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Kosovo's Post-Independence Inter-Clan Conflict
Unformatted Document Text:  7 throughout law enforcement authorities, border control and the mafia have contributed to the organizational strength of the mafia with readily available weapons smuggled through Macedonia and Albania. Once Kosovo gains independence, it is likely that these trends will continue. Powerful clans who control both the mafia and the government will continue to have an interest in a weak central government. The Ross model, therefore, suggests that it is plausible to expect that inter-clan violence will continue after independence as clans compete for wealth, power and status. III. Clan-based Divisions after 1999 Inter-clan relations during the past eight years indicate a growing number of blood feuds. The “tit-for-tat” interactions between the Musaj and the Haradinaj clans, two very powerful clans from the Dukagjini region of Western Kosovo, exemplifies Kosovo Albanians’ practice of blood feuds and their observance of the Code. The significance of this particular blood feud is high because of the political repercussions of a blood feud that entangles Kosovo political elite in endless retaliatory attacks. During the peak of Albanian resistance to the Serb forces between 1998 and 1999, the Dukadjini region was the playground of heated competition between two Albanian rebel groups fighting against the Serb forces—the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK), supported by late Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova’s Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) party. The Haradinajs and the Musajs led the KLA and FARK. In the summer of 1999, Ramush Haradinaj’s brother Daut together with Idriz Balaj, Ahmet Elshani, and Bekim Zekaj abducted five men who were close to FARK’s commander Tahir Zemaj. 28 They tortured and killed four men of the Musaj and Muriqi clans while the fifth, Vesel Muriqi, managed to escape. The feud between the Musaj and the Haradinaj families began that summer when the Musajs accused Daut Haradinaj of being responsible for the killing and disappearance of Sinan Musaj—one of the four men killed by the KLA in the abovementioned incident. 29 A year later, in July 2000, the two Haradinaj brothers went to the Musaj family compound in the village of Strellc. There are conflicting reports about who first opened the fire that injured the Haradinaj brothers. 30 Ramush Haradinaj later issued a “declaration of peace” to the Musaj family pledging that “no one from [his] side will retaliate or undertake any measures against them.” 31 It is clear, however, that since then both families have engaged in repeated attacks, woundings and killings of members of 28 Jeta Xharra, Muhamet Hajrullahu, and Arben Salihu, “Kosovo’s Wild West,” Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 18 February 2005. 29 International Crisis Group, Kosovo after Haradinaj, at p. 10. 30 US military flew Ramush Haradinaj, who sustained grenade injuries in the exchange of fire, to a military hospital in Germany. Nicholas Wood writes that US military removed evidence from the crime scene, impeding the work of UNMIK police. Speculations are high as to the relationship between the US military and Ramush Haradinaj and the importance of Ramush Haradinaj to US military. Most probably, it is connected to the interaction of KLA and the US military during the NATO bombing campaign which would not have been as successful had it not been for KLA activities on the ground. See Nickolas Wood, “US 'Covered Up' For Kosovo Ally,” The Observer, 10 September 2000. Available online at http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/091000-01.htm . 31 Jeta Xharra, Muhamet Hajrullahu, and Arben Salihu, “Kosovo’s Wild West.”

Authors: Kaltcheva, Tzvetomira.
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7
throughout law enforcement authorities, border control and the mafia have contributed to
the organizational strength of the mafia with readily available weapons smuggled through
Macedonia and Albania. Once Kosovo gains independence, it is likely that these trends
will continue. Powerful clans who control both the mafia and the government will
continue to have an interest in a weak central government. The Ross model, therefore,
suggests that it is plausible to expect that inter-clan violence will continue after
independence as clans compete for wealth, power and status.
III. Clan-based Divisions after 1999
Inter-clan relations during the past eight years indicate a growing number of blood
feuds. The “tit-for-tat” interactions between the Musaj and the Haradinaj clans, two very
powerful clans from the Dukagjini region of Western Kosovo, exemplifies Kosovo
Albanians’ practice of blood feuds and their observance of the Code. The significance of
this particular blood feud is high because of the political repercussions of a blood feud
that entangles Kosovo political elite in endless retaliatory attacks.
During the peak of Albanian resistance to the Serb forces between 1998 and 1999,
the Dukadjini region was the playground of heated competition between two Albanian
rebel groups fighting against the Serb forces—the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and
the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK), supported by late Kosovo
President Ibrahim Rugova’s Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) party. The Haradinajs
and the Musajs led the KLA and FARK. In the summer of 1999, Ramush Haradinaj’s
brother Daut together with Idriz Balaj, Ahmet Elshani, and Bekim Zekaj abducted five
men who were close to FARK’s commander Tahir Zemaj.
28
They tortured and killed four
men of the Musaj and Muriqi clans while the fifth, Vesel Muriqi, managed to escape.
The feud between the Musaj and the Haradinaj families began that summer when
the Musajs accused Daut Haradinaj of being responsible for the killing and disappearance
of Sinan Musaj—one of the four men killed by the KLA in the abovementioned
incident.
29
A year later, in July 2000, the two Haradinaj brothers went to the Musaj
family compound in the village of Strellc. There are conflicting reports about who first
opened the fire that injured the Haradinaj brothers.
30
Ramush Haradinaj later issued a
“declaration of peace” to the Musaj family pledging that “no one from [his] side will
retaliate or undertake any measures against them.”
31
It is clear, however, that since then
both families have engaged in repeated attacks, woundings and killings of members of
28
Jeta Xharra, Muhamet Hajrullahu, and Arben Salihu, “Kosovo’s Wild West,” Institute
for War and Peace Reporting, 18 February 2005.
29
International Crisis Group, Kosovo after Haradinaj, at p. 10.
30
US military flew Ramush Haradinaj, who sustained grenade injuries in the exchange of
fire, to a military hospital in Germany. Nicholas Wood writes that US military removed
evidence from the crime scene, impeding the work of UNMIK police. Speculations are
high as to the relationship between the US military and Ramush Haradinaj and the
importance of Ramush Haradinaj to US military. Most probably, it is connected to the
interaction of KLA and the US military during the NATO bombing campaign which
would not have been as successful had it not been for KLA activities on the ground. See
Nickolas Wood, “US 'Covered Up' For Kosovo Ally,” The Observer, 10 September 2000.
Available online at
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/091000-01.htm
.
31
Jeta Xharra, Muhamet Hajrullahu, and Arben Salihu, “Kosovo’s Wild West.”


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