Israeli army statement on killing of Palestinian teenager in occupation is contradicted by evidence at scene Sheren Khalel

Israeli army statement on killing of Palestinian teenager in occupation is contradicted by evidence at scene
on March 26, 2017

Ramallah, occupied West Bank — Five teenagers were on their way back from Ramallah city last Thursday evening, heading home to al-Jalazone refugee camp, when Israeli forces opened fire at the teens on the main road that separates the camp from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.

One teen, Mohammed Mahmoud Ibrahim Hatab, 17, was shot dead by Israeli forces. Two others were critically injured, eighteen-year-olds Jassem Muhammed Nakhla, and Mohammed Hatab (a cousin sharing the same name of the young man who was killed), while a fourth youth suffered bullet wounds but is in stable condition, a medical source at the Ramallah government hospital told Mondoweiss. The driver, the oldest of the five at 19, suffered from light shrapnel wounds.

Beit El is an Israeli settlement that has gotten direct support from Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and from the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

An Israeli army spokesperson said: “Three suspects exited a vehicle adjacent to the community of Beit El, where suspects threw firebombs at the community. In response to the threat, Israeli forces in the area fired towards the suspects, and several hits were confirmed. The suspects then fled the scene.”

Evidence of the scene directly contradicts the army’s statement. The car the teens were driving was riddled with bullet holes and the seats and floor of the car saturated with blood, indicating that forces shot at the teens when they were seated in the car, not standing on the side of the road. When asked about the discrepancy, the spokesperson could not comment.

[Photos of the bloodstains in the car are at bottom of this post. Warning: They are very graphic.]

Locals pointed out that if the teens had indeed thrown a Molotov cocktail, they could not have done so from inside a car.

“To throw a Molotov you have to be delicate, it’s fire and gasoline, you have to lift your arm back like this,” one young Palestinian told Mondoweiss, stretching his arm straight back behind him. “There’s no way to do that from a car.”

Nidal Rumah, a resident of al-Jalazone, said that after Israeli forces shot at the teen’s vehicle, the driver was able to navigate into the refugee camp, where residents rushed outside to help.

“Thank god the driver was able to make it into the camp, everyone came out and we discovered that Mohammed was dead, but the other three were alive, just injured,” Rumah said. “The five were cousins and friends, they were coming from Ramallah. By luck the driver was able to make it into the camp after what happened. When he got to the camp he crashed into a wall and people knew something was wrong and rushed out.”

A friend of one of the teens, who asked to remain anonymous, told Mondoweiss he strongly believed that if the driver had been more seriously injured and unable to drive, all five teens would have been killed.

According to Israeli military protocol, Israeli forces are only allowed to shoot live rounds in the case of a threat to life.

Standing at the main street where the boys were shot, it’s objectively clear that it would be impossible for one to, from the road where the Israeli spokesperson said the teens were standing, throw a Molotov anywhere near the settlement or its residents. One would have to go into a field between the main road and the settlement to get into range.

It is unknown if Israeli authorities have video footage of the incident, which took place near an Israeli military tower.

Since the incident happened on Thursday evening, residents of al-Jalazone camp have been waiting outside the Ramallah government hospital, praying for good news on the two teens in critical condition.

A medical source at the hospital said that the two are in critical, but fairly stable condition. However, doctors fear deadly complications could arise.

On Friday morning the funeral for Mohammed Mahmoud began from the hospital. A procession of cars driven by loved ones escorted the ambulance carrying the teen’s remains the 4-and-1/2 miles back to al-Jalazone refugee camp.

Three crying teens held onto the back of the ambulance, balancing on the vehicle’s bumper and refusing to let go — these inconsolable teens clutched the back of the ambulance the entire way to camp.

At least 8,000 mourners attended the funeral in the camp. Flags of the Fatah movement, the political party supported by Mohammed Mahmoud’s family, were waved throughout the crowd, along with flags from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

During the procession, thousands of faces, many tear-stained, screamed political slogans, demanding justice. The speedy tick of semi-automatic weapons being shot into the air by Palestinian militants was present throughout the funeral march, as Palestinians clad in green army fatigues shot off M16s from the crowd and surrounding rooftops.

When mourners reached the cemetery, family members had to hold back the mother of the slain teen, who hurled herself toward the grave of her son in grief.

Several mourners had to be carried to ambulances stationed on the streets of the camp where they were treated for faintness or loss of consciousness.

Dr. Jamal al-Haysen, a member of the central committee of the Fatah movement, was one of several leaders to give a speech at the funeral.

“Today we are sending to heaven the martyr Mohammed Hatab, a member of the al-Shabibi Fatah youth party,” al-Haysen began his speech. “This is one of the daily violent actions that the Israeli occupation takes against the Palestinians people — killing our innocent youth — and in the name of the Palestinian people we call for the popular resistance.”

“Israel accuses us of terrorism, but the biggest perpetrator of terrorism is Israel, who keeps killing our people in this genocide,” he continued, and called for support from other Arab nations. “… We have been living through this violence for more than 50 years since the Nakba (1948). We are fighting an enemy who doesn’t respect International Law or International Human Rights.”

Al-Haysen ended his speech wishing a speedy recovery to the three teens still being treated in the hospital.

The 17-year-old was the 15th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the first eleven weeks of 2017, and the third minor, according to local Ma’an News documentation.

Photographs follow of gunshots to car and bloodstains inside. Warning, very graphic.

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women’s issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma’an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

Other posts by .

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/03/palestinian-occupation-contradicted/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=aff2d07db4-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-aff2d07db4-398536869&mc_cid=aff2d07db4&mc_eid=189b366097#sthash.zzYyLkuc.dpuf

The massacre in Mosul

27 March 2017

The US-led “coalition” has admitted that its forces carried out the March 17 air strike in Mosul—ostensibly against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters—that slaughtered as many as 200 civilians, including numerous children. The admission was only made in the face of evidence provided by survivors to Iraqi journalists, whose accounts were reported by sections of the Western press.

The massacre is being described as possibly the largest single death toll inflicted by a coalition air strike since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The grim reality, however, is that very little is known about the impact of the assault on Mosul, which the Iraqi government began last October under pressure from the Obama administration. Coverage of the offensive has been heavily censored and marked by a propaganda-like character. Almost universally, the fighting has been portrayed as a “heroic” battle by Iraqi forces against the “barbaric” ISIS. Little attention has been given to the fate of hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped inside the besieged city.

News of the March 17 carnage began filtering out as the Trump administration’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and representatives of 62 other countries gloated in Washington over the “success” of their “campaign for the lasting defeat of ISIS.” A March 22 statement cynically declared that the “Global Coalition” against ISIS underscored “the need for safeguarding civilians” and applauded “the Iraqi government for protecting civilians in conflict zones.”

In fact, in February, the Trump administration let it be known it would sharply escalate the onslaught on Mosul in order to end the fighting—regardless of how many innocent lives were claimed. Unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal plans included “loosening battlefield restrictions” to “ease rules designed to minimize civilian casualties.”

Such plans have clearly been put into effect. The intensity of air attacks has risen dramatically in recent weeks as Iraqi forces pushed into the western suburbs of the city still held by ISIS fighters. According to the Pentagon, close to 1,400 separate munitions were unleashed over two weeks. In a detailed account, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that “US pilots describe dozens of strike aircraft circling high above west Mosul, waiting their turn to drop a bomb.”

On the weekend, US military representatives announced that hundreds more American ground troops, from the 82nd Airborne Division, were being sent to “advise and assist” Iraqi government forces in Mosul. One of the primary roles of such “advisors” is calling in air strikes, drone attacks and artillery bombardments.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reported last weekend it has eyewitness accounts of 3,846 civilian deaths since the assault into western Mosul began in February. It has reports of 10,000 residential homes being destroyed. Every day, thousands of terrified and starving civilians risk their lives to flee through the battle lines to escape the city. The number of refugees has soared to well over 200,000, with more than 10,000 new displaced persons arriving most days. Aid agencies are overwhelmed and warn they will not be able to care for the estimated 400,000 people still hiding out in the city’s ISIS-held areas.

Every effort is being made to conceal from the American and world population the savage consequences of US-led military operations in the Middle East. A feature of American media coverage on the weekend was the paucity of commentary on the air strike and broader humanitarian catastrophe in Mosul, compared with the immense attention paid to the atrocity committed in London by a lone British-born extremist.

To the extent Mosul was mentioned, attempts were made to shift responsibility for the carnage to ISIS. US Republican Senator Tom Cotton declared on CBS News: “Ultimately, though, the blame lays with the Islamic State. They are the savages that are fighting from civilian locations, like apartment buildings, homes, mosques, hospitals, schools and so forth. The blame does not lay with coalition pilots or with Iraqi forces.”

The hypocrisy of the American ruling elite knows no limits. Barely months ago, every report of civilian casualties caused by the Russian and Syrian government assault on the US-backed rebel forces in the city of Aleppo was declared a war crime and accompanied by demands for an immediate ceasefire. In Mosul, even greater civilian deaths are dismissed as “unfortunate” and no reason to slow, let alone stop, the offensive.

The latest assertions by the US and its allies continue the deceit surrounding the assault on Mosul and other cities that fell under the control of ISIS in 2014. The supposed “war against ISIS” has been marked by the flagrant collective punishment of the civilian populations where ISIS established influence. In the first months of 2016, most of the western Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah were reduced to rubble to “liberate” them. The same policy has guided the attack on Mosul.

Above all, the political and media establishment attempt to conceal the fact that the very emergence of ISIS is the direct outcome of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, followed by the destruction of Libya and the proxy war the US and its allies sponsored in Syria.

From 2003 on, the conscious policy of the US occupation force in Iraq was to divide and weaken resistance by stoking sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite communities, which ultimately led in 2006–2007 to a murderous civil war and the deaths of tens of thousands. Millions were displaced from their homes as entire suburbs and cities were “cleansed” by death squads from one sect or the other.

ISIS—a movement based on the most reactionary interpretation of Sunni Islam—gained a following by claiming it would defend Sunnis from repression by the Shiite-dominated and US-backed government in Baghdad. It gained its strength not in Iraq, however, but in Syria. From 2012, it benefited from the support given by the US, the European powers, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies to Sunni-based militias fighting the Iranian- and Russian-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad. Utilising the bases, weapons and personnel it gained in Syria, ISIS crossed into Iraq in 2013, taking the western Anbar region and capturing Mosul in June 2014.

The ruthless campaign against ISIS flows from US imperialism’s determination to retain its tenuous grip over Iraq against any challenge. For 25 years, successive American administrations have used brutal wars and intrigues to assert US dominance over the oil-rich Middle East, at the cost of millions of lives and incalculable human suffering—especially in Iraq.

The stark truth, however, is that the assault on Mosul coincides with the escalation of US attempts to assert dominance in other regions of the globe, against far more significant rivals than a poorly-armed Islamist movement.

In Asia, the talk of military action against North Korea has dramatically increased over recent weeks. Conflicts with China are simmering, not only over the Korean Peninsula, but the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Trump administration’s threats of trade war. The Russian regime is increasingly alarmed by the hysteria directed in Washington against it and the provocative military build-up by the US and its NATO allies on its borders. At the same time, underlying tensions are emerging between the US and its historic competitors for global dominance, such as Germany and Japan.

Workers around the world must combine the clear and unambiguous defence of the oppressed people of Iraq, and other countries targeted by great power interventions, with the most determined and active struggle against the descent of world capitalism toward open conflict between nuclear-armed or potentially nuclear-armed states.

James Cogan

Civil Rights in the US- What civil rights?

Tomgram: Jon Else, Eyes on the Prize 2017

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Here’s a special offer for you. Today’s author Jon Else was the series producer and cinematographer for the classic TV documentary on the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize.  His book, True South has just been published. The New York Times calls it “warm and intelligent” and Adam Hochschild has hailed it as a “moving account of perhaps the greatest American documentary series ever made,” a story told “with the compassion and eloquence it deserves.” I’ve read it with fascination. As it happens, for a contribution to this website of $100 ($125 if you live outside the USA), you, too, can have it in your hands, signed and personalized by Else himself. Check out our donation page for the details. Tom]

It was one of the worst moments of the Vietnam War era in America. U.S. troops had just invaded Cambodia and the nation’s campuses erupted in a spasm of angry and frustrated protest. At Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen had killed four students. In Washington that day in May 1970, the first of what would be vast crowds of protesters were beginning to gather in the pre-dawn hours when a restless President Richard Nixon with his valet Manolo Sanchez in tow had himself driven to the Lincoln Memorial.  There, at 4:40 a.m., he met, shook some hands, and engaged in “a rambling dialogue” with some startled young demonstrators. (“I said, ‘I know you, probably most of you think I’m an SOB, but, ah, I want you to know that I understand just how you feel.’”)

The protesters were not exactly impressed. (“‘I hope it was because he was tired but most of what he was saying was absurd,’ one of the Syracuse students told the press afterward. ‘Here we had come from a university that’s completely uptight, on strike, and when we told him where we were from, he talked about the football team.’”) But in that bizarre meeting in that embattled moment, you could still see the last dregs of a relationship between presidents of the United States and vast, mobilized movements, the first of which, as Jon Else explains today, was the civil rights movement. Nixon, who perfected “the southern strategy” of using implicit racial appeals to bring the previously Democratic white southern vote into the Republican fold, even alluded to that in his own odd fashion. (“I pointed out that I knew that on their campus, their campuses, a major subject of concern was the Negro problem. I said this was altogether as it should be, because the degradation of slavery had been imposed upon the Negroes, and it was, it would be impossible for us to do everything that we should do to right that wrong.”)

Almost half a century later, don’t expect President Trump to pay any pre-dawn visits to those arriving in Washington to protest his policies, no less consider their positions, or respond to them. As Else points out today, the ability of protesters to appeal successfully to Washington, vibrant in the civil rights era, dying in the Vietnam years, is now dead on arrival and protest, as it sweeps the country, will have to find other ways to make itself felt and effective. Else, whose new book, True South: Henry Hampton and “Eyes on the Prize,” the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement, is a moving look at the civil rights movement through one man’s life, frames our present grim moment in the context of that remarkable history. It’s a past worth remembering as the protest movement of the twenty-first century finds its way in a grim world. Tom

Not Your Grandma’s Civil Rights Strategy
Whose Streets? (Then and Now)
By Jon Else

On a glorious afternoon in August 1963, after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom wrapped up on the national mall, President John F. Kennedy, prodded by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, welcomed John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and other march organizers to the White House for a discussion of proposed civil rights legislation.  Fifty-four years later, on an afternoon in January 2017, when the even more massive Women’s March on Washington wrapped up, President Donald Trump responded with a sarcastic tweet.  Just the day before, Trump’s team had removed the “civil rights” page from the issues section of the WhiteHouse.gov website and replaced it with a new entry entitled “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community.”  The page is still missing.

Today, with the three branches of government controlled by men intolerant of dissent and hounded by their own dark vision of pluralism, few human rights advocates of any stripe can reasonably expect a hearing in Washington.  Our long-running, ongoing, unfinished American civil rights struggle that so often focused on pressing the federal government toward justice, is suddenly in uncharted territory.  The legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King has slammed up against the legacy of Alabama Governor George Wallace, whose snarling campaign for president in 1968 has come home to roost in the presidency of Donald Trump.  Where civil rights leaders, warriors, and foot soldiers found support in high places they will now find a void.

Partners With Power

Amid discussion of renewed civil rights activism, you may well ask whether we’ll need to fight those fights all over again. Will black people once more have to claim their humanity?  For perspective on this moment, let’s consider why the strategies of the southern liberation struggle worked as well as they did back in the day.

The classic civil rights movement (1954-1965) was sparked, organized, and driven by local people and leaders (maids, teachers, farmers, cooks, janitors, students, ministers) in a hundred southern towns who, with ferocious courage, stood up and said “No more!”  Their victories — some temporary, some lasting — regularly depended on their ability as citizens to reach beyond local and state segregationists to faraway presidents, congressional representatives, federal circuit court judges, and Supreme Court justices in Washington, appealing to them to respond with regulations, executive orders, laws, and even armed force.

Dogged organizing by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress Of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), together with the NAACP’s decades-long legal campaigns, Martin Luther King’s rhetorical genius, and the massed moral crusade of black southerners first shamed and finally forced the latent hand of federal power.  Alert to this leapfrog tactic, Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, and others went a step further and tried unsuccessfully to appeal to the United Nations, as more recently have the parents of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Jordan Davis.

With its unanimous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, the Supreme Court signaled to African Americans in the former Confederacy that they had a friend in Washington.  In Brown, by the sheer weight of evidence, moral suasion, and reason, a handful of African American parents, children, and their lawyers had compelled nine aging white justices (including former Ku Klux Klansman Hugo Black) to agree that all citizens deserve equal education.

In a similar manner over the next decade, one powerful judicial, congressional, and presidential ally after another would step up, willfully or grudgingly, to affirm simple justice, rights long promised but also long deferred.  Their embrace of civil rights was sometimes a matter of conscience, sometimes a savvy calculation of their constituents’ electoral mood. Those actions would, in the end, help open doors and extend legal rights to ethnic minorities, women, immigrants, workers, and most recently gay, lesbian, and transgendered citizens.

Major legislation — the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which established the Justice Department’s civil rights division, the 1964 Act which outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — and hundreds of decisions handed down by federal district courts, circuit courts, and the Supreme Court all slowly expanded protections to African Americans and set precedents for all Americans. Unlike blacks within white-ruled South Africa who, at the time, were not citizens of their own nation and had little hope of federal protection, blacks across the deep South could succeed because they were citizens not only of their own states, but of the United States.

Few in the 1960s believed that marching, demonstrating, sitting in, agitating, witnessing, disrupting, or singing could ever change the minds, much less the policies, of a half-dozen southern governors, a hundred county sheriffs, or millions of white segregationists.  The Montgomery bus boycott was successful in driving the bus company to the edge of bankruptcy, but legal bus segregation remained intact until the Supreme Court stepped in.

Well-schooled in the strategies of Gandhi, civil rights leaders knew of the critical value of mass meetings, collective action, and civil disobedience for building resolve, visibility, and a powerful sense of community, but they also knew its limits: solidarity was not enough.  Coming together to raise awareness would not in itself achieve concrete results.  Birmingham leader Fred Shuttlesworth put it this way: “Look, America, look at your promises; look how you’ve treated your poor Negro citizens.  But you can’t shame segregation. Rattlesnakes don’t commit suicide.”

Persuasion, appeals to reason, and simple justice certainly recruited northern liberals and some white southern moderates to the cause, but southern blacks could have preached the Sermon on the Mount or the U.S. Constitution daily to White Citizens’ Councils to no effect.  In the end, the decisive language that spoke to white oppression was power, and the power that proved decisive often lay in Washington.

While economic boycotts might sometimes force compromise on local businesses and segregationist officials, generally the trick was to vault over them to, if necessary, the president himself. In the documentary Eyes On The Prize, Burke Marshall, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Kennedy explained, that, when push came to shove, no deep southern city or state could resist escalating federal force. “I suppose,” he commented, “the president could have sent the United States Navy up the Mississippi River” — which was exactly what Abraham Lincoln had done a century earlier.

At the extreme, Republican and Democratic presidents deployed deputies, federal marshals, national guardsmen, and in the end even Army troops to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws and protect dissenters’ rights under the First Amendment when state and local officials refused to do so.  If the attack dogs, bombings, and mass arrests of children got bad enough in Birmingham, and if it all appeared on television nationwide, local black organizers came to understand that they could usually depend on predictable moral outrage in the White House, a Congress worried about reelection, or the Supreme Court for a remedy.

In 1957, faced with news bulletins of white rioters and Alabama national guardsmen blocking nine black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower reluctantly sent in elements of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, declaring on prime-time television, “Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of the courts.” Five years later, President Kennedy, a convert to the civil rights cause, would similarly dispatch his Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach and 200 federal marshals backed by the U.S. Army to ensure that James Meredith could enter the besieged campus of the University of Mississippi.

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Movement leaders patiently calculated a strategy for success that often depended on the press, in particular the new medium of television news, to haul Jim Crow’s physical, social, and civic brutality out of the backwoods and into the nation’s living rooms. They understood that news crews would flock not only to record Martin Luther King’s oratory but also the flamboyant antics of a few southern sheriffs and the grand theater of mass non-violent resistance.  Confronted with televised attacks on peaceful demonstrators, a majority of congressmen, including dozens of Republicans, might acknowledge the searing contradictions of state racism for what they were.  Whether good will, cynicism, or electoral savvy drove politicians’ actions, the strategy worked.

The national media provided a direct prod that regularly stiffened spines in Washington, but such public disapproval by hectoring northern journalists also brought white southerners together in solidarity against the media elites (a phenomenon that should have a certain resonance in present-day America).  White crowds knew that network television coverage spelled trouble for legal segregation and often went for the cameras.  Those mobs understood the postmodern power of images as well as any postmodernist. When the first Freedom Riders’ bus rolled into Birmingham’s bus station in 1961, dozens of Klansmen attacked the waiting newsmen first before they went after the riders.  There would be no news clips of that event on TV that evening.

On the horrific night when James Meredith tried to enter the University of Mississippi, the mob, flying Confederate battle flags, attacked the media, smashing cameras, beating cameramen, and killing a reporter from Agence France-Presse execution-style, before shooting 35 federal marshals.

Second only to the courage of African Americans was the courage of those highly visible TV crews. They would stay miraculously calm and focused, navigating the mayhem between marchers, mobs, and lawmen. Though they were constrained by journalistic standards from partisanship in reporting, many of those crews could not escape their growing sympathy for the movement, and found themselves ready to join in the reformation of America with their pictures and words. They were televising a particularly disgusting pageant: officers, under the sanction of state and local laws, bludgeoning, fire hosing, arresting, punching, cattle prodding, whipping, tear-gassing, and even shooting defenseless, unresisting black people who had declared their commitment to nonviolence.  It happened month after month throughout the 1960s.

The Selma Show

Movement leaders chose their sheriffs carefully, judging their battlegrounds in part by the quality of available villains.  They favored bad actors like Chief Bull Connor, the proud bigot of Birmingham, who unleashed fire hoses on teenaged marchers with operatic fury, and Selma’s increasingly unhinged arch-segregationist sheriff, Jim Clark.

The 1965 battle royal in Selma, Alabama, marked a milestone in the expansion of democracy for the town’s African Americans, which had begun with the emancipation of its slaves during the Civil War. Selma first came under siege by Union regulars in April 1865.  The Confederate defenders, an ill-trained muster of white militiamen, kids, and old men, were no match for the northern troops who ran them out of their hometown, then spent the night burning and looting.  Selma’s slaves were officially freed, but after a fleeting window of hope, Reconstruction and Jim Crow would strip them and their immediate descendants of nearly all their constitutional rights.

By 1965, almost a century after the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which unambiguously declares, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged… on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” the percentage of registered black voters in Alabama was actually falling.  Local white voter registration clerks in Selma had allowed only 2% of the city’s 14,000 black citizens to register, compared to 90% of Selma’s whites.  A carefully targeted registration campaign by local organizers and SNCC (later joined by the SCLC) aimed to shine a national spotlight on local oppression and so spur congressional action that would open up voting for black citizens throughout Alabama and eventually across the entire deep South.

Strategically deploying Martin Luther King (just back from accepting the Nobel Prize in Sweden), the movement in Selma set out to provoke Sheriff Clark and his famously brutal posse.  As SNCC’s Jim Forman said, “We were laying a trap.” The aim was to heighten a moral battle of Shakespearian proportions that television would then beam directly to President Lyndon Johnson.

At one point, the city would have 20 times more blacks in jail than on its voting rolls. Confrontations simmered throughout the winter of 1964-1965, punctuated by sudden explosions of violence. Reason, brotherly love, massed demonstrations, and inflamed national opinion made no dent in Jim Clark’s enduring pathology.  Like a man possessed, he simply couldn’t stop himself from behaving badly in front of the cameras.  He delivered the gaudy media goods, week after week, exactly as movement strategists had hoped he would, exactly as Selma’s few moderate whites feared. The scenes of violence flashed around the country on TV every night, and appeared in the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post.

By 1965, President Johnson, a Texas Democrat, was ready to take risks on civil rights.  He had already directed his White House staff to secretly prepare sweeping voting rights legislation and even a constitutional amendment.  Now, the only thing needed was a trigger, and that finally came on March 7th,  “Bloody Sunday,” when John Lewis, Hosea Williams, Bob Mants, and Albert Turner, leading hundreds of locals, crested the Pettus Bridge on their way to deliver a voting rights petition to Governor George Wallace at the state capitol.

All hell broke loose. Whites cheered from the roadside as Alabama state troopers and Clark’s mounted posse clubbed, bullwhipped, and tear-gassed their way through 600 unarmed black men, women, and children. A trooper fractured John Lewis’s skull with his billy club. Here was the massacre of the innocents for all Americans to see: southern lawmen in their pig-faced gas masks going berserk against African Americans who stood and took it. That televised attack, a crystalline icon of the era, worthy of Dante, had by evening rallied nearly all of Washington to the marchers’ cause. It would one day become a sturdy staple of history texts and documentaries. That night, local whites murdered a northern Unitarian minister.

Selma’s young white mayor, Joe Smitherman, said, “I didn’t understand how big it was until I saw it on television… That looked like a war; that went all over the country. And then… the wrath of the nation came down on us.” Citing television coverage, 31 Republican leaders condemned the situation in Alabama, as well as the administration’s delay in proposing new federal voting legislation. Republican Senator Everett Dirksen rose to declare, “The time is now.”

President Johnson sent 2,000 federal troops to Selma as Lincoln had done 100 years before, this time to protect peaceful citizens of Alabama from Alabama state troopers.  He went on national television to proclaim, “Their cause must be our cause, and together we shall overcome!” and then dispatched a sweeping voting rights bill to a willing Congress.  After it passed the House by a vote of 328 to 74 and the Senate by 79 to 18, Johnson signed the act into law with John Lewis and Dr. King at his side.

By their determined organizing, marching, demonstrating, and most of all by their relentless courage, local black people had successfully appealed to Washington, finally brought legalized American apartheid to its knees. Black voting in Alabama jumped seven-fold in the next three years.

Without the media slamming blunt facts in the face of sympathetic (or politically savvy) power brokers in Washington, “Bloody Sunday” might have left in its wake little more than a few hundred broken and bleeding marchers and the Jim Crow voting system still intact.  Without the TV coverage and a president and Congress capable of being won over, it might have been the civil rights equivalent of a tree falling silently in the forest, not the engine of sweeping change that it was.

“Freedom Is A Constant Struggle”

But that was then.

Back in 1965, the charm of Selma was lost on most of us who ventured there. I’ve returned a few times since, first in 1985 to shoot scenes for Eyes on the Prize, including an interview with an unrepentant Jim Clark. The town was, by then, smaller, blacker, and poorer.

In 2015, I returned again with producer Orlando Bagwell to work on a film for the Southern Poverty Law Center.  From a distance, nestled on a bluff above the Alabama River, Selma looked to me like a picturesque little town in southern France.  The air below the Edmund Pettus Bridge, now a national historic landmark, was alive with swallows.  Selma’s lovely historic district seemed nicely parked somewhere between 1850 and 1950, but much of the rest of the once-prosperous town had, like so much of small town America, been hollowed out by recession and a changing economy.  We could find only one restaurant open for supper downtown. Many of its beautiful nineteenth-century buildings were boarded up. Gaping bullet holes pockmarked the granite tombstone of Jimmie Lee Jackson, whose murder by a state trooper had sparked the original Bloody Sunday march. The Civil War Battle of Selma is still reenacted annually on a field outside town, with the Confederates defeated again, each year.

The Voting Rights Act forged in Selma had been a triumph of the classic civil rights movement, the hinge between everything that came before and so much that would come after. But we had little reason to suspect or notice when, shortly after the act’s passage in 1965, conservative organizers began a methodical 40-year campaign to gut it.  As black voter rolls in rural Alabama swelled, the state’s young federal prosecutor, Jeff Sessions, brought charges of voter fraud against civil rights organizer Albert Turner, a leader of the Bloody Sunday march.  His case collapsed in court, but resistance continued, culminating in a 2013 Supreme Court decision that struck down one of that act’s key provisions (federal approval of state changes in their voting laws). Ever since, a Republican campaign to put new voting restrictions in place has only gained momentum.

In 2015, however, few had noticed the most profound changes of all, even though they were stirring just below the surface of things: sweeping working class frustration; previously dormant strains of racism, misogyny, and nativism; galloping income inequality; and Democratic Party failures that went unnoticed and uncorrected.  All of these factors would help lay the groundwork for the successful candidacy of Donald J. Trump.  He was slow indeed to reject the white supremacists and nationalists who rushed to endorse his presidential bid and he was brought to office in some measure by the very forces that the civil rights movement naively thought it had largely silenced. Because the lid had been kept on overt public racism and nativism for so long, many Americans were slow to understand how deeply systemic the problem is.

The citizens of Selma voted for Hillary Clinton by a wide margin, but no matter.  Trump’s wave has driven from power the vital center with which mass movements had once been able to partner. Vestiges of the very ethos against which the civil rights movement fought have grown ever stronger and found a welcome place in his White House, their strength buoyed by a growing societal disapproval of media elites.  In the process, Trump has inoculated himself against appeals for justice as has no president in our lifetime.

When it comes to any rights appeals in the immediate future, no one with real federal power is likely to be listening. There will be no sympathy for human rights petitioners from majority Republicans in the House of Representatives untroubled by reelection fears in their ferociously gerrymandered districts, nor from the soon-to-be-devastated civil rights division of the Department of Justice. What mechanisms will remain for the activists to activate?

In a country becoming less white every day, Democrats recently stood helpless when it came to blocking the confirmation of the whitest cabinet in decades. Soon enough, the Supreme Court will have a conservative majority and then President Trump will have the run of the table, racking up a political monoculture unknown in our time.

What many Americans think of as the civil rights movement — something in our black and white past, back there, back then — is, in fact, a deep running project launched long before we were born and sure to endure long after we are gone. In one now-historic decade, civil rights organizers brilliantly identified the levers of government power they could seize, but most of those levers are today out of reach.

In response, will activism translate into concrete results the way it once did? Surely, a new generation of organizers now rising with a resolve and passion not seen in years, having broadened the civil rights project into a human rights one, will develop new strategies. Surely, they will discover or invent new means of stopping what threatens to be a contraction of democracy.  Surely, with the power of social media — a veritable television station in the hands of every citizen — they will find their own ways of ensuring that oppression can’t dodge the spotlight.  Already, the bottom-up strategy championed by SNCC has found new fluency in the ascendance of hyper-democratic Internet organizing and the raw eloquence of #BlackLivesMatter.

Does reform still demand powerful allies, and if so, who might they be?  A few centrist Republicans, courageous career attorneys in the Justice Department, billionaire Silicon Valley CEOs committed to pluralism, a mass of determined young people running for office?

As organizers have discovered more than once since the early days of the republic, new levers lie waiting somewhere deep in the grand clockwork of our democracy.  The only question is: Where?

Jon Else worked on the SNCC staff in 1964 and 1965  He was series producer and cinematographer for Eyes on the Prize, has produced and directed many award-winning documentaries, including The Day After Trinity and Cadillac Desert. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, he is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. His new book is True South: Henry Hampton and “Eyes on the Prize,” the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, as well as Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2017 Jon Else

The Army of Islam marches in Novi Pazar, Serbia on September 4, 2014. again by Grey Carter

The Army of Islam marches in Novi Pazar, Serbia on September 4, 2014. again
 by   Posted on September 5, 2014

The Islamist “Mufti army” marches in southern Serbia –  This year, the supporters of radical neo ottoman Mufti Muamer Zukorlic have organized “march on hajati” – a place where, according to the Islamic community in Serbia and Bosniak national council, post-war communist authorities have executed 2,000 “innocent” Bosniaks in 1945.
The Council and their ‘Army of Islam’ held a  Festival in front of the hotel Vrbak, Novi Pazar, Serbia.

MUftijina vojska

04. September 2014. Hanjar division marches again
Unlike previous years, the conference was led by Dr. Mawlid Dudic, chairman of Meshihat and  Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, and it  was attended by the leaders of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak (Turkish toponyme for the region of Novi Pazar).  There was more than a thousand Muslims from Novi Pazar mostly activists of the Islamic Community in Serbia.

Muftijina Vojsk

The new ‘Shaheeds’ in old well known insignia – Mufti Zukorlic’s ‘army’

The audience was addressed by Dudic and Zukorlic who pointed out that Bosniaks will never be allowed to forget their martyrs (killed for faith) and that they are “heroes of the Bosniac blood.”
They stressed that they were executed for being good people and were Muslims.
One question: Why did these people march and, especially,  whose uniform, doctrine and terminology they adopted? Is it possible that innocent people have been killed for being good people of another religion? And who were the heroes, and martyrs this army of Sheheeds praises?
Raska region (or as Ottomans named it, Sandzak), has the most horrible Nazi past that has been covered up and censored in the West. Why is Sandzak’s Nazi past still forgotten? When Nazi Germany occupied ‘Sandzak’ in 1943, the Sandzak achieved “autonomy” under Nazi occupation and administration. – This is what mufti Zukorlic promised to get back. That’s the NAZI present to the MUslims from Raska for their service in SS troops.
Handzar

Bosnian Muslim from ‘Sandzak’ informed how to treat Serbs 

The Sandzak or Raska region of Serbia and Montenegro is an area of potential instability and conflict. The region is evenly divided by Orthodox Christian Slavs, Serbs, and Montenegrins, and Muslim Slavs. What is the history of the Rashka or Sandzak region? What are the bases for “autonomy” and “secession” and “independence”? What is the history of Sandzak during World War II? What role did Sandzak play during the Holocaust? Sandzak’s Nazi past has been covered up and censored in the West. Why is Sandzak’s Nazi past still forgotten?
(Oh Turkish, Albanian as well as Bosnian Muslim propaganda uses every opportunity to deny it, they even change their history schoolbooks. But there are evidences and (still) living witnesses who’ve been through and, somehow, survived. They speak. As well as official (not quasi a -la Wikipedia) documents.

Grand mufti of Jerusalem

The grand mufti of Jerusalem and muslim volunteers from Bosnia, Albania and other Balkan regions. Hitler used the Grand Mufti to increase the numbers of the muslim volunteers from the aforementioned Balkan regions and to boost their morale, because the muslims and Hitler had the same enemy: the Serbs..
However, there weren`t hundreds of Imams doing field prayers in the German army, nor were there any Germans who converted to Islam because of the Muftis presence in Germany.

When Nazi Germany occupied Sandzak in 1943, the Sandzak achieved “autonomy” under Nazi occupation and administration.

During World War II, up to 120,000 Balkan Muslims from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Sandzak were in German military and security formations. Up to 1.5 million Muslims in the USSR were in the Nazi German forces from Chechnya, Crimea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and the Caucasus. The motto of the newspaper Gazavat (“Jihad”), a political organ of the North-Caucasus National Liberation Movement set up by Nazis in the USSR, was: “Allah above us, And Adolf Hitler beside us.” In the North Caucasus region of the southern USSR, up to 75,000 Muslims were put in the German forces. Chechen Muslims from Chechnya volunteered for the North Caucasus Legion or Nordkaukasische Legion formed in 1942 which existed until 1943. It also was made up of Muslim Dagestanis and Muslim Ingushetians. Nazi Germany was successfully able to recruit and mobilize Balkan and Caucasus Muslims into the German Wehrmacht and Waffen SS formations.

Sandzak: History

During the medieval period, the Sandzak region was known as Rashka, the center of the Serbian state. The Serbian city of Ras was in the vicinity where the present city of Novi Pazar was settled. The Serbian Orthodox monasteries of Sopocani and Djurdjevi stupovi were in Rashka. In the 15th century, the Ottoman Turkish Empire invaded and occupied the region. The Sandzak region was on a key trade route from Istanbul/Constantinople and Asia Minor to Bosnia, the key Ottoman Turkish base in Europe. Novi Pazar literally means new bazaar, or new marketplace, a key center in the Ottoman trade network in the Balkans. Sandzak was a vital economic supply line for the Ottoman Empire and was vital for the Ottoman economy.

Albanian tribes settled the southern region during the Ottoman occupation. About 20% of the Sandzaklije are descended from Albanian Malesors, or mountain tribes, settlers who came to the Sandak following the Austro-Turkish Wars of 1700-1710.The Sandzak area had important strategic and military importance because it provided supply lines from Istanbul to Bosnia. This was known as the “Green Belt”, a strategic interconnected route or corridor from Istanbul to Sarajevo to Travnik to Bihac. The Ottoman Turks settled this region with Muslim Slavs to ensure this vital link. Orthodox Serbs were cleansed and resettled out of this strategic belt. Christians were perceived as a potential security threat to this corridor. The Ottoman Turks settled this route with Slavic Muslims, Islamicized Slavs who were referred to as poTurcenaci. This conversion was achieved through economic inducements, property grants, and a dominant status in the Ottoman society. For centuries, there was the devshirme or boy tribute system, where Slavs had to give up their children to be raised up as Muslims. This genocidal nature of the Ottoman Islamic system has rarely been seriously examined in so-called Western scholarship. Naturally, there was considerable animosity, but also sympathy, towards the Islamicized Slavs of the Sandzak. They were in a tragic position once the Ottoman Empire had collapsed and the Turkish Army and civil administration was withdrawn. The role of the Muslim Slavs was to keep the Christian Slavic rayah down. Once the tables were turned, they no longer had a purpose. They merely played a destabilizing role in the Balkans. This was the tragic result of the genocidal policies of the Ottoman Turkish occupation of Serbia.

The Rashka or Sandzak region became a part of Serbia and Montenegro after the 1912 First Balkan War. At that time, many Sanzak Muslims immigrated to Turkey with the Ottoman Turkish Army and Turkish officials. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, the Treaty of Berlin made the former Sandzak of Novi Pazar under Austro-Hungarian “administration”, while it remained formally a part of Ottoman Turkey. During World War I, Sandzak Muslims were decorated soldiers as part of the elite military forces of the Austro-Hungarian Army. Sandzak was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1915 to 1918 during World War I.


Sandzak under Fascist Italy – 
Six towns in Sandzak— Novi Pazar, Priboj, Prijepolje, Nova Varos, Sjenica, and Tutin—were incorporated into Serbia. Five towns in Sandzak—Berane, Bijelo Polje, Pljevlja, Rozhaje, and Plave—were incorporated into Montenegro. Nova Varos, Priboj, Prijepolje, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Pljevlja have Serbian Orthodox majorities. Sandzak formed the Rashka region in the medieval period, which was the center of Serbian culture and the Orthodox Church. The Serbian Orthodox identity and historical presence remains in Rashka or Sandzak. The southern regions of Sandzak were made a part of Greater Albania in 1941 when fascist Italy and Nazi Germany occupied Sandzak. During World War II, the Sandzak region achieved de facto “autonomy” under Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1944. Nazi Germany sought to reconstitute Sandzak as it had existed under Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, as a Muslim statelet. After World War II, Sandzak was reintegrated back into Serbia and Montenegro. Sandzak remained a region divided almost equally between Orthodox Slavs and Muslim Slavs. The Orthodox Christian identity and character of the region competed with the Islamic, Turkic identity established under the Ottoman Empire occupation. Rashka or Sandzak? Is it a Serbian Orthodox Christian heartland or Muslim “Bosniak” district of Muslim Bosnia? Sandzak remains as the tragic detritus or residue of the rise and fall of empires and cultures. The potential for instability and conflict remains in Sandzak/Rashka.

Muslim

Another ‘good and innocent man’ of Sandzak: glorified by mufti Zukorlic and Muslims in Raska:  NAZI SS officer Hussein Biscevic 

Following the Nazi invasion and dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the Sandzak region was divided between fascist Italy and Nazi Germany who occupied the region. The southern part of Sandzak was incorporated into a Greater Albania. A Sandzak Muslim Legion or Guard was formed at the end of 1941, supplied with captured Yugoslav Army and Italian Army equipment. The fascist Sandzak Militia established Muslim control and occupation over the mixed Orthodox Christian and Muslim region. In February, 1942, the Militia attacked Partisan units and drove them from Sandzak. On February 1, 1942, the Muslim Militia from Sjenica and villages south in the Pester Mountain region attacked Partisan units in Nova Varos. On February 7, 1942, Muslim Militia units from Komarani near Nova Varos, in conjunction with units of the Italian 19th Division “Venezia” from Prijepolje, attacked Partisan units retreating across the Lim River into western Sandzak.

Elite trupe

Albanian Muslims and Sandzak Muslims fought as allies during World War II. Albanian fascist Saban Poluza was an ally of the Sandzak Muslims and fought Serbian forces jointly with Sandzak Muslims, especially to maintain Muslim control of Novi Pazar. Acif Hadziahmetovic (1887-1945), known as Acif-efendija, was a prominent leader of the Sandzak Muslims during the Nazi/fascist occupation.

Ahmet-aga Daca was the president of the Sandzak district when it was under Nazi/fascist occupation.The Italian zone of occupation encompassed Bijelo Polje, Plevlja, Tutin, Montenegro, Kosovo, Metohija, Plav, Gusinje, and Rozaje, from which a Greater Albania was created. The German occupation zone consisted of the Novi Pazar and Sjenica regions. Dzemail Konicanin (1910-1944), born in Konic near Tutin, formed a Sandzak Muslim militia in 1941 in Tutin. Dzafer Deva, the Kosovo Albanian Muslim, the minister of police or militia in the fascist-created Greater Albania, made him an officer in the Albanian security/militia/military forces. Konicanin, although a Slavic Muslim, identified with the Albanian Muslims and was part of the Greater Albanian state. This is because his identification was based on Islam, a religious identification, and because both the Albanian Muslims and Slavic Muslims were products of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. He was photographed wearing an Albanian officer’s cap with the Greater Albania goat’s head symbol of Skanderbeg. Iljaz Brezanin and Husein Hukic were members of his militia which also contained Albanian Muslims. His militia along with Albanian Muslims attacked the Serbian Orthodox Rashka region east of Tutin. He was fighting the war as a Muslim, a sehid. He was killed in a Partisan assault in 1944.

Handyar

The Holocaust in Sandzak: Still Forgotten

The Jews of Sandzak were rounded up and transported to the Kosovska Mitrovica prison at the end of March, 1942. The Jews of Novi Pazar, Tutin, Sjenica, and Duga Poljana were forced to march on foot for five hours from Novi Pazar to Rashka, 24 kilometers away. From Rashka to Kosovska Mitrovica, they were transported in wagons Near the village of Pridvorica, they were forced to cross the bridge on foot to get on a second transport. The bridge had been destroyed by guerrillas. Mosha Bahar, an elderly Jew from Sandzak, was too weak to cross, so he was executed on the spot. In January, 1942, two males and a female from the Konforti family were executed. They were Jews from the Duga Poljana region between Sjenica and Novi Pazar. Matilda Ruben was killed and five Jews from Duga Poljana near Novi Pazar were executed.

At first, the Sandzak Muslims were under Italian control and sponsorship and collaborated with both fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Italy occupied Montenegro and formed an all-Muslim legion from the Sandzak. The MVAC or Milizia Voluntare Anti-Comunista or Anti-Communist Volunteer Police or Militia organized the formation the Legion. By February 28, 1943, there were 780 Sandzak Muslims in this Militia.

“They [the Sandzak Muslims] are to be treated as allies and are not to be disarmed. The Moslems in Sandjak have formed a Moslem self-defense militia, which is essentially an armed village guard. It supposedly comprises 8,000-10,000 men.”Operation Schwarz or Black was launched from May 15 to June 15, 1943 consisting of the German 724th Infantry Regiment of the 104th Jaeger Division and the Italian Venezia Division. For two weeks they fought against Partisan units in the Sandzak region. In an April 25, 1943 Geheimkommandosache–Chefsachen or secret order, all German and Italian military commanders were informed as follows:

Nazi Germany and Sandzak

After Italy surrendered, on September 9, 1943, the German 118th Jaeger Division turned over the occupation of Pljevlja to the Muslim Militia of Sandzak. Generalmajor Josef Kuebler, the commander of the Division, wanted to maintain the Sandzak Milita at 5,000 men. The German occupation forces lacked manpower to combat both the Serbian Chetnik and Communist Partisan guerrillas. They also could not keep the roads and supply lines secure without the help of the Sandzak Militia. Pljevlja was a majority Serbian Orthodox town. The Serbian Chetnik forces planned to attack the Serbian town and to free it from Muslim occupation. Chetnik forces began to mass in the region. But according to captured Waffen SS records and command orders, the Nazi Muslim Militia collaborated with the Partisan 2nd Proletarian Division to prevent the Chetniks from taking the town. On September 20, the Partisan units attacked the Chetnik forces and were able to enter the town with help or collaboration from the Nazi Muslim Militia. This is an example of collaboration between the Partisan’s and Nazi occupation forces in Yugoslavia.

On October 30, 1943, the Sandzak Militia is referred to in the SS records for the first time in an operations order as Moslem Group von Krempler or Muselmanengruppe von Krempler. German occupation forces sought to organize the Sandzak Muslim Legion unit along company and battalion lines. German Waffen SS NCOs were assigned to the Legion to create an SS formation. Oberst der Polizei und Sturmbannfuehrer der Waffen-SS Karl von Krempler was known as the Sandzak Prince. He was the top Islamist specialist in the Waffen SS and had been a member of the Prinz Eugen Division and helped to form the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Division. Born in Serbia, he spoke fluent Serbian, German, and Turkish. On March 1, 1944, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenfuehrer der Reserve. In a photograph from 1944, he is shown with members of the Muslim Militia wearing Waffen SS collar tabs, the Edelweiss patch on his right sleeve, and a badge for destroying a tank. In early October, 1944, he was assigned to Sandzak to form a legion out of the Militia. The German military headquarters in Sandzak were in Sjenica, where the Militia was also headquartered. The 2nd Proletarian Division amassed for an attack on Sjenica on November 10, 1943.

The Militia along with five German battalions attacked the Partisan forces, who withdraw. Operation Kugelblitz or Ball Lightning was planned in the region south of Tuzla in eastern Bosnia. On November 21, 1943, the German 2nd Panzer Army ordered that Group Siegfried secure the Sjenica region. Group Siegfried was made up of “the Muslim Legion von Krempler”, 524th German Grenadier Regiment, the 2nd Regiment “Brandenburg”, consisting of a platoon of tanks and a battery of artillery. This operation was to allow the German 1st Mountain Division to pass through the Sjenica region to deploy to eastern Bosnia for Operation Kugelblitz.

Islam Jugend

On January 16 to 17, 1944, the Sandzak Militia participated in a German attack against Partisan forces south of Sjenica. The Partisan 7th and 4th Proletarian Brigades were attacked.  The objective was to open the roads north and south into Montenegro. The attack was a failure. On February 6 to 8 another attack was launched in the same area but was a failure. The town of Meljak was taken and the Partisan 4th Sandzak Brigade was driven out.By the end of 1943, when the Germans occupied the Sandzak and took control of the Militia, they sought to organize the Militia along company and battalion lines. German NCOs of the Waffen SS were photographed inspecting a platoon of Sandzak Muslims. Some received Wehrmacht or German Army uniforms, tunics, alpine pants, and boots. The Germans also obtained and supplied to the Muslims heavier Italian weapons. Short of Muslim manpower, many of the recruits were very young. Waffen SS NCOs drilled and trained the Sandzak Muslims to create an organized military unit of the Waffen SS. The Sandzak Muslims wore either the Ottoman Empire Turkish fez, which was red in color, or the Albanerfez, or white Albanian skullcap. Some were photographed wearing white Muslim turbans around their heads. The leader of the Sandzak Militia was Islamic cleric Hafiz Sulejman Pacariz who led his troops riding a black horse.

Bosnian muslim nazi cap

Bosnian muslim NAZI fez

German occupation forces in the Sandzak granted “autonomy” or independence to the Sandzak Muslims. Von Krempler worked to create a Muslim administration in Sjenica that would see a Nazi-controlled autonomous Sandzak, a Nazi Sandzak. On February 21, 1944, the Higher SS and Police Commander in Serbia (HSSPF Serbien), SS Gruppenfuehrer August Meyszner, told the Military Commander Southeast or Militarbefehlshaber Sudost, General der Infanterie Hans Felber that Krempler’s forces in Sandzak consisted of two battalions of Sandzak Muslims consisting of 800 troops.

The Military Commander Southeast sent a message to the German 2nd Panzer Army on February 28 regarding the situation in Sandzak.  It noted that from Krempler’s force of 4,000 to 5,000 members of the Sandzak Muslim Militia, 2,000 were to be earmarked for the formation of a new Muslim legion. The Sandzak Legion was to be modeled on the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Division, equipped, supplied, and uniformed by German forces and would receive rations like German troops. On March 18 Militia troops from the Priboj area along with German troops and elements of the 4th Regiment Brandenburg from Prijepolje fought against the 4th Krajiski and 2nd Proletarian Brigades that were in the Priboj region.

Bosnian NAYI

Muslim NAZI ‘Handzar’ members laugh over hammering the ‘infidels’ (Serbs)

On March 26, the Military Commander Southeast informed Heinrich Himmler in Berlin that the Sandzak Militia and the elements of the Muslim Legion being formed in the Sandzak should be put under the command of the 2nd Panzer Army headquarters. The headquarters were to be in Nishka Banja outside of Nish in Serbia. The office of the Higher SS and Police Leader for Serbia, HSSPF “Serbien”, was to be responsible for troop services. On March 30, Himmler approved this chain of command for the Sandzak formations. He appointed Karl von Krempler SS Commander in the Sandzak under the title “SS Fuehrer im Gebiet Sandschak”. For the next five months, the Muslims under Krempler were engaged in combat in the Sandzak region.

 On April 4, 1944, the Sandzak Militia a part of Operation Kammerjaeger or Operation Exterminator, massive, coordinated military operations that lasted for seven weeks. The Militia was engaged with German troops against Partisan ( who were antifashists) penetrations into southern Serbia. On April 11, in conjunction with German forces, the Militia attacked the Partisan 37th Division southwest of Sjenica along the Brodarevo and Bijelo Polje Road in the Lim and Tara Valley. The Partisans were driven back. From June 18 to 24, 1944, two battalions of German troops and 400 Sandzak Muslim Militia troops from Sjenica began an assault on Bijelo Polje against Partisan forces in the Garibaldi Division, which was made up of Italian volunteers who had joined the Yugoslav guerrilla forces. The Sandzak Militia and German forces fought unsuccessfully for a week to take Bijelo Polje, suffering 150 casualties.Operation Exterminator

In July, the MUslim Militia hit again near Stitari and established a bridgehead on the west bank of the Lim River. They could not, however, supply their troops. The Partisan forces were also strongly entrenched in the region. This necessitated a withdrawal by the Militia from the region.

In July, 1944, the Sandzak Militia was reorganized and renamed into the Police Self-Defense Regiment Sandzak or Polizei Selbstschutz Regiment “Sandschak” as part of the SS forces consisting of 3,000 men. The field numbers of the Regiment were:

1. Regimental Staff Company—21 095
2. 1st battalion—22 118
3. 2nd Battalion—23 051
4. 3rd Battalion—24 125
5. 4th Battalion—24 983

According to German military records, the Regiment consisted only of a headquarters staff and a single battalion, the 1st Battalion, with four companies that were “in training”. By 1944, German occupation forces could not muster enough troops. There were also not enough uniforms and equipment at this stage of the war.

On August 12, Operation Ruebezahl (literally, “Turnip Number”, a mountain sprite or gnome in German mythology) was launched by German forces. Krempler’s Legion/Regiment/Militia participated in this action, along with the Kosovo Albanian Muslim Skanderbeg SS Division, the Prinz Eugen SS Division, the 1st Mountain Division, and Albanian Army units. The Sandzak Regiment attacked along the Bijelo Polje and Prijepolje fronts. The objective was to prevent Partisan forces from linking up with Soviet Red Army troops that were rapidly advancing on Belgrade. When Romania switched to the Soviet side, the German military occupation of the Balkans was doomed.On July 18, German forces launched Operation Draufganger or Operation Daredevil to prevent Partisan incursions into the Ibar Valley. Krempler’s Sandzak Muslim troops were stationed near Bioca on the east bank of the Lim River between Bijelo Polje and Berane (which had been known as Ivangrad from July, 1949 to March, 1992).

By September, 1944, the Regiment was redeployed along the Priboj-Prijepolje-Rozaj-Pester Mountains region attached to Kampfgruppe “Bendel”, consisting of two Muslim battalions from the Albanian Army. The Germans were now planning the withdrawal from the Balkans before they were cut-off and destroyed by rapidly advancing Soviet troops. German troops were rushed to the Banat and the Serbian-Bulgarian border to allow Heeresgruppe E time to retreat. The Germans were retreating from Greece through Macedonia and Kosovo. The Regiment was forced to retreat to Sjenica. The Regiment garrisoned Sjenica, which was attacked by Partisan forces on October 14. The Police Self-Defense Regiment Sandschak was driven out of Sjenica and forced to withdraw to Duga Poljana. The German forces were able to reoccupy Sjenica on October 25. The Regiment was, however, effectively destroyed as a result of the engagements. The Muslim collaborationist troops were able to switch sides after the partisans proclaimed an amnesty in September.

Several hundred Muslims were able to flee to Sarajevo by November, 1944 under the leadership of Islamic cleric or hodza Hafiz Sulejman Pacariz and his Chief of Staff, Major Ramiz Sipilovic. In Sarajevo, they were placed under the command of Ustasha General Vjekoslav Maks Luburic who was sent to Sarajevo by Croatian Poglavnik Ante Pavelic to impress Muslims and other troops into Ustasha formations. The reorganized Sandzak Regiment was integrated in the Ustasha forces. Pacariz was given the rank of Ustasha Pukovnik or Ustasha Colonel in the Militia. The Regiment was officially dissolved in early 1945 by the Germans in Graz, Austria. SS Standartenfuehrer der Reserve und Oberst Polizei Karl von Krempler was reassigned.

During March, 1945, the remnants of the Sandzak Regiment/Militia saw combat action south of Sarajevo in the Ivan Sedlo region but were unable to hold out. Sarajevo was taken by Partisan forces on April 6. Some of the Sandzak Muslims died in the fighting while others were executed by the Partisans after capture. Most of them fled to Sisak south of Zagreb where they were placed in the Ustasha Brigade “Obrana” or “Defense” under Luburic, which was reorganized as the 18th Assault Division. On May 8, the Partisans captured Zagreb. Some of the Sandzak Muslims were killed in the fanatical defense of Zagreb while others fled with other Ustasha troops into Austria.

Hermann Behrens, the Higher SS and Police Leader in Serbia, Montenegro, and Sandzak, was extradited by Yugoslavia and tried for war crimes. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad on December 4, 1948, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He had also been a member of the Prinz Eugen and Handzar Divisions SS Divisions. Acif-efendija fled into Kosovo after the German military retreat from Sandzak. He surrendered to Partisan forces in Djakovica. He was brought back to Novi Pazar where he was tried and convicted of being a Nazi/fascist collaborator. He was executed in 1945 in Novi Pazar. Acif-efendija stated before his execution: “If I am guilty, let them kill me, although I don’t consider myself guilty, before Allah, and before the people.” Ahmet-aga Daca, the president of the Sandzak district during the Nazi/fascist occupation, was also tried and convicted of collaborating with the Nazi/fascist occupation forces. He was executed in Novi Pazar in 1945.

Autonomy and Secession

The Sandzak region is an area of potential instability and separatism. It is a conflict area that could be manipulated to foment secession in Serbia and Montenegro. The Kosovo model could be applied to the Sandzak to achieve, first, “autonomy, then, “independence”. Indeed, the “international community” is keenly aware of the divisive role the Sandzak can play in destabilizing Serbia and Montenegro. Both the NGO International Crisis Group (ICG) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) have devoted attention to the Sandzak. Is Sandzak “still forgotten”? Sandzak remains, like Kosovo, a tool and instrument for the “international community” to pressure, manipulate, and destabilize Serbia and Montenegro. Sandzak is, thus, not “still forgotten” but is available as a potential future instrument of the “international community” to use against Serbia and Montenegro.

Muslim ultra-nationalists in Sandzak itself were advocating secession and separatism. On May 21, 1994, the Turkish journal Aydinlik of Istanbul reported that hundreds of Muslims from Sandzak were secretly brought into Turkey through Macedonia for commando training: “The project of training the Sandzak Muslims is part of a plan to create a Muslim state in parts of Serbia and Montenegro.” Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic supported the annexation of the Sandzak into a Greater Bosnia. The radical, ultra-nationalist Party for Democratic Action, SDA, Stranka Demokratske Akcije, was active in Sandzak, where branches were established, with links to Sarajevo. As early as February, 1991, Sulejman Ugljanin, the President of the Sandzak branch of the Bosnian Muslim SDA Party, began his political agitation in Sandzak for autonomy and secession and annexation to Bosnia. In March, 1991, the BBC reported that the SDA planned to declare the autonomy of the Sandzak region “if any other Yugoslav republic secedes or if it feels that it is necessary to protect the region’s Moslem population.” The US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia continue to support the recognition of Islamic statelets in the Balkans. Secession and separatism will inevitably destabilize the Balkans and result in Balkanization, small, weak, and fragmented “statelets” that will be controlled and manipulated by foreign powers and interests. The Sandzak/Rashka is a region divided into two evenly dispersed populations: Orthodox Christians and Muslim Slavs. The population balance can be exploited and manipulated and disrupted by foreign actors to foment instability and conflict. This is the potential threat to Sandzak.The Sandzak became a volatile and explosive region of the former Yugoslavia with the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990. The situation resulted in conflict following the crisis in neighboring Bosnia-Hercegovina. Sandzak Muslims perceived themselves as “Bosniaks” or Bosnjaci or Bosnians and allied politically with the radical, Islamic nationalist SDA Party of Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia. Sandzak Muslims began calling for the “autonomy” of Sandzak with the right to secede. The goal was to secede from Serbia and Montenegro and to form a Greater Bosnia, a Greater Islamic State of Bosnia. Izetbegovic encouraged and supported a Greater Muslim Bosnia that would include the Sandzak. Reports also emerged that the Bosnian Muslim leadership had shipped weapons and ammunition to the Sandzak Muslims. Sandzak Muslims are known to have sent “volunteers” to Bosnia to fight on the side of the Bosnian Muslim faction as part of the Bosnian Muslim Army. Sandzak Muslim or Sandzaklije troops participated in the combat in the Srebrenica pocket. Bosnian Muslim military commander Naser Oric engaged in the mass murder and mutilation of Bosnian Serb civilians in the Srebrenica pocket. Bosnian Serb POWs were executed, decapitated, tortured, and mutilated. Sandzak Muslims were part of these Bosniam Muslim military forces.

Sandzak’s Nazi past and role during the Holocaust are still forgotten. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Heinrich Himmler created “autonomy” for the Sandzak during World War II. Nazi Germany used the Sandzak to maintain the Nazi occupation of Serbia and Montenegro. The Nazi-created “autonomy” for the Sandzak created a political precedent that can be revived and reconstituted by the “international community”. It is a precedent that has the potential for revival. The Nazis understood the importance of the Sandzak in ensuring their control and occupation of the Balkans. The ICG and RFE/RL understand the significance and strategic importance of the Sandzak. How long will the Sandzak be “still forgotten”?

Bibliography

During World War II, up to 120,000 Balkan Muslims from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Sandzak were in German military and security formations. Up to 1.5 million Muslims in the USSR were in the Nazi German forces from Chechnya, Crimea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and the Caucasus. The motto of the newspaper Gazavat (“Jihad”), a political organ of the North-Caucasus National Liberation Movement set up by Nazis in the USSR, was: “Allah above us, And Adolf Hitler beside us.” In the North Caucasus region of the southern USSR, up to 75,000 Muslims were put in the German forces. Chechen Muslims from Chechnya volunteered for the North Caucasus Legion or Nordkaukasische Legion formed in 1942 which existed until 1943. It also was made up of Muslim Dagestanis and Muslim Ingushetians. Nazi Germany was successfully able to recruit and mobilize Balkan and Caucasus Muslims into the German Wehrmacht and Waffen SS formations.

Sandzak: History

During the medieval period, the Sandzak region was known as Rashka, the center of the Serbian state. The Serbian city of Ras was in the vicinity where the present city of Novi Pazar was settled. The Serbian Orthodox monasteries of Sopocani and Djurdjevi stupovi were in Rashka. In the 15th century, the Ottoman Turkish Empire invaded and occupied the region. The Sandzak region was on a key trade route from Istanbul/Constantinople and Asia Minor to Bosnia, the key Ottoman Turkish base in Europe. Novi Pazar literally means new bazaar, or new marketplace, a key center in the Ottoman trade network in the Balkans. Sandzak was a vital economic supply line for the Ottoman Empire and was vital for the Ottoman economy.

Even when okupljawa on centralniom square “Isa Bey Ishaković ‘attention is drawn to” defile “a few dozen young men-Bosniaks in green uniforms and fezzes on their heads and with the symbols of the Bosniak minority in Serbia. The city immediately started to lay information to the square gathers “the Mufti army” and “Army of Sandzak”, some are all curiously watched, and some hurried away from the center of Novi Pazar.
In addition to part of Bosniaks, was uncomfortable and every Serb and a member of another religion and nation that at the time he was in the city center. On hajati, where uniformed young men arrived with the flags of the Islamic Community and Sandzak Bosniaks, who are allowed to wear in Serbia, told reporters informally explained that it is not even about what kind of paramilitary or military formation, but that to the young activists of the Islamic community apparently “just for this occasion and for this day,” rented a uniform green uniforms – a symbol of Islam and Muslims and red fez – a part of traditional Muslim attire. Few, however, believe in this explanation, prior to the opinion of a considerable number Novopazaraca, Serbs in particular, is a provocation and experimenting strepljenja competent in the Serbian government.
Acif Efendi who was NAZI colaborator and Bujta Hadžiahmetović, wartime (Nazi) mayor of Novi Pazar, which openly associate the Third Reich, and his Albanian militias committed terrible crimes against Serbs, Jews and Bosniaks who did not agree to assimilating and forcilbe converting of their Orthodox or Jewish neighbors. Today Muslim leaders argue  that the Acif Efendi was a defender of Novi Pazar, Sandzak from Chetniks (anti fascists, regular Kingdom of Yugoslavia army). Their propaganda, supported by Turkey and the West, often claims these NAZI soldiers were innocent and therefore  deserve a plaque.
So they established a plague to a members of NAZI SS unit! In Europe! With the blessing of the West!
The plague is set in the centre of Novi Pazar. The High Court in Novi Pazar starts  procedures for rehabilitation of NAZI murderer Acif Effendi.

None of this things occurs by chance – the Bosnian Muslims have always been siding with the Invaders. It was them (and Albanians) who sided with Ottomans, commiting some of the most monstrous crimes against their own bethrern but of Orthodox faith. During WWI, they fought alongside thwo rotten empires, against their bethren again; during WW II, they served NAZI Germany and Fascist Italy, commiting unimaginable crimes again. 
After the Berlin wall fall,  – they served as NATO infantry to destabilize Yugoslavia, and Serbia. 
But why now? Because they need to prevent the construction of South stream pipelines through Serbia. NATO, USA, their eternal protector, don’t want it. 
Time for another war in Balkans? I hope not.
Source: http://www.vesti-online.com/Vesti/Srbija/431159/Marsirala-muftijina-vojska; 

Andrejevich, Milan. “The Sandzak: The Next Balkan Theater of War?” RFE/RL Research Report, 1 (47), November 27, 1992, pp. 26-34.

Munoz, Antonio, ed. The East Came West. NY: Axis Europa Books, 2001.

Schmidt, Fabian. “The Sandzak: Muslims between Serbia and Montenegro.” RFE/RL Research Report, 3 (6), February 11, 1994, pp. 29-35.

Stojanovic, Srdjan. “Serbia’s Sandzak: Still Forgotten.” Europe Report N. 162. International Crisis Group. April 8, 2005.

Carl Savic, Serbianna. com.,

https://theremustbejustice.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/the-army-of-islam-marches-again-in-novi-pazar-serbia-on-september-4-2014/

Bosnian Muslims from central Serbia call for islamist Army of ,Sandjak’ and bloodshed

Posted on January 11, 2015 by

Calling for the formation of the Army of the Republic of Sandzak

A large number of Bosniaks via Facebook supported the establishment of the Army of Sandjak

 After the “March of Hadjet”, when young men in green uniforms (World War II SS Handjar unifroms)  marched through Novi Pazar, and threatened ‘Chetniks’ (Serbs) that the rivers will be red from their blood,  Bosnian muslims, gravely fanatized and encouraged by global support, call for the formation of the Army of Sandjzak (Raska area). Immediately appeared facebook group “Army of Sandjzak “. 

– Here I call every Sandjak male from the age of 15 to get ready for war in Sandjak, because our Prophet Alejhuselam participated (in war) when he was 15 –

The  young men wearing WW II SS Handjar uniforms recently marched through Novi Pazar. Serbian puppet regime just turned the blind eye. Serbs  leave the area because of Islamist fascism en masse.

The call for the formation of the Army of Sandžak appeared on page ‘Republic of Sandzak’, and administrator of this site put the military emblem almost the same as coat of arms of the (muslim) Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnian NAYI

Raska area (‘Sandjak’), World War II,  – Bosnian Muslim NAZI ‘SS Handzar’ members laugh over hammering the ‘infidels’ (Serbs). Notice that there’s no difference between the uniforms of the mufti Zukorlichs’ army and SS Handjar uniforms. 

There’s also the photo of the radical pro Ottoman ‘Sandjzak’  Mufti Zukorlic Muharrem with the message: “Brothers Bosniaks, we urgently need to form Army of Sandjzak in order to preserve the territory and the security of citizens of Sandjzak. (?)  The ‘Chetniks’ are ready to attack Novi Pazar and publicly call for it. And we invite you to form the Army of the Republic of Sandzak. We invite each individual and each group to arm and join “.

Elite trupe
The invented danger and false threat are well known mean to justify misdeeds in advance, and Zukorlić knows that very well, Such a way made him one of the wealthiest persons in Raska area, with private army, completely equiped modern sport and religious center, etc.
Meanwhile there’s no Serbs in Serbian uniform marching through Serbia (!! Incredible! seems that, traditionally Zukorlic and his followers prefer Turkish and NATO, especially German and USA uniforms), Zukorlic was given a blink to start another war in Balkans.

handyar

The call for the formation of the Army of Sandzak immediately, received the support of a significant number of visitors, mostly Bosniaks in ‘Sandjzak’ and the Diaspora who also call for the formation of the Army of ‘Sandjzak’.

The coat of arms of the ‘Army’ of the ‘Republic of Sandjzak’

“Sandzak tigers, join, show everyone who the sons of Sandjzak are”, “And my life for my Sandjzak”, “Allah, help Sandjzak Mufti, help him  and save from hidded enemies and false friend” are just some of the messages that could appear on this page ….

The emergence of this Facebook group and call for the formation of the Army of Sandzak, which can be a provocation of the individual, but also a serious threat of serious and extremist groups, followed the “Visitation of the Hadjet” where Zukorlic and his pro Ottoman fanatics appeared uniformed as members of the notorious SS Handjar.
After that threatening march, Serbian Orthodox vlounteers from Donbass ( ‘Chetniks’) announced that they’re ready  “to come to Novi Pazar and organize a march in their uniforms, as neo Nazi Islamists did.” But the Authorities prevented them from doing so. (Serbian authorities didn’t prevent Islamists from marching in the middle of Serbia, but prevented the Serbs!! Just another treason.)

New threats came also  from Sarajevo, where  “sheik” Abdulmalik Basic, a former member of the monstrous “El-Mujahid” who says in media:  “Chetniks,” said, “If you come near in Sandjzak, the Drina river will not be green but red, and Priboj will be destroyed”.

Muslim

These Islamic extremists, whose messages are freely published on some portals in Sandjzak, threatened: “If you  come to Novi Pazar (town in Central Serbia) you touched the ‘Umnet’, the pupil of the eye of the Bosniaks”

The authorities of Serbia have not yet reacted to the threats in Sandjzak and act as they don’t notice the establishment of the neo nazi Army of of Sandjzak, neither suffernig and fear of non islamists in the region of Raska.

sources: Schmidt, Fabian. “The Sandzak: Muslims between Serbia and Montenegro.” RFE/RL Research Report, 3 (6), February 11, 1994, pp. 29-35.

http://hms.ba/pozivaju-na-formiranje-armije-republike-sandzak/;

Stojanovic, Srdjan. “Serbia’s Sandzak: Still Forgotten.” Europe Report N. 162. International Crisis Group. April 8, 2005.

Bosnian Muslims from central Serbia call for islamist Army of ,Sandjak’ and bloodshed

Sandzak’s Nazi Past: Still Forgotten

by

Posted on June 27, 2013

Sandzak or Rashka?The Sandzak or Rashka region of Serbia and Montenegro is an area of potential instability and conflict. The region is evenly divided by Orthodox Christian Slavs, Serbs, and Montenegrins, and Muslim Slavs. What is the history of the Rashka or Sandzak region? What are the bases for “autonomy” and “secession” and “independence”? What is the history of Sandzak during World War II? What role did Sandzak play during the Holocaust? Sandzak’s Nazi past has been covered up and censored in the West. Why is Sandzak’s Nazi past still forgotten?

When Nazi Germany occupied Sandzak in 1943, the Sandzak achieved “autonomy” under Nazi occupation and administration.

During World War II, up to 120,000 Balkan Muslims from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Sandzak were in German military and security formations. Up to 1.5 million Muslims in the USSR were in the Nazi German forces from Chechnya, Crimea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and the Caucasus. The motto of the newspaper Gazavat (“Jihad”), a political organ of the North-Caucasus National Liberation Movement set up by Nazis in the USSR, was: “Allah above us, And Adolf Hitler beside us.” In the North Caucasus region of the southern USSR, up to 75,000 Muslims were put in the German forces. Chechen Muslims from Chechnya volunteered for the North Caucasus Legion or Nordkaukasische Legion formed in 1942 which existed until 1943. It also was made up of Muslim Dagestanis and Muslim Ingushetians. Nazi Germany was successfully able to recruit and mobilize Balkan and Caucasus Muslims into the German Wehrmacht and Waffen SS formations.

Sandzak: History

During the medieval period, the Sandzak region was known as Rashka, the center of the Serbian state. The Serbian city of Ras was in the vicinity where the present city of Novi Pazar was settled. The Serbian Orthodox monasteries of Sopocani and Djurdjevi stupovi were in Rashka. In the 15th century, the Ottoman Turkish Empire invaded and occupied the region. The Sandzak region was on a key trade route from Istanbul/Constantinople and Asia Minor to Bosnia, the key Ottoman Turkish base in Europe. Novi Pazar literally means new bazaar, or new marketplace, a key center in the Ottoman trade network in the Balkans. Sandzak was a vital economic supply line for the Ottoman Empire and was vital for the Ottoman economy.

The Sandzak area had important strategic and military importance because it provided supply lines from Istanbul to Bosnia. This was known as the “Green Belt”, a strategic interconnected route or corridor from Istanbul to Sarajevo to Travnik to Bihac. The Ottoman Turks settled this region with Muslim Slavs to ensure this vital link. Orthodox Serbs were cleansed and resettled out of this strategic belt. Christians were perceived as a potential security threat to this corridor. The Ottoman Turks settled this route with Slavic Muslims, Islamicized Slavs who were referred to as poTurcenaci. This conversion was achieved through economic inducements, property grants, and a dominant status in the Ottoman society. For centuries, there was the devshirme or boy tribute system, where Slavs had to give up their children to be raised up as Muslims. This genocidal nature of the Ottoman Islamic system has rarely been seriously examined in so-called Western scholarship. Naturally, there was considerable animosity, but also sympathy, towards the Islamicized Slavs of the Sandzak. They were in a tragic position once the Ottoman Empire had collapsed and the Turkish Army and civil administration was withdrawn. The role of the Muslim Slavs was to keep the Christian Slavic rayah down. Once the tables were turned, they no longer had a purpose. They merely played a destabilizing role in the Balkans. This was the tragic result of the genocidal policies of the Ottoman Turkish occupation of Serbia.

Albanian tribes settled the southern region during the Ottoman occupation. About 20% of the Sandzaklije are descended from Albanian Malesors, or mountain tribes, settlers who came to the Sandak following the Austro-Turkish Wars of 1700-1710.

The Rashka or Sandzak region became a part of Serbia and Montenegro after the 1912 First Balkan War. At that time, many Sanzak Muslims immigrated to Turkey with the Ottoman Turkish Army and Turkish officials. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, the Treaty of Berlin made the former Sandzak of Novi Pazar under Austro-Hungarian “administration”, while it remained formally a part of Ottoman Turkey. During World War I, Sandzak Muslims were decorated soldiers as part of the elite military forces of the Austro-Hungarian Army. Sandzak was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1915 to 1918 during World War I.

Sandzak under Fascist ItalySix towns in Sandzak— Novi Pazar, Priboj, Prijepolje, Nova Varos, Sjenica, and Tutin—were incorporated into Serbia. Five towns in Sandzak—Berane, Bijelo Polje, Pljevlja, Rozhaje, and Plave—were incorporated into Montenegro. Nova Varos, Priboj, Prijepolje, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Pljevlja have Serbian Orthodox majorities. Sandzak formed the Rashka region in the medieval period, which was the center of Serbian culture and the Orthodox Church. The Serbian Orthodox identity and historical presence remains in Rashka or Sandzak. The southern regions of Sandzak were made a part of Greater Albania in 1941 when fascist Italy and Nazi Germany occupied Sandzak. During World War II, the Sandzak region achieved de facto “autonomy” under Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1944. Nazi Germany sought to reconstitute Sandzak as it had existed under Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, as a Muslim statelet. After World War II, Sandzak was reintegrated back into Serbia and Montenegro. Sandzak remained a region divided almost equally between Orthodox Slavs and Muslim Slavs. The Orthodox Christian identity and character of the region competed with the Islamic, Turkic identity established under the Ottoman Empire occupation. Rashka or Sandzak? Is it a Serbian Orthodox Christian heartland or Muslim “Bosniak” district of Muslim Bosnia? Sandzak remains as the tragic detritus or residue of the rise and fall of empires and cultures. The potential for instability and conflict remains in Sandzak/Rashka.

Following the Nazi invasion and dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the Sandzak region was divided between fascist Italy and Nazi Germany who occupied the region. The southern part of Sandzak was incorporated into a Greater Albania. A Sandzak Muslim Legion or Guard was formed at the end of 1941, supplied with captured Yugoslav Army and Italian Army equipment. The fascist Sandzak Militia established Muslim control and occupation over the mixed Orthodox Christian and Muslim region. In February, 1942, the Militia attacked Partisan units and drove them from Sandzak. On February 1, 1942, the Muslim Militia from Sjenica and villages south in the Pester Mountain region attacked Partisan units in Nova Varos. On February 7, 1942, Muslim Militia units from Komarani near Nova Varos, in conjunction with units of the Italian 19th Division “Venezia” from Prijepolje, attacked Partisan units retreating across the Lim River into western Sandzak.

Albanian Muslims and Sandzak Muslims fought as allies during World War II. Albanian fascist Saban Poluza was an ally of the Sandzak Muslims and fought Serbian forces jointly with Sandzak Muslims, especially to maintain Muslim control of Novi Pazar. Acif Hadziahmetovic (1887-1945), known as Acif-efendija, was a prominent leader of the Sandzak Muslims during the Nazi/fascist occupation. Ahmet-aga Daca was the president of the Sandzak district when it was under Nazi/fascist occupation.The Italian zone of occupation encompassed Bijelo Polje, Plevlja, Tutin, Montenegro, Kosovo, Metohija, Plav, Gusinje, and Rozaje, from which a Greater Albania was created. The German occupation zone consisted of the Novi Pazar and Sjenica regions. Dzemail Konicanin (1910-1944), born in Konic near Tutin, formed a Sandzak Muslim militia in 1941 in Tutin. Dzafer Deva, the Kosovo Albanian Muslim, the minister of police or militia in the fascist-created Greater Albania, made him an officer in the Albanian security/militia/military forces. Konicanin, although a Slavic Muslim, identified with the Albanian Muslims and was part of the Greater Albanian state. This is because his identification was based on Islam, a religious identification, and because both the Albanian Muslims and Slavic Muslims were products of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. He was photographed wearing an Albanian officer’s cap with the Greater Albania goat’s head symbol of Skanderbeg. Iljaz Brezanin and Husein Hukic were members of his militia which also contained Albanian Muslims. His militia along with Albanian Muslims attacked the Serbian Orthodox Rashka region east of Tutin. He was fighting the war as a Muslim, a sehid. He was killed in a Partisan assault in 1944.

The Holocaust in Sandzak: Still Forgotten

The Jews of Sandzak were rounded up and transported to the Kosovska Mitrovica prison at the end of March, 1942. The Jews of Novi Pazar, Tutin, Sjenica, and Duga Poljana were forced to march on foot for five hours from Novi Pazar to Rashka, 24 kilometers away. From Rashka to Kosovska Mitrovica, they were transported in wagons Near the village of Pridvorica, they were forced to cross the bridge on foot to get on a second transport. The bridge had been destroyed by guerrillas. Mosha Bahar, an elderly Jew from Sandzak, was too weak to cross, so he was executed on the spot. In January, 1942, two males and a female from the Konforti family were executed. They were Jews from the Duga Poljana region between Sjenica and Novi Pazar. Matilda Ruben was killed and five Jews from Duga Poljana near Novi Pazar were executed.

At first, the Sandzak Muslims were under Italian control and sponsorship and collaborated with both fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Italy occupied Montenegro and formed an all-Muslim legion from the Sandzak. The MVAC or Milizia Voluntare Anti-Comunista or Anti-Communist Volunteer Police or Militia organized the formation the Legion. By February 28, 1943, there were 780 Sandzak Muslims in this Militia.

 “They [the Sandzak Muslims] are to be treated as allies and are not to be disarmed. The Moslems in Sandjak have formed a Moslem self-defense militia, which is essentially an armed village guard. It supposedly comprises 8,000-10,000 men.”Operation Schwarz or Black was launched from May 15 to June 15, 1943 consisting of the German 724th Infantry Regiment of the 104th Jaeger Division and the Italian Venezia Division. For two weeks they fought against Partisan units in the Sandzak region. In an April 25, 1943 Geheimkommandosache–Chefsachen or secret order, all German and Italian military commanders were informed as follows:

Nazi Germany and Sandzak

After Italy surrendered, on September 9, 1943, the German 118th Jaeger Division turned over the occupation of Pljevlja to the Muslim Militia of Sandzak. Generalmajor Josef Kuebler, the commander of the Division, wanted to maintain the Sandzak Milita at 5,000 men. The German occupation forces lacked manpower to combat both the Serbian Chetnik and Communist Partisan guerrillas. They also could not keep the roads and supply lines secure without the help of the Sandzak Militia. Pljevlja was a majority Serbian Orthodox town. The Serbian Chetnik forces planned to attack the Serbian town and to free it from Muslim occupation. Chetnik forces began to mass in the region. But according to captured Waffen SS records and command orders, the Nazi Muslim Militia collaborated with the Partisan 2nd Proletarian Division to prevent the Chetniks from taking the town. On September 20, the Partisan units attacked the Chetnik forces and were able to enter the town with help or collaboration from the Nazi Muslim Militia. This is an example of collaboration between the Partisan’s and Nazi occupation forces in Yugoslavia.

On October 30, 1943, the Sandzak Militia is referred to in the SS records for the first time in an operations order as Moslem Group von Krempler or Muselmanengruppe von Krempler. German occupation forces sought to organize the Sandzak Muslim Legion unit along company and battalion lines. German Waffen SS NCOs were assigned to the Legion to create an SS formation. Oberst der Polizei und Sturmbannfuehrer der Waffen-SS Karl von Krempler was known as the Sandzak Prince. He was the top Islamist specialist in the Waffen SS and had been a member of the Prinz Eugen Division and helped to form the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Division. Born in Serbia, he spoke fluent Serbian, German, and Turkish. On March 1, 1944, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Standartenfuehrer der Reserve. In a photograph from 1944, he is shown with members of the Muslim Militia wearing Waffen SS collar tabs, the Edelweiss patch on his right sleeve, and a badge for destroying a tank. In early October, 1944, he was assigned to Sandzak to form a legion out of the Militia. The German military headquarters in Sandzak were in Sjenica, where the Militia was also headquartered. The 2nd Proletarian Division amassed for an attack on Sjenica on November 10, 1943.

The Militia along with five German battalions attacked the Partisan forces, who withdraw. Operation Kugelblitz or Ball Lightning was planned in the region south of Tuzla in eastern Bosnia. On November 21, 1943, the German 2nd Panzer Army ordered that Group Siegfried secure the Sjenica region. Group Siegfried was made up of “the Muslim Legion von Krempler”, 524th German Grenadier Regiment, the 2nd Regiment “Brandenburg”, consisting of a platoon of tanks and a battery of artillery. This operation was to allow the German 1st Mountain Division to pass through the Sjenica region to deploy to eastern Bosnia for Operation Kugelblitz.

On January 16 to 17, 1944, the Sandzak Militia participated in a German attack against Partisan forces south of Sjenica. The Partisan 7th and 4th Proletarian Brigades were attacked.  The objective was to open the roads north and south into Montenegro. The attack was a failure. On February 6 to 8 another attack was launched in the same area but was a failure. The town of Meljak was taken and the Partisan 4th Sandzak Brigade was driven out.By the end of 1943, when the Germans occupied the Sandzak and took control of the Militia, they sought to organize the Militia along company and battalion lines. German NCOs of the Waffen SS were photographed inspecting a platoon of Sandzak Muslims. Some received Wehrmacht or German Army uniforms, tunics, alpine pants, and boots. The Germans also obtained and supplied to the Muslims heavier Italian weapons. Short of Muslim manpower, many of the recruits were very young. Waffen SS NCOs drilled and trained the Sandzak Muslims to create an organized military unit of the Waffen SS. The Sandzak Muslims wore either the Ottoman Empire Turkish fez, which was red in color, or the Albanerfez, or white Albanian skullcap. Some were photographed wearing white Muslim turbans around their heads. The leader of the Sandzak Militia was Islamic cleric Hafiz Sulejman Pacariz who led his troops riding a black horse.

The Military Commander Southeast sent a message to the German 2nd Panzer Army on February 28 regarding the situation in Sandzak.  It noted that from Krempler’s force of 4,000 to 5,000 members of the Sandzak Muslim Militia, 2,000 were to be earmarked for the formation of a new Muslim legion. The Sandzak Legion was to be modeled on the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Division, equipped, supplied, and uniformed by German forces and would receive rations like German troops. On March 18 Militia troops from the Priboj area along with German troops and elements of the 4th Regiment Brandenburg from Prijepolje fought against the 4th Krajiski and 2nd Proletarian Brigades that were in the Priboj region.German occupation forces in the Sandzak granted “autonomy” or independence to the Sandzak Muslims. Von Krempler worked to create a Muslim administration in Sjenica that would see a Nazi-controlled autonomous Sandzak, a Nazi Sandzak. On February 21, 1944, the Higher SS and Police Commander in Serbia (HSSPF Serbien), SS Gruppenfuehrer August Meyszner, told the Military Commander Southeast or Militarbefehlshaber Sudost, General der Infanterie Hans Felber that Krempler’s forces in Sandzak consisted of two battalions of Sandzak Muslims consisting of 800 troops.

On March 26, the Military Commander Southeast informed Heinrich Himmler in Berlin that the Sandzak Militia and the elements of the Muslim Legion being formed in the Sandzak should be put under the command of the 2nd Panzer Army headquarters. The headquarters were to be in Nishka Banja outside of Nish in Serbia. The office of the Higher SS and Police Leader for Serbia, HSSPF “Serbien”, was to be responsible for troop services. On March 30, Himmler approved this chain of command for the Sandzak formations. He appointed Karl von Krempler SS Commander in the Sandzak under the title “SS Fuehrer im Gebiet Sandschak”. For the next five months, the Muslims under Krempler were engaged in combat in the Sandzak region.

 On April 4, 1944, the Sandzak Militia was made a part of Operation Kammerjaeger or Operation Exterminator, massive, coordinated military operations that lasted for seven weeks. The Militia was engaged with German troops against Partisan penetrations into southern Serbia. On April 11, in conjunction with German forces, the Militia attacked the Partisan 37th Division southwest of Sjenica along the Brodarevo and Bijelo Polje Road in the Lim and Tara Valleys. The Partisans were driven back. From June 18 to 24, 1944, two battalions of German troops and 400 Sandzak Muslim Militia troops from Sjenica began an assault on Bijelo Polje against Partisan forces in the Garibaldi Division, which was made up of Italian volunteers who had joined the Yugoslav guerrilla forces. The Sandzak Militia and German forces fought unsuccessfully for a week to take Bijelo Polje, suffering 150 casualties.Operation Exterminator

In July, the Militia attacked near Stitari and established a bridgehead on the west bank of the Lim River. They could not, however, supply the troops. The Partisan forces were also strongly entrenched in the region. This necessitated a withdrawal by the Militia from the region.

On April 28, HSSPF Serbien under SS Gruppenfuehrer und Generalleutnant der Polizei Hermann Behrends in Belgrade reported to Himmler in Berlin that Legion Krempler was nearing completion and noted that Hauptamt Orpo or the Headquarters of the German Order Police in Berlin had been very helpful in this effort. From April 1, 1944 to October, 1944, Behrends was the Higher SS and Police Leader “Serbien, Sandschak, und Montenegro”, with headquarters in Belgrade. He was the representative of the German Reich in Serbia.

In July, 1944, the Sandzak Militia was reorganized and renamed Police Self-Defense Regiment Sandzak or Polizei Selbstschutz Regiment “Sandschak” as part of the SS consisting of 3,000 men. The field post numbers of the Regiment were:

1. Regimental Staff Company—21 095
2. 1st battalion—22 118
3. 2nd Battalion—23 051
4. 3rd Battalion—24 125
5. 4th Battalion—24 983

According to German military records, the Regiment consisted only of a headquarters staff and a single battalion, the 1st Battalion, with four companies that were “in training”. By 1944, German occupation forces could not muster enough troops. There were also not enough uniforms and equipment at this stage of the war.

 On August 12, Operation Ruebezahl (literally, “Turnip Number”, a mountain sprite or gnome in German mythology) was launched by German forces. Krempler’s Legion/Regiment/Militia participated in this action, along with the Kosovo Albanian Muslim Skanderbeg SS Division, the Prinz Eugen SS Division, the 1st Mountain Division, and Albanian Army units. The Sandzak Regiment attacked along the Bijelo Polje and Prijepolje fronts. The objective was to prevent Partisan forces from linking up with Soviet Red Army troops that were rapidly advancing on Belgrade. When Romania switched to the Soviet side, the German military occupation of the Balkans was doomed.On July 18, German forces launched Operation Draufganger or Operation Daredevil to prevent Partisan incursions into the Ibar Valley. Krempler’s Sandzak Muslim troops were stationed near Bioca on the east bank of the Lim River between Bijelo Polje and Berane (which had been known as Ivangrad from July, 1949 to March, 1992).

By September, 1944, the Regiment was redeployed along the Priboj-Prijepolje-Rozaj-Pester Mountains region attached to Kampfgruppe “Bendel”, consisting of two Muslim battalions from the Albanian Army. The Germans were now planning the withdrawal from the Balkans before they were cut-off and destroyed by rapidly advancing Soviet troops. German troops were rushed to the Banat and the Serbian-Bulgarian border to allow Heeresgruppe E time to retreat. The Germans were retreating from Greece through Macedonia and Kosovo. The Regiment was forced to retreat to Sjenica. The Regiment garrisoned Sjenica, which was attacked by Partisan forces on October 14. The Police Self-Defense Regiment Sandschak was driven out of Sjenica and forced to withdraw to Duga Poljana. The German forces were able to reoccupy Sjenica on October 25. The Regiment was, however, effectively destroyed as a result of the engagements. The Muslim collaborationist troops were able to switch sides after the partisans proclaimed an amnesty in September.

Several hundred Muslims were able to flee to Sarajevo by November, 1944 under the leadership of Islamic cleric or hodza Hafiz Sulejman Pacariz and his Chief of Staff, Major Ramiz Sipilovic. In Sarajevo, they were placed under the command of Ustasha General Vjekoslav Maks Luburic who was sent to Sarajevo by Croatian Poglavnik Ante Pavelic to impress Muslims and other troops into Ustasha formations. The reorganized Sandzak Regiment was integrated in the Ustasha forces. Pacariz was given the rank of Ustasha Pukovnik or Ustasha Colonel in the Militia. The Regiment was officially dissolved in early 1945 by the Germans in Graz, Austria. SS Standartenfuehrer der Reserve und Oberst Polizei Karl von Krempler was reassigned.

 Hermann Behrens, the Higher SS and Police Leader in Serbia, Montenegro, and Sandzak, was extradited by Yugoslavia and tried for war crimes. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad on December 4, 1948, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He had also been a member of the Prinz Eugen and Handzar Divisions SS Divisions. Acif-efendija fled into Kosovo after the German military retreat from Sandzak. He surrendered to Partisan forces in Djakovica. He was brought back to Novi Pazar where he was tried and convicted of being a Nazi/fascist collaborator. He was executed in 1945 in Novi Pazar. Acif-efendija stated before his execution: “If I am guilty, let them kill me, although I don’t consider myself guilty, before Allah, and before the people.” Ahmet-aga Daca, the president of the Sandzak district during the Nazi/fascist occupation, was also tried and convicted of collaborating with the Nazi/fascist occupation forces. He was executed in Novi Pazar in 1945.n March, 1945, the remnants of the Sandzak Regiment/Militia saw combat action south of Sarajevo in the Ivan Sedlo region but were unable to hold out. Sarajevo was taken by Partisan forces on April 6. Some of the Sandzak Muslims died in the fighting while others were executed by the Partisans after capture. Most of them fled to Sisak south of Zagreb where they were placed in the Ustasha Brigade “Obrana” or “Defense” under Luburic, which was reorganized as the 18th Assault Division. On May 8, the Partisans captured Zagreb. Some of the Sandzak Muslims were killed in the fanatical defense of Zagreb while others fled with other Ustasha troops into Austria.

Autonomy and Secession

The Sandzak region is an area of potential instability and separatism. It is a conflict area that could be manipulated to foment secession in Serbia and Montenegro. The Kosovo model could be applied to the Sandzak to achieve, first, “autonomy, then, “independence”. Indeed, the “international community” is keenly aware of the divisive role the Sandzak can play in destabilizing Serbia and Montenegro. Both the NGO International Crisis Group (ICG) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) have devoted attention to the Sandzak. Is Sandzak “still forgotten”? Sandzak remains, like Kosovo, a tool and instrument for the “international community” to pressure, manipulate, and destabilize Serbia and Montenegro. Sandzak is, thus, not “still forgotten” but is available as a potential future instrument of the “international community” to use against Serbia and Montenegro.

 Muslim ultra-nationalists in Sandzak itself were advocating secession and separatism. On May 21, 1994, the Turkish journal Aydinlik of Istanbul reported that hundreds of Muslims from Sandzak were secretly brought into Turkey through Macedonia for commando training: “The project of training the Sandzak Muslims is part of a plan to create a Muslim state in parts of Serbia and Montenegro.” Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic supported the annexation of the Sandzak into a Greater Bosnia. The radical, ultra-nationalist Party for Democratic Action, SDA, Stranka Demokratske Akcije, was active in Sandzak, where branches were established, with links to Sarajevo. As early as February, 1991, Sulejman Ugljanin, the President of the Sandzak branch of the Bosnian Muslim SDA Party, began his political agitation in Sandzak for autonomy and secession and annexation to Bosnia. In March, 1991, the BBC reported that the SDA planned to declare the autonomy of the Sandzak region “if any other Yugoslav republic secedes or if it feels that it is necessary to protect the region’s Moslem population.” The US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia continue to support the recognition of Islamic statelets in the Balkans. Secession and separatism will inevitably destabilize the Balkans and result in Balkanization, small, weak, and fragmented “statelets” that will be controlled and manipulated by foreign powers and interests. The Sandzak/Rashka is a region divided into two evenly dispersed populations: Orthodox Christians and Muslim Slavs. The population balance can be exploited and manipulated and disrupted by foreign actors to foment instability and conflict. This is the potential threat to Sandzak.The Sandzak became a volatile and explosive region of the former Yugoslavia with the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990. The situation resulted in conflict following the crisis in neighboring Bosnia-Hercegovina. Sandzak Muslims perceived themselves as “Bosniaks” or Bosnjaci or Bosnians and allied politically with the radical, Islamic nationalist SDA Party of Alija Izetbegovic in Bosnia. Sandzak Muslims began calling for the “autonomy” of Sandzak with the right to secede. The goal was to secede from Serbia and Montenegro and to form a Greater Bosnia, a Greater Islamic State of Bosnia. Izetbegovic encouraged and supported a Greater Muslim Bosnia that would include the Sandzak. Reports also emerged that the Bosnian Muslim leadership had shipped weapons and ammunition to the Sandzak Muslims. Sandzak Muslims are known to have sent “volunteers” to Bosnia to fight on the side of the Bosnian Muslim faction as part of the Bosnian Muslim Army. Sandzak Muslim or Sandzaklije troops participated in the combat in the Srebrenica pocket. Bosnian Muslim military commander Naser Oric engaged in the mass murder and mutilation of Bosnian Serb civilians in the Srebrenica pocket. Bosnian Serb POWs were executed, decapitated, tortured, and mutilated. Sandzak Muslims were part of these Bosniam Muslim military forces.

Sandzak’s Nazi past and role during the Holocaust are still forgotten. Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Heinrich Himmler created “autonomy” for the Sandzak during World War II. Nazi Germany used the Sandzak to maintain the Nazi occupation of Serbia and Montenegro. The Nazi-created “autonomy” for the Sandzak created a political precedent that can be revived and reconstituted by the “international community”. It is a precedent that has the potential for revival. The Nazis understood the importance of the Sandzak in ensuring their control and occupation of the Balkans. The ICG and RFE/RL understand the significance and strategic importance of the Sandzak. How long will the Sandzak be “still forgotten”?

Bibliography

Andrejevich, Milan. “The Sandzak: The Next Balkan Theater of War?” RFE/RL Research Report, 1 (47), November 27, 1992, pp. 26-34.

Munoz, Antonio, ed. The East Came West. NY: Axis Europa Books, 2001.

Schmidt, Fabian. “The Sandzak: Muslims between Serbia and Montenegro.” RFE/RL Research Report, 3 (6), February 11, 1994, pp. 29-35.

Stojanovic, Srdjan. “Serbia’s Sandzak: Still Forgotten.” Europe Report N. 162. International Crisis Group. April 8, 2005.

Author: Carl Savich, Serbianna.com

https://theremustbejustice.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/sandzaks-nazi-past-still-forgotten/

The Albanian Muslim Battalion in the Bosnian Muslim Handzar Nazi SS Division: Kosovo Albanian Nazi SS tradition

There Must be Justice

SS Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler formed a Kosovo Albanian Muslim Nazi SS Division during World War II, the Skanderbeg SS Division, 21st Waffen Mountain Division of the SS Skanderbeg (1st Albanian), in 1944. He planned to form a second Kosovo Albanian Muslim SS Division but was not able to because the war ended before he could do so. The history of the Skanderbeg division has been documented and analyzed. What has rarely been analyzed, however, is the role of the Kosovo Albanian Muslim members in the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar or Handschar. This is an untold story of World War II.

Albanian Wafen SS.jpeg

Kosovo Albanian Muslims had their own battalion in the Handzar Division, I Battalion of Regiment 28, I/28. The Albanian recruits were from Kosovo and the  Rashka region of Serbia, initially in Battalion I/2, later I/28. The battalion had an imam and was modeled on the Austro-Hungarian Albanian Muslim…

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