June 2013


I like to think that Stella Jatras’s letters in various Pennsylvania newspapers in some way influenced local minds there, perhaps leading to this very sound opinion that appeared last week in the anonymous “Sound-off” section of TheReporterOnline.com:

SOUND OFF: Kosovo is not a good example of a just war (June 24, 2013)

Please don’t cite Kosovo as a reason to intervene in foreign nations.

We know about Eisenhower’s belief in being wary of “the military industrial complex.” If we are concerned about human rights, we would be invading Saudi Arabia or China or Russia.

Kosovo was the heart of the Serb nation. Slobodan Milosevic, I think, was mentally unsound. He is now long gone and dead.

However, the Croats during the 1990’s were led by a Fascist named Franjo Tudjman and Croatia has a long history of brutality and Fascism. I don’t approve of American foreign policy that favored Croatia (and we even put a CIA base on Brac Island in Croatia). The Croatian regime in the 1990’s exonerated many WWII Fascists.

I think Clinton - President Clinton - wagged the dog as we say, and wanted to get the Lewinsky affair out of the picture by picking a fight with Serbia.

Should Kosovo be a separate nation? No more than Texas should be a separate nation. No more than Alaska should be a separate nation.

The Kosovo War created a lot of ill-will with Russia and with other Slavic people who saw our intervention as bullying.

Meanwhile, my husband caught this tribute to Stella on the PennLive blog of The Patriot News in Harrisburg, PA.

Remembering Stella Jatras: passionate about foreign affairs (June 23, By Deb Kiner | dkiner@pennlive.com)

Stella Louis Katsetos Jatras traveled the globe with her military husband, becoming knowledgeable of world affairs and world politics.

She had a particular passion for providing an accurate representation of the war in Bosnia.

As a career military officer’s wife, she lived in Moscow for two years, where she worked in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy. She also lived in Germany, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to more than 20 countries. In addition to the U.S. Department of State, her professional work included service with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and the Veterans Administration.

Prior to the civil war in Bosnia (1992-95), her primary interest in foreign affairs centered on the Soviet Union and the issues of the Cold War. She and her husband lectured on their experiences in the Soviet Union at the Naval War College, the Air Force Command and Staff College, and to many military and civic groups.

After the breakout of the war in Bosnia, she desired to provide the American people a more accurate view of that tragic situation than was portrayed in the media. She later expanded her commentaries to numerous foreign and domestic issues, with her letters and articles published in The Patriot-News, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a number of magazines and periodicals.

The Serbians appreciated her efforts. In September 1998, a luncheon was given in her honor in Washington, D.C., by the Serbian community of the National Capital Area. In June 1999, she was the main speaker at the 54th annual Serbian Day Celebration of Canadian Serbs in Niagara Falls, Canada. In February 2004 she was presented with a “Gramota” (formal certificate) by Bishop Artemije of the province of Kosovo and Metohija for her efforts on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox people of his diocese.

From her guest book:

“In a world so darkened as is today’s, darkened by every conceivable lie, Stella Jatras was a light and a flame of truth that was inexhaustible. … Stella Jatras was simply the best.”
– Mila Lazarevich-Nolan, Belgrade

“The exceptional talents of this magnificent woman is a great loss. She will be remembered for her devotion to the Orthodox faith and her dedication to defending oppressed people.”
– DeeDee Kelly, Omaha, Neb.

When the cameras were interested in it, so was she. But the cameras moved on, and so did she.

Reader Alex sent me a spot-on June 19th article by Coulter, about Ted Kennedy’s dream of importing the entire third world to America so as to change the electorate and have the Democrats win all the elections. But he highlighted a predictably problematic part, where Coulter exhibits uncharacteristic symptoms of being, well, typical:

AVOID THE NEED FOR SPYING USING ONE NOT-SO-WEIRD TRICK

Well, of course the government is spying on Americans! Look at the havoc caused by American citizens engaging in terrorism.

There’s “American citizen” David Coleman Headley, who conspired with Pakistani military officers to commit the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, that left more than 160 people dead.

Then there were the six “New Jersey men” who plotted a terrorist attack on the Fort Dix military base in 2007. Using rocket-propelled grenade launchers, they estimated they could kill at least 100 soldiers.

Chris Christie, then the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said surveillance tapes showed the men watching videos of Americans being killed in Afghanistan.

“(T)hey watched the blowing off of the arm of a United States Marine and the room burst out into laughter,” Christie said. “These are the types of people we are dealing with.”

The New Jersey men were named Mohamad Shnewer, Serdar Tatar, Agron Abdullahu, Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka and Shain Duka. Four were from the former Yugoslavia, one was from Turkey and one was from Jordan. All were illegal aliens. […]

Well, no, they weren’t. Unless she’s working from updated information, Tatar was a legal permanent resident, and Shnewer was a naturalized citizen. And Abdullahu came here as a poor little refugee of the Clintons’ vanity war, despite having been a sniper in it. But that’s not the big problem here. The big problem is Coulter falling for the “former Yugoslavia” euphemism, adopting that term from the MSM and bureaucratic officialdom which conceived it and which she otherwise ridicules.

For someone who likes to take shots, she sure missed a big one, given that the ALBANIANS — which is what the Dukas and Adullahu are — were the people on whose behalf her onetime favorite target, Bill Clinton, waged war against Christians. And the New Jersey plot is partially blowback from Clinton’s backwards war. Considering that the Democrats still lie about the character of, and reasons for, that war and successfully score political points, one would think Coulter might have figured out by now how to use it against them. Then again, it is the Balkans. And Coulter is American. So the Balkan hemisphere of her brain looks no different from Snookie’s.

******UPDATE******

Bosnian Radical Islamists Preparing to Join Syrian Rebels (Dalje.com (Croatia), June 26)

Nine armed and masked Bosnian radical Islamists have announced in a video message their departure for Syria to fight alongside the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, Bosnian media said on Tuesday.

The video, posted on the LiveLeak video website, showed the nine men, who identified themselves as followers of the Bosnian Salafi order, singing and in the end chanting Allahu akbar, or God is great…

The FTV television network has said earlier that a group of 52 Bosnian fighters have gone to Syria since the outbreak of fighting there, 32 have returned in the meantime and two have been reportedly killed. According to security agencies, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina travel to Syria using a well-established route through Turkey. The Bosnian authorities have not officially launched an investigation into organised departures of Bosnian Salafists to fight in Syria.

The Bosnian intelligence agency OSA has earlier warned that about 3,000 persons believed to be members of radical Islamic organisations live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

******

A sort of follow-up to the related story of Syrian “rebels” learning from the “former” KLA that we put in charge of Kosovo — and put in touch with the Syrians. And so one supposes that to U.S. officialdom, the below developments are nothing alarming. Wonderful news, in fact. After all, we organized the Syrian-Albanian note-sharing on how to win an insurgency and have an unfree “liberated” country afterwards.

Comment from American Council for Kosovo director Jim Jatras, who circulated the item below:

“Albanian Islamists”?? What? There’s no such thing!

Shouldn’t that be, “Secular, Democratic, Pro-American Kosovo Albanians Paradoxically Join Jihadists in Syria”?

Funny how US support for political and military empowerment of secular, democratic, pro-American (etc., etc.) Muslims always seems to morph into more jihadists.

Albanian Islamists Join Syrian War

Ethnic Albanians are getting more and more involved in the Syrian war as they join Syrian Islamist groups, writes Mohammad al-Arnaout. (Al-Hayat, Apr. 29)

In recent months, the “Albanian world,” which consists of five contiguous states (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro), has been increasingly interested in what is happening in Syria and the controversy over whether Albanians should go fight there.

This coincided with the growth of political Islam, which in the past few weeks expressed itself in an unprecedented way with the emergence of Kosovo’s first officially registered Islamist political party: the Islamic Movement to Unite (LISBA). [Didn’t see that coming!] It is headed by Arsim Krasniqi and supported by Sheikh Shaukat Krasniqi and a former Yugoslavian army officer, Fuad Ramiqi [who is al Qaeda-connected]. The latter made no secret of his goal to change Kosovo’s secular constitution in order to “defend the Islamic identity of Kosovo’s Albanians, who make up 95% of the population.”

[Digital Journal on March 6th reported that the party — Levizja Islamike Bashkohu — is actually “the first fundamentalist Islamist political party in the Balkans.” That is, the American-sponsored, “secular”, “nominally Muslim” Kosovo which we’re still feverishly trying to prop up as a fully-fledged state that is Muslim and pro-U.S., has the distinction — a decade-and-a-half after our “help” — of housing the region’s first official Islamist party. Digital Journal quoted a Weekly Standard article by Stephen “Suleyman” Schwartz — Muslim Kosovo’s biggest advocate and war proponent — now “warning” that “‘exponents of Saudi-financed Wahhabism and of the Muslim Brotherhood have penetrated the highest levels of the official Kosovo Islamic apparatus,’ though they are not readily welcomed by the secular population…Kosovans struggling in poverty have been paid (by Gulf-sponsored charities) to the wear the hijab or grow beards…” What was expected to happen after NATO handed Kosovo to ‘Kosovans’?]

There has long been behind-the-scenes talk that young Albanians, influenced by political Islam’s rise in Syria, are participating in the fighting there among the ranks of Islamist groups (Jabhat al-Nusra and others). [Hmm, young, Albanians. Surely they don’t see parallels in Syria to their own “no religious component” struggle in 1998-99 Kosovo?] When news emerged in November 2012 that the first Albanian martyr, Naaman Damoli, had fallen in Syria, the Kosovar newspaper Koha Ditore brought that issue to light in its Nov. 12, 2012, issue.

Koha Ditore returned to that subject in its March 13, 2013, issue when 22-year-old Mohammed Koprona became the 10th Albanian martyr to die in Syria. The story’s headline was: “Syria’s land is soaking in Albanian blood.” According to unidentified “intelligence sources,” many martyrs in Syria are Albanians from Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia (Preševo valley). But Koprona’s case was unique. During the “great exit,” he migrated with his family from Kosovo to Sweden, where he grew up in a liberal European atmosphere. [What might that great exit be? The 1999 exodus we helped the KLA stage, then relocated a bunch of them here and throughout Europe?] He suddenly fell under radical Islam’s influence [most unexpected!] and was recruited to fight with Islamist groups in Syria, where dozens of Albanians are fighting.

The intelligence sources mentioned some of the names of Albanians killed in Syria (such as Naaman Damoli from Kosovo and Moussa Ahmadi from Serbia). Others are known by their noms-de-guerre such as Abu Omar al-Albani, who was one of four Albanian martyrs. The intelligence sources also mentioned Mounir and Bahloul al-Arnaout, who were killed by the Syrian army in Qadam. The intelligence sources also revealed that the number of Albanians in Syria stands at about 140. They are fighting among the Islamist groups in northern Syria.

By publishing this information for the first time, Koha Ditore was sharply criticizing the Kosovar government led by Hashim Thaci for remaining silent as young Kosovars fight alongside Islamist groups in Syria and the effect that phenomenon has on Kosovo: These young people will return home with military experience inspired by the spirit of jihad.

[One wonders if this has anything to do with Thaci’s ‘puzzling’ silence: “Kosovo’s foreign policy toward the Arab world has recently begun to emphasize Kosovo’s Islamic character, as a means to gain support and improve bilateral relations.” After all, one needs a back-up plan, and counterweight, to U.S.-E.U. sponsorship as those annoying Western demands about democracy and human rights become too oppressively civilizing, relatively speaking.]

On April 13, 2013, the newspaper Shekulli reported…that Kosovo security sources have put their finger on two Kosovo mosques (Makovitz mosque in the outskirts of Pristina and Mitrovica mosque) that are gathering Albanians to go fight with the Islamists in Syria.

Because many local observers are accusing the new Islamist party LISBA of being involved in Syria, the paper spoke with LISBA’s leader Arsim Krasniqi, who had donated a plot of land to build the Makovitz mosque. Krasniqi denied that his party was recruiting fighters but admitted that “[fighters] are going [to Syria] on an individual basis, not as part of a group. … I support those who are participating in fighting Assad’s regime.”

There is no doubt that opening this file by Kosovar and Albanian newspapers has revealed that the secular world is worried about this phenomenon. In other words, political Islam worries “official” Islam. The latter is represented by al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, which represents the Muslims vis-a-vis the state and cares for their religious and cultural affairs. In this context, the position of al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, which is headed by Sheikh Naim Tarnafa, calls during its Friday sermons to donate money for the Syrian refugees in Turkey and elsewhere.

If the last paragraph above has it right, then the “official” Islam — headed by Naim Tarnafa (or Ternava) — is worried about political Islam. Yet we know Ternava is an ‘Islamist’ himself. Even The Weakly Standard’s Balkans expert Stephen “Suleyman Ahmad” Schwartz says so. As if he’d been sounding the warning bell all along rather than threatening reporters’ careers if they asked about jihadism in Kosovo or Bosnia, here was an article by him last year (opening, of course, with the ‘indisputable’ premise that’s meant to keep you on the pro-Albanian, anti-Slav program):

Kosovo Continues Fight Against Wahhabi Infiltration (Weakly Standard, March 19, 2012)

The great majority of Kosovar Albanians take pride in their reputation as the most pro-American Muslims in the world. Their Sunni Islam is conventional and moderate, and spiritual Sufism is a powerful force among the believers. Since 2009, however, a serious effort has been visible in the Balkan republic to turn Kosovar Islam in the direction of Wahhabism [2009? Try 1999.]….

Kosovo defines itself constitutionally as a secular state, and female students are forbidden to wear headscarves in public schools, [yes and no; see this article by Asifa Akar] with religious instruction barred from state-subsidized primary and secondary education. But anti-extremist imams and professors of Islamic theology have been physically attacked and fired from Islamic teaching at the university level.

On March 8, Kosovo saw a new front open against radical Islam, in the beautiful region of Kacanik near the Macedonian border. The town of Kacanik has special resonance for Kosovars. In 1990, Kosovo Albanians met there to adopt a constitution proclaiming their independence from a collapsing Yugoslavia. The document was memorable for bearing the Statue of Liberty on its printed cover. [Keep laying it on thick. Don’t forget to mention all the American flags everywhere or the Clinton statue, the Bob Dole Street or Hillary Square]…

That day Sabri Bajgora, a former religious instructor who had been named chief imam of Kosovo – a new position in the Muslim institutions of the republic – claimed he was attacked on the street in the capital, Pristina, by Musli Verbani, who had been removed as imam of the Kacanik mosque. Bajgora is viewed widely as a lackey of Naim Ternava, the Wahhabi head of the Kosovo Islamic Community since 2003. Ternava had invented the job of chief imam, which did not exist in the established regulations of the Islamic structure, to accommodate Bajgora.

In Kacanik the next day, a crowd demonstrated at the local office of the Islamic community, protesting against the suspension of Verbani from the Gazi Sinan Pasha mosque…Six days later, prayer in the Gazi Sinan Pasha mosque was interrupted when members of the congregation proclaimed their opposition to the ouster of imam Verbani…Two Wahhabi interlopers were arrested at the mosque, according to Kosovo police regional chief Jaser Jaha.

The Kosovars are victims of Islamist intrigue, [victims again! — as “Kosovars” can only be — but never victims of their own alliances] but are fighting back. A handful have succumbed to divisive propaganda, including Arid Uka, the convicted murderer of two American servicemen in Germany last year. Kosovars point out that those susceptible to terrorist delusions are typically loners, separated from their ethnic roots, or opportunists, like Fuad Ramiqi, a Kosovar who had served in the Yugoslav army, and was involved in the 2010 Islamist attempt to break the Israeli naval blockade at Gaza. [Here he’s inserted a disclaimer by mentioning some of the unwelcome news about Albanian terror or anti-Israelism.] But in their homeland, Kosovar Muslims continue to demonstrate their friendship for America and their commitment to an Islam without radicalism.

Schwartz goes the extra mile, quoting Albanians from the comments section:

Their attitude was, as previously during these confrontations, stated in eloquent terms by notes in the online comment sections of the Kosovo daily newspapers. [Though not as eloquent as the typical Albanian comments section calling for death to Serbs.] An individual signing as “Sadriu” wrote in the lively daily Express that the believers in Kacanik were not to blame [never!], but that the problems were caused by imams contaminated by “Arab-Turkish-Taliban culture” and forgetful of Albanian traditions. In the Kosovo newspaper of record, Koha Ditore (Daily Times), reader Rita Lumi addressed the Wahhabis as follows: “Go to the Arab world, because there is your proper place.”

The case was put most directly by readers of the sensationalist daily Bota Sot (World Today). A post by an anonymous Kosovar declared, “Musli Verbani, the imam of Kaçanik, with a master’s degree in law, was a freedom fighter [a.k.a. Serb-killer]. . . . But the officials of the Islamic Community prefer someone who is uneducated…Let the local community side with the educated imam.”

In the same site, “Danir” wrote, “Well done, imam Verbani, for being educated to a standard far above the others. Well done, for being among the first to join the war for our freedom. [No connections made between that war, and the one Albanians are now finding themselves in with radical Islam. This “freedom-fighter” is also befuddled by the Islamic phenomenon taking over.] You deserve to be a leader, unlike Bajgora and Ternava – where were they when war was raging?” [Obviously preparing for the logical conclusion of your war, Dingbat.] Other readers denounced the Wahhabi religious functionaries as corrupt and dishonest. The fight for the soul of Islam in Kosovo will continue, it seems, with great potential for positive results.

And great potential for negative ones, which Suleyman Schwartz apparently hadn’t seen coming while pushing for yet another war against Christians on behalf of Muslims in 1999. (No one misses the obvious like an expert.) Laughably, since 2006 he’s been sending up grave warnings about all this — after making it a reality. For example, here was Schwartz on Ternava the previous year: Kosovo Islam in Crisis (June 22, 2011)

… [S]ince the end of the main conflict in 1999, the country has been targeted by extremist Muslim preachers and flooded with fundamentalist literature. [How about that!] …[T]he chief Islamic cleric since 2003, Naim Ternava, has drawn considerable criticism for his encouragement of a new offensive among local Muslims in favor of Saudi-financed Wahhabism and similar incendiary doctrines. Wahhabis and other radicals, including Pakistanis, have entered these territories, bent on drawing the Albanian Muslims toward Islamist militancy. Dissatisfaction with Naim Ternava’s indulgence toward fanaticism and prejudice is a recurrent theme among Kosovar Muslims…Ternava purged the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Prishtina…replacing them with radicals. […]

That was soon followed by this one:

Moderate Clerics Purged from Kosovo Muslim Leadership (Oct. 5, 2011)

Kosovo’s top Islamic cleric, Naim Ternava, last month purged the two most outspoken anti-radical preachers from the local Sunni religious apparatus….Musliu was brutally attacked in 2009 by a gang of fundamentalist Wahhabis….[T]he conflict between a minority of radical sympathizers in the Kosovo Islamic leadership and the moderate majority of Kosovar Muslims has widened….

Next, contentious Muslim demonstrations began unexpectedly [unexpectedly?] in Kosovo, summoned by a movement called “Join!” to hold prayer sessions in public. Its leader, Fuad Ramiqi, had been involved in last year’s attempt by an Islamist flotilla to break the Israeli naval blockade at Gaza, and is associated with the Qatar-based fundamentalist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, as well as Al-Qaradawi’s academic partner, Tariq Ramadan.

“Join!” demanded the erection of a “mega-mosque” in Pristina, a city that already possesses 22 mosques. Albanian Catholics have also been the object of hate speech by a proud Wahhabi exponent, Imam Shefqet Krasniqi. …

The main effect of the contretemps has been the open description of Ternava as an “extremist” in Kosovo media. The online comment section of Express included a post signed by “Uqalija,” from rural Kosovo, warning that Ternava, the anti-Christian preacher Shefqet Krasniqi, and Ramiqi all have radical ties, and calling on the Kosovo authorities to “isolate and punish these terrorists. Tomorrow, when Kosovo is Pakistanized, it will be too late.” A writer from Pristina, identified as “Flamuri” …declared succinctly, “Once, Serbia was the enemy of the Kosovar Albanians. Now the enemy of all Albanians is political Islam … down with political Islam.”

As if that wasn’t what Chris Deliso’s 2007 book The Coming Balkan Caliphate was all about. Schwartz is still working backwards to justify a backwards policy. Only now is he worried — after he got his war — that moderate Muslims are imperiled by extremism. When it was just Christians imperiled by the ‘moderate’ Muslims, he had us help those moderates imperil them. Which in turn imperiled the moderates. As Jatras put it in his February article “Crocodile Tears over ‘Kosovo Radical Islamists in New Political Offensive‘”: “[A]bout the only one writing in the American MSM about Islamic radicalism in Kosovo is one of the strongest voices in support of Balkan Muslims…for the precise purpose of defending the myth of the intervention – which opened the door to the very influences he pretends to decry.” Back to Schwartz:

…[M]any prominent Kosovar Albanian Muslims, who now decline to speak for attribution…have said for some time that radical Islam would be a worse threat to the Albanians than their Slavic adversaries…[Really? You think?]

Sudden forgetfulness about the Serbian campaign, backed by Putin’s Russia, against independent Kosovo, and increasing religious polarization among Albanians, is deeply alarming. [Oh no! Albanians are finding they care more about life, limb and actual freedom than about their ethnic supremacy or the Serbian “oppression” ploy they justified “liberation” with. So Schwartz can’t even keep his “Kosovars” on program.] Some Albanians claim Islamist aggression is backed by Serbs avid to divide the Albanians.

Wow, so he’s not even above quoting the staple Albanian conspiracy theory: anything bad that happens to Albanians can’t be a consequence of their own actions or choices, but must be happening because the Serbs are behind it. One wonders if he’s also respectfully quoted Kosovo officials calling Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty a Serbian spy.

So now, with Kosovo’s Islamic character changing, Schwartz has taken to portraying Kosovo as a “front line against radical Islam” (precisely what Serbian Kosovo had been historically, until we had the Albanians take over), while somehow still blaming the surrounding Slavs for “tempting” radicalism in Albanians:

Kosovo borders on Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia — all Slav countries….[U]nsympathetic neighbors offer tempting opportunities for disruptive agitation in the name of fanatical Islam. This may explain why Kosovo has become, more than a decade after the NATO campaign against Belgrade, the leading Balkan battleground between traditional, local Muslim habits and the doctrines of radical Islamist interlopers…Still, Kosovo has achieved an unfortunate distinction: Early in February, its most prominent radical Islamist adherents announced the formation of the first fundamentalist Muslim political party in the Balkans, the “Islamic Movement to Unite,” or LISBA, its Albanian-language acronym…Known more generally as “Bashkohu!” or “Join!” […]

The Weakly Standard’s Balkan “expert” sounded yet another warning just last week, noting that the “pro-Wahhabi, Muslim-Brotherhood-affiliated” Ternava was a prominent participant in a Blair Foundation event last month called “A Week of Tolerance and Reconciliation.” Schwartz was good enough to notice that the week of “kumbaya” didn’t mention that which truly worries the locals now that they’ve made their bed: “the infiltration of radicalism into the highest level of the Kosovo Islamic apparatus.” He also mentioned that Ternava had just “applied for status as a veteran of the KLA, although he did not fire a shot in the 1998-99 Kosovo combat.” One supposes that means Schwartz sees Ternava as unworthy of KLA veteran status, but goes on to explain that both Ternava and his assistant Bajgora base the claim to veteran status “on their work organizing food and sanitary assistance for refugees. Ternava declared that he reported, during the war, to former KLA general staff chief Sylejman Selimi, currently Kosovo ambassador to Albania, and another former KLA commander, Sami Lushtaku, mayor of the city of Skenderaj. On June 1, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) reported the arrest of Selimi, Lushtaku, and five more former KLA members for alleged war crimes.”

Presumably, Schwartz is pointing this out to say that Ternava and Bajgora are implicating themselves via the bad company they reported to. But one puzzles at this, given that Selimi and Lushtaku et. al. were representative of Schwartz’s much trumpeted KLA. A criminal outfit waging war will, by definition, commit war crimes. And the KLA was certainly defined by them. And so, without skipping a beat, Schwartz ends by shifting the subject back to the usual object of his loathing — Slavs:

Another local concern involves the undiluted dedication of Serbian Orthodox clerics to the claim that Kosovo is part of Serbia. Kosovo has attempted to reach an agreement with Serbia on its northern border….Yet as the conference in Pec came to a hospitable end, Kosovars learned that their president, Atifete Jahjaga, had been excluded from a regional meeting of heads of state in Ohrid, Macedonia….Kosovo’s attempts at good-faith negotiations with its Slavic neighbors seem doomed….

Ah yes, those good-faith negotiations whose results were predetermined by a decade of Albanian threats of war if the one and only permissible outcome wasn’t handed over on a silver platter — all reinforced by Kosovo’s Washington patrons.

There were two further items this month about the Albanians-in-Syria phenomenon, one of them including Bosnian Muslims, Schwartz’s other proteges:

Balkan Militants Join Syria’s Rebel Cause (The Atlantic, June 10)

Several hundred Bosnian Muslims might have joined the fight against Assad’s regime.

NOVI PAZAR, Serbia — Eldar Kundakovic was fighting to free Syrian rebels from prison in May when he was killed by a hand grenade…Kundakovic came from Novi Pazar in Serbia’s mainly Bosniak Muslim region of Sandzak.

His death notice, posted on the Internet by Syrian rebels, calls attention to a growing trend: young Muslims from the Balkans are traveling to Syria to join the rebel cause.

The journey from the Balkans to the Middle East has been made by Muslims from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania.

Kundakovic’s father said that he last spoke with his son by telephone when he crossed into Syria from Turkey in late March.

Esad Kundakovic says his son immediately joined a rebel unit with about 30 fighters from Sandzak. [Sandzak being the next Balkan front that Washington has its eye on as a stick against Belgrade, which has been appeasing the Muslim parallel state there to avoid the constantly threatened “internationalization” of the problem.]

Bosnia-Herzegovina has the strongest Salafist presence in the Balkans due to aid and investments by Saudi Arabians who are members of the fundamentalist sect.

Tellingly, many Bosnian fighters in Syria have joined Al-Nusra Front.

Relatives of those Bosnians claim that Nusret Imamovic, the leader of the predominantly Salafist Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca, was their recruiter. Imamovic refuses to be interviewed about the allegations.

Salafists established themselves in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 Balkan conflict [How about that!] when foreign jihadists arrived to help Bosnian Muslims fight against Serb and Bosnian-Serb forces.

Some foreign Salafist fighters stayed in Bosnia after the war. Financial support for reconstruction also poured in from Saudi Arabian Salafists, strengthening their Balkan foothold.

What?! There’s an Islamic foothold in the Balkans?

Here was the second item this month, and notice that “jihad” appears in quotes. That’s intended to tell us — as the media and politicians told us re Kosovo and Bosnia — that just because the jihadists are plainly telling us what this is, doesn’t mean we can’t keep lying to ourselves about it.

Kosovo Muslim Embraces ‘Jihad’ in Syrian War (Balkan Insight, June 13)

A Kosovar who has fought twice in Syria’s civil war, says belief in Islamic holy war has drawn him and many other Albanians into the Middle Eastern cauldron.

S.T., a two-time veteran of the sectarian war raging in Syria, says it is not hard to get from Pristina in Kosovo to the heart of the fighting in the Middle East’s latest war.

All you need is a plane ticket to Turkey, which does not require visas from Kosovars, the 30-year-old ex-schoolteacher says.

There, volunteers cross over the porous Turkish border and join the opposition….The former English teacher in a primary school in southeast Kosovo now sports a long Islamic beard.

Sitting in a café and drinking a macchiato, he takes no notice of the Kosovo police officers sitting nearby.

“Everyone here knows that I was fighting in Syria,” says S.T. who wants to keep his identity secret from the media.

ST says he fought in the northern city of Aleppo and in Sakhur, which, according to him, is known for its brave fighters.

“It’s like our Drenica,” he said, referring to the area of central Kosovo that spawned many rebels in the past.

[Gee, that couldn’t be referring to the ’secular’ separatist ‘freedom-fighters’ known as the KLA, could it? Drenica, the birthplace of Kosovo prime minister Thaci’s now international criminal outfit.]

He says he carried a Kalashnikov into battle and fought in the front line. “…I always fought in the front line,” he maintained.

He says his reasons for joining the war were wholly religious. “I went to war because of jihad, the doctrine of holy war according to Islam, not for material reasons,” he added.

S.T. says the mosques of Istanbul act as meeting places for volunteer fighters heading towards the war zone.

In Syria, he says that he communicated in a mixture of English and Arabic.

S.T is far from the only Kosovar fighting in the Middle East.

Vedat Xhymshiti, a Kosovar journalist who reported from Syria for several weeks, c[a]me across many other Albanians who were fighting a jihad.

“In general, all the Albanians I met had joined the war for the same reason; jihad, holy war,” he said.

Xhymshiti says he came across 100 to 150 other Albanians fighters in Syria.

At a press conference on 17 May, leaders of Kosovo’s main Islamist party, the Islamic Unification Movement, LISBA, called on the government to help the Syrian opposition, even if only symbolically.

At the same time, LISBA denied organizing volunteers for the Syrian war.

“We do not know the exact number of Albanians from Kosovo, or other Albanian areas, fighting in Syria, as we do not organize or sponsor them,” the leader of LISBA, Fuad Ramiqi, said.

The movement, which was established as a political party in March, has protested several times so far, demanding more rights for the Islamic community, which they say is discriminated against.

Abit Hoxha, from the Centre for Security Studies in Kosovo, said…there are two incentives for people to join the war in Syria. The first is religious faith and the second is the social status these people hope to acquire once they return home. […]

In closing, a gem of a blog piece by Jim Bovard:

Butcher of Belgrade Offers Tips for Syria (JimBovard.com, June 18)

The New York Times op-ed page has a piece by retired General Wesley Clark headlined: “To Get a Truce, Be Ready to Escalate.” The Times summarizes Clark’s wisdom: “The threat of force might get talks over Syria moving, as it did in Kosovo.”

Clark opines as if the military campaign which he headed was a stellar moral and strategic success…It is stunning that anyone [would] showcase Clark as a wise man – considering the fiasco that he unleashed in the Balkans. For instance, NATO repeatedly dropped cluster bombs into marketplaces, hospitals, and other civilian areas…

NATO worked overtime to explain away its “mistakes.” On April 12, [1999] a NATO pilot sent a missile into a passenger train on a railway bridge, killing 14 people. Clark took to the press podium to show the video from the nose of the missile, emphasizing that the pilot was focused on the bridge, “when all of a sudden, at the very last instant, with less than a second to go, he caught a flash of movement that came into a screen and it was the train coming in. Unfortunately, he couldn’t dump the bomb at that point…” The video was endlessly replayed on Western television stations, driving home the point that, with the speed of modern missiles, there was sometimes nothing pilots could do to avoid catastrophe.

However, in January 2000, the Frankfurter Rundschau revealed that the video was shown at the NATO press conference at triple the actual speed, thus making the attack on civilians look far more inevitable than it actually was. NATO officials had become aware of the deceptive nature of the video several months earlier but saw “no reason” to publicly admit the error, according to a U.S. Air Force spokesman.

On April 14, 1999, NATO bombs repeatedly hit a column of ethnic Albanian refugees a few miles from the Albanian border, killing 75 people. NATO spokesmen initially claimed that Serbian planes carried out the attack and used the incident to further inflame anti-Serbian opinion. Five days later, NATO spokesmen admitted that the deaths had been caused by NATO forces. NATO then released the audio tape from the debriefing of a pilot identified as involved in the attack.

As Newsday reported, “According to officials, the American pilot was selected because he gave a graphic account of Milosevic’s forces torching a series of ethnic Albanian villages near the Kosovo town of Dakojvica Wednesday. The pilot told how he selected a three-truck military convoy for a laser-guided bomb strike when he saw it pulling away from a village where fires were just starting.”

However, this gambit backfired when high-ranking military officers protested that NATO, at Clark’s urging, had released the tape of a pilot who had nothing to do with bombing the refugee column. The pilot’s words were a red herring to distract attention from the carnage inflicted on the refugees.

The main achievement of the war was that, instead of Serbs terrorizing ethnic Albanians, ethnic Albanians terrorized Serbs [as they had done all along]; instead of refugees fleeing south and west, refugees headed north.

Unfortunately, few Americans paid close enough attention to the Kosovo war to recognize the danger of permitting the U.S. government and military commanders to go crusading with bombs dropped from 15,000 feet.

Thus, Clark is treated with respect when he recommends unleashing the same recipe for carnage in Syria.

And, also thus, we get the same sort of editorial from The Washington Post this week: “Kosovo Offers United States a Roadmap for Syria” (June 20)

One certainly wonders why it took The Post over a year to catch up to Wall St. Journal idiocy (A Kosovo Model for Syria: Bill Clinton stood up to Milosevic. Barack Obama can confront Assad.); and to Financial Times idiocy (Kosovo shows how the west can intervene in Syria); and five months to catch up to Christian Science Monitor idiocy (To deter extremists in Syria, Obama must heed lessons of Kosovo intervention, by Andrew Burt); and nine months to catch up to National Post idiocy (Learning lessons about Syria from our experience in Kosovo and Libya, by Art Eggleton).

As Jatras closed his article: “Meanwhile, the band plays on, with al-Qaida and Albanian Mafia-linked weapons shipments from Bosnia and Kosovo going to jihadists…in Syria (DebkaFile — “…The Muslim factions of the Syrian revolt have received their first heavy weapons consignments, mostly Kornet and Fagot anti-tank missiles. Their improved armaments account for the new edge they display in battles with Bashar Assad’s army….These arms are coming from two sources: radical Islamist organizations in Bosnia and Kosovo, some of them associated with al Qaeda – at least ideologically. It is hard to say who is organizing and bankrolling the new weapons sea route to Syria. According to one theory, it is the Albanian mafia. For the first time, Syrian rebels are taking in arms unsupervised by any of the Western or Arab agencies involved in the Syrian revolt. Most of the incoming weapons are destined for the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra, the rebel faction identified with al Qaeda. The Jabhat al-Nusra, newly armed with hardware from Bosnia and Kosovo, have pushed across the border into Lebanon, our sources reveal, and are harassing Hizballah in its home bases in the Beqaa Valley…Both are designated terrorist groups by the United States government.”)

An excerpt from “Say ‘No’ to Kosovo” (Jerusalem Post, June 24) (Freund is responding to recent articles such as Ha’aretz’sIsrael Must Recognize Kosovo“)

…If Israel were to recognize Kosovo, it would set back our relations with Serbia and deal a major blow to this important friendship.

Given the fact that Serbia is likely to join the European Union within a decade, and that it sits at the crossroads between East and West, our national interest dictates that we cultivate ties with Belgrade rather than complicate them by embracing Kosovo.

Moreover, in light of the encouraging progress that has been made of late in talks between Belgrade and Pristina, it would be foolhardy for Israel to interfere with the delicate negotiating process by recognizing Kosovar independence.

After so many years of conflict, Serbs and Kosovars are conducting direct negotiations. If Israel and other countries were to recognize Kosovo now, it could inflame tensions and damage the fragile prospects for further reconciliation. The status of Kosovo can best be resolved by the parties themselves, without international interference.

That last bit is the one part of Freund’s article that I had an issue with, but it was nonetheless smart of him to include it: As we know, the mandated “progress” is no progress at all, but a continuation of broken promises by the “international community” to Serbia in exchange for concession upon concession by Serbia as it attempted in vain to avoid the Kosovo theft. While it’s decent and right to stay out of the “delicate negotiation” process, Belgrade is sealing its own fate whether there are additional recognizers in the midst of the process or not. It would really be just adding insult to injury but wouldn’t affect anything, as Serbia is surrendering one way or the other. “Reconciliation” with terrorists who are smirking under the handshake is not reconciliation, but Serbia’s humiliation, and resignation to a violently imposed fate. But although the ‘progress’ of shaking hands with a terrorist who has your people’s blood on his hands and is smirking under the façade is morally wrong, it was clever of Freund to use this “improving relations” aspect against the pro-recognition side by throwing it back at them. The rest of the article:

And then, of course, there is the question of historical justice, of right and wrong.

Kosovo is to Serbs what Judea and Samaria are to Jews: the cradle of the nation, the place where it all began.

Over 800 years ago, Kosovo was the heartland of Serbia, and it served as its spiritual and administrative epicenter until the fateful Battle of Kosovo Polje in 1389, when the Ottoman Turks vanquished the Serbs and their allies.

Eventually, migrants from Albania displaced the Serbian residents of the area, and they now constitute the majority of Kosovo’s population. But the province’s territory is dotted with ancient Serbian churches, monasteries and monuments. For Serbs to give away Kosovo is akin to carving out a piece of their heritage and their collective soul.

Correct, and this of course negates his previous point about “progress.”

Israeli recognition of Kosovo would only serve to set a dangerous precedent, one that could easily be turned around and used against us.

After all, if Kosovars can unilaterally split apart Serbia to create their own country, why can’t Palestinians in Judea or Israeli Arabs in the Galilee do the same? Hence, it is most definitely not a wise move for the Jewish state to confer legitimacy on Kosovo.

Finally, at a time of rising Islamic extremism around the globe, including in the incendiary Balkans, is it really in the interests of Israel and the West for yet another majority-Muslim state to arise on southern Europe’s flank? Reports in recent years have indicated that radical Wahabis as well as the Iranians have been looking to gain a stronghold in Kosovo, which is over three-quarters Muslim. An independent Kosovo under the sway of Middle Eastern extremists will only increase the risk of further Balkan instability down the road.

Serbia is an important friend of Israel and it has made enormous strides over the past decade, building a vibrant democracy and opening itself to the West.

These steps should not now be repaid by forcing Serbs to accept the unjust breakup of their country…

Stella’s husband George, along with son Jim, forwarded me the photo of Stella that I couldn’t find. My memory of the era was way off. This was taken at the Bitburg Air Base, Germany Officers Club, circa 1964. The song the ladies were dancing to was “Night Train.” Stella is on the right, and she would be about 32 years old here.

Oh, and I hadn’t known until Nebojsa Malic pointed it out on his blog, but Stella’s father Leonidas was actually born in Sparta proper.

On the occasion of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic’s recent visit to the Middle East, writer Victor Sharpe wrote a historical commentary:

Serbia and Israel: Shared Glory and Tragedy (May 13, 2013)

…It is very fitting that Serbia and Israel should have political, economic and cultural ties as the similarities between each of the embattled nations are considerable and significant in historical terms…Both continue to suffer from Islamic threats and an uncaring and, too often, a hostile world.

The place chosen to make a stand against the Muslim Turks was at Kosovo Polje (the Field of Blackbirds) in Kosovo - the heartland of the Serbian nation. It was in June, 1389, on St. Vitus Day, (Vidovdan), that the rival forces met.

It was not a mere military defeat but the end of Serbian independence and the beginning of 500 years of Christian suffering under the Muslim yoke. But worse still, the Serbian heartland of Kosovo was lost. For the Serbian people, the blood shed at the Battle of Kosovo in the Field of Blackbirds marks Kosovo as eternally Serbian.

Another year in history that haunts the memory of a different people, who also saw the beginning of the loss of their heartland, is the year 70 AD. It was in that terrible year that the Roman general, Titus, finally came with overwhelming force against the people of Judea and the Jewish capital city, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was finally destroyed after a frightful siege in which hundreds of thousands died of disease, hunger, and the sword. Eliezer, one of the leaders of the resistance managed to escape with his followers and their families to the immense rock of Masada that overlooks the Dead Sea.

There, high upon the mountain that had been a winter palace of King Herod, the 960 Jewish men, women and children held out for three years. But in the end, with the Romans closing in, Eliezer called them together and asked them if they should surrender. Rather than be enslaved or crucified they took their lives.

It was later, in 133 AD, that the Second Jewish Revolt against continuing Roman depredations and occupation occurred, which also was successful in the first years of the uprising, but finally led to Emperor Hadrian destroying what was left of the Jewish state in 135 AD and — in a frightful insult to the Jewish survivors — renaming the Jewish homeland, Palestina, after the hated and long extinct biblical enemies of the Jews; the Philistines.

Centuries pass but history has an almost supernatural way of repeating itself. Fast forward to the twentieth and twenty first centuries and both Serbia and the Jewish homeland are linked by eerie circumstances. Both are often demonized in the mainstream press and both are under relentless aggression from Islam.

The late 20th century’s insane rush to create Kosovo as yet another Muslim autonomous region in the heart of the Balkans, was a testament to the curse of oil. Ever ready to enrich their economies, the Europeans and, sadly, the Clinton Administration combined to appease and placate the Arab and Muslim kings, emirs, imams, mullahs, sheikhs and assorted dictators. The price demanded…[was] to pave the way for more and more Muslim influence throughout the world.

The Saudis constantly pour billions of their petrodollars into Europe and North and South America in order to build lavish mosques where often Wahhabi imams propagate the later and more incendiary Koranic texts. European and American universities hold out their begging bowls to receive Arab money and in return help facilitate the spread of anti-Israel and anti-Western falsehoods masquerading as Middle East studies.

The phenomena of the so-called sovereign funds are instruments through which European and American financial institutions receive desperately needed infusions of Arab money to bail themselves out of their own greed and monetary shortcomings. And the financial help bestowed upon them always comes with strings; thus adding yet another layer of Arab and Muslim infiltration.

Islamic influence grows with every passing day. Facts are being created on the ground, which are changing the demographics and national characteristics of one European state after another. And it was in Europe that Arab oil drove the creation of a Muslim statelet, Kosovo, that is rapidly becoming a radical Islamist Balkan beachhead threatening what is left of an erstwhile Christian Europe. In time it will inevitably become a springboard for more terror in both the United States and Russia….[it already has, repeatedly.]

Serbs, in fact, call Kosovo their “Jerusalem.”

The U.S. State Department’s Nicholas Burns some years ago had congratulated the Kosovars in obtaining their independence from Serbia. This was a betrayal of the Serbian people and has left a disfiguring scar on the United States. For the Serbian people, the province of Kosovo is their very ancestral heartland. The long suffering Serbs were forced to witness the witless and perfidious Western powers rip away Serbia’s heart while the hated ethnic Albanian and Muslim historical enemies took possession of it…

And not so “hated,” certainly not as hated as Serbs generally are by Albanians, judging by the humanitarian packages that were coming in for Kosovo Albanians from all over Yugoslavia, or judging by the number of Albanians who escaped the war into Serbia proper, or judging by this:


Dragoljub Simic (left) with Fazlija Uko (right). Serb and Albanian. From: “Serbs and Albanians on Kosovo: The truth is out there somewhere

And we must realize that Israel, too, is threatened by the same evil created by Arab oil. The Arabs who call themselves Palestinians demand Judaism’s eternal holy city of Jerusalem and the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria (known by the erroneous Jordanian Arab name - the West Bank)…[Notice how the mainstream way of calling something always defaults to the Muslim-spun term. It’s always been “Kosovo,” rather than the full name Kosovo-Metohija, which was branded (by the Muslim side) as the “Serb-nationalist” way of calling it; interesting that the word for “churches” makes the phrase “nationalist.” And soon Kosovo will be called “Kosova,” the terrorist-victor’s pronunciation.]

Under relentless U.S State Department pressure, the Israeli government of Prime Minister Netanyahu endure[s] the same attempt at the dismemberment of its biblical, ancestral, aboriginal, spiritual and physical Jewish heartland just as the brave and ill served Serbian people suffered with the loss of their beloved Kosovo.

Although Serbs living in enclaves within Kosovo are still holding on from being completely driven from their homes, the price of creating a Muslim Palestinian state is the expulsion — the ethnic cleansing — of all Jews from its proposed territory…And this unthinkable outrage of ethnic cleansing will be sanctioned by President Obama, the ever appeasing European Union and the immoral United Nations under cover of the misnamed peace process. Jordan is historically in possession of nearly 80% of Mandatory Palestine and its population is over 75% Palestinian. There already thus exists a de facto Palestine. [Another parallel: Kosovo’s neighbor Albania is almost 100% Albanian, and yet we must have a second Albanian state, just as we must have a second Palestinian state.]

Kosovo was partially restored to Serbia but it was not to be for long. Judea and Samaria was liberated by Israel in its defensive 1967 Six Day War. But the world is coming against Israel and brings terrible pressure upon the Jewish state to again abandon its very biblical and ancestral heartland and give it to a terrorist and Islamic state to be called Palestine – a state that has never existed in all of recorded history.

During the late 1990s when President Clinton and his Secretary of State, Madel[e]ine Albright, launched a disgraceful war against the Serbs, the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, Draskovitch, said of Kosovo: “Our faith was born there, as was our language, our nationhood, our pride. It is incumbent upon us to defend Kosovo, even if we all die.”

His words were uttered as American bombers, repainted in NATO colors, bombed Serbia for several months inflicting some 3,000 civilian deaths and destroying all the bridges over the Danube River in Belgrade. This was not America’s finest hour but it is now largely dead and buried by the mainstream media.

The same mainstream media rarely, if ever, tells us about Serbia’s passion during the many centuries leading up to the present and shameful act of the West. When Serbia was part of Yugoslavia, it was the Serbs who fought alone and unaided against the German divisions during World War 2; fighting them to a standstill. No other people alone in occupied Europe achieved that remarkable and heroic feat.

Croatia allied itself with Hitler and established a Nazi state. The Croatian fascist Ustashis exterminated hundreds of thousands of Serbs and tens of thousands of Jews…

The anti-Jewish Arab Mufti of Jerusalem…Haj Amin el-Husseini, spent many days with Hitler in his Berlin bunker plotting the destruction of Mandatory Palestine’s Jewish population. He encouraged the Bosnian Muslims to form several SS divisions. They subsequently carried out mass murders and deportations of Jews to the German death camps.

Serbia emerged from the Second World War with the distinction of defeating the German invasion and inflicting severe losses on the German army. But the Serbs paid a terrible price, losing nearly 2,000,000 dead or some 12% of their population. The Serbian partisans, who included Jewish fighters, were able to save thousands of Jews from death at the hands of the Croatian, German and Bosnian murderers.

During the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, the Croatians expelled some 250,000 Serbs from their homes in the Krajina district. As soon as the Muslims in Kosovo received autonomy in 1974, they drove out 400,000 Serbs. At the same time a vast influx of ethnic Albanians fleeing Communist rule, flooded across the border to take the place of the disinherited Serbs. Albanian Muslim birth rate was so high that within 60 years the Kosovan population within Kosovo grew from 70,000 in 1947 to 2,000,000 by 2004. Similarly, the Arab Muslim population within Israel has grown from 200,000 in 1950 to some 1.5 million in 2013.

The Serbian people have been reduced to only 10% of their original population in Kosovo. Ethnic cleansing against the Serbs began long before the Western press ran their lurid stories of Serbian ethnic cleansing against the Bosnian Muslims [and Kosovo Albanians]…The lesson for Israel is that foreign powers have conspired to strip the expendable Serbs of their ancestral heartland and give it to the Muslims… As goes Serbia, so goes Israel. […]

Enter the leftist Israeli newspaper Haaretz, treating us recently to an article by editor Adar Primor, titled “Israel Must Recognize Kosovo.” For Israel’s own sake, no less. ( “Israel must remain faithful to the principles of self-determination on which it was founded and be the 100th country to recognize Kosovo. Not just for Kosovo’s sake - but for its own.”) The piece reads like a cheap mirror-reversal of Sharpe’s article, rehashing the 90s-born pop platitudes, cliches and myths such as Milosevic’s “nationalist” speech which “ignited” four wars, and “national aspirations of an oppressed people [who] suffered massacres, rapes and ethnic cleansing,” plus tired and debunked designations such as “Butcher of the Balkans” and “worst war crimes in Europe since World War II.” The article is replete with the Pristina/Washington talking points: “unique case, modern-dressed girls, alcohol sold freely, and no chance of Islamization.” This autopilot is also the last guy who’s still on “quarter of a million” dead in the Balkan wars. Not surprisingly, Primor doesn’t miss the opportunity to bring in the UN vote against Israel, on which Albania abstained but Serbia did not (that sad story is explained here). He also does the usual projection of the Albanians’ uncompromising “it’s all mine” demand onto the Serbian side. But then, this is someone who still perceives “unconditional” American support for Israel.

He also credulously quotes the prime minister, Hashim the Snake Thaci giving one of his usual Washington-Pristina talking points: “[Former foreign minister Vuk] Jeremic warned against a domino effect that could undermine the stability of the Balkans, bring to the surface both ‘dormant’ and new disputes in the world…Prime Minister Hashim Thaci answered this concern… ‘Kosovo is a unique case and, as a result, its independence doesn’t set any precedent. On the contrary; its freedom will be a cornerstone of stability for the Balkans, which will enter an era of cooperation and peace.’ From the perspective of five years hence, it’s clear: Thaci was right, and Jeremic (and Israel) were mistaken.”

Because a mere five years is such a long, long time, right, providing all the hindsight on Kosovo anyone will ever need. Five years, incidentally, during which the international overseers are still there and so Kosovo is still on good behavior (compared to what’s going to be once the do-gooders leave. That’s if you don’t count a pogrom of the dead, digging up bodies and scattering the remains to mark five years of “independence”).

Primor couldn’t resist mentioning the monument that Pristina dedicated last month “to commemorate Kosovo Jews murdered in the Holocaust,” and that the authorities have been going out of their way (lately) to make Kosovo’s 56 Jews feel welcome.

This is the monument he’s talking about: Kosovo unveiling Holocaust memorial (JTA, May 23)

Kosovo is unveiling a plaque commemorating its Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was scheduled to unveil the plaque on Thursday in Pristina at the site of the country’s last synagogue, across the street from the parliament.

“This is the place where the last Synagogue of Kosovo stood until 1963,” the plaque reads in Albanian, Hebrew, English and Serbian. “This plaque is raised in memory of Kosovo Jews that perished in Nazi camps during Holocaust. People of Kosovo will never forget them.”

Among the scheduled speakers at the event are Jason Steinbaum, the chief of staff for Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)…who has been a champion of Kosovo independence. [A leading American-Jewish mouthpiece for the anti-Serb terrorists, in no small part because of his heavily Albanian constituency in the Bronx that keeps reelecting him.] Also speaking will be an Israeli representative. […]

You’ve gotta love Albanians: Two monuments unveiled this year — one for Jewish Holocaust victims, and the other for KLA terrorists. What great company we Jews are in. Thanks, Kosova, it really means a lot. As for Thaci, a modern-day Mengele, making the Holocaust plaque dedication, well I’m just speechless.

Nowhere in the JTA item above is it mentioned — nor likely was it at the unveiling — who collected Kosovo’s WWII Jews. Albanians.

Another item about the plaque dedication quotes the Israeli ambassador saying that the plaque also “expresses gratitude for the renewal of Jewish life in Kosovo, including the maintenance of the cemetery….”

One wonders if he means the cemetery that had been neglected and grown over for years, until Kosovo’s race for recognitions was on, at which point a bunch of Ivy League suckers from the Dartmouth College Hillel were invited to clean it up in June 2011?

That would be the same cemetery that — after the useful idiots’ somber Kosovo PR job was done — was desecrated with swastikas just five months later?


Albanians still remember some of their German: “On Thursday the hate graffiti ‘Jud Raus’ - a misspelling of the German ‘Juden Raus,’ which means “Jews out” - could still be seen at the foot of a memorial.”

In other words, before, the cemetery was so covered with debris that no one even knew it was there. As soon as it was visible, however, it was desecrated. (Oh, that reminds me of: “[Radmila] wished to be buried alongside her late husband in the Orthodox Christian graveyard, which has been the target of persistent attacks and vandalism since June 1999…Incidentally, the old Jewish graveyard adjacent to the Orthodox graveyard has also been vandalised.”)

An excerpt from the pathetic little June 2011 AP article about the students’ good intentions:

…Ever since the end Kosovo’s 1998-1999 war, these graves — some of them dating back to the late 19th century — lay mostly forgotten. “You could hardly even see where any of the graves were,” said Susan Matthews, 21, from Chatham, New York. “We had to essentially find and uncover the graves, take down all the brush that had grown up the hill, wash all the stones so that we could read the etchings on them again,” she said. Matthews is among students visiting Europe as part of their inquiry into genocide. [Because Jews need to learn about genocide from Kosovo Albanians.]

Rabbi Edward S. Boraz of The Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth College said the aim of the tour was to look at genocide “as a human problem not specific to any one group of people.” [Well that explains it: Kosovo can teach them that anyone can declare themselves victims of genocide, and in the process achieve a “revenge” one, plus diminish the real ones. Like, for example, the one that killed close to a million Serbs in Croatia. Or was Croatia still not a scheduled stop for genocide-learning? Did the geniuses miss that far realer — and older — European genocide? Again? Meanwhile, with Kosovo as a genocide in their minds, I’m sure they’ll recognize when the next real one is afoot. I guess we still haven’t learned the moral of The Genocide that Cried Wolf.]


After [WWII], Kosovo’s small Jewish community dwindled. Some 300 died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany…Those that remained left for Israel and Serbia during and in the aftermath of the 1998-99 Kosovo war. Some 10,000 [sic] people died during the Kosovo war as Serbia launched a brutal crackdown on independence minded ethnic Albanians….

[That’s the Albanian AP reporter Nebi Qena keeping you on program: So that you don’t find out it was the Albanian side in the war that chased the Jews out, she inserts something that has you thinking it was all just an outgrowth of the war, the war “launched” by Serbia. But do notice that the Jews fled to Israel — and Belgrade.]

The fate of long-neglected Jewish sites in the small, poor and newly independent country of Kosovo [The triple excuse. But “poor” doesn’t fly, since Thaci could just move the Jewish cemetery into his triple-zip-code backyard] has recently received some attention from the United States…

To mark the one-year anniversary of the clueless students’ efforts, the cemetery was vandalized again in June 2012.

(Note: In October 2010, the cemetery’s bad shape caught the attention of the Czech embassy: Restored Jewish Cemetery Falls into Disrepair — One year after the last vestige of Jewish Pristina was officially reopened following restoration, the graveyard has returned to its unkempt state….While it has been listed as one of the 19 protected monuments in the city, few people are aware of the unmarked Jewish cemetery hidden on this unassuming hill overlooking Kosovo’s capital…Just a year ago, the Jewish cemetery in Velania was hardly recognisable as a cemetery, most graves unidentifiable and covered in grass and garbage. A project was initiated by the Czech Embassy in Kosovo to restore the site, however, to this day it is unmarked and unguarded, and is used by local youngsters for football….”)

About the 300 Kosovo Jews mentioned in the AP article, who died at Bergen-Belsen. (No Ivy League eyebrows raised, incidentally, as to how that might have happened.) First, we’ll get the Stephen “Suleyman” Schwartz version of that answer — a Jewish Muslim who’s been shilling for the Albanians since the mid-90s, helping dupe Americans into going to war on their behalf. Naturally, he couldn’t resist seizing on the plaque dedication, and he too quotes the notorious gangster-prime-minister Thaci respectfully:

Kosovo Revives Its Jewish Heritage (June 3, 2013)

…Inauguration of the memorial was carried out with great solemnity by uniformed members of the Kosovo Guard, a ceremonial body, since the republic now has no armed forces. [At least until the end of this month, when the Kosovo “security force” is to be unleashed.] Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci…referred to the Holocaust as an “inconceivable crime that happened in Europe and which changed the paths of our societies in the last six decades.”

Thaci pointed out that Kosovo had been a way-station for hundreds of Jewish refugees from the Balkans and other parts of Europe, who were protected in Albania…

During Thaci’s remarks the Muslim call to prayer was heard from a nearby Ottoman-era mosque. Following the prime minister, Israeli diplomat Yosef Levy commented on the coincidence as symbolic of interfaith harmony…

What a coincidence! What are the chances of the Islamic call to prayer sounding over Kosovo? Now, let’s ponder the position of this poor Jew. This little interfaith song-and-dance is suddenly interrupted by — what? Church bells? No. Hava Nagila? No. Hare Krishna tambourines? No. By — what else — a Muslim call to prayer. It’s “symbolic,” all right. Symbolic of ‘interfaith’ gatherings always seeming to have one faith in particular asserting itself. And symbolic of Kosovo’s Western-expedited increasingly Islamic character. So the Jewish diplomat is interrupted by reality, and he reaches for the go-to platitude for a positive spin on the sound that speaks to the futility of the exercise he’s engaged in. This reminds me of how during the 1999 war, Pristina’s 11 Jews “[took] charge of the 23 primary schools in the city,” Los Angeles rabbi David Wolpe wrote in December 2011. “…This tiny number, with Israeli help and support, ensured the education of the Muslim children. This is what the Jewish tradition calls a ‘chesed shel emeth’ — a true kindness, one which can expect no recompense…Such a story is not only about Jews, but about the power of religion to reach across lines and do good in the world.”

And no recompense did they get. The KLA expelled Pristina’s Jews. But back to the plaque and WWII Kosovo:

Rabbi Levi Matusof, a European Jewish leader, recited a psalm and prayed in honor of the Kosovars.

So now we’re hastily making sure to include Kosovo Albanians with what, until now, we’d only heard about Albanian Albanians doing for Jews. Gee, nothing coordinated going on here at all.

Albanian scholar Saimir Lolja, in an article titled “The Rescue of Jews in Kosovo,” published in the English-language weekly Tirana Times, described how protection of Jews from the Nazis in the Albanian lands during World War II was undertaken by Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. One Kosovar Muslim man, Arsllan Mustafa Rezniqi, has been honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Holocaust memorial center at Yad Vashem in Israel. Rezniqi constructed a house on his property to shelter Jewish families.

A handful of Jews were deported from Kosovo after a Nazi-directed raid in mid-1944. [A “handful.” Half the Kosovo Jewish population doesn’t translate proportionally into a “handful” (as per the “Jewish Art & Monuments” item that immediately follows below. And notice how Schwartz deflects from the Kosovar hands-on aspect to this dirty work, by using the term “Nazi-directed.”] But most Jews who went to Kosovo and Albania were saved by local officials who provided them with false identity papers, or moved them from place to place. The Germans, who occupied Albania in 1943, demanded a list of Jews, and authorization to deport them, from the Albanian authorities, but were told that jurisdiction over the Jewish community belonged to the Albanian government alone. This action was recognized by Yad Vashem in 1998.

Kosovo Assembly vice president Glauk Konjufca of the “Self-Determination” movement, which stands in opposition to Thaci and the current administration of the country, found it unsatisfactory that the memorial was set up in a space that is not visible to the public. [That’s an interesting point.]

The Kosovo government has also pledged to construct a Museum of Kosovo’s Jewish Heritage. […]

Here’s the realer picture of that WWII history, from “Jewish Art & Monuments” blog, a month after the first post-Dartmouth cemetery desecration:

New Treaty Could Protect Jewish Sites in Kosovo (Jan. 28, 2012, by Samuel D. Gruber)

…Ivan Ceresnjes, former head of the Bosnia Jewish Community and now a researcher at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been visiting Kosovo regularly for the past few decade[s] and reporting on the continued deterioration of Jewish sites. Ceresnjes, who has organized surveys of Jewish sites in Bosnia and Serbia for the U.S. Commission, is particularly concerned about the fate of the “New” Jewish cemetery in the capital city Pristina…Of Kosovo he wrote:

“There were about 500 Jews before the Second World War, of whom 250 [by other accounts 281] were handed over to the Germans by Kosovar Albanians. There were also a few examples where Kosovars killed Jews, and there was also a Kosovar SS unit. About twenty righteous gentiles helped the other 250 Jews escape to Albania where the Jews were protected. After the war, in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, a huge memorial was erected for all victims of Nazism including the partisans and the Jews. When the Serbian-Albanian fighting broke out in Kosovo in 1999, almost all names were removed….”

[No fascist connection to our ‘modern’ Albanian clients, right? Just like our modern Croatian and Bosnian ones.]

In addition to the continuing process of destruction by neglect at the New Cemetery and other sites, there has been vandalism against Jewish sites. In December 2011, shortly before the cultural heritage treaty was signed, the Old Jewish Cemetery in Pristina, which had been cleaned last June by a group of students from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and their peers from the American University in Kosovo, was vandalized and swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were spray painted on old gravestones.

This month Ceresnjes made his fifth visit since 2002 to the [’new’] cemetery, which is located on Dragodan Hill, next to a Serbian Orthodox cemetery. From Kosovo, Ceresnjes emailed the International Survey of Jewish Monuments (ISJM), writing:

“Last time, a year ago… I tried to see what is going on with the New Cemetery since I have seen from afar the huge infrastructural works being held around it but it was impossible to approach due to flooding of the area of both cemeteries (Jewish and Serbian) with sewage. [Now] in light of recent signing of the agreement between government of USA and present government of Kosovo I am just informing all of you about the sad reality on the ground — the quick and merciless destruction and disappearance of the heritage of one of the smallest and maybe the most endangered minority in Kosovo — the Jewish one.”

(Endangered in the sense of extinction; it remains far more dangerous to be a Serb in Kosovo, as the Albanians didn’t go about pulling Jews apart with cars, or stabbing Hebrew-speakers. Just Serbs and Serbian-speakers.)

This is all of course in addition to the irony of Albanians honoring a cemetery to begin with.

The plaque dedication must have been too much to bear, finally, for some ex-Kosovo Jews. And so for the first time in 15 years — though not mentioned in any of the feel-good news items about the plaque — we heard from one of the Jews who left during the Albanian unrest in the mid to late 90s:

We were expelled, we will sue Kosovo – Jews from Pristina (Radio KiM, May 28, 2013)

On the occasion of raising a memorial plaque in the center of Pristina to Holocaust victims, representatives of the Jews expelled from Kosovo and connoisseurs of historical circumstances from the period of the Holocaust responded today, according to Radio KiM website article.

Nissan Conforti left Kosovo and went to Israel before the bombardment in 1999. Two years ago, Conforti filed a complaint, looking for restitution of five houses in the center of Pristina that belonged to his mother. Since then, he hasn’t received any answer from Pristina’s court, Radio KiM Reported.

His mother was [a] survivor of the Holocaust and he stated, in his interview to Radio KiM, that he will address [the matter] to Strasbourg court of human rights…Conforti’s own house has been burned up in riots in 1997. [A] year later, his family had to move from Kosovo to Israel.

This memorial plaque bothers Conforti. [The] plaque says that Jews have been transported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but it doesn’t say that they were held for 15 days in Albanian military facilities, according to Conforti, where his mother and her three children were also kept. Also, it doesn’t say anything about [the] Skanderbeg division, Albanian soldiers who arrested Jews and helped Nazis.

This plaque is just a try to present Kosovo as a multicultural, European community, which is, according to historian Milos Damjanovic, [a] useless effort. What’s sad, [the] plaque isn’t saying a thing about Serbian and Roma families that hid Jews from Xhaver Deva, Albanian collaborationist who helped Hitler and whose name was a synonym for Hitler among Jews. [Deva, born in Kosovska Mitrovica in 1904, recruited for the Skanderbeg division, to rid Kosovo of Serbs, Jews, and Roma.]

Indeed, all the Holocaust PR for the Balkans has benefited not the far more numerous Serb saviors of Jews [is even one identified at Yad Vashem?] but those who, as nations, sided with the Nazis. Which helps explain why in 1999, as Ceresnjes mentions, the Nazis’ victims’ names were removed from the memorial in Kosovo the moment the Albanians found their next sponsor after their Naziliberators” — NATO. About the Jew-saving PR, not only have the historically Axis-aligned Albanians been touting their saves, but now even the Jew-liquidating, Serb-eye-gouging Croats are touting their Jew-saves — without ever first telling the world about their genocide of Serbs and Jews:

Consider this: Like virtually every other Holocaust museum, I’m told this little Illinois number doesn’t have a Jasenovac exhibit, the war’s second- or third-deadliest camp. So, before they’ve ever even taught the public, 60 years late, the word “Jasenovac” — which defines WWII Croatia — they’re skipping right over it to divert public attention to a few good Croats. And thus Croatia’s march proceeds to the E.U. (official membership date July 1).

Worse yet, the thing is in Skokie, a significant place in American-Jewish history. It was the attempted neo-Nazi march there in the 70s that launched the Holocaust education movement. So to have one of these dishonest, politically manipulated museum routines there (which routinely dehumanize Serbs by excluding them as victims and designating them as villains) is that much more profane. Even more perverse, it turns out that its ceremonial opening in 2009 was done by none other than Bill Clinton, the man who had us repeat WWII in Yugoslavia.

The Albanian Jew-saving PR, meanwhile, stays on course. This past December, the latest press outfit falling victim to Albanian PR about WWII was Yeshiva World News. Notice that, as in the plaque articles, the PR for the first time is making sure to mention specifically Kosovo Albanians, since that’s the place they’re trying to legitimize in a hurry. This hadn’t been the case, as far as I can recall, for the traveling road show about Albanians saving Jews, considering that it was Albania that was Jew-friendly, not neighboring Kosovo where Albanians formed the SS Skanderbeg division and helped round up what Jews they could find in Kosovo, plus welcomed the Germans as liberators. It seems adjustments have been made to the PR, with the Nazi-welcoming Albanians of Kosovo somehow (we’re not told how) having been indispensable to the individual rescues of Jews by Albania’s Albanians. Notice also that this Jewish item comes complete with the mostly Muslim-Albanian pronunciation of the Christian-Serbian word ‘Kosovo’:

Top Jewish Officials Pay Tribute to Albanians for Its Rescue of All Its Jews During Holocaust (Yeshiva World News, Dec. 3, 2012)

The Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington DC was the venue for celebrating the 100th anniversary of the independence of Albania…to highlight the fact that Albania is the only nation that can claim that every Jew who either lived in Albania or sought refuge there was saved during World War II. Also, few people know that the rescue in Albania could not have happened without the help of Albanians living in Nazi-occupied Kosova, [ahem: Nazi-enthusiastic Kosovo] which became an independent state in 2008.

Ambassador Barukh Binah, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel, Richard Stone, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, New York Board of Rabbis; Rabbi Levi Shemtov, American Friends of Lubavitch, Bob Levi, newly elected Chairman of the National Council of Young Israel, Rabbi Warren Stone, Rabbi Leonard Guttman all warmly paid tribute to Albanians whose families, both Muslim and Christian, participated in the rescue of Jews in Albania and Kosova. Annette Lantos on behalf of her late husband, Congressman Tom Lantos received awards for their twenty-year effort to bring peace to Southeast Europe and international attention to the story of Jewish survival in Albania.

At the luncheon that was…hosted by the Albanian American Civic League and Albanian American Foundation under the leadership of former Congressman and founding President Joe DioGuardi and Balkan Affairs Adviser Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi…Senator Schumer introduced a resolution commending the people of Albania for protecting and saving lives of all Jews living in Albania, or sought asylum during World War II….Other distinguished speakers included Representative Eliot Engel….Johanna Neumann, a spokesperson for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum…spoke about how her family sought refuge in Albania from Germany and subsequently survived the Holocaust.

“To commend Albanians for protecting and saving the lives of all Jews who either lived in Albania or sought asylum there during the Holocaust is our everlasting obligation to the Albanian people and indeed a testament to the unique character of the Albanian people. The Jewish people will [be] eternally grateful to Albanians and…we don’t have enough praise for Joe DioGuardi and Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi for their commitment to bringing to light this incredible chapter of Holocaust history” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group whose firm coordinated the luncheon tribute.

(That’s DioGuardi’s paid PR guy thanking DioGuardi for oh-so-selflessly doing all this, as if it’s not at all about promoting Albanians, particularly with an eye toward Israeli recognition of Kosovo.)

The actual Kosovo-Albanian record during the Holocaust:

The first operation of Skanderbeg in Kosovo-Metohija was the raid on Kosovo Jews in Pristina on May 14,1944. The Albanian SS troops raided apartments and homes belonging to Kosovo Jews and looted their possessions, and rounded them up for deportation to the death camps…The 21st SS Division Skanderbeg apprehended 281 Kosovo Jews, which included men, women, and children. From May to June 1944, the Nazi SS Division Skanderbeg apprehended a total of 519 Kosovo Jews and Serbs. During the initial German occupation of Pristina in 1941…the property of Kosovo Jews was seized and they were conscripted for forced labor. In Kosovska Mitrovica, Jewish shops and stores were closed down and Kosovo Jews were ordered to wear a yellow band to identify themselves as Jews…On May 20, 1941, [Xhafer] Deva, the leader of the Mitrovica district, ordered the seizure of Jewish property. Jewish businesses had been put under the supervision of members of the Albanian Committee…[the seizures] conducted by Albanians Mamut Perijuc, Ramiz Mulic and Osman Ibrahimovic, who worked in conjunction with the German Gestapo. [Ibrahimovic] ordered the demolition of the Jewish synagogue and the destruction of papers and documents in the Jewish archive…Yugoslav Jewish survivors put the responsibility on the Kosovar Albanian Committee for inciting the first and second internments of Kosovo Jews.

One supposes that Museum spokeswoman Neumann’s partiality could be a contributing factor explaining why Nazi Albania, Nazi Croatia, and Nazi Bosnian Muslims were left out of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, while 1990s-era Serb crimes — real, imagined, projected, inverted, or transposed — were included. And why Serb WWII victims and Jew-saviors were also excluded, while 1990s Croatian and Bosnian victims — real, imagined, or transposed — were included.

Like ants, the ethnic lobbies crafting “history” proceed on course with the big lie, utilizing a few Righteous Gentiles and a kernel of truth. No matter the obstacles that may come in their way. No matter the veritable hemorrhage of exposees about Kosovo recently — a tsunami so huge that even Americans finally learned the name of the place they waged war in 15 years ago. But it seems that only one set of opposing facts takes seed in the American mind. The easier set. And so the more entrenched set. And so our students — whether at the community college level, Ivy League, or grade school — have been getting the same lesson plan on the subject. A remedial one. Ensuring that vulnerable young minds — from a 60 I.Q. to a 140 I.Q. — get the Zero I.Q. version of Kosovo.

Dartmouth students probably fancy themselves a few notches more gifted than the Jersey kids at a school like Seton Hall or Monmouth, but when it comes to Americans and the Balkans, there are no intellectual distinctions. People really are equal. No critical thinking required. I mean, who knew that Dartmouth students could be in a ‘class’ with Monmouth students?

First, here’s Seton Hall getting in on the act:

Spring Trip to Kosovo for Students, Alumni and Friends (Feb. 29, 2012, By Tahir Ambris)

The Whitehead School will host a study seminar for all current Seton Hall students and alumni in Pristina, Kosovo from May 22- June 1, 2012…This is a great opportunity…to experience a first-hand demonstration of the reconstruction and stability of a foreign country. We will discuss the future prospects of Kosovo and the question of its future membership in the EU and NATO.

Students will visit cultural sites outside of Pristina, which may include Gracanica Serbian Orthodox monastery, constructed on the ruins of a 13th century church and a 6th century basilica; Kosovo Polje, where Slobodan Milošević was sent to calm a crowd of protestors, when he famously told them that “No one has the right to beat you … No one will beat you ever;” Camp Film City, Pristina’s NATO Headquarters; Prizren, the most culturally and ethnically heterogeneous municipality of Kosovo, and Gjakova, a predominantly Albanian city, which suffered great physical destruction, large-scale human losses and human rights abuses during the war.

Even this Albanian Fulbright scholar at University of Wisconsin didn’t learn about the “ethnic cleansing of Albanians” until she “read academic texts on the subject”: UWM grad gets Fulbright grant to study Kosovo war’s effects (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 14, 2012): “‘As a young girl, I didn’t understand what was happening,’ she said. Shabani wouldn’t learn about the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in the Serbian-controlled province of Kosovo until she read academic texts on the subject for a political science class. From then on, ‘it was in my consciousness,’” she said.

And at Brandeis, which used to be for smart kids, check out this story line by student Jordan Birnbaum: Study abroad adventures: experiences of an American in Kosovo (March 16, 2012)

…You see, during the war in Yugoslavia, Kosovo was annexed, then became a province, and then became an autonomous province, and in 1989 was declared a part of Serbia. [HUH?] In 2008 Kosovo declared independence as the Republic of Kosovo…

Prishtina, the capital, was an extremely welcoming city. The people here smile on the streets, they’re friendly and they want to help…We are, after all, talking about a city with “I love USA” posters and a statue of Bill Clinton…

During the last week we attended lectures with people from civil society in Kosovo/a…who taught us more about transitional justice and the role of the international community in Kosovo/a…I climbed a fort, had dinner in a rotating restaurant, attempted to learn some Albanian, tried some amazing food, went into a mosque for the first time, met with some brilliant leaders, took a photo with the Bill Clinton statue, played on the newborn sign and went to a few different cities…

But back to Dartmouth, where Kosovo’s president Atifete Jahjaga personally came to deliver the talking points last year. As she had to Monmouth just a couple months earlier:

Kosovo’s President Addresses Monmouth University, Seeks Normal Relations with Serbia (Asbury Park Press, Dec. 14, 2011)

…She spoke of over a century of oppression that the Kosovo people lived under but then gained some freedom as an autonomous Serbian province under Josip Broz Tito’s rule. [Ah, so the communism that they were dubbed “freedom-fighters” against was working for them. That’s not to mention the sponsorship the separatists were getting from neighboring Stalinist Enver Hoxha. Why, then, did they remove the communist names from the WWII memorial in 1999? Certainly not because they’re hopeless fascists?]

When Slobodan Milosevic came to power in Serbia, he abolished those gained freedoms [Oh yes, he simply abolished them], committed atrocities, denied human rights and forced Albanian Muslims out of Kosovo to be replaced with Christian Serbs. [Oh yes: hand-picked Serbs from cities across Serbia proper were lined up at the Kosovo border, just waiting to get in on the peasant life! Yet another inversion by the propagandist side (which by definition accuses the target of doing exactly what he/she has done or is about to do): This “replacement” was exactly the Albanian plan, and accomplishment: a flood of Albanians replaced the displaced Serbs.]

She appeared at the lecture with Christopher Dell, who was appointed U.S. ambassador to Kosovo in 2009, and is related to a staff member at Monmouth University.

“Kosovo is a good news story, not a bad news story,” Dell said… “I believe she (Jahjaga) represents a future that a Muslim country can show that Islamic and western values can coexist.’’

Ah, the infidel dream that Islam and the West can coexist, which has become an ever bigger reason for selling our Serb allies down the river, and shoving these inconveniently harmless Slavs into Russia’s arms (after using them as a lever against the U.S.S.R. for decades). So that in the end we can absolve ourselves retroactively by saying: ‘Well, see? They’re with the Russians anyway!’

And you see how pat and easy it all is? The Kosovo story is one-size-fits-all. You’re not expected — or wanted — to figure it out, so even though your intelligence will be insulted, you won’t know it. From Monmouth, Atifete Goes to Dartmouth:

Kosovo president addresses students (March 7, 2012, By Erin Landau, The Dartmouth Staff)

…Jahjaga, the first woman to serve as president of a Balkan nation, [to show how progressive a thugocracy can be] discussed her experiences with the education system in Kosovo, in which students were forced to attend university in private homes to avoid punishment. She said that prior to the creation of Kosovo, a “fear of repression was attached to my desire to learn” because Serbian officers used to “break into classes to imprison teachers and stop us from being knowledgeable.”

“Now, students can learn in a regular school environment,” she said.

[Regular school environment: Grenade Explodes in Serb Classroom in Kosovo; Albanians stab female Red Cross worker, stone school; Kosovo: Serb school attacked again; “Death to Serbs” Graffiti appears on primary school in Gnjilane; Kosovo authorities threatening Gorani over school curriculum; Bomb Explodes in Serbian School Kosovo: Schools in Serb enclaves left without water; Serb teacher in central Kosovo town notes “frequent attacks”, police inactivity; Tadic Strongly Condemns Attack On Serb Teacher — [Vuko] Danilovic was attacked by young Albanians who were hitting him in his face and stomach with their fists…He and a group of five Serb children were participating in the “Multiethnic Camp” which was organized by OSCE…]

At the end of her speech, Jahjaga presented the Mother Teresa Award for contribution in the field of humanism to James Strickler DMS ’51, who led Dartmouth’s efforts to provide resources to Kosovo and help the nation reconstruct its health education and health care systems.

The College first sent aid to Kosovo in conjunction with Dartmouth Medical School faculty who provided critical care to refugees after the war, according to College Provost Carol Folt. Dartmouth now offers opportunities for medical students, physicians and nurses to participate in exchange programs, and there have been more than 200 exchanges of medical faculty and students between Dartmouth and Kosovo. [Oh the irony! One wonders who’s teaching whom about organ-extraction. Any Serb-blooded students on the exchange had better wear armor!]

Dartmouth and the American University in Kosovo created a partnership two years ago that includes conducting faculty and student exchange programs and supporting curriculum development. In June, a group of Dartmouth students and recent graduates traveled to Kosovo with Project Preservation and, working with American University in Kosovo students, helped restore a Jewish cemetery in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital.

“Your efforts have been profoundly moving to me because you are bringing democracy to that region,” Folt said [addressing Jahjaga]. “The first time I visited the homeland of my ancestors, I was filled with optimism for the future.” […]

Did we just learn that the provost of Dartmouth is Albanian? There wouldn’t be anything wrong with this except that that particular ethnic loyalty has steered America down a dark and self-destructive course, which crosses the line from being inspiring examples of high-achieving immigrants to acting as plants, implanting themselves in various fields, which they then influence in furtherance, at all costs, of their own ethnic interests.

The below comes from someone who listened to the “lecture”:

The INCREDIBLE irony of all this is that Kosovo universities demanded to conduct classes in ALBANIAN ONLY throughout the 1980s and 1990s, even though Serbo-Croatian was the language of Yugoslavia, and even though Kosovo was a province of Yugoslavia, NOT a province of Albania.

This is such a joke. What would happen if a state in the U.S. suddenly insisted that ALL classes in public schools and universities had to be conducted in Spanish or Swahili or Hebrew, and refused to allow classes to be taught in English? Would those students, trained only in those languages, be prepared to land jobs in an English-speaking nation? Would that foster common ground, or separatism?

She keeps talking about the Serbs living in Kosovo who do not accept the authority of the Republic of Kosovo — a state illegally declared, in violation of national and international laws…She talks about how few Serbs live there — without explaining how that disproportionate number came about.

…She blames the Serbs there for “illegal parallel structures?” What the heck was the entire separation of Kosovo? Don’t choke too hard when you hear about the refugees at the end, that this was NATO’s “most useful, successful mission,” or that Kosovo is a multinational country where tolerance is a great success. Sure, that’s why they destroyed or desecrated more than 400 churches, raped nuns and citizens, killed Serbs living in their own ancestral homes for 600 years.

Interesting that Dartmouth didn’t want to allow questions at the end, and set up NO microphones for the students…This slimy propaganda was a disgrace and insult to higher education.

Indeed, in her “lecture,” she covered all the standard stuff, expressing her no-brainer position that she’s against partition or land exchange. As we know, the Albanians WANT IT ALL. And so the Serbs are called “uncompromising.”

Dartmouth Physician and Dean Honored by Kosovo President at Public Lecture (Dartmouth Now, By Susan J. Boutwell, March 6, 2012)

…To a packed audience in the Hopkins Center’s Moore Theater, Jahjaga said her four-year-old nation has emerged from war a better place. [???!!!]

“The goal is to build a functioning democracy, a just society where the rule of law is established and values such as human rights and equality of all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or religion are restored,” she said… [???!!!]

She came to Dartmouth at the invitation of Provost Carol Folt, who is also an environmental scientist and had visited Kosovo this past fall, lecturing there. Folt told the Moore Hall auditorium that her trip allowed her to see the roots of her own Albanian heritage for the first time…

Former Dartmouth Medical School Dean Dr. James Strickler ’50, DMS ’51, has been creating and implementing health programs overseas for more than three decades, including activities in Kosovo…Strickler has been awarded the Humanitarian Medal of Mother Teresa, an award given by the president of the Republic of Kosovo to citizens and foreigners who contribute to the field of humanism. [Just when you thought your eyes couldn’t roll any farther into the back of your head, this comes from a woman representing a state run by human-vivisecters, and partly owing its birth to funds from stolen organs — not to mention that today it reigns supreme in human-trafficking.]

Folt said Dartmouth will this summer welcome its first exchange student from American University in Kosovo. Additionally, there are two Kosovar students studying at Dartmouth Medical School. [Great!]

In her lecture, she told students that her college days had been much different than theirs. She and her peers studied in safe houses, fearing discovery by police who would imprison teachers and “stop knowledge.” […]

A response to that particular charge came from author Bill Dorich, who wrote the following letter to the student paper:

The remark that there was “fear of repression in the desire to learn” is not just insulting, it is moronic considering that Albanians were permitted to be educated in their own language. For the past 30 years Pristina University in Kosovo had more than 95% Albanian enrollment. I suggest that Ms. Jahjaga stop pissing on our leg and convincing us that it is raining.

Over the past three decades Albanians in Kosovo had numerous ethnic newspapers, radio and television stations and their freedom of speech was never oppressed. But what was cleverly omitted from her presentation was any mention that Albanians for decades received a form of welfare from the Tito regime, unheard of in any Communist system in the world. I also remind the naive students at Dartmouth that the Serbs ranked in 4th place in the communist system of the late Tito regime and the ambassadorships and positions of power were held by Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Albanians, not Serbs.

…I also remind your students that during the Tito regime when he gave the Albanians “autonomy” without a single vote of the Yugoslav parliament, the Albanians fired every Serb from their jobs including doctors, teachers, college professors, policemen and judges. Apparently your ignorant student body also needs reminding that during the Second World War over 160,000 Serbs were cleansed from Kosovo and after the war Tito forbade their return, giving their land to the Nazi Albanians, who supported his communist efforts. During the autonomy of the 1970s another 120,000 Serbs were forced from Kosovo during a campaign of terror that included the burning of over 500 Serbian farms, the rape of Serbian nuns and Serbian girls and the burning of 3 Serbian monasteries and 2 major Serbian libraries. Albanian officials burned over 2 million Serbian books including priceless manuscripts. How compelling that your college would invite such morons to your college and allow them to spew their anti Serb hatred…Yet your naive students applauded this hypocrite who, through KLA violence, has amputated sovereign Serbian territory.

Since the arrival of 17,000 NATO troops in 1999, the Albanians have destroyed [hundreds of] ancient Serbian Orthodox Christian churches as your student body remained silent…

Bill Dorich

The letter naturally went unpublished, nor did Mr. Dorich even hear back from the student paper.

Jahjaga’s stop at Dartmouth was part of her whirlwind U.S. tour last year. Two days later she was an invited attendee at one of those fluffy girl-power events called “Women in the World,” organized by Newsweek and The Daily Beast, where “Jahjaga met the former U.S. Secretary of State Mrs. Madeleine Albright….[who] shared with the participants her experience of childhood as a refugee of World War II by comparing it with the exodus of refugees during the war in Kosovo and other countries of former Yugoslavia,” M-Magazine reported at the time. Jahjaga’s introduction to American idiots — hyphenated Americans and not — inspired a misplaced mention of her in this list:

10 Muslim Women Every Person Should Know (Huffington Post, March 24, 2012, Fazeela Siddiqui)

…[T]he current President of Kosovo, Atife Jahjaga, is the world’s youngest female president, as well as her country’s first female Muslim president. In honor of Women’s History Month, I present 10 Muslim women, from the seventh century until today, that every Muslim (and everyone else) should know about…The following 10 extraordinary Muslim women have been shattering cement, glass and orbital ceilings with panache.


Jahjaga with the Obamas in September 2011, when she also attended a reception by Bill Clinton and met with Frank Wisner, U.S. envoy to Kosovo during the Ahtisaari status talks. [Frank Wisner Sr. had recruited Albanian Fascists for the CIA after WWII in “Operation Mocking Bird” but eventually had the decency to kill himself for one reason or another. His son, on the other hand — like the rest of our political establishment — is still active in reversing the WWII victory.]

Students are being fed a made-for-Americans pabulum, a watered-down version of the watered-down Kool-Aid that the rest of the country drank. Here’s the standard whitewash Kosovo lesson the Dartmouth kids got from a boob named Jason Steinbaum, chief of stuff for NY Rep. Eliot Engel. Just before the trip on which the kids were allowed to clean up only the Jewish cemetery (and not any of the hundreds of Orthodox ones lying in ruins), Steinbaum was dispatched to tell the wiz kids all they’d need to know about Kosovo:


Jason Steinbaum, “expert”; senior foreign affairs committee staffer for Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.

Kosovo expert calls for sovereignty” [What else!]

By Matthew Mc Nierney, The Dartmouth Staff, May 17, 2011

Kosovar independence was instrumental to ending genocide in the region [interesting chronology there], and international recognition of Kosovo’s sovereignty is essential to the country’s future stability, according to Jason Steinbaum….[I]n a lecture entitled “Free Cold Soda to Free Kosovo: From Ethnic Cleansing to Independence”…Steinbaum said he first began studying the region with Engel after joining his staff in November 1993. When Engel was elected in 1998, a group of Albanian-Americans drew Engel’s attention to the “quiet ethnic cleansing” orchestrated by Serbians living in Kosovo. The group brought Engel to a rally, where the participants’ heavy accents led Engel to think they were chanting “free cold soda” instead of “free Kosovo,” Steinbaum said.

[The cute anecdote that’s required in any speech. All together now: Awww, they’re just cute little harmless immigrants who are being killed in their native land for their cuteness. Meanwhile, according to the above, five years into his staff studying the region, Engel didn’t even recognize the word Kosovo (or, more likely, Kosova). Until he was fed “information” from the Albanian spoon.]

Congressional response to the Kosovar conflict was much quicker than many Americans believe is possible from their government, according to Steinbaum. [Oh, Congress moves pretty darned fast if there’s some Serb-killin’ to be done.] “If anyone ever tells you that members of Congress don’t listen to their constituents, I can tell you that after 20 years of doing this, they do listen,” he said…

As Steinbaum traced the history of the region, he urged audience members to support the Kosovar independence movement. [Because that one and only allowable position doesn’t have enough support.] The violence began when Slobodan Milosevic, who served as the president of Serbia at the time, delivered a speech calling Serbians to regain their “national heritage,” which led to the treatment of Albanians as second-class citizens and began the widespread genocide, according to Steinbaum.

The “widespread genocide” that was dropped from all Kosovo indictments at the Hague years ago, by virtue of its not existing. So the violence “began” in 1989? And not with the decades of clan-ordered violence against non-Albanians that was pushing the latter out of the province? The 1981 race riots weren’t violent? Or the 1968 ones, for that matter? As for “second-class citizens,” the Albanians were an oppressing minority, not an oppressed one, which may have made them less than well-liked. As for discrimination by a host society in general (though in the case of Serbs and Albanians, that was a two-way street), one can only answer, “Welcome to Europe.” But, as one commentator asked: Should the U.S. be in the business of telling Europe which of its oppressed minorities deserve to get their own state?

The Albanians, led by a pacifist president, responded to the genocide by creating their own “parallel system,” including a separate government, schools and health clinics, according to Steinbaum. [Wait, so the 1999 “genocide” happened in the 1980s? And notice that the Albanians’ parallel system is OK, unlike the Serbs’ “illegal parallel structures” mentioned by Jahjaga.] Serbia could have ended the conflict at this point but instead chose not to compromise, Steinbaum said. [Huh?]

Steinbaum helped advise the Albanians to settle for autonomy rather than independence, a provision they correctly guessed the Serbians would not grant them. As a result, Albanians appeared willing to compromise in the eyes of the international community, causing NATO to begin bombing Serbian forces [and civilians], he said.

Despite the prolonged fighting, the war did not end Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo, Steinbaum said. When three Albanian children were found drowned in the Ibar River, the Albanians quickly blamed the Serbians and proceeded to burn hundreds of Orthodox churches, according to Steinbaum. [Was anyone able to follow the thought process: Serbian sovereignty didn’t end in 1999; there was an anti-Serb pogrom in 2004.]

When the Albanians began to commit atrocities against the Serbians [”began”? No way that could have been happening all along, before his boss Engel learned that Kosovo wasn’t the same thing as cold soda], Steinbaum said he and other government officials realized that Kosovar independence was the only long-term solution to the problem. [Because Albanians are so very compromising. And look: violence pays.] Although Kosovo declared independence on Feb. 18, 2008 [sic: Feb. 17], Steinbaum said more countries need to recognize Kosovar sovereignty and the international community needs to aid Kosovo in solving its internal economic and corruption problems.

After that lovely assessment, and given the recurrence of Kosovo in the student paper, in April 2012 I sent the following email to Emily Fletcher and Branko Cerny, publisher and editor at the time:

I’m writing to ask whether you guys ever accept a guest column from outside the student body. The reason your paper has come to my attention is that my focus is on the Clintons’ unfinished war in Kosovo, and over the summer members of the Dartmouth Hillel went there to restore a Jewish cemetery. The planned trip was covered in the paper…but since that trip on which Dartmouth students cleaned up the graveyard, it was vandalized. The fact is, there is some deep and troubling historical background about Kosovo that has not made it to the student body, which — like the rest of America — has been given only the pro-independence perspective. Not only in The Dartmouth, but also in the talks given to Dartmouth students by both the president of Kosovo and Jason Steinbaum of Rep. Eliot Engel’s office (which caters to a huge Albanian constituency in the Bronx).

To anyone who has been following the aftermath of America’s last pre-9/11 war — Kosovo — it is jaw-dropping to hear the inversions being peddled to our brilliant students. It might interest you to know that this remedial, propagandistic level of “information” is the same whether it’s being delivered at Dartmouth or at Monmouth College in New Jersey. Similarly, when Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga (whom Ambassador Christopher Dell literally forced onto an infuriated Kosovo parliament), was making her rounds in the U.S. at the start of the year, there was no difference between the puff pieces that emerged in the pages of Washington Times and those of The Huffington Post. I’m sure you’ll agree these two publications otherwise have some rather stark differences between them, on virtually every other issue. But again, unlike every other issue — on which viewpoints split between Left and Right — there is only one allowable side of the Kosovo story. And it happens to coincide with U.S. policy, which is feverishly working for full Kosovo independence. It may seem like a small and obscure matter to Americans, whose disinterest makes suppression of the story almost redundant, but believe me when I tell you that the U.S government trembles over this seemingly small and insignificant region. As I outlined for The Washington Times in 2010 (documented version here), our pro-Albanian, anti-Serb policy has remained in place even after the Clinton administration sensed something wasn’t right [in 2000], and even after 9/11, precisely because of the threat of Albanian violence. A fact that the very same pro-independence officials here openly state as the reason for speedy independence. It’s all moved merrily along in the shadows, with nary a media spotlight shone on what Washington has been up to in the Balkans. It all leads one to seriously question the independence of our presses…

As in 1999, Jews are again being targeted by Albanian propaganda, in the hopes of a politically important recognition from Israel, which has so far vowed to not recognize Kosovo independence…[T]he Hillel club at your otherwise reputable university fell victim to that grand scheme. I’d like to give some background for your students about this troubled land that has made an appearance in your paper more than once recently, and to — for once — present the other side of a difficult story that has been made all too simple so far. But it would take a bit of journalistic courage on your parts, as you would be venturing beyond the realm of “controversial” journalism and into the realm of disallowed journalism. So you’d have to put on your thick skins and be prepared for the consequences.

Best,
Julia Gorin

Perhaps that last line scared them off and sealed the outcome of my not hearing back. Though more likely it just gave them an excuse to hit the “delete” key. (Incidentally, to make sure my email was received I also addressed it generally to editor@thedartmouth.com and to publisher@thedartmouth.com. So chances are that Emily Fletcher and Branko Cerny — among others — saw the letter. And didn’t want to give equal time (or, as usual, any time) nor even address why that’s not ‘possible.’) Being Class of ‘13, Branko and Emily have moved merrily along into the world, where they will do just fine, as they know what to block out. But with their silence, they’ve made themselves part of the suppression. So much for the future generation. And future generation of journalists.


The wiz kids shill for the whiz kids
*************
Appendix

A few months before Jahjaga’s student-duping tour in March 2012, she was on another propaganda tour through the U.S., this time targeting newspapers. No longer wanting to be left out of the sucker club, the Washington Times editorial board invited her to serve them up her mush, and then fed it to their readership:

Kosovar leader speaks softly, carries big hope, Insists separatism set no precedent (Dec. 18, 2011, By Guy Taylor)

Atifete Jahjaga, president of Kosovo, is eager for her new country to join the European Union. She talked Thursday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.

The president of Kosovo is troubled when her 3-year-old nation is compared to other regions with separatist movements…. “Kosovo does not set a precedent,” President Atifete Jahjaga told editors and reporters at The Washington Times. “I don’t like to see comparisons with any other case, or any other circumstances, or any other country. We are a case on our own.”

[But she’s not troubled to be shilling for the murderers and mobsters who run the joint. It’s “unique,” all right.]

Mrs. Jahjaga is the first woman to rise to the highest office of a Balkan nation, and she is only 36. These facts have inspired headlines as well as audiences during her U.S. visit…

Mrs. Jahjaga, a Muslim and ethnic Albanian, has taken an unyielding stance on the issue of Kosovo-Serb land disputes since she was elected in April by parliamentary vote. [It’s called “unyielding” when it’s the Albanian side, and written about positively, but it’s called “uncompromising” when writing about the perpetually yielding Serb side.]

She has publicly rejected the notion that Kosovo’s predominantly ethnic-Serb north could ever rejoin Serbia, and she has accused Serbia of provoking anarchy in the area. [Because Albanians are violent.]

Serb leaders in northern Kosovo recently circulated a draft peace initiative calling for political dialogue from both sides to ease tensions in the region.

Mrs. Jahjaga, who has trained at the FBI National Academy…emphasized the opening of a “new chapter” for Kosovo during the decade since Serbian forces violently pushed through the region, violating human rights and displacing some 800,000 ethnic Albanians. [Hmm, Washington Times was a bit more skeptical about all that in 1999.]

“We have to forget the past,” Mrs. Jahjaga said. “History is something that even today we are paying the consequences, and the future is integration. [Forget the past? Forgetting the past is the entire foundation upon which her “country’s” ‘unique’ case rests.]

Mrs. Jahjaga talked in a voice so soft that she was hard to hear even to those sitting close to her. [Maybe she’s not 100% comfortable lying to your face.] However, her optimism spoke loudly, reflecting a forward-thinking generation of postwar Balkan politicians. [Forward-thinking mafia kingpins and terrorists whom this woman answers to.]

She added that her election represented a “historical moment, not only for Kosovo, but for all of the Balkans.”

Because it was the first time that the West threatened Kosovo’s masters, instead of the other way around? After all, that is how she came to be president in the “parliamentary vote”:

Kosovo: New president handpicked by Americans, predecessor says

But Washington Times prefers not to know anything about how Kosovo really works, opting instead to be yet another passive prey when the simple Washington-Pristina-spun narrative makes its rounds. As with every other newspaper of every stripe, there is no Balkans beat, much less a Kosovo beat, despite that being the site of our most recent pre-9/11 war and last war of the 20th century and, just as significant, the first NATO war. One in which we helped mostly secular al Qaeda-assisted Muslims. Despite ample blowback, Washington Times joins the ranks of every other paper in not bothering to investigate the false premises of the war, much less the primitive Albanian war crimes that birthed this “state” (including vivisection, quartering by car, and drowning elderly women in bathtubs). Thanks to which these continue to be swept under the rug and actively covered up with help from Washington.

No, better to not know any more than anyone else, and to flaunt their ignorance, joining the bipartisan cheering section of the victory for gangsterism, violence, terror, might-makes-right, and greater Islam as it conquers Europe via the prized Balkans that Americans so love to ignore. No interest, and no courage, to find out the real story for itself.

And so I had to write the following, much too nice, letter in May of last year to then editorial page editor Brett Decker (and also a copy to a long-time staffer named Frank Perley):

Dear Brett,

I was wondering whether The Times had an Ombudsman-type figure. Like The Post does. There, one can write a Letter to the Ombudsman that will sometimes get published, if it’s in regard to a general problem or ongoing coverage style of an issue.

The reason I ask is that The Times, while being a more decent and conservative paper than the rest, occasionally exhibits symptoms of an epidemic that one could call Balkans amnesia. That is, despite the paper’s good skepticism about the KLA in the late 90s…and despite the paper printing my article in 2010 “The Blackmail of America,” lo and behold the editorial board happily subjects itself to a meeting with the “president” of “Kosova” during her back-to-back propaganda tours late last year and early this year. A woman who represents [terrifying] ghouls, and who only became president when Ambassador Christopher Dell threatened the KLA government with removing our support if they didn’t install her. (In what was a rare reversal of roles, since the latter are usually the ones threatening us; such is the “eternal” and “unshakable” friendship [official Albanian terms] that developed from our having bombed their ethnic rivals who had never been a threat to us but an ally in WWII while the Albanians chose Germany.)

I learned of the editorial board meeting with President Jahjaga when, to my dismay, a standard puff piece came out in The Times in late December — indistinguishable from the others that were coming out…simply lauding this young, female president of Kosovo and implicitly approving of this mafia state-in-the-making on land that was won through terror…The multiple attacks and attempted attacks emanating from our Great Islamic Hope of Kosovo and Bosnia just get swept under the rug, and no one puts two and two together.

Brett, I’m beside myself. Everyone — everyone — eventually becomes part of the Kosovo cover story. Please, not The Times too. Is there any forum of the paper for which I could write about this ongoing problem?

Yours,
Julia

Naturally, I didn’t hear back. And these are men I’ve actually worked with on previous articles.


Stella and George Jatras, awesome couple

And really, it still is. Because for some reason I woke up thinking about her on Sunday morning, dreading the possibility that I could hear those two words, which came four minutes later, from my husband downstairs: “Stella died.” He’d gotten a facebook alert from Michael P.’s page.

In terms of character, Stella Jatras defied the odds: Pro-Serbia AND pro-Israel. An anti-jihadist before it was chic and then gauche. A military wife who nonetheless recognized when her country turned treasonous. And, well, pretty damned hot.

I can’t find the picture I wanted to post of her (I spent half of Sunday looking for it). But she was in one of those Boogie-Oogie-Bugle-Boy line-ups with three other ladies — a black-and-white shot from perhaps the 50s. I was so annoyed by her great looks and legs that I deleted the thing all three times she sent it to me. But not really — I never made a permanent deletion, since I wanted to keep the photo. But it was too hard to find in my deleted folder, and so I’ve used the photo above.

She emailed me on Dec. 30th saying that this year was her and George’s 60th anniversary and they would be celebrating it at George’s 60th class reunion at the Naval Academy. I don’t know if that already happened, or was to happen later this year.

I always pictured the day I’d introduce her to my husband: “Stella, this is Lev. Lev, THIS — IS — SPARTA!” (see the film “300″), because Stella had the fighting spirit of 300 Spartans in her soul, and so her email moniker “Sparta” was very fitting. Now that I think about it, the email was Sparta13, rather prophetic given that it’s 2013. As it turned out, Lev never got to meet her.

In addition to being a more tireless defender of Serbs than even I, she was an early activist against Islamization. She had spoken up when the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) was coming to Alexandria. She and her husband George and other concerned neighbors had to contend with vilification in the local presses, including from supposed “tough” guy General Schwarzkopf, who — I had no idea — was a Saudi-lover, and joined in putting pressure on the objecting Americans.

Here was what she wrote me upon Schwarzkopf’s death in December:

Can you believe that he said we fought in the first Gulf War for freedom of religion????? Saudi Arabia where there are no synagogues, no churches – only Islam – in the strictest form.

I don’t know if you remember the case of Pat Roush – when we were having the hearing for ISA, Pat (from California) stayed with us so that she could testify at one of our meetings – and that ISA should not be built until her kidnapped daughters had been returned to her. She was on TV quite a bit at the time. She was on with Bill O’Reilly when he made an ass of himself – he bullied her and said something to the fact that she was getting too emotional and cut her off.

We had Muslim women go by where we were sitting and if looks could kill, we would have been dead.

It was a nasty job. However, our efforts paid off when a friend called and said that the FBI had nixed the deal. I don’t have anything except her call and can’t find anything on that on the internet – but the Saudis’ did not build their ISA after all. [Update: It was built later, and was where the valedictorian who wanted to kill Pres. Bush hailed from.]

I have pictures that I took of Schwarzkopf, George Bush and Barbara when they came to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Air Force One at the Royal Pavilion. Because I worked for the United States Military Training Mission (secretary), George and I were invited – which by the way was forbidden for me to be working next to men – only in hospitals is that permitted…Stella

When Schwarzkopf died, Stella was too decent to write a letter reminding people that he was part of the infiltration problem. “Let the man rest in peace,” George told her, and she obliged. But she did re-circulate the following item:

Gen. Schwarzkopf backs Saudi school (Loudoun EASTERNER, Jan. 28, 1998)

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of Operation Desert Storm, this week issued a strong statement of support for the relocation of the Islamic Saudi Academy to Ashburn.

In the statement issued from his home in Tampa, FL., Schwarzkopf countered some allegations made against Saudi Arabia and said he would be “very disappointed if American citizens blocked the Islamic Saudi Academy from being established in Loudoun County.”

The proposal to move the Academy to Loudoun from Fairfax County has resulted in widespead public debate, some of it from military families [before they were castrated] and much of it based on alleged treatment of Christians in Saudi Arabia. The general’s letter follows:

“It has been brought to my attention that there are some people in Loudoun County who believe that American soldiers who served in the Gulf War, particularly in Saudi Arabia, were prohibited by the Saudis from worshiping and keeping with them a personal Bible or cross. Such a statement is absolutely untrue.

“There were 775 Army, Navy, and Air Force chaplains in the Gulf area during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. They freely conducted religious services at all of the bases where U.S. forces were stationed. These services, of course, included Christmas services during the holidays and Jewish religious services during the high holy days. The only thing that the Saudis asked of us was that we not televise or publicly advertise our religious services.

“I would personally be very disappointed if American citizens blocked the Islamic Saudi Academy from being established in Loudoun County. First of all, we Americans always practice freedom of religion and to block a school because of their religious beliefs would be directly contrary to what we are fighting for in the Gulf War. Secondly, Islam is a religion that is completely tolerant of other religions especially Christianity. Many of the passages of the Koran are exactly the same as passages in the Bible and Christ is recognized by the Islamic religion as a prophet.

“I strongly support the relocation of the Islamic Saudi Academy to Ashburn, Virginia. My wife, Brenda, who was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, also supports the location of the school.”

The letter was released by a representative of the school. It is the first time from a national figure on the subject of the proposed move of the Academy.

Gen. “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf, a second generation graduate of West Point, spent two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was commander of ground troops in General and later led the Desert Storm operation which led to the expulsion of the Iraqi army from Kuwait. He is now retired.

And now he’s deceased, thereby available for Stella to give him a piece of her mind in person. Which I’m sure she’ll get to eventually. At the moment, her schedule is rather tied up. She has a funeral to attend, an extensive family reunion to get through, and a glowing life review to experience when the Big Guy presses the playback button.

I’ll close by linking to some of Stella’s hard work, which has been making the rounds this weekend:

When is a Diplomat Not a Diplomat? When you’re Richard Holbrooke

What G.I.s Need to Know about Kosovo

Behind Enemy Lines: Fact or Fiction?

The Rape of Serbian Women

From Camp Swampy to Camp Bondsteel

Carla Del Ponte’s Pound of Serbian Flesh

Wesley Clark: The Guy Who Almost Started WWIII

A War of Images

The Media’s War Against the Serbs

Odd Alliance at State, CNN?

******UPDATE AT BOTTOM******

Israel and Serbia: “Historically good ties” (Tanjug, April 29)

JERUSALEM – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic began a two-day visit to Israel on Monday by meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, with whom he talked about the historically good ties between the Serbian and Jewish people and possibilities for expanding economic and scientific cooperation.

In Jerusalem, Nikolic spoke in favor of strengthening economic cooperation between Serbia and Israel, and thanked the country for its principled support to Serbia’s stance on the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo-Metohija, expressing hope that this position will be maintained.

Nikolic said his visit to Israel is an expression of Serbia’s and his personal gratitude for Israel’s consistent and principled position, and invited Peres to visit Serbia.

“…I am very happy that the EU is now seriously considering the possibility of accepting Serbia as a new member state. I am also very glad about your dialogue with Kosovo. All conflicts should be resolved through dialogue,” Peres said.

“History constantly tortured us and brought us together. Our two nations and the Roma suffered terrible pogroms during World War Two,” said the Serbian president.

Nikolic said the Jewish community in Serbia today is small, because many left in search of a better life, but those who left consider both Serbia and Israel their homeland.

Nikolic expressed understanding for the security issues Israel is facing, but said Serbia cannot choose a side in the Middle East.

“Today I am a leader of a Serbia which cannot choose sides in this. We understand your problem completely, but we have also had a huge burden placed on our shoulders. We can hardly carry this burden by ourselves, because we have been surrounded by rockets, which struck our people and our country and we can never be sure it will not happen again,” said Nikolic.

President Peres said Israel has learned a few things from the former Yugoslavia and Serbia. The first thing is Zionism, which emerged there [indeed, father of Zionism Theodor Herzl’s parents were from Serbia], but also the fact that a country such as the former Yugoslavia in fact dissolves through internal discord.

We learnt from Yugoslavia that it is better to create several states in which people will be able to live in peace and cooperate than to keep them artificially in a single multiethnic and multi-confessional country. The thing that breaks up a country is internal discord, said Peres.

On Monday, Nikolic also toured the Museum of Israel and laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem memorial center to the victims of the Holocaust.

After visiting Israel, the Serbian president will proceed to Palestine, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Serbian president on visit to Palestine (B92, May 2)

RAMALLAH — Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić late on Wednesday arrived in Palestine, where he was greeted with top honors and the sounding of anthems.

“We have a similar fate and solve it in a similar way - through negotiations…[He does have a point that the Palestinians have been in one set of talks or another with Israel for the past five decades, whereas it wasn’t permissible for “Kosovars” to have to wait even eight years.] He pointed out that it was difficult to start talks, while then “a [imposed] solution is found.”

“Serbia just never let anyone threaten our integrity and humiliate us, and President Abbas will not let that happen to the Palestinian people,” Nikolić said.

Noting that Serbia has good relations with both Palestine and Israel, Nikolić said he was confident they would come to an agreement, and recalled that the Serbian vote for Palestine in the UN General Assembly came because of the country’s “feeling, soul, and desire that every citizen and nation on the globe should have its rights…but in this conflict, do not make us take sides….”

[Abbas said,] “…[Y]our country was one of the first to host an early dialogue between the Palestinians and Israel.” …He emphasized that Serbia “will be in the EU” because it is deserved this as a democracy with the rule of law, and that Serbia has many friends outside the EU.

The Serbian president laid a wreath at the grave of former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. […]

I’ve been meaning to address the Serbian vote at the UN in December in favor of a Palestinian state, which Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic claims was made out of some kind of “feeling.” (Though a byproduct of the vote was that it bought isolated Serbia some political capital with the Palestinians, so certainly that’s something for Nikolic to make use of.) In fact, voting Yes to the resolution would make it easier to give away Kosovo, which Nikolic was in the process of doing at that moment; voting for “Palestine” is also voting for the even more fictitious nation of “Kosova.” Because both have been illegally self-proclaimed. Serbia’s vote wasn’t about hurting Israel, it was about getting Serbia to hurt itself. And because the government is almost entirely controlled from the outside, that wasn’t exactly difficult.

One should also consider Serbia’s lack of incentive to take a principled (and at the same time U.S.-pleasing) stand on the issue, given that a lack of principle was employed in the parallel case involving Serbia, in favor of her adversaries. And so one is merely voting for consistency, and at the same time making a point about the domino effect created by breaking the principle.

Here was the item about the UN vote: Albania one of 41 abstentions at United Nations (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2)

…Netanyahu spoke over the weekend with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and thanked him for his country’s “courageous UN vote against the Palestinian Authority’s request.”

“The history of Israel and the Czech Republic has taught us that one must cling to the truth even if the majority is not with you,” Netanyahu said. “Your vote must serve as an example for all those who support peace, which can be achieved only via direct negotiations without preconditions.”

While Prague will be the only state Netanyahu will visit to thank for its position, there was obvious gratitude in Jerusalem to the seven other countries who joined Israel and the Czech republic to vote against the PA resolution: Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama and the United States. [All, incidentally, being inconsistent as they did recognize the more far-fetched statehood of Kosovo. It’s worth a reminder that the Czechs were overwhelmingly and vehemently against Kosovo recognition as well.]

Although officials in Jerusalem expressed disappointment that Germany – which often votes for Israel in international forums – abstained, there was satisfaction that certain other countries did abstain, first and foremost Albania, which is a Muslim country with whom Israel has developed close ties over the last couple of years.

It’s of course not insignificant that rather than outright voting against the resolution, Albania abstained. The national character being, as always, to hedge its bets and play both sides. (Especially as, Albanian Kosovo tries to woo Arab and Muslim countries for recognitions simultaneously with wooing Israel.)

While Israel was disappointed at how the EU voted, especially Italy which voted for the Palestinians, 12 EU countries did abstain. With the exception of Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, all the other abstentions came from the former Iron Curtain countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Another nine non-EU European states also abstained: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Monaco, Montenegro, Moldova, San Marino and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In Africa, Israel took some comfort from that fact that five countries abstained: Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda and Togo, whose president was in Israel last week.

The contrast between the Serbian and Albanian votes was a boon to the confusion-sowers: ‘Ah, well then, there’s the proof that we’ve been on the right side in the Balkans all along.’ Nice and simple. It’s almost enough to make one quit her indentured servitude to the truth. But then one remembers that Albania still awaits the all-important Israeli recognition of Kosovo and therefore wouldn’t alienate Israel anytime soon. That’s in addition to what we already know: Albania has never had a particular animosity toward Jews. (Though Jews still found it unpleasant enough to be airlifted out, and bin Laden found “Hotel Tirana” to be optimal for jihad-planning in the 90s.)

As for Serbia, how big a halo does the world expect to find over demon-Serb heads? Aside from the fact that rejection by the Free World has forced Serbia to cozy up to the very Muslim world that pulled the West’s strings in the 90s, it’s certainly understandable that Serbia would take a rare opportunity to rebel against its Washington masters, by signing onto a UN resolution that the U.S. is against. Especially to demonstrate the germane point all along: YOU, America, set this precedent in 1999; we’re just being consistent with YOUR policy — the one that Israel correctly feared would come to be used against it. The effect, of course, hurts Israel while getting back at the U.S., something Russia is prophesized to do in a much bigger way in our lifetimes. It’s all the more unfortunate, given that the U.S. is no friend of Israel, and so hurting Israel…is just hurting Israel.

******UPDATE******

My friend Alyse — who’s always having online fights with anti-Serbs and anti-Jews — offered this about the Serbian UN vote:

Yes, it was ugly – but you are right – How big a halo should I expect! (My husband used it as another opportunity to point out to me that the real patriots are in Republika Srpska and the Serbian Serbs are spoiled… Of course I shouldn’t tempt fate by expecting that they continue doing the right thing either) – Personally I think they just wanted to side with Russia, just to do it, for pride – but – on second thought – probably a lot goes into these decisions that I know nothing about(!!!)

Catching up on this item from December:

Eaten up by the east: embarrassed in Albania (Dec. 5, 2012)

A former tour guide, Carla Pratt figured it took a lot to rattle her when travelling. But a simple bus trip in Albania was enough to make her question all her travel skills.

If you suffer from motion sickness, are a stickler for the law or have a problem with being gawked at — do not attempt the Albanian bus system.

I had been totally over-confident about this. I was well-travelled, having worked as a tour guide in Europe for two years, and I knew how to bus myself around. I had worked on boats in both Croatia and Greece, so I knew how to deal with seasickness….

To get to, around and out of Albania, there are two simple options: bus or taxi. Bus, the obvious choice for the backpacker, is, quite simply, a unique experience. No one sits up the back, the closer to the front the better, and the locals get pushy…The driver was the only person with an operable, open window. Forget the snowflake sticker on the side advertising air-conditioning. This was just something the company was aspiring to. Possibly in 2024.

Post-communist Albania, the birthplace of dear Mother Teresa and anti-rust paint, is the most intense country I have ever visited…

I had been warned about Albania. Two Europeans I had met a week ago said it was dangerous and they considered it a no-go zone. They said the only people stupid enough to visit were Australians and Americans because they hadn’t been informed.

For the first time in my travels I felt like I was getting myself into trouble. And it felt amazing. Nothing is safe, organised or dependable. A mule sporting bright pink pom-poms attached to its bridle pulls young, weather-hardened workers down country roads, with old car interiors serving as makeshift seats…

No one on the bus is listening to music, I assume because they don’t have iPhones. When crossing the border into Albania, the passport stamp hasn’t changed date for three days, and no one gave a shit. Not to mention the universal head-shake laws of “yes” and “no” are totally reversed.

Hours later we arrived into the chaotic capital, driving past line after line of street vendors selling their wares. The city still showcased the scars of its volatile past governance with dilapidated, multicoloured apartment blocks clogging the streets. Albanians call their country Shqipëria, which since 1992 has switched from a tightly controlled communist regime to a free market free-for-all.

It was now my turn to fork out some money for the driver and his wingman who were holding my luggage hostage on the side of a busy main street…One minute, one minute!” I gestured, running to an ATM about 100 metres away.

Card in. Pin accepted. Amount selected. Error. Card out.

I could see another ATM close by…Repeat process. Declined again. Shit.

In my anxious quest for money, I hadn’t noticed the little crowd I seemed to have pulled. Two legless beggars had hobbled over to the area, stationing themselves firmly on the other side of the glass security door. They began to bang on the door, wailing, getting louder and louder, hands outreached for my money.

By this point I was beginning to totally stress out. I was in a foreign country, I had no money and I could see my bag capturers irritably looking around for me. They were going to leave any minute.

How the hell was I supposed to get past these beggars? I couldn’t just barge them over. They were already legless for Christ’s sake. I made haste for the door, eyeing them warningly, braced and ready to push through.

Within seconds a baton was reigning down over the backs of my followers as a bulky policeman, who must have seen my predicament, came to my rescue. He pulled them from the door allowing me to pass, following me close behind as I stalked back towards the bus…

Hands in the air trying to minimise the language barrier, I tried to explain my situation to the driver. I figured something was better than nothing, and pushed €20 towards him again. He snatched it off me, whipped a dismissing hand at me, kicked my bag over and left. Great, just great.

The policeman had stood firm for the duration of this exchange. He wanted a handout too. I was pissed off. This would never happen at home. I quickly reasoned that as a single, young and foreign female, I wouldn’t be too good at putting up a fight. I’d seen Taken. I shoved a €20 note in his direction.

He looked confused.

“I don’t want your money. I was just making sure you were OK!” he said in perfect English, shaking his head at me.

“Keep watch of your bag or it won’t be there soon,” he chuckled, walking away.

I was mortified. How embarrassing. I had no clue what I was doing or how to read these people. Was I really that stupid Aussie that ignored warnings? Was I ignorant? I had been bitten, swallowed whole and spat up again in the space of three mere minutes.

I plopped myself down into the gutter, right next to the donkey poo, just where I belonged.