The De-Islamization of Kosovo

The following article presents a compelling proposal: that the newly-created state of Kosovo must be de-Islamized, for its own sake as well as that of its neighbors. The reason for this proposed initiative may come as a surprise to the reader.

Many thanks to our Albanian correspondent Ilia Toli, Ph.D., for the translation:

Kosovo: Referendum for De-Islamization?

By Kastriot Myftaraj

An article on Kosovo published at the Foreign Affairs journal is always interesting, because this is the journal for the Council on Foreign Relations, which is an important think tank with a high impact on the definition of the American foreign policy. In its number for May-June 2010 there appeared an article by Nikolas Gvosdev, entitled “Unfreezing Kosovo: Reconsidering Boundaries in the Balkans”. The author is at least as interesting as the article. Nikolas Gvosdev is a Russian-American, a former editor of the American journal The National Interest. Ever since 2008 he has been a professor at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island. The Naval War College is a school for the training of U.S. Marines, and a center for geostrategic studies. Nikolas Gvosdev indeed acts as a Russian lobbyist in the American establishment. He is for a policy of appeasement towards Russia and is even an apologist for the present authoritarian regime in the Kremlin, for which he has coined the term “managed pluralism.” Gvosdev is indeed a Russian lobbyist in the heart of the American strategic establishment. This is a symptom of the illness of the American society today, and would be one more footnote in the list of those identified by Samuel P. Huntington in the book Who Are We: The Challenges to America’s National Identity. (2004)

Map of Kosovo

Gvosdev in his article says that with its sponsoring of Kosovo’s independence the USA has entered a dead end, because Kosovo failed to be recognized by the majority of world’s countries, that Kosovo is a failed state from the economic and institutional viewpoint, and that American support for Kosovo has hampered American collaboration with Serbia. Gvosdev suggests that in order to move forward Washington must end the connection between the independence question and the question of the borders. In other words, the question whether should there be an independent state with Albanian majority in Kosovo must be treated separately from the territorial issues. There are precedents to this approach: After WWI, before their creation, the international community recognized that the independent states of Poland and Armenia should be created. Today the Israel-Palestine peace process began with the assumption that the solution should finalize with the creation of two independent states, though there were no solutions to the territorial issues. Even during the failed Rambouillet negotiations diplomats committed the error of insisting that an independent Kosovo must cover the whole of the province, as defined by Josip Broz Tito. The issue of territorial adjustments must certainly be on the table. The general outlines of a solution are clear: regions with a Serb majority north of the Ibar river must belong to Serbia, with some adjustments made for the important sites of Serb heritage and the enclaves in South Kosovo.

In short, what Gvosdev suggests is the partition of Kosovo, with Serbia taking a part of it and the rest remaining as an independent state of Kosovo. Gvosdev takes no care to disguise his pro-Serb attitude [nor do I! — translator]. He says that it was a mistake to take for granted borders designed by Tito for Kosovo, but does not say that even these borders were at the expense of the Albanians, because they left out of Kosovo the Preševo Valley, which is evident. In a land-for-land agreement with Serbia, this solves only a part of Kosovo’s problems as presented by Gvosdev, citing even a high American official, that “As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said recently, Kosovo is hampered by ‘high unemployment, low investment rates, and a relatively small economic base.’ The government in Priština requires Western aid to meet its expenses. Meanwhile, Kosovo remains a regional hub for narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking, with corruption a major deterrent to foreign investment.” If Kosovo is partitioned, these problems will remain, their cause being the meager economic base and the diminutive dimensions of the country. Kosovo will be a poor country with circa 9000 square km and over 2,000,000 inhabitants, which will not make it interesting to foreign investors. This will create a vicious circle in which the institutions cannot function, corruption and organized crime cannot be fought because of the poverty, and the poverty cannot be mitigated for lack of foreign investment.

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What are we left with then, if Kosovo is partitioned again? If it is to be partition, as Gvosdev suggests, then there is only one reasonable scenario that solves the issue: partition of Kosovo between Serbia and Albania. If the issue on the table is partition, then negotiations must not be held between Belgrade and Priština, but between Belgrade and Tirana. This would be the optimal solution for the issues at Gvosdev presents. So, 2,000,000 Albanians would be added to a country of 38,000 square km, with a wide sea outlet, where there is already important foreign investment, which would automatically expand to the market in Kosovo. The increase of the Albanian market by 2,000,000 people would push other foreign investors to come to the country. If the partition were between Albania and Serbia, then even Preševo Valley would be on the table, as a compensation for the territory that Serbia would be taking in North Kosovo.

But Gvosdev does not want Kosovo to be partitioned between Albania and Serbia, he wants the independent state of Kosovo to remain, so that when conditions are ripe, Serbia may annex it, ethnically cleansing the Albanians. Gvosdev offers an expedient in his paper, which Serbia can use in the future, when he suggests the solution for the places of Serb cultural heritage that remain under the Kosovo state and the Serb-majority townships there:

“One possible model for the latter is the agreement reached between Italy and the Vatican in 1929. For decades, the Catholic Church had not recognized the takeover of Rome by Italy in 1870; the Italian state was similarly uninclined to cede its claim over its capital city. The Lateran Treaty resolved this issue by establishing Vatican City as a neutral but independent state. Additionally, the Vatican received extraterritorial rights over sacred sites in and around Rome and in other parts of Italy. Of course, the Kosovo case is not identical, but the Lateran model could provide guidelines for a sustainable settlement.”

A professor such as Gvosdev is not ignorant; he knowingly and grossly lies, as the Russian-Serb lobbyist that he is. The Lateran Treaty was implemented to guarantee the continuity of the existence of the Holy See as a state, as it was up until 1870, when the territory of the Papal States was annexed by Italy. In the case of Kosovo, Professor Gvosdev demands that this status be given to the Serbian Church. With the Ahtisaari plan, whose points now have been made into laws by the parliament of Kosovo, the Serbian Church earns practically the status of an independent country, as it enjoys sovereignty over vast territories, of the holy places in Kosovo, and in territories around them. Also the Serbian Church of Kosovo has earned other attributes that enable it to behave as a state; among others, tax and customs privileges, and the right to import and export goods with such privileges “for the economic activity that the Serbian Church exercises in Kosovo to sustain itself”. But these provisions are so wide that the Serbian Church has the right to import and export machinery, raw materials, goods, that would make it a center of black market activity and fiscal evasion for the entire Serb community in Kosovo, and probably also for the other communities that would collaborate with it. The Serbian Church in Kosovo is in a very favorable position to do this, because it exercises sovereignty over 42 places, the so-called protected areas, which are found all over Kosovo.

The Serbian Church of Kosovo has a peculiarity preventing it from acquiring the status that the Vatican attained with the Lateran Treaty. The Vatican was not connected with another state, and its center was in Rome, and not in another state. The Serbian Church of Kosovo is part of Serbian Church with its center in Belgrade, and is recognized as such by the Ahtisaari plan. For a similar reason the relations between Kingdom of Italy and Vatican were frozen till the end of WWI. The Holy See, with its center in Rome, was traditionally connected with the Holy Roman Empire, whose successor state was Austria-Hungary. The Italian kingdom, created in 1861, warily watched the special relationship between the Vatican and Vienna. It took the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of WWI to create the conditions for a treaty between Italy and the Vatican. Had the Serbian Church taken the status the Vatican has in Italy, this would just be a state expedient for Serbia inside what remains of Kosovo. The Serbian Church will be a micro-empire, with 42 micro-principalities distributed all around Kosovo, that would declare war on Kosovo. Through such a basis, Serbia would enact scenarios to undo the state of Kosovo, after the example of Israel in Gaza and West Bank. If the Serbian Church of Kosovo keeps the status that it has, scenarios of Islamic terrorist attacks against Serb holy places will be plotted that will bring about the intervention of the Serb army in Kosovo. The more the number of KFOR troops diminishes, the more Serbia will be tempted to do so in the future.

From the Gvosdev paper Albanians of Kosovo must understand the dangers that may come from where they least expect them, from the USA. Kosovo Albanians must learn a lesson from the fact that Serbia is using religion to regain control over Kosovo. Serbia lost Kosovo in the war, but it is earning it in peace, through the Serbian Church. But for Serbia to win this battle in peace, Kosovo must have an Islamic profile, with mosques, waqfs [Islamic trusts], madrassas, and crowds of Muslim believers that pray in on religious holidays. In such circumstances, Kosovo Albanians have one only alternative: to de-Islamize Kosovo. Either Kosovo Albanians will self-de-Islamize, or Islam will strangle them, serving as the loop by which Serbia will strangle them. Many people in Kosovo won’t care about this, because they think that it’s better to go to Jannat strangled by Serbs than to Jannam [Muslim hell — translator] as a denier of Islam. But I hold the belief that the vast majority of Kosovo Albanians don’t think that way. Kosovo Albanians must think about a referendum for the de-Islamization of Kosovo.

26 thoughts on “The De-Islamization of Kosovo

  1. After looking at the facebook profile for the cathedral, I cannot help but notice the similarities to a mosque, if only due to the towers resembling minarets.

  2. Interesting Ilia Toli about the Africans. And I was not aware of Notre Dame having such towers, thanks for the lesson 🙂

  3. Nikolas Gvosdev indeed acts as a Russian lobbyist in the American establishment. He is for a policy of appeasement towards Russia

    Appeasement? Neocon alert.

    and is even an apologist for the present authoritarian regime in the Kremlin, for which he has coined the term “managed pluralism.”

    If only Russians could have nice democratic governments like Sweden, Britain, and Albania. I’m sure the Russian people are jealous of Americans over President Barry Obama.

  4. Upon reading the history of Serbia, I have to conclude that Kosovo is Serbian land.

    Mr Gvosdev would have been better employed pointing out the totally illegimate action and treachery of America and her so-called allies, in interfering in the affairs of a sovereign state in the first place which has led to the loss of Serbian territory and the huge and horrific loss of Serbian Christian lives especially during the troubled period of the 1990s.

    Albanians are die-hard followers of Mohammad and are not likely to agree to the de-islamization of that part of Kosovo currently under Islamic control.

    What utter nievety and idiocy to imagine otherwise.

  5. Historical justice should prevail and Kosovo should be returned to Serbia, its rightful owner. The Albanian population should be transfered to Albania.

  6. Félicie,

    Kosovo belongs to the albanians and for much more than a decade,more than a century ago Kosovo was already albanian, what you propose is similar to giving back Prussia, Pomeramia and Silesia to Germany.

  7. This may sound odd coming from a Serb who’s been writing about the issue of Kosovo’s illegal occupation by Albanian militants for the past 11 years, but… that isn’t actually the issue here, so let’s not hijack GoV for that discussion.

    It is nothing short of fascinating that the author of the original article has come to believe that the Albanians’ Muslim religion has become a political liability. After all, Albanians initially settled in Kosovo and later came to dominate the territory thanks to their identity as the Ottoman Turks’ trusted Muslim subjects (versus the perpetually rebellious Orthodox Serbs). Islam was part and parcel of Albanian nationalism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, however, only a handful of Islamic countries have recognized the “independent state of Kosovo” – and here’s a voice suddenly finding Islam a liability!

    What I’d like to know is how realistic the idea of de-Islamizing the Albanians actually is, and whether there’s been any actual effort to put it into practice. Otherwise, this could all just be a smokescreen for the Western public, in an effort to deflect criticism. Which, after all, is the motive the author himself admits to.

  8. After all, Albanians initially settled in Kosovo and later came to dominate the territory thanks to their identity as the Ottoman Turks’ trusted Muslim subjects

    Trust me, the Ottomans trusted more their Orthodox subjects, not their muslim subjects, especially Albanians. No case there:

  9. for Serbia to win this battle in peace, Kosovo must have an Islamic profile, with mosques, waqfs [Islamic trusts], madrassas, and crowds of Muslim believers that pray in on religious holidays. In such circumstances, Kosovo Albanians have one only alternative: to de-Islamize Kosovo.
    Serbia has played the religious card before, and will do so again. What worries me is the US State Department, which insists on using Albanian “muslim” currency, to purchase global muslim goodwill. Time and again I listed to Sec. Clinton use the adjective ‘muslim’ every time she mentions Albanian.

  10. ). Islam was part and parcel of Albanian nationalism throughout the 19th and 20th centuries

    Go to my blog: you’ll find otherwise. It amazes me how our closest neighbors know next to nothing about us..this is nothing short of RIDICULOUS, especially for an academic

  11. Furthermore to the central idea of this article: think of Serbs and their country as nothing more than little Russians. Serbia as a state was conceived in Moscow in Catherine the Great’s court as part of their “Return to Constantinople” Project. I guess Ivan doesnt give up (poor Ivan thinks he’s a Roman)

    Here’s how Serbia allows Russia to project power in Europe(from American Enterprise Institute)

  12. I am not Serbian and I don’t have any Serbian friends or relatives, but I am 100% behind Serbia. They have the historical claim. Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. Let’s say that in a 100 years, London will become an independent Muslim state. What should be the reaction of the English? Who cares about the demographics today? You have to see the big historical picture.

    I hope that this site is not being overrun by Albanians. This will surely keep the Serbian contributors away, which is a pity. Albanians are not part of the European destiny. In Sweden, we have a lot of problems with Albanian criminality.

  13. Ilia Toli: “I thank God that I live in the USA and don’t have to convince you that I am a good Albanian, Felicie.”

    You don’t have to convince me. I readily believe you that you are a good Albanian and wish you well. But Albanians as a group are troublemakers. I know it from experience. They are problematic immigrant populations and are not integrable into Western societies (although individual Albanians may very well be).

  14. . I am the translator, pro-Serb Albanian

    Dude, you seriously have to have your head checked. A Kosovar was raped by Serbs, but would say that she’s had worse from her own lot? Are you out of your friggin mind?

    Are the rest of you who listen to this self-confessed caveman, COMPLETELY UNHINGED?

  15. But Albanians as a group are troublemakers. I know it from experience. They are problematic immigrant populations

    Check your assumptions..if we are where you are we have not come as immigrants.

  16. I see that all anti-Albanian comments are coming from Serbs that chosen Western nicknames to leave comments. They pretend to be French, American and other European but their retard way of Milosevic regime thinking is betrying them. Much propaganda of Serb “historians” alias fairytellers, is quoted in their comments. The only truth is that Serbia wanted Greater Serbia, fought and lost the war. Serbs came in Balkans in 7 century, in Kosovo thay came in 14 century. When they came, they found there Albanians, living there since the beggining of times. Now, they have started to even try and write history backwards-they are willing to adopt everything Albanian for themselves. Even Serb priests admitt the monastiries are built in the foundation of much older churches-those os Albanian Christians. And now, Serbs are trying what to invent so to denie it. They cannot-there are many many archives around Europe to prove Albanians are most ancient people of Europe.

  17. Ilia-ignore that idiot. Serbs use Albanian nicknames like arnaut and similar to leave an impression they are Albanians or because they want to be Albanians :)))
    In the qafirarnaut’s nickname you see he chosen Turk ” qafir” and than added arnaut, so it is obvious he’s here to provoke. Qafir otherwise is Serb word which shows the relation Serbs have with their Turk cousins.

  18. You what else I think Jupiter? I think the Serbs are so deranged they even Serbianized Kosova into “Kosovo”. Strange because Kosovo is not even called Kosovo, the real name is Kosova. As the Albanian irredentists have made clear.

    Oh well, who am I to judge. The Albanian irredentists have this little war, we ought to think more like them. We ought to be more violent, bigoted, duplicitous and very very sexist.

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