Kosovo Independence Demands Parallel the 1938 Sudetenland Scenario
Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis - February 16, 2007 Friday

Analysis. By GIS Staff. The US-led NATO attacks on Serbia in 1999, the culmination of several years of well-developed propaganda funded by Albanian narco-trafficking money, have led to a position, in 2007, where the now-Albanian dominated Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija is being pushed by "the international community" toward a form of independence.

Significantly, the initial form of this, proposed by United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari -- hardly an impartial observer; he is a former member of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an organization funded by leftist US financier George Soros which has been committed to bringing about an independent Kosovo -- has been rejected by the Serbian Government as being "totally unacceptable", and by the Albanian secessionists as being absolutely insufficient.

But there are distinct parallels in the Kosovo situation with the situation in Czechoslovakia's Sudentland, one of the major precursor issues leading to World War II.

The Czechoslovakian region known as Sudetenland had, in the mid-1930s, a majority German population. The Sudeten Germans claimed to be the victims of oppression at the hands of the Czechoslovakian Government and demanded autonomy and the right of "self-determination". To achieve their goal they revolted against the Czechoslovakian authorities thereby forcing the Government in Prague to declare martial law.

The Sudeten Germans cited the armed clashes which their own belligerence provoked as evidence of their oppression. As a result of the fighting, Sudeten German refugees began fleeing to Nazi Germany in 1937-38.

In 1938, the German Reich said that it would no longer tolerate the "abuse" of the Sudeten German population by the Czechoslovakian Government. Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia under the pretext of humanitarian intervention to "rescue" the Sudeten Germans from alleged Czechoslovakian "oppression".

With the professed goal "bringing stability to Europe", the great European powers of the day, Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, convened a conference in Munich to resolve the Sudeten crisis.

The fact that Czechoslovakia's borders were not theirs to re-draw did not stop the European powers from doing precisely that. Czechoslovakia was offering the German population special rights and maximum self-government, but the Germans would have none of it. On September 29, 1938, Sudetenland was ceded to Germany by the Munich Agreement signed by German Chancellor and Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, and the Radical-Socialist French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier.

Czechoslovakia did not consent to the theft of its territory, but it lacked the means of defending itself. As a result, Czechoslovak troops vacated Sudetenland, and German troops came goose-stepping in to take their place.

Lip-service was paid to "protecting the minority within the minority", but nothing was done to achieve this, and the non-German minorities in living in Sudetenland had their homes, businesses, and places of worship destroyed. They were killed, terrorized, and forced to flee Sudetenland in fear of their lives.

Almost exactly the same thing has been happening in the Balkans for the past eight years. Just replace Sudetenland with Kosovo; replace Germans with Albanians; and replace Czechoslovakia with Serbia and there is a mirror image of what has been happening in Kosovo since 1999.

There are some differences, including the fact that Sudetenland had once been part of Germany. So the Germans actually had a more historically legitimate claim to Sudetenland than the Albanians have to Kosovo. But the history of the Sudeten crisis so closely mirrors what has been happening in Kosovo that its lessons are significant for today's analysts and policymakers.

Acceding to German demands in Sudetenland did not stabilize Europe; on the contrary: it emboldened the Germans. The Munich Agreement only brought more German demands and even greater German belligerence.

Acceding to Albanian demands in Kosovo is not expected to stabilize the Balkans. Indeed, outbreaks of violence by Kosovo Albanians began immediately after the Ahtisaari plan was presented to the Albanian leadership in the Kosovo regional capital, Pristina, on February 1, 2007.

See also: Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, February 2, 2007: As Ahtisaari Plan Delineates Essentially Independent Kosovo, Jihadists Move to Expand Ops in FYROM, Greece, Serbia, and Main Points of UN Ahtisaari Plan for Kosovo .

All evidence, and public statements by Kosovo Albanian officials, indicates that granting Kosovo independence would only embolden Albanian secessionists in Montenegro, the Presevo valley of Serbia, the Raska (Sandjak/Sanzak) region of south-western Serbia, the Western areas of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and northern Greece, not to mention secessionist groups in other parts of the world who would be eager to cite the Kosovo precedent for their own purposes.

Given the strong links which the Albanian political and criminal movements have with Islamist-jihadist movements (including al-Qaida ), and with the Government of Iran, there is strong evidence that the belief in the imminent success of the Kosovo independence movement would spark a surge of confidence in the jihadist movement in Europe and worldwide. This would have significant ramifications -- quite apart from empowering the Europe-wide network of narco-traffickers, prostitution rings, and arms trafficking run from Kosovo<1> -- for the worldwide terrorist movement and for the impetus of violence in such theaters as Iraq.

The experience of the Sudeten Germans should also serve as a warning to the Kosovo-Albanians. Sudetenland's independence from Czechoslovakia, although guaranteed by the European powers, did not last. When the geopolitical situation changed with World War II, and Czechoslovakia regained a degree of sovereignty within the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Treaty bloc, the remaining Sudeten Germans were all but eradicated.

Trend analysis in the early 21st Century points to the prospect of ongoing security concerns for Europe, based on changing demographics and pressure from jihadist terrorists. And while no-one is pointing to the prospect that World War III could erupt in Europe -- as both previous World Wars erupted there -- the prospect does exist for a return to armed conflict, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the "international community" has eviscerated the conventional force capabilities of most of the states of the former Yugoslavia.

Would the European Union or NATO be prepared to undertake major armed intervention to contain another conflict in the former Yugoslavia? There is evidence of great reluctance among EU/NATO powers to re-engage in the Balkans. And yet the granting of independence to Kosovo -- which would likely occur from a claim of independence by Albanians in Pristina, accepted/recognized by, say, the Labour Party Government in the United Kingdom, which (unlike the former Conservative Party Government) has indicated a support for the Balkan Islamist claims -- could also lead to a claim of independence by Republica Srpska, the ethnically Serbian area of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Indeed, Republica Srpska has entirely legitimate and historical claims to independence, or union with the Republic of Serbia, whereas the Albanian domination of Kosovo and Metohija began in the 20<th> Century as a pattern of illegal immigration, encouraged (or at least allowed) by post-World War II Yugoslav dictator Josef Broz Tito, a Croat, to control the Serbs who had opposed him during World War II.

And although US officials and media tend to deny the parallel, the case made by Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province could be made equally by Mexicans who have illegally immigrated into the southern United States.

But if there is one thing true about the Balkans it's that memories are long and revenge is harsh.


1. See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, January 19, 2007: Growing Leftist-Jihadist Linkages Highlighted by January 12, 2007, Attack on US Embassy . That report noted that: "Reliable sources indicate that the [Chinese-made, former Albanian Army] RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade fired at the US Embassy in Athens on January 12, 2007, was supplied to the leftist Greek terrorist organization, Revolutionary Struggle, by the Albanian jihadist -linked group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK)" via Albanian arms traffickers operating through FYROM. See also the Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis of January 31, 2007, report entitled Arms Smuggling Routes Enhance Extremist Capabilities in South-West Balkans; Albanian Separatists Expected to Mobilize in Spring if Kosovo Does Not Get Independence . That report noted, among other things: "Virtually all intelligence sources in the Serbian province of Kosovo anticipate that a major upsurge in violence will occur in the March-April 2007 timeframe, and exclusive new evidence obtained by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs highlights how Albanian extremists have developed comprehensive networks of arms supply to ensure a broadly-based conflict in both Kosovo and neighboring FYROM."

Copyright 2007 Defense & Foreign Affairs/International Strategic Studies Association
Reprinted with Permission.