Geopolitics

The Temptation Of Radical Islam In Kosovo

The Muslim majority Balkan nation, liberated from Serbia with the help of Western forces in 1999, is no longer immune to the worldwide nexus of radical Islamic forces.

PRISTINA — A.B."s horizon has shrunk. For months, the universe of this Albanian Kosovar who used to dream of adventures and holy war in Syria has been limited to his modest family home located in an old Yugoslav army building in a drab little village near the Macedonian border.

Placed under house arrest ahead of his trial later this year, the 28-year-old feels downhearted. His mood is as black as the flag of the jihadists he joined around Aleppo, Syria, two winters ago.

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Inside Belgrade's Migrant Camps


New waves of migrants, including Syrian war refugees, seek to reach the gates of Europe at the Hungarian border.

BELGRADE — It's still dark at 5 a.m near the railway station in the Serbian capital. The streetlights are on but the roads are quiet. A half hour later, everything changes as the camped-out migrants awaken, and dozens of migrants quickly get up, take their sheets and clear the way for the commuters arriving at the train station.

The new day brings with it the race for some free electricity, and behind a small café five young men huddle around an adapter plugged into a wall socket. The smartphones are everything for a migrant in a faraway place: a direct line to loved ones they've left behind at home and the source of all the information they need to proceed, including addresses and maps.

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Covered Market

The vast majority of the inhabitants of Pec are Kosovo Albanians — and in the 1960s, the highlanders still wore the traditional qeleshe, a white brimless felt cap. I brought one back, obviously.

Eurovision 2015 Contestants: Serbia

When it first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest as an independent country — and not part of Yugoslavia or with Montenegro as it used to — in 2007, Serbia actually won, for the first time. Fairly promising for the future. But since then, the country has unfortunately not managed to repeat the performance, finishing 6th, 13th, 14th, 3rd the following years, and not even bothering to participate in 2014 because, you know, austerity.

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Eurovision Contestants 2015: Montenegro

Nenad Knezevic Knez, a.k.a. Knez, is one of Montenegro's most popular artists. He started his career in 1992 and has produced 10 successful albums. This year, the 47-year-old singer will represent his country at the Eurovision song contest with the song “Adio.” For those who don’t understand Montenegrin, this ballad is about a relationship that doesn't end well, and about unrequited love — which seems to be one of the favorite themes this year. Perfect for all the violins and the women singing along with Knez.

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Migrant Lives
Maryline Baumard

A New Clandestine Crossing Into The EU, Via Serbia

At the border between Serbia and Hungary, the number of illegal arrivals has increased dramatically over the past few months. Syrians and Afghans who take the road in the Balkans cross paths with migrating Kosovars.

SUBOTICA — At regular intervals, thick smoke emerges from the fire and interrupts the sleepy atmosphere. Eyelids open and words are exchanged to forget, if only briefly, the weariness that fills the brickyard. This abandoned factory in the Serbian town of Subotica is shared by Afghans, Pakistanis and Syrians traveling through the Balkans, and is used as a resting place before entering the Schengen Area, represented by the 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders.

On this day, about 30 Syrians and Iraqis are trying to warm up around a fire alongside 20 Afghans. People check their flashlights while awaiting a text from the smuggler. "Taxis are waiting for us on the other side of the border, and we are going to Austria," says Nabil, a 46-year-old Syrian man, adding that the passing and the drive will cost around $1,500 per person.

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Suriname
David Laufer

Belgrade Is Elsewhere, Paradox Of The Serbian Capital

A charmless pariah city for 20 years, the Serbian capital is finally reclaiming its standing and artistry. Belgrade's residents are torn between pride in their city and dreams of leaving it.

BELGRADE — Seen from the West, Belgrade is a cliché, an illusion drawn from Emir Kusturica’s films. We can imagine that entertaining mix of trumpets, Kalashnikovs, drunkards, beat-up cars and geese walking through the middle of the living room.

In his films, the Balkan director gave his audience at the Cannes Film Festival what they wanted to see. This illusion was even easier to accept, seeing as Belgrade and Serbia do not reveal themselves easily.

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Geopolitics
Alexandre Lévy

DSK's New Life, Between Russian Banks And Serbian Hardliners

BELGRADE – Clean shaven, impeccably dressed in a dark suit and tie, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in business. On Sept. 17, France's former Finance Minister and disgraced head of the International Monetary Fund officially accepted a post as economic adviser to the Serbian government.

DSK's hosts in Belgrade had a hard time hiding how proud they were of recruiting such a hotshot economist — starting with the country's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic: "We are not ashamed to say that he knows much more about economy than all of us. And that in his address book he has more contacts from the world of finance than all of us together."

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Geopolitics

Serbian Gunman Kills Thirteen In Neighborhood Shooting Spree

AP, REUTERS, B92 (Serbia), RT (Russia)

Worldcrunch

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GAZETA WYBORCZA
Draginja Nadażdin*

The Half-Truths Of History That Still Hang Over The Balkans

A Bosnian Serb who fled the Balkans as a teenager reflects on how hard it is to face the past in the Balkans, as much for history's winners as losers.

Convicted war criminal General Radislav Krstić will do his time in a Polish prison. A Polish court agreed to this after the former Bosnian Serb leader was attacked by Muslim inmates in the British prison where he'd been serving his time. Krstić barely survived.

The jailhouse attack was revenge for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst massacre since World War II that left more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims dead.

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food / travel
Matthias Gretzschel

Beauty From The Ashes - Belgrade, Europe's Most Overlooked Capital

BELGRADE - "Go to Republic Square first, and then walk along Knez Mihailova Street, that’s Belgrade at its most beautiful..."

With the counsel of the young woman at Reception, a rickety Dacia taxi gets me from the residential neighborhood of Senjak – pretty, but with some parts in urgent need of a facelift – past office buildings, showcase constructions from the Socialist era, vintage hotels, and department stores, to the heart of Serbia’s capital.

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