Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More on Terror suspects: Feds say faith became call to kill.

Feds say faith became call to kill: Terror suspects stood out

By Mandy Locke,
(Raleigh) News & Observer
Posted: Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2009
During the past few years, a cluster of young men found a purpose in the brand of Islam espoused by Daniel Patrick Boyd, a graduate of Afghan training camps that schooled extremists such as Osama bin Laden, according to some of those close to them.

Friends and neighbors say they watched the young men shed the culture and ideals they grew up with in the Triangle and retreat into ideas that ran counter to much of what they knew. Federal investigators say their faith became a call to kill themselves and strangers abroad.

Agents arrested Boyd and six others Monday, saying they plotted suicide missions in Israel and Pakistan. On Tuesday, investigators searched for an eighth defendant. The Associated Press reported the missing suspect is Jude Mohammad, a Raleigh man arrested in Pakistan last fall and accused of trying to illegally enter tribal land. He is thought to be in Pakistan, the AP reported.

Each man could spend his remaining years in prison if convicted of the charges. They are due in court Thursday for a federal magistrate to determine whether they may be released before trial.

Daniel Boyd, accused of being the mastermind behind the plot, was appointed attorneys Tuesday. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful. Most of the other suspects declined offers to have lawyers appointed for them.

Federal authorities' description of these men subscribing to a holy war befuddles those who knew them. Of all the half-dozen or so trips overseas that federal authorities say the men made to try to carry out a suicide mission, all failed. Federal documents do not specifically describe what the men had intended during their trips, except to say they meant to commit violent jihad.

Jasmin Smajic, a Cary man who was friends with Hysen Sherifi and Anes Subasic, said he watched his friends grow increasingly religious in the past few years, as they grew to know Daniel Boyd better.

“I thought it was a phase,” Smajic said. “We thought it was all talk, never did we think they had real plans to do anything, hurt anyone.”

Smajic said he believes his friends are innocent of the charges filed against them.

The father of one of the defendants, Omar Hassan, said his son has done no wrong.

“All I can say is my son is innocent,” said Aly Hassan of Raleigh, declining to speak further on the advice of a lawyer.

David Schanzer, a terrorism expert who works at Duke University, was also skeptical about the level of evidence authorities have linking the men to a scheme to murder abroad.

“These arrests occurred without the slightest amount of evidence,” Schanzer said.

He wondered how much of a threat, if any, these defendants posed.

“When you look at the majority of the cases of Muslim terrorists arrested in the United States, they are not terrorist masterminds. They are individuals who radicalized themselves and plotted and attempted to carry out potentially violent episodes.”

Dark, desperate world

Still, in the wake of the arrest, those who knew the defendants are trying to recall moments that might have signaled a slide into a dark and desperate world.

Hysen Sherifi, a Kosovo native who migrated here with his family about 10 years ago, began attending Friday prayer services regularly in recent years. Peter Adler, who lives across the street, noticed that Sherifi began wearing traditional Muslim clothes a few years ago when attending services at a mosque. His ritual was out of step with his parents and four siblings.

“I did think it was strange that Hysen would behave so differently than his family,” Adler said. “His sisters and his brother most certainly were very Americanized. That must not have set well with him.”

Sherifi had married a woman in Kosovo, said Smajic, who has known Sherifi since they were young teens. The couple was expecting a baby, and he planned to join her in Kosovo this week. He was giving up on his American life, Smajic said.

Dylan Boyd, 22, Daniel Boyd's son, was also growing unhappy with life in America. He'd dropped out of N.C. State University after less than a year, uneasy with the presence of women at the co-ed campus, Smajic said.

He went to work for Wake Med Hospital as a clinical services technician. He wanted to grow a beard, and that didn't set well with his supervisors at the hospital. He left that job last year.

Anes Subasic, another suspect, had been having a tough time in America, too. A refugee from Bosnia who immigrated to Wake County after a brutal war in the former Yugoslavia, Subasic had drifted.

His mother died three years ago, an event that triggered Subasic's search for religious meaning. His father, Dragan Subasic, fell into financial difficulty and poor health. Anes Subasic had moved back in with his father in Holly Springs, Smajic said.

He'd tried unsuccessfully to sell cars. His English is so limited that he asked a magistrate Monday for an interpreter to help him during future hearings.

Investigators had pressed Daniel Boyd and the other suspects for years.

Early this year, as Ziyad Yaghi, another suspect, defended himself against armed robbery charges in Wake County, agents from the FBI repeatedly tried to speak with him, said Bert Nunley, a lawyer who represented Yaghi in Wake County.

Nunley said Yaghi “declined to explain what he'd done while in Jordan. That apparently upset the FBI.”

By then, Yaghi had begun posting quotes from fundamentalist Muslim leaders on his Facebook page.

On his Facebook wall, where he describes his view of the world, he closes with a quote from Malcolm X: “It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That's the only thing that can save this country.”

Sarah Ovaska and Kevin Kiley of the (Raleigh) News & Observer and news researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Bosnian Muslim and a Kosovo Albanian involved in another terror plot in the US

American Jihadist Cell Planned Attacks in Israel, Jordan, Kosovo

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

( Eight men, including seven living in North Carolina, were indicted Monday by a U.S. Federal Grand Jury for planning to carry out jihad-inspired terrorist attacks in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. During trips to Israel, including Hamas-controlled
Boyd and others in the cell were in Israel in June 2007 and in Jordan in October 2006 to join the jihad.
Gaza, as well as Jordan, Pakistan and Serbia, the cell members allegedly planned or engaged in serious terrorist activities.

The indictment charges that the suspects plotted and took actions to carry out "violent jihad" overseas, including by "murdering, kidnapping or maiming" people in Israel, Jordan and Kosovo. To this end members of the cell stockpiled weapons, trained at a camp set up in North Carolina, traveled to the Middle East and Kosovo, and recruited fellow Muslims. They are also charged with providing assistance to terrorists, including weapons training, fundraising and travel arrangements. At the same time, the homegrown American cell does not appear to be connected with al-Qaeda or any other known international terrorist organization.

The conspiracy, which began to take shape in 2006, according to the indictment, was led by a convert to Islam named Daniel Patrick Boyd, his two sons, two other U.S. citizens, two naturalized U.S. citizens, and one legal U.S. resident from Kosovo. The name of one of the suspects, the only one not currently residing in North Carolina, was redacted from the published indictment. The cell is not alleged to have plotted attacks in the United States.

Boyd and others in the cell were in Israel in June 2007 and in Jordan in October 2006 to join the jihad against Israel and possibly other target states. However, the court documents indicate that they were turned away from local terrorist groups, although at least one jihadist made his way to Kosovo and another to Pakistan, where they engaged in violent jihad.

Boyd, who went by the nickname Saifullah ("Sword of Allah") appears to have been the most experienced of the conspirators, with a background in training and fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1989 to 1992, possibly including action against Soviet troops. FBI agents raided Boyd's home on Monday, where he is suspected of stockpiling weapons, training recruits and teaching jihadist Islam.

Seven of the defendants - Boyd, his sons Zakariya and Dylan, Hysen Sherifi, Anes Subasic, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan and Ziyad Yaghi - are to be brought before a judge by July 30, 2009 for further detention hearings.

"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home. Terrorists and their supporters are relentless and constant in their efforts to hurt and kill innocent people across the globe. We must be equally relentless and constant in our efforts to stop them," said Federal Attorney George E. B. Holding.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bosnian Croats Moving to Republic of Srpska

Bosnian Croats Moving to Republic of Srpska

Jun 19th, 2009 | By |Sarajevo today, turning into a “European Tehran”
Sarajevo Turning into European Tehran
According to Leo Pločkinić, President of the Mostar-based NGO Croatia Libertas, a growing number of Croat families are selling their property in the capital of the Croat-Muslim federation of post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina, and moving to East Sarajevo municipalities, in the Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska, RS).

Pločkinić cited the latest example of several Croat families who said they feared for their safety and moved from the Sarajevo settlement Stup to Lukavica in the Serbian part of country, in East Sarajevo.

“A straw that broke the camel’s back and destroyed the last traces of understanding is the behavior of the so-called religious police, which went as far as banishing a pig-shaped toy from the BBI [shopping] center few days ago. That is probably the best summary of modern-day Sarajevo that is slowly but surely turning into a European Tehran,” Pločkinić told Banja Luka daily Fokus.

He said that Sharia Police is nothing new in Bosnian federation, since radical Muslims have been causing headaches for the non-Muslim Sarajevo residents for years. Pločkinić reminded that members of the religious police were openly attacking couples in love and insisting on Bosnian Muslim girls and women being covered, according to the Islamic rules and traditions.

Chief Imam of Sarajevo Mosque wants to Institute Sharia Law

Nezim Halilovic Muderris during war
“Sharia Police is organized and headed by Nezim Halilovic Muderris, Chief Imam of the Bosnian King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo. He is openly lobbying for Sharia Law to be institutionalized in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he is the man who greeted with open arms Wahhabis from around the world and it is he who spreads the inter-ethnic hatred and intolerance with his lectures in the mosque. Sarajevo Croats had enough of it already, so they decided to move away, to Republic of Srpska,” Pločkinić said.

While there is no reliable data about the number of Croats who have moved to Republic of Srpska from the federal part of Sarajevo, since “no one will ask property buyers what is their nationality”, Fokus found a notable rise in the number of non-Serb schoolchildren enrolled in Serbian Republic schools.

Mladenka Pandurević, Headmistress of the Grammar school “28 June” in East Sarajevo, confirmed for the daily that 39 students from the Croat-Muslim part of Sarajevo are attending classes in their school.

“Most of them are ethnic Croats. We also have a number of students of Croat nationality from Vogošća, who travel each day from their homes to school. Their parents insisted to have their children enrolled in our school, instead of somewhere in the Federation part of Sarajevo because, as they said, they do not feel their children are safe there,” Pandurević said.

She recalled a father of one of their students, Croat from Vogošća, who asked the school board through tears to allow his child to attend the Serb school in East Sarajevo. He told them his daughter was enrolled in a purely Muslim class in the Bosnian-Croat federation. After learning about the experience other parents of Croat nationality had with their children being shunned and verbally abused by the Muslim students, “the caring father wanted to spare his daughter the anguish”, Pandurević said.

Srebrenica again - Hoax or Massacre?

Srebrenica again - Hoax or Massacre?

Posted by Ari RUSILA Jul 20th, 2009 |

The “Srebrenica massacre” is the greatest triumph of propaganda to emerge from the Balkan wars.(Edward Herman)

The Srebrenica case is in headlines again – like during every anniversary – and also the story seems repeat itself from year to year. More light is however coming and the real (political) context is gaining space also in mainstream media. Former Hague Tribunal spokeswoman Florence Hartmann referring the arrest of Radovan Karadzic told earlier, that as “Karadžić has finally been arrested, he can tell a lot about secret deals that led to the fall of Srebrenica. His testimony represents a great risk for the great western powers.” (SourceB92)

The recent past of Bosnia-Herzegovina is violent and there was not only one brutal side – there were three of them. This past has its impact today and real truth behind successful propaganda about events of war 1992-95 is still unclear. This year I expect that the trial of war crime suspect Radovan Karadzic will clarify a bit of this bloody past when both prosecutor and defense are making their case. Statements of ICTY insider arouse few questions to my mind, such as following:

Political aims behind events?

The three points of the triangle represent the nation’s three ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. The triangle itself represents the geographic shape of the nation itself. The colors represent neutrality and peace, whereas the stars represent Europe.
Srebrenica case should finally put into its political context, for media it would be useful to see the case as part of lobbying/marketing to achieve political aims. It seems that the town was deliberately sacrificed by the Presidency of the Bosnia and the Military High Command in order to encourage NATO intervention. From the the U.N. Secretary General’s 1999 Report on Srebrenica, it emerges that the idea of a “Srebrenica massacre” was planned at a September 1993 meeting in Sarajevo between Bosnian Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic and members of his Muslim party from Srebrenica. On the agenda was a Serb proposal to exchange Srebrenica and Zepa for some territories around Sarajevo as part of a peace settlement.

“The delegation opposed the idea, and the subject was not discussed further. Some surviving members of the Srebrenica delegation have stated that President Izetbegovic also told them he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.” So from here are the numbers originating, sadly the western mainstream media went to this propaganda trap. * Was the secret deal made about Srebrenica (Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serb party, possibly with the knowledge of one or more Contact Group States, had an understanding that Srebrenica would not be vigorously defended by the Bosniacs in return for an undertaking by the Serbs not to vigorously defend territory around Sarajevo. The capture of Srebrenica made it easier for the Bosniacs and Serbs to agree on the territorial basis of a peace settlement. The result of the tragedy in Srebrenica contributed in some ways to the conclusion of a peace agreement — by galvanizing the will of the international community, by distracting the Serbs from the coming Croatian attack, by reducing the vulnerability of UNPROFOR personnel to hostage-taking, and by making certain territorial questions easier for the parties to resolve).

Source: UN report “Memorandum on war crimes and crimes and genocide in eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993” and some other material can be found from my blog’s Document library

Secret deals?

During ICTY trial of Mr. Karadzic there has been discussion if the Holbrooke-Karadzic deal is existing, like the accused has said ( Karadzic claims that his going into hiding formed part of a deal with Holbrooke, which included his withdrawal from public life in exchange for not being arrested). However more interesting secret deal is related to international peace settlement and the role which Srebrenica plays in that context.

One theory is following: Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serb party, possibly with the knowledge of one or more Contact Group States, had an understanding that Srebrenica would not be vigorously defended by the Bosniacs in return for an undertaking by the Serbs not to vigorously defend territory around Sarajevo. The capture of Srebrenica made it easier for the Bosniacs and Serbs to agree on the territorial basis of a peace settlement. The result of the tragedy in Srebrenica contributed in some ways to the conclusion of a peace agreement — by galvanizing the will of the international community, by distracting the Serbs from the coming Croatian attack, by reducing the vulnerability of UNPROFOR personnel to hostage-taking, and by making certain territorial questions easier for the parties to resolve? To continue, please click on:

Bildt: Bosnian Leaders to be Blamed for Visas Failure

Bildt: Bosnian Leaders to be Blamed for Visas Failure
Brussels | 21 July 2009 |

European Commission Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says that the Sarajevo leadership is to blame for their country being bypassed by the European Commission, EC, in its visa liberalisation plan.

“They [Bosnian citizens] are victims of the inability of their political leaders to agree,” Bildt said on Tuesday.

“We spent the entire day with the Bosnian leadership, the entire spectrum, telling them to get their acts together, and told them if they don’t the train for visas will pass,” Bildt said, recalling his visit to Sarajevo a couple of weeks ago. “That had some effect and they started to do things but not enough," he said.

The Swedish minister confirmed that, two weeks before the EC proposal was published, he visited Bosnia and Herzegovina again to remind politicians that the clock was ticking and warned them: “Accusations [against] the international community can take you absolutely nowhere."

On July 15, the EC recommended visa-free travel for Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina's candidacy for this so-called first wave of liberalisation was rejected.

However, the European Commission visa scheme includes citizens of the Republika Srpska entity who hold biometric Serbian passports. With Bosnian Croats already able to secure Croatian passports, after January 1, 2010, Bosnian Muslims are the only citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who will be unable to benefit from the visa liberalisation scheme.

This fact was the main object of concern for most European deputies who asked for explanations during Bildt’s presentation on Sweden's six-month term in the EU presidency.

“I do hope that BIH [Bosnian] leaders are acting," Bildt said, adding that they were fighting a “war of words" in the wake of their country's conflict. “Let them now look at the future for the benefit of the people. And Bosnian politicians can now demonstrate by getting together and [achieving the] necessary conditions,” he said.

Bildt, who was the EU special envoy in the Balkans during the war in Bosnia, also addressed the possibility of changes in the Dayton agreement, which ended the conflict. He argued that Dayton is not enough for Bosnia.

“We need a transition in Bosnia from the backward-looking Dayton structure [...] to a forward looking Brussels structure looking to the future,” he said.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Tensions

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Tensions

July 21, 2009 | 1229 GMT
Bosnian Muslims pray in December 2007 at the central mosque in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina

A brawl in Mostar, a town in southern Bosnia, left a prominent Wahhabi leader dead and several other people injured July 15. Bosnia is already hot spot for interethnic violence due to its cultural diversity and simmering social unrest stemming from the economic crisis; the July 15 brawl shows that intraethnic conflict is also a possibility.


More graffiti calling for retaliation against Bosniaks, Muslim Slavs who are the dominant group in Bosnia, surfaced in the southern Bosnian town of Mostar on July 19. The graffiti follows a July 15 intraethnic brawl between Bosniaks and Wahhabis in Mostar. People from both sides were injured in that fight, and one prominent Wahhabi died in the hospital July 18 from severe head wounds. Several hundred friends and fellow Wahhabis attended his funeral, while graffiti calling for the death of a Bosniak man allegedly responsible for the death began appearing the following day.

The July 15 brawl indicates that intraethnic conflict in Bosnia could lie ahead.

Ethno-sectarian tensions are not new in Mostar. The city lies on the strategic Neretva River, which allows north-south access throughout southern Bosnia and Herzegovina and eventually the Adriatic coast in the south. Mostar’s location at the heart of the Neretva Valley positions it at the crossroads of the Muslim-dominated northern Neretva basin, the predominantly Croatian western Herzegovina and Serb-dominated eastern Herzegovina. The town’s demographics before the 1992-1995 Bosnian Civil War illustrated its diversity, with nearly every ethnicity equally represented: the Bosniaks and Croats were dominant at around 35 percent each, while the substantial Serbian population stood at around 20 percent. Today, the city is split down the middle between Croats and the Bosniaks.

The town saw heavy conflict between Croatians and Bosniaks during the Bosnian Civil War,tensions that have resurfaced recently. The latest case of violence is notable, however, in that it is within an ethno-sectarian group: the moderate Muslim Bosniaks and the hard-line Wahhabis. During the Bosnian War, Wahhabis were tolerated in Bosnia because they were seen as a vital link with the Middle East able to provide financial and military support for the Bosniak cause.

Nearly 15 years after the end of the Bosnian civil war, however, the more moderate Bosniaks have no desire to see Islamic fundamentalism imposed in the Balkans, and now largely resent the Wahhabis’ presence in the region. The tensions in Mostar follow the arrest of six men in neighboring Serbia’s predominantly Muslim Sandzak region last month over similar fears of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

These tensions are likely to be exacerbated in coming months as the economic crisis continues to hit the region, and Bosnia in particular. While there have been ethnic tensions in northern Kosovo and most recently in south Serbia between Serbs and Albanians, those conflicts are more stable than Bosnia’s. In Kosovo, communities are largely segregated and firmly separated by the presence of a sizable international armed presence. In south Serbia, the predominantly Albanian Presevo Valley has again flared up with sporadic attacks against Serbian Interior Ministry personnel and civilians, but Belgrade has a firm grip on the region and is making sure that it does not use a heavy-handed approach that would elicit an international backlash. Either way, the Albanians of Presevo are unlikely to receive any support from the West. This is because the West has tired of Balkan intrigue, and because Belgrade is making sure to cooperate closely with international forces in Kosovo.

However, Bosnia is still prone to unrest. The country is still mixed ethnically, particularly in the joint Croat-Muslim federal entity, where different ethnic groups are in close proximity. The most recent attack in Mostar, however, also illustrates that as social tensions rise due to the economic crisis, intraethnic violence is also possible. Though this does not mean that new clashes are imminent, STRATFOR will be watching any new developments in this volatile region closely, with Bosnia at the center of our attention.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kosovo’s costly World Bank membership

(Santinbon/flickr) Membership in the World Bank costs Kosovo greatly because it must pay its portion of the old Yugoslav debt. As outlined by the Ahtisaari plan, membership comes despite Kosovo not receiving any assets deriving from the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Belgrade’s continuing politics to pay Kosovo’s foreign debt, as part of Serbia’s general debt, is breaking down
In July 2008, when Kosovo applied to join the world’s leading financial institutions – the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank – citizens heard promises and plans for securing future development funds for capital investment, but there was little warning that Kosovo had to first pay inherited debts.

At the beginning of July 2009, after they signed the membership accords with the Bank and the IMF, Kosovo leaders agreed to pay a World Bank debt of 231 million dollars for loans obtained during the 1980s in Yugoslavia.

Kosovo’s original debt was 381 million dollars, but the US stepped in and agreed to pay 150 million dollars of the debt.

These agreements marked a milestone between Kosovo and international institutions after Kosovo declared independence on February 2008. Many believe that Serbia had agreed to delegate this particular debt to Kosovo but had preferred to not make it a public issue, but rather keep silent.

However, the foreign debt for the newest state in Europe does not end with the World Bank. According to the Serbian government, the alleged debt is estimated to be 1.2 billion dollars. Kosovo authorities, on their side, claim that foreign debt is much less than a billion dollars. Aside from the World Bank, the loans have been negotiated through the Paris Club, an informal group of financial officials from 19 of the world's richest countries, and the London Club – an informal group of private creditors on the international stage.

These loans had financed capital projects in Kosovo during the 1980s, and were signed in the name of Kosovo People’s Bank and the Yugoslav Federation. The banks in Kosovo were nationalised during the Milosevic regime in the 1990s, which today makes Serbia the only entity eligible to manage the payments.

Political institutions in Pristina have agreed to repay the money spent in projects implemented in Kosovo. Because of a special clause in the Ahtisaari Plan (developed by Martti Ahtisaari, the former UN mediator in the Kosovo status talks), the Kosovo constitution included responsibility for the debt. Adopted in March 2007, the Ahtisaari plan foresaw an agreement between Pristina and Belgrade on the debt issue. If there was no agreement, then an international arbitrator should mediate the foreign debt.

None of this has happened because Serbia has not signed the Ahtisaari Plan and thus does not feel obliged to it, as the plan recommended supervised independence. Belgrade continues its battle and to demonstrate that Kosovo is a part of Serbia still does not give up on paying Kosovo’s foreign debt.

Politicians in Serbia are divided on this issue. Serbian Minister of Finance Mladan Dinkic requests the Government to stop paying Kosovo’s debt since it declared independence. After Kosovo announced independence, Dinkic declared, “It is foolish to continue servicing Kosovo’s debt,” He considers that it is unfair for taxpayers in Serbia to pay for loans taken for constructing facilities in cities in Kosovo where not even a single Serb lives today.

The other camp, led by Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and President Boris Tadic claim that by giving up on Kosovo’s foreign debt, Serbia is also giving up on Kosovo. Officials from Serbia’s Ministry of Kosovo deeply criticise the idea of not paying the debt, when “we (Serbia) are working to return our economic sovereignty in Kosovo.”

A non-nationalistic stand comes from the Brussels-based European Economic Institute, which suggests putting the payments on hold until an international solution is reached for the status of Kosovo.

Yugoslavia’s heritage and Kosovo

Kosovo was part of Serbia in 1991, during the dissolution of Yugoslavia when all succession states assumed the debt and assets based on their participation to the economy of the federation (Badinter Arbitration Commission).

Serbia (including Montenegro at the time) had about 38% share of debts, which it would only renegotiate and continue to pay back in 2002 when it renegotiated terms with the World Bank, the Paris Club and the London Club. Economic experts say Kosovo should take responsibility for more than just 4% from Serbia’s share of Yugoslav debts, but also the assets.

The economic expert and director of the Institute for Development Research RIINVEST, Muhamet Mustafa, even proposes to officials in Pristina to give up on both debt and assets, as it would save all sides from long procedures.

However, he notes that Belgrade is somehow trying to impose on Kosovo the obligation to pay the inherited debt but not take part in asset succession which benefited constituent regions following the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

Mustafa, who also represented Kosovo in the 2006 discussion with Serbia on economic issues, which were finalised with the Ahtisaari Plan, says, “If Serbia wants to normalise relations with Kosovo then it has to agree on both assuming foreign debt, repay Kosovo for all war damages during the 1990s, including expulsion of 70% of public servants, damages to the autonomous budget worth billions, robbing of pension system and savings worth hundreds of millions of euros.”

The Vetevendosje (Self-determination) movement also called on the government not to pay the debt, as outlined by the Ahtisaari Plan, until Serbia repays Kosovo for damages caused during the war and return the country’s capital owed to it from the breakup of Yugoslavia.

In case Kosovo decides to take over the debt and pay for loans spent in Kosovo, then Serbia’s cooperation is necessary since Pristina does not hold the original contracts and documents supporting the claims.

GAP Institute, a Pristina-based think tank, recommends that Pristina express its willingness to take over servicing of the debt that was used for projects in Kosovo. A GAP position paper notes, “Kosovo should not deny the obligation, and in the path towards developing a sustainable and a respected state, it should recognize the moral obligation to take over the debt that belongs to Kosovo.”

These calls come at the time when Kosovo is preparing to ask for loans to fund capital investments. The head of the institute, Shpend Ahmeti, stresses further that Kosovo should have asked from the donor conference in July 2008 to repay all its foreign debts, instead of pledging 1.2 billion euros in projects.

Ahmeti says, “Kosovo would get rid of an old burden, avoid inflation, while now most of the project money from the donor conference is spent on consultants coming from EU countries.”

Upon the recommendation of IMF, Kosovo has, since 2008, set aside 50 million euros from its budget in order to be prepared to pay for its foreign debt. Currently the IMF warned the government on its increased expenditures, arguing that it is spending more than it can afford and is adopting laws without being certain it can support them financially. The body has also appealed to abandon plans for increasing public sector expenditures before local elections in November this year.

Serbia could put more pressure on the Kosovo government and allocate the rest of the debt it is paying to Paris Club and London Club. However, such a move would mean that Serbia acknowledges Kosovo as an international subject towards world bodies, as demonstrated with Kosovo’s World Bank debt.

Serbia, alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to secure loans worth hundreds of millions of euros recently, an indicator of a serious borrower, which Kosovo has yet to prove. This means that Pristina has to set aside more than 50 million euros a year in order to handle the inherited debt and the fresh loans – with which it wants to finance road-infrastructure projects and its new energy plant.

In the future, when the Kosovo government proclaims “victories” such as IMF and World Bank memberships, it would be good to inform the citizens/taxpayers, as an indicator of responsibility, the burden brought by being an independent international subject.