Monday, March 4, 2013

First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania

"Albanian communist leader planned to attack Yugoslavia"

ZAGREB -- Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha in the 1970s planned an attack on Yugoslavia (SFRJ) after the death of Josip Broz Tito.

According to Croatia's Jutarnji List daily, "communist leaders of Albania, the most isolated European dictatorship, in their secret meetings in the late 1970s and early 1980s planned a military invasion of Yugoslavia".

The attack was planned under the codename Explosion ("Shperthimi" in Albanian).

The plan was that after the death of Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito - who eventually died in 1980 - "a swift action of the Albanian army" would take over Kosovo, Serbia's southern province, and also parts of Macedonia and Montenegro - then republics of Yugoslavia - where there was a majority ethnic Albanian population.

This was recently revealed by Russian historian Artyom Ulunyan, who based his report on Albanian and Russian archives, minutes taken during the meetings of the Politburo of the Party of Labor of Albania (PPSh), and statements made by former Albanian Defense Minister Veli Llakaj.

Ulunyan is a professor at the Universal History Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, and an expert on the 20th century communist movements in the Balkans. His article was published in the January issue of the Academy's journal.

Ulunyan writes that sporadic and incomplete information about the plans surfaced previously, mainly in interviews given by former Albanian communist officials, but that archive sources that have now become available show that Enver Hoxha was "obsessed" with what was going happen to Yugoslavia after the death of Broz.

According to this, Hoxha was confident that a bloody power struggle would break out between the "pro-Russian" and "pro-American" forces.

The report adds that he was at the same time feared for his own regime and feverishly considered how to make the most of that situation, "and, if possible, get Kosovo".

Ulunyan says that precisely Kosovo was one of the possible reasons why Albania was the only European country that did not sign the Final Act of the Helsinki Summit in 1975, which defined the boundaries of post-war Europe.

The Russian expert quoted a report filed by then Albanian Interior Minister Kadri Hazbiu, dated November 1977. "For the first and only time" such an important document of the Hoxha regime refers to "the Albanian government supporting the idea of unification of all Albanians".

"We have been supporting Kosovars (Kosovo Albanians) with all our might, whenever and to the extent to which the circumstances allowed. And we are in favor of them uniting with Albania because that would ensure national unity," wrote Hazbiu.

Hoxha stated at the time that "one should not regret setting aside funds for Kosovo because it will eventually pay off in the future." Therefore, in 1978, the central committee of the Albanian ruling party established its international propaganda bureau, which was named, the Bureau for Kosovo.

Unfortunately for Albanian leaders and their plans at the time, all this was happening as they fell out with their only ally, China.

Albania was making aggression plans but was at the same time "in a state of panic, afraid of attacks against its own territory," according to the report.

Hoxha carried out an inspection of his forces on the Yugoslav border on June 24, 1978, and warned the generals: "We are on the brink of war." He also asked for reports about Albania's readiness to defend itself against attack.

The generals, however, warned Hoxha that due to a sudden end of military cooperation with China his army was left "without experts and spare parts".

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