Balkans: Invitation To Heaven


May 8, 2010: A Moslem organization operating in Bosnia named Invitation To Heaven (Poziv u Raj) has called on all non-Moslem Bosnians to convert to Islam. The Bosnian authorities describe Invitation To Heaven as a Wahhabi sect organization, which means it is likely funded by wealthy Persian Gulf-area Arabs (possibly Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism is the official brand of Islam). The organization is critical of so-called Islamic worship by Bosniak Moslems. Invitation To Heaven has been active in a number of Bosnian cities and towns, including Sarajevo.

May 5, 2010: Rioters in Athens, Greece killed three people and fought with police. The three people were killed when a group of anarchist and left-wing demonstrators firebombed a bank. The rioters also attacked a McDonald's hamburger restaurant. Demonstrations were being held throughout Greece to protest economic austerity measures by Greece's Socialist-run government. The situation is likely to get worse. The government appears to be committed to economic reforms, including budget cuts. The cuts are required by the European Union (especially Germany, which is footing most of the costs), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF and EU have promised up to 120 billion euros in loans. The loans and bailout money may fend off national bankruptcy, if the government really sticks to its tight budget. The Greek government, despite being led by the Socialist Party (PASOK) says accepting the tight budget is the only way to save the country. The anarchists and leftists, however, are trying to seed as much chaos as possible, and they hope both the economic crisis and chaos spreads throughout Europe. They hope this will produce revolutionary conditions. The far left still thinks Communism can work.

May 1, 2010: Protestors in Greece condemned the government's austerity budget as (quote) “the biggest attack on workers in centuries.” That's a bit extreme, coming from communists. The biggest disasters for all workers in the past century has been communism, which greatly reduced opportunity, pay and working conditions.

Socialist protestors in Tirana, Albania demanded a recount of last year's election ballots. Post election protests have been going on since June 2009. The Socialists claim the government committed election fraud and many Socialist officials have been boycotting the Albanian parliament.

April 30, 2010: German police arrested a Kosovar Albanian wanted for war crimes committed during the Kosovo War (1998-99). The suspect was a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and is accused of killing 13 Gypsies (Roma). The warrant was issued by Serbia.

Kosovo police, in conjunction with KFOR units, arrested seven people suspected of operating a weapons smuggling gang. The suspects were arrested in the town of Begrac. The arrests took place after Kosovo police engaged in a shootout with smugglers near the Kosovo-Macedonian border. The police captured several weapons, but the most interesting part of the cache was a barrel containing Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) uniforms.

April 29, 2010: A police team from the EU's EULEX contingent in Kosovo raided the office of Kosovo's Transportation Minister. EULEX is investigating corruption in a multi-billion dollar road infrastructure construction contract.

April 28, 2010: Russia and Turkey have fought over the Caucasus region before, with Russia eventually taking control of the region. Today, Russia and Turkey have many reasons to cooperate, but old antagonisms simmer below the surface. For example, Turkish and Russian media have been discussing allegations made by some Russians that Moslem terrorists in Russia have received training in Turkish religious schools. The Turkish government denies this allegation in absolute terms, but Turkish media have published and broadcast the opinions of numerous Turks that they are worried that the Russian government's reaction to the subway bombings by Chechen terrorists could lead to a crackdown on Moslems living in Russia (including ethnic Turks). The Russians see these statements as slander and an indication of Turkish political sympathy for Chechen terrorists. On the other hand, there have also been several public statements by Turkish Moslem leaders that condemn those who use religion as a mask for terrorism or as a philosophical basis to justify terrorist attacks. The Russians do appreciate those statements.

April 22, 2010: The government of Armenia announced that it will suspend ratification of the Turkish-Armenian agreement to normalize relations. This puts the deal on more or less permanent hold. Neither Armenia or Turkey, however, wants to be accused of being the deal breaker. The governments have been discussing restoring diplomatic relations since October 2009.

April 21, 2010: Bosnian police in Sarajevo broke up a demonstration by several thousand Bosnian War veterans who were protesting planned government cuts in veterans benefits. The cuts are part of an austerity budget package. Fifteen people were injured during the demonstrations.

April 20, 2010: Bosnia joined NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP). This is a pathway to NATO membership. NATO foreign ministers praised Bosnia's decision to contribute to NATO's mission in Afghanistan.

April 19, 2010: Turkish Cypriot Dervis Eroglu won election as leader of the Turkish Cypriot statelet. Eroglu claims he will continue to pursue peace negotiations with Greek Cypriots. Eroglu, however, is not a fan of a federal governing structure for Cyprus and prefers a sovereign Turkish Cypriot state on the northern side of the island (the two state solution). Greek Cypriots say they will not accept a two-state solution.

April 18, 2010: The Bosnian government announced that it would send an infantry unit to Afghanistan to serve with NATO forces. The Bosnian unit will be assigned to the Danish contingent.




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