Washington Waking Up to Dangers of Kosovo Independence

Published on September 8, 2006

Category: News from the American Council for Kosovo

Reliable local sources in the Albanian community have reported a very recent ramp-up in activity from well known Wahhabi leaders from Ferizaj and Gnjilane in Kosovo, and Lipkovo and Cair in FYROM, in the area of the mosque. These leaders have taken over an apartment on a street opposite it, and also near the DUI local headquarters, where they “disappear” for several hours each day inside with their students and plot the next stages in their plan for “capturing” this strategic neighborhood. According to the local sources, they drive cars with Kosovo license plates. The Wahhabi leaders are creating a bookstore in the area of the mosque where they will present fundamentalist literature and CDs, and provide “spiritual guidance” for young Muslims. In fact, a major tactic of these leaders is to preach inside the private homes of Muslims and try to convert them to the Wahhabi faith. The strategic nature of the Taftalidze neighborhood is, first of all, because it is so far largely non-Albanian, and it represents a missing link between Albanian-inhabited areas to the south and southwest, and to the north of the Vardar. The primary goal of the radicals is to create a religiously “clean” Muslim base to which they can convert to Wahhabism and, eventually, jihad against Israeli, US and other Western interests. While the group is currently decentralized and trying to remain out of the spotlight, internal tensions in the FYROM Islamic community ensure that violent incidents will continue and the influence of the extremists will continue to grow.

Kosovo-based Albanian Wahhabists Step Up Activities in Macedonia:

Besides the destabilizing precedent Kosovo independence would present, the American Council for Kosovo repeatedly has warned that an independent Kosovo would further the agenda of radical Islamic forces who would use it as a base of operations in neighboring areas. The following, an excerpt from a Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis (Sept. 7, 2006), illustrates how Kosovo-based Albanian Wahhabist activists already are increasing their influence in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with aim of creating "a religiously 'clean' Muslim base to which they can convert to Wahhabism and, eventually, jihad against Israeli, US and other Western interests."

3. Meanwhile – the violence of Muslim Albanians against Christian Serbs continues. In a recent meeting of the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, under the spiritual guidance of Bishop Artemije of Rashka and Prizren, delegates warned: "These attacks are more and more frequent and are becoming more specific as regards the way in which they are carried out, since in committing them, children and young people are taken advantage of and abused, which, regarding the way of organization and operation, reminds of the attacks Muslim terrorists are making around the world. Any [solution to the Kosovo issue] that envisages any division of modification of borders, which would violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Serbia and be in contradiction with the international law, as well as any other imposed solution, will be unacceptable for and decisively rejected by the Serb nation and the [Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija].

2. During his September 7, 2006 speech at the Heritage Foundation, Serbian President Boris Tadic echoed the Congressmen’s concerns and likened the claim that Serbia has lost its right to Kosovo on account of Slobodan Milosevic to a suggestion that Iraq no longer has a right to its territorial integrity because of Saddam Hussein. "Future status of Kosovo is very important for the stability of Kosovo. But, at the some time, that can be a precedent, if Kosovo is going to become an independent country, a precedent very dangerous, not only for the Balkans, but for other regions in the world," President Tadic said.

1. In the September 3, 2006 edition of The Washington Times, House International Relations Committee members Representatives Dan Burton (R-IN) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) wrote “If the U.N. Security Council decides in favor of Kosovo's independence, it will have a far-reaching negative effect throughout the region. It will also affect the dialogue between Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq and may strengthen the hand of separatist movements around the world. Such a decision has serious global security concerns, and the United States should carefully consider how a U.N. decision in favor of Kosovar independence will affect countries like Russia, India and Indonesia, all struggling with minority ethnic populations that use terrorism to weaken democratically elected governments. The U.N. must not force a decision on Serbia that is unacceptable to its people and democratically elected representatives. A final decision must be a workable compromise and mutually acceptable to Serbia, ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosovo and the minority Serbian population. If this is not the case, the status quo will continue, or worse, the region will regress to the ethnic cleansing of Serbian Christians in Kosovo.”

This week saw further indications that official Washington is becoming increasingly aware of the disastrous consequences a forcible and illegal detachment of Kosovo from democratic Serbia would have on the Balkan region. Worthy of note:

Editorial comment from the American Council for Kosovo:

U.S. Congressmen Join a Growing Chorus of Experts Warning Against Kosovo Independence; Serbian President Boris Tadic Conveys Kosovo Independence Dangers to U.S. Leaders; Christian Serbs in Kosovo Denounce Muslim Albanian Violence Against Non-Albanians; Kosovo-based Wahhabism in FYROM

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