February 15, 2017 - Fort Russ -
Bartosz Bekier, XPortal - translated from Polish by J. Arnoldski -
“Maximum diversity on a minimum of space” - these are the words of Milan Kundera concerning all of Central Europe that best describe the Balkan Peninsula. However, just as much as cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity can be an undeniable wealth, such can also become a real curse. This fact is something no one in the Balkans needs help to be convinced of. It suffices to say that even during times of relative peace and quiet, “war” waged with provocative flags displayed by various irredentisms is in full swing and each census is regarded as a counting of sabers before a decisive battle.
Nothing is more capable of exposing the fairy tale of some European free-spirits of a “Europe of a Hundred Flags” than the vast landscape of the Balkans’ regional ethno-religious conflicts. This landscape in itself compels me to always adopt a critical attitude towards those who are convinced that the Balkans are not at all threatened by a new war. Believe me, there are such types. But I think that the outbreak of war seems to be almost inevitably inscribed into the current political geography and demography of the Balkans. The only question is when.
This column is not an attempt to find an answer to this question. Rather, we will take a cursory glance at the political and business factors as well as institutions and people who are virtually openly striving for a new war in the Balkans. Their actions have particularly intensified in recent weeks.
The stench of blood seems to be hanging over the Republic of Macedonia most of all. Not in tormented and truncated Serbia, nor in increasingly divided Bosnia-Herzegovina, but precisely in Macedonia are tensions coming to such a head amidst ethnic and religious clashes. The Ohrid Agreement which in August 2001 ended the bloody armed conflict between Macedonians and the insurgent Albanian population that currently composes around 25% of the republic’s population appears to be evermore fragile. The only partially extinguished flame of ethnic war is steadily rising by virtue of a number of general factors which include:
1. The demographic pressure of enclaved Albanians;
2. The sacralization of the ethnic Albanian diaspora’s struggle due to significant increase in the popularity of radical Islam;
3. Geopolitical plans (albeit in many respects distant) for creating a Greater Albania by attaching already seceded Kosovo, southeastern Montenegro, and western Macedonia to Albania;
4. The provocative actions of Albanian irredentism in the face of the Slavic population manifested in the intensive decoration of cities in national colors, the forcible removal of Macedonian symbols, the construction of a disproportionate number of mosques with active minarets (a relatively new phenomenon), and painting over all signs in Macedonian;
5. Saudi Arabia’s financing of radical Islam among the Albanian diaspora which no one hides at all. For example: the hanging of Saudi flags on mosques and even shops which are not run according to the Sharia law on alcohol sales - and all of this on formally Macedonian territory. This painfully impressed the author firsthand.
In recent months, the list of factors generating an unpleasant situation for Macedonians has come to include the last Horseman of the Apocalypse himself, who has taken upon himself the capacity to ponder the future of Macedonia. We are talking about none other than George Soros, who is equally infamous in Poland.
Several days ago, six American Congressmen through the mouth of Senator Mike Lee called on the US Ambassador to Macedonia to run through the policy of transferring multi-million dollar grants to the Soros-run Open Society Foundation in Macedonia. Most of the funds flow through USAID, the American Agency for International Development.
Soros’ foundation was directly involved in supporting the violating protests against the right-wing Macedonian government formed by VMRO-DPMNE. In the early elections held on December 11, 2016, however, Macedonians reaffirmed their support for the ruthlessly targeted coalition that won again.
VMRO-DPMNE ran in the elections under slogans of cleansing Macedonia of the influence of NGO’s run by Soros as factors deliberately destabilizing the state. At the same time, the Macedonian organization Stop Soros demanded that the funds poured into Macedonia through USAID be audited. Part of the money was credited to the account of the center-left opposition SDSM. According to the government’s narrative, Soros foundations initiated and supported the protests with the aim of forcing the government to reconsider its policy related to, among other things, the strategic situation of Macedonia on the map of the European migration crisis, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevsky’s refusal to impose sanctions on Russia, and his engagement in constructing power transmission lines from Russia to Southern Europe. In government circles, it was also suggested that Soros or other external factors could rush to play the Albanian card and threaten Macedonia’s territorial integrity in the case of a fiasco of regime change efforts. It didn’t take long for these suspicions to be confirmed.
During an interview with AlbanianVision Plus TV, US Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher was kind enough to bluntly declare: “My own inclination is Macedonia is not a country. I'm sorry, it's not a country. There is such a division in their country they will never be able to live together in the future.” Rohrabacher forgot, of course, to point out that this “internal split” was funded by money from foreign NGO’s and under the “international community's" rather careless monitoring of the disarmament of Albanian militias in 2001.
This influential American politician did not stop at this, but clarified his thought so as to not leave any doubt. He continued: "For this reason, Kosovars and Albanians from Macedonia should be part of Kosovo and the rest of Macedonia should be part of Bulgaria.”
Dana Rohrabacher is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Republicans and works in the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and security threats. His most recent aggressive actions and statements (which coincidentally give rise to threats) explicitly call for the implementation of “solutions” that could end only in a new war in the Balkans and which obviously undermine the foreign policy goals outlined by Donald Trump. This could be part of the game of the neoconservative circles or those close to Soros against Trump. But this is the more optimistic scenario.
Before the presidential elections in the US, the US Agency for International Development afforded Soros' Open Society Foundation in Macedonia as well as minor orbiting social organizations, media, and youth organizations numerous grants which total at approximately $9 million. Considering that Macedonia has only 2.1 million inhabitants, this is an enormous sum - one that is completely sufficient for unleashing the “mutiny war” theory of Yevgeny Messner, the basic elements of which are “psychological treatment” of all social strata, discrediting the main center of power, and foreign support for third sector entities. As circles close to Macedonian authorities and Colonel Martin, a writer for The Daily Caller, have confirm, the immediate objective of Soros might be an attempt at preventing a renewed coalition between VMRO-DPMNE and the ethnic Albanian party, DUI (Democratic Union for Integration). This would be the first step in further escalating “internal split” in the Republic of Macedonia.
At the moment, it seems like the first step has been taken. Coalition talks have collapsed and VMRO-DPMNE, despite winning 39% of the vote and 51 seats in parliament, is in no state to form a majority government. Meanwhile, last week police found large ammunition and weapons stockpiles, including RPG’s, in the home of the brother of Ermir Mehmeti, one of the key politicians of the Albanian DUI. Albanians from the DUI are currently negotiating with the center-left SDSM coalition who claim that it is they who actually won the elections and will form a majority with Albanian supporters of “federalization.”
According to VMRO-DPMNE, this would be a road leading straight to war and the eventual disintegration of the Republic of Macedonia.
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