|Politik: UN kürzen Etat für Friedensmissionen um 600 Millionen Dollar|
Afrika, Naher Osten, Haiti, Kosovo: Die weltweiten Blauhelm-Einsätze sollen Frieden sichern und in Krisen stabilisieren. Doch die USA setzen den Rotstift an. Nach Druck aus Washington wird das Budget zum Peacekeeping bei den UN gekürzt. Die Folgen sind kaum absehbar.
|Vesti online: Može li Srbija da brani Kosovo ako ga izbaci iz Ustava?||- Ako Preambula nije pravni i obavezujući deo Ustava, pa zašto toliko štrči i politički smeta - pita profesor Političkog sistema sa Fakulteta političkih nauka Milan Jovanović. Mogu da zaključim, dodaje Jovanović za "Sputnjik", da bi menjanje Preambule u smislu da se Kosovo odatle izbaci bila [...]|
|Schweiz anerkennt Kosovo-Pässe||Kosovarische Pässe werden in der Schweiz per sofort anerkannt. Das Bundesamt für Migration (BFM) hat die seit Ende Juli ausgegebenen Dokumente geprüft und keinen Widerspruch mit den von der Schweiz verlangten Anforderungen festgestellt.
|Comment on We Still Celebrate Independence Day at Church (by Dean Stewart) by Jim Perry||Hey Dave Miller Todd Benkert Brent Hobbs, this started as a comment on the post about patriotic services, but grew so long in the telling that it seemed less appropriate as such. Would it pass muster as a regular piece on the blog as the other side of the argument?
I was a worship leader on staff at a church the last two years. I have seen two 4th's of July come and go, and I never did even one patriotic song. Pastor mentioned it and maybe preached on how to live as Christians in this country, but we didn't do patriotic stuff, and in fact, I never heard a complaint for not doing it. And we're in the middle of Indiana, which is hardly any less patriotic than anyone else.
I have said in the past, perhaps glibly, "I'm here to worship God, not America." That's how I see it, personally. But there is so much to deal with on this issue, and it really is a matter of the conscience, certainly not a salvation issue, or perhaps not even a right or wrong issue, though I suppose we only come to positions we believe are right and correct. I don't hate anyone who thinks differently, and I don't get angry over it. But here, perhaps, is a suitable explanation of my perspective.
The first principle is that it is incumbent upon those of us in leadership to aim for the higher ideal, closer to the heart of God, and lead our people there. With regard to the "meat sacrificed to idols" topic, much is made of the "brother with the weaker conscience," but wherein is the strengthening of that conscience? If it is permissible to eat that meat, but we abstain from doing it in front of the weaker brother, are we not to educate said brother and strengthen him so that he agrees with the Lord, "Why call unclean what I have made unclean?" I don't believe the Apostle was advocating for leaving said brother in his "weaker" state.
We absolutely have to analyze why we think the way we think, in all areas. To find the roots of our sentiments and judge them valid or invalid. First is an appreciation for the undertaking that won us our liberty from Great Britain. I love the Revolutionary War period of history. I will gobble that stuff up. Every 4th of July I make my kids sit down and watch The Patriot, with John Williams' beautiful score (my son's named after the guy), and that overwhelming sense of national pride. This and the founding documents are essential to understanding how and why we became who we are as Americans, and Who through His divine Providence made us free.
Second is our contemporary sentiments regarding this country, which are largely generational. We are nearing the time when the veterans of World War II will no longer be among us. It was the last war that I believe we fought on entirely just grounds (save for the first Gulf War, which really was no war, but a brief armed incursion to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait). Many thousands of people died to liberate the European continent and the Pacific theater from near global tyranny. The industry of war finally brought us out of the Depression (which FDR had unnecessarily perpetuated with his disastrous economic policies). It brought us together as a nation for a common purpose. It made us proud to be Americans. We were the good guys for real. We did something really GOOD, and that was something to celebrate.
The World War II generation may be nearly lost to us, but their children remain. They were raised in a country steeped in this good patriotism. My Grandfather was of the World War II generation, and several of you are Boomers, so we are not so far removed from that time we did something truly good. We know and believe what we are taught, and we naturally gravitate toward the familiar. So it is with no great burden that we dutifully recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we stand for the National Anthem with our hands on our hearts, we vote because we believe we should, and we say our troops our "defending our freedom."
However, I am reminded of a couple things from Eisenhower's farewell address. Who better to draw from than a man who embraced, and served with distinction in, all spheres of his life? The first is this:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
We have been so very fortunate that those at the head of the "military-industrial complex" have not sought misplaced power. Our military brass have respected the chain of command, and I agree that all who have served deserve our honor and respect. The problem is that there has been a "disastrous rise of misplaced power" in our politicians, and all our Presidents since Eisenhower have been looking, in one form or another, for that next great military victory that all Americans can again be unified in celebrating.
Trust me when I say that I am not being glib in asking this question, and it is not a reflection on our troops or their commanders, but rather the bureaucrats who command them. Are they really sent to defend our freedom? Were they defending *our* freedom when they were sent to Vietnam, Grenada, Kosovo, Iraq or Somalia? Our military has been sent into action after questionable action, without Constitutionally appropriate declarations of war from Congress, and then when they are sent in, the execution of the action so often becomes subject to political calculation and partisan whim. We all know too well the sins of Vietnam. I now fear my children desiring to serve in the military, and would counsel them against it. I didn't always feel this way.
The second Eisenhower quote is this:
"As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."
Sadly, the World War II generation gave us a great tragedy along with a great victory. That tragedy was the vast behemoth of FDR's government, which threw out the window every great thing that President Coolidge achieved (or left alone) when he vastly reduced the size, scope and budget of the Federal Government. That World War II generation, and now the Boomers, are beginning to rely on a government program that has itself become insolvent, and may in fact become a "phantom" tomorrow. With the national debt now having increased 800% (!!!!!) since 1980, vastly out-gaining inflation of just over 212%, our government has truly mortgaged the material assets of our grandchildren. By allowing Marxist Socialism into our government and allowing the Federal Government to exceed its Constitutional bounds, we have lost our political heritage.
And who would be culpable in a nation that has lost its spiritual heritage? Perhaps the American Church which has largely worshiped our "Christian" Nation? Examine your own hearts in this regard. How many times to we misappropriate 2 Chronicles 7:14 for America? This is not a promise from the Lord to heal our land, but Israel. And under the New Covenant we are spiritually grafted into Israel, which is a *spiritual* Israel. Psalm 81:13 says, "If only my people would listen to me and Israel would follow my ways."
God is not going to heal America, no matter how much we ask him. He is interested in the hearts of men and women, and he judged harshly the nations whose god was themselves. So when you raise up America in the focal place where God is worshiped, how can he be pleased? This is what bothers me about Awana or RA’s/GA’s (if anyone does that still). We teach kids not only to do the Pledge of Allegiance–which, secularly speaking, is good insofar as we do not seek to undermine the country whose benefits we enjoy–but then a made-up pledge to the Bible, which the Lord doesn’t command we do, and a made-up pledge for a made-up “Christian” flag, which to me, raising a flag for Jesus that Jesus didn’t institute is an abomination. It's an offensive trivialization of the Faith. We lift up the Savior, not a flag.
Yes, we ought to be grateful that God gave us this country to live in, where our ancestors settled to be free to worship as they saw fit. Yes we have been blessed by God, but we have taken that blessing and grown fat and lazy. We have "done evil in the sight of the Lord," and not just "those sinners" who practice abortion and homosexuality, but also "us Christians" who gossip, covet, hate and worship idols.
None of this should be taken as hatred for America, but rather we all ought to cultivate a healthy sense of ambivalence to it. And I mean 'healthy.' We have liberties and we should *use* them, even as many of them are slowly eroded away. We must participate in the electoral process, but always demanding the best of our politicians. We should lobby our government for "redress of grievances" as is appropriate. We should not speak evil of her but speak truthfully about the evils within her, and most especially in our own house. We should recognize the erosion of civility with the increase in partisanship and become less partisan ourselves because Jesus is our King, and His is our Kingdom. With the celebration of our founding comes lament in that we have allowed this country to fall so far from it.
In conclusion, I do not feel patriotic observances are wrong. It is not sinful to honor the people who have served in our military. Have the picnics. Have the fireworks. Sing the songs, honor those who died in service to another, and celebrate the founding of "the last best hope of man on earth." But consider carefully whether it ought to take the place of our singing to the Lord, and singing of him only, and preaching of his Word rather than overlaying it with a flag. To present this as a function of our worship service is wrong, in my view. It is not hope on earth we are trying to secure, but hope in the life to come.|
|Kosovo must be independen by Former Foreign Ministers||Friday, June 15, 2007|
Kosovo is back in the headlines. President George W. Bush says that it should become independent soon. President Vladimir Putin of Russia opposes independence and prefers time for more talks. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has suggested that we move forward, with a six-month delay.
This has a familiar ring to it. Eight years ago, many of us - then foreign ministers - put in place an international process to decide who should govern Kosovo. We believe that the only viable option is for Kosovo to become independent under strict supervision. That is the proposal that is currently before the UN Security Council and is part of the process that the Council, including Russia, agreed upon and has implemented since 1999.
Kosovo is the last substantial territorial issue remaining from the violent collapse of Yugoslavia. In 2005, as called for by decisions of the Security Council, the UN secretary general appointed a special envoy - former President Martti Ahtisaari of Finland - to achieve a political settlement.
After 14 months of negotiations with the leaderships of Serbia and Kosovo, Ahtisaari announced that the irreconcilable positions of the two parties had made consensus unattainable and that no amount of additional talks would overcome the impasse. In lieu of a negotiated agreement by all sides, Ahtisaari proposed that Kosovo receive independence supervised by the international community (primarily the European Union and NATO) and provide strong guarantees for the Serbs who live in Kosovo.
Now is the time to act. Tensions are likely to rise, and they certainly will not cool. Moreover, without a resolution on Kosovo's final status, the future of Serbia and Kosovo will remain uncertain.
Some may say that Russia would prefer this limbo to a situation where Serbia and Kosovo join the European Union and NATO. Serbs and Kosovars should prefer otherwise. They deserve to be in the European Union. And Kosovo cannot develop as things stand. It has been unable to gain access to international financial institutions, fully integrate into the regional economy, or attract the political capital it needs to address its widespread unemployment and poverty.
Russia has complained of not being included in talks. It should participate, but constructively and not just to block it. What may be needed is a formulation that allows Russia to acquiesce without having to break openly with Serbia. Russia can reassure Serbs and emphasize that Kosovo is a unique situation, without precedent for other regions.
The Ahtisaari plan has several advantages. It gives rights to Kosovo's 100,000 Serbs to manage their own affairs within a democratic Kosovo, which will be protected and monitored by the international community. It also requires protection for Orthodox and Serbian cultural and religious sites. Finally, it provides for an international presence that will oversee Kosovo's institutions and monitor the settlement's implementation. It also places Kosovo on the road toward EU integration.
The European Union has agreed to supervise Kosovo during the transition period and deploy a police mission alongside the current NATO peacekeeping force. An indefinite delay caused by continued confusion over Kosovo's status could jeopardize a smooth transition to European oversight.
Kosovo is a unique situation that has required a creative solution. It should not create a precedent for other unresolved conflicts. When the Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 in response to Milosevic's actions in Kosovo, it laid the groundwork for a political process that would ultimately determine Kosovo's future.
We know that all decisions on Kosovo are difficult. Some of us kicked the issue down the road eight years ago. Today, the international community faces the hardest issue of all. But the decision is necessary, and it is the result of eight years of international collaboration.
Serbia must recognize, however, that greater stability in the Balkans promoted by the Ahtisaari plan will allow it to use its location, resources and talent to become a major regional player and a constructive force in European politics. The Serb people deserve a legitimate place in Europe and Serbia could also begin to move towards possible EU membership.
Our goal remains a Europe whole and free, with all the people of the western Balkans participating fully as EU members. The benefits of a concerted EU effort in Kosovo, backed by the UN and NATO, are enormous. As such, Russia and the other UN Security Council members should follow through on the promise that the Council made in 1999 and agree to complete the process of self-governance in Kosovo. This is the best option at this stage of a very difficult history of the whole region. Viable alternatives do not exist.
Madeleine Albright, United States
Lloyd Axworthy, Canada
Jan Eliasson, Sweden
Gareth Evans, Australia
Joschka Fischer, Germany
Bronislaw Geremek, Poland
Niels Helveg Petersen, Denmark
Lydie Polfer, Luxembourg
Jozias van Artsen, Netherlands
Hubert Vedrine, France
|No alternative to Kosovo independence - US diplomat||The U.S., British, German, French and Italian representatives of the Contact Group for Kosovo have voiced support to the Kosovo settlement plan of Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Kosovo Marti Ahtisaari.|
Russia did not take part in the Contact Group meeting in Paris.
There is no alternative to the Ahtisaari plan, said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.
He said the Paris meeting was bound to confirm the European and U.S. support to the Ahtisaari plan. Europe and the United States should also be united in the drafting of a UN Security Council resolution, which will prepare the independence of Kosovo, and convince Russia that this is the only possible way, the diplomat said.
In the words of Burns, Serbia lost Kosovo in 1999, and there is no way back.
``We wholly support the Ahtisaari proposals,'' a representative of the French Foreign Ministry said after the meeting. ``Yet, it is important for us to make this decision at the UN Security Council. It is necessary to ensure international presence in Kosovo, and that must be affirmed by a UN Security Council resolution.''
``We wished to find a solution at the Security Council from the very start, as we think that will meet the interests of the sides,'' the source said.
``We want to maintain close contact with Russia [in that process],'' the official added.
Ahtisaari called for the immediate definition of the Kosovo status at the Italian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission in Rome.
Time is running out, and more intensive efforts should be taken to evaluate all the positions and opinions and present them to the UN Security Council, he said. There is no alternative to the recognized independence of the southern province of Serbia, he said.
At the same time, Ahtisaari said that the position of Kosovo Serbs, who firmly support the irreconcilable Belgrade, complicates the negotiations.
It is possible to reach consent only if Russia agrees not to use the veto right in Kosovo debates at the UN Security Council, the envoy said. The only way out is Russia telling Belgrade that the question is closed and the independence of Kosovo is inevitable, while all the rights of the Serbian minority in Kosovo will be preserved, he said.
Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema reaffirmed support to the Ahtisaari plan on Monday.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin told a press conference following the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm that the Russian attitude to the Kosovo problem is based on international law and earlier decisions of the UN Security Council. The international law affirms the territorial integrity of states, while no one has repealed resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council, which clearly says that Kosovo is an inseparable part of Serbia, Putin said.
``They are trying to persuade us that it is possible to resolve the problem without concord of the conflicting sides, the Serbs,'' he said. ``This is wrong, as this fails to meet moral and legal norms.''
``We should be patient and cooperate with Kosovo Albanians and Serbs. We should stick to international legal principles and abstain from thrusting our will on other countries and peoples or humiliating them,'' Putin said.
|History in Making - President Bush in Albania - Kosovo to BecomeIndependent|
History in Making - President Bush in Albania - Kosovo to Become Independent
Originally uploaded by kosovareport
|Kosovo's prime minister hails Bush's independence remarks||PRISTINA: Kosovo's prime minister hailed comments by U.S. President George W. Bush Sunday that the disputed Serbian province of Kosovo should gain independence.|
A few hours after Bush spoke in neighboring Albania, Agim Ceku appealed to Kosovo's increasingly impatient ethnic Albanians to ensure the province remains peaceful while intensifying efforts for independence.
"President Bush said that Kosovo's people need to be calm," Ceku told reporters. "The only realistic, pragmatic and possible solution is independence for Kosovo and the time for such solution is now."
Bush said the discussions over Kosovo's independence cannot go on indefinitely.
"At some point in time — sooner rather than later — you've got to say 'Enough is enough. Kosovo is independent' and that's the position we've taken," Bush said during a news conference in Tirana.
Kosovo, a province of 2 million of which 90 percent are ethnic Albanians, has been run by the U.N. since mid-1999 when a NATO air war halted a crackdown by Serb forces on independence-seeking ethnic Albanian rebels.
"President Bush confirmed and gave full support to Kosovo's independence, and in one way he declared Kosovo independent," said Ceku.
The future of Kosovo has become another thorny issue in relations between U.S. and Russia.
Russia, an ally of Serbia, contends independence would set a dangerous precedent for the world's other breakaway regions. Serbia also opposes statehood for Kosovo, which it sees as the heart of its historic homeland.
|Why Albania embraces Bush - The Christian Science Monitor||The largely Muslim country, one of Europe's poorest, sees the visit Sunday by President Bush as a reward for its support of the war on terror.|
By Nicole Itano | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Dogged by protest for much of his European tour, President Bush received a warmer welcome Sunday in Albania, a former communist country eager to show that it remains one of America's staunchest allies.
Tirana, the capital, was festooned with giant American flags and the president was greeted by Albanians in red-white-and-blue Uncle Sam top hats. Mr. Bush, the first sitting president to visit Albania, traveled down a boulevard renamed in his honor.
"We have come to give our hearts to America and to President Bush to say that we are with them in the war on terrorism and we appreciate what they have done for Kosovo and for Albanians," says Arjanit Iljazi, a nurse who waited for hours to catch a glimpse of Bush in a central square Sunday morning.
Albanians see this weekend's visit, the second-to-last stop on the president's Eastern European tour, as a reward for their country's staunch pro-American sentiment and its support of US antiterrorism efforts. It's sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, frozen the assets of suspected terrorist-financiers, and taken in eight former Guantánamo Bay detainees whom no other country would take in.
"There is a strong feeling of gratefulness that the Albanian people nourish towards the United States, whether it be their politicians or people," says Ferit Hoxha, secretary general of the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Roots of pro-American sentiment
The roots of Albanian pro-American sentiment, people here say, date to Woodrow Wilson's support of the country's independence after World War I and were cemented during the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo, a majority ethnic Albanian province of Serbia. Albanians also see the US as the strongest advocate for the independence of Kosovo, whose status is due to be reviewed by the UN Security Council this month.
Although Albania's contribution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are numerically small – 120 troops in Mosul, and 30 in Afghanistan with an additional 110 to come soon – they have a symbolic importance for the US. The US sees Albania as a model of moderate Islam and religious tolerance. Officially 70 percent Muslim, the country has a strong secular ethos after nearly a quarter of a century of state-enforced atheism under communism.
"I appreciated the fact that Albania is a model of religious tolerance," Bush said in a press conference with the Albanian prime minister. "And I appreciate the fact that Albania is a trusted friend and a strong ally."
Even in mosques, they love US
Pro-American sentiment is widespread here, even among Albania's Muslim faithful. At the historic Ottoman-era Ethem Bey mosque in central Tirana, the worshipers emerging from midday prayers last week said they welcomed President Bush.
Few of the men were bearded and many of the women's heads were uncovered; during prayers they borrowed scarves from a plastic bag near the entrance.
"We want better relations between the two countries," says the mosque's imam, Shaban Saliaj, who is also the mufti – the highest Sunni Muslim leader – of Tirana and looks very much like the professor of geophysics he once was. "Everyone is grateful for what the Americans did in Kosovo."
Mr. Saliaj does not support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – the Koran forbids killing, he says – but still supports the US.
On the streets, other Albanians expressed mixed opinions about the military campaigns there. But there is little public debate in Albania about their government's support of the wars, and it's difficult to find anyone in Tirana, politician or ordinary person, who has anything bad to say about America.
"I think the sentiment is pro-American rather than pro-Bush," says Endri Fuga, director of communications for Mjaft! Movement, one of Albania's largest activist organizations. For many Albanians who remember communism, he says, America still represents the ideal of freedom and democracy.
Poor country with high hopes
During the communist era, Albania was perhaps the most isolated and underdeveloped country in Europe. The country is still one of the poorest on the continent, but since the end of communism in 1992 it has allied itself closely with America and Western Europe.
The country hopes to gain NATO membership in 2008 and, eventually, to win a place in the European Union.
Bush reiterated the United States' support of Albania's NATO bid and emphasized that he is committed to Kosovo gaining its independence.
Seremb Gjergjaj, who drove more than six hours from Kosovo with friends in hopes of catching a glimpse of the president, says he came to thank Bush for America's support and that Kosovars would be patient.
"We have a saying in Kosovo that good things come slow."
|Bush urges independence for Kosovo||By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago|
TIRANA, Albania - President Bush, getting a hero's welcome as the first American president to visit this Balkan nation, said Sunday that there cannot be endless dialogue about achieving independence for neighboring Kosovo.
"Sooner rather than later you've got to say `Enough's enough. Kosovo's independent,'" Bush said during a news conference with the prime minister of this tiny, impoverished country.
Bush's press for statehood was aimed at Russia and others that object to Kosovo's independence. Standing alongside Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Bush said any extension of talks on Kosovo must have "certain independence" as the goal.
In response to Albania's push for NATO membership, Bush said additional political and military reforms were needed before that could be considered — something the country's leaders said they understood.
"We are determined to take any decision, pass any law and undertake any reform to make Albania appropriate to receive the invitation" to join the western military alliance, Berisha said.
When Bush arrived to begin his brief visit, the hills overlooking the capital boomed as military cannons fired a 21-gun salute, and thousands gathered in a downtown square on a brilliantly sunny day to see him and first lady Laura Bush.
Huge banners proclaimed "Proud to be Partners" and billboards said "President Bush in Albania Making History." Red-white-and-blue paper top hats with stars on top were passed out to well-wishers.
"It is a bright day today when in our land there came the greatest and most distinguished friend we have had in all our times, the president of the U.S.A., leader of the free world," Berisha said.
Albania also issued three postage stamps with Bush's picture and the Statue of Liberty, and renamed a street in front of parliament in his honor.
Bush said he was proud to be the first sitting American president to visit. "I love to come to countries that are working hard to establish institutions necessary for democracies to survive," he said.
The issue of independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo is another issue on which the U.S. and Russia disagree.
Russia, an ally of Serbia, contends independence for Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent for the world's other breakaway regions. Serbia also opposes statehood for Kosovo, which it sees as the heart of its historic homeland.
The U.S. and key European countries that support Kosovo independence are trying to narrow differences with Russia over the future of Kosovo, which has been administered by the U.N. since a 1999 war between Serb forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. The U.N. Security Council is divided over the issue.
Last month, the U.S. and European nations introduced a revised U.N. resolution supporting independence for Kosovo under international supervision, but it was immediately rejected by Russia — which hinted it would veto the measure.
The new draft addressed Russia's concern that Kosovo's multiethnic character is preserved, but left out Russia's main proposal for new negotiations between the province's majority ethnic Albanians, who demand independence, and its minority Serbs, who want to remain part of Serbia.
"I happen to believe it's important to push the process along," Bush said. "The time is now. ... Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice will be moving hard to see if we can't reach an agreement. If not, we're going to have to move. Independence is the goal."
Russia also opposes NATO's spread into eastern Europe, and is concerned about the prospect that its neighbors Ukraine and Georgia may be brought into the western military alliance.
Berisha said 93 percent of his country's people support NATO membership for Albania.
Bush said he commended Berisha on Albania's progress on reforming its defense forces and meeting performance-based standards required for membership. "I look forward to welcoming you sometime into NATO," he said.
But he said additional political and military reforms were needed, along with more progress in fighting organized crime and corruption. Berisha said he understood and is committed to making the changes.
"I said, 'We're committed to help you,'" Bush said.
In saluting Albania's democracy, Bush praised it as a country that has "cast off the shackles of a very oppressive society and is now showing the world what's possible."
During the visit, Bush met with Albanian President Alfred Moisiu and greeted troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Albania recently decided to triple its deployment in Afghanistan to 140 troops. It also has about 120 troops in Iraq — a presence that Moisiu says will not end as long as Americans are engaged there.
Bush also had lunch with the prime ministers of Albania, Macedonia and Croatia, which hope to join NATO next year.
|For One Visit, Bush Will Feel Pro-U.S. Glow - The New York Times||By CRAIG S. SMITH|
TIRANA, Albania, June 8 — The highlight of President Bush’s European tour may well be his visit on Sunday to this tiny country, one of the few places left where he can bask in unabashed pro-American sentiment without a protester in sight.
Americans here are greeted with a refreshing adoration that feels as though it comes from another time.
“Albania is for sure the most pro-American country in Europe, maybe even in the world,” said Edi Rama, Tirana’s mayor and leader of the opposition Socialists. “Nowhere else can you find such respect and hospitality for the president of the United States. Even in Michigan, he wouldn’t be as welcome.”
Thousands of young Albanians have been named Bill or Hillary thanks to the Clinton administration’s role in rescuing ethnic Albanians from the Kosovo war. After the visit on Sunday, some people expect to see a rash of babies named George.
So eager is the country to accommodate Mr. Bush that Parliament unanimously approved a bill last month allowing “American forces to engage in any kind of operation, including the use of force, in order to provide security for the president.” One newspaper, reporting on the effusive mood, published a headline that read, “Please Occupy Us!”
There are, to be sure, signs that the rest of Europe is tilting a bit more in America’s direction, narrowing the gap between “old” and “new” Europe that opened with disagreements over the Iraq war.
France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, wants to forget the acrimony that marked his predecessor’s relations with the United States, even appointing a pro-American foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who supported the United States’ invasion of Iraq.
Shortly after taking office, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that Germany did “not have as many values in common with Russia as it does with America.” She has since proposed a new trans-Atlantic economic partnership that would get rid of many non-tariff barriers to trade.
And Gordon Brown, who will succeed Tony Blair as Britain’s prime minister this month, has vacationed several times on Cape Cod and befriended a succession of Treasury officials. He is expected to maintain what Britons call the country’s “special relationship” with the United States, ahead of other American allies.
So “old Europe” has warmed toward the United States, although there has been no fundamental shift toward more American-friendly policies. But even in “new Europe,” as the post-Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe have been called, Albania is special.
Much of Eastern Europe has grown more critical of Mr. Bush, worried that the antimissile defense shield he is pushing will antagonize Russia and lead to another cold war. Many Eastern Europeans, Czechs and Poles among them, are also angry that the United States has maintained cumbersome visa requirements even though their countries are now members of the European Union.
But here in Albania, which has not wavered in its unblinking support for American policies since the end of the cold war, Mr. Bush can do no wrong. While much of the world berates Mr. Bush for warmongering, unilateralism, trampling civil liberties and even turning a blind eye to torture, Albania still loves him without restraint.
Mr. Bush will be the first sitting American president to visit the country, and his arrival could not come on a more auspicious day: the eighth anniversary of the start of Serbian troop withdrawals from Kosovo and ratification by the United Nations Security Council of the American-brokered peace accord that ended the fighting. Mr. Bush is pushing the Security Council to approve a plan that would lead to qualified Kosovo independence.
Albanians are pouring into the capital from across the region. Hotel rooms are as scarce as anti-American feelings.
Albanians’ support for the war in Iraq is nearly unanimous, and any perceived failings of American foreign policy are studiously ignored. A two-day effort to find anyone of prominence who might offer some criticism of the United States turned up just one name, and that person was out of the country.
Every school child in Albania can tell you that President Woodrow Wilson saved Albania from being split up among its neighbors after World War I, and nearly every adult repeats the story when asked why Albanians are so infatuated with the United States.
James A. Baker III was mobbed when he visited the country as secretary of state in 1991. There was even a move to hold a referendum declaring the country America’s 51st state around that time.
“The excitement among Albanians over this visit is immeasurable, beyond words,” said Albania’s new foreign minister, Lulzim Basha, during an interview in his office, decorated with an elegant portrait of Faik Konica, who became the first Albanian ambassador to the United States in 1926. “We truly believe that this is a historic moment that people will look back on decades later and talk about what it meant for the country.”
Mr. Bush’s visit is a reward for Albania’s unflinching performance as an unquestioning ally. The country was among the first American allies to support Washington’s refusal to submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. It was one of the first countries to send troops to Afghanistan and one of the first to join the forces in Iraq. It has soldiers in both places.
“They will continue to be deployed as long as the Americans are there,” Albania’s president, Alfred Moisiu, said proudly in an interview.
Most recently, the country has quietly taken several former detainees from the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, off the Bush administration’s hands when sending them to their home countries was out of the question. There are eight so far, and Mr. Moisiu said he is open to accepting more.
Mr. Rama, Tirana’s mayor, says he is offended when Albania’s pro-Americanism is cast as an expression of “provincial submission.”
“It’s not about being blind,” he said, wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Great Seal of the United States. “The U.S. is something that is really crucial for the destiny of the world.”
The pro-American feeling has strayed into government-commercial relations. The Albanian government has hired former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge as a consultant on a range of issues, including the implementation of a national identity card.
Many people questioned the procedures under which a joint venture led by Bechtel won Albania’s largest public spending project ever, a contract to build a highway linking Albania and Kosovo. President Moisiu said state prosecutors were now looking at the deal.
In preparation for Mr. Bush’s six-hour visit, Tirana has been draped in American flags and banners that proclaim, “Proud to be Partners.” A portrait of Mr. Bush hangs on the “Pyramid,” a cultural center in the middle of town that was built as a monument to Albania’s Communist strongman, Enver Hoxha. State television is repeatedly playing a slickly produced spot in which Prime Minister Sali Berisha welcomes Mr. Bush in English.
What Mr. Bush will get in return from the visit is the sight of cheering crowds in a predominantly Muslim nation. When asked by an Albanian reporter before leaving Washington what came to mind when he thought of Albania, Mr. Bush replied, “Muslim people who can live at peace.”
Albania is about 70 percent Muslim, with large Orthodox and Catholic populations. To underscore the country’s history of tolerance, President Moisiu will present Mr. Bush with the reproduction of an 18th-century Orthodox icon depicting the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus flanked by two mosques.
“President Bush is safer in Albania than in America,” said Ermin Gjinishti, a Muslim leader in Albania.
Tim Golden contributed reporting from Tirana, and Alan Cowell from London.
|Bush calls for action over Kosovo||US President George W Bush has said the time has come to bring the issue of Kosovo's independence "to its head".|
He was speaking after talks with the Italian Prime Minister Romani Prodi, during a visit to Rome.
|Opponents of new Kosovo must be stopped - Joseph Biden||By Joseph Biden|
Published: January 2 2007 19:12 | Last updated: January 2 2007 19:12
Years of hand-wringing and chest-thumping over the future status of Kosovo may finally be drawing to a close. In the next few months, adroit diplomacy to secure Kosovo’s independence could yield a victory for Muslim democracy, a better future for south-east Europe and validation for the judicious use of American power.
But along with the potential for triumph in Kosovo, there is a growing risk that Serbia and Russia will conspire to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. Extremists in Belgrade and Moscow are – for very different reasons – hoping to use Russia’s United Nations Security Council veto to quash Kosovo’s bid for independence. If they succeed, the Balkans will emerge as another source of bad news in a world already crowded with crises.
During the seven years since Nato ended Slobodan Milosevic’s reign of terror in Kosovo, a UN-backed administration has largely succeeded in bringing stability to the province. However, Kosovo’s people are justifiably tired of a status quo marked by uncertainty and economic privation. These two intertwined problems will continue so long as the debate over the province’s future remains unresolved. Its ambiguous status is also leading to stagnation in Serbia.
Nationalist politicians in Belgrade have embraced the fight against Kosovo’s independence to divert public attention from their own failures and Serbia’s stalled bid for European Union membership. The actions of Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia’s prime minister, have been particularly disappointing. In addition to refusing international requests to call for the arrest of war crimes fugitives Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, Mr Kostunica has rejected every attempt at compromise on Kosovo. Serbia’s moral authority on the issue hit a new low in October when the 1.5m ethnic Albanian residents of the province were denied the right to vote in a deeply flawed constitutional referendum that declared Kosovo an integral part of Serbia.
To their great credit, the people of Serbia have proved more realistic about Kosovo than their elected leaders. Opinion polls show that many Serbs foresee that the province will gain independence. Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, meanwhile, overwhelmingly expect to sever ties with Serbia. With citizens on both sides of the issue ready to finish the debate and move on to more constructive challenges, leaders who block a solution will do so at their peril.
Historically, trouble in the Balkans is almost always the result of false expectations. On the whole, the citizens of south-east Europe are mentally prepared for an independent Kosovo.
If Belgrade postpones a settlement it will reopen the issue for many Serbs previously resigned to Kosovo’s independence and further inflame frustrations among the region’s ethnic Albanians. The result could be a return of the mob violence that shook Kosovo in March 2004.
A Russian effort to delay a deal on Kosovo would be in keeping with the Kremlin’s habit of fostering weak, subservient governments in formerly communist states. Moscow has apparently reached the conclusion that impoverished, unstable regimes are easier targets for manipulation than prosperous, independent countries. It has made extensive, public use of oil and gas diplomacy to undermine the budding democracies of eastern Europe. Less attention has focused on the Kremlin’s quiet efforts to exacerbate territorial conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Serbia could become the latest victim of this strategy.
Kosovo is not ready for full sovereignty. Even after independence, Nato and the international community will need to provide security guarantees for Kosovo’s minorities and strengthen its economy and institutions. But it is time to grant the province independence. The longer the status debate continues, the further Kosovo and Serbia will fall behind other rapidly progressing former Yugoslav republics such as Croatia and Slovenia.
Success in Kosovo, if realised, will have implications far beyond the Balkans. A responsible Russian approach to the issue could demonstrate the Kremlin’s commitment to global order at a time when its credibility is in tatters. The people of Kosovo – already the most pro-American in the Islamic world – will provide a much-needed example of a successful US-Muslim partnership. Stability in south-east Europe would be a welcome bit of good news and offer hope in a season of tremendous foreign policy challenges.
The writer is the incoming Democratic chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2000
|Independence for Kosovo by Agim Ceku - The Wall Street Journal||Pristina -- Just as it seemed that the Balkans were finally turning the corner, we are instead entering another period of stagnation, delay and uncertainty. A United Nations decision on Kosovo's status, originally expected before the end of this year, has been postponed. The expectations in Kosovo are high. Kosovo is hungry for independence, Kosovo is ready for independence, and now is not the time to stop the clock.|
We need to keep the process of statehood on track. Kosovo needs clarity to complete reforms and to attract vital international investments, but also so that our people -- and especially our Serb minority -- can escape the debilitating worries and uncertainty and start to build a future. Their home and future are in Kosovo.
There are two things we must do in Kosovo to succeed as a progressive and a modern independent state. First, we should further improve our institutions to achieve more transparency and a functioning legal system. Second, we need a broad political commitment to development and modernization.
Independence is only the first step and, in itself, is insufficient to provide for Kosovo's future. Kosovo needs a clear perspective for European Union membership. We can only succeed within this framework. This above all means prioritizing economic revitalization in the post-independence period. Nothing short of an economic boom will get us up to speed; the EU train will not wait for Kosovo, or the rest of the region for that matter. The biggest problem in the Western Balkans is economic malaise.
It is the Kosovars, not Belgrade, who have a real interest and stake in seeing Kosovo succeed. Moderate Serbs have long lost interest in Kosovo. Only those desperate for cheap, nationalist rhetorical points claim to care about it. Belgrade offers no vision, no economic or European agenda to the people of Kosovo. Increasing numbers of Serbs, especially those living in Kosovo, are beginning to see beyond this bankrupt world view.
I have no doubt that seeing Kosovo become independent will be a difficult new reality for Serbia. But it is the only way. Belgrade is not interested in investing in the development of Kosovo, and Kosovo is not interested in a political union with Serbia. But we are interested in developing a productive bilateral partnership with Serbia, just as we're doing with our other neighbors.
Social and economic progress in the region will be the big losers if we don't make the bold step forward to independence. The entire Western Balkan region needs a kick start in order to catch the EU train and catch up with the awesome economic growth of our EU-bound neighbors Romania and Bulgaria. This is the only way forward and the only way into the EU. Globalization is a reality which won't pause so we can get ready. The pace is being set in Asia, but transition will have to happen here in the Western Balkans if we wish to compete.
Most of us in the Balkans share a common vision about our future -- we want to get into the EU as fast as possible. The way to do it is through reforms. This wasn't an easy process for the Baltic countries. It wasn't easy for Eastern and Central Europe. And it won't be easy for the Balkan states either. The region needs to find its comparative advantage in Europe and in the global market. It will do so as soon as we settle the final status of Kosovo.
Can Kosovo survive? Sure. If we reform, we'll do very well. My government has adopted a proactive "3E" plan for Kosovo based on energy, economy and education. With large deposits of coal, Kosovo can in a few years become a net electricity exporter. With the right technology we can even do this with an environmental face.
The economy is picking up. There is no currency risk in Kosovo now that we've adopted the euro. We have privatized around 90% of the asset value of all state-owned enterprises. The financial sector has already been privatized, and we are now attracting new investments into the telecom and energy sectors. Much remains to be done, including cleaning up corruption in the courts, but we're on the right track.
We have a young population and a positive birth rate. Given the shortages in the EU labor market due to negative demographic trends, Kosovo can help fill the void. To do so, we need to retrain our work force. Hence we're now investing in education.
The EU is facing a crisis, and it needs time to consolidate and reset its internal political balances. However, this is no reason to lose sight of its strategic goal: a Europe whole and free. Right now this is still not the reality, at least not in the Western Balkans.
Mr. Ceku is the prime minister of Kosovo.
|VOA NEWS: NEW REPORT CALLS FOR CREATION OF DEFENSE FORCE FOR KOSOVO||WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 -- The Voice of America issued the following story:|
By Barry Wood
As the disputed Serbian province of Kosovo heads for resolution of its uncertain status after seven years as a United Nations protectorate, a U.N. study says the territory should have a multi-ethnic defense force.
Retired British Brigadier General Tony Welch says that, assuming Kosovo becomes independent, it will need a small defense force. General Welch, with long experience in peacekeeping in the Balkans, says it would be a mistake to transform the 5,000 - strong national guard, a former guerrilla force called the Kosovo Protection Corps, into a national army. He says the size of a defense force should be limited.
"We are suggesting no more than 2,500 people in all [to be the national defense force], very small, to be recruited from across the population of Kosovo, with no bars ethnically to anyone, no bars to current members of the Kosovo Protection Corps applying for posts within the defense force, but no right to posts within the defense force," said General Welch.
General Welch says the Kosovo defense force should be trained and equipped by NATO, which is currently responsible for security in Kosovo. Upon creation of a national army, General Welch says, the almost exclusively ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Protection Corps should be disbanded.
The full report on Kosovo's security arrangements will be released in December. Its contents were previewed at a forum hosted by Washington's U.S. Institute of Peace.
Kosovo's former administrator, Soren Jessen-Petersen, a fellow at the institute, says stability in Kosovo and the wider Balkan region is contingent on an early determination of Kosovo's status.
The United Nations envoy in charge of status negotiations is expected to present his report, likely calling for conditional independence, in late January. Kosovo's 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority wants independence, an outcome rejected by Serbia.
Jessen-Petersen says economic recovery in the province requires clarity on status.
"There are many reasons why we need status [determination]," said Soren Jessen-Petersen. "We need it without any further delay. But, certainly when you look at what are the biggest security concerns - economy and unemployment - they require status. They require clarity. Let us get it done sooner rather than later."
Jessen-Petersen says delay is the greatest threat to regional security. Other participants said Kosovo will be secure only when minority Serbs are secure. A repeat of the anti-Serb riots of 2004, they said, would be disastrous.
|Jailed war crimes suspect to top his party's ballot list in Serbia's election||BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - Vojislav Seselj, a war crimes suspect charged with being part of a plot to murder, torture and expel non-Serbs during the 1990s Balkans wars, will top his party's ballot list in Serbia's upcoming general elections, his aide said Monday.|
Seselj is currently in jail in the Netherlands awaiting the start of his trial by the Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal. He is first on the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party's list of candidates in the Jan. 21 parliamentary vote, the party's campaign chief Dragan Todorovic told the state Tanjug news agency.
Seselj's placement at the top of the ticket practically guarantees him a seat in Serbia's next parliament after the elections. His party's ballot list will be called "the Serbian Radical Party -Vojislav Seselj," Todorovic said.
Seselj ruled Serbia with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic during the Balkan wars. His extremist party holds 80 seats in Serbia's 250-seat assembly and will be the chief challenger to several pro-democratic groups.
Seselj's party, which he heads from jail in the Netherlands, said he started a hunger strike last week demanding the tribunal grant him free choice of legal advisers, unrestricted spousal visits and an unconditional right to conduct his own defense.
He has lost 11 kilograms (24 pounds) since starting the hunger strike, the Radical Party said in a statement Monday, adding that Seselj "was aware of the (health) risks ... but will not give up" his demands and will continue refusing to be examined by physicians at the detention facility.
Seselj has pleaded innocent to nine charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly being part of a criminal plot to murder, torture and illegally imprison non-Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the wars during the breakup of Yugoslavia.
His trial is scheduled to start Nov. 27. He voluntarily turned himself in to The Hague tribunal in 2003.
|No More Delays for Kosovo - The New York Times||For the past seven years, the tiny Balkan region of Kosovo has been in limbo. Administered by the United Nations, it is not an independent state. But it is no longer a province of Serbia. That ended after Serbia’s rulers tried to kill or drive out Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians — and NATO went to war to save them.|
Limbos are not stable. And the U.N. mediator in talks on the region, Martti Ahtisaari, was expected to announce by the end of this year that it was time to start Kosovo on the path to closely monitored independence. Instead, he put off the decision until after Serbia’s parliamentary elections — scheduled for January — for fear of bolstering Serbian ultranationalists. This postponement, only the most recent of many, should be the last.
After the 1999 war there has never been a realistic possibility of rejoining Kosovo and Serbia. Kosovo was supposed to earn independence by proving its willingness to govern responsibly and to protect its ethnic Serb minority. A lot more needs to be done on both those fronts.
But the United Nations has limited patience to keep administering Kosovo, and without the stability of statehood there will be no foreign investment and the beleaguered economy will not improve. Lack of economic prospects is feeding Albanian nationalism, and until Kosovo’s status is settled, anger will remain close to the surface.
Even as it moves Kosovo toward statehood, the U.N. should keep a substantial military and advisory presence there, both to ensure the rights of the Serb minority and to encourage democratic development.
Belgrade will always object to Kosovo’s independence. The best chance of moderating its reaction is the promise of eventual membership in the European Union and a clear warning that Europe will be watching how it treats its new neighbor. The Kosovars should be clear that donors and everyone else will be watching just as closely to see how they treat their own Kosovar Serbs.
|Kosovo must not 'drag down' EU aspirant Serbia: Swedish FM||The question of Kosovo's future status must not be allowed to harm Serbia in its bid to join the European Union, visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Thursday."The issue of Kosovo should not be allowed to drag Serbia down, Serbia should move forward to join the rest of the European countries," Bildt said after talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic.Bildt said the solution for the future status of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo should be "sustainable" and "in the interest of the entire region".Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of its population, are calling for independence but Belgrade has only offered the southern province wide-ranging autonomy.Draskovic himself warned that the possible independence of Kosovo could destabilise Serbia as well as the whole Balkan region, and insisted that Belgrade and Pristina's rival stances were not irreconcilable."It is necessary to bridge Serbia's legitimate request not to breach its territorial integrity and fulfill justified and legitimate demands by (Kosovo) Albanians," Draskovic told reporters."But I will never consider legitimate a demand to create another Albanian state in the Balkans," said Draskovic.Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign ended a crackdown by Belgrade forces on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians. It is still technically a part of Serbia.The UN's top Kosovo mediator, Martti Ahtisaari, said last week he would wait to reveal his plans for the future of the province until after Serbian general elections on January 21, delaying the previous end-of-year deadline.|
|UN readies Kosovo exit stragegy||The United Nations said Wednesday it has started planning its strategy to exit Kosovo as a decision nears on the future status of the ethnic-Albanian majority province.The UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said the measures it was planning would ensure "a smooth and orderly transition" of its responsibilities to international institutions and local authorities."The joint international and local planning work now under way is essential to prepare" for the transition to the future authorities in Kosovo, UNMIK spokesman Neeraj Singh told reporters."Prudent, responsible planning for the transition will now intensify through a series of working groups that will be formed in areas including civil administration, economy, property, governance, security, legal transition, budget and rule of law," he said.Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since mid-1999, after a NATO bombing campaign ousted Serbian forces from the province because of a brutal crackdown against ethnic Albanians.Still formally a part of Serbia, its future status had been due to be resolved by the end of the year but last week was delayed until after Serbian elections on January 21.The United Nations has come under strong criticism for its heavily bureaucratic administration in Kosovo, which is estimated to have cost around 1.3 billion dollars a year.A European Union-led team of diplomats told AFP earlier this month that it had already begun planning the future role for the international community in Kosovo.|
|Poland backs 'free and independent' Kosovo: Albanian president||Poland backs a "free and independent" Kosovo, Albanian President Albert Moisiu said Tuesday following a meeting with his Polish opposite number Lech Kaczynski."I was pleased to hear that President Kaczynski, Poland and the Polish nation are ready to support us in favour of stability in the Balkans, and for the freedom and independence of Kosovo," Moisiu told reporters during a joint press conference with Kaczynski.Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of the small Serbian province's population, are demanding independence while Serbia is only prepared to grant the UN-administered region autonomy.The province has been run by a UN mission since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign ended a crackdown in Kosovo by Belgrade.On Monday, European Union policy chief Javier Solana had said that a decision on the status of Kosovo should be delayed until after Serbia held legislative elections in January, to take the wind out the sails of Serbian hardliners.The Serbian parliament last week passed a new constitution -- backed by voters in a referendum -- that defines the province as an "integral" part of Serbia, but a final UN proposal is expected to grant Kosovo sovereignty.Kaczynski said that Albania played a "stablising role" in the troubled Balkan region and seemed "close" to joining NATO."But the road to European Union membership seems more difficult," he said, although he reaffirmed Poland's support of an "open-door" policy for potential new members of the 25-nation European bloc.Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, after more than a decade of preparations following the collapse of communist rule.|
|Albania says postponing resolution of Kosovo's status threatens regional stability||Postponing a resolution of Kosovo's future status could threaten regional stability, the Albanian prime minister said Tuesday, while urging Kosovo Albanians to support their negotiating team.The U.N.'s special enjoy for Kosovo said Friday he would delay issuing a report on the province's future until after Serbia held elections in January.Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that could cause trouble. "Further postponement of Kosovo's final status at this delicate moment complicates the situation, stability in Kosovo and the region," he said. Negotiators initially had hoped to resolve the issue by the end of this year.Albania has been the strongest supporter of independence for Kosovo, demanded by the province's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of its population.Serbia wants to keep at least some control over the province, and last month approved adopting a new constitution declaring Kosovo an integral part of its territory.Albania has said Serbia's new constitutional claim over Kosovo was unacceptable, and Berisha dismissed the Serbian referendum again Tuesday, telling reporters that "independent, free and democratic Kosovo is the condition for peace and stability" in both the province and the region.Berisha also appealed to the six-nation Contact Group participating in status talks, as well as the European Union, to rule out any change to Kosovo's borders, which he said "would encourage adventurers and demons of all Balkan nationalisms to ... turn the Balkans back to its darkest times."Kosovo Albanians should support their political leadership, which he said had "decisively protected Kosovo citizens' European national interests."Since the end of the war between Serb military forces and separatists in the southern province in 1999, the predominantly ethnic Albanian territory has been run by a U.N. administration and patrolled by NATO peacekeepers.|
|How did Ahtisaari and CG decide to postpone status solution (Zëri)||In a font-page editorial, Zëri quotes diplomatic sources saying that the final text of Ahtisaari’s statement took a long negotiating time between the Contact Group members and President Ahtisaari. The sources said that CG and Ahtisaari were found in a fait accompli situation with elections taking place in Serbia and with the current Government in Belgrade not presenting a negotiation party any longer.|
The sources said that Ahtisaari and the three members of the Contact Group that support a fast solution to the Kosovo status (USA, UK and France) managed to limit the postponements of status decision for a shorter period of time after the elections on 21 January as opposed to a longer timeframe that Moscow and Belgrade insisted on.
The paper says if Ahtisaari’s statement is translated into concrete terms, it will mean that UN Status Envoy will present his proposal to Pristina and Belgrade on February and that the status of Kosovo could be known by March of 2007. “It turns out that March will again be decisive for the fate of Kosovo,” the paper writes.
|Independence in the beginning of 2007 (Dailies)||Express writes that Ahtisaari has postponed the process of Kosovo status for March. “Perhaps this will be the first March in recent decades that will bring something good for the Kosovars. So far, it has only carried its symbolic – war,” the paper writes. It also says that the delay does not damage anything else apart from the credibility of the Kosovo Negotiations Team.|
Recalling the statement issued by President Ahtisaari on the conclusion of the Contact Group meeting where he said that he will present his proposal “for the settlement of Kosovo status to the parties without delay after the parliamentary elections in Serbia”, Express notes that Ahtisaari does not specify the date when he will deliver his proposal. “It is also not clear whether Ahtisaari will deliver the proposal to the current government in Belgrade or will wait for the constitution of the new government following elections there,” the paper writes.
Zëri quotes UNOSEK Spokeswoman Hua Jiang saying that presentation of President Ahtisaari’s proposals will not be delayed after elections in Serbia but adds that she did not explain the reasons behind the decision. Jiang said Ahtisaari does not mention a precise date for the presentation but added that this will be done without delays.
|Decision on Kosovan independence to be postponed: Delay prompted by fears over Serbian nationalism Proposal to be announced after Belgrade elections||SECTION: GUARDIAN INTERNATIONAL PAGES; Pg. 26|
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The international powers have put off deciding to impose independence on Kosovo in an attempt to forestall extreme nationalists coming to power in Serbia.Serbia yesterday announced early elections for January 21, with the extreme nationalist Radical party tipped to emerge as the strongest party. Simultaneously in Vienna, the UN envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari of Finland, and diplomats from the US, Europe and Russia went back on earlier pledges to resolve Kosovo's status this year. They said they would wait until after the Serbian ballot before making public their recommendations.Kosovo, which has an Albanian majority, is formally part of Serbia but won an independence war in 1999 when the Serbian authorities were driven out by Nato. Since then it has been under UN control.Mr Ahtisaari has been negotiating with the Serbs and Albanians since February in a vain attempt to find a settlement. Since there is no prospect of agreement, he is to propose to the UN security council that the international community impose his recommendations. "I have decided to present my proposal for the settlement of Kosovo's status to the parties without delay after parliamentary elections in Serbia," Mr Ahtisaari said in Vienna.Serbian officials have been trying to delay a decision on Kosovo and are waging a ferocious campaign warning of the risks to international stability of an independent Kosovo. Last month the prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, rushed through a new constitution proclaiming Kosovo forever part of Serbia. The Kosovo issue will dominate the election campaign.In a study of the new constitution this week, the International Crisis Group thinktank said that Serbia was turning its back on mainstream liberal democracy in Europe and reverting to a role as a nationalist, authoritarian seat of instability in the Balkans.Mr Ahtisaari, strongly backed by the US and Britain, is certain to recommend that Serbia lose Kosovo, although the province's independence will be hedged with conditions that fall short of full sovereignty for some time to come. Tensions are rising as the deadline for a decision nears. Any longer postponement risks an explosion of frustration among Kosovo's two million Albanians.Ethnic Albanians in Pristina, Kosovo's capital. Kosovo has an Albanian majority
|Kosovo PM prepared to declare independence unilaterally||Kosovo could unilaterally declare independence if talks with Belgrade fail to answer the demands of its ethnic Albanian majority, the prime minister of the Serbian province said Thursday."This is not a threat. We see this as a possibility. Kosovo will certainly be an independent country," prime minister Agim Ceku told reporters."Of course, we prefer this to happen through a resolution of the (UN) Security Council, which will have a wide support," Ceku added.The negotiations on the future status of the southern Serbian province, administered by the United Nations since June 1999, began in February under the auspices of the UN.Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, who make up around 90 percent of the province's two million population, are seeking independence from Serbia.But the government in Belgrade and Kosovo's Serb minority insist the province -- which they consider the cradle of Serbian culture and history -- should only be granted greater autonomy.Meanwhile, Ceku's deputy Lutfi Haziri, together with opposition leader Veton Surroi, visited the Serb-populated enclave of Gracanica near the capital Pristina, in a bid to convince Kosovo Serbs to accept the government's option for Kosovo's future status.Haziri presented the plan to form a new municipality that would group Gracanica and all villages around it, with some 18,000 inhabitants."Kosovo Serbs will have competencies in the departments of healthcare, education, public services, infrastructure, culture and sport," Haziri told a small audience of several dozen Serbs.Most of some 6,000 Serbs living in Gracanica, about eight kilometers (five miles) southeast of Pristina, have boycotted ethnic Albanian officials.Randjel Nojkic, a local Serb representative, said it was "too late" to hold such meetings between ethnic Albanian officials and the Serbs."Serbs do not have confidence in Kosovo institutions," he said.Serbs also protested over the government's move to shut down transmitters for two Serbian mobile phone providers, located in Gracanica and other Serb-populated enclaves, saying they were set up illegally."How can you believe their promises for our bright future in independent Kosovo, when they remove these antennas that are our only connection with Serbia," said revolted Nada Vojicic, 46-year-old housewife.Since 1999, some 200,000 Serbs have fled the province fearing attacks from ethnic Albanian hardliners. Those who have remained live in enclaves under heavy protection from NATO troops.On Thursday, a 53-year-old Serb was wounded in his house in the village of Letnica in eastern Kosovo.Police arrested three ethnic Albanian suspects. Two were released after questioning, but the third remains in detention.Belgrade lost control of Kosovo in 1999 after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign halted a crackdown by Serbian forces against independence-seeking ethnic Albanian guerrillas.|
|EU urges Serbia to cooperate with U.N. effort to resolve status for Kosovo||The European Union urged Serbia on Wednesday to "take a constructive approach" in negotiating the future of its breakaway Kosovo province and said it must cooperate with the U.N.'s war crimes tribunal if it wants closer ties with the EU.Serbia and its Balkan neighbors must also do more to tackle corruption and step up political and reforms needed to prepare them for eventual EU membership, according to the EU's annual progress reports on the prospects of would-be EU members."I trust that Serbian citizens as well as political leaders now focus less on the nationalist past and more on the European future, that's best for Serbia, that's best for the western Balkans," EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters after the release of the EU reports."On Kosovo, we expect Serbia to take a constructive approach," he added.The EU's report on Serbia reiterated that steps toward eventual membership were suspended until Serbia proves it is fully cooperating with the U.N. war crimes tribunal and hands over top war crimes suspect Gen. Ratko Mladic.The report said the EU was also concerned over Serbia's new constitution, warning it did not fully guarantee judges' independence. It also called on Belgrade to intensify its fight against corruption and ensure full civilian control over its armed forces.On Kosovo, the EU report acknowledged that the focus on the sensitive status negotiations led by the U.N. "has delayed significant reform efforts."It said the province's administration "remains weak, affecting the rule of law," adding that judicial bodies there have made "little progress" in civil and criminal justice.Separate reports were also released on Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.On Croatia already opened entry talks with the EU last year and hopes to join in 2009. However, the report said there was "considerable scope" for improving the nation's judicial system and its fight against corruption. It also called on Zagreb to ensure better protection of minorities and to solve its border dispute with EU member Slovenia.Croatia's President Stipe Mesic said the critical report on his country showed it had to follow through on reforms. "It is easy to pass the laws, but it is much harder to implement them," he said in Zagreb. "It all depends on us."The EU warned Macedonia over its problems with corruption. It said reforms must go faster, if wants to get a starting date for membership talks.|
|Kosovo's future status must be made clear: EU commissioner||DATELINE: BRUSSELS, Nov 8 2006|
Kosovo's future status should be legally and politically clear so the separatist Serbian region can sign agreements with the European Union, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said Wednesday."The precise contents and concept of the future status should be legally and politically a clear status so that Kosovo would have especially treaty-making powers, for instance, with the EU," Rehn said.Such an outcome would allow the EU and Kosovo to negotiate a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the first step to EU membership, he told reporters after the publication of annual reports on EU membership hopefuls.It would also allow for EU-Kosovo negotiations on visa agreements.A status settlement "will give further impetus for the Kosovo authorities to progress on the reforms that are needed in the key areas of the rule of law, economy, and public administration," the Commission said in its report."Minority rights remain a vital issue, as is the participation of minorities in Kosovo's institutions," it added.Serbia has its own SAA agreement with the EU but it has been frozen until Belgrade improves its cooperation with the United Nations war crimes court.The UN's special envoy for Kosovo, former Finnish leader Martti Ahtisaari, has been in negotiations with Serb and Kosovo officials in a bid to define the status of the breakaway province, inhabited mainly by ethnic Albanians.Ahtisaari is expected, before the end of the year, to present the UN with recommendations on Kosovo's future, after eight months of talks faltered between the Serbian government and leaders of the province's ethnic-Albanian majority.Media reports have suggested that he will propose offering limited sovereignty.However UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a newspaper interview over the weekend that the talks on the future of Kosovo could drag on into 2007."Ahtisaari must be careful that the issue of the final status of Kosovo is not used for electoral purposes," Annan said, referring to the Serbian government's plan to hold an early general election in December.And on Monday the United States indicated it would agree to pushing back the end-of-year deadline.The Serbian government opposed independence for Kosovo and recently called on Ahtisaari to stand down, accusing him of seeking to impose a predetermined solution before the end of negotiations.Kosovo has been managed by the UN since 1999, when a 78-day NATO bombing campaign halted a crackdown by Serbian forces against Kosovo's separatist Albanian rebels.
|UN Administrator Dismisses Fears Northern Kosovo Will Secede||A NATO peacekeeper|
The status of conflict-riven Kosovo, the UN-administered Serbian province that is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, is being considered by an international envoy who has spent nearly a year searching in vain for common ground between Serbs and Albanians. VOA's Barry Wood visited the northern city of Mitrovica, home to many of the remaining 120,000 Serbs who comprise a small minority of Kosovo's population.
Kosovo is quiet now but NATO-led peacekeepers are on guard against any recurrence of the kind of anti-Serb riots that erupted in 2004. Kosovo's status could be decided shortly. Ethnic Albanians demand independence, Serbs oppose it.
Nowhere is mistrust and ethnic separation deeper than in decaying Mitrovica, a once flourishing mining center now divided by the Ibar River into a Serbian north and an Albanian south.
Jeta Xharra is a journalist and filmmaker, part of a team that produced an acclaimed video ("Does Any Body Have a Plan?") on Kosovo's future.
"The worst case scenario is that the north is so upset--whatever the solution. If Kosovo is declared independent, the north (could) declare itself independent. That's the worst case scenario."
About half of Kosovo's Serbs--and only a few Albanians--live in north Mitrovica and the wide strip of territory that leads up to the Serbian border. The UN rejects any partition and yet it is very much in the minds of the local population.
Gerard Gallucci, the UN administrator of Mitrovica, says partition won't happen. "I don't think there is any real prospect of that. I don't think anyone wants it. I don't think the Serb leadership wants it. I know the Kosovo Albanian leadership doesn't want it."
Gallucci admits that ethnic reconciliation is a long way off. But he's hopeful that Serbs and Albanians can cooperate on practical matters like municipal services. He supports decentralized local government as a means of building trust. "Decentralization simply means strong local rule in areas in which local people want to control their own lives, whether they're Serb or Albanian. I don't think anyone is explaining that to anybody, unfortunately, here in Kosovo."
Gallucci complains that because there has been little public education on the issue, many Albanians are suspicious that decentralization is a code word for partition.
Ethnic Albanian filmmaker Jeta Xharra supports decentralization and says that for Serbs to feel secure they need an urban center like north Mitrovica.
"Of course, it is sad that Serbs can't come to all the urban centers where they used to be, but unfortunately the reality is such that northern Kosovo is going to remain a largely Serb inhabited urban center," says Xharra.
For now Mitrovica and its bridge over the Ibar remain symbols of division and uncertainty. Serbs to the north, ethnic Albanian on the south, with UN police keeping the peace.
|Montenegro's PM Rejects Serb Criticism Of Kosovo Meeting||PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP)--Montenegro's government leader Tuesday rejected Serbia's criticism about his recent meeting with the separatist leader of Kosovo, the breakaway province whose future status is being discussed in U.N.- mediated talks.|
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said he saw no problem in meeting last week with Agim Ceku, the ethnic Albanian leader of Kosovo, which has been an international protectorate since the 1998-99 war there between Serb troops and the separatist rebels.
"I absolutely reject any objections from Serbia concerning Ceku's visit...we did not discuss Kosovo's future status," said Djukanovic, following accusations by Serbian officials that receiving Ceku was a "stab in the back" to Serbia's efforts to prevent Kosovo's secession.
Serbia's leadership has said that accepting Ceku as a visiting statesman meant Montenegro's readiness to recognize Kosovo as a state.
Talks over Kosovo's future are under way under the auspices of the U.N., Western powers and Russia. The province has been run by the U.N. and NATO since 1999 when the alliance's bombing forced Serbs to halt their crackdown on the separatists and pull out.
The crackdown was led by former Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic, who was toppled in 2000 by pro-democracy politicians. The new leadership contends that, despite Milosevic's devastating brutality in Kosovo, Serbs cannot give up completely on the southern province, considered Serbia's historic heartland.
"It's an inertia of old, failed policies," Djukanovic said about the comments from Belgrade. "Whatever Kosovo becomes in the future, it borders Montenegro" and needs good relations with neighbors.
Montenegro itself declared independence from Serbia earlier this year. Belgrade did not contest that move because Montenegro was a partner republic from the old Yugoslav federation, but insists that Kosovo is not entitled to the same.
Ceku declared after his Friday meeting with Djukanovic that Kosovo would follow in Montenegro's steps.
Djukanovic himself is expected to step down as Montenegro's prime minister Wednesday.
His Democratic Party of Socialists triumphed in recent elections, but Djukanovic -for years the most powerful figure in Montenegro -said he would not seek a third term and has hand-picked a trusted aide, Justice Minister Zeljko Sturanovic, as his successor.
|Comment on Using plausible deniability against a systematically lying adversary by A Critic||I'm an American and I care (yes, we DO exist, I'm not even alone on these boards) but, the sad reality is, no one cares and/or no one wants to know because the truth is too ugly.
Recently, some of my family visited and they just looked at me like I was insane when I said "the only thing I wat you to understand from my study of geopolitics is that the terrorists are ours." We created these insane mercenary forces to attack our enemies and play the double game like we do with drugs: outlaw domestic use and possession while importing near infinite supplies. Oh yeah, and make a lot of political hay on the "war on drugs/terrorists/poor". But yeah, none of that mattered. Not even "When the Muslim Brotherhood was kicked out of Egypt, the CIA transplanted them into Saudia Arabia circa 1925 and they fought our wars in Afganistan (USSR), again in Kosovo, in Chechnya, and now, throughout the middle east and, in the future, in both Russia and China." Really, nobody in the US cares, or, if they do, they can't stand the horror so they just look the other way.
Sorry to ramble on so but I'm an American who cares a lot and I'm always ignored, even when I can explain without screaming.
 As Machiavelli is rumored to have said "to control your subjects you must create enemies and then destroy them." (I have no idea if that's an actual quote but it applies nonetheless.)|
|Weniger Geld für die Blauhelme||UN kürzen Etat|
In 16 Friedensmissionen sind die Vereinten Nationen derzeit im Einsatz - etwa in Afrika, im Nahen Osten und im Kosovo. Das Ziel der weltweiten Blauhelm-Einsätze: Frieden sichern und Krisenregionen stabilisieren. Doch nun setzen die UN nach Druck aus den USA den Rostift an - mit kaum vorhersehbaren Folgen.
|RTK TV 1 Live Pristina, Kosovo|
RTK TV 1 Live Pristina Streaming Radio Television of Kosovo RTK is a famous public service television and radio station in Pristina, Kosovo. Mainly you can watch and listen News and Music. RTK own 24/7 hours live television service that is broadcasting on terrestrial and satellite networks. They began and started broadcasting service in September 1999 with daily two hour transmission but after some time it expended to four hour per day in November 2000. RTK 1 programming includes National and International News, Business coverage as well as farming information. It was established as an independent service broadcaster and we
|Kosovo Needs Changes and Visionary Democrat Albin Kurti for PM|
The purpose of this essay is the reflection of the paradoxical phenomenon of the misused democracy and rule of law in the new state of Kosovo Republic by its statesmen and political leaders in power. This misuse is like many African countries that weren’t able to make a distinction between individual private interest and the […]
The post Kosovo Needs Changes and Visionary Democrat Albin Kurti for PM appeared first on NewsBlaze News.
|¿Por qué Diosas?||Salvo excepciones, las mujeres del este de Europa (generalmente de raza eslava, mezcla entre europeo y asiático) son bellísimas, altas, esbeltas, piernas de escándalo, excelentes amantes... perfectas para adorar.|
Este blog irá dedicado a ellas, a las mejores mujeres del mundo, las del este de Europa
Son Diosas porque son mujeres muy femeninas y de una belleza extraordinaria además de cultas y grandes amantes, son mujeres dulces, comprometidas, luchadoras, amantes del teatro y la literatura... Hoy en día, tras la caída del regimen soviético, tenemos la suerte de verlas pasear por nuestras calles, tenemos la posibilidad de conocer a alguna y de que se convierta en nuestra esposa/compañera. Tratándola y mimándola como se merecen (están acostumbradas a la frialdad y rudeza del hombre eslavo) seremos los hombres más felices del mundo.
En este blog iré recogiendo las fotografias de las mujeres del este de Europa más famosas y bellas del panorama internacional.
EJEMPLOS DE BELLEZA ESLAVA
(haz click en las imágenes para verlas a tamaño completo)
Países que son parte de la llamada Europa del este
República Checa, Eslovaquia, Eslovenia, Croacia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Moldavia, Hungria, Ucrania, Bielorusia, Polonia, Lituania, Letonia, Estonia, y la Federación Rusa
|RTS: Đurić: Očekujem relaksiranje tenzija u Briselu||U Briselu se sutra sastaju predsednik Srbije Alekdsandar Vučić i kosovski predsednik Hašim Tači koji organizuje Federika Mogerini. Sastanku će prisustvovati i direktor Kancelarije za Kosovo i Metohiju Marko Đurić. Gostujući u Dnevniku RTS-a, šef pregovaračkog tima Marko Đurić je rekao da je veoma [...]|
|Unsettling prelude to Yugoslav vote|
Hopes are dwindling in the Yugoslav capital that former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic, Slobodan Milosevic's estranged mentor, will reappear after he vanished Friday while out on a morning jog.
Mr. Stambolic was once Serbia's most powerful politician and Mr. Milosevic's best friend, but in 1987 he was ousted from power in a Milosevic-staged political coup.
After a period of public withdrawal, Stambolic recently emerged as a fierce critic of the Milosevic family and regime, giving interviews to Serbian and Montenegrin media as Sept. 24 elections near.
Stambolic's disappearance appears to reflect a pattern of violence against those once close to the Milosevic family who have since broken ranks and spoken out against the regime. The cases include the April 1999 unsolved slaying of Slavko Curuvija, a dissident journalist who earlier had been close to the Milosevic camp.
Stambolic was most likely kidnapped, according to a security guard who saw him last. "A security guard at a restaurant saw Ivan resting in the parking lot. A white van stopped briefly in front of the restaurant and when it moved on, the guard couldn't see Ivan anymore," said Stambolic's lawyer, Nikola Barovic.
Police combed the woods near the restaurant, where Stambolic disappeared, but have made no statements on the progress of the investigation. Stambolic's wife, Kaca, said she did not believe her husband's kidnapping had a political motive, but some opposition leaders and Stambolic's lawyer are pointing the finger at the regime.
"Stambolic was president of Serbia, an important former political figure who disappeared in the middle of an election campaign, yet state-media and government officials haven't even mentioned his disappearance. The message is that this was a political act," said Barovic.
Serbia's largest opposition party, the Serbian Renewal Movement, demanded Stambolic's immediate release and referred to the kidnapping as a "terrorist act."
The party's president, Vuk Draskovic, has been the target of two assassination attempts in the past year and has accused the Belgrade regime of "state terrorism." Citing security concerns, Draskovic refuses to set foot in Serbia, and is residing in the pro-Western republic of Montenegro, Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav federation. His home is under constant guard by Montenegrin police.
Draskovic is not alone. Dissident journalist Alexandar Tijanic also stays away from Belgrade since being publicly rebuked by the president's wife.
Belgrade has been rocked by a series of high-profile killings in recent years, especially in the wake of NATO's bombing campaign last year. Company directors, a popular journalist, businessmen, and underworld figures like Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan" have all been victims. The crimes remain unsolved.
Stambolic is the first pubic figure to have simply vanished.
"This reminds me of Argentinean-style terror," says Nenad Stefanovic, an opposition strategist with the Democratic Party. A funeral can draw a large crowd, which in itself becomes a political event. When someone goes missing, there is an added element of fear."
Though Stambolic was not active in opposition politics, he did maintain contacts with some opposition leaders. His recent interviews were a reminder to the Yugoslav public of President Milosevic's personal and political failings. As Milosevic's mentor and former best friend, Stambolic spoke with singular authority about the man who betrayed him.
Stambolic called his political disciple a "master of consuming and reproducing chaos" and predicted that Milosevic "was approaching a violent end. At the end he must be destroyed; most people are against him, and they will get him ... He will never go in peace."
Opposition leaders agree nobody knows President Milosevic as well as Stambolic. "Stambolic knows Mr. Milosevic's soul," says Nebojsa Covic, a former member of Milosevic's party, now turned opposition leader.
Milosevic and Stambolic met in the early 60s while in law school. Milosevic, a young man from the provinces, latched on to Stambolic, whose prominent family name foreshadowed political success. Beginning in the late 60s, Milosevic followed his mentor through a series of prominent positions in state enterprises and the Communist Party. In 1986 Stambolic became president of Serbia and lobbied hard for Milosevic to fill his old job as president of the Central Committee.
In April 1987 Stambolic asked Milosevic to go to Kosovo to appease angry Serbs who were threatening to demonstrate in Belgrade over increasing tensions with ethnic Albanians. The casual request created the Milosevic cult. Milosevic was confronted with a violent demonstration in Kosovo Polje, where police were beating Serbs in front of a crowded town hall. Pale-faced and overwhelmed by the scene below, Milosevic uttered the line that turned him into a political star overnight: "No one should dare to beat you!"
The sound bite, endlessly repeated on television, ended Milosevic's reputation as Stambolic's sidekick. From that day on, Milosevic began to harness the forces of nationalism - a move his mentor opposed.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society
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|Nine Black Alps Interview|
Nine Black Alps at Cohesion live 2006 in Manchester I was lucky enough to get into the FREEDM tent and witness the NBA acoustic set at the mellow and chilled out Cohesion Live 2006 for the Manchester Peace Park in Kosovo. I spoke to singist and writer Sam Forrest post gig and asked him first about one of the new songs… a moving tribute to Gloria Hunneyford.
|Beta: Đurić: Izborili smo se da ZSO postane univerzalno prihvaćena||Direktor Kancelarije za Kosovo i Metohiju Marko Djurić ocenio je danas da je Srbija uspela da se izbori da Zajednica srpskih opština (ZSO) postane univerzalno prihvaćena i da na njenom formiranju insistiraju i one države koje su priznale nezavisnost Kosova. Gostujući na Radio-televiziji Srbije, [...]|
|Commentaires sur Nous, les Serbes, nous serons avec vous dans le conflit qui vous attend par BobbyFR94||Oui ami Patriote, il y a de l'espoir !!
La vérité ne peut rester éternellement cachée à tout le monde !!!
L'ORDURE qui est arrivé au pouvoir en France, ne l'a été qu'avec 15% des voix en réalité, et tu sais cela !!!
comme il est en train d'accélérer "les choses", au mois de septembre déjà, avec la destruction sociale et sociétale qui ne va faire que s'amplifier, la prise de conscience ne peut que s'accroître ...
J'ai, il y a 7 ans environ vu une vidéo qui montrait comment les photos de soit disant "camps de concentration " au Kosovo, en Serbie en tout cas, avait été truquées ...
Les gouvernements américains ont du sang sur les mains, ainsi d'ailleurs que les gouvernements français, TOUS, après la seconde guerre mondiale...
Pour ce qui me concerne, préparation psychologique, et préparation physique, KRAV MAGA...
Difficile de savoir combien de Français sont conscients du danger NAZISLAMISTE...
La propagande des MERDIAS-TV a complètement verrouillé les esprits et les débats en France ...
Mais c'est lorsque les Français seront le dos au mur qu'il retrouveront l'esprit de leurs aînés !!!
La France sera presque détruite, nous avons déjà un pied dans le précipice...|
|Politika: Đurić: Očekujem relaksiranje tenzija u Briselu||U Briselu se sutra sastaju predsednik Srbije Alekdsandar Vučić i kosovski predsednik Hašim Tači. Neformalnom sastanku, koji organizuje Federika Mogerini, prisustvovaće i direktor Kancelarije za Kosovo i Metohiju Marko Đurić. Gostujući u Dnevniku RTS-a, šef pregovaračkog tima Marko Đurić je rekao da [...]|
|''Tensions Rising in Balkans as Hopes for EU Future Fade'' By Walter Mayr and Jan Puhl ''DER SPIEGEL''|
''The man who hopes to become the prime minister of Kosovo has a past, documented under case file IT-04-84 at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Forty-eight-year-old Ramush Haradinaj, aka Smajl, was accused of crimes against humanity in 37 cases, including murder and torture.
The allegations are from the 1990s, when he was a field commander for the Kosovo Liberation Army (UÇK) in the war against the Serbs. The court ultimately found Haradinaj not guilty, a product of witnesses declining to testify at the last moment or, in some cases, dying suddenly. The United Nations police force in Kosovo has accused the UÇK veteran of dealing cocaine, while Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, described him in a 2005 analysis as being the head of a group involved in "the entire spectrum of criminal activities."
|Косово почна со подготовки, со Американец за селектор и Словенците Морина и Кастрати|
Кошаркарската репрезентација на Косово, која ќе биде прв ривал на Македонија на 2 август во претквалификациите за СП 2019, денеска го одржа првиот собир. Новиот селектор, Американецот Бред Гринберг, изрази оптимизам дека оваа репрезентација ќе ги оствари зацртаните цели – пласман на едно од првите две места во групата со Македонија и со Естонија. „Со […]
The post Косово почна со подготовки, со Американец за селектор и Словенците Морина и Кастрати appeared first on Екипа.
|Slovenia takes over presidency of SEECP for EU enlargement, security|
Slovenia has taken over the one-year chairmanship of the Southeast Europe Cooperation Process , a regional partnership with focus on promoting EU enlargement, security, the youth and digitalization, according to the Slovenian Press Agency on Saturday morning. Slovenia formally took over the presidency from Croatia at Friday's SEECP summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia, which was attended by the presidents of Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
|Vise de copil, spulberate de camion! Mesajul emoționant al copilului unui militar mort în Argeș - Realitatea|
Vise de copil, spulberate de camion! Mesajul emoționant al copilului unui militar mort în Argeș
Mesaje emoţionante ale copilului unui militar mort în accidentul din judeţul Argeş. Dorinţele şi amintirile băiatului, căruia un camion militar mult prea vechi i-a spulberat visele, au fost povestite de unul dintre colegii tatălui său, pe blogul …
Ofiţer în rezervă: „În Kosovo, militarii străini îşi făceau poze cu ARO,…
|Q&A: Einschätzung zu einem Kosovo-Albaner. Bitte, beruflich wirklich wichtig?||by Christiane Necker Question by Armin Mok: Einschätzung zu einem Kosovo-Albaner. Bitte, beruflich wirklich wichtig? Uiuiui, nun muss ich mal probieren, diese Frage zu stellen, ohne dass dann wieder jemand schreit, dass das Ganze irgendwas mit Rassismus zu tun hat. Die Sache ist die, ich arbeite hier in Berlin in der Jugendhilfe und wir haben … Q&A: Einschätzung zu einem Kosovo-Albaner. Bitte, beruflich wirklich wichtig? weiterlesen |
|Serbian President Ready for Direct Talks With Kosovo's Albanians, Authorities||Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told Sputnik on Sunday that he is ready to personally hold direct talks with Kosovo's Albanians, including the leader of the self-proclaimed republic.|
|Le Président serbe prêt à négocier avec les Albanais du Kosovo||Les négociations entre Belgrade et Pristina à Bruxelles sont actuellement suspendues sur décision, prise en mars, du parlement kosovar. Mais le Président serbe est toujours prêt à relancer le dialogue, y compris avec le dirigeant du Kosovo Hashim Thaci.|
|Коментар на Српски Норијега на удару сведока-сарадника од стране SRBIN||Ahahahahhahhaha kakav komedijas, ej bre PICKO IZDAJNICKA VUCICU svasta si obecao zapadu da bi dosao na vlast, postavio si homoseksualku za premijera,odrzao si homoparade,jos samo da priznas nezavisnost KiM. Al` za Kosovo i metohiju su ljudi svesno glave davali a neki gubili zbog izdaje.|
|Коментар на Тачијев блиски сарадник шверцовао оружје за мексичке мафијаше, ухапшен са сарадником „Коза ностре“ од стране SRBIN||Ahahahahhahhaha kakav komedijas, ej bre PICKO IZDAJNICKA VUCICU svasta si obecao zapadu da bi dosao na vlast, postavio si homoseksualku za premijera,odrzao si homoparade,jos samo da priznas nezavisnost KiM. Al` za Kosovo i metohiju su ljudi svesno glave davali a neki gubili zbog izdaje.|
|Коментар на Психолог ЦИА направио Вучићев профил личности од стране SRBIN||Ahahahahhahhaha kakav komedijas, ej bre PICKO IZDAJNICKA VUCICU svasta si obecao zapadu da bi dosao na vlast, postavio si homoseksualku za premijera,odrzao si homoparade,jos samo da priznas nezavisnost KiM. Al` za Kosovo i metohiju su ljudi svesno glave davali a neki gubili zbog izdaje.|
|Коментар на Вучић признаје шиптарску квази државу на председничком нивоу од стране SRBIN||Ahahahahhahhaha kakav komedijas, ej bre PICKO IZDAJNICKA VUCICU svasta si obecao zapadu da bi dosao na vlast, postavio si homoseksualku za premijera,odrzao si homoparade,jos samo da priznas nezavisnost KiM. Al` za Kosovo i metohiju su ljudi svesno glave davali a neki gubili zbog izdaje.|
#goodnight #gutenacht #natenemir #newyork #berlin #thuglife #vitija #snapchat #snapchatme #summer2017 #kosovogirl #germangirl #bitchplease #blackandwhiteonly #boobs #badbitches #badgirl #badgalriri #dashni #onlyme #boomkadale #catch #me #if #you #can
|Commentaires sur La femme égale à l’homme en islam ? Réponse en Bosnie-Herzégovine par dura lex||La CIA et l'OTAN ( c'est la meme chose ) ont réussi leur coup en faisant bombarder et ( partiellement ) affaiblir la serbie en lui volant son territoire : le kosovo, pour le donner aux musulmans.
Aujourd'hui , au kosovo, les albanais musulmans, quand ils s'ennuient
( ce sont de grosses fègnasses ), font la chasse aux serbes
( 5% de la population du kosovo ).
Nous avons donc , un "Etat" musulman, en plein cœur de l'Europe , un "Etat" musulman peuplé par des gens qui viennent d'un autre pays : l'albanie.
C'est un cauchemar.|
|Croatian defence minister visits Adem Jashari Memorial Centre in Kosovo|
Croatia's Defence Minister Josip Buljevic and Presidential Adviser Ante Deur visited the Adem Jashari Memorial Centre in Prekaz on Tuesday at the end of their two-day visit to Kosovo, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.
|For Many Of China's Youth, June 4 May As Well Be Just Another Day||They peered at the photo blankly, leaning to take in the details. "Is it from South Korea?" asked a student studying for a doctorate in marketing, with no flicker of recognition. "Is it Kosovo?" a young astronomy major guessed. The photo they were staring at so intently was the iconic image of China's 1989 pro-democracy movement — Tank Man — which showed a lone Chinese protester blocking a column of tanks rolling down the wide boulevard toward Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The extent of " the Great Forgetting " is such that only 15 out of 100 students at four Beijing universities identified the Tank Man picture as being taken in their capital in 1989. Nineteen students incorrectly guessed it was a military parade, a higher number than those who recognized it. Among the few that knew the photo, its visceral power produced reactions that were sometimes physical; students tensed up immediately, some even shied away from the photo. "This is a sensitive topic," one undergraduate at Peking|
|Comment on This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Mark Kozelek AC/DC covers by Gearóid||Good point re quality control.
Perils from the Sea is the standout album for me. It was one of the only albums we had in a van for a two-week roadtrip around the Balkans during the 2015 heatwave. Played on repeat driving along a large plain with Niš off to the side, twisting roads into Kosovo like a sun-baked Monaghan, strange soundtrack.|
|Kosovo’s Trepca 89 first out the hat as Champions League starts all over again|
|Conférence scientifique à Paris pour les Balkans occidentaux|
La France accueille du 14 au 16 juin à Paris la 3ème Conférence scientifique du Processus de Berlin pour les Balkans occidentaux, présidée par l’Académie française des Sciences (Paris) et co-organisée par l’Académie allemande des Sciences Leopoldina (Halle).
Elle rassemble des représentants des milieux académiques des six pays des Balkans occidentaux (Albanie, ARYM, Bosnie-Herzégovine, Kosovo, Monténégro, Serbie) et de six Etats membres de l’Union européenne facilitateurs du Processus (Allemagne, Autriche, Croatie, France, Royaume-Uni et Slovénie). La Croatie est représentée par le professeur Marin Milković, recteur de l’Université du Nord, au nom de la Conférence des Recteurs de la République de Croatie.
Cette conférence a pour objectif de soutenir les systèmes éducatifs et scientifiques des Balkans occidentaux et de favoriser les échanges entre jeunes scientifiques et ingénieurs de ces pays, clés de leur développement économique, technologique et de l’emploi. Les participants feront notamment des propositions pour soutenir la création de laboratoires de recherche d’excellence avec des laboratoires européens.
La coopération scientifique et éducative est l’un des trois piliers du Processus de Berlin pour les Balkans occidentaux, lancé en août 2014 au niveau des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement pour réaffirmer au plus haut niveau et sans équivoque l’engagement en faveur de l’intégration des Balkans occidentaux dans l’Union européenne, soutenir les efforts de réformes nécessaires dans cette perspective, encourager le dialogue et la coopération entre ces pays, et impulser des projets d’infrastructures énergétiques et de transports. Un accent particulier est mis sur la jeunesse aux plans de l’éducation, de la formation professionnelle et des échanges. Les pays participant au Processus ont annoncé, lors du sommet de Paris du 4 juillet 2016, leur décision de créer un Office régional de coopération pour la jeunesse (RYCO) inspiré de l’Office franco-allemand pour la jeunesse.
Les conclusions de la Conférence scientifique de Paris des 14-16 juin 2017 alimenteront le prochain sommet du Processus pour les Balkans occidentaux, organisé par l’Italie le 12 juillet à Trieste.
Pour plus d’informations sur le Sommet de Paris pour les Balkans occidentaux du 4 juillet 2016 :
|Comment on Kosovo’s new assembly composition as “family affair” by Jim Dandy &||Sounds like a movie script for 'Godfather IV'|
|Comment on US: Kosovo consulate driver in NYC arrested for selling arms by Jim Dandy||Why is everyone so surpised? The American Empire is directly responsible for the creation of Al Qaeda, ISIS and now the full blown gangster mafia protectorate of Kosovo.|
|TV: Besara matchvinnare när Örebro besegrade Peking|
Örebro fick en drömstart på matchen - och på den andra halvleken.
IFK Norrköping tog klivet in i Europa League-kvalet tidigare i veckan och krossade Prishtina från Kosovo med 5-0. Mot Örebro på söndagen fick man en tyngre start och föll till slut efter två snabba mål i inledningen av den andra halvleken.
Örebro tog ledningen redan efter dryga minuten spelad. Michael Omoh slog inlägget - Maic Sema löpte sig fri inne i boxen, satte huvudet till och nickade in 1-0.
I den 19:e minuten ropade Norrköpings Sebastian Andersson efter straff efter en duell med Johan Mårtensson. Det blev ingen åtgärd från domaren den gången.
Utdelningen kom i stället tio minuter senare. Kalle Holmberg nådde högst på en hörna och nickade in kvitteringen. Målet var Holmbergs sjunde för säsongen.
I den 37:e minuten tog Örebro ledningen på nytt när Maic Sema gjorde sitt andra mål för kvällen. Efter en tilltrasslad situation i Norrköpings straffområde kunde Sema till slut peta bollen förbi Michael Langer.
Men Norrköping svarade snabbt. Bara några minuter senare var det kvitterat när Sebastian Andersson nickade in 2-2. Resultatet stod sig i paus.
Örebro fick en drömstart på matchen - så även på den andra halvleken. Nahir Besara gjorde 3-2 i den 47:e minuten och bara tre minuter senare sköt han 4-2 till Örebro.
Niclas Eliasson var en förgrundsfigur i Norrköpings reduceringsjakt. Knappa kvarten in i andra halvlek var han oerhört nära att ta Peking tillbaka in i matchen - men avslutet tog i ribban. I den 75:e minuten hittade han sedan in till David Moberg-Karlsson som testade avslut från nära håll.
I den 84:e minuten fick han själv ett fint läge att placera in bollen - men avslutet gick en bra bit utanför.
Men Örebro lyckades hålla undan och tog tredje raka segern. Tungt resultat för Norrköping som tappar mark i toppstriden.
Se höjdpunkterna från matchen i spelaren ovan.
Örebro: Jansson – Lorentzon, Almebäck, Hines-Ike, Ring – Omoh, Gerzic, Mårtensson, Sema – Sköld, Besara.
IFK Norrköping: Langer – Dagerstål, Johansson, Gudni Fjoluson, Telo – Moberg Karlsson, Thorarinsson, Sjölund, Eliasson – Holmberg, Andersson.
|Le Président serbe prêt à négocier avec les Albanais du Kosovo|
Les négociations entre Belgrade et Pristina à Bruxelles sont actuellement suspendues sur décision, prise en mars, du parlement kosovar. Mais le Président serbe est toujours prêt à relancer le dialogue, y compris avec le dirigeant du Kosovo Hashim Thaci. Extrait de: Source et auteur Suisse shared items on The Old Reader (RSS)
Cet article Le Président serbe prêt à négocier avec les Albanais du Kosovo est apparu en premier sur Les Observateurs.
|FOTO. Mission Rehearsal Exercise. Accidente simulate de militarii români, alături de militari ai SUA||Militarii din compunerea companiei româneşti, destinată ca rezervă strategică a SAQEUR pentru operaţii NATO¬-KFOR din Kosovo şi Bostnia, desfăşoară exerciţiul de repetare a misiunii Mission Rehearsal Exercise – MRE KFOR 23 în Centrul de pregătire a armatei Statelor Unite ale Americii din Hohenfels-Germania, în perioada 20 iunie – 10 iulie, transmite MApN. Militarii români provin […]|
|Comment on Syria’s once avoidable new battle by Peter from Oz||Is it so bad if the Kurds carve out a statelet in Syria? Sure the USA will try and use it like it does Kosovo. But at least it won't be Wahhabi crazed fanatics.
Furthermore it will infuriate Erdogan and Turkish nationalists and neo-Ottomans. This would give Uncle Sam a headache in terms of conflict with a NATO (though increasingly wayward) ally. It would push Turkey further into seeing the Syrian govt. as an "enemy of my enemy" friend.
A Kurdish independent state would weaken Syria. But it wouldn't threaten it like the Wahhabi nutcases have. The question is where exactly are the oil fields in northeast Syria and how would they be split if current border of SDF forces were held?|
|Kosovo: confermato successo Haradinaj||Atteso per lui incarico nuovo governo. Ma non sarà facile|
|Comentario en Países del mundo (2017) por Alina Borjas||Buenas noches, porque no sale el pais de Kosovo? Es un pais Europeo|
|#32 La ley que dará cobertura al referéndum catalán se ampara en el marco jurídico internacional|
#31 etonces no se puede reclamar el modelo del TSJI ante la situación humanitaria de Kosovo para la Cataluña del sXXI
» autor: Swann
|#31 La ley que dará cobertura al referéndum catalán se ampara en el marco jurídico internacional|
#30 Parece por lo que tú dices que el independentismo catalán quiere ese "contexto especial" de Kosovo, guerras genocidas, guerra de la OTAN contra España, y 10 años bajo administración de la ONU.
» autor: notincnick
|#30 La ley que dará cobertura al referéndum catalán se ampara en el marco jurídico internacional|
#27 sí, la sentencia se refería exclusivamente a Kosovo y su contexto especial (10 años sin gobierno serbio bajo administración de la ONU tras una guerra genocida de una década), como dice claramente en las comillas que te he puesto. Pero bueno, que no lo dice sólo en lo que te he puesto,que la resolución entera es una apelación al contexto especial
» autor: Swann
|#27 La ley que dará cobertura al referéndum catalán se ampara en el marco jurídico internacional|
#20 ¿Kosovo? Si está en plural es que o no se refiere a Kosovo o no exclusivamente. Mañana, cuando lo presenten, sabremos de qué sentencias habla.
» autor: notincnick
|Serbian President Ready for Direct Talks With Kosovo’s Albanians||Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told Sputnik on Sunday that he is ready to personally hold direct talks with Kosovo’s Albanians, including the leader of the self-proclaimed republic. As of now the talks between Pristina and Belgrade are suspended following the March decision of the Kosovar parliament. The resumption of the dialogue, including at the highest […]|
|World of Winless War: U.S. Special Ops Forces Already Deployed to 137 Nations in 2017||
The tabs on their shoulders read “Special Forces,” “Ranger,” “Airborne.” And soon their guidon -- the “colors” of Company B, 3rd Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group -- would be adorned with the “Bandera de Guerra,” a Colombian combat decoration.
“Today we commemorate sixteen years of a permanent fight against drugs in a ceremony where all Colombians can recognize the special counternarcotic brigade’s hard work against drug trafficking,” said Army Colonel Walther Jimenez, the commander of the Colombian military’s Special Anti-Drug Brigade, last December. America’s most elite troops, the Special Operations forces (SOF), have worked with that Colombian unit since its creation in December 2000. Since 2014, four teams of Special Forces soldiers have intensely monitored the brigade. Now, they were being honored for it.
Part of a $10 billion counter-narcotics and counterterrorism program, conceived in the 1990s, special ops efforts in Colombia are a muchballyhooed American success story. A 2015 RAND Corporation study found that the program “represents an enduring SOF partnership effort that managed to help foster a relatively professional and capable special operations force.” And for a time, coca production in that country plummeted. Indeed, this was the ultimate promise of America’s “Plan Colombia” and efforts that followed from it. “Over the longer haul, we can expect to see more effective drug eradication and increased interdiction of illicit drug shipments,” President Bill Clinton predicted in January 2000.
Today, however, more than 460,000 acres of the Colombian countryside are blanketed with coca plants, more than during the 1980s heyday of the infamous cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. U.S. cocaine overdose deaths are also at a 10-year high and first-time cocaine use among young adults has spiked 61% since 2013. “Recent findings suggest that cocaine use may be reemerging as a public health concern in the United States,” wrote researchers from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in a study published in December 2016 -- just after the Green Berets attended that ceremony in Colombia. Cocaine, the study’s authors write, “may be making a comeback.”
Colombia is hardly an anomaly when it comes to U.S. special ops deployments -- or the results that flow from them. For all their abilities, tactical skills, training prowess, and battlefield accomplishments, the capacity of U.S. Special Operations forces to achieve decisive and enduring successes -- strategic victories that serve U.S. national interests -- have proved to be exceptionally limited, a reality laid bare from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen to the Philippines.
The fault for this lies not with the troops themselves, but with a political and military establishment that often appears bereft of strategic vision and hasn’t won a major war since the 1940s. Into this breach, elite U.S. forces are deployed again and again. While special ops commanders may raise concerns about the tempo of operations and strains on the force, they have failed to grapple with larger questions about the raison d'être of SOF, while Washington’s oversight establishment, notably the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, have consistently failed to so much as ask hard questions about the strategic utility of America’s Special Operations forces.
Special Ops at War
“We operate and fight in every corner of the world,” boasts General Raymond Thomas, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM). “On a daily basis, we sustain a deployed or forward stationed force of approximately 8,000 across 80-plus countries. They are conducting the entire range of SOF missions in both combat and non-combat situations.” Those numbers, however, only hint at the true size and scope of this global special ops effort. Last year, America’s most elite forces conducted missions in 138 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command. Halfway through 2017, U.S. commandos have already been deployed to an astonishing 137 countries, according to SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw.
Special Operations Command is tasked with carrying out 12 core missions, ranging from counterinsurgency and unconventional warfare to hostage rescue and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Counterterrorism -- fighting what the command calls violent extremist organizations (VEOs) -- may, however, be what America’s elite forces have become best known for in the post-9/11 era. “The threat posed by VEOs remains the highest priority for USSOCOM in both focus and effort,” says Thomas.
“Special Operations Forces are the main effort, or major supporting effort for U.S. VEO-focused operations in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, across the Sahel of Africa, the Philippines, and Central/South America -- essentially, everywhere Al Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are to be found...”
More special operators are deployed to the Middle East than to any other region. Significant numbers of them are advising Iraqi government forces and Iraqi Kurdish soldiers as well as Kurdish YPG (Popular Protection Unit) fighters and various ethnic Arab forces in Syria, according to Linda Robinson, a senior international policy analyst with the RAND Corporation who spent seven weeks in Iraq, Syria, and neighboring countries earlier this year.
During a visit to Qayyarah, Iraq -- a staging area for the campaign to free Mosul, formerly Iraq’s second largest city, from the control of Islamic State fighters -- Robinson “saw a recently installed U.S. military medical unit and its ICU set up in tents on the base.” In a type of mission seldom reported on, special ops surgeons, nurses, and other specialists put their skills to work on far-flung battlefields not only to save American lives, but to prop up allied proxy forces that have limited medical capabilities. For example, an Air Force Special Operations Surgical Team recently spent eight weeks deployed at an undisclosed location in the Iraq-Syria theater, treating 750 war-injured patients. Operating out of an abandoned one-story home within earshot of a battlefield, the specially trained airmen worked through a total of 19 mass casualty incidents and more than 400 individual gunshot or blast injuries.
When not saving lives in Iraq and Syria, elite U.S. forces are frequently involved in efforts to take them. “U.S. SOF are... being thrust into a new role of coordinating fire support,” wrote Robinson. “This fire support is even more important to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a far more lightly armed irregular force which constitutes the major ground force fighting ISIS in Syria.” In fact, a video shot earlier this year, analyzed by the Washington Post, shows special operators “acting as an observation element for what appears to be U.S. airstrikes carried out by A-10 ground attack aircraft” to support Syrian Democratic Forces fighting for the town of Shadadi.
Africa now ranks second when it comes to the deployment of special operators thanks to the exponential growth in missions there in recent years. Just 3% of U.S. commandos deployed overseas were sent to Africa in 2010. Now that number stands at more than 17%, according to SOCOM data. Last year, U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed to 32 African nations, about 60% of the countries on the continent. As I recently reported at VICE News, at any given time, Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and other special operators are now conducting nearly 100 missions across 20 African countries.
In May, for instance, Navy SEALs were engaged in an “advise and assist operation” alongside members of Somalia’s army and came under attack. SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed and two other U.S. personnel were injured during a firefight that also, according to AFRICOM spokesperson Robyn Mack, left three al-Shabaab militants dead. U.S. forces are also deployed in Libya to gather intelligence in order to carry out strikes of opportunity against Islamic State forces there. While operations in Central Africa against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal militia that has terrorized the region for decades, wound down recently, a U.S. commando reportedly killed a member of the LRA as recently as April.
What General Thomas calls “building partner nations’ capacity” forms the backbone of the global activities of his command. Day in, day out, America’s most elite troops carry out such training missions to sharpen their skills and those of their allies and of proxy forces across the planet.
This January, for example, Green Berets and Japanese paratroopers carried out airborne training near Chiba, Japan. February saw Green Berets at Sanaa Training Center in northwest Syria advising recruits for the Manbij Military Council, a female fighting force of Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Turkmen, and Yazidis. In March, snowmobiling Green Berets joined local forces for cold-weather military drills in Lapland, Finland. That same month, special operators and more than 3,000 troops from Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom took part in tactical training in Germany.
In the waters off Kuwait, special operators joined elite forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations in conducting drills simulating a rapid response to the hijacking of an oil tanker. In April, special ops troops traveled to Serbia to train alongside a local special anti-terrorist unit. In May, members of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq carried out training exercises with Iraqi special operations forces near Baghdad. That same month, 7,200 military personnel, including U.S. Air Force Special Tactics airmen, Italian special operations forces, members of host nation Jordan’s Special Task Force, and troops from more than a dozen other nations took part in Exercise Eager Lion, practicing everything from assaulting compounds to cyber-defense. For their part, a group of SEALs conducted dive training alongside Greek special operations forces in Souda Bay, Greece, while others joined NATO troops in Germany as part of Exercise Saber Junction 17 for training in land operations, including mock “behind enemy lines missions” in a “simulated European village.”
"We have been at the forefront of national security operations for the past three decades, to include continuous combat over the past 15-and-a-half years," SOCOM’s Thomas told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities last month. “This historic period has been the backdrop for some of our greatest successes, as well as the source of our greatest challenge, which is the sustained readiness of this magnificent force.” Yet, for all their magnificence and all those successes, for all the celebratory ceremonies they’ve attended, the wars, interventions, and other actions for which they’ve served as the tip of the American spear have largely foundered, floundered, or failed.
After their initial tactical successes in Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, America’s elite operators became victims of Washington’s failure to declare victory and go home. As a result, for the last 15 years, U.S. commandos have been raiding homes, calling in air strikes, training local forces, and waging a relentless battle against a growing list of terror groups in that country. For all their efforts, as well as those of their conventional military brethren and local Afghan allies, the war is now, according to the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, a “stalemate.” That’s a polite way of saying what a recent report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found: districts that are contested or under “insurgent control or influence” have risen from an already remarkable 28% in 2015 to 40%.
The war in Afghanistan began with efforts to capture or kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Having failed in this post-9/11 mission, America’s elite forces spun their wheels for the next decade when it came to his fate. Finally, in 2011, Navy SEALs cornered him in his long-time home in Pakistan and gunned him down. Ever since, special operators who carried out the mission and Washington power-players (not to mention Hollywood) have been touting this single tactical success.
In an Esquire interview, Robert O'Neill, the SEAL who put two bullets in bin Laden’s head, confessed that he joined the Navy due to frustration over an early crush, a puppy-love pique. “That's the reason al-Qaeda has been decimated,” he joked, “because she broke my fucking heart.” But al-Qaeda was not decimated -- far from it according to Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. special agent and the author of Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State. As he recently observed, “Whereas on 9/11 al-Qaeda had a few hundred members, almost all of them based in a single country, today it enjoys multiple safe havens across the world.” In fact, he points out, the terror group has gained strength since bin Laden’s death.
Year after year, U.S. special operators find themselves fighting new waves of militants across multiple continents, including entire terror groups that didn’t exist on 9/11. All U.S. forces killed in Afghanistan in 2017 have reportedly died battling an Islamic State franchise, which began operations there just two years ago.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq, to take another example, led to the meteoric rise of an al-Qaeda affiliate which, in turn, led the military's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) -- the elite of America’s special ops elite -- to create a veritable manhunting machine designed to kill its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and take down the organization. As with bin Laden, special operators finally did find and eliminate Zarqawi, battering his organization in the process, but it was never wiped out. Left behind were battle-hardened elements that later formed the Islamic State and did what al-Qaeda never could: take and hold huge swaths of territory in two nations. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch grew into a separate force of more than 20,000.
In Yemen, after more than a decade of low-profile special ops engagement, that country teeters on the brink of collapse in the face of a U.S.-backed Saudi war there. Continued U.S. special ops missions in that country, recently on the rise, have seemingly done nothing to alter the situation. Similarly, in Somalia in the Horn of Africa, America’s elite forces remain embroiled in an endless war against militants.
In 2011, President Obama launched Operation Observant Compass, sending Special Operations forces to aid Central African proxies in an effort to capture or kill Joseph Kony and decimate his murderous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), then estimated to number 150 to 300 armed fighters. After the better part of a decade and nearly $800 million spent, 150 U.S. commandos were withdrawn this spring and U.S. officials attended a ceremony to commemorate the end of the mission. Kony was, however, never captured or killed and the LRA is now estimated to number about 150 to 250 fighters, essentially the same size as when the operation began.
This string of futility extends to Asia as well. “U.S. Special Forces have been providing support and assistance in the southern Philippines for many years, at the request of several different Filipino administrations,” Emma Nagy, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Manilla, pointed out earlier this month. Indeed, a decade-plus-long special ops effort there has been hailed as a major success. Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, wrote RAND analyst Linda Robinson late last year in the Pentagon journal Prism, “was aimed at enabling the Philippine security forces to combat transnational terrorist groups in the restive southern region of Mindanao.”
A 2016 RAND report co-authored by Robinson concluded that “the activities of the U.S. SOF enabled the Philippine government to substantially reduce the transnational terrorist threat in the southern Philippines.” This May, however, Islamist militants overran Marawi City, a major urban center on Mindanao. They have been holding on to parts of it for weeks despite a determined assault by Filipino troops backed by U.S. Special Operations forces. In the process, large swaths of the city have been reduced to rubble.
Running on Empty
America’s elite forces, General Thomas told members of Congress last month, “are fully committed to winning the current and future fights.” In reality, though, from war to war, intervention to intervention, from the Anti-Drug Brigade ceremony in Florencia, Colombia, to the end-of-the-Kony-hunt observance in Obo in the Central African Republic, there is remarkably little evidence that even enduring efforts by Special Operations forces result in strategic victories or improved national security outcomes. And yet, despite such boots-on-the-ground realities, America’s special ops forces and their missions only grow.
“We are... grateful for the support of Congress for the required resourcing that, in turn, has produced a SOCOM which is relevant to all the current and enduring threats facing the nation,” Thomas told the Senate Armed Services Committee in May. Resourcing has, indeed, been readily available. SOCOM’s annual budget has jumped from $3 billion in 2001 to more than $10 billion today. Oversight, however, has been seriously lacking. Not a single member of the House or Senate Armed Services Committees has questioned why, after more than 15 years of constant warfare, winning the “current fight” has proven so elusive. None of them has suggested that “support” from Congress ought to be reconsidered in the face of setbacks from Afghanistan to Iraq, Colombia to Central Africa, Yemen to the southern Philippines.
In the waning days of George W. Bush’s administration, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed to about 60 nations around the world. By 2011, under President Barack Obama, that number had swelled to 120. During this first half-year of the Trump administration, U.S. commandos have already been sent to 137 countries, with elite troops now enmeshed in conflicts from Africa to Asia. “Most SOF units are employed to their sustainable limit,” Thomas told members of the House Armed Services Committee last month. In fact, current and former members of the command have, for some time, been sounding the alarm about the level of strain on the force.
These deployment levels and a lack of meaningful strategic results from them have not, however, led Washington to raise fundamental questions about the ways the U.S. employs its elite forces, much less about SOCOM’s raison d'être. “We are a command at war and will remain so for the foreseeable future,” SOCOM’s Thomas explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Not one member asked why or to what end.
|Medien: Getöteter IS-Kopfabschneider war Nato-Mitarbeiter im Kosovo||Der berüchtigte Henker des „Islamischen Staates (IS), Lavdrim Muhaxheri, der vermutlich vor wenigen Wochen in Syrien getötet wurde, hatte Medienberichten zufolge zuvor bei der Nato-Mission in der abtrünnigen serbischen Provinz Kosovo gearbeitet.|
|Un responsable de Daech éliminé en Syrie aurait travaillé pour l’Otan||Le «boucher des Balkans» Lavdrim Muhaxheri, éliminé lors d'une opération russo-syrienne anti-Daech, aurait travaillé à la mission de l'Otan au Kosovo, selon des médias.|
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|Kosovar to do community work for raising Islamic State flag||PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A Kosovo court has sentenced an Albanian citizen who had put a flag of the Islamic State group at a crossroad in the capital Pristina to 180 hours of community labor.|