Ft. Dix Plot is Milosevic’s Fault:
Postcolonial Wars and Terror

The small cell that plotted to attack Ft. Dix was made up of Albanians from Kosovo, along with a Turk and a Jordanian. Note that in the 1980s most Yugoslav Muslims were deracinated and secular. Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian are really the same language, and the only way you could tell if someone was a Muslim was to check their i.d. cards (the Communists recognized Yugoslav Muslims as a national minority). [See my colleague John Fine's When Ethnicity did not Matter.]

When Communism collapsed, Yugoslav politicians cast about for new platforms. Slobodan Milosevic decided to opt for the most chauvinist form of Serbian nationalism one could imagine, setting in motion a vicious and brutal war for territory on the basis of ethnic identity. Muslims in Bosnia were targeted for mass graves. Kosovo autonomy was much reduced, affecting yet another group, the ethnic Muslims of Albanian origin, who are not Slavs and who either were also secular or tended toward Sufism and Muslim traditionalism rather than fundamentalism.

In the aftermath of the Kosovo War of 1999, half of Kosovars lived in poverty and fundamentalist charities started being active among them. Kosovars were most often secular and anti-Islamic or heterodox when religious. Milosevic monstrously attempted to use charges of al-Qaeda presence in Kosovo (unproved) as a pretext for killing Kosovars. In fact, his policies pushed some Kosovars into the arms of the Salafis.

In other words, Kosovo was not about Islam. It was another post-colonial war like many others in the post-Soviet period. If some Kosovars now turn to radical fundamentalism, it is a result of the collapse of the old Communist framework and the attacks on them of the Milosevic fascists.

John Tirman sees the US occupation of Iraq as generating Muslim fundamentalist violence against the US, in a vicious circle.