Austrian jihadi teen girls reportedly want to leave Syria, ISIS, come home (NY Post, Oct. 10)
Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, had started lecturing classmates about their lifestyles and were even suspected of a vandalism attack at their school that called for jihad. They left Vienna in April, and purportedly were married off to militant fighters and are now pregnant.
…The two Austrian teenagers who became poster girls for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after becoming disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
…They left behind a note telling their parents: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah — and we will die for him.”
…Police in Austria said the girls’ social media accounts were taken over and manipulated to broadcast fake messages about their new lives, and that Kesinovic and Selimovic have been used to encourage other young women to head to Syria.
Security service insiders have told Austrian media that the girls have managed to contact their families to say they have had enough and want to come home.
However, experts warn there is almost no chance that the young ladies will be able to leave their new lives now that they’ve become internationally famous and their images have been shared around the world…Some images seemed to depict Selimovic and Kesinovic carrying weapons, but it was later revealed that many of them had been faked.
According to Oesterreich, the girls changed their minds after being faced with the realities of the brutal Islamic State regime and want to return home.
But Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said their decision might be too late. “The main problem is about people coming back to Austria. Once they leave it is almost impossible,” he said.
Imagine that. They joined ISIS on a lark, and it turned out to be a permanent decision. Sort of like suicide.
Who knew? Certainly not these two chicks who, as mere Bosnian Muslims had only dabbled in the religion (though even dabbling was enough to wage a war and get the world on board).
It seems the Bosnian bimbo reported dead after she and her BFF joined Isis in Syria is still alive, and carrying an embryonic terrorist:
European teens who joined ISIS claim to be pregnant
…Samra Kesinovic, 16, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15, made claims on their purported social media accounts that they were both alive and pregnant in Syria, Central European News reports.
Kesinovic was originally thought to be dead when reports emerged Monday that she had been killed in combat. But a Tuesday conversation between an anonymous WhatsApp account believed to be the teen and her friends in Austria confirmed that those rumors weren’t true.
The duo, previously seen in photos brandishing AK47s, are believed to have married a pair of Chechen fighters in Syria, according to CEN. The two vanished earlier this year and were parading their involvement with ISIS on social media — leading Austrian media to dub them the new face of jihad.
Austrian police and Interpol continue to hunt the teens….The messages also said they had received new names featuring the word “umm” — which is Arabic for mother
Despite the numerous comments, Austrian officials pointed to the men of ISIS as the possible culprits behind such outlandish statements. They warned that the jihadists had complete control over the young girls’ lives and said the madmen would never allow them to use social media, according to CEN.
“We have no independent confirmation that either of them are [sic] dead or alive, or that either of them are [sic] pregnant, although we suspect both are married,” an Austrian police spokesman said…Authorities believe that ISIS is using Kesinovic and Selimovic to promote their cause and recruit other youngsters from the West to join them and spread bloodshed abroad, CEN reports. […]
One weird thing about this, which no one mentions, is that usually an Islamic headdress is flattering to the face and makes the wearer look better. Here’s me, for example:
But this is a rare case in which it actually gets worse:
This one, on the other hand, definitely looks better:
Just another corrective report:
Austrian Teenage Jihadi Brides Samra Kesinovic and Sabina Selimovic ‘Alive’ (IB Times Sep 16, 2014)
Two Austrian teenage girls who joined the Islamic State have reportedly used social media to refute claims that one of them is dead…However The Local claims Kesinovic and Selimovic have since written to friends on WhatsApp, confirming they are both alive and well.
“Neither of us is dead,” Selimovic reportedly wrote.
The pair, who are of Bosnian origin, are believed to have become radicalised in Vienna after coming into contact with Chechen youths.
They are believed to have subsequently become “jihadi brides” in Syria. Photos of them holding rifles and posing with masked gunmen started circulating online - although some experts argued the pictures might have been doctored, The Times reports.
In a letter to their families, the girls said they had gone to the Middle East “to fight for Islam” and were ready to die as jihadists.
“No point looking for us: See you in paradise…We will serve Allah and die for him,” they wrote.
Last week police stopped two other schoolgirls who were planning to travel to Middle East to join Islamic State militants. Authorities believed the pair aged 14 and 15 might have been inspired by Kesinovic and Selimovic.
Meanwhile the Austrian government is considering banning Islamist symbols including that of the Islamic State. Some 160 Austrian nationals are believed to be among the hundreds of Europeans to have joined Islamist fighters in Iraq and Syria. Dozens of women, including about 60 Britons, are known to have travelled to the region to support IS.
I can certainly understand being a little girl with an idol. Mine was Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, and my sister’s was Isis. But her Isis looked like this:
Not like this:
I understand Isis being your idol, but this is ridiculous. Maybe the girls below were just confused? I mean, the goddess Isis was Egyptian, not Syrian:
Austrian teenage girl jihadist ‘killed in Syria’ (Telegraph, Sept. 15)
One of a pair of Austrian [ahem, Bosnian] teenage girls who left Vienna homes in April to join Syrian jihadists reportedly killed
Sabina Selimovic, 15, (left) and Samra Kesinovic, 16, travelled to Syria Photo: INTERPOL
One of two young Austrian women who travelled to Syria to fight with Islamic extremists has reportedly been killed just months after arriving in the country.
Sabina Selimovic, 15, and Samra Kesinovic, 16, both the daughters of immigrant families from Bosnia, left their homes in Vienna in April with the apparent intention of fighting for Syrian rebels.
They are thought to have travelled to Turkey and then to have crossed the border into Syria, having become radicalised after attending a local mosque in Vienna and reading about jihad on the internet.
[Vienna? You don’t say!]
They posted on social media photographs of themselves handling assault weapons and wearing black, full length burkas.
But Austrian authorities now think one of them – they have so far refused to divulge which one – may have been killed during fighting.
Refused to divulge which one. Does it really make a difference?
…Austrian authorities fear that the two teenagers’ example is inspiring other young, radicalised Muslim women to travel to Syria and volunteer to fight.
Now, ISIL et al have taken violence to such a level that even al Qaeda has distanced itself from it, and yet something about the former’s methods clearly appealed to these Bosnian (of all things!) girls. Where might they have acquired this taste for blood? Surely they would have been so traumatized by their parents’ tales of the Bosnian war and the supposed Serb killing machine that they’d have no stomach for violence. Unless the tales — like the war itself — had precisely the opposite effect.
In Germany, meanwhile, an alleged jihadist went on trial on Monday, accused of fighting in Syria for Isil.
In the first German criminal proceedings involving Isil, Kreshnik Berisha, a 20-year-old born near Frankfurt to a family from Kosovo, has been charged with membership of a foreign terrorist organisation.
Well, if this isn’t the article that just keeps on articulating. A German first, and a Kosovo Albanian is involved. Who could have seen that coming throughout the ’90s?! Frankfurt and Kosovo. What a couple.
…Berisha is believed to have become radicalised when he fell in with a group of Muslim fundamentalists while on a job training programme.
Federal prosecutors say Berisha travelled to Syria via Turkey in July 2013 with other Islamists planning to join the fight to create an Islamist “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq.
Soon after his arrival, Berisha allegedly underwent firearms training and was put to work as a medic and a guard.
In the six months he spent in Syria, he is believed to have fought in at least three battles on the side of the jihadists against President Bashar al-Assad’s troops.
He returned home for reasons that are unclear to German authorities in Dec 2013 and was arrested at Frankfurt airport…
Now, if 15 and 16 sound young for Bosnian Muslims to be all about The V (violence), check out these over-achievers. They’re barely out of their terrorist twos. I mean, terrible twos:
Al-Hayat Media Center, the media wing of ISIS, posted a video showing Bosnian children playing with guns and chanting ISIS slogans in Syria. The video was posted on the Internet on July 12, 2014.
Closing with some more Kosovo Albanians being arrested:
Kosovo ‘imams held’ in raids on Islamic State recruitment (BBC, Sept. 17)
Fifteen people have been detained in Kosovo in an operation aimed at tackling recruitment of fighters for Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.
Among them are several imams, including the head of Pristina’s Grand Mosque, Shefqet Krasniqi, local reports say.
Some 200 Kosovo Albanians have gone to fight in Syria and several have died.
Kosovo police did not name those arrested, publishing only their initials, but said the operation had been carried out following threats and due to the importance of national security. [Which of course first would require a nation, but who’s keeping track. Oh yes, they are.]
Many of those held were from Pristina, Prizren or the flashpoint town of Mitrovica. [Wasn’t this ‘Serb’ sellout just talking about how lovely Prizren was?]
Islamist leader Fuad Raqimi was detained after a raid on his flat, reports said.
US envoy Tracey Jacobson, in a tweet, praised Kosovo’s “pro-active response against fighters and terrorism”.
[Again, Saudi Arabia arrests terrorists too.]
Last month, 40 people were arrested as police searched dozens of sites across Kosovo, including makeshift mosques thought to have been used as recruitment centres. […]
An additional early report about the female Bosnian duo, from NY Post:
Gun-wielding teen girls from Europe join ISIS (Sep. 10, 2014)
…Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, are the daunting duo feared to be encouraging young Austrian girls to flee their country and take up arms in Syria to help ISIS spread violence, Central European News reports.
Austria’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that two additional girls from Vienna — ages 16 and 14 — recently were nabbed trying to sneak out of the country and join the Islamic State jihadists.
They were caught when the mother of a third friend who was supposed to go with them to Syria grew suspicious when she noticed all the luggage her daughter had packed.
Little is known about the two, but their parents are believed to be from Iraq. Police are trying to piece together how the wannabe jihadis could have become radicalized and who may have lent a direct hand in getting them to Syria.
Kesinovic and Selimovic vanished from Austria earlier this year and paraded their terror involvement on social media, posting images of themselves holding AK47s as they stood among several armed men [NOT EXACTLY ISLAMIC-KOSHER. OR, HALAL. OR, ISLAMICALLY CORRECT], according to CEN.
Austrian media dubbed the girls the new face of jihad in Syria two weeks ago and warned that others just like them have started to become galvanized by their actions…He added that the problem with teenagers fleeing the country to commit bloodshed abroad is something that’s increased greatly and is difficult to fix.
“Once they have left the country, even if they then changed their minds, it is then almost impossible to get them back.” [Aw, darn.]
Up to 130 people from Austria are believed to be waging jihad across the globe, CEN reports. More than half of them are thought to have originally traveled from the Caucasus region and have valid residence permits in Austria.
It’s always interesting, in a cringe-inducing way, to read the “traveler’s” take on Kosovo. This chick is a “feminist author and political activist,” so her ethnic identity naturally means nothing to her. Certainly not something worth defending, unlike those modern, generic, compulsory transnational values like gay and women’s rights. Not surprisingly, her observations read somewhat incoherent and self-contradictory:
Kosovo Is Not Serbia (Huffington Post, Sept. 9, By Jasmina Tesanovic)
…As one of our friends in the region put it, being an American in Kosovo is like being a pope. You will be asked all kinds of questions and told about all kind of injustices. Nobody in Kosovo has forgotten 1999, so the papal Americans are like angels of mercy with airborne bombs.
Being a Serb in a region that looks quite like Serbia, I walked around thoughtlessly talking in Serbian…With almost every Serb ethnically cleansed, there’s nobody left to speak it, just empty Orthodox churches turned into tourist attractions while the town abounds with pizza and burger joints with English-language menus…Especially notorious to me are the war crimes committed by Serbian military forces against the Albanian population, which led to the bombings by NATO in 1999.
It’s the globalized life in Kosovo that is really new — the crammed life of a young population stuck inside a frozen conflict, an ethnic canton, a tiny, not-yet-internationally recognized, European republic. Tensions abound in this little fishbowl of a country where all the great powers can look in, but none of the locals can escape. Unemployment, alcoholism, corruption, smuggling goods, smuggling people….
The shadow of another lost international regime, the Ottoman Empire, lies heavy here. There are still a few households where people speak old-fashioned Turkish, and besides, Turkey is nearby: NATO Turco-globalism, with Turkish soap operas, Turkish coffee, Turkish food, Turkish architecture and construction companies. Istanbul is the aspirational capital in southern Kosovo. If something is fancy, it’s in big-town Istanbul style.
The pride and joy of the locals is the major mosque built by the famous architect Sinan in the heyday of Suleiman the Magnificent. Muezzin towers abound in Prizren, and every one of them has a taped recital of the daily calls to prayer…The narrow streets of Prizren swarm with tourists, eating cheap, excellent street food paid for in euros. Kosovo is a NATO EU Muslim enclave; the “KFOR” units have been guarding it for the past two decades. Uniforms and jeeps mingle with the SUVs of wealthy local bosses, expensive private cars whose drivers despise the pedestrians. Modest Prizren has the pace of some much bigger city; locals seem tense and busy, and even the beggars are antic.
…Istanbul, Cairo, Baghdad are the urban shadows over this town, which is 90 percent Muslim…a projection about the Turkish soap opera industry stops them in their tracks…The coffee drinkers stop to cluster and marvel…These television dramas have fans in Greece, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Serbia, even — every district where Ottoman rule once held sway.
I myself have watched these serials, amazed and dazed. As an ex-Ottoman, ex-Yugoslav, ex-whatever-dies-next, it’s astonishing to see how much the Ottoman culture of unwritten laws, food and history persists in the 21st-century Balkans. The women in these soap operas don’t have any mild “first-world problems” — their dramatic conflicts involve child marriages, grandfathers who are tribal mafia, gangland honor killings. Some are cosmopolitan because they leave their state; others turn cosmopolitan because their empire bloodily crumbles around them.
On the way back to Serbia, there was a five-hour queue of cars on the Serbian border. Polite officers were deliberately slow, as if saying, “You wanted a border, and now you have it.” I remembered how, 100 years ago, my grandfather survived the Thessaloniki front, retreating through Albania with very few other Serbian soldiers who’d taken part in that war, far, far away from Serbia…My grandma never forgave my grandpa for fighting wars far away from his homeland as an idealistic fool. If he hadn’t come back, my mother never would have been born, and neither would I.
Time has come to quote Max Frisch, the Swiss writer in this useless, never-ending Serbo/Albanian conflict: I want to live for my country, not to die for it!
Must be nice to be above it all. And notice how the “Stop it already!” attitude we’ve come to expect from Western ignoramuses on this issue makes its entrance in typical fashion: following an illustration of Serbian bitterness or ‘misbehavior.’
Whether her title “Kosovo is Not Serbia” was meant in a political sense, or as a nutshell of her various observations about the place, I don’t know. But we already know that Turkish PM Erdogan agrees, as he made clear around this time last year:
Serbia: Turkish PM meddling with Kosovo statement (AFP, Oct. 25, 2013)
… “The declarations of the Turkish Prime Minister… represent a severe violation of international law and interference in Serbia’s internal affairs,” a Serbian government statement said. Erdogan’s comments “harm relations between Belgrade and Ankara and disturb efforts deployed by Serbia to normalise the situation in the region, notably in Kosovo,” it added.
Erdogan told a cheering crowd on Wednesday that “Kosovo is Turkey and Turkey is Kosovo,” emphasising the two nations’ shared history and culture. He was accompanied by his counterparts in Kosovo and Albania, Hashim Thaci and Edi Rama, respectively.
Turkey was among the first countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence.
It was also the first to tell Kosovo that, thanks to Turkey’s efforts, Pakistan would be recognizing its statehood; in fact, Kosovo is Turkey so much so that they were assigned the same Pakistani ambassador:
Pakistan recognises Kosovo (Dec. 24, 2012)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday officially recognised Kosovo as an independent state…. “The Government of Pakistan has decided to accord recognition to the Republic of Kosovo. The decision has been made in accordance with aspirations of the people of Kosovo,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Pakistan is the 98th country among 193 UN-member states to recognise Kosovo, which declared independence on Feb 17, 2008.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey has been accredited to Kosovo as the country’s envoy.
Turkey has played a major role in convincing Pakistan to recognise Kosovo. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci about Islamabad’s decision even before it was officially announced.
Islamabad had supported Kosovo’s cause in the United Nations. However, it always shied away from officially recognising it because of implications of such a move. The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo was seen as a precedent for resolving ethnic conflicts on considerations other than territorial integrity of countries. It was also feared that the Kosovo principle could at a subsequent stage be applied to other separatist movements.
Kosovo as Turkey also can be seen in Kosovo’s language treatment:
Overcoming language barriers in Kosovo (SETimes.com, Aug. 27, 2012)
…Albanian and Serbian are the official languages in Kosovo, and Turkish is in official use in the municipalities of Prizren, Gjilan and Mamusha…Nesa Milojevic, a Kosovo Serb from Kamenica, said[,] “…I see many times that the words [in Serbian] are written with grammatical mistakes and sometimes they sound funny…It might seem unimportant for the others, but being a Serb, those mistakes take your eye immediately.” …Shukran Bejtullahu, a member of the Turkish minority, says Turkish is not much used in Pristina in institutions or on official documents, “but it is much better in Prizren… [where] all institutions have their names written in Turkish as well.” […]
Serbia condemns Turkish PM Erdoğan’s remarks (Hurriyet Daily News, Oct. 25, 2013)
Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (R) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, inspect an honour guard in Pristina’s main airport in Slatina on Oct 23. AP Photo
Serbia has condemned statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a speech given in Kosovo on Oct. 23…. “In the Republic of Serbia, such statements cannot be received as friendly. They depart from assurances that we get in contacts with Turkey’s top officials,” the Foreign Ministry said, according to the Serbian news agency Tanjug.
Erdoğan had given a speech during his visit to Kosovo’s Prizren, in which he said, “Kosovo is Turkey, and Turkey is Kosovo.” The prime minister further added that the two nations, Kosovo and Turkey, shared the same history and civilization.
“The town of Emperor Dusan [the greatest ruler of medieval Serbia] is probably the least adequate place for such statements. Everyone in the world knows that Kosovo is a Serbian word, and Serbia’s territory, even those who recognized that quasi-state,” the ministry said in a press release…
Serbia waits [for] an apology from Turkey, Davutoglu says no (The Journal of Turkish Weekly, Oct. 30, 2013)
…A couple days ago, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said he won’t take part in a Balkan initiative with Turkey….President Tomislav Nikolic on Saturday expects an apology for the “scandal” …He is pulling out of the initiative which [is] led by Turkey…on post-war Balkan stability. On last Sunday morning, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoglu called his Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkic…Davutoglu claims that Serbia’s Media focuses on just one sentence of Erdogan and he stated that Erdogan’s Kosovo remarks [were] misunderstood in Serbia. Furthermore, Davutoglu emphasized the importance of tripartite talks between Bosnia, Serbia and Turkey in the phone call. Davutoglu indicates in his press statement that Turkey is not going to apologize because he says there is nothing serious for an apology.
Of course, Davutoglu may be holding a grudge because he still thinks the Bosnia death toll was three times what it was. Given that this Washington Post article last year was co-written by him and Bosnia’s foreign minister — both of them, uncannily, believing the death toll was triple what it was — we are reminded that Turkey and Bosnia, too, are one: “…After three years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the death toll was more than 300,000….”
No sooner does USA Today treat us to a comparison of Serbs in the ’90s to the jihadists we flew in to slaughter them, than The Economist blog takes an opportunity to make the same kind of moral equivalence, this time about Serbs who have gone to Ukraine to defend the pro-Russian “rebel” side. Thanks to John Meinhold, via Liz:
Balkan fighters abroad (The Economist, Aug. 21, posted by T.J.)
IS LAVDRIM MUHAXHERI dead? At the end of July the leading Albanian jihadi fighting in Syria (pictured) was posting photos of himself on Facebook in which he appears to chop the head off a young man who he said was a spy. A few days ago the Balkan media were picking up reports from Kurdish television saying that the 24-year-old from Kosovo was dead. On social media however, a friend of his is denying it.
As the western world and its security agencies digest the murder of an American journalist, James Foley, apparently at the hands of a Briton, Balkan countries are getting to grips with their own versions of the problem. Hundreds of Muslim Albanians from Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania are reported to have gone to pursue jihad, along with Bosniak Muslims. A recent Islamic State video showed Mr Muhaxheri brandishing his Kosovo passport, [beside] other Albanians from Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo. Mr Muhaxheri waves a sword, promises to conquer Rome and Spain and then the Albanians destroy their passports.
OK, so this confirms what I couldn’t originally — that not only was the jihadi to Muhaxheri’s right also Albanian, but apparently the whole group was. (It also confirms that Muhaxheri was fighting in Syria, not also in Iraq as initially reported.) But moving on to more salient points: Never ones to just worry about the actual threat to themselves — namely jihad — these MSMers jump at the chance to feign concern about what the Slavs are up to, so as to scary-up the Orthodox Christians while diminishing the ferocity of the Islamics:
But the phenomenon is not restricted to Muslims. In the past few weeks the issue of Orthodox Serbs going to fight in Ukraine has risen to the top of the political agenda. [The top!] According to Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s prime minister, they are all mercenaries and what they were doing is “very harmful” for Serbia. [As it tries to straddle the fence between eviscerating itself for Western carrots, and not alienating Russia.]
No one knows how many Serbs have gone to fight in Ukraine. Figures quoted in the media, attributed to intelligence sources, put the numbers at between 30 and 100. Mr Vucic says they are fighting on both sides; the vast majority are likely to be on the side of pro-Russian rebels.
On August 18th Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, announced that 14 Serbs had just turned up to fight. Kosovo Front, a Russian website, gives information to Serbs on how to help the rebels and how to join the “Jovan Sevic Unit”, named after an 18th-century Serb who fought in what is now eastern Ukraine at a time when there were Serbian settlements there.
The Kosovo Front linkman in Serbia, Zeljko Djurovic, gives his phone number and e-mail out here for anyone wanting to help. Kosovo Front is headed by Aleksandr Kravchenko, who says he fought on the Serbian side during the Bosnian war. The website also says that the only way to liberate Kosovo from its mainly Muslim-Albanian people is by liberating Novorossiya, as the pro-Russian rebels call their territory.
For many of the Serbs lured to fighting in Russia [lured! — notice the jihad semantics being applied here — as if a Serb’s decision is no different from that of non-self-thinking Muslims] there is a quasi-religious, Slavic brotherhood element, which mirrors the lure of religious war for Muslims to go to Syria and Iraq. [THERE IT IS!] Both fly eerily similar black and white flags, except that one is emblazoned with words from the Koran, whereas the Orthodox Serb one has a skull and crossbones, crosses and a declaration of Christian faith. [OH NO!] Many of the Serbs also sport big bushy beards like their jihadi counterparts.
Is he observing angled Wahhabi/skinhead-type beards, or Orthodox-priest-type beards? Regardless, maybe the Slavs are trying out some intimidation tactics since that seems to curry respect from dhimmis. Sort of the way non-Muslim fighters of various stripes wear the keffiyeh scarf so as to look like bad-assess too. But let’s see if we can’t figure this beard thing out. Here’s a picture of a Serbian “Chetnik” unit that’s helping the Ukraine defenders (named for the WWII Chetnik guerrilla fighters who uniquely struggled against both Nazis and Communists):
Those look more like Orthodox beards to me. Notice the moustaches. Their jihadi ‘counterparts’ generally don’t have those.
Both Serbia and Kosovo are now preparing legislation to ban their citizens fighting in foreign wars. Bosnia passed its own in April. On August 11th the Kosovo police arrested 40 people it linked to “terrorist groups operating in Iraq and Syria”. According to the police 16 Kosovars have been killed in Syria and Iraq.
In March the authorities in Albania arrested eight people linked to recruitment for jihad in Syria. Most Albanians are strongly pro-American and this week it was revealed that Albania, which has vast stocks of communist-era arms, will send millions of rounds of ammunition, including 32,000 artillery shells, to Iraq and 10,000 Kalashnikov rifles to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile the press in Kosovo have reported that an agent of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency was executed in Syria earlier this year after he had been caught as infiltrator among Albanian jihadis.
And so we end, of course, with an exonerating paragraph or three of the Yugo faction that is the U.S. client, emphasizing what legitimizing aspects can be scrounged up about its officialdom and at-large population, in order to elevate that most rotten Balkan lot above its more civilized and manageable ethnic rival that we designated oppositely.
Closing with the unsurprisingly unpublished letter I sent to USA Today in response to that August 3rd article comparing 1990s Serbs to jihadis:
Louise Branson’s bio states that your paper likes to publish diverse opinions, but Ms. Branson offers just more of the same (“Yugoslavia offers Iraq hope,” Aug. 3).
First, a reader has to get past proclamations such as “The U.S. helped end Yugoslavia’s wars.” (No, the U.S. ensured the Croatian war by jumping on the hasty-recognition bandwagon; it abetted domestic terrorism by the KLA in Kosovo; and restarted the Bosnian war by encouraging the Muslim side to renege on the Vance-Owen Plan.) The reader next encounters this embarrassing, scurrilous, low-blow comparison between Serbs and the jihadists that we and Iran flew in to slaughter Serbs: “Sunni fundamentalists have seized swaths of northern Iraq and are massacring Shiites — as Serb militants once swept into towns and villages to ‘ethnically cleanse’ non-Serbs.”
That kind of made-for-Americans version of Balkans history has been debunked by long-suppressed facts that have come to the surface in recent years: the ethnic cleansing was triple-sided, with the Serb side trying to avoid the wars that would cause it while the others insisted on wars of ethnic or religious purity. (Racial preferences were plainly written into the very constitutions of Slovenia and Croatia, and the mono-religious ambitions of Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic were openly proclaimed, while Albanian elders in Kosovo suggested Serb-rape as official policy.)
And yet the one side Ms. Branson mentions as culprit is the side that, interestingly, ended up with the most internally displaced persons. One is reminded of how so many inconvenient facts conveniently didn’t make it into reporters’ notebooks in 1990s Yugoslavia. Surprise — Ms. Branson was a correspondent in those very wars, a member of the pack journalists who built their careers and Pulitzers on uncorroborated tales of horror, half-truths, and outright inversions that helped them bring back the narrative they were assigned.
She goes on to advocate that Iraq carve out precisely the kinds of pure statelets we helped build in the Balkans, writing without an ounce of irony, “The parts of Yugoslavia that have best moved forward are the parts that are predominantly of one ‘tribe.’” It may be the solution for Iraq, though Ms. Branson might mention that the Western statesmen trying to prevent it are the same ones who rammed it through in Yugoslavia. Of Iraq’s disintegration, Ms. Branson writes, “One female journalist[‘s] husband was killed for belonging to the wrong sect…I heard identical anguish as Yugoslavia fell apart. A Serb friend didn’t want to fight for the Serb cause. He wanted to identify himself, as he always had, as a Yugoslav.”
That was the Serb cause, Ms. Branson. That’s who created multi-ethnic Yugoslavia in the first place. The Serbs were fighting back against those who were undoing it and seizing land, trapping Serbs and other minorities inside their minority-hostile slices. It’s not for nothing that retrospective comparisons have been written about Slobodan Milosevic as a less bloody Lincoln. Yet one is a villain, and the other a hero. Go figure.
I think the item below, from yesterday, refers to two Albanians that are in addition to these two.
Kosovo Albanian Jihadists Arrested in Tirana (InSerbia.info, Sept. 1)
Kosovo Albanian Mentor Zejnulahu was arrested at the airport in Tirana and was delivered to Kosovo on Friday. He is the second resident of Kosovo arrested in the last two months on suspicion of being a jihadist, Pristina-based daily Lajm reports. The police, according to Lajm, recorded his mobile phone conversations with jihadists in Syria. Zejnulahu subsequently entered Albania to reach Syria via Turkey, which caused suspicion that made controllers at the airport in Tirana act…The Kosovo authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Zejnulahu earlier.
The Economist article mentions an arrest of eight in March. Here are those news item, which I missed at the time:
7 arrested for recruiting Albanians to fight in Syria (Global Times, Xinhua, March 12, 2014)
Albania arrested seven Muslims on Tuesday on suspicion of being involved in recruitment of Albanian citizens to fight in Syria with rebel groups.
The head of Serious Crimes Prosecution Office Eugen Beci and State Police director Artan Didi reported at a news conference that the suspects are charged with recruiting people for terrorist acts, incitement, public appeal and propaganda about terrorist activities.
Beci informed that police forces found in two suspects’ house mobile phones, a series of bank account contracts, a number of religious books, camouflage backpacks,two grenades, a Kallashnikov-type machine gun, four cartridge clips, hundreds of bullets of 7.62 calibre, a knife as well as two hand-held radios.
The prosecution office stated that they are suspected of indoctrinating different people into radical ideology to later engage in fighting for extremist terrorist groups banned by the UN, and they are suspected of actions in recruitment and sending several Albanian citizens to Syria.
About two-thirds of Albania’s 3.2 million inhabitants are Muslims. Albanian government and religious leaders have appealed to believers not to join extremist terrorist groups in Syria.
Albanian arrested for alleged Syria recruitment (AP, Apr. 15, 2014)
Albanian police say they have arrested a 30-year-old man for allegedly recruiting men to enlist with Muslim rebel groups fighting in Syria…Another seven Albanian Muslims, including two imams, were arrested following a crackdown a month ago and are facing similar charges…Scores of Albanians have gone to support Syrian rebels and at least two have died.
Global Post also published the following article, which was a good piece of PR for Albania in terms of fighting terrorism. Of course, the title — “Albania has an Al Qaeda problem. And it’s starting to fight back” — is telling. Albania has had an Al Qaeda problem since the early ’90s. Very nice of it to “start” fighting back. Albania isn’t Saudi Arabia, but let’s keep in mind that the Saudis, too, arrest terrorists, when not serving as a haven or exporter of them.
Albania has an Al Qaeda problem. And it’s starting to fight back (Global Post, March 26, 2014, By Besar Likmeta)
The authorities have arrested eight people on charges of recruiting militants to fight in Syria.
Police detained most of the suspects during dawn raids on two mosques in the Albanian capital earlier this month.
The eight people arrested included two radical imams, Genci Balla and Bujar Hysi, believed to be the spiritual leaders of an extremist Islamist group.
They’re suspected of recruiting dozens of militants for Al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting in the Syrian civil war.
The authorities also issued international arrest warrants for five more suspects believed to be fighting in Syria.
Observers say radical Islamic groups have operated here for decades, living mainly on the fringes of society, using websites and social networks such as YouTube and Facebook to spread radical propaganda.
Although the majority of Albanians are Muslims — at least nominally — Albanian society is largely secular.
Genci Balla, also known as Abdurrahim Balla, had previously attracted attention for his fiery internet sermons promoting jihad and radical militant groups fighting in Syria.
“Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State [of Iraq and al-Sham] are the only groups that are fighting to create an Islamic state where Sharia law will rule,” he said in a sermon posted on YouTube. “The Syrian Free Army … don’t want Islam to rise up.”
It came amid growing concerns about the number of ethnic Albanians from Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo reported to have joined militant groups fighting in Syria.
Some 300 Albanian fighters have joined the militant groups Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, or ISIS, according to the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, a think tank based in London’s King’s College.
Edval Zoto, a Tirana-based counterterrorism expert, says the deaths of Albanian citizens fighting in Syria put the security services on alert.
However, prosecuting them will be difficult, he says. “It’s difficult to collect evidence that will stand up in court.”
The government boosted its counterterrorism operations after passing a number of amendments to its criminal code earlier this year. They included sentences of up to 10 years in prison for citizens who join conflicts abroad for political, ideological or religious reasons.
Kosovo has also passed a similar law, imposing sentences of up to 15 years in prison for those caught fighting abroad.
Although he supports the changes, Zoto says more must be done.
“Radicalization occurs among individuals who are sidelined from society or belong to small groups,” he says. “Having an open public debate about the phenomenon is a real deterrent.”