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.