The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. As its mission Visions of Humanity brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century. Now on May Vision of Humanity published its new edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). It has been expanded to rank 162 independent states and updated with the latest-available figures and information for 2013-14.
The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors, such as violent crime, political stability and military expenditure, correlated against a number of social development indicators such as corruption, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and school enrolment rates and relations with neighbouring countries. These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions.
- Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
- GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise
- The 2015 scores are based information collected mainly information for 2013-2014 so there is some delay
With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen any better global survey.
To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings from the Balkans and Eastwards on countries analysed in 2015 report. In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Besides 2015 ranking I show also rankings and score in 2010 [when available] to see trend during last years as this may help to track when and how some countries become more or less peaceful. Countries most at peace are ranked first. My source – Vision of Humanity Org, GPI results, full list of 149 countries, methodology and other explanations and scores per country/indicator can be found from here! Besides my table one can also explore the data on the interactive Global Peace Index map.
- Since last year, 81 countries have become more peaceful, while 78 have deteriorated.
- Many countries in Europe, the world’s most peaceful region, have reached historically high levels of peace. 15 of the 20 most peaceful countries are in Europe.
- Also Balkans has bacome more peaceful as all countries of this region made better ranks between positions Slovenia – 15 to Macedonia (FYROM) -71.
- All ranks of BIRC countries as well USA went down.
- In general the world is less peaceful today than it was in 2008. The indicators that have deteriorated the most are the number of refugees and IDPs, the number of deaths from internal conflict and the impact of terrorism. Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago.
- Due to an increase in civil unrest and terrorist activity, the Middle East and North Africa is now the world’s least peaceful region for the first time since the Index began. The best in Mideast ranks was Jordan -71 following Saudi Arabia -95, Egypt -137, Iran -138, Lebanon -145, Israel -150 and on the bottom Iraq -161 and Syria -162.
- The country that suffered the most severe deterioration in peace was Libya, which now ranks 149th of 162 countries. Ukraine suffered the second largest deterioration, from 97 to 150: following a revolution which brought down the administration of Viktor Yanukovych, Russia supported regions of East Ukraine agains Kiev regime, meaning it scored poorly on organised conflict indicators.
- Globally the intensity of internal armed conflict has increased dramatically, with the number of people killed in conflicts rising over 3.5 times from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.
- The economic impact of violence reached a total of US$14.3 trillion or 13.4% of global GDP last year.
Peace and global challenge
“The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded” (Ban Ki-moon )
Related to the economic impact of violence one esily can see that peace has also its monetary value in terms of business growth and economic development. However also war has its monetary value and in short term business – especially inside military-industrial-complex – world the profits from war can be more attracting than those from peace. In my previous articles “Arms Trade: The Crux Of The MIC“, “BTW MIC Still Rules“ and “Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?”.
Global challenges, such as climate change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved. The big challenge at global, regional and state level is to strengthen factors – or “drivers” of peace in social structures and attitudes.
Russia cancelled its South Stream gas pipeline project in December 2014 replacing it with new Turkish Stream pipeline. The follow-up of this Russian-Turkish project is re-routing the energy supply in whole Eastern Europe with Greek and Tesla [Balkan] Stream gas pipelines.
The head of Russian gas producer Gazprom stated on 7th May 2015 that the firm had decided to start building the Turkish Stream pipeline and that preparations to build the undersea stretch of the pipeline were under way. During a meeting between Gazprom’s Alexei Miller and Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz, the parties sent a resounding message to gas markets: the Turkish Stream will be brought on stream in 19 months. Natural Gas Europe reports: “We had very efficient and crucial talks today. It was agreed to bring onstream Turkish Stream and to start gas supplies in December 2016. Gazprom, while implementing its portion of work under the Turkish Stream project, will follow the agreements reached today,” Miller said in a note released on 7th May 2015.
“Gazprom has moved to the construction stage of the sea part of the Turkish Stream pipeline,” Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said in an interview with a Russian television. The Russian firm may be reviving the infrastructure that it built for the South Stream. South Stream gas pipeline construction in shallow waters will begin in first 10 days of June 2015. The pipes originally bought for South Stream will be used for the Turkish Stream. For laying the pipes in the bottom of Black Sea, Russia rented two pipe-laying vessels from Italian Saipem company in last fall. Following the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project in late 2014, Gazprom has paid €25 million monthly to Saipem without any usage of the vessels – Castoro Sei and Saipem 7000.
Recently there has been some tensions between Russia and Turkey. Russia’s President Putin participated to the ceremony in Yerevan to commemorate the Armenian victims of the 1915 events, and Turkish leaders have made some critical comments over situation of tatars in Crimea. However now it seems that the Turkish and Russian delegations have renewed their commitment to increase energy ties. (More e.g in NaturalGasEurope ) .
While South Stream Pipeline project was replaced with Turkish Stream and planning is going on to continue project with Greece and Tesla Streams some serious threats still remain that could endanger the projects. These mostly have to deal a reoccurrence of instability in Macedonia [look my article Terrorism in Macedonia Wasn’t An Isolated Act! ]
Gas to Europe
There are three main sources of supply of pipeline gas to Europe. They are Russia, Norway and North Africa. Norway probably will keep or even reduce the volumes. Besides, North Africa provides gas only to Italy and Spain and its volumes have significantly reduced in recent years.
During last years LNG (liquid natural gas) has came more to European gas markets. There is now more LNG gas terminals in Europe and some new terminals will came in 2015 e.g in Poland and Lithuania so in principle it is possible to import LNG from US. However Europe has decreased its LNG imports due its high price; and as Asian LNG import prices as well demand are much more higher than those in Europe it seems that LNG is not real alternative to Russian gas. LNG suppliers have redirected the volumes of liquefied natural gas to other premium markets and Europe can only be guided by those surpluses when they are not in demand in Asia.
The construction of the Trans Anatolian Pipeline, which will connect the South Caucasus Pipeline to the Turkish-Greek border is already initiated and the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, bringing gas to the Italian market, will follow. These investments will secure some 10 billion cubic metres of gas a year from Azerbaijan by 2019 to the European market.
The Russian gas to Europe has now three main energy high ways: 1st The Nord Stream via Baltic Sea, 2nd Jamal, four pipelines through Belarus and 3rd Transgas or pipelines through Ukraine. More than 86 billion cubic meters (bcm) of the gas exported to Europe by Gazprom passed through Ukraine’s pipeline network in 2013 – about half of the total. There is also some economic reason to re-route Russian gas via Turkish Stream instead of Ukraine as modernising Ukraine’s gas transport system is estimated to cost 19.5 billion dollars.
After building the first Turkish Stream line, the existing Bulgaria Turkey line will be empty, however it can be used for reverse flow to Bulgaria. (Source: NewEurope )
Re-routing energy supply in Eastern Europe
Turkish Stream will redesign completely the energy supply route in Turkey and Eastern Europe. Gas that is currently transported via the Trans-Balkan Pipeline through Ukraine to Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey will be re-routed so that Turkey will become the first and not the last recipient of gas in the supply chain. One new aspect are gas interconnectors between Central and East European countries. These interconnectors allow a much better crisis supply of gas, together with new reverse-flow capacities.
Gazprom has already told Europe that it plans to cease using its current export route through Ukraine in 2019 and shift those natural gas supplies to the Turkish Stream pipeline. As Russia now begins construction on the first of Turkish Stream’s four parallel pipelines, each with a capacity of about 16 billion cubic meters. Gazprom can use this first pipeline to supply Turkish natural gas market. Three other pipelines can be implemented when EU and especially Central and East European countries decide to build infrastructure to deliver gas from Turkey to European markets currently transported by the Trans-Balkan pipeline (TBP) to Turkey via Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria. The expiration of a transit agreement on Russian gas supply through Ukraine in 2019 along with the completion of Turkish Stream mean that TBP will likely be suspended. This in itself would be beneficial to Turkey as its security of supply would no longer be vulnerable to Russia’s political stand-offs with Ukraine or other eastern European countries along the route.
On 7th April 2015 representatives of five countries – Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey – met in Budapest, announcing the formation of a working group to facilitate natural gas deliveries – specifically infrastructure development – to their markets from gas emanating from Turkey including possible participation in the Turkish Stream pipeline. The group has pledged to meet again in July and hopes to involve Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
As for whether Gazprom can finance its three major pipeline projects the company has a strong balance sheet, relatively low level of net debt and robust cash flow. Considering it has spent $20 billion on transport over the last few years, the spending required on Turk Stream, Power of Siberia and Altai averages about $10 billion/year.
One of the main factors in Moscow’s shift from South Stream to Turkish Stream was the EU’s Third Energy Package (TEP). Under these rules, a single company cannot own the pipeline through which it also supplies gas. Neither Russia nor Turkey is an EU member, and so neither are bound by the TEP, which makes the construction of Turkish Stream much easier. However, the construction of Turkish Stream is not the only issue at stake. The pipeline will have to stop at the Turkey- Greece border because of the TEP rules, given that Greece is an EU member state.
In order to transport its gas to Greece and onwards, Gazprom needs to use existing interconnectors – either TAP or Interconnector-Turkey-Greece-Italy, including the DESFA-operated Greek National Gas Transmission System (NGTS). Turkish Stream will traverse the Greek territory as ‘Greek Stream’ and then it will spread itself into two routes. Turkish Stream will traverse the Greek territory as ‘Greek Stream’ and then it will spread itself into two routes. A main line towards the North via FYROM and Serbia and one towards Italy, merging itself with the Italy-Greece Interconnector (ITGI) which originally was to transfer Azeri sourced gas from Western Greece to Southern Italy via the Adriatic Sea. It is of interest to note that ITGI is already eligible under the EU’s Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and it is already owned by 50% by the Italian Company Edison which is a subsidiary of the French EDF.
That detail is of great importance regarding the EU Commission’s clauses of the Third Energy Package that will prohibit an involvement of Gazprom in that sector. Thus Greek Stream is envisaged as a 50-50 project between the Greek DEPA (and DESFA) and Gazprom and the remainder would be a DEPA and Edison partnership. It is supposed that the Italian market would also be used as a stage point for the introduction of some quantities of Russian gas into France as well. (Source and more in Natural Gas Europe )
Trans Adriatic Pipeline and the Turkish Stream pipeline will not be competitive, as each of them will have an own role to play. TAP cannot satisfy the huge demands in natural gas of the European states and peoples and that the project would not be an alternative to the Turkish Stream.
The Greek extension of a pipeline to pump Russian natural gas through Turkey to consumers in southern Europe could cost about 2 billion euros and its construction will create about 20 000 working places. An agreement on the construction of the Greek extension of a proposed pipeline to pump Russian natural gas through Turkey to consumers in southern Europe could be signed at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on 18-20 June 2015.
Turkish Stream is replacing the previous South Stream project which Moscow ditched due to EU (and Bulgarian) resistance to unblock construction. The “Tesla Stream” is an offshoot of “Turkish Stream”. The concept is to connect ‘Turkish Stream’, the Russian pipeline to Turkey’s Eastern Thrace region, to a new hub on the Turkish-Greek border. Tesla pipeline would move gas further across the territory of Greece to the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Hungary, reaching the Baumgarten gas hub in Vienna, Austria. So compared to South Stream Turkish and Tesla Streams are detouring through Greece and Macedonia to compensate for the exclusion of Bulgaria.
The foreign ministers of Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary met 7th Apr. 2015 in Budapest to explore their potential participation in Russian plans for the new Turkish Stream pipeline. In the joint declaration on strengthening cooperation in the energy sphere which was signed at the end of the meeting, the parties “expressed their support for the idea of creating commercially viable routes and sources by supplying natural gas from Turkey to countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe via the territory of the member countries”. It was also emphasised that the pipeline would be fully covered by EU regulations. After this positive response Russia’s President Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have discussed the construction of the so-called Greek Stream pipeline across Greek territory. ‘Russia confirmed its readiness to consider the issue of funding the public and private Greek companies that would be involved in the project’ reads a note published on the Kremlin’s website, referring to the gas transportation system on the Greek territory.
Russia, Turkey and the West all share one rival in the Balkans: political instability. Located at the confluence of three historic empires, the strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea has long been the focus of competition among global powers. Now it is just one arena in the standoff between Russia and the West. The United States and the European Union have been involved in the internal politics of the Balkans since NATO committed troops in the aftermath of the Bosnian war and the conflict in Kosovo in the 1990s.
Recently with the help of the local revolutionaries and ethnic terrorists, the West was trying to destabilize Macedonia (FYROM) in order to overthrow the democratically elected government and to withdraw the country from the Tesla Stream. (More background in my article Terrorism in Macedonia Wasn’t An Isolated Act! and Oil Geopolitics: The South Stream Pipeline Has Been Replaced by “The Balkan Stream” by Andrew Korybko). Also US has already contacted Greece and expressed the negative stance of Washington regarding the Turkish Stream in general.
The bottom line from my perspective is that Turkish Stream will deliver 14 billion cubic metres per year to the Turkish market and there is a good change that another 49 billion cubic metres Russian gas per year will flow to Europe – partly for fulfilling the contracts already signed – via a new hub on the Turkish-Greek border and through Greece and Tesla Streams.
In my opinion it is also noteworthy that Turkish Stream and the creation of a gas hub on the Greek Turkish border, coupled with the planned TAP and TANAP pipelines, give Greece and Turkey more reason to enhance cooperation on energy matters as all these lines are generating remarkable transfer fees for both countries. Similarly also from its side Tesla Stream will create significant transfer fees for Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Hungary and Austria in addition to their energy security.
Related article: Is South Stream Pipeline Transforming Itself To “Turk Stream”?
Kiev ramps up repression
Written by Ben Gliniecki Wednesday, 13 May 2015
The last few weeks have seen a wave of political killings in Ukraine. All the deaths have been of high profile figures associated with opposition to the current Kiev government. The two most recent killings, one of a former Party of Regions MP and the other of a journalist and author, coincided with the victims’ details being published on a website called The Peacekeeper shortly before their deaths.
This website, which has the support of Anton Geraschenko, a top advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister who encouraged his Facebook followers to send in information about “suspected terrorists and separatists” to the site, claims to be a database with information on “pro-Russian terrorists, separatists, mercenaries, war criminals, and murderers”.
Within hours of each other on 16 and 17 April, Oleg Kalashnikov, a former MP with ties to Yanukovich, and Oles Buzyna, a journalist who had appeared on Russian talk shows recently, were murdered. According to political expert Volodomyr Fesenko, a group claiming to be the Ukrainian Insurgent Army sent him an email addressed to the Opposition Bloc, claiming responsibility for the murders. Fesenko quoted the letter as saying “We are unleashing a ruthless insurgency against the anti-Ukrainian regime of traitors and Moscow’s lackeys. From now on, we will only speak to them using the language of weapons, all the way to their elimination.”
This claim by the neo-nazi Ukrainian Insurgent Army comes shortly after they have been legitimised by the Ukrainian parliament, in the same breath as banning all Communist symbols and propaganda and glorifying the nazi collaborators in WWII. Far right elements in Ukraine have also recently received a boost from the appointment of Dimitry Yarosh, leader of the fascist Right Sector, to Advisor to the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces in Ukraine. President Poroshenko’s reliance on fascist elements to silence opposition to his regime is increasing.
The final interview given by Buzyna before his murder is revealing. In it he says “I support the idea that relations between Russia and the Ukraine should become most comfortable and friendly [because] the ‘real’ Ukraine is in large measure dependent on economic ties with Russia”. He goes on to say “There was a coup d’état. After that, it was legalized, they did everything, anything they wanted, to make it look decent…The fact that there was a coup is hugely the fault of Yanukovich, who failed to perform his duties as President”. He also describes the country as being “governed by thieves from within” and concludes by saying that the government is “shelling civilians in towns instead of fighting terrorists… That’s the thing. My position is inconvenient to the current authorities in Ukraine”. One week after criticising the government in this way, Buzyna was dead.
These two most recent murders have been preceded by a spate of so-called suicides, all involving opposition figures. On February 28, Mikhail Chechetov, a former MP for the Party of Regions, reportedly jumped from the window of his 17th-floor apartment in Kiev. On March 9, Stanislav Melnik, also a former member of parliament with the Party of Regions and the manager of several businesses in Donetsk, was found dead in his apartment near Kiev. And finally, on March 12, Oleksandr Peklushenko, another former MP, was found in his house in Zaporizhzhya, in southeastern Ukraine, dead of a gunshot wound.
The Kiev authorities have claimed that many of these deaths are suicides. Regarding Buzyna and Kalashnikov the government has suggested that this could be the work of Moscow attempting a provocation by killing off opposition figures. This seems far-fetched to say the least, as Buzyna said in his final interview: “When the country is governed by thieves from within, it is very easy to blame Putin. Whatever happens—Putin is to blame.” In the context of a consolidation of fascist positions in the government and in law, as well as the breathing space afforded by the fragile ceasefire agreement, it appears that Kiev is making the most of this opportunity to unleash its far right thugs against its opponents.
Meanwhile US troops have begun training soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard, while the US state department has hypocritically claimed that Russia is violating the terms of the Minsk agreement by massing weapons in prohibited zones and carrying out training exercises with rebel forces. Although the ceasefire appears to be holding in the main, there has been fighting breaking out at certain flashpoints, particularly near the key port of Mariupol.
Poroshenko, under pressure from the far right Ukrainian nationalists, will not be able to reconcile fascist support for his government with a separatist state in the east of the country. This will put the ceasefire under more and more pressure the longer it continues, but Poroshenko recognises the potential for general discontent, caused by continued war in the east, to spread widely among ordinary western Ukrainians. Thus he is cementing his position by eliminating figures around which opposition to his regime could coalesce, thereby paving the way for a renewed assault on the eastern republics.
The weekend [9.-10. May 2015] violence in Macedonia (FYROM) [later in short only Macedonia] has sent a wave of anxiety across the Balkans raising concerns about presumed ethnic-Albanian unrest in the volatile region. Eight police officers were killed and 37 were injured in the gun battles, which began at dawn Saturday [9th May 2015], and also 14 gunmen were killed in the fighting. Earlier a police operation had been launched in the suburb of Divo Naselje to “uncover and break up an armed terrorist group” that had entered Kumanovo from “a neighboring country” with the aim of “attacking state institutions”. Police encountered heavy resistance from the “well trained” group that was using “automatic weapons, bombs and snipers”.
Macedonian prosecutors have charged 30 people with terrorism after a shootout in the northern town of Kumanovo left 22 dead, including eight police officers. The prosecutor’s office said some had also been charged with illegal possession of arms and explosives. It said 18 of the accused were ethnic Albanians from neighbouring Kosovo, most of whom entered Macedonia illegally. (Source: AFP/ABC News )
The arrested leaders of the terrorist group that mounted the attack in Kumanovo include former bodyguards of Kosovo Albanian politicians, Macedonian media report.The persons that surrendered to the Macedonian police after 16 hours of conflicts in Kumanovo include Muhamed Krasnići, the so-called commander Mališeva, Mirsad Ndrecaj, the so-called commander Nato, Sami Ukšini, the so-called commander of Sokoli, Beg Rizaj, the so-called commander Begu and Dene Šehu, the so-called commander Juniku, who took part in conflicts in Kosovo as a KLA member and also in the conflict in Macedonia in 2001. (Source: inNews )
Kumanovo is located next to the rural municipality of Lipkovo, where, on April 21, an unidentified armed group from nearby Kosovo had briefly stormed a border police. Besides in Macedonia the ripple effect seems greatest in Bosnia, which remains troubled by its own recent militant attack. Less than two weeks before violence erupted in Kumanovo, a radical Islamist attacked a police station in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik.
In a joint reaction on Sunday [10th May 2015] the OSCE, the EU, the U.S. and NATO said that they hoped the hostilities in Kumanovo would remain an isolated event. “It is… our understanding that the armed group in Kumanovo is an isolated phenomenon. We strongly believe that it must not be allowed to harm relations within society,” they said. (Source: BalkanInsight )
Sure it would be politically nice for Western Powers if terrorism in Macedonia is only an individual, isolated act; howver I’m afraid this not the whole picture.
Perpetual struggle for «Great Albania»?
The recent statement by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama that the isolation of Kosovo in European integration could result in the classical unification of Albania and Kosovo has at the same time woken up the old ghosts of divisions and conflicts in the Balkans. Idea “Great Albania” , which is actively propagandized by nationalists in Albania and in Kosovo, assumes association of all territories in which ethnic Albanians live. The most part of this territory is in borders of present Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, part of Serbia, Montenegro and Greece.
In neighboring Serbia the military security agency (VBA) chief says Serbian security services had warned their Macedonian colleagues in April about a possible “attack” there. “Albanian terrorists who carried out the attack in Kumanovo had been in that part of Macedonia for a while, but, our Macedonian colleagues believed that these stories were exaggerated,” said Petar Cvetkovic. Speaking in the wake of a two-day clash that claimed the lives of eight Macedonian police officers and 14 terrorists, Cvetkovic told the Belgrade-based Pink TV that members of the terrorist group came mostly from Kosovo, but that some of them were also from Macedonia, “and even in the south of central Serbia” – and that their common goal was to create “a Greater Albania.”
“Greater Albania” is a nationalist project that would expand the borders of Albania to include parts of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece. The head of the VBA said that the idea of creating Greater Albania enjoys “a certain amount of support from the West,” and claimed this was evident by the fact that “some political statements in that regard have not been condemned,” but also because of the manner in which the Western media have reported about the terrorist attack in Kumanovo. (Source B92 )
Views from Terrorist side
Albanian media quoted a statement of the so-called “National Liberation Army” (NLA), which claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that the army and police carried out “terror against civilians” and announced even fiercer attacks on the security forces of Macedonia. “We will continue to attack the police and the army without mercy. We will fight to the end to unite territories with Albanian population. Today we are stronger, and tomorrow we will be even stronger. We are everywhere.” The National Liberation Army, also known as the Macedonian UÇK, is a militant organization closely associated with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). (Source: inNews )
“The Guard of Republic Ilirida” (GRI) on Sunday informed the public, and, as they say, “all Albanian territories and the international community”, that today all Albanian groups and military units of NLA started to act as “one body” in establishing the “Republic of Ilirida”. “In addition to continuing struggle and reorganization of NLA and GRI, which is imposed as the only option for achieving the Republic of Ilirida, if the leadership of Macedonia, as a false creation, continues to be repressive with its state apparatus, we are ready to destroy, if necessary, not only Macedonia but also the whole Balkans, wherever Albanians live, because the international factor leaves us no other choice,” reads the statement signed by “Commander Hamdi Ndrecaj Panter”. (Source: inNews )
Macedonia’s two decades in short
Macedonia was spared the inter-ethnic violence that raged elsewhere in the Balkans following the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s but it came close to civil war a decade after independence. Rebels staged an uprising in early 2001, demanding greater rights for the ethnic Albanian minority. The conflict created a wave of refugees and the rebels made territorial gains. Acknowledgement of ethnic-Albanian rights was formalised in amendments to the constitution approved by parliament in late 2001. In return for the deal [the Ohrid Agreement], the insurgents disbanded and formed the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, which now sits in government. Albanians account for about a quarter of the population.
In August 2004, parliament approved legislation redrawing local boundaries and giving ethnic Albanians greater local autonomy in areas where they predominate. Although Macedonia was confirmed as an EU candidate country in December 2005, however EU candidacy is frozen amid a dispute with Greece over use of the name Macedonia.
Some geopolitical aspects
[NATO] – “a big friend of our enemies.” (Macedonian government spokesman, Antonio Milososki, in 2001)
The rise of Albanian nationalist irredentism along the fragile Kosovo-Albanian border gave first signs with a recent attack on a Macedonian police border post at Gošince by 40 armed men wearing the insignia of the the National Liberation Army, NLA, a branch of outlawed Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and demanding the creation of an Albanian state within Macedonia. It is hard to believe that this act occurred without knowledge of U.S. intelligence based in Camp Bondsteel in same neighbourhood.
From geopolitical point of view the attack in Kumanovo and earlier [on April 21st 2015] attack to police station in the village of Gosince might not be isolated individual terrorist acts. There is reasonable doubt that these actions are part of the U.S. strategy to bury the Macedonian government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski with help of Social Democratic opposition leader Zoran Zaev, a U.S. favorite and ethnic uprising of Albanians. Amid daily anti-government protests and mounting pressure upon Gruevski to resign, some observers accused the authorities of trying to distract the public from the crisis by fabricating ethnic unrest. Zoran Zaev, said he suspected the government was behind Saturday’s violence in an attempt to deflect attention from the crisis.
The U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, Jess Baily, has made waves in Skopje by publicly supporting the putsch being called for by former Social Democratic prime minister and president Branko Crvenkovski, a native of Sarajevo, Bosnia who has been at the forefront of calling on Macedonian youth and college students to hit the streets of Skopje to stage a color revolution against the democratically-elected government of Gruevski. One could also mention that Crvenkovski has accepted large amounts of largesse from such CIA NGO laundry operations as the National Democratic Institute (NDI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Freedom House, and Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI) to foment a themed revolution against Gruevksi’s right-of-center VMRO-DPMNE government. An additional motivation for U.S. strategy might be that Gruevksi, unlike many U.S.-installed and -influenced governments of the region has been reluctant to apply sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
Besides political aspects there is economic ones too. While South Stream Pipeline project was replaced with Turk Stream and planning is going on to continue project with sc Balkan Stream some serious threats still remain that could endanger the viability of this new project. These mostly have to deal a reoccurrence of instability in Macedonia. And this happened now. The Turk Stream and the Balkan stream pipelines are not the only issues in geopolitical game in Macedonia but there is also the Chinese-funded Balkans railway part of the Silk Road project that will link the Greek port of Piraeus to Budapest through Macedonia and Serbia.
My point of view
Already early -90s U.S. decided to alky with Croatian separatist Nazis due their effective lobby in Washington plus good hired PR-firms. Afterwards the Bosniaks (muslims in BiH) made the same and Serbs were demonized. After war the international community’s foreign aid for Bosnia has exceed USD 90 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity and with a nightmare triple administration. Instead of developing its “European perspective”, Bosnia-Herzegovina going backwards remaining an unwelcome, dysfunctional and divided country, with an aggrieved Bosniak (Muslim) plurality, a frustrated, increasingly defensive Serb entity, and an anxious, existentially threatened Croat population. ( More e.g. in Bosnia on the road to the EU, sorry to Dissolution )
Then followed Kosovo. Despite the Western intelligence agencies warned that Hashim Thaci ran an organised crime network in the late 1990s, that the KLA were criminals running the drug, slave, and weapons rackets throughout Europe, despite all this U.S. decided to back these tribal crime gangs in name of “humanitarian intervention”. KLA’s transformation from Organized Crime-/terrorist group to freedom fighters was an amazing media victory which guaranteed the occupation and later capturing of Kosovo for OC-Clans. (More about case in article Captured Pseudo-State Kosovo ).
Generally speaking it seems that Albanians – or remarkable part of them -are incapable of living and co-existing with their neighbours – Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins and of course, Serbs. Albanians continue to cause trouble, even though they have all the rights that they asked for in Macedonia, through the Ohrid Agreement, and have also achieved a pseudo “independence” in Kosovo.
I would like to point out that now the West can not any more escape reality, facts can not be ignored any longer. EU in my opinion should start to distance itself from U.S. cowboy policy. Now many Europeans realize they were hoodwinked into recognizing Kosovo’s independence on the pretence it would resolve problems and bring peace – it didn’t happen; a new approach is needed. The events in Macedonia could be start for reassessment of U.S.policy in Balkans and operations/presence of international community there.
Great Albania – the name used for Albanian ethnic territories in the Western Balkans.
[The violence in Macedonia was] “a consequence of the unfinished process of the break-up of former Yugoslavia”. (Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik)
An international survey data from the World Value Survey collected and processed by the Washington Post reveals that Albania is the most racist country in Europe. (Source Washington Post )
I continue to take heat for my support of the Serbs (Christians) in Clinton’s Bosnian misadventure. We were on the wrong side in that war and the consequences of Clinton’s perfidy continue to reverberate in that region. Albanian and Kosovo Muslims are openly attacking another country (Macedonia), creating another potential war zone in Europe. Bill Clinton sent American soldiers to fight alongside these “mujahedeen” against the Serb Christians in the Bosnia war. Most Americans still don’t know or understand the implications of America’s support of the jihad in Europe. (Pamela Geller)
A former speaker of Kosovan parliament believes Macedonia should be federalized between Albanian and Macedonian territorial units as the only way for country’s stability and guaranty of full respect of political rights of Ethnic Albanians in the inter-ethnic troubled country.
While South Stream Pipeline project was replaced with Turk Stream and planning is going on to continue project with sc Balkan Stream some serious threats still remain that could endanger the viability of this new Balkan Stream. These mostly have to deal a reoccurrence of instability in Macedonia. Recent events in Macedonia (FYROM) are giving some credibility to an article Oil Geopolitics: The South Stream Pipeline Has Been Replaced by “The Balkan Stream” by Andrew Korybko in Global Research, March 15, 2015. The article is republished here as it gives a background information and view to issue.
As Russia begins to build a pipeline through Macedonia that could form the basis of a revised South Stream route, the Hungarian President is in talks with Erdogan over financing this enormous project.
While many in the Balkans were lamenting the cancellation of the South Stream project last December, Russia was hard at work laying the foundation for its replacement, hereafter referred to as ‘Balkan Stream’. The concept is to connect ‘Turkish Stream’, the Russian pipeline to Turkey’s Eastern Thrace region, to South Stream’s previously intended Serbian, Hungarian, and Austrian partners, but detouring through Greece and Macedonia to compensate for the exclusion of Bulgaria. While such a strategy was previously only talk, concrete action was taken this week to transform it into a reality, which wouldn’t have been possible had Macedonia not beaten back the Color Revolution attempt that aimed to sabotage the entire thing.
Step By Step
The whole reason that Balkan Stream was conceived in the first place was because its predecessor, South Stream, was cancelled last December. Russia took this decision after Bulgaria (influenced by the EU acting on behalf of the US) made it impossible to construct the pipeline through its territory due to a slew of political and legal games that it was playing. At the time, the author was the first person to write that a replacement route could realistically go through Greece and Macedonia, thereby resurrecting the project and fulfilling the pressing energy demands in Europe that necessitated its creation in the first place. Russia was quick to move, and in the same breath that it cancelled South Stream, it announced ‘Turkish Stream’ to partially replace it. This pipeline will travel under the Black Sea just as South Stream was intended to, but would instead reach land at Turkey, not Bulgaria. From there, the Russian government said, European nations could buy gas from a terminal at the Greco-Turkish border, in what was interpreted as a vague hint that such purchases could either be LNG or possibly even the start of a brand new pipeline.
Midway through December, Putin officially suggested during his annual news conference that the Greek-Macedonian ‘detour’ could represent a solution to South Stream’s cancellation, provided that there was interest in his proposal. This was echoed by the Hungarian Foreign Minister in mid-January, when he said that his country would support the project. Interpreting this as a greenlight to move forward, Putin discussed the topic with Viktor Orban during the former’s visit to Budapest last month. This week was the most monumental in terms of actually making progress on the project because Stroitransgaz, one of the companies involved in the original South Stream, announced on Thursday that it would be building a gas pipeline through Macedonia, which is set to begin construction this weekend and be completed by next summer. That same day, the Hungarian President, while on a four-day visit to Turkey, spoke with Erdogan about a financing plan for the project, and a day afterwards, the Macedonian Foreign Minister paid an official visit to Turkey as well, where it is expected that he’ll discuss the topic, too. Through these series of diplomatic steps, Balkan Stream made the jump from paper to practice.
The Failed Color Revolution
This wasn’t supposed to happen, at least not if the US had gotten its way in Macedonia last month. Understanding that it’s the crucial bottleneck through which Balkan Stream must run, Washington wanted to stage a coup in the country in order to install a new leader that would reject the project and put an end to the region’s plans for reliable energy transit. Nikola Gruevski, the Prime Minister of Macedonia, had earlier broke ranks with his EU partners by refusing to sanction Russia, in a show of rebellion that the US felt it had to absolutely put down. For the few past couple of years, it had contracted the services of former intelligence chief Zoran Verushevsky in order to illegally wiretap over 20,000 people in the tiny country of 2 million, including politicians, journalists, and regular citizens. When it became clear at the end of last summer that South Stream was being stonewalled by Bulgaria and a new route would likely have to be streamlined (which geography dictates would obviously have to go through Macedonia), it activated its intelligence cell in order to preempt these plans, just in case they would go forward sometime in the future.
Zoran Zaev, the leader of the opposition, was given copies of these illegal tapes in order to blackmail the government, which he attempted to do from September to November. When Gruevski refused to give in to the blackmail, Zaev threatened to go public with the wiretaps and accuse the government of carrying them out, alleging that they also contained embarrassing political information and insinuating that this would lead to a Color Revolution. At the end of January, the Macedonian security services finally arrested Verushevky and a few other conspirators for plotting a coup, and Zaev had his passport taken to prevent him from fleeing while the investigation was ongoing. Verushevsky’s son even attempted to destroy his father’s computer before police stopped him, yet authorities were able to access the salvaged hard drive and recover Skype conversations where Verushevky and another plotter even spoke of starting a civil war in the country as a result of the blackmail ‘revelations’.
While Zaev attempted to create an actual Color Revolution last month by encouraging people to amass in the streets and protest the government, he failed to garner a consistent and sizeable following, showing that most Macedonians saw through the gimmick for what it was — a Ukrainian-styled soft coup attempt. Taking matters further, both Albanian parties in the country (whose affiliates are estimated to possibly constitute a quarter of the population) loudly distanced themselves from Zaev, thereby diminishing the prospects of a return to the 2001 interethnic violence that rocked the country and could have set the stage for the civil war that the conspirators previously discussed. Russia evidently feels that the combination of government action, Albanian loyalty, and popular support has finally stabilized the situation, since it would not have gone forward with the pipeline’s construction through Macedonia had it thought that it could be endangered by the Color Revolution attempt. Accordingly, one can interpret this as Moscow’s recognition that Washington’s plot ultimately failed.
The Battles Ahead
Despite the obvious failure of Zaev’s destabilization, serious threats still remain that could endanger the viability of Balkan Stream. These mostly have to deal with the susceptibility of Hungary and Serbia to similar Color Revolution attempts (or a reoccurrence of instability in Macedonia), as well as the fragility of the Greek government. Also, a plan needs to be devised as to how the pipeline will comply with the EU’s Third Energy Package (which mandates the separation of energy suppliers and distributors), as the failure to have done so was the ‘official ‘reason that South Stream was stonewalled last year. If these difficulties can be surmounted, which is entirely feasible, then Balkan Stream has the potential to enrich the region and ensure Europe’s stable energy transit for decades to come.