By Julia Gorin
There are not many (ethnic) minorities left in Kosovo..." UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news conference in Geneva... "Albanians are trying to cleanse the Serbs and create a fait accompli before any talks [about Kosovo's status]," said a Western source..."Anyone with political experience can see that."
Orthodox Christian Serbs and symbols of their culture and history were targeted throughout Kosovo in violence last week...In all, 366 homes were destroyed and 41 churches burned. In this southern Kosovo city, centuries of culture vanished in seconds....The mobs specifically targeted churches, the very symbols of Orthodox Christian Serbs.
German intelligence (BND) confirmed in '05 that the terrorist bombings in London in July of that year and in the Madrid commuter railway on May 11, 2004 were organized in Kosovo.
The grisly combination of international narcotics dealing and militant Islam and terror in an independent European nation portends a future that is, at the very least, questionable. Granting Kosovo independence could well lead to a Greater Kosovo, one that is Muslim-ruled and could easily seize neighboring Macedonia and parts of Greece.
For good measure, the Albanians' advocates follow up boasting this "success" with citing Albanian pro-Americanism, as Poole and Robison have done. A dubious endorsement for America if ever there was one, enshrined in a makeshift Statue of Liberty that overlooks our handiwork from atop Pristina's "Victory Hotel".
The Kosovo Giveaway: the Beginning of the End, ala Munich
"One of the most cherished principles of international law-the territorial integrity of states-is about to be undone as part of the latest Western attempt to cover up failure in the Balkans," Tufts international law professor Hurst Hannum recently wrote in the Christian Science Monitor.
[T]he Security Council will be asked to dismember a sovereign UN member state for the first time in its history...Conditions in the Balkans and the desire of diplomats to "do something" cannot justify overturning two basic principles of international law: territorial integrity and the nonacquisition of territory by force. Insisting on independence for Kosovo is likely to trigger a Security Council veto by Russia and/or China, which would raise the stakes and make the situation even more untenable...Adopting the Ahtisaari proposal would mean that might makes right in the Balkans, and it would serve neither peace nor justice.
About covering up that failure, it has been like watching Keystone Cops as we attempt to patch up every disastrous consequence of our flawed policies with the next flawed policy, concealing every mistake with the next mistake--until we find ourselves protecting KLA heroin factories; supporting Albanians wherever they rise up against their host societies (even rescuing ANA terrorists when they lose the upper hand in Macedonia).
From an email to me by Canada's last ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett:
The principle of territorial integrity is one of the oldest and fundamental principles of international law. It is enshrined in the United Nations Charter and reinforced in the Helsinki Final Accords when it was reaffirmed by stressing that international boundaries are inviolable. Territorial integrity overrides the concept of self determination which is not a principle of international law. Moreover, the UN Resolution 1244 that ended the bombing of Yugoslavia reaffirmed Serbia's sovereignty over Kosovo and that resolution still stands.
So what the USA is determined to do is in violation of international law, the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. Ironically, the Russians understand this and they are the ones upholding international law and defending the UN Charter. Even Hitler at the time of Munich insisted that Benes, the Czech Prime Minister, sign a document agreeing to give up the Sudetenland so that would make the Munich Pact legal. What the USA seems determined to do...strikes a body blow to the framework of international peace and security and leads us back to the rule of "might is right." How your founding fathers must feel. What has gone wrong with your leaders who once inspired the hope and admiration of all free men?
We've promised Albanians the impossible, and as it explodes in our faces in the coming weeks, the plan is to blame Serbian and Russian "intransigence" (though Greece, Slovakia, Spain and other European countries oppose independence as well-and note that the six-month delay in Kosovo's status resolution was suggested by Sarkozy's France, which has had more than a taste of what the Serbs got from a restive minority).
Supporting Kosovo independence is supporting illegal immigration; violability of borders; meaninglessness of international laws; secession by critical mass ethnicities; guerilla warfare; ethnic purification; religious purification; no rule of law; mob justice; collective guilt; blood code; no minority rights; selective justice; sex slavery; terrorism; the drug trade; mafia states; and might-makes-right diplomacy and intervention.
Pots Calling the Kettle Black
Yet somehow, pointing this out makes me a pro-Serb propagandist, according to Poole and Robison. Why is applying to Serbia the right of each country to keep its territory from being torn away by domestic terrorism or aggressive foreign states a "pro-Serb" position? Why is taking the position of legality, respect for international norms and territorial integrity, not to mention rule of law and civil rights, the ipso facto "pro-Serb" position--and my writings nothing more than "Serbian propaganda"?
Ah yes, all that Serbian propaganda that's just oozing out from the woodwork for American consumption, accounting for all the positive associations brought out in people the moment you say the word "Serb", and fooling us into...bombing the Serbs. Again I ask why, especially at this stage of the worldwide jihad, has Serbian propaganda been less preferable than Muslim propaganda?
The London Times' Walker runs into the same problems, particularly since he is married to a Serb. As he described in that same article:
My father-in-law was a Serb policeman (albeit a traffic cop). I am sometimes accused of being pro-Serb' in the way I look at Kosovo. I once reported seeing a tractor pulling a trailerload of mujahedin in Kosovo, and was told that I was not only pro-Serb, but fantasising.
I receive regular emails from Albanian agencies in Pristina arguing that when a Serb village is wiped from the map, it is somehow Belgrade's fault. Or if not, then the UN's. Give us independence and all will be well' is the mantra.
Poole and Robison have attributed racist overtones to my writings on Albanians while, like most, not even attempting to hide their seething contempt for everything Serbian. For some reason, the universal and unchecked anti-Serbism is much less offensive than my "anti-Albanianism", with every aspersion and rumor against Serbs assumed as fact without it ever being called discrimination. Meanwhile, only pro-Albanian folks can be the objective arbiters of the situation. As Gossett asked me, "Ever notice how they're always accusing people of being pro-Serb' because they're oblivious that they're anti-Serb?"
And all this is without mentioning the irony of Albanians and their promoters calling anyone racist, when Albanians with their open agenda of creating a pan-Albanian area in Europe are as supremacist as it gets. "Albanians' religion is Albanianism!" one Albanian reader informed me when I made the Islamic connection. And indeed, for now Albanian supremacy trumps Islamic supremacy among Albanian Muslims, but as radicalization asserts itself as the only future for Muslim countries, "Albanianism" will be twice as pleasant.
"The hope in giving [Albanian-ruled] Kosovo autonomy was that they would become loyal citizens of Yugoslavia," author Alexander Dragnich, who served in the American Embassy in Belgrade, told me in 1999. "But instead they used the increased privileges to clean Kosovo of Serbs."
And from Gossett about that autonomous era:
[A]n official inquiry found that local security and justice bodies had let Albanian offenses against Serbs go unchecked, including rape, assault, arson, intimidation, and property offenses.
Meanwhile, who can forget the UN aid worker from New York who was killed on his first day in Kosovo--for speaking Serbo-Croatian? Bulgarian-born Valentin Krumov had "spent years working toward a peacekeeping assignment with the organization," the AP reported. The 38-year-old
was beaten and shot to death as he took an after-dinner stroll on Mother Teresa Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare in the capital Pristina....after he spoke Serbo-Croatian to a group of ethnic Albanian teen-agers, one of whom had apparently asked him the time in Serbo-Croatian, officials said.
"A crowd of local citizens assaulted him. He was taken by a mob ... and shot dead," Lt. Col. Dmitry Kapotsev told The Associated Press. A black jacket he was wearing, inscribed with the words "United States, New York," was found nearby, splattered with blood...
[Krumov] had been zealously studying Albanian during the last few weeks because he wanted to get closer to the local people...A suspect escaped on foot, apparently helped by other residents crowding the street....A Polish police officer who did not want to be identified told The Associated Press that he never spoke his own language because it could be mistaken for Serbian...Albanians themselves have reported threats when speaking Serbo-Croatian with visitors from Bosnia or Croatia.
Poole closes his article "Kosova [sic] and Anti-Jihad Bigotry" by writing:
There is enough bloodguilt in the Balkans to go around, and we shouldn't be trying to add to it. Many of our forbearers left their homelands to escape such violent stupidity; we only dishonor their memory and sacrifices by attempting to revive it.
The suggestion to not "add to it" always comes along on those rare occasions that someone ventures to expand the blame beyond the Serbs. So when they say "we shouldn't be trying to add to it", they mean "don't add non-Serbs to it." Yes, there is, as they say plenty of blame to go around, but somehow the only shoulders it ever lands on squarely are Serbian.
Poole's spelling and pronunciation Kosova impugns him as well. "Kosova" is the nationalist/Islamist/Fascist and dhimmi pronunciation. "Kosovo" means "of blackbirds" in Serbian. "Kosova" has no meaning in Albanian. The intent of inventing the word "Kosova" was to de-Serbify the name of the land. The invented "Kosova" is the same as if Hispanics were to take over the state of Maryland and call it "Marylando", which has no meaning in Spanish.
But let's go ahead and call all this my "anti-Albanian racism" for now. After the consequences of our Albanian-friendly but morally wrong and self-destructive policies manifest themselves more often and closer to home,then we can call it what it was: a warning. This is not pointing the finger at every last Albanian, most especially those who knew from the start to fear the KLA and its objectives. Even if one were to take the Salt Lake City shooting by a Bosnian and the Ft. Dix plot by Albanians as isolated incidents not representative of the overall populations the attackers hail from-though this article demonstrates that they're not quite "isolated"--the question needs to be asked: If it's not the Serbs who are involved in plots against America, why were they, and why are they still, the designated enemy? Why are the "handful" of Albanian and Bosnian baddies coming from the side we took? Is it just a coincidence that for years I've been writing articles titled "Kosovo May Explode-Here" and "What Happens in the Balkans Doesn't Stay in the Balkans"--and this year Americans faced Balkans-related attacks on their soil?
It started with the Serbs and now has moved on to the rest of us. Should we wait until the next Albanian or Bosnian attack before demanding that our politicians move away from the 1990s polices that endanger Americans, not least by resettling our designated "allies" on our shores? Thirty million dollars were raised here to support insurgents who have engaged in axe murders, purges of their own ranks, and killings of Albanians as "collaborators" merely for being employed by the Yugoslav government as postal workers. As official "allies", the KLA has a haven for their operations in the U.S., their supporters here collecting money and weapons to support operations in Kosovo, southern Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and northern Greece.
It's time to stop making exceptions, excuses and double standards for the Balkans, as Poole and Robison have been doing because they've had personal contact with affable Albanians. For Poole and Robison to try to lull American thinkers back into their pre-9/11 stupors-after all that's happened and all the lessons learned about what's what and who's what--would border on the treasonous if I didn't know that they're just dupes themselves.
I am not guided by a hatred for Albanians, but Poole and Robison are guided by a love for them, as they themselves admit. The "rhetoric" and "con artistry" they attribute to me is all theirs. The information is out there, but few are willing to put it together. I don't maintain my distasteful perspective on the Balkans because I don't know what I'm talking about, but because I do.
[T]he Islamic extremism and open [incitement] on the US that [are] spreading among the Balkan Muslims [are] preached by an Imam, who is...an ethnic Albanian from [the] village of Orahovac in Kosovo. This Imam, Suleyman Bugari, is a hodja of the White mosque in Vratnik, known as the most Muslim part of Sarajevo. Ironically, the fiercest fighter of jihad has not turned up from the middle of Bosnia with its numerous Islamic top ranking religious schools, but from Albanian dominated Kosovo, busy teaching the Bosnians in the midst of Sarajevo what real Islam is.
With the recently announced delay in determining Kosovo's status and the province's leaders and citizens warning/threatening of violence to come should the province not get independence this summer, watch the "moderates" become indistinguishable from the radicals. Surely "former" terrorist and our pal, Democratic Party of Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci, knows what he's talking about when he says, "Enough is enough. The time was yesterday. Today is already too late. Tomorrow is dangerous." (Let's just hope the few hundred thousand Albanians living in America don't get as upset as their brethren in Kosovo, especially the KLA fighters we've resettled here.)
In his original Albanian rhapsody, titled "Albania and the Perils of the 21st Century" Poole wrote:
It was during a long road trip with a Ministry of Energy official...that I observed a number of new mosques being built in virtually every town we drove through, which was a bit of a surprise for a country that just a few years earlier had been officially atheistic. Inquiring about this, my friend -- a high-ranking member of the Albanian government and the Democratic Party -- shook his head and said, "Yes, Mr. Patrick. The Saudis are building everywhere they can. This is causing many problems all over, but since they bring with them millions of American dollars, there isn't much that we can do to keep them out."
At the same time, a Washington Post article Poole cited demonstrates that Albanians are grateful for the foreign money:
Many Albanians interviewed here said they are grateful for the money and manpower from foreign religious groups. Not only has the largess built new churches and mosques, it has funded job training, food, roads, irrigation, schools and other projects...The frantic pace of mosque construction has continued at a break-neck pace, as dozens of new Wahhabi-financed mosques have opened in every major city, staffed by foreign-trained Wahhabi imams.
If anyone has any illusions about the budding militancy of Kosovo, here is a small sampling of headlines to dispel them:
Bin Laden's Camps Teach Curriculum of Carnage (KLA fighter's application found at al Qaeda offices in Afghanistan, boasting experience fighting Serbian and American troops in Kosovo and recommending suicide operations against Disneyland)
And once again we are hearing from former al Qaeda operative Ali Hamad, who is still trying to warn the West about Bosnia and Kosovo:
Former Al-Qa'idah officer Ali Hamad [as transcribed] has said that the Bosnia-Hercegovina state still protects members of Al-Qa'idah, adding that members of this terrorist organization are also to be found in Kosmet [Kosovo-Metohija] where they are supported by ethnic Albanians.
In an interview with [Belgrade-based] Glas javnosti, Hamad said...that Al-Qa'idah had established control over Europe via Bosnia-Hercegovina, assessing that Spain and Italy would soon suffer a terrorist attack similar to what had happened in the United States...
He said that, according to his knowledge, Al-Qa'idah, after Bosnia, had the largest number of its people in Kosmet where Albanians supported them.
"They especially hate the Serbs. In some FBI reports, it has been demonstrated that Al-Qa'idah has its people in Kosovo, and that domestic people from Kosovo are among them...
All this is, of course, without even mentioning the sex-slave trade that Albanians are kings of and a mafia that has outpaced both the Italian and Russian mobs in this country.
Inverting Victim and Villain
But to keep American thinkers from second-guessing our help to the Albanians, Robison wrote:
There is no question in my mind that an objective evaluation can only concede that in the instance of Kosovo the Christians were the obvious aggressors and the Muslims the victims.
To borrow a term from Peter Brock's book Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting
, Robison--like every journalist and politician involved with the Balkans in the 90s--"started the clock" at the point of the Serb response to the abuses that were going on in Kosovo. As we see consistently with reporting on Israel, the public is given a context-free version of the facts. But articles throughout the 1970s and 80s, in newspapers from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Christian Science Monitor described
what was happening in Kosovo:
...Slavic Orthodox churches have been attacked, and flags have been torn down. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned. Slavic boys have been knifed, and some young ethnic Albanians have been told by their elders to rape Serbian girls.
As Slavs flee the protracted violence, Kosovo is becoming what ethnic Albanian nationalists have been demanding for years, and especially strongly since the bloody rioting by ethnic Albanians in Pristina in 1981 - an 'ethnically pure'' Albanian region, a "Republic of Kosovo" in all but name.
Last summer, the authorities in Kosovo said they documented 40 ethnic Albanian attacks on Slavs in two months...Officials in Belgrade view the ethnic Albanian challenge as imperiling the foundations of the multinational experiment called federal Yugoslavia...
Ethnic Albanians already control almost every phase of life in the autonomous province of Kosovo, including the police, judiciary, civil service, schools and factories. Non-Albanian visitors almost immediately feel the independence - and suspicion - of the ethnic Albanian authorities.
The hope is that something will be done...to exert the rule of law in Kosovo while drawing ethnic Albanians back into Yugoslavia's mainstream.
In Bosnia, writes Petrilla, he got a tour of the EUFOR Army base in Sarajevo "and was comforted to learn that although our politicians may not get it, the Army certainly understands who the enemy is today." Similarly, a Jerusalem-based monk from Kosovo named Father Jovan-who can't travel from one Kosovo monastery to another without an armored NATO escort so that he doesn't get beheaded the way other monks there have-told me, "Every American [and Spanish] soldier I meet in Kosovo says the same thing: Our mission was to protect Albanians. But after a week I discover that it is the Serbs who need protecting from Albanians.'"
The policies and rhetoric coming out of Washington are in direct contradiction to the reality on the ground in Kosovo as observed by our fighting men and women.
But back to Poole's tall tales-one of which involves "poisoning" by the Yugoslavian government of Albanian high school students. This was a PR scam so thoroughly refuted and discredited that not even the most avid of the Albanians' advocates deign to invoke it in their list of Serbian "misdeeds."
...the actions of the Serbian government since seizing the formerly autonomous province in 1990 during the break-up of Yugoslavia, including the poisoning of thousands of Albanian high school students in March 1990 and the attempted ethnic cleansing of Kosova [sic] of Albanians in 1999 (prevented only by NATO intervention), have certainly not helped the cause of the Serbian minority.
Where have we heard this kind of accusation before? Recall the infamous poison slander by Suha Arafat in 1999. The Albanian-poisoning incident came up at the Milosevic trial-that momentous but aggressively ignored "Second Nuremberg"--in February 2005. The testimony is available in transcript form, but here it is as reported by the only known American observer of those proceedings-Andy Wilcoxson, on his unfortunately titled website "Slobodan-Milosevic.org":
In March of 1990 several thousand Albanian teenagers were brought to hospitals and clinics across Kosovo. [Former Kosovo Health Secretary Dr. Vukasin] Andric said that they were brought to the medical centers en masse with great urgency, and with great publicity.
The Albanians claimed that the Serbs had poisoned the teens with gas while they were attending school. According to press reports, between 4,000 and 7,000 ethnic Albanian teenagers were admitted to hospitals in Kosovo complaining of a mysterious illness.
Dr. Andric said that the sudden flood of Albanian teenagers forced the hospitals to discharge existing patients some of whom were seriously ill. Dr. Andric testified that toxicology tests performed on the teens revealed no traces of poison gas in their blood or urine.
Dr. Andric, who was a doctor treating these people, noted that the alleged illness became more severe when TV cameras were around. He said that the Albanians would be up walking the hospital corridors when there were no cameras, but as soon as the press would show up they were suddenly struck ill and had to return to bed.
It was Dr. Andric's conviction that these Albanian teenagers were faking. He based his conviction on the fact that no Serbian students, who were studying in the same schools at the same time, fell ill. It was exclusively Albanians who were [a]ffected...
Dr. Andric said that several Albanian doctors also believed that the illness was fake, and condemned the incident. To bear this out he listed the names of several Albanian doctors who condemned this fraudulent incident. He was forced to give their names to the court in closed-session in order to protect them from reprisals by the KLA.
This was not the only poisoning libel that Albanians tossed at the Serbs. However, if poisoning tales are the order of the day here, then refer to the above-cited New York Times article describing Kosovo in 1987:
The federal Secretary for National Defense, Fleet Adm. Branko Mamula... said ethnic Albanian subversives had been preparing for "killing officers and soldiers, poisoning food and water, sabotage, breaking into weapons arsenals and stealing arms and ammunition, desertion and causing flagrant nationalist incidents in army units."
As for Poole's ignorant aspersion that the Serbian government "seized" the formerly autonomous province, the Serbian government didn't "seize" anything. Even Tito's Communists who gave Albanians autonomous privileges acknowledged Kosovo as a part of Serbia. What critics of the revoked autonomy believe, essentially, is that it was right for all the entities to violently break away from Yugoslavia, which was created by communist Tito, but it was wrong for the Serbs to reverse communist Tito's 1974 decision to give Kosovo autonomy to appease the Albanians at the expense of the Serbs there.
Mr. Poole complained that in my article "Allied Assassins?", I claimed that Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha hosted Osama bin Laden in his former presidential offices in 1995, something for which he is sure that "not a shred of evidence exists that such a meeting ever happened." Two items of documentation for this were linked in two of my previous articles, but here they are for American thinkers. And here's a third. (Again, section 6, "Pan-Islamic Factor".)
The Role of Albania Proper, and some Asked-for Evidence
Last week a Tirana-based activist named Erion Veliaj shared a little more with us about Berisha:
[O]ur government, led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha, has abused this relationship with Washington, using it as cover to shore up his increasingly tyrannical rule. Today's Albania is the closest European resemblance to Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. With seemingly unconditional US support, Berisha is slowly undermining respect for human rights and democracy.
Media crackdowns have become a routine, and most of the public is only exposed to governmental airwaves, which often accuse critics of being jews' and faggots'...Berisha talks about progress and reform, but these are euphemisms for cracking down on the independence of the judiciary, redistributing private property, solidifying his grip on secret services and stacking the public administration with hardcore supporters of his Democratic party irrespective of their competence.
There are no McDonalds or ClubMeds in Albania, and not because we oppose globalization. On the contrary, we welcome it - but businesses here are constantly harassed, extorted and shut down if not found favourable with the ruling regime...
Washington learned the hard way what the costs are of turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuses. America should be reminded of its past mistakes. We Albanians would be grateful if Washington would remember the principles and values that so many of us have come to admire about the United States of America.
Ready for the comments to his post? This one sums up at least a few: "Dude, you must be paid a pretty penny by the Serbs, or Greeks to talk like that about Albania, its political past and future under Sali Berisha or any other Albanian leader. You should be ashamed calling yourself Albanian..."
Though Veliaj supports Kosovo independence like just about every other Albanian on the planet, he asked the comment posters, "Shouldn't we in Albania fix things here first, before trying to export' our despotic regime elsewhere?"
But the pull of tribalism is too strong, as Colorado State University professor G. Richard Jansen demonstrates in a paper he's been updating since 1999, titled "Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo: An Abbreviated History/An Opening for the Islamic Jihad in Europe":
In March 1997 civil government in Albania totally collapsed and anarchy resulted. This caused some Albanians to realize that a "Greater Albania" may not be such a great idea after all as they saw Albanians being killed by other Albanians....The United States advised the League for a Democratic Kosovo, under the leadership of Ibrahim Rugova, who sought a non-violent solution to the crisis, that...Kosovo should remain part of Serbia. However public opinion among Albanian Kosovars swung strongly against Rugova and his non-violent approach and toward the radical KLA.
Despite Albanian hesitations about a Greater Albania, then, concern for life and limb, as well as for quality of life and a solid future, paled in comparison to Albanian "solidarity", deadly as it can be for Albanians themselves. (One of many notable confluences between Albanians and Muslims in general.)
Jansen concludes with a note on Sali Berisha:
In 1992 Sali Berisha became President of Albania. He made clear right away his desire for a "greater Albania" that would include part of Kosovo and his belief that the struggle in Kosovo by Muslim Albanians against Serbia was indeed a jihad, that is a holy war on behalf of Islam. Albania nearly collapsed in economic instability and riots in 1997. During the ensuing chaos firearms, ammunition and passports moved from Albania to Kosovo. Albania is believed by the United States government to harbor an Al Qaeda infra-structure.
We are starting to pay the price for the military interventions of NATO in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990's. Hopefully the United States will soon start to realize that the Islamic jihad in the Balkans in general and in Kosovo in particular is very much an integral part of a worldwide Islamic movement to impose over the entire world Islamic rule under Sharia law...
Just a bit more on "Greater Albania", an agenda that the comparatively "moderate" former Kosovo Prime Minister Ibrahim Rugova denied under oath at the Milosevic trial--from a 1982 New York Times article:
"The nationalists have a two-point platform," according to Becir Hoti, an executive secretary of the Communist Party of Kosovo, "first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then the merger with Albania to form a greater Albania."
Poole accused me of warning "that President Bush was walking into a virtual Albanian deathtrap in his visit to Tirana on Sunday, where he was to be greeted with bombs, guns and the sinister machinations of al-Qaeda." See if you can find where I said this in the article, which related that former Defense Secretary William Cohen's visit to Albania had to be cancelled in 1999 because of a terror threat (as did Bill Clinton's), and also the fact that for Bush's visit the U.S. government requested that its own small army of 500 combat-ready Marines be flown in with the president for security and that Albania's elite guard be disarmed.
In his article "Kosova [sic] and Anti-Jihad Bigotry," Poole wrote:
...[W]e must remember the circumstances under which the Kosovar refugees came to America. Do [sic] any of us remember the staggering sight broadcast live by the international news media of hundreds of thousands of Albanian[s] fleeing their homes in Kosova [sic] and walking across the Albanian border in order to flee the ethnic cleansing campaign launched by the Serbian military? Do those present critics of our efforts to help the Kosovars believe that those hundreds of thousands of refugees were all part of a colossal media stunt, or are they willing to acknowledge that they were fleeing from the real threat of Serbian butchery and were deserving of our assistance and military intervention?
It's humorous that someone who hasn't heard that the "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide" rumors were debunked is asking critics of the intervention to "acknowledge" the "real threat of Serbian butchery". The word "colossal" doesn't begin to cover it. The "war" in Kosovo absolutely was, and still is, the greatest, most costly ($45 billion so far), scandal in American history, outdone only by the elaborate, voluntary, conspiracy-free suppression that continues to keep the truth locked.
If you can imagine, the West was complicit in being conned into military action against a genocide and ethnic cleansing that proved false and in fact staged. (That has been the finding of one observation force after another, most vocally that of Spanish forensic pathologist Emilio Perez Pujol, who told London's Sunday Times, "We did not find one-not one-mass grave," and Spain's El Pais newspaper, "There never was a genocide in Kosovo.")
What is it about the Balkans that has led every last journalist and, more appallingly, the journalists' police-the blogosphere-to continue to miss/ignore the biggest story of the millennium?
But Poole is determined to perpetuate even more mythology:
...we have had tens of thousands of troops stationed in Kosova [sic] and Albania for almost a decade without a single combat-related fatality...The NATO mission in Kosova [sic] may very well be the most successful international peacekeeping effort of the modern era...Our intervention in Kosova [sic] and our close relations with Albania are among the best US foreign policy successes in recent memory.
According to U.S. columnist and security analyst Michael Garner:
Kosovo is a hotbed of Islamic extremism: And, more than ever, organized crime is rampant in today's Kosovo. This is despite the expensive presence of KFOR, the NATO-led Kosovo Force which consists of some 17,000 troops -- about twenty times as big as the multinational peacekeeping contingent which currently successfully monitors the ceasefire between Moldova and Transdniestria.
To call the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo a "success" flies in the face of the daily reality that non-Albanians face, living in shipping containers and confined to two-kilometer perimeters beyond which they dare not venture. It flies in the face of the purification of the province that's been taking place, with 220,000 Serbs and thousands of other non-Albanians fleeing the province since 1999, and it defiles the memory of the 1,000 Serbs abducted and/or killed since that rest-in-peacekeeping mission began. It also makes a mockery of the meaning of "no combat-related deaths", given that KFOR troops are instructed to simply flee when fired upon-to avoid calling attention to the fact that our protges are shooting at us. (Recall reports about the 2004 March pogrom describing the peacekeepers as being "helpless" to stop the mobs, with NATO tanks just standing watch and, alternately, turning away.)
Even writers whose take on Serb culpability in Kosovo is no more flattering than Poole's and Robison's know at least something about the reality of the situation. From a 2004 article "General Clark's Kosovo is a Mess" in Canada's Globe & Mail:
Far from ending ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, Gen. Clark's war only set off another round. The result has been to establish a new, ethnically cleansed, fiercely nationalistic mini-state in the Balkans -- and a pretty unpleasant one at that.
Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, and a NATO garrison of more than 12,000 troops, Kosovo today is still a poor, dangerous, unstable place. The remaining Serbs live in fear. Last summer, in a sign of the times, someone opened up with a machine gun on a group of Serb boys swimming in a stream, killing two and wounding four.
Like U.S. lawmakers, who continue touting our military adventure in Kosovo as a victory for "democratic values" of humanitarianism and multicultural tolerance, Poole is boasting our mono-ethnic "success" in the Balkans. Here's what that success actually looks like, as reported by Sherrie Gossett, managing editor of The Objectivist Center's magazine The New Individualist, in February:
Knifings, bombings, abductions, murder, threats, and intimidation have been used to cleanse the province of any remaining minorities.
...KPC members [Kosovo Protection Corps, which absorbed many KLA] had acted as de facto police officers, torturing or killing local citizens, illegally detaining others, extorting "liberation taxes" from businesses, and threatening UN police who attempted to intervene.
Today, the property rights of minorities have disappeared as ethnic Albanians help themselves to what's left of the former owners' cars, homes, furnishings, and businesses. According to UNMIK's Housing and Property Department, over 700,000 property units in Kosovo have been illegally occupied, along with an unknown number of businesses...
Moderate Albanians have been targeted as well, including those who had been content with Serbia's rule or who enjoy socializing with Serbs. Political rivals have been assassinated and, in at least one case, dismembered.
...[A]fter seven years of UN administration and billions of dollars in foreign aid, Kosovo and its international administrators have been unable to consistently meet even the most basic standards set forth in UN Security Council resolutions 1199, 1160 and 1244. Those resolutions demanded the demilitarization of paramilitary groups, an end to "acts of terrorism," the protection of basic human rights, and safe return of all refugees.
In October 2005...Norwegian Ambassador to NATO Kai Eide published a review of how Kosovo was meeting UN-set standards...Prosecution of serious crimes was said to be hindered by "family or clan solidarity and by the intimidation of witnesses as well as of law enforcement and judicial officials." Failure to prosecute crimes targeting minorities was said to result in a climate of "impunity."
Into this vacuum of lawlessness have come radical Wahhabi Muslim groups from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These groups flooded into the area after the bombing and invasion, offering financial aid to Albanians, sometimes on strict conditions: They had to wear the head scarf and bow to Mecca five times a day, or allow the Wahhabis to build a mosque,' [Former OSCE official Tom Gambill] recounts. The burly ex-Marine also showed this author security records logging complaints by Albanian school teachers who said they were being kicked out of their classrooms for hours at a time, so that Wahhabis could teach the Koran to their students."
The picture painted by Sunday Times of London diplomatic correspondent Tom Walker in his 2004 article "Kosovo Goes to Hell" isn't much different:
Those Serbs who remain in Kosovo, and those not living in Mitrovica, which adjoins Serbia itself, are sitting ducks. The nameless Albanians who funded and invented the KLA from Geneva, New York and elsewhere are pursuing their deadly plan...
[Former Labour MP] Alice Mahon just about hit the nail on the head when she said, "Kosovo is a monoethnic state run by the Mafia, with ethnic minorities living in guarded enclaves."...Saddest of all, perhaps, are the decent Albanians who have to sit by in silence. I would too; Kosovo is the sort of place where dissenters get sniffed out then snuffed out pretty quickly. Last month one of them sent me an email to let me know that he and his family were surviving. The situation seems under control,' he wrote. KFOR has finally appeared (after a few days), and the rest you can imagine ... Kristallnacht. Keep in touch.'
Nor do the following headlines-a tiny sampling of what has been a sustained campaign of violence--speak to the success of the peacekeeping mission or of our foreign policy there:
US troops have shot and wounded two rebel fighters in Kosovo, near the increasingly tense border with Macedonia...Macedonian sources say the gunmen were trying to reinforce rebel positions in the village...Nato troops could be sucked into combating the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia...Fighters from the rebel National Liberation Army have told the BBC that if any of those arrested were to be extradited to Macedonia, the organisation would consider American K-For troops to be legitimate targets. The border has grown increasingly tense amid warnings from Macedonia that ethnic Albanians pose a threat to the stability of the entire Balkans region..."We are looking very closely now at the possible decision to allow Yugoslav forces into the ground safety zone," Nato Secretary General, Lord Robertson, said in New York.
Yugoslav security forces could return to a buffer zone along the Kosovo border as soon as this weekend under a decision yesterday by NATO to allow Belgrade's troops to take control of some territory from which they were expelled two years ago.
There is little sign...that Kosovo Albanians are softening their opposition to remaining in Yugoslavia, despite the ouster of Milosevic by a democratic movement...neither [moderate Ibrahim Rugova] nor [Hashim] Thaci has spoken out publicly against the rebellion...Instability in Macedonia could draw in Greece and Bulgaria.
NATO troops have raided the offices of an American charity in Kosovo as part of an investigation that...links at least two large Muslim charities based in Illinois to fund-raising for Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network."
The trouble started when a group of Serbian farmers, and UN police officers guarding them, came under fire in the village of Gorazdevac, about 90 kilometres west of the province's capital, Pristina....the situation was brought under control only after reinforcements were called in and following a gunbattle which lasted more than two hours."
An Indian policeman was gunned down in an ambush late Sunday in the first killing of a U.N. police officer on duty in Kosovo since the United Nations assumed control of the Serbian province in 1999...A rocket-propelled grenade was fired into a local courthouse shortly after the trial [of four KLA members] and numerous U.N. vehicles were vandalized.
'Specific Threat' Triggers Kosovo Alert, Reuters, Nov. 28, 2003 ("NATO has raised security in Kosovo in response to a specific threat' of attack against international organizations in the United Nations protectorate.")
NATO boosted its force by 1,000 and vowed to stamp out ethnic violence with "robust" action... A Serb official in Lipljan, central Kosovo, said about 300 Albanians were trying to enter a church protected by Finnish U.N. peacekeepers. Some threw hand grenades and Finnish troops fired back... Nuns from Devic Monastery near Srbica, south of Mitrovica, were flown out on KFOR helicopters...when at least 1,000 armed Albanians threatened the convent, the church said. The Orthodox church in Pristina was also burning on Thursday evening and the priest was hiding in the cellar of his parish house next door...In the central town of Obilic, Serbs appealed to KFOR for weapons to defend themselves. There are no more Serbs in Obilic,' local Serb Mirce Jakoljevic told Belgrade's B92 radio.
For the past eight years, I've been in a lonely place politically. I don't mean the kind of lonely that conservatives generally find themselves in. I'm talking about utter desolation, for there are just as few conservatives as liberals where I've been. One of the only non-Serbian Americans to do so, I watched with steady interest for the better part of a decade the clockwork predictability of the fallout from our forgotten Kosovo intervention, a bombing campaign against an emerging post-Communist democracy rooted in Judeo-Christian values--on behalf of tribalistic, blood-code-following nominal Muslims claiming oppression and no less than genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Watching the Albanians predictably move on to terrorizeMacedonia within a few months of our intervention that would "contain" the conflict, and then watching Albanians turn their weapons on NATO peacekeepers within 18 months, I wondered what it would take to get a national discussion going about that huge, self-destructive debacle. What would it take to have the debate that, it must be said despite my hobby of mocking Europeans, the German public had in 2001 when it put its politicians' feet to the fire after learning the hoax that their country had been party to, thanks to a German documentary unapologetically titled "It Began with a Lie."
In sharp contrast to every other cynically reported war, this time not only were our peacenik presses on board, but conspicuously they didn't try to ingratiate us to the enemy perspective by letting us hear incessantly from the other side, as they're otherwise fond of doing. Something was off. Even the evolving "alternative media"-self-tasked with policing the mainstream press and usually very wary of "facts" coming from the mainstream media and of cause celebres--were either silent on this or on precisely the same page as the New York Times, with its Sontag yentas for the first time explaining the concept of "just war". I found that, aside from Serbian-Americans (and Serbian-Canadians), who would later describe 1999 as a surreality they observed as if outside themselves, the only other people who as a group understood that our action meant something awful for the free world were the Russian-Jewish community that I myself had come from-a cartoonishly patriotic and capitalistic immigrant group with less than zero feeling for "Mother Russia" (if we're talking about the 70s and 80s wave).
But the silence persisted, and none of the rare newspapers giving the occasional op-ed space to the dissenting perspective was interested in actually investigating. Nothing changed in this regard after the attacks of September 11th. Not even after a Washington Times article titled "Hijackers connected to Albanian terrorist cell" came out a week after 9/11, reading:
Albania is one of several places U.S. intelligence agencies are focusing their resources...Islamic radicals, including supporters of bin Laden, have been supporting Albanian rebels fighting in the region, including members of the Kosovo Liberation Army...KLA members have been trained at bin Laden training camps in Afghanistan...As of last year, the group operated a residence in Tirana, and the CIA has been pressing Albania's government to expel all associates of the Islamic terrorists.
Meanwhile, every one of my own articles attempting to expose the hoax-relegated to a small segment of the alternative media because of a near blackout on the subject everywhere else-dropped with a thud. As did an article coming out two months after 9/11, titled "Al Qaeda's Balkan Links"(which appeared only in the European edition of the Wall St. Journal). Same thing with a March 2002 National Post article titled "U.S. Supported al-Qaeda Cells during Balkan Wars, Fought Serbian Troops":
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network has been active in the Balkans for years, most recently helping Kosovo rebels battle for independence from Serbia with the financial and military backing of the United States and NATO...In the years immediately before the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the al-Qaeda militants moved into Kosovo...to help ethnic Albanian extremists of the KLA mount their terrorist campaign against Serb targets in the region.
Even after another National Post article in 2004 by Canadian former UN General Lewis MacKenzie, titled "We Bombed the Wrong Side?", came out, Kosovo remained off the media's and public's radar-something that vested politicians were counting on.
But then came March 2004, when rumors, provedfalse, that Serbs drowned three Albanian boys, were used as a spark for the orchestrated pogroms of March 2004, leading to the deaths of 19 people, the displacement of 4,000 Serbs, the destruction of dozens of churches and medieval monuments plus hundreds of homes. Surely people would demand to know what on earth was going on over there, I thought, and what are these people whom we "rescued". All the questions that weren't asked in 1999 would finally be asked, I thought. They weren't. And the silence grew louder. The questions still weren't asked even when the 9/11 Commission found that Bosnia, with our help, had been the breakout event that transformed al Qaeda into a truly global network; they weren't asked even when the Commission found that two of the 9/11 hijackers had fought alongside Bosnian and international forces against the Serbs, and that five of the hijackers had been trained in Bosnia, and that Australian David Hicks trained in a KLA camp. But the national dialogue that the issue demanded remained absent, and the media maintained its blackout, one door after another slamming in my face every time I proposed a piece on the repercussions of our Balkans intervention.
What o what would it take, I wondered, for people's eyes to stop glazing over at the mention of the words "Bosnia", "Kosovo" and "Balkans". The answer came a few days before Valentine's Day this past February, when a Bosnian immigrant shot nine Americans at a mall in Salt Lake City, an incident that raised some American eyebrows. But the media were prepared, quickly taking the story right back to Bosnia and rehashing the same "Serb-sparked Balkan-wars" explanation that brought us in on the Muslim side in the first place. The story died soon enough, after a round of the familiar "Bosnians aren't all like that" and "Community fears American Backlash" articles. However, the seed for the long-awaited questions had finally been planted, so that three months later when four Albanians were arrested for plotting to massacre American servicemen in New Jersey, the public finally wanted some answers.
One thing that comes with researching and trying to talk about the Balkans for eight years, and something that's important for this readership to understand, is that people we otherwise respect--people who seem to "get it" on every other vital issue of the day, including Islam--are utterly clueless on the Balkans-and, alternately, agenda-laden. The Balkans are every respectable commentator's blind spot. Notice that in their daily opining on the war on terror since 9/11, our best minds don't touch on the Balkans, a key region in the fight for civilization. In trying to engage people-including the conservative intelligentsia that went along with the peaceniks on our 1990s "humanitarian" wars-I find that people are confused, confounded, overwhelmed and bored by the subject.
Name your favorite conservative pundit, your most trusted jihadwatcher, and in deconstructing the war on terror and the danger of Islam and jihad, there is always, always one exception that he or she will make: the Balkans. That's where we give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt, where world trends don't apply, where Muslims don't stage atrocities or provoke military responses or use Western dupes; the area is suspended in its own context, immune to the tactic of nationalism followed by separatism - which we buy and then Americans die as that separatism morphs into Islamism.
This is nothing personal against anyone who has attacked me in these pages, but a simple statement of fact that I and the handful of other Balkans observers out there have noticed over the better part of a decade: The Balkans make smart people stupid. And that includes people and publications we conservatives generally respect, such as the Wall St. Journal, National Review, Weekly Standard, and so on.
As well, it is a favorite vocation of conservatives who want to earn their "I'm not anti-Muslim" stripes--to pile even more on those most expendable of whities, the Serbs. The Balkans are the bone we toss to the Islamic world in its perpetual but elsewhere transparent imaginings of genocides, massacres and hate crimes against them. At the policy level, attempting to win over the Muslim world by giving them Serbian territory and all the interventions that this included was a clearly stated goal-not only by Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) in April, but early on by Lawrence Eagleburger who, as Dr. Srdja Trifkovic wrote in his book Defeating Jihad, "said that a goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world and to counter any perception of an anti-Muslim bias regarding American policies in Iraq in the period leading up to Gulf War I." Added Trifkovic, "The result of years of policies thus inspired is a terrorist base in the heart of Europe, a moral debacle, and the absence of any positive payoff to the United States."
What is it about the Balkans that makes it such an exception? What is it about the Serbs that makes "Serbian propaganda" which is consistent with our own intelligence less preferable than Muslim propaganda? At the same time, what is it about the Serbs and the Balkans that makes George W. Bush indistinguishable from William Jefferson Clinton; Henry Hyde indistinguishable from Tom Lantos; John McCain indistinguishable from Joe Biden; Condoleezza Rice indistinguishable from Madeleine Albright; Joe Lieberman indistinguishable from Eliot Engel; and Wesley Clark from Bob Dole?
This confusion has found its way to the pages of American Thinker. As we finally, finally are confronted on our own shores with the direct consequences of our actions, as Americans pay the price of their leaders' still unadmitted foreign policy disasters, some opinion makers--without following the direction the region has taken and without reading even a shred of Hague transcripts or articles based on those transcripts--have the gall to come out of the woodwork and do their piece to keep the Balkans chapter closed. This is my contribution toward sparing American thinkers any further such insults to their intelligence.
In the recent section "Disputing Julia Gorin," American Thinker contributor Ray Robison wrote the following:
One of the articles that Gorin cites comes from a website of something called CNW group. If you read the "about us" portion you find that this is not a news service but a press distribution service. This "story" is actually a press release from something called The Centre for Peace in the Balkans... This organization is nothing but a front. Robison was objecting to a source I cited in the following sentence: "But already the Albanians of Kosovo believe that independence is the very least they are due, and don't hesitate to attack UN officials or NATO troops that are perceived to stand in the way."
But which fact is he objecting to? The fact that Agim Ceku is the prime minister of Kosovo? Or the part where Ceku's Croatian troops shot at Canadian peacekeepers? If the Serbness of the source is what offends-and it usually does--then maybe the following source with a more graphic depiction will be more agreeable. From "Ceku Must Face Justice" by Canadian journalist Scott Taylor:
...if one only casually glances at the resume of the incoming prime minister, Agim Ceku, it becomes apparent that his election flies in the face of international justice, foreshadows more violence in Kosovo and ignores the sacrifices and valour of our Canadian Forces...As a colonel in the Croatian army, Ceku commanded the notorious 1993 operation in what is known as the Medak Pocket [in Croatia's Krajina region].
It was here that the men of the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry came face to face with the savagery of which Ceku was capable. Over 200 Serbian inhabitants of the Medak Pocket were slaughtered in a grotesque manner (the bodies of female rape victims were found after being burned alive). Our traumatized troops who buried the grisly remains were encouraged to collect evidence and were assured that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
And if you want to see for yourself, here's a 17-minute video of the fighting-and of some body parts--courtesy of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's "National" subsidiary.
Meanwhile, I must point out that Mr. Robison has engaged in a favorite ploy of many Albanian readers, namely picking out one source out of a dozen that are cited, which he then points to and says, "Aha! A Serbian source! This writer can't be trusted!" (Stigmatizing a source as "Serbian" and therefore not to be listened to is another favorite international pastime, no matter how much backup that source may have from mainstream, non-Serbian sources--which often don't even know they're backing up any Serbian claims.)
As to Mr. Robison's quip that this information is "extremist Serb propaganda" put out by "probably the same people who were raping and murdering the Kosovars in the first place," professional writers generally don't make conjectures parroting debunked popular mythology, so I won't dignify this buffoonery with a professional response. But if ethnic cleansing, racial supremacy, systematic murder and rape, organized terror and property plundering are what one seeks, here is an article about eyewitness Branko Piliser, an American who grew up in Kosovo and whom I interviewed for the Jerusalem Report and JewishWorldReview.com about his brother Slobodan, among the last of the Jews driven from Kosovo.
Next, Robison objected to my citing a Reuters story that stated, "Three synchronized explosions in Kosovo's capital city were aimed at blocking the path to independence from Serbia, the province's ethnic Albanian president and prime minister said on Sunday."
Robison countered by saying, "In my book it is pretty obvious that in the very story she cites the Serbs are again attacking the Kosovars. That is evidence that we are enabling jihadists? What the ...?"
My detractors don't normally make it this easy for me, but if Mr. Robison insists on giving his inexpert opinion about who was behind an attack, then I can't have much mercy. The reason Robison is confused is that he hasn't been following the region for the past eight years and is unaware of its evolution as the big picture plays out. Had he been, he would know by now that if Serbs are suspected of attacks or attempted attacks, the word "Serbs" appears in the news reports on the subject, starting with the headline. When those suspected are Albanian, no ethnicity is mentioned-as we recently witnessed here with the Ft. Dix arrests, when just about every news outlet referred to "former Yugoslavs" instead of fingering our Albanian protgs. (It works similarly in the Middle East: "Israelis kill six Palestinians in West Bank Raid" vs. "Bus explodes in central Jerusalem.") Here are some headlines which don't give any idea as to who is behind an attack, until you read the actual article:
The UN says it's received "credible threats" against its staff and property in Kosovo. The UN-run province is braced for violence after a year-end deadline for a decision on the ethnic Albanian majority's demand for independence from Serbia was pushed back. Security has now been heightened after political activists called for a mass protest on Tuesday against the UN negotiation process, which began in February.
KLA letter admitting attack on UNMIK cars sent from Tirana Feb. 23, 2007, Kosovo paper Express, via BBC Monitoring-Europe (Indeed, according to an American peacekeeper I spoke with, deployed with the National Guard in Kosovo, U.S. forces are advised to not park their vehicles near UN vehicles, as those are always exploding.)
With regard to the quote Robison chose from the cited source, please note that it comes from the Albanian leadership, whereas the rest of the article paints a different picture.
Poole's and Robison's Vision Clouded by Sentimentality
Robison's experience of Kosovo, which he described in his original, heart-warming account for American Thinker, dates back to his year 2000 peacekeeping mission during which, he wrote, he felt like a "rock star" to grateful people including "gorgeous" and "giggling" toothless nurses. Of course he felt that way. As in other backwards, impoverished lands where any American is a celebrity, most of these people had never seen an American before, and this American was there to help them; naturally, he was embraced. (I can't help wondering, though, if any of these nurses were employed at the hospitals which during Kosovo's autonomous era wouldn't treat Serbian patients, forcing pregnant Serbs to go to Serbia proper to give birth. Are the giggling nurses among the Albanians who later got work at the UN-run mental hospitals abusing Serbian patients?)
The Kosovo Muslims are of course grateful for [our help], yet I spoke with several dozen of them about their allegiances and it was blatantly clear that their allegiance was to the east, towards Mecca, and certainly not to the [W]est. Where will their allegiances be once they get their way and have an independent state? Considering the continual bombardment of Saudi money and Wahabist indoctrination in most every mosque and every school in Kosovo?
Like Ray Robison, AT contributor Patrick Poole also has been befriended by Albanians, his heart touched by some hospitable and, for the moment, grateful people. While Albanians made Robison feel like a rock star, Poole openly states on his blog:
While it is easy to get me to speak endlessly on any topic, if there's one topic that's near and dear to my heart it is anything having to do with my travels to Albania. I get teary just thinking about it.
If that's the case, Poole should responsibly recuse himself from the discussion, as he admits to being incapable of impartiality and objectivity on this issue. Both he and Robison are too close to the situation, their regard for a people clouding their vision and causing them to work backwards from a preferred and stale premise rather than follow the information. On this point, I should mention that I was writing my "Serb propaganda" for more than eight years before befriending my first Serb face to face-which happened this past May in Israel.
It is clear that these two men depart from their anti-jihad guns when it comes to Albanians. Here is a perfect illustration in which, stunningly, Robison lays bare his conflicted confusion:
Gorin cites a Guardian article in which one of these "rebel leaders": "...called for the area to be included in Kosovo under K-For administration. But Nato, the UN and the US have called on his group to disband and respect current borders."
So just think about that for a moment. Here we have a commander of the extremists actually calling for western dictate over land he occupies. Can anybody with a straight face say this smacks of Islamic extremism? He did not say "we will behead infidels" or "the infidels must stop involving themselves in our region". He said he wanted NATO involvement.
A truly amazing statement. This is supposedly someone who knows something about the way jihad works? Is Robison unaware of the long-used tactic of enlisting the West's help to further one's territorial, nationalist and/or jihadist ambitions-until the West won't take the jihadist or nationalist agenda to the next stage, at which point the weapons turn against the Western Infidel? The Bosnia and Kosovo jihads, as they are openly and casually called by Muslims around the world including Pakistani President Musharraf, were done by the book. Of course they called for a NATO intervention, and continue to call for Western interference where it is beneficial. For precedents on jihadists enlisting the aid of the international community (a.k.a. "Western dupes"), see the Oslo model (mind you, most Palestinians are "secular" too); 1980s Afghanistan and even the Islamic green-light that Anwar Sadat got from his imam before signing the Carter-brokered "peace" treaty with Menachem Begin.
Indeed, at the 16th Islamic Conference held in Pakistan in October 1998, Albanian separatism in Kosovo was defined as a jihad and the Islamic world was called on to help "this fight for freedom on the occupied Muslim territories."
It was at this time that the nascent al Qaeda "announced terrorist attacks against the infidels', i.e. Great Britain, the USA, France, Israel, Russia, India and Serbia," according to this Serbian government report-if Robison, Poole and Albanian readers will deign to skim section 6, "Pan-Islamic Factor".
In defending his Albanian friends, Poole began one sentence with "But the fringe in the US that sees every Albanian as a terrorist, every Muslim a Wahhabi, and Kosovar independence a direct threat to the very existence of Europe..."
Robison similarly underestimates Kosovo' significance when he writes:
If anybody who reads this pro-Serbian phony claim about the imminence of Islamic jihadists opening the door to the west through Kosovo can't see right through this nonsense, I can't help you. But if you have read my previous work you know I am all about stopping Islamic extremism. Kosovo is not a significant part of that fight and its' [sic] inhabitants pose no threat to us. Gorin is a con-artist.
If Kosovo is an insignificant part of the fight, why is it so important to al Qaeda:
"In the eyes of the radical Islamic circles, the establishment of an independent Islamic territory including Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania along the Adriatic Coast, is one of the most prominent achievements of Islam since the siege of Vienna in 1683. Islamic penetration into Europe through the Balkans is one of the main achievements of Islam in the twentieth century." -- Israeli Colonel Dr. Shaul Shay, author of Islamic Terror and the Balkans This item, reported by AFP ("Bin Laden in Kosovo") and CNSNews.com, reinforced Shay's notion as early as 2000:
The official Yugoslav news agency, Tanjug, reported Thursday that bin Laden has "found new sanctuary in the Balkans, in the hotbed of European terrorism--Kosovo...[He] arrived in Kosovo from Albania...Until recently, bin Laden was training a group of almost 500 mujahedin from Arab countries around the Albanian towns of Podgrade and Korce for terrorist actions in Kosovo."...Tanjug reported that Abu Hassan, the man said to be accompanying bin Laden, was "responsible for the murder of three British tourists in December 1998."...Israeli investigative journalist Steve Rodan wrote that, according to European security and diplomatic sources, "Kosovo has become the latest and most significant arena for radical Islamic states and groups that seek to widen their influence in Europe."
And the National Guardsman I spoke with over the weekend echoed this reality, saying "With all the attention on Iraq, everyone underestimates this region. No one understands that what happens here will play a key role in European security for the next 10 years."
American writer Christopher Deliso, who has been following the Balkans even longer than I have (let alone Poole and Robison), is among the few who does. His book, The Coming Balkan Caliphate, has just been released.
Yes, Mr. Poole, we are indeed the fringe-the informed fringe.
The Big Picture
Again, it's common to be "all about stopping Islamic extremism" and be dead wrong on Islam in the Balkans; it's a standard disconnect among otherwise hawkish conservatives. The Bush administration itself, busy frying bigger fish, early on made the mistake of believing that Kosovo is not a significant part of the war on terror, and therefore defaulted to Clinton-era policies there.
But there is an old little propaganda pamphlet that Dr. Trifkovic has described, issued by an Albanian migr organization in Turkey, which shows
a green arrow emanating from Turkey, thrusting through the Muslim-populated parts of the Balkans (Thrace, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sanjak, Bosnia), severing the links of the unbelievers' defensive steel chain, and victoriously heading to the north-west, towards the heartland of Europe. This geopolitical idea [has been] known for decades as the Green Route ("Zelena Transverzala")."
It was no coincidence that the huge sports complex that Sarajevo built for the 1984 Olympics was named "Zetra", short for Zelena Transverzala. Continues Trifkovic:
As Yugoslavia started disintegrating in the early 1990s, most Western analysts of world affairs promptly categorized the Green Route thesis as a crude, anti-Muslim conspiracy theory, mainly propagated by nationalist Serbian academics...The Green Route theory has gained fresh credence, in Europe at least, after 9-11. It is by now hard to dispute that the radicalisation of Islam in the Balkans - deliberate or not - turned out to be the net result of the actions of the "international community" during the Yugoslav crisis...
After 9-11, nothing was supposed to be as before, but the U.S. policy in the Balkans has inexplicably retained its Islamophile bias, so remarkably persistent during the Clinton years. In the meantime, the Green Route has morphed from an allegedly paranoid Islamophobic propaganda ploy into a demographic, social and political reality.
About Albanians being anti-Wahhabi, as Poole has mentioned and as many Albanian readers have written me, all insisting that Albanians merely suffer from the same scourge as the rest of us-radical Islam making inroads with their population--what we have is this: The territorially ambitious Albanians accepted the Wahhabis' and al Qaeda's help, making themselves easy prey to jihadists while pursuing a terror war of secession, and now that they're about to get their independence, they don't want the Wahhabis moving in on their turf. It doesn't work that way; Wahhabi help always comes with a price tag. Meanwhile, here is an illustration of the dynamic between the Wahhabis and the anti-Wahhabi Albanians, from the NGO Institute for War and Peace Reporting:
Agim Krasniqi and a dozen other armed men have given the [Macedonian] government a headache ever since last November, when they took over control of the village of Kondovo, a dozen kilometers from Skopje [capital], effectively turning it into a safe haven for criminals from Macedonia and Kosovo... But Krasniqi remained defiant, warning that if the police approached the village he would retaliate against Skopje itself with bombs and explosives...In the meantime, Krasniqi can be seen sitting in cafes in the centre of Skopje...
...[O]utside the village of Kondovo in the Summer of 2005, armed men from the Wahhabi camp attacked a car carrying...imams who spoke out against the Wahhabis. In a strange twist, the moderate imams were saved when another armed group, that of Kondovo native and young militant Agim Krasniqi, attacked the Wahhabis.
Hamas vs. Fatah, anyone? Sunnis vs. Shiite? Meanwhile, as early as that November, 2001 article in Wall St. Journal-Europe, the writer discerned a trend:
With the future status of Kosovo still in question, the only real development that may be said to be taking place there is the rise of Wahhabi Islam -- the puritanical Saudi variety favored by bin Laden -- and the fastest growing variety of Islam in the Balkans. Today, in general, the Balkans are left without the money, political resources, or institutional strength to fight a war on terrorism. And that, for the Balkan Islamists, is a Godsend.
According to Mickey Bozinovich at Serbianna.com:
Reliable sources on the ground in Kosovo confirm that Wahabis are tremendously popular among young Muslim Albanians, that UNMIK is afraid to patrol certain quarters where Kosovo Wahabis dominate and that even the peacekeepers themselves are afraid that their action may trigger a violent reprisal.
Serbianna.com is a Serbian-American news and commentary site that was put on the map in the wake of news of the Ft. Dix plot. KFOR intelligence incorporates articles from sources like Serbianna and Serbia's "B92" news site into the National Guard's The Daily Falcon newspaper. According to Serbianna columnist Dr. Miroljub Jevtic, the most extreme imam in Bosnia comes from Kosovo: