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Radical Islam in Kosovo and the Balkans exploited by the US and UK to weaken Russia

Summary of Disinformation

The US and Britain are using the trend of radical Islam in the Balkans to encircle and weaken Russia. Kosovo, situated in the heart of the Balkans, is the centre of radical Islam in Europe and is a crucial instrument of the West’s strategy against Russia.

Since the British and Americans have failed to create an Islamic caliphate in Syria, their strategic goal now is to support the growth of radical Islam in the Balkans, with the ultimate aim of establishing a caliphate that will then be able to threaten the Caucasus. For this purpose, the US and UK have moved some Syrian jihadist groups to the Balkans.

 

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US and the West creating and/or supporting radical Islam and Islamist terrorism in the Middle East, as well as working with ISIS/Daesh. The West has been fighting an intense and multidimensional global terrorist threat since 9/11. There is no evidence whatsoever that the US, NATO, or the EU have supported Daesh or other jihadist groups in Syria. The US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq has clearly targeted Daesh and other jihadist organisations. More disinformation cases can be consulted here and a recent case can be found here.

Although there have been several instances of terrorist foreign fighters who travelled from Kosovo to Syria and Iraq, the notion of Kosovo as the "centre of radical Islam in Europe" does not reflect reality. Kosovo's population is overwhelmingly secular or otherwise practises an open and tolerant version of Islam. According to the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies, only around 400 Kosovo citizens have travelled to the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. Of these 400, only 250 individuals are considered to be foreign fighters, whereas the rest are women and children.

Furthermore, Kosovo applies effective counterterrorist policies, with support and financial assistance from the US and the EU, and is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. See the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2017. In 2015, the government of Kosovo approved the National Strategy on Prevention of Violent Extremism and Radicalisation and has drafted and adopted  several other legal and policy documents, including the Law against Terrorism, the Strategy against Terrorism, The Law on Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism".

Further background can be consulted here and here.

 

 

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Reported in: Issue 138
Date: 22.02.2019
Language: Italian
Country: Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Greece, Kosovo, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bulgaria, UK, Russia, US, Syria, Saudi Arabia
Keywords: Western Balkans, Jihad, Military, Islamic extremism, Anti-Russian, Terrorism
Outlet where the disinformation appeared: Sputnik Italia
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