May 15th 2007 09:36:21 PM
In yesterday’s post, I wrote that everything we think we know about the war on terror and the war on drugs is turned on its head in Kosovo. Here is some elaboration, from Defense & Foreign Affairs editor Gregory Copley’s presentation for a September panel in D.C., put together by the American Council for Kosovo:
…Three major heroin production laboratories, run by the KLA, are operating within the area of Kosovo which has been under the control of US Army units operating from Camp Bondsteel. Ironically, to support the KLA which the former US Clinton Administration had deemed an ally, some US authorities operating in the area specifically protected the laboratories from inspection by other NATO forces in the area. There is also evidence that, over a period of years, US military and possibly intelligence elements have actively engaged in relations with, and protection of, the narco-traffickers.
Since the withdrawal of Serbian control over its Kosovo province, there has been an increasing amount of opium grown in the area…The determination of the KLA to defend these facilities is now well-known locally. A Russian unit, some four years ago, engaged the KLA in a firefight in the area, at night, after which the KLA forces were sufficiently strong and well-armed that they surrounded the Russian camp and essentially prevented the Russian forces from leaving their camp.
The KLA’s use of Kosovo as a criminal clearing-house extends to a wide range of other activities. Stolen cars from all around Europe, but particularly from Italy, are “re-processed” in Kosovo, and given new papers, before being re-exported to places such as Albania. One such car was used for some time by the Albanian Interior Minister, until a few years ago, before, on a visit to Greece, it was identified because of an Interpol alert, and seized by Greek authorities and taken from the Albanian Interior Minister. As well, electrical
goods and household fittings removed from the homes of Kosovo Serbs, who have been driven from the area, are on sale through a major network of retail outlets in Albania. Little of this gains international attention, although the use of roadblocks by the KLA reached such a level that the United Nations and NATO leaderships in Kosovo have issued warnings to their personnel. [See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, October 20, 2005: KFOR Claims “Criminals” Active in Western Kosovo; Linked to KLA and Narco-Trafficking.]
US involvement with the narco-trafficking has gone beyond merely turning a blind eye to the activities of the KLA in the area. US military vehicles, several years ago, were known to have actually transported narcotics from Kosovo, into Western Europe.
Kosovo and Jihadist Links
Our organization, the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), has for some years identified the growing links which the KLA has with the jihadist movements… These KLA-jihadist links have been well-documented…. Moreover, the KLA, and the territory of Kosovo, forms the basis of the territorial link for jihadists moving into and out of Europe, seamlessly interacting with jihadists in Bosnia, and in the southern Serbian area of Raška, as well as in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and the newly-independent state of Montenegro, and so on…
We know that a number of foreign governments support, either directly or indirectly, jihadist activities which are based in Kosovo and Bosnia. These state sponsors include the Turkish and Iranian governments, and both governments do so for nationalist reasons or, often, because of corruption, rather than for ideological or religious beliefs…We see a major spread of jihadist, criminal, and intelligence activities into FYROM, Montenegro, and these activities are often dependent on the support of the Albanian Government. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is actively engaged in the area, as well, using its old Cold War contacts in Albania.
Illicit Weapons Trafficking
…the KLA [is] heavily engaged in arms trafficking not only to support its criminal and jihadist-linked activities, but also as a profit-center in its own right…The KLA has been able to operate an illegal weapons exchange with impunity, having the “safe haven” of Kosovo, protected by the international community. The man who has been at the center of this activity has been a secondranking KLA leader, Niam Behzloulzi, also known as “Houlzi”. That may not be his real name, but we know he carries (or has until recently carried) ID under the name of Niam Behzloulzi…
The question still stands: Why would all of these countries still be interested in giving Kosovo sovereignty if all taht I have just said is true? In fact, Kosovo is so far down the food chain that in political life, governments are not prepared to go against the momentum [toward sovereignty] which has the backing of tens of millions of dollars of financing. In fact, the U.S. Bush Administration and the State Department came to an agreement that they could not change US policy towards the Balkans other than to withdraw US troops as quickly as possible from the area because they had other fish to fry. In fact, [Undersecretary of State] Nicholas Burns [a Clinton holdover] pushed that the Bush administration should just continue with the policies in play under Clinton…
In Conclusion: There is ample evidence that Kosovo has no legitimacy in the normal sense of a sovereign state, and that, if it was to be recognized as such, it would further erode the credibility of the international system…
The American Council for Kosovo has made it very easy to let the President and Congress, who are endangering Americans with their Kosovo policy, know that you are against Kosovo independence. Please go to the ACK home page and click on the black box there.