The waves of refugees from the Middle East hit Europe. It’s not something new for the continent and the Balkans. In the recent 25 years migration, including people evicted from homes and war refugees, has become routine. Serbs left Croatia, Kosovo, the Muslim part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats left Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jews left Croatia and Bosnia. Last year Albanians unexpectedly went away from Kosovo. According to some reports 100 thousand of them crossed the Serbian border going to Hungary and other European countries.
So many people suddenly left! It took Belgrade a long time to find explanation. The Kosovo authorities said the people left because of rumors that many vacant working places appeared in Germany. The Serbian government was prone to believe the people left homes due to aggravation of social problems. We believe that the unexpected flow of refugees was provoked to put more pressure on Europe and international organizations to make them recognize Kosovo. Kosovo Albanians get impatient waiting for recognition, so they start to act. They have intensified their activities in Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece. Even the statements coming from Tirana have become more radical. In these instances people moved from one place in Europe to another.
In recent years refugees from the Middle East (mainly from Syria, Iraq) and Afghanistan have come to settle down in the Balkans. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or the UN Refugee Agency, the refugees from these countries first arrived in 2008 with 77 asking for asylum in Serbia. In 2013 the number of people asking for asylum grew to 5 thousand to increase to 16 900 in 2014. 22 182 people crossed the Serbian border during the first 5 months of 2015. This is official data about refugees coming to Serbia across Macedonia from the war-torn regions of Middle East and Afghanistan. 95% of the refugees come from Syria and Afghanistan. There is a ground to believe that the real figures are much higher than the official ones.
The refuges from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Tunisia cross the territory of Turkey and then go by sea to Greece. The further route lies through Macedonia and then Serbia. They move toPresevo, a small town located near the border. Albanians account for 90% of its population. The International Federation of Red Cross and local authorities have established a headquarters to manage emergency situations and take care of incoming refugees. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Médecins sans Frontières set up tents and offer the first aid.
Some are legal immigrants while others use trails to enter the country illegally. They use trucks, freight cars and find ways to get around check points. 300-500 people in Presevo ask for asylum daily. In June 15 thousand immigrants got asylum in Serbia. Just think how many have already been settled in the country…
How many Middle East and Afghan Muslims have entered Serbia? Some sources say 10 thousand from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries came to the country during the first four months this year. Totally 30 thousand are expected to have come till the end of the year. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic says 30 thousand have already entered Serbia with 1, 5 million moreconcentrated at the border between Syria and Turkey. As to our estimates, at least 60 thousand people had crossed the border till July.
According to Office of the United Nations High Commissioner, there are around 60 million refugees in the world with Syria (3, 9 million), Afghanistan (2, 6 million) and Somalia (1, 1 million) topping the list. Hans Friedrich Schodder, the head of the UNHCRRepresentation in Serbia, says the refugees from these countries are more frequently met on the streets, at bus stops and in the parks. It’s worth to pay attention on the UNHCR’s reaction to the refugees problem in Serbia. The organization had turned a blind eye on the issue. Now it has all changed with Schodder calling Serbia a democratic country in the heart of Europe praising it for keeping the border open. He promises to set up the infrastructure to receive refugees. The United Nations calls for doing away with all obstacleson the way of 15 million refugees from Syria and Iraq.
Planned or spontaneous refugee flows go through Hungary keeping away from the borders with Romania or Croatia. According to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, 40.500 people have asked for asylum in Hungary this year, 28.800 of them came from Kosovo. Others arrived from the Middle East. Europe was indifferent but Hungarians were not very happy about it. Budapest has made a decision to close the border and even erect a high wall along it. Croatia wants to follow suit. Europe is critical of Hungary but it has nothing to offer as an alternative solution. As a result, more people will stay in Serbia and Macedonia. Belgrade is engaged in hard talks on European Union membership. It wants to put its best foot forward and promises to host all the refugees from the East.
Some refugees stay in Macedonia,, some move to the south of Serbia where there are many Muslims-populated areas, while some of them get settled down in Serbia towns and villages on the way. The refugees come without any documents, they get IDs and other papers in Serbia where whatever they say is taken on trust. According to international and Serbian laws, war refugees are not illegal immigrants. That’s why Serbia takes care of them. Refugee camps or reception centers are set up in Banja Koviljaca, a popular tourist town and spa situated in the Loznica municipality, Bogovadia, a town located 70 km from Belgrade, Krnjaca, an urban neighborhood half an hour’s drive from central Belgrade, Senica, a town located in the south of the country, and Tutin, a town and municipality in the Raska region of Serbia – all under the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration.
Europe is slow in tackling the problem of refugees. The text of agreement on the issue is still being worked out. In two years European countries have given refuge to 60 thousand people coming from the Middle East with first stops in Italy and Greece. Nobody is willing to accept binding quotas. The Greek Orthodox countries of the Balkans will have to solve the problem on their own. Serbia faces the fallout from many years of wars. It is also hit by economic crisis. For 20 years it has been unable to solve the problem of Serbian refugees coming from Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The flows of immigrants create a heavy burden for the country to shoulder. But there is one more problem which is almost invisible.
Nowadays one can meet young people on the streets of Serbian cities who don’t speak the language and don’t look like refugees. Physically fit, respectful and polite, they normally walk in groups of three trying not to attract attention. According to local media, the majority of immigrants settling down in Serbia are men younger than 27. Muslims account for 94% of the immigrants. 56% of refugees remaining in Serbia are single. They don’t likebeing photographed. Many of them are men of means, in some cases the money is sent by relatives.
It gives rise to concern. Well-trained Islamists with combat experience have an opportunity to enter the country posing as refugees. They go to all the corners of Serbia but mainly concentrate in the south. This is the force that could support the Muslim brothers in the Balkans. The feeling of anxiety is spreading around. Telegraph newspaper writes that terrorists do come along with refugees, especially in view that the majority of immigrants come from war-torn Syria. The newspaper believes that many of them come in organized groups. Some sources report that there are around 1000 Jihadists in the country. Around 200 of them are in Belgrade with others living inLedinci, Zemun, Palilula, Medakovic where they have their own mosques without minarets. Many of them come from Kosovo. Funds come from Vienna.
Zlatko Nikolic, a criminalist, believes that a sleeper agent can easily hide among real refugees. The terrorists vanish in the crowd and wait for the orders to come. Local Wahhabis from Prizren, Bujanovac and Gračanica are responsible for recruitment and coordination. Nikolic believes that many thousands of Muslim immigrants are militants. There are hundreds of thousands followers of Wahhabism in Serbia now.
A video clip is disseminated showing an Islamic State militant asking the Muslims residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina to fill the group’s ranks in the ancient land of Islam or start a fight in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Plant sticky bombs under cars, explode houses, poison them, kill them everywhere – let it be Bosnia, Serbia or Sanjak. You can do it and Allah will help you!”, said Ridwan Khachifi, a Kosovo Albanian known for atrocities he committed in Syria. Retired General Momir Stoyaniovic, a former high standing security service official, said in June 25-28 that Kosovo terrorists planned to commit three terrorist acts in central and southern areas of the country.
Do the Balkan states realize how dangerous it is? To some extent they do. A collegium of Ministry of Internal Affairs took place on June 28 to consider the security situation, especially the problems related to immigration. In Macedonia they reacted more effectively by adopting a law in late June that forbids refugees staying in the country for more than 72 hours. That’s why around 600 people gathered by the end of last month at the border with Greece.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina security services are implementing an $800 billion project collecting biometrics data on foreigners staying in the country. The money camefrom the United States (?).
Husein “Bilal” Bosnic, the leader of the Salafi movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) suspected of activities aimed at supporting the Islamic State (IS), is on trial in Sarajevo for allegedly recruiting BiH citizens to join IS fighters in Syria. Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska, openly said that radical Islam poses danger and needs to be countered. According to him, 34 thousand apartments are being built in Sarajevo and Ilic to accommodate Arabs, 380 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are fighting in the ranks of Islamic State. There are 3400 people on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina who can perpetrate terrorist acts (none of them is Arab).
There are five ammunition producing facilities on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are potential targets for terrorists. Voislav Seselj, the leader of Serbian Radical Party, openly warns that Washington is preparing the operation Eagleto perpetrate terrorist acts in Serbia and intensify the activities of terror groups in Niš, Čačak, Kragujevac and Belgrade 29. According to him,the groups (1700 men strong formation in Belgrade and 20-30 strong groups in other cities)are waiting for a signal to take up arms. Terrorist acts in the crowded places of big cities will attract policemen. There will be much noise. At this moment Albanians in the south of Serbia will take up arms to accomplish their goal of unification. The Kosovo Albanians will move north to Kosovska Mitrovica. Tirana has always traditionally abstained from interference into the events taking place outside its territory. Now it admits that it is unable to control disgruntled Albanians in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo. Albanians may rise to unite the territories where they make up the majority of population.
The events in Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia provide enough grounds for making conclusions. On the one hand, the scenario of outside management is implemented in all these countries: regime change, the partition of territories, encouragement of extremist activities and suppression of strive for independence. The subservience of political elites is a factor to be used to advantage. Washington has failed to fully accomplish all the goals set. The process has been dragging on for dozens of years. The Republika Srpska still exists and even grows stronger, Macedonia is trying to defend its independence preventing the country from partition, Serbia does not recognize Kosovo and all these countries continue to pin their hopes on Russia and maintain close relationship with Moscow.
On the other hand, radical Islamism has been gaining ground in the Balkans recently. Terrorist groups conduct theirs activities, for instance: Wahabia and Red Rose in the south of Serbia and Montenegro, Tarikat in Montenegro, Al Qaeda cells in the north of Albania. In Bosnia and Herzegovina radical Islamists recruit Islamic State militants and perpetrate terrorist acts. They advocate a united Muslim country to be part of the so called green transversal or “Green Corridor” – a Muslim state in Europe. Looks like we’re witnessing the final phase of the process.
The refugees flow to the Balkans increased in 2014 – the very same year the Islamic State was created. Today the Balkans is flooded with Muslim refugees many of whom get settled down in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 25 thousand young men, including soldiers with special operations training, are to take up arms at any moment. As we see it, the scenario could be as follows. Albanian radicals supported by Kosovars launch insurgencies simultaneously in Macedonia and in the south of Serbia – the Presevo Valley and Sanjak.
The Kosovo police tries to occupy the Serbs-populated areas. A number of terrorist acts are committed in central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to distract attention. Police in Macedonia and Serbia launch operations against armed formations of terrorists. Probably, Albanian civilians lose their lives as a result of provocations. Upon command the Islamists, who were peacefully waiting for the moment, rise up in arms to form combat units and rush to help the “perishing” Muslim brothers. Clashes increase in scope with unpredictable outcome. Combats of different intensity take place in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Weakened, reformed armies and police find it hard to defend the territories of their states, especially Republika Srpska which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. NATO or new formations of Islamists come to manage the conflict. At all events the problem will never be solved in favor of Serbia, Macedonia and even Montenegro, which is on the way to NATO membership. We believe that the conflict will spark in late August – early September…