Terrorism in Macedonia Wasn’t An Isolated Act!

May 12, 2015

_82888586_kumanovomacedonia0515The 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”.

43f5f7e94c02d2ae374908caabfe65cbMacedonian 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.

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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.”

bia-1388357518-419993“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.

Democracy-we-deliverThe 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

Macedonia%20radical%20islamIn my opinion the events in Macedonia are only logical outcome from choices U.S. made mid -90s. As Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie said “We Bombed The Wrong Side”.

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 )

SL6Then 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.

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Trivia:

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.

AhmetiPressConference

Ali Ahmeti (in camouflage top and graying hair, third from the left), speaks to journalists during a press conference from his headquarters west of Tetovo in Shipkovica on August 19, 2001. The choice of flags behind him—NATO, EU, US and Albanian—highlights his goal of integration into (or at least alliance with) the West. When asked why no Macedonian flag was on display, he first dismissed the importance of its omission as a mere oversight and predicted that it would be up “tomorrow” but later explained that the fighting was still too recent for such a gesture. Photo Credit: Reuters/Petr Josek

 

 


Oil Geopolitics: The South Stream Pipeline Has Been Replaced by “The Balkan Stream”

May 12, 2015

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.

Oil Geopolitics: The South Stream Pipeline Has Been Replaced by “The Balkan Stream”.

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.

Gas pipes

© AP PHOTO/ PETR DAVID JOSEK

Slovakia’s Eustream Ready to ‘Continue’ Russian-Turkish Pipeline to Europe

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’.

Sputnik.Polls Reveals Serbia and Bulgaria Fear Cancellation of South Stream

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.


Balkans and Geography of Turkish Stream

March 22, 2015

 

ONLINE JOURNAL 21.03.2015 | 00:00
Pyotr ISKENDEROV
Strategic-Culture.org

Balkans and Geography of Turkish Stream

Russia’s Stroytransgaz has announced that it will build a gas pipeline across (FYR) Macedonia, which could eventually be used as part of a route to supply Europe with Russian gas via Turkey. Macedonia will have its own source of energy. Today the country has energy dependence indicator of 47, 9 percent – the second largest after Croatia (52%). The importance of the pipeline going across Macedonia is immense. It will become the key component of all-Balkans energy system linked to the Russia-Turkey joint Turkish Stream project on the construction of gas route leading to Central and South Europe.

According to Stroytransgaz, the 96.6 km (60 miles) Negotino-Klecovce gas pipeline will cross Macedonia from near the Greek border in the south up to the vicinity of the Serbian border in the north. Stroytransgaz will build 61 km of the link by June 2016.

gasovod

At the moment, Macedonia receives gas from Russia via Bulgaria and Romania as part of the transit through Ukraine (pipe string N8). The existing pipeline has a capacity of 800 million cubic meters a year – not enough to satisfy the needs of the Balkans. The pipeline may be out of operation as early as 2019 when Russia plans to stop using this route, or, even earlier, in case of Ukraine’s further disintegration.

Gasprom and its Turkish partners want to finish the construction as early as they can. Gazprom’s CEO Aleksey Miller said, «Our priorities – to study the route’s options in Turkey, to define the location of the landfall facilities, gas delivery points for Turkish consumers and border crossings between Turkey and Greece».

There is an intriguing collision here. Nature and geography are the factors to facilitate Macedonia’s becoming the key transit country in the Balkans. There is an alternative route going through Bulgaria and Serbia. But Moscow does not see Bulgaria as a partner to trust. Serbia imports all the gas it consumes. Russia accounts for 95% of its supplies. Belgrade faces political problems. It has to prove itself as a reliable partner to become part of the emerging energy system in the Balkans.

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Turkish Stream has the same capacity as South Stream. It can carry up to 63 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually to Europe with 16 billion remaining in Turkey and 47 billion going farther to the Balkans. It’s enough to satisfy all the requirements. The main obstacle is the gap between the Serbia’s ruling elite on the one hand, and the interests of Serbian people on the other.

No matter Western and many Serbian media outlets have launched an anti-Russian and anti-Gasprom campaign, there is a growing understanding in Serbian society of the reasons South Stream was cancelled. According to a poll conducted in late 2014-early 2015, 39, 8% of Serbs believe the United States is behind the cancellation of South Stream while 20,2% put the blame of the European Union. Only 6, 5% believe that it was Russia’s fault. 2, 4% of respondents think that Bulgaria was responsible because it’s not fully independent while taking decisions on energy and other issues.

Bulgaria mainly, and to lesser extent Serbia, failed to act on their own being too much subject to foreign influence. Today Turkey imports around 70% of oil and gas it needs, its consumer demand is to increase 40% by 2020. Turkey wants to become a key energy hub. It takes part in talks on all the projects under consideration related to new routes going to Europe, no matter some of them are subject to competition. The availability of resources defines energy geopolitics. It makes the Russia’s position be on solid footing.

Of course, Macedonia presents some risks due to internal political instability and the emergence of Albanian factor. The West’s intention to frustrate the Russia’s plans is obvious. There are grounds to believe that the recent round of political confrontation in Skopie was incited by the West. The events have all the making of «color revolution» inspired from outside. But one way or another, Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia have to think about their energy needs. Common reason makes them realize that close cooperation with Russia meets their interests. All planned and existing energy routes go to the region from the East, not from the West. Liquefied gas tankers from Qatar or Algeria don’t drop anchors Belgrade, Sophia or Skopie.

 

 


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