- Islamic Extremism and the European Quest
- Growing Iranian influence
- The Albanian Initiative
- The US Interest for Terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija
- Turkey, Albania and the “Republic Kosova”
- Using religion
- Turkey, Albania and Kosovo and Metohija
- Planning the “Republic of Kosova”
- The “Kosovo Liberation Army”
- What is the “Kosovo Liberation Army”?
- Profile of a terrorist
- “Dogs of War” are arriving
- Profession — Terrorist
- “Albanian Terrorists”in Serbian language
Southeast Europe, and especially the Balkan Peninsula, have traditionally been the object of numerous geopolitical, geostrategic and publicist analyses, as well as the subject of debates among Balkan, European and global experts in international relations. At the present, along with the Serbian question, the most controversial issue is the Albanian national question.
The basic problem concerns security in a broader geopolitical framework, which is understandable. but at least as far as Western analysts are concerned, other issues have priority such as human rights, democracy and other issues that might become dominant in a given phase of crisis solving.
The preservation of regional security and the creation of stable political-economic relations in the Balkan Peninsula are the priorities of the international community policy, since it estimates that currently the most important hotbeds on Europe are located in Kosovo and Metohija, in Albania and in western Macedonia.
Judged according to investments, resources and geostrategic element, the province of Kosovo and Metohija is worth more than 500 billion dollars. This fact favored the Albanian secessionist leadership in its efforts to assume the guidance of the Albanian people which might play an important role in the global control of the south-eastern part of Europe. The premise "Whoever has control of the Balkans and of Kosovo and Metohija, controls the stability and the instability of Europe" has been put to good use by the Albanian leaders by trying to destabilize this part of the European continent in order to benefit by creating "Greater Albania", i.e. by generating a monopoly of power and might in the Balkans. Their efforts are designed to provide the solution to the "Kosovo Question" by involving international factors, to the point that internationalization of the problems is sought at any cost, including inciting and taking part in terrorist activities, devised to frighten the Serbian people and force it to emigrate and abandon the land to the secessionists.
The political objectives of the secessionists encompassing both conventional and unconventional forms of activities by political parties, unions, media, supported by terrorism, guerrilla, contraband, drugs smuggling and violence of all sorts, are merely a mosaic revealing a rejection of the authority of the Serbian state and of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and a collective resistance to the Serbian people and political parties, regardless of their political programs, party activities and attitude towards the present government.
Milan V. Petkovic, 1998
Islamic Extremism and the European Quest
Kosovo and Metohija is a region with enormous historical and civilizational importance, especially in view of resisting to the expansion of Islamism in Europe.
The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, concluded by the Dayton Agreement, also represents an attempt to ensure the penetration of Islamism in the Balkans and to link a major number of states and regions to the Moslem population and Islam as the religion of the majority. Part of this process includes the long-term effort of the Albanian leadership to form the “Greater Albania”, encompassing present day Republic of Albania, Kosovo and Metohija, as well as parts of Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece. Strikes staged by ethnic Albanian miners and university students in Kosovo and Metohija back in 1988 and 1989, have escalated into outbreaks of violence with tragic consequences, forcing the Serbian government to take energetic measures to suppress anti-government and terrorist activities and re-establish normal life condition in this part of the Republic. This is why at the beginning of the nineties, terrorist groups and their leaders adopted a new strategy which was intensified in 1996 and 1997. It was characterized by attacks focused on government institutions, Serbs, Montenegrins and ethnic Albanians which were judged to be helping the reinforcement of legal and legitimate authority of Serbia and Yugoslavia. In just a few months at the end of 1997 and at the beginning of 1998, the activity of the terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija have caused the death of more than 70 citizens and members of Serbian Police and Yugoslav Army. Such an escalation of violence was the result of thorough preparations of secessionists in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of the support of various Moslem countries, particularly Iran and its Islamic extremist militant institutions and organizations.
Growing Iranian influence
A particular intensification of Iranian activity in Albania and Kosovo and Metohija was registered after the meting of Islamic countries held in Jeddah in 1994, and the meeting of the D-8 group of Islamic countries held in Istanbul in 1996. The decision was taken then to help the “brothers in the Balkans” with all available means, including military aid. Obviously, “all available means” included the “holy warriors” — mujahedins and other terrorists.
Actually, the Balkan peninsula was chosen as a beachhead for an organized penetration of Islam into Europe. At the same time Italy was selected as the base country for command and managing centers and stations in charge of directing Islamic extremists' forces and funds.
According to British analysts versed in these issues, it is unlikely that the international community will offer a determined support to the legal FRY authorities, because it does not feel threatened. This will favor the Islamic extremists and allow them to operate undisturbed and secure their positions according to plan by setting up a broadly ramified and tenacious terrorist organization with strongholds in localities inhabited by Moslem population. Bearing this in mind, the Albanian secessionist network has launched an efficient propaganda-psychological campaign in the West in order to win support or at least sympathies before their main offensive which is being prepared with the excuse of creating independent Moslem states that will act as a “firewall” against terrorism in Europe. Hence, it comes as no surprise that even the US President is tolerating their secessionist aspirations. Unlike the British government headed by Mr. John Major that tried to filter the more aggressive aspects of US policy regarding former Yugoslavia and during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the new government, headed by Mr. Tony Blair gave unconditional support to the Clinton Administration. Therefore, one should not expect that the British Government will provide any significant endorsement to Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as far as their policy in Kosovo and Metohija is concerned. Securing independence for the ethic Albanian minority in Kosovo and Metohija is an important objective of the Clinton Administration Balkan policy, because this is required by the US interests to maintain a physical presence in Europe both through NATO and independently — with troops stationed in allied Balkan countries that are being given ample US support, and direct and indirect control of the Balkans with the use of allies.
The escalation of terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija in 1997 and 1998, marked the beginning of a new phase of the long term plan that Teheran has prepared for the Balkans. It includes intense preparations for inciting hostilities and planting extreme Islamic ideology in the area. Since the spring of ''97 a growing Teheran's interest for the Balkans and the Apennines has been registered. This is probably due to the growing tension between Iran and Western countries after the trial to Iranian citizens in Germany, indicted for espionage in favor of Iran. The developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina forced Iran and the Alija Izetbegovic administration to maintain a relatively low level of relations, in order to avoid forcing Europe from fully adhering to the US policy in confront of Iran because this would make difficult the implementation of objectives set by the leadership of Islamic extremist institutions. All this increases the importance of the Apennines-Balkans area for Teheran and its interest for Albania and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, as its allies. This explains Teheran's tenacity in finding and establishing strongholds in this part of Europe.
The first demonstration of the importance the Apennine / Balkan geopolitical area and of the elasticity of the local Islamic strongholds involved in preparing and carrying-out terrorists operations, was the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in the spring of 1997 in Sarajevo. It is important that (even though it failed) the operation was planned at the time that the “brain center” of the Iranian intelligence service in Milan (Italy) was still not fully operational. This means that it could not provide intelligence and logistic support for the operation. In other words, the assassination was staged and implemented using only “local” forces and means, with the aid of given field operatives. It should be stressed that the preparations included various segments of the intelligence department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, given elements of the Iranian special assignment forces “Al Quds”, in charge of organizing and executing terrorist attacks abroad, parts of special units for internal security and some members of the terrorist logistic base in Sarajevo. The planning and execution of the operation was coordinated by Meghid Shahram, Iranian terrorist instructor, known to specialized institutions in various Western countries.
The forces involved in the implementation of the assassination, have been identified as “close to pro-Iranian Hesbollah”. The team included a suicide group of 18 terrorists from Turkey, Moslem Bosnia and Iran. Due to insufficient coordination among the various sub-groups, and poor support forces, the assassination failed. Operations conducted by INTERPOL, police and specialized services in Western countries, unveiled several Islamist terrorist groups operating in Europe, and linked to the Iranian secret service that provided assignments, instructors and logistic support. However, in spite of the fact that the assassination plan was blocked, this terrorist structure — sponsored by Iran — showed its tenacity and efficiency because the terrorists managed to avoid being arrested.
In late September 1997, Teheran's terrorist organization was ready to repeat the attempt on the Pope's life. A group of about 20 terrorists from various countries was set up in Bologna (Italy). However, just a few hours before the assassination, Italian security forces discovered and arrested 14 members of the group.
Another successful anti-terrorist operation — though not related to this incident — is the one carried out by SFOR units in Fojnica (Bosnia) in 1996. A terrorist base was discovered, arms and special assignment equipment were seized, as well as major quantities of explosives and some documentation. It was discovered that the terrorist branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina was headed by Ali Rezah Bayata. His directives included — among other things -organizing terrorist activities in FR Yugoslavia. Because of security breaches and poor results in organizing terrorist operations in Yugoslavia, Ali Rezah Bayata was called back to Teheran and soon after relieved of his duties as coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Near the end of 1997, Iranian diplomat Mahmud Nurani was appointed head of the Iranian intelligence center in Rome. His experience from Lebanon and the success he had in the eighties when he set up the pro-Iranian extremist Islamic organization “Hesbollah” in Beirut. This is where he specialized in bomb-attacks and hostage kidnapping, which was to be a useful base for performing terrorist activities in the Balkans and throughout Europe. At the same time, the office of minister for intelligence affairs was given to Kurban Ali Najeff Abadi, a close friend of Ayatollah Hamnei. His most important assignment, the one he has been involved in ever since he assumed office, is the control and supervision of the Iranian intelligence and terrorist activities in Albania. This country, together with Kosovo and Metohija is to be used as the spring board for consolidating the “Moslem Axis” (also called “Green Crosscut”) in Bosnia and possibly further on into Europe. The Iranian infrastructure in Albania has shown a certain amount of efficiency, at least for the time being, primarily because it is based on the omerta'principle deeply rooted in the Albanian society from times immemorial, much like in Italian Mafia. Facts have shown that the general conditions for an Islamic re-conquest of Albania were highly favorable. By 1997, Albania had entered the disintegration phase, culminating in March of that same year. Tirana desperately needed aid, regardless of its origin, and the majority of the people were focused on sheer survival, and turned to robbery, terrorism, drugs smuggling, contraband of arms, kidnappings and white slavery. All these criminal activities simplified the creation of terrorist organizations and strengthened the terrorist network. Iranian intelligence circles deemed that Albania was “ripe” and could accept the introduction of extremist Islamism which was to take place on two levels according to Teheran's plan. Publicly, Iran and its Islamic partners are to build a comprehensive financial support system ranging from banks and financial institutions to economy, and including numerous humanitarian organizations offering all sorts of community services and aid for the poor and “abused”. Secretly, a broad network is created to establish the intelligence-operative base destined to cover entire Europe, going primarily through the Balkans and Italy.
The Albanian Initiative
There are clear indications of the importance of the “Albanian Initiative”, i.e., the Iranian penetration into Albania. The meeting of the Iranian Supreme Economic Council at the beginning of 1998, dealt exclusively with the situation in Albania. The Council vice-chairman Bezavah Navabi, the new trustee for the coordination of the public social-economic initiative in Albania, took part in the meeting, along with other influential officials — Mohsen Nurbakan — governor of the Iranian Central Bank, as well as the prime figures of the relevant Iranian institutions and ministries. Furthermore, Navabi was instructed to coordinate the work and the activities with the Iranian intelligence structures. He suggested that a long term plan be drafted and launched to promote three Iranian long-term objectives in Albania:
- Forming a commercial operative base near the “heart of Europe” (Germany, France, Italy, Benelux, Switzerland).
- Reinforcing the strategic axis towards Sarajevo and Tirana, linked to intensified subversive Islamic political presence.
- Organizing advanced posts for the Iranian Intelligence Service, to allow it to carry out operations and perform assignments concerning the penetration into Italy, Austria, Greece and further on into the European continent.
The implementation of the Teheran plans has already started. Operating through Iranian semi-official organizations and foundations, the Iranian Intelligence Service has created contacts with numerous Islamic and Iranian trade companies and businessmen in the major Albanian cities and established channels for making and financing new representative offices. Meanwhile, Teheran took comprehensive steps to secure economic support and strengthen the ties with Albania through Arab-Islamic banking institutions. This is almost the exclusive source of hard currency input into Albania, and by positioning loyal figures at the very top of the financial oligarchy, Teheran transformed most of the local banks and financial institutions ensuring an undisturbed and permanent Iranian presence and penetration in all segments of the Albanian society. These banks have established formal ties with several Iranian banks thus fully legalizing the Iranian presence in all spheres of financing. This resulted in the complete acceptance of the Iranian presence as a normal and even desirable situation. Mohsen Nurbakan instructed those banks to invest in Albania regardless of poor profit and business risk factors. Officials of the Iranian financial intelligence are deployed in all Teheran's institutions in Albania and cooperate closely with the operatives of the Intelligence Affairs Ministry regarding the financing of terrorist training camps, purchase of arms and military equipment, “money laundering” and other activities.
Along with these efforts, the Iranian intelligence service intensified its activities with organized crime both in Albania and abroad. From the early 90's, Iranian intelligence used ports in Albania to smuggle arms and medicines to Bosnia and Herzegovina, “money laundering” and smuggling drugs from the Near East for the Italian Mafia, and other illegal activities. All major operations went through the Albanian port of Durazzo, whilst smaller and more delicate shipments were directed to the port Sewini (north of Durazzo). However, since mid-1997, Albania has become the center and the basic transit point for arms contraband trails leading to Bosnia and Herzegovina, for drug caravans going from the Near East and Columbia to the “heart of Europe”, and money from Russia laundered in EU. The Italian Mafia represents an important force and a precious ally for the Iranian intelligence. The geographic closeness between Albania and southern Italy prompted dangerous ties between the Mafia channels in the Italian south and Albanian smugglers that sometimes use some parts of the Montenegrin territory for transferring shipments to Western Europe. They jointly coordinate foreign criminal groups that have become increasingly active in Albania — organized mobsters, drug smugglers, members of terrorist groups and organizations from Kosovo and Metohija as well as from the Near East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
On the Italian side of the Adriatic, the Neapolitan Mafia has defined its interests in controlling the Tirana-Brindisi line of communications. It has transformed the ports along the southern coast of Italy into reception centers for illegal entrance into the country and hence into the European Union. The most active ones are the Mafia branches involved in arms and drugs smuggling, “white slavery” and “dirty” money laundering. In addition to all this, the smuggling of illegal aliens is a rapidly spreading, this criminal phenomenon is being broadly used by Iranian intelligence to infiltrate agents and terrorists in all European countries.
Along with all this, the Iranians have intensified their efforts to establish and activate training camps for terrorists destined to operate in Kosovo and Metohija and West European countries. In this they cooperate with other countries supporting extreme Islamic terrorism. The recruitment is primarily focused on the impoverished social strata in Albania. Until now, along with banks, the Iranians have formed a number of foundations involved in humanitarian aid activities.
The most important “construction” in the system is the institution of holy war — Jihad which is has been introduced into Albania in a premeditated and almost imperceptible way. The “Islamic Jihad” organization operates in Albania as a highly motivated structure with very large funds. It is involved in the development of small enterprises, construction of small factories and job creation in urban and other impoverished regions. Thanks to community projects and financial activities “Islamic Jihad” (also called “Jihad Construction”) has become an important instrument used by the Iranians to win the sympathies of the people and gaining popularity and consensus in the community. This type of social environment generates favorable conditions for recruiting individuals and demanding active support from institutions, be they port authorities, factories, other infrastructure facilities or pure financial institutions.
Interestingly, the key Sunni Islamic associations such as “Al Harmayun” and “Al Muwafaq” focused on recruiting followers of Islam that the Iranians preach — regardless of their Shiite orientation — represent another instrument for expanding Iranian influence. Relying on enormous donations and subventions by the Gulf states, and on the possibility of securing well-paid jobs in those countries, these organizations are usually used to recruit and train Albanian mujahedins. Their recruitment methods have been tested and improved in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Using Islamic educational institutions and projects for the development of rural communities as a front, Iran and its Arab allies have formed training camps in remote and inaccessible zones of Albania. Tom make these camps operational, Teheran has brought in numerous groups of Arabs and Albanian mujahedins from Bosnia, where they fought in Moslem Army units. After a brief stay in these camps, special teams — made of veteran mujahedin or freshly trained Albanians — are sent on assignment abroad. Many are sent to Kosovo and Metohija directly or via Macedonia. The best individuals are sent to Western Europe, posing as refugees, that are smuggled by boat to Italy, France and Spain. Close relations Albanian, Iranian and Italian Mafia have with Iranian intelligence are based on the contraband of arms, drugs, forged documents and securities, but also include the smuggling of Iranian agents into Western countries via Italy.
Until the end of 1997, training and preparation of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” was sponsored by Teheran, as well as the transfer of arms and specialists through Albania. At the beginning of 1998, these activities have been intensified. Interestingly, the primary objective — creating a beachhead for the expansion of Islam — has been expanded to include the creation of the Tirana-Sarajevo axis. With all that the escalation of Jihad remained the primary objective for Teheran.
In the autumn of 1997, top leadership in Teheran decided to start sending large quantities of arms and military equipment to the secret Albanian organizations in Kosovo and Metohija. Hamnei's instructions were that this aid was to be used only to win the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and proclaim the independent “Republic of Kosovo”. This Iranian decision was part of the policy used until Teheran limited direct financing of the activities in FR Yugoslavia to the creation of educational institutions and educational projects of the separatist groups based on fundamentalist Islamic ideology. The sole purpose of this move was the complete indoctrination of the masses and the creation of a broad support with blind trust of ideas originated in Teheran. The financing of terrorist and other activities was limited to preparations and support outside Yugoslavia — in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
However, orders were given to eliminate this difference as well: Teheran's instructions include a quality change in the Iranian involvement in Kosovo and Metohija. At the beginning of 1997, Iranian intelligence was given the assignment to deliver the first shipment of hand grenades, machine guns, automatic rifles, night surveillance equipment, and communication equipment from its stocks in Albania to the secessionist in Kosovo. While awaiting instructions from Teheran, ample preparations were carried out in Albania, and the Iranians even promised the Albanians and the commanders of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” that they will organize for them military training in Revolutionary Guard and Special Units camps in Iran. Meanwhile, illegal arms deliveries were continued, indicating that Teheran plans to create a military operations zone in Kosovo and Metohija to promote the Jihad.
In planning the stress levels for the “Kosovo Liberation Army” , Teheran used estimates prepared during the 90's by the followers of Kosovo Democratic Alliance leader — Ibrahim Rugova, and in response to requests for armed operations in Kosovo and Metohija. The growing Iranian involvement in Albania and in Kosovo and Metohija had direct influence on the operative structure and the organization of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” and rumors were intentionally spread that the “liberation war” has started, marked by a number of terrorist attacks on police stations, Serbian Government institutions and Yugoslav Army installations in Kosovo and Metohija, at the beginning of 1998.
The events having taken such a course, the central position of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” must not be ignored. In fact, with Teheran's support the most radical elements in the movement for Kosovo independence, acquired growing importance and influence. Should current trends prevail, the Islamist “Kosovo Liberation Army” might become the decisive factor in turning the situation in the region around. Along with all this, terrorist activities have become part of the daily reality in Kosovo and Metohija. Together with massive propaganda campaign and Iranian support, the spreading of terrorism might really be considered the beginning of an armed rebellion threatening to escalate further.
The greatest advantage Teheran has, is the ability to reinforce the Kosovo-Albanian alliance using the “Kosovo Liberation Army” and its terrorist campaign.
Along with this, there is no doubt that Washington has a growing interest to direct the Kosovo problem in the direction of armed conflicts, provoked by “liberation forces” and sponsored by Iran. For the Clinton Administration, Kosovo represents another open question that is to be used to put pressure on Belgrade. This was clearly demonstrated by the sudden and unexpected decision to include this issue in the agenda of the 2nd Conference on the Implementation if the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In view of the Iranian domination over the growing Islamic, subversive and terrorist movement in Kosovo and Metohija, the question can be raised whether this was merely a coincidence or a secret agreement on cooperation has in fact been made between Washington and Teheran.
The advent of Islamism (sponsored by Iran) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Albania and in Kosovo is certainly not coincidental. In both cases, Iranians are trying to infiltrate the Moslem community, presently inclined towards western values and secularism, in order to turn what started as “national liberation struggle” of secessionist ethnic Albanians, into a bastion of Islamic terrorism and radicalism.
Iranians and their allies have enjoyed the support of loyal followers of the spiritual leaders of both movements. This must not be underestimated — especially in view of what Teheran achieved in Sarajevo — since a possible triumph in Albania, in Kosovo and Metohija and in Macedonia would have serious effects because the international community has not taken adequate and active steps to prevent it.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the West and the UN 0 under US guidance — openly supported and helped the rise of the Moslem regime. Officially the Clinton Administration decided to “close an eye” when Iran and its allies were delivering arms and sending voluntaries to the Moslem forces in Bosnia, flagrantly breaching the UN arms embargo. The discovery of the conspiracy against the Pope, helped by the Sarajevo regime and the sponsoring of Islamic terrorism in the heart of Western Europe, forced several Western governments to reconsider their policy in Bosnia.
The US Interest for Terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija
The DIA — the US military intelligence service, is closely monitoring the problem of Kosovo and Metohija. Its general stand is that this is an internal issue for Serbia and FR Yugoslavia that needs to be solved in a democratic way. DIA accuses both sides for the present situation in the southern Serbian province, though greater responsibility is attributed to Belgrade. The same agency stresses that the patience of the international community is running out and that it is high time for the continued dialogue to start. The solution is anticipated in the form of “broader autonomy” but without the separation of Kosovo and Metohija from Yugoslavia. The DIA believes that the definite solution is in the hands of Yugoslavia and that the future of the country and the future of the region as a whole will depend on the approach used by Yugoslavia in solving the problem.
Operations by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army are judged as classical terrorist activities, which entails anti-terrorist activities and measures used by the authorities. According to the same agency, all this can escalate the conflict.
Analytical and intelligence circles in the US intelligence community estimate that the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army is “working on its tactics, but success should not bee expected from it soon”. Still, “violence will continue to attract the attention of the international community. The political objective of this terrorist organization is independent Kosovo and the possible unification with the mother country. Therefore, it is to be expected that “this organization will strive to disrupt police functions, incite the resistance of the population and discourage ethnic Albanians from cooperating with Serbian authorities.”
The latest attacks carried out by this group indicate that it is switching from limited range assignments to broader attacks directed primarily against the security forces and public institutions to impose the opinion and the impression that Belgrade is incapable of controlling security in Kosovo and Metohija. In this insolent strategy, they are now attacking smaller and (in their opinion) isolated military units patrolling the border with Albania. These attacks had no effect until now. American experts believe that the use of force by Serbian authorities, can give only temporary results. Therefore the best solution is to promote dialogue and to look for a compromise solution that might satisfy both sides at least partially. Obviously, should the US establishment come to the conclusion that in Kosovo and Metohija some other formula is to be applied to realize American political objectives in the Balkan area, different solutions and outcomes can be expected in Kosovo and Metohija.
It is clear however, that American political interests will play a decisive role in the settlement of the “Kosovo Question”, because the position assumed by Serbia and Yugoslavia — concerning the involvement of foreign factors in the internal affairs of the country — was judged to “jeopardize vital American interests” by former president George Bush back in 1992.
Turkey, Albania and the “Republic Kosova”
Most of the Albanians have deep religious feelings and they are greatly confused when secular social duties are in contrast with their personal stands about something being banned by the Sheria, especially when women and their rights are involved. Certain Islamic religious leaders in Kosovo and Metohija promote this attitude by presenting Islam as a comprehensive view of the world that includes a state-government theory excluding all other theories not acknowledging Islam.
This is the groundwork nationalism is built upon using myths and propaganda. Those that failed to resist to such propaganda, easily succumb to Chauvinism and all its negative characteristics and weaknesses. This is best confirmed by the events in the province over the past decade. Consequently, it is clear that no form of materialistic ideology, even if it comes from the mother-country Albania, could not have been broadly diffused in and adopted by the majority of the ethnic Albanian population.
Recently, the ties between Islam and Albanian secessionism have become clearly visible. They are made evident by the presence of numerous imams and their instigation of nationalistic activities, and also by the justification of terrorist operations by bandit groups that use the romantic euphemism of “Kosovo Liberation Army”. They are also joining secessionist organizations, infiltrating the student communities in high schools and colleges, as well as entering various political organizations with “Greater Albania” orientation, preaching secessionism and taking part in illegal activities ranging from slander to intimidation, physical harassment and assassination of non-Albanian individuals. The Albanian secessionist and Chauvinist parties have copied this approach and they are now frequently operating through so-called independent unions and associations. Thanks to such a strategy, they manage to recruit many followers among the Albanians, not only in Kosovo and Metohija, but also those that live abroad, mostly in western countries.
The secessionist forces do not hesitate to use the religions sentiments of the ethnic Albanians to attain their objectives. In doing so, they enjoy the support of a part of the Islamic clergy. This takes many forms: mediating peace between families involved in blood vengeance, urging the believers to be united, appeals to ethnic Albanians that moved from Kosovo and Metohija to Turkey decades ago to become involved in the “Albanian question”, the recruitment of young men (and adults) to go to Turkey for “special” education, establishing ties between the ethnic Albanian schools (set up as part of the parallel education system) with Islamic charity and purely religious organizations, etc. Ethnic Albanian secessionists, part of which are sworn Islamic fundamentalists, are extremely intransigent in their demands. This is made visible by their public statements and resolute rejection of any compromise which is quite near to open denial of the legitimate authorities and structures of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia, where they live in spite of that.
On the other hand, it seems that the Albanian aspirations to annex Kosovo and Metohija are still just a dream for the simple reason that it isn't strong enough to do it. This is why Pristina has been made headquarters of the secessionist operations and the place where the ideas for creating “Greater Albania” are proclaimed. This is further revealed by the diffusion of ideas that all non-Albanian population should be chased out from the neighboring territories: western Macedonia and Raska territory and the transfer of terrorist activities outside Kosovo and Metohija.
Turkey, Albania and Kosovo and Metohija
When Kosovo and Metohija are discussed, one of the questions that can be raised is why is this problem associated to the notion of “Pan-Turkishness”, although it is quite evident that ethnic Albanian secessionism is involved including terrorist activities and unquestionable crime? The answer can be found in the vision proposed by Suleyman Demirel when he described Turkey for 21st century placing Albania and Kosovo and Metohija within its borders. As it is known, Albania did not protest against such statements, nor has any of the secessionist leaders in Kosovo and Metohija. On the contrary, both the Albanian and the Kosovo and Metohija leaderships cooperated with Turkey before this statement and continued to do so after it. For example in 1993, the Turkish government granted Albania a 50 million dollars loan for arms and army training, backed Albania in all its anti-Yugoslav outbursts, trained and still is training members of the Albanian Army and terrorist organizations from Kosovo and Metohija. One of the training camps of the Turkish Army — near the town of Boly — has been reserved for training Albanian terrorists.
Furthermore, the largest Albanian community in the world lives in Turkey. The total number of ethnic Albanians living there can not be established because the emigration into territories that are present-day Turkey has been uninterrupted ever since the Ottoman conquest of Albania. The question might be asked how many present-day Turks are actually from Turkey or is the majority of them descendent from some of the emigrants from Albania and Kosovo and Metohija that settled Turkey in waves. The point is that almost all Turks think of themselves as Moslems, and until World War One this was the characteristic of their theocratic state. This made feel all Albanian Moslems at in Turkey.
Many of them have reached the highest state offices. In the history of the Ottoman Empire 25 Albanians were grand viziers (prime ministers) that emigrated from Kosovo and Metohija or were descendants of emigrants from that region.
When the state of Albania was created in 1912 and subsequently confirmed after the 2nd Balkan War, a major rebellion of peasants headed by the dervish Hadji-Ohamil broke out. Rallying for a holly war — Jihad — they wanted to destroy the new Albania and reunite it with Turkey.
Interestingly enough, all the Albanians that emigrated to Turkey after World War Two, stated in their applications made to the Turkish Embassy in Belgrade that they are Turks and that their mother tongue is Turkish. Thus, a large number of Albanians has been blended into the Turkish nation without any effort of the authorities. According to some estimates, several million Turks are of Albanian descent, but many have been assimilated to the point that they never mention their origins. One of the most illustrious Turks of Albanian descent is the former commander of the Turkish Army and president of the republic — Kenan Evren.
Strangely enough, Yugoslavia is being accused of suffocating the rights of the Albanians and denying them the right to express their ethnic attributes, whilst Turkey is quoted as the friendly country that has so much understanding for the “ill-fated” from Kosovo and Metohija, even though in Turkey no nationality except the Turkish one is allowed. Even the Kurds are labeled “Mountain Turks” and their struggle for national emancipation is judged to be terrorism.
Planning the “Republic of Kosova”
Bearing in mind the interests of the neighboring countries, and without any intention of harming them, at the Peace Conference held in Paris in 1946, Yugoslavia made certain efforts to defend the Albanian right of territorial integrity. Regardless of the contrary position of some participants, the Yugoslav delegation insisted that Albania was to be allowed to take part in the Conference and be treated like Austria, i.e. that the solution found for Austria is to be applied to Albania as well. This stand of the Yugoslav delegation, and the Yugoslav attitude towards it was appreciated by Albania after the Conference, but only until the Inform-Bureau Resolution in 1948, when it joined the general condemnation by the East European countries headed by USSR. This is when Albania initiated a thorough and hostile campaign against Yugoslavia. It has been fanatically maintained with almost constant intensity until the present day, regardless of the changes of Albanian government and ruling political party. One of the most tragic effects of this campaign was the blooming of secessionist tendencies among ethnic Albanians in Yugoslavia, especially in the extremist circles of the ethnic Albanian political elite.
After 1960, Albania broke away from USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries and initiated an forced cooperation with China. This period is also characterized by the intensification of cultural, scientific and ideological cooperation between Albania and the Albanian minority in Kosovo and Metohija. This mirrored the changes in the status of the Kosovo and Metohija region in the legal and administrative sense, following the introduction of the Yugoslav constitutions and especially the 1974 Constitution. At the time, the ethnic Albanians came up with the idea to use a demographic “explosion” to alter the ethnic structure of the province. The plan was to secure domination through population policy, all this being inspired by the Albanian state ideology. Due to the political status granted by the Constitution of SFRY the intense support from Albania, and the almost unlimited possibilities of transforming the province in the political, economic, cultural and other spheres, nationalism secessionism and even religious intransigence flourished in complete contradiction with the state, national, historical and civilizational profile of Yugoslavia.
The rapid population growth of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, and the simultaneous fall of the Serbian and Montenegrin population in the province, was accompanied by a proportional level of indoctrination concerning ideology, culture and economy. The ethnic Albanians were being linked to all that came from Albania in a blatant and undeniable way. Furthermore, nobody — political leaders, intelligentsia and even simple ethnic Albanians — made any effort to hide it. Even textbooks were obtained from Tirana, and on the first page of the book of ABC's for first-graders there was a picture of the Albanian leader Enver Hodxa with the motto “Our motherland is Albania”. This is what Enver Hodxa used to launch a fierce attack against Yugoslavia in his speech at the Albanian Worker's Party congress in 1981 — the fact that the Albanians are living “divided” in three former Yugoslav federal entities: Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Hodxa openly asked a change of the status of Kosovo and Metohija and anticipated the existence of a plan for creating a new geopolitical situation in this part of the Balkans.
The plan essentially had three phases: in the first one Kosovo and Metohija were to be given the status of republic within the framework of the Yugoslav federation; the second phase was to be used to integrate all territories inhabited by ethnic Albanians in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia in a compact and ethnically defined federal unit within Yugoslavia; it was to leave the Yugoslav federation either with a referendum on independence or with the use of violence, armed rebellion and secession; the third phase was to cover the unification of the secessionist republic and Albania, the mother-country. Obviously, in order to secure the approval of the international community, the broad and coordinated efforts were to be used to influence the international public opinion and political factors and secure their consent and legitimacy for the “democratic decisions and resolutions of the Albanian majority in occupied territories”. In view of this plan mass demonstrations were set up by ethnic Albanian secessionists and — in spite of the efficient government measures to suppress political and nationalistic passions — they had a strong echo among the Albanians in Albania and those living abroad.
Some of the secessionist leaders addressed the international public with their “scientific” studies and analyses, relying on the intellectual elite of Albanian descent throughout the world as their spokesmen and promoters. The failed attempt to realize such a territorial remodeling, left deep traces in the relations between Yugoslavia and Albania, but also in the relations between Serbs, Montenegrins and ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo and Metohija. During the eighties the attitude of the Ethnic Albanians towards the Serbs, Montenegrins and Serbian and Yugoslav authorities was mainly that of a boycott, with numerous attacks on individuals and private property. Gradually this escalated into a specific terrorization carried out by the ethnic majority over the ethnic minority, and terrorist attacks carried out by nationalist and Islamic-Fundamentalist groups and organizations.
Using the general political crisis which degenerated into the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, with deep involvement and meddling of foreign political and military factors, ethnic Albanian secessionists convened on July 2 1990 in Kacanik to adopt the “Constitution of the Republic of Kosova”. This actions by he illegal and illegitimate “Assembly of the Republic of Kosova” resulted in the voluntary absence of the ethnic Albanian representatives from the debate on the future arrangement of Yugoslavia and the settlement of the crisis. In fact, secessionist leaders decided that their goals were to be realized by tearing down the outer Yugoslav borders and secession from Serbia. Acting on its “Declaration on Independence”, the secessionist leadership organized its operation in clandestine conditions, elected the “president of the Republic of Kosova”, formed the government and initiated the creation of their phantom state. Obviously the first thing to do was drawing the map of the “Republic”.
During the first six months of 1991, certain program modifications regarding priorities were made by Albania, and economic interest were put ahead of ideological ones. Thus, on June 20 1991, the meeting of the EU foreign ministers decided to renew diplomatic relations with Albania and granted it the status of full member of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (later renamed Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe — OSCE); the Albanian foreign and domestic policy was based on the multi-party system made official by the democratic elections in the spring of 1992; a change of the Albanian policy towards Yugoslavia and regarding the “Kosovo question” was expected; However, Albanian president Sali Berisha, congratulated Ibrahim Rugova on the successful organization of the elections for the “Republic of Kosova” on May 29 1992 with a message in which he stressed that “the Albanian people living in the territory of Kosovo has shown maturity and civic courage”. With it he practically reaffirmed the policy of the previous regime: to support secessionist ideology among the ethnic Albanians and to interfere with Yugoslav internal affairs. Relying on international media, he stressed on various occasions — and especially in an interview published by Corriere della Seraon November 16 1992 — the necessity of a military intervention against Yugoslavia and “Belgrade's military installations”, and in February 1993, his foreign minister appealed to the EU countries to grant recognition to the “Republic of Kosova”. At the same time, Sali Berisha stressed that “Albania will not be able to prevent Albanians from running to the aid of their brothers in Kosovo should a war break out there”. Reacting to this and some other secessionist demands, the League of Albanian Intellectuals from Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania — headed by Redxep Tchosya — invited the Albanian intelligentsia to become involved in the promotion of “spiritual, cultural and national unity”.
In March 1993, president Berisha sent an appeal to the NATO Command for Europe to seize the Kosovo and Metohija area with its troops and “prevent Serbian expansionism” forgetting the fact that he was referring to a part of the territory of the Republic of Serbia and that aggression and invasion of one's own territory has never been carried out and that the very idea of such an action is absurd. However, by admitting that the crisis that was shaking Yugoslavia has its roots in Kosovo and Metohija — confirmed by the numerous appeals to the West, mostly for political and military intervention in this territory — president Berisha and Dr. Rugova jointly asked that a UN controlled international protectorate be introduced for Kosovo and Metohija or a military intervention be carried out by NATO or at least by EU multi-national forces. Albania went a step further to help the NATO intervention and placed all its ports and military infrastructure at the disposal of the western alliance.
In February 1994, Albania signed the “Partnership for Peace” agreement with NATO. Consequently the Kosovo and Metohija policy was partially placed in the hands of the Alliance. Nevertheless, Albania continued to use every available opportunity to show its interest for Kosovo and Metohija, and it did not give up its support to the “Republic of Kosova” and demonstrated it by organizing the “Busati 95 maneuvers along the Yugoslav-Albanian border. It was meant to show its military prowess for the adventure of intervening in Kosovo and Metohija “should the situation require it” and should the West allow it.
The awareness that the international community, NATO, the US and the West in general are not completely prepared to endorse secessionism in Kosovo and Metohija unconditionally, enormous economic problems domestically, financial swindles and the sudden impoverishment of the already poor Albanian population in Albania, brought about the downfall of the Berisha policy and a rebellion, that soon spread all over the national territory, turning into uncontrolled plundering, robberies and disintegration of the entire state apparatus, including the Army and the Police, with the consequent rise of organized crime of all kinds with strong terrorist connotations. In such a situation, the only message that president Berisha addressed to the secessionist leaders was that they “must realize that democracy involves compromises” and that Albania is endorsing only the demands referring to the reinstatement of the autonomy that the province previously enjoyed according to the 1974 Constitution of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Soon after, at the parliamentary elections organized and supervised by the western countries, Mr. Berisha lost his office, and a new and apparently more moderate set of politicians — headed by Mr. Fatos Nano — came to power.
Meanwhile, the Islamic fundamentalist movement gained momentum in the country, an in accordance with the decision on full membership for Albania, passed by the Organization of Islamic Conference in 1994, a very strong system, quite convincing and agreeable to the masses, began to operate. Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and some other Group G-8 countries assumed the role of bearers of Islamic “aid”.
Under the influence of militant Islamism and with the support of western countries, after a temporary departure from the Kosovo secessionist ideas, and following the meeting between the Albanian premier and the president of FRY on Crete (1997), the Albanian policy concerning Kosovo and Metohija, FRY and Serbia, was brought back on the old track, this time with the idea that “negotiations between FRY and the leadership of the ethnic Albanians from Kosovo should start from elements founded on the 1974 Constitution of SFRY in order to find a solution that might satisfy the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo”. Furthermore, the same side insisted that talks should be under the control of a “third side”, i.e., sponsored by some international community institution. At the same time, terrorist activities were intensified in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the propaganda aimed at the international community, and pressures made by the sponsors of the Albanian separatism — especially the US, a certain number of Western countries and several Islamic countries. Along with all this, the foreign intelligence services stepped up the efforts to organize, concentrate, and provide financial and political aid to the secessionists through the deployment of various emissaries, delegations, groups of monitors, humanitarian organizations. Illegal channels were also used to provide arms and military equipment, secret military training was organized for terrorists and other inadmissible forms of activities were used. This unveiled the ties between the Albanian political parties and the terrorists came to the surface.
When doctor Fehmi Vulya — head of the surgery department of the general hospital in Djakovica was arrested in June 1998, the plan for the creation of the so-called “Republic of Kosova free territory” was discovered. Doctor Vulya used the cover of alleged “humanitarian” efforts in the zone around Decani (close to the Albanian border), but as he later confessed to the investigators, he was the “coordinator of the armed activities together with the local activists of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Parliamentary Party and Social-Democratic Party, with the assignment to create a territory where free Kosovo might be proclaimed”. Acting from behind the scene — and posing as the “people's candidate” he was supposed to be proclaimed president of such “free territory” administered from Djakovica. The would-be president also confessed that he and his collaborators expected the international community to recognize their terrorist gangs as a “liberation army”, with the consequent international state recognition of the territory it was supposed to control. They even had a government ready, voted in March 1998 by the majority of the “deputies” of the phantasmal parliament of the inexistent republic.
International community support was far from what they had hoped for — both in its scope and volume. The support was not increased in spite of the “reputation of the mother country” that staked all it had in favor of the “Republic of Kosova”.
The “Kosovo Liberation Army”
In mid-1997, The New York Timespublished an interview with a member of the terrorist organization that calls itself “Kosovo Liberation Army”. Although there were previous “rumors” about a broadly organized terrorist organization in Kosovo and Metohija, operating according to the principles and standards of world-known terrorist organizations and groups, this was the first time that a member of the ethnic Albanian extremist-terrorist organization appeared in the media to “explain the program and the objectives his organization is ‘fighting’ for”.
What is the “Kosovo Liberation Army”?
Asked by the reporter to explain what is “Kosovo Liberation Army” doing in Kosovo and Metohija, the interviewed terrorist presented gross fabrications about the situation in the province, including the statement that “Kosovo was once part of Albania and after World War One it was given to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia”.
Trying to give his readers a closer profile of the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, the journalist openly stated that this “army” is “actually a shadow group that launched the campaign for armed struggle with the objective to make Kosovo free and independent of Serbian control”. The interviewed KLA “leader” stressed that the members of this “army” in spite of the accusations made against them “are nothing like the IRA”, or any other terrorist organizations in the world. “We are autochthonous, and above all Albanians. We have the support of practically entire Albanian population in Kosovo,” — the “KLA leader” using the name Alban said. “We carry out attacks against the representatives of the Serbian government and the regime imposed on us. Our targets are the secret police and those Albanians that are collaborating with the Serbian regime.”
The NYT reporter specified that the “Kosovo Liberation Army” has strong financial backing because it is being helped by some 700 000 Albanians living abroad, and that the “army” is to become one of the “leading Albanian players” in the near future. This is probably why the other secessionist leaders in Kosovo and Metohija have common stand about the “army”. Dr. Rugova “ignores the existence of such an organization”; Dematchy is appealing the “army” to stop its activities during the elections for “Republic of Kosova institutions”; Tchosya believes the “the organization is weak and being manipulated”; Bukoshy — the “prime minister” asserts that he is the one to finance the equipment, training and operations of the “army”...
The article revealed that the Albanian emigrants living in Germany and Switzerland are giving up to 3% of their earnings to finance the “army and government” in Pristina and that as the financing is concerned, Swiss authorities have “registered” that the Albanians are becoming more and more involved in arms smuggling and narcotics production and sale, let alone other forms of crime (counterfeiting money, financial malversations etc.) Part of the income from all these criminal activities is allocated to finance the existence of the self-proclaimed government, terrorists, “information centers”, foreign PR agencies such as Hill & Norton, Rudder Finn(recently renamed Global Agency), individual lobbyists in the US Congress and others. Finally, the cost of the “elections” held in March 22 1998, the election campaign, the propaganda material used abroad, mass demonstrations by “pupils and students” and other secessionist activities must be covered and requires strong financial backing, this being the reason for increasing the shakedown of the “supporting members”. Those that are not prepared to make such sacrifices for the “Republic of Kosova” usually have to face the “duties collectors” and sometimes even executioners.
Interviewed by The Washington Postreporter a group of American Albanians living in Bronx, revealed that one way or the other most of them are “helping the movement in Kosovo”. Obviously, the money and other aid is collected through branches and sent by couriers to Kosovo and Metohija or paid in on various bank accounts or individual accounts in Albania. The same article revealed that in December 1997 some 3-4 million dollars were collected and money transfers through banks more than 500.000 dollars were paid in the accounts of the “army “ representatives in America or Europe. Does all that money arrive on destination?
Interestingly enough, US legislation does not prohibit the collection of donations for rebel organizations, groups or “armies”, nor is it a crime for an individual or group to join these organizations — except when such an organization, group or “army” is on the list of terrorist groups and organizations prepared by the State Department.
State Department officials stress that every American caught smuggling arms to Kosovo will be legally prosecuted for the breach of the international embargo on purchase and sale of arms imposed on Yugoslavia with a UN Security Council Resolution.
Terrorist in Kosovo and Metohija have received important reinforcements in arms and manpower, after the Albanian government collapsed in the spring of 1997. Therefore “rebels” or “guerrilla” as the journalist Chris Hedges likes to call Albanian terrorists, are enlarging their “military formations”. Groups that counted four or five men until a few days ago now doubled their strength with the arrival of new guerrillas and arms smuggled across the Yugoslav-Albanian border. Without any negative remark about it, Mr. Hedges also reveals that “guerrillas” have been joined by foreign mercenaries. “Those mercenaries speak Albanian with a strong foreign accent, but otherwise they are good in everything else” — concludes Mr. Hedges. However he does remark that the behavior and the stories told by the mercenaries reveal their experience “from having taken part in various other wars”, and some of them can not hide obvious racial characteristics of their land of origin. Along with the mercenaries, Albanians working in Switzerland and Germany have also arrived in Kosovo and Metohija. Most of them infiltrated Kosovo and Metohija from Albania “where they quickly purchased arms and equipment in magazines camouflaged along the border”. They were guided across the border to Kosovo and Metohija by local guides and smugglers, often underage shepherds.
“Immediate sources” are quoted by the same reporter in stating that in 1997 rebels have carried out numerous attacks on “Serbian Police, officials and ethnic Albanians” he calls collaborationists. This clearly reveals his intention to distort the true state of things and bend the facts to make them fit the needs of the party that commissioned the interview.
A similar journalistic style can be observed in articles authored by Stacey Sullivan. In them, no attempt is made to conceal the partiality so that “rebels” and “guerrilla” are fighting for the right thing for national goals — against the “oppressors”.
Mr. Hedges, unlike his colleague Sullivan confesses that the “Kosovo Liberation Army” still has no “political wing” and ranges ideologically from left-wingers — followers of Enver Hodxa the former Stalinist leader of Albania, to monarchist that are still mourning the monarchy they would like to reinstate in Kosovo and Metohija and finally Moslems that blindly follow their religious leaders and strictly apply the rules given in the Koran. The alleged presence of the monarchist faction among the Albanian terrorists is used to promote the thesis that the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija once had a state — a kingdom, destroyed by Serbia. Interestingly enough a host of “unspecified diplomats” surfaced immediately to explain that the ideological diversity is the actual obstacle for forming the political wing of the “liberation movement”. This is supposed to promote the stand on the need to help the Albanian terrorist organization become a military-political organization representing a national-liberation movement.
However, Mr. Hedges could not omit the statement — typical of all terrorists and “unspecified” diplomats he interviewed — that “Serbs are to be driven out from Kosovo and Metohija”.
The most interesting thing is that all these “freedom fighters” think or say very little about freedom. The experience a group of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo had in Albania in 1997 has become anecdotal: “A group of Albanians from Kosovo went to visit the mother country craving ‘freedom’, but there they were stopped, arrested, and harassed by some armed gang in Tirana. When they were released thanks to the intervention of the Yugoslav embassy, they hightailed to Yugoslavia ‘the dungeon of all Albanians’. “
Profile of a terrorist
Terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija, especially in the zone of Drenica, has roots in the remote past and a long evolution. The term most frequently used in those parts to designate terrorism and terrorist activities is Kacastvo. The basic meaning of the word kacak(which has Turkish etymology) is brigand, rebel to the authorities, deserter, robber. The term kacastvoderives from it and means banditry, brigandage, pillaging, terrorism... The Turks used this term to designate the Albanian outlaws that hid in the mountain or in the house of an accomplice and robbed caravans, lonely travelers or isolated farms. They operated in Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and sometimes the ventured on expeditions north along the Adriatic coast as far as the coastal towns of Dubrovnik and Ston. The word kacakwas also used for anything transported, bought or sold without the knowledge of the authorities — tobacco for example. Kacaciwere particularly active at the end of 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. In certain periods, groups or individuals that fought against the Turks were called kacaci.After the Balkan wars and the First World War, western Macedonia, Kosovo and Metohija and southeast Montenegro were frequently raided by kacacifrom Albania. This went on until 1919 and locals and Serbian Army units suffered significant losses. They were defeated and eliminated in a determined operation carried out by the Gendarmerie and the Royal Yugoslav Army. Individually o in smaller groups, kacaciremained active as far as 1926. The most famous kacacifrom the period around 1914 when their raiding was fiercest were: Hassan Prishtina, Bayram Tzuri, and Issa Bolyetintzi, that lead a rebellion against the Serbian authorities with the sponsorship of the Austrian-Hungarian government. In fact, throughout World War One, kacaciinflicted great losses and caused enormous damages by terrorizing the local population wherever they operated.
During and after World War Two, Drenica was the stronghold of the ethnic Albanian Ballistformations that were Nazi allies throughout the war. The town is still a specific lair of outlaws and terrorists, that still live on crime and violence like in ancient times.
The intensification of terrorism in the zone of Drenica since 1991, is merely the revitalization of old political ideas and programs, their essence being unchanged — secession of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia and its annexation to Albania. One of the leaders and founders of the criminal-terrorist group that operated in the territory around the village of Donji Prekaz, was Adem Yashari.
He was a rather primitive man without any education who came to Serbia in 1991 after going through commando-terrorist training in Albania the year before. Having completed his terrorist training, Adem Yashari came to Yugoslavia with the rank of major in the Albanian Army, and started organizing illegal shipments of arms from Albania and other countries. He then created a terrorist group recruiting his relatives, friends and sympathizers. The group set up its base in Donji Prekaz, Adem Yashari's native village. At the end of 1991, when they were discovered by the police, Adem Yashari and other two terrorist opened fire on the police officers that were about to arrest them. Two policemen were wounded and the terrorist managed to escape.
Using standard channels, and relying on the logistic support of the Albanian civil and army intelligence, Adem Yashari continued his terrorist activities. Between 1992 and 1997, six indictments were raised against him and his associates. In July 1997 he was tried in absence by the County Court in Pristina, and sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment for terrorist activities punishable by the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
During the trial, it had been found that Adem Yashari — acting as the leader of the terrorist group from the village of Donji Prekaz — directly participated in a number of terrorist attacks the most important being: attack on a police patrol at the railroad crossing near Glogovac (1993) and attack on a police unit in the village of Sipolje (near Kosovska Mitrovica) (1996). In these two attacks, three policemen were killed and five were seriously wounded.
Policemen and Ministry of Interior officers were not the only targets and victims of this terrorist gang. They also attacked fellow Albanians that opposed terrorism or expressed loyalty to the state authorities and Serbs — just because they were Serbs. There was also a growing number of complaints against Yashari and his group because of his arrogance in confront of local Albanians in the Drenica area.
Over the time the activities of Adem Yashari's terrorist group based in the village of Donji Prekaz, became a serious threat to public security in the Drenica zone and even in Kosovo and Metohija. Due to the support from Albanian emigrants, condescending attitude of various countries and major logistic support from Albania, the Donji Prekaz terrorist group — before it was liquidated on March 6th 1998 — managed to smuggle into the country a large shipment of arms, ammunition, explosive and other equipment needed to continue the terrorist operations.
State bodies had discovered that final preparations were being made by the group to intensify the incidents and spread armed conflicts with the police and Yugoslav Army units, in order to de-stabilize the situation in this part of Serbia, and influence the events in Yugoslavia and the Balkans.
The anti-terrorist operation carried out in the village of Donji Prekaz by the Ministry of Interior unveiled the determination of the terrorists to escalate their operations, just as it revealed the determination of the authorities to impede this.
During the anti-terrorist operation, Adem Yashari and his group showed their fanatical character. Having brutally ordered his relatives to fight, Yashari personally killed his nephew for “cowardice”, and then created a live shield using women and children hoping to gain time until reinforcements arrive and expecting that the entire Albanian population from the Drenica zone will run to his aid. This did not happen.
“Dogs of War” are arriving
Dogs of war come to Kosovo and Metohija from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Turkey, Pakistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and western Europe. They all converge to the Albanian town of Tropoya — hometown of former Albanian president Sali Berisha.
From Tropoya, foreign mercenaries cross over to FR Yugoslavia lead by terrorists that go to Albania for training or to get shipments of arms for their co-fighters. More often than not, “dogs of war” like to be distinguished and therefore wear black uniforms. This is the conclusion investigators reached after examining the remains of dozens of mercenaries liquidated within Yugoslav territory. Besides the uniform, modern automatic weapons and large quantities of ammunition, most of them were also armed with pocket editions of Koran and prayer beads. This was characteristic for the terrorist group eliminated at the beginning of July 1998 in the Djakovica border zone.
Albanian emigrants' clubs and the branch offices of the Democratic League of Kosovo, and Parliamentary Party of Kosovo are the main centers for the recruitment of mercenaries in Islamic and western countries.
As domestic and foreign reporters have found out, monthly pay of a mercenary ranges between five and fifteen thousand German marks, together with the right to a share in loot. For example before being razed to the ground, all 37 Serbian homes in the villages of Dubocak and Krusevac (near the town of Pec) were systematically searched and stripped of all worth taking. However, according to the confession of the captured mercenaries, and in view of numerous reports by foreign media, very few mercenaries received their pay, because the funds managed by Buyar Bukoshi — “prime minister” of the phantom republic and would-be head financier of the KLA terrorists — takes good care not to spend the “war budget”. In fact, most of the legionnaires — having carried out their assignment — are liquidated by special groups of “enforcers”. The benefit is double no money is spent on mercenaries, and unpleasant witnesses are disposed of.
The presence of foreign mercenaries, especially Islam-oriented extremists, has been confirmed by the US State Secretary representative Robert Gelbard. At the end of June 1998, he stated in Washington that “according to US sources, Moslem fundamentalist groups, including Iranian and Chechen, are offering their aid to the Albanians in Kosovo. In fact, “commandant Hattab” an Islamic legionnaire from Jordan, having fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya, came to Kosovo and Metohija as a mercenary paid by the so-called Islamic International. Just like him, many others that learned their “trade” in Lebanon, came to Kosovo and Metohija. This was made evident by the change in technique and tactics of the terrorist attacks: time bombs were placed in public areas in Pristina, Pec and Kosovska Mitrovica, drive-by assassinations, car-bombs set off etc.
Mr. Richard Holbrooke — UN ambassador to the UN, stated in an interview for the German weekly Der Vohethat Albanian terrorists are receiving — from their supporters in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland — large sums and men to form units that are to fight against Serbia and FR Yugoslavia. “I have realized during my stay in Kosovo and Metohija how important are countries like Germany, Switzerland and Denmark for collecting funds and recruiting men for the ‘Kosovo Liberation Army’” — he said.
What Mr. Holbrooke finally revealed at the beginning of July '98, people that surf the Internet have known a long time ago. Terrorist from Kosovo and Metohija have published a list of countries and numbers of bank accounts that the “war tax” is to be paid in. The proper use of these funds is “warranted by the Government of the Republic of Kosovo”.
The “Kosovo Liberation Army” financing and training system is based on the functioning of the “Fatherland Calls” Foundation with offices in Dusseldorf and Bonn in Germany, Stockholm and Malmö in Sweden, Bern and Geneva in Switzerland, Brussels in Belgium, Graz and Vienna in Austria, Trieste, Bari and Rome in Italy, Ismir in Turkey, Khartoum in Sudan etc. In fact, terrorists and secessionists from Kosovo and Metohija are not hiding the fact that they are collecting “war taxes and levies” needed to intensify the violence in Kosovo and Metohija.
In exchange for money thus collected, and for other motives, certain Islamic countries are shipping large quantities of arms to the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija. It is a known fact that the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini strongly advocated the Islamization of Kosovo and Metohija at any cost. The objective was to link Kosovo and Metohija to Bosnia and Herzegovina via the region of Sandzak and thus create what he called “the green crosscut”. Furthermore, the “Albanian Islamic International” an informal association of all Moslems Albanian organizations, calls for a more radical approach. In this, it has the backing of the “Islamic International” ever since 1995, when this organization held its congress in Khartoum. Both “internationals” take care to provide “Kosovo Liberation Army” all the men and arms it needs.
The terrorist activity in Kosovo and Metohija has been particularly intensified after the civil war broke out in former Yugoslavia and Islamic extremist organizations and movements became increasingly involved in the conflict between Moslems, Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Amongst other “volunteers”, members of Hesbollah, Hammas, various Palestinian fractions etc. appeared in the Balkans for the first time. Iran even sent the complete 7th brigade of the Revolutionary Guard to help the Bosnian Moslems directly, and Turkey selected men for its contingent in the international forces: practically all were of Yugoslav descent — from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Metohija and Macedonia. When the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended, a large number of those “Islamic fighters” stayed back and then secretly went to Albania or to Kosovo and Metohija. As the secessionist tendencies grew stronger and the number of potential terrorists expanded, the terrorist activities in Kosovo and Metohija progressively grew in 1996, 1997 and especially in 1998. In this domain, certain terrorists' tendencies can be observed. The first is that the attacks against the Serbian population, state bodies and representatives were expanded to include all those that do not support terrorists and their objectives. Analyses have shown that the number of individuals killed — regardless of their nationality — rose steeply compared to the previous period. The second is that attacks are directed on areas where ethnic cleansing has not been completed, and the third is to conquer as much territory as possible to ensure a sufficient area for the movement, preparation and recruitment of men. All this is obviously part of the preparation for secession which will start as soon as domestic and foreign political conditions allow it. Statistics corroborate these observations. Between January 1991 and July 9th 1998, 797 terrorist attacks have been staged in Kosovo and Metohija. The growth index in the first semester of 1998 was 10 times greater than in the whole of 1997, and four times greater than in the 1991-1997 period. Between January 1st and July 9th 1998, 663 terrorist attacks have been made. Out of this number, 37.3% involved attacks on police installations and personnel. Along with this 401 terrorist attack was directed against citizens and private property causing the death of 48 people — 28 Albanians, 18 Serbs and 2 members of the Romany community.
Kidnappings, a specialty imported with the near-east terrorists, are used to obtain political concessions, intimidation, ransom or exchange for captured terrorists. 72 individuals have been kidnapped: 48 Serbs and Montenegrins, 18 Albanians, 4 Gypsies, 1 Moslem and 1 citizen of FYRO Macedonia. After being abducted, 13 individuals were killed.
Automatic weapons were used 256 times, bazookas and armor-piercing weaponry 63 times, sniper rifles 36 times, hand grenades and various explosive devices 19 times, pistols 2 times, arson and destruction of buildings in other ways (usually entire villages of village quarters) 4 times. In the remaining incidents, the action was also performed under the threat of firearms. Furthermore, there were 29 cases of farmhouses being raided with subsequent theft of property and livestock.
Profession — Terrorist
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has an important strategic position in the Balkans: it links the Adriatic Sea to Romania and Bulgaria, dominates the central course of the Danube, and all communication directions and natural corridors from north-west to the south-east cross its territory. In this sense, nothing has changed since the times that old geopolitical ideas were formulated — embodied by the syntagma Drang Nach Osten, but applicable the other way around as well — The Road to the West. The disintegration of former Yugoslavia and the creation of new states instead, with ethnic and religious conflicts smoldering between them along with other types of antagonisms, unveiled serious problems regarding new state borders — especially in view of the internationalization of the Serbian national question. In this sense, a stable internal and international status is has primary importance for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This includes a modified and adapted position of Kosovo and Metohija and of the Raska region (Sandzak) because they lie along the direction going from Macedonia to Bosnia thus representing a new (old) link along the so-called “Green Crosscut”.
With all that, the struggle against the growing secessionist forces and terrorism, and the persistent efforts made by foreign factors to have a decisive influence on the internal affairs of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia, must be the basic and permanent strategy for all Yugoslav state policy entities. This is made important by the fact that non-Balkan and above all non-Yugoslav factors tolerating, supporting and inciting terrorism are continuing the strategy for the atomization of the Yugoslav territories ant the introduction of a political, social and economic instability.
The latest movements on the ethnic Albanian political scene can be clearly qualified as radicalization of both stands and activities. Such radicalization — including the growing number of terrorist actions — has reached the point when political solutions for the existing situation can not be contemplated without serious considerations about the dangers that an escalated use of force might create.
Newspapers in Albanian, freely published in Kosovo and Metohija, are filled with articles trying to minimize any Albanian secessionist motivations in the terrorist attacks, and describe them as a political reaction and armed resistance to the “Serbian aggression”. In these efforts, all those accused or indicted for terrorism are immediately qualified as victims of state repression and turned into national heroes.
Police operations are interpreted as provocation intended to cause major conflicts. Such constructions — prompted by the creators of wars and rebellions — are to prepare the ground for justifying and armed actions of the ethnic Albanian terrorists.
This is obviously a way of inspiring lawlessness, destabilization of the existing state, chaos and disorder. Such an environment suits best criminals, terrorists and anarchists. The “profits” are the greatest and no one can control them. “Alban” and others like him maybe do not know this and think that they are fighting form some “justice”. However, those that are manipulating them, know perfectly how to use them for their objectives — a long way from romanticism and patriotism. In this game “Alban” and other pawns like him are bound to be discarded as soon as they fulfill their purpose. Their ideologists and the sponsors of their ideologists will easily find new pawns should they need them.
Will the West repeat the mistakes it made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, now that it's dealing with Kosovo and Metohija? If in the case of Bosnia the Clinton Administration could say that it is “facing a difficult situation of the civilian Moslem population in Bosnia” (which was a deceit of the American and international public), and that “the US had no alternative but to tacitly allow Islamic aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina” (in spite of the fact that this aid was organized by Iran), in the case of Kosovo and Metohija it will not be able to invoke such justifications. Still, by allowing the Iranian involvement in and around Sarajevo, the White House actively induced the continuation of the “Kosovo Crisis”, even though it was plain as day that the main forces of the local Moslems were controlled by Islamic terrorist forces and sponsored by Iran. No humanitarian crisis or any other argument can justify such American policy unless one anticipates the outcome of actions favoring militant Islamism.
On the other hand, the Iranian attempt to infiltrate and fortify Islamic extremist ideas in Europe is part of the plan to establish global Islamic domination. Traditionally the shortest way from the Islamic lands to the “heart of Europe” goes across the Balkans. Bearing in mind the persistent attempts made over the years to create the so-called Green Crosscut and establish Islamic domination along it, then the Iranian involvement in support of the terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija is much clearer. Are only those carrying out physical violence terrorists, or is it also anyone inciting, financing and supporting terrorists, providing them with varied aid in their criminal activities justly condemned by the world community?
The numerous disappointing attempts to clear this essential question made by the international community over the years, clearly reveal the complexity and difficulty this problem entails. In fact, son after World War Two, this issue was taken up by the United Nations. In fact the 2nd UN General Assembly Session held on November 21st 1947, passed the Resolution No. 177/II, instructing the Committee for International Law to prepare a draft code of crimes against peace and security of mankind. In 1954, the Committee submitted the draft code, and one of the articles it contained read as follows: “Undertaking or encouraging terrorists activities by the authorities of a country in some other country, or tolerance by the authorities of a country of organized activities intended for carrying out terrorist acts in an another country, are hereby proclaimed crimes against peace and security of mankind.”
UN member countries displayed the inability to harmonize their positions on the draft document on various occasions, especially after the kidnapping and assassination of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 — carried out by Palestinian terrorists. The difference of opinions about terrorists was not overcome even on internal anti-terrorist meetings held in Sharm El Sheyk (March 13th 1996), in Cairo (July 30th 1997) and in Paris (July 31st 1997). The meeting of the Islamic countries held in Teheran that same year also failed to produce an agreement by all sides. Instead, plans and resolutions were offered at meetings involving international community representatives of various levels, and due to the different interests of individual countries they have never been generally accepted principles.
A definite solution to the question who is actually a terrorist would certainly help reduce terrorism in the world. In this sense, the opinion of numerous international anti-terrorism experts should be taken into account: they believe that terrorism by non-government subjects would be negligible and even eradicated if it were denied government support. Since every state is capable of protecting itself from domestic terrorism, or at least should be capable, these opinions are completely founded. In the case of the terrorism by Albanian extremists against FR Yugoslavia, the viewpoint mentioned above is quite recognizable. The hotbed of such terrorism is in Kosovo and Metohija, it is enacted by ethnic Albanian extremists and they are being helped by foreign powers. The relative Yugoslav and Serbian authorities have taken timely and efficient measures to prevent ethnic Albanian terrorists from using mass violence in order to incite a rebellion and carryout the secession. The sentences passed by the County Court in Pristina on July 15th 1994. are a good example of an efficient defense against terrorism. The trial involved 14 members of the self-appointed ministry of defense of the “Republic of Kosova” who were accused and found guilty of acting according to instructions from the Democratic League of Kosovo and organizing — since 1990 — the “Kosovo Liberation Army” with the comprehensive aid from Albania and several radical Islamic countries. Their sentences ranged from 1 to 8 years of imprisonment. Yugoslav and Serbian authorities showed the same determination and efficiency against direct terrorists when the violence escalated in the first half of 1998 in the Drenica zone and certain parts of Metohija.
However, ethnic Albanians that carried out the terrorist attacks are the result of coordinated and continued efforts by several foreign factors and only the tip of the iceberg.
Just as foreign sponsors used various methods to incite terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija over the past few years, an equally broad range of counter-measures exists that can be used to stop them immediately or quite rapidly. The principal role in suppressing or completely neutralizing these terrorists can be played by Albania, because thousands of terrorists from Kosovo and Metohija have been trained there and it is supplying them with large quantities of arms and ammunition. Similar actions could be taken by other Islamic countries, especially the members of the D-8 Group of most developed Islamic countries. Similar influence might be exerted by the western countries especially the US and Germany because Albania is very much interested in becoming member of European and global economic, financial and political associations and institutions.
The moment that in Albania or some other country where terrorists are training, hiding or recuperating, some of them is arrested for terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorist activities and extradited to Yugoslav authorities, terrorism in Yugoslavia will certainly die down and probably even stop. If this doesn't occur, terrorists from Kosovo and Metohija would be given better treatment internationally that those belonging to other terrorist organizations and groups elsewhere in the world.
On the other hand, the danger exist that Albanian terrorism might get out of control, and hook up with other terrorist organizations and groups throughout the world, and with international organized crime. This would create a specific international criminal-terrorist international. In that case the battle against such a form of international evil will become much more difficult if not impossible.
Finally, if the ties between terrorism and other forms of crime are considered — especially organized crime, drug-mafia, illegal trade involving arms, military equipment, “white slavery” and toxic waste, several questions come up. Is being a terrorist a profession? Are we to be faced with a terrorist union one day? If training centers for terrorists exist, does this imply the existence of schools for terrorist instructors, teachers and professors? How far can the existence of terrorism be tolerated?
Back in March 1998, newspapers published in Albanian in Kosovo and Metohija and some of the magazines published in Tirana confirmed that in Metohija and in the zone around Drenica foreign mercenaries are operating — “professionals” as they were called in the articles. Most of them came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Pakistan. When a terrorist group was liquidated in the vicinity of Djakovica on May 3rd 1998, one of the “ebony colored terrorists” had a letter in his pocket identifying him as Jaber Immad El Madedin from Sudan. Iran and some other radical Islamic countries offered to help the “Kosovo Liberation Army” by sending instructors and trained troops. Certain KLA members in the US remarked that “it would not be nice to refuse such aid since it is welcome, especially the aid from radical Islamic countries in case that the Serbs were to launch a violent offensive”.
On the other hand, secessionist representatives in Switzerland deny any ties between ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Mujahedins, religion and mercenaries. “There are only volunteers”, they say, but do not deny the fact that large numbers of Mujahedins that fought in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Moslems “wound up in Kosovo and Metohija” by using “channels and contacts known only to them, and backed by financial support from the world” in order that they might “carry out Allah's orders” right there — in Kosovo and Metohija. “Aid” sent by foreigners “is coming from all over the world” boast the secessionist media. Obviously the profession — terrorist (e.g. specialized mercenary) is one of the oldest trades in the world and is still attracting many “dogs of war” especially if there are prospects of pillage, violence, rape and vandalism. Many of them aren't lucky and “work” just that once. Others turn their “experience” into a profit making business by becoming managers for mercenaries. In Bristol (Great Britain) the association of “international fighters” has been founded. Its prime objective, adopted by the founding assembly which was chaired by the Dutchman Raymond Der Linde is to “realize the rights of those foreign soldiers that failed to realize the rights defenders of Croatia are entitled to”. Interestingly enough, the Association has good and well developed ties with the representatives of the “Kosovo Liberation Army”. One of the arrangements concerns the creation of a terrorist training camp. One such camp is already operating in the Bosnian village of Mahuric. This is where the Palestinian Abu Hamzeh was trained before coming as a “skilled defender of Islam” to Kosovo and Metohija. That's where he died.
The “terrorist international” is beginning to take shape. Should it be allowed to develop fully? The best protection for the future is to promote realism. Otherwise terrorism will become a serious threat for mankind. Countries should strengthen cooperation at least on the bilateral level where it is much easier to find fertile ground for international security interests or for exchange of information. Finally, good results can be achieved by strategically using the weaknesses of the existing terrorist formations and those still in the making, especially internal discord and not always good relations between the leaders and the field groups, especially if some of them intend to secure political leadership as well.
It would be illusory to rely on the quick and simultaneous elimination of the factors that stimulate, incite and revitalize terrorism, although it can be restricted with adequate measures. Therefore it must not be given hope because it sustains and strengthens it.
Perseverance and coherence is quintessential in the battle against terrorism. As well as intransigence, efficacy and clarity — terrorism must not become a profession, nor turn into a force dictating conditions to the society.
- Gérard Chaliard, Mythes révolutionnaires du Tiers-Monde, Sevil, Paris, 1976
- Defense and Foreign Affairs Handbook, Multimedia Corporation Ltd, London, 1994
- Stanislas Farago, Spymasters, New York, 1972
- Pierre-Marie Gallois, Géopolitique, Plon, Paris, 1990
- Kosovo and Metohija, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgrade, May 1998
- Milan V. Petkovic, La guerre révolutionnaire, Revue d l'ESG No. 2/1980
- Milan V. Petkovic, Current stage of evolution of the "Eastern Question", Serbia in the World No. 78, March 78, Belgrade.
- Hugo Roth, Kosovo Origins, IKP "Nikola Pasich", Belgrade, 1996
- Gérard de Viliers, Entebbé, Plon, Paris, 1976
- Alexander Yonah, The Terrorist Network, Defense and Diplomacy, No. 9, September 1986, Washington
- Bulletins, newspaper reports and articles by the news agencies TANJUG, AFP, Reuters, Beta, FoNet, the dailies: Politika, Borba, Blic, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Corriere della Sera, The New York Times, The Washington Postthe magazines: Nedeljni dnevnik, Profil, Vojno delo, The Military Balance, Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, Vojska, Balkan Infosand others.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The list of books written by Milan V. Petkovic.
- Srpski obaveštajci — od plunkiste Radovana do pukovnika Apisa, Gutenbergova galaksija, Beograd, 2003.
- Enciklopedija špijunaže (koautor), Knjiga-komerc, Beograd, 2003.
- Rat špijuna za kotrolu sveta (koautor), Ekopres, Zrenjanin, 2002.
- Era vodolije, SF na CD, APIS-Kalekom, Beograd, 2001.
- Kolevka Srbije, 1998., 2000. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Teroristi, 1998., 1999. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Geopolitičke paralele na pragu XXI veka, 1998. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Sila i moć u međunarodnim odnosima, 1998. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Amazonke u podzemnoj diplomatiji, 1998. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Albanian Terrorists, 1998. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Koncepcija globalne diverzije, 1998. NIGP Kalekom, Beograd
- Tajni Ratnici, 1997. Tetra GM, Beograd