As some of us Balkan observers have been saying for years in an attempt to explain the Albanian mind, so the Albanians say themselves, for example in this recent NY Times article surveying foreign preferences between Obama and McCain:

“Kosovars will love either candidate as long as they continue to love us,” Mr. Ahmeti said.

Here are the contextualizing paragraphs:

In Kosovo, whose birth as an independent country in February won strong support from the United States, political observers said that both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain would be embraced by the territory’s ethnic Albanian majority, since both men supported Kosovo’s self-determination.

Shpend Ahmeti, an economist who runs the Institute for Advanced Studies, a Pristina-based research organization, said the government was counting on continuity in American foreign policy, including a commitment to stand up to Russia and Serbia, which oppose Kosovo’s independence.

“Kosovars will love either candidate as long as they continue to love us,” Mr. Ahmeti said.

In other words, we’d best just keep promoting the Albanian agenda if we know what’s good for us. “Stand up” to Russia and Serbia, but not to the Albanians who have been threatening, shooting at, and blackmailing us to stick to our pre-9/11 Balkan policies.

Recall what former Kosovo “Prime Minister” Agim Ceku said: that the international community began to create a country “which does not have much material for becoming a country,” according to Dušan Janjić, director of Serbia’s Forum for Ethnic Relations. Janjic added, “And then Ceku says ‘go ahead, finish the job.’” ( “Finish it” of course implies finishing it according to Albanian prerogatives.)

It reminds me of a scene in “A Bronx Tale”, where the mob boss “Sonny”, played by Chaz Palminteri, locks a biker gang in an Italian bar after they trash the place, saying, “Now…yous can’t leave.” (Of course, that gangster had a stronger case than the Albanians do.)

But, as I’ve demonstrated before, the Albanians want us for what they want us for, calling the shots for what is and isn’t expected of us. In the following scenario, it’s apparently time for the dawdling UN to go on and git!, according to the politically active war criminal below:

Kosovo Opposition Leader Asks UN to Leave

The United Nations Mission in Kosovo must end its mission and leave, says the opposition leader Ramush Haradinaj.

Haradinaj, former Prime Minister and the leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, urged the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, on Friday to make way for the upcoming law and order mission which will be led by European Union, EULEX.

“Now is the time for this mission to leave, because Kosovo is entering a new phase which includes self-government with the assistance of other mechanisms like EULEX and the International Civilian Office,” Haradinaj said after meeting William Walker, the former chief of the observation mission of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe during the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict.

Kosovo’s constitution will enter into force on June 15….Based on the proposal for Kosovo’s ‘supervised independence’ devised by former United Nations envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, a mission led by the European Union must be established in Kosovo to supervise the rule of law, as a successor to the current UN mission, whereas the UN’s responsibilities must be transferred to the Kosovo government.

But Russia, which backs Serbia in opposing Kosovo’s independence, is against the deployment of the EU’s mission known as EULEX, calling for the continuation of UNMIK’s mandate arguing EULEX seeks to formalise Kosovo’s independence. The majority of Kosovo Serbs are also opposed to the mission.

This has seen the UN reluctant to leave Kosovo and EULEX delay the full deployment of its mission.

Walker also said that UNMIK must call an end to the mission once Kosovo’s constitution comes into effect.

“The best people to govern Kosovo are the Kosovars themselves,” Walker said.

I believe that’s called GANGSTA’S PARADISE!

Here is something that further illuminates the Albanian mentality and the complex relationship with Islam, from Cliff Kincaid’s recent column “McCain Supports Radical Muslims in Kosovo“:

Kosovo’s Muslims, who are a majority, may not be as radical as those in other Arab states. But wait until the radical Mosques that are being established around the territory, with the financial assistance of Saudi Arabia, begin to exert their influence on the next generation. They won’t be waving American flags out of gratitude for NATO.

But no one can reveal Albanian opportunism better than Albanians themselves. Pay close attention to this excerpt from an English-language Russian news site. Especially the closing paragraph:

Albania sticks with who’s stronger… Today’s U.S. is the USSR of yesteryear (May 6):

U.S. flags hang high in Albania as a sign of thanks for independent Kosovo. But everyone over 40 remembers Russian and sings Soviet songs

Socrates is of a generation of Albanians that remembers the country’s short fervent friendship with the Soviet Union. Soviet specialists organized an education and health care system in Albania, and built companies and military objects. Almost 2,000 Albanians were educated in the Soviet Union, and some even married Russian women. The Soviet mechanism for making friends in warring nations is worthy of admiration. The state provided young energetic foreigners with knowledge and in turn received eternal sympathy and/or loyalty.

When the two countries’ friendship ended unexpectedly, Russian remained an obligatory subject at schools for 10 years. So if you ever get lost in Tirana, you can ask almost any Albanian over 40 for help in Russian.
When our accumulator died, two older men walked over to our car and offered to push us down the road. When they learned that we were Russian, they were visibly pleased.

“We can’t speak Russian, but we understand almost everything,” they said.

In short, Albania isn’t Kosovo where locals don’t care much for Russians. Albanians are very hospitable and always ask you to drop by for a drink. It’s an old tradition that swallows a fair share of the family budget. Even the secretary of an Islamic organization invited me for a shot of rum…

Edmund Ziso runs a local alcohol factory and is crazy about Russia and Russian vodka. Russian birch trees blossom on the territory surrounding his plant. He keeps a superb collection of vodka in the cellar.

“…As soon as I start bringing Russian vodka to Albania, I’ll open a Russian club — sprat, herring, caviar, salted foods, volba. Albanians interested in Russian culture will meet and enjoy traditional cuisine, literature and conversations. It will be wonderful.”

Ziso even does business with Serbia. “You’re not afraid to get killed?” I asked him.

“It’s not me that needs to worry. It’s my liver!” he said. “I can’t drink like the Serbs. But a brave man is respected everywhere. When I say I’m Albanian, they always invite me to have a drink…

Attempts to bring radical Islam to Albania have been unsuccessful. Rich Arab nations like Saudia Arabia and Kuwait built mosques in Albania that have young radical members — but they are few.

“There’s no basis for radical Islam in Albania,” said Lucciano Augustini, pontiff of the Albanian Catholic Church. “They love their rakia and pork too much! Also, Albanians are skeptical of the traditional Muslim attire and beards. It’s difficult for Arab nations to introduce propaganda in countries where sympathy for Christianity has always been strong (23- 25 percent of the population is Orthodox and 15 percent — Catholic). Few people in Albania voluntarily converted to Islam in the Ottoman Empire. Since the days of the Turks in the Balkans, the concept of crypto-Christians has existed (’secret Christians’ from the Greek). These are people who took up Islam out of fear, went to the mosque officially, but worshiped at the altar at home.”

Albania was officially the only atheist country in Europe until 1991. Under the dictatorship, churches and mosques were destroyed and priests and mufti were shot or forced to emigrate abroad. Ever since, Albanians have been calm believers. It’s not unusual to meet families where the husband is half-Orthodox and half-Muslim, and hasn’t yet chosen a faith, and his wife is Catholic.

The young Dr. Spiro is an unusual case. He is a passionate Orthodox believer who wears an icon on his key chain and has an image of Christ on his mobile phone.

“As an Orthodox Albanian, how did you feel when Albanians burned old Serbian monasteries in Kosovo?” I asked.

“When was that?” Dr. Spiro asked. “I didn’t hear about that!”

“It can’t be!” I said. “The whole world knows.”

Dr. Spiro was quiet. Then he replied slowly: “We’re praying for our Serbian brothers. That’s all we can do to help them. Albania was always a Christian nation in spirit. When the Turks arrived, many Albanians didn’t stay their ground and converted to Islam to avoid taxes or make careers. Do you know how the Albanians strengthened their position in Kosovo? The Serbs showed firmness in their faith, and Kosovo was the cradle of their religion and a symbol of their nation. Then the Turks sent Albanian renegades there, who took state positions, power and money. Kosovo ceased to be Orthodox, and became an outpost of Islam.”

Dr. Spiro talks about the Turks’ sly political game as if it was only yesterday. For Dr. Spiro faith is a living passion, not a battle of old feelings and prejudices. But most Albanians treat religion like a profitable trade, or fleeting political game.

My new acquaintance Kleart is a shining example. “Our belief is the U.S.,” he said. “We’re a small country and believe in whoever is stronger. There was a time when the Soviet Union helped us and was our friend. Now the U.S. is good for us because they’re defending our interests. We’re always on the side of the stronger party.”

“But that’s complete hypocrisy!” I said. “That’s how you traitors once sold Christ!”

“You’re calling us ‘traitors?!’ We were the first Christians in the Balkans! Who am I hearing this from? You, Russians, who weren’t even a nation when we had already converted to Christianity!” he said.

“Аnd then you sold him to the Turks like Judas for 30 shekels! Just to free yourselves from taxes and advance your careers!” I said.

“We were pagans and will die pagans!” he said. “When it was necessary we converted to Islam in order to survive. But just like the Serbs you fuss over your Christianity as if you were never pagans!…Even your emperors bowed their heads before Islam!” Kleart said raising his voice. “They built a mosque in Saint Petersburg as a sign of humiliation before the religion of Prophet Muhammad!”

“What?! The Russian Empire built mosques as a symbol of tolerance!”

“You built them out of weakness! And we, if we need to, will conquer Macedonia with the aid of the U.S., take a piece of Greece, and then go to Belgrade and convert the Serbs to Islam. We always fight for our own well-being, not big ideas!”

Finally, the following sort of thing can’t be going over well with Kosovo Albanians as the UN plants the seeds of resentment by attempting to return the lands and homes Albanians stole from Serbs to their legal owners:

As Kosovo Rebuilds, U.N. Hurries to Return Property (from February):

GJILAN, Kosovo — The 9-year-old ethnic Albanian boy screamed until he was red in the face, pounding his fists on the door of a small concrete house that only minutes before he had called home.

“This is my house! Let me in!” he cried, before collapsing outside the front door, freshly sealed with yellow police tape.

The swift eviction of the boy’s family was the work of Toncho Zourlev, a k a the Enforcer, a no-nonsense Bulgarian who leads an eviction squad set up by the United Nations in Kosovo in 2006 to restore properties to their legal owners. To him, the family was simply squatting illegally in a Serbian house.

As a locksmith changed the lock on the front door, the family hastily wrapped belongings and carried them to the street….The women and children huddled in the rain. A tea kettle, still warm, sat steaming on the stove inside.

“We have nowhere to go. We have no money. What will we do?” pleaded Qamile Nuhiu, 42. The boy, Valon, is one of her five children.

Her husband, she said, was unemployed. The family has been living in abandoned Serbian homes in this poor agricultural town about 35 miles southeast of Pristina since the aftermath of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign to halt Slobodan Milosevic’s repression of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians. They came to Gjilan from their hometown, Pres[e]vo, in another part of Serbia, where Serbs had clashed with ethnic Albanians after the NATO bombing. [Translation: After Albanian terrorists got the Serbian government bombed out of Kosovo, they moved to do the same in southern Serbia.]

In the case of Kosovo, fewer than 18,000 of the 250,000 Serbs, Roma and others displaced since 1999 have returned, according to Human Rights Watch, which cites the inability of refugees to return home as a major obstacle.

As the Nuhiu family scrambled to assemble its worldly possessions, Sami Miftari, 31, an ethnic Albanian neighbor freshly evicted from the house next door, put forward another view: that in Kosovo, where government sources put unemployment at 60 percent and monthly earnings average about $240, squatting can be the only way to survive.

“Kicking us out is not justice,” he said. “It is revenge.”

Mr. Zourlev insisted that he was simply restoring law and order to a territory riven by bloody disputes over land.

“Putting families onto the street is not fun,” he said. “But if Kosovo wants to be an independent country, people have to learn to respect the law. Otherwise, this place will continue to be the Wild West.”

Since 2001, the Kosovo Property Agency and its predecessor, the United Nations Housing and Property Directorate, have fielded 29,000 residential property claims, about 90 percent of them filed by Serbs whose homes are being illegally occupied by ethnic Albanians.

Of those, 17,500 properties have been restored to their rightful owners, said Lars Olsen, a Norwegian and spokesman for the property agency. He said 2,500 cases had been dismissed.

The property agency, whose mandate will continue under European Union auspices, expects to settle 40,000 more cases by 2010.

Mr. Zourlev, who sets out on evictions accompanied by a locksmith, several movers, a translator and local police officers, notes that the operations can be fraught with danger, including resistance by illegal tenants hoarding AK-47s and shotguns. Things can get especially tense, he said, when the evictees are former soldiers of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the separatist guerrilla group that fought the Serbs.

He recalls that during a recent eviction in Obilic, a poor industrial area outside Pristina, a former K.L.A. fighter summoned his friends. Before long, the eviction team found itself surrounded. Mr. Zourlev said a policeman wedged himself in front of the apartment door until reinforcements came.

After a claim has been made, a team of investigators at the property agency’s headquarters in Pristina, made up of both ethnic Albanians and Serbs, conducts interviews, scours property registries and verifies contracts to determine legal ownership.

Once a ruling has been made, the illegal occupants are given 30 days to leave. If the owner does not wish to live there, the agency puts the property under its administration and collects rent on the owner’s behalf.

Sejdi Haxholli, an ethnic Albanian police officer overseeing evictions, said it was emotionally wrenching to help evict his own people…

As the article intimates, it was one thing when the internationals allowed Serbs to get kicked out — you don’t meet your maker from that. Ousting Albanians, however, is a different story, as we’ll swiftly find out. This is all thanks to the U.S., NATO, and the UN allowing Albanians to run rampant throughout Kosovo starting in 1999, flooding it from every neighboring border — southern Serbia, Macedonia, Albania. And now these insolent internationals presume to impose rules on the lawless society they empowered, so that we now have people who were comfortably occupying land and property for nine years — suddenly being tossed out.

The seven year-old Albanian boy banging on the door to “his” house won’t soon forget this slight; it is the Albanian way to store up any and all grievances, real or not, and unleash their vengeance unto those who caused their humiliation. (Sound familiar?). Like the boy’s likewise evicted neighbor said above, returning the property to those whom the Albanians stole it from “is not justice. It is revenge.” Though the charge makes no rational sense (the UN is avenging Serbs?), it is the only sense for an Albanian to make of the whole thing, since vengeance is the building block of Albanian culture, and therefore all that most of them understand. How “American”. Good luck, internationals.