Serbian and Russian intelligence operatives in the Balkans have pinpointed Turkish and Albanian government-supported radical mosques that are radicalizing Albanian Muslims from Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia for the Islamic State (Da’esh) ranks in Syria and Iraq. The use of two NATO nations, Albania and Turkey, in supplying fresh troops for the Islamic State, has strengthened the resolve of Russian President Vladimir Putin to punish the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan for its support for the Islamic State and its military actions against Russian and Russian-supported forces in Syria.
The Albanian mosques, chiefly financed by money from Saudi Arabia, have churned out hundreds of Albanian Muslim fighters for the Da’esh jihad in Syria and Iraq. Many have flown unhindered from Tirana to Istanbul and onward passage to the Da’esh killing fields of Syria and Iraq. The radical mosques are located in the suburbs of Tirana, Leshnice, Cerrik, Librazhd, Pogradec, and Elbasan. Some of the jihadist recruits also studied at Islamic schools in Saudi Arabia courtesy of Saudi government full scholarships.
One of the Albanian jihadist cells in Kosovo, operating from Kacanik, was planning to assassinate Pope Francis I in Rome. Still, the Obama administration refuses to crack down on jihadist cells operating from Kosovo, a nation that hosts one of the largest U.S. military bases in Europe at Camp Bondsteel.
Rather than concentrate Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Forces assets against Islamic State recruiting activities in Albania, the Obama administration has given the green light to another “themed revolution” against Serbia and the Bosnian Serb Republic to prevent the two Serb state entities from uniting into a single country. The Serbs and Bosnian Serbs have been proactive in conducting operations against Islamist cells within their nations as seen last month with “The Shield” counter-terrorism exercise conducted by 500 military, intelligence, and paramilitary personnel. Dozens of Bosnian Muslims, fresh from fighting for ISIL in Syria, have been tracked back to Bosnia-Herzegovina where they have been probing potential terrorist targets in Banja Lujka and Brcko in the Bosnian Serb Republic.
NATO considers a strong Serbia, united with the Bosnian Serbs, as a prelude for the reincorporation of Serb territories in Kosovo and the creation of a singular Serb state supported by Russia. Therefore, NATO is more than willing to continue to allow the recruitment of jihadists in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia, avail to them battlefield experience in Syria and Iraq, and return them to the Balkans to face off against the Serbs and, possibly, the Russians.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).