The Balkans Powder Keg, Again (FREE CONTENT)

It’s a complete mess! The Balkans are becoming once again the powder keg of the European continent.   In the turbulent nineties, the peninsula experienced the creation of several artificial states, such as Kosovo, Bosnia and FYROM, that became cradles of Islamic terrorism as well as headquarters for criminal organizations.  Now, once again, Balkan governments are undermining the stability of Europe.

Everywhere we look, there is trouble. Belgrade is plagued by antigovernment rallies and protests. The population of tiny Montenegro sharply is divided over NATO membership.  In Athens the leftist gang in power has opened the Greek and therefore European border to terrorists and criminals from North Africa and Middle East, and, while caving in to Berlin’s demands, the Greek government has lost control over public order.

Government failures and mass protests are only a part of the problem.  George Soros is increasingly causing trouble and instability in FYROM  (the former Yugoslav republic between Greece and Kosovo) and Greece by using various NGO’s and other social engineering “tools” as shock troops against the moral and social order.  There are continuing provocations by Erdogan’s Turkey against Greece and Bulgaria, and Ankara is redoubling its efforts to radicalize Turkish and other Muslim minorities in Balkan states ahead of the constitutional referendum in Turkey.

And there is more: The Albanian government in Kosovo continues to foment chauvinist attitudes and to nurture corruption; Bosnia is struggling with the results of the referendum in Republika Srpska, where Serbs in their autonomous entity voted in favor of defying a ruling by the Bosnian Constitutional Court banning the celebration of RS’s ‘statehood day.’   To confuse matters completely, the Bosnian Muslim government has to deal with the aftershock of the election (in October) of a Serb mayor in… Srebrenica!

The West is still declining to listen to Serbian grievances.  Perhaps that is partly the Clintons legacy, but even if it is, the West’s continued hostility to the Serbs remains a bad recipe for achieving regional stability.

The anti-Serb approach of the US and NATO is am unfortunate byproduct of the old “divide and rule” tactics that Americans borrowed from the British. Belgrade is constantly being blackmailed by Brussels and Washington over Kosovo and the Republika Srpska, but the Serbian government cannot go too far in resisting pressures, since it is forced to walk on a rope, trying to keep warm its deeply rooted relationship with Moscow.  At the same time, the Serbs are reacting to the sale of their farmland to foreign businesses, while the pro-government mass media are accusing (who else?) George Soros, who finances every subversive activity in the Balkans, of backing street protests in major Serbian cities.

It is obvious that the West has underestimated Serbian  memories of the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia and the depth of Serbian affection for Kosovo. At the same time, the Albanian leadership in Pristina—mainly war criminals and fortune seekers—continues to misbehave. While the West spends its energy trying over time to convince Belgrade to lift its objections and start dealing in a “friendlier” manner with Pristina, the government there is still purging the dwindling population of Serbs living in the area and harassing the Orthodox Church.  Pristina announced emphatically that it is going file genocide charges against Serbia with the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

This is the craziest paradox of all:  The war criminals of the KLA are actually accusing Belgrade of genocide. O tempora o mores…

At the same time, the Albanian leaders in Pristina are paying no attention to the 33% unemployment rate in the area, and, instead of doing something to alleviate poverty, they are trying to form an army.  It seems that Greater Albania is for them the priority…

In Skopje (FYROM), where corruption reigns, the political crisis is still unresolved, despite American and European pressures for unity.  The parties in FYROM have been unable to form a government mainly because President Ivanov’s fierce reaction to the proposed concessions of the Social Democrats to the Albanian element.  Is Ivanov’s intransigence a refusal to transfer power or an attempt to revive the spirit of Panslavism?

Albanian politicians are threatening to resign from the provisional government.  On the other side Slav politicians from VMRO-DPMNE (the ruling party) say they will not succumb to any Albanian ultimatums, and they are accusing the Albanian government in Tirana of using the minority parties in Skopje in order to divide the population, alter the constitutional order and turn FYROM into a confederation.*

The West, it goes without saying, opposes any plan for break-up or deconsolidation.  “Unity is so needed in your country today. I therefore hope that you will continue to follow this internal compass and avoid anything that could further fuel tensions, also along ethnic lines”, stated Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, after meeting President Ivanov in Skopje, in 4th of April. European mediation is, however, so far unsuccessful.

Are things looking good in the Western Balkans? No, they don’t.  Greece was for a long time the only pro-western bastion in the area, but, what had been a country becoming fully incorporated into the “Euro-Atlantic” structures, is turning communist in a “Venezuelan” way.  Greece now constitutes a new problem for Europe, since the leftist government is far from eager to undertake initiatives and the country out of the wilderness. European bureaucrats, on the other hand, insist that only the European integration process can foster peace and stability in the peninsula. Angelina Eichhors, European External Action Service Director for Western Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey, recently gave an interview to European Western Balkans,” a highly influential “web portal” for the region.  Eichors declared:

“There is a pro-European energy in the region, coming from citizens, students, civil society, and a broad range of political and social groups”,

It seems that that Western Balkans still have a long way to go, before they will live up to Eichors’ vision.


Nikos Hidiroglou 

Nikos Hidiroglou

6 Responses

  1. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    One wonders if the leaders of VMRO-DPMNE, which originally supported independence from Yugoslavia, have begun to realize that they played into the hands of Albanian nationalists. They have their reward.

  2. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    This makes our problems look insignificant.

  3. Harry Colin says:

    A most incisive, if sobering, account of the situation. Not to fear, though, our US foreign policy establishment, steeped as it is in profound knowledge of the region, its culture, its languages and history, will carefully nurture a mutually agreeable solution to all parties, insuring all the way, of course, that the Christians in the area are well-protected.

    Now I must take my leave, as my unicorn needs fed before we journey down the yellow brick road.

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    The good news for us is that Mr. Hidiroglou, a distinguished journalist and broadcaster in Athens, has agreed to write a monthly column on Southeastern Europe.

  5. Dot says:

    What about that Greek Fire that I think established Byzantium’s reign for 1000 years? What about the winning of the Iconoclast controversy in which the first Sunday of Lent is celebrated as the Sunday of Orthodoxy? What happened?

  6. John Seiler says:

    Even now, the American people, in their love of freedom and liberty, are rallying en masse to advance liberty and freedom, whatever the cost — pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe — in FYROM.