It sure is a good thing we bombed those Serbs.

And bought ourselves all that Bosnian and Albanian good will.

Muslim militant arrested in possession of TNT

SARAJEVO — A member of a militant Muslim group was arrested in the Bosnian town of Brčko along with four kilograms of TNT explosives.

According to reports, Adnan Rečica belongs to the Salafi movement.

Rečica was also in possession of 300 grams of plastic explosives at the time of the arrest.

Other items confiscated by police in the district in northern Bosnia included trigger mechanisms activated by telephone, radios, military equipment, and printed propaganda in Arabic.

The arrest was made in Rečica’s family home in Brčko. Police also discovered a lab used to manufacture illegal drugs.

“We found drug and explosives-making capacities. The operation came after lengthy preparation,” a source was quoted as saying by the Sarajevo-based daily Dnevni Avaz.

This is not the first time that a member of the Salafi movement was caught in possession of TNT, according to reports.

A hand grenade contains 38 grams of the explosive, while anti-tank mines, designed to penetrate armor, are made of four to six kilograms of TNT.

2 EU police cars set on fire in Kosovo capital

A European Union official in Kosovo says assailants set fire to two cars of the EU’s rule of law mission. No one was injured.

Nicholas Hawton, a spokesperson for the 3,000-strong police and justice mission, said the cars were burned early Tuesday in the capital, Pristina, outside the apartment of a member of the mission. Hawton says there is no evidence the official was the target of the attack.

The force, known as EULEX, helps Kosovo authorities fight organized crime and deals with past war crimes.

The force has been attacked by members of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian group which opposes EULEX because it does not treat Kosovo as an independent state. Five of the EU’s 27 members refuse to recognize Kosovo’s 2008 secession from Serbia.

FLASHBACK to 2009, the year after Albanians got the independence they wanted, as well as the hurried transition from UN to EULEX oversight which they demanded:

EU mission vehicles damaged in Kosovo (Aug. 25, 2009)

Members of Kosovo’s Self-Determination Movement damaged Tuesday in the capital Pristina 28 vehicles of EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo.

They used stones and sticks to destroy the vehicles parked in the yard of the Youth Center near the city center at an unannounced move. Some of the vehicles were overturned, while some had their glasses broken or tires pierced.

Attackers said the move was an expression of their refusal to “the EULEX presence and all its actions in Kosovo including the protocol agreement with Serbia,” which is due to be signed in the days to come.

Kosovo police reacted and detained 21 members of the movement. EULEX praised “Kosovo police’s fast and efficient response,” as it condemned the attack.

A member of the Self-Determination Movement was seriously wounded and so were three members of Kosovo police during the police action.

The Self-Determination Movement action followed objections by Kosovo institutions to the planned signing of a protocol on police cooperation between EULEX and Serbian Interior Ministry.

Representatives of Kosovo institutions recently said that by signing this protocol, EULEX risks a deterioration of relations with the Kosovo government. […]

EU police officers inspect the scene where activists of an Albanian group called “Self-Determination” rolled over and vandalized dozens of vehicles of the EU mission in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, on Tuesday. Tensions between ethnic Albanians and the EU has been on the rise due to an agreement that EU mission officials in Kosovo want to sign with Serbia on exchange of information. Twenty activists were arrested. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

So that’s what happens when you veer off the Albanian agenda by even an inch. About the protocol:

Kosovo blocks border control protocol between EU and Serbia (DPA, Aug. 27, 2009)

Kosovo’s government on Thursday blocked the signing of a protocol on border cooperation between the European Union’s law-enforcement mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and neighbouring Serbia.

‘As of today, all debates and talks on the subject of the protocol have ended,’ Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci and President Fatmir Sejdiu said in a short statement after meeting with the EU special representative in Kosovo, Pieter Feith, and EULEX chief Yves de Kermabon.

The protocol’s rejection by Kosovo’s authorities comes after protests earlier this week by the Albanian movement Vetevendosja (Self-Determination). The group vandalized 28 EULEX cars in downtown Pristina because of the protocol and called [on] the government ‘to question their cooperation with EULEX.’

The protocol, which regulates operational cooperation with EULEX, is one of the technical conditions that Serbia must fulfill before acceding to the Schengen white list, allowing visa-free travel in and out of Serbia with other Schengen signatory states.

EULEX is having separate negotiations with Belgrade over the protocol, without Kosovo’s participation, because Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

EULEX said earlier that the protocol would primarily focus on exchange of information relevant to the fight against organized crime and other illegal activities. Similar protocols have already been signed with neighboring Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. […]

So now we know why Albanians didn’t like the protocol:

The expected signing of a co-operation protocol between EULEX and Serbia’s Interior Ministry represents a constructive step towards strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo (Aug. 18, 2009)

…Following a spate of incidents in southern Serbia, including a grenade attack on the Gendarmerie near Bujanovac and an explosion in Presevo, Serbia’s Interior Minister, Ivica Dacic, emphasized how “such cooperation is necessary when at issue are groups crossing the administrative line, whether it is about terrorism, illegal trade in drugs or arms or the smuggling of goods… it is in our interest to prevent as much crime in our region as we can”. Dacic also specified that the protocol is based upon UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which reaffirms Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo, the decision of the EU Council of Ministers on which the mandate of EULEX is based, and the six-point plan of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

The draft protocol has, however, been rejected by the Kosovo government, which maintains that EULEX does not have the mandate to sign international agreements and complains that it has been neither informed nor consulted about the protocol. In response, EULEX insists that it possesses certain authorities, agreed upon before the mission was deployed, that enable it to enter into such arrangements, whilst Serbia’s Interior Ministry added that the agreement was very similar to the one previously signed with UNMIK’s Police and Justice Pillar.

The expected protocol comes at a sensitive time for issues related to policing and war crimes investigations. On the seventh anniversary of the murder of two Serb children in Gorazdevac, near Pec, on August 13th, for which no-one has ever been charged, Oliver Ivanovic maintained that the “solving of that crime, as well as of many other crimes, is a test for EULEX”.

Serbia’s minister for Kosovo and Metohija, Goran Bogdanovic, meanwhile, has requested that Yves de Kermabon, EULEX’s head of mission, take a central role in the investigation into the murder of an elderly Serb couple in the village of Partes, near Gjilan, on August 7th. Bogdanovic pointed out that since 1999, a vast number of crimes committed against Serbs and other non-Albanian communities in Kosovo have remained unsolved and unpunished…[T]he failure to adequately investigate and prosecute [these] crimes…continues to severely undermine attempts to strengthen the rule of law and transform latent conflicts.

Violent protests against EU mission in Kosovo (Aug. 26, 2009)

The European Union’s law enforcement mission in Kosovo (EULEX) was on Tuesday (25 August) the target of violent protests by Albanians opposed to the presence of the international community in the country.

The group was protesting the signing of a police co-operation agreement with Belgrade (Photo: Pim de Kuijer)

Twenty eight EULEX vehicles near a youth centre in downtown Pristina were damaged during the events, organised by the Vetevendosja (Self-Determination) group, which launched its assault in reaction to co-operation between EULEX and Belgrade.

The vehicles were attacked with sticks and stones or overturned.

Kosovo police arrested 21 members of the group, which said that the demonstration was organised against “the EULEX presence and all its actions in Kosovo including the protocol agreement with Serbia.” […]

The Albanians were still mad about the protocol a month later:

Two EU cars attacked with Molotov cocktails in Kosovo (AFP, Sept. 16, 2009)

Two cars of the EU rule of law mission (EULEX) in Kososvo were damaged Wednesday when unknown attackers threw Molotov cocktails at them, a mission spokesman said.

“Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the two cars. One of them was burned inside while the second one had only a broken window,” EULEX spokesman Christophe Lamfalussy told AFP.

The incident occurred in the town of Gnjilane, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east from the capital Pristina.

“It is a regrettable but isolated incident,” Lamfalussy said.

Some 1,000 Kosovo Albanians on Monday demonstrated in Pristina against the new crime-fighting accord between EULEX and Serbia, considering it as an infringement of the newly declared state’s sovereignty. […]

Kosovo activists plan protests against Eulex agreement with Serbia (Sept. 11 2009)

About 20 organisations in Kosovo are planning protests against a planned agreement between European Union rule-of-law mission Eulex and Serbia’s interior ministry on fighting international organised crime and corruption – an agreement that Kosovo sees as “denying” its self-declared independence. [Its independence to be the narco-terrorist mafia state that its KLA leaders set out for it to be.]

In a joint statement on the website of the US embassy in Pristina, International Civilian Representative for Kosovo Pieter Feith and the diplomats representing the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the US set out their perspective on the agreement.

They said that the Eulex deployment had been accepted by Kosovo.

“The Republic of Kosovo’s support of this mission, which includes the participation of police, customs and justice officials from European countries, the United States and other nations, is a clear expression of its desire to combat cross-border criminality in the Western Balkans.”

The joint statement said that based on the signatories’ “detailed examination of the legal issues”, Eulex’s instruments of technical co-operation were consistent with its mandate to strengthen border management and had “no bearing” on the question of Kosovo’s independence.

“The Republic of Kosovo is not a party to this technical arrangement, but we commend the commitment and interest of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo in combating illicit cross-border activities,” the joint statement, released on September 10 2009, said.

“We strongly support the work of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo for the Euro-Atlantic future of the Republic of Kosovo,” the statement said. [With these last two sentences, the internationals are reminding the Albanians that they’re supposed to be against criminality, at least on paper, and that they want to join the civilized world.]

The same day, media in Pristina said that the EU had rejected claims that it was applying political pressure on Kosovo on the issue of the police co-operation protocol with Serbia.

“You know that all EU member states gave their full support to the Eulex mission in Kosovo and to the signature of the police co-operation protocol between Eulex and Serbia. Consultations are continuing intensively between the EU and Pristina and we do not see this as pressure but simply as negotiations, dialogue and consultation,” an EU diplomatic source was quoted as having told Kosovo daily Koha Ditore.

However, about 20 organisations in Kosovo, led by Kosovo self-determination movement Vetevendosje were expected to protest in coming days against the protocol being signed. “It has become obvious that Eulex is going ahead with signing the document with Serbia, which denies Kosovo’s independence,” according to Avni Zogjani of the Çohu association, one of the organisations due to take part in the protests.

Kosovo Hackers Deface 15 Serbian Websites (Sept. 15, 2009)

A group of hackers from Kosovo defaced 15 Serbian websites on Tuesday night, including those of high profile firms, government departments and museums.

The hackers, known as Kosova Hackers Group, posted the same, Albanian double-headed eagle and message on each website. The targets included the Serbian Ministry of Defence.

Many of the websites remain inaccessible, although the hackers’ message has disappeared.

Their message reads: “Hello Serbs, now wonder why you see it on this particular page?? We do it because we can and we will continue to do so.

“Now the fact is that we are p*ssed off at both you and EULEX [for] sign[ing] agreements which do not concern you.”

“Our final word is that we honor all families who lost someone in the war against you. We want justice and we want our missing people back.”

The group also hacked into the website of EULEX, the European rule of law mission in Kosovo, last month in protest against plans to sign a policing protocol with Serbia’s interior ministry.

This was on the heels of hacking a EULEX website:

Hackers break EU’s Kosovo mission Web site (Aug. 29, 2009)

Hackers posted messages on the European Union’s Kosovo mission official Web site claiming the bloc’s police mission wants to return Kosovo to Serb rule.

Friday’s attack on the Web site comes a day after a local court sentenced 20 ethnic Albanians to a month in prison for puncturing tires and smashing windows on some 24 vehicles of the EU mission, known as EULEX.

Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders object to a EULEX deal with with Serbia’s police to exchange information, fearing it undermines Kosovo’s statehood.

The hackers posted a message saying: “You can not sell our country back to Serbia…As we said Welcome, we can say Goodbye, too.”

EULEX and Serbs had been targeted together before in Kosovo — the year they got what they wanted, just before EULEX was to take over:

Unknown Kosovo Albanian group threatens Serbs and EU (DPA, Nov. 27, 2008)

An unknown Albanian group on Thursday claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a European Union office in Kosovo earlier this month and warned of attacks against the Serb minority.

The obscure group, calling itself “Army of the Republic of Kosovo - ARK” sent its threatening e-mail to authorities, the media and international organizations in Kosovo.

It warned of “strikes with full force” because of a new United Nations plan for Kosovo…The UN and Belgrade have agreed that the EU’s mission, Eulex, would be “status-neutral” and remain under UN command in areas dominated by Serbs - which Albanians fear would be a step toward an ethnic partition of Kosovo.

“Unless the UN plan is withdrawn … we will strike with our full force. There will be no security for Serbs who live in Kosovo,” the ARK e-mail said, promising to “chop off Kosovo Serb heads and send them to Serb politicians.”

The purported group also threatened to bomb Eulex if it remains neutral to the status of Kosovo and to “start a new conflict, not only in Kosovo.” […]

The internationals always run into problems when they treat Serbia as a party to negotiations over Kosovo, or consider the situation of the Serbs still living in deadly Kosovo.

Now, these more extreme Albanians have made it clear that they see the Serbs as one of us. When will we?

Before EULEX came around, when the UN people would try to enforce some semblance of legality, even on matters of property, they were attacked.

Driving much of the activity against the UN and EU is the fact that the international presence — in addition to ostensibly combating the society’s lawlessness and corruption — may obstruct the formation of Greater Albania. (Even though it was the international presence that made the Kosovo leg of the plan possible in the first place — go figure).

In July and August of 2009 weapons and explosives caches were discovered in southern Serbia’s Presevo Valley, smuggled from Kosovo. All the while, Kosovo Albanians call for a union with Albania, as does the prime minister of Albania. It’s meant to test the waters for how far the international community will go toward such an eventuality.

Just a reminder that such a possibility was never on the table for imperiled Serbs in Croatia or Bosnia, although they represented a higher percentage of the population than Albanians in Serbia. Nor is it on the table for the north of Kosovo, where the majority of the province’s imperiled Serbs live.

Just closing with an Ian Bancroft perspective that came a month after the whole protocols-vehicles-burning protest:

The EU’s Awkward Mission in Kosovo (Oct. 2, 2009)

…The protocol on police co-operation between Eulex and Serbia’s interior ministry is primarily concerned with the exchange of information relevant to the fight against corruption, organised crime, arms smuggling and other illicit trade….an important and constructive step towards strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo.

It has, however, been vehemently opposed by the Kosovo government, which maintains that Eulex does not have the mandate to sign international agreements on its behalf and complains that it was neither informed nor consulted about the protocol. The cabinet of Kosovo prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, has warned that “by ignoring relevant Kosovo institutions, it [the protocol] will worsen the relations between the European mission and the Kosovo government”.

The Joint Action of February 2008, however, which provides the basis for Eulex’s mandate, clearly states that the mission can enter into agreements independently of the Kosovo authorities. Having publicly demanded Serbia’s constructive engagement with Eulex, the need for a similarly firm stance towards the Kosovo government is becoming increasingly apparent.

With Eulex planning further agreements with Serbia in the areas of customs and the judiciary, attempts to undermine and impair Eulex by Kosovo Albanians will have important ramifications for the EU’s crisis management capabilities elsewhere in the region….

The problems facing Eulex…stem in part from attempts to impose outcomes…Developments in the north of Kosovo best elucidate this point, with reconstruction in the highly sensitive Brdjani neighbourhood contributing to sporadic clashes and heightened tensions; tensions that will continue to grow without reciprocal measures to support the safe and sustainable return of Serbs and other non-Albanian minorities, particularly the Roma community…

If Eulex is to reinforce its own often ambiguous role, while stabilising Kosovo and strengthening the rule of law, then it must re-emphasize that its legitimacy derives from UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and reassert, both rhetorically and in practice, its neutrality towards Kosovo’s status. Steps to impose measures, especially in the north, will only prompt and provoke further confrontations with and between both ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo….

Which is of course the whole point — to inflame, not defuse.