Sunday, February 24, 2008

EU withdraws from Northern Kosovo

"Hopes for a peaceful conclusion to the declaration of Kosovo's independence were fading as the European Union announced it had withdrawn its staff from the north of the fledgling country in the face of increasingly angry Serb protests."

So begins the utterly predictable reaction of the EU to Serb anger as their "army in suits" pre-emptively withdraws.

At the same time, KFOR, the Nato-led peacekeeping force, sealed the border to Serbia, after angry mobs torched border crossings. ...

Yesterday Peter Feith, the EU's Kosovo envoy, said security concerns were behind the withdrawal of his staff from northern Kosovo. They had been preparing the ground for a 2,000-strong EU rule of law mission. "I would like to appeal to the Serb community to be generous and to turn the page and look forward to working together with us," he said. "We hope that conditions will soon allow us to resume our activities."

Translation. We'll return when NATO makes it safe enough for us to return.

The wider impact of the Kosovo crisis is the precedent that it sets for many of the "frozen conflicts" of the world, ranging from Azerbaijan to the Basque region. Remarkably, many Muslim countries have refused to recognize Kosovo. And their reluctance is fueled in part by the desire to avoid stirring up separatism. Therefore Kosovo has been sold by the EU and the US as an "exception" to the general rule.

The problem is that the Serbs are taking the cue from the Kosovars. If Kosovo can split from Serbia why can't Serbian regions split from Kosovo? The EU believed that by throwing a protective blanket of "suits" around the Serbs in the north that Kosovo might be held together. But as the experience of Iraq shows, stabilization can only occur where security is guaranteed. The crisis that will face Western policy in Kosovo is whether they are up to providing "security" which is another word for military force, to back up their "army of suits". The suits can't deploy without the uniforms.




54 Comments:

Blogger Who Struck John said...

Having brought forth the crisis, the suits will now scurry for cover until their betters bleed to make it safe for suits again.

2/24/2008 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

If the Clash of Civilizations occurring along Islamic fault lines is indeed the defining civilizational issue of the 21st Century then recognizing the extra legal independence of Kosovo is a major bonehead move.

Ultimately, the clash is between a world view that makes men Allah's non-thinking automatons and women but 1/2 a man, and a world view that has raised the standard of living of billions of people to heights not imaginable even a few generations ago.

Ideas mean something. Every confrontational success or failure validates the ideas of one side or the other in a zero sum game. What do we benefit by handing a victory of any kind to Islam? There are many arguments that could be made about the vicitmhood of the Kosovors but the creation from nothing of a new Islamic state in Europe is the real story. How many times have we heard of the necessity to fight jihadism on many levels? How is shooting Taliban in Afghansitan while surrendering at the state creation level a good thing?

I couldn't begin to count the number of posts I've read (and have written) about how the real danger to Western Civ is the loss of moral direction in the West - if only the Europeans, in particular, would take a moment to reflect on their Judeo-Christian heritage they would find the philosophical footing to stand up for themselves and push jihadism off the continent.

Well, those Europeans do exist in places called Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Serbia, and in Russia too. Christendom - believe it or not is a word and concept still in use in the Orthodox countries. Christianity is very much alive in Central Europe and is very much a part of daily life despite the generational attempt of the Communists to bury it forever.

Life is rougher around the edges of the Islamic fault lines, and this where the Orthodox countries live. Politics are raw. Elected leaders can be thugs. Liberty can have the half life of a quantum particle. So what? I've paid up my touchy-feely dues and have turned in that membership card.

The Brits doll out to Muslim polygamists about $10,000 per wife. The Serbs put their own bodies on the line to build a wall against Muslim encroachment. We should be extending our palm to the people who have fought this fight for 700 years, and not be clucking in righteous judgment while giving them the back of our hand.

As I see it the USA is again trading its goodwill with the Orthodox countries, which are at least in a position to help put the squeeze on Iran and limit long term Islamic influence in the Caspian Basin, for the illusion of goodwill with Islam which has a proven value of exactly zero. In 1999 Sandy Berger admitted that NATO was intervening "for the Muslims." What did that goodwill get us?

On the more personal level many Serbs consider Kosovo the birthplace of their unique Serbian identity. One of Huntington's intriguing thoughts was that you could more easily grasp the concepts behind the Clash of Civilizations by overlaying today's maps with a political map of Central Europe in the 1500s. What we are doing today is kicking the Serbs, and indirectly the other Orthodox countries, in the teeth to expand the Islamic empire. How does that make sense? Do we say "poor little misunderstand Kosovors" and just watch them start (continue) tearing down 1,000 year old Christian monasteries?

2/24/2008 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger Clyde said...

It's not surprising to see the EU doing a "brave, brave Sir Robin" act. They had all of the fight beaten out of them sixty years ago and it never came back.

That said, you've got two groups of people who want to kill each other. How smart is it to get in their way? Better to stand back and let them duke it out, then deal with the winners as necessary.

And, pace, Peter, there's very little to recommend the Serbs over the Kosovars, as far as I'm concerned. Being "not-Muslim" only counts for so much. Joe Stalin wasn't a Muslim, either.

2/24/2008 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Being "not-Muslim" only counts for so much. Joe Stalin wasn't a Muslim, either.

True enough but he is also a big reason why they are not speaking German in Paris and London today.

Western Europe is old, tired, and emasculated. They're building their postmodern utopia for a pensioned population on the expectation that the elites can manage their immigration problems better than the Romans did.

Global investment capital is moving East and so should our strategic interests. We don't have to hand Putin the keys to the executive washroom, but we don't have to stick our finger in his eye just to feel good either.

2/24/2008 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Peter has a strong point.

I think it was Mathuselah some time back in these comments catching a lot of grief over saying that the west should take another look at Milosevic, rather than so blithely and unthinkingly consigning him to the simplified status of just another war criminal.

2/24/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Make sure the Kosovars are armed, and then stand back and let them kill each other until it is settled one way or the other.

I do NOT want America to get (re)involved in this little drama, either financially or militarily.

And the thought does cross my mind how interesting it would be if we allowed this insignificant and bloody part of the world to draw us once again into a world-wide conflagration, this time igniting the Clash of Civilizations between Muslim and non-Muslim.

Before that happens, I want to see every single Serb and every single Kosovar dead, having killed each other off, because I'm not willing to nuke Iran on Serbia's say-so.

2/24/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Prodajniye."

That's a word my dad likes to use. It roughly translates as "easy to be sold/bought." i.e. A bunch of whores.

And I agree.

That about sums up the situation as far as it concerns our western political class, from the BBC down.

2/24/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger eatyourbeans said...

I'm with Peter. The time may come when Moscow, not Washington, will be leader of the West. Sorry, St Ronald, but America just wasn't up to the job.

2/24/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Michael T said...

Peter: If the Clash of Civilizations occurring along Islamic fault lines is indeed the defining civilizational issue of the 21st Century then recognizing the extra legal independence of Kosovo is a major bonehead move.

Kosovo is hardly Islamist. Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo are the closest thing the world has to Muslims In Name Only.

Kosovars are more pro-American than anyone else in Europe.

2/24/2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger RKV said...

Kosovo is Europe's problem. Let them deal with it. Or not. It's time for Europe to spend more than 2.5% of its GDP on military and defense needs.

2/24/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Kosovo is hardly Islamist."

The 50 Jews remaining in KOSOVO don't seem to think so. They see Saudia in KOSOVO.

"Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo are the closest thing the world has to Muslims In Name Only."

Yet, these same Muslims In Name Only, in disproportionate numbers to their population, managed to get themselves recruited by the Mufti of Jerusalem for the express purpose of Nazi genocide.

2/24/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Big Boy said...

The leaders of the EU are all cowards. There is nothing they will hold the line over.

2/24/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, Mat, the Grand Mufti's SS Special Unit was years ago -- don't you think the Balkans have "evolved" since then?

2/24/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger foxymike said...

Most Muslims in Albania are members of that Muslim in Name Only Club, as well. And, they are extremely pro-American, as was demonstrated when W. visited last year. They even published a postage stamp with GWB's picture!

If Kosovar Albanians are anything like their brethren to the west, and I have every reason to believe they are, having had an Albanian whose home town is right across the border from Kosovo as a house guest last year, they will be pretty intolerant of the Wahhabi form of Islam.

In the Balkans, at least, the fault lines tip the populace toward the west.

2/24/2008 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger TM Lutas said...

The problem is not confined to Serbia or to serbs and muslims. Hungary supports Kosovo independence but not out of any idea of muslim friendship. They're very simply following their national interest and trying as best they can to reverse the treaty of Trianon. Take a look at the vote on recognizing Kosovo independence in Romania. The only representatives voting in favor were hungarian.

Left/Right didn't matter, Kosovo independence managed to realign the entire Romanian political system along ethnic lines inside of 72 hours. Romania went psychologically from post-communist to post colonial in no time flat. Now we're back to dealing with the old ethnic overlord issue (hungarians were colonial masters over Transylvanian romanians for centuries).

Thank you Kosovo.

I know that balkans blood feuds can be *very* boring for the outsiders but that's not going to mean much when the blood starts to get spilled. The US just made a mess. Step one is to recognize that no matter how much you've said or continue to say there is no precedent, the balkans do not believe you.

We have an obligation to settle all the little fires now flaring up in Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, and all the other places where we were so sure things weren't going to go pear shaped but, to our official surprise, they seem to be.

The EU members who endorsed independence have a like responsibility. The chances of them making good are... well, let's just say that I won't hold my breath but would be very happy to be wrong.

2/24/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I don't know if I can explain this cogently, of if I do that it will even make sense.

The only Islam I know is the Islam of the Koran and the biographies. If you read the Koran and the biographies chronologically the only reasonable conclusion you can reach is that Islam is a supremacist ideology with a single core objective - to make all mankind submit to the dominion of Allah over every aspect of human life and the material world. Islamic scholarship, literature, science, art, and political organization are all directed at interpreting and determining how to best accomplish that single objective.

Perhaps this seemingly benign mission statement from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies will help:

The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies provides a meeting point between the Islamic and Western worlds of learning. Through good scholarship it promotes a more informed understanding of Islam - its culture and civilization.

I defy you to find another Oxford college or centre that divides the world into Us and them, or Our knowledge and their knowledge, or Our culture and civilization and theirs.

The mere fact that Islam is self described as a culture and civilization should tip you off that you are dealing with something other than another relgious faith. And that is the point. Islam by its very nature swallows up every aspect of public and private life.

The argument has been well made that the Kosovors are secular Muslims and that they love America. That may very well be true - today. What happens in two generations after Wahabbi madrassas have had their way with Kosovors not yet born? Did you know that in neighboring Albania that public religious practice is a criminal activity? Doesn't that wave a red flag?

I am always careful to distinguish Islam the ideology from Muslims who are individuals who complex value systems. Who knows? Kosovors Muslims could be all Calvinists tomorrow although there is probably not a person on earth who believes that could happen. Why? I'm sure that Kosovors respect their elders and love their children but that is not reason enough to make Kosovo an Islamic state.

If the most respected and well spoken Islamic scholars tell us that Islam divides the world into Us and Them shouldn't we be paying attention?

2/24/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Buddy,

In 1973 Kosovo was 10 percent ethnic Albanian, today it is 90 percent. This is no accident, what has happened. Thousand year old Churches are burnt down, and the non-Muslim population (Jews and Christian Serbs) are forced to flee to Belgrade.

2/24/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The US just made a mess.

How on earth can you blame the whole thing on America and its participation or lack of participation?

Wasn't Europe supposed to be in charge there? Or the UN?

How about this enlightened idea: let the Serbs and the Kosovars be responsible for themselves for once, so that if they want to burn down our embassy, fine. We'll withdraw and do a Somalia to them.

I just do not see how intervening in every single little clambake any where in the world accomplishes anything, either for us, or for them.

2/24/2008 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jack Denver said...

"The time may come when Moscow, not Washington, will be leader of the West. "

Only someone with no experience w/ Russia would ever believe this - Russia has always been a half-@ssed place, held together with baling wire and tinpot patriotism and generous spilling of innocent blood. The country cannot walk and chew gum at the same time - if it tries to equal the US militarily, the economy falls behind & vice versa. The birth rate is negative, life expectancies are at 3rd world levels, people drown their troubles (and their livers) in vodka. If Russia is the hope of the West we are really screwed. I'd worry more about the Chinese frankly.

2/24/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Russia is on the rise, tho. Look at personal incomes since the flat tax. Look at foreign currency reserves. Look at personal and national debt. Look at the stock market and the currency. Look at the popularity of Putin's nationaism. Jack Denver is right, but that story is fading fast, and a new one is being written. Signal events, the Gazprom Affair when no one in the west uttered a peep at a deal that has made western Europe an energy hostage, and the recent routing on the new pipeline from the Caspian that the west was unable to divert around Russian territory. The Bear is ascendant, I'm afraid.

2/24/2008 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Don Meaker said...

Yes, but look at the birth rate in Russia.

Demographics is Destiny.

2/24/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Don Meaker said...

In the US, since 1976 we have had 30 million abortions. This is compensated by about 30 million immigrants, legal and illegal.

2/24/2008 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger eatyourbeans said...

Russia is reporting the highest birthrate since the USSR fell apart. Of course, Russia being Russia, who knows?

Russia may be a dark horse just now, but it's showing a lot of spunk. And as our Western governments continue to shirk their most fundamental responsibilities to their peoples, Russia will look better and better.

2/24/2008 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

"Kosovo was 10 percent ethnic Albanian, today it is 90 percent. This is no accident, what has happened."

ethnic cleansing does not have to be an obvious event, it can be as subtle as the combination of being outnumbered and very much unliked.
When the majority starts to look at the minority as a brood parasite, ie. cuckoo/warbler, assimilation and coexistance may be made psychologically unattainable for the minority. Intimidation works in certain cases; hostility may not be to far behind.

2/24/2008 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Russia is always the Tsar and serfs. Nothing else. Oil prices have propped up the current Czar, but his system sucks. No one can be competent (except the Czar) and no one can tell him bad news.

Russians have been dealing with Mongol-style rule for millenia, and it won't change anytime soon. Oil prices can help, but not slow down their inevitable collapse. Stalin being a stupid Tsar did not prepare for Hitler, lost 20+ million people, and suffered demographic collapse (particularly in young men who were slaughtered by the millions in WWII).

As for Kosovo, NATO is an empty threat. The US has no real forces at it's disposal, not building up it's military post 9/11. No one else in NATO could fight their way out of a paper bag, excluding a few special forces in the hundreds of men, not thousands.

Serbia WILL take Northern Kosovo and make it stick, because internal politics there will make it a winner. Russia will back them because it allows them to throw their weight around and they MUST kill the precedent of independence.

The EU and NATO will be seen as weak and ineffective, and restive Muslims in European capitals will take note. At some riot, independence will be declared and Iran will act as their patron, in the same way Russia does with Serbia/Northern Kosovo. Perhaps threatening nuclear destruction. Europe of course will have no choice but to submit since they have no military force of their own.

And natives will react with anger the way Serbs do. Losing great parts of Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Florence, Naples, and Brussels to independent Muslim republics is an open invitation to military adventurers. Weakness INVITES aggression, absent a strong and constant protector. Which Europe has not got (telling America to get lost).

I expect to see Kosovo replayed in Paris, London, Brussels, and many other European cities because the same causes:

European Weakness and inability to muster military force to deter/destroy enemies.
Muslim aggression in the face of weakness.
Outside powers acting as patrons of local forces.

Will act in France and England as they do in Serbia and Kosovo.

2/24/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McNeil said...

Mətušélaḥ wrote:
In 1973 Kosovo was 10 percent ethnic Albanian, today it is 90 percent.

Totally wrong. The Wikipedia article on the "Demographics of Kosovo" covers this in detail, but see this graphic showing the proportion of the population of Kosovo that was Albanian ethnicity vs. Serb throughout the 20th century. This map showing Albanian areas as of the year 1898 is also worth perusing.

However, the upshot is that Kosovo has had at least about a two-thirds Albanian proportion of the population throughout the 20th century, and more than three-quarters since the 1970's.

2/24/2008 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

The people of the Russian Federation are not all Russian. The population growth rate for the Federation as a whole is negative; the rate of natural increase for ethnic Russians is even further negative. The rate of natural increase among Muslim ethnicities within the Federation, however, is positive. And the number of Federation Christians right now is only 15-20% — while the number of Federation Muslims is 10-15%. Which is to say, we're a matter of years from having Muslims outnumber Christians in Russia.

If Washington isn't up to the job, the places left will be Mexico City, Brasilia, and New Delhi.


As far as this itty-bitty bit of northern Kosovo, there's no particular reason an independent Kosovo should match the borders of Kosovo the province. The Kosovars themselves generally appear to be willing to cede the northern Serb-bits for a chunk of non-Kosovo Serbia that has an Albanian majority.

That deal isn't going to happen, but were the Serbians willing, with a little leaning the EU/US could easily get Kosovo to cede the Serbian-majority zone in the north to Serbia in exchange for Serbian recognition of Kosovo. Of course, that presumes that the Serbs would be willing to recognize Kosovo even in exchange for land, which they aren't likely to be.

2/24/2008 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Totally wrong."

The Kosovo Statistical offices were under exclusive Albanian control. The inflated numbers of Kosovo Albanians are cooked, and were known to be cooked.

2/24/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2008/02/re-eu-withdraws-from-northern-kosovo.html

2/24/2008 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Some Schmuck said...

Looking at what's happening in Kosovo will have consequences far beyond its importance.

At least we know that when California and Arizona reach 90% Hispanic, it will become Atzlan.

Or I should say, that is, if we actually believe what we're preaching in Kosovo. Maybe we can have Cuban and Haitian countries in the Southeast too.

2/25/2008 02:04:00 AM  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Russia is an economic monoculture that will deflate like a poorly baked souffle as soon as the oil price falls, just like it did in 1998. These are Russia's golden years, and at its best Russia doesn't come close to touching the USA by any worthy yardstick of development, standard of living, wealth/power etc.

"The Kosovo Statistical offices were under exclusive Albanian control. The inflated numbers of Kosovo Albanians are cooked, and were known to be cooked."

Oh, really? Prove it. And provide credible sources for your alternative figures, please.

2/25/2008 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"...as soon as the oil price falls"

But it may not, ever. Yes, dips into the mid 80s are likely, but in all liklihood it's gonna be higher lows and higher highs from now on.

And still, USA has set aside about 85% of its unexplored territory.

But at least we'll be a scenic colony, a hundred years from now. No unsightly drilling rigs or nuclear plants to mar the pleasures of our hunting & gathering Eloi.

2/25/2008 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/25/2008 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Oh, really? Prove it. And provide credible sources for your alternative figures, please."

I've already stated that there was no credible census taken to which one can refer. The flood of Albanians into Kosovo is that of illegals. Illegal Mexican migrants would not be counted in a US census, and there's no reason why such illegals should've been counted in any Kosovo census.

2/25/2008 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I've already stated that there was no credible census taken to which one can refer. The flood of Albanians into Kosovo is that of illegals. Illegal Mexican migrants would not be counted in a US census, and there's no reason why such illegals should've been counted in any Kosovo census.

You have no evidence to back up anything you're saying. Sorry, but I'm disregarding your assertions as mere conjecture. Here is a more convincing presentation of the historical situation in Kosovo.

But it may not, ever. Yes, dips into the mid 80s are likely, but in all liklihood it's gonna be higher lows and higher highs from now on.

I'm sure people in the early 1980s were saying the same thing you are now. However, the price will start falling dramatically in a few years or so. These sky-high oil prices have sparked an explosion of exploration; the fruits of which will be coming online soon years. Also, technology is being developed to reduce the cost of refining shale oil (North America has more of this in reserve than Saudi Arabia has conventional oil) into usable energy. Not to mention a whole host of competing energy sources whose development has been supercharged by the current high oil prices. The higher the prices go, the more incentive entrepreneurs have to invest in development of replacement technologies, the faster we will develop alternatives. Simple economics. People who can't see the end of these high oil prices (or the looming end of the Oil Age as we know it) are, quite frankly, myopic.

2/27/2008 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger James Waterton said...

In other words, if I was the leader of an oil-dependent nation, I'd be trying like hell to diversify my country's economy. Trouble is, oil-dependent countries tend to be pretty lazy and incompetent when it comes to anything other than pumping the black stuff out of the ground. The Saudis have a couple of great sayings about the oil blessing/curse. The first one was uttered by an ex-Saudi oil minister, Sheikh Yamani: "the Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stone, and the Oil Age won't end because we run out of oil." The other one goes something like "our grandfathers lived in tents, and so will our grandchildren." They're both spot-on.

2/27/2008 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

James, yes, that is the competing forecast, that supply will overtake demand and prices will fall.

I sure hope so. But it's not the way i'm betting. The major E&Ps are having a hard time replacing depletion rates as is, even at these higher prices. Look at the reports.

Yes, new technologies offer future help, but no tertiary extraction processes will ever match the easy past, of drilling a relatively shallow hole in accessible locations and then watching high quality fuel flow out of the ground for decades at almost no further raw or process cost.

Remember, the 'peakers' do not so much say that we're running out of oil so much as they say we are running out of cheap oil. For example, this week, within the blizzard of global-slowdown reports (and actual metrics), and the concomitant second-derivative effects on spot crude futures, price has nevertheless levitated past $100/bbl.

2/27/2008 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I'm not sure about that, either. Remember that Aramco has woefully underinvested in exploration - the vast majority of Saudi Arabia remains unexplored.

Besides, the major reasons why oil's pushed past $100/barrel are 1) because the USD has dropped relative to other currencies 2) speculators are driving the price up. The first is a problem for Americans - less so for everyone else. The second won't last forever.

I'm confident that in 5 years or so, we'll be wondering what the fuss was all about.

2/27/2008 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It would sure be nice if you're right about the price trend. The world is producing just under 90 mm bpd as of now, and is using almost every drop -- production is exceeding consumption about 1 mm bpd, and this thin margin prevents prices from going wild on the upside.

Consumption is expected to grow -- esp due to growth of "chindia" -- at a rate that considerably exceeds what new E&P has been able -- even with lavish investment based on the new prices -- to bring on line over the past few years.

One of my favorite economic gurus, Art Laffer, is making the same mistake, IMHO, that you are -- the mistake of applying to the oil biz the standard industrial models of supply, demand, and substitution on price.

If the recoverable fraction of the resource is not depleting at anywhere near the consumption rate, then you and Art will be right. Otherwise you'll likely prove to have been too optimistic.

Pay attention to Exxon's results -- esp re return on investment calculated not in dollars but in new reserves. Exxon being a big player, and of course far more transparent than soveriegn companies such as Aramco.

2/28/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Might add that it's probably pointless to forecast oil prices based the relative strengths of currencies.

Yes, the recent steep USD devaluation vs G7 currencies (and gold) has put upward price pressure on commodities, but that currency swing, taken off the USD price, still leaves oil in the mid 80s.

Price adjusted for currency swings must be based on the supply & demand equation (less 'speculation' -- which is probably far less an 'exogenous factor' than we like to believe).

2/28/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"You have no evidence to back up anything you're saying. Sorry, but I'm disregarding your assertions as mere conjecture"

I have anecdotal evidence which I trust, much more than I trust anything coming from the lying MSM or politicised wiki articles. Sorry, but 800,000 albanian Kosovo "refugees" don't just naturally materialize from a population of about a million. If you can't understand that, then there's not much point in conversating with you.

2/28/2008 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Michael McNeil said...

I have anecdotal evidence which I trust, much more than I trust anything coming from the lying MSM or politicised wiki articles.

Guess what?  Anecdotal evidence ain’t evidence!  And just what’s wrong with the map from 1898 I pointed to showing ethnic Albanians already largely predominant in the Kosovo area as of that date?

Since you dismiss the (admittedly unsigned) articles of Wikipedia (in lieu of “anecdotal evidence” — which is deranged), here’s John B. Allcock (Head, Research Unit in South East European Studies, University of Bradford, England; Coeditor of Yugoslavia in Transition), writing in Encyclopædia Britannica’s article “Kosovo”:

“Kosovo had been populated by a mixture of Albanian and Slavic speakers since the 8th century. In the centuries following the Ottoman victory, however, a significant portion of Kosovo’s Christian Serb inhabitants emigrated northward and westward to other territories, while many others converted to Islam. Following the defeat of an Austrian invasion in 1699, during which many Serbs sided with the invaders, many more Serbs joined the retreating Austrian army.

“The ethnic balance of the region steadily changed in favour of Albanian speakers, and the abolition in 1766 of the Serbian Orthodox patriarchate at Peć diminished substantially the importance of Kosovo as a Serbian cultural centre.

“Kosovo came to symbolize Serbia’s golden age of national greatness. A tradition of epic poetry emerged, in which Kosovo represented Serbian national suffering and aspirations. Ethnic Albanians also identified with the region, and by the late 19th century Prizren had become an important centre of Albanian culture and national consciousness.

“Serbia, which had won independence from Turkey early in the 19th century, regained control of Kosovo in 1912, and Kosovo entered the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia) in 1918 as part of Serbia. In the 1920s and ’30s, Serbia’s attempts to resettle Serbs in Kosovo met with resistance from local ethnic Albanians.

“During World War II, Kosovo was briefly united with neighbouring Albania under Italian patronage. Toward the end of the war, Yugoslavia’s new communist government crushed a revolt in Kosovo by ethnic Albanians who wanted to unite with Albania.

“The postwar government of the new federal Yugoslavia granted Kosovo the status of an autonomous region (and later autonomous province) within the republic of Serbia, while it also continued to suppress nationalist sentiments among the region’s Albanians.

“From the mid-1960s, the federal government followed a more tolerant policy, encouraging Albanian national identity and enabling Albanians to advance in the provincial and federal administrations. This Albanization of the province was also stimulated by the rapid departure of Serbs to urban areas. As a result of Serbian migration and higher Albanian birthrates, the Albanian share of the population rose from half in 1946 to three-fourths in 1981 and to four-fifths in 1991, by which time the proportion of Serbs had fallen to about one-tenth.

“Under the federal constitution enacted in 1974, Kosovo’s status as an autonomous province was that of a republic in all but name. Sharp rises in international energy prices in 1973 and 1979, however, placed growing strain on the Yugoslav economy, and conflict deepened among republics over the issue of aid to underdeveloped regions. There was serious civil disorder in the province during 1981.

“In the intense process of inter-republic bargaining for economic and political advantage, Serbian politicians began to resent the ability of the Kosovars to act together with representatives of other Yugoslav republics, even against Serbian interests. The indignation felt by Serbs over the situation in Kosovo was capitalized on by Slobodan Milosevic, a rising politician whose manipulation of Serbian grievances helped him to become leader of Serbia’s communist party in 1987 and president of the Serbian republic in 1989, thereby dominating the government of Yugoslavia.

“Soon after becoming president, Milosevic stripped Kosovo of its autonomy, and Serbia took direct control of the province’s administration. When the province’s ethnic Albanians staged violent protests over these measures, Milosevic in 1990 sent Yugoslav military units to Kosovo, dissolved the province’s assembly, and closed schools in which the Albanian language was used. In an officially unrecognized referendum held in September of that year, the Kosovars voted overwhelmingly to secede from Serbia and Yugoslavia.”

Thus it was Milosevic who created the mess in Kosovo just as he ruined the rest of the Yugoslav confederacy — however, the predominance of ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo region is centuries-old, and your assertion that “In 1973 Kosovo was 10 percent ethnic Albanian, today it is 90 percent” is simply absurd.

2/28/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"And just what’s wrong with the map from 1898 I pointed to showing ethnic Albanians already largely predominant in the Kosovo area as of that date?"

"Serbia, which had won independence from Turkey early in the 19th century, regained control of Kosovo in 1912, and Kosovo entered the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later renamed Yugoslavia) in 1918 as part of Serbia.."

2/28/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Thus it was Milosevic who created the mess in Kosovo just as he ruined the rest of the Yugoslav confederacy.."

So the German-Croat-Muslim propaganda line goes.

2/28/2008 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McNeil said...

So John B. Allcock — Head of the Research Unit in South East European Studies at the University of Bradford, England, for twenty years, from 1981-2001; now in the Department of Peace Studies at the university; author of Explaining Yugoslavia (2000) — is simply a spokesman for the “German-Croat-Muslim propaganda line”?  Sure.

From another source, here's some Kosovo census data to chew on:

Kosovo Census Data: 1921
Albanians  288,900  65.8%
Serbs and Montenegrins  92,490  21.1%
Total  439,000  100%

Kosovo Census Data: 1931
Albanians  331,549  60.1%
Serbs and Montenegrins  148,809  26.9%
Total  552,064  100%

Kosovo Census Data: 1939
Albanians  350,946  54.4%
Serbs and Montenegrins  213,746  33.1%
Total  645,012  100%

Source: Statisticki godisnjak Kraljevine Jugoslavije za 1938/39 (Belgrade: Opsta drzavna statistika, 1939), as cited in Milan Vuckovic and Goran Nikolic, Stanovnistvo Kosova u razdoblju od 1918. do 1991. godine (Munich: Slavica Verlan, 1996), 80.

2/28/2008 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McNeil said...

Robert Thomas writing in The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s (1999) (reviewed here):

“This atmosphere of economic crisis formed the background to an increasingly tense situation in Kosovo between the ethnic Serbian and Albanian population.  Censuses conducted in 1921 shortly after the foundation of Yugoslavia showed Serbs as constituting 26 per cent of the population of Kosovo.  Subsequent population censuses, however, indicated a declining Serbian and increasing Albanian population.  By 1981 the Serbian population had fallen to only 9.9 per cent compared to the Albanian 81.6 per cent of the population.  The dwindling Serbian proportion of the population was accounted for by the high birth rate amongst Albanians and the migration of Serbs from what they felt to be an increasingly alien and hostile environment.

“The demographic marginalisation of the Serbian population was illustrated by the fact that the massive expansion of the town of Pristina, from 38,593 in 1961 to 155,499, in 1981 had transformed it into a largely Albanian town with Serbian settlement being increasingly confined to the small towns and villages around its outskirts.  Relations between the Serbian and Albanian populations were soured by the memory of historical events and conflicts, including Serbian authoritarian inter-war rule, Albanian persecution of the Serbs during the Second World War, and acts of Partisan revenge in its aftermath.  In this situation contact between the two communities was minimal, despite their geographical inter-mixing, with the number of mixed marriages recorded being the lowest of any area in Yugoslavia.”

2/28/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Department of Peace Studies at the university; author of Explaining Yugoslavia (2000) — is simply a spokesman for the “German-Croat-Muslim propaganda line”? Sure."

Garbage in, garbage out. The breakup of Yugoslavia was initiated by the Croats under German diplomatic cover. A bit later, the Muslims were recruited to relieve the pressure, both from a propaganda and military perspective, by forcing the Serbs to fight on 3 fronts. Finally, America was made to act as Saudia's bitch, as she always does.

2/28/2008 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/28/2008 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McNeil said...

Garbage in, garbage out. The breakup of Yugoslavia was initiated by the Croats under German diplomatic cover {… blah, blah}.

Kindly explain how, according to your theory of German subversion of oh-so innocent Serbia and your hero Milosevic, English historians at British universities got infected, to the point where they’re instituting historical hoaxes that would ruin their academic careers when discovered?

Beyond that, I see you’ve removed your second posting; well, I’ll reply to it anyway.

Vuckovic is a Croatian last name, you dummy.

Since it’s close to the name of the Croatian city Vukovar, I’d already guessed that.  However, being Croatian doesn’t rule one out as a contributor to the world’s intellectual conversation, and the indicated book simply quotes official census figures from the early decades of the Yugoslav kingdom — a state dominated by Serbs.

Moreover, you’re very selective in what you conveniently ignore, as the piece by Robert Thomas (whose name obviously is not Croatian) that I quoted also stated that “Censuses conducted in 1921 shortly after the foundation of Yugoslavia showed Serbs as constituting {a mere} 26 per cent of the population of Kosovo.”

Thus, your principal point that, as you put it, “In 1973 Kosovo was 10 percent ethnic Albanian, today it is 90 percent,” lies in ruins, and you’re left writhing (whining about peripheral issues) like a snake impaled on a stick.

If you think historians can simply invent data (especially relatively recent, well documented data such as 20th century census figures) and get away with it, then you’re both demonstrating your conspiracy-theorist bona fides in spades (i.e., hardly revealing an individual whose views need be taken seriously) — moreover, revealing that you’ve obviously never heard of the Bellisiles scandal in the United States (I’m tempted to say, “you dummy”), where a historian during the early years of this decade did try to invent data (though of older vintage and more obscure) concerning early America, and got smacked down for it — because that sort of thing cannot be hidden (at least in the long run) from other historians and investigators coming along to verify and check the basic data.

In any case, since you maintain the data to be false, and yet such census data obviously exists, it should be easy for you to provide the correct figures — simply visit a university library or search online as I did and look it up.  I await your correction to the figures (be sure and show your source), revealing the vast historical conspiracy by academics and making you famous round the world as the man who uncovered it.  However, I’m not holding my breath, as you’ve revealed yourself, like the bulk of Serb apologists, as a conspiracy theorist, and as with all such, wholly insensitive to correction by real information.

2/29/2008 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/29/2008 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"If you think historians can simply invent data (especially relatively recent, well documented data such as 20th century census figures) and get away with it, then you’re both demonstrating your conspiracy-theorist bona fides in spades,.."

They've been doing that on more than one occasion, and the Serbs are not their only victims. Money and a lying media is what counts in the new world order.


"Kindly explain how, according to your theory of German subversion of oh-so innocent Serbia,.."

Innocent of what? Ethnic cleansing? A propaganda smear campaign?

How many Serbs now in Slovenia? How many Serbs now in Croatia? How many Serbs now in Bosnia? How many Serbs now in Kosovo? How many non-Serbs now in Serbia? How do these numbers compare to the number prior to Milosevic annexing lands to "Greater Serbia in his expansionist war"?

You really are a dummy. I should not have retracted that last post on account of using that word. I guess German and Muslim machinations of WWI and WWII also completely whizzed youz by.

2/29/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I wonder how many modern westerners have even heard the word "Ustashi"? Or have any idea of their toll in WWII?

Search the word, or go here, to the top result.

2/29/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Germany was Croatia’s largest arms supplier during the war, although this was in violation of German law prohibiting the shipments of arms to an active war zone and a violation of the UN arms embargo on Yugoslavia as well. Most of the Croatia military hardware came from East German supplies. Germany even smuggled former East German MiG-21 fighters to Croatia.



Richard J Aldrich on German and US arms supply to Croatia, Bosnia:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/apr/22/warcrimes.comment

2/29/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

(Quote:)

IN THE SPRING of 1991, the civil war in Croatia began. The Movement saw it
as the perfect chance to give those who wanted it real experience killing
people. Moreover, there was a historical tie: during World War II Nazi
Germany had played an active role in Yugoslav ethnic politics; the Nazis
had supported a puppet dictatorship in Croatia, the Ustashe, that had built
concentration camps in which mostly Serbs but also Jews were killed.

The current government in Croatia was reviving the tradition of the Ustashe
and in many other ways honoring the former Fascists. Units of the Croatian
Army were flying swastika flags, and many more were flying the old Croatian
Fascist symbol. Croatia had become the first European government since
World War II to openly embrace these symbols. ... It was a neo-Nazi dream
come true.

All of the West German neo-Nazis saw it as a wonderful opportunity, but
Nero Reisz, the barking anti-Semite from Hesse, was particularly pleased.
The problem for him was that there weren't enough Jews being killed. But
Serbs would do.

A system was set up whereby potential recruits for Croatia were first
trained in paramilitary camps in Germany, then passed on to middlemen who
were responsible for arranging their transport, clothing, and food on the
way to the front.

The way it worked was first through a word-of-mouth network. We had to be
careful about doing any advertising because hiring mercenaries was strictly
illegal in the Federal Republic. It was simply known in the scene that you
could go to Croatia, if fighting was your trip, and that in Berlin I was
one of the contacts. The other main contact people in Berlin were Arnulf
Priem and Oliver Schweigert. Once we'd checked out recruits to make sure
they weren't spies, we took them to a paramilitary camp to get tested and
trained. We were mainly interested in whether they were physically fit to
go down there. Mental fitness didn't interest us much.

I knew one guy from the GDR who'd been loosely involved in the Movement for
about a year and then went down to Croatia because it was a chance to kill
Communists, i.e., the Serbs. He wasn't even much of a neo-Nazi, really. He
simply hated the Stasi, who'd tortured him in jail, and was half crazy to
get some revenge on anyone for his suffering. He had shoulder-length hair,
like a hippie, and hardly any sense of purpose at all. He just wanted a
chance to kill "Communists", and he got it in Croatia. In a documentary some
television team made at the front, he was interviewed and he talked about
how many Serbs he'd killed and how much he'd learned about weapons. Less
than a year later, he was killed himself.

But the more sane and careful ones came back after a few months or a year
with valuable training in weapons and explosives. They'd of course also
learned what it was like to kill people. (Many stayed down there, living in
the hills, constantly involved in skirmishes no one ever heard about, and
are only now coming back into Germany and Austria and forming the basis of
the most militant and dangerous neo-Nazi cells.)

The effort to organize young German neo-Nazis and send them to Croatia to
fight and kill for the Ustashe - as the SS had once done - was organized
largely by the Movement representatives in Hesse, Bavaria, and-for
logistical reasons, as it was directly on the border with
Yugoslavia-Austria. The main man in charge in Germany was Nero Reisz. He
organized transport and took care that everyone got uniforms and weapons.
Then Michel Faci and his right-hand man, Nikolas, organized most of the
Croatian neo-Nazi units, training both young Croatians and Germans who'd
come down for the ride. Faci trained Croatians as young as ten years old to
kill "Communists" while teaching them the basics of Nazism. With his
childish antics, he is good at making murder seem like a game.

The neo-Nazis mostly fought independently from other units, as
a legionnaire corps. But they received arms and ammunition, even tanks, from
the Croatians.

From what I heard from men who came back, they fought against Serbs
but also against Bosnian Muslims, even though the Muslims had
been in the SS during World War II. They simply fought against whomever
they could get an excuse to kill. They kept track of how many Serbs they
killed and tried to collect per-body pay from the Croatians, but they
actually got hardly anything, apart from invaluable experience.

I NEVER WENT down there. Personally, I wouldn't have gone to Croatia for
anything in the world. I saw no reason to risk my neck for another nation.
I was only interested in the potential of getting battle-hardened recruits
back from the front. The actual fight in Yugoslavia didn't interest me.

So I organized paramilitary camps and helped provide training, tested the
recruits with the help of a few sympathetic people from the Bundeswehr.
There was a lot of physical training-jogging, crawling, scaling. Recruits
learned how to use firearms and how to dismantle, clean, and reassemble
them. There was explosives training and practice in throwing grenades and
using bazookas. We modeled our course on Bundeswehr training exercises and
what we could piece together about the old Waffen SS training with the help
of training manuals and the memories of our retired SS supporters. But the
basic source for our training was the West German Federal Army.


(end quote)

http://www.srpska-mreza.com/library/facts/Nazi_neo.html



I wonder how many of McDummy's esteemed historians have written about this.

2/29/2008 03:28:00 PM  

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