Friday, October 28, 2011

Is it Jihad Yet?

photo: Beta
This is Mevlid Jasarevic, age 23, follower of the Salafi sect of Islam, who this afternoon opened fire on the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Jasarevic was subsequently shot and reportedly killed. [Clarification: Jasarevic was wounded and detained by the police.]

Because Jasarevic is from Novi Pazar, a town in Serbia, odds are the mainstream Western media will describe this as a "Serbian attack", or at least identify him as "Serbian citizen." This would be horribly misleading, of course, but that hasn't stopped them before.

Here are some things to keep in mind here, before the spin distorts them:
  • Salafi missionaries came to Bosnia during the war, with tacit approval and even assistance of the U.S., to get the "wayward" Bosnian Muslims in line and wage jihad against the Serb and Croat "infidels."
  • There are 150,000 or so Muslims in the Raska region of southwestern Serbia (which they call "Sanjak", a term going back to Ottoman days). Their religious leader, mufti Muamer Zukorlic, was appointed by the top Islamic cleric of Bosnia and has been stirring up trouble and preaching violence and hate for several years. In this, he enjoys the support of many foreign governments ("Friends of Sanjak"), including the U.S.
  • Jasarevic may technically be a citizen of Serbia, but he is wanted there on charges of terrorism. He left Serbia last year, and settled in the Salafi commune of Gornja Maoca in northern Bosnia. Until it was ethnically cleansed during the Bosnian War, it used to be a Serb village called Karavlasi.
In addition to terrorizing any Christians (Serbs or Croats) they may come across, the Salafi frequently harass ordinary Bosnian Muslims, who by and large follow the Hanafi school of Islam. The Hanafi approach accepts local customs and is what made coexistence with Christians in the past possible in the first place. Salafists dismiss this as heresy and preach absolute intolerance of any who do not follow their ways.

Anyway, just watch: Jasarevic will be described as a lone lunatic, his motives will be "unknown", and there will be no mention of jihad or Islamic terrorism. The notion that the Salafists in Bosnia may be nurturing terrorists who threaten American lives runs counter to the mainstream narrative of innocent Muslims being victims of evil Serbs, and is therefore thoughtcrime.

Update (10/31/2011): Julia Gorin has a post up about this and other jihadist attacks, with links. Lots of links.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

KFOR: drowning in own waste

Kurir (The Courier), a government-suborned Serbian daily, published a story this morning claiming that KFOR troops at Jarinje are facing serious problems due to the Serb barricades.

Citing a reportedly well-informed anonymous source, Kurir claims that NATO troops are facing a shortage of firewood, as none of the locals want to sell it to them, and their generators lack power to heat all the tents. Another problem is the accumulation of garbage and human waste, neither of which has been removed for over a month.

People manning the barricades have also noted a reduction in flights of big KFOR supply helicopters to Jarinje and Brnjak, suggesting that the birds are down for maintenance.

The story doesn't say anything about the troops' food supply, but one has to assume it is pretty dire, consisting mostly of field rations (MRE). All these problems combined add up to a growing morale problem, and suggest that KFOR troops can't maintain this state of affairs much longer. On the other hand, the Serbs don't seem to have nearly as much trouble with their logistics. So, trying to wait them out isn't going to work.

That leaves General Drews with two unpalatable options: back off, withdraw from the checkpoints and abort the attempt to install "Kosovian" authorities in the north - or escalate and use force against peaceful, unarmed civilians. KFOR stands to lose face either way, but at least backing off can be explained as abandonment of a policy that was beyond KFOR's mandate anyway. Bonus points if the blame can be shifted to General Buehler - who did, after all, have a personal interest in supporting Thaci's "government".

The question now is whether those in charge of KFOR have enough horse sense to realize they can't win this one. Though the fact that they got themselves involved in this mess in the first place strongly suggests otherwise.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

That Terrible Votive Candle

Nooo, a votive candle! ATTACK!
What you see are the "brave" armored German troops (part of KFOR, NATO's "peacekeeping" mission in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo), pepper-spraying an elderly Serb holding a votive candle. Well, how dare he?! In NATOworld, that's a clear act of aggression against the peace-loving NATO troops, whose mission is a purely humanitarian occupation. Clearly a case of "self-defense", isn't it?

In mid-September, KFOR deployed at two checkpoints on the roads between occupied Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. There, in a clear violation of its mandate, it installed ethnic Albanian police, who were charged with enforcing the blockade of the territory still inhabited by Serbs (and not under the control of the self-proclaimed ethnic Albanian "government").

The local Serbs responded by erecting makeshift roadblocks, trapping the occupiers. They have offered to remove the roadblocks, if Albanian officials and the illegal EU mission withdraw from the two checkpoints. KFOR refused, demanding unconditional surrender. Last night, it launched probing attacks on all barricades.

The occupiers' claim they want to create "freedom of movement" is cynical in the extreme. They are only interested in free movement of themselves, the EULEX, and the illegal ethnic Albanian government - but not the Serbs. No, the Serbs are supposed to accept living in ghettos surrounded by barbed wire, being blown up and shot at for target practice (only one Serb-killer has ever been convicted, and EULEX released him), and suffer beatings, abuse and imprisonment for simply existing (i.e. crossing the "border" with Serbian license plates, or carrying Serbian flags). That's "freedom," KFOR-style. Grandfathers of today's German "peacekeepers" would find it very familiar.

Does KFOR really think the Serbs will surrender? They aren't dealing with the spineless government in Belgrade here, but the people that have nothing to lose and value freedom and dignity more than life itself. Don't they watch their own movies? I haven't the slightest doubt as to who will ultimately triumph in this confrontation. It may take a bit longer for KFOR peacebreakers to figure it out, though.

UPDATE (10/21/2011, 9 AM): I just heard that KFOR commander, German General Drews, claimed that he had "documented" evidence the Serbs had attacked KFOR with teargas! I presume he is referring to the incident where his semi-trained troops gassed themselves while trying to gas the Serbs? (See video here).

Note that the troops in question were Austrian. German and Austrian soldiers occupying Serbia and gassing Serb civilians, 70 years to the day of German (and Austrian) troops shooting thousands of Serb civilians in Kragujevac as "reprisals" for resistance to Nazi occupation; now that's just sickening.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Two Days Till Peace

I have been traveling a bit, hence the light posting. Last week, I was in the Canadian capital, at the promotion of a book.

"Two Days Till Peace" is an extraordinary war memoir, based on the journal kept by Mile Jovicic, the last antebellum director of the Sarajevo Airport. He jotted down the events that unfolded around him as he struggled to keep the airport open and assist with the evacuation of almost 30,000 people from Sarajevo, as Bosnia descended into (un)civil warfare.

Given his duties, Jovicic actually met most of the civilian and some military leaders involved in the early days of the war, who passed through his airport on the way to doomed negotiations and botched prisoner exchanges. His book is a testimony of a chaotic time in early 1992, and the many missed opportunities to avoid the bloodshed that ensued. It is very much a forgotten tale, since it doesn't fit the official narrative, and I'm glad he saved it from oblivion with this memoir.

The headline presenters were Ambassador James Bissett, the last Canadian envoy to the old Yugoslavia, and Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie (Ret.), commander of the UNPROFOR staff in Sarajevo at the time (and chiefly responsible for the airport re-opening eventually). The third speaker was yours truly. All three of us had reviewed the book, and our comments are on the back cover. It isn't often an author can round up three of his reviewers at a book launch!

The venue was pretty full, and the books in the lobby sold out quickly. If you are interested, you can order the book from the publisher website, or through Amazon.