Friday, December 02, 2005

The battle for Kosovo moves to the corridors of US power

By Guy Dinmore
Published: December 2 2005 02:00 | Last updated: December 2 2005 02:00

From the muddy fields and torched villages of Kosovo six years ago, the struggle of its Albanian majority for independence from Serbia is moving to the political battlegrounds of Washington.

Although Martti Ahtisaari, the special United Nations envoy and former Finnish president, launched his shuttle diplomacy in the Balkans last week in a bid to negotiate a final settlement, all sides recognise the critical importance of lobbying the US now that the Bush administration has decided it will actively push the process to a resolution.

All sides involved in the "final status" talks also agree that the status quo is untenable. Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when Nato bombed Serbia and occupied the province to halt waves of ethnic cleansing and killings of the non-Serb population, made up mostly of Muslim Albanians.

Since then, about half the Serb minority has fled the historic cradle of their Christian Orthodox heritage, as ethnic grievances simmer and sometimes explode into violence.

Last month, in the august settings of Washington's elite Metropolitan Club, the "Alliance for a New Kosovo" launched its drive for independence.

Following a well-worn campaign trail, the Kosovo Albanians have a put up a large pool of money, attracted big names among former US officials, brought in a big ticket think-tank and international lobbying company and marshalled their supporters in Congress.

"The only reasonable answer is independence," declared Samuel Hoskinson, president of the Alliance and former deputy head of the National Intelligence Council.

He was joined at the Metropolitan by Frank Carlucci, former defence secretary and emeritus chairman of the Carlyle Group, the private investment firm close to the Bush administration. He warned that Russia, the traditional ally of the Serbs, had fired a warning shot in opposition. "But this is a road we have to travel," he said.

Other former officials suggested the US might have to resort to an "imposed settlement" if Serbia did not yield from its position of "more than autonomy, less than independence".

The conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a prestigious think-tank whose analyst, Janusz Bugajski, advises the Alliance.

It has also hired Jefferson Waterman International, a lobbying company. Unannounced behind the scenes, however, was the man who made it all happen - Behgjet Pacolli, head of the Swiss-based Mabetex Group and possibly the world's richest Albanian. A resident of Lugano, Mr Pacolli is seeking to convert his wealth into political influence in his native Kosovo, where he grew up in poverty.

Now he numbers the rich and famous among his friends, including former presidents Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton.

Serbia has not yet found the right lobbying company to fight its cause, although President Boris Tadic has employed RSLB, a Washington consultancy, in his capacity as head of the Democratic party. RSLB is run by a group of Israeli businessmen and former officials and military figures, including Yuval Rabin, son of the assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. This has raised speculation that the Serbian side hopes to attract the support of Washington's influential Jewish lobby groups.

The battle is also being played out in Congress, where Serbia is immediately handicapped on the war crimes issue. As long as Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the two Bosnian Serbs wanted for war crimes, remain at large then Serbia will struggle to win explicit backing.

Nonetheless, the Serbs have recently won some skirmishes on Capitol Hill where they have established a Serbian caucus. Last month, the Senate approved a non-binding resolution sponsored by George Voinovich, the Ohio Republican, that urged Kosovo and Serbia to compromise.

Serbs also see victory in a decision by Tom Lantos, a veteran California Democrat in the House, not to try to push through a resolution backing independence. Prominent committee members argued against the proposed bill a year ago. A spokeswoman for Mr Lantos said he had decided to let the Bush administration "pursue its new course" over Kosovo.

Officially the administration says it takes no position on the "final status" talks but that it will not let the matter drag on. Together with the European powers, it says Kosovo cannot be partitioned, or merge with Albania or parts of Macedonia.

But European diplomats strongly believe the US favours "conditional" or "supervised" independence. This would entail Kosovo remaining a ward of the international community for several years until given full statehood and eventual membership of Nato and the European Union. Serbia - and probably an independent Montenegro if it votes to leave its union with Serbia - would be given the same inducements.

Nicholas Burns, the senior State Department official handling the Balkan file, told a Senate hearing: "I made clear to them [the Kosovo Albanian leadership] that independence must be earned".

While some interpreted this to mean the US favoured such an outcome, Mr Burns also said neither side would get everything it wanted and that peace required compromises.

Andy Verich of the non-profit Serbian Unity Congress points out that ethnic Serbs, a large diaspora, played a role in George W. Bush's 2004 election victory. He counters suggestions that the White House has already made its mind up over Kosovo. "It's not all over yet," he says.

19 comments:

Kosovar2006 said...

Albanian Lobby looks pretty strong but If Tadic(he is Jewish btw) gets Jewish Lobby behind him then there could be a challange for us.

Jewish are the most ifluencial of them all they can do anything in american politics which worries me a little.

Israel has never messed wih Albanians(I dont really know how the relations are) we shall see if they are gonna go all the way with the support for serbia.

This is a very interesting situation I think

Great Albania said...

A lot of Jews hid in Albania during World War Two. I personally do not believe that Jews will support fucking serbian whores. Albanians and Jews have a lot in common, with exception of religious beliefs.

arianit said...

I wish Albanians in Germany would do more to influence German policy towards Kosova, like Albanian-Americans are doing in the States. There are something like 400,000 Albanians in Germany and that's serious political capital for any party to reckon with.
The Swiss attributed their support for independence to the considerable Albanian population in their country. And Pacolli probably helped clarify things, too :)

Mir said...

Don't underestimate the Jewish people of Israel, their military is a pitbull on a leash.

-Mitar

zotrules said...

I've heard on the radio smth like 10 years ago, the head of the Israel-Albania friendship association, Mr Gavra Mandil. His voice was really troubled when speaking of Albania and Albanians; he was to the point of crying during all that programme. He was himself a survivor that had found shelter in the "second paradise of Jews, - Albania". Among all what he said, there was a point which really astounds me even to-date. He said that Jews remember very well their enemies as well as they remember and never forget their friends...(in this case, Albanians).
But, it really seems that Jews don't remember nothing, they don't know a thing about Albania; it seems like Albanians(in jewish consideration) were some Jewish-hating islamic enclave in the heart of west.
Well, to cut it short, Albanians, be they muslims or christians, they all believe in the God of Israel, and He's the God that never forgets. And if this is not the time to punish Serbs and their historical bestiality, then this is the time to reward Albanians and their loyalty, their godliness and their unmatchable humanity among other nations. Albanian strength doesn't abide in numbers and ravaging cruelty...it abides in loyalty(bese) and goodness. Full double stop.

armera said...

Let us set few things strait here.

Kosovar2006, Tadic is not a Jew (I really don’t know where you got this idea). In fact Tadic is a son of a high ranked Cetnik commander under Draza Mihajlovic. A Serbian Orthodox can not be a Jew at the same time. That is where it ends.

Mir, on your case I don’t know what you mean by Israel’s Military? As the name tells you it is the Army of people of Israel. I don’t think you can count on Russian Military let alone Israelis. That is where this ends as well.

Few facts,
- Albanians are recognized officially as a friendly nation during and after the WW2.
- Today some of our strongest lobbying groups comprise of American Jews. Eliot Engel, Tom Lantos just to name few. I can give you some literature references on this subject written by Jews if you are interested on educating yourself.
- Jews know very well what it means to be persecuted and they can empathize with our cause, after all they did go through times that we are going right now before us, and managed to build a strong country today.
- I will never forget the fact that when Albanians were driven away from Serbian forces from Kosova, the first country to send Aid, and over 100 doctors was Israel. When asked by journalist some of the doctors declared that they came here to pay back the deeds Albanians did for their Parents/Grandparents during the WW2. They have done this before any other European country.
- It is a well known fact that Serbs always persecuted Jews in history, just like they do other nations today. Now they are asking the very same for help.
I can go on and on with this but I think this makes the point.

If anything Israel will be one of our strongest allies.

One other thing not related to all this. I just came back from the concert of Ardit Gjebrea in Toronto. What an evening! Shqiptar nga te gjitha trojet, te gjithe si nje te bashkuar rreth flamurit.

Kosovar2006 said...

Armera I don't just get ideas about what someone is. I read it somewhere can't find the source now. I never thought I had to use it thats why i never kept it in my bookmarks

But I know Tadic is also the son of Klara Mandic(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1325574.stm), left-wing Jewish intellectual very close to milosevic and Karadzic read the article from bbc. His main advisor is Predrag Markovic head of the "Jewish-Serbian society" 'Prijateljstvo Srba i Jevreja'(http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/12sekntx.html)
Thats the hebrew University link.

Thats couple information that i came across that made me conclude that Tadic is Jewish. I dont just bring ideas out of nowhere.

I really don't care if I have the Jews in my side or not or if they have forgotten the good we have done to them I am looking at my own agenda making KOSOVA a sate by mid-2006.

Mir I am not under estimating the Jewish power their group Zionist do control most of global politics they have the most WMD in the world military is mighty. Simply I am not feared of anybody, all i know Kosova is becoming a state even if the entire world goes against it. They just have to wipe out every single albanian alive.

armera said...

Kosovar2006,

I am asking you again, where did you get the idea that Tadic is a Jew?

You are stating that you read, and that Clarea Tadic is his mother, well read again. I didn't see it anywhere in your link where it states that she is his mother. Clara Tadic was a Jew that was murdered by Serbs.

Now read this:
Boris Tadic is the son of Nevenka and Ljubomir Tadić both Orthodox Serbs.
(http://www.politika.co.yu/ilustro/2372/1.htm)
See this picture of Tadic in Orthodox church. Since when Jews pray in church?
(http://www.compuserve.nl/intershare/assets/compuserve/nieuws_ap/scaled222/xdmv1040214.jpg)
You may have chosen to fight against the world, however I believe that most of Albanians have chosen to work with the world to creat an independent free democratic country.

Please try not to impose in this blog your views as the views of all Albanians, instead express your own opinion. By doing so you are doing more harm to the cause then help it.

Dardania 2006 said...

There are no Jews left in Serbia. The Jewish nation was wiped out around 60 years ago.

On the other hand, come to Prishtina, still are left, most moved to Isreal since of course life is better there.. :)

Kosovar2006 said...

Armera my bad, Well maybe I did get it wrong, By the way I found the article but it wasn’t form same source as I am given now, found it in yahoo
http://www.overthrow.com/lsn/news.asp?articleID=7349

Maybe they were talking about a different Boris Tadic, but anyway your sources look more reliable. It was my misinterpretation of what I have read. You don’t have to attack me in personal way though!
Can I suggest reading this article as well, meeting-between Sharon and Tadic:
http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Communication/EventsDiary/event091105.htm
Just a suggestion

First of all I don’t choose to fight the world, I just said that I don’t really care if the world is against me when I know that my fight is for the right which our people deserve. An independent state and their freedom. That’s what I fight for .I don’t ‘suck up’ to nobody. Independence is the goal and I will try and reach it what ever it takes like many Albanians have tried before me

Excuse me. I don't impose or generalise any views if you read my comments carefully I do use continuously 'I'or'my'. It is no way as you said 'your views as the views of all Albanians'. I am just one individual that tries to bring a different perspective to each article. There are those that agree with me and those that disagree, its fine by me. I do try and express my views and learn from others, and if I’m wrong well I admitted it and learn from it.

It’s all good by me. You learn something new everyday.

So no need for personal verbal attack!
Peace be upon you my friend ;)

tironsi said...

Out of curiosity a little searching brought up this page: http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/HolocaustAppendices.html

muslim said...

Greetings for you my dear albanians.I am a albanian muslim and for me like jewish and serbs are the same.Serbs had killed albanians in kosovo,jews kills muslim brothers and sisters in over the world like in irak,afghanistan and palestine.Shame on them,and shame on you that you are defending jews.There is just one Good and it is Allah not jewish Good but the only Good.

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Israel has never messed wih Albanians(I dont really know how the relations are) we shall see if they are gonna go all the way with the support for serbia.

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