Twenty-one year-old Albanian born and raised in Germany carries out revenge attack on…No wait…on Americans?

But I thought it was something the Serbs were doing that made Albanians violent. I mean, isn’t it something Israel is doing that makes Palestinians violent? And Macedonians make Macedonian-Albanians violent. No?

Well then this must be because of the “Kosovars’” frustration over the slow pace of getting their independence. No wait! — we just celebrated the third year of that independence. This is so confusing!

Keep on, US Gov. Keep on.

Frankfurt airport shooting: two killed in attack on US military bus

The gunman, believed to be from Kosovo, opened fire on a bus containing US airmen in front of Terminal 2. The bus driver and a passenger were killed and two others were seriously injured.

Police said it appeared an argument had broken out on board the bus before the suspect opened fire. The dead soldier was found outside the bus, which had a US government licence plate marked “AF”, for air force.

What our soldiers have not been briefed on about Our Friends the Albanians — and by design — and what they still don’t know about Our Friends the Albanians is that they kill easily. You’re not supposed to argue with them. Because this is how Albanian males tend to end arguments. Even in church. In fact, as the recent Council of Europe report made abundantly clear, that’s the rule that’s been guiding our entire Kosovo policy meeting maximalist Albanian demands: Don’t argue. As I’ve tried to explain before, the violence of Islam is a redundancy for Albanianism.

The two injured had been shot in the head and chest, police said. The gunman fled from the scene and a suspect was arrested inside the terminal shortly afterwards.

Police would not give out any information on the suspect, but Kosovo said he was one of its citizens.

Kosovo’s interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said German police had identified the suspect as 21-year-old Ari[d] Uka, from the northern town of Mitrovica.

Patrick Meehan, a member of the US homeland security committee, said it looked like a terrorist attack.

Note the mention of his town of origin: Mitrovica. That’s the place that’s divided into North and South, with the only relatively safe place for a Serb being in the North. That northern part of Mitrovica is what U.S.-led NATO is trying to bring under the governance of folks like Arid Uka. And the only thing the U.S. government wants Mitrovica to be known for is Serbian lawlessness! So much for that. The fact that way too many Americans just learned the word Mitrovica is sure gonna make it harder to sneak a U.S.-led NATO military operation there later this year to force Christian-Serb capitulation to the ‘non-Muslimy’, ‘non-terrorist’ Albanians.

2 killed in Germany airport shooting, police say

…U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters, saying he was “saddened and outraged” by the attack. “We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous attack took place,” he said, adding that the United States is working with German authorities.

“Learning how this outrageous attack took place”? I’ve been trying to educate you on how, Mr. President(s): It took place via March 24, 1999 and the continuing, consistent, worldwide impunity and political protection for Albanians as we insist, against all evidence, that they’re the good guys. Pretty effective camouflage, if you ask me. So now the U.S. and Germany are working together to straighten this ‘incident’ out — how ironic. The two chief architects of resurrecting the Third Reich in the Balkans, via Albanian-terrorist proxies who were Hitler’s erstwhile proxies, have been targeted together in an event that is rather symbolic of the U.S.-German marriage that helped make it happen. Or did these two “great powers” envision their pro-terror, pro-Nazi partnership in the Balkans leading to a different sort of outcome? Too bad that, as usual, our soldiers’ blood pays for the sins of the fathers of these policies. And of course those policymakers really care. You can tell by the fact that their policy has changed course [NOT!] since the last time Americans were hurt by it.

“We don’t have all the information yet, and you will be fully briefed when we get more information, but this is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe…” Obama said.

While you endanger them with your pro-terror policies in the Balkans.

…They were U.S. Air Force airmen from Lakenheath base in the United Kingdom, said the official, emphasizing the information was preliminary.

Two others are wounded, said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident. They were security forces on their way to a deployment, the source said, without saying specifically where they were heading.

Police said they believe the suspect stormed onto the bus as it was waiting at the terminal and began shooting.

…”We don’t know the details but I would like to say how upset I am,” [German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.] She expressed her condolences to the soldiers’ families and stressed that Germany will “do everything we can to try and find out quickly what happened.”

AFTER MAKING THE TOP-10 LIST OF BEING THE FIRST TO RECOGNIZE THE TERROR-GANGSTER STATE OF KOSOVO.

Philip Murphy, U.S. ambassador to Germany, said in a statement he was “grateful for the assistance provided by German government officials in protecting U.S. servicemen and women, and in investigating this terrible act. In difficult times, Germans and Americans support each other.”

No, they support each other to create difficult times.

As police investigated, the scene was covered with sheets, journalist Marc Kohlbecher told CNN. The body of the bus driver remained in the bus, while the other body was in front of the bus, he said.

The U.S. military base at Ramstein in Germany regularly runs shuttles to Frankfurt for commercial flights.

Authorities will be investigating the suspect’s background and associates, likely subpoenaing telephone and e-mail records, Fuentes said.

His background is Albanian. His associates are the same as the U.S. Government’s. There. I finished the investigation.

And in the UK Telegraph report below we have a unique case of a reporter identifying the attacker as Muslim. Wherefore such insolent editorializing?

Ari[d] Uka, a 21-year-old Muslim Kosovar citizen from the northern town of Mitrovica, was arrested after the shooting in a public lane outside the busy airport’s Terminal 2. He was reportedly armed with an automatic weapon and a knife.

During Kosovo’s war for independence from the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s there were reported links between Osama bin Laden and the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, which had the support of Western powers. The territory’s subsequent declaration of independence in 2008 was wholeheartedly endorsed by the United States, which has had troops in Kosovo since 1999.

What? What’s this? Did you catch that? Someone is bringing up the OBL connection to Albanians? I haven’t seen this reference in the MSM in over a decade! Who dares it? It wasn’t mentioned in the wake of the four Albanians plotting the Ft. Dix massacre, nor when the murder-for-organs story broke, nor in any of the Albanian-involved terror plots in the intervening years. But here — a mainstream journalist, no less — someone is finally venturing to taint the entire, wider, ‘righteous’ Albanian cause — which even murder-for-organs story wasn’t permitted to do — with this ‘isolated incident’? Racism! The mainstream journalist even makes a connection to — what? — Yugoslavia?

Two shot dead as ‘Kosovan’ gunman opens fire on bus picking up American soldiers from Frankfurt Airport — “Two American airmen were shot dead and another left fighting for his life today after a Kosovo Albanian gunman stormed their bus before opening fire at Germany’s busiest airport.”

WHAT? Did someone say ALBANIAN? “Kosovars” are actually Albanian? What?!

Some media reports said the gunman identified as Ari[d] Uka, 21, shouted out ‘Islamic slogans’ before opening fire.

He gunned down his first victim as the soldier stood in front of the vehicle at Terminal 2 before turning his weapon on the driver as he sat behind the wheel.

A fourth man was lightly injured and both he and the gravely wounded man are now being treated at the city’s University Clinic Hospital.

The airport, continental Europe’s second biggest after Paris, is routinely used by American soldiers based in Germany for arrivals and departures.

Eyewitnesses said the man ‘infiltrated’ himself among the GIs before shouting out radical Islamic slogans and then reaching into a bag for his gun.

‘This is a devastating and a tragic event,’ Rexhepi said. ‘We are trying to find out was this something that was organised or what was the nature of the attack.’

It was organized at something called the Rambouillet Conference in February-March 1999.

Although the motives for the attack are still unclear, many Kosovans are Muslims, raising the suspicion that Islamic extremism may have been a factor behind the attack.

WHAT??!!! Islamic extremism is a factor in KOSOVO?! Non-Muslimy Kosovo?!

The incident even made it onto my local news! Local news that not only uttered the word “Kosovo,” but also reported — as did the NY Times and others — that the shooter shouted “Allah Akbar” before firing. That doesn’t sound like Albanian!

Even USA Today let the cat out of the bag:

Family members in Kosovo described the suspect as a devout Muslim, who was born and raised in Germany and worked at the airport. The attacker got into an argument with airmen outside their military bus before opening fire…

In the past, Western intelligence reports have said the region could be an ideal recruitment ground for the so-called “white al-Qaeda” — Muslims with Western features who could easily blend into European or U.S. cities and execute terrorist attacks.

In Mitrovica, family members said the suspect’s name was spelled “Arid” not “Arif,” saying that he was born and educated in Germany where his family moved some 40 years ago.

Uncle Rexhep Uka said the suspect’s grandfather was a religious leader at a mosque in a village near Mitrovica.

Well then, 40 years ago his family must have suffered such tremendous horrors at the hands of Serbs, that the grievance seeped into the family’s genes and compelled this son to avenge it. (See the Blame-the-Serbs defense. It’s only a matter of time before we hear it again.)

Working at the airport, no less. What was that “Albanians only” help-wanted ad by Camp Bondsteel about — because of a concern over Serbianinfiltration“?

Hey, EU, keep whining about the delay in granting Kosovo visa-free travel throughout Europe.

“Citizens of Kosovo are now the only ones in the Western Balkans who need a visa to travel to the EU,” complained European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek in January, blaming EU interior ministers (police) for not liberalizing visa requirements for Kosovo.

“Just give them the benefit of the doubt that they might not be that bad,” said Engjellushe Morina, executive director of the Kosovo Stability Initiative, last month. Indeed. What’s the worst that could happen?

He blamed a lack of political will in the EU. “Kosovo has moved on in the past 10 years, half of the population is young.”

It certainly has moved on! Right on to Europe. Just ask the Air Force bus driver in Frankfurt. No, wait… As for half the population being young, I believe that’s called a profile. (The shooter, for example, was 21.)

Fajon: Kosovo must become visa-free (Oct. 22, 2010)

European Parliament rapporteur Tanja Fajon says it is essential to include Kosovo in the Schengen process and she urges Pristina to meet EU criteria.

“We need to find a way to include Kosovo in the process,” said the European Parliament’s rapporteur on visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans, Tanja Fajon…

“I hope that November 10th, two days after the ministers will take a decision on Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be an excellent time to give Kosovo authorities and citizens the good news,” she said.

She noted that there are many reasons why Kosovo is currently out of the process — including border security issues and a lack of biometric passports.

Rexhepi has criticised the EC for not delivering a strategy for visa-free status. […]

There was something the West didn’t deliver on for Albanians? That’s playing with fire.

Kosovo official slams EU, saying it applies double standards in Balkans integration (Sept. 11, 2010)

…Besim Beqaj, Kosovo’s minister in charge of European integration, said the EU is setting conditions for Kosovo that are “not asked from other countries” to earn visa-free travel into EU member states.

“We want to be treated equally as other states in the region,” Beqaj said.

The EU decided on Monday to end visa requirements for Bosnian and Albanian residents by Christmas, leaving Kosovo as the last Balkan country that requires visas to travel to the EU. […]

All together now, Pity Party: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Keep it going for: Visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans: Kosovo the ‘ugly duckling’?

But on the bright side: “Bosnia, Albania mark EU visa lifting”

AP, Dec. 15 — Bosnians boarded buses for Western Europe on Wednesday, the first time in 20 years the country’s citizens were allowed to travel to the European Union without visas.

The EU decided unanimously last month to end visa requirements for Bosnian and Albanian residents, but have warned the measure could be scrapped if it is abused for bogus asylum claims and illegal work.

Addressing an open-air party organized in Bosnia on Tuesday evening, the country’s Security Minister Sadik Ahmetovic said the citizens will “finally be free.”

“I am really happy that we will finally be spared the humiliation of waiting in lines before Western embassies in order to go on vacation in Europe,” said one of the revelers, 43-years-old Amra Hadziosmanovic.

MEPs have welcomed a decision by EU interior ministers to end visa requirements for citizens of Bosnia and Albania. (Nov. 8, 2010)

The decision on Monday comes despite fears by some member states that it will increase the number of asylum requests made in the EU by citizens of the two countries.

It follows a similar move by the EU to abolish Schengen visas for the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia in 2009.

[ALDE human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford] added, “Freer travel will broaden the international outlook of Bosnians and Albanians, and in particular these countries’ next generation of leaders.

“Fostering the links between the Western Balkans and the EU will reduce the potential for our south-eastern neighbours to revert to nationalism, conflict and ethnic hatred, making them and us safer as a result.”

“However, the hard work will not be over for Bosnia and Albania. Their authorities like those of the other Western Balkan countries relieved of visa demands must be vigilant that the scheme is not abused, as that could well bring us back to square one.”

She hopes that successful Schengen visa liberalisation may also encourage the UK to review its own visa requirements for Balkan nationals. [Not likely.]

Green MEPs also welcomed the “belated decision” but called for Kosovo, the only Balkan state yet to enjoy similar visa free status, to also be included.

Dutch Green MEP Marije Cornelissen said, “The final obstacle has been cleared for the belated but welcome inclusion of Bosnia and Albania in the EU’s visa free travel scheme.

“We welcome that opposition in council - notably from France - was overcome and that ministers approved the decision unanimously…”

Greens/EFA foreign affairs spokesperson and parliamentary rapporteur on Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek agreed, saying, “Today’s decision is another step in the progress of the Balkan countries towards their European destiny but the case of Kosovo is now all the more pressing.”

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy:

…[Herman Van Rompuy gave] Albanians the good news that they would be able to travel freely without visas in the EU countries and forget about the long lines of waiting in European embassies.

People from the non-EU member states of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro have been allowed to travel freely to EU countries since the end of last year, but Albania and Bosnia were left behind. [One wonders why.]

“Albania’s moves to waive visa obligations for the EU neighbourhood countries are seen as a positive step that facilitates people-to-people contacts and enhances regional reconciliation…” (You can say that again!)

In addition to objections from French, British, Italian and Polish EU members, Dutch MP Geert Wilders complained: (Nov. 9, 2010)

Immigration minister Gerd Leers put in an ‘ultimately weak performance’ when EU ministers approved the ending of visas for people from Bosnia and Albania, Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV says in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

Leers, attending his first EU meeting in Brussels, said he had little choice but to vote in favour because the decision had effectively already been taken. ‘Our resistence would have been voted down,’ the paper quoted him as saying.

However, ministers did agree visas could to be reintroduced if large numbers of Bosnians and Albanians move to the Netherlands or other countries, EU news websites said. […]

Kosovo isolated after vote on Albania and Bosnia visas (Oct. 2010)

… “I hope that in the near future all people of the Western Balkans region will be able to enjoy visa-free travel to the EU,” EU parliament President Jerzy Buzek said in a written statement on Thursday.

Centre-right Slovak MEP Eduard Kukan noted that: “The EU should not create a situation where citizens of one part of the region remain in isolation.”

“The elephant in the room is that Kosovo remains,” Austrian Green deputy Ulrike Lunacek said. “We must move to immediately resolve this anomaly.”

Say, where did that Yugoslavia go? Things were easier then:

Kosovo analyst Belul Beqaj is one of many Kosovo citizens who easily used to travel in and out of the former Yugoslavia with the old Yugoslav passport. “There was much more free movement at that time compared to today,” Beqaj tells SETimes. That changed when the country split apart in the 1990s.

For Beqaj, the main worry now is that Kosovo could remain isolated even as its neighbours gain the right to free movement within the Schengen zone.

Senior EU officials visiting Kosovo said there are conditions that must be met so that the Kosovo visa liberalisation process can move forward.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci expects his government to receive the official visas liberalisation guide soon.

Kosovo analyst Muharrem Nitaj says leaving the young country out of the integration process, while countries surrounding Kosovo are part of it, is nonsensical.

He says Kosovo is not worse than the rest of the region when it comes to economic development, security, legal infrastructure or other process preconditions…

In that case, how does one explain this:

“There has been no reduction in the number of people seeking to leave since Kosovo’s declaration of independence three years ago,” [Swiss migration attahe Grégoire Crettaz] said.

It’s hardly surprising when you consider that little has changed since 2008. The country, with around two million inhabitants is still among the poorest in Europe. Jobs are scarce, salaries are low, while the cost of living is relatively high.

If Kosovo joins the Schengen visa-free zone, migration specialists fear that a much greater number of people would flee their new state to join extended families in Switzerland, already home to some 170,000 Kosovars.

Indeed, it looks like Germany is having some issues even without benefit of visa liberalization for Kosovo (and note the convenient use of the word “Serbian” to describe what are mostly Albanians; same with “Macedonian”):

Europe hit by scores of Western Balkan asylum seekers (Oct. 21, 2010)

Officials are considering removing visa-free travel for Western Balkan citizens as growing numbers of asylum-seekers from these countries hit the borders of Sweden, Belgium and Germany.

The EU decided that from 19 December 2009, the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who hold biometric passports should be able to travel to the Schengen area without visas. They are allowed to travel to the Schengen area for up to 90 days per six-month period.

Last March, Belgium and Sweden received waves of ethnic Albanian and Roma asylum seekers from Macedonia and Serbia. They were returned by bus to their countries of origin.

In the German state of Bavaria, the number of asylum seekers coming from these countries has risen drastically over the past year….

So far this year, there has been 130 Serbian and 260 Macedonians asking for asylum in Bavaria compared to 59 in total last year….

In Sweden, the National Migration Board (Migrationsverket) was forced to rent camps and other temporary accommodation to deal with an acute housing shortage, the Swedish press reported.

About 4,000 Serbian citizens have asked for asylum in Sweden this year, compared with only 421 in same period last year.

In September alone, 1,410 Serbian citizens arrived in Sweden, putting a strain on the local authorities to provide services such as health care.

According to Belgrade daily Blic, Serbia will introduce special measures of control at border crossings in order to prevent abuse of the ‘no visa’ regime…

The asylum seekers are mainly of Roma and Albanian ethnicity and their asylum requests are based on economic considerations, Blic writes. However, since their country of origin, Serbia, is seen as politically safe, they will all be returned there on the basis of the readmission agreement between Serbia and the EU.

EXCUSE ME? WHAT WAS THAT? CAN WE HEAR THAT AGAIN?

“…since their country of origin, Serbia, is seen as politically safe, they will all be returned there…”

You mean “War Criminal Central” — ostensibly pursuing at least two genocides a decade ago — is considered safe for minorities? Isn’t that reminiscent of the strange fact that while Belgrade was ostensibly out to kill or cleanse all ethnic Albanians in 1998-99, it oddly didn’t harm any that were living in Serbia proper — including Belgrade? Which is itself reminiscent of the fact that Serbs and Albanians were fleeing together…into Serbia. Are we sure that the genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign — over which we insisted on jump-starting a chain of events leading to yesterday’s Frankfurt news — was all it was cracked up to be? Indeed, is it even possible — or desirable — to cleanse 90 percent of a province?

Meanwhile, a place that is the opposite of ’safe’ for returning minorities is…majority-Albanian Kosovo. Did we invert something somewhere along the way……?

But the measures to contain asylum-seekers do not seem to work smoothly. According to reports, the Serbian police recently sent back to Macedonia a bus carrying passengers who intended to request asylum in Germany. The rejected Macedonian travellers went to protest in front of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, claiming that Serbia had violated their rights.

Dacic said the greatest number of asylum seekers were Roma from Vojvodina and Albanians from southern Serbia and Sandzak…He noted that false asylum seekers can create the impression that the population from this region wants to emigrate for political reasons, while in fact their only motivation is economic.

According to other reports, some of the asylum seekers are in fact perfectly aware that they will not be granted asylum but they take advantage of the assessment period for their applications, during which they are provided with free accommodation and some pocket money. […]

High number of Serbian asylum seekers linked to travel scam (Deutsche Welle, Dec. 31)

A sudden spurt in applications for asylum in Germany has been linked to an alleged travel scam taking place in the Balkans.

According to the head of the German government’s asylum department, people from Serbia and Macedonia are being encouraged to buy one-way bus tickets to Germany and given “empty promises” that they will find work and money once they get there.

Instead, their applications are swiftly rejected and the applicants are bussed back to the Balkans.

It’s not the first time a scam like this has been attempted. Following the change to the visa rules, several hundred Serbs, Macedonians and Montenegrins tried to leave their countries in search of greener pastures in the EU earlier in 2010.

“Those attempting to leave were predominantly ethnic Albanians - who tend to come from the poorer areas of Serbia and Macedonia,” [head of the asylum department at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees Michael Kleinhans] explained. “Those who tried to make the journey painted a very desperate picture of poverty, and many feel discriminated against.”

EU officials have made it clear that they will not tolerate this so-called ‘phoney asylum.’

Officials from the European Commission have threatened that if similar attempts are made, visa-free travel will be revoked.

EU faces ‘alarming’ rise in Serbia, Macedonia asylum seekers

“Nearly 390 Serbs, 210 Macedonians and 736 Kosovans asked for asylum in Belgium alone between July and August, and another 500 requests from the region are expected this month, Belgian officials said. Sweden and Norway have also struggled with an influx of people from the Balkans….

A Visa of Contention (Oct. 28, 2010)

…In February [EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström] had to interfere into the situation about a sudden increase in the flow of Albanians to Belgium, where they staged protests demanding the government to provide them with asylum, accommodation, job and social benefits.

Austria, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands have been facing an increased flow of migrants from the Balkans, especially from Albania.

…According to the sources in the Belgian government, in July-August some 1,500 residents of the former Yugoslavia, half of them were Kosovan Albanians, appealed for asylum in Brussels. And we can only guess how many others simply vanished in crowds. The situation in Germany is much alike…What is peculiar about this situation is that the EU provides social benefits even to those who have been rejected a residence permit. For example, in Sweden they receive 500 euros. Having got this sum, Albanians move to a neighboring state where the whole procedure is repeated.

Indeed, Belgium meets the benefits of its support for an independent Kosovo, face to face:

Belgium’s EU Presidency and the Albanian Question in the “United Europe”

… Last February and March, Belgium was shocked by massive rallies staged by Albanian refugees and various illegal migrants demanding financial assistance, housing, and jobs…In a letter to European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, Yves Leterme linked the problem to the December 19, 2009 travel liberalization extended to a number of Balkan countries, thus calling into question nearly the main EU achievement in dealing with the Balkan region…

Across the Balkans, Yves Leterme’s reaction was seen as an attempt to reverse the EU decision on visa-free travel for the Balkan countries if not to freeze their Eurointegration…[There may be] a drift in the European public opinion with regard to the Albanian theme. Belgium was among main proponents of the Albanian separatism in 2006-2008, but the position can be seen in a totally different light given the current separatist tendencies in Flanders.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Triumphantly independent “Kosovars”: “But we’re citizens of Serbia!”

Kosovo citizens go passport shopping in Serbia (Sep. 16, 2010)

…According to sources in both Serbia and Kosovo, more and more Kosovar Albanians are applying for Serbian passports. In fact, Serbia considers Kosovo as part of its territory and subsequently regards Kosovars as Serbian citizens.

But following EU requirements, Serbia agreed to issue passports to residents of Kosovo only in its Coordination Centre in Belgrade. The EU stipulates that those possessing a passport issued there cannot travel to the EU without a visa. Ultimately this means no Kosovo resident, be it with a passport from Kosovo or from Serbia, can travel visa-free to the EU and other Schengen countries.

But many a resourceful Kosovar, with the support of bribed Serbian officials, finds a way to obtain a Serbian passport capable of opening the EU’s gates. Kosovars register as residents in some towns or villages in Serbia and get their passports there. WAZ.EUobserver spoke to some refugees from Kosovo who came to Belgium recently after paying €2,000 to obtain a Serbian passport this way. […]

Kosovo Albanians Only Coming to Serbia for Passports (Aug. 13, 2007)
Serbia issues 220,000 passports to Kosovo Albanians as “only” ID accepted abroad

BBC Monitoring Europe, Serbian newspaper Politika

Nis — What is the business that daily brings senior officials from Kosovo to Nis, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Vranje, Jagodina, and other Serbian towns this summer and what do they want here? What is the need that motivates lawyers, doctors, top officials in the Kosovo judiciary, representatives of the province’s authorities, and ordinary people of Albanian nationality that live in the southern Serbian province to spend days in Serbia? Why do Kosovo Albanians that live and work in Western European countries take time to visit Nis and other Serbian towns?

There is only one answer to all these questions — they request and are granted the right to a Serbian passport. Without it and without other Serbian documents as well, Kosovo Albanians could not stir from Kosovo.

Since the deployment of international peace forces after the air strikes on Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 and the emplacement of a protectorate over Kosovo, members of the Albanian national minority have been denying that they are part of the state of Serbia. However, for the sake of a passport, they will accept anything: Serbian regulations, documents, and (the fact that they have) the citizenship of Serbia as evident from their personal details…

For a short time of a year and a half after the air strikes, Albanians from Kosovo could take out passports in Pristina. However, after several attacks and murder attempts against Serbian officials it was decided to relocate the province’s Interior Secretariat…to Niska Banja.

Every day, there are huge crowds outside the province’s SUP…”We come here from Kosovo, but people that live and work in Switzerland, Germany, and other Western European countries and who could obtain passports in Serbia’s consular offices abroad also come here, because it is easier and quicker to do it here, in Serbia…I was here once already, about a fortnight ago; now I have brought in my brother and his wife,” Muharem Zeqi told us.

Over the past eight years that Kosovo has been under international patronage, Serbian authorities have issued more than 220,000 new passports to Albanians from the southern province…Nearly 5,000 registers were saved from being destroyed in the devastating attacks of 1999 and were transferred to Serbia. It is only on the basis of these registers that valid documents can be issued: birth, marriage, and death certificates, proof of citizenship, and so on.

Kosovo Albanians take out also new Serbian ID cards which, along with the passports, are the only documents recognized abroad. Documents that are issued by UNMIK…are valid for use only in the province….Because of a [high number] of applicants…an outpost has recently been opened halfway between Kosovo Polje and Pristina and is secured by KFOR and UNMIK; Kosovo Albanians have been availing themselves of the services of this outpost lately.

Muharem Zeqi from the Pristina area explained to us very graphically what the Serbian passport means to him and his ethnic kin: “It is a great asset. Without it all we could do is stay in Kosovo.”

“Albanians pay EUR 3,000 for Serbian passports” (FoNet, Deutsche Welle, March 26, 2010)

An increasing number of Kosovo residents “are looking for passports of other countries”, writes Deutsche Welle. The most wanted are Serbian biometric passports, “which cost up to EUR 3,000″, the article claims.

Those holding Kosovo passports “can only travel visa-free to Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Turkey while the western countries, which many see as a way out from poverty, are unreachable”, Deutsche Welle says.

The article continues that “since a vast majority of Kosovo citizens cannot go to Serbia, individuals who have good connections in towns where passports were issued up until recently do this for them for a certain price, and there are even agencies which do it”.

Megacities Consulting agency in downtown Priština was allegedly offering citizenship and passports of British Guyana or Namibia for EUR 6,000 – 10,000, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Kosovo police are ready to combat the negative phenomena, in this case that some companies were unlawfully providing documents and visas. Investigation has been launched and we are waiting for results,” said Kosovo police Spokesman Baki Kelani. […]

Arrests Ongoing in Serbian Passport Scam (Nov. 9, 2010)

…An Interior Ministry source told Balkan Insight that Serbian police were targeting Kosovo Albanians, Serbs and Roma that have obtained Serbian passports by deception, using fraudulent residency documentation.

The arrests have been prompted by allegations that Kosovo residents have been fraudulently registering at Serbian addresses in order to apply for biometric passports.

It is believed that the intermediaries that have been providing Kosovo residents with residency documentation and arranging for the provision of Serbian passports are former employees of the Serbian Interior Ministry, who worked there in the Nineties. […]

More desperate measures:

Kosovars tolerate fake marriages (Nov. 2010)
Kosovar Albanians are increasingly tolerant of men who divorce local wives in order to temporarily marry foreigners and obtain resident status in the West

…Two years ago, her husband remarried a German woman. Not only did Valbona, mother of their four children aged four to 11, know of his plan, she approved it.

This is because Valbona is not really divorced in the eyes of her family or the wider community. Many Kosovar Albanian men divorce their first wives by mutual consent, departing for western Europe where they find new spouses who enable them to obtain residency papers.

They leave their children behind in Kosovo so that they can pose as single men and remarry fast. Once they have permanent residency in Germany, or other EU states, they divorce their second wives, go back to their first ones and bring the family to the West.

Germany is a popular destination for Kosovars because there is already a large Albanian expatriate population living there.

The women that these Kosovar Albanians marry in the West believe they have found ideal, attentive husbands. However, once the men have gained permanent residency in their host country - after five years of marriage to a citizen in Germany - they often demand a divorce. […]

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

Note the specific use of the word “Serbian” in the headline (i.e. gypsies and Albanians) — and the European demand that Serbia do something about this, after giving Serbia a complex over its minorities in the first place:

Serbian asylum seekers jeopardising visa liberalisation (Southeast European Times, May 23, 2011)

Due to the torrent of Serbians seeking asylum in EU member countries, Brussels has warned Belgrade that the future of visa-free travel in the Schengen area is at risk.

Visa requirements were lifted for citizens of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro in December 2009. Over the course of the following 12 months, 17,000 people from Serbia requested asylum in the EU, mostly in Sweden, Belgium and Germany.

They weren’t fleeing political persecution, rather, they were poor people who believe that in the richer Western European countries, life would be eased by government subsidies. About 95% are Gypsies, the rest mostly members of the Albanian minority in Presevo and Bujanovac in southern Serbia.

Serbian police have arrested 24 people, including 16 fellow officers, for allegedly issuing false documents necessary for obtaining passports. Investigators say some of those police officers charged up to 5,000 euros for their ’service’.

After more than a year of recurring issues with bogus asylum seekers, Belgium sent a letter to the European Commission, which warned that it would request the annulment of the recently granted “white Schengen” for Serbia.

The real possibility that Serbians could lose this new right to freedom of travel has struck a chord.

“It is only by [this] we feel European, if we run out of that, we will again be like in the ghetto,” said Goran Bozinovic, a student from Belgrade.

The government has announced new legislation that will tighten access to passports and travel outside the country, which immediately raised concerns about equal treatment and questions of discrimination.

“We must not apply stricter terms of travel to Gypsies and poor Albanians from southern Serbia than to other nationalities and citizens,” said former State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Marko Karadzic.

Beyond that, he added, “The state must create better economic conditions and provide greater rights to those people, so they would not be [seeking] it in other countries.”

Interior Minister Ivica Dacic agrees, saying Serbia will work harder on behalf of the Gypsy minority. “We want to work for the inclusion of Gypsies, [so they] feel equal with other citizens, and explain to them that asylum is not a solution,” he said.

Serbia is also considering making it a crime to organise illegal migration, punishing groups that exploit people with false promises of asylum.”Those who organise the departure of asylum seekers will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic.

And at border crossings, police will ask for proof to determine whether travellers have return tickets, insurance, enough money to make the trip, where they are heading and why.

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

Just a few additions to the Kosovo passport situation:

Liz, who circulated the item about Albanians shopping for passports in Serbia, passed along the following Sept. 17th, 2010 email from someone on her list:

Just to tell you that Albanians already travel to EU countries with their own passports, that there are regular Lufthansa and Bosnia Air flights to Pristina and Sarajevo and that they do not need go shopping to Serbia as they can do it in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Paris, Rome , Vienna, and even USA.

Their passports are dark blue with the golden Kosovo region mark and is written Republic of Kosova and the same in Albanian. They are accepted without any problem by EU countries.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note which countries didn’t waste any time in recognizing the Kosovo passport, whether they officially recognized Kosovo or not:

Police Minister Says Montenegro Will Recognize New Kosovo Passports
(Text of report by Serbian wide-circulation tabloid Vecernje novosti, on 16 July, 2008)

Montenegrin Police Minister Jusuf Kalamperovic said yesterday that as a member of the United Nations, Montenegro would accept the new Kosovo passports and that “Montenegro is not even considering closing its borders to citizens and goods from Kosovo.”

According to him, this act does not mean that Montenegro recognizes Kosovo independence. [No, that came a whole two months later.]

As was announced in Pristina, issuing new Kosovo passports, which will be blue, with the flag of Kosovo and worded in three languages - Albanian, Serbian, and English - will begin on 21 July. The Pristina authorities claim that “even the countries that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo have said they would recognize the new Kosovo passports and that the only exception for now was Slovakia.”

Djelic: “Serbia Can Never Establish Relations with Itself”
“Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosovo, nor will it recognize Kosovo passports, which are to be issued by the provisional authorities in the province,” Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said in a statement to Tanjug Agency and explained that “Serbia will never establish relations with itself” and that as far as Serbia is concerned, this decision by the self- proclaimed authorities in Pristina would be completely null and void.

However, we now know that “never” is a relative term.

This one, of course, didn’t surprise anyone: Germany to recognize Kosovo passports (Aug. 12, 2008)