October 29, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 29-10-03

CONTINUATION OF ETHNIC VIOLENCE MAKES IT CLEAR WHAT ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS WANT


New insignia of ethnic Albanian nationalists|
UNITED STATES OF ALBANIA - REALITY LOOMING BEHIND ALBANIAN
NATIONALISTIC AMBITIONS IN THE BALKANS

(a photo from one of Pristina shop windows)
(four black eagles signify: Greater Kosovo (with parts of Montenegro and Presevo valley); Republic of Albania, "Ilirida" (North Western Macedonia) and Cameria (Northen Greek Epirus)

CONTENTS:

CONTINUATION OF ETHNIC VIOLENCE MAKES IT CLEARS WHAT EXTREMISTS WANT
Bishop Artemije briefed new KFOR Commander Gen. Kammerhoff about the difficult position of the Serb community and the Church in Kosovo and Metohija

WHO WAS KILLING WHOM?
Arrest of another group of former UCK "Rebels" for war crimes against other Kosovo Albanians opens many interesting questions.

REUTERS: ARRESTS FIVE KOSOVO ALBANIANS FOR WAR CRIMES
"They have been charged on war crimes related charges which relate to actions against the civilian population during the armed conflict in 1999," Singh told reporters... They are suspected of kidnapping, causing injury, killing and attempted murder of fellow Albanians, the media said.

JASHARI FAMILY ACCUSES KFOR - KFOR SAYS THEY WERE ATTACKED
Two different acconts of the event in Prekaz when a group of French soldiers was attacked by armed Kosovo Albanians - members of the Jashari clan.

DONORS CONFERENCE ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA ON WEDNESDAY
A donors conference for Kosovo and Metohija will be held in Belgrade on Wednesday, it was announced by the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija on Monday.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO: NO SECOND KOSOVO
We shouldn't forget the silent majority of decent, common Albanian people who just want to live in peace, without headaches and intimidation from mafia groups and militias. Yet the economic and political dislocation that will accompany any international withdrawal is only likely to put more of these thugs, not less, into power. The Kosovo experience since 1999 has been of a timid UN rewarding former militants and war criminals by keeping them armed and in power – through just changing their uniforms. And the same timid, unaccountable UN has allowed this unsavory bunch to run roughshod, driving out or exterminating Serbian, Roma and Macedonian Muslim minorities.

TERRORISM IN THE BALKANS ENTER SANDZAK?
Further, we may see a paradigm shift in how this part of the Balkans is perceived, away from the east-west axis and towards a north-south one that would provide the missing link between Islamic activity in Bosnia and Kosovo- the two places now of most concern to Western governments. If the Sandzak suspicions turn out to be justified, the Western view on Montenegrin independence may shift, because any weakening of security services from Belgrade can only expedite the potential for Islamic terrorism from Bosnia and Kosovo- through a severed Sandzak. That is something for the Western policymakers to think about.


More News Available on our:

KOSOVO DAILY NEWS LIST (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
/erpkiminfo.html


CONTINUATION OF ETHNIC VIOLENCE AGAINST KOSOVO SERBS MAKES IT CLEAR WHAT EXTREMIST ALBANIAN LEADERS WANT
Bishop Artemije briefed new KFOR Commander Gen. Kammerhoff about the difficult position of the Serb community and the Church in Kosovo and Metohija


"My people and my Church have been brought to the verge of physical extinction and no one seems to have any solution how to prevent turning this Province into an ethnically cleansed Albanian territory"
Bishop Artemije with the new KFOR Commander
 Lieutenant General Holger Kammerhoff (German Army), Gracanica, Oct 28, 2003

TOP

ERPKIM INFO-SERVICE
October 28, 2003

By continuation of ethnically motivated attacks against Kosovo Serbs and recent provocations and attacks on KFOR soldiers Kosovo Albanian extremists clearly demonstrate what kind of society they want to create out of Southern Serbian Province. It is not a modern democratic society in which all citizens would be equal in front of law, but an ethnic Albanian state in which there will be no place for other ethnicities and the Serbian Orthodox Church, said Bishop Artemije in his exclusive statement for the ERP KIM Info-Service after today's meeting with the new KFOR Commander Lt. Gen Holger Kammerhoff.

Bishop Artemije briefed the German General during the meeting that the security and economic situation in which remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija live today had not essentially changed. One cannot deny improvements in some other sectors but this has not affected the life of our people which remains more or less isolated in their enclaves, said the Bishop. There is no real progress in the process of returns of displaced Serbs, Kosovo cities have been systematically depopulated of Serbs, our people have no free access to regional medical and educational institutions which remain solely run by ethic Albanians. All Serb inscriptions have been systematically removed and the names of our towns and villages are being forcibly albanized. "My people and my Church have been brought to the verge of physical extinction and no one seems to have any solution how to prevent turning this Province into an ethnically cleansed territory", Bishop concluded emphatically.

The Church is facing particularly difficult situation because our pastoral work is almost restricted to our tiny enclaves. More than 100 of our churches destroyed or damaged by ethnic Albanian extremists after the armed conflict in 1999 remain in ruins. So far we have not been able to reconstruct a single one of our damaged or destroyed shrines, because those who destroy them are still free and would do it again. In fact, extremism in Kosovo and Metohija has been legalized through political institutions which serve as a smoke screen for worst kind of ethnic discrimination and organized crime in Europe today, said Bishop Artemije.

Murderers of the Gorazdevac children, Staro Gracko farmers, the Stolic family and the terrorists who blew up the Nis Express bus with dozens of Serb passengers are still freely walking along Kosovo's streets while the conspiracy of silence makes any investigation of crimes impossible. Political mentors of these murders without any shame make public statements that they will never face the justice.

Bishop Artemije expressed his hope that KFOR will continue protecting Serbian people and their holy shrines and that reduction of troops must not be continued on the expense of security of the vulnerable population. Kosovo Serb community is dissatisfied with the work of local Kosovo police and UNMIK and the KFOR presence is still indispensable. We cannot have confidence in those who wore UCK uniforms just a few years ago. Bishop Artemije especially expressed his expectation that KFOR will continue special regime of protection and assistance for those monastic communities, primarily in Western Kosovo, which constitute the most valuable shrines of the Serbian Church and its people. Those monuments which survived centuries of Ottoman oppression and the post conflict barbarism of extremists must not be left unprotected.

At the end of his statement for the ERP KIM Info-service Bishop Artemije reiterated readiness of the Serb community to participate in building truly multiethnic institutions and society which will equally respect all its citizens regardless of its ethnicity and religions. But, Bishop said, we cannot support building of a society tailored only for Albanians who plan to destroy all traces of our cultural, spiritual and historical heritage. Our democratic right is to resist to such oppression and request protection from the international community.

TOP


WHO WAS KILLING WHOM?

Arrest of another group of former UCK "Rebels" for war crimes against other Kosovo Albanians opens many interesting questions.

Commentary by K.T

TOP

ERPKIM INFO-SERVICE
GRACANICA, October 29, 2003

Yesterday's arrest of five Kosovo Albanians, former UCK (KLA) members who are suspected of "kidnapping, causing injury, killing and attempted murder of fellow Albanians" brings up quite a legitimate question - How many ethnic Albanians, who are offically claimed to have been victims of "Serbian regime" were killed by their radical compatriots - UCK?

Manipulations with numbers of victims in the Kosovo armed conflict (1998-1999) were huge. In the beginning, during the NATO bombing campaign the number went as high as 100.000 killed Albanians. After the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army and police and deployment of KFOR and UN Mission the numbers were suddenly reduced to 10.000. Forensic investigations in the last four years have not managed to prove that more than 5.000 Kosovans (both Albanians and Serbs) were killed, among which there were definitely not few KLA rebels who clashed with Yugoslav security.

The recent arrests of some leading UCK commanders like Commander Remi (Rrustem Mustafa) and his "Lap group", Daut Haradinaj and the "Dukagjini group" as well as these five former UCK fighters all accused for murder and torture of other Kosovo Albanians it appears that quite a number of victims which have been so easily ascribed to "Serbs" were in fact killed by Kosovo Albanian extremists. It is no secret that any Kosovo Albanian who disagreed with UCK, not to speak of those who were loyal to Yugoslav state and wanted to live with other ethnic groups, were marked as "collaborators" and became "legitimate targets" of the new masters of Kosovo.

Continuation of investigation will soon throw more light on this taboo topic. Inter-Albanian killings, murders of witnesses, mysterious assassinations of some leading political and military Albanian figures may prove that UCK had a significant share not only in killing Serb policemen and civilians but also other dissenting Kosovo Albanians.

For the Hague Tribunal investigators it is extremely difficult to provide necessary witnesses to raise indictments against some leading war-time UCK figures just because anyone who decides to witness may run a risk to be killed like dozens or even hundreds of others.

These new elements in the story of war-time UCK behavior will definitely give much clearer picture on the nature of the Kosovo conflict and mar the aura which UCK enjoys among many Kosovo Albanians.

Of course, quite a different topic, but not necessarily unrelated to the first is the post war systematic liquidation of hundreds of Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Bosniaks and other non-Albanians which was more or less coordinated by the UCK warlords who in the meantime legalized their new position in the society as leaders of political parties.

TOP


U.N. ARRESTS FIVE KOSOVO ALBANIANS FOR WAR CRIMES

"They have been charged on war crimes related charges which relate to actions against the civilian population during the armed conflict in 1999," Singh told reporters... They are suspected of kidnapping, causing injury, killing and attempted murder of fellow Albanians, the media said.

TOP

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L28643850.htm

REUTERS ALERTNET

28 Oct 2003 14:10:10 GMT

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.N. police said on Tuesday they had arrested five Kosovo Albanians on charges of war crimes dating back to the 1999 conflict, a move denounced by former guerrillas in the province.

U.N. Kosovo administration spokesman Neeraj Singh said the five men were arrested early on Monday in Kacanik, near the Macedonian border.

Charges were issued by the Kosovo justice department and were not related to the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague, the United Nations said.

"They have been charged on war crimes related charges which relate to actions against the civilian population during the armed conflict in 1999," Singh told reporters.

Local media said they were members of the wartime Kosovo Liberation Army
(KLA) and quoted their relatives as saying the arrest warrant was issued by the Pristina district court and signed by an international investigation judge.

They are suspected of kidnapping, causing injury, killing and attempted murder of fellow Albanians, the media said.

The arrest comes only days after former Kosovo Albanian rebel chief Agim Ceku was briefly held and then released in Slovenia on an invalid Serbian war crimes arrest warrant. His arrest sparked demonstrations by Kosovo Albanians in Pristina.

Associations of KLA war veterans from Kacanik said in a joint statement the acts did not serve peace, freedom and democracy in the province and they proved that Serb "collaborators" were getting protection.

War crimes are a sensitive issue in the area, as many Kosovo Albanians see KLA guerrillas as heroes in a war of liberation against harsh Serb rule.

International police of the U.N. interim administration in Kosovo, UNMIK, carried out the arrests, backed up by a special unit of Italian Carabinieri.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since June 1999 after NATO bombing forced Serbia to end its military crackdown on the ethnic Albanian majority in the province.

TOP


KFOR HITS AN OLD WASP NEST - JASHARI CLAN


Jashari clan - a wasp nest not only for Serbian military but for KFOR too
Not far from the location of the latest incident between Jasharis and the French KFOR Yugoslav
special police forces clashed with Adem Jashari in February 1998. Since his death Adem Jashari
and his family have become a symbol Kosovo Albanian nationalism

JASHARI FAMILY ACCUSES KFOR OF MISBEHAVOR, KFOR SAYS THEY WERE ATTACKED

Two different acconts of the event in Prekaz when a group of French soldiers was attacked by armed Kosovo Albanians - members of the Jashari clan.

TOP

KOHA DITORE, Pristina daily in Albanian
OCTOBER 27, 2003

Pristina - An incident happened on Saturday night between the Jashari family in Prekaz and KFOR members. A day later both sides gave different versions of their statements referring to what happened that night, which made Kosova Prime Minister, Bajram Rexhepi go to Prekaz, in this case more as a friend of the family.

Members of Jashari family in Prekaz confirmed that KFOR members entered their house yard on Saturday afternoon after they searched their property of this family in the neighborhood. These family members confirmed that this KFOR action seemed as rude since they entered the house yards laughing, singing, and shouting and they also entered without any warning.
According to family members, all this happened under observation of a helicopter from the air.

Talking about the incident, the representative of Jashari neighborhood, Bilall Jashari said that recently there was a large KFOR presence in the village and in the neighborhood. But on Saturday this presence was increased and the behavior of the soldiers was arrogant.
“At approximately 1800, six armored vehicles came speeding in front of the doors of the commander. Their behavior was so unusual that it made us believe that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” he explained describing the behavior of the solders that according to him, they were laughing loudly, singing, and grabbing their flack-vests and weapons. This scene provoked the residents of the neighborhood that requested the KFOR soldiers to leave. According to him, such thing caused the incident but thanks to the cool headedness, it didn’t escalate into violence.


Through a press release, KFOR officials gave a different version of the event.

According to the MNB-NE Press Center release at 1730, one KFOR vehicle was positioned near the house of TMK RTG 1 Commander, Bashkim Jashari in Prekaz in order to observe the zone and the roads. Some men came out cursing and threatening of the house with sticks and baseball bats and with a dog in order to remove the patrol from the place near their house.

“At approximately 1800 another patrol came at the place where the first patrol was stationed. This time, more than 20 men with axes and weapons (4 or 6 of them had pistols) exited their house and went towards the French KFOR soldiers. The chief of the patrol was threatened with an automatic weapon,” stated the KFOR press center.

“Gen. Ratel confirms his dissatisfaction about this incident and his determination to continue to perform his duty according to Resolution 1244 and that he will not let anybody threaten KFOR soldiers,” said MNB-NE Press Center Chief, Lt. Besse denying the accusations of the residents.

TOP

Ceku Fails To Meet With Gen. Ratel

Tanjug (Belgrade)
October 27, 2003


Kosovska Mitrovica - Kosovo Protection Corps (KZK) Commander Agim Ceku had failed to attend a meeting with Commander of the Multinational North-East Brigade Gen. Bernard Ratel, called to discuss the incident in the village of Prekaz, when two dozen Albanians insulted and threatened with arms French KFOR patrol, Tanjug learned on Monday at the KFOR press center.

Following the incident, a meeting between Bashkim Jashari, KZK Commander Ceku and French Gen. Ratel was called for October 26. After receiving information that Albanians would not attend the meeting, Gen. Ratel returned to his office, Tanjug learned.

TOP


DONORS CONFERENCE FOR KOSOVO-METOHIJA ON WEDNESDAY
A donors conference for Kosovo and Metohija will be held in Belgrade on Wednesday, it was announced by the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija on Monday.

TOP

TANJUG, BELGRADE
October 27, 2003


Belgrade - A donors conference for Kosovo and Metohija will be held in Belgrade on Wednesday, it was announced by the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija on Monday.

The conference will be opened by Coordination Center for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic, while some thirty ambassadors in Serbia and Montenegro, including U.S. Ambassador William Montgomery, German Ambassador Kurt Leonberger, Russian Ambassador Vladimir Ivanovski, as well as OSCE Mission Head Mauricio Massari, had confirmed their participation.


TOP


SERBIA & MONTENEGRO: NO SECOND KOSOVO

We shouldn't forget the silent majority of decent, common Albanian people who just want to live in peace, without headaches and intimidation from mafia groups and militias. Yet the economic and political dislocation that will accompany any international withdrawal is only likely to put more of these thugs, not less, into power. The Kosovo experience since 1999 has been of a timid UN rewarding former militants and war criminals by keeping them armed and in power – through just changing their uniforms. And the same timid, unaccountable UN has allowed this unsavory bunch to run roughshod, driving out or exterminating Serbian, Roma and Macedonian Muslim minorities.

TOP

http://www.balkanalysis.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=170
Posted on Monday, October 27 @ 02:00:00 EST by CDeliso

As the situation in Iraq continues to worsen, amidst daily reports of new American and civilian deaths, the administration is embarking on a whitewashing campaign designed to prove that things aren't so bad in an occupied country that offers no exit for the US. However, due to its dizzying speed, today's global media – so useful for governments' propaganda purposes – can turn on its masters, without even having to try very hard.

Unfortunately for the War Party, there really is nowhere to turn for good news. The victorious occupation of Afghanistan is being tainted by charges of sleaze, rampant corruption and pesky resurgences from the old Taliban gang. And, much further afield, an even earlier failed intervention is unraveling, having arrived at its logical conclusion.

Kosovo Protests: 'Out With the UN! We Don't Need You Here!'

The internationals really should have known better. Protected by special badges, shiny cars, air-conditioned offices and plenty of disposable income, the UN corps in Kosovo presumed some sort of inviolability, some dispensation from on high that would leave the Kosovars eternally awe-struck and grateful.

This wasn't the case, as an eye-opening recent dispatch from the Guardian indicates. Kosovo's Albanians are sick and tired of being babysat by internationals who they've found to be both callous and corrupt. They blame them for misappropriating large sums of money from public coffers, for fueling the explosive increase in prostitution and other mafia-supported services, and for prolonging the status quo of limbo, one that prevents the resolution of vital issues like property ownership and privatization, all of which have kept foreign investors at arm's length from Kosovo. As the Guardian's Helena Smith reports:

"…the first chant came from the back of the crowd. 'Go home!' yelled a youngster, as he stood in Pristina's dusty Mother Teresa Square, the site last week of Kosovo's first post war demonstration.

'Out with the UN!' screamed an elderly woman, producing a placard that conveyed the same message. 'We don't need you here!'

As locals grapple with price increases and worsening poverty, it is the 'internationals' who have become symbols of the contradictions threatening to tear the UN protectorate apart. Across the province, men and women appear disgusted by their foreign guardians' 'corrupt' beneficence and depraved 'colonial' ways.

'They came to keep the peace and now they're causing tensions,' said Qamile Blakcori. 'We are very grateful that Western forces saved us from the Serbs, but now it's time they go.'"

According to the report, everyone from the street all the way to the highest political offices has reason to criticize the internationals – an ominous sign for the UN mission:

"'…last week's protest, timed to coincide with the start of historic but widely unpopular reconciliation talks in Vienna with the Serbs, is just the beginning,' says Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi.

'Being ruled 5,000 miles away from New York is simply not working,' he snapped. 'With no road maps, or political deadlines, or sense of resolving their unclear international status as a non-state entity, Kosovars are fast losing hope.'

'What was especially galling to Kosovars was the brazen "corruption" within the mission,' said Rexhepi, who was elected in March 2002. He added that not only was the UN refusing to grant his people more self-rule, it was also abusing power 'at the highest levels.'

The malpractice – reluctantly confirmed by Western diplomats – had made him 'feel very ashamed'. A lot of the misplaced funds, he suspected, were local taxes. 'Unmik claimed it has zero tolerance for corruption and organised crime, but there is serious corruption involving huge amounts of money right at its core,' he lamented."

A Hydra's Head of Complexities

However, the situation is more complicated still. Were the foreigners to immediately pull out of the province, and were the issue of Kosovo's final status to be decided, would the economy suddenly start to grow? Or would the sudden removal of Kosovo's economic life-support apparatus swiftly bring about the patient's demise?

There is the additional complexity of negotiating sovereignty – a total mess in the case of Kosovo. Regarded as a Serbian province by both Serbia and (in theory, at least) the UN, Kosovo is regarded as a shining example of a 19th-Century nation-state by Albanian nationalists, some of whom also see it as merely a sub-state of a larger hypothetical Albania. But Serbs are reluctant to let it go, and it is not unlikely that in the end it will be partitioned – making an already puny, untenable nation even smaller.

As the Guardian relays, the West is beginning to understand that Kosovo is setting the precedent for a future of failure worldwide:

"…officials readily admit that any of the alternatives – independence, partition, continued international stewardship – are unlikely to satisfy everyone.

'It's just like Iraq, whatever we do is going to affect the entire region,' said one senior EU diplomat.

'Kosovo is a perfect example of the confusion the West is likely to get into if it doesn't think through the political implications of its military strategy. If we go on like this we're going to have to set up a colonial service.'"

We shouldn't forget the silent majority of decent, common Albanian people who just want to live in peace, without headaches and intimidation from mafia groups and militias. Yet the economic and political dislocation that will accompany any international withdrawal is only likely to put more of these thugs, not less, into power. The Kosovo experience since 1999 has been of a timid UN rewarding former militants and war criminals by keeping them armed and in power – through just changing their uniforms. And the same timid, unaccountable UN has allowed this unsavory bunch to run roughshod, driving out or exterminating Serbian, Roma and Macedonian Muslim minorities.

Where to Turn Now?

In short, we have a situation whereby a large, frustrated group of people have found a common enemy to replace their previous one. However, they needed – and still need – both. The Serbs gave Kosovo's Albanians a feeling of nationhood, a strident victimology and a common cause. As predicted, this sentiment of Albanian unity proved an evanescent one, collapsing immediately after NATO's bombing campaign ceased. At that point, with nationalistic unity no longer necessary, Kosovo's Albanians turned to settling their own internal scores.

And, as said above, the Albanians also need the internationals. They provide a lucrative market for the legal and illegal service industries alike, as well as employment in NGO's and other aid groups. Kosovo has also received generous international grants, and its international limbo has shielded it from some of the most common coercive measures in the Western arsenal. Kosovo may be "freed" soon, but what will happen to its hard-won sovereignty when its political decisions are made by groups like the IMF? Currently, Serbia is still responsible for Kosovo's international debt – though it doesn't pay any taxes to Belgrade. Indeed, being a protectorate or a province is sometimes more comfortable than having to go it alone.

That said, Kosovo – whether partitioned or not – will have to come crawling back to someone. But to who? Certainly not Serbia. Even though a majority of the people in both places may not want it, joining the even-poorer Albania may be Kosovo's only hope. The West failed to understand that if a province has historically been poor, there is usually some good reason why – and not merely, as Albanian nationalists claim, that it was forever ignored by Belgrade. In fact, part of the reason Yugoslavia split was that more affluent regions like Croatia and Slovenia were fed up: they felt their tax remittances were disproportionately being siphoned into poor Macedonia, and sucked into the vertiginous black hole of Kosovo.

Into the Vortex

And that's pretty much the only way to describe it. Kosovo embodies all of the worst Balkan qualities. It is like a centrifuge, a vortex in which all of the incongruent discourses of the region and the West have come to jostle and grate, with increasing speed and volatility. That the West even thought it could successfully intervene there in the first place was sheer folly. It has caused far more problems than it solved – though it has made many people very rich while doing so.

Looking back, one is baffled at the stupidity of the "experts" who launched this adventure. At how they could possibly have failed to see the necessary outcomes of the intervention: the destruction of minorities; the destabilization of Macedonia; the reversion to mafia rule; the corruption, Western and domestic; the lack of long-term economic viability, and most crucially, the lack of a clear exit strategy.

Violence Surges, But the Truth Speeds Up Too

In the end, considering the wide knowledge and experience of the war planners, it becomes hard to believe that the Kosovo job was done for any other reasons than political posturing, corporate war profiteering, manipulating cheap nationalism, and giving NATO a reason to live.

Luckily, as Iraq is now showing, history won't let the world get away with the same thing twice. In Iraq, popular dissent arrived so fast that we might say the events themselves have sped up. They are impatient, having gotten used to all the same characters – the international aid groups, the opposition leaders, the ethnic infighting, the foreign contractors – previously encountered in Kosovo. They don't waste time anymore, as they did in Kosovo, in guarding their secrets in seed form. Now, in the age of terror, they bloom forth immediately and die just as fast, stripping themselves of any meaning or significance – save to remind us that invading Iraq was a really bad idea.

Indeed, there will be no second Kosovo. This time it will be much worse. Yet with the acceleration of volatile events, fortunately, we will also see an acceleration of truth. The one that reminds us that, when planning folly abroad, there is a basic need to plan for all eventualities in advance, and to not undertake a course of action if it is likely to end in disaster. This is the truth that the Bush Administration is so feverishly trying to obscure right now. Unfortunately for everyone now in Iraq, we can have faith that the events there will violently outpace them – but so will the truth, eventually.


TOP



Serbia on the crossroads of terrorist
supply links which lead through Kosovo, Sandzak and Bosnia towards Western Europe
(a map from an Israeli anti-terrorist presentation)
Further atomization of the Balkans would necessary create many unstable
states which would not be able to deal with challenges of contemporary terrorism
Moslem inhabited areas of the Balkans potentially present a gateway of Islamism on its
way towards Western Europe

TERRORISM IN THE BALKANS - ENTER SANDZAK?

Further, we may see a paradigm shift in how this part of the Balkans is perceived, away from the east-west axis and towards a north-south one that would provide the missing link between Islamic activity in Bosnia and Kosovo- the two places now of most concern to Western governments. If the Sandzak suspicions turn out to be justified, the Western view on Montenegrin independence may shift, because any weakening of security services from Belgrade can only expedite the potential for Islamic terrorism from Bosnia and Kosovo- through a severed Sandzak. That is something for the Western policymakers to think about.
 

*Sandzak (Sanjak) is an Ottoman name of the old Serbian province of Raska (Rashka). It dates from the 19th century and denotes an Ottoman administrative unit (county) (comment by ERP KIM Info)

TOP

http://www.balkanalysis.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=168

BALKANALYSIS.COM
Analyses and articles from the Balkans and beyond


October 24, 2003, 13:55:00 EDT by C.Deliso

Macedonian and Serbian security forces are paying increasing attention to the partially Muslim-inhabited Sandzak region, a small, rugged territory straddling the Montenegro-Serbian borders and suspected of supporting foreign and Bosniak mujahedin, as well as Albanian militants from Kosovo. Security officials in Skopje recently told Balkanalyis.com that a bi-national investigation of a specific incident is now underway, but that results cannot be publicly reported yet.

Geographically speaking, the Sandzak is perfect for illicit
activities- mountainous, isolated, bordering two poorly policed failing states (Bosnia and Kosovo). Drugs, weapons, and even sugar are smuggled with regularity by many means (including the humble donkey).

It is as a liaison and rear staging post that the Sandzak is being investigated, rather than as a forward base for terrorist operations. As part of Serbia, the region is subject to Serbian police jurisdiction and thus remains controlled. However, transit through the area has worried Macedonian authorities.

They are trying to avoid a repeat of 2001's Albanian insurgency- itself partially propelled by Islamists.

In the last Yugoslav census (1991), the Sandzak numbered 420,000
people- 278,000 in Serbia and 162,000 in Montenegro. 54 percent were Bosniaks. Widespread emigration since then may have left them a minority in Sandzak, ".a suspicion supported by the strong showing of Serbian nationalist parties in the recent presidential elections in Serbia," reported RFE/RL one year ago. "Nevertheless, in Novi Pazar and some other communities, Bosniaks still form a clear majority."

Historically, the Sandzak has been both multi-ethnic and much debated. Rival football hooligans taunted each other by saying it is a part of Serbia- or, oddly, Turkey. Others claim that they are of "Illyrian" descent- a very loaded term, as the Albanians claim to be direct descendents of the mysterious ancient Illyrian tribes, and therefore to be more "authentic" Balkan residents than the "Slav colonizers" all around them. This claim remains unproven.

For years well-organized Muslim lobby groups in the Sandzak have decried alleged Serb abuses and some have even demanded independence, petitioning the US and other governments and international organizations to their cause.

The RFE/RL report summed up the ethnic, religious and linguistic complexities of this mountainous region composed of Bosniaks, Albanians, Turks, Montenegrins and Serbs. The Bosnian government has in the past tried to "Bosnianize" the Muslims there, by getting them to call their language "Bosnian" whereas many prefer to call it Serbian. The area is wedged between Bosnia and Kosovo and was affected by the wars in both, receiving refugees as well as being a smuggling crossroads for Muslim militants in both places.

Extremist politicians in Sandzak, like SZS chairman Fevzija Muric have threatened that Serbian failure to grant the region special status could set off what he called "a potential powder keg." However, it seems that save for the occasional street fight or political provocation, this is for now, at least, an exaggeration. Nevertheless, would-be nationalists like Muric have called for some special kind of unification for Sandzak Muslims living on both sides of the Serbian and Montenegro
border- aiming, apparently, at the infinite disintegration of the already dismantled country. (After it's all over, will Serbia be composed only of Belgrade and Kragujevac?)

Macedonian and Serbian interest in the Sandzak's potential for trouble confirms something that had been suspected. Should the story develop, perhaps the most compelling result of this will be a new and different orientation towards the mental map of the Balkans. All Western media, whenever producing reports or graphics, have depicted the Serbia-Montenegro issue as one between two distinct, color-coded political entities- thereby ignoring the cross-border east-west issue of the Sandzak, as well as the general geographical reality of the region.

Further, we may see a paradigm shift in how this part of the Balkans is perceived, away from the east-west axis and towards a north-south one that would provide the missing link between Islamic activity in Bosnia and Kosovo- the two places now of most concern to Western governments. If the Sandzak suspicions turn out to be justified, the Western view on Montenegrin independence may shift, because any weakening of security services from Belgrade can only expedite the potential for Islamic terrorism from Bosnia and Kosovo- through a severed Sandzak. That is something for the Western policymakers to think about.

TOP


ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

Disclaimer:
The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at:

Copyright 2003, ERP KIM Info-Service