Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Unfortunately, as Der Spiegel reports, it didn't quite work out that way:
It started so well. But now, questions surround Germany's mission to Lebanon. Not only have Israeli planes buzzed German ships, but the naval mission has fewer rights than at first promised. The German parliament is demanding answers.
One thing is certain, when Germany's Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung visits Israel and Lebanon the end of this week, there will be no shortage of things to talk about. He will want a more detailed explanation from Israeli politicians, for examples, as to why their fighter jets buzzed a German ship last Tuesday and why a German naval helicopter was approached by Israeli jets on Thursday night. And when Jung visits the Lebanese government, concern within Germany's parliament about Beirut's wish to limit the activities of the German-led UN flotilla off the coast will surely be on the agenda.
And the German naval mission -- which aims at preventing Hezbollah from receiving arms smuggled in by sea -- had gotten off to such a promising start: A large majority in the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, supported the mission and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke enthusiastically on Sept. 20 of the mission's "historic dimension." She said that "it was impossible to overstate the significance of how much Germany is now trusted," that Israel "explicitly requested" that German soldiers take part in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL.
This trust, though, suddenly doesn't seem to go very far.
No one really knows what happened with the Israeli flyover, which the Germans insist included a couple of rounds from Israeli guns. The Israelis denied that it ever happened, and since then the situation has relaxed somewhat. Regardless, the German opposition has latched onto the incident as part of its argument against engagement in the UNIFIL force. The ship involved, the Alster, technically isn't part of the UNIFIL force but is a support ship for the German contingent in the UN force. The spy ship has provided needed intelligence to the Germans in Lebanon.
That, however, is another point of contention. The Germans claim now that the Lebanese will not allow them full range of options for their naval deployment. Merkel had promised that both the Lebanese and the Israelis would not place any restrictions on their movement. Now it seems that Merkel oversold the agreement with the Lebanese, which is demanding permission for German ships to navigate its ports. It's not just the Lebanese government making these decisions, either. Hezbollah has blocked Spanish troops from carrying out missions in the sub-Litani region; when they demanded support from the Lebanese Army, they declined to respond, forcing the Spaniards to retreat.
The Europeans apparently have begun to discover the futility of UNIFIL, a futility that many pointed out when the UN Security Council passed UNSCR 1701. It would have been better to form a new force, one that had UN-dictated terms of engagement and one that had the authority to enforce 1701. Instead, the Germans have found themselves between three entities which have never accepted the terms of 1701 and have no intention of abiding by it for very long. The Israelis did not get their soldiers back, and because the UNIFIL contingent has no real authority, no one can certify that Hezbollah has not begun to re-arm. Hezbollah wants their weapons for their next effort against the Israelis. The Lebanese government has sent its army to the sub-Litani region for the first time in decades, but it won't stop Hezbollah from re-establishing themselves in opposition to them.
The Germans will have to decide whether to continue its participation in this charade, seeing as how the three principals have long since given it up.
Posted by Captain Ed
The German author Henryk M. Broder recently told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (12 October) that young Europeans who love freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will no longer exist 20 years from now. Whilst sitting on a terrace in Berlin, Broder pointed to the other customers and the passers-by and said melancholically: “We are watching the world of yesterday.”
Europe is turning Muslim. As Broder is sixty years old he is not going to emigrate himself. “I am too old,” he said. However, he urged young people to get out and “move to Australia or New Zealand. That is the only option they have if they want to avoid the plagues that will turn the old continent uninhabitable.”
Many Germans and Dutch, apparently, did not wait for Broder’s advice. The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic. Just consider the demographics. The number of Muslims in contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million. It is expected to double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families. Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for new-born boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.
Broder is convinced that the Europeans are not willing to oppose islamization. “The dominant ethos,” he told De Volkskrant, “is perfectly voiced by the stupid blonde woman author with whom I recently debated. She said that it is sometimes better to let yourself be raped than to risk serious injuries while resisting. She said it is sometimes better to avoid fighting than run the risk of death.”
In a recent op-ed piece in the Brussels newspaper De Standaard (23 October) the Dutch (gay and self-declared “humanist”) author Oscar Van den Boogaard refers to Broder’s interview. Van den Boogaard says that to him coping with the islamization of Europe is like “a process of mourning.” He is overwhelmed by a “feeling of sadness.” “I am not a warrior,” he says, “but who is? I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”
Aye, there's the rub.
Read it all, and don't miss the links.
Posted by Robert
Monday, October 30, 2006
ISTANBUL: Strong reaction to a plan for a women-only park in Istanbul has focused attention on the divisions between Turkey’s secularists and supporters of the ruling AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam.
Critics of the plan see it as the latest sign that the ruling party is trying to push through an Islamist agenda, but several female voters in the district said yesterday they loved the idea.
News that the AK Party-run municipality of Bagcilar was planning to create a park exclusively for women, reported in the local press this week, prompted a fierce reaction among secular Turks who say the party is trying to give Islam a greater role in public life.
The controversy reached parliament on Thursday, when opposition CHP lawmaker Bihlun Tamayligil asked the assembly: "Can you reconcile the principles of the Republic with applying the segregation of men and women?" according to local media.
The row is the latest of several between pro-secular and Islamist-leaning camps in Turkey, which is officially secular but overwhelmingly Muslim.
Municipalities run by the AK Party caused outrage in some quarters last year by banning alcohol in restaurants they run. Islam bans alcoholic drinks. The party also wants to lift a ban on women wearing headscarves in official buildings.
Tension between the two sides is likely to increase as the November 2007 general election draws nearer.
"They’re talking about (protecting women from) sexual harassment but this is an Islamist agenda ... it’s very obviously an application of harem-selamlik (separating men and women)," Pinar Ilkkaracan, founder of the NGO Women for Women’s Human Rights, told Reuters.
In some parts of Istanbul skimpily-clad women hop between nightclubs, but in Bagcilar, where nearly all the women on the street wear headscarves, the AK Party seems to be in tune with voters -- at least with a handful of local women.
"It’s good, I hope it happens. It’d be more comfortable," 21-year-old textile worker Nurgul Karayanik told Reuters in the neighbourhood. "Men make comments, leer at women a lot in Turkey," she said.
Some were puzzled by other women’s opposition to the plan.
"There are women who don’t go out because of men ... because (they think) it’s sinful. And men make comments, it’s uncomfortable," said 49-year-old Muteber Kucukkaraca.
Local mayor Feyzullah Kiyiklik, angered by the controversy, declined to give any details.
"We haven’t finished the park yet, we haven’t opened it, no decision has been taken ... but if you are interested, the day we open our park you could also come, inshallah," he said.
Posted by Marisol, dhimmiwatch
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Belgrade, (AKI) - The United States is showing signs of jitteriness over the status of the breakaway province of Kosovo, as the international community moves away from granting Kosovo the independence wanted by most of its overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian majority, the Serbian government coordinator for Kosovo, Sanda Raskovic Ivic, has said.Raskovic Ivic was commenting on a "slip of tongue" by American envoy to Kosovo Frank Wiesner, who stated in the Kosovo capital Pristina on Tuesday that Washington wants the status issue resolved this year. "We will insist on independence – excuse me – we will insist on [determination of] the final status by the end of this year," Wiesner told journalists. Wiesner's comments particularly irritated Belgrade - which opposes Kosovo's independence - by claiming the status of the province in which ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by 17 to one, was no longer a Serbian matter, but one for "Kosovo itself and the international community." Kosovo has been under United Nations control since 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove Serb forces out of the province amid an ethnic cleansing campaign and gross human rights abuses. The United Security Council has hinted it wants to make a decision on Kosovo's status this year, but Belgrade's media speculated that Russia and China might use a veto in the UN Security Council to block Kosovo's independence. To pre-empt this, the US is now considering bypassing the UN, and leave it to each country to recognise Kosovo independence individually, according to media reports.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
By Anes Alic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch
A former boxer, petty criminal and drug addict-turned-radical Muslim, Amir Bajric, a 28-year-old Bosnian from the Sarajevo suburb of Hadzici, never expected to find himself a key player in a terror plot against foreign installations in Bosnia.
But his decision to sell explosives to a group of Muslim extremists of various origins meeting in Bosnia has landed him two years in jail and death threats from his former Wahhabi colleagues.
Bajric's story, told in an exclusive interview with ISN Security Watch in early October, illustrates how the criminal underworld - whether petty criminals or organized crime kingpins - mix profit and principle.
In late October, after a month of surveillance, Bosnian Federation police in Sarajevo arrested a Swedish citizen of Serbian origin, Mirsad Bektasevic, and a Turkish national with Denmark residency, Cesur Abdulkadir.
They were arrested in a rented apartment with more than 20 kilograms of explosives, an arsenal of weapons, including a suicide bombers vest, and a videotape showing masked men asking God for forgiveness for what they were about to do. The tape also showed them planting bombs in a lemon, a tennis ball and chocolate eggs.
In December, police arrested three more men in the Sarajevo suburb of Hadzici. Senad Hasanovic and Amir Bajric are charged with weapons possession and supplying explosives. The third suspect, Bajro Ikanovic, is charged with terrorism, along with Bektasevic and Abdulkadir. More specifically, the three are charged with plotting a terrorist attack in Bosnia and Herzegovina or some other European country in an attempt to force authorities to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the results of the ongoing investigation, a 20-year-old Bosnian student found the explosives in the mountains above Hadzici while picking mushrooms. He gave the explosives to Bajric for a share of the profits when sold. It was a deal suited to Bajric.
After learning of the explosives, Ikanovic told him that "two brothers are in Sarajevo" and looking for explosives, Bajric said. Bajric sold the explosives to him for €500, as compensation for a car of Ikanovic's that Bajric had recently crashed.
A police source close to the investigation told ISN Security Watch that Ikanovic had agreed to sell the explosives to Bektasevic and Abdulkadir for €3,000, but the money never changed hands. It was to come from the Denmark side of the cell, the members of which were arrested by Danish authorities before they could transfer the money.
In late July, Bajric made a deal with prosecutors to serve as a witness against the others in return for a reduced, two-year prison sentence. However, Bosnia's prison system lacks space, and Bajric is waiting for his turn behind bars in the luxury of his own home. In the meantime, he says he fears for life because of threats from Muslim extremists.
"After Bektasevic and Abdulkadir were arrested, Ikanovic told me that 'two brothers fell' and that we should hide for some time. I told him I had nothing to do with them and then he started to threaten and warn me against saying anything to the police," Bajric told ISN Security Watch.
Bajric, arrested only about a half an hour after Ikanovic, believes that Ikanovic sold him out, in violation of the criminal code. "That is not what criminals do," he said.
Since he cut the deal with prosecutors, Bajric says he has been attacked several times by Muslim extremists belonging to Ikanovic's Wahhabi movement. "On two occasions they pulled guns on me in the center of Hadzici, but couldn't fire because of the people on the street […] they want to execute me."
Bajric also says that the lawyer representing one of the suspects pressured him to change his testimony. Just before the trial started in May, a lawyer whose name Bajric asked ISN Security Watch not to disclose, offered him €5,000 to change his testimony. According to Bajric, the lawyer asked him to say that he had known Bektasevic and Abdulkadir for a long time and had organized everything for them, from their arrival in Sarajevo to their weapons.
"I rejected the offer because then I would get at least 20 years in prison. I'm not stupid, the money would have gone to waste," Bajric said.
Bajric says he has never met Bektasevic or Abdulkadir and sorely regrets selling the explosives to Ikanovic. He will now spend two years in jail for "just for 20 kilograms," which is a drop in the bucket compared to the quantity of explosives he has sold to non-terrorists, he said.
Hadzici, a wartime Bosnian Serb stronghold, is surrounded by mountains that served as the frontline between Serbs and the Bosnian Army. Residents say the mountains are packed with explosives, mines and weapons.
According to Bajric, hundreds of kilograms of explosives were left behind in military barracks after the war, with Kalashnikovs going for about €15.
Bajric says he was known in Hadzici as the man you see for just about everything - drugs, weapons, prostitutes - everything but terrorism. Until two years ago, he was a drug addict, but then he met Ikanovic, who directed him toward a "holy" life of worship at the mosque and good clean work at the local halal grill.
He even the name Osama bin Laden tattooed on his chest, something that gave him serious problems with both Bosnian police and Croatian police, who he says beat him when he attempted to cross the border after his release on bail.
Bajric said his adventure with Ikanovic was a typical case of use and abuse that has turned his life upside down.
He said most of the radical Muslims in Bosnia, Wahhabis, are no different than common criminals, looking for every opportunity to make easy money.
"While working in [the] halal grill, several times I saw Ikanovic take money, given to him by people who thought it would be distributed to the poor, for himself or split it with other 'brothers.' "How else could he buy a house worth €50,000 on a €200 per month salary?" Bajric asked.
Since his arrest, Bajric has decided that he is finished with "religion," and now lives with his girlfriend, a Croat Catholic, in his parents' apartment, supporting himself by taking foreigners on tours in the mountains and the engaging in occasional petty criminal activities.
In the meantime, prosecutors have new evidence that casts doubts on whether the videotape features Abdulkadir, as once believed. Though the FBI and Scotland Yard have identified the voice on the tape as belonging to Bektasevic and a DNA test has matched a hair on one of the masks with Bektasevic, Abdulkadir's presence is in doubt.
Islam forbids men from wearing jewelry and prosecutors point out that one man on the tape, shown making explosives professionally, is wearing a ring, which cannot be attributed to Abdulkadir. Furthermore, it appears that the tape was filmed before Abdulkadir arrived in Sarajevo, police sources and lawyers in the case told ISN Security Watch.
It may have been Ikanovic on the tape, or it could mean that another suspect is still on the loose. Investigators have no leads.
Bajric also revealed for ISN Security Watch the location where the tape was made - in a cabin in the Rakitnica river valley in the Bjelasnica mountains, an hour and a half drive from Sarajevo. He said that during his brief jaunt with practicing Islam, he rented the cabin to at least three groups of radical Muslims, who were, he believed, target practicing.
He also took Ikanovic there three or four times, after Ikanovic professed to be a nature-lover. Bajric suspects that Ikanovic was the one who took Bektasevic and Abdulkadir there to make the tape.
If found guilty on terror charges, Bektasevic, Abdulkadir and Ikanovic could get up to 20 years in prison. If acquitted, they will be sentenced for possession of explosives and dangerous materials, and likely handed two-year sentences.
Anes Alic is ISN Security Watch's senior writer and analyst in Southeastern Europe.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
One of Steyn's consistant themes over the past few years is a warning that Europe was not merely the sick patient of the West - that she was actively transitioning from life unto death, and death will bring no victory, only only backward momentum:
Basically the European nations are dying and the populations in them are turning into relatively hostile Muslim populations, not all of them terrorists, but all of them, almost all of those people not sympathetic to America and American interests. And I feel that the great assumption that we all have, that the present tense is somehow permanent, or that it’s like technological progress. You know, it’s like, cars don’t go backwards. You don’t suddenly have a Cadillac Escalade and you go out into the yard one morning and it’s turned into a Ford Model T and it’s got a rumble seat and all kinds of other stuff in it. You take the view that—we think that social progress is like technological progress, that it can never be reversed, but I think it can be reversed and I think a lot of the world is going to be re-primitivized in the decades ahead and America has to change.
For as long as I have been reading Steyn, he has used demographics to powerfully make his point. He does so in this book as well, and the numbers are sobering. America Alone is a book you will want to read, and I urge you to. The world is going to look very, very different in another generation, and your children will be dealing with it. You need to anticipate it.
As if to whet your appetite, Brussels Journal has today a piece along the same lines, and just as sobering and demonstrative:The German author Henryk M. Broder recently told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (12 October) that young Europeans who love freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will no longer exist 20 years from now. Whilst sitting on a terrace in Berlin, Broder pointed to the other customers and the passers-by and said melancholically: “We are watching the world of yesterday.”
Europe is turning Muslim. As Broder is sixty years old he is not going to emigrate himself. “I am too old,” he said. However, he urged young people to get out and “move to Australia or New Zealand. That is the only option they have if they want to avoid the plagues that will turn the old continent uninhabitable.”
Many Germans and Dutch, apparently, did not wait for Broder’s advice. The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. [emphasis mine - anchoress] One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic. Just consider the demographics. The number of Muslims in contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million. It is expected to double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families. Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for new-born boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.
This article also addresses the inability and disinterest of secularist cultures (not, mind you secular governments, but the culture of the secular elite) to fight to keep what they have: In a recent op-ed piece in the Brussels newspaper De Standaard (23 October) the Dutch (gay and self-declared “humanist”) author Oscar Van den Boogaard refers to Broder’s interview. Van den Boogaard says that to him coping with the islamization of Europe is like “a process of mourning.” He is overwhelmed by a “feeling of sadness.” “I am not a warrior,” he says, “but who is? I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”
We are in for an interesting few decades. The last few weeks have seen releases of books like Damon Linker's The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege, which sound the warning bell that American liberty is in danger from the Christian people - you know, the ones who built the Europe which now lies gasping and moribund under secularism. Linker and his ilk take the extreme view that Christians in America are the equivalent of the Taliban.
But in worrying about what they perceive to be a turn toward religious governance in America (which would not be a particularly good thing, btw, but which I am also quite sure Americans would never ascent to) the fearful secularists are missing an important truth that is going to be meaningful to our own survival: eventually it is going to come down to America and Islamic regimes. If America is going to effectively fight people who have sensibilities which are locked not only into the here-and-now, but into the supernatural side, as well...then we'd damn well better not lose touch with our own supernatural sensibilities, with our own disposition of faith.
The Brussels Journal piece ends thusly: “If faith collapses, civilization goes with it,” says [Tom] Bethell. That is the real cause of the closing of civilization in Europe. Islamization is simply the consequence. The very word Islam means “submission” and the secularists have submitted already. Many Europeans have already become Muslims, though they do not realize it or do not want to admit it.
People, particularly the hardline secularists, do not want to admit it but America is going to be forced to play things out on both a secular and supernatural stage, if she is going to stay alive, and not just alive but comprehensively American. Those, like Rosie O' Donnell, who would lump the Taliban and American Christians into the same boat do not realize that in doing so they are consigning themselves to Europe's fate. And Europe is dying. Europe will not fight.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Paris is Burning. Coverage of the turmoil will continue to be light, and the obit is being prepared. And Michelle Malkin is interviewing Mark Steyn.
*Crossposted at The Anchoress Online
Since the Captain is feeling punk today, I offered to throw a few pieces up on the board!
Posted by Anchoress
Jay Leno: The population of the United States is now at 300 million. It should be 400 million by Christmas. ... In a related story the population of Mexico is now at 38 people. ... There is an initiative in the state of Nevada to legalize small amounts of marijuana. This is the first time marijuana and initiative has appeared in the same sentence. ... Opponents are afraid of the crime element that legalization would attract to the state. Yeah, between the hookers, alcoholics and degenerate gamblers those are the last people you’d want coming into the state. ... North Korea might be testing a second nuke soon. This one could be more powerful than the first one—meaning it could blow up two mailboxes instead of one. ... According to a report by the World Energy Experts, North Korea is so short of electricity that the whole country switches off at 9 o’clock. The electricity is shut off at 9 o’clock. So it’s a country where few people speak English, they have power outages all the time, they’re ruled by a funny looking guy with a strange accent—it’s like California without the traffic. ... Bill Clinton was recently asked about rumors he has once again been unfaithful in his marriage. Many Democrats are concerned with this and have warned him about it. When asked, Bill said that there was nothing to the rumors. One thing we know, when Bill Clinton denies something—we can take that statement to the bank! ... Senator Hillary Clinton says that she would be in favor of legalized torture on terrorists to get information that we need. That’s bad news for Bill!
ANKARA -- A 15-year-old girl who gave birth to a child that she said resulted from a rape became the latest victim of so-called "honor killings" in Turkey, newspapers said Monday.
The young girl, from a mainly Kurdish town near Turkey's eastern border with Iran, was murdered by an elder brother Saturday, press reports said. The victim, named only as Naile, had apparently not been aware that she was pregnant until she started feeling unwell and was admitted to a hospital, where she gave birth to a boy, the reports added.
She later told her mother that the pregnancy had resulted from a rape. When other members of the family heard the news, the elder brother shot her dead at point-blank range in a street of the town, and then fled.
Posted by Robert
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
“I still can’t believe I’m a Republican. There are just certain things ingrained in our Jewish roots. Our fathers voted for Roosevelt, and we voted for JFK, Humphrey and Clinton. But the Democratic Party has changed.” —director and producer David Zucker, who is responsible for this brilliant campaign ad, on his post 9/11 “conversion” .
By Barry Wood
Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center Friday brought together a panel of experts to analyze the Kosovo status negotiations that may conclude in the next few weeks or months. There is no expectation that Kosovo's Albanians and Serbia will agree on Kosovo's future.All of the six presenters suggested difficulties in the months ahead. After seven years of being a ward of the international community, moves are underway to determine the status of the still nominally Serbian province whose population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian.Serbia rejects independence while the Albanians refuse any other option. Kosovo is ruled by the United Nations and security is the responsibility of NATO led peacekeepers.Veton Surroi, a member of Kosovo's negotiating team, warned of the danger of an ambiguous outcome-partial independence, in which Kosovo would remain a weak and ill-defined territory. Kosovo, he said, must become a fully independent sovereign nation. "It is for a practical reason. Only sovereign states assume responsibilities. And this needs to be a sovereign state that assumes responsibility for everything, for its security, etcetera, etcetera," he said.Steven Meyer, a professor at the U.S. government's National Defense University, outlined the dangers that might result from independence. "Kosovo is a small, crime-infested very poor (state) with high unemployment that has always been integrated into a much larger, broader regional market," he said.There was concern about the plight of the minority Serbs who fear the Albanians and whose communities require protection from the NATO-led force. Vladimir Matic of Clemson University said it would be a disaster if these 100,000 Serbs are forced out. Ross Johnson of the Hoover Institution said that is a real possibility as 70 percent of Kosovo Serbs say they won't live in an independent Kosovo."Because what is being said over and over again is that Serbs can not survive in an independent Kosovo. Well, if you believe that, and if it looks like Kosovo will become independent, then you draw the consequence and if you have the resources you leave," he said.NATO in 1999 undertook a three-month long bombing campaign against the Serbs accused of ethnic cleansing in their fight against secessionist Kosovo Albanian rebels. This past February the United Nations launched status negotiations between Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians. With those talks deadlocked, the UN chief negotiator has been authorized to present his own status proposal, which may be unveiled shortly.
American Council for Kosovo
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
A Kosovo Albanian representative Veton Surroi who is also a member of Kosovo's negotiating team and therefore a biased representative at the discussion warned of the danger of an ambiguous outcome. He warned that partial independence solution, where Kosovo is not outright recognized as sovereign will be weak.
"It is for a practical reason. Only sovereign states assume responsibilities. And this needs to be a sovereign state that assumes responsibility for everything, for its security," Suroi said.
Steven Meyer, a professor at the U.S. government's National Defense University, outlined the dangers that might result from independence and suggested that Kosovo is a hotbed of crime so even if independent it would pose security problems in the region.
"Kosovo is a small, crime-infested very poor with high unemployment that has always been integrated into a much larger, broader regional market," Meyer said.
Panelists also expressed concern for the plight of ethnic Serbs which have been driven out of the province since 1999.
Vladimir Matic of Clemson University said that it would be a disaster if the remaining 100,000 Serbs are forced out and a sure blow to the multi-ethnic outcome of the province that is sought in these status talks.
Ross Johnson of the Hoover Institution said that expulsion of the remaining Serbs is a real possibility as 70 percent of Kosovo Serbs say they won't live in an independent Kosovo.
"Because what is being said over and over again is that Serbs can not survive in an independent Kosovo. Well, if you believe that, and if it looks like Kosovo will become independent, then you draw the consequence and if you have the resources you leave," Johnson said.
Kosovo is a province of Serbia administered by the UN. Since 1999, extremist Albanians, many of whom are in current Kosovo government, have organized expulsion of ethnic Serbs and other non-Albanians.
Monday, October 23, 2006
PARIS (Reuters) - Britain’s heated debate about Islamic veils reflects a growing frustration with Muslims in Europe that risks further isolating these minorities rather than integrating them, leading European Muslim activists say.
The new tone in Britain, which Muslims on the continent long saw as a model of tolerance where criticising minorities was politically incorrect, marks a watershed in the way Europeans talk about Islam, they told Reuters. Islamist radicalism, ethnic segregation and clashes of values must be discussed openly, they agreed, but the increasingly polarised debate squeezes out moderates on both sides.
Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sparked off the British debate this month by saying the full facial veils some Muslim women wear hindered integration. Some Muslim leaders called his remarks offensive and accused him of whipping up Islamophobia.
“Intolerance is growing in Europe,” said Dalil Boubakeur, president of France’s Muslim Council, who saw the new mood as a response to security fears and the radicalisation of a small minority of Muslims who do not accept European values.
“There is a sense we are living in a different time,” said Dilwar Hussain, head of policy research at the Islamic Foundation in Britain. “With all the security concerns, people feel they can be more frank,” Hussain said. “The reaction from Muslims is to recede further and further into a sense of victimhood.”
The activists said politicians and the media blamed religion for problems that are really economic and social, such as unemployment and discrimination.
“Before, we were just immigrants from Turkey or Morocco or other places, but then they found something to combine us,” said Famile Arslan from the Dutch group Islam and Citizenship. “All immigrant problems have been Islamised. All Muslims have been criminalised,” she said. ...
The murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the bombings in Madrid and London have deepened concerns about whether Europe’s 15 million Muslims all accept European values.
“Europeans were stunned to see that even people who were quite integrated could do these things,” Boubakeur said.
Ali Kizilkaya, head of Germany’s Muslim Council, said Muslims were now seen “as a kind of security problem”.
Yazid Sabeg, France’s most successful Muslim businessman, accused the media of tarring all Muslims with the terrorist brush. “Demonising Islam by confusing it with Islamism is the new opium of the people,” he complained.
And at the end of this incredibly slanted piece from al-Reuters, the one bright spot for European Muslims: they did win the cartoon jihad.
One Danish Muslim leader said the uproar over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad there earlier this year had helped calm tensions by promoting a dialogue.
“The cartoon crisis did function as a wake-up call for both Danish politicians and Muslim leaders,” said Yildiz Akdogan, spokeswoman for the Democratic Muslims group.
When more such cartoons surfaced this month, the government promptly denounced them and Muslim leaders avoided exploiting the issue, she said. “The final outcome is good.”
Sunday, October 22, 2006
PRIZREN, Kosovo - Life in a monastery is normally a challenge. But life in the Monastery of the Holy Archangels is a particular challenge.
The original building was destroyed in the 16th century by the invading Turks. The Orthodox Church eventually built a small church, residence, and workshop amid the ancient ruins. In 2004, a mob from the nearby city of Prizren descended upon the complex.
Although the monastery was nominally guarded by German members of the international Kosovo Force (KFOR), most of them packed up when the crowd arrived, taking the monks with them. This pusillanimous behavior was repeated throughout Kosovo that day. Reported Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch: "In too many cases, NATO peacekeepers locked the gates to their bases, and watched as Serb homes burned."
Kosovo is an unpleasant bit of unfinished business the West would prefer to forget.
Like other conflicts throughout the Balkans, the problem goes back centuries. Serbian identity is rooted in both Kosovo's military history, particularly the 1389 defeat by the Turks in the Battle of the Blackbirds, and spiritual significance, represented by ancient churches and monasteries.
War has come often to the Balkans, topped by decades of communist rule. During the 1980s the territory (in Yugoslavia) enjoyed substantial self-rule and resulted in ethnic Albanian mistreatment of Serbs. Two decades ago Slobodan Milosevic used Serb nationalism, highlighted by a speech in Kosovo, to grab power. Then Albanians suffered, leading to an increasingly bitter guerrilla war.
There was much to criticize in Belgrade's conduct, but the Kosovo Liberation Army was no different than the usual guerrilla force. Indeed, a U.S. diplomat labeled the KLA a "terrorist" organization.
Read more: Nation-Destroying in the Balkans
The consensus in the “old” media seems to be that former Congressman Mark Foley’s sometimes salacious electronic communications with teenage interns threatens to demotivate the Republican base and usher in Democratic control of Congress. If this is so, it would be a highly ironic outcome. After all, what substantive argument does the Democratic Party have to offer on its behalf other than that America should be more like Europe – in virtually all domains – and that the Democrats would make it so? And what would be the properly “European” reaction to indiscretions like those of Mark Foley? As judging by the laws and mores of “old” Europe at any rate, the answer is indifference – if not indeed a studied amazement over the fact that American prudes should interfere with the Congressman and his protégés good fun.
In the first place, the legal age of consent is set significantly lower in most European jurisdictions than in the United States, such that actual sexual relations – let alone sexually suggestive communication – between an adult and teens the age of the congressional pages would not be illegal. Consider in this connection paragraph 2 of Article 82 (on “Sexual Abuse of Adolescents”; link in German) of the German Criminal Code:
A person older than 21 who abuses a person under 16 in that he or she
1. performs sexual acts on the latter person or lets the latter person perform sexual acts on him or her…
and thereby exploits the victim’s underdeveloped capacity for sexual self-determination, will be punished by imprisonment of up to three years or a fine.
On first glance, this statute might appear to set the age of consent at 16 and thus prohibit sexual relations between an adult and adolescents younger than that age. But this is to overlook the significance of the weasily qualifier “and thereby exploits the victim’s underdeveloped [fehlend; literally: “missing”] capacity for sexual self-determination.” The meaning of the phrase is that it is up to the courts to determine on a case-by-case basis whether such a “capacity for sexual self-determination” was present or not. The following paragraph 3, moreover, makes clear that the law is not as a rule supposed to be enforced. “In the cases covered by paragraph 2,” it specifies, “the crime will only be prosecuted if charges are filed, unless the authorities regard action to be in order given the particular public interest in a prosecution.”
The operative age of consent in German law is in fact set rather at 14. This means that sexual relations between adults and virtually all pubescent and post-pubescent teens are for all intents and purposes legal. In effect, only children are held to be underage. (The relevant law – § 176 StGB – is titled “Sexual Abuse of Children” [Sexueller Mißbrauch von Kindern].)
There is, moreover, a movement in European law to extend such Germanic “permissiveness” across the continent. The proponents of such a development claim to be acting in the name of the “human rights” of teenagers – which is to say, more concretely, their “right” to have sexual relations with adults. The fact that a right of adults to have sex with young teens is thereby also secured is apparently supposed to be merely a by-product. Thus, for example, a 1995 Austrian dissertation on Sexuality, Youth Protection and Human Rights [Sexualität, Jugendschutz und Menschenrechte] by one Helmut Graupner bears the subtitle “On the right of children and adolescents to sexual self-determination”. The dissertation abstract leaves little room for confusion, stressing that the European Convention on Human Rights should be understood to protect “the right of children and adolescents to sexual self-determination comprehensively, namely both the right to effective protection from (unwanted) sex and the right to (wanted) sex.” “General criminalization of sexual contacts by and with youths under 14 is admissible,” the author concludes, “Inadmissible are (age of consent) regulations banning consensual sexual relations by and with adolescents over the age of 14.”
It is of some interest to note that one of the members of the two-member jury that passed this dissertation was none other than UN Human Rights expert Manfred Nowak: the same Manfred Nowak who has accused the United States of practicing torture at its detention center in Guantanamo Bay and who has been conducting something of a campaign in recent months to have the center closed. Nowak has described [link in German] the Graupner dissertation as “the most comprehensive and carefully researched scientific contribution on the subject.”
And, finally, one would be amiss not to mention here the Green member of European Parliament, Daniel Cohn-Bendit. In his 1975 book The Great Bazaar [Der grosse Basar], Cohn-Bendit wrote the following about his experiences while working at a Frankfurt kindergarten some years before:
My constant flirtation with all the children soon took on erotic aspects. I could really feel how the little five-year-old girls had already learned how to come on to me….It happened several times that children would open my fly and begin to caress me….Their wishes presented me with some problems. I asked: “Why don’t you play with one another? Why have you chosen me and not other children?” But when they insisted, I caressed them nonetheless.
Despite the flurry of attention provoked by the re-discovery of these passages in 2001, just one year later Cohn-Bendit was made co-chair of the Green Party group in the European Parliament. He remains not only a member of parliament, but also a highly sought-after commentator on political affairs in both the French and the German media.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Police in Manchester have been told not to arrest Muslims wanted on warrants at prayer times during Ramadan.Greater Manchester Police confirmed it had asked detectives not to make planned arrests during those periods for reasons of religious sensitivity.The advice was emailed out to officers working in Moss Side, Hulme, Whalley Range, Rusholme, Fallowfield, Ardwick, Longsight, Gorton and Levenshulme.Police said it was not a blanket ban, just a "request for sensitivity".The email stressed the order did not apply to on-the-spot arrests, only the execution of arrest warrants.
I assume no arrest warrents are ever executed on Christmas Eve either.
Posted by Anne
By "Nezavisne", Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia-Hercegovina
Officials of Kosovo's government are spending millions of euros on cell phone bills, fuel, dinners and other "irrelevant things", says a confidential report of Kosovo's Ministry of Economy and Finance. The poor Kosovo has an annual budget less than 700 million euros. In the first 6 months of this year, 8.3 million euros were spent on fuel bills. 2.5 million euros were spent on cell phone bills, and for lunches and dinners, 4.5 million euros. 2 million euros were spent on vehicle maintenance, even though most vehicles of Kosovo's government are new, and have been bought recently, in 2003 and 2004. Millions of euros went on covering travels and per diem costs of Kosovo's officials. Analysts say that the officials are spending "far more" than a government with such modest budget can afford, and that "a relatively luxurious lifestyle" is draining away "significant sums of money which could be used to cover priorities, such as economic development". IMF representative in Kosovo, Marc Auboin, critisized Kosovo officials for high bills and warned that Kosovo's government is in danger of making bigger and bigger deficits. "I must warn that next year there will be large strains on the budget", he said and added that so far, capital investments have not been the government's priority. "Foreign countries will not be helping Kosovo much longer if they see the way that the local officials are spending money", he warned. "The international community has agreed to finance the budget deficit for 2007, but what will happen in the future will depend on the policy of the government", he said amidst growing conflicts within the top levels of power, as warnings and accusations accumulate. The officials blamed their predecessors for creating high costs. The advisor to the prime minister of Kosovo Agim Ceku, Avni Arifi, said that the government is tackling "high costs inherited from the previous government", while the finance minister Haki Shatri denies that officials threw money away on irrelevant things. "The budget of Kosovo is being used according to plan, and will cover all anticipated costs", he stated.
American Council for Kosovo
Friday, October 20, 2006
Germany’s 16 states agreed on Thursday to introduce from January 1 a licence fee of 5.52 euros (3.70
pounds) a month on computers and mobile phones that can access television and radio programmes via the Internet.
Any household or company that does not already have a licence will have to pay the new levy, which is the same as the one currently charged for radio access, state premiers agreed at a meeting in the town of Bad Pyrmont.”
Finally, a bold step in the fight against Germany’s high unemployment! Taxing the internet and advanced communications technology will certainly earn us the respect of all foreign nations.
And there’s even more good stuff to come – a 3 percent rise of the value added tax to 19 percent on January 1, 2007!
I guess Germany will serve as a shining example of tax policies gone mad in Economics 101 courses all over the world…
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Jay Leno: As of [yesterday], the population of the United States has reached 300 million people. This is either attributed to a strong democracy or really weak border control. ... Mexico said today it plans to take the dispute about building a fence along its border with the United States to the United Nations. The United Nations traditionally has been against building fences between countries because, as you know, the UN believes fences are for sitting on. ... All around the world people were reacting to North Korea’s nuclear testing. The U.S. condemned it. China said it was wrong. France surrendered. ... According to Kim Jong-Il’s biography, they say he has been constantly accused of dishonesty, drunkenness and sexual excess. So if he lived here, he could be in Congress. ... The Army has changed their slogan to “Army Strong”. Other countries are following with their military. Ireland’s slogan, “Bar Fight!” China is “One Billion”. France of course is “Helping invading armies feel at home for over 100 years.” ... Saddam Hussein has now been on trial for over one year. One year? If this trial was in L.A., he’d be out golfing by now. ... There have been snowstorms back east. The snow is so deep in some areas that even Al Gore cancelled his speech on global warming. ... John Kerry says that he deserves a second chance to run for president. I say if his wife can afford it, why not? ... Bill Clinton came out in support of the estate tax last week. Clinton said that some people think he should leave all his money to his daughter when he’s gone, but he doesn’t think he should. He said he should spend it now on other people’s daughters when he’s still alive. ... Florida Congressman Mark Foley is writing a book. The book will be about 400 pages. I don’t know how long the book is, but the book will be about 400 pages.
In our age the Muslim world has at its disposal the ultimate weapon to remake the European future. The weapon is not nuclear nor chemical and Europe is tranquilized by political correctness to save itself.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"Turkish youths turning to radical Islam: terror report," from Expatica, with thanks to Fjordman:
AMSTERDAM — The continued radicalisation of especially young Muslims remains concerning, the national anti-terrorism co-ordination office NCTb said on Monday.
The NCTb also said it was "remarkable" that a rising number of Turkish youths were finding their way into networks of radical Muslims prepared to use violence against western society.
Earlier, Dutch Turkish youths were appearing occasionally in "jihad networks" made up primarily of North Africans, but there now appears to be whole groups of youths susceptible to radical Islam.
"Frustration over the position of Muslims in the Netherlands and anger over the events in conflict regions give food to the feeling that 'something' must be done," the NCTb said in its quarterly report on the terrorism threat in the Netherlands....
Posted by Robert
Monday, October 16, 2006
NATO’S Secret Armies
By Daniele Ganser
Frank Cass (2005), 315 pp.
Reviewed by Ioannis Michaletos
Over the past few years, more and more researchers have delved into the mysterious events that shaped the world during the Cold War era and which have resulted in the most important global political developments. This is the case with Daniele Ganser, who in NATO’S Secret Armies vigorously lays out the evidence relating to NATO’s secret operations, through the establishment of paramilitary forces within its member states.
The book’s structure is such that its 18 chapters cover each country, from Great Britain and the United States to Norway, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, Belgium and Holland. Essentially, the book retells the recurring story of how clandestine military groups, often comprised of right-wing belligerents, including former Nazis and other Fascists, were recruited to form a line of defense in case of Soviet attack, while also to keep potential subversives and Communist sympathizers under the thumb of the NATO security apparatus.
Perhaps the most interesting focus of NATO’S Secret Armies for our readers is how it unveils hidden dimensions of modern Turkey’s history, issues that still haunt the country and have shaped its collective political identity.
Before discussing the Turkish contribution to NATO’s “secret armies,” the Grey Wolves, one has to first devote some attention to the creator of the organization, Arpaslan Turkes. A colonel who played a decisive role in promoting the Contra-guerilla forces in Turkey, Turkes came into contact with the CIA back in the early 1950’s. The main objective of their cooperation was to manage the creation of a paramilitary force that would operate inside Turkey in case of a Soviet attack. This force would be equipped with the necessary arms and capabilities to initiate a full-scale guerilla war against the Soviet army, if necessary.
The original plan as devised by NATO and the USA promoted the use of special forces, which would become expert in guerilla techniques. Similar “black armies” were also witnessed in Italy’s Gladio affair, and in Greece. Those forces gained tremendous unofficial power and were constantly operated as a state within a state in relation to numerous criminal activities such as provocation and terrorism.
In Turkey, the first secret army was called Seferberlik Taktik Kurulu (STK). Its headquarters was situated in the same building where the American military mission to Ankara resided. It is interesting to note that NATO’S Secret Armies is very thorough in its reference of sources, names and locations, leaving no room for any accusations that there is any case of fabrication or misplacement of events. A rough summary of those recounted follows.
In 1959 an agreement between the CIA and the Turkish government placed the Turkish contra-guerrillas as the forefront against internal enemies of the Turkish state. These mostly included members of the political left. However, the original remit of the special team was soon forgotten, and personal ambitions, leading to meddling within the political system; soon appeared. In 1960 a coup d’etat by 38 officers – including Turkes – resulted in the imprisonment of the then-Prime Minister Menderes, and subsequently his condemnation to death, along with other leading political figures.
The Menderes government was considered very liberal at that time and the Turkish secret army, fearful of losing its newly established power, abruptly challenged and defeated the existing political order. In 1965, Turkes established the “party of nationalist action,” Millietsi Hareket Partisi, which operated as a quasi-fascistic party. It was armed with a paramilitary force called the Grey Wolves (Bozkurt). When he died in 1997, Turkes was remembered tearfully by the former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, whose vast and ill-begotten wealth ironically has its basis in the social and political upheaval he caused.
The ranks of the contra-guerrillas would soon be swelled by the more hot-blooded representatives of the Grey Wolves, as a civil component in the then-fully military secret army. Their role included domestic counterintelligence and support in case of provocative actions within Turkey. In parallel, other factors of the Turkish state such as the intelligence service (MIT) cooperated closely with the contra-guerrillas, so closely that in fact there was often little to distinguish between their respective operations.
In NATO’S Secret Armies, Ganser moreover reveals the deep connections between the political violence that swept Turkey in the 1970’s and the provocative role of the contra-guerrillas in this unrest. It is assumed that around 5,000 murders were committed by this infamous secret organization, including the 1st of May massacre in Istanbul in 1977, when 38 people were killed in the center of the city by unknown snipers. The author also reveals the inability of the Turkish political class to deal with the issue because of extreme military pressure and the chronic inability of the government and the members of Parliament to exercise control over the state security structure.
In 1980, the time of yet another Turkish coup d’etat, there were around 200,000 members of the Grey Wolves in Turkey, as well as 1,000,000 sympathizers, all playing a pivotal role in establishing military rule in the country. Even though a lot of military leaders were skeptical of their relations with international terrorism, it was too late for an effective action to take place. That period also coincided with the beginning of the Kurdish PKK guerilla war in 1984, a conflict which ironically gave plentiful of opportunities for the paramilitary force – never having been required for its original, anti-Soviet purposes – to excel on its natural turf.
At the same time, this conflict also presented the opportunity for the expansion of heroin smuggling, an age-old practice in the tri-national borders between Turkey, Iraq and Iran. This to some extent complicated relations between Turkey and the West, since the bulk of the narcotics were exported into Europe via numerous channels, all more or less controlled by the Turkish secret services.
That said, it is worthwhile to mention the complexity of the contra-guerrillas’ activity within the international criminal network that in essence was connected with international terrorism. A network of gigantic proportions was created based around contra-guerrilla activities, which resulted in a plethora of criminal activities around the world.
The 1990’s, and the crumbling of the Soviet bloc, meant a sort of apocalypse for NATO’s secret armies. European paramilitary forces quickly disbanded along with the Soviet threat. In Turkey, however, as Ganser explains, this was not the case. It would take the infamous “Sousourlouk” incident for Turkey to reveal the widespread network that encompassed organized crime, terrorists and the paramilitary force that had outlived its ostensible purpose. Nevertheless, the hypothesis that the contra-guerrillas’ simply continued to operate under new branding is plausible.
On the whole, NATO’S Secret Armies can be considered a milestone in the history of “black operations” in post-war Europe, and especially in light of its focus on Turkey. The wealth of resources and references that are annotated in the pages of this engaging book will persuade even the most critical of researchers to spend substantial time in retrieving these little-known facts and figures that have shaped vital parts of our modern history. Most importantly, in the big picture, is that NATO’S Secret Armies reveals a world where ideology and national interest are used in order to cover up something much more important in our civilized society – profit, whether legal or illegal.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
"In February 2006 I published in the magazine "Park Avenue" a long report on the interaction of phone shops and terror cells in Germany. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation had always responded to my inquiries that there was no such connection while the evidence was on hand at German security authorities. (...) It needed the suitcase bombings, fortunately prevented by chance, until the Federal Criminal Police Office was aware of the cooperation of "call-shops" and terror cells. Today we know that the Lebanese terrorists built their net via the "call-shop" scene in Hamburg and Kiel. In Madrid and London the security authorities had got to such findings as well - only after the attacks."
Read the entire story.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Concentration camps were set up for Serbs, Jews, and Roma in German-occupied Serbia. Belgrade Jews were forced into labor and thousands Serbs and Jews were shot. (includes video)
Just a few months ago Montenegro became a 5th state to become independent from the ex-Yugoslavia. A small sized country in the edge of the Balkans with a population of 680,000 and with sizable minorities of Bosniak Muslims and Albanians is already a candidate member of the European Union, should the opportunity arise and Europe decides to accept the whole of the Balkans in its club.
Since 1991 European Union played a decisive role, through its inability mainly, to stop the disintegration process of former Yugoslavia that resulted in vicious wars and the creation of three nation states, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia, as well as, three multinational ones: Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and Montenegro. With the negotiations on the future of Kosovo still on the table one wonders when the process of “Balkanization” will stop and if there is a room for the creation of truly stable and robust peripheral states.
The current state of affairs as widely distributed in the media is that the nationalities in the Balkans cannot live together and therefore the EU has done its best in order to support the creation of multiple mini-states that are ethnically homogeneous and will supposedly create a stable and peaceful environment. The hypothesis here is that diverse nationalities in the Balkans should territorially disintegrate in order to live again together in much smaller and less viable states. That of course is paradox number one.
As part of the globalization process, the 1990s have seen an unprecedented merger of diverse nation states into a unified Europe, but as far the Balkans is concerned the EU promoted a direct opposite: Europe sought to divide the Balkans in order to unify them, should they ever become part of the wider European family. This of course is paradox number 2.
Creation of these mini-states has created a plethora of ethnic grievances and security problems that cannot be dealt with in the coming decades with simple “Bon gestures” or diplomatic roundtables. Ethnic Albanians are aggrieved because the territorial breakdown did not unify their ethnic kin scattered in Kosovo, FRY Macedonia and Montenegro. Moreover, Bosnia-Herzegovina, composed by three different religious and ethnic identifications, is widely assumed that explosive issues such as the threat of Islamic extremism will penetrate a wider social fabric of its Muslim society and create major security problems in the near future for the entire region.
Lastly, EU is still ignoring a humanitarian catastrophe that is occurring in Kosovo, a province where an almost total ethnic cleansing of the Serbian population has been committed despite the 40,000 KFOR personnel that are in charge there.
European Union has already promised to all the Balkan states that they will eventually become EU members, even though Europe feels already fully occupied with its “Deepening process” and seeks to stop the expansion. The arguments against the acceptance of Turkey and the last’s year disapproval of the Euro-Constitution do not leave much space for an acceptance of multicultural and deeply divided Balkan microstates. That would be European paradox number 3.
Europe hasn’t still learned to behave with a unified voice, pretending that all the difficult decisions would always be resolved by the USA. Since the end of the Cold War, America has been the leader in the Balkans and the Europeans dutifully followed without really deciding for anything apart from some bureaucratic approaches and long-standing academia-style analysis.
US appears that it is not longer interested in wasting its resources in the Balkans due to the multiple fronts it has to deal with and which are far more resilient and important for its global aspirations. Washington recently announced that the last of its troops would pull out Bosnia by end of the year. For America, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, North Korea, China and maybe Latin America are the future agenda and a release of its military and political attachments in the Balkan Peninsula would strengthen their efforts in these theaters.
Europe now, apart from it’s already stated, three paradoxes, has acquired the mentality of promising to anyone everything without thinking of potential consequences. In the Eastern Balkans, Bulgaria and Romania are eager to become member states but it seems they will have to be more patient, since Europe seems to forget its original promises. Turkey now seems to be in the deadlocks and its acceptance seems highly unlikely, unless the European leaders would like to perform a political hara-kiri against the public opinion of their nations. The Kosovo negotiations now, reveal the inability of Europe to have a significant impact and have a well constructed future plan. In fact, no realistic plan for Kosovo has been on the negotiation table and that is a clue how Europe would act in a possible Kosovo independence that might trigger a break up of Bosnia along the ethnic lines.
The Balkans has traditionally been the most rugged political area of Europe in modern times and it takes immense skills and negotiation mastership in order for everyone to become associated in a productive way. Europe nowadays faces the Balkans without a plan or a positive inspiration. Veil threat to detach Kosovo from Serbia is an example of that negative EU approach to the region. In comparison with the principled approach of the leaders of Russia and China, or the grand vision of those in Washington, the European political elite has been in the visionless doldrums for quite some time.
The single most important issue the European foreign policy in the past 15 years has been the Balkans and it failed dramatically… and one should always remember the phrase by a great European leader that “The Balkans is the soft underbelly of Europe”.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ioannis Michaletos is an Associate Analyst in the International Security Research & Intelligence Agency and a South Eastern European Editor in the World Security Network Foundation.Ioannis Michaletos Archive -->
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Moscow, Interfax - Kosovo's Serbian Orthodox Bishop has expressed hope that Russia will play a role in protecting the rights of Serbians in Kosovo and resolving the issue of Kosovo's status. "Now Russia has grown even stronger than ten year ago, and we hope that Russia's voice [in talks on Kosovo] will be heard in New York and Washington," Bishop of the Raska and Prizren Eparchy Artemije Radosavljevic said at a meeting with students at Moscow State Technical University named after Bauman on Wednesday. The bishop noted the need to extend the terms for holding talks on Kosovo's status, saying it is impossible to settle the issue under the existing schedule - thus by the end of the year - and that "we are going to show everybody that in that case any decision would have to be imposed."
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
BRUSSELS Europe appears to be crossing an invisible line regarding its Muslim minorities: More people in the political mainstream are arguing that Islam cannot be reconciled with European values.
“You saw what happened with the pope,” said Patrick Goeman, 43, the owner of Raga, a funky wine bar in central Antwerp, half an hour outside Brussels. “He said Islam is an aggressive religion. And the next day they kill a nun somewhere and make his point.
”Rationality is gone.“
Goeman is hardly an extremist. In fact, he organized a protest last week in which 20 bars and restaurants closed on the night when a far-right party with an anti-Muslim message held a rally nearby. His worry is shared by centrists across Europe disturbed that any criticism of Islam or Muslim immigration provokes threats of violence.
For years, those who raised their voices were mostly on the far right. Now those normally seen as moderates - ordinary people as well as politicians - are asking whether once unquestioned values of tolerance and multiculturalism should have limits.
Jack Straw, the former British foreign secretary and prominent Labour Party politician, seemed to sum up the moment last week when he wrote that he felt uncomfortable addressing women whose faces were covered with a veil. The veil, he wrote, is a ”visible statement of separation and difference.“
When Pope Benedict XVI made a speech last month that included a quotation calling aspects of Islam ”evil and inhuman," Muslims berated him for stigmatizing their culture, while non-Muslims applauded him for bravely speaking a hard truth.
The line between open criticism of another group and bigotry can be a thin one, and many Muslims worry that it is being crossed more and more.
Jay Leno: Florida Congressman Mark Foley has resigned over allegations he sent explicit e-mails to underage boys. What is it with congressmen? If they’re not grabbing your wallet, they’re grabbing your a**. ... Mark Foley’s attorney is now blaming Foley’s behavior on alcohol. But apparently he wasn’t too drunk to send an email. ... People are now wondering what to do with Foley’s seat in congress. How about they start with Lysol? Then some Bactene. After that cover it with plastic. ... This scandal with Foley has finally led to some bipartisan cooperation in Congress. For example, Republican leaders had to meet with Ted Kennedy to find out what’s the best rehab center. ... Mark Foley has now checked into rehab for alcoholism. Oh, shut up. Like that’s the big problem. Who cares if he’s addicted to Jack Daniels? He’s addicted to little Jack and little Daniel. That’s the problem. ... I don’t know how long Foley will be in rehab, but I’m pretty sure they don’t want him home answering the door on Halloween. ... Congress is now already taking measures to reduce incidents between congressmen and pages. For instance, congressmen are no longer allowed to hand-pick their pages from MySpace.com.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Any genuine Islamic reform initiative depends on the success of efforts to deemphasize various Qur'anic passages, as well as some elements of the Sunnah -- and a complete reevaluation of Islamic jurisprudence. Some commentators point to the fact that for centuries -- notably, although not universally, in central Asia, Eastern Europe, and West Africa -- jihad supremacism largely lay dormant and even dropped out of the Muslim consciousness. But simply to point out that that happened is not enough anymore, precisely because jihadists are using chapter and verse of Qur'an and Sunnah to teach their vision of Islam to cultural Muslims. And they are doing so largely through the Internet. Here is one news story about just how that is being done.
From AKI, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Berlin, 10 Oct. (AKI) - German police on Tuesday arrested near the western city of Osnabreuck an Iraqi national suspected of belonging to the al-Qaeda terror network. The 36-year-old man, identified as Ibrahim R. is accused of having over the past two years "spread worldwide over the Internet audio and video messages by the leaders of ... al-Qaida and al-Qaida in Iraq - namely Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — and in doing so of having supported these groups in their terrorist activities and aims," prosecutors said in a statement....
Posted by Robert
Monday, October 09, 2006
After letting grass grow in the streets of the Jihad Watch book page for quite some time, I've finally updated it, thanks to some handy new templates kindly devised by Charles. I've added not only The Truth About Muhammad but also many useful new books by Brigitte Gabriel, Serge Trifkovic, David Selbourne, Bruce Bawer, Melanie Phillips and others. Check that page periodically, as I will be updating it with new resources as they become available.
Here are some comments about The Truth About Muhammad:
"Intrepid Robert Spencer continues his quest to dispel myths, cure ignorance, and open our eyes to hard truths about Islam. Spencer trades platitudes for scholarship; delusions for reality. If we are going to win 'the War on Terror,' we need to know how Muhammad really lived -- and why he endures as the inspiration for global jihad. This book is a threat to 'religion of peace' propaganda that lulls the West into submission. Strike a blow for survival: buy it."-- Michelle Malkin, nationally syndicated columnist and bestselling author of Unhinged, In Defense of Internment, and Invasion
"At a time when, even in the West, the pious narrative of Muhammad has gained a near-hegemonic hold, Robert Spencer offers a rare skeptical biography and interpretation of the prophet of Islam. Relying exclusively on Islamic sources, The Truth About Muhammad argues that, for fourteen hundred years, the 'words and deeds of Muhammad have been moving Muslims to commit acts of violence.'"-- Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and author of Slave Soldiers and Islam
"With boldness and courage, Spencer examines one of the most controversial subjects of our time. His extensive scholarship and clear style, together with his forceful argumentation, explain the complexities of contemporary politics. This fascinating book is essential reading to understand the crucial issues of the twenty-first century."-- Bat Ye'or, author of Islam and Dhimmitude and Eurabia
"One of the chief merits of Spencer's biography of Muhammad is that he relies entirely on the earliest extant Arabic sources, and if the picture that emerges of the Prophet of Islam is far from flattering, Muslims, at least, cannot complain that it is a portrait painted by the enemy or infidels. Unfortunately, much of the subsequent bloody history of Islam can be said to derive from the example set by its founder: his intolerance of non-Muslims, his anti-Jewish sentiments, his attitude to women, all are attested to in the Islamic sources. Thanks to Spencer's biography, we can no longer pretend that Islamic fundamentalism is an aberrant form of Islam. The seeds of violence and intolerance are already there in Seventh Century Arabia, and in the life of Muhammad."-- Ibn Warraq, author of Why I Am Not A Muslim and editor of What the Koran Really Says, The Quest for the Historical Mohammed and Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out
Today being Columbus Day, it is a rather light media day for a book debut. However, I will be on the Neil Boortz Show at 7:30 AM PDT, and will be doing a Blogger's Conference at 9AM PDT, but I don't have details on that.
Much more to come. Watch this space.
Posted by Robert
Sunday, October 08, 2006
A schoolgirl was stoned on Wednesday in playground
For non-observance of Ramadan
According to information given by Michèle Vianès, from the Regards de Femmes organization:
The information that I gave Thursday from our cafe Regards de Femmes is in Le Progres today.
A schoolgirl of Jean Mermoz college in Lyon's eighth arrondissement (postal district) was pelted with stones on Wednesday morning in the playground because she ate a snack. The argument that the incident stemmed from the non-observance of Ramadan is confirmed by the Lyon prosecutor's office, based on initial results from its investigation.
Azzedine Gaci, president of the CRCM (Regional Council for the Muslim Religion) , states that "if the facts are proven, they are unacceptable". He deplores the ignorance of the pupils, who should be taught the Koran at school, and who are unaware that "women who are not feeling well" * are exempted from observing Ramadan.
Posted by Robert dhimmiwatch
Saturday, October 07, 2006
by Doug Bandow
Most people think of Kosovo in the past tense. Democratic critics of the Bush Administration cite Kosovo as a "good war." Allied negotiators refer to Kosovo's final status—independence in some form—as a foregone conclusion.The Western alliance would prefer to forget the Kosovo war, having become responsible for one of the largest episodes of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. The ninth round of U.N.-sponsored talks on Kosovo recently ended with no agreement. Observes Albert Rohan, in charge of the Vienna negotiations: "We're approaching a moment where by talking alone we won't accomplish the goal. We could talk for another ten years and not change anything."Unfortunately, the United States and Europeans guaranteed failure by attempting to predetermine the results. The ethnic Albanians know that the West is desperate to get out. They have no reason to make any concessions beyond formalistic promises to respect the Serb minority, promises which are unlikely to be kept by them or enforced by the allies.The Serbian government has offered everything save independence. After all, which Western government has cheerfully cut itself into pieces? Czechoslovakia begins and ends the list. Belgrade has received no reward for its concessions. Instead, Serbia is supposed to accept prospective membership in the EU as payment for services rendered.Even as the U.S. and Europeans decided on independence, their deteriorating relationship with Russia raises the possibility of resistance by Moscow. China also has indicated disquiet at the forcible dismemberment of Serbia. If either power vetoes an allied UN resolution, the Balkans will become aglobal problem.From the beginning Western officials have lived in a fantasy world. They believed that they could maintain a multi-ethnic territory after the war. It is no surprise, however, that the ethnic Albanians, after using the American-supplied air force to eject the Serbian military, saw no need to retain the Serbian population.To the contrary, the victorious ethnic majority kicked out roughly a quarter million Serbs, Roma, Jews, and non-Albanian Muslims. The few remaining Serbs were regularly attacked. In March 2004 some 4000 Serbs were displaced as rioters destroyed homes, farms, churches, and monasteries.While the Albanian political leadership did not publicly support the attacks, its complicity is likely: the government is led by former guerrilla leaders guilty of war-time atrocities. They also have been implicated in the explosion of organized crime, including sex trafficking.Although Islam was never much of a factor in the past, radical Islam appears to be on the rise, Christian converts have been threatened, and some analysts believe that terrorists have infiltrated the Balkans through Bosnia and Kosovo. "Sex, crime, terrorism, it's all there," one U.S. diplomat recently told me.Despite seven years of Western occupation, Kosovo isn't ready for autonomy, let alone independence. Joseph Grieboski of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy warns:"the present record of rule of law, protection of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and the return/resettlement of internally displaced people by the Provisional Authority of Kosovo—all of which are indispensable for democratic governance—have been gravely unsatisfactory."There's no easy solution. The majority ethnic Albanian community, understandably, does not want to live under Belgrade. Just as understandably, the minority Serbs (and Roma) do want to live under Albanian rule. The Serbs who currently dominate the northern city of Mitrovica, near the rest of Serbia, likely would forcibly resist control by Pristina. None of Kosovo's neighbors, except Albania, desires the UN to forcibly redraw Serbia's borders.Thus, a dramatic international train wreck beckons. The West decides on independence for Kosovo. Serbia refuses to agree, and the pro-Western coalition is replaced by a government dominated by the nationalist/populist Serbian Radical Party. The EU ends any membership hopes for Belgrade. Russia vetoes a UN resolution granting independence.The United States and Europeans move ahead without UN approval. Individual assaults on Kosovo's Serbs increase. Those in Mitrovica refuse to acquiesce to Albanian rule and are forcibly repressed by Pristina. Thousands more refugees flood into Serbia, which prepares to intervene. The West threatens war on behalf of the Albanian majority even as the latter finishes the job of ethnically cleansing Kosovo. Allied officials talk about protecting democracy.Although the worst case might not occur, there is no best case. To reach an acceptable compromise, allied officials need to return to the so-called reality-based community.First, final status negotiations should be negotiations. The ethnic Albanians should understand that intransigence does not guarantee victory.Second, multi-culturalism is not a worthwhile objective. One proposal, disliked by Washington, is to leave Mitrovica with Belgrade while granting Kosovo independence. This may or may not be a good idea, but Western officials pushing to partition Serbia cannot object to it in principle.Third, independence will not magically transform Kosovo into a model of Western civility. To the contrary, independence will reduce allied leverage. If the ethnic Albanian majority tolerates human rights abuses when it has yet to win independence, how likely is it to act differently once it is granted independence?Fourth, conditional independence would be equivalent to full independence. Allied governments will not return should Kosovo violate its commitments.Fifth, it is easy to carve up other people's countries. Serbia has been routinely denounced for opposing proposals to detach Kosovo, rather like blaming a rape victim for resisting her attacker. The Serbs, no less than the ethnic Albanians, are entitled to defend their perceived interests.Sixth, Belgrade should be integrated into Europe even if it refuses to validate the latest iteration of a flawed allied policy. Attempting to blackmail Belgrade will generate long-term hostility and is likely to fail.For some time the received wisdom was that Kosovo would be granted independence, despite Serbia's opposition. However, unease with this prospect is appropriately growing. The impending impasse in the Vienna talks makes it imperative that the West insist upon negotiations that really mean negotiations, rather than unconditional surrender by Belgrade.
Doug Bandow is a member of the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy and the author of the forthcoming Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (Xulon Press). A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is a member of the Advisory Board of the American Council for Kosovo.