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The Iranian Link to the KLA

The Washington Post has run a long story about the Kosovo Liberation Army, the KLA. It was headlined, “Rebels With an Uncommon Cause,” and was written by Peter Finn and R. Jeffrey Smith. However, it should have been headlined, “Rebels Backed by Drug Profits.” Deep inside the article, the authors mentioned the following:

“Although the KLA denies any links to criminal activities, Western law enforcement officials say ethnic Albanian criminal gangs are funneling some profits to the war effort. ‘Turkish [drug] trafficking groups are using Albanians, Yugoslavs and elements of criminal groups from Kosovo to sell and distribute their heroin,’ according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration office in Rome. ‘These groups are believed to be a part of the financial arm of the [KLA’s] war against Serbia. These Kosovars are financing their war through drug trafficking activities, weapons trafficking and the trafficking of other illegal goods…’”

It seems obvious that the KLA is lying about its links to drug trafficking. But the Post’s confirmation of these drug ties should have led the paper to question those in Congress, such as Senators Mitch McConnell and Joseph Lieberman, who have proposed that U.S. weapons be provided to the KLA. But failing to pursue that angle wasn’t the only problem with the story. The Post also reported that a KLA official had said that although it had received arms from the Middle East, it had “rejected Islamic fundamentalism, and that the relationship between the KLA and Islamic radicals has soured to the point where the arms supply has dried up.”

We have received a very different view from Steve Rodan, a former staff correspondent for one of Israel’s most respected investigative reporters. He puts Kosovo this way: “To most in the West, the fighting in Kosovo is the result of an oppressive Yugoslav regime that seeks to deny independence for an Albanian majority in the province. But, quietly, European defense and diplomatic representatives regard the Kosovo rebellion as a success of radical Islamic states, such as Iran, and groups such as that of Osama Bin Laden.” Rodan quotes Reuven Paz, who teaches at Haifa University in Israel, as saying that Kosovo is viewed by Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia as a conflict that pits Islam against Christianity.

Rodan notes that a KLA envoy appeared at an international Islamic conference and, in the words of one report, “explained the geographical and strategic importance of Kosovo in the connection between the Islamic centers of Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia.” Rodan says European strategists are concerned that an Iranian sphere of influence would eventually take its toll on Western countries such as Britain, France and Germany. France and Britain both have significant numbers of Muslims.

In an article in Outpost, the newsletter of Americans for a Safe Israel, an Israeli attorney and former member of the Israeli parliament says the campaign against Yugoslavia is an omen of what could happen to Israel. He says, “Both the Serbs and the Israelis are targets of American-European pressure on behalf of the Moslems.”