Jihad’s Redux: Kosovo & Bosnia

At the regional conference of EU liaison officers for the Western Balkans held today in the Serbian capital Belgrade, European Police Office (Europol) chief Max Peter Ratzel said that there is still a great danger of Islamic extremism and terrorism in the Balkans.

“Europol shares the EU’s belief that there will be more terrorist attacks, while the Balkans is an area where people can be found for such activities,” Ratzel said directly alluding to the dangers of the so called “White al Qaeda” or suicidal Muslims with European racial features recruited among Balkan Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Ratzel said that there are arms caches which are being used for terrorist activities and that money from certain criminal activities has been used to finance terrorism.

According to Europol and Scotland Yard, Muslim Albanian gangs are “extremely violent and well armed, with a sizable presence also in the London underworld’s heroin trade”.

Recent CRS Report for Congress authored by Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, claims that the “United States has a variety of instruments to fight terrorism in the Balkans. One is the direct involvement of U.S. troops in Bosnia and Kosovo”.

Washington has over 2000 troops tied up in the region.

For 2006, Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations has set aside $159 million to fight terror in the Balkans of which $35 million is for operations in Albania, $52 million for Bosnia and $72 million for Kosovo. The fact that the largest share of Washington’s anti-terror spending goes on Kosovo is indicative of the size of the Islamic terrorist presence in Kosovo.

“Some terrorists now fighting in Iraq may decide to redeploy to other regions, including the Balkans, in the future,” says Woehrel and adds that “future recruits from the Balkans could also go to Iraq to join the insurgency. Terrorists could obtain weapons and explosives from the region’s thriving black market in such items for use in attacks in Western Europe or other regions.”

After being abandoned by Laden’s Qaeda terrorists in 2001, the Afghan city of Jalalabad left clues of the effectiveness of the al Qaeda recruitment of Kosovo Albanians.

Writes USA Today: “Perhaps most telling about the minds of those who trained here is a document found at the camp. ‘I am interested in suicide operations,’ wrote Damir Bajrami, a 24-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, on his entry application in April 2001. ‘I have Kosovo Liberation Army combat experience against Serb and American forces. I need no further training. I recommend (suicide) operations against (amusement) parks like Disney.’

The future danger is that these sort of notes written by Kosovo Albanians may appear more frequently after and if the Contact Group decides to grant this Serbian province independence.

Serbia: Inflation Addiction

In May of 2005, Serbian Central Bank decreased the reserve requirement on Serbian dinar and raised it on Euro – a measure that one would do if Euro was inflating. When I alerted some Serb journalist that this is an inflationary move they were elated because they could get a dinar denominated loan as a swap for a Euro deposit and use the loan for a vacation.

Well now, a Greek based Reporter.gr says that the inflation rate in Serbia will reach 14.2% by the end of 2006 and is quoting IZIT market research agency whose representative, Sasa Djogovic, says that without restructuring of the public system (read goverment-owned business) “not even the restrictive monetary measures implemented by the National Bank of Serbia can have a positive effect on halting inflation”.

So today, Serbian central bank Governor Radovan Jelasic announced that he will raise the bank reserve ratio on Serbian currency from 18% to 60%. Reason for this drastic measure is that Jelasic’s central bankers have suddenly found not 100 million dinars on the deposit side of the banks as they expected but… “2 billion, so that is why we reacted,” said Jelasic.

This excess money supply still lingers as the central bank is also frantically draining the system by selling 60 day securities to the banks every other day.

For policy makers, it would be more prudent not so much to ponder these statistics but to sample them as another in the long stream of doping fixes that fuel Serbian inflation addiction. Who will ask why Serbian Central Bank loves to inflate its currency and rob its citizens of savings and wealth?

With the second highest hyperinflation in the world that forced ordinary Serbs to sell their savings for a worthless dinar, Milosevic regime perfected the art of confiscatory economics so faced with an under-whelming record, Serbia central bank has a steep slope to climb in order to convince anyone that dinar is a good store of value.

Milosevic regime paid handsomely the financial mafia intermediaries for the acquisition of wealth of Serb people and that is why organized criminals, still today, control much of the Serbian electorate while ordinaries wonder why… nor do they want to believe that it was done!

As the most robbed nation of Europe, Serbs should be the most vigilant in matters monetary… yet and regrettably they are not.

As a democratic nation, Serbia has very little say of its monetary policy because it is captive to the old communist constitutional rules, which needed direct control of money prints in order to substantiate their endless “investments” that made no business sense. Serbian central bank is, therefore, unaccountable to anyone and thus the darling of the international bankers and aggressive politicians that envision, not stable currency, but the office of the central bank as a reward for political loyalty.

As a result, all the negatives are on the rise in Serbia most notably inflation and debt.

In spite of itself, Serbia may finally be forced to write a Constitution for itself despite that, many inside Serbia that aspire to political power, do not want to because that will preclude them from plundering people.

Greater Albania project marches on

National Albanian Movement of Ilirida (LKShI), has warned authorities in Skopje that “it is necessary to change Macedonia’s political actuality and proclaim the Union of Macedonia and Ilirida as the best option for Macedonia,” otherwise Macedonians will be subject to Albanian violence.

“We will not be responsible if a certain village or region decides to rebel,” says Ilirida chief Nevzat Halili.

Halili said that EU and OSCE are the only ones sympathetic to the demands of Ilirida Movement.

Albanian language map depicting territories they seek to conquer in the Balkans. The disagreement is not whether to conquer them, but on the methods.This new Albanian demand on Skopje is initiated at the tail end of Kosovo status talks which many Albanians believe will result in their conquest of this Serbian province.

Ilirida seeks to annex western parts of Macedonia by first creating a federal unit inside Macedonia that is ethnically Albanian and then hold a referendum on independence.

As another independent state, Ilirida seeks to unite with Albanian dominated Kosovo, parts of Montenegro and Albania into one purely ethnic Albanian federal state.

The debate among Albanian politicians is whether to seek parts of Greece before such unification or after because some argue that a unified Greater Albania will be stronger force during Albanian conquest of Greece. Others disagree because they believe that the current template for Albanian territorial conquest in the Balkans (fictitious ethnic grievances-violence-independence) guarantees sympathy of EU and USA.

PostScript
In 1998 Yossef Bodansky wrote in the Jerusalem Post that the Iranian revolutionary guards were summoned in the fall of 1997 by the top Shia brass and ordered to ship weapons to Albanians in Kosovo. “Ayatollah Khameini’s instructions specifically stipulated that the comprehensive military assistance was aimed to enable Muslims to achieve independence of the province of Kosovo,” says Bodansky. Bodansky also says Iranian general Safavi met with bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri in February 1998 in order to coordinate Kosovo Albanian insurrection and use the Balkans as the main base for spreading Islamic terror into Europe. Eventually, the bombs that killed the British in London, Semtex, were Muslim Albanian. At the Milosevic trial, ex-Russian General Ivasov lied and said that Iran never supported Kosovo Albanians.

Econ ditto

Most of the $1.6 billion of the foreign direct investment (FDI) into Serbia in 2005 came from privatization receipts of large Serbian companies, and the expected $2 billion for 2006 will also be derived from large sales such as the Nis oil refinery and the telecom sector, says Serbian daily Danas.

This raises investment sustainability concern because once these large firms (often monopolies) are sold-off, asks Danas, where will the “greenfield” investments come from?

Economist Milan Kovacevic wisely says that sources of investments are either from domestic savings or foreign inflows and, says Kovacevic “since the first option [domestic savings] is out of question due to low domestic savings, the only way out is foreign direct investment.”

The disturbing part of his statement is the shallowness with which this economist is addressing Serbia’s paramount economic problem – low national savings.

Any rich man will easily attest that savings, or accumulation of capital, is what beget more of it and got him wealthy. However, we are yet to see any, let alone a sensible plan for improvement in national savings in Serbia.

As for FDI in the region, here are some regional statistics for 2005 in billions of US dollars:

Slovakia $13
Czech Republic $11.4
Poland $7.7
Hungary $6.8
Romania $6.6
Croatia $1.6

PostScript
Israeli investment into Serbia for the last five years has been $500 million.

Bosnian Muslim Sharia police

In April, a group of men jumped out of an unregistered van in Bosnian Muslim capital Sarajevo and chased away couples romantically involved in a walk down Sarajevo streets. In the parking lot near Sarajevo’s Jezero hospital, another couple was chased away for merely holding hands.

Bosnian Muslim TV reports that the Bosnian Muslim Sharia police do these “chase-bys”.

Bosnian Muslims Sharia police is an emerging Muslim circle of Wahhabis interested in promotion of Islamic virtue and suppression of vice.

Jasmin Merdan, a Bosnian Muslim Wahabbi who attributes his supposed “conversion” away from that doctrine to science and education, says that such organization exists and that he participated in these operations in Bosnia.

“Wahabbis exist and this is not a secret at all,” says Jasmin.

“They have been very strong since the beginning of the war and after the war. They have had good reception among wider masses. They exist now in a variable number, which cannot be determined precisely, particularly because these are not only young men with long beards and short trousers or women with veils”.

“It is fact that they [Shari’ah police] demolished bars serving alcohol in Zenica and shaved off hair of girls who bathed at Bosnia riverside, that they beat up boys and girls holding hands or kissing,” says Jasmin.

Bosnian doctors of Islam say that all of this is not true.

“There are absolutely no assumptions for creation of such a movement here,” says Enes Ljevakovic, at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo.

“Bosnia is a secular state, and religion does not have significant influence, at least not in the public sphere,” says Ljevakovic.