Destinations Magazine

Fight the Good Fight

By Stizzard

FROM the Sea of Azov to Aleppo, fighters from the western Balkans are at war. So worried are their governments that laws have been passed to make fighting abroad illegal, and their security services co-operate with foreign ones to monitor them. The numbers are small, but the Balkans looms relatively large on foreign battlefields.

Orthodox Christian Serbs are joining pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine while Catholic Croats fight on Ukraine’s side. Muslim Albanians, Bosniaks and Muslims from Sandzak, the area straddling Serbia and Montenegro, have gone to fight in Iraq and Syria. All spread their messages online and send greetings to one another. Last month two gloating Croats speaking on YouTube said “Hope to see you soon!” to their Serb “friends”. For Serbs and Croats, this war is a replay of their own conflict in the 1990s as much as an adventure or crusade.

Recently Serbs in eastern Ukraine have been more taken up with their internal conflicts. The highest-profile Serb in eastern Ukraine is Radomir Pocuca, once a spokesman for Serbia’s interior ministry. Last month he was captured by other Serb fighters. He was humiliated by pictures on Facebook of him bound and blindfolded, wearing a shirt emblazoned with a Serbian flag and the motto “Serbian Honour”.

Many Serbs are affiliated to small ultranationalist groups. They loathe their government, hate…

The Economist: Europe

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