Britain’s Royal United Services Institute Official Says Independence Drive Stalled Due to Russian Opposition and Serbian Resolve; Pakistan Leader Confirms Existence of Kosovo’s Jihad Terror Network; Muslim Albanian Violence Against Serbs Continues
Editorial comment from the American Council for Kosovo: UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari signaled a likely delay for a Kosovo future status decision, following increased warnings from the international community on the dangers of Kosovo independence. While Ahtisaari stated that the future status decision delay was due to recently announced elections scheduled in Serbia, increasing pressure from the international community to reach a compromised solution -- not an imposed solution -- is the likely cause of delay. Voices from the Muslim Albanian side are increasingly nervous that a 'temporary' delay may point to uncertainty about the formerly 'inevitable' final status. If the past is any indication, such nervousness is likely to lead to further violence -- the only reason independence is under consideration at all.
The Southeast European Times reported: UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari's suggestion that a decision on Kosovo's status could be postponed has drawn mixed reactions. Kosovo Albanian leaders called for the process to move forward as planned, Kosovo Serbs said a delay could be a feasible option, and the EU's foreign policy and security chief appeared to support Ahtisaari's position. Also reported in the Southeast European Times was a discussion between EU foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana and Ahtisaari earlier last week: If a constitutional referendum takes place in Serbia this month and a parliamentary vote is held by the end of the year, a "sound decision" on postponing the status solution would probably be taken, Solana said.
The UN’s and EU’s pragmatic thinking follows recent statements by international foreign ministers and policy experts on the dangers of Kosovo independence. In a BBC interview, Dr. Jonathan Eyal -- director of Britain’s Royal United Services Institute’s, one of the most prestigious strategic institutes in the world -- stated: I think that it is good that inadequately discussed proposals which were made in a hurry, will now be analyzed, by way of discussions with Belgrade, and with contacts in Moscow. Eyal, who has published two studies on the errors committed by the West in handling the Balkan conflict since 1991, also warned the international community of impending, possible violence by Muslim Albanians: It is key to tell the Albanians that the Kosovo status discussions will be continued, because the Contact Group and Belgrade agree that the status quo can no longer be maintained, but also offer them a warning that repeating violence from the past is unacceptable and that they will not speed up the process through violent methods.
Eyal’s comments come on the heels of statements by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk, who are among a growing number of international diplomats who realize the dangers of Kosovo independence and are warning against any imposed solution deadline against Serbia by the international community. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported: [EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana] told the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels today that during a recent phone conversation, Saakashvili had confessed to "tremendous worry" about the possible consequences that ongoing UN-sponsored Kosovo status talks could have for Georgia. During a September 25 speech, Bakoyannis stated: Unfortunately, despite months of negotiations, no concrete progress has been achieved so far. The Serbs appear ready to agree to everything but independence and the Kosovo Albanians to nothing short of independence. Greece believes that we must not risk achieving a long-lasting viable solution for the sake of meeting a preset, arbitrary deadline. International Relations and Security Network reported on September 27: In New York, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk told the UN General Assembly that granting independence to Kosovo could have a ripple effect from the Black Sea to the Caucasus.
Leading international media outlets are also signaling a change in course, from inevitable independence by the end of 2006 to continued talks leading to the highest possible autonomy instead. The Financial Times reported on September 23: Diplomats in Washington also see the Bush administration responding to the concerns raised by Russia and Serbia and reassessing their position on Kosovo. The Economist reported on changing opinions toward Kosovo independence as well: The Balkan endgame is starting to look messy. Expectations that Kosovo would be independent by early next year have just suffered a blow… the UN talks on Kosovo under Martti Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president, have gone nowhere… if Kosovo's Albanians then start fretting that Serbia is successfully outmanoeuvring them, there is a risk that extremists among them will return to violence, which would not do their cause any good.
This “risk” of violence, as The Economist stated, is a reality for Kosovo’s non-Albanians. Each day, Albanian violence against non-Albanians continues under the eye of the international community. On October 6, a UN bus of Serbs was attacked - Beta News Agency reported: The attacks on the bus were regular occurrences on every Tuesday and Friday. Associated Press reported on October 3: An explosion damaged the house of a Gorani minority member in a southern Kosovo village... The explosion caused "considerable material damage" to the house in Rapqe e Nalte village, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of capital, Pristina, police spokesman Veton Elshani said. Following the discovery of an arms depot in Kosovo, Montenegrin Mina news agency reported on October 4: Kfor's Austrian contingent commander Herbert Pahinger said that the existence of arms depots clearly demonstrates that there are still large amounts of arms and combat equipment around and that Kosovo still remains a potential hotbed of crisis.
1. During a September 28, 2006 keynote address at the “Reconsidering Kosovo” conference in Washington, DC, His Grace Bishop Artemije stated: A European black hole of corruption and organized crime will only enlarge itself if Kosovo is forcibly detached from Serbia. Kosovo’s failed and corrupt provisional institutions are already led by Muslim Albanian former members of the terrorist organization, the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). KLA terrorists have close ties to the Albanian mafia and these ties will only tighten should independence occur. America’s leadership must ask itself if it really wants a new rogue “state” led by jihad terrorists and criminals. Kosovo’s current so-called “prime minister” is a man who bears command responsibility for the murders by KLA terrorists of 669 Serbs and 18 members of other ethnic groups, 518 counts of inflicting serious bodily harm – including torture and wounding – and 584 counts of abduction, many of the victims of which are presumed dead. This same man who would lead a forcibly detached Kosovo recently met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and posed for pictures with her. Why is this man welcomed in Washington and treated as a legitimate statesman when he has yet to face justice for his war crimes? Is it wise for the United States to meet with a terrorist leader during this war against Islamo-Fascism?... The jihad in Kosovo was launched in 1995 at a meeting in Tirana, Albania between Osama Bin Laden and two leaders of the KLA. These two terrorists now regularly meet with Kosovo’s so-called “prime minister” to manage criminal rackets. I have come to America to ask for an end to this policy of dealing with KLA terrorists – a policy inherited from the past Administration. As my country Serbia is faced with increasing pressure from these violent terrorists, is it fair to expect the Serbian government to hand over part of its territory to this violent Islamic movement? This Islamic movement within Kosovo is responsible for an intifada against Christians, which has resulted in 220,000 Serbs and non-Albanians being forced to leave Kosovo since 1999 – AFTER the end of the war. In addition, centuries-old churches and monasteries – more than 150 of them – have been destroyed.
2. In an October 5, 2006 Financial Times article, “US evangelists 'join campaign to keep Kosovo within Serbia'” Guy Dinmore reported: In an interview with the FT during his third visit to the US this year, Bishop Artemije set out the argument shaping the Serb case - that independence would provide a base for an "extremist Islamic jihad" and endanger the Balkans, Europe and the US. Followers of the puritanical Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam and al-Qaeda jihadists would be drawn there, he said. Already the province, under UN rule, was the "black hole" of Europe, run by criminal gangs trading in people, guns and drugs, while murderers and desecrators of churches and cemeteries were trying to "eradicate" the Christian community. "It is unbelievable to see the US on one side declaring war on terror around the world and on the other side tolerating it in Kosovo," he said.
3. In October 6, 2006 story, “No solution without agreement” B92 News reported: The Royal United Services Institute official told BBC that the stance of Russia had a crucial effect on the stance of the UN’s special envoy Martti Ahtisaari to postpone the status solution because of the anticipated elections in Serbia. He said that it would be naïve to expect that a solution which Serbia does not agree with would not set a dangerous precedent. “I think that it is good that inadequately discussed proposals which were made in a hurry, will now be analyzed, by way of discussions with Belgrade, and with contacts in Moscow.” Eyal said.
4. In an October 4, 2006 Jewish World Review column, “And that Wasn't Even the Tough Question, Primadonna Bill,” Julia Gorin wrote: On page 225 of his new book "In the Line of Fire," Pervez Musharraf writes that it is believed that Omar Sheikh, the mastermind behind reporter Daniel Pearl's kidnapping, "was recruited by the British intelligence agency MI-6. It is said that MI-6 persuaded him to take an active part in demonstrations against Serbian aggression in Bosnia and even sent him to Kosovo to join the jihad." Here we have a Muslim leader admitting what our own leaders will not: that with the U.S.-led mischief in the Balkans, the West was facilitating, supporting and financing a jihad in Europe. Musharraf's statement is consistent with the 9/11 Commission's finding that the "groundwork for a true terrorist network was being laid" in 1990s Bosnia…