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The Haradinaj case: Convenient deaths

by talos Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 09:17:33 PM EST

So a few days ago Kosovo's former prime-minister Ramush Haradinaj, was called back to the Hague, after surrendering himself to the ICTY in 2005 (where he was indicted for crimes against Serbs, Roma and Albanians in Kosovo), and then being released and allowed to resume political activities in Kosovo.

As chance would have it, a key witness for the prosecution was killed yesterday in Podgorica, in what could be  murder or a stroke of exceptionally good luck for the indicted Kosovar Albanian politician...


A fascinating recent article about Kosovo in Der Spiegel, notes about Haradinaj:

A report by the UN police force in Kosovo has linked Haradinaj to the cocaine trade. And according to a 2005 analysis by Germany's foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Haradinaj and his associates play a key role in "a broad spectrum of criminal, political and military activities that significantly affect the security situation throughout Kosovo. The group, which counts about 100 members, is involved in drug and weapons smuggling, as well as illegal trading in dutiable items."

If the BND analysis is correct, Haradinaj has apparently made himself a major player in one of Kosovo's key industries. According to experts, the €700 million budget of this province, 90 percent of which is populated by ethnic Albanians, pales in comparison to the revenues earned in the drug trade in Kosovo.

The article presents a radically different picture of the forces working inside Kosovo than one would naively expect. Take for instance:

While the UN continues to wrestle over Kosovan independence, radical forces in and around Deèani are already a few steps ahead. "We are all Albanians. Enver Hoxha was our president," protestors chanted last year at a demonstration in front of the city hall to commemorate the former Stalinist Albanian dictator's 98th birthday. Then they dispatched a congratulatory telegram to Hoxha's widow in Tirana.

Do such events reflect confused dreams of a Greater Albania or are they a coolly calculated provocation? Everyone in Deèani -- including the international administrators -- knows that the Hoxha commemorative ceremony was organized by the same KLA veteran leaders who routinely stage protest marches whenever one of the Haradinajs is in trouble or someone wants to intimidate the orthodox monks in the monastery on the outskirts of Deèani.

I'm not sure if it matters any more but I think this much is clear: the Haradinaj case is a litmus test for the impartiality of the Hague tribunal - at least as far as any credibility it might still have among Serbs.  The feeling is (and its not exactly a feeling that is unsupported by numbers), that the Hague indicts and convicts disproportionately fewer non-Serbs than the death tolls would indicate as "fair". That such a high profile case against a person who is (after all) the head of a clan of gangsters - his brother is in semi-hiding after his release from jail (for manslaughter) because of a Vendetta with a rival clan, might not lead to a conviction will make Serbs if anything more un-cooperative. Yet if he is convicted, the Albanian majority might well turn against the UNMIK forces, and proceed to declare full independence unilaterally... Going well beyond the Ahtisaari plan's provisions (which were anyway turned down by Serbia - but also rejected - if I understand correctly by a majority ofKosovar albanians)...

Display:
Thank you!!! Thank you for putting it so clearly!
This is just one of European short term solutions that will erupt some time in a future.
These are "nations" that USA is in a business of making.
Unfortunately after all of this USA "construction" collapse it will be Serbs to die to put it back to conditions favorable to EU.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 07:51:07 PM EST
Anybody out there?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 19th, 2007 at 02:15:16 AM EST
I thought so...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 19th, 2007 at 08:37:17 AM EST
I'm here vbo... but since it was a holiday over here, I removed myself from the computer screen, to indulge in simpler pleasures...!

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 19th, 2007 at 06:55:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for being here. Looks like our European friends don't want to hear bad news about what they have already decided in their minds to be a "good thing" (independence of Kosovo).
Yah... it's so convenient to ignore reality...I wish I could!


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Feb 20th, 2007 at 04:56:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it might just be that they just don't have anything to add at the moment. I have the distinct impression that a large part of the contributors over here at ET, are quite skeptical about both the way we were led to Kosovo's independence and the dangers of independence.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Feb 20th, 2007 at 05:43:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who wants a full blown Mafia state?
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 02:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for an eye opener, talos.  I cannot discuss it because I know so little about eastern Europe, I have no clue how the current situation can be solved.

vbo, I read your comments constantly, even if I cannot address them.

I hope you add more enlightening diaries because ET is really middle-east and western-Europe centered.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Feb 20th, 2007 at 02:42:49 PM EST
Thank you for reading it!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 09:30:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ROME -- Anything short of independence for Kosovo will set off "a new Balkan war," a senior Priština negotiator says.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=20&nav_category=92&a mp;nav_id=39736

vbo:
Now who is violent and threat to peace, rigid and you name it? It's their way or else!
Serbia does not want war...just law to be implemented. If they want war they'll have to fight NATO this time!


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 08:45:56 AM EST
PRIŠTINA -- Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) says it blew up three UN vehicles in Priština last night.
 

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=20&nav_category=91&a mp;nav_id=39720

vbo: Looks like it started...

Kosovo Liberation Army , now a disbanded force that fought against Serb forces during the 1998-1999 conflict, said it had regrouped in order to "avenge the death of two protesters" during a recent demonstration in Priština, adding it would avenge "any future injustice" against its people.

Last night's explosion was one of the most serious attacks on the UN mission in the province since March 2004 riots.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 08:54:15 AM EST
Interesting to see what conservative "New American" used to write in 1999 about KLM etc...

http://thenewamerican.com/tna//1999/05-24-99/vo15no11_kla.htm

As previously reported in these pages (see "Diving into the Kosovo Quagmire" in our March 15th issue), the KLA is allied with Osama bin-Laden's international terrorist network and funded, in large measure, by Albanian organized crime -- particularly heroin trafficking. In 1994, when the insurrectionary KLA was still in its larval stage, France's Observatire Geopolitique Des Drogues, a counter-narcotics bureau attached to the European Commission, reported that "heroin shipment and marketing networks are taking root among ethnic Albanian communities in Albania, Macedonia, and the Kosovo province of Serbia, in order to finance large purchases of weapons destined ... for the brewing war in Kosovo."

Disclaimer: I do not know anything about "New American" except that they say they are conservative... Last time I checked conservatives were in power in USA...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 09:24:10 AM EST
Sorry I meant KLA...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 09:37:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo: The heroin trafficking angle is valid now (as it was then). The OBL angle seems to me (and it seemed at the time) as utter nonsense - except perhaps in a "they know people who know people" kind of way.

The heroin angle is not unheard of, note. Many guerrilla movements around the world "tax" local drug crops to finance their operations. However Kosovo is (with the possible exception of Afghanistan IIRC) the only place where the traffickers and the rebel leaders are so closely connected - frequently the same people.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 10:10:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Kosovo is in a judiciary limbo. No extradition, not international treaties, nothing. It's paradise for the clans and their international partners.

If you except dreamers like Rugova there's no such thing as a civil Kosovo. Nine years on and the kosovars have destroyed the province, thanks also to the disastrous UN presence- a petty corrupt inefficient monarchy. It's a failed province, imagine as a state.

There's no way that territory should become a state, much less remotely deserve it. On what grounds? Turning Arkan's mobster business partners into token infantry under NATO's massive bombing isn't my idea of a liberation movement. Got any other states in mind that should be dismembered by might?

I agree, OBL is unadultered bullshit.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 05:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.voanews.com/serbian/2007-02-21-voa3.cfm

I am finding stuff like this around. It's a Voice of America but unfortunately it's in Serbian only. Now I don't know if it's good for Serbia when it comes from Bolton and I can't translate it properly but basically this is what he thinks:

...
"I don't think that ultimatum and forced solution will be the right way to solve future status of Kosovo in SC of UN"

"Task is that solution should be acceptable for both sides ...I think that Serbian government is ready to propose to Albanians high degree of independence and I hope they will come to the agreement. We should not tie ourselves to any formula, it should be negotiations of two nations under ONE democratic governance"

...MAYBE theoretically SC of UN can force new resolution in place of 1244 but I don't think it would be smart move ...Probably Russia or China or both would come with veto power...

...It would be very bad for SC of UN to allow one more situation like that one in Sudan. SC made resolution, Sudan's government did not agree on it and SC is powerless which is not solution anybody wishes for .

...SC should press both sides to keep talking, not to impose any time frame on finding solution and to insist that both sides talk in a spirit of good will and find solution...

...VOA: Some countries believe that independence of Kosovo would be a bad precedent that can have bad implications in Spain, Russia, India and elsewhere...
Bolton:
I think it's a valid call. It's not  capacity of other countries or UN to rip up Serbia or partition it without agreement from Serbian government, because this is NEW DEMOCRATIC SERBIA -  NOT Milosevic's Yugoslavia.
It would be without precedent that UN meddle in a business of one democratic state and impose it's solutions....China and Russia (not necessarily because of Serbia and Kosovo) wouldn't like to see this kind of precedent...
------
vbo: In the end looks like Mr. Bolton is not exactly idiot I thought he may be.
But then someone rightly said "all American ambassadors start talking truth after they leave their office and post".

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 09:25:34 PM EST


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