The Balkans has always been cursed by a recurring theme: that each entity within it can, at some point, become greater and more consuming in territory than the next neighbour. Each nation has, and in some instances continues, to nurse dreams of enlargement, pecking away at borders and assuming that few will notice.
Strategies of expansion tend to have one problem: they are hard to evaluate in the way of conventional agreement, contract or conspiracy. For decades, historians of various shades would attribute to Imperial Germany a conscious, global goal of conquest, mistaking the plans of contingent invasion with actual policy.
In the Albanian context, the gnawing phenomenon, one of a terrier insistent on chewing away at the sinews of a larger opponent, has been taking place since Yugoslavia imploded in spectacularly bloody fashion in the early 1990s.
A cementing aspect of the old project of unity, one that saw the creation of Tito’s Yugoslavia, was Kosovo; central to the current Albanian project of consolidation and security is the increasing influence of figures within southern Serbia and Macedonia, generally Albanian nationalists of various colours of severity who dare to dream. With Serbia the tainted bogeyman of Europe, their chances are better than ever.
The writing is already being scribbled on the wall – with feverish enthusiasm. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama had expressed the view that an Albanian-Kosovo union would be very much on the cards if the EU were to make admission more challenging. Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaçi [former leader of the KLA, on the Interpol list] was even blunter, his words having the effect of a threateningly deployed mallet:
“all Albanians in the region will live in a single, united country so that the integration into the European family may continue”.
The fear to Serbia’s north, in Belgrade, is amply reflected by Serbian cabinet minister Aleksandar Vulin:
“Pristina and Tirana have clearly said what their goal is, it is a ‘Greater Albania’ and unification of all Albanians, regardless of where they live, into a single ethnic area.”
Accordingly, this could “only be accomplished through a great Balkan war, and Brussels (EU) must be clear on all of this.” Given the current obsession with the unraveling of the EU, best indicated by the groans of Brexit, it is unlikely whether any eyes are being peeled on that score.
Members of a nation, as opposed to the idea of a state, remain the great problem international relations after the First World War. No better illustration of this was offered than the nationalist gymnastics that unfolded in the aftermath of a destroyed Europe.
Demography has become central in these latest disputes. In southern Serbia, where the breath of Greater Albania blows, ethnic Serbs are in demographic retreat before their more virile Albanian neighbours. This situation seems calm, but is actually electric, a surface energy that may well only resolve itself by the power of the gun.
In its broader theatre, Albanian leaders are cunningly playing the pro-Western card to keep western powers on side. This is to be expected, given the shrewdness that resourcefulness entails. As the Albanian foreign minister Ditmir Bushati explained in his April visit to Washington, his country provided an appropriate, stern bastion against Russian influence in the Balkans.
These broader ambitions are not to be taken lightly. Technically, it could see Serbia amputated as far as Niš. This point is perceived as another territorial reassertion, given the expulsion of Albanians from the area during the Serbian campaigns of the 1870s.
Municipalities in southern Serbia have griped and groaned over the nationalist issue, centred upon Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac. Hot heads, from time to time, reach for their flags with heart. Editorials of irritation, barely tempered, are written.
The issue of secessionist violence is far from a moot point, given the insurgency in the Prešovo Valley from 1999 to 2001 mounted by the Liberal Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac. The violence reached such levels that the then Yugoslav President Vojislav Koštunica urged the NATO-led KFOR to intervene, given the handbrake that had been applied to Serbian freedom of action.
In Macedonia, a country with a strong Albanian voice, similar issues are on the march. A vigorous Albanian push (some argue putsch) remains a persistent reality for the Macedonian majority. The fraying began last December with the opposition Social Democrats achieving a parliamentary majority by going into coalition with parties representing ethnic-Albanian interests.
The long standing VMRO-DPMNE government, backed by President Gjorge Ivanov, refused to budge, fearing the new power arrangements. Matters duly got violent with a coalition attempt to elect a new parliamentary speaker.
The deputy leader of the Social Democrats, Radmila Šekerinska, deemed by Balkan Insight to be “Brussels’ favourite Macedonian”, was duly assaulted when Parliament was stormed by 200 protestors on April 27. Social Democratic Union leader Zoran Zaev and lawmaker Ziadin Sela, leader of the Albanian Alliance, were also injured.
The government beef was an ethnic one. It was claimed by such figures as Ivanov that too much was in the offing by way of concessions to Macedonia’s Albanians, who were exerting a natural gravitational pull on the Social Democrats.
Šekerinska insists that that issue is tactical, designed to obscure the need to create “a new reform-oriented government” that would hold various politicians accountable for criminal theft and corruption. Prime Minister Nikola Guevski and his associates, claims Jove Kekenovski,
“are ready to do anything, including ethnic conflict, to escape jail.”
Some of that is bound to be true, though blood tends to be thicker than reform in Balkan politics. A resort to the gun over the boardroom; this is the Balkan vice, tainted by active or cynical indifference from outside powers.
About the author:
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: email@example.com
Source: Global Research
BELGRADE – Amnesty of crimes during NATO aggression, bilateral legalization of Camp Bondsteel in a friendly milieu, settling the Islamic world with support to their communities in the Balkans and forcing Russia out of that same Balkans, are four reasons the US supports the independence of Kosovo, writes “Sputnik”.
On Christmas (according to Gregorian calendar) Michael Kirby shows up. Outgoing US Ambassador congratulates Serbia upcoming New Year. “The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina implies Kosovo’s membership in the UN,” was the content of the “greeting card”.
Apart from some kind of formalization, Kirby’s statement is not new for the local public ...
The internal and much more external destruction of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s was celebrating in 2015 its 20th years of anniversary. However, this historical and much more geopolitical event still needs a satisfactory research approach in regard to the true geopolitical reasons and political-military course of the destruction of this South Slavic and Balkan state. During the last quarter of century, the (western) global mainstream media unanimously accused Serbia and the Serbs for the national chauvinism as the main cause of the bloody wars on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, the role and direct impact ...
The creation of the First Balkan Alliance against the Ottoman Empire in 1866–1868 in the light of territorial requirements of the Balkan states and nations at the expense of the decreasing power of the Ottoman authorities and the Ottoman state integration was the first political-military treaty on the mutual cooperation by the Christian Balkan states and nations. The secret paragraphs of bilateral military-political contracts between Greece and Serbia and Serbia and Montenegro in regard to territorial inheritance of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans are the most important points of the treaty.
Serbia became a leader of the Balkan coalition and ...
In December last year , NATO officially invited Montenegro to become the 29th member state of the most powerful military organisation of our times, if not, in fact, of all time. The country’s Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, assured the NATO secretary-general that “you can count on us at any time.” It is always nice to hear that someone has your back. But in Montenegro’s case, it means that they have our back with an entire active-duty military force of only two thousand personnel. It is not quite clear how the tiny nation of less than 700,000 people enhances U.S. security ...
Editor: Little did I know when I posted a short news story about the ‘invasion of Hungary’ last evening that the situation in Kosovo has become untenable and a mass exodus was so advanced. ‘Pungentpeppers’ has again pulled many threads together to give us the big picture of what is happening in Eastern Europe. Is the US responsible? An Austrian political leader says so!
Mass exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe
~150,000 or more Kosovars on the move since summer
~Hungarian Police catch 1,000 Kosovars daily – a small fraction of the total
~Hungarian mayor calls for fence as Kosovars overwhelm village
~Austrian politician blames ...
Churchill once said that in war the truth is so precious it has to be surrounded with a bodyguard of lies. In Germany over the last two months one clearly saw the fabrication of such a bodyguard.
Even as air attacks proceeded against civilian targets—destroying factories, electricity works, refineries, bridges, streets, railway lines and apartment blocks— German government representatives spoke of a ” humanitarian action ” . Despite the fact that the NATO attacks unleashed the massive wave of refugees and reduced towns and villages in Kosovo to ruins , it has been maintained to the very end that the aim ...
Back in the 1990s something happened in central Bosnia-Herzegovina that inspired people to this day and helps explain why that country now has more men fighting in Syria and Iraq (over 300), as a proportion of its population, than most in Europe.
The formation of a "Mujahideen Battalion" in 1992, composed mainly of Arab volunteers in central Bosnia, was a landmark. Today the dynamic of jihad has been reversed and it is Bosnians who are travelling to Arab lands.
"There is a war between the West and Islam," says Aimen Dean, who, as a young Saudi Arabian volunteer, travelled to fight in ...
Over the past several years, analysts and commentators have noticed a rising tide of domestic support for the Croatian homegrown Nazi movement of the Second World War, the Ustashe, which actively exterminated Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the territory it controlled from 1941-45. Far from condemning this alarming development, the Croatian government, the European Union, and non-state actors within it have tacitly and actively supported the rising tide of sympathy towards the Ustashe.
This disconnect between the ostensible “European values” of human rights and tolerance that the European Union claims to represent, and its tacit support of trends towards extremist politics ...
Author’s note: a draft version of the article was originally written at the end of December 2015 and published in March 2016. This is the extended article’s version.
On April 24th, 2016 Serbia faced three-level elections: for the national parliament, local municipalities and Vojvodina’s autonomous provincial administration. The elections did not cover Kosovo province as current Serbia’s pro-NATO/EU’s government already two years ago de facto recognized in its negotiations with the EU and Pristina’s government that this province is not any more an integral part of the legal and administrative system of the Republic of Serbia. Nevertheless, these elections were in ...
The U.S. government and U.S. media explained the mass murders of Kosovo Serbs, Roma, and other Kosovo minorities as “revenge murders”. They were “revenge attacks”. The expulsion of over 250,000 Kosovo Serbs, Roma, Gorani, and Jews was simply censored and deleted using the infowar technique of Emphasis. These infowar techniques have no basis in criminal law and violate fundamental values and tenets of morality and ethics.
The U.S. rationale was spurious: Because Yugoslav police were defending themselves and Kosovo civilians against what the U.S. State Department itself declared were “terrorists”, the Albanian Muslim population of Kosovo had some sort of right ...
The dramatic developments surrounding the independence referendum in Catalonia, as well as the plebiscite for the self-determination of Iraqi Kurds, have once again raised the issue of the lack of clear criteria in international practice for allowing the self-determination of nations and territories. This creates a breeding ground for double standards and speculative political maneuvers. And although Catalan separatism has a long and unique history, an assessment of current events shows that there are links to other regional crises including in the Balkans, where the double standards and geopolitical games have become fully apparent.
Richard Haass, president of the influential US Council on Foreign Relations, recently took ...
The Vlachs in Greece
Many researchers and scholars judge that the largest part of the Balkan Vlachs is concentrated in Greece. The census of 1935 recorded 19,703 Vlachs in Greece, but according to the last census in Greece that allowed people to express their ethnic identity (in 1951), there were 39,855 Vlachs in this state. However, a real number of the Vlachs in Greece today is up to 120,000.
The Vlachs in a post-war Greece are not acknowledged as an ethnic or national group for the very reason that Greece from the mid-1950s does not recognize an existence of any national or ...
The “Macedonian Question” is today actual for several reasons of whom two are of the fundamental importance: 1. The Albanian secession in the FYROM; and 2. The Greek dispute with the FYROM authorities over several issues. For the matter of illustration, for instance, Greece is so far blocking Macedonia’s joining the NATO and the EU because of an on-going dispute between the FYROM and Greece. The main disputable issue is a title of “Macedonia” used in the country’s Constitution in the form of the official state-name as the Republic of Macedonia. When the ex-Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia voted for ...
Introduction: The Missing Link
Why did the US support the separatist and terrorist so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK in Shqip), which sought to create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo based on ethnicity? Why did the US sponsor a criminal and illegal separatist movement that sought to ethnically cleanse non-Albanians and create an independent state of Kosova? Why was the US supporting and sponsoring the re-establishment of a fascist-Nazi Greater Albania that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini had initially created?
When did the US begin to play a role in Kosovo? Did the US role in Kosovo begin with the arming ...
Noel Malcolm – Kosovo – A Short History
A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans
Historical Institute of the Serbian Academy of
Sciences and Art
Response to the Book of Noel Malcolm
Kosovo – A Short History
Milorad Ekmecic, Academician
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Historiography By the Garb Only
Reading, from necessity, the books by some Western, particularly American scholars, dealing with the past of the Serbs and the Balkans, I recall the impressions that are in my memory, for some reason, related to the socially committed painter Georg Grosz. Today the flashes of those recollections of my college ...
Last Thursday, news reports were largely devoted to the March 22 Brussels terror bombings and the US primary campaigns. And so little attention was paid to the verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for (former) Yugoslavia (ICTY) finding Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic guilty of every crime it could come up with, including “genocide”. It was a “ho-hum” bit of news. Karadzic had already been convicted by the media of every possible crime, and nobody ever imagined that he would be declared innocent by the single-issue court set up in The Hague essentially to judge the Serb side in the ...
The Balkans have returned to the forefront of European geopolitics as a result of the New Cold War, with the US and Russia facing off in a proxy war over the planned Balkan Stream pipeline through the region. The geopolitical circumstances have evolved since the 1990s, when all of the former Yugoslavia was lumped together as the Western Balkans. In order to accommodate for the changing strategic reality in the region, it’s necessary to carve the Central Balkans out of the idea of the former, and the new division of the Balkans into Western, Central, and Eastern regions simplifies the ...
U.S. air strikes continue against the terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State” — formerly the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or ISIS — in the borderlands of Iraqi Kurdistan. American military action has been impelled by the genocidal ISIS threat to Christians and various small Kurdish and other religious minorities, including Yazidis, whose faith is linked to Zoroastrianism, and the ancient monotheistic community of Mandaeans. Meanwhile, questions about the extremist movement and its foreign recruits have spread throughout the Muslim lands and the Muslim minority communities in the West, from Belgium to Australia.
On Monday, August 11, authorities in the ...
Terrorists attacked the Macedonian city of Kumanovo on 9 May, but one wouldn’t know that by reading the Western media’s reaction to the tragedy, despite the fact that they typically mention that 8 police officers were killed and another 37 wounded during the firefight. The media’s disingenuous ‘reporting’ reeks of ulterior motives, which is evidenced most visibly by their reluctance to use the word terrorist without putting it in questionable quotation marks, but also takes more subtle forms such as casting suspicion on the government for complicity in the attack and/or inferring that the attack was some type of legitimate ...
Many of us go through life searching for our purpose, for something that we are passionate about. After years of searching finally I stumbled upon mine a few years ago. Having the world hear Syrians telling their side of the story while living through this imposed war is what ignited that fire in me. As a Syrian American that was born in Syria and lived in both countries my entire life, I feel a strong link to my heritage, my birth country, my culture, my language, my customs, my nationality, and my history.
We have been bombarded with lies and propaganda ...
Why the US Supports Kosovo Independence?
The Authoritarian Militarization of the Croats in the 1990s
From the History of Anti-Russian Policy: The First Balkan Alliance (1866−1868)
U.S. Geopolitical Games in Montenegro and Proven Winning Approach by Đukanović
Mass Exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe: Did US Play a Role in Creating the Crisis?
German Interests in the War Against Yugoslavia
Bosnia: The Cradle of Modern Jihadism?
The European Union, Moral Hypocrisy, and Stroking Tension in the Balkans
Serbia: Parliamentary Elections for the NATO/EU’s Membership
U.S. Infowar: Kosovars, Kosovo, Kosovans, Serbian Albanians, Croatian Serbs, Bosnians…
The Balkans’ Run-Up to the Catalan Crisis
The State-Name of “Macedonia”?
The CIA and Greater Albania: The Origins of the US Role in the Balkans
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written With an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (Second Part)
International Injustice: The Conviction of Radovan Karadzic
New Strategic Calculus for the Balkans
ISIS and the Kosovar Albanians
Between the Lines: Western Public Support for Albanian Terrorism
Export of Kosovostan Jihad in the Middle East: The Christian Genocide in Syria