on the basis of religion and one of those responsible for the radicalisation of believers in Bosnia Herzegovina”.

The President of the Foundation, Paolo Ducci, has however declared to OBC that “arguments and diatribes concerning the internal situation in Bosnia do not come into, and must not come into, the evaluation by the scientific committee (of the Foundation) which is restricted to the contribution made by Cerić at the international level as the promoter of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue”. President Ducci also recalled the considerable recognition already awarded to Cerić in an international context and his participation in important initiatives like the International Commission for Peace Research and the World Council of Religions for Peace.

In other words, when we have the luxury of local evidence demonstrating that a Muslim leader is fooling us Westerners, classify it as “irrelevant,” since it gets in the way of our being fooled. Then cite other useful idiots he’s fooled, to justify the continuing charade.

Earlier that March, a few days before Ceric’s friend Mufti Aziz issued his anti-church fatwa, this item related to the above appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Piccolo:

Bosnian Grand Mufti Ceric is No Peacemaker and Should Not receive Ducci Foundation Peace Prize (by Stefano Giantin, March 6)

The decision by Italy’s Ducci Foundation to award Grand Mufti Cerić its peace prize for his contribution to reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina has sparked a wave of protests from those opposed to his divisive and provocative statements.

…A prominent Italian institution, the Ducci Foundation, has decided to honour him for his “contribution to peace and reconciliation” by granting him its peace prize next March, at Rome’s Campidoglio. But there is a setback – according to some Bosnian human rights activists, Cerić is nothing less [than] a fundamentalist, hidden under a fake image of tolerance.

This was repeated for Il Piccolo by Refik Hodžić, an influential activist for human rights and a leading documentary film-maker. Cerić “has been and is playing an increasingly important political role among Bosniaks, that often surpasses that of any politician”, explains Hodžić. “He is perfectly aware of that power and uses it often…in the continuation of wartime-like discourse of division and mistrust between Serbs and Bosniaks. Cerić…[portrays] Bosniaks as constantly under threat of repression and physical elimination, drawing on the suffering they endured during the nineties, and the Islamic Community and himself as their sole defenders”, illustrates the activist.

The actor, Fedja Stukan – one of the performers in Angelina Jolie’s latest movie, “In the Land of Blood and Honey” – is also fighting against the decision of the Ducci Foundation. Stukan, a Bosniak like Hodžić, is promoting an online petition to ask for the award to be revoked. Why? “Cerić has two opposite faces. One is his foreign policy, where he is a peace-preaching, and a peace-prize-winning Muslim leader. But in his own country, he is promoting everything but peace. He invites Muslims to hate the “godless”, and threatens them, very directly and publicly, with violence…

According to Stukan, several NGOs were threatened by Cerić, “such as the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, and the CNA (Center for Non-Violent Action), that put a real effort into reconciling war veterans from all three sides. These NGOs were publicly marked as ‘Islamophobic’”, continues Stukan. In this way, Cerić “gives an open hand to his followers to attack, and that is exactly what happened a few years ago, when there was an attempt to organize a Gay pride parade in Sarajevo. All guest[s] and organizers were brutally beaten”.

Cerić is surely not the only culprit for increasing ethnic tensions in the country, “but his public statements around the issue of religious education in Sarajevo Canton – a decision was made by the cantonal government to make religious education a non-binding subject in primary school, currently it is on par with maths, language and science – overstepped the mark”, clarifies Hodžić. “He publicly threatened violence unless the decision was withdrawn, saying that the government will have a ‘Sarajevo Spring’ on its hands unless it backtracks, and publicly berating the head of Helsinki Committee of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Vera Jovanovic”. She was speaking about the government’s decision in the context of human rights, but according to Cerić, “she had no business interpreting what Bosniak human rights are, as she serves the interests of Belgrade and those intent on destroying Bosniaks. This supposedly because she has a Serb name”. Although complaints about hate speech were made by several NGOs, no measures were taken against him at the time.

But who is Cerić really? A “radical”, as many activists state, or “the most liberal Grand Mufti in the world”, as his supporters depict him? “Grand Mufti Cerić’s call for Islamic Sharia law to be incorporated into Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitution is one of the most divisive and illiberal statements of recent times; drawing sharp criticism, even from many moderate Bosniaks. In addition, prior to the terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Sarajevo last October, Cerić had failed to take sufficient steps to stem the growing influence of Wahhabism in Bosnia. Such instances severely weaken Cerić’s supposed liberal credentials”, explains Ian Bancroft, a commentator for The Guardian on Balkans and co-founder of TransConflict, an organization undertaking conflict transformation projects and research.

In relation to the peace award, Bancroft’s opinion is unambiguous: “As with Mufti Zukorlic in neighbouring Serbia, Cerić has too often undermined the separation of politics and religion. The latter has a key role to play in bridging inter-ethnic divides, but has instead often been employed for political ends. The influence of religion over Bosnia’s governing institutions continues to blight the prospects of sustainable peace. Rewarding [Cerić] will therefore be interpreted as a victory for those opposed to secularism”.

In the meantime, in Rome, an echo of the controversy reached the Ducci Foundation. “We based our decision for conferring the Peace prize on the judgment of our Scientific Committee…” declared Ambassador Paolo Ducci… “Grand Mufti Cerić is otherwise a member of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and last year received the UNESCO Felix Houphouet-Boigny peace prize, together with Cardinal Etchegaray”, he adds.

[Stukan] promises…he will not give up in his fight, despite the heavy daily threats he is receiving.

“WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ANNUAL MEETING 2009 - DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 30 JAN ‘09 - Lord Carey of Clifton (VLTR), Archbishop of Canterbury (1991-2002), UK, Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, UK, Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jim Wallis, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer, Sojournes, USA, captured at the press conference ‘Religious leaders call for the peace in the middle east’…”

One can only shake her head that the Suljagic article and the Cvetkovic item come to us from supposedly the same London Jewish Chronicle that on September 2, 1994 knew at least this much:

‘Sarajevo Jews Arrested’

Sarajevo Jews have been hit by an apparent campaign to discredit the community and its leaders, the JC learned this week.

Communal leaders contacted by telephone said police had arrested and interrogated a number of Sarajevo Jews, some of whom hold dual Bosnian-Israeli citizenship. They were later released. Police also reportedly seized passports and communal documents.

Local Jewish leaders are viewing the police action with grave concern — especially since the Jewish community has strived to maintain the trust of all parties in the conflict, providing humanitarian assistance to whoever needed it.

The campaign reportedly began on July 14, when a car with four Jewish passengers was searched and its occupants detained for “informative talks.” Later, the vice-president of the community, Danilo Nikolic, was reportedly held for five days, during which he was interrogated 10 hours a day. Sonya Elazar, head of a Jewish women’s organisation in Sarajevo, and the niece of the late Lieutenant-General David “Dado” Elazar, the Israeli chief of staff during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, has also been questioned.

Ivan Ceresnjec, president of the Sarajevo community, said the police seemed intent upon establishing that Jews had been conniving with the enemy. “They are trying to discredit leading persons in the community. We are a totally unpolitical organisation,” he said.

Mr. Ceresnjec said allegations by Bosnian officials that Jews were acting against Bosnian national interest were “totally unfounded. We are helping civilians on all sides. All parties have expressed their gratitude for what we are doing. We have been literally risking our lives to save lives,” he said.

Is it really the same Jewish Chronicle that published the late Sir Alfred Sherman, close adviser to Margaret Thatcher, on Sept. 30, 1994 with this:

…Shortly before his trip to Washington in a bid to work out common policy with the US Administration, President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia visited Zenica, de facto capital of Bosnia’s Muslim heartland.

His purpose was to carry forward arrangements for the re-imposition of sharia — Islamic law — in the republic. This would restore unified religious authority such as existed in Ottoman days.

Among measures proposed are the restoration of polygamy, which existed before Bosnia’s incorporation into the Yugoslav monarchy in 1918 (to be limited to a maximum of three wives per man); the criminialisation of marriage of Muslim women to non-Muslim men (the reverse is permitted); and the prohibition of alcohol.

Western media reports of the war in the former Yugoslavia have led us to believe that a majority of Bosnian Muslims were always enlightened and Westernised. Journalistic gullibility apart, this was a half-truth at best.

True, some middle-class Muslims wanted to fit into the secular-cum-Christian world of Yugoslavia. But Mr Izetbegovic’s minority government was backed by a fanatical and brutal militia, and thousands of militants from abroad, in alliance with that section of the old Communist Party which chose to stay put. Heterodox Muslims — or Yugoslavs of Muslim descent, as some put it — had the choice of joining the bandwagon, keeping their own counsel, or leaving, whether for Serbia, as thousands have done, or abroad. The changed world balance-of-power has meanwhile encouraged the Muslim leadership in Bosnia to press for a fully Muslim polity, and for maximalist territorial ambitions, now evidently supported in Washington and Bonn.

Discerning support in Washington for Muslim claims on the former Sanjak of Novi Pazar…Mr Izetbegovic is working actively to create a “Green Corridor” from Bosnia through the Sanjak to Kosovo. [As in Islamic green.]

This would separate Serbia from Montenegro and Greece and facilitate Albanian pressures on Montenegro and Macedonia, with their Albanian minorities, many of them illegally resident there.

With US support, Germany is in effect fostering this Islamistan, and developing increasingly close working relations with Iran, whose rulers are keen to establish a European base for their politico-religious activities.

By contrast, Washington is keen on involving its NATO ally Turkey, which has been moving away from Ataturk’s secularist and Western stance back to a more Ottomanist, pan-Muslim orientation, and is actively helping the Muslim forces.

Mr. Izetbegovic is mooting mass immigration of Turks into Bosnia from Anatolia. This would strengthen the new Muslim state’s demographic and military base for further rounds against the Serbs, and also against the Bosnian-Hercegovinan Croats.

Muslim-Croat collaboration suits Croatian President Tudjman, whose hatred of the Serbs virtually excludes other considerations.

In the opinion of Croats, and many Serbs, the root of the present conflict lies in the creation by the late Yugoslav leader, Tito, of a separate Muslim nationality, a regression to the system which had operated under Turkish rule.

So long as Islam is treated as a nationality in the former Yugoslavia, multi-faith, polyethnic entities are ruled out by the Muslim leadership’s drive to restore the sharia.

The Serbs and Croats, whether believers or not, wish for a more or less secular state in which religion is depoliticised and seen mainly as a private matter, permitting religious pluralism in areas where various religious groups cohabit.

In the Bosnians’ and world Muslim view, however, God’s hand is working on their behalf. Their diplomatic backing and their multi-million-dollar public relations campaign in America and Europe have left the Serbs as isolated as the Czechs at the time of Munich.

Why, oh why, is such historical amnesia — even of history as recent as the 90s — reserved for the Balkans, and always at the expense of the Serbs?

Even as early as 1992, London Jewish Chronicle was publishing Sherman’s warnings, as the Serb-American scholar Srdja Trifkovic reminded us in his Sherman obituary in August 2006:

As early as 1992, writing in London’s Jewish Chronicle, Sherman warned against the lapse of logic in confusing the present plight of Bosnian Muslims with that of European Jewry under Hitler. “It does us no good…when third parties in their own interests take the name of our martyrs in vain; Bosnia is not occupied Europe; the Muslims are not the Jews; the Serbs did not begin the civil war, but are predictably responding to a real threat”:

“Some years ago, I, among others, warned that, whatever the logic of establishing Yugoslavia in the first place, any attempt at hurried dismemberment, particularly along Tito’s internal demarcation lines, would lead to armed conflict, self-intensifying bloodshed and floods of refugees . . . Since 1990, the independent Croatian leadership — with its extreme chauvinist and clericalist colouring — and the Bosnian Muslim leadership — seeking, in its Islamic fundamentalist programme, to put the clock back to Ottoman days — have threatened to turn the Serbs back into persecuted minorities… The Serbs cannot forget that, in living memory, the ‘Independent Croatian State,’ set up by Hitler in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, massacred close on half of the Serbian population — which was then the largest of the three communities in Bosnia — and as many Jews as it could lay hands on . . . If there is any parallel with the Holocaust, it is the martyrdom of the Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, who account for a third of the Serbian nation.”

Both the Croatian and Muslim leaderships enjoy support and encouragement from Germany, Sherman noted, and from militantly Islamic governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, though Serbian refugees from Croatia and Bosnia outnumbered Croatian and Muslim refugees combined, the media virtually ignore them:

“It reminds one of the late 1930’s, when most of the British press demonised the Czechs at Downing Street’s behest, denouncing them as a threat to European peace and for ill-treating their peaceful German Sudetenland minority; ‘Herr’ Hitler, by contrast was held up as a reasonable man . . . It is almost invariably the innocent who suffer in war. But that does not equate them with victims of the Holocaust, any more than being a Jew automatically qualifies one to pronounce on Yugoslavia. This needs to meet the Serbs’ legitimate claim to self-rule with religious and cultural freedoms, otherwise they will go on fighting even if the whole world is mobilised against them . . . This will not be achieved so long as European Community foreign policy is made in Bonn, whose agenda entails the reversal not only of Versailles, but also of the post-1945 settlement.”

Almost a decade ago, well before Iraq and 9-11, Sherman saw that Washington had “set up the cornerstone of a European Islamistan in Bosnia and a Greater Albania, thus paving the way for further three-sided conflict between Moslems, Serbs and Croats…Far from creating a new status quo it has simply intensified instability.” The U.S. may succeed in establishing its hegemony…“but it will also inherit long-standing ethno-religious conflicts and border disputes without the means for settling them.”

First, let’s hear from a good freund, since there were some themes in Michael Freund’s Jerusalem Post article last week, “Serbia Lost and Found,” which bear emphasizing:

Imagine a country with a long and proud history that is regularly vilified by the international press. It faces mounting pressure to concede its ancient heartland and turn its back on a central part of its cultural and spiritual heritage.

Surrounded by numerous foes, in a region where ancient hatreds run deep, this diminutive but intrepid people perseveres, standing firm on principle rather than selling out its age-old patrimony.

Now, compare this simple, clear and most evident analogy to this one from 2010, by a brainwashed Jew who nonetheless is executive editor of Commentary Magazine:

“…About 90 percent of Kosovars are ethnic Albanians — secular Muslims — demographically overwhelmed in a region where they find themselves surrounded by tens of millions of ethnic Slavs. It’s a situation some Kosovars say resembles that of Israel, surrounded by hundreds millions of often-hostile Arabs.”

He was approvingly quoting some yenta from The Miami Herald, named Frieda Ghitis, whose most recent contribution to “thinking” was titled “In the Long Run, Arab Spring Might Help Israel.”

I doubt the two would agree on much of anything else, but a theme of American “thought” on the Balkans is “Geniuses and Idiots Agree.” From geniuses on the right to idiots on the left, and vice versa, it’s a matter of faith that Serbs are aggressors and Albanians deserve some of their land.

What’s more, according to Idiot (Ghitis) and Genius (Tobin) alike, “Kosovo’s new constitution affirms the nascent country has no designs on any more territory.” Try and wrap your mind around that one as you read the daily reports of Albanian terror in Macedonia and the statements by both Albanian and American officials that Greater Albania is a reality. But what we have is two Jews cheerleading the acquisition of a SECOND Albanian state — and an umpteenth Muslim one — while Jews are made to justify having just one. It takes a genius to do this. Or an idiot.

But back to our non-Balkans-brainwashed Jew:

From the start, the relationship between Serbs and Jews was shaped by a sense of humanity. In the 14th century, Jews fleeing persecution in Hungary found refuge in the Serbian kingdom.

And even after Serbia was defeated by the Ottoman Turks in 1389 and subsequently subjugated, the Serbs nonetheless welcomed Spanish and Portuguese Jews who were exiled from Iberia a century later.

The Serbian town of Zemun, on the outskirts of Belgrade, played an important role in the Zionist movement.

Rabbi Shlomo Alkalai, an early religious-Zionist visionary, preached there in the 19th century, and a Jewish couple grew up there whose grandson, Theodor Herzl, would later alter the course of Jewish history.

More recently, during the Holocaust, Jews and Serbs found themselves the targets of their Croatian fascist neighbors, the Ustashe, who…slaughtered tens of thousands of Jews and more than half a million Serbs in an orgy of violence and terror….That sense of shared suffering is one that Serbs continue to feel towards Jews, and it underlines their strong sense of solidarity with Israel and the challenges that it faces.

This underscores the theme of Serb non-anti-Semitism. Yet perversely, accusations of anti-Semitism is something that Serbs — rather than the deadly Croatian Catholics, or Husseini’s Bosnian Muslims or the Albanian heirs and descendants of “the Skanderbeg volunteer SS division raised by the Nazis [who] took part in the…deportation of [Kosovo’s] few hundred Jews” — are made to defend themselves from. (Meanwhile, did we catch that one factoid? The grandparents of the father of Israel were Serbian citizens. So the seed for the Jews’ return to the Holy Land was planted partly in Serbia. And yet shallow American Jews presume to take the Serbs’ Jerusalem away?)

Indeed, in [an] August 3 interview I conducted with Serbian Ambassador to Israel Zoran Basaraba, which appeared in The Jerusalem Post, he highlighted what he described as “a natural affinity” between Serbs and Jews. This affinity, he believes, can serve as the basis for further enhancing ties between the two peoples.

But in order for this to happen, I believe that Israel and world Jewry must move now to embrace Serbia and to stop viewing the country solely through the lens of the Bosnian war and the Kosovo conflict.

And why are Jews viewing Serbia through Muslim eyes?

…In the coming years…Serbia’s strategic and diplomatic importance will only continue to grow. And with militant Islam actively seeking a foothold in Europe – particularly in places such as Bosnia and Albania – Serbia will undoubtedly play an increasingly significant role on the front-lines of the war on terror.

Well, it tried to do that in the 90s, when it would have had more and lasting effect, but was violently and illegally prevented by the West, to worldwide cheering. Below is an excerpt from Freund’s interview with Ambassador Basaraba:

Freund (Q): The relations between Jews and Serbs stretch back for over 1,000 years and possibly even longer…

Amb. Basaraba (A): …I recently discovered that one of the first forests planted in Israel by [Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund] – I think it was the third one – was planted in honor of King Peter of Serbia…

…Q: The recent election of Tomislav Nikolic as Serbia’s president, and the likely formation of a new, more nationalist-oriented Serbian government have led some commentators to suggest that Serbia is moving away from its pro-Western stance [I WISH!] and perhaps turning eastward. Is there any truth to this assessment?

A: I do not think so. There are a few political commentators who suggest an artificial division, as though Serbia must tilt either toward Russia or the European Union. But I do not know that there is a need for tilting, as the two are absolutely compatible with each other. Serbia’s newly elected president campaigned on a platform of joining the European Union.

Q: How will the change in Serbia’s government affect its policy toward Israel?

A: I see no difference. The new government will feel equally close to Israel as did the previous one. From my personal experience, I can tell you that when I was leaving to take up my post, the previous president spent more than an hour with me, which is rather unusual because the farewell meeting after one’s appointment is mostly a matter of protocol or formality. But in this case he personally showed great interest in the subject of relations, and I have every reason to think it will continue in this manner.

Q: What do you think of the Western media’s portrayal of Serbia? Does it treat your country fairly?

A: Often not. Very often not. Even today, there are examples, after having been treated so badly over the past 20 years – and I am not saying that Serbs are perfect – but enough is enough. In Israel, however, this is not a problem. Generally the attitude is correct, and I am happy with the way we are treated here. But the Western media is still preoccupied with the stereotypes that were created.

Q: What are those stereotypes?

A: That the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s was a fight between good and evil. They did not have a deeper understanding of the roots of the conflicts, which were seeded many years ago. Serbs also had a legitimate story, and while they did not always pursue it in the most ethical and moral level, they nonetheless had a case, and that case was certainly not addressed properly by the West or the media.

Q: And why is that the case? Why do you think the media did not present Serbia’s side more accurately and more fairly?

A: In part I blame the Serbian attitude toward the media and the lack of understanding among some political elites of how the media world works. The modern world is not about truth – it is about perceptions. And perceptions can easily be manipulated. If you do not counter that in the most appropriate way, it is easy to become a victim. But my disappointment with the media continues to this very day – it is still not very fair. The recent election of the president has already fueled some flashbacks in that kind of reporting, even though there is no reason for it. There is nothing in the record of the electoral campaign or the issues that would support any of the claims that this marks a shift in Serbia.

Q: When you look back on the events in the Balkans over the past two decades, does Serbia have regrets?

A: Sure. Having established that Israel reminds me of Serbia, I often think maybe if there had been no war and no destruction, then maybe Serbia’s level of development could have been similar to what I see in Israel. We had a relatively good educational system which could have led to an advanced hi-tech sector. And we were strategically positioned to be in the right place when Eastern Europe opened up. So God knows what could have happened!

Certainly from that point of view, I feel lots of regrets. And of course I feel lots of regret for all those who lost their lives – most of them innocent – on all sides. There were of course symbolic events that immediately attracted the attention of the world, but which also distracted the attention from the fact that there were casualties on all sides of the conflict. So in that sense, I definitely feel sorry for everything that happened. And most reasonable people throughout the former Yugoslavia feel the same.

Q: Serbia borders two Muslim-majority states: Bosnia and Albania. Is there a danger of growing Islamic nationalism and extremism in the Balkans?

Yes. And Islamic extremism is not only across the border. It is also within the borders of Serbia, and it is a very sensitive issue. When you read some of the writings of the mightiest Islamic country in the region – Turkey – you get a sense of why it is of concern for Serbia. The Turkish foreign minister writes about tying Turkish identity to Muslims in Bosnia. He writes about Turkey getting a foothold in Europe, and that touches on Serbian interests. It is a fragile situation, and when you add Kosovo and Albania, it is a combustive mix…

Bosnia in the 1990s was what Afghanistan was in the 1980s – it allowed many unsavory characters to cut their teeth, to get training, to get access to international connections and to become radicalized. The first cadre of Islamic terrorists cut their teeth in Afghanistan, and the second wave did it in Bosnia. Many of the people who are today mentioned in one kind or another of illicit activity were involved with the Bosnian war. It was supported by the most extreme groups in terms of weapons and funding. So it was difficult to understand why the West played into their hands.

Q: Kosovo has been described as the cradle of Serbian civilization and as Serbia’s Jerusalem. Much of the world has been pressing Serbia to forgo Kosovo and allow it to become independent. Israel, too, has come under similar pressure to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem and turn these areas over to the Palestinians. Do you see any parallels between the situations, and does this make your country more sympathetic to Israel?

A: This requires diplomatic nuance [laughs]. The best answer was given by a Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs study, which noted that there are many similarities in the approaches of the Palestinian Authority and Kosovar Albanian leaders. This includes delegitimization of the other side, strong PR efforts and trying to achieve something unilaterally within a given time frame.

Regarding Kosovo, the first Serbian state was formed there, and the presence of ancient churches proves the historical fact that we were there, that this was our cradle. And there are now some attempts in UNESCO to refer to these churches as Kosovo Byzantine rather than Serbian Byzantine churches. So there are many similar things. […]

Just a reminder of another special Freund article, from December 9, 2009:

Selective self-determination

Last week, hearings began at the International Court of Justice in The Hague which could prove to be of immense importance to Israel…

The question before the court is whether the province of Kosovo had the legal right to break away from Serbia…

[T]he right of self-determination is one that the Palestinians regularly invoke to justify their demand for statehood…Where this right begins, and ends, in international relations is of course hardly ever discussed. Indeed, just what exactly are its limits? For example, as a matter of principle, could residents of Brooklyn claim to be a unique nation with their own history, geography and even accent, and seek to break away from the US and form their own state? [Yes they could! And if they decide to, I’ll lend my support, citing the Kosovo precedent. The ICJ ended up ruling that ‘it’s for a state to decide if it’s a state.’]

It might sound silly, or even absurd, but where exactly does one draw the line? Perhaps Gazan Arabs can assert their uniqueness and distinction from their brethren in Judea and Samaria, and insist on separating from them as well….

That is what makes the court ruling on Kosovo potentially so significant….it could indirectly strengthen, or possibly even weaken, the Palestinian argument on this issue.

But even more compelling than all the legalities is the usual spectacle of duplicity that is on display, as various countries weigh in on the matter with what can only be described as a selective approach to self-determination.

France was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo, and it has even opened an embassy in the province’s capital of Pristina. But in Paris’ own backyard, it has proven far less amenable to the idea of self-determination when it comes to either the Corsicans or Basques, many of whom would like to be free of French rule.

Apparently, not all “rights to self-determination” were created equal.

This, too, is another reason why Israel should be following events at the World Court closely. After all, we regularly take a battering from various countries who preach to us about the need to grant statehood to the Palestinians.

They stand on principle in lecturing us about Ramallah’s right to self-rule, even as they adopt wildly inconsistent positions….However briefly, the hearings at The Hague will cast a spotlight on the hypocrisy of their stance. It behooves us to take notice, and to remind our critics of it with unflinching frequency.

* Tobin falls into my “Otherwise Intelligent” category that befits most intelligent people when it comes to the Balkans (intelligent and informed on everything but that region). He also embodies the Balkans-amnesia phenomenon, wherein things that commentators knew once, they no longer know. For example, Ann Coulter — who in 1999 went after Clinton for his Kosovo war — by 2008 had absolutely “no opinion” on Kosovo independence. She couldn’t be bothered to make a connection between Clinton’s war and Kosovo independence. The cameras had moved on from Kosovo, and therefore so did she. It’s all about face time, after all.

In Tobin’s case, after reading his 2010 garbage, I was stunned to find this article by him from May 28, 1999, not least of all by its opening, which in the end applies to him as well:

Kosovo’s Chicken Hawks and Cluster Bombs

ONE OF THE SYMPTOMS of concussions is short-term memory loss.

People who get their brains rattled around often suffer from a temporary inability to remember recent events. I wonder whether the same is true for a country. Perhaps. Even though it is the Kosovars and the Serbs and pointedly not Americans who are getting knocked around in the war that has entered its third month, most of those reporting and commenting on the war are acting as if they’ve forgotten a great deal of recent history.

Am I the only one to notice that the war in Kosovo has created some interesting paradoxes that have gone largely unnoticed?

…a recent letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent by a Jewish military chaplain…said that so long as Jews were staying away from military service, they should not be so forward about supporting a war in which their own children would not die.

The writer was wrong to single out Jews, since there are few volunteers for the service these days….But it should remind the hawks among us that somebody will have to pay for their rhetoric in blood.

The fact is, as was the case with Bosnia, the Jewish community is out in front on this issue. The cause of a new land war in the Balkans for the sake of the rights of the Kosovar Albanians has united some strange bedfellows as was illustrated by a much talked about advertisement in the New York Times on May 13. The ad was signed by a wide array of Jewish pundits, wonks and organizational types. When reliable conservative Jews like former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz and Weekly Standard publisher William Kristol join forces with certified liberals like Rabbi David Saperstein and Henry Siegman on behalf of a war, you know something is afoot. But when you throw in writers like Saul Bellow and left-wingers such as Tikkun’s Michael Lerner, something very strange is happening.

As the moment grows closer when American men and women may be sent into the Balkans to fight the Serbs and liberate the Kosovo Albanians (if indeed that is really our goal, since so far the war has done nothing to help the Kosovars except increase their suffering), it is time to think about who is pushing for a ground war.

At the top of the list is, of course, President Clinton, whose own selective service record is well known….his selective intervention in the Kosovo case while still indifferent to other human rights causes undermines his case.

Looking further down the political food chain, I was struck by a recent article in The Philadelphia Inquirer about one of the leaders of the pro-war movement in the House of Representatives, Freshman Democrat, Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel III of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In the piece titled “Vietnam War Dove Turns Into a Hawk” (May 9), Hoeffel, 48, spoke about his own active opposition to the Vietnam War. He also said it was wrong for Clinton to rule out a ground war in the Balkans. I heard him say the same thing when he addressed a recent Philadelphia meeting of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Yet, instead of getting roasted for being the 1999 model of the chicken hawk, Hoeffel has received raves. I find that curious. But more than that, I was disturbed by the capsule history of the Vietnam War that Hoeffel gave the Inquirer and his comparison of it to Kosovo, which he sees as a human-rights war.

“In my view, Vietnam was essentially a civil war driven by nationalistic forces,” Hoeffel told the Inquirer.

“We perceived a Communist threat to our national security. I don’t think that threat ever existed.” He went on to compare NATO’s war in Kosovo to “our fight against fascism in World War II.”

Hoeffel’s distorted view of both Kosovo and communism is breathtaking. If the battle between ethnic Albanians and Serbs over Kosovo isn’t “essentially a civil war driven by nationalistic forces,” then how would he describe it? Does he really think the Kosovo Liberation Army (which many of his fellow hawks want to arm) is any more attractive an ally than the government of South Vietnam? And was communism really never a threat?

And if human rights and the plight of refugees are what drives him to push for war in Kosovo, how does he view the millions of refugees that were created by America’s defeat in Vietnam? Have the “boat people” who desperately sought to escape life in a communist Vietnam with its “re-education camps” been totally forgotten?

Though the media has rightly concentrated on the plight of the Albanian refugees from Serb barbarism [sic], I also find it interesting how little interest there is in the human costs of America’s bombing campaign. A lot of innocent people are getting killed in this war by our bombs….If our cause is just, then these casualties are an unavoidable cost of war. But few Americans seem concerned about our forces’ deliberate attack on civilian targets in Belgrade.

I was particularly struck by the mention of the dropping of American cluster bombs on a village where dozens of Albanian civilians were killed. Doesn’t anyone remember the furor that was caused by Israel’s use of cluster bombs in the 1982 Lebanon war? At the time, it was treated by the press and international opinion as further proof of Israeli “war crimes,” without taking into account the context of the attacks on Israel or the use of civilian shields by the Palestinians.

And does anyone remember how outraged the world was by the Israeli Air Force’s attempt to turn out the lights in Beirut and cut off its water supply? Isn’t that exactly what NATO is doing to Belgrade? Which means that either NATO’s tactics in this bizarre war deserve closer scrutiny or Israel deserves an apology for the abuse it took.

Come to think of it, maybe the answer ought to be yes on both counts.


Aleksandar Cvetkovic

This man still faces extradition to a Bosnian-Muslim show trial as the Israeli Supreme Court weighs his appeal.

UPDATE: I’m trying to figure out which image correctly represents Alex Cvetkovic, as the photo at Algemeiner differs from this one that I found at Haaretz:

UPDATE II: OK, I’m told that the prettier picture is him when he was younger, though the facial structure looks very different.

From June: Deported criminal returned to Britain to claim his ‘right to family life’

A violent foreign criminal who illegally returned to Britain weeks after being deported has won the right to stay in this country because of his human rights. (June 17)

Alfred Kryemadhi was found guilty of wounding a man in what a judge described as a “fearsome, brutal” attack and was successfully returned to his home country of Kosovo by immigration officers.

But just a month later he slipped back into Britain and reunited himself with his wife. She subsequently obtained British citizenship for herself and her children by telling officials that she had separated from her husband - a claim now found by a judge to have been a “fundamental untruth”.

Yet Kryemadhi went on to launch legal action to stay in the UK on the basis of his children’s citizenship.

Now a senior immigration judge has ruled that his right to a “family life”, enshrined in British law, trumps the Home Secretary’s desire to deport him again, which the judge said was “disproportionate”.

It is believed to be the first time judges have allowed a foreign offender who had previously been deported to stay in the country despite re-entering illegally.

Kryemadhi, 37, first came to Britain in March 2001 in the back of a lorry. He claimed asylum on the grounds that as an ethnic Albanian in Kosovo, then under Serb control, he was at risk of persecution.

Except we know that in 2001, Kosovo had been under UN and NATO control for two years already.

Three months later he and his wife registered the birth of their first child in Portsmouth - they now have three children - but his asylum application was turned down.

Because in recent years the Brits have wised up to the “persecution by Serbs” asylum basis.

While he launched an appeal against that decision he was convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Southampton Crown Court.

The incident involved a violent row between Kryemadhi and another man over “unwanted attentions directed to his wife by the victim”.

He was jailed for 30 months in October 2002 and the Home Office began legal proceedings to have him deported. Eventually in February 2007 he was removed to Kosovo.

Just a month later he returned to Britain - it is not known how - and set up home with his family again in Portsmouth.

So while waiting for permission to stay in the country, he was unable to keep himself from almost killing someone for looking at his wife. And still it didn’t hurt him, apparently:

However, in 2008 Mrs Kryemadhi wrote to the Home Office, claiming that she and her husband were now living apart, saying that she wanted to make an application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in Britain for herself and her children.

Her ILR application was granted and she and her children were permitted to stay and now have citizenship.

In 2009, Kryemadhi wrote to the Home Office asking to stay here legally, told he was liable for detention and deportation, then appealed and lost his case.

The appeal hearing revealed the truth about his wife’s claim to have separated from him was false and concluded that she had won citizenship “by way of a fundamental untruth of which she was fully cognisant”.

It found that Kryemadhi and his wife “were prepared to lie before us to suit their own ends such that we found them unreliable witnesses” and rejected Kryemadi’s case, opening the way for deportation.

Then Kryemadhi launched another appeal which saw his barrister, Ronan Toal, claim the lower court had failed to attach importance to the fact that the children are British citizens.

He argued that under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to family life, Kryemadhi should not be deported again - even though the children’s citizenship had been granted on the basis of their mother’s “fundamental untruth”.

Lord Matthews, in the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber, ruled: “We consider that insufficient weight has been given to the status of the wife and children such as to amount to an error of law…we allow the appeal.”

At their home in Portsmouth, Mrs Kryemadhi said the family had been “lucky”.

“Neither of us feel[s] like Serbia is our home now. It’s nice to be a family now and we are grateful for the decision.”

Serbia? Is Kosovo Serbia? Are these the last two Albanians who haven’t heard that Kosovo is an Albanian “country”? So now the reason to avoid living in “glorious” Kosovo is that it’s really Serbian?

The Home Office is able to remove British citizenship if it has been obtained by deception, but the court heard this had not been done in the case of Mrs Kryemadhi and her children.

Sources said Mrs Kryemadhi’s British citizenship is now being reviewed.

So ultimately, they still may have to be shipped off to Albanian Kosovo, and then they’ll wish they did live in Serbia. Like so many Albanians have opted to do.

From a V.I.P. Daily News Report, with thanks to Liz:

Serb Attacked in Pec

In the centre of Pec, in the south of Kosovo, Milos Cukic (65), a Serb originally from this town that lives as a displaced person in Berane, Montenegro, was attacked and injured on Wednesday, electronic media reported.

Cukic arrived in Pec to see his house that the Albanians moved in. After they let him in the backyard, he was attacked by several Albanians.

Cukic said that he asked the attackers why they were beating him and they replied because he was a Serb.

He suffered several injuries in the face and the body, and was given the first aid in the hospital in Pec, after which he was
transported in the nearby village of Ljevosa.

This is a “mayor” in Kosovo. Thanks to Liz for circulating this item:

Media: Former Mayor of Kacanik’s Plan to Assassinate EULEX Prosecutors and Judge

A former president of the Kacanik municipality Xhabir Zharku planned to assassinate two EULEX prosecutors and one judge, Pristina-based press writes on Tuesday.

Zharku paid EUR 20,000 to set a bomb under the English prosecutor Maria Bamieh’s car, Koha ditore states.

Bamieh had in 2011 raised charges against Zharku for extortion; Zharku was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison on the basis of this indictment, and is due to serve the sentence.

Zharku’s intention to assassinate EULEX officials was disclosed by a witness in the proceedings of a case of a planted bomb in a café in Pristina in 2007, when two people had been killed and 11 people injured. link

The witness, whose identity is not stated, said that Zharku had paid a person EUR 20,000 to plant a bomb in the prosecutor Bamieh’s vehicle, and that he had also planned a murder of the prosecutor Mauricio Salustro and the president of the Assembly of the EULEX Judges.

Zharku is a senior official of the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) led by Hashim thaci, and had for years been a president of Kacanik municipality, at the far south of Kosovo.

Here is an item from last year on the charges, from Balkan Insight, via

Kosovo Mayor Jailed For Extortion

Xhabir Zharku

The mayor of Kosovo’s southern municipality of Kacanik, an influential figure in the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, has been jailed for three years for extortion and illegal possession of weapons.

By Lawrence Marzouk

Xhabir Zharku was found guilty of the crimes, along with three other defendants, at Pristina’s district court on Thursday.

In July 2006, Zharku, alongside Arsim Kolshi, Besnik Hasani and Nusret Cena, threatened to kill the winner in the auction of a publicly owned sheep farm unless he withdrew his bid.

The threatened man did so, allowing the second highest bidder, Kolshi, to buy the 30 hectares of land.

When police searched Zharku’s property, they found two automatic weapons, made in Iran, as well as explosives and a mortar.

Zharku, who was also mayor at the time of the offences, has been handed three years of imprisonment on the charge of extortion and given a fine of 1500 Euro on the charge of unlawful possession of weapons.

Kolshi was sentenced to three years prison for extortion and given a fine of 1500 Euro for the unlawful possession of weapons.

Besnik Hasani was sentenced to one year and two months prison and Nusret Cena was sentenced to one year and two months prison.

The prosecution was represented by an EULEX prosecutor from Kosovo’s Special Prosecution Office, SPRK.

This story will be one-sided and biased and completely subjective. Perhaps because the unbiased and the objective have left its participants…to fight for their bare lives. We will talk about places where neutrality is seen as infallibility, and nothing more is expected from neutrality than ruins and the blood from new pogroms. We wish that you memorize the faces of the people whose fate is again in the hands of the sober and the impartial — [the latter seeing] the faith of these people as a dangerous myth, and the unpleasant fact of their existence a mere mathematical mistake.

The above quote comes from the opening of a Russian documentary film dubbed in Serbian, with English subtitles. It was posted to youtube in 2008, but I only watched it now. The reader who told me about it, S.J., wrote:

It was made for Russia’s state television, but in spite of what one can hear about such stations, it’s anything but propaganda. They let victims and images do the talking. There’s also an interesting recording of a member of the British House of Lords handling weapons, and chatting with terrorists, who would under different circumstances be cutting his head off.

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