The latest revelations from European terror "experts"
hardly come as news for us in the Balkans that is, the confluence between
terrorism and organized crime, and the increasingly fluid, almost transient
nature of their organizational structures.
First of all, relays
"'We are seeing a terrorist threat that keeps changing,' Pierre de Bousquet,
the head of France's domestic intelligence service, said in an interview in
Paris. 'Often the groups are not homogenous, but a variety of blends.
"'Hard-core Islamists are mixing with petty criminals. People of different
backgrounds and nationalities are working together. Some are European-born or
have dual nationalities that make it easier for them to travel. The networks
are much less structured than we used to believe. Maybe it's the mosque that
brings them together, maybe it's prison, maybe it's the neighborhood. And that
makes it much more difficult to identify them and uproot them.'"
As usual, what is news to Western Europe has long been known here. Yet a jittery
"international community" has largely ignored it, being eager not to rock the
boat of alleged ethnic "confidence-building" by pointing fingers. However, this
public front does not mean that EU intelligence services have been ignoring
the issue, as we will see later.
Considering the vast amount of material already existing on the Internet regarding
Balkan terrorism, I will only discuss a few unique examples, and provide links
to or brief summaries of things I consider to be common (enough) knowledge.
Nevertheless, for other exclusive info I've written on these topics texts
that can only be found in one place you'll want to see the special message
in the last section of this article.
The CIA Bears Down on the Balkans
News reported on 25 July that in the wake of the London bombings, the powers
that be are looking at the Balkans with renewed interest and specifically,
at the intersection of terrorism and crime here.
According to IPS, new CIA chief Porter Goss visited Sarajevo and Tirana last
month, in the words of British military and defense analyst Paul Beaver, "to
express grave concerns of Washington because of [these governments'] cooperation
with radical Islamic groups." According to Beaver, "a part of the investigation
dealing with the London blasts is aimed at links between radical Islamists in
Bosnia and Kosovo with international terrorist groups" in cahoots with powerful
Albanian mafia clans. A
Bosnian Serb news source added that Goss handed the government a list of
900 names of potential al-Qaeda-linked individuals.
Terror and Criminality
The contention that the former Albanian paramilitary
group that fought Milosevic in Kosovo, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, UCK
in Albanian) was connected with Islamic terrorist organizations has been fiercely
contested. The pro-Albanian lobby denies it vehemently, whereas the pro-Serb
faction upholds the thesis. The
facts, however, lend at least partial support to the latter, for the period
up to and during NATO's 1999 intervention. The argument that the KLA has always
by organized crime is also beyond doubt.
Whether the post-1999 KLA continued to foster ties with foreign fundamentalists
is a more difficult question. After all, with the war concluded victoriously,
what use would the secular enough KLA have for such people?
After NATO, the KLA was officially "decommissioned." A large number of these
former "freedom fighters" were assimilated into the Kosovo Protection Corps
(KPC), the heavy-handed police force that has served side-by-side with the UNMIK
police. But behind it all were the powerful warlords from various clans, the
most famous being Hasim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj, the erstwhile Kosovo "prime
minister" currently facing trial in the Hague. Even perceived peaceniks such
as President Ibrahim Rugova were said to have their own "private armies," or
at least a very substantial security detail.
Still, as in every post-revolutionary situation, not everyone could be satisfied.
Kosovo quickly descended into gangland murders as the numerous factions and
interests staked out their turf. The events of 9/11, and the resulting crackdown
on Islamic fundamentalists across the Balkans, only exacerbated this splintering
process, which has heated up over the past few months.
A Whistleblower Emerges
OSCE Security Officer Thomas Gambill: "the UN didn't want to know" about
Islamic terrorism in Kosovo.
By early 2002, the Albanian militant/criminal
movement had divided into at least three different groups, says Thomas Gambill,
a former OSCE security chief with responsibility for the eastern part of Kosovo.
"You had the hardcore nationalists; the common criminals, and the Islamic fanatics,"
says the burly, silver-haired former Marine, describing the groups he was tasked
A red-blooded American and spirited supporter of the "war on terror," Gambill
worked in Kosovo from October 1999 until a tense departure in spring 2004, not
long after the March riots.
Throughout his tenure, he believed that UNMIK was trying to avoid the escalating
threat of terrorist attacks, the increasing chokehold of the Mafia, and their
connections with Islamic fundamentalists. But when he started to blow the whistle,
Gambill was ignored, then reprimanded. "They just didn't want to hear it," he
says. "For them, I was a headache."
When I met with Tom Gambill last spring in Pristina, just prior to his departure
from the mission, he spoke with frustration of a series of e-mails he had sent
back to a State Department staffer, which apparently had been received with
little interest. Recently, Gambill repeated to me his claims that OSCE superiors
had "warned" him repeatedly regarding his habit of "sending out 'unsolicited'
reports to official sources concerning the Albanian extremists' strategy, activity
of the Islamic extremists, and other bits of information that I had confirmed
concerning criminal activity." While it's difficult to prove, Gambill believes
his whistleblowing had something to do with his OSCE contract not being extended.
Aside from fighting over the loot, the KLA split
was also caused by candid assessments of what path would most satisfy common
interests. But by early 2003, when the so-called Albanian National Army (ANA,
or AKSH in Albanian) started up a high-profile series of bombings, the camps
The nationalists were split between diehard ANA supporters and those less keen
on the "Greater Albania" project. Both sides were fearful of upsetting their
relationship with the United States, and they sought to distance themselves
from the Islamists, whom they correctly regarded as being unhelpful in respect
to winning their ultimate goal of an independent Kosovo. The Islamists, however,
were motivated by religion and supported by foreign governments and their NGOs
chiefly those of Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Iran. Many of these charities
were shut down in the aftermath of 9/11, though others hung on. The goal of
these governments throughout has been to proliferate their own brands of Islam
in Kosovo, under the guise of humanitarian relief and with the tangible result
Both groups had a lot in common with the third, the armed common criminals;
in fact, this bunch was spawned by and predated both (along with those recruits
drawn by money and not ideologies). Now, the overlap is almost total. The powerful
Albanian Mafia has long
had a large share of the European
heroin market and also trades in women, weapons, and stolen antiquities,
among other goods. By necessity, maintaining such an operation in the global
age involves "cooperation" with diverse and far-flung groups. Foreign Islamists
make up merely one.
Contrary to what spirited defenders of the Serbs
argue, it does not seem that Islamic ideology has played the key role in drawing
most Albanians to fight. So why would the Albanians nationalists, criminals,
or otherwise need the Islamists?
For the answer to this question, we must keep in mind three things: global
trafficking routes; sustaining the rule of lawlessness; and unique services
provided by foreign Islamic factions.
One of America's enduring achievements in Afghanistan has been the renaissance
of poppy cultivation there. Britain's Sunday Telegraph revealed
two weeks ago that while Britain has been tasked to lead the eradication
of Afghanistan's drug trade, instead, "after 18 months, the level of opium cultivation
in Afghanistan has reached an all-time high of nearly half a million acres."
The route of heroin trafficking continues strongly from that country through
and Turkey. Indeed, as
a Turkish professor once described the country's huge foreign debt to his
students, "50 billion dollars worth of foreign debt is nothing it is two lorry
loads of heroin."
However, once the drugs cross into the Balkans, there is lawless
Kosovo one of the epicenters of European heroin distribution and processing,
with spillover operations in border areas of neighboring states.
Take Macedonia's Albanian-populated village of Aracinovo, tucked into the hills
of the Skopska Crna Gora mountain range just over the border with Kosovo. A
former Macedonian special policeman involved in the botched raid on Aracinovo
during the 2001 war says that he was amazed but what he saw: "there were heroin
labs, a series of well-constructed tunnels, and better Western medical equipment
than even we have in the State Clinic! To this day, I can't believe what I saw
The battle of Aracinovo descended into farce when NATO evacuated armed Albanian
militants, who clambered aboard the "fun bus" along with foreign mujahedin and
17 American MPRI military advisors. While the U.S. denies this covert involvement,
a Dutch intelligence report
from 2002 affirmed it, claiming that the EU was furious. This
damning 2001 report quotes another soldier involved, who provides details
regarding not only American involvement but that of mujahedin on the Albanian
The second factor is that of lawlessness. Keeping Kosovo outside the rule of
law is key for both the Mafia and the Islamists. As long as it remains a gray
zone with indefinite borders, legislation, and competencies, not to mention
an international administration too timid to exert much authority, organized
crime can flourish. And, in the villages especially, the
vendetta-based rule of the clans trumps any so-called "Western" style of
Third is the issue of services rendered. One example, certainly not the biggest,
is "selling" money old Kuwaiti dinars, stolen after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait
and returned to Yugoslavia by emigrant workers to Arabs. As one Arab with
long experience of Kosovo told me, "to try and sell that kind of money directly,
you need to have connections with high bank officials or others in the Arab
otherwise they will be very suspicious and ask where it came from."
The Reality Macedonia report above claims this practice occurred on a large
scale, and even involved Western banks, as far back as 1997. After 9/11, it's
getting harder to pull off. Yet to this day, Albanians (and other former Yugoslavs)
are still trying to trade in their old Kuwaiti assets and this is where the
foreign Islamists come in. So far they have met with mixed results, as establishing
a level of trust (not to mention a favorable exchange rate) has proven difficult.
Nevertheless, the UN police have made at least one arrest, of a Syrian, in conjunction
with this trade.
Nevertheless, UNMIK, KFOR, and other international
security organizations have fallen short repeatedly in their quest to stifle
extremism in Kosovo. In some cases, they have shut down charities that were
probably benign; in other cases, they have neglected potentially dangerous ones,
despite the objections of security officers such as Tom Gambill, who lists some
A failure to cultivate good ties with Serbian intelligence has also been a
problem. Usually Serbian warnings of Islamic terrorist activities are met with
suspicion by a cynical West. However, they incontestably have the experience,
the knowledge, and the intelligence to make a contribution to the fight against
terror if the West really is sincere about that particular campaign.
A second major restriction on good policing efforts in the province is the
poor quality and limited mandates of security personnel in Kosovo. Most U.S.
personnel in the UNMIK police come on six-month to one-year contracts, hired
through domestic security contractors, with the previous experience of being
small-town, doughnut-shop cops. There are few Jean-Claude Van Dammes to be found
amongst the UNMIK ranks. And, given the high turnover rate since 1999 (very
few officials from that time still remain), there is also little chance
for continuity or coordination of information-gathering, either in terms of
technique or of content.
Says Gambill, "they [the UN] didn't really understood what was going on and
they didn't want to know. There was no continuity of mission, or pass-on intel."
According to him, despite repeated efforts to educate the American authorities
about the presence of al-Qaeda-related groups and their connections with organized
crime, "they weren't interested." However, before returning to America, where
he has established a trucking firm, Gambill made sure to take his four-gigabyte
collection of police reports, photos, and other incriminating evidence about
the presence of Islamic terrorist factions in Kosovo. He is looking for a publisher
for the book he is writing about his experiences there.
A third restriction is a quite obvious one, and it in part explains the timidity
of most UN officials in Kosovo: that is, securing their own lives. All internationals
in Kosovo are sitting ducks; they live in the apartments, frequent the restaurants,
stay in the hotels, and shop in the stores owned by locals. At any given moment,
any of them, from the lowliest secretary to the highest UN representative, can
be killed. So where's the incentive for these officials, waiting out their lavishly
overpaid term before heading for yet another peacekeeping mission somewhere
else, to take on the Albanian Mafia or the Islamic fundamentalists?
In one of those bizarre cases of blowback-in-waiting, celebrated illegal alien/KLA
weapons smuggler Florin
Krasniqi recently vowed from New York that if the UN does not vacate Kosovo
and give it independence, "we will throw the United Nations out
we have a
team of snipers here in the U.S. ready to be dispatched on very short notice."
Note that this is the same man who donates heavily to the Democrats and
who said, "with money, you can do amazing things in this country. ... Senators
and congressmen are looking for donations, and if you raise the money they need
for their campaigns, they pay you back."
Euro Interest Revealed; New Tensions in Macedonia and Beyond
Despite the seeming novelty of the latest Euro
disclosures cited above by the IHT, the possibility of the conjunction of Islamic
terrorism, organized crime, and other less-than-religious ruffians throughout
Europe part of an evolving global phenomenon has long been accepted by European
experts, though they've been somewhat reticent about discussing this in terms
of the Balkans, where it's still politically correct to laud the Muslims of
Bosnia through kitschy
commemorations, and thus get off the hook of having to be overly nice to
Muslims back home. This we can see clearly enough; the real question that emerges,
however, is whether or not European and American interests harmonize in this
With mosques now attracting
an increasingly younger crowd, the outcome of the present power struggle between
traditionalists and Wahhabists will be crucial for the future of Islam in Macedonia.
Back in December 2004, we heard detailed comments
from Claude Moniquet, a counterterrorism expert with the European Strategic
Intelligence and Security Center in Brussels. At that time, he disclosed that
"between 10 and 100 [presumably foreign] people who are dangerous and linked
to terrorist organizations currently reside in Macedonia." When asked about
the "financial link between local criminal gangs and al-Qaeda," Moniquet responded:
"Yes, absolutely. It's something that we can observe in the last 2-3 years
everywhere in the world. The link between jihadis, the Islamist terrorists,
and the petty crime, even organized crime is quite important. The terrorists
use some criminal organizations to get false papers, arms, ammunition, and explosives.
They used them to travel, to infiltrate people in some countries."
According to Moniquet, this phenomenon occurs in Macedonia. He mentioned the
of Kondovo, the Albanian village near the border with Kosovo that was taken
over by militants last winter. The purported local leader, Agim Krasniqi, threatened
to bombard Skopje. Recently Krasniqi renewed these threats, though since he
is all of 25 years-old, this is probably just politically-motivated sleigh-of-hand
masterminded by the opposition DPA party.
Nevertheless, Kondovo has a huge,
foreign-funded madrassa that caters to local and foreign Islamic students.
According to Moniquet, "they have enormous financial means provided by the Saudis"
and should be watched closely because "this kind of school is always which attracts
the people with problems, and people who think they can change the society,
even through violence" in other words, secular criminals and militants whose
malleable minds can be guided towards other ends.
Indeed, one worrying sign in Macedonia is that foreign-supported
Islamic fundamentalism has for the first time entered strongly into the
religious debate within the country's Islamic community something unthinkable
only a few years ago. Skopje
daily Vreme, which recently reported on this struggle, discussed
it as part of a larger plan of the Wahhabists to unify "the Islamic religious
communities of Macedonia, Kosovo, Sandzak [in Serbia], and Montenegro under
the umbrella of the Sarajevo-based B-H Islamic Community, as they used to function
before the SFRY's [Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia] disintegration."
This recent statement just confirms what I reported over a year ago about foreign
extremists on Skopje's streets, exhorting Albanians to jihad
through promotional videotapes. In going into details and naming another
extremist imam, the Vreme piece also confirms what
I disclosed back in October 2003 about the Sandjak border region of Serbia
"[W]e may see a paradigm shift in how this part of the Balkans is perceived,
away from the east-west axis and towards a north-south one that would provide
the missing link between Islamic activity in Bosnia and Kosovo- the two places
now of most concern to Western governments. If the Sandzak suspicions turn out
to be justified, the Western view on Montenegrin independence may shift, because
any weakening of security services from Belgrade can only expedite the potential
for Islamic terrorism from Bosnia and Kosovo- through a severed Sandzak. That
is something for the Western policymakers to think about."
Unfortunately, it looks like they have: the ICG, in its role of imperial first
infantry, released a little-publicized report a few months ago entitled, "Serbia's
Sandzak: Still Forgotten."
Considering the ICG's Midas touch for stirring up conflict, this new interest
means that another international showdown can't be too far away. But while the
arrogant international power-brokers always think they know best, continuing
this course of chopping up Serbia will only make things worse for the EU, as
a direct and undisturbed corridor for criminals and terrorists is established
from Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo straight through to Bosnia, and from there
into the West.
A Macedonian Smoking Gun, and (Alleged) Euro-Disinterest
Still, most admissions of Euro-investigative interest
in Islamic terrorism in the Balkans perhaps with the exception of Bosnia
go unreported. Or, as the experience of Tom Gambill shows, important trends
are sometimes hushed up so that the boat is not rocked unduly. So we have
to seek them out.
This led me earlier this summer to an interesting exchange (a rather one-sided
one, as it turned out) with the watered-down EU peacekeeping mission in Macedonia.
The successor to NATO's peacekeeping mission, the EU's PROXIMA
police force describes itself as being dedicated to police training, confidence-building,
and other "I'm okay, you're okay" activities of this sort.
However, all things considered, one might also assume that such a presence
could serve as an attractive cover for intelligence-gathering efforts. When
I mentioned to a PROXIMA spokesperson that I would like to ask some questions
about PROXIMA investigations of organized crime and terrorism in Macedonia,
I was told that these were "sensitive" areas, but that my questions would be
redirected to someone who might be able to help in other words, that these
kind of investigations were being performed, but maybe they were not at liberty
to discuss some of them. However, after sending my questions, I received the
following Bizarro World e-mail reply:
"[I] am sorry to inform you that due to our mandate that covers no activities
in the field of such kind of intelligence gathering, for whomever, PROXIMA is
not able to answer your questions."
Now this would all be well and good, had I not already had private discussions
with PROXIMA officers who apparently hadn't been sufficiently briefed on the
limits of their mandate. In fact, one officer who spoke with me a few months
ago, on condition of anonymity, mentioned a detailed investigation that corroborated
Moniquet's general assertions. Further, his testimony specifically confirmed
information I had received independently from a Serbian source in April 2004;
that is, of the presence of a foreign Islamist "sleeper cell" in the wilds of
According to the PROXIMA officer, the cell contained approximately 100 foreigners
(Arabs, Pakistanis, etc.) and was taking refuge in forested areas west of the
Macedonian Muslim villages of Oktisi and Labunista, for a unique reason: "since
the latter are Muslims, the [Orthodox] Macedonians don't want them; and since
they are Macedonian, the [Muslim] Albanians don't want them either. Thus they
accept the support of foreigners."
This area, located near the Jablanica mountain range that forms the border
with Albania, was also pointed out to me by the informed Kosovo Serbian source
as a staging post for Islamists operating on both sides of the border. According
to him, the small group had some relation to the
Abu Bekir Sidik Brigade, an Islamic terrorist group with a long history,
based throughout key Muslim Balkan cities but chiefly in South Mitrovica, Kosovo.
This city was mentioned specifically in the recent Vreme report mentioned
above as being the headquarters of a suspicious pro-Wahhabi charity, Kosovo
Islamic Relief, "run by a certain Ekrem Avdiu." While the newspaper failed to
make the connection, this Kosovo Albanian has long been identified with Abu
Bekir Sidik, and was once even arrested by Serb authorities when coming across
the Albanian border with jihad paraphernalia.
According to the Serbian source, the Macedonia-Albania border cell was "laying
low, because the area was quiet and allowed them to regroup before transiting
through Albania to Bosnia and, eventually, the West, which is the real target."
That the West is the target and the Balkans merely a "springboard" was reiterated
by analyst Zoran Dragisic in the IPS article cited above. The Athens Olympics,
then only a few months away, was another possible target, said the Serb.
However, the Olympics came and went without incident, perhaps because Greeks
tend to be friendly to the Palestinian cause and also because they rejected
the Iraq war. The group, or parts of it, remained, however, and the former PROXIMA
officer turned in the results of a year-long investigation including photos
and copies of passports to his home intelligence agencies as 2005 dawned.
So the EU police force in Macedonia obviously does not engage in intelligence
activities; and experts such as Moniquet are obviously pulling info out
of their asses.
A few months after the March 2004 anti-Serb
pogroms in Kosovo, I learned of a heated argument within the Macedonian
intelligence services, which were debating whether to try and "infiltrate" the
Jablanica cell by inserting a presumed "friendly" Muslim into their midst. However,
the plan was presumed "too dangerous" and was shelved. As one military intelligence
officer reminded me:
"Because of the Ohrid Agreement, but even we had this problem before, the
order to hire more Albanians has compromised our service.
I might find important
information, but if I pass it up the chain of command, my superior, or my superior's
superior, might be an Albanian, and he can easily ruin the investigation
I'm sure they feel the same way about us [Macedonians], because they of course
have their own interests to protect.
"The point is that while some of us are trying and I do have some good
and honest Albanian colleagues the service as a whole is being compromised.
When NATO and the U.S. ask us to cooperate, we do our best, but if you can't
even trust your own colleagues, what can we do?"
Given this poisonous atmosphere, it's no surprise that the sensitive counterterrorism
operation was canceled. To my knowledge, it never even reached ministerial level,
and it was not considered again.
Macedonia's Ambiguous War on Terror
However, there were apparently two other counterterrorism
operations that did go down in Macedonia, and which now seem as impenetrable
and opaque as the blankets of fog that grip Skopje in winter.
The most famous was the police shooting
of seven alleged Islamic terrorists in March 2002. However, critics and
the opposition immediately claimed that the men were really hapless migrant
workers killed on the orders of then-Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski in an
effort to win American favor. The case culminated with
an official accusation by the government against the former interior minister,
who had sought refuge in Croatia, where he also holds citizenship.
came when Carla Del Ponte, who already wanted Boskovski for alleged war crimes
committed during the 2001 war, used them to proliferate a sort of "see what
this man is capable of" guilt-by-implication image of Macedonia's former top
cop. While Boskovski was given up to the Hague, several former policemen involved
in the killings were acquitted in May by a Skopje court, which found there was
insufficient evidence to convict them. The opposition praised the judiciary's
freedom from heavy political pressure as a sign of Macedonia's institutional
strength, but the government protested. The West was disappointed too. They
had also hoped that Boskovski would take the fall for the killings.
Can anything break this impasse? Recently, I spoke with one jaundiced ex-journalist
who "gave up," he said, "after seeing how corrupt and evil all of our leaders
were." Despite being no friend of Boskovski or of the former government, what
he claimed about the reason for the Pakistani killings partially exonerates
the former interior minister and, if true, is very unsettling for the American
"war on terror." "Come on!" he said. "It was a setup! The Americans brought
in [the Pakistanis], who were probably not terrorists, and put them in the field.
Then they tipped off the police. It was a trap, and Boskovski walked right into
This highly unusual explanation cannot be independently confirmed; the ex-journalist
attributed it to police sources. Nevertheless, if true, it would indicate a
political motive: the U.S. wanted to bring down the government, as they would
help to do only a few months
later in the September 2002 elections. Whether or not they were really the
product of malicious deceit, the suspicious slayings generated a lot of bad
press that helped to further reduce the popularity of Boskovski and his government.
A completely opposite case of the American "war on terror," and just as mysterious
as the first, was the alleged
abduction of Khaled el-Masri from the Macedonian-Serbian border on Dec.
31, 2003. According to el-Masri (who is a German citizen), he was simply coming
via bus from Germany to Skopje when he was removed at the border by police,
held, kidnapped and beaten by intelligence agents, and shipped to an American
prison in Afghanistan where he was interrogated for allegedly being an al-Qaeda
member. After some time there, he alleges, he was dumped somewhere in Albania
and made his way home to Germany.
The German government
was indignant about this case, which even
made it to 60 Minutes in the context of America's rogue "rendering"
facilities worldwide. But when I called a German embassy spokesman about it
a few months ago, he said he could not comment on the case and, when pressed,
bizarrely stated that he could not comment about why he could not comment.
The whole case has been controversial from start to finish, with the U.S. denying
that it ever took place and the testimony of both el-Masri and the Macedonian
police being unverifiable. A policeman who claims he was working the border
checkpoint when el-Masri came through told me that, "I don't know what happened
to him, we just thought he seemed suspicious and turned him over to the DBK
[Macedonian Secret Service], who came right away. After that, I don't know what
happened to him."
However, this policeman also spoke of there having been a second Arab on the
bus, who was allowed to continue. Since el-Masri never mentioned coming with
a friend, it is hard to know what to believe.
Lands of Confusion
The purpose of retelling these two tales is merely
to show how confusing and elliptical the war on terror has become in the Balkans.
The potential disconnect here between the American cooperation with the old
and new Macedonian governments fits a pattern that is established and does not
depend on the verisimilitude of either story; it has long been clear that the
old, Boskovski-era government was perceived as an impediment to stability and
the new, SDSM-DUI government is regarded as the key to securing peace and ethnic
harmony. But if we should expect a fundamentally different relationship with
the two regimes in the economic and diplomatic spheres, why not in the war on
And then there is the still-ambivalent nature of the Islamists' long-term goals
in the region. While the IPS report described the Balkans merely as a "springboard"
for attacks further West, Claude Moniquet
in a November 2004 interview attested that in Bosnia, "the al-Qaeda network
is active, but the authorities in Sarajevo are lulled into a false sense of
security by thinking that the aim of the terrorists is not Bosnia-Herzegovina
itself. This is precisely their long-term goal."
These complex issues leave a general feeling of uneasiness when it comes to
America's policy on and awareness of Balkan terrorism. Regardless of Porter
Goss' visit to the region, the long legacy of America's Balkan policies from
helping import the jihadis in Bosnia and Albania in the 1990's, to tolerating
the mujahedin in the NLA ranks in 2001, to the Boskovski affair in 2002 and
now the el-Masri case show a worryingly fluid approach that seems to contrast
with the Europeans' more resolute and non-contradictory approach to countering
terrorism in the Balkans which is, after all, their own backyard. Further,
recent interview with Claude Moniquet makes clear, the European strategy
of promoting cultural acceptance and assimilation of Muslims contrasts sharply
with the American fondness for maximum firepower
However, as Moniquet laments, one impediment to an EU crackdown on terror is
that "we have problems harmonizing anti-terrorist laws in Europe and finding
a common way to fight terrorism." The lack of any single blanket institution
comparable to the American Department of Homeland Security also slows information-sharing.
And so in the end, one can't blame all the intelligence failures and radical
disconnects on American naivetι and their own unqualified staff. Even though
they share a single currency, European states still watch protectively over
their own intelligence services first. In this respect, the Balkans in 2005,
and particularly UN-controlled Kosovo, remain a tower of Babel, a refuge for
competing national and individual interests, a realm of unshared or ignored
In such an environment, it's not hard to understand how terrorists and criminals
have the upper hand and why patriots like Tom Gambill feel so frustrated.
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this is the most economically feasible way in which to make some revenue from
the archive and so be able to continue providing a generally free service at
the same time.
To find our page there, go to the CEEOL Web
site, click on "periodicals" on the left-hand side, and then select "Macedonia"
from the drop-down country box that will appear. Then select "Balkanalysis"
and browse the archives by year and month.