Passport

Patriots Super Bowl champion T-shirts end up in Nicaragua

Ever wonder what happened to all those preprinted Super Bowl T-shirts proclaiming the New England Patriots as the champs? Turns out, poor kids in Nicaragua are wearing them:

 

Passport

Is Kosovo's independence bad for Israel?

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci (shown at right) gave an interview for Friday's Haaretz in which he professes admiration for Israel and stresses that his majority-Muslim proto-country (which is expected to declare independence any minute now) will not be an Islamic state:

At a time when in Turkey, which also wants to join Europe, the battle over the religious character of the state is heating up, Thaci promises: "Kosovo is going to be a democratic and secular state of all its citizens, and the freedom to exercise religion without any hindrance is granted by the Kosovo Constitution."

This assertion is significant since many Israelis fear that an independent Kosovo, or a potentially unified "Greater Albania" could serve as an Islamist beachhead in southern Europe that relies on Iranian and Saudi support, an argument that Thaci said "does not even deserve comment." It was this concern that lead then Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon to break with most of the international community in 1999 and support Slobodan Milosevic during the NATO bombing of Serbia. Nevertheless, Thaci describes Sharon as a "great leader."

Many also see parallels between Kosovo's struggle for independence and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and worry that a precedent may be set. This is but one of the many domino-effect scenarios that have emerged in recent weeks. Thaci argues in response that Kosovo is "a unique case" and "should not represent any precedent." The rebel leader-turned-politician clearly hopes Israelis will think of Kosovars as kindred spirits. Haaretz, at least, is already calling him "the Ben Gurion of Kosovo."