Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Balkans launch fight against jihadist recruitment
by Staff Writers
Pristina (AFP) Sept 30, 2014

Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia are considering amendments to their criminal codes to make it punishable for their citizens to fight abroad.

Algeria identifies suspects in Frenchman's beheading
Algiers (AFP) Sept 30, 2014 - Algeria has identified suspects in the kidnapping and beheading of French tourist Herve Gourdel, the justice minister said Tuesday, as the North Africa country widened its probe into the brutal execution.

Gourdel was seized on September 21 by Jund al-Khilifa, or "Soldiers of the Caliphate," a group linked to the Islamic State jihadists, while trekking in a national park in eastern Algeria.

The 55-year-old mountain guide was beheaded, in a video posted online last Wednesday, after France rejected the kidnappers' ultimatum to halt anti-IS air raids in Iraq.

"The preliminary investigation has identified certain members of the terrorist group that carried out this crime," Tayeb Louh said on state television.

The investigation into Gourdel's abduction and killing was handed over Sunday to a judge at an Algiers court specialising in terrorism and organised crime, the minister said.

Prosecutors have sought an arrest warrant for the identified kidnappers and demanded an investigation to determine the location where the video was posted online, said the minister.

A probe has also been ordered to identify other members of Jund al-Khilifa.

The beheading followed France's rejection of the group's 24-hour ultimatum to halt air raids in Iraq -- part of a US-led campaign against IS.

It came after three other Western hostages -- two US journalists and a British aid worker -- were beheaded by the jihadist group.

French jets carried out their first air strike against Islamic State militants in Iraq on September 19, destroying a logistics depot.

Paris opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq but was one of the first to sign up for an active role in the US-led campaign against IS.

It has six Rafale fighter jets and just under 1,000 soldiers based in the United Arab Emirates.

The abduction and execution of Gourdel sparked global condemnation and an outpouring of grief in his homeland.

With the world on high alert over foreign fighters joining jihadist ranks in Syria and Iraq, Balkan states are launching efforts to clamp down on recruiting in their region, considered fertile ground by Islamists.

Of the more than 20 million people in southeast Europe, more than five million are Muslims, and an economic slump in weak states battered by past wars has fired up some of the disenfranchised.

They live in countries formed from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, whose economies were devastated by the wars of the 1990s, as well as Albania, one of the poorest states in Europe.

According to local media quoting a recent report of the CIA, hundreds of men from the Balkans have joined the Islamic State (IS) group -- adding to the waves coming from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

In Kosovo, a mostly Muslim territory that unilaterally seceded from Serbia in 2008, deep political crisis and endemic corruption has fuelled hopelessness among young people, said Blerim Latifi, an expert on religious issues at the University of Pristina.

"A very important factor is the lack of economic opportunities for youths in Kosovo, which opens the way for brainwashing by opaque groups," he said.

The indoctrination and recruitment efforts are focused on the poorest among the population as well as on high school students, said Visar Duriqi, a journalist covering issues related to Islam who was recently threatened with decapitation by Kosovo Islamists.

"Radical imams, who often complete their studies in Arab states, are tasked with this. It is financed from abroad. The most preferred targets are high schoolers without perspectives who hope to improve their social status by accepting fanatism," he asserted.

- Imported Islamic doctrines -

In nearby Bosnia, hundreds of Islamist fighters joined Bosnian Muslim forces during the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war.

After the war, a number of Bosnian Muslims, a normally moderate religious community, adopted doctrines inspired by the strict Saudi brand of Islam called Wahhabism, which was nonexistent in the country before the war.

In parts of Serbia and Macedonia where Muslim populations live, the situation is similar.

"The ideological chasm that opened with the break-up of Yugoslavia has been filled by radical religious programmes and nationalists," Serbian orientalist Darko Tanaskovic said.

The moderate form of Islam that Balkan Muslims adhered to after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, which had been a mostly secular country, was radicalised in some parts by the brutality of war, he said.

"The conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo allowed more radical elements, theologians, activists or 'fighters of Allah' to deploy in the region," Tanaskovic said.

"Under certain circumstances these movements could provoke serious problems," he warned. The Balkans for radical Islamists represented "a kind of soft underbelly from where they could act against Europe".

- Crackdown on Islamists -

States in the region have stepped up to counter the growing threat of radical Islam, making arrests and toughening laws.

Earlier in September, police in Bosnia arrested 16 people on charges of joining European-based Islamists and helping them travel to fight in Syria and Iraq. In April, the country passed a law giving prison terms of up to 10 years for convicted Islamists and their recruiters.

In Kosovo, some 55 Islamists were arrested on suspicion of wooing people to join their jihad, including a dozen imams led by a top religious leader, Shefqet Krasniqi of the Grand Mosque in Pristina.

Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia are considering amendments to their criminal codes to make it punishable for their citizens to fight abroad.

In Serbia it will impact not only to possible jihadists but also Serbian Christian Orthodox volunteers, dozens of whom have been fighting in Ukraine, mostly on the side of pro-Russian separatists.


Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

IS jihadists close in on key Syria border town
Damascus (AFP) Sept 29, 2014
Islamic State group fighters closed in Monday to within only a few kilometres of a key Kurdish town on Syria's border with Turkey, despite new air strikes by the US-led coalition. NATO member Turkey deployed tanks to reinforce its side of the border and said parliament would this week debate joining the coalition against the jihadists operating on the country's doorstep. The alliance car ... read more

Raytheon producing backup components for missile defense radar

Raytheon providing ongoing support for Patriot air defense system

Israel, US test upgraded Arrow 2 missile interceptor

INFORMS Study on Iron Dome Asks: What Was its Impact?

UAE asks U.S. for $900M rocket artillery deal

U.S. Navy eyes Norwegian missile

Raytheon announces full-rate production of Talon rocket

China shows off new missile test on primetime television

USMC Orders RQ-12 Wasp AE UAVs

AeroVironment's Wasp microdrone being supplied to Marine Corps

Fury glide bomb dropped from Shadow UAS

IBC Advanced Alloys Delivers First UAS Components for Analysis

'Space bubbles' may have aided enemy in fatal Afghan battle

Space control Airmen ensure constant communication

Russian Aerospace Defense Forces Again Dismiss Satellite Explosion Rumors

Harris Corporation supplying radios to Air Force Special Operations Command

Former Exelis business unit makes debut as independent company

UAE asks U.S. for $2.5B MRAP deal

Millog expands maintenance work for Finnish military

Seeing Through the Fog (and Dust and Snow) of War

German push onto world stage hit by defence failures

Poland, Pakistan, Lebanon seek U.S. military hardware

Airbus to restructure defence division, sell off units

Netherlands ups defence spending in wake of downed MH17

'CY' Leung: Hong Kong's embattled leader

Modi makes White House debut

Polish weekend warriors up in arms over Russian threat

Philippines, US launch joint exercises near China-claimed waters

World's smallest reference material is big plus for nanotechnology

Smallest possible diamonds form ultra-thin nanothreads

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.