StrategyPage.com updates on the Albanian Mafia in the forgotten region of The Balkans:
THE BALKANS: Organized Crime and Nationalism
August 21, 2004: There are still 20,000 peacekeepers in Kosovo, and no peace. There is 55 percent unemployment, criminal gangs control much of the economic activity there is and most of the population believes that the province should be independent. But the province is still technically part of Serbia. The Albanian majority wants to expel, by force is neccessary, the remaining non-Albanians. The UN police force is 20 percent understrength and unable to deal with the growing crime rate. The organized crime situation in Albania and Kosovo is particularly worrisome, because Albanian gangs have been taking over from traditional mafia gangs in the United States. This is because massive prosecutions of traditional organized crime organizations in the U.S. has put 15 of 24 major gangs out of business. The Albanians have moved in to carry on a lot of the traditional mafia criminal activities. Most of these Albanian gangsters are Moslem, although few are particularly religious. But there is fear that this would provide Albanian members of al Qaeda could get some assistance from the growing Albanian criminal network that stretches from the Balkans to North America.
August 17, 2004: High unemployment in Albania, and the growing popularity of Albanian nationalists throughout the Balkans, threaten the governments in Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania itself. Criminal gangs often support the nationalists, out of conviction, or convenience.
Saturday, August 21, 2004