Skip to comments.Czechs hold line in Kosovo
Posted on 03/25/2004 4:20:45 AM PST by joan
KFOR soldiers defend Serb enclaves against attacks by Albanians
By Eva Munk
For The Prague Post
(March 25, 2004)
Captain Jindrich Plescher had never seen anything like it.
"We were defending a Serb Orthodox church in the town of Podujevo against a mob of 500 Albanians, but there were too many for us," he recalled. "When they broke through the wall [around the church], we got orders to retreat.
"They smashed everything inside, including our communications center, made a big pile in front and set it on fire. Then they turned their attention to the adjacent Serb cemetery. They knocked over tombstones, dug up the coffins and scattered the bones in them."
For the first time March 21, the professionally optimistic voice of Plescher, press spokesman for the Czech-Slovak KFOR battalion in Kosovo, sounded tired.
"Sorry, we've been on our feet since last week," he said. "Our boys have been rounding up Serb families, pulling them out of cellars and out of burning houses -- saving their lives."
Czech and Slovak soldiers have been supporting KFOR's Brigade center -- a multinational unit consisting of Finnish, Swedish and Irish troops, located around the administrative center of Pristina -- since mobs of ethnic Albanians went on a rampage against Kosovo's Serb minority March 17.
"The Serbs are very happy to see Czech and Slovak troops. They see us as keepers of the peace," Plescher said.
For most of the week, they helped defend Serb enclaves in the towns of Lipljan, Plemetina, Babin Most, Caglavica and Gracanica. By March 21 they had consolidated around the village of Obiliç, a Serb enclave northwest of Pristina, and were evacuating the remaining Serb inhabitants to military headquarters in the city. The Serb homes in the village were ransacked and burned, said unit commander Josef Kopecky.
In times of peace, the 500-strong Fourth Czech-Slovak KFOR battalion keeps the peace in an area of 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) in the northeast corner of the province, including 104 kilometers (65 miles) of borderland and a long stretch of the Belgrade-Pristina highway. The area was expanded by 179 square kilometers March 22 to include more ethnically mixed villages.
Now their mission is simply to protect Serbs from enraged mobs of ethnic Albanians.
"The residents have gone to war with each other using whatever they can -- iron bars, rifles, handguns and even grenades," Kopecky said March 19. "In Serbian enclaves, Kosovo Albanians are destroying property, burning houses, chasing people away and even lynching them. The Serbs are trying to defend themselves and we are trying to keep them apart."
No Czech or Slovak soldiers have been hurt, except for one Slovak who was hit on the head with a rock, Plescher said. "He was up on his feet again the next day. Please, please tell everyone back home that all our boys are alive and well."
The Czech government had planned to withdraw 100 troops from Kosovo by May 1. But the performance of the Czech soldiers in quelling the riots has made the government change its mind about downsizing the force in the province, Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla told reporters.
The rampage broke out March 17 after two Albanian boys were drowned in the Ibar river, reportedly chased there by Serbs. That event triggered the worst violence the province has seen since 1999. Mobs of ethnic Albanians attacked Serb enclaves and KFOR units, leaving 24 dead and about 850 more wounded, 22 of them seriously.
Mobs razed hundreds of Serb houses and 17 Orthodox churches and monasteries.
Ironically, the riots started days after UN Undersecretary General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno praised evident progress in Kosovo and urged displaced persons to return to their homes.
That hardly seems likely now.
Instead, NATO plans to augment its 17,000-strong presence in the province with 2,000 more troops. UN officials and the commander of NATO forces in Southern Europe, Admiral Gregory Johnson, are now saying the riots appear to have been well-planned and organized.
In Serbia, the violence triggered anti-Albanian protests, and several mosques were burned.
Serbian Foreign Minister Goran Silvanovic said the riots prove that KFOR and UN forces have no real authority in the province and are incapable of protecting Kosovo's minorities.
For their part, Kosovar leaders say the only way to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict is to give the province independence. But European leaders agree that such a move could again destabilize the Balkans -- not to mention what such a move would mean for Kosovo's Serb and Romany minorities.
"Of course they would kill us or drive us out," said Romany journalist Jackie Buzoli.
So far, according to Romany activist and Kosovo correspondent Paul Polansky, the Albanians' rage has bypassed the Roma, who are merely being urged not to help the Serbs.
Reading the article shows they DIDN'T defend the enclaves - the Albanians got in and destroyed them. What the Czechs did was evacuate the Serbs, save a certain number who were lynched.
Here are soldiers who are eyewitnesses AS IT HAPPENED. Come five years later as a peacekeeper and hang with Albanians - they'll say the wreckage was caused by Serbs, the bones found from the cemeteries they dug up - they'll say they are Albanians from mass graves...
Who's financing the thugs? Mebbe some of that missing several billion from UN's FFO program in Iraq found its way east.
The Poles saved Vienna from the Muslim hordes (while the rest of Europe did nothing), maybe these two small countries will do the same...
Mainly they're financed by drug-running/white-slavery/gun-smuggling -- known to Interpol as "the scourge of Europe" -- typical mafia stuff. They also got some help from the good old USA and Germany and Iran and... You get the picture.
The sounds of peace,according to the U.N./NATO.
Do we refer to Orthodox as Protestant here? Well, we shouldn't! They're hardly Protestants!
As for Eastern Europe: Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic are primarily Catholic, not Orthodox.
Generally, Orthodox Albanians live in south Albania, Kosovo is mostly Muslim, with some minor RC. Experienced people can easily tell by name wether Shqiptar (the name Albanians call themselves) is Muslim, Orthodox or RC Christian.
In Albania, Enver Hoxha tyranical regime abolished religion but in reality destroyed Christian base on behalf of Islamism. Also, forcibly integrated Hellenes, Vlachi, Serbs, Montenegrins into Albanian nation. There was a large Serb and Montenegrin minority in Albania after Albania was created. Almost none remain today.
Kosovo Shqiptars do not share that experience because they were free to express religious beliefs.
What I would really like to learn is about Orthodox Christian Shqiptars in Kosovo. I strongly suspect they were the victims of geneocide by their fellow Shqiptars during WWII.
Now, imagine being an Orthodox Shqiptar and watching destruction of Orthodox shrines in the name of Shqiptaria( Albanian Nazism).
Somebody ask BOB DOLE...JOHN MCCAIN...and JOE BIDEN why their 'allies' are behaving in this matter. This won't make the public airwaves. I beg of FReepers to call their congressional offices and ask why this is allowed to happen.
It is hard to say. First of all, we do not know how many of Kosovo occupants are Kosovo Sqhiptars (i.e citizens of Serbia), how many are illegal aliens from Albania (i.e. Albanian Shqiptars), how many are Roma forced to decare as Shqiptars.
Only when we can determine this with certainty, we can speak of exact figures.
For illustrative purposes, I believe you are right.
Kosovo Shqiptars boycotted 1991 census on purpose - they were preparing for the fraud. Since there was no census, there was no way to reject their wild claim of 90% of kosovo population being Shqiptars. In reality, it was around 70%.
In 1999, rappid change of population occured. Over 250,000 Serbs, Roma and others were expelled from Kosovo, while at the same time influx of illegal aliens from Albania occured. So, after all the turmoil, Kosovo is 90% Albanian today. But it was not in 1999 and certainly not in 1991 when the claim first time appeared.
this is VERY IMPORTANT issue, because the guideline "Kosovo, population of 2 milion, 90$ Albanian" can be found in thousands of newsreports before Kosovo war. It is unerasable trace that the whole Kosovo story was a con game from the start.
May God judge the French and Germans accordingly for their racism and hatred.
Ronly Bonly Osama gets his wish!
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