The Balkans: Smoldering Ashes Of Conflict

All eyes are on North Korea with few glances toward Iran and a bit of fist pounding over Syria and Iraq……but these could just be diversions from a war that is brewing and No one is noticing….

Well not everyone is so diverted…..I have been watching the situation in the Balkans for some time and some of it does not look too promising for a peace region…..unfortunate since the late 1990’s the Balkans have been all but ignored….plus I have a loyal visitor to IST that writes mostly about the Balkans and I thought I would see her take on this situiation/s…..

Some of my thoughts on the situations in the Balkans…….

Source: Balkan War Drums Beat Again – In Saner Thought

But wait there is more……

Source: Balkans–A Return To Yesteryear? – In Saner Thought

Something I read made me think about my past posts…..it seems I am not the only one that is watching the Balkans…..

As the world focuses on the Middle Eastern and Korean flashpoints, the next war may not occur in either region, but rather in a replay of an old conflict that has been largely forgotten.

In an interview with Politico’s European edition, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama threatened war if Kosovo is denied entry into the European Union:

“Albania’s prime minister said a union between Albania and Kosovo cannot be ruled out if EU membership prospects for the Western Balkans fade.

Source: Will the Next War Erupt in the Balkans? by — Antiwar.com

There is very little peace in the region that was ravaged by war in the 1990’s…..but that matters not….what matters is to quell the fiery rhetoric and the threatened actions to prevent the region bursting into flames…..yet again.

Serbian officials are warning that the Albanian ambitions to absorb Kosovo could easily lead to another war in the Balkans, and that NATO and the European Union need to publicly rule out that possibility in an effort to forestall another ethnic war spanning the region.

The status of Kosovo is a big sore spot in the region, after NATO’s 1999 war imposed a separation of Kosovo from Serbia, which was supposed by the Kosovar Albanian majority but widely opposed by ethnic Serbs in Kosovo. Kosovo’s independence is heavily contested, with a number of countries refusing to recognize it.

Political turbulence is once again showing its ugly head in the Balkans…..

The trouble in the Balkans today is not Russian meddling, though there is some of that, but a special case of the malaise afflicting Eastern Europe: unchecked executive power, erosion of the rule of law, xenophobia directed at neighbours and migrants and pervasive economic insecurity. The pattern varies from country to country but is palpable from Szczecin on the Baltic to Istanbul on the Bosporus. The countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia – have long tended to follow patterns set by their larger, more powerful neighbours. They are doing it again.

Source: New Balkan Turbulence Challenges Europe | Crisis Group

Mounting political instability in the Western Balkans has the potential to spark new crises on the EU’s immediate borders. Political tensions are particularly high in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo. Many EU policymakers are concerned that Russia aims to exacerbate this disorder, a worry that has intensified since elements of the Russian intelligence service were implicated in a failed coup in Montenegro last year. But the region’s crises are rooted in a prevalent winner-takes-all party politics and flaws inherent in the political settlements forged to end the Yugo­slav wars. While Russia has deep-seated interests in the Balkans, its interventions are more opportunistic than strategic.

Source: The Western Balkans: Fragile Majorities | Crisis Group

While writing this post news came out in the Balkans…..

Hundreds of protesters forced their way into Macedonia’s Parliament Thursday and attacked several leading lawmakers, leaving Social-Democratic Union party leader Zoran Zaev with blood pouring down his face. The protesters, supporters of the conservative VMRO party, were enraged by the election of a new Parliament speaker by a coalition of Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties, the BBC reports. Nationalists, who are calling for new elections, have been protesting in the streets since Zaev created the coalition. His attempts to form a government have been blocked by President Gjorge Ivanov, whose candidacy was supported by VMRO.

Police say Ziadin Sela, leader of the Albanian Alliance, was the most seriously injured lawmaker, reports Radio Free Europe, whose journalists were attacked by the mob that stormed the Skopje Parliament building. Stun grenades were fired as police tried to force back protesters and clear the way for evacuation of lawmakers. At least 77 people were injured, including 22 police officers. “We condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms,” the US Embassy in Macedonia said in a statement. “It is not consistent with democracy and is not an acceptable way to resolve differences.”

Without the proper diplomats (thanx to the emperor) all the US can do is watch the events unfold…..from the sidelines……

This could escalate into all out bang bang conflict and yet we are powerless to do anything but observe.

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4 thoughts on “The Balkans: Smoldering Ashes Of Conflict

  1. You are right to highlight concerns in this area, chuq. Many people in those countries are moving back to the Right (and Extreme Right) politically. And we must not forget that many supported the Nazis during WW2. Although most of those are long-dead, the legacy of their thinking continues.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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