How many times has it been said or written sarcastically of us Balkans heretics that “The place she wants you to worry about for terrorism is not in the Middle East or Pakistan, but in the Balkans. She wants you to think that Bosnia/Kosovo is the next Afghanistan.”

Well, over the past three years more and more people have gotten the memo that ISIS is setting up its Great White Hope in Bosnia and Kosovo, while recruits from both continue topping the numbers, proportionally speaking.

It has something to do with the fact that the West created Afghanistan-like potential “in the heart of Europe,” as the Balkans are again emphatically being called, this time not to dramatize some desperately concocted genocide “in the heart of Europe,” but to underscore the juxtaposition of the Middle East making its way into Europe, which is happening thanks in large part to that early help from media and governments in concocting that genocide and the wars they justified with it.

This European Middle East we facilitated is precisely what the Caliphate had pinned its hopes on for infiltrating Europe more expeditiously. How many times have we few tried to explain this, and in how many different ways, in response to criticisms that we were mischaracterizing the vast majority of secular, European, moderate, pro-American “Kosovars” and “Bosniaks,” as if that were the point.

As we peruse the following year-in-review about Bosnian and Albanian jihadis (and these are just the ones I haven’t had a chance to chronicle yet on this blog), let’s keep in mind that old pals U.S., UK and Germany brought us all of this. That’s who’s made this world for us, and so more of our children have to die, starting with the soldiers who are sent by the same devils to face the enemy proliferated by us (UsIS?). And still they want us to believe that it was a bigger deal that some Serb paramilitaries in the 90s executed up to a thousand Muslim soldiers (”8000,” as they call the same figure), and so everything we’re dealing with now is justified by it.

Inside Kacanik, Kosovo’s jihadist capital (UK Telegraph, Aug. 23, 2015, by Colin Freeman)

Tiny town boasts only 30,000 people, yet two dozen local men have gone to fight jihad in Iraq and Syria

Nestling in a wooded valley that its citizens laid their lives down to defend [sic: seize], the town of Kacanik in southern Kosovo is fiercely proud of its war dead.

Well-kept cemeteries include nearly 100 victims of Serb-led ethnic cleansing [sic] in 1999, while in the town centre, a statue clutching an RPG honours fallen members of Brigade 162 of the Kosovan Liberation Army [what?].

But a decade and a half on from the war that brought about Kosovo’s independence, there is rather less pride in Kacanik’s new crop of warriors.

In the last three years, some 24 local menfolk have gone to fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, giving the town of just 30,000 people an unwanted reputation as the jihadist capital of the Balkans.

Not in any way predicated on the first crop of violent, Christian-host-society-delegitimizing-and-slaughtering domestic terrorists, of course, those “Kosovan” Liberation Armyfolk.

…”[Lavdrim] Muhaxheri [the jihadi who last year beheaded a Syrian teen] has given Kacanic a name as the most radical city in Kosovo, if not the whole Balkans,” said Musli Verbani, a local imam, who claims that hardliners forced him from Kacanik’s Islamic Association four years ago. [More than a “claim,” as reporter Freeman could have checked.] “I warned that this kind of thing was coming, but no-one listened.”

…For a nation [sic] of just 1.8 million people, [Kosovo] now punches well above its weight in terms of the number of citizens joining Isil. The interior ministry estimates that some 300 Kosovans have followed in Muhaxheri’s’ footsteps, making Kosovo Europe’s biggest contributor per capita. [Syria alone has 300 from Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia.] Along with neighbouring Albania, which has fielded around 200, and nearby Bosnia, which around 160, it is now seen as a potential launch pad for Isil in its bid to establish a new front against Europe in the Balkans.

What’s this? Albania-Kosovo-Bosnia as some sort of jihadi hideout/transit point and launching pad for the Caliphate into Europe? Not like we were warned a million times or anything. Wow, so the enemy found some utility in our pro-American Muslim projects? Who would have thunk?! But wait — before you go second-guessing those projects — The Telegraph wants to keep you on-program via the following image:

Captain Andy Phipps from the British Army holds his head in hands as he looks over the site of a possible mass grave of nearly 100 ethnic Albanians in southern Kosovo Photo: Reuters

What also alarms Western security officials, though, is why any Kosovans would join Isil’s fanatics at all.

[Because they’re Muslim?]

After all, back in 1999, it was the West that rescued Kosovo’s mainly Muslim population, with Nato bombing raids that halted the campaign of ethnic cleansing by Serb extremists.

Yes, let’s be sure to use the language of “ethnic cleansing” and semantic juxtapositions such as “Serb extremists,” lest people start questioning whether either of those was ever accurate, and whether what we did was help with the first leg of a logical conclusion, saving the Caliphate time, money and bodies.

Since then it has been staunchly pro-Western, with the capital, Pristina, boasting both a statue of Bill Clinton and a road named after George W Bush….There are even young Kosovans named “Tony” in honour of Tony Blair.

Some people are so easy.

A Yugoslav army truck with soldiers on it passes next to a police truck with ethnic Albanian refugees near the town of Kacanik, some 60 km south of Pristina [Just look at those women and children in an open truck being ethnically cleansed to safety, away from the fighting; note the older boy’s casual stance, while the younger boy looks scared mostly of falling off the Serbian truck.] Photo: Reuters

Most Kosovans also follow moderate Islam that allows bars on the same street as mosques, and which is enshrined in a new constitution promoting the diversity suppressed during Communism. [Well then, it must be ironclad, permanent and impermeable; after all, everyone — especially the Caliphate — respects national constitutions.]

Yet those same liberal values have also allowed less tolerant voices to flourish, including hardline Islamic charities that arrived during the chaotic post-civil war years…Prosecutions are already pending of various recruiting networks, including one that passed messages via go-betweens at a kebab shop near the Bill Clinton statue.

[Now you get the picture, and what that statue really represents.]

It is, however, already too late, according to Mr Verbani, the Kacanik imam.

A former KLA fighter, he personifies the moderate face of Kosovan Islam. He studied in Cairo and speaks fluent Arabic, yet looked just like another drinker in the cafe bar where he met The Telegraph, wearing neither a beard nor robes.

[Looks like someone’s been had. How did Mr. Verbani put it above: I warned that this kind of thing was coming, but [Mr. Verbani] didn’t listen.]

It was precisely that secular outlook that he found himself having to defend as far back as 2006, when a confrontation with a young local radical named Jeton Raka turned violent.

“At first Jeton was just another good Kacanik kid, but he became more extremist by the day,” said Mr Verbani. “He said the government of Kosovo was against faith, and that school taught children to be unbelievers. I told him he couldn’t speak like that at my mosque, and eventually he came to my house, saying ‘I will burn you and your family’, and petrol-bombed my car. Even then, though, the municipality and the police didn’t help me.”

Raka is now believed to be in Syria along with Muhaxheri, while the government crackdown has largely driven the rest of Kacanik’s radical fringe out of town…[I]n such a small community, most know someone now fighting abroad.

Among them is Sadek Dema whose nextdoor neighbour, Hetem Dema, 41, was killed in January after apparently going to fight with Isil’s rival al-Qaeda faction Jabat al-Nusra.

“He fought in the KLA and was always a good and religious man, although he never showed signs of being radical,” said Mr Dema, as Hetem’s five year-old son, Harith, cycled past on his bicycle.

[Because one form of radicalism (Albanian-nationalist-separatist) never leads to the next, right?]

Arbana Xharra, a Kosovan journalist who has investigated [the Islamic charities’] activities, says that anyone who speaks ill of them can find themselves denounced and threatened as “Islamophobic”.

“I’ve had to change my kids’ school after I got messages online from people saying they would cut my children’s throats — they even knew what time they went to class,” she said.

Like many moderate Kosovans, she also points the finger at Turkey, whose Islamist government has funded networks of mosques across its Ottoman-era provinces of Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania…One senior diplomat from a moderate Arab regime recently told The Telegraph that radicalism would foster in the Balkans as long as Turkey’s influence remained unchecked. “The EU’s best chance is to get countries Kosovo and Albania into its club,” he warned.

[The definition of fanaticism: If what you’re doing isn’t reaping the desired results, keep doing what you’re doing.]

That is a view echoed by Ramadan Ilazi, Kosovo’s 30-year-old deputy minister for EU integration, who says the EU is being too slow in accepting Kosovo’s membership bid. Kosovo’s constitution, he says, is everything that a liberal EU bureaucrat could want, complete with a national anthem that has only music rather than words so “as not to offend anyone”.

Yet to this day, Kosovans cannot even travel to Europe without visa, giving small town youth in places like Kacanik little chance to broaden their horizons [or targets].

“Kosovo was built as an antidote to nationalism and the causes of the war [sic: it was built on hypernationalism that wanted only war],” said Mr Ilazi, who has a picture on his office wall of him shaking President Clinton’s hand as a 14-year-old boy. “But when people don’t see tangible results of their desire to become part of Europe, that allows radicals to suggest that Europe doesn’t want us.”

Still, with Kosovo still also suffering problems with corruption and organised crime, and with Brussels suffering enlargement fatigue, most estimates are that it may be another decade before Pristina enters the Brussels club. That gives the radicals plenty more time to urge men in towns like Kacanik to head East rather than West.

So hurry up and give the Albanians everything they ask, when they ask, even if that gets their non-country into the EU before the actual country they broke off from. I mean, you definitely want ISIL’s #1 contributor to be in the EU.

Now, on to July: Bags with “weapons and uniforms” found near lake [Badovac] in Kosovo (B92, Tanjug, July 20, 2015)

…The bags were found near the location where [on July 11] several persons were detained on terrorism charges… “There were black uniforms in one of the bags, a letter believed to be written in Arabic, and two Kalashnikovs (AK-47s), while it is suspected that the second bag contains explosives and ammunition.” […]

ISIS set up stronghold in the heart of Europe as terrorists secretly buy land near an isolated village (Sunday Mirror, July 18, 2015)

Islamic State have established a stronghold in mainland Europe, a Sunday Mirror investigation reveals.

What?! WHERE? Where on earth in Europe could it be? What choice location have they found? Of all European locations, where has ISIS chosen, pray tell?

…Security services think the area in Bosnia is used for ISIS training camps and could be a base for devastating terror attacks on the West. Crucially, the location gives IS a key strategic position due to its proximity to the Mediterranean which is used by extremists from Syria, Iraq and North Africa.

There’s a place in Europe that’s strategic for the jihad???????? And it’s Bosnia? No Wayyyyyyyyyyyyy!

At least 12 ISIS fighters trained in the village of Osve have left for Syria in recent months and five are reported to be dead. Terror expert Dzevad Galijasevic said: “…There is no one there who isn’t ready to respond to the summons to jihad.”

…A number of villagers wore Islamic-style clothing, including two women wearing burkas. Our guide – our driver and translator – said we were being watched and it was too dangerous to photograph them. Clearly worried, the dad-of-one said: “We should leave now – our presence here is beginning to cause suspicion…If they see the camera all hell will break loose.”

It is understood that notorious ISIS supporter Harun Mehicevic…has purchased two hectares. Mehicevic fled Bosnia during the 1990s Balkan wars and settled in Melbourne, Australia, where he is considered one of the country’s most dangerous men…

Other known terrorists believed to have bought land in the village include Jasin Rizvic and Osman Kekic, who are both now fighting with ISIS in Syria. Muslim leader Izet Hadzic – arrested by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s security service Sipa in a raid – is also understood to have property in the village, as have many others who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq.

One villager…who does not want to be named, said: “We regularly hear gunshots coming from the woods up there for long periods at a time. It happens every week….”

Bosnia is an ideal position for jihadis travelling illegally from Syria to Greece, via Turkey, and then through Macedonia and Serbia.

How about that! Why wasn’t anyone screaming this from the rooftops? Oh wait, we were.

…Five months ago, anti-terror cops raided the village of Gornja Maoca in the north of the country following reports of houses flying the ISIS flag…It has been raided by police several times over the past decade due to suspected links with radical groups.

The report, The Lure of the Syrian War: The Foreign Fighters’ Bosnian Contingent, said that between 2013 and 2014, 156 Bosnian men and 36 women travelled to Syria, taking 25 children with them. It said 48 men and three women had officially returned by last January. […]

The article above followed a July 2 BBC item titled Bosnia: The cradle of modern jihadism? by Mark Urban on “Newsnight”:

Back in the 1990s something happened in central Bosnia-Herzegovina that inspired people to this day and helps explain why that country now has more men fighting in Syria and Iraq…as a proportion of its population, than most in Europe.

The formation of a “Mujahideen Battalion” in 1992, composed mainly of Arab volunteers in central Bosnia, was a landmark. Today the dynamic of jihad has been reversed and it is Bosnians who are travelling to Arab lands.

No! It couldn’t be — not the religiously unreachable, uncorruptible Muslims of Bosnia! Who could have seen this coming?!

“There is a war between the West and Islam,” says Aimen Dean, who, as a young Saudi Arabian volunteer, travelled to fight in central Bosnia in 1994. “Bosnia gave the modern jihadist movement that narrative. It is the cradle.”

Imagine that. Bosnia as the birthplace and nexus of modern jihad. A decade ago almost to the day of this publication, just after the London attacks, the UK Guardian said as much: “[Al-Qaida] was in business from 1993…[T]he big surge…came not after 9/11 or Iraq but in the mid-1990s — with Bosnia serving as the recruiting sergeant.” And as early as 2002 there was this: “The mullahs of Iran saw the Balkans as a prize to be won for the glory of Allah and markedly intensified political involvement in Bosnia-Herzegovina…Iran proclaimed [it] a microcosm for resisting the West’s war on Islam, and called in reinforcements.” 2004: “It appears that the Bosnia operation, supported by Bill Clinton, played a vital role in globalising the mujahedin mentality….Many Arabs, as the journalist James Buchan put it, were left stranded in Afghanistan ‘with a taste for fighting but no cause’. Bosnia provided some of them with a new cause.” And 2007: “Liberal hawks and al-Qaeda have no moral equivalence…Yet both camps view world affairs in simple terms in which everything is reducible to a clash between good and evil. Maybe that is because both were forged during that most moralized of wars - Bosnia.”

Now, if Bosnia created the West vs. Islam narrative, how does one explain all that Western aid, training, and firepower that went to the Muslims against the Christians in Bosnia? It’s a head-scratcher, for sure. How could the Muslim world totally misunderstand our intentions with all the help we gave them? How much more loudly could we scream: “Hey, in the war between the West and Islam, we’re on the same side!! There’s no need to look to the fanatics for help. We can be as helpful as any terrorists!”

…Dean’s point is that the West and the Salafists…were on the same side in Afghanistan, but became enemies in Bosnia.

[Well someone should have told us!]

…[I]t was in early 1993, when it became a three-way fight against Catholic Croatians as well as the Serbs, that the Mujahideen Battalion swelled to the hundreds and started to hunt non-believers more actively…British troops fought the Mujahideen Battalion at Guca Gora and elsewhere in the summer of 1993 — the opening shots of that army’s fight against jihadism [So now we’re casually admitting what it was?]…In the nearby town of Travnik, that had been almost equally Muslim, Croatian and Serb before the war, the foreigners helped drive out thousands, and tried to impose Sharia law on those who remained. They were also involved in kidnapping local Christians, and beheaded one, Dragan Popovic, forcing other captives to kiss his severed head.

…[T]he Mujahideen Battalion was also suspected in many others including the kidnap and murder of aid workers as well as the execution of 20 Croatian prisoners.

The foreigners never amounted to more than one per cent of the fighting force at the disposal of the Sarajevo government, despite the frequent claims of the Serb and Croatian media to have spotted Islamic fanatics from abroad just about everywhere. From an early stage the Mujahideen also started recruiting Bosnians and, by 1995, in the final months of the war, the incorporation of several hundred local men allowed the outfit to be expanded into the Mujahideen Brigade, around 1,500 strong.

Dragan Popovic was kidnapped and beheaded by foreign fighters in Bosnia

By the summer of 1993, the Sarajevo government was starting to wake up to the potentially toxic effect of these jihadists on their image as a multi-ethnic, secular republic. So, in an attempt to control it, the battalion was placed under the command of III Corps, the Bosnian Army formation headquartered in the central city of Zenica…

Hundreds of Mujahideen went from Bosnia to Chechnya, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Among their alumni were two of the 9/11 hijackers, the murderer of American hostage Daniel Pearl and numerous other al-Qaeda cadres.

Today also there are suggestions in Sarajevo that the SDA — the late President Izetbegovic’s party — is not taking a tough enough line against foreign fighters. Only this time they are the hundreds of Bosnians who are choosing to fight in Iraq and Syria…In fairness, the Sarajevo government has taken action to ban recruiting for foreign wars and has mounted numerous raids to disrupt extremist networks and arrest those who have returned from fighting in the Middle East.

However, its critics note that for years it turned a blind eye to those Arab Mujahideen who remained in Bosnia but continued to agitate, and has allowed several communities of home-grown Bosnian Salafists to emerge in recent years.

Among those who link what is happening now with the 1990s is Fikret Hadzic, who has been charged with fighting for the so-called Islamic State in Syria…Hadzic had joined the Mujahideen unit in 1994….Other Bosnians who served with that unit back in the war include the leader of an important Salafist mosque in Sarajevo, and Bilal Bosnic, who is in detention awaiting trial. Bosnic is charged with recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group.

With IS now trying to start a “new front for the Caliphate” in the Balkans [What? Someone sees potential in the Balkans for the Caliphate?], there are many who worry that Bosnia is vulnerable because it remains so weak and fragmented, even two decades after its war ended. […]

Sure, that’s why. Not because of the aforementioned approval of Bosniak politicians, but because Bosnia is fragmented, and so the only solution is to centralize it. Meaning, put the Serbs and Croats under one Islamic roof. That’ll fix everything, especially if Washington has anything to say about it. Meanwhile, if there’s any doubt that “fragmented” is code for decentralization that needs such a fix, an August Jane’s Intelligence Review article dispelled it:

On 23 July 2015, Croatian newspaper Globus quoted a report by Croatia’s security agencies saying Bosnia was home to 4,000 Islamic State extremists…The institutional vacuum that emerged after the end of the war and the subsequent ossification of Bosnia’s institutional makeup into a decentralised state divided along ethnic lines further aided the proselytisation of Wahhabi ideology.

The next paragraph ups the ante, saying that, actually, jihad isn’t nearly as big a threat as the Serb nationalist-separatist response it can produce, so it’s really Bosnian-Serb leader Dodik who’s still the problem to worry about:

…A greater risk stems from the possibility of such attacks being utilised by local politicians to advance a separatist agenda, similar to what occurred in the aftermath of the [May] attack [on a police station] in Zvornik. Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has been pressured lately due to the Bosnian Serb entity’s grave fiscal problems….Using divisive nationalist and separatist rhetoric and discourse has previously assisted him in deflecting from pressing issues, and any new attack is likely to be exploited by his government to thwart any attempts at centralising Bosnia’s governance model. This increases the risk of renewed inter-ethnic animosity and retaliatory attacks by Bosnian Serbs against Bosniak enclaves situated in the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska…

So, the article ups the ante even more, imagining scenarios wherein Bosnian Serbs could potentially attack Bosnian-Muslims. Notice, however, that the phrase “retaliatory attacks” is used, implying that the Muslims will have done something to cause the attacks but not saying so outright, referring instead to “renewed inter-ethnic animosity” and “any new attack.” That is, Jane’s cowardly uses the old trick of general language sans perpetrator when referring to Islamic violence, while “boldly” using “by Bosnian Serbs against Bosniaks” when referring to the Serb response, real or imagined. (As we see in reporting on the Middle East, e.g., “Israelis Kill Six Palestinians on Beach” vs. “Bus Explodes in Central Jerusalem” or “IDF Soldier Stabbed at Crossing.”)

A June UK Guardian article likewise thinks the best way to deal with the Muslim-fanatic threat in Bosnia is to centralize Muslims and Christians under one Muslim-dominated roof:

Isis targets vulnerable Bosnia for recruitment and attack (Guardian, June 25)

High youth unemployment, ethnic tensions and political paralysis help jihadis lure young people to Syria and open up new terror front in heart of Europe (June 25)

Europe could come to regret the failure to confront Bosnia’s profound structural problems in the two decades since the war. Isis produced a new recruitment video this month, targeting the Balkans region and Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular… “If you can, put explosives under the cars, in their houses, all over them…” one of the Bosnians, identified by a pseudonym, Salahuddin al-Bosni, implores the audience in Bosnian.

The authors [of the aforementioned “Lure of the Syrian War” report]…found that Bosnia was ill-equipped to deal with the potential threat. It is a weak state, split by a 1995 peace agreement into two entities

It proceeds with more legitimate points:

…Furthermore the federation is divided into 10 cantons. Twenty-two police agencies operate in the country with overlapping jurisdictions and roles…[T]here is no single database on foreign fighters, and the existing data is “mostly scattered, often incomplete or disorganised”… “We are not doing anything. We are just observing,” [author Vlado] Azinović said.

Salafist communities operating outside the official mosques have sprung up in three districts, Gornja Maoča, Osve and Dubnica, and “pop-up” radical mosques, often funded from the Gulf, have appeared in Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla.

After three years of observing Bosnian jihadis, the authors place them in two broad categories: veterans who fought alongside mujahideen volunteers from the Arab world in the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, and young Bosnian men “driven mostly by adrenaline and a quest for self-validation, self-respect, group belonging, and purpose.” Almost a third of the Bosnian Isis recruits had criminal records. [That harkens back to what we already know: Islam is a crime syndicate, one that validates or redirects violent tendencies toward a ‘higher purpose’.]

Like most Isis videos…[it] paints an idyllic picture of insurgent life in Syria, with Bosnian, Kosovan and Albanian fighters walking off to battle like a smiling band of brothers while enjoying time with their families on their days off, complete with complimentary cars.

[”Kosovan AND Albanian fighters,” a.k.a. Albanian and Albanian fighters.]

…With the use of computer graphics, the film portrays the sweep of Balkan history as a prolonged expropriation of inherently “Muslim lands”, first by “crusaders”, then atheistic communists, and finally nationalists. [Gee, but that portrayal was good enough for the West in the ’90s.] The current Bosniak political leadership are painted as collaborators with the enemies of Islam “preparing you like sheep for the next genocide”.

With a dramatic skewing of history, the film credits the mujahideen brigade with “repelling the Serbs” in the Bosnian war, although in reality it had a limited impact on a small section of the frontline. Meanwhile it depicts the large-scale US-led air campaign against the Bosnian Serb military as incidental and somehow designed to prevent the rise of the Muslim faithful. […]

Well, it sort of was, relying on the logic that we should help them so they don’t turn to the fanatics for help. What a surprise: as would later happen in Kosovo, they accepted help from both, and doubled down on the Islam. One supposes the “incidental” part holds true since Western participation, which was passive at first, was egged on by journalists, only later becoming a full-blown policy agenda. (It also took the Bosniaks bemoaning Western indifference to their self-made plight, guilting us about not doing enough to aid them in their war of secession. Yet “far from appreciating Western help in claiming a state in the ‘heart of Europe,’ the Bosnian Muslims have come to believe that was the very least the West owed them, and have engaged in mockery of Western assistance,” Nebojsa Malic wrote in 2007. Then, because we ultimately went along with it, it reaffirmed their victim status. “By hyping the supposed Muslim ‘genocide,’ Jim Jatras has written, we “stoked Muslim rage, not mollified it.”)

But back to the “Kosovars”: 20 Families Join The Islamic State (RTS, Zeri, July 19)

A few decades ago these three would have gone to Woodstock; today it’s ISIS. Photo:,

Three brothers from the village of Klina — Arben (38), Adnan (34) and Ekrem (29) — ran to Syria earlier this year and took their wives and children….One of the brothers told his mother that he was “bored enough and that he has to go to fight in the name of Allah”. [Pot used to be enough for boredom; now they need Allah.]

Shortly after the flight to Syria, Ekrem Hasani was killed and it is still unknown what happened to his wife and children.

None of them ever worked before fleeing to Syria, said brothers’ mother to “Zeri”.

According to the daily, because of poverty, people of Kosovo are forced to join the Islamic State….

Yet another case of the people of Kosovo being “forced” to do something. That is, being victimized yet again. And again it’s a form of ‘victimization’ whose solution is to victimize others.

But if poverty is ‘forcing’ the people of Kosovo to join IS, why aren’t the even poorer Serbs, Roma and Ashkali of Kosovo joining ISIS? Maybe because they’re not Muslim? Leaving the main vulnerability to recruitment not poverty, but Islam. (ISISlam?)

Imam from Podujevo Bekim Jasari, who has been fighting against Wahhabism since the beginning…[said] poverty, education, failure, isolation from others are gaining momentum… [He] criticizes religious schools, teachers, the Academy of Sciences, adding that Albanians can no longer raise their voice against this evil. “God said that knowledge is more valuable than worship,” concluded Jasari.

They sure didn’t have a problem raising their voices against secular Yugoslav society. (Maybe because it just wasn’t so evil?) Why are they so cowed now? Cowed by what their own persistence and national aspirations have created.

Still on July, and still on Kosovo, this Albanian kickboxer in Germany had joined ISIL in January and was pro-American enough to die on July 4th. If one reads the linked Wikipedia page, one sees that even thriving Albanians in Europe, with a bright future, join IS. (Notice that his top-model Thai wife had to first convert to Islam before he’d marry her. Why? I mean, if Albanians are so secular?)

…He also opened a Muslim-oriented Muay Thai training camp in Winterthur, Switzerland…with stricter rules applied. But the training programme was marred with media scrutiny when three young men aged 16 to 20 attending the camp, and a sister of the one of the trainees all decided to join ISIS ranks…In January 2015, Gashi left Germany to join up with Islamic State militants in Syria…His father Enver Gashi pleaded with him through the media to return….In a later interview with the Swiss German SRF station in June 2015, he said he was “trying to help build a modern caliphate in Syria” …His death was widely reported on 6 July 2015 after his brother confirmed the death of Valdet on 4 July.

This past June, Maclean’s magazine caught on to the growing trend, incorporating in its characterization of Kosovo as a jihadi hub the very objection commonly raised to such a characterization: the pro-Americanism that’s supposed to negate any possibility of Kosovo being a jihadi hub:

How an America-loving country became a jihadi hub (Macleans, June 15, 2015, by Michael Petrou)

Kosovo owes its existence to the West. Its capital even has a statue of Bill Clinton. But even here, Islamic State is taking root.

The Western country that has sent the most recruits on a per capita basis…is one that owes its very existence as a state to NATO’s military intervention on its behalf.

An April report by the Kosovo Center for Security Studies (KCSS) reveals that as of January, some 232 Kosovars have joined Islamist militant groups in Syria and Iraq, a rate of 125 recruits for every one million people living in the country. This is well ahead of Bosnia, which comes in second with 85 recruits per million, and of Belgium, the third-ranked country, with 42 recruits per million.

Savor that a moment. The top two slots for contributing nations to IS are held by Kosovo and Bosnia. Our pro-Muslim projects.

…According to Shpend Kursani, an external research fellow at KCSS and author of the report, most Kosovars still have a positive view of America and NATO…raising disturbing questions about Islamic State’s ability to penetrate communities that, being broadly secular and pro-Western, would seem to have little reason to support it.

[Isn’t that something.]

Islamic State’s recruiting success in Kosovo upsets Kosovars…. “There’s a sense that people joining Islamic State are betraying in many ways the very nation,” says Florian Bieber, professor of southeast European studies at the University of Graz.

Muslim Kosovars are still much more likely to join jihadist groups than Muslims in Albania and Turkey….[Isn’t that interesting?] Turkey, which borders Syria and Iraq and is a major transit point for foreign fighters joining Islamic State, sends only eight recruits per million Muslims, barely six per cent of Kosovo’s rate.

[A]ccording to Kursani, the rate of Kosovar recruits is still worrying — in part because Islamist extremism is such a radical departure from the way the faith has traditionally been practised in Kosovo and elsewhere in the Balkans. [Which, recall, was supposed to make them impermeable, proof-positive that we weren’t aiding a potential threat.]

Changes began in the wake of the 1999 war [how about that!], with the influx of charities and other NGOs from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf…Kursani has also traced a number of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania who studied together in the Middle East during the 2000s and, as he puts it, “started hanging out with the wrong crowd.” …The ethnic Albanians returned to the Balkans. A few began to preach in Macedonia, and one or two did the same in Kosovo, where they had some success spreading the foreign ideology they had acquired. [How about that!]

…[T]here has also been an erosion of national identity as a unifying force since the war, and for some young people, religion has filled that gap. [How about that! So much for all those reassuring emails I get: “Albanians’ religion is Albanianism, you bitch. It’s a NATIONAL struggle.” Yeah. We know. And still it misses the point.] This, in turn, creates dislocation within families, Kursani says, as secular parents recoil from the new-found religiosity of their children. Young people then turn away from their parents and find community among supporters of violent Islamism. [Twitter isn’t enough anymore?]…

Another contributing factor to Kosovo’s fecundity for jihadists may be the poor economic prospects of its young people. Kosovars are leaving their country by the thousands…Others, unemployed, isolated from their families, and lacking a strong sense of communal identity other than religion, look elsewhere.

None of these factors is unique to Kosovo. Liberal strains of Islam have elsewhere been challenged by severe and chauvinistic manifestations of the faith. Other countries are poor and have gone through conflict and political upheaval. It’s noteworthy that Bosnia…is also a rich source of jihadists among European nations.

How about that. Kosovo isn’t alone. Why, “other countries” with “liberal strains of Islam,” have been challenged. Such as…say…for example…off the top of the writer’s head…just randomly picking here…BOSNIA…rolls off the tongue. That other Balkans project of ours.

Continuing with the thread about the influx of Gulf “charities” and such, a June 24th NPR interview was titled After Kosovo Emerged From War, Foreign Extremists Radicalized Youth

Decades of communism left Kosovo a largely secular place. But after the U.S.-backed war for independence, extremists radicalized young people. Now some have joined the Islamic State in Syria. (It’s that U.S. might, or Might-us, touch we have: Everything we touch, turns to Islam.)

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: …NPR’s Ari Shapiro just returned from Kosovo….[H]ow big a role does religion actually play in public life there?

SHAPIRO: Well, before I left for Kosovo, I spoke with Akan Ismaili, who is Kosovo’s ambassador to the United States, and he describes this as a country that is Muslim in name, but far less so in practice. Here’s what he said.

AKAN ISMAILI: …[T]he media would start describing it as a kind of an Islam-light just by what they were seeing. By a couple of years later, they were describing it as an Islam-zero because you would not see it in a sense that it’s there.

SHAPIRO: And Audie, I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is true. I was in Kosovo last week during Ramadan, and the cafes in the capital Pristina were full during the day. People were eating and drinking. And I asked restaurant owners if business had dipped at all because of people fasting for Ramadan. They said nope, not at all.

CORNISH: So if the country’s so secular, how has radicalization come to be seen as a problem?

SHAPIRO: …[W]hen Kosovo emerged from war in the 1990s….groups from Saudi Arabia came in to build schools and dormitories where people were essentially brainwashed…For some context here, youth unemployment is above 50 percent in the country. People in Kosovo are not allowed to travel to other parts of Europe without a visa, so a lot of young people feel trapped. And that makes them easy targets for indoctrination, as you can hear in this video.

“Black days are coming,” [an Albanian-speaking male in the video] says. “You will fear to walk in the streets.”

I wanted to find this young man’s family, so we drove far outside of the capital city, high up into the mountains. It was so remote, so poor, it was hard to fathom that this is 21st century Europe.

We’ve just arrived in this tiny village of Bukovik, and every building looks half ruined and crumbled. The road is rutted. It’s made of dirt. There are a few chickens but no sign of people. The mosque is the only building that looks new…They’ve moved to the foot of the mountain to try to find jobs in the slightly larger town of Gjilan.

In Gjilan, too, mosque is the fanciest building in town. This place feels totally different from the capital, Pristina. Men here have long beards. The women wear headscarves. Eventually, we do find the father….In fact, we find a few families like his, people whose relatives have gone to Iraq and Syria. All of them refuse to speak with us. So I reached Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Selimi. He’s the government’s man in charge of fighting radicalization, and he connects this problem to larger challenges that face any new country emerging from war.

PETRIT SELIMI: Transition’s very tough. To become from zero to hero, it’s not an easy process. A lot of people feel that a new country has born but they don’t have the new opportunities in life.

CORNISH: …What does the government in Kosovo see as a solution?

SHAPIRO: When I asked officials that question, they told me they can’t do this on their own. They need Kosovo to become a member of some international organizations. Here’s Deputy Foreign Minister Petrit Selimi.

SELIMI: We’re not part of U.N. We’re not part of Interpol. We’re not part of UNESCO. We’re not part of FIFA World Cup in soccer.

SHAPIRO: Well, that might be a good thing at this point, but go on (laughter).

SELIMI: Yeah, well, you know, we’re not part of the Eurovision song contest, which, also, you may say is a good thing. (LAUGHTER) But these are platforms of public cultures in which people become proud of their societies and their countries. [Funny, one thing that never seemed to be lacking in Kosovo is pride.]

SHAPIRO: He argues that if this small new country becomes more of a part of the global community, then people from Kosovo won’t have as much reason to look for belonging elsewhere in a group like ISIS.

Notice how for every next mischief that Albanians are involved in, the solution always seems to be in giving them the next thing and the next and the next that was never part of the original deal. Everything will be solved if you just keep pushing the full agenda of what they wanted from the start of their expansionist war which they recruited us into and which was the gateway to all these problems in the first place. And yes, let’s repeat the boomeranging rationale behind helping in the first place — that if we help them, they won’t look to the radicals for help. Maybe, since it hasn’t worked yet, it’ll work this time around. What can go wrong? Surely enshrining something born of evil doesn’t reap more evil?

Continuing backwards through the past year finds us with this May item:

A Kosovo father recounts harrowing trip to retrieve sons from Syria (By Jonathan S. Landay - McClatchy Washington Bureau, May 6, 2015)

For months, Faik Uksmajli warned the Kosovo police that his elder son was determined to go to Syria to join the Islamic State. And for months, the police insisted that the country’s border posts were on alert, ready to stop him if he tried.

So when Uksmajli’s son Arbnor telephoned one day last July to say that he, his wife, two children and younger brother, Albert, were in Syria, Uksmajli took matters into his own hands…

It’s also a story of a father’s love and determination to reunite a family sundered by the Islamic radicalism that’s been growing in Muslim-dominated Kosovo since the 1999 U.S.-led military intervention put Europe’s newest country on the road to independence from Serbia…Just a day after an Islamic State death threat forced [Uksmajli] to leave Syria, 21-year-old Arbnor died and Albert, 19, lost an arm in airstrikes in the eastern city of Aleppo.

Uksmajli now is all but bankrupt, unable to maintain the concentration he needs to operate the dangerous saws and grinders of his small woodworking business. He feels betrayed by his government and bitter that he’s powerless to rescue Albert – who went to care for Arbnor’s family, not to be a jihadi – or his daughter-in-law and grandchildren, who remain in Syria.

The family lived in Germany for years, dodging late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal ethnic cleansing offensive, which he’d unleashed in 1998 to crush an uprising by Kosovo’s oppressed ethnic Albanian majority, leading to the U.S.-led intervention. [That’s to keep you on track, lest you start questioning how big and dangerous this “dodged” Milosevic bullet really was, leading to questions about how necessary it was for us to turn Kosovo into a jihadi hub.]

After the war, Uksmajli moved the family and his business – producing doors and other wooden products – back to his village.

The business prospered. Uksmajli’s sons graduated from university. Arbnor returned to Germany to work, while Albert found a job with a U.S. humanitarian group, teaching music to poor children.

In 2013, Arbnor returned from Germany and began attending the village mosque, Uksmajli said, nodding at a minaret across pastures and orchards. And that’s when his son began to change [NO, really?!], Uksmajli recounted, explaining that Arbnor grew a beard, regularly attended prayers and adopted the puritanical Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia.

Early last year, Arbnor started railing about the Syrian civil war….He also spoke about bombing Camp Bondsteel, the U.S.-built NATO peacekeeping headquarters in eastern Kosovo.

“I asked him, ‘What’s happening to you? Why are you acting like this?’ …My son told me, ‘The first chance I get, I’m going to plant a bomb in Bondsteel.’…”

Uksmajli blamed the radicalization of Arbnor and some 20 other young men who he said also had gone to Syria on the local cleric, Nehat Husseini, and an associate who’d had several run-ins with the police after returning from fighting in the Middle East.

Uksmajli said that all Arbnor talked about “was how to plant a bomb inside Bondsteel, because Nehat Husseini told him, ‘You will be closer to heaven the more Americans you kill.’ I said to him, ‘How dare you say that. Who was it who helped us in 1999? Do you know that the Americans are our greatest friends? . . . It was God first and Bill Clinton second.’

“I told the police that my son is praying in the mosque and the imam of that mosque is telling my son to go to Syria,” Uksmajli said. “I told them about the man who’d been to Syria…I told them they’re pressing my son to bomb Bondsteel.”

The police questioned Arbnor, and released him. At that point, Uksmajli said, his son stopped coming home most days and turned off his cellphone. Again Uksmajli called the police, asking them to arrest Arbnor and confiscate his passport and those of his family, but to no avail, he said.

“…Arbnor called me and said, ‘…You must know that we are stronger than the police and we can get passports anytime we want. The imam, Nehat Husseini, can get us passports in 24 hours.’

“I was calling the police every second day,” said Uksmajli. “This period was May 2014, and the police again told me not to worry because they’d already contacted people at the airports in Albania and every other border of Kosovo and the moment they try to cross the border, they’ll be detained. The police also told me that they already had their passports.”

In a statement to McClatchy, the Kosovo Police denied confiscating the passports. The police, however, confirmed that they’d asked Kosovo border authorities and “other countries in the region” to watch for the group and to alert the Kosovo Police if they tried to leave the country, so that an “official request to stop their travel” could be issued.

“…[O]n June 29 I called the police. I told them my sons weren’t home. They told me there was no chance for them to cross the border. And after six days, Arbnor called me from Syria.

“…I asked him, ‘How could you do it without passports?’ And my son told me, ‘No, we got our passports back.’ And then he hung up.”

Another call to the police. Another assurance that the group couldn’t leave Kosovo.

So Uksmajli did his own sleuthing, canvassing travel agents in the nearby town of Ferizaj.

“I found the travel agency in Ferizaj where they’d bought their tickets,” he said, explaining that his sons had taken a bus to Albania’s capital, Tirana, from which they’d flown via Istanbul to Gaziantep in Turkey, a key transit point….Uksmajli made copies of the group’s ticket receipts and showed them to the police.

‘I said to them, ‘Here is the proof. You see that they went and that they had passports. So are you stronger or are the imams?’ The police just shrugged and said anything was possible,” he said.

The police, he charged, “have their own financial interests in sending people to Syria” and collude with the hard-line clerics.

The police deny it, saying they’ve stopped “dozens of young people and many families with children from going to Syria.”

Uksmajli decided to follow his sons, to try to persuade them to return home. He asked the government for financial assistance and a document certifying that he wasn’t going to Syria to fight. He got neither. So he sold his car and truck for about $34,000, bought a plane ticket and flew to Gaziantep.

He found a small restaurant in Gaziantep, and using his fluent German he asked diners whether they knew how someone could get into Syria or Iraq to join Albanian-speaking fighters. A German-speaking Afghan offered to drive Uksmajli for about $30,000 to a compound near the Iraqi city of Mosul where Albanian-speakers were based.

…That evening, Uksmajli climbed into a van driven by the Afghan, who was with another man. Both were armed. Two Afghan women – clad in body-length black chadors with eye-slits to see through — and a third man sat in the back, bound for the Syrian city of Aleppo. They drove across the border without a problem and, after an all-night trip, reached Mosul.

It was Aug. 15, a little more than two months after Iraq’s second largest city had fallen to the Islamic State’s offensive that swept to the doorstep of Baghdad. There was fighting everywhere. “…All the way to Mosul, I saw bodies. . . . I saw burnt cars, bodies all over, children who’d been killed, women, old people. Houses on fire. But the driver knew which roads to take.”

In Mosul, Uksmajli found some fighters from Albania, who advised him to look for his sons at a base of Albanian-speakers outside Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city…As the van approached the entrance, Uksmajli said, he saw his younger son, Albert, walking out with two men. He shouted for the Afghan to stop. As the vehicle slowed, gunfire rang out, ripping the van with bullets.

The Afghan floored it, but the bullets found the tires, and the driver had to stop a half mile down the road. Uksmajli and the two men in the front seat got out…The women were dead. The [third] man was alive, but barely, bleeding from a head wound.

“The driver dragged the two women out of the vehicle and left them in the road,” Uksmajli said. “The man was still alive. The driver turned around and shot him in the head. I asked him, ‘If I also was wounded, would you have killed me as well?’ He said to me, ‘Yes, because what would I do with you if you were injured?’

The three men ended up walking to a nearby house, where the Afghan ordered Uksmajli to wait and then left with his companion. A few hours later, another German-speaking Afghan showed up. His name was Ali Hussein.

Hussein had fought with the Soviet force that occupied Afghanistan in 1979, but then apparently he’d switched sides and become a jihadist. He knew some Albanian words that he’d picked up fighting against the Serbs in Kosovo with some 40 other foreign Islamists. He knew Uksmajli’s village [Naradinja]. His passport showed that he was 63 years old.

Uksmajli spent the next eight days driving around war-ravaged eastern Syria with Hussein…Hussein kept a black Islamic State flag in his car that he’d display when passing through the group’s territories and would hide when passing through land controlled by Syrian rebels who were fighting both the Islamic State and the Assad government.

“There were women and children dead all over the place. Old people. Houses were on fire in Aleppo, Raqqa, Homs, everywhere…I saw different kinds of groups, like groups from Russia, from Serbia, from different countries,” Uksmajli recounted. “There were lots of groups. and you never knew who was fighting whom.”

On the final day of his stay near Aleppo, Uksmajli finally received a written response in Arabic…that a check with clerics in Kosovo had showed that, “You aren’t a person who was sent to fight. Your name isn’t anywhere. Someone sent you from the police, and if we capture you, you know how you’ll end up.”

That evening, Hussein told him he’d have to leave Syria immediately if he wanted to live.

“Then Ali took my phone because I’d been recording videos the entire time. He told me, ‘We need to destroy this phone because if they capture us together with this phone, they will behead us both.’ ”

They crossed the border on Aug. 24 and drove to the Turkish city of Hatay, where Uksmajli boarded a flight to Istanbul. From there, he flew to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, and then drove the short distance home.

The bad news came Sept. 1. Albert called to say he’d lost an arm and Arbnor had died in airstrikes on Aleppo the day after his father was forced to leave Syria.

Uksmajli is convinced that the raids were launched by American aircraft, but the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria didn’t begin until Sept. 23.

Several police officers came to speak to Uksmajli after news about his sons spread. But no one came from the government or the Islamic Community, the official body that oversees Islamic affairs in Kosovo, he said.

Uksmajli said he’d called for an investigation of Husseini, the cleric, but that none was launched.

“I’ve been on television. I publicly mentioned the imam’s name, my sons’ names. The Kosovo Police said they’ve got no evidence,” said Uksmajli. At one point, an Albanian-speaker called, warning that Uksmajli would be beheaded if he didn’t remove a video of one of his interviews with a local TV station from the Internet. […]

Not so long ago, these threats would come for speaking out against the beloved KLA and the Kosovo leaders it sprouted. Now the threats are as much for speaking against the religious ones — whom the KLAniks supposedly kept in check. One is all just a bit reminiscent of the other. And these poor Albanians are finding themselves a bit bewildered. No, Mr. Uksmajli, America is not your greatest friend. It’s no one’s friend, not even its own.

April brought us this Bosnia interlude:

Once a magnet for foreign mujahedeen, Bosnia now exports them (AFP, April 29, by Rusmir Smajilhodzic)

A magnet for foreign jihadists during its 1990s war, Bosnia is now grappling with the threat from home-grown extremists wooed by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

While most Bosnian Muslims are moderates, a few thousand have adopted the ultraconservative Salafist brand of Sunni Islam introduced by the fighters who flocked to Bosnia…Twenty years on, the radical preachers giving fiery sermons in “mesdzids”, or improvised prayer halls, are no longer foreigners. Those taking up arms are also local men.

Hardliners, whose numbers are estimated by the authorities at around 3,000 followers, represent just a fraction of Bosnian Muslims, who make up around 40 per cent of the population of 3.8 million. But their ranks are suspected of supplying scores of fighters….

Some 150 Bosnians are believed to have joined jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, while some 50 others have already been and returned from the battlefield, according to the intelligence services. Two men arrested at Sarajevo airport in February were charged with attempting to join the Islamic State group….

“Those who return to the country are very dangerous….they start to recruit others,” said Jasmin Ahic, a professor at the Sarajevo University Faculty of Criminology. To prevent their departure, parliament last year introduced sentences of up to 20 years in prison for jihadists and their recruiters.

In January, a radical imam in the northwestern town of Buzim was the first person to go on trial accused of recruiting people for jihad. Husein Bosnic, a former member of a mujahedeen unit in Bosnia’s war, replaced Nusret Imamovic as leader of the country’s Salafists after Imamovic left for Syria in late 2013, according to intelligence sources and the US State Department. Imamovic, who is named on a US State Department terrorist list, is believed to be the third-in-command of Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

Testifying at Bosnic’s trial in Sarajevo, the relatives of several youths who travelled to Syria or Iraq, some of whom have died in fighting, said their kin attended his sermons. The prosecution accused the cleric of receiving “significant” funding from unnamed backers in Arab states. […]

It got so that even a U.S. propaganda outfit like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty couldn’t ignore what’s been happening, bringing us back to Kosovo the same month:

Report Finds Alarming Outflow Of Kosovars To Islamic State
(RFERL, April 15)

…At least 232 Kosovo citizens are fighting alongside militants in Syria and Iraq, making Kosovo rank eighth overall (and first per capita) among the 22 Western states with citizens fighting in Syria and Iraq, a new report has found.

The majority of Kosovars fighting in Syria and Iraq are thought to have joined militants there in 2013. During that year, the recruitment of Kosovars intensified as IS and other foreign fighter factions strengthened their positions in the country, the [Kosovo Center for Security Studies] report said.

In October 2013, another Kosovar — 24-year-old ethnic Albanian Lavdrim Muhaxheri — appeared in an IS video calling on Albanian Muslims to join the militants fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Muhaxheri appears alongside other ethnic Albanians from Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania in an IS propaganda video, Clanging Of The Swords Part 4…Muhaxheri, who hails from the town of Kacanik in Kosovo, gained even more notoriety in July 2014, when a news report published graphic photographs of him apparently cutting the head off a young man. Muhaxheri went on to explain his actions in an interview with Tirana daily Dita on August 2, 2014, saying that he had decapitated the teenager because he suspected him of being a spy and that he had done “nothing more than what members of the KLA did during the war [in Kosovo].”

[For those reading between the lines, this is another uncanny similarity between the Albanians’ “purely national struggle” and the jihad that Albanians have nothing to do with.]

After the Kosovo War ended in 1999, religion became more popular in the country thanks to societal disorientation and weak economic and political conditions, the [KCSS] report says.

[So after “non-jihad” wars with the infidel host society, both Bosnia and Kosovo emerged more religious. Uncanny.]

The KCSS accuses international and local government structures of neglecting Kosovo’s rural communities after the war, which the report says created space for “Middle Eastern charity organizations to massively penetrate these areas.”

Those local government structures would be the ones composed of the Albanians’ KLA heroes. Meanwhile, we all know how the international overseers would reassign or hush up anyone who dared bring up the Middle Easterners taking over. (”[OSCE security officer Tom] Gambill presented evidence of a concerted Islamic fundamentalist build-up in Kosovo…to army and intelligence officials from the US and allied countries…indicating a terrorist presence, however, he was often ignored. ‘The peacekeeping motto was, “don’t rock the boat.”‘ …Gambill’s testimony is reminiscent of the situation in Bosnia….the Clinton administration had sought ‘to keep the lid on the pot at all costs’ regarding its role in abetting the Iranian infiltration of the country with mujahedin, military trainers and heavy weapons during the 1992-1995 civil war. While that was done to suppress an embarrassing and shortsighted government policy, the disregarding of dubious developments in Kosovo has had more to do with the general mediocrity and every-man-for-himself dynamic of a non-accountable UN peacekeeping mission.

Regardless, yes, let’s point the finger at individual, micro reasons — and never at the Albanians themselves, who wanted a war with a predictable outcome. None of the specific micro reasons explains how some of us knew what the outcome would be from the start.

…Kursani told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service that those in Kosovo who embrace the IS ideology are opposed to state institutions. “They are against all the state institutions, police and army, they’re against voting, against handshaking with a police or a soldier for that matter, because in such a case, you would be immediately regarded as infidel,” Kursani said.

Despite this, those who have fought and died in Syria are treated with caution or even rejection by local people.

“For instance, when we met a brother of a person who was killed in Syria, he was very isolated, neighbors kept calling him a ‘terrorist’,” Kursani told RFE/RL.

…Kosovo has already taken a number of steps to fight radicalization. In a wave of arrests in January, the republic’s security services detained over 80 individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist groups. However, police have lacked evidence to file indictments against over 60 percent of those arrested….The IS ideology came to Kosovo via a “number of Skopje based imams who have visited and studied in the Middle East,” the report said.

…The report says that the majority of Kosovo citizens in Syria have only completed a secondary education. One former militant named as A.A…told the KCSS that notorious militant Lavdrim Muhaxeri had asked recruiters in Kosovo, including an imam named Zekirja Qazimi, not to send educated people. Uneducated people were better able to follow orders without asking questions, Muhaxeri reportedly said.

A momentary side note first on Qazimi (pronounced Chazimi), then on Muhaxeri. It is not clear if Qazimi is a relation of the KLA et al’s “Captain Lleshi,” real name Ridvan Cazimi, who was among those “moderate” Albanians coached by NATO to stage attacks on Serbia in the late ’90s. What is known is that the son of Lleshi/Cazimi is among the Albanian followers of ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a.k.a. Caliph Ibrahim. Lleshi’s/Cazimi’s brother Izet, meanwhile, is living off the glory of his family ties despite shaving off his jihadi beard and posting tons of family selfies on facebook when he’s not obstructing war crimes arrests.

A 2001 photo of late southern Serbia-based Commander Lleshi, the picture of ‘moderate’ Albanian nationalism that was supposed to be deadly only to Serbs. Caption: Picture taken 13 March 2001 of the Commander of UCPMB (Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedje and Bujanovac), Ridvan Cazimi with nickname “Lleshi” in the village of Trnovac during an interview. Cazimi was killed Thursday 24 May 2001 in the village of Trnovac. He was the Head of the Albanian Negotiation Team of Presevo Valley in talks with Yugoslav Authorities. Ethnic Albanian sources insisted on Thursday that Yugoslav troops had shot dead the top Albanian guerilla commander[, which Serbia denied]. EPA PHOTO EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Meanwhile, Muhaxeri, alternately spelled Muhaxheri, has been reported dead and reanimated half a dozen times, starting in August 2014, a death that a Facebook friend of his denied was true. Then came this December 2014 report, apparently about Muhaxheri under his jihad name:

Report: ISIS Commander from Kosovo Killed in Mosul, Iraq (Dec. 8, 2014)

Kurdish news outlet Rudaw is reporting that high-ranking Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) commander Abu Abdullah Kosovoi was killed by a roadside bomb on Sunday inside of Mosul, Iraq. The Mosul Brigades, a group of ordinary citizens fighting against the Islamic State, are allegedly responsible for the hit…The Islamic State invaded Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in June and pushed out the entire Christian community. Kosovoi was supposedly the terrorist group’s top commander in Iraq.

Muhaxheri was again reported killed in January 2015, this time in Kobani, Syria. Before he reappeared in Iraq this past July, RFERL in May tried to pin down when a video of him killing someone with an RPG was taken. That article had a few precious updates and reminders:

* an updated figure of 500 Albanians in Syria and Iraq, 232 of them from Kosovo, “making Kosovo rank eighth-highest overall (and first per capita) among the 22 Western states with citizens fighting in Syria and Iraq.”

* a new manner of death: by air strike.

* a reminder of the charming fact that Muhaxheri had reportedly worked at our Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and that “in 2010 he is thought to have been hired, via a private company, to work for two years in NATO camps in Afghanistan.”

* a new factoid: Kosovo Albanian Fatlum Shalaku, “a 20-year-old bodybuilder from London, was one of six suicide bombers who blew themselves up fighting for IS in Ramadi, Iraq.”

All along, however, the article made sure to use the usual phrases: IS Albanians “causing outrage” and “shock” back home among the majority of Albanians, who — gee — never saw this fruit of their labor coming:

Meanwhile, a new figurehead, an ethnic Albanian named Rivdan Haqifi or Ridvan al-Albani, emerged in Muhaxheri’s stead…(Haqifi, who appeared alongside Muxaheri in Clanging Of The Swords Part 4, shocked Kosovo in November by ordering the death of those who had helped bring a young Kosovar boy home after his militant father abducted him and took him to Syria.)

That’s a reference to this October item:

Kosovo ‘jihad’ boy rescued in Syria (, Oct. 16, 2014)

An eight-year-old boy from Kosovo has been reunited with his mother after his jihadist father kept him for five months in Syria. Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, said the country’s intelligence agency had found and rescued Erion Abazi with help from Turkish intelligence…While Erion was in Syria, pictures appeared on social media showing him holding up one finger in the Islamic State (IS) sign, and tumbling around with other children next to the militants’ black flag. […]

The aforementioned Kosovo-born bodybuilder/suicide bomber, meanwhile, has company:

The boy from Kosovo who grew up to be a suicide bomber (By Linda Pressly, BBC World Service, Kosovo, Oct. 8, 2014)

…Arieta is leafing through a pile of photos of her younger brother, Blerim Heta

“My brother had a wonderful life. He had money. He didn’t have a Mercedes, he had an Opel, but we were a happy family. And I can’t understand why he did that.”

Blerim was 24 when he left Kosovo on 7 August 2013, without a word to his family. Two days later Arieta got a text — he said he was in Turkey. She didn’t worry, because after becoming a devout Muslim, he often travelled to hear different imams preach. Then she called his number and a message flashed up on her screen — “Welcome to Syria.”

Like many Kosovans, her family identifies culturally as Muslim, but was never religious. Then Blerim started going regularly to the mosque. He began travelling to Macedonia across the border, and to mosques in other Kosovan towns.

“There is one boy in particular - I still see him around every day. He was the one who influenced my brother…”

In his last three months in Kosovo, Blerim Heta changed. He grew a beard. He wore his trousers shorter…and he watched a lot of YouTube videos of imams preaching. Then he was gone.

“He told me he’s fighting for his religion and that other people are bad. He said he wanted to die for Allah, and that it would be a great pleasure for him. I started to cry and scream and say to him what kind of religion do you have to kill people, to kill yourself? And he said if you speak to me like that, I will never call you again.”

Erion Abazi’s family…[too] were all aware his father was becoming more religious. But it was only after her son’s disappearance that [wife] Pranvera told them her husband asked her to wear a hijab, and talked about going to Syria.

On 25 March Arieta’s brother killed himself and 52 Iraqis in a suicide bombing.

“When he was in Kosovo, Blerim said that suicide bombers, they’re not Muslims. But when I talked to him in Syria, and I asked him, ‘Is it good to kill people?’ He said, ‘If they’re not Muslim, yes.’”

At least this kid gets the connection: He celebrated the 16th anniversary of America’s March 24, 1999 “liberation” of their inner Muslim by taking that liberation to its logical conclusion.

Back to Bosnia, and an update on this previously touched-upon item:

Indictment: Bosnian immigrants plotted over Facebook (AP, Feb. 7, 2015)

CHICAGO — Six Bosnian immigrants accused of sending money and military equipment to extremist groups in Syria used Facebook, PayPal and other readily available services…[The indictment] says two of the defendants, a husband and wife in St. Louis, used some of the money to buy U.S. military uniforms, firearms accessories, tactical gear and other equipment from local businesses….

One of the suspects [is] Mediha Medy Salkicevic, a 34-year-old mother of four from the Chicago suburb of Schiller Park….The case will be tried in Missouri, where several other defendants were arrested… All six people who are charged are natives of Bosnia who were living in the U.S. legally. Three are naturalized citizens; the other three had either refugee or legal resident status….

Besides Salkicevic, the indictment names Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, all of St. Louis County; Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, New York; and Jasminka Ramic, 42 of Rockford, Illinois.

The property manager at the complex where the Hodzics live told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the couple had been living there for 1½ years with their three children. Larry Sorth and his wife, Joyce, said they were surprised by the arrests and that the couple was friendly.

“She was very sweet, to tell you the truth,” Joyce Sorth said of Sedina Hodzic.

That’s the consensus of neighbors of the St. Louis Bosniak community in general, as was protested to me when I railed about the minarets going up there in 2008. (And of course none of this bad Bosnian news out of St. Louis was going to have an effect on Muhamed Sacirbey, that “American and Bosnian” who served as foreign minister for the discredited jihadist administration of wartime president Alija Izetbegovic, writing a July 4th piece extolling Bosniaks as “great Americans” and prattling on about loyalty to America despite its Srebrenica “betrayals.” He invoked the St. Louis community as exemplary, and for good measure threw in something about Serbs going to Syria and/or Ukraine to perhaps kill and cleanse again — in contrast, Bosnian Muslims fighting for ISIS in Syria are merely victims of trickery “exploiting” Srebrenica.)

Still moving backwards through the past year, we land on this little Bosnia item:

Inside the Bosnian mountain village where locals fly the black flag of ISIS above their homes as jihadists’ influence spreads (The Daily Mail, Feb. 4)

Militant Islam was all but unknown to Bosnia’s mostly secular Muslim population until the 1990s Balkans wars

Children are pictured walking to school seemingly oblivious to the insignia of a terrorist group responsible for the brutal killing Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. The 26-year-old was locked in a cage, doused with fuel and torched.

…In September [2014], Bosnian police detained 16 people on charges of financing terrorist activities, recruiting and fighting for radical groups in Syria and Iraq, authorities said…

Militant Islam was all but unknown to Bosnia’s mostly secular Muslim population until the 1990s Balkans wars when Arab mercenaries turned up to help the outgunned Bosnian Muslims fend off Serb attacks. […]

We’re still supposed to be sorry they were outgunned?

Still on February here, security expert Gordon N. Bardos detailed “The Balkan Connection” to January’s Charlie Hebdo massacre:

Officials in both the Paris State Prosecutor’s office and Bosnia’s Ministry of Defense have now confirmed that the ammunition used in the Charlie Hebdo attacks was produced in Bosnia, and officials now believe that the weapons used in the attacks may have come from Bosnia as well…[A]ll of this is hauntingly reminiscent of…the murder of Dutch film producer Theo van Gogh, in which, according to veteran Washington Post reporter Douglas Farah, the murder weapon had also been traced to Bosnia (other sources claim the weapon was produced in Croatia). There are other Balkan connections to the recent Paris tragedy as well. The “mentor” of Amedy Coulibaly (who killed a police officer and four other people in the attack on the Parisian kosher grocery store) and Chérif Kouachi (one of the brothers who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices) was Djamel Beghal, a man who had been originally recruited by Abu Zubaydah, one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants and a man with both Bosnian citizenship and a Bosnian passport. Beghal himself was an associate of another Bosnian jihad veteran, the imam of London’s Finsbury Park mosque, Abu Hamza al-Masri, recently sentenced to life imprisonment in US federal court.

This is not the first time France has been the victim of Islamist terrorists with roots in the Balkans. In the 1990s, the so-called “Roubaix Group” was largely composed of French veterans of the Bosnian jihad who managed to smuggle an arsenal of heavy weapons back to France from the Balkan battlefields. The Roubaix Group engaged in a wave of metro bombings and armed robberies across the country. Among the group’s more prominent members were Christophe Caze and Lionel Dumont, both French converts to Islam who had fought in Bosnia. Other Bosnian jihad veterans involved in the Roubaix Group were Fateh Kamel (who was also connected to the Millennium Plot bombers, see below), and Rachid Ramda, whom French police found had sent a wire transfer of $10,250 to the individuals involved in the wave of bombings against the Paris metro system in 1995.

The Roubaix Group’s most well-known action was a botched attempt to bomb a Group of 7 summit in Lille, in March 1996. Caze was afterwards killed in a confrontation with police, while Dumont escaped France and was, in March 1997, arrested in Zenica, in central Bosnia, in an apartment belonging to the local interior ministry. He subsequently “escaped” from a Sarajevo prison just five days before he was to be extradited to France.

Dumont was not unique among Islamist terrorists who found convenient Balkan hiding places — or support from local officials sympathetic to the global jihad. Ahmed Zuhair, a.k.a. Abu Hanzala, wanted in connection with the murder of a US citizen and a car bombing in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar, was revealed to have been hiding in the apartment of the chief of police of the central Bosnian town of Travnik (American intelligence ultimately captured Zuhair in Pakistan and transferred him to Guantanamo).

Similarly, in September 1997, Italian police discovered an assassination plot targeting Pope John Paul II during a planned pastoral visit to Bologna. All 14 men arrested were travelling on Bosnian passports. One of the individuals involved in the attempt was the Tunisian national and Bosnian jihad veteran Karray Kamel bin Ali, a.k.a. Abu Hamza. In 2001, Italian authorities requested Kamel bin Ali’s extradition but Bosnian officials refused because he had “Bosnian citizenship.” Subsequently arrested in 2007, he was allowed to take a short “holiday” from a Bosnian prison, during which he promptly escaped.

In December 1999, US authorities arrested would-be LAX bomber Ahmed Ressam on the US-Canadian border. During the subsequent investigation, US officials tried to track down the document forger for the plot, Karim Said Atmani, who lived in the Bosnian village of Donja Bocinja. US intelligence believed that Atmani was traveling between Sarajevo and Istanbul, but Bosnian officials denied that Atmani had ever been there — until investigators later discovered that Atmani had been issued a Bosnian passport six months earlier.

…[E]vidence that the Balkans are still considered a safe place for extremists to lay low can be seen in the May 2013 arrest of Zahid Ali Akbar Khan, one of the architects of the Pakistani nuclear program, on the Bosnian-Croatian border.

Southeastern Europe has also become an important base of activity for the security and intelligence services of various Islamist states; according to a report in the newspaper Dnevni Avaz late last year, Iran, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia had some one thousand intelligence agents operating in Bosnia alone. Meanwhile, the propaganda department of the militant Islamist movement in southeastern Europe continues to draw new recruits and spew various forms of hate speech, with extremists in Bosnia such as the imam of Sarajevo’s King Fahd mosque, Nezim Halilović-Muderis, and “journalists” with the Islamist website Saff telling listeners and readers that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were “staged.” (These same people, by the way, claim that “the Jews prepared 9/11 and blamed the Muslims.”)

…Some of the deepest fissures in our security efforts and counterterrorism strategies can be found in southeastern Europe. Many of the individuals and networks supportive of or complicit in the global jihad movement remain in important positions of power and influence in southeastern Europe, yet policymakers in Brussels, Washington, and elsewhere have for more than a decade ignored the dangers they pose — both to their own societies and others…

(Even a 2003 report had it: “Among the new material being circulated in Washington, DC, is a study…entitled Islamic Fundamentalists’ Global Network-Modus Operandi: Model Bosnia, [which details] the linkages between al-Qaida and, for example, Bosnian Government officials….”)

Just a brief pause on Charlie Hebdo, to point out a few ironies, karmas, contradictions, and just plain consequences. As Nebojsa Malic wrote in the days after the January attack, in 1999 the newspaper — rather unsingularly and unheroically — joined the undangerous chorus demonizing Serbs in the course of sanctifying the Muslim side. Here were two Hebdo cartoons that Malic reprinted on his blog:

The first is to the effect that “we’ve run out of women.” That is, women to rape. Implying that the Serbs had raped — and then killed — all the Albanian women. In the second picture, we have an implicitly Muslim head, severed of course by a Christian Serb. I probably don’t need to point out the inversion of that. Or of depicting Serbs as rapists and murderers in the first place, in a region where they were finally responding to the unchecked raping and killing that had been going on for generations as a tool of ethnic cleansing paving the way for a Greater Albania. “Yet those supposedly barbarous Serbs never responded with violence,” Malic wrote, disproving the depiction.

Like everyone else, Hebdo didn’t exercise the courage or intellectual rigor to sort out whether the Muslim side really was the victim, nor to stand with those who were standing up to Islam when it was still stoppable. In that crucial juncture, turning point and battlefield, the Balkans. Hebdo’s communal denial of the Balkans jihad for what it was and the publication’s participation in the world’s 1999 joint criminal enterprise fed the beast that proved its undoing. While it’s now our place to stand with Charlie Hebdo and say “Je Suis Charlie,” at the moment those 12 staffers crossed into the next world, they might have thought, “Je Suis Serbia.”

Continuing again through the past year: Kosovo Citizens Who Fight For Islamic State Are Serious Issue Today (Oct. 2, 2014)

Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Interior[, token Serb] Sasa Rasic has said that…“The situation is serious and a large number of people, around 100, are still under investigation,” he explained. At the same time, the organisations that funded terrorism have been shut down or are under investigation…The rise of Islamic radicalisation and willingness to join a jihad is present in Kosovo, but also throughout the region and in Europe, and it is the result of events from the past 15 years, he said. Certain elements used the instability that followed NATO’s bombing campaign against Serbia, but there are also some social and economic factors that have played a rol[e], he remarked. Although Kosovo is a secular country according to its Constitution, it still poses fertile ground for such activities, since most of the population is Islamic, Rasic said…The overall security situation in Kosovo is much better than before, he believes. “It is also indicated by the number of ethnically motivated incidents, which are dropping in frequency and are mostly no longer serious crimes. The talks between Belgrade and Pristina have helped, as well as some of the agreements signed in Brussels,” he noted…

In other words, capitulation to the secular Muslim thugs can get you their cooperation in keeping the other thugs in check. But thanks for underscoring my earlier point that, secular or not, Kosovo is Islamic. Period. And so NATO was actively and obviously creating a problem from the get-go. Plus creating the jihad-helpful instability that he mentions. At least there are hardly any more non-Albanians to terrorize, making the ethnic incidents “drop.”

In the September/October 2014 issue of World Affairs Journal, Gordon N. Bardos had another article: Jihad in the Balkans: The Next Generation

…While the Muslims of southeastern Europe remain the world’s most moderate Islamic populations, an estimated five to ten percent has become indoctrinated….This is not an accident — the rise and growth of militant Islamism in southeastern Europe is the result of long-term efforts by extremists to radicalize local populations…All of this is funded by generous Middle Eastern donors and supported by small groups of local extremists who have infiltrated influential political, religious, and social institutions.

The origins of the militant Islamist movement in southeastern Europe can most directly be tied to the life and work of Bosnia’s late Islamist president, Alija Izetbegovic. In the late 1930s, Izetbegovic and a conspiratorial group of like-minded Islamist extremists formed an organization called the Mladi Muslimani (“Young Muslims”)…whose goal, as Izetbegovic himself frequently noted, was the creation of a “great Muslim state” …throughout the Balkans, northern Africa, and the Middle East. Toward this goal, the Mladi Muslimani swore an oath promising perseverance on their “path of jihad” and their “uncompromising struggle against everything non-Islamic.” Tellingly, the name of their underground journal was Mudzahid (“Holy Warrior”).

Yugoslavia’s disintegration in the 1990s opened the doors for a second generation of militant Islamists to establish itself in the region…Mostly concentrated in a unit Izetbegovic formed in August 1992 named the Katibat al-Mujahideen, veterans of the Bosnian jihad in the 1990s included people such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, involved in the attack on the USS Cole; Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, involved in the August 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa; Abu Hamza al-Masri, the spiritual father of the July 2005 London Underground bombings; and Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of the participants in the November 2008 Mumbai bombings. Ali Hamad, a Bahraini-born al-Qaeda operative, has claimed that al-Qaeda figures would visit Bosnia with “state protection,” and both the US and Saudi Arabia accused the Izetbegovic regime of giving Bosnian passports to known terrorists.

…[T]ogether with local extremist allies, an entire infrastructure supporting militant Islamist causes (and not infrequently outright terrorism itself) was created during the latter part of the decade, the consequences of which are still plaguing the region today.

Thus, in remote, isolated villages around the Balkans, militant Islamists have developed a network of extra-territorial, sharia-run enclaves that serve as recruiting stations for local converts and safe havens for jihadis from around the world. According to writer Janez Kovac, in the central Bosnian village of Bocinja Donja, for instance, inhabited by some six hundred people, extremists live “separate lives untroubled by local police, tax-collectors, or any other authorities. Outsiders never set foot in the small community.” Another Bosnian village, Gornja Maoca, is the headquarters of Bosnia’s main Wahhabi leader, Nusret Imamovic. Gornja Maoca has frequently been used as a way station for extremists joining jihads in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Yemen. In October 2011, Mevlid Jasarevic, a Wahhabi from the Sandzak region, left the village with two other residents on the day he attacked the US Embassy in Sarajevo.

…The White Mosque in Sarajevo is the headquarters of Sulejman Bugari, a Kosovo Albanian-born imam whom the global intelligence firm Stratfor has described as a go-between for Albanian and Bosnian extremists. In Kosovo, the journalist Mohammad al-Arnaout has reported that the Makowitz mosque on the outskirts of Pristina and the Mitrovica mosque are recruiting militants to fight alongside Islamist groups in Syria….

The CIA has estimated that one-third of the Bosnian NGOs operating worldwide have terrorist connections or employ people with terrorist links. In the aftermath of 9/11, a raid on such a “charity” in Sarajevo, the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, according to the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, netted “maps of Washington, material for making false State Department identity cards, and anti-American manuals designed for children.”

According to Fahrudin Kladicanin, the co-author of a recent study on Balkan extremists’ use of the Internet and social media, “the number of those who are ‘liking,’ making comments, and sharing the content of these pages…is rising on a daily basis.” The Facebook page “Krenaria Islame” (Albanian for “Islamic Pride”), which posts pictures and stories of Albanians fighting in Syria, has twenty-five hundred followers. According to Arjan Dyrmishi, a security expert based in Tirana, the Albanian capital, “if all the followers of this page were identified as terrorists, they would make a small army and pose a major problem…”

…Misogyny and homophobia are prominent elements of the militant Islamists’ ideology. In Kosovo, the mufti of Prizren, Irfan Salihu, publicly claimed in a recent sermon, “Any woman who has intimate acts without being married according to provisions of the Islam [sic] is a slut and a bitch [and garbage]” [Things are pretty bad when Kosovo’s most radical independence agitators, the Self-Determination Movement, also condemns the sermon and lets the cat out of the bag that Kosovo faces a “huge risk of religious fundamentalism.”]

…[Bilal] Bosnic, the Bosnian Wahhabi leader, has posted a song on YouTube in which he sings:

The beautiful jihad has risen over Bosnia
And the Bosnian started calling “Allah Akbar” and praying
America had better know I am performing dawah
God willing, it will be destroyed to its foundations…

This unending din of propaganda is having an effect on a new generation. Over the past decade, militant Islamists indigenous to the Balkans have been involved in numerous actions and conspiracies: the October 2002 attack on the US Embassy in Vienna, the May 2007 Fort Dix bomb plot, the July 2009 Raleigh Group conspiracy, the 2009 New York City subway attack conspiracy, the October 2011 attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo, a January 2012 plot to bomb nightclubs in Tampa, and the murder of two US servicemen at Frankfurt Airport in February 2012. Most recently, a young man from Kosovo became “the Balkans’ first suicide bomber,” killing fifty people in an attack in Baghdad in March 2014.

According to Bulgaria’s former chief mufti, Nedim Gendzhev, militant Islamists in southeastern Europe are trying to create a “fundamentalist triangle” formed by Bosnia, Macedonia, and Bulgaria’s western Rhodope Mountains…As Esad Hecimovic, a leading expert on the Bosnian jihadi movement, has noted, “There is now a new generation of Islamic preachers in Bosnia who were educated after the war at Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria. . . . Thus, it is no longer possible to distinguish between ‘imported’ and ‘local’ versions of Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina anymore.”

Unfortunately, the international response to militant Islam’s rise in southeastern Europe has ranged from neglect to outright denial. For instance, after 9/11, the then high representative in Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, somewhat incredibly claimed in a New York Times op-ed that “no evidence has been produced that [Bosnia] has served as a base for al-Qaeda,” while the current high representative in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, for his part, has similarly argued that the Wahhabis in Bosnia “pose no danger to Europe.” Yet as Evan Kohlmann, a leading specialist on al-Qaeda’s campaign in Bosnia, has put it, individuals who deny that al-Qaeda is operating in the Balkans “are either lying or have no idea what they are talking about.” […]

As long as we’re on Balkanites in ISIS, it may be worth a mention that according to Croatia’s Jutarnji List four Croatian chicks took “Saturday Night Live’s” advice and opted out of college for ISIS, part of the Bimbo-isis sweeping the globe. Apparently there were also some Croatian males who ran off to Syria and Iraq, and the report reminds us that “Croatia is a transit country for radical Islamic elements.” Croatia? A transit country for jihad-facilitating? Again? An interesting paragraph in the article:

…It was in an interview, confirmed by the former president of the Islamic Association Ševko Omerbašić [who] in 2011 [told] Daily Avaz that the Wahhabis “tried to root in Zagreb a mosque, but were prevented. They rented a house where they had gathered. Croatian intelligence service followed them, after which they were warned that they could have big problems, and they went where they have a little more freedom, in Bosnia…

Could this be? An ally of ours — a made-in-the-USA-and-Vatican-and-Germany democracy — following Muslims around and intimidating them out of practicing their religion? We certainly don’t let Serbia or Macedonia get away with that sort of thing. And so the Muslims went to where they could have “a little more freedom” to be radical. Bosnia. My but what does our beloved Bosnia have to do with radicalism? Perish the thought! A few more tidbits:

Croatian secret services for several years have closely monitored the movement of radical Islamists in Croatia. Ševko Omerbašić then confirmed that Sead Plojović is the person who is trying to organize the Wahhabis in Zagreb and Croatia. Plojović is a native of Novi Pazar, and the family lived in Zagreb. In March this year [he was] arrested by Serbian police, suspected of organized recruitment and sending of young Muslims from Sandzak in Syria…It is Plojović and his sister Nesvresu [who are] considered the persons who arranged marriage of Dora Bilic [to] Sead Avdic with whom Dora last year went to Syria. Family Plojović is, as we found out, for years [has been watched by] the Croatian intelligence service. [Plojovic] is linked to Novi Pazar’s Mevlid Jasarevic who in 2011 shot at the US Embassy in Sarajevo.

It is alleged that Plojovic, the martial arts coach at Gornja Maoca…organized training and hanging out with Jasarevic. In a brief statement for Jutarnji List in 2011, Plojovic condemned Jašarević’s act: “I do not know Mevlid well, maybe I met him at gatherings in Maoča….” said Plojović, who was then living at the Zagreb address…He was suspected of having brought Jasarevic to Sarajevo on the day of the attack on the embassy. After, he was released because there was no evidence that he was an accomplice in the attack.

…US has recently declared Wahhabis from Bosnia a terrorist organization. Vienna has been identified as a center of spreading radical Islamism in the region, along with an organization surrounding the radical Viennese imam Muhamed Porca, all of which have ties with Wahhabis in Gornja Maoca and other places in Bosnia…Plojović was [tasked] in Vienna [with] the establishment of a Wahhabi movement in Croatia…Slovenian intelligence service for several years now supervise the work of Islamic organizations in Slovenia…Our respondents indicate a link [between] Slovenian and Bosnian Wahhabis and the arrival of Hussein Bilal Bosnic in Ljubljana[, Slovenia].

Bosnic was recently arrested in Sarajevo with a group of radical Islamists. Slovenian public was shocked a few weeks ago, when the Slovenian police arrested Slovenian citizens Boštijan and Rocco, who converted to Islam and then went to fight in Syria.

[They] have worked in Bosnia as humanitarian workers and associated themselves with the Wahhabis in Gornja Maoca. It was Bosnic who organized their departure to Syria….[T]he two Slovenians also met Nusret Imamovic, listed as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists by the State Department.

Jihad ‘Made in Kosovo’ (Deutsche Welle, Aug. 24, 2014)

Over the span of two days, 43 Islamic extremists were arrested in Kosovo. Dozens more are under watch, both at home and in the Middle East…The act that triggered the largest police action in Kosovo since the war in 1999 was…[Muhaxheri’s] beheading of a 19-year-old in Syria….Those images were published in nearly every Kosovo newspaper and Internet portal and sparked outrage and deep shock among Kosovars.

The president of Europe’s youngest nation [so young, it’s not even a nation], Atifete Jahjaga, immediately announced her response. “Kosovo will be no safe haven for terrorists,” she said. [Too late.]

…[I]n the last few weeks at least 16 bodies from Iraq and Syria were returned to Kosovo. It is also alleged that there could be a few hundred radical extremists within Kosovo.

Kosovo media report that at least 56 further suspects will be arrested shortly…According to Kosovar media, there were threats of a possible Islamist terrorist attack during the film festival “Dokufest”…Prior to the 1999 war in Kosovo, there were 560 mosques; today there are nearly 700 Muslim houses of worship.

The Islamic community of Kosovo (Bashkesia Islame e Kosoves - BIK) is very well organized. “With full responsibility I say, ‘We have all mosques and imams under control,’” said the the chairman of BIK, Naim Trnava, in an interview with DW.

Still, he says, there are many “guests” coming in from the outside because the country’s border is very open.

“After the war, anyone could come and go as he pleased. This is the reason a part of our youth have been indoctrinated,” Trnava said.

Analyst Haki Abayi, chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation in Prishtina, believes the difficult economic situation has made youth particularly vulnerable to radical Islamic propaganda…

(But Washington promised us that Bosnian and Albanian Muslims were *not* vulnerable to Islamic propaganda, and so it was safe to help their war against the local Christians.)

…Moreover, in Kosovo there were, until a short while ago, four so-called houses of worship…Trnava believes radical groups and their supporters assembled there. This is likely the reason police recently closed one of these houses in Prishtina.

That closure is part of the “uncompromising fight” the government of Kosovo has declared against all extremists.

“In Kosovo there will be no place for extremism, radicalism, and terrorism. Kosovo is a free and independent country that will, with the help of the European Union and the USA, continue to fight for good and against evil,” Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told DW.

And when it comes to good versus evil, you can trust a proven murderer heading a country. But at least we can trust the information coming from Imam Trnava (Ternava), who disapproves of building new churches and the Mother Teresa cathedral. (”No human brain can understand how a church should be built in the middle of 13 Muslim villages.”) It’s fitting that in 2009 Thaci, the butcher and ethnic cleanser who became prime minister, thanked Ternava “for the new culture of religious tolerance being cultivated in Kosovo.”

It’s also the same Ternava whose assistant was Sabri Bajgora, a known Wahhabi sympathizer, and whom even America’s earliest media champion of bombing a UN member state on behalf of its restive Muslims has called “the Wahhabi head of the Kosovo Islamic Community,” and detailed Ternava’s academic usurpation and indulgence of fanaticism. The same Ternava who on a State Department-sponsored trip in 2007 told a Detroit Islamic center, “Pray for the independence of Kosovo…thousands of people went as shahids (martyrs) during all these sufferings. With the blood of these shahids…we hope in the near future to be the newest state in the world…Islam is such a comprehensive religion which includes all what the family needs and what an individual needs in this world…Teach it to others.”

A 2009 article about an imam calling Ternava out had a telling title: “Wahhabis ‘have spread their roots throughout Kosovo’, imam warns government.” Ternava’s first thought for garnering international recognitions, meanwhile, went to the Middle East. During an August 2008 conference called ‘Kosovo and the Arab World’, he said, “The Western world has assisted in the establishment of the Kosovo state, while we anticipate the Islamic world to assist Kosovo strengthening its statehood,” and called the conference a good opportunity to establish ties between the Islamic world and Kosovo. To that end, after mutual visits with the UAE in May 2014, Ternava secured construction of eight new mosques in Kosovo. And this is the replacement for the radical Shefqet Krasniqi, who was arrested a year ago.

But none of it keeps media from going to Ternava for assurances about Kosovo’s tolerance and modernness. In July 2013 he obliged the Southeast European Times with, “Islam is peaceful and has nothing to do with fundamentalism…There is no extremism in Kosovo…there is a small part of the young people who have a little different understanding of the meaning of Islam…[that] can cause confusion among the broad mass of people.” Which makes the following more honest comment by Abit Hoxha, researcher for Pristina’s Centre for Security Policy, a bit of a head-scratcher: “The Islamic community does not do much except for the discourse of denying the inspiration of extremism, terrorism, fundamentalism. But the fact stands that inter-religious tolerance is not on the agenda…”

(Like Deutsche Welle still coming to Ternava, recall how Utah’s Deseret News in 2007 would go for reassuring soundbites on the Trolley Square massacre by a Bosnian teen, to the very likes that Mr. Bardos warns us about, its favorite Bosnian imam Nezim Halilovic, who just this month called for a “Bosnian Spring” against Republika Srpska, including military action and Wahhabi fronts so that Allah might destroy it. Bosnia’s security organs naturally responded with silence.)

According to a 2012 article titled “Kosovo: Catholic bishop: high risk of radical Islam,” Ternava is included in the “interfaith dialogues” among Kosovo’s Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox leaderships: “Four years on from its independence, Kosovo…is calling on the West for help to avoid being swallowed by the slow advance of radical Islam… ‘If the West were to leave us alone,’ the Kosovo Ambassador to Italy, Albert Prenkaj, never tires of saying, ‘our country would risk becoming a pupil of the more fanatical Islamic countries.’”

Which brings us back to our year in review:

The Hidden Growth of Islamic Extremism in Kosovo (Aug. 22, 2014)

…The constant development of Islamic influences in Kosovo remained unnoticed for a long time by most observers…Kosovo was supposed to be the example of a Muslim state in the middle of Europe that does not struggl[e] with religious and cultural challenges. Kosovo may have problems with trafficking, organised crime and corruption; but not Islam. [And of course organized crime has no connection to terrorism. 2003: “Substantial and irrefutable evidence is increasingly becoming available…as to the extent of the connection between al-Qaida terrorist groups, narco-trafficking and the Kosovo Albanian leadership within Serbia. This was highlighted extensively in the 1995 book by Yossef Bodansky, Offensive in the Balkans: The Potential for a Wider War as a Result of Foreign Intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina…and [his] 1996 book Some Call it Peace: Waiting for War in the Balkans.]

…Until the 1980s, religion in Kosovo was a private thing. Under pressure from the Slobodan Milošević regime, it transformed into a nation-building and freedom-fighting issue.

Ah, so religion was intermingled with the “purely national” struggle. (It’s not like author Chris Deliso has been screaming it from the rooftops or anything. Here he was in 2008: The Saudis are “‘hoping to change nationalistic extremism into religious or Islamic extremism.’ …While there are few targets to attack in the country, Kosovo is still a prize…[and it] provides areas for radicals to hide out, and members of its white population can blend into Western areas….A fugitive wanted by the Spanish police in connection with the terror attacks on trains in Madrid was pulled off a train by the Serbian police, and it is believed he was headed for sanctuary in Kosovo….” And as early as the month we attacked Serbia in 1999, Israeli investigative journalist Steve Rodan cited European security sources when reporting that “Kosovo has become the latest and most significant arena for radical Islamic states and groups that seek to widen their influence in Europe.”)

…The growth of importance of religion in Kosovo is happening casually en passant and on a very grassroots level; and so is the social base for recruitment of potential Islam fighters. Several years ago, the holy month of Ramadan was unnoticeable in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. Today the group of people fasting from dawn to dusk is clearly visible in the city. The usually full cafeterias and restaurants in the main boulevard, boulevard of Mother Theresa, are empty during the day, the city becomes peaceful and qui[et] until the Iftar dinner time comes. [A slightly different take on Kosovo’s Ramadan scene from that of the NPR reporter earlier, though one may be talking about daytime and the other, evening, or simply different stages of the Ramadan.]

The status of traditional Albanian national heroes like Mother Theresa or Skandenberg is now being questioned, as they were Catholics not Muslims. [But Kosovo was supposed to be a national struggle!] Unlike just a few years ago, covered women and men with a beard wearing pants above his ankles is a common sight nowadays in Pristina, not to mention the conservative cities and regions such as Kaçanik or Hani i Elezit.

It’s becoming common practice to pay people in their initial phase of religiosity for regular visits to mosques, wearing a hijab or a beard. Several hundreds of euros are frequently donated to parents, or even more preferably to single mothers…as a payoff for making the children follow the ahadith, the traditions.

…The bad economic situation should be regarded, rather, as an indirect factor which creates an advantageous environment for recruitment…Another crucial reason – an identity crisis – is a more complex one. Kosovo Albanians, or Kosovars, experience trouble with defining who they are. They are not emotionally attached to the blue and yellow Kosovo flag, so they use the Albanian red flag….They are Albanians but they feel distinguished from the Albanians in Albania. They fought for independence and sovereignty, but they feel their country is run by foreign embassies. Religion offers a clear identity and a sense of belonging. [How about that!]

There is still a strong belief in Kosovo society that religion and state should be separated. When the Macedonian Albanians were protesting in July against the authorities in Skopje, the protests enjoyed strong support from the Kosovo Albanians, but faced a critique regarding the strong religious component of the protest, including the use of the green Muslim flags and organisation of the demonstrations in front of mosques. At the same time, terrorism has a long tradition in Kosovo and it is difficult to distinguish Islamic terrorism from the general phenomenon of terrorism in the country executed by paramilitary organisations or other politically driven groups. […]

So Macedonia Albanians’ push for “rights” is Islamic after all? Who knew?! And terrorism as such has — drum roll — a long tradition in Kosovo and it’s difficult to distinguish Islamic terrorism from Albanian terrorism. Well I’ll be darned. It was domestic terror that the Yugoslav Army and police responded to, after all.

That same August 2014, Nebojsa Malic reminded us of four key things:

…[Syria] isn’t the first time the Empire is in bed with murderers and terrorists: prominent Washington politicians have praised the “Kosovo Liberation Army” as fighting for “human rights and American values.” In fact, one such politician – John McCain – has heaped praise on both the KLA and the ISIS. The KLA-run “Republic of Kosovo” has even helped the Empire “train” Syrian jihadists, back in 2012. Maybe that explains why so many Albanians (aka “Kosovars”) are killing and dying in Syria and Iraq today.

Of course, the Imperial media claim the Albanians are “outraged” that one of theirs would behead people. Yet why would they be, when the KLA had no problem beheading Serbs or committing other atrocities in 1998-99? Jihadist beheadings were also common during the Bosnian War, but the media narrative of “Good Muslims” vs. “Evil Serbs” insisted on burying that inconvenient fact. The Empire continues to cover for the KLA even today.

Washington’s spokes critters proclaim [about the Kiev regime] it’s perfectly fine for a government to bomb its own people, because that’s just “defending sovereignty.” Except, when Serbia actually defended its sovereignty in 1999, with far less force, NATO screamed “genocide” (which it wasn’t) and launched a war of aggression. […]

The same month also brought this: Albanian Jihadist Reportedly Killed in Syria (Balkan Insight, Aug. 18, 2014)

[Idajet] Balliu poses with an Islamic State flag on Facebook.

Now, just because Balkans jihadists have been properly internationalizing, doesn’t mean they’re about to neglect the locals, their original targets — whom America, England and Germany helped to target:

Bosnian and Albanian Muslim Extremists threaten: Belgrade is next target! No Serb will remain on the planet! (Pravda, Jan. 9, 2015)

Terrorist graffiti appeared overnight in the vicinity of Dečani Monastery (Serbian-Orthodox Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, Oct. 12, 2014)

…The most common graffiti are UCK, ISIS, AKSH (Albanian National Army), “The Caliphate is coming” and some undecipherable lines that may look like an attempt to write in Arabic. While [KFOR] Col. Minelli, the chief of the police, and the Abbot Fr. Sava were inspecting the graffiti a group of young Kosovo Albanians who were passing on the road overlooking the monastery land began shouting UCK in chorus…[T]hree young Albanian men were detained by the police for provocative behavior.

…The perpetrators of [the graffiti] provocation most probably entered the monastery property on the eastern side where there is no wall. Six years ago the Monastery had to stop construction of the wall on the eastern side because they were openly threatened in the press by the local UCK war veteran organization, claiming that the Monastery had no right…

Today’s incident comes several days after the incident at Peć Patriarchate gate where a Wahhabi person (identified as Alegorik Muhamed Beqiri born in 1992 from Skenderaj/Srbica, with residence in Peć/Peja) attacked and injured a local Kosovo policeman shouting “Allahu-Akbar”. On that occasion the Church learned that this man and his companions had allegedly threatened the Catholic nuns in Peć a few days before telling them that they would be slaughtered.

Dečani monks informed KFOR two months ago that they could see four vehicles full of bearded men dressed in Wahhabi style passing by the monastery on their way to the Dečani gorge…Today’s incident also comes six months after unknown individuals left UCK graffiti on one of the Monastery gates (24 April 2014). The perpertrators of this incident have not been brought to justice yet (NEWS…In recent weeks KFOR has increased the security around the Monastery…

Kosovo: New “ISIS” Graffiti On Visoki Decani Monastery (, Oct. 13, 2014)

Photo: Novosti

New graffiti in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Albanian National Army (AKSh) appeared on the gate of Visoki Decani monastery….Sava Janjic, prior of the Serbian Orthodox monastery Visoki Decani, wrote on Twitter.

“This morning we have noticed another ISIS graffiti on the monastery’s gate closer to the church. This is a shame,” Janjic wrote. […]

Authorities Urged to Protect Kosovar Reporter Threatened by Muslim Radicals (Reporters Without Borders, Sept. 3, 2014)

…[Visar] Duriqi’s coverage of Islamic issues and religious extremism has been a source of annoyance in radical circles…

“I received many threats, mainly via Facebook, after the [Muslim Youth Forum’s website] communiqué was published,” Duriqi told Reporters Without Borders. “The MYF statement is a death sentence. I am being threatened with beheading. I hope the police will investigate this quickly. I do not feel safe at the moment.” […]

Consistent as ever, rights groups such as Reporters Without Borders stir only when Albanians are endangered. Only this time, unlike in 1999, it’s for real, and of the media-Albanian-humanitarian-Westerventionist cabal’s own making.

Flashback to 2001:

Islam Builds a Future in Kosovo, One Mosque at a Time (RNS, Sept. 12, 2001)

Kosovo legally remains part of Yugoslavia. But the region’s Muslim leaders are preparing for eventual independence.

…Andreas Szolgyemy, a Hungarian religion expert working in Pristina, said there is a “tremendous interest among the young” in Islam.…Saudi sponsors delivered 200,000 Albanian-Arabic Qur’ans to the province last October…At the current rate of growth, Szolgyemy predicted that Kosovo will have an increasingly Muslim character…Szolgyemy was quick to caution, however, that “maybe the main religion will be Islam but not the state religion…”

“We have made clear to all the Islamic organizations that we will accept their help but that we remain in control of the Islamic situation,” said [Qemajl] Morina, [vice dean of the Islamic Faculty,] adding that Wahhabis are not especially influential. […]

So much for that.


An appendix on Bosnia-Iran, or Bosniran:

[A] senior CIA officer testified: ‘There is no question that the policy of getting arms into Bosnia was of great assistance in allowing the Iranians to dig in and create good relations with the Bosnian government…And it is a thing we will live to regret because when they blow up some Americans…it will be in part because the Iranians were able to have the time and contacts to establish themselves well in Bosnia.’ … ‘Five years before the sophisticated terrorist assault on the U.S…the French were starting to uncover loosely linked violent networks spreading into several countries, all tied together by a common thread: Bosnia.’ … Bosnia, the Muslim country America had so fervently supported during the previous decade, had also served as a finishing school for terrorists intent on killing Americans.”


Another Flashback, one again underscoring the ultimate targets of the Islamic wars in those moderate-Muslim Balkans:

Wahhabis Threaten Bosnia’s Security (B92, March 10, 2007)

Bosnian Federation police director Zlatko Miletic said the Wahhabi activity posed a threat to the whole country.

Miletić did not wish to confirm whether the Federation’s MUP was undertaking an investigation into the sources that financed the group of Wahhabis led by Jusuf Barčić in Kalesija….Asked whether in some instances physical conflicts between Wahhabis and local Muslims reported recently could escalate, Miletic said that scenario was unlikely, however repeating the situation was such that it threatened the security in the Federation and the entire country.

Late last month, locals in Kalesija reported they were forbidden to play music, while their women were forced to cover themselves by the Wahhabis there, who called the local Muslims “infidels”.

The group led by Jusuf Barcic gathered in the village slaughterhouse, “performing religious service”, while other locals went to the mosque, located several kilometers away, according to an earlier Nezavisne Novine report.

The locals told the newspaper that at night the Wahhabis in the slaughterhouse played cassettes originating from military operations in the Bosnian war.

And another flashback:

Islam’s Presence in Balkans Grows
(The Trumpet, Oct. 6. 2010)

Islam expands onto Europe’s turf.

Experts are worrying that a new strain of radical Islam is growing in the Balkans. With Bulgaria a member of the European Union — and other nations set to join — these radicals could obtain EU passports, and easy access to the West.

The rise of radical Wahhabi sects…is even worrying “moderate” Muslims. On September 20, Suleyman Rexhepi, the leader of the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, called for the government, the EU and America to take “radical measures” against these groups.

Jakub Selimovski, head of religious education in the same community, said, “Wahhabism in Macedonia, the Balkans and in Europe has become more aggressive in the last 10 years.”

“They are in Bosnia, here, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, and lately they have appeared in Bulgaria,” he said.

Associated Press reports that the Wahhabists are thought to control five mosques in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje.

Serbia arrested 12 Muslims last year for planning attacks, with targets including the American Embassy in Belgrade.

Organizations accused of having links to Wahhabism have been pouring money into Bulgaria since the mid 1990s. They have built over 150 mosques and teaching centers…The Bulgarian government has shut down some of these teaching centers; however, new ones continue to be built.

The state recognizes three official Muslim schools, but another seven are not controlled or regulated by the government. […]

I sent a letter-to-the-editor of Washington Times in late July, much too late to be printed in response to a May 22nd op-ed titled “Russia Still Angry about Serbia,” so I’m just posting it below.

Dear Editor:

Kudos to L. Todd Wood for figuring out the Putin phenomenon (“Russia still angry about Serbia,” May 22). It’s the Kosovo, stupid. If NATO “acting unilaterally and with impunity on Russia’s border in any fashion it desired,” as Mr. Wood correctly characterizes it, alone sounds like a bad idea, imagine what a bad idea it was given that Milosevic did not “preside over a reign of terror,” as Mr. Wood incorrectly characterizes it.

The real Kosovo story that has been surfacing since the day we declared it “stable” while Serbs and Serb-friendly Albanians were getting picked off leaves that Keystone Cops intervention even emptier. That is, it wasn’t even a morally correct stupid war. Mr. Wood’s widely repeated (and therefore true?) version that Milosevic was out to “delegitimize certain ethnic groups and accuse them of fascist tendencies, setting up justification for military action,” ignores not only the very current headlines about Croatians’ swastika problem and Albanians’ and Bosnians’ ISIS problem (and Kosovo’s thug-rule problem), but it ignores also that the ambushing of officials and police, and terrorizing the population in general, would be justification enough for us Americans to expect an armed response. Or are Slavic lives still worth as little as the word that derives from Slav?

It’s no wonder that some Albanians testified in Milosevic’s defense, confirming what independent investigations found: there was no “genocide in Kosovo,” as Mr. Wood incorrectly parrots the old propaganda. Nor were there “mass killings of non-Serbs” or “ethnic cleansing of Kosovo for Serbia.” There was a smoking-out of domestic terrorists known as KLA, from villages they lorded over. The military response was to the wanton killing of non-Albanians. And it was for OUR justification for military action that we inverted the story, filleting history for years to come.

It’s one thing for Ryan Seacrest to nod credulously as a young Albanian contestant on season 10 of “American Idol” says on national TV that Yugoslavia “was trying to kill everyone in Kosovo,” but there’s supposed to be a different standard in journalism. What’s more likely? That Milosevic was trying to empty a province of 90% of its population (with Belgrade sophisticates lining up to grab peasant life by the horns?), or that civilians’ marching orders from the KLA were to make like refugees for the cameras and get out. Is it a coincidence that Albanians attempting to go back to their homes, as Belgrade requested, were targeted by NATO bombs directed by our KLA spotters?

Mr. Wood is right that in 1999 the Russians were not in a position to save us from our own stupidity, yet still they managed the standoff at the Pristina airstrip, where it took now pop singer James Blunt (then a British officer) to save us from an early WWIII — by defying “Supreme Allied Commander” Wesley Clark’s orders to mow through the Russians.

Yes, Americans are ignorant about something that happened just 16 years ago, but Mr. Wood’s own, common, one-sided understanding of the conflict ignores the other Clinton war that took off just as soon as the KLA could get to it: Macedonia 2001, the next apple of Albanian-unification’s eye. By then, Milosevic was safely locked up, so whom would Mr. Wood blame for that? Surprised by NATO’s reluctance to help terrorize the next ethnic rival on the list, the “disbanded” KLA is still at it with poor Macedonia (dominating May headlines, actually), despite Macedonia taking in 400,000 refugees, and as many Clinton photo-ops in the process.

When events like the Charlie Hebdo massacre occur, questions like this arise: “Is it OK to make fun of religion?”

These days, the word “religion,” more often than not, is code for one dominant religion in particular. After all, we’ve never asked that question before; we’ve always made fun of religion, the humorist’s oldest target.

Indeed, today the generic term “religion” implies Islam, but hopes to include others. (Recall how a few years ago the UN was being asked to pass laws prohibiting “the insulting of religion,” a measure put forward by Muslim countries and clerics.) Something to look out for will be attempts to fulfill the promise of a more inclusive meaning to the word, to demonstrate that one could very well be referring to any and all religions.

A harbinger of that reared its head recently in an item about some young women disrespecting Jewish grave sites in Poland. Rather than using words and phrases that we’re used to, such as “insult to Judaism” or “insensitive to Jewish people,” or even “anti-Semitic,” the objections used the phrase “an insult to religion,” giving false credence to the notion that the term applies as much to any other religion as Islam. The caveat in this case was that the offense happened in Poland, where “religion” or “religious” is often code for Jewish — given that country’s sad Jewish history — but the use of the expression nonetheless seems to foreshadow counter-manipulations of the original semantics manipulation that is “religion.” An abridged version of the article:

Cemetery Photo Shoot Sparks Outrage and is being called an Insult to Religion (The Blaze, May 31, 2015)

…Volunteers for From the Depths, an organization dedicated to preserving Jewish cemeteries and ritual items in Poland, were shocked last week to stumble upon the images while they were engaged in online research on Jewish cemeteries in Kalisz, a city in central Poland.

“It absolutely shocked us to find the pictures that these girls had decided to model in such provocative poses at the site of the Jewish cemetery, clearly knowing what they were doing,” Jonny Daniels, founder and executive director of From the Depths, told The Blaze Sunday.

“This isn’t an act necessarily of anti-Semitism, it’s an act of stupidity and religious intolerance that we’re standing up against,” Daniels said.

Given one of the women was wearing a belt with “Jesus” emblazoned across the center, Christian Poles also found it offensive.

From the Depths complained about the photos to the state prosecutor in Poland where offending religious feelings can carry a punishment of up to two years in prison.

…After the Holocaust, many Jewish gravestones, some hundreds of years old, were used in construction projects, re-purposed as machine tools, in bathrooms and even for a wall in the Warsaw Zoo. From the Depths has recruited nearly 1,000 Polish Christian volunteers to help locate missing and in many cases damaged gravestones and return them to the historical Jewish cemeteries.

The city of Kalisz was one of the oldest Jewish communities in Poland, dating as far back as the 12th century….the last census before the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland showed that 20,000 Jews lived in Kalisz. Today, there are no Jews left there.

Succumbing to a related temptation, Canada’s National Post last month headlined a letters section with a Jewish reader’s characterization of a problematic Orthodox element (though its members don’t kill you for not being Jewish) as “Jewish Taliban”:

“Letters: Crack down on the ‘Jewish Taliban’”

When ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem, New York and London are taught that Christianity is idolatry and all Gentiles are idolaters, it should not surprise us that extremist Jews allegedly tried to burn down an iconic church in northern Israel. For the past several years in Israel many churches have been torched and gangs of young ultra-Orthodox Jews bravely target lone elderly priests and spit at them. Sadly, there are countless laws against non-Jews in Halacha (Judaic law) and the ultra-Orthodox are indoctrinated with a fierce hostility toward them…If Israel wants to be recognized as a Western outpost in the Middle Eastern jungle and maintain the strong friendship of conservative Christians…it must crack down hard on the Jewish Taliban in black hats. –Jacob Mendlovic, Toronto.

Anyway, such semantics antics are just something to have a radar for.

One recurring theme over the past two years of the Crimea affair has been the invocation of Kosovo by reporters and pundits who barely remember the word. Surprisingly, Geraldo Rivera — despite having flown a helicopter for America’s terrorist allies the KLA — invoked Kosovo in the proper context on “The O’Reilly Factor,” saying, “Like it or not, Kosovo was the precedent for this.”

But more often, the attempt is to counter the Crimea-Kosovo analogy, and sometimes it’s a strained attempt to accuse Russia of hypocrisy for supporting Crimean separatism (as with South Ossetian, Abkhazian, and Transdniestrian), while having been against Albanian separatism in Kosovo.

One instance came this past February, in an otherwise fine article by former Herald Tribune columnist Jonathan Power:

Please put your hand up if you support giving lethal arms to the Ukrainian army and also supported the US going to war with Iraq in 2003 and with Libya in 2011, the former which unbalanced much of the Middle East and the latter which has left a country almost destroyed, semi-ruled by malicious militias. Also raise your hand if you supported in 1999 the West going to war against Serbia in order to wrest away its province of Kosovo and give it independence — a move which ironically Russia opposed, arguing that this would set a precedent for territorial separation by force of arms. If you supported all these three interventions don’t take offence if I question your judgment on the issue of arms for Ukraine.

Excellent points all. I just need to address the use of “ironically,” which others have also used when describing Russia’s position on Kosovo in contrast to its positions since. (In addition to a bit of it in 2008, in March of last year, in an article that reads like an all-too-famliar State Department press release about Kosovo, Patrick Goodenough of obliged Washington bureaucrats by putting sarcastic quotes around the word “precedent,” and writing, “Ironically, the same government now invoking a Kosovo ‘precedent’ led the international opposition to Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence….Moscow warned the move would embolden separatist movements everywhere; the U.S. insisted that Kosovo was a unique case, and that it set no legal precedent.”)

Payback is a bitch. It’s not “irony.”

If you’re giving someone a taste of their own medicine — of the reality they created against better sense; if you’re demonstrating the peril and instability that playing with borders and reordering the world invites — which you’ve spent more than a decade imploring them to reconsider — your original position doesn’t retroactively become “ironic.”

Unless a writer is only now waking up to Kosovo, and is naturally all confused about how we got to Here. Here is where Russia gets to show the West what can happen in this messy new world, and why Russia was against it to begin with. Only the perk Here is that, unlike Kosovo — where America had no national interest — Russia (and others) can invoke the foul precedent in cases that do serve its national interest (and aren’t nearly as destructive as ‘Kosova’). How devious.

If the U.S. is willing to embolden worldwide separatism by setting a precedent — while unilaterally proclaiming it a “non-precedent” and reserving it the “unique case” designation despite more justifiable and deserving separatism — Russia can help make that happen. If you’ve squandered your “special” button on something that wasn’t even in your national interest, don’t blame Russia for going about it more smartly. We sure make it easy for Russia to look clever, while working day and night to make it look sinister.

Russia is making a point. That it can help you reap the fruits of your labor. Why do only we get in on the world-redesign? Russia can paint too. Especially since it’s better at coloring within lines, unlike the messy finger-painting we’ve been doing.

So, the separatism that Russia supports today isn’t a contradiction of the whole Kosovo affair, it’s a continuation. And a continuum.

Although the following may be giving Russia too much credit, every self-determination case it supports may also serve as an invitation for Washington and Brussels to come back to sanity. A sort of mutable tough-love olive branch that can remorph back into enmity if that’s what the West continues to choose. In the case of Kosovo specifically, even though Washington and its Albanian masters would have us think it’s a fait accompli, reversal is possible. Especially with all the buyer’s remorse that’s been voiced internationally. If that leads to the “disbanded” KLA retaking up arms again — this time against our troops as they repeatedly threatened to do throughout the early post-war years — then maybe it’s time Washington learned to fight actual enemies, as opposed to inventing ones like Serbia and Russia.

Nor is it just a case of Russia self-fulfilling its own prophecy about a domino effect, as we can see not only from Palestinian invocations at the UN of the Kosovo precedent, but also from the plethora of irredentist and self-determination movements asserting themselves since Kosovo’s February 2008 UDI.

As for this wanton reordering of the world, it’s not just an issue of shifting European borders, which the world agreed after WWII to not do (and today’s statesmen re-profess it at every chance, adding, “Just as soon as we get this Kosovo thing done.”) It’s also an attitude, one that has manifested in Washington-led actions turning international norms on their head. In an email back-and-forth over the past year, Balkans observer Nebojsa Malic put it this way:

Russia’s view of the world is that there is an order, established at the end of WW2, for which they’ve paid with millions of lives (and we with hundreds of thousands). Even through the Cold War, it mostly held together.

The assumption in 1991 was that the US and NATO would adhere to this order — which is why the Russians agreed to dismantle the Soviet Union. Instead, the US violated it, essentially saying “the law don’t apply to us, just you,” and went nuts. Bombing, regime-changing, color-revolutionizing and “reforming” everyone to Hell and gone. Terrorizing the world is bad. When it’s a self-appointed cop doing it, that’s worse.

Moscow asked nicely, over and over again, if the West — from London and Berlin to Washington — was really, really sure it wanted to do this. What they got was “We are the Empire, we make the rules, obey or perish.” Also a resurgence of U.S.-backed Nazis (Croatia, Ukraine, etc).

The American perspective is that the order became “obsolete” in 1991, when its constraints prevented the untrammeled use of American “leadership” — so America decided to selectively dismantle it. Even though that’s the very order that gives its power any actual legitimacy, as a victor of WW2 who defined the international order (setting up the UN, Bretton Woods, World Bank etc).

The “we beat the Nazis so we can do whatever” excuse wore out over time. For two reasons: a) the Soviets did the disproportionate amount of actually beating the Nazis; and b) writing the law doesn’t put one above it.

Russians have been grumbling about all this since 1999 — but for years they weren’t in a position to do much about it. The US backing Nazis in Kiev, of all places, was the last straw, considering the Soviets had 27 million dead fighting that beast back in the 1940s…

In the Russian view, there is room on this planet for everyone, so long as they don’t trespass. In the American view, there is room on this planet only for those who play ball. The rest will submit or die. How very like some folks we know…

And then, as icing on the cake, the West deliberately snubbed the last major celebration of Victory Day that any veterans may still be alive for (don’t reckon many will be around 5 years hence). Some insults one just cannot forgive.

So while US hipsters mark “VE Day” by dressing up in 1940s costumes left over from the set of Captain America, and organize a half-our air spectacle named “Arsenal of Democracy,” millions of Russians march with the photographs of their parents and grandparents who fought in the war, and call them the “Immortal Regiment.”

Three guesses as to who I think will win.

Indeed, one eye-roller for my Russo-loathing parents has always been the popularly held Russian sentiment that some great destiny awaits Russia. I fear America may finally show Russia the way to it, just by wreaking so much havoc. But I also fear that in the end the destiny will be the opposite of great.

In Nebojsa’s analysis above, I would only substitute the word “Washington” where “America” appears, since America and Americans are not represented by the Washingtonians. “American” behavior in the past 20 years has been anything but, and there is a huge disconnect between Washington and Americans, like so many third-worlders led around by the nose by their leaders, until it ends in anguish for the masses when the consequences of their leaders’ policies arrive. We sometimes dismiss it with, “People get the leaders they deserve.” Let’s remember that when it comes our time to pay the price for Washington’s foreign misadventures, something we’ve already had a taste of.

Meanwhile, the 70-year snub — complete with the spectacle of Washington telling world leaders to boycott Russia’s observances (which backfired when the Czech president kicked out baby ambassador Andrew Schapiro and reaffirmed that his visit would be a thank-you to Russia “for not having to speak German in this country” — was foreshadowed three years earlier by Nebojsa in his “Victory Day” article:

[W]hen you look at the EU, it resembles nothing so much as what Nazi slogans described as the “European family of nations” working together for the prosperity of all. The whole endeavor has roots in National-Socialism…Then there is the bizarre situation that the map of Europe today looks suspiciously like the one from 1942, and all of Hitler’s allies in the Balkans are now the staunchest allies of the American Empire. In that corner of Europe, at least, WW2 is still being fought. Only this time, the Luftwaffe and the panzers are supposedly the “good guys”.

The newly reunited Germany, the nascent European Union and the rising American Empire [risen, but overreaching] all saw an opportunity in dismembering Yugoslavia. What followed was an eerie re-run of the 1940s carnage. Croatia’s [1990s] “democratic” president, Franjo Tudjman, led an NDH [WWII Croatia] revival — but because he was allied with the U.S. and not Hitler this time around, he succeeded where his predecessor failed. In Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic had Washington’s support to make a bid for an Islamic state, causing a bloodbath when both Serbs and Croats objected. Albanians were likewise armed and supported to re-establish the “Natural Albania” of 1941-45.

But the cruelest twist was that these [actual Nazi heirs] accused the Serbs of Nazism — and their PR flacks used Communist propaganda to do so….Who would have ever thought to see American bombers, German tanks and Communist propaganda working together towards a goal Hitler once had: to crush Serbia as an example to others.

When Hitler invaded, Yugoslavia had been rotten already. Croats actually greeted the Wehrmacht with flowers. Few have dared ask how Tito could have put Yugoslavia back together, after all that. Yet the answer is very simple: he allowed many of the Nazi collaborators to change their uniforms at the last moment, defecting to the winning team….No wonder only Russia still celebrates Victory Day. In the rest of Europe, it’s Hitler’s ghost that rejoices.

A poignant letter to that effect in Pravda last month, written by Michael Gardner of Jacksonville, Fl.:

…My father was drafted into the US Army in 1942…He fought bravely as a rifleman under General Patton in the US Third Army group. Thank God, after victory in Europe, he came home in one piece…I watched the great celebrations that took place in Moscow…the place that was the very epicenter of sacrifice….When I heard our US government was not going to send a delegation to Moscow for the 70th anniversary victory celebrations, I was very angry. It was an insult to the men of all the Allied Forces who fought and died in Europe. Their sacrifice was ignored because of petty politics by the US government. Many of us here in the US are ashamed by this boycott of such an honorable event…I was moved by what I saw in Moscow, and it made me decide to do something I never thought of doing before. US government boycott or not, I will be in Moscow in 2020 for the 75th anniversary victory celebration and I will carry a picture of my father, Corporal James P Gardner, and honor all those who fought in the Great Patriotic War.

Earlier I mentioned there being buyer’s remorse on a global scale over Kosovo independence. Below is a sad snippet of the character of these regrets over recent years (though much has since been resolved in Kosovo’s favor, naturally). The backtracking has come even from the Vatican, which had stood at the forefront of almost every Balkans separation (Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo):

“Vatican will not recognize Kosovo” (B92, March 21, 2013)

The Vatican will not recognize Kosovo, claims Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić, adding that some countries could rescind their decisions to recognize Kosovo.

Mrkić told daily Večernje novosti that Serbian officials had been assured that the Vatican would not change its stance on Kosovo…When asked why he thought that some countries could rescind their decisions to recognize Kosovo, Mrkić said:

Some countries have already done it. Sao Tome and Principe has annulled the decision to recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence. Mali was for a long time among the countries that recognized Kosovo on all sites until their president sent a letter to the public stating it was not true,” he explained, adding that it was quite possible that more countries would rescind their recognition.

A possibility indeed, if one couldn’t count on arm-twisting by Washington. Several countries at the 2011 Non-Aligned Movement summit described the enormous and constant pressure from the U.S., Britain, and France, “depending on whose former colonies they were.” (Also illustrating first-world desperation over Kosovo — in addition to America’s begging tours in places like Bangladesh — is the way its mighty representatives pounce on every new recognition, no matter by how obscure a country, principality or island. Such as when recognition was announced in February 2009 by Maldives — which had been considering de-recognizing amid a probe into whether officials took a $2 million bribe for recognition — “US secretary of state Hillary Clinton thanked Maldives for its decision…[and] welcomed [Foreign Minister] Shaheed’s efforts to encourage other countries to support Kosovo.”)

Here was Italy three years after Kosovo’s unilateral declaration, and three months after the Council of Europe’s revelations about the KLA’s murder-for-organs business:

Kosovo is mistake, Italian MEP says (B92, March 27, 2011)

MEP Pinno Arlacchi has said that Kosovo is the international community’s biggest mistake in the past 12 years, adding that [the] EULEX mission is a complete failure… “We created a mafia state and we care only about not letting the truth come out,” the Italian MEP added…[T]he EU and the international community should stop having a false image of Kosovo as a stable place.

“…The political situation in Kosovo and the fact that organized crime dominates its territory represent a huge threat to the security of the EU and the regional countries, even Albania,” said Arlacchi…who actively took part in the creation of Italy’s structures for combating mafia in the 1980s. “EULEX has been a complete failure. They have no strategy or idea what to do, and they did not take into account Europe’s experience in combating organized crime,” he underscored.

Remorse by Poland came a year after the declaration of independence:

Kaczynski: Polish Recognition was a Mistake
President of Poland Firmly Against Severing Kosovo from Serbia
(May 14, 2009)

…While visiting Belgrade on Wednesday [President Lech] Kaczynski said he, along with Polish opposition, is against the decision of Donald Tusk’s government to recognize southern Serbian province of Kosovo as an independent state…[and] also openly backed the policy of the Serbian government and President Tadic in regards to the preservation of southern Kosovo-Metohija province.

According to polls, the majority of Polish people share President Kaczynski’s firm position that Poland should not have backed Pristina Albanians’ unilateral declaration of independence. Apart from Poland’s president, one of the most prominent voices on [the] Polish and EU political scene fiercely opposed to the wanton mutilation of [the] Serbian state is Sylwester Chruszcz, a Member of the European Parliament and President of the League of Polish Families, who didn’t hesitate to declare the recognition of UDI by Albanian secessionists in the Serbian province was a “fatal mistake”, nor to remind that, regardless of the illegal individual recognitions, “Kosovo is Serbia”.

The government of Premier Tusk characterized a decision to recognize a mafia state on Serbian territory — which it called “difficult” — as boiling down to a “choice Poland had to make between its key allies in the European Union on the one side and aligning with Russia on the other.”

Meanwhile, here is where the Czechs were on “Independence Day” in 2008:

Czech lawmakers ask intl. community to support Serbia (B92, Feb. 17, 2008)

…The letter stresses that international law and the rule of law, although imperfect, “are the only wall standing between us and the rule of evil, the only wall capable of diminishing the rules of jungle in international relations.”

The current Kosovo status crisis is seen as an example of a breach of both these basic elements of civilization.

They remind that the valid UN SC Resolution 1244, adopted in 1999, defines Kosovo as an autonomous territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, SRJ, and thus guaranties its successor-state, Serbia, territorial integrity.

“Obviously, the U.S. and Europe are using two different yardsticks: one for Serbia, another for Kosovo, Croatia — where the Serb population was exiled from their homes in Slavonia and Krajina — and Turkey, with its fight against ‘Kurdish separatism’,” the letter continued.

The Czech lawmakers and former statesmen believe that Serbia’s offer of a broad autonomy is the only possible solution within the known principles of morality and law.

“A violent, internationally legitimized secession of this historic province from the Republic of Serbia would make a dangerous precedent for small states in Europe and beyond,” the appeal concluded. […]

In 2010, analyst Rick Rozoff pointed out that “The EU nations that led the drive to recognize Kosovo’s secession were Britain, France, Germany and Italy, the same four countries that met in Munich 70 years earlier to cede the Sudetenland and then all of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany.”

In a sad twist, the Czech Republic itself joined that pathetic crowd, answering not to its outraged public, but to international diktat:

Czech President: “How Ashamed I Am Of Czech Kosovo Recognition” (B92, May 24, 2008)

…”I was very upset by the words of Ambassador Vereš, who said that Serbs did not take personally Kosovo recognitions by countries such as Finland, Holland or Germany, but that the Czech government’s move hurt them,” Klaus wrote in an article for Mlada Fronta Dnes daily, which he entitled, “How ashamed I was”.

The Czech president reminded that he personally cannot be at peace with the recognition, and that for this reason he decided to receive Vereš, which the diplomats describe as a highly unusual move….He added that Vereš reminded him of several key moments in the common history of the two nations.

“The ambassador’s father studied in Prague after the war, to be sent home by our authorities after 1948, because he would not renounce Tito in favor of Stalin,” Klaus continued…[A]s the Warsaw Pact troops entered Czechoslovakia in 1968, Yugoslavia was the only country to declare its own mobilization.

The Czech government’s decision to recognize the unilateral independence, which Serbia rejects as illegal, has caused a storm in the local political scene, which continues unabated for the third day.

The leader of the Czech communists, Vojteh Filip, said last night… “Legally, the Czech decision to recognize Kosovo will be finalized once the president appoints the Czech ambassador to Priština. We have asked Vaclav Klaus to block the appointment of Janjina Hžebičkova,” Filip explained.

Czech: request to cancel the recognition of Kosmet independence (June 14, 2008)

Vice President of the Czech Parliament House of Commons Wojtech Fillip has stated that he has prepared a proposal for MPs to vote on the cancellation of Governmentʼs decision to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosmet. While stressing that the decision of the Government in Prague is contrary to the international law, Filip underlined that this act should be put out of power in a legal manner, and that the current authorities should be disabled from making moves without the consensus of the majority of citizens, MPs and politicians…The legal cancellation of governmentʼs decision would represent a positive precedent not only in Czech, but in the whole Europe, as it would send a message that the recognition of Kosmet independence means a huge jeopardy for the international legal system in the whole world, emphasized Wojtech Filip.

Favorite to win Czech elections calls Kosovo “terrorist” (B92, DANAS, Jan. 24, 2013)

…Speaking for the ČTK news agency, [Miloš Zeman] said that if elected, he would “not allow a Czech ambassador to be sent to Priština”.

“I would withdraw even the charge d’affaires that is there now, let alone send an ambassador. I consider Kosovo a terrorist regime financed by narco-mafias,” Belgrade-based daily Danas is quoting Zeman as saying.

It was the opposition of the outgoing president, Vaclav Klaus, that prevented the appointment of an ambassador in Priština, although the Czech Republic is among the 22 of EU’s 27 nations that have recognized Kosovo.

Also experiencing at least momentary buyer’s remorse was racing-to-recognize Switzerland:

There are also concerns about the Swiss position and the fact that some politicians have been calling for the country to retract recognition for Kosovo – after being one of the first to recognise it.

Media Question Wisdom of Recognising Kosovo (Swiss Info, Dec. 17, 2010)

Does Switzerland bear a responsibility for the legitimacy of the Kosovo government, given it was one of the first nations to recognise Kosovo’s independence?

There have been criticisms expressed in the Swiss media this week of Switzerland’s diplomatic move, following a Council of Europe report accusing Kosovo’s leader of heading a mafia-style organisation.

According to [Swiss politician] Dick Marty, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations were all aware of the crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), but turned a blind eye in favour of short-term stability.

His report accuses Thaci of being the head of an organised crime ring during the Kosovo Albanian guerrilla war against Serbia in the late 1990s – a ring that assassinated opponents and trafficked in drugs as well as organs harvested from murdered Serbs.

And newspapers like Geneva’s Le Temps took Switzerland to task. On Thursday, it said that Switzerland was following and even encouraging the trend of quasi-absolving crimes committed by the Albanians…. “How blind! How could such a careful country that insists on human rights be so partisan,” asked Le Temps.

In Le Temps’ view, Switzerland carries a larger part of the burden than other countries on account of its connections with the KLA. […]

Hit with a war just five months after Kosovo’s unilateral secession, Georgia too lapsed into self-preserving sanity:

Georgian Opposition Wants U.S. To Renounce Recognition Of Kosovo (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov. 5, 2009)

…Labor Party Secretary-General Joseph Shatberashvili…says that Labor Party leaders believe that if Washington would revoke its recognition of Kosovo’s independence it would cause Russia to reconsider its decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

Shatberashvili said that after the talks in the United States, Natelashvili — who is known as one of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s “most consistent critics” — will travel to Moscow to hold similar talks with Russian officials.

Moscow recognized the Georgian republics as independent countries after a brief war with Georgia in August 2008. […]

As well, an MEP from one of Washington’s chief cohorts in the Kosovo affair spoke up belatedly:

MEP Van Orden: ‘Not happy’ about Kosovo outcome (EurActive, April 9, 2008)

British Conservative MEP and foreign affairs committee member Geoffrey Van Orden believes greater autonomy for Kosovo within Serbia would have been a better solution, strengthening reformists in Serbia and improving Western relations with Russia…

“I’m not happy personally about the outcome in Kosovo. I’m not sure that was the best we could come to and I think we should have tried harder to find a way to give Kosovo greater autonomy within Serbia. I’m not looking for ways to make relationships with Russia more difficult than they are. On the contrary, I want good relations with Russia and I think it’s in Russia’s strategic interest to have good relations with the West. I don’t see a lot of point in just finding issues which are going to put Russia on a different side to ourselves, and this is one of them. And after all, we are not dealing with a Serbia ruled by Milosevic, we are dealing with a democratically elected government in Serbia, and it seems very strange, that now that we have a democratically elected government, that we kick them in the most sensitive place.”

Even one of the chief architects of reversing WWII in 1990s Yugoslavia, Germany, had a former official with second thoughts (after laying the groundwork for what he’s complaining about):

Former German chancellor terms recognition of Kosovo an error (India — Top News, May 5, 2008)

In an interview with Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, Schroeder said the declaration had come too early and was thus wrong…It had created new problems without solving old ones, he said. The European Union had succumbed to pressure from the United States on the Kosovo issue. […]

(Though really, Schroeder was more concerned that the fast pace could hurt the future of Serb compliance: “Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says that EU member-states have been too quick in recognizing Kosovo’s unilateral independence….he hoped that the EU would realize its responsibility for leaving Serbia’s pro-European forces out on a limb.”)

Any Kosovo recognizers feeling genuine buyer’s remorse would find support from non-recognizers Romania, Spain, Greece and Slovakia, that last one reaffirming its non-recognition in June 2013:

“Consensus in Slovakia not to recognize Kosovo” (B92, June 5, 2013)

Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčak has told the Tanjug news agency…that his country would not recognize Kosovo…Commenting on the announcement of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta that he will discuss possible recognition of Kosovo with his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico, Lajčak said:

“When people ask me whether Slovakia will change its position or why it still has not changed the stance, I ask them if they heard any politician, read any article, heard any journalist, representative of a non-governmental organization or a citizen say that Slovakia should recognize Kosovo. They have not.

“This stance is based on a resolution of the Slovak parliament but is also accepted by the entire society…So, when Prime Minister Ponta arrives next week, I am sure he will get the same answer from my prime minister,” Lajčak stressed. […]

Lajcak: Kosovo’s independence is illegitimate (Aug. 12, 2009)

“Kosovo’s decision was based on political instead of legal criteria. Two elements were missing in the process: an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and legalization of the process through international institutions, mainly the UN Security Council,” said Lajcak…

Here was Romania before its 2013 bout of faltering:

Basescu: “Problem started with Kosovo must be stopped” (Aug. 23, 2008)

… “It is wrong to grant ethnic minorities collective territorial rights,” [Romanian president Traian] Basescu said. “Western forces do not realize this and the consequences are major problems with territorial integrity in the Balkans, the Black Sea region, and in other parts of Europe.” […]

Spanish paper: Mistake called Kosovo (B92, Jan. 24, 2008)

One of Spain’s most influential dailies says that Kosovo’s independence is imminent, and wrong.

“Kosovo will soon declare independence, with the backing of Germany and the United States, despite the fact that the border change was not in keeping with international law, nor EU practice, and Spain is not heard or listened to by anyone in the EU,” ABC said today in an editorial.

“The creation of an independent state for Kosovo Albanians will set a precedent for many parts of Europe with minorities who, often without reason, consider themselves discriminated,” the daily wrote.

The author, [Pedro] Schwarz, pointed out that state borders, “at least in the European continent,” are inviolable, and that this principle was “more important than succumbing to the temptation to create new states in line with ethnic principle.”

The article stressed that Kosovo Albanians, encouraged by the support of the UN special envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, and the promise of independence by the United States and some EU members, “did not show the least readiness to reach a reasonable agreement with Belgrade.”

Kosovo independence was declared rashly: Greek President (FOCUS News Agency, Dec. 3, 2009)

Greek President Karolos Papoulias said in an interview to Czech Pravo newspaper Kosovo independence was declared rashly and the states which have not recognized it are in fact defending their national interests, the Serbian BETA agency informs.

According to him, the international community should have insisted on negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina to continue because the plan of the UN envoy Martin Ahtisaari has been prepared “hastily”…Kosovo will be a center of conflicts. […]

Meanwhile, on the eve of the declaration itself: Former NATO commander in Kosovo General Fabio Mini: RECOGNITION OF KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE A BIG MISTAKE (Serbian Press Agency SRNA, Feb. 16, 2008)

“If the UN recognizes Kosovo, tomorrow everyone will have the right to ask for the same: Northern Ireland, the Chechens, the Basques, etc.,” assessed Mini. The Italian general does not understand the international community’s hurry to recognize the unilateral proclamation…because, he said, a few years is not enough for such processes.

In an interview for the Milan daily “Corriere dela Serra”…[Mini] assessed that Italy would be making “a horrible mistake” if it recognized Kosovo, even bigger than its recognition in record time of Croatia in 1992. “The independence of Kosovo [will] only serve the ruling clans….”

Lot of mistakes done to Serbia by European States, diplomat (, Aug. 5, 2008)

Former Italian foreign minister Gianni de Mikelis, who is also a member of the European Parliament, said…that recognition…was a mistake, as well as the sending of the EULEX mission to Kosovo. According to him, it is evident that Kosovo will not become a UN member, as the majority in the General Assembly, not only China and Russia, would be against it. Serbia will not allow admission of Kosovo in the UN, but it cannot go backwards either, and such a situation creates instability and [a] problem for the whole of Europe.

UPDATE: After letting the cat out of the bag in January 2013 that UN membership for Kosovo — as well as Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo — are indeed part of the grand plan — then trying to stuff the cat back in — the Reich asserted itself: March 25, 2013 — Germany Urges Serbia to Allow Kosovo UN Seat:

[N]ormalization of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia should eventually include a UN seat for Kosovo… “If the situation developed this way, we in Bundestag would be ready to tolerate [Serbia’s] failure to fulfill some of the additional conditions.”

UPDATE: In case we hadn’t guessed, “normalizing relations” now also means what Europe has been impossibly swearing it wouldn’t:

March 28, 2013 — Serbia Must Recognise Kosovo: “German MEP Elmar Brok said neither Serbia nor Kosovo can hope to join the European Union if they have not recognised each other first.” What’s more, longstanding UN member Serbia and the newest non-state Kosovo “’should join the EU at the same time’, in order to avoid a situation similar to that between Macedonia and Greece, whereby Serbia could ‘use the veto to obstruct Kosovo’s membership in the union.’”

Explanation of how it works: “Whenever the both sides are urged to negotiate, it is mostly…to get the Serbs to accept something…more things leading to Serbia recognizing Kosovo.”

You don’t have to be Russian to be infuriated.


Well, not exactly an update, but I stumbled across this clever, related posting on from June 1, 2009, just over a year after Kosovo’s UDI, titled “Signs of Unraveling”:

…Macedonia and Montenegro openly complained of the unrelenting pressure by Washington, London and Brussels, which forced their recognition of the fake state in Serbia.

While some recognitions sounded more like shame-ridden confessions that the states in question are, in fact, US colonies, like the Japanese recognition dripping with apologies and discomfort, some were left open-ended from the start, such as Costa Rica’s pledge to withdraw the recognition if the International Court of Justice ruled against severing of Kosovo province.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski…punctuated his position by blocking an opening of the Polish embassy in the fake state. The rift caused in the Czech Republic by issuing recognition of Kosovo province was even more pronounced, and considered a trigger for toppling Mirek Topolanek’s government.

Citing Albanian and Macedonian dailies, B92 today wrote Skopje is considering revoking its recognition of the mafia state on Serbian territory. The report was instantly followed…[with an order to] Skopje and Priština [by EU High Rep Javier Solana] to “waste no time and start building good relations” — the best possible confirmation that the Macedonian government is indeed reconsidering its earlier, forced decision.

And while there can be no doubt Macedonians will once again be exposed to the full extent of London/Brussels fury, with [Macedonia’s] violent Albanian population possibly taking up arms yet again, one wonders whether the latest soundbites coming from France might suggest a u-turn neither Washington nor Brussels (nor London, in particular) could hammer back in line.

What is entirely clear from the recent visit by Serbian President Boris Tadić to the Elysée Palace is that France has made a decision Serbia will no longer be abused — enough is enough, Sarkozy said.

Reminding of the “great sacrifices” Serbs have suffered in Kosovo province, the French president said that “Serbia has suffered a lot, it was humiliated and it’s time to end that”. He added that “conditions must not be imposed on Serbia again”.

On the eve of Tadić’s visit to France, Serbian-language edition of BBC carried an insightful interview with French deputy Jacques Myard from Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, who is also a member of French Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.

Asked to comment on the statement of American vice president Joseph Biden that United States considers amputation of the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija an “irreversible” act, Myard said there is nothing “irreversible” in politics.

“France recognized Kosovo, and that is its government’s official position. However, in politics and international relations there is only one rule: Never say never. Nothing is irreversible. Many French deputies believe something will have to change, being that a dangerous precedent has been created in Kosovo which, for example, Russia used last summer in Georgia, when it occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia. France is fully aware Serbia will never recognize Kosovo and it will not request any such thing, since that would be entirely absurd,” Myard said.

Is it a coincidence that earlier this month, the following call to Jihad by IS was issued specifically to Balkan Muslims: IS to Balkan Muslims: “Either join, or kill over there”

Well, Alen Rizvanovic killed over there. Not exactly “lone” or “deranged” (beyond the mental disorder otherwise known as Islam which, yes, is lame. And now so are 34 Austrians, plus three dead).

Austria is of course very vulnerable to feeling the effects of the call of the wild, thanks to the Bosnian Muslims it welcomed back when it served as the financing center of the Bosnian Jihad, known to Westerners as the Bosnian war, or “Serbian genocide against Bosniaks.” Official Austria was front and center in helping make the war go in favor of the Muslims who demanded to carve their own Islamic state in Europe out of Yugoslavia.

But getting to the main question at hand: Gee, why would IS think it can recruit Balkan Muslims? Of all people. Didn’t we make it clear that those Muslims aren’t like those Muslims? IS and its forebears must not have gotten the memo that the West proclaimed the Muslims of the Balkans to be modern, secular, European, Western-facing, moderate, and so on — and gave them the upper hand in the war, and then in the peace. Because that way there would be no risk that these Muslims would turn into those Muslims, right? I mean, if they drink alcohol and eat pork — as their advocates constantly point out — then there’s no way they’ll choose Islamic solidarity over the West. Right?

Here was that IS call:

IS to Balkan Muslims: “Either join, or kill over there” (B92, RTS,, June 5, 2015)

The Islamic State has published a propaganda video that threatens Balkan countries and calls on Muslims to either join it, or launch attacks in the Balkans.

The video, titled “Honor is in jihad, a message to the Balkans”, has been published by the Alhayat Media Center - a propaganda center established to reach audiences in the West with Islamic messages.

The video, that lasts a little over 22 minutes, has an English language narrator talking about the history of the Balkans, while showing historical footage, and about the Muslim communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania “and other countries in the region.”

Members of the Islamic State who came from the Balkans are shown, with several of them calling on other Muslims to go to Iraq and Syria, “where they can safely and with dignity live with their families.”

Among the identified Islamists are Abu Bilkis, aka Al Albani and Abu Mukatil, aka Al Kosovo, as well as Abu Muhammad al Bosni.

[What names these are! “Al-Bosni, Al-Albani, Al-Kosovi.”? Who could have foreseen it? Those very same “moderate” and “pro-American” Muslims.]

“Many of you complain that they cannot grow a beard or wear a niqab. Now is your chance, make Hijra,” said one of those featured, Salahudding Al Bosni.

He also told the audience that “to think back to the last war in Bosnia-Herzegovina”.

As in other propaganda videos, the jihadists are telling those who are “unable to emigrate to the land of Islam” to attack “dictators in Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania”, as well as their armies.

“Fight them over there. If you can, put explosives under their cars, in their houses, all of them. If you can, take some poison, put in it their drink, in their food, let them die. Kill them in every place and wherever you can. In Bosnia, in Serbia, in Sandzak. You can do it, Allah will help you,” Salahudding Al Bosni is heard saying.

This clip has been “much better produced than the dozens of previous propaganda materials made for the Balkan Islamists in the past 20 years,” said the reports.

Well that must have done the trick. Rizvanovic was motivated enough to extrapolate “over there” to his own adopted home of Austria, not far from the Balkans. It’s a call-up that has Deutsche Welle asking, “Are the Balkans a gateway for ‘IS’?”

Now, why would the Balkans per se — more than some other part of Europe — be IS’s gateway? I mean, what is different about the populations of the Balkans from those of the rest of Europe? Surely it couldn’t be the countless Westward-facing Muslims that populate that region. In any case, when has the word “extremism” ever been associated with Balkan Muslims? Yet that is the category Deutsche Welle placed the story under:

Are the Balkans a gateway for ‘IS’?
Millions of Muslims live in the Balkans. According to media reports, Islamist terrorists are increasingly trying to influence them. But opinions are split on how dangerous the situation really is.

The history of the Balkans over the past 100 years is nothing but a chronology of Muslim oppression, at least according to the “Islamic State” (IS) terrorist group, whose propaganda targets the region. [Funny, that’s also according to the Bosnian and Albanian ‘not-like-those’ Muslims.] The only solution in the fight against the communists, so-called “crusaders” and Jews is jihad, they say. In an elaborately produced video, “IS” urges Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegowina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia to kill their “infidel” neighbors.

“Put explosives under their cars and houses, pour poison into their food, let them croak,” a young bearded man shouts in Bosnian. The terrorists in the video even have nicknames, depending on where they come from: Al-Bosni, Al-Albani, Al-Kosovi.

The propaganda has already served one purpose: for days, all of the regional media reported that “IS” has its sights on the Balkans. Such reports are extremely useful to the Islamists, warns Vlado Azinovic, a political scientist and journalist from Bosnia.

“Via Twitter alone, the IS publishes more than 200,000 short messages per week,” the terrorism expert says. “They all contain such threats in several languages, so it’s wrong to believe that IS is targeting the Balkans in any way,” Azinovic told DW.

But, notions that the Balkans represent a gateway for jihadists are nothing but media hype and an expression of “hysteria”, he added.

[That’s right, Folks. Stay on-program. There’s no difference between short twitter messages and an elaborately, professionally produced video specifically in the Balkanites’ own language.]

Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper also reported that radical Islamists are increasingly networking in the western Balkans, offering “a kind of initial training for would-be jihadists.” The paper quoted German security officials as saying the situation is so alarming that it was discussed at the most recent G7 summit.

“The threat posed by IS should be taken seriously,” says Filip Ejdus, a Belgrade political scientist. While the expert doesn’t believe “IS” can create branches in the Balkans at this point, he fears the terrorists will soon carry out more attacks in Europe…

Experts may disagree about the extent of the threat posed by “IS” in the Balkans, but there is no doubt that the “Islamic State” has been recruiting many new backers in the region.

A record 250 men from Kosovo have gone to war for “IS”, media reports say. Bosnia-Herzegowina is also said to be at the top of the jihadist recruitment list…

…Ejdus says… “Although a majority of Muslims in the Balkans rejects these anti-civilizing ideas, they still unfortunately find their way to some people.”

The same is true for Kosovo, says Ismail Hasani, an expert on the sociology of religion from Pristina. Some Imams, who were trained in the Middle East, propagate a non-traditional interpretation of Islam, he told DW. “But in the Balkans, these radical versions don’t fall on fertile soil.” Hasani is convinced these interpretations will soon be a thing of the past…

Not soon enough, obviously. So, back to the present. Here is the UK Daily Mail report:

‘Deranged lone assassin’ drives at 90mph into crowds of shoppers in Austria before stabbing bystanders, killing four-year-old boy and two adults, and leaving 34 injured (June 20, 2015)

A four-year-old boy is reported to be one of three people killed after an SUV ploughed into a crowd of people in Graz, Austria.

Another 34 people were injured in the attack, with six - including two children - said to be in a serious condition.

Eyewitnesses say the driver rammed into crowds at up to 90mph before he got out and began randomly stabbing bystanders, which included the elderly and policemen.

The three victims killed in the attack have been described as a 28-year-old Austrian man, a 25-year-old woman and a four-year-old boy.

The woman and boy were both killed as the driver ploughed through crowds on the main Herrengasse shopping street before reaching the city’s main square.

The governor of the state has described the driver as a ‘deranged lone assassin’.

The National Police Director, Josef Klamminger, said the man, who is believed to be a 26-year-old Austrian truck driver, was suffering from ‘psychosis’ related to ‘family problems’.

The attacker is believed to be married with two children.

Police director Klamminger added that the man was under a restraining order keeping him away from the home of his wife and two children, after a domestic violence report was filed against him last month. [So far, we’re hitting on all the tropes of being a pious Muslim male.]

The driver did not resist when he was arrested by the police - who say he acted alone - and they have no reason to believe it was an act of terrorism.

The mayor was reported to be riding his Vespa in the street when the SUV sped past him, just feet away.

He only avoided being hit by driving onto the pavement, according to local media.

Always doing his homework, writer Daniel Greenfield found an Alen Rizvanovic on facebook, who has twice “liked” jihadist Bosnian war criminal Naser Oric, commander of Muslim soldiers at Srebrenica whom we are to again memorialize this July 11th. (And with extra gusto, please, as it’s the 20th anniversary of “the worst atrocity in Europe since WWII.”)

By the way, isn’t Graz where the Bosnian Muslims and Croats stole off to in the first place, to have their secret referendum on secession? Graz even sounds like a shortened Grazie — as in ‘Thanks, Austria, for not extraditing that Bosniak war criminal on the Serbs’ warrant, and thanks for trying to block Serbia’s EU accession start. Doing everything “right” for the Bosnian Muslims sure goes a long way.

“Ex-White House aide reveals — Clinton Fighting Dementia!”

Well that’s good. Because he sure as hell didn’t fight al-Qaeda.

(Or is Dementia the name of a mistress?)

Meanwhile, the subhead reads: “Can’t Remember Being President.”

That’s funny, I can’t remember him being a president either.

Anyway, no biggie. Some would argue Bill Clinton has had dementia for the last 30 years.

A surprisingly decent and thorough report on Bosnia-related terror and “Islamism,” from a year ago, forwarded to me recently by Mickey a Written by an establishmentarian, no less — Leslie S. Lebl, who had been “Political Advisor to the Commander of Stabilization Forces (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the late 1990s.”

Put out by Strategic Studies Institute and U.S. Army War College Press, and available in paperback. It’s only a little disconcerting that she thinks the ICTY and The Hague are in the Czech Republic. (If I understood correctly.) I reduced the report to its more salient parts, bolding the most salient parts. Lebl’s third paragraph below is especially noteworthy, given the familiar balking at the suggestion that Balkan Muslims have the potential to be anything but secular. Her response recalls that of author Christopher Deliso, whom she mentions a few times and whose 2007 book The Coming Balkan Caliphate Lebl cites in her endnotes.



…Although the levels of Islamist terrorism and separatist movements are comparable to those elsewhere in Europe, they are particularly troublesome in Bosnia for two reasons. First, senior political and religious Bosniak (Muslim) leaders have long-standing ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist terrorism, including al-Qaeda and Iran, that they are very reluctant to abandon. Second, Islamism contributes significantly to Bosnia’s dysfunction as a country. Calls to re-impose traditional Islamic law, or sharia, arouse opposition from Bosnian Serbs and Croats, as does the nostalgia for the Ottoman Empire and Islamic Caliphate shared by key Bosniak leaders, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Turkish government.

…The European Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense should alert Washington policymakers to the danger to NATO policymaking and day-to-day operations arising from the Islamist ties of some Bosniak leaders and representatives.


Most Western observers dismiss warnings about the dangers of Islamism as crude Serb or Croat propaganda intended to undermine the Bosnian state. In so doing, they usually note that Islamism is unlikely to become a significant force because most Bosniaks continue to adhere to their traditionally moderate and relatively secular version of Islam. However, evidence drawn primarily from Bosniak and Western sources reveals a more nuanced and alarming picture…

Islamism first appeared in Bosnia in 1941 when Alija Izetbegović and others formed the Young Muslims, a group patterned after the Muslim Brotherhood. Izetbegović’s famous political tract from the early 1970s, the Islamic Declaration, contained many Islamist concepts, confirming his personal attraction to the ideology.

This ancient history suddenly sprang to life when Izetbegović founded a political party with former Young Muslims as its inner core, outmaneuvered his more moderate rivals, and became president of Bosnia in 1990. He filled that position during and after the Bosnian war, from 1990-96, and then became a member of the joint presidency (which rotates between a Serb, a Croat, and a Bosniak) from 1996-2000. He died in 2003, but his legacy lives on, as his long-time associate, Haris Silajdzić, and son, Bakir, follow in his footsteps, both as presidents of Bosnia and as Islamist sympathizers.

Brotherhood ties today are very important to another senior Bosniak, Mustafa Cerić. Cerić served for years as Grand Mufti of Sarajevo and the head of the official Islamic Community. In addition, he is considered to be a leading Bosniak political figure in his own right.

Thus, while little is said or written about Muslim Brotherhood activities in Bosnia, the most senior Bosniak leaders — viewed by Westerners as representing moderate, relatively secular Muslims — are, in fact, closely connected to, or deeply sympathetic with, that organization. [In 1997, “Cornell University stated that ‘Silajdzic today represents the forces for an integrated, secular and multinational Bosnia. He…is a proponent of multiethnicity, political pluralism and parliamentary democracy in the country.’” — From Lebl’s Endnotes] Their views and their relationships steer Bosnia toward Islamism and the Muslim world, while alienating Bosniaks from Bosnian Serbs and Croats, their fellow citizens.

Islamism received a tremendous boost with the arrival of Islamic fighters, or mujahideen, to fight on the Bosniak side during the 1992-95 war. Their military value has been disputed, but the accompanying financial and military support from Saudi Arabia and Iran was vital to the Bosniak war effort. While those two countries are rivals, they arrived at an accommodation in Bosnia to support the mujahideen. Saudi Arabia focused on financing and logistical supplies, and Iran on importing the fighters and on military aid.

The war in Bosnia definitely gave al-Qaeda a huge boost, both in terms of organization and recruitment, and helped radicalize European Muslims…Many jihadists later directed their fighting skills against European and American targets. Since the war ended in 1995, Bosnian veterans from various countries have figured in terrorist activities in countries around the globe, among them France, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen.

The best-known initiatives to combat Islamist terrorism were the 1996 IFOR raid on an Iranian-run terrorist training camp in Pogorelica and numerous steps taken after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), on the United States. At that time, SFOR interrupted terrorist plots aimed at NATO and other Western targets and raided the Saudi High Commission and other Saudi charities [in Bosnia] that were funding terrorist organizations.

By 2004, terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann, in a book warning about the Afghan-Bosnian terrorist connection, concluded that al-Qaeda had largely failed to take root in Bosnia. He noted the progress made in shutting down various terrorist operations and expressed the opinion that al-Qaeda had failed because moderate Bosniaks rejected its extremist ideology. However, Kohlmann may have spoken too soon. Box 1 shows a continuum from 1996 through 2006 in which Bosnia served as an active link in the al-Qaeda network.

Box 1
The “Bosnian Connection” in International Islamist Terror.

• Starting in 1996, senior mujahideen leaders such as Abu el-Ma’ali and Abu Sulaimann al-Makki, then living as “civilians” in Bocinja Donja, oversaw plots in France, Italy, and Jordan designed to avenge the deaths of other leaders.

• In 2008, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Sarajevo reportedly uncovered evidence that senior Bosniak politician Hasan Čengić signed off on a money transfer intended to finance the attacks of 9/11.

• Karim Said Atmani, the document forger for the group plotting the 2000 Millenium [sic] plot bombing, was a frequent visitor to Bosnia. He obtained his first Bosnian passport in 1995 and subsequently was allowed to stay without a valid passport after he was deported by Canada in 1998.

• In late October 2001, Algerians with Bosnian citizenship were arrested by the Bosnian authorities on charges of plotting to fly small aircraft from Visoko and crash them into SFOR bases in Tuzla and Bratunac. [All of the Algerians were released after some years spent at Guantanamo Bay; it is unclear whether these charges stuck or not.]

• The 2005 plot to bomb the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Croatia reportedly originated in Gornja Maoča. The plot involved smuggling rocket launchers, explosives, and detonators into Italy.

• Also in 2005, Bosnian police raided an apartment connected to a group seeking to blow up the British Embassy in Sarajevo, seizing explosives, rifles, other arms, and a video pledging vengeance for jihadists killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. One of those arrested, a Swedish citizen of Bosnian origin, ran a website on behalf of Abu Musab Zarqawi, head of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

• In 2006, a group of Bosnians and Macedonians [usually code word for Macedonia’s majority-Albanian Muslims] linked to al-Qaeda were arrested in northern Italy after smuggling some 1,800 guns into that country from Istanbul.

Nor were the Iranians routed after the 1996 raid in Pogorelica. Today, both the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (VEVAK) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have a presence in Bosnia…An Israeli expert, cited by Christopher Deliso, concluded that Bosnia posed the biggest danger in the region because “There remain pro-Iranian elements in the government, and Iran is active through the embassy in Sarajevo and charities.”

Today, Islamist terrorism persists in Bosnia, whether involving al-Qaeda, Iran, or home-grown sources…. Many Western analysts largely have dismissed this terrorism as not being a major issue. The 2013 Congressional Research Service report on Bosnia, for example, makes only a brief mention of terrorism, and recent State Department and EU terrorism reports suggest that the level of terrorism in Bosnia is no greater than elsewhere in Europe.

On the other hand, a leading Bosnian law enforcement official said that the only reason there have not been more terrorist attacks was that “We’ve had more luck than brains.” The actual number of individuals involved is not trivial; Almir Džuvo, the director of the Intelligence and Security Agency of BiH (OSA), estimated in July 2010 that there were 3,000 potential terrorists in Bosnia, out of a population of just under four million people.

…[J]ust because the terrorist threat is not unusual does not [necessarily mean] it is unimportant. Comparisons with Western Europe can be misleading, as terrorism is much more dangerous to a fragile state than to a robust democracy.

One mujahideen leader predicted in 1996 that “[f]oreign fighters will not be a problem for Bosnia. They will move on. But we planted a seed here and you will have more and more Bosnian Muslims practicing traditional Islam.”

…Estimates of the numbers of Wahhabis or members of similar sects vary widely. Observers were surprised by the crowd of more than 3,000 people, half of them Bosnians, who attended the funeral of a Wahhabist leader in 2007, as well as by a 2013 conference in Tuzla that drew 500 participants, mostly young men. Given that an estimated 4,000 people gather each Friday to hear radical sermons preached at the Saudi-backed King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo, the number of Wahhabis could be quite high. But the most likely figure is that given by Federation police (not the police of the Serb Republic), who estimated in 2009 that there were up to 5,000 practicing Bosnian Wahhabis.

Unsurprisingly, the Wahhabis recruit followers from the least privileged classes…There have been cases in which new members are paid several hundred euros per month for their loyalty…[and] for convincing their wives to wear the hijab in public, among other things.

The Saudi role in this process is extensive. The Saudis financed an extensive mosque-building program after the war, of which the $30-million King Fahd Mosque is only the most visible and influential, and built a parallel religious educational structure to that offered by the official Islamic Community. The Saudis are also believed to fund various Wahhabi groups, to educate young Bosnians in Saudi Arabia, and to send operatives to Bosnia who typically marry Bosnian women and blend into local society.

As the Wahhabi movement has gained momentum, militants have engaged in violent clashes with traditional Bosniaks and sought to impose their standards of behavior on the public…

Some Bosniaks have always been anti-American, but the vast majority were openly grateful to the United States for intervening to stop the war and then to keep the peace. No recent polls appear to have measured how these views may have changed. It is, however, unrealistic to expect young people born during or after the war to share that sense of gratitude, or indeed, to expect older people to continue to feel gratitude as the political system imposed at Dayton fails to deliver results.

While Wahhabi violence and proselytization are quite visible, these Islamists are even better known for their separatist enclaves, which function as “no-go-zones.” …The first such enclave was in the village of Bocinja Donja, formerly a Bosnian Serb village, where the Bosniak government settled former mujahideen after the war.

The mujahideen married Bosnian women and so acquired Bosnian citizenship. The village provided them a safe haven in which to maintain their terrorist contacts under the guise of simple farmers. In the 1990s, the hostility of the inhabitants of Bocinja Donja to outsiders, including SFOR, was palpable, undermining their claims of innocence. Eventually the enclave was closed down, and the village returned to its original owners. Now the best-known enclave is in Gornja Maoča, a remote village where native Bosnians reside along with foreign-born former mujahideen.

While the Bosnian Serbs continue to insist that these enclaves pose a significant security risk, Bosniak policy has been bifurcated. [On] one hand, there has been pressure to isolate and marginalize the Wahhabis….Analyst Stephen Schwartz speculates that Bosniak political leaders have “pursued a strategy of trying to confine the Wahhabi agitators to remote locations, rather than settling the problem by consequential legal proceedings.” Not all Bosniak officials are willing to settle for this approach, however. The authorities have made numerous arrests, including a massive 2010 raid on Gornja Maoča and the arrests of two of the enclave’s leaders following the 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Up to now, though, they have failed to obtain an indictment, let alone a conviction. As a result, a cloud of mystery is likely to cloak Gornja Maoča and other similar enclaves for some time to come, making it difficult to determine the degree of danger they pose to Bosnia’s internal security or their potential links to international terrorism.

Some observers caution that many Wahhabis are peaceful and should not be classified as terrorists, for fear of driving them into the arms of groups espousing violence. The Islamic Community, the official Muslim religious organization in Bosnia, has refused to condemn the Wahhabis, and attacks those who criticize them. But the Bosniak public remains unpersuaded; when last asked, 71 percent rejected Wahhabism, suggesting that this form of Islam remains for them both distinct from traditional Bosnian Islam and unwelcome.

The Wahhabis do not yet appear to have gained control of any significant governmental or official religious offices. Nor, although actual numbers are hard to estimate, have they created no-go zones in urban areas, as has happened in Western Europe. This lack of progress is most likely due to visceral opposition from local Bosniaks. Attempts to take over mosques have ended in violence; in one instance, a resident commented: “They should shave their beards and use deodorant instead of coming here like dogs. For me, they are wolf-dogs, they will attack our children. I have female children and do not dare to send them to [the religious school] at all.” These locals’ contempt of the Wahhabis is unmistakable.

Yet, current descriptions of the Federation suggest it is much more radicalized than was the case in the late 1990s. Given that the trend is pointing in the wrong direction, it would be foolish to regard Wahhabism as purely marginal, especially when an expert like Sarajevo professor Rešid Hafizović describes it as a “potentially deadly virus” for Bosnian Muslims. When times are hard and the future is bleak, such movements can gain momentum quickly.


…One factor that makes [Islamists] a greater danger in Bosnia than elsewhere, though, is their close connection to Bosniak leaders, in particularly three men (Bakir Izetbegović, Haris Silajdžić, and Alija Izetbegović). These men have occupied the Bosniak chair of the central state’s rotating presidency since its establishment. The danger of the Islamists in Bosnia has also been increased by their closeness to Mustafa Cerić, the mufti who until recently headed Bosnia’s official Islamic Community.

Those men, along with their associates and subordinates, have pursued policies inimical to the views and goals of moderate Muslims, and those of Bosnian Serbs and Croats. They have supported Islamist terrorism and Wahhabism, encouraged alienation between Bosniaks and other Bosnians, and sought closer ties with Islamist countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Bakir Izetbegović.

The most prominent Bosniak official today is Bakir Izetbegović, the current Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bakir served during the war as personal assistant and advisor to his father, Alija Izetbegović, who was then President of Bosnia. After the war, from 1999 to 2003, Bakir was a member of the managing board of the humanitarian Islamic charity, Merhamet. Like other Islamic charities, Merhamet used its humanitarian work as a cover during the war to deliver weapons to Bosnia.

It is unlikely that Izetbegović, as a personal assistant to the President, would have been unaware of these activities. Nor could he have been unaware of the initiative to bring mujahideen into Bosnia. In fact, Dževad Galijašević, a former Party of Democratic Action (SDA) official, in 2008, accused Izetbegović of being one of the chief protectors of the mujahideen who remained in Bosnia after the war.

Bakir, who for years directed the Construction Bureau of Sarajevo Canton, was involved in the construction of the King Fahd Mosque and reportedly arranged for the land on which the complex was built, previously owned by Serbs, to be donated to the Saudis. This mosque, the largest house of worship for Muslims in the Balkans, is also known for its key role as the center of Wahhabi influence and power in Bosnia…

Another indication of Bakir’s ideological orientation comes from his involvement in a secular initiative to advance the observance of sharia….He was responsible for coordinating the construction of the Bosna Bank International (BBI) Center in Sarajevo, described as “the only commercial shopping mall in Bosnia and Herzegovina that has prohibited sales of pork and alcohol.” The BBI Center was built by the BBI, the only bank in Bosnia to offer sharia-compliant finance. Among the principal goals of sharia-compliant finance is enhancing the appeal of an Islamic political order. Another is to generate funds that can be used to advance Islamist goals.

Finally, Bakir Izetbegović is known for his sympathies toward Iran. During his tenure in the BiH presidency, bilateral ties between Bosnia and Iran have expanded, including in trade and investment. Izetbegović called for even closer Iranian-Bosnian ties during a meeting with then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in February 2013 in Cairo, Egypt, on the margins of an [OIC] meeting. While a small country like Bosnia naturally seeks to maintain good ties with powerful countries, these initiatives stand out, coming as they did at a time when the UN, the United States, and the EU have put sanctions in place to isolate the regime in Tehran.

Some of those connections are particularly controversial. The Sarajevo weekly Slobodna Bosna reported that, according to the Iranian opposition, the Iranian Ibn Sina Institute in Sarajevo, described as a scientific research institute, is, in fact, the IRGC’s headquarters in the Balkans. The magazine also questioned the bona fides of some 200 Iranian “businessmen” who entered Bosnia in the first half of 2012, noting that they appeared to lack business contacts.

…In the spring of 2013, Bakir became embroiled in a dispute with Bosniak political rival Fahrudin Radončić, a former businessman who is currently the state-level minister of security. Bakir reportedly intervened to oppose expelling two Iranian diplomats whom Radončić had accused of improper activities and declared personae non grata. The diplomats eventually left, and a third was expelled in June 2013. Two of the three had reportedly made contact with the Wahhabist leader in Gornja Maoča. While no one has alleged any direct contact between Izetbegović and the Iranian diplomats, or between him and the enclave of Gornja Maoča, the reports do raise questions about whether Bosnia’s most senior Bosniak politician is opening the door to Iranian intelligence services and terrorist operatives.

Haris Silajdzić.

Izetbegović’s predecessor in the tri-presidency was Haris Silajdzić. A prominent SDA politician, Silajdzić was a former close associate of Alija Izetbegović and a senior member of his wartime cabinet, serving first as foreign minister and then as prime minister. During that time, he also oversaw directly the effort to bring mujahideen to Bosnia. Silajdzić was an effective spokesman for the Bosniak cause, making the case that his side was Western, secular, and democratic. However, his true convictions apparently lay with the mujahideen: In July 1995, he declared an Islamic holy war on Sarajevo TV and invited all Islamic states to fight on the side of Bosnia’s Muslims.

After the war…he continued to hold high government positions, but in 1997 he left the SDA to form the Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He resigned his government and party positions abruptly on September 21, 2001, reportedly because of his radical connections, but reemerged 5 years later to win the election to the tri-presidency.

In 2006, Silajdzić ran on a platform to abolish the Federation and the Serb Republic entities and strengthen the central Bosnian state — an unacceptable proposal for any official of the Serb Republic. In office, he engaged in a very public and polarizing dispute with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, thereby contributing to the radicalization of Bosnian society. In the opinion of analyst Steven Oluic, Silajdzić took Bosnian society and politics back to the painful days of 1995. It is also noteworthy that the Iranian government not only expressed pleasure at his election but pledged him its continuing support. In 2008, Silajdzić was among those identified by Galijašević as one of the chief Bosnian protectors of the mujahideen since the war…

Neither of those men, however, has had as lasting an impact on Bosnian politics and society as Alija Izetbegović, Bakir’s father. Izetbegović, the man affectionately called “Dedo” (Grandpa) by many Bosniaks, was Bosnia’s president during the war and then the first Bosniak member of the tri-presidency. Throughout, he became the embodiment and symbol of embattled Muslims. Many U.S. policymakers considered him a leading proponent of multiethnic democracy and tolerance. Yet, Izetbegović left numerous signs pointing to his Islamist ideology. Even more importantly, he succeeded in forming an Islamist cadre of insiders, including Haris Silajdzić and Bakir Izetbegović, which remains highly influential today and has done much to shape Bosnia’s post-war history.

Izetbegović’s Islamist ideology is laid out in his famous political manifesto, The Islamic Declaration….Simply put, Muslims living in a non-Muslim majority country should play by the rules of that country — until they are strong enough to overthrow the system and install an Islamic government. Nothing in the Declaration suggested any compromise toward this goal.

Most Westerners ignored the Declaration or dismissed its contents on the assumption that it had been attacked by the Yugoslav government simply because it was an anti-communist tract. [NOTE: Similarly, they dressed up Croatian fascism — and especially one of its clerical heads (Aloysius Stepinac) — as anti-communist heroism/protest/freedom-fighting/pro-Westernism/pro-democracy.] But the Declaration was much more than that — and it was politically relevant after the fall of Yugoslavia. It was published in 1990 (before that, it was distributed secretly only) and later distributed to the troops of the Bosniak army…Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzić and Milorad Dodik have both testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, The Czech Republic [???? sic: Netherlands], that Izetbegović intended to build an Islamic state in Bosnia based on the concepts set out in the Declaration.

Accusations of Izetbegović’s continued commitment to the ideology of the Declaration were consistent with his marked preference for the Islamist regime in Iran. That preference first surfaced in 1983, when he was accused of seeking Iranian support for his cause. Izetbegović visited Iran in May 1991 as president of Bosnia and obtained assurances of Iranian support a year prior to the outbreak of hostilities…

Ideology is, of course, of little impact without an organization to implement it. Izetbegović created such an organization in the late 1980s: the SDA. Although the SDA gave the impression of being a moderate Muslim party in order to win Bosniak votes and garner Western sympathy, its inner core was comprised of former Young Muslims…[which] based its operations and program on Islamism, and one of its main principles was the unification of the Muslim world through the creation of a large Muslim state.

Although the Yugoslav government did its best to stamp out the group, it survived underground for decades. Some of its leading members (Hasan Čengić, Omer Behmen, Edhem Bičakčić, Huso Zivalj, and Ismet Kasumagic), imprisoned with Izetbegović in 1983, were assigned the most sensitive and important tasks during the war…Muhammed Sacirbey, Izetbegović’s wartime ambassador to the UN, was the son of Nedžib Šaeirbegović who had been imprisoned with Izetbegović after World War II [for terrorist activities related to Young Muslims]…

Several Young Muslims continued their political careers in the post-war period: Zivalj became Bosnia’s ambassador to the UN, and Bičakčić became prime minister of the Federation. After the war, Čengić served as Federation deputy defense minister until the United States forced his dismissal. Behmen focused on ideology, working actively with Islamist youth organizations and educational institutions on a so-called “third offensive” of the Young Muslims movement.

The fortunes of most of these individuals have attracted little attention from U.S. policymakers, but the same cannot be said for the activity that first drew Western attention to Izetbegović’s Islamist connections: his decision to bring mujahideen to Bosnia. His personal connections reached the very top of al-Qaeda: during the war Osama Bin Laden, who had been issued a Bosnian passport, reportedly met Izetbegović in his Sarajevo office.

After the war, all foreign fighters were required to leave Bosnia under the terms of the Dayton Peace Accords. Despite the best efforts of IFOR and the U.S. Government, many still remained in the country — and Izetbegović protected them. He openly supported supposedly disbanded mujahideen military units, while numerous murders and other acts of violence, particularly against Bosnian Croats living in the Federation, were carried out by those same mujahideen and their Bosnian accomplices.

These were not just random acts of violence in a lawless post-war period. Rather, the SDA was using the mujahideen “as powerful leverage in a struggle to maintain an ethnic majority in previously mixed regions of Central Bosnia and Sarajevo. . . .”

During the same period, more than 200 Iranian agents reportedly infiltrated Bosniak political and social circles as well as the U.S. “Train and Equip” military program, collaborating closely with a pro-Iranian faction within the Bosniak intelligence service. These agents aimed to gather information, sow dissension between Bosniak and Croat participants in “Train and Equip,” and turn Bosniak leaders against the West. It is highly unlikely that Izetbegović was unaware of this activity, as the Bosniak intelligence service at that time reported directly to him.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a number of terrorists were apprehended, and the charities funding them were closed. Then moderate political parties won a national election, and Munir Alibabić, a senior Bosniak security expert known for opposing al-Qaeda and the Iranian influence, was appointed head of the Federation Intelligence and Security Service.

In May 2002, Alibabić arrested five senior Bosniak officials connected to the SDA on suspicion of terrorism and espionage. The officials were allegedly linked to the murders of Croats, bomb blasts at Catholic sites, and two high-profile assassinations. [”He reportedly said that the Bosniak secret police ‘had been infected by al-Qaida….’” — From Lebel’s Endnotes] The SDA protested; all were released in October 2002, and no indictment was ever brought. Instead, Alibabić was dismissed by OHR’s High Representative Paddy Ashdown for mishandling intelligence information.

The SDA soon returned to power, making revelations of its misdeeds even more unlikely, while at the same time, the accusations fester and suspicions remain regarding their Islamist sympathies. As one analyst wrote, “There are countless examples of local authorities in Bosnia failing to act properly against Islamic extremism. The majority of these criminal cases have not been resolved and when the terrorists are identified the trials take years.”

…Much about Izetbegović’s wartime activities might have become known had he lived longer: At the time of his death in 2003, the ICTY was investigating him for alleged war crimes. However, after he died, the ICTY closed its investigation, thus shutting off a major avenue of inquiry that might have illuminated some of these murky postwar terrorist activities. [Perish the thought.]

Mustafa Cerić.

Much of the support for Bosniak nationalist parties and policies comes from former Grand Mufti of Sarajevo Mustafa Cerić. For years, he led the Islamic Community, the official Muslim organization in BosniaLike Silajdzić, Cerić set himself up in opposition to Dodik, continuing wartime rhetoric by portraying Bosniaks as victims in mortal danger from the Serbs.

Feted in Western Europe as a moderate Muslim, Cerić enjoys a different reputation at home, where he is known as “homo duplex,” the man with two faces. This nickname arises from numerous indications that he is anything but “moderate” — a judgment based on his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, his view regarding the imposition of sharia, and his positions on Wahhabism. These range from refusing to condemn it to hurling accusations of Islamophobia at anyone who criticizes it.

Cerić’s current ties to the Muslim Brotherhood arise from his membership in two pan-European organizations: the European Council for Research and Fatwa, a Brotherhood-linked group chaired by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, and the UK-based “Radical Middle Way,” which includes a wide range of scholars associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood.

On several occasions, Cerić has publicly advocated positions consistent with Brotherhood ideology. For example, in 2006, he issued the document, “A Declaration of European Muslims,” in which he declared European Muslims (including Bosniaks) fully committed to the values of democracy and human rights but called, among other things, for the partial implementation of sharia. Several years later he argued, in a speech in Berlin, Germany, that implementing sharia would not be contrary to Bosnia’s constitution — a position that would probably surprise most Bosniaks.

Over the years, Cerić has refused to condemn Wahhabism. His position stands in stark contrast to that of representatives and leaders of the Islamic Community in Montenegro, who did not hesitate to condemn Wahhabist activities…When asked if Saudi funding was deleterious, Cerić replied that Bosnia was in no position to turn down money from Saudi Arabia, which, after all, was an ally of the West. [Excellent point for the West to mull.]

But Cerić goes far beyond what would be required if he were simply bowing to a stronger player. He attacks critics of Wahhabism for being “Islamophobes” …and has led the way in developing the concept of “good” versus “bad” Bosniaks…Indeed, in 2010 and 2011, the Islamic Community issued reports on Islamophobia, cataloguing all the statements and actions that it believes express intolerance, hate, and hostility against Islam and Muslims. The definition deliberately obscures any differences among Muslims.

In 2012, Cerić was replaced as Grand Mufti by Hussein Effendi Kavazović, the mufti of Tuzla who is considered close to Cerić…

[T]he long-term impact of the Islamism of these men and their colleagues, subordinates, and supporters will most likely be extremely detrimental to the future of the country. Bosniak terror expert Dževad Galijašević describes the danger vividly:

“Active Islamism is pushing one’s own nation in the whirlpool of problems of other Islamic countries. It is getting Bosnian Muslims interested in events in the Arab world, in the Iranian revolution, in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is bringing Bosnia closer to Palestine. It is turning Muslims’ true historical brothers, Serbs and Croats, into eternal and irreconcilable enemies, and turning Arabs into the only and actual brothers who look, behave, and talk differently and have a completely different view of the family, the state, and themselves.”

Analysts often blame the failure to build a Bosnian state on the Serbs and Croats…It is wrong, however, to disregard the “push” factors….One very important factor is embedded in Balkan history during the period when the Ottoman Empire enforced sharia…Bosnian Serbs and Croats have not forgotten this system of dhimmitude. When Bosniak politicians talk about tolerance, Serbs and Croats suspect that they really mean a political system in which Muslims dominate. Similarly, Serbs and Croats dismiss Bosniak leaders’ affirmations of their commitment to multi-ethnicity, since under sharia, “multiethnic” means that many different ethnicities co-exist peacefully — but only under Muslim domination and according to strict rules.

These tensions would exist to some degree, regardless of which political ideology was dominant among Bosniaks. As historian Aleksa Djilas described the problem in 1992:

“Muslims imagined Bosnia as an independent state in which they would predominate. Although it was only Muslim extremists who thought non-Muslims should be expelled from Bosnia, most Muslim leaders believed only a Muslim should be allowed full citizenship. Religious Muslims based their demand for supremacy on the traditional belief that the rule of non-Muslims over Muslims was blasphemous. But most Muslims were typical nationalists. They wanted more for their group. . . .”

The influence that Islamists hold in Bosnia is also key with regard to their publicly stated goal of establishing a global Caliphate…While talking about it may baffle or bemuse Westerners, the reference is all too clear to inhabitants of the Balkans. This Islamist goal is dangerous because it also appeals to non-Islamist Muslims and because it is shared by two increasingly important foreign players: Turkey and the OIC.

In recent years, Turkey has used its relative economic strength to build influence in the Balkans. Its trade with those countries has increased, as has its investment in Bosnia. On the cultural side, Turkish companies have built the largest university campus in the Balkans in Ilidža, a suburb of Sarajevo…Turkish diplomats have also been very active in seeking to promote reconciliation among the Balkan countries…The nostalgia of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu for the Ottoman Empire, however, is more likely to raise the hackles of non-Muslims… Were the Bosniak leadership genuinely committed to reconciling Bosnia’s ethnic groups, it would presumably find some diplomatic way to cushion or rebut such statements.

In addition to its bilateral ties to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, Bosnia has observer status at the OIC…During an April 2013 visit to Sarajevo, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu urged Bosnia to upgrade to full membership. Bakir Izetbegović suggested that full membership would be useful to Bosnia by giving it access to OIC development funding. Were this to occur, Bosnia would presumably have to adopt any existing OIC agreements or conventions, including the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights. The Cairo Declaration rules out any rights incompatible with the Koran. That principle negates much of Western human rights, such as equality for religious minorities and freedom of speech, including the right to criticize Islam.

The OIC reinforces the tenets of the Cairo Declaration by means of annual reports on Islamophobia in Western countries, similar to the reports on Bosnia prepared by the Islamic Community. Bosnian OIC membership would probably give added impetus to this exercise, making it ever more difficult to criticize Islamist policies or groups. The OIC could be expected to show an active interest in Bosnian internal developments, as it recently resuscitated its Bosnia Contact Group from the early-1990s. There is little chance that the OIC would remain neutral regarding disputes between Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs and Croats.

Given all these factors, Bakir Izetbegović’s comments in favor of full OIC membership were hardly designed to improve inter-ethnic relations…

Were Bosnia to split into three parts, the Bosniak rump state would come under strong pressure to join the OIC and could, in so doing, set a decidedly non-Western course.

Nor is the EU equipped to resolve Bosnia’s inter-ethnic tensions. On such issues, fuzzy rhetoric prevails, not constructive policies or actions. For example, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, in response to a complaint by Bosnian Croat Cardinal Vinko Puljić that Bosnian Muslim discrimination was driving out Catholics, countered that a “European perspective” (e.g., EU membership) “is the only way to overcome the crisis.” Exactly how this transformation would work is unclear, especially since the European Commission, in its 2012 annual report on Bosnia, devoted one short paragraph out of 60 pages to the issue of religious discrimination — and offered a high-level interfaith meeting as a remedy.

Were U.S. policymakers at some point to contemplate a mission involving U.S. forces, they would need to factor in the increased danger from Islamism…. IFOR/SFOR enjoyed only limited success in combating terrorism — unsurprisingly, as it was tasked primarily with maintaining a safe and secure environment. The list of high-profile international plots hatched during and after SFOR’s tenure (see Box 1) shows the difficulty a military force with only limited counterterrorist capabilities has in deterring such activity, especially when local officials shield the terrorists from outside pressure.

Today’s NATO presence is no better equipped to deal with a terrorist threat. Counterterrorism is not even among the top three missions of the current NATO headquarters in Sarajevo. Nor would preparing Bosnia for NATO membership help, as the accession requirements revolve primarily around issues of democratic legitimacy and defense-sector capabilities.

In addition, Islamist anti-Americanism has now had a chance to put down roots. How deep those roots are is hard to determine, but the possibility of jihadist violence against U.S. or Western troops is probably greater than it was previously. Some terrorists would likely be homegrown and able to blend more easily into the native population…

Shortly before the Dayton Peace Accords and the start of IFOR, General Charles G. Boyd, USAF (Ret.), former deputy commander of the European Command, argued that the United States should give equal weight to the fears and aspirations of Serbs as well as to those of Muslims and Croats [Imagine that!] …Eighteen years later, his analysis remains relevant. Political disputes are at the base of Bosnia’s problems, some of which reflect the destabilizing and deleterious impact of Islamism…

Balkan expert Edward P. Joseph wants the United States to refocus on achieving Bosnian membership in NATO rather than the EU, as it is more obtainable. He predicts that accelerated NATO membership would transform the political climate in Bosnia, ending any debate over changes to its territorial integrity. In a similar vein, military expert Steven Oluic writes that “Bosnia’s ability to resist extremism and radical Islam depends on continued Western engagement in the region and the recent phenomena of moderate Bosniaks challenging the radical Islamists and their ideologies.” Unfortunately, if the West pushes Bosnian Serbs to transfer military facilities to the central state without acknowledging or countering their concerns about Islamism or Muslim dominance, this move is unlikely to succeed and may only increase opposition to NATO.

Bosnia’s eventual NATO membership would raise other issues, not only because part of the Bosniak political elite has ties to Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, but also because Bosnia is openly cultivating closer ties with Iran at a time when the Western world is united in applying sanctions to that country. It is also difficult to predict how Bosnia and other Balkan countries with large Muslim populations and growing Islamist influence will react to future NATO crisis operations in Muslim countries. […]

This youtube video shows part of a 2011 speech in Berlin by Swiss MP Oskar Freysinger. My friend Lou sent it to me recently, because he caught that Freysinger mentioned Kosovo as a harbinger. The first domino. Supporting my long-held theory that Kosovo, and Bosnia before it as I learned only later, was the beginning of the end. I’ve transcribed from the translation on the video which was posted by the great activist ex-Muslim Walid Shoebat. It almost made me love the sound of German:

Europe is an idea. A cultural landscape, an intellectual space shaped by history. Europe is the cradle of the modern constitutional democracy, the treasure-house of human rights, of freedom of opinion and expression. Or at least it used to be that, until recently.

This has increasingly been put into danger as our political elite bend their necks before a certain religious dogma which is completely alien to our intellectual history, our values and rule of law. This dogma is gnawing away at the pillars of our system of laws wherever it is granted the space to do so. This dogma demands total obedience from its followers. “They should never integrate into our system of values.” That would be treason to them and is even punishable by death.

They are supposed to conquer and subdue our Western world. Not with tanks, rockets, or riflemen. Something they could never accomplish, anyway. Not through brutal revolt. No, Islam is in no hurry, it has an eternity. A long process of demoralization and slow-motion occupation of our weakened child-poor society is foreseen.

The Islamic doctrine is intended to creep into our everyday lives bit by bit, and make Fortress Europe crumble from within. Just think of how the Serbs lost Kosovo. Through demographic development and the help of NATO, which aided the founding of the first Islamic state on European soil. What a suicidal undertaking! What an ominous sign.

The Islamic dogma is now imposing itself everywhere. In Turkey, the Islamists are gradually occupying all judicial and army posts in order to obliterate the heritage of Kemal Ataturk. Lebanon will become a Muslim state in the next decades. The Arab Spring is on the point of being taken over by the Islamists. In Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan the last of the Christian communities are facing extinction. And what are we doing? We are allowing this violent doctrine to subvert our rule of law, wholly unhindered in our cultural ghettos! We just shrug our shoulders when girls are forced into marriage and integrated Muslims are pressured and threatened. And we look the other way when the women are beaten and whole city districts are taken over. We think we can soften the power-lusting “holy warriors” with social benefits. We think we can buy our way to peace of mind. What lunacy! The prophet’s beard is not for fondling.

Fanatics cannot be bought. Germany should know this, more so than any other country in the world. My dear friends in the audience, we are not fighting against people. We are fighting FOR people. We are fighting against a dogma that despises all humanity and wants to push us back into barbarity. We will not so easily give up on freedom, for which we have fought so hard over the centuries. Dear Berliners, here I stand. I cannot otherwise. Because no one in Europe will stand up even for the very pillar of our civilization, our rule of law, our humanity, the transcendental, unconditional “Love they neighbor.” That is the pillar.

— “The Arab Spring is on the point of being taken over by the Islamists. In Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan the last of the Christian communities are facing extinction“: All items that America can boast on its resume, as it has actively helped make these happen. Ruling the free world somehow has been left to craven “leaders” who, Left and Right, have been burying the free world. And what Freysinger said of the Muslims — “They are supposed to conquer and subdue our Western world. Not with tanks, rockets, or riflemen. Something they could never accomplish, anyway” — I would add: Unless the U.S. and NATO keeps helping them.

(The Serbian plight must have been on Freysinger’s radar for a while, because I notice his wiki page says he’s a member of the Serbian Writers Association.)

I must retell how at the age of 26, without having so much as heard the word Serb (Bosnia had passed me by completely in my post-teen stardom-seeking tunnel vision), and without knowing anything about Albanians other than they were in the former Soviet Bloc (I didn’t even know they were mostly Muslim), I nonetheless lost my bearings when it was announced we would be bombing Yugoslavia. The earth had fallen out from under, and for the first two weeks of war both my husband and I were dizzyingly disoriented. It was a surreal atmosphere of utter isolation. We almost couldn’t catch our breath until I cranked out my first article against the war. We couldn’t put our finger on why our reaction was what it was; it was almost more physical than intellectual, as if our very bones knew something we didn’t. That it was the beginning of the end. Or that the world we thought we lived in, never was. Now it’s visible that, aside from the immorality, the dark corner America had turned, the unthinkable being actualized, and the righteousness of America being put into question for the first time in my young mind, today we see that there was a more tangible fear to fear: the drunken trend, the spiral, the domino effect that Freysinger describes, all facilitated by and quickly following the cataclysmic Kosovo trail blaze.

Today, the Russian immigrant who once gazed upon Old Glory with a thumping heart, who would gleefully and longingly survey affluent suburban and rural lifestyles, whilst resenting such ingrates as those who made films like “Revolutionary Road” bemoaning “the emptiness of it all,” now gazes upon Old Glory with cold eyes, and comes up empty when surveying the prosperous landscapes that once caught her imagination like the American skyscraper had a young Ayn Rand’s. Because without the meaning underpinning well-stocked supermarket shelves and big houses, without the will to deliver on the promise of fighting for our freedoms — instead gorging on the remnants of something once great, indulging in what is merely a last gasp — we are delivering, finally, on the emptiness that the leftists, communists, socialists, and Soviet sympathizers told us we had.

Fittingly, there is a book, so far available only in French, titled Europe Died in Pristina:

Jacques Hogard: British SAS and Americans were attacking Serbian Churches, Monasteries, Refugees (Dec. 19, 2014)

Jacques Hogard was one of the first Western officers who entered the territory of Serbia after the signing of the Kumanovo Agreement in 1999, and there he saw that the information he was given by NATO command does not correspond to the truth.

He realized that there was no humanitarian war, but on the contrary — as a field officer he saw that KLA terrorists were constantly under control of German and British military services, even when attacking Serbian churches, monasteries and refugee columns just after the end of the NATO bombing.

This is why his unit on several occasions got into armed conflict vs. both KLA and Brits who were often seen with KLA units.

One decade and a half later, Colonel Hogard, who recently published a book “Europe died in Pristina”, spoke about details of the war in Kosovo.

“The Brits had the closest contacts with the KLA. Soldiers of the 20th SAS Regiment were actually engaged with KLA, they provided them with logistics and trained them. This is what I personally discovered on the field,” said Jacques Hogard.”

“When members of KLA ambushed a retreating convoy of Serbian refugees — and the attack was carried out with the support of the British — I called a Serbian Brigade in retreat, led by Colonel Serkovic, to return and stop Albanian aggressors, which they did.

“When Serbian civilians ran from Pec, they were attacked by Albanian terrorists. I took a helicopter and dispelled them with gunfire from air. Several minutes after the action was over, I got a call from British General Mason, who asked how come, and could it be possible that the fire was opened against his people. I replied: ‘I cannot [imagine] that your special units sided with bandits who shoot civilians’.

“Mason was quiet,” said Hogard.

“[The KLA] took property, ethnically cleansing and emptying entire towns [over] night, as happened in Vucitrn. They were killing, individually and en masse. I hope that soon their leaders will face justice.”

“Once we found a list of Serbs for execution. There were the names of some Albanians disloyal to the KLA. We submitted these documents to our superiors, but that was all — we’ve never heard anything about the issue anymore.

“The fact that the KLA was a privileged interlocutor of the EU represents a distortion of history, a violation of international law and retrogradation of the civilized world.

“United States had the interest to weaken and break up Yugoslavia and Serbia, sice Serbia is a natural support for Russia in the region. Destruction of Yugoslavia was a step closer to Russia. The consequence we see today in Ukraine.

“Also, the Germans had traditional interest in destruction of Serbia as well.

“There are other strategic reasons in a very important region such as the Balkans….After all, there were personal lucrative interests included. Madeleine Albright and Wesley Clark are now shareholders of large enterprises in Kosovo, as far as I know.

“I am very concerned about the situation in the world. We always think that there will be no war, but it turns out that the previous one was not the last … Bosnia and Kosovo were an accurate picture of what will happen later, with the same mode of action, and the same protagonists, but in different place(s).

“As for Kosovo, it will never be a self-sufficient, sovereign, independent state…If you have somewhere a majority of the population that doesn’t mean that this becomes your national state…”

So. It takes about a decade and a half for the mid-level ones to start talking.

Bosnia charges 3 for planning attack in Sweden (Tanjug, B92, June 9, 2015)

The Prosecution of Bosnia-Herzegovina has raised indictments against three persons in a case known as “Benelux”.

The three — Bosnian citizens Adis Ramic and Amar Sljivo, and Swedish citizen Osman Abdel Salam — are accused of smuggling an explosive device meant to be used in a terrorist attack in Sweden….that could be remotely activated, and was meant to be used in the town of Malmo, Sweden….

According to the charges, Ramic struck a deal with one person currently in jail in the Netherlands, and another in Sweden, to buy the device, manufactured by Sljivo in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Abdel Salem attempted to smuggle the device out of Bosnia in an Audi with Swedish plates, but was arrested near a border crossing. The bomb was found hidden in the vehicle.

This comes four months after six other Bosnian Muslims — “U.S. citizens,” no less — were charged with supporting ISIS, an item I didn’t chronicle here at the time but most readers will remember:

6 people charged in U.S. with supporting ISIS (AP, Feb. 6, 2015)

Six Bosnian immigrants have been charged in the U.S. for allegedly supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Department of Justice said Friday.

The suspects, five of whom were arrested in the U.S., are all charged with providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, the DOJ said in a statement.

They were identified as Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, who live in St. Louis County, Missouri; Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, New York; Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34 of Schiller Park, Illinois; and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois.

The suspects immigrated from Bosnia, the Justice Department said. Three of them became naturalized U.S. citizens and the others have legal resident o[r] refugee status.

According to an indictment unsealed Friday, the defendants sent weapons, U.S. military uniforms and tactical equipment to a man named Abdullah Ramo Pazara, a Bosnian who traveled from St. Louis to Syria in 2013 to join ISIS. They also used Western Union and PayPal to transfer money to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, where third parties sent it to Syria and Iraq. Some of the equipment was also transferred through intermediaries.

Pazara was not charged because it is believed that he was killed last year. He communicated with the defendants through social media, according to the FBI and DOJ, and bragged online about killing and kidnapping several people.

Ramiz Zijad Hodzic and Rosic face the additional charge of conspiring to kill and main persons in a foreign country.

Hodzic allegedly provided tactical advice to Pazara and other foreign fighters, the indictment said, and sent rifle scopes and range finders to Pazara, intending that they be used on sniper rifles. Rosic attempted to travel to Syria, according to the indictment. […]

Did somebody say St. Louis? Four of the people mentioned are from St. Louis — that splendid, unproblematic, largest community of Bosnian Muslims outside of Bosnia, whom we made sure to resettle here and who even recruit Jewish lawyers to handle their complaints.

Just something I filed away a year ago and forgot about. It’s hard to make heads or tails of it; one report seems to cancel the other out. Of course, the one that denies the nature of the incident comes from a Kosovo police rep, which by definition is suspect, especially since it’s always been the interest of Kosovo officialdom to not have “Kosovars” come across as religious Muslims.

Passenger ‘threatens to blow up Swiss plane’ (Switzerland’s The Local, May 12, 2014)

A passenger threatened to blow up a plane carrying 150 people from Zurich to Pristina on Sunday, according to a report from Kosovo cited by the Swiss press.

The passenger, described as a man about 35 years old, brandished a cigarette lighter and a bottle filled with liquid and shouted threats, Italian-language Ticino newspaper 20 Minuti said on Monday.

The tabloid based its information on a report from Kosovar newspaper Koha Dittore. although this was contradicted by another account of what happened.

Albanian newspaper Gazeta Express said in an online report that the plane was operated by Swiss carrier Helvetic Airways, although the company declined to comment on the case when initially contacted.

The Kosovar newspaper quoted the man as saying “Allah is great” before threatening to blow up the plane, 20 Minuti said.

“We all go before God, do you want to go to heaven or hell,” the man is alleged to have said as the aircraft was travelling at an altitude of 10,000 metres. “God is first, then comes Mohammed.”

The Kosovar newspaper said another passenger, experienced in martial arts, neutralized the would-be bomber, to the relief of the terrified people on board.

However, the Gazeta Express quoted a Kosovar police spokesman, Baki Kelani, who downplayed the incident.

Kelani said a difference arose between the passenger and a member of the plane’s crew but he denied there was any threat of an explosion.

“We have contacted the family of the passenger in question,” the policeman is quoted as saying.

“According to the information we have received, he was suffering from psychological problems.”

[Certainly at least that part rings familiar as the standard explanation for every case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome.]

The Kosovar police representative said at no time were passengers put at risk and the man implicated did not mention the word “Allah”.

He was arrested for questioning by police after the plane arrived in Pristina.

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