Aamulehti has some background on the gunman who carried out the shootings at the shopping mall in Espoo, Finland, today:
The suspect, Ibrahim Shkupolli (born 1966) is a Kosovo Albanian who according to Aamulehti’s information came to Finland via Norway in 1990. He was placed in the reception center at Mikkeli [Eastern Finland], which he later left to live in Espoo, Finland.
In the early 1990s he already had a Finnish girlfriend who is one of the victims of the Sello tragedy. Aamulehti understands that Shkupolli later separated from this girlfriend and married an Albanian woman. He also had children in common with her. The whole family lives in Finland.
The suspect’s wife and child as well as his parents and brother live in Finland.
So far, unconfirmed reports suggest a triangle as the background to the shootings. Shkupolli may have been driven by jealousy of his former, Finnish girlfriend’s new life.
Scotland’s opportunistic nationalist party leader Alex Salmond is currently pitching for the support of young, disaffected Scots whose anger is diffused between issues like the banking crisis and the Middle East, and is trying to steal some of George Galloway’s thunder. The results are worth pondering. In an extraordinary analysis published at Harry’s Place, Tom Gallagher dissects the wide-ranging peculiarities of Salmond’s new attempt to dismember the United Kingdom by means of an all-out assault essentially based in nihilism. Excerpt :
Salmond hopes to acquire leverage on Capitol Hill that will prove useful in any power-struggle with London over the terms of independence if the SNP’s vision blossoms despite the current polar economic climate. At the same time, he is reaching out to regimes in the Muslim world and looking for an injection of cash for infrastructure projects that will enable him to bypass Whitehall. First Qatar was approached in the hope that an investment fund controlled by its rulers could be persuaded to build bridges and schools in Scotland on a supposedly not-for-profit basis. In the last year, visits by Salmond to Qatar have been described as imminent but they have fallen through perhaps owing to the economic problems now faced by the United Arab emirates. Malaysia is now in the Nationalists’ sights. The Scotsman newspaper on 16 March reported that Osama Saeed, the First Minister’s chief adviser on Islamic issues had made contacts with sovereign wealth funds in Malaysia in the hope that they could be lured to Scotland. He is only recently back from the World Economic Islamic Forum in Jakarta which he attended with other luminaries of his pressure group, the Scottish Islamic Foundation. Osama Saeed does not bother to hide his contacts with Muslim Brotherhood organizations and personalities based in Britain. He has convinced not a few movers and shakers in the tight Scottish political establishment that as someone who disavows violence, he is the acceptable face of radical Islam.
Update: the results of all this are beginning to make the headlines.
The concluding paragraph of a commentary published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty puts the matter succinctly enough:
In Kosovo, the international community was left with no option but to intervene to stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians by the Serbian regime. Kosovo was recognized as an independent state given its status within the Yugoslav Federation and fulfillment of international criteria for recognition. By contrast, Russian involvement in South Ossetia over the course of the last decade, and in particular its intervention during this past week, has resulted in mass ethnic cleansing and a blatant violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
In the aftermath of the assassination in London of the British citizen Alexander Litvinenko, the claims that the British television presenter Jill Dando was in fact killed by a Serbian hitman begin to make more sense – particularly in view of yesterday’s acquittal of Barry George, and the upcoming war crimes trial of Radovan Karadzic at the Hague. In 2001 the Independent newspaper published an article about the Serbian connection to the case. Excerpt:
Michael Mansfield, QC, who is defending the man accused of her murder, Barry George, told the Old Bailey that there was evidence to suggest that Miss Dando, who was shot dead on the doorstep of her home in south-west London on 26 April 1999, had been a victim of state terrorism. He argued that Ms Dando may have become a target after she presented a television appeal for aid for Kosovan refugees and then days later Nato fired a cruise missile at a television station owned by a relative of Slobodan Milosevic, killing 17 people. Mr Mansfield read out an intelligence report received at the National Criminal Intelligence Service and passed to officers investigating Ms Dando’s shooting.
It stated: “Jill Dando was the subject of an execution by a Yugoslavian hitman. Intelligence sources suggest that as a result of the bombing of a TV station run by the daughters of Milosevic, a contract was put out on the head of the BBC, John Birt.
“As a result of him receiving threatening letters his security was stepped up – after this the target was changed to Jill Dando.”
…U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns called on Serbia’s main ally Russia to repudiate a suggestion by one of its officials [Dmitry Rogozin] that it may need to use military force to earn respect after the U.S. and other countries recognized the independence of Kosovo, which is mainly ethnic Albanian, over strong Serb and Russian protests.
“We strongly advise Russia to be more responsible in its public comments toward Kosovo,” Burns said, responding to questions in an online written discussion. “Russia is isolated this week — very few countries are supporting its position.”
Richard Holbrooke, a former negotiator in the Balkans under President Clinton, said: “The fact that (independence has) not happened as peacefully as people had hoped is the direct result of the incitement to violence by extremist elements in Belgrade, implicitly and privately supported by the Russians.”