Page 961 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
P. 961

generation of albanian politicians in these political par- ties—some of them educated in the West—is still not strong enough to take power and lead the society toward euro- pean standards and the rule of law. Generally, the Kosovo albanian political elite lacks the european vision of demo- cratic society in which all citizens would be equal regard- less of their ethnicity and religion.
a specific problem in Kosovo is the existing albanian clan structures, traditional family clans and mafia clans that have divided the territory into clearly defined interest zones. The clan structures are deeply involved in organized crime: arms and drug trafficking, prostitution, racketeer- ing, etc. The clans want to preserve control over Kosovo institutions and would like Kosovo state bodies to serve as a smokescreen behind which they could continue to ac- cumulate their illegally gained wealth. in order to cool the social tension, these structures and their political repre- sentatives (leaders) claim that the main reason for the dif- ficult social and economic situation is the unsettled status of the province. Serbs are often labelled as the “fifth col- umn,” the main obstacle to a free and prosperous Kosovo. in order to cover up their illegal activities, these structures are spending large sums of money on building monuments to “war heroes and martyrs,” organizing KLa memorial services and other extremist events. The clan structures among albanians are also the greatest obstacle to the im- plementation of the UNMiK regulations and the Kosovo- wide political decisions on the municipal level.
Recently the former KLa structures have shown in- tense interest in preserving their accumulated wealth and political power through an independent Kosovo. at the same time, they are challenged by a younger generation of extremists who claim that the former leaders have betrayed the original KLa ideals and become “Western political pup- pets.”Theseextremistgroupsincreasinglytendtowardthe extremist KLa ideology characteristic of this movement in its beginnings—the unification of all albanian-inhabited territories and the complete ethnic cleansing of non-alba- nians from Kosovo. These groups (LPK, LPKC, FBKS and their military wing, the aKSh) are acting in close connec- tion with radical elements in the KPC and war veterans. in some parts of Kosovo these structures have a very strong impact on the local police and judiciary. Most recently they have been joined by the ultra-radical Self-Determination “youth” movement led by albin Kurti. So-called “institu- tionalized KLa structures,” i.e. leaders of the biggest po- litical parties and their extended families, fear that in the event Kosovo is not granted independence, they may lose popular support. That is why they systematically claim that the failure to deliver independence to Kosovo would im- mediately trigger massive riots against the internationals and Kosovo Serbs. The new-generation nationalists, to- gether with some older-generation ideological leaders from Kosovo and the FYR of Macedonia, are intensively prepar- ing themselves for extremist actions. Their ideology is in-
Kosovo and Metohija
creasingly reverting to the irredentism of communist times, and some of their leaders still venerate former communist dictator of albania enver Hoxha and his Marxist-Leninist ideas about Western imperialism and colonialism, which they now recognize in the international presence of NaTO troops and UN Mission.
an additional problem in Kosovo is the increasing dan- ger of islamic radicalism. although generally secular Mus- lims, Kosovo albanians are gradually falling under the in- fluence of some international Muslim charity organiza- tions and Wahhabi groups spreading their influence to Kosovo through Macedonia, albania and the Raška (San- jak) region in Serbia adjacent to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The involvement of four Kosovo albanians in a terror plot against the US military base at Fort Dix in New jersey in May 2007 has demonstrated again that extremist groups close to al-Qaeda have found a foothold in Kosovo as in other Muslim-inhabited parts of the Western Balkans. Un- der the inherently weak provisional, albanian-dominated institutions, clan structures and mentality and a highly de- veloped organized crime network, terrorism with islamic background may become one of the most dangerous threats not only to Kosovo and the Balkans but to other european countries as well.
The overview of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija eight years after the beginning of the UNMiK Mission shows a very bleak picture. The planned eU Mission in Kosovo will inevitably face serious challenges that UNMiK failed to resolve. The belief generally accepted in many Western countries that Kosovo independence would trim down the accumulated social and economic tensions may have only a short-term effect, lasting only as long as the initial eu- phoria. On the contrary, it has become obvious that an in- dependent Kosovo with its inherently weak institutions and powerful clan structures would hardly be able to func- tion according to the rule of law and to consolidate eco- nomically and politically for years to come despite strong international presence. in such a situation, the thriving or- ganized crime and terrorism may seriously worsen the situ- ation in the region and destabilize eU efforts to bring long- term stability to the western Balkans. Should attacks on Serbs and ethnic discrimination continue, and there are not many indications that this may change after the status settlement, Kosovo will hardly ever establish normal rela- tions with Belgrade, without which its economy cannot develop normally in the future. attempts by Kosovo ultra- nationalists to boost albanian secessionist movements in Montenegro, Macedonia, central Serbia’s Preševo area, to reopen the question of Chams in northern Greece, will further complicate interethnic relations and put in danger long-term stability in Serbia and elsewhere in the western Balkans.

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