The Kosovars themselves have spilled a lot of
electrons on the subject, in particular the Saudi connection that is
one of Gall’s main, and well-told, points. They figure:
In terms of the number of foreign fighters per capita amongst their
Muslim population, Kosovo is in the bottom half of the list of
countries, ranked 14th among 22 countries with the highest number of
foreign fighters per capita of their respective Muslim populations.
The Kosovo government is claiming there have been no known Kosovar
recruits to the Islamic State (ISIS) in the past year or so. To my
knowledge, no one is denying that claim.
recruitment worldwide is down overall, due to its loss of territory
and fighters over the past year. But in addition Pristina has been
conducting a legal crackdown, described by the Police Director
earlier this month in Brussels. It includes 110 arrests, 67
indictments and 26 convictions so far. This is not an easy thing to
do for a young country still not a member of Interpol with lots of
other problems. But it is getting done. The government has also
prepared a 2015/20 strategy for countering violent extremism
covering early identification, prevention, intervention and
de-radicalization and reintegration.
political environment is favorable to blocking ISIS recruitment:
Kosovars are remarkably pro-NATO and pro-Europe, with over 90%
supporting membership in the Alliance and the European Union.
Despite divisive domestic politics that have led to street
demonstrations focused on the wisdom of continuing Pristina’s
dialogue with Belgrade, dissenters from the Euroatlantic path Kosovo
has chosen are few and far between.
quick these days to see threats, in particular from Muslim
populations. Kosovo however is a constitutionally secular state
whose mostly Muslim population is as friendly to the West as any on
earth. The Alliance saved Kosovo Albanians from Serbia’s effort to
expel them in 1999, has protected the country ever since and is now
in the process of helping it to build up its security forces. The
European Union has been generous and helpful, providing most of the
NATO troops deployed there and much of the international aid. It is
not surprising that most Kosovars view Washington and Brussels as
friends and protectors, not enemies.
there are some individuals who feel differently. Unprovoked, a
Kosovar killed two US airmen five years ago in Frankfurt. Other
incidents may happen. What we need to do to ensure they are few and
far between is to continue to help ensure the success of Kosovo’s
democracy and economy, as well as its application of the rule of
law. Despite the Times’ front-page article, Kosovo is one of the
last things Americans should have to worry about.