Quadruple Helix – Capturing Kosovo

December 7, 2008

Resent ethnic tensions in Bosnia-Herzegovina are partly explained by rising radical Islam and the same one may see also in Kosovo after March 2004.(more in my article “Radical Islamists arming their selves in Balkans”).  Even Radical Islam came few years later to Kosovo than to Bosnia it creates much more bigger potential risk for society because it is not isolated inside province nor individual and local small scale violence.

Wahhabi invasion

Since the late 1990s, incidents involving Wahhabi groups have extended beyond the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, increasing in frequency in neighbouring states such as Serbia (including Kosovo and Serbian Sandžak), Montenegro (Montenegrin Sandžak), and Macedonia.

In Kosovo for example 24 Wahhabi mosques and 14 orphanages have been built in since 1999, along with 98 primary and secondary Wahhabi funded schools. Though the number of Wahhabis in majority secular Kosovo is small this development is cementing  an al-Qaeda presence in Albanian inhabited areas, because “hard line” and intolerant Wahhabi structures are the main source for terrorist acts and operations.

Organized crime

(Kosovo) Albanian organized crime organizations have already gained remarkable role in Europe.  It is estimated that they are the chief perpetrator of drug and people smuggling, trafficking, organ sales etc.  The scope, ferocity and intensity of Albanian criminal activity has prompted the Italian top prosecutor Cataldo Motta to declare Albanians the most dangerous mobsters brandishing them “a thread to Western society”.

It is estimated that something on the order of 80 tons of heroin passes through the Balkans to reach consumers in West Europe every year. At wholesale level on arrival, this flow of contraband is worth more than the national economc outputs of several countries of the region. The retail value of heroin flow to West Europe is 25 US$ Billions. Past estimates suggested that ethnic Albanian traffickers controlled 70% or more of the heroin entering a number of key destination markets, and they have been described as a “threat to the EU” by the Council of Europe at least as recently as 2005. In fact, ethnic Albanian heroin trafficking is arguably the single most prominent organized crime problem in Europe today.

Kosovo is serving as a junction for heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to West Europe through famous Balkan route.  Now Columbian drug dealers are setting up cocaine supply bases in Albania and Balkans to penetrate into Europe.  Already earlier ethnic Albanians organised the transportation of cocaine from the Netherlands and Belgium towards Italy.  (More UN report here.)

Politics

Links between drug trafficking and the supply of arms to the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) were established mid-90s.  In West KLA was described as terrorist organization but when US selected them as their ally it transformed organization officially to “freedom” fighters. After bombing Serbia 1999 KLA leaders again changed their crime clans officially to political parties.  This public image however can not hide the origins of money and power, old channels and connections are still in place in conservative tribe society.

In some other important drug transit zones trafficking is reflected in high levels of violence but not in Balkans.  UN report explains this that good links between crime organizations and commercial/political elites have ensured that Balkan organized crime groups have traditionally encountered little resistance from the state or rival groups.

New link

Above I shortly hinted to financial connection between Wahhabi organizations in Kosovo and international terrorism and Wahhabis as potential pool for operations.  Then I pointed historical and social link between organized crime groups and Kosovo’s political leaders.  All this has also its international dimensions.

The last and maybe the most dangerous connection is link between organized crime and Islamic terrorism because its thread to the rest of Europe.

Already 2005 Europol stated that the Albanian organized crime is related to the Islamic terrorism e.g.  where the Brussells based “Bureau also cooperated in other operations, investigating the dismantling of OC (Organized Crime, note AR)  groups that are known for suspicious financial transactions, Albanian organised crime, producing synthetic drugs and related to Islamic terrorism.” (Report here.)

Innovating Quadruple Helix

Today’s trend with economical development policy and projects is called a “Triple Helix Model or Approach”.  A triple helix regime typically begins as university, industry and government enter into a reciprocal relationship in which each attempts to enhance the performance of the other.

It seems that in Kosovo triple helix model has applied and further developed to “Fourfold Helix Model” where government, underworld, Wahhabbi schools and international terrorism have win-win symbiosis.  If sustainable succeed this model as innovation should gain next Nobelprize.

quadruple helix model

More my views over Balkans and Caucasus one may find from my Archives:Blog

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Th!nk – new forum for free journalism

December 3, 2008

Media is one of the most powerful factors in modern politics. It can help to start wars – like Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq – and it can also help to sop them like in case of Vietnam. Free and investigative journalism is a key element for implementing democratic ideals and for participatory process of social development.As EU Parliament Elections are coming a new campaign called TH!NK ABOUT IT will be launched to improve free journalism in Europe.

 

In January 09 the www.thinkaboutit.eu site will be launch with goal to get Europeans to express their views, reports, critique on Europe.Some 50 bloggers are participating for first Europe-wide blogging competition during first halve of year 2009 with aim to get Europeans to TH!NK ABOUT IT.The idea is to establish a dynamic community of bloggers, journalists and journalism students, a forum and a creative portal.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) is facilitator of this campaign. EJC is an independent, international, non-profit institute dedicated to the highest standards in journalism, primarily through the further training of journalists and media professionals.

One aim is to inspire youth involvement with the 2009 Parliamentary Elections of EU. In spite of this the campaign will cover issues Europe wide so the campaign, issues and debate is not limited inside EU member-states.EJC has already earlier had training and campaigns outside EU such as “Competition for Investigative Journalists from West Balkans”.I wish all the best for this campaign and hope that as its outcome we can enjoy more critical and multi-sided journalism in future.


Global Trends 2025

November 22, 2008

I just took a glance at very interesting new report published on 21st November 2008 by the United States National Intelligence Council – Washington’s main intelligence body.  The report, Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed, is published every four years to give U.S. leaders insight into looming problems and opportunities. This agency of agencies, formed in 1979, brings together analysis from each of America’s multiple intelligence organizations to develop mid- to long-term strategic thinking for the country’s security community.

Highlights

Here only few highlights of this 120 pages analysis:

  • The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.
  • “Europe by 2025 will have made slow progress toward achieving the vision of current leaders and elites: a cohesive, integrated, and influential global actor,” but not be a major military player. The European Union will be a “hobbled giant” crippled by internal bickering and a eurosceptic citizenry.
  • “Europe will remain heavily dependent on Russia for energy in 2025, despite efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • “Crime could be the gravest threat inside Europe as Eurasian transnational organisations – flush from involvement in energy and mineral concerns – become more powerful and broaden their scope.”
  • By 2025 “One or more governments in eastern or central Europe could fall prey to their domination,” the authors believe about Eastern European organised crime.

(The full report can be downloaded from http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_2025/2025_Global_Trends_Final_Report.pdf)

My view

Intelligence Services do not have very high respect in my mind, but this report anyway has some noteworthy observations or views for further consideration.

The future of EU can very well be like forecasted in report – big economic and weak military player on globe suffering same time from gap between EU (eurosceptic) citizens and EU bureaucracy. I personally think that EU structure will develop in circles. First there is a core around old big players France-Germany, second circle will be the rest EU member states who have strong national interests or exceptions to core’s politics, third circle would be EU’s cooperation neighbours under Northern or Mediterranean dimension (including e.g. Turkey which EU probably can not absorb as member state) and forth circle will be the rest of he world with different cooperation schemes (Partnership agreement with Russia, transatlantic cooperation with USA etc).

The picture of EU’s energy dependency on Russia is surprisingly realistic having in mind EU’s ambitious “Supergrid” plan published mid-November 2008 and US’s and EU’s recent marketing for “southern energy corridor” – Nabucco-line.(More in my article “Powergame in EU-Russia summit” on 14.11.2008 in my Archives:Blog).

Organized crime indeed can be also big thread and my bet is, that Kosovo – if regarded as a state – has good change be first “captured” state; the local government already is leaded by drug lords and crime tribes in the centre of Balkan route.

More my views over Balkans and Caucasus one may find from my Archives:Blog





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500.000 bodies or sign!

October 24, 2008

Some of you may have been reading my earlier column “Do you hear Mr. Nobel rolling in his grave? on 12th Oct.2008.  Now I was reading an shocking article “How the Nobel Peace Prize Was Won” by Gregory Elich at CounterPunch. Original article can be found from here.

One of the main points highlights Ahtisaari’s mediator tactics when he is threatening President Milosevic that those whom Ahtisaari represented were willing to flatten Belgrade and to kill 500.000 people in a week unless President Milosevic does not sign his offer.

Sign or get 500.000 bodies!

“Ahtisaari opened the meeting by declaring, “We are not here to discuss or negotiate,” after which Chernomyrdin read aloud the text of the plan. Ahtisaari says that Milosevic asked about the possibility of modifying the plan, to which he replied, “No. This is the best that Viktor and I have managed to do. You have to agree to it in every part.” Ristic reports that as Milosevic listened to the reading of the text, he realized that the “Russians and the Europeans had put us in the hands of the British and the Americans.” Milosevic took the papers and asked, “What will happen if I do not sign?” In answer, “Ahtisaari made a gesture on the table,” and then moved aside the flower centerpiece. Then Ahtisaari said, “Belgrade will be like this table. We will immediately begin carpet-bombing Belgrade.” Repeating the gesture of sweeping the table, Ahtisaari threatened, “This is what we will do to Belgrade.” A moment of silence passed, and then he added, “There will be half a million dead within a week.” Chernomyrdin’s silence confirmed that the Russian government would do nothing to discourage carpet-bombing. The meaning was clear. To refuse the ultimatum would lead to the deaths of large numbers of civilians and total devastation. President Milosevic summoned the leaders of the parties in the governing coalition and explained the situation to them. “A few things are not logical, but the main thing is, we have no choice. I personally think we should accept…To reject the document means the destruction of our state and nation.”

True story

I originally found above mentioned article from a column by Dr. Jan Oberg, who is a Danish co-founder of Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research.  He also checked from a  Canadian lawyer Chistopher Black if the quotation was true.  The lawyer confirmed that it was exactly the same what President Milosevic had earlier told him in his cell in the Hague.

Dr. Oberg published also 22nd Oct. 2008 an article which headline “Peace Laureate Ahtisaari endorsed terrorism” tells quite a lot about content. I really recommend you read this analytical article yourself.  It can be found from here. If link does not open so copy/paste following address: http://www.transnational.org/Resources_Treasures/2008/Oberg_Ahtisaari_2.html

The bottom line

After reading articles mentioned above, having followed Kosovo conflict management on the ground as well from different reports and sources I would conclude, that

  • methods to stop Nato bombings were not so sophisticated than maybe earlier assumed
  • it is not anymore unclear, why Serbs had reservations for Ahtisaari and his impartiality as UN envoy/mediator
  • it is easy to understand why there was not real negotiations – status talks – 2005-2006, why they failed and why the outcome – Ahtisaari plan/report – is what it is

The lesson learned could be that crisis management with using force to get imposed solutions without real negotiations between local stakeholders are not sustainable.



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