Kosovo: Key Dates In The Century Long Goal To Create Greater Albania

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Key facts about Kosovo’s Islamic Albanian minority of Serbia and the century long drive by Islamic extremists to exterminate Kosovo Serbs from that region:

1389—Muslims defeat Christian Serb defenders in Kosovo, depopulate the area and invite mountain tribe of Albanians, in exchange for converting to Islam, to take over pillaged land from Serbs.

1594—Sinan Pasha, an ethnic Albanian, who was a commander in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, burned the relics of St. Sava at Vracar, Belgrade. St. Sava is the Saint that brought Serbs into Christianity.

1878—Albanian nationalist leaders meet in Prizren, known as the First League of Prizren, to announce the creation of a Greater Albania, which will include all areas settled by Albanians, including Kosovo-Metohija, western Macedonia, known as Illirida, southern Montenegro, and northern Greece, Chameria. This is when the Kosovo or “Kosova” separatist agenda starts.

1878—Ottoman Turkish forces put down Albanian insurgency to create a Greater Albania. This was the first attempt to create an Albanian “Kosova” by an insurgency or by military force. A century later, another Greater Albania insurgency would have NATO and US backing.

1900-1918—Austria-Hungary and Italy are sponsors of a Greater Albania and support Albanian expansion in the Balkans, at the expense of Serbia.

1912—Albanian ultranationalists seize Skopje in Macedonia as part of a Greater Albania.

1920—After borders of “Jugoslavia” are legally settled under international law and recognized by the League of Nations, Albanian separatists launch a terrorist insurgency in “Kosova”, murdering Serbian civilians and police. This is known as the “kachak movement” and is the start of Albanian attempts to take over “Kosova” by military or armed force.

1941—Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini invade, occupy, and dismember Yugoslavia. They make “Kosova” a part of a Greater Albania under Mustafa Kruja. Western Macedonia is also made a part of Greater Albania by Hitler and Mussolini.

Muslim Albanian Nazi slaying a priest in Kosovo with dull knife during WWII.

1941-1944—“Kosova” is made “independent” and part of a Greater Albania by Adolf Hitler. This is when Albanian ultra-nationalists realized their goal to create a Greater Albania and an independent Kosova under Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

1943—The Second League of Prizren, sponsored and established by Nazi Germany, reaffirms the commitment to create and maintain an independent “Kosova” and a Greater Albania under Nazi sponsorship. Later, the US and EU would replace Nazi Germany as the sponsor of Greater Albania.

1944—Albanians create a Nazi Waffen SS Division, Skanderbeg, made up mostly of Kosovo Albanian Muslims, “Kosovars”. These Albanian Muslim Nazi SS troops murder thousands of Kosovo Serbian Christians and drive thousands of other Kosovo Serbs out of Kosovo.

Albanian Muslims murder Kosovo Serbian civilians in streets in 1941 after Adolf Hitler granted them “independence”.

1944—Kosovo Albanian Muslims play a role in the Holocaust, the murder of European Jews. The Albanian “Kosovar” Skanderbeg Nazi SS Division rounds up Kosovo Jews who are sent to the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen Belsen where they are killed.

1948—The U.S. brings Midhat Frasheri, the leader of the Nazi/fascist Balli Kombetar, National Front, whose goal is a Greater Albania that includes Kosovo, and other wanted Albanian “Kosovar” war criminals, such as Xhafer Deva and Hassan Dosti, to the U.S. to form anti-Communist forces for the takeover of Albania. The U.S. put the Communist regime in power in Albania then sought to overthrow it by means of “regime change”.

1951—The U.S. organizes and launches Operation Fiend, one of the first experiments in “regime change” in Albania. Frank Wisner is one of the leaders of the project. His son would lead the efforts in 2006 to create a Greater Albania, an independent “Kosova”, which his father failed to achieve.

1968—Albanian separatism in Kosovo emerges. Closer tries with Albania are established.

1969—Kosovo Albanians begin closer ties with Tirana and begin importing textbooks and teachers from Albania and create their own Albanian school system and university. The “Albanianization” of Kosovo begins.

July, 1999– Islamic Albanian forces murder 14 Serbian farmers in Kosovo and then burn their bodies after Kosovo is occupied by U.S. and NATO forces.

1974—The Communist dictator Josip Broz Tito changes the Yugoslav constitution giving Kosovo Albanians control of Kosovo. Albanians control every area of Kosovo from the police to teachers to judges.

1981—Albanians in Kosovo demand independence or secession from Yugoslavia. They demand to be a Republic which is code for independent or a part of Albania. They demand: “We Want a Unified Albania!” Dozens are killed in separatist riots. Serbian Patriarchate in Pec is burned down but no one knows how or why.

1982—British historian Nora Beloff notes that “ethnic cleansing” originated in Kosovo when Albanian Muslims killed or drove off Serbs. Albanians begin terror campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kosovo Serbs. From 1981-1989, an estimated 20,000 Kosovo Serbs are driven out of Kosovo by Albanian ultranationalists.

1982—Ethnically motivated murders of Kosovo Serbs begin with the murders of Kosovo Serbs Danilo Milincic and Miodrag Saric.

1985—Kosovo Serb Djorje Martinovic is “found with a broken bottle up his anus.” Albanian attackers sodomized him to force him out of the province to create an ethnically pure Kosova. US media claims that Martinovic was a closet homosexual who injured himself. The brutal sodomy of Martinovic inflames passions in the rest of Serbia.

1987—Fadil Hoxha, leader of Kosovo Albanians, advocates that Albanian Muslims rape Kosovo Serb women.

February, 2001 — 100 Serbian civilians blown up after Islamic Albanian extremists plant the bomb in the bus.

1989—Murders, rapes, desecration of Kosovo Serbian property, churches, and cemeteries forces Serbian government to rescind “autonomy” that Communist dictatorship created.

1991—Albanian separatists respond by proclaiming Kosovo a republic, which is tantamount to independence, which is recognized only by neighboring Albania. Albanian separatists gain sponsorship of a Greater Albania by contributing money to Thomas Lantos, Robert Dole, and Joe Biden. The U.S. becomes the sponsor of Greater Albania.

1996—A violent and armed terrorist and separatist group emerges, the KLA/UCK, whose goal is to create a Greater Albania, an independent “Kosova”. KLA begins killing Kosovo Serb civilians and police. Dozens of Yugoslav policemen, Serbs and Albanians, are brutally murdered by the KLA.

April, 1998—95 percent of the Yugoslav population rejected international mediation on Kosovo in a referendum. The so-called Balkan Contact Group imposed new international sanctions against Yugoslavia even though the decision was by a majority of the Yugoslav population, that is, was democratically determined.

Albanian urinates on Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo that was destroyed by Albanian Muslims while another Albanian Muslim films it on a cell phone camera, 2004.

July-August, 1998—The KLA separatists takes over 40 percent of Kosovo by force, by killing Yugoslav police and driving Kosovo Serbs out. The KLA terrorist groups are well-armed and supplied. The U.S. is one of the backers of the KLA separatists or terrorists.

1998—US State Department declares the KLA separatists are “terrorists”. US media dismisses the pronouncement.

1998—US media dismiss the fact that the Kosovo conflict is an illegal land grab, a separatist, ethnic war to create a Greater Albania. Instead, the US media concoct a deception that the conflict is about “greater rights” and “genocide”, when it is about Greater Albania, an independent, ethnically pure “Kosova”.

October, 1998—NATO plans airstrikes against Yugoslav targets, which would later include hospitals, nursing homes, passenger trains, TV stations, power grids, factories, and busses. Many of these attacks are war crimes under international law.

January 15, 1999—A “massacre” is manufactured in Racak by the US media and government. In fact, those killed were KLA separatists who had murdered Serbian policemen and had been killed in combat against Yugoslav police.

February, 1999—At a staged peace conference at Rambouillet, the US demands that Serbia allow Kosovo to become an independent nation after three years and that US and NATO troops be allowed to occupy Serbia. The US diktat was meant to force a war which the U.S. had long been planning. Rambouillet was a transparent sham.

 

 

 

 

 

1983 — Kosovo Serb farmer carries his daughter who was raped by Kosovo Albanian Muslims. Rape of girls was used by the Islamic extremists to drive out the Christian Serbs.

March, 1999—Yugoslavia’s democratically elected leaders reject the US peace deal as tantamount to dismemberment and military occupation, unacceptable to a sovereign state.

March 24, 1999—NATO launched air strikes against Yugoslavia for 78 days, killing thousands of Serbian civilians. The KLA and U.S. advisers create a fake humanitarian catastrophe by telling and even forcing Kosovo Albanians to flee into Albania and Macedonia Yugoslav forces are falsely blamed for driving out Albanians. The U.S. scores a huge propaganda success with images of refugees.

June 10, 1999—NATO forces Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw Yugoslav forces from Kosovo and to allow NATO to occupy it. NATO occupies Kosovo.

June 12, 1999—After 50,000 NATO peacekeepers begin deployment in Kosovo, over 200,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Gorani, and Jews are forced out of Kosovo by Albanians. Thousands of Kosovo Serbs are murdered by Albanians as NATO takes control of the province. Over 150 Serbian Orthodox Churches would be destroyed by Albanian Muslims protected by NATO troops.

March, 2004—March Pogroms: Albanians attack the last remaining Kosovo Serbs to drive them out of the province to create an ethnically pure Shqip Kosova.

October, 2006—Serbia held a referendum and approved a new constitution which declared that Kosovo was an integral part of Serbia. This decision had the support of the majority of the population of Serbia, that is, was democratically determined

January 21, 2007—Serbia held parliamentary elections where the Radical Party won the most votes, although not enough votes to form a new government.

April, 2007—Russia rejected the Marti Ahtisaari proposal in the U.N. Security Council because it violated Serbian sovereignty by supporting Albanian separatism.

June, 2007—U.S. President George W. Bush claimed that Kosovo had to be independent “sooner rather than later.” This is an issue for the UN to be decided under international law, however, not a decision for the President of the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

1999 — Albanian Islamic terrorists, popularly referred in Western media as “rebels”, pose with severed heads of Kosovo Serbs after a beheading session. Beheading is a popular way of slaying among Muslims.

August, 2007—Envoys from the U.S., EU and Russia began 120 days of further negotiations between Albanian separatists and the Serbian government in order to reach an agreement. No agreement was forthcoming because the only “agreement” the U.S. was pushing was an independent “Kosova”. There was nothing to negotiate about. The negotiations were a sham and a hoax.

December, 2007—Albanian separatist efforts fail at the U.N. The U.S. and Albanian goal is then to unilaterally declare independence outside of international law and the UN Charter, which is illegal and violates the sovereignty of Serbia and denies the will of the majority of Serbs. The majority of the Serbian population rejects the secession of Kosovo by Albanian separatists. This decision is reached by means of the democratic process.

February, 2008—Having failed to achieve their separatist agenda through international law and in the U.N., the U.S. switched gears and told the Albanian separatists to unilaterally declare an independent “Kosova”. This is an illegal act which violates all international norms and conventions and laws. The U.S. reliance is on military force only. The illegal measure is justified by force only.


2008-02-17

Source: http://www.serbianna.com/news/2008/01360.shtml

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German Documentary Film On NATO’s War Against Yugoslavia In 1999 (English Subtitle)

 

VIDEO: German documentary film about the false pretext and German propaganda used to exert and sustain public support for illegal NATO aggression against Serbia and Montenegro

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“Responsibility To Protect” Was Not Valid In Kosovo And Isn’t Valid In Ukraine

Obama and Donetsk

The same arguments used to justify a western ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Kosovo in 1999 could be used to support a Russian intervention in Ukraine.

This article originally appeared at Irrussianality


Yesterday, I gave a talk on ‘The Folly of Military Intervention’ at McGill University. Afterwards, one of the students asked me a question about parallels between the wars in Kosovo in 1999 and Ukraine in 2014/15. As I answered, I found myself thinking about the scale of the humanitarian crises in both cases and what this means for supporters of so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’.

In 1999, NATO aircraft bombed Yugoslavia for three months. The aim, according to NATO leaders, was to coerce the Yugoslav government to stop human rights abuses in Kosovo. We were told that NATO’s campaign was a humanitarian intervention. The case of Kosovo was subsequently used to justify the concept of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P), under which state sovereignty is limited and states have an obligation to protect the citizens of other countries if their rights are being attacked.

It is believed that prior to NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, about 2,000 people had been killed in Kosovo. Roughly half of these were Serbs, dead at the hands of the Kosovo Liberation Army, and half were Albanian Kosovars, killed by Yugoslav military and paramilitary forces. While eventually several hundred thousand Kosovars fled their homes to avoid the fighting, the vast majority of these did so only after NATO began its bombing.

According to the United Nations, over 5,000 people have been killed in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk provinces in the past year. It is not clear what percentage is military and what percentage civilian casualties, but it is obvious that the number of civilian deaths in the conflict has been very high. And the situation is getting worse. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights assesses that 262 people died in Eastern Ukraine between 13 and 21 January alone. Meanwhile, the High Commission for Refugees reports that there are now about half a million displaced persons from Donetsk and Lugansk within Ukraine, and that another 200,000 have fled to Russia. The towns and cities of Eastern Ukraine are subjected to daily bombardment from artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. Many of the people who remain there are without electricity and running water.

In short, the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ukraine today is far worse than that in Kosovo prior to NATO’s 1999 intervention. Should the Russian Army invade Ukraine in force, drive the Ukrainian Army out of Donetsk and Lugansk, and bring the war to a rapid end? This, in principle, it is entirely capable of doing. R2P suggests that it should. In 1999, NATO killed about 1,500 Yugoslav civilians in the course of its bombing; it is unlikely that the civilian death toll from a Russian invasion would be much higher, and it might even be lower.

If R2P is valid, then its proponents should surely welcome such an intervention. In practice, I am sure that they wouldn’t. The point here is not to say that we should demand Russian humanitarian intervention in Ukraine; there are many reasons why that would be an extremely bad thing. Rather, the point is to show the absurdity of the humanitarian warriors’ position. Perhaps they can come up with a good explanation for why humanitarian intervention by NATO is justifiable but similar intervention by Russia in a far worse humanitarian situation would not be. I would be interested to hear it.

UPDATE: Brad Cabana (a fellow Canadian & former army captain) has just posted an argument on his blog that Russia should invade Ukraine. He makes his case well. As someone who has opposed the principle of humanitarian intervention ever since Kosovo, I cannot support it, if only in order to be consistent, but it seems to me to be entirely in line with R2P and thus to pose some real problems for the R2P crowd, who despite their alleged principles will no doubt be thoroughly against it.


By Paul Robinson

02-02-2015

Source: http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/02/02/3036

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Book: Prof. Petar V. Grujic, “Kosovo Knot”, Pittsburg, PA: Rosedog Books, 2014, pp. 450

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Kosovo has been a troublesome region of West Balkan for the last half millennium. The latest events, which have resulted in NATO occupation of the southern province of Serbia, marked the culmination of the violence that includes both domestic and international agencies.

Many authors have dealt with the Kosovo affair, but none of them endeavored to present a complete picture of the case. This book attempts to provide a broad and objective analysis of the problem from the historical, anthropological, political and sociological points of view. The emphasis is on the sociological side of the conflicts.

Only by understanding the differences of the mental structures and civilizations of the populations involved can one hope to achieve a just and sustainable solution. It is shown that the Kosovo affair is a part of the perennial issue of montagnards versus plane people.

This forms the background of the conflicts West Balkan has witnessed in the last decades. The Kosovo case cannot be considered isolated from the global political situation and this book provides bold, even provocative, examinations of the principal players from outside.

It provides also a detailed account of the political situation in Serbia for the last half century, with a detailed account of the struggle to overthrow Milosevic’s regime.

From the book review.

The book is available at amazon.com

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Mass Exodus From Muslim Kosovo Into Europe: Did US Play A Role In Creating The Crisis?

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Editor:  Little did I know when I posted a short news story about the ‘invasion of Hungary’ last evening that the situation in Kosovo has become untenable and a mass exodus was so advanced.  ‘Pungentpeppers’ has again pulled many threads together to give us the big picture of what is happening in Eastern Europe.  Is the US responsible?  An Austrian political leader says so!

Mass exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe

~150,000 or more Kosovars on the move since summer

~Hungarian Police catch 1,000 Kosovars daily – a small fraction of the total

~Hungarian mayor calls for fence as Kosovars overwhelm village

~Austrian politician blames America for Kosovar march into Austria

~Kosovar Muslim extremists active in the U.S., Germany and Iraq

~Kosovar culture is Albanian. Many follow the “Kanun”, Code of Honor and Blood Feuds

~Future of Europe: Kosovization and Jihadization?

Kosovo is witnessing an exodus of Biblical proportions

Since the beginning of the year an estimated 50,000 people have left the Muslim state. This current surge is on top of an estimated additional 100,000 Kosovars who departed for Europe as of the middle of last year.

Kosovar migrants – young adults, families, and young teens – are fleeing neither famine, nor war. Their quest is employment and “a better life” in European countries. More than half of able-bodied Kosovars are unemployed in a country where only the right connections can guarantee a job.

Every night busloads full of Kosovars cross the Serbian countryside and stop just outside Hungary.

After a rest, the travelers form groups to cross the Hungarian border on foot.

During a recent six-day period, nearly 8,000 Kosovars were detained at the Hungarian border after trying to illegally enter the country. The police estimate they catch only 20% of them.

The mayor of a Hungarian village is calling for a fence as migrants overwhelm his village

“Many [migrants] have smart phones and follow their progress by GPS. Few of my constituents, whose doors they knock on in the middle of the night, can afford phones like those.

On the road to Hungary and ultimately to Germany and Austria. BBC story and photo: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-eu-31154596

“I cannot understand why in mid-winter they set out to walk tens of kilometres in freezing conditions. Every week we have to call the ambulances to fight for the lives of babies with hypothermia.” (The BBC).

“There are so many migrants on the buses from here to Szeged that our own residents are unable to get to their jobs on time,” Toroczkai said. (WRAL.com)

The Kosovars don’t want to stay in Hungary. Most of them will head towards Germany, Austria and other European countries.

U.S. needs to accept responsibility!

An Austrian politician, named Johann Gudenus, says the U.S. needs to accept responsibility for the influx (here).

Now it is clear that Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, as well as its hasty recognition as an independent state, was a mistake. The current wave of refugees confirms that Kosovo cannot endure as a state,” Gudenus said.

He recalled that the creation of “the state of Kosovo” was the wish of the United States, adding that international law was not respected during the process of gaining independence because there was no referendum, and that is why the U.S. must take responsibility.

He also said that Austria’s reception capacities are packed, adding that if the country continues to accept economic refugees, “it will not be able to accept those who need protection.”

Gudenus said it is also necessary to ask why there is “a striking number of Muslims” among immigrants in Austria lately, and named Chechens, Afghans, “Kosovars,” and others.

Worries About Extremism: A Sampling of Terror Plots Involving Islamic Radicals From Kosovo

In 2014, a Kosovar (who had previously worked at Camp Bondsteel, a U.S. military base) took part in a suicide attack that killed 52 Iraqi soldiers. (Juliagorin.com)

In 2013, in Raleigh, NC, a Kosovar was sentenced to life for a beheading plot. He was one of several other Kosovars involved in the Triangle Terror group that plotted to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and other targets overseas. (WRAL.com)

In 2012. The terrorist who plotted to blow up bridges in Tampa, Florida, was a Kosovar. (Tampa Bay Times)

In 2011, two American airmen in Germany were murdered by a Kosovar who shouted “Allahu Akbar” when he opened fire on a military bus.  (ABC News)

Old Traditions, Such as Blood Feuds, Sometimes Travel With Them

Kosovars are ethnically Albanian, and thus share with Albanians the same traditions regarding honor and blood feuds. For example, a Kosovar family in Ireland has asked for asylum on the basis of a blood feud. (Irish Times)

The blood feuds travel – as the Swedes have discovered. The attempted brutal murder of a 12-year-old boy in Borås, Sweden, on New Year’s Eve, 2013, was linked to an Albanian Blood Feud that migrated to Sweden. The boy survived, but spent six weeks in the hospital recovering – and bears many scars. (Expressen.se)

Future of Europe: Kosovization and Jihadization?

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic, a professor at Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania, warns that Europe is in danger of “Kosovization” and “Jihadization” and draws on the Kosovo experience:

In 1455, Kosovo was only 2% Albanian. The Albanian percentage of the total population grew to 30% by 1878, 50% by 1913, 70% by 1945, 90% by 1991, and today Albanians are the vast majority in Kosovo at 97% of the population. (In Serbia)

Back in 1878, the idea of a Muslim Albanian majority in the traditional Serb homeland of Kosovo may have sounded preposterous. However, the Albanian population grew due to high birth rates. As the Albanians’ numbers increased, they allied themselves with other Albanians outside Kosovo, and forced Serbs out of the region. As a result, Kosovo – once overwhelming Serb – is now an almost 100% ethnic Albanian state.

Because all Muslims, whatever their ethnic background, are taught to consider themselves as one “Ummah” – or one Islamic Nation – Europe is in danger of suffering a Kosovo-like fate.

Those who don’t learn from the past, are condemned to repeat it

Editor’s note:  For more on the US role with Kosovar refugees see one of the most outrageous chapters of the Clinton Administration’s refugee program history (during Clinton’s phony-baloney war in the region)—we told you about it here in 2012.  The contractors wanted warm bodies to resettle and Clinton and Gore wanted a “humanitarian” photo op!


11-02-2015

Source: https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/mass-exodus-from-muslim-kosovo-into-europe-did-us-play-a-role-in-creating-the-crisis/

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9 Samodreza

Kosovo History – Fourth Part

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The Serbs stepped again onto the historical scene in the years of the European wars that swept the continent from the forests of Ireland to the walls of Constantinople in the late 17th century. The Turks finally withdrew from Hungary and Transylvania when their Ottoman hordes were routed outside Vienna in 1683. The disintegration of Ottoman rule in the southwest limbered up the Serbs, arousing in them hope that the moment was ripe for joint effort to break Turkish dominion in the Balkans. The neighboring Christian powers (Austria and Venice) were the only possible allies. The arrival of the Austrian army in Serbia after the fall of Belgrade in 1688 prompted the Serbs to join it. Thanks to the support of Serbian insurgents, the imperial troops penetrated deep into Serbia and in 1689 conquered Nis: a special Serbian militia was formed as a separate corps of the imperial troops.

After setting fire to Skoplje (Uskub), which was raging with plague, the commander of Austrian troops Ennea Silviae Piccolomini withdrew to Prizren where he was greeted by 20,000 Serbian insurgents, and with whom he reached an accord on fighting the Turks with joint forces. Shortly afterwards, Piccollomini died of the plague, and his successors failed to prevent their troops from marauding the surrounding regions. Disappointed by the conduct of the Christian troops from which they had expected decisive support, the Serbian insurgents abandoned the agreed alliance. Patriarch Arsenije III Crnojevic tried in vain to arrive at a new agreement with the Austrian generals. The restorer of the Ottoman Empire, Grand Vizier Mustafa-Pasha Koporilli, an Albanian by origin, took advantage of the lull in military operations, mustered Crimean Tatars and Islamized Albanians and mounted a major campaign. Despite assurances of help, Catholic Albanian tribes deserted the Austrian army on the eve of the decisive clash at Kacanik in Kosovo, on January 1690. The Serbian militia, resisting the Sultan’s superior hordes, retreated to the west and north of the country.

Turkish retaliation, in which the Serbian infidels were raided and viciously massacred lasted a three full months. The towns of Prizren, Pec, Pristina, Vucitrn and Mitrovica were hit the worst, and Serbs from Novo Brdo retreated from the Tatar saber. Fleeing from the brutal reprisal, the people of Kosovo and the neighboring areas moved northwards with Patriarch Arsenije III. The decision to end the massacre and declare an amnesty came belately as much of the population had already fled for safer areas, moving towards the Sava River and Belgrade. Other parts of Serbia were also targets of ghastly reprisals. In the Belgrade pashalik alone, the number of taxpayers dropped eightfold. Grand old monasteries were looted from Pec Patriarchate to Gracanica, and the Albanian tribe Gashi pillaged the Decani monastery, killing the prior and seizing the monastery’s best estates.

At the invitation of emperor Leopold I, Patriarch Arsenije III led part of the high clergy and a sizeable part of the refugees (tens of thousands of people) to the Habsburg Empire to the territory of southern Hungary, having received assurances that the Serbs would there be granted special political and religious status. Many Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia followed him. The new churches built along the Danube they named after those left in old homeland.

The Great 1690 Migration was a important turning point in the history of the Serbs. In Kosovo and Metohia alone, towns and some villages were abandoned to the last inhabitant. The population was also decimated by the plague, whatever remained after the Turkish troops. The physical extermination along with the mass exodus, the burning of grand monasteries and their rich treasuries and libraries, the death and murder of a large number of monks and clergy wreaked havoc in these regions. The position of the Pec Patriarchate was badly shaken; its highest clergy went with the people to Austria, and the confusion wrought by the Great Migration had a major influence on its abolition (1766).

The hardest consequence of the Great Migration was demographic upheaval it caused, because once the Serbs withdraw from Kosovo and Metohia, Islamized Albanian tribes from the northern highlands started settling the area in greater number, mostly by force, in the decade following the 1690 Great Migration of Serbs, ethnic Albanian tribes (given their incredible powers of reproduction) was posing a grave threat to the biological survival of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia. Colonies set up by the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Metohia and the neighboring areas provoked a fresh Serbian migration toward the north, encouraged the process of conversion and upset the centuries-old ethnic balance in those areas. Supported (depending on circumstances) by the Turks and the Roman Curia, ethnic Albanians, abyding by their tribal customs and hajduk insubordination to the law, in the coming centuries turned the entire region of Kosovo and Metohia into a bloody battleground, marked by tribal and feudal anarchy. The period following the Great Migration of Serbia marked the commencement of three centuries of ethnic Albanian genocide against Serbs in their native land.

The century after the Great Migration saw a fresh exodus of the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohia, and a growing influence of ethnic Albanians on political circumstances. Ethnic Albanians used the support they received from the Turkish army in fighting Serbian insurgents to seize the ravaged land and abandoned mining centers in Kosovo and Metohia and to enter in large numbers the Ottoman administration and military. More and more Catholic ethnic-Albanians converted to Islam, thereby acquiring the right to retain the estates they had seized and to apply the might-is-right principle in their dealings with the non-Muslim Serbs. The authorities encouraged and assisted the settlement of the newly Islamized ethnic-Albanian tribes from the mountains to the fertile lands devastated by war. The dissipation of the Turkish administrative system encouraged the ethnic-Albanian colonisation of Kosovo and Metohia, since with the arrival of more of their fellow tribesmen and compatriots, the local pashas and beys (most of whom were ethnic Albanian) acquired strong tribal armies which in times of trouble helped them hold on to their position and illegally pass on their power to their descendents. The missionaries of the Roman Curia did not heed to preserve the small ethnic Albanian Catholic population, but endeavoured instead to inflict as much harm as possible on the Pec Patriarchate and its dignitaries, and, with the help of bribable pashas, to undermine the cohesive power of Serbian Orthodoxy in these areas.

The next war between Austria and Turkey (1716-1718) marked the beginning of a fresh persecution in Kosovo and Metohia. Austrian troops, backed by Serbian volunteers, reached the Western Morava River where they established a new frontier. Ethnic Albanians collectively guaranteed to the Porte the safety of the regions in the immediate vicinity of Austria, and were in return exempted from the heaviest taxes. Towards the end of the war (1717), a major Serbian uprising broke out in Vucitrn and its surroundings: it was brutally crushed and the troops sent to allay the rayah and launch an investigation, perpetrated fresh atrocities. Excessive dues, robbery and the threat of extermination put before the Kosovo Serbs the choices of either converting to Islam or finding a powerful master who would protect them if they accepted the status of serfs. Many opted for a third solution: they moved to surrounding regions where life was more tolerable.

The following war between Austria and Turkey (1737-1739) ended with the routing of the imperial troops from Serbian territory. The border was reestablished at the Sava and Danube rivers, and Serbs set out on another migration. Patriarch Arsenije IV Jovanovic, along with the religious and national leaders of Pec, drew up a plan for cooperation with the Austrian forces, and contacted their commanders. A large-scale uprisings broke out again in Kosovo and Metohia, engaging some 10.000 Serbs. They were joined by Montenegrin tribes, and Austrian envoys even stirred up the Kliments, a Catholic tribe from northern Albania. A Serbian militia was formed again, but the Austrian troops and insurgenta were forced to retreat in the face of superior Turkish power: reprisals ensued, bringing death to the insurgents and their families. Serbs withdrew from the mining settlements around Janjevo, Pristina, Novo Brdo and Kopaonik. In order to keep the remaining populace on the land, the Turks declared an amnesty. After the fall of Belgrade, Arsenije IV moved to Austria. The number of refugees from Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohia, along with some Kliments has yet to be accurately determined, as people were moving on all sides and the process lasted for several months. The considerably reduced number of taxpayers in Kosovo and Metohia and in other parts of Serbia points to a strong migratory wave.

siptarska devojcica i natpis u Djakovici smrtUnrest in the Ottoman empire helped spread anarchy in Kosovo and Metohia and rest of Serbia. Raids, murder, rape against the unarmed population was largely committed by ethnic Albanian outlaws, who were now numerically superior in many regions. Outlaw bands held controll over roads during Turkey’s war with Russia (1768-1774), when lawlessness reigned throughout Serbia. Ethnic Albanian outlaws looted and fleeced other regions as well, which sent local Muslims complaining to the Porte seeking protection.

During the last Austro-Turkish war (1788-1791), a sweeping popular movement again took shape in northern Serbia. Because of the imperial forces swift retreat, the movement did not encompass the southern parts of Serbia: Kosovo, Metohia and present-day northern Macedonia. The peace treaty of Sistovo (1791) envisaged a general amnesty for the Serbs, but the ethnic Albanians, as outlaws or soldiers in the detachments of local pashas, continued unhindered to assault the unprotected Serbian population. The wave of religious intolerance towards Orthodox population, which acquired greater proportion owing to the hostilities with Russia at the end of 18th century, effected the forced conversion to Islam of a larger number of Serbian families. The abolition of the Pec Patriarchate (1766), whose see and rich estates were continually sought after by local ethnic Albanian pashas and beys, prompted the final wave of extensive Islamization in Kosovo and Metohia.

Those who suffered the most during these centuries of utter lawlessness were the Serbs, unreliable subjects who would rise every time the Turks would wage war against one of the neighboring Great Powers, and whose patriarchs led the people to enemy land. Although initially on a small scale, the Islamization of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia began before the penetration of ethnic Albanians. More widespread conversion to Islam took place in the 17th and the first half of 18th centuries, when ethnic Albanians began to wield more influence on political events in these regions. Many Serbs accepted Islamization as a necessary evil, waiting for the moment when they could revert to the faith of their ancestors, but most of them never lived to see that day. The first few generations of Islamized Serbs preserved their language and observed their old customs (especially slava – the family patron saint day, and the Easter holiday). But several generations later, owing to a strong ethnic Albanian environment, they gradually began adopting the Albanian dress to safety, and outside their narrow family circle they spoke the Albanian language. Thus came into being a special kind of social mimicry which enabled converts to survive. Albanization began only when Islamized Serbs, who were void of national feeling, married girls from ethnic Albanian tribal community. For a long time Orthodox Serbs called their Albanized compatriots Arnautasi, until the memory of their Serbian origin waned completely, though old customs and legends about their ancestors were passed on from one generation to the next.

For a long time the Arnautasi felt neither like Turks nor ethnic Albanians, because their customs and traditions set them apart, and yet they did not feel like Serbs either, who considered Orthodoxy to be their prime national trait. Many Arnautasi retained their old surnames until the turn of the last century. In Drenica the Arnautasi bore such surnames as Dokic, Velic, Marusic, Zonic, Racic, Gecic, which unquestionably indicated their Serbian origin. The situation was similar in Pec and its surroundings where many Islamized and Albanized Serbs carries typically Serbian surnames: Stepanovic, Bojkovic, Dekic, Lekic, Stojkovic, etc. The eastern parts of Kosovo and Metohia, with their compact Serbian settlements, were the last to undergo Islamization. The earliest Islamization in Upper Morava and Izmornik is pinpointed as taking place in the first decades of the 18th century, and the latest in 1870s. Toponyms in many ethnic Albanian villages in Kosovo show that Serbs had lived there the preceding centuries, and in some places Orthodox cemeteries were shielded against desecrators by ethnic Albanians themselves, because they knew that the graves of their own ancestors lay there.

In the late 18th century, all the people of Gora, the mountain region near Prizren were converted to Islam. However they succeeded in preserving their language and avoiding Albanization. There were also some cases of conversion of Serbs to Islam in the second half of 19th century, especially during the Crimean War, again to save their lives, honor and property, though far more pronounced at the time was the process of emigration, since families, sometimes even entire villages, fled to Serbia or Montenegro. Extensive anthropogeographic research indicates that about 30% of the present-day ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohia is of Serbian origin.


Source: http://nokosovounesco.com/the-age-of-migrations-serbs/

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How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground For ISIS

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PRISTINA, Kosovo — Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

“They promoted political Islam,” said Fatos Makolli, the director of Kosovo’s counterterrorism police. “They spent a lot of money to promote it through different programs mainly with young, vulnerable people, and they brought in a lot of Wahhabi and Salafi literature. They brought these people closer to radical political Islam, which resulted in their radicalization.”

After two years of investigations, the police have charged 67 people, arrested 14 imams and shut down 19 Muslim organizations for acting against the Constitution, inciting hatred and recruiting for terrorism. The most recent sentences, which included a 10-year prison term, were handed down on Friday.

It is a stunning turnabout for a land of 1.8 million people that not long ago was among the most pro-American Muslim societies in the world. Americans were welcomed as liberators after leading months of NATO bombing in 1999 that spawned an independent Kosovo.

American bombing of Serbian positions in Kosovo in 1999 during the air campaign by NATO. Credit Jerome Delay/Associated Press

After the war, United Nations officials administered the territory and American forces helped keep the peace. The Saudis arrived, too, bringing millions of euros in aid to a poor and war-ravaged land.

But where the Americans saw a chance to create a new democracy, the Saudis saw a new land to spread Wahhabism.

“There is no evidence that any organization gave money directly to people to go to Syria,” Mr. Makolli said. “The issue is they supported thinkers who promote violence and jihad in the name of protecting Islam.”

A portrait of Bill Clinton on a back street in Pristina near Bill Clinton Boulevard. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Kosovo now has over 800 mosques, 240 of them built since the war and blamed for helping indoctrinate a new generation in Wahhabism. They are part of what moderate imams and officials here describe as a deliberate, long-term strategy by Saudi Arabia to reshape Islam in its image, not only in Kosovo but around the world.

Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2015 reveal a system of funding for mosques, Islamic centers and Saudi-trained clerics that spans Asia, Africa and Europe. In New Delhi alone, 140 Muslim preachers are listed as on the Saudi Consulate’s payroll.

All around Kosovo, families are grappling with the aftermath of years of proselytizing by Saudi-trained preachers. Some daughters refuse to shake hands with or talk to male relatives. Some sons have gone off to jihad. Religious vigilantes have threatened — or committed — violence against academics, journalists and politicians.

The Balkans, Europe’s historical fault line, have yet to heal from the ethnic wars of the 1990s. But they are now infected with a new intolerance, moderate imams and officials in the region warn.

How Kosovo and the very nature of its society was fundamentally recast is a story of a decades-long global ambition by Saudi Arabia to spread its hard-line version of Islam — heavily funded and systematically applied, including with threats and intimidation by followers.

Idriz Bilalli, an imam in Podujevo, has sought to curb extremists and has received death threats. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

The Missionaries Arrive

After the war ended in 1999, Idriz Bilalli, the imam of the central mosque in Podujevo, welcomed any help he could get.

Podujevo, home to about 90,000 people in northeast Kosovo, was a reasonably prosperous town with high schools and small businesses in an area hugged by farmland and forests. It was known for its strong Muslim tradition even in a land where people long wore their religion lightly.

After decades of Communist rule when Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia, men and women mingle freely, schools are coeducational, and girls rarely wear the veil. Still, Serbian paramilitary forces burned down 218 mosques as part of their war against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, who are 95 percent Muslim. Mr. Bilalli needed help to rebuild.

When two imams in their 30s, Fadil Musliu and Fadil Sogojeva, who were studying for master’s degrees in Saudi Arabia, showed up after the war with money to organize summer religion courses, Mr. Bilalli agreed to help.

The imams were just two of some 200 Kosovars who took advantage of scholarships after the war to study Islam in Saudi Arabia. Many, like them, returned with missionary zeal.

Soon, under Mr. Musliu’s tutelage, pupils started adopting a rigid manner of prayer, foreign to the moderate Islamic traditions of this part of Europe. Mr. Bilalli recognized the influence, and he grew concerned.

“This is Wahhabism coming into our society,” Mr. Bilalli, 52, said in a recent interview.

Mr. Bilalli trained at the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s, and as a student he had been warned by a Kosovar professor to guard against the cultural differences of Wahhabism. He understood there was a campaign of proselytizing, pushed by the Saudis.

“The first thing the Wahhabis do is to take members of our congregation, who understand Islam in the traditional Kosovo way that we had for generations, and try to draw them away from this understanding,” he said. “Once they get them away from the traditional congregation, then they start bombarding them with radical thoughts and ideas.”

“The main goal of their activity is to create conflict between people,” he said. “This first creates division, and then hatred, and then it can come to what happened in Arab countries, where war starts because of these conflicting ideas.”

From the outset, the newly arriving clerics sought to overtake the Islamic Community of Kosovo, an organization that for generations has been the custodian of the tolerant form of Islam that was practiced in the region, townspeople and officials say.

Muslims in Kosovo, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, follow the Hanafi school of Islam, traditionally a liberal version that is accepting of other religions.

But all around the country, a new breed of radical preachers was setting up in neighborhood mosques, often newly built with Saudi money.

In some cases, centuries-old buildings were bulldozed, including a historic library in Gjakova and several 400-year-old mosques, as well as shrines, graveyards and Dervish monasteries, all considered idolatrous in Wahhabi teaching.

From their bases, the Saudi-trained imams propagated Wahhabism’s tenets: the supremacy of Sharia law as well as ideas of violent jihad and takfirism, which authorizes the killing of Muslims considered heretics for not following its interpretation of Islam.

The Saudi-sponsored charities often paid salaries and overhead costs, and financed courses in religion, as well as English and computer classes, moderate imams and investigators explained.

But the charitable assistance often had conditions attached. Families were given monthly stipends on the condition that they attended sermons in the mosque and that women and girls wore the veil, human rights activists said.

“People were so needy, there was no one who did not join,” recalled Ajnishahe Halimi, a politician who campaigned to have a radical Albanian imam expelled after families complained of abuse.

Gnjilan, a town of about 90,000 where a moderate imam was kidnapped and beaten by extremists. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Threats Intensify

Within a few years of the war’s end, the older generation of traditional clerics began to encounter aggression from young Wahhabis.

Paradoxically, some of the most serious tensions built in Gjilan, an eastern Kosovo town of about 90,000, where up to 7,000 American troops were stationed as part of Kosovo’s United Nations-run peacekeeping force at Camp Bondsteel.

“They came in the name of aid,” one moderate imam in Gjilan, Enver Rexhepi, said of the Arab charities. “But they came with a background of different intentions, and that’s where the Islamic religion started splitting here.”

One day in 2004, he recalled, he was threatened by one of the most aggressive young Wahhabis, Zekirja Qazimi, a former madrasa student then in his early 20s.

Inside his mosque, Mr. Rexhepi had long displayed an Albanian flag. Emblazoned with a double-headed eagle, it was a popular symbol of Kosovo’s liberation struggle.

But strict Muslim fundamentalists consider the depiction of any living being as idolatrous. Mr. Qazimi tore the flag down. Mr. Rexhepi put it back.

“It will not go long like this,” Mr. Qazimi told him angrily, Mr. Rexhepi recounted.

Within days, Mr. Rexhepi was abducted and savagely beaten by masked men in woods above Gjilan. He later accused Mr. Qazimi of having been behind the attack, but police investigations went nowhere.

Ten years later, in 2014, after two young Kosovars blew themselves up in suicide bombings in Iraq and Turkey, investigators began an extensive investigation into the sources of radicalism. Mr. Qazimi was arrested hiding in the same woods. On Friday, a court sentenced him to 10 years in prison after he faced charges of inciting hatred and recruiting for a terrorist organization.

Before Mr. Qazimi was arrested, his influence was profound, under what investigators now say was the sway of Egyptian-based extremists and the patronage of Saudi and other gulf Arab sponsors.

By the mid-2000s, Saudi money and Saudi-trained clerics were already exerting influence over the Islamic Community of Kosovo. The leadership quietly condoned the drift toward conservatism, critics of the organization say.

Mr. Qazimi was appointed first to a village mosque, and then to El-Kuddus mosque on the edge of Gjilan. Few could counter him, not even Mustafa Bajrami, his former teacher, who was elected head of the Islamic Community of Gjilan in 2012.

Mr. Bajrami comes from a prominent religious family — his father was the first chief mufti of Yugoslavia during the Communist period. He holds a doctorate in Islamic studies. Yet he remembers pupils began rebelling against him whenever he spoke against Wahhabism.

He soon realized that the students were being taught beliefs that differed from the traditional moderate curriculum by several radical imams in lectures after hours. He banned the use of mosques after official prayer times.

Hostility only grew. He would notice a dismissive gesture in the congregation during his sermons, or someone would curse his wife, or mutter “apostate” or “infidel” as he passed.

In the village, Mr. Qazimi’s influence eventually became so disruptive that residents demanded his removal after he forbade girls and boys to shake hands. But in Gjilan he continued to draw dozens of young people to his after-hours classes.

“They were moving 100 percent according to lessons they were taking from Zekirja Qazimi,” Mr. Bajrami said in an interview. “One hundred percent, in an ideological way.”

Evening prayer at the mosque of the radical imam Fadil Musliu on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Extremism Spreads

Over time, the Saudi-trained imams expanded their work.

By 2004, Mr. Musliu, one of the master’s degree students from Podujevo who studied in Saudi Arabia, had graduated and was imam of a mosque in the capital, Pristina.

In Podujevo, he set up a local charitable organization called Devotshmeria, or Devotion, which taught religion classes and offered social programs for women, orphans and the poor. It was funded by Al Waqf al Islami, a Saudi organization that was one of the 19 eventually closed by investigators.

Mr. Musliu put a cousin, Jetmir Rrahmani, in charge.

“Then I knew something was starting that would not bring any good,” said Mr. Bilalli, the moderate cleric who had started out teaching with him. In 2004, they had a core of 20 Wahhabis.

“That was only the beginning,” Mr. Bilalli said. “They started multiplying.”

Mr. Bilalli began a vigorous campaign against the spread of unauthorized mosques and Wahhabi teaching. In 2008, he was elected head of the Islamic Community of Podujevo and instituted religion classes for women, in an effort to undercut Devotshmeria.

As he sought to curb the extremists, Mr. Bilalli received death threats, including a note left in the mosque’s alms box. An anonymous telephone caller vowed to make him and his family disappear, he said.

“Anyone who opposes them, they see as an enemy,” Mr. Bilalli said.

He appealed to the leadership of the Islamic Community of Kosovo. But by then it was heavily influenced by Arab gulf sponsors, he said, and he received little support.

When Mr. Bilalli formed a union of fellow moderates, the Islamic Community of Kosovo removed him from his post. His successor, Bekim Jashari, equally concerned by the Saudi influence, nevertheless kept up the fight.

“I spent 10 years in Arab countries and specialized in sectarianism within Islam,” Mr. Jashari said. “It’s very important to stop Arab sectarianism from being introduced to Kosovo.”

Mr. Jashari had a couple of brief successes. He blocked the Saudi-trained imam Mr. Sogojeva from opening a new mosque, and stopped a payment of 20,000 euros, about $22,400, intended for it from the Saudi charity Al Waqf al Islami.

He also began a website, Speak Now, to counter Wahhabi teaching. But he remains so concerned about Wahhabi preachers that he never lets his 19-year-old son attend prayers on his own.

The radical imams Mr. Musliu and Mr. Sogojeva still preach in Pristina, where for prayers they draw crowds of young men who glare at foreign reporters.

Mr. Sogojeva dresses in a traditional robe and banded cleric’s hat, but his newly built mosque is an incongruous modern multistory building. He admonished his congregation with a rapid-fire list of dos and don’ts in a recent Friday sermon.

Neither imam seems to lack funds.

In an interview, Mr. Musliu insisted that he was financed by local donations, but confirmed that he had received Saudi funding for his early religion courses.

The instruction, he said, is not out of line with Kosovo’s traditions. The increase in religiosity among young people was natural after Kosovo gained its freedom, he said.

“Those who are not believers and do not read enough, they feel a bit shocked,” he said. “But we coordinated with other imams, and everything was in line with Islam.”

The entrance to the grounds of the Serbian Orthodox monastery in Decani in western Kosovo. In January, four armed Islamists passed through the checkpoint and were arrested at the monastery gates. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

A Tilt Toward Terrorism

The influence of the radical clerics reached its apex with the war in Syria, as they extolled the virtues of jihad and used speeches and radio and television talks shows to urge young people to go there.

Mr. Qazimi, who was given the 10-year prison sentence, even organized a summer camp for his young followers.

“It is obligated for every Muslim to participate in jihad,” he told them in one videotaped talk. “The Prophet Muhammad says that if someone has a chance to take part in jihad and doesn’t, he will die with great sins.”

“The blood of infidels is the best drink for us Muslims,” he said in another recording.

Among his recruits, investigators say, were three former civilian employees of American contracting companies at Camp Bondsteel, where American troops are stationed. They included Lavdrim Muhaxheri, an Islamic State leader who was filmed executing a man in Syria with a rocket-propelled grenade.

After the suicide bombings, the authorities opened a broad investigation and found that the Saudi charity Al Waqf al Islami had been supporting associations set up by preachers like Mr. Qazimi in almost every regional town.

Al Waqf al Islami was established in the Balkans in 1989. Most of its financing came from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, Kosovo investigators said in recent interviews. Unexplained gaps in its ledgers deepened suspicions that the group was surreptitiously funding clerics who were radicalizing young people, they said.

Investigators from Kosovo’s Financial Intelligence Unit found that Al Waqf al Islami, which had an office in central Pristina and a staff of 12, ran through €10 million from 2000 through 2012. Yet they found little paperwork to explain much of the spending.

More than €1 million went to mosque building. But one and a half times that amount was disbursed in unspecified cash withdrawals, which may have also gone to enriching its staff, the investigators said.

Only 7 percent of the budget was shown to have gone to caring for orphans, the charity’s stated mission.

By the summer of 2014, the Kosovo police shut down Al Waqf al Islami, along with 12 other Islamic charities, and arrested 40 people.

The charity’s head offices, in Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands, have since changed their name to Al Waqf, apparently separating themselves from the Balkans operation.

Asked about the accusations in a telephone interview, Nasr el Damanhoury, the director of Al Waqf in the Netherlands, said he had no direct knowledge of his group’s operations in Kosovo or the Balkans.

The charity has ceased all work outside the Netherlands since he took over in 2013, he said. His predecessor had returned to Morocco and could not be reached, and Saudi board members would not comment, he said.

“Our organization has never supported extremism,” Mr. Damanhoury said. “I have known it since 1989. I joined them three years ago. They have always been a mild group.”

Kosovars celebrating the independence of Kosovo from Serbia in 2008. Credit Bela Szandelszky/Associated Press

Unheeded Warnings

Why the Kosovar authorities — and American and United Nations overseers — did not act sooner to forestall the spread of extremism is a question being intensely debated.

As early as 2004, the prime minister at the time, Bajram Rexhepi, tried to introduce a law to ban extremist sects. But, he said in a recent interview at his home in northern Kosovo, European officials told him that it would violate freedom of religion.

“It was not in their interest, they did not want to irritate some Islamic countries,” Mr. Rexhepi said. “They simply did not do anything.”

Not everyone was unaware of the dangers, however.

At a meeting in 2003, Richard C. Holbrooke, once the United States special envoy to the Balkans, warned Kosovar leaders not to work with the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo, an umbrella organization of Saudi charities whose name still appears on many of the mosques built since the war, along with that of the former Saudi interior minister, Prince Naif bin Abdul-Aziz.

A year later, it was among several Saudi organizations that were shut down in Kosovo when it came under suspicion as a front for Al Qaeda. Another was Al-Haramain, which in 2004 was designated by the United States Treasury Department as having links to terrorism.

Yet even as some organizations were shut down, others kept working. Staff and equipment from Al-Haramain shifted to Al Waqf al Islami, moderate imams familiar with their activities said.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia appears to have reduced its aid to Kosovo. Kosovo Central Bank figures show grants from Saudi Arabia averaging €100,000 a year for the past five years.

It is now money from Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — which each average approximately €1 million a year — that propagates the same hard-line version of Islam. The payments come from foundations or individuals, or sometimes from the Ministry of Zakat (Almsgiving) from the various governments, Kosovo’s investigators say.

But payments are often diverted through a second country to obscure their origin and destination, they said. One transfer of nearly €500,000 from a Saudi individual was frozen in 2014 since it was intended for a Kosovo teenager, according to the investigators and a State Department report.

Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations were still raising millions from “deep-pocket donors and charitable organizations” based in the gulf, the Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David S. Cohen, said in a speech in 2014 at the Center for a New American Security.

While Saudi Arabia has made progress in stamping out funding for Al Qaeda, sympathetic donors in the kingdom were still funding other terrorist groups, he said.

Today the Islamic Community of Kosovo has been so influenced by the largess of Arab donors that it has seeded prominent positions with radical clerics, its critics say.

Ahmet Sadriu, a spokesman for Islamic Community of Kosovo, said the group held to Kosovo’s traditionally tolerant version of Islam. But calls are growing to overhaul an organization now seen as having been corrupted by outside forces and money.

Kosovo’s interior minister, Skender Hyseni, said he had recently reprimanded some of the senior religious officials.

“I told them they were doing a great disservice to their country,” he said in an interview. “Kosovo is by definition, by Constitution, a secular society. There has always been historically an unspoken interreligious tolerance among Albanians here, and we want to make sure that we keep it that way.”

Albert Berisha, sentenced to prison for going to Syria to fight, says he did not join the Islamic State. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Families Divided

For some in Kosovo, it may already be too late.

Families have been torn apart. Some of Kosovo’s best and brightest have been caught up in the lure of jihad.

One of Kosovo’s top political science graduates, Albert Berisha, said he left in 2013 to help the Syrian people in the uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. He abandoned his attempt after only two weeksand he says he never joined the Islamic State — but has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, pending appeal.

Ismet Sakiqi, an official in the prime minister’s office and a veteran of the liberation struggle, was shaken to find his 22-year-old son, Visar, a law student, arrested on his way through Turkey to Syria with his fiancée. He now visits his son in the same Kosovo prison where he was detained under Serbian rule.

And in the hamlet of Busavate, in the wooded hills of eastern Kosovo, a widower, Shemsi Maliqi, struggles to explain how his family has been divided. One of his sons, Alejhim, 27, has taken his family to join the Islamic State in Syria.

It remains unclear how Alejhim became radicalized. He followed his grandfather, training as an imam in Gjilan, and served in the village mosque for six years. Then, two years ago, he asked his father to help him travel to Egypt to study.

Mr. Maliqi still clings to the hope that his son is studying in Egypt rather than fighting in Syria. But Kosovo’s counterterrorism police recently put out an international arrest warrant for Alejhim.

“Better that he comes back dead than alive,” Mr. Maliqi, a poor farmer, said. “I sent him to school, not to war. I sold my cow for him.”

Alejhim had married a woman from the nearby village of Vrbice who was so conservative that she was veiled up to her eyes and refused to shake hands with her brother-in-law.

The wife’s mother angrily refused to be interviewed. Her daughter did what was expected and followed her husband to Syria, she said.

Secretly, Alejhim drew three others — his sister; his best friend, who married his sister; and his wife’s sister — to follow him to Syria, too. The others have since returned, but remain radical and estranged from the family.

Alejhim’s uncle, Fehmi Maliqi, like the rest of the family, is dismayed. “It’s a catastrophe,” he said.


21-05-2016

By Carlota Gall

Source: The New York Times

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Africa, Russia, United States Imperialism And The Bankruptcy Of The International Criminal Court

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As defections continue from the Rome Statute the Netherlands-based group says Washington may have engaged in torture

A recent article published in the New York Times appears to suggest that the United States will be investigated by the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for committing torture against captives in Afghanistan.

Surprisingly enough the ICC has almost exclusively focused its attention on alleged war crimes and acts of genocide taking place in Africa. Many of the cases have in effect served the interests of U.S. imperialism where governments which are targets for destabilization and regime-change are indicted by the prosecutorial institution in order to isolate their leaders by threating illegal arrests and seizures.

Somini Sengupta and Marlise Simons wrote in the report that: “The international prosecutor has been considering whether to begin a full-fledged investigation into potential war crimes in Afghanistan for years. In Monday’s (Nov. 14) announcement, the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, signaled that a full investigation was likely. Still, the prosecutor did not announce a final decision on an investigation, which would have to be approved by judges, and it is unlikely that the United States will cooperate. The United States is not a party to the court, which was established to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. But Afghanistan is a member of the court, so allegations of crimes committed in its territory, no matter the nationality of the perpetrators, are widely considered to be fair game.”

Even though Washington was initially a signatory to the Rome Statute under the presidency of Bill Clinton in 2000, it has never been ratified by the U.S. Congress. The Rome Statute set the stage for the creation of the ICC which the administrations of George W. Bush, Jr. and Barack Obama have refused to recognize as a body which its citizens are subject to honor.

Although the Rome Statute was adopted in 1998 and went into effect some five years later, successive U.S. administrations have sought to use this legal body most notably against the Republic of Sudan headed by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and the Libyan Jamahiriya formerly led by the slain Col. Muammar Gaddafi.  Cases have also been brought against the government of the Republic of Kenya under President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto.

For years these leaders accused of gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and even genocide have been subjected to corporate and governmental media campaigns aimed at undermining their legitimacy both domestically and internationally. Nonetheless, the historical genocidal measures enacted by the U.S., Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany and even the Netherlands itself have never been examined.

The crimes of forced removal of indigenous people, the enslavement of millions and the systematic mass extermination of untold numbers on all populated continents over the last five to six centuries are never acknowledged by the ICC or similar entities. Consequently, the ICC is considered biased by many African states and regional institutions.

During the Jubilee celebrations of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) sponsored by the successor African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia held discussions in May 2013 on the withdrawal from the ICC. Routinely the European Union (EU) and the U.S. bypasses the AU in violation of diplomatic protocol in order to hold summits that exclude key African states.

States such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Eritrea among others are not invited to these gathering in Brussels and Washington. Other African governments have refused to attend in light of these neo-colonial efforts by European and North American states aimed at creating divisions among members of these regional blocs.

In recent weeks the Republic of South Africa, Burundi and Gambia announced that their governments would no longer recognize the Rome Statute. These developments portends that other states will soon follow suit.

Even according to Newsweek magazine, “In what seems to be a continental domino effect, three African states have publicly declared their intended withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the past month. The court has repeatedly been criticized by African states as an inefficient, neo-colonial institution of the Western powers to try African countries.

This argument is supported by the fact that nine of the ten situations under investigation, with three others under preliminary investigations, involve African countries.”

Other African states which could soon withdraw include the Republic of Namibia, Kenya and Uganda. These are major countries on the continent and their rejection of the Rome Statute and the ICC would be a major blow to this institution.

Russia Announces Refusal to Ratify

On November 16, the Russian-based news agency Tass wrote that Moscow had no intentions of ratifying the Rome Statute which ostensibly guides the operations of the ICC. The announcement was made by the offices of President Vladimir Putin and posted on governmental web site the following day.

The resolution mandates that notice to this effect will be given by the Russian Foreign Ministry to the United Nations Secretary General. The Rome Statute was developed with Moscow’s involvement and later adopted by the UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries. Russia reportedly signed the document on September 13, 2000. However, it was never fully adopted by any government in Russia over the last sixteen years.

This announcement is likely related to a report issued by the ICC on its investigation into what the Netherlands-based group says is Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the continuing war engendered by U.S. intervention into the internal affairs of Ukraine. In February 2014, the elected government of Ukraine was overthrown with the support of the administration of President Barack Obama which funded campaigns that supported fascist organizations to serve as the main force in the removal of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

Kiev’s new U.S.-backed regime was so anti-Russian that the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin the Russian Federation.  During the decades-long existence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the Crimean Oblast was legally a subdivision of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In 1954, a transfer of Crimea into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic took place.

With the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Crimea then was ceded to a putative independent Ukraine. Later that year Crimea had re-gained its autonomy following a national referendum.

The following year in 1992, the Ukrainian parliament abrogated the Crimean Constitution and in 1995, the office of President. By 1998, Crimea had a new constitution imposed upon the state that mandated less autonomy. Therefore, any legislation adopted by the Crimean parliament could be overturned by an act of the Ukrainian parliament.

Imperialists War Crimes Should be Investigated and Prosecuted

Just over the last decade-and-a-half, the U.S., Britain, France and other imperialist states have committed horrendous war crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and other geo-political regions. These crimes are related to the intervention and occupations of nation-states based on false pretenses designed to eliminate independent governments and the seizure of their resources.

As a direct result of these massive bombings, invasions, occupations and partitions, tens of millions of people have been displaced, impoverished and disenfranchised. Millions have died in combined military actions against Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria and other countries.

The plight of the Palestinian people, subjected to nearly 70 years of Israeli occupation, has worsened while the imperialist governments have increased their funding, arming and diplomatic support for Tel Aviv. Gaza, popularly referred to as the largest open-air prison in the world, remains under de facto Israeli occupation along with other areas of Palestine and the Golan Heights in Syria.

At some point these crimes must be legally addressed along with the development of the Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism and the denial of full participation in the UN and other international bodies by the imperialist governments. The abolition of the effectiveness of the ICC should pave the way for a broader discussion on the creation of a genuine world body to pursue war crimes and the violations of the fundamental human rights of the majority of the world’s population.