Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kozani Bank Robbers Linked to Terrorist Organization

View of kozani
View of kozani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two of four people arrested for a simultaneous armed robbery of two banks on Friday in the town of Velvento, Kozani, are wanted as suspected members of a terrorist organization, police confirmed on Saturday, a day after the counter-terrorism squad took over the investigation into the incident.

The four were arrested Friday after a police pursuit and another four were wanted, hours after a double bank hold-up by eight suspects of an Agricultural Bank (ATEbank) and Post Office Bank (TT-Postbank) branch in Velvento on Friday morning. According to a dispatch from the state news agency, the counter-terrorism squad took over the investigation after heavy weaponry was found in their possession.

The four detainees were taken in for interrogation by the Thessaloniki police counter-terrorism squad, where it was found that arrest warrants were outstanding against two of the suspects for participation in the "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" organization, while the other two detainees are university students active in the anti-establishment sphere.

The four detainees will be taken at the Kozani prosecutor, under draconian security measures, for indictment.

Meanwhile, police were continuing a search by land and air to locate the other four suspects of the double bank robbery that were still at large, while an extensive investigation was being conducted in the wider Kozani region for a possible safehouse used by the suspects.

Vojvodina’s autonomy won’t be abolished, speaker says

NOVI SAD -- Serbian parliament speaker Nebojša Stefanović has stated that he has not received any official request to abolish Vojvodina’s autonomy.
Nebojša Stefanović (Beta)
Nebojša Stefanović (Beta)
He added that his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) had no intention of scrapping the province’s autonomy.
“We are not planning on abolishing any autonomy. We are planning on enabling citizens in all parts of Serbia to live completely normal because we are all equally poor,” Stefanović told Radio Television of Vojvodina (RTV).

According to him, “once citizens get to live better, once they have more money, similar initiatives will be much less interesting and we will think much more about how to have a better life”.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Albanians want memorial for fallen policemen removed

BUJANOVAC -- Ethnic Albanian parties from southern Serbia organized a protest in Bujanovac on Friday and demanded that a memorial for fallen policemen be removed.
The memorial is located between the villages of Lučani and Dobrosin, in honor of the Serbian Gendarmes who died during the NATO attacks in 1999, and later in clashes with the so-called Liberation Army of Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac (UCPMB) - an ethnic Albanian terrorist group that has since been disbanded.
A memorial placed for the UCPMB members in downtown Preševo without a permit, and later removed, previously generated a great deal of controversy.

On Friday, several thousand ethnic Albanians rallied under the slogan "Together against the monument for the Serbian Gendarmerie in Lučani".

The protest was organized by the local parties, the National Council of Albanians, and the Council for Human Rights.

On Wednesday, President of the Coordinating Body for southern Serbia Zoran Stanković said that the local administrative unit (MZ) in Lučani -a village inhabited solely by ethnic Albanians - had sent a demand for the memorial to be removed.

The initiator of the protest today was the right-wing Movement for Democratic Progress (PDP). Its leader Jonuz Musliu told B92 earlier on Friday that there was "no reason for the Gendarmerie to place the monument exactly there".

"For that reason we will send a demand to the regime in Belgrade to remove the monument," he added.

Musliu also claims that works on this memorial started before that in Preševo and that "written approval of the local self-government in Bujanovac was not obtained".

According to Musliu, "the memorial monument" was placed as "a provocation toward Albanians".

Villagers in Lučani say they are "livid and upset", while local MZ President Ridvan Isufi told reporters that "nobody from the Gendarmerie, or the authorities, spoke a single word with him about this procedure".
Thaçi, ready for war with Serbia

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, responding to criticism from opposition MPs for talks with Serbia, in a moment of anger, said to be willing to go to war with Serbia, if the Assembly decides to do so.

"Kosovo's Parliament decides for peace, for war. Let us decide Kosovo's parliament and government will implement it, "he said, striking with the palm floor of Parliament House, reports the" Daily Time ".

Bomb Explodes Outside the U.S. Embassy in Turkey

AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici
There are reports from turkish media that a bomb exploded outside the entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and witnesses say it may be a suicide attack. Details are still very limited, but the blast happened sometime around 1:00 p.m. local time (6:00 a.m. Eastern) and there are reports of damage to the building and many wounded bystanders.
 The Telegraph says the explosion was caused by package, not a suicide bomber, but all reports remained unconfirmed.  Kesler says his sources are saying one Turkish police officer and the bomber are the two dead people.

“Serbia is main factor of peace, stability in region”

BELGRADE -- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that Serbia and Turkey have a joint vision of the region in which countries would be peacefully integrated.
Ahmet Davutoglu and Ivan Mrkić (Tanjug)
Ahmet Davutoglu and Ivan Mrkić (Tanjug)
Davutoglu arrived in Belgrade on Friday and met with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić.
The two ministers after the meeting signed an agreement on employment of staff of the diplomatic-consular missions.

The Turkish FM stressed that Serbia would continue to be a “central strategic factor of stability and peace in the region”.

He told a press conference that he had come to Belgrade as a part of the preparation for an upcoming visit of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić to Turkey.

He added that he also came to Belgrade to bring a message of partnership and peace.

Mrkić said that he had an “open and heartily talk” that “is common between friends”. He added that the main topics of the talks were improvement of stability in the region, economic cooperation and the Belgrade-Priština dialogue.

The two ministers agreed that economic cooperation between Serbia and Turkey was good but that it could be significantly improved.

Davutogu stressed that Nikolić would during his visit to Turkey also confer with Turkish entrepreneurs and added that his country encouraged its businesspeople to invest in Serbia.

The Turkish FM said that Turkey strongly supported the Belgrade- Priština talks and that it was ready to contribute to the process in any way it could.

Davutolgu will during his one-day visit also meet with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, Trade Minister Rasim Ljajić and Minister without Portfolio Sulejman Ugljanin.

Even though a meeting with the Serbian president was announced earlier, Nikolić's office has released that the meeting was cancelled due to technical reasons.
Ο Πύρρος Δήμας θα είναι επικεφαλής του ψηφοδελτίου Επικρατείας του ΠΑΣΟΚ!

Pyrros Dimas, meeting with the Greek Minister of Labour, for problem of pensions to the Northern Epiriots

- Initiative of MP of PASOK, Pyrros Dimas for preparing and drafting a legislative proposal in collaboration with representatives of the Northern Epirus organizations.

- The Minister agreed on the need to find a solution and urged the Member to develop concrete proposals, and that after consultation with the Secretary of the New Republic, Manolis Kefaloyiannis will be submitted jointly to the Minister of Finance.

PASOK MP, Pyrros Dimas, met with the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Welfare, John Vroutsi - after filing his question-and discussed the burning issue of the retirement of older Northern Epirus by OGA. The deputy minister analyzed in an unfavorable situation for Northern Epirus regarding social insurance. 

The OGA pension is for many families in Northern Epirus, is important and very serious economic and social problems. It also helps to stimulate the Greek presence in Northern Epirus. However, the - new and old-conditions that make it extremely difficult drafting the administration of Northern Epirus beneficiaries.

The Northern Epirot MP asked the Minister legislate on the subject, exceptional and limited in time, which will significantly enhance the Greek minority. The Minister agreed on the need to find a solution and urged the Member to develop concrete proposals, and that after consultation with the Secretary of the Ministry, Manolis Kefaloyiannis will be submitted jointly to the Minister of Finance.

Pyrros Dimas took the initiative in preparing and drafting the legislative proposal in collaboration with representatives of the Northern Epirus Organisations, which will convene in joint session on this issue.

Northern Kosovo Serbs continue to block road

RUDARE -- A new roadblock set up by Northern Kosovo Serbs on Thursday afternoon is hindering traffic in the northern Kosovo village of Rudare.
Serbs set up the new roadblock made of tree logs on the Priština-Raška road after KFOR troops removed large concrete blocks from the road on Thursday morning.
Northern Kosovo Serbs stress they will not give up on their fight to prevent the northern part of the province from being integrated into Kosovo institutions. They say they are obligated to do so by decisions of councilors of four northern Kosovo municipalities.

Washington, interventions for the cancellation of Maritime Pact with Greece

The newspaper "SOT" referred to a meeting of U.S. Ambassador Alexander Arvizou, with leaders of The "Red and Black" Alliance, in Tirana

"SOT"; intentionally, in Water Agreement, the Greek side, has avoided the inclusion of any other state, that may have an impact on Albania.

The U.S. government has been unhappy with the agreement of the waters between Greece and Albania, this was according to the newspaper "SOT" that many political parties and the courts, rightly, have rejected this agreement. The statement comes from the American ambassador in Albania, Arvizou, who in a meeting he had with the leaders of the Red and Black alliance, was also disappointed with the Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha.

Newspapers simultaneously implied in the agreement for maritime border, the Greek government has deliberately avoided any involvement with influential state in Albania, implying the United States of America, sources told the newspaper, during the meeting in the offices of the Red and Black Alliance.

But unlike such claims Athens, which often has officially targeting Turkey, after intervening after the cancellation of the agreement with Greece, an implication of Washington, for this agreement, means maybe even a new development in the Balkan geopolitics, particularly the issue and interests that collide, between the territories of Greece and Albania.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dan zastave u Bujanovcu (Foto: Tanjug, arhiva)

"The U.S. and the Greater Albania project"

 "Slobodna Dalmacija."newspaper

Split - United States for years preparing the project of creating a Greater Albania, which could be completed as early as this year, according to Split newspaper "Slobodna Dalmacija."

The newspaper notes that the south-east of Europe shortest transit route between the West and the oil-and gas-rich areas of Central Asia, which is part of the "new great geopolitical game."

The newspaper reminiscent of statements by Albanian officials about "the need for unification of all Albanian territories."

"Slobodna Dalmacija." the Croatian newspaper, quotes the director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting and advisor of three Albanian Prime Minister Koco Danaj, who said that this year peacefully should be formed a new Albanian state, which would unite all Albanian territories.

Recalling the recent statement by the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha to the unification of all Albanian territories unstoppable in "Free Dalmatia" points out that while some analysts argue that the new Albanian state a realistic project that some may be fears and bring new tensions, others state that Berisha's words have been misinterpreted.

"The U.S. project to create a Greater Albania is actually slowly through diplomatic and military means realized for many years. There is a history of U.S. involvement in the region, but when it comes to this project, it should be noted on several key points. It is an American NATO bombing Serbia in 1999. years, after which NATO in Kosovo deployed 50,000 well-armed troops, "the newspaper said.

There was added, the Ohrid Agreement, the U.S. project, which began a process of political reform in Macedonia's constitutional amendments and the adoption of many new laws that provide substantially more rights for Macedonia's Albanians.

The third key point is, the newspaper said, American support for the independence of Montenegro and Kosovo, which has been weakened Serbia, conducted its decomposition and thus established a regional balance.

"American politics is the military and diplomatic engagement prepared the project of a Greater Albania," said for the "Slobodna Dalmacija." political scientist, Dr. Jadranka.

Noting the significance of Kosovo as a part of southeast Europe, half said that the region as well as in the past and now has significant geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic importance, which determines the political future of the region.

"Coupled with the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia, the Danube Region and Central Europe, has always been subject to the interests of the great powers. Because of the growing importance of energy in the geopolitics of the 21st century, this space important transit route, so here's Gazprom is finally in Croatia, is a space of strong global competition centers of power, " she said.

According to her, Southeast Europe is the shortest transit route between Western Europe and the oil-and gas-rich areas of Central Asia and the Caspian basin, and as such its becomes part of the "new great geopolitical game", the area where the intersecting interests of the United States, Europe, Russia and Turkey.

Half of them indicated that as the project of establishing U.S. dominance in Eurasia begins in the southeast of Europe with Albania and ends in China.

United States to its geostrategic Central Asia rely on the network of pro-US countries in southeast Europe - Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, in the context of the latest and Kosovo, as well as the country's Caspian region - Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, as well as Georgia and Ukraine , to which, he says, spreading malicious strategy of unification, Americanization of the world.

"It is an example of Kosovo as a new state created with the use of American policy instruments has become an indicator of continued U.S. domination in the region and efforts to maintain a unipolar American leadership not only in the southeast of Europe, but in the whole region of Eurasia," she said.

She added that Kosovo remains an American in mastering the rules of democracy, free-market adoption lessons and opening to foreign investors.

U.S. policy, she says, shaking all projects in Kosovo.

"It is a shame that the U.S. officials, who beat Serbia, now privatized most vital parts of Kosovo's economy," says half.

She says she does not expect unrest in this part of the Balkans.

"The leaders of the Albanian national movement these days say that the U.S. and Russia agreed redrawing boundaries so that Presevo, Kosovo, and I believe part of Macedonia and Montenegro, found in the Greater Albania. Them, I truly believe it is already the new configuration space former Yugoslavia conducted by two integration processes: joining NATO in the region and the European Union, "she says.

She pointed out that nation-states are losing sense, global players progress through the project of expanding democracy, human rights and free markets, which includes global poverty in the region.

New state, she added, are totally dependent on foreign capital, and these days, she said, the Croatian government is seen as pilot, conducted all foreign players ordered ...

"The region is earthquake high unemployment, apathy, people, amazing social differences, and, indeed, American favorites, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, could be seen as the country with the highest crime," said for the "Slobodna Dalmacija." political scientist, Dr. Jadranka

Body of missing U.S. pilot recovered from Adriatic

ROME -- The body of a U.S. pilot whose warplane crashed into the Adriatic Sea on January 28 has been recovered, ANSA is reporting.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
Earlier, the pilot was identified as Lucas Gruenther.
The F-16 was on a night training flight when a NATO base in Italy lost contact with the pilot.

It is believed that the jet went down due to technical malfunction on the way back to the base, according to AFP.

The U.S. military said on January 29 that Italian rescue crews had found and recovered the wreckage of the plane.

Daily: Ex-KLA’s defense financed with “dirty money”

PRIŠTINA -- Kosovo’s Special Prosecution suspects that a part of the money spent on ex-KLA commander Fatmir Limaj’s defense came from criminal activities.
Fatmir Limaj (FoNet, file)
Fatmir Limaj (FoNet, file)
This is according to Priština-based Albanian language daily Koha Ditore.
Limaj's defense before the Hague Tribunal cost EUR 1mn and another EUR 1mn was spent for his defense in Priština in the case of war crimes in an illegal detention camp of the now disbanded ethnic Albanian terrorist group Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the village of Klečka.

EUR 1mn came from the Limaj Fund while prosecutors suspect that the second million came from criminal activities.

The Special Prosecution has indicted Limaj and two of his brothers, Demir and Florimi, for money laundering and they are facing up to ten years in prison and a fine three times bigger than the amount of the money suspected of being illegally obtained.

Kosovo’s Special Prosecution’s German Prosecutor Johannes Picker suspects that Limaj’s lawyer Karim Khan was paid with “dirty money”. Picker stated in the indictment that Demir Limaj had sold an unregistered property to Arbon Desku of Klina for EUR 500,000 in November 2011.

“In December 2011, Demir Limaj transferred EUR 316,900 and on January 12 another EUR 120,000 to the account of Fatmir Limaj’s attorney Karim Khan in the Netherlands,” the prosecutor said.

Khan was Limaj’s defense attorney in war crimes cases in The Hague and in Priština. Limaj was found not guilty for war crimes against Serbs and ethnic Albanians in the KLA camp in Lapušnik. He is facing a trial for kidnapping and murdering Serb civilians and members of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) in a KLA camp in Klečka in 1999 before the Priština court.
Toponimet, Panariti takon ambasadorin grek: Nevojë për zgjidhje urgjente

Toponyms, Panariti mets the Greek Ambassador: Need urgent solutions

 Tirana has called several times, the Greek ambassador in the Foreign Ministry, which means that the two countries have serious problems.

 TIRANA - The problem of toponyms in the passports of Albanian children, who were born in Greece, has set in motion the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At a meeting held today with the Greek ambassador in Tirana, Leonidas C. Rokanas, Edmond Panariti Minister stressed the need for toponyms issue resolved quickly.As informs the press office of the Foreign Ministry, the meeting Minister Panariti stressed that the Albanian government has already presented a proposal for resolving this issue, based on international practices, and remains open to dialogue so that this problem be addressed as more quickly and definitively.The interlocutors agreed to intensify negotiations to resolve the issue through meetings between the working groups set up in the respective countries.

Also, Panariti minister sought to publish official information about the interpretation of the Schengen Code by Greek border authorities, in order for the citizens to have a clear time calculation inputs and outputs in Greece, thus avoiding the criminalization of their at border crossing points.Minister Panariti and Rokanas ambassador expressed mutual willingness to resolve technical issues without delay in the interest of citizens.

A few days ago 14 women and children returned home after their children passports born Hellenic state, "Greece" written not English. Mothers and their offspring, they departed from Tirana yesterday, January 30, at 06:00, with an airline arrival at Athens airport only had a confrontation with the Greek police, which did not allow any children born in Greece to enter Greek territory, even in their passports marked by a cross exit stamp from Albania.

According to Albanian, Greek police explained that, after failing to deal with the Albanian party, the order not to recognize these passports is still in force.Meanwhile, Tirana has called several times, the Greek ambassador in the Foreign Ministry, which means that the two countries have serious problems, which are reflected simultaneously in both countries' foreign policies.

“Serbia cannot block Kosovo's UN membership”

BELGRADE -- German Ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm has said that Serbia's compliance with Kosovo's UN membership is not a condition for Belgrade.
Heinz Wilhelm (Beta, file)
Heinz Wilhelm (Beta, file)
He added that it was not something the country's date for the start of EU accession talks depended on.
“Of course, this refers to here and now. However, Priština's request, which we support, will impose itself eventually - Serbia should not block Kosovo's membership in the UN,” Wilhelm told daily Politika.

He added that, ultimately, “Serbia cannot block Kosovo's UN membership”.

“If one day Kosovo submits such a request, the General Assembly will decide on it at the proposal of the UN Security Council,” the ambassador noted.

Asked about the conditions Berlin has imposed on Belgrade, he said there were no special ones.

“What we and the EU want is normalization of relations with Kosovo. The process of normalization is left to the two negotiating parties - Priština and Belgrade,” Wilhelm said.

According to him, Germany's position is clear - Berlin has recognized Kosovo and wants Serbia to establish good relations with it.

“Berlin's position should be viewed from this perspective when it comes to Serbia's final EU accession. We will not support the membership of a country which has unresolved issued with its neighbors,” the German ambassador concluded.

Albanian media, will escalate debates on national issues

Polling of national TV Klan, shows that 85% of Albanians, seeking constructive debate on national issues

While the issue of Christos Pappas, has conquered all of recent days media space in Albanian opinion, the media have advanced in the organization of national debate.

According to national TV Klan, a pooling of recent days has shown that 85% of the Albanian public, want to debate national issues of the country, moving away from monotonous campaign, which usually develops harsh policy in the run-up to elections.

Albania politics recently, have faced national issues developments, as by Kosovo and Serbia, as well as in South Greece. The main cause was a statement of  Albania PM, Sali Berisha, on the 100th anniversary of the independence of Albania, last November. Berisha said that the Albanian lands, starting from Preveza Greece and end up in Serbia Preshevo ".

Berisha Declaration, caused a reaction in Athens, which canceled a visit of Foreign Minister Avramopoulos. In addition Greece, raised the issue of Albanian Irredentism in NATO, drawing attention to unexpected developments in the region.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the parliamentary group of the "Golden Dawn" in Greece, during a interview for a TV channel, called for the liberation of North Epirus, even by the Greek army, urging Tirana, to honor "The Corfu Protocol" of 1914 which gives the North Epirus, Autonomy.

Are these developments, for which, a pooling in Albania, has shown that the Albanians, prefer more steps in their national affairs opinion.
The "Golden Dawn" Statement 

The response of  the "Golden Dawn" for declaring the MP Christos Pappas as "Persona non grata" in Albania

The list of undesirable persons in Albania, has registered the name of Deputies of the "Golden Dawn" Christos Pappas, according to reports in the Albanian media.

After his statements about autonomy and the possibility of military intervention in Northern Epirus, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edmonton Panariti, has declared for Pappas, as «persona non grata».
Information indicates that to Albanian FM Panariti has already asked the Ministry of Interior of the country to stop the entering of the Greek nationalists in Albanian territory.

The rival of Christos Pappas in an interview in Albanian channel does not mince his words at all and said bluntly and talked about the Protocol of Corfu signed by Albania itself and has no respect for the war between Greece and Albania, has officially lifted, the origin of the Albanians and their story about illegal immigration and crime in Greece and many others ..

As pointed out by rival of Pappas purpose was to remind everyone that Northern Epirus is Greek is enslaved and that the Golden Dawn does not forget our Greek brothers and fights for the rights of Hellenism. This indeed was the message at the end of the interview:

"Courage to our Brothers ...! ... we never do not forget you, we are back to you. We will liberate the  Northern Epirus and Greeks."

These words scare Albanians who are used to favor cowards to governments in recent years silent in front of falsifying history and challenges. Albanians inside and outside of our country, know very well that the Golden Dawn is the third political force in Greece and soon their promiscuity will end with their worst nightmares come true.

"The Greek Nationalist Movement will be at the forefront of the struggle for the preservation of national honor and Greeks of Northern Epirus", ends the statement of the Golden Dawn to Tirana.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Nikolaos Dertilis, 94, last jailed member of Greece military dictatorship

ATHENS, Greece — Nikolaos Dertilis, the last jailed member of the military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967-74, has died. He was 94.
Mr. Dertilis had been transferred in December from the maximum security Korydallos Prison, where he had spent the past 38 years, to Athens’ Erythros Stavros Hospital with heart problems after suffering a stroke. He died Monday, the hospital said.

As a colonel, Mr. Dertilis was among a group of middle-ranking officers who seized power in a bloodless coup on April 21, 1967. The dictators imposed martial law and cracked down heavily on political opponents, imprisoning or exiling thousands of mostly left-wing supporters, many of whom were tortured by military police.

After the restoration of democracy, Mr. Dertilis was sentenced to life in prison for the execution of a youth during the bloody suppression of a student uprising in 1973.
He never repented for his acts and refused to request clemency — even to attend his son’s funeral last year.
The country’s extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, which rose from the political fringes to enter Parliament last year, issued a statement saluting Mr. Dertilis as “an exceptional Greek and a soldier who shed his blood for his country on the battlefields.”

“[Dertilis] died without signing a declaration of repentance to his jailers, and fully honoring his word — that they could nail his jail release papers to his coffin,” the party statement said. AP

Serbs in north Kosovo gather for protest rally

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Thousands of Serbs gathered on Wednesday in northern Kosovska Mitrovica for a rally under the slogan, "Stop Brussels fraud and deceptions".
Beta news agency says that the rally was attended by some 10,000 people, while Tanjug puts the number at 5,000.
The protest was organized by the leaders of the four municipalities in the northern, mostly Serb part of Kosovo.

Mayors and local assembly speakers of Kosovska Mitrovica, Leposavić, Zvečan and Zubin Potok all attended.

Those gathered accepted by acclamation a declaration rejecting the establishment of Priština's institutions in their areas, and announced that they would undertake all forms of civil disobedience, including setting up new roadblocks, in order to express their opposition.

They also demanded that Belgrade withdraws from the Kosovo dialogue, held in Brussels, that the agreements reached so far not be implemented, and asked the Constitutional Court to appraise their legality and that of a relevant decree passed by the government in order to implement the deals.

The citizens were seen carrying banners against the EU-sponsored Kosovo dialogue, calls for the Constitution and UN Resolution 1244 to be respected, while others declared that "only traitors would give up on Kosovo", rejected once again "a Kosovo state" and Kosovo's institutions, and at the same time pledging "not to give away Serbian courts”.

Serbs are a majority north of the Ibar River and reject both the authority of the government in Priština, and the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence made five years ago.

Serbian, Cypriot leaders exchange state decorations

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić welcomed on Wednesday in Belgrade his Cypriot counterpart Dimitris Christofias.
Christofias, who is heading a state delegation to the first summit of the two countries, was officially welcomed in a ceremony at the Serbian Presidency building.
After the meeting, the Serbian president presented Christofias with the Order of the Republic of Serbia on a sash, and received from him the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III.

The first Serbian-Cypriot summit is being held in Belgrade on Wednesday. The Cypriot president and Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić are presiding over the meeting.
Dacic statements, Berisha: Our Martyrs in Serbia, (KLA) fell for freedom

Berisha: KLA comparison with Al Qaeda terrorists, is albanofoby

Prime Minister Sali Berisha responded statement today after the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic to remove the monument, Presevo heroes.

According to Berisha, Dacic comparison to Albanian terrorists of Al Qaeda is an expression of order albanofobi, no future that dominates in Belgrade.

The reaction was done in prime profile on FaceBook, where Berisha says that they fell for the freedom of the Presevo Valley Albanians.

"Asked about the reasons for the removal of the statue of the heroes of Presevo, Serbia's prime minister said in Skopje that they were terrorists and asked the rhetorical question:" Would you allow U.S. moving to New York a monument of Al Qaeda terrorists s? "

Fallen freedom fighters for the freedom of the Presevo Valley Albanian citizens experiencing the worst printing by Milosevic's regime. They fight their just imposed an internationally brokered agreement with Belgrade authorities for more freedom, rights and autonomy for the Albanians of the Presevo Valley, and hastened the end of the Milosevic regime, and in some way the liberation of the people Serb regime. Their comparison with the terrorists of Al Qaeda is an expression of rotating albanofobisë no future that dominates in Belgrade. Our dead never die! - Sb "wrote Berisha on 'Facebook'.

Serbian-Cypriot summit begins in Belgrade

BELGRADE -- The first summit of the Serbian and Cypriot governments, which will see a number of bilateral and plenary meetings, started on Wednesday in Belgrade.
The summit was opened by a meeting between Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Trade and Telecommunications Minister Rasim Ljajić and Cypriot Justice and Public Order Minister Loukas Louka.
Serbian and Cypriot Foreign Ministers Ivan Mrkić and Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis respectively, had a meeting at the Palace of Serbia, while Serbian government's European Integration Office Director Milan Pajević met with Permanent Secretary of the Cypriot Planning Bureau Georgios Georgiou.

During the summit, President of Cyprus Dimitris Christofias will hold bilateral meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and Prime Minister Ivica Dačić.

Nikolić will award Christofias with an Order of the Republic of Serbia, as a token of gratitude for his contribution to the friendly international cooperation, support and assistance between the two countries.

The series of meetings will also include those between State Secretary at the Serbian Ministry of Defense Aleksander Nikolić and Cypriot Defense Minister Demetris Eliades, between Serbian Energy, Development and Environmental Protection Minster Zorana Mihajlović and Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, and between Serbian Transportation Minster Milutin Mrkonjić and his counterpart Efthymios Flourendzos, who will also meet with Serbia's Finance and Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic.

Finally, a meeting will be held between Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić and Louka.

Nikolić and Christofias will hold a joint press conference during the day and representatives of the two governments will do the same after the summit.

The Russian Fleet in the Mediterranean: Exercise or Military Operation?

The Russian Fleet in the Mediterranean: Exercise or Military Operation?
  INSS Insight No. 399, January 29, 2013
Magen, Zvi

A joint Russian naval exercise in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, off the Syrian coast, began on January 22, 2013 and is scheduled to end today, January 29, 2013. The Russians are calling this the largest exercise since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and vessels from three different naval theaters – the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the North Sea – have reached the region. The exercise is taking place simultaneously in two naval theaters: the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, with 23 vessels, strategic air force units, and air defense units participating. The force includes 10 warships: a missile cruiser; an anti-submarine ship; two escort vessels; four landing craft carrying 300 marines and 10 armored vehicles each; two submarines, one nuclear-powered and one diesel-powered, and auxiliary ships. This naval force carries nuclear weapons (tactical nuclear missiles carried by the submarines were also mentioned). In an extraordinary measure, the Russian chief of staff is commanding the exercise directly. A similar exercise, albeit of smaller scope, took place in the summer of 2012, and Russian vessels have been operating in this region in an ongoing manner over the past two years.

Concomitant with the start of the exercise, 77 Russian civilians were evacuated from Syrian via Lebanon on two airplanes sent for this purpose by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. It is unclear whether this evacuation was an actual emergency or a drill. It is possible that the evacuees are part of the Russian diplomatic mission in Aleppo, which is currently closing due to the security situation there. In any case, the Russian authorities emphatically denied any intention of evacuating their citizens from Syria – some eight thousand people were mentioned, and the actual number is probably higher. The Russian authorities also deny any intention of using the fleet in the exercise for evacuation missions, but they have not denied the existence of shelf plans for this purpose.

An additional intriguing aspect of the exercise is the recent host of messages in the Russian media indicating that the exercise was actually designed as a deterrent in the Syrian theater. Several comments are particularly noteworthy:
  1. The exercise is not routine; it is a demonstration of Russian power, accompanied by an enhanced presence in the Mediterranean.
  2. The exercise is related to the global conflict and reflects Russia’s intentions to act as a superpower.
  3. The exercise is related to the Middle East situation, which poses a threat along the borders of Russia and its allies.
  4. The exercise is related to the grave situation in Syria, and is designed to forestall any plans (by the West, Sunni countries, or Turkey) for intervention in Syria. The Russians interpret reports on Assad’s potential use of chemical weapons as a cover for such intervention.
  5. Finally, the exercise guards the Alawite coast ahead of a possible move there by Assad for the purpose of fortifying it as a defense line and creating an Alawite state.

With the beginning of the Russian naval exercise, at a press conference on the Middle East, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Russia’s policy on the Syrian question had not changed. The Russians believe in achieving a solution through dialogue between the parties, and are continuing their efforts to initiate contacts with the Syrian opposition (on this occasion, Lavrov also warned the US and Israel against attacking Iran). In addition, the Russian authorities reiterated that Russia had no plans to intervene militarily in Syria, and did not intend to supply it with offensive weapons or send experts or military systems operators there. At the same time, President Putin promised aid to Lebanese President Suleiman, currently visiting Moscow.

Against this background, the question arises whether the naval activity is indeed an exercise, or an operation designed to promote Russian strategic objectives. Is it related to recent events in Syria, despite the fact that exercise was planned far in advance with no connection to these events? If so, are the messages accompanying it a way of exploiting the fleet’s presence in the region, or were they also prepared in advance? In any event, it seems that new objectives, at least at the declaratory level, were added to an exercise planned previously to wave the Russian flag and bolster the presence in a region of importance to the Russians.

More specifically, the statements issued in strident tones may reflect Russian willingness to raise the ante in its conflict with the West, given the recent worsening of relations between Russia and the US, not only in the Syrian context, but also and primarily, in both global and bilateral contexts. In addition, Russia seems to assess that preparations are indeed underway for military intervention in Syria, including through use of the chemical weapons issue, and it is in Russia’s interest to deter any such intentions. Another possible factor is the deterioration of Assad’s position, which is liable to require a retreat to the Alawite region, a move that the Russians would have to secure from the sea. Finally, aspects other than Syria cannot be ruled out, such as use of the exercise as a means of applying pressure against Turkey, Russia’s enemy, which poses a growing challenge to Russian interests in the region. Russia is also interested in expanding its presence and activity in the Mediterranean Sea for the purpose of promoting cooperation with additional regional partners, such as Greece, Cyprus, and perhaps Malta, all of which are being visited by Russian ships during the exercise.

An analysis of these possible actions suggests what may come next. Under the camouflage of an exercise, Russia sent a large naval force to a sensitive region of fighting. The fact of the recurring presence of the Russian fleet in a region in which a conflict is growing hotter constitutes a statement in and of itself. This Russian measure, accompanied by blunt rhetoric, indicates an effort at deterrence in the Syrian theater, as well as a general demonstration of force. On the other hand, however, Russian capabilities in this sphere are limited, in comparison with its rivals in the Middle East, and certainly in the global arena. Of interest here is the silence of the Western media, which arouses reflection on the Russian side. It appears that the West, meaning the US, is hinting that it does not find this Russian behavior overly impressive. The Russian demonstration of force, therefore, may seem somewhat pathetic.

The presence of Russian force in the region may thus be exploited in two ways. The first is to impel the US to reach understandings with Russia about a settlement in Syria. In this context, it is more correct to see this as a dispute about the price that the US will have to pay Russia for the understandings in Syria. Two, in the absence of the desired understandings with the West, Russia plans, beyond its general support for Assad, to create conditions enabling it to deploy its forces in the Alawite area by securing the coastline and creating a deterrent against intervention. If this is the case, it appears that preparations are underway for the beginning of the dissolution of Syria.


Kosovo: Radical Islam as a "ticking bomb"

Arbana Xharra from Prishtina

The Kosovo experience, favored by poverty and unemployment, a rise of radical Islam. Whose supporters demand more rights and provoke a backlash from secular Kosovars

Believers, do not fit into the mosque sitting in front of the entrances to the sidewalk, which is covered with prayer rugs. The amplified voice of the clergy over the loudspeaker sounds over them on the street. Friday prayers in Pristina, Kosovo's capital, the main mosque grasp neither the faithful nor the sound of the sermon, which have come to hear them.

"Allah's enemies lead young Muslims astray," warned the minister. It lists alcohol, drugs and the corrupting influence of the Internet on as part of a concerted campaign "to stop the momentum of Islam." "The immorality is on the rise," said his diagnosis.

One need not go far to see evidence of the "immorality". Not far from the mosque young men and women sitting at coffee and beer around in the trendy bars of downtown Pristina. Nearby, new monuments that tell the recent history of Kosovo. A large bronze statue of Bill Clinton, raised his hand in triumph or in greeting adorns a boulevard that bears his name. The former U.S. president is celebrated as a hero because he sent 1999 NATO aircraft against Serb forces.
Converts and hardliners

Another indirect consequence of the conflict, but is now regarded with suspicion: a strict form of Islam attracts converts to throughout Kosovo. The rise of this group represents the traditions and expectations of a society considered which was defined less by their Islamic faith than by belonging to ethnic Albanians and their pro-Americanism. Until 1999, still largely unknown, the religious conservatives and hardliners today., A small but increasingly visible group with supporters in all the major cities and some of the poorest areas in the country

Security officials report that these severe forms of faith germinated after the war, as a result of the influx of Islamic organizations in Kosovo, and the training of local clergy in Arab countries. The security experts speak of 50,000 followers this conservative Islam in Kosovo. That's a fraction of the total Muslim population, which is estimated at around 1.8 million people.
Discrimination of the Pious

Some clergy and converts have but attracted the attention of domestic intelligence on itself. This new generation of religious conservatives, says the secular constitution of Kosovo discriminates against the upright. You want to ban a relaxation of restrictions on religious symbols in state schools, the Muslim women and girls to wear the headscarf.

The relationship between the State and the Conservatives is marked by uncertainty and uneasiness. Both sides rely on international human rights. "When people say we have freedom of religion, which is not true," says Shefqet Krasniqi, an imam at the main mosque in Prishtina. "We demand the same rights, Muslims in London or the U.S.."

Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi says, however, that in the meantime, human rights concerns have hindered his attempts to curb activities of suspected Islamist hardliners. He reported that he had tried during his tenure as prime minister nine years ago to launch a law against "radical sects." But he was dissuaded by "internationals" of this - namely officials of the UN mission, which helped from 1999 to 2008, to administer Kosovo.
Dangers of the UN and EU underestimated

Behxhet Shala, head of the most important human rights organization in Kosovo, says the danger of extremism had been underestimated by the United Nations and the EU. "Today, the internationals are here, but they will go back. And they leave us with a ticking bomb," says Shala. He said that poverty in Kosovo and the porous borders made the country a fertile ground for radicalism.

Indeed, the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia was accompanied by a religious movement in the region. The Catholic and Orthodox churches in Croatia and Serbia are stronger today than they were before the wars of the 1990s. Kosovo is no exception. Throughout the country, new mosques were built, often funded by donors from Islamic states.
Ramiqi on Mavi Marmara

Most Kosovars are Muslim and exert a relatively relaxed form of Islam, which is dominated by Ottoman and mystical Sufi traditions. The hardliners seem to be more influenced by Arabic interpretations of the faith. They describe themselves as defenders of the faith, who oppose the advance of the "Western" secularism in Kosovo.

Fuad Ramiqi, a representative of the "Bashkohu" movement says his group advocate public protests and nonviolent resistance. The group complained about the ban on headscarves in schools and on the importance of Christian monuments in Prishtina. "That can not be a democratic state, secularism imposed on me," he says.

Ramiqi fought in the 1990s in Bosnia and was on board the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying aid for Palestinians in Gaza that was intercepted by Israeli forces in 2010.
Attacks on critics

At irregular intervals it comes to attacks on critics of extremist Islam. Musli Verbani, a former imam in the city Kacanik warned in a sermon in 2007, his church from extremism. Shortly after his parked car was set on fire. A man from the area was sentenced for the incident in January 2011 to three months in prison.

Other attacks against people who had spoken out against extremism led to no arrests. Xhabir Hamidi, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Prishtina and prominent critic of Wahhabism, was defeated in 2008 by masked men. He believes he was attacked because of his views. Osman Musliu, an imam from the city Drenas, was defeated in 2009 in a mosque. "I lost consciousness, and my hand was broken," he says. "I have always spoken out against the Wahhabis in our midst."

A senior police official, who asked not to be named, said that it had not then been enough evidence to leave the accusations of attacks against Hamidi and Musliu.

Musliu and Verbani say they from the reaction of the Islamic community - were disappointed to the attacks - the umbrella organization that administers the mosques in Kosovo. Both believe that the institution would condemn the attacks on their members more should. (Arbana Xharra, THE STANDARD, 29/01/2013)

Arbana Xharra, deputy editor of the daily "Zeri", has been running years investigative journalism. Last year she was on the entrepreneur Bejtush Zhugolli sued for 700,000 euros for damages because she had written that he and his brothers to support the election campaigns of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and receive public contracts. The jury is still out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kristos Papas në emisionin e Artur Zhejit

Albanian Foreign Minister Edmond Panariti, has declared "person non grata", MP of the "Golden Dawn", Christos Pappas

Panariti ordered the state police, to prevent the entry of Pappas in Albania

Christos Pappas of the "Golden Dawn" had announced that it would open political office in Northern Epirus, Himara, Korca, Argirokaster ecct

Christos Pappas, after an interview for Albanian media, has increased the sympathy of the community in Northern Epirus, reports News 24 TV.

According to the Albanian media, Pappas statement for the liberation of Northern Epirus, even with the intervention of the Greek army has angered Albanians, especially in the north of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, while adding supporters of The Golden Dawn in Southern Albania, a territory that historically inhabited by the Greek majority.

But albanians citizens, during which comments were followed by statements to the Deputy of the Greek Parliament, Christos Pappas, have remained amazed at how Greece can declare war to Albania, while both countries are members of NATO? As many others stated that the Law of War to Albania, entitles De Jure Greece, used to counterweight the deal that friendship Greece - Albania, remains underestimated, and gives diplomatic force Athens to apply for placement in the field, Protocol of Corfu, for a broader autonomy in Southern Albania, the Greek population.

Greece is going to set political elections in June, while the Golden Dawn, is moving clouser to 20%, a big part of this electorate, of course there will be voters from North Epirus, forcing Greek politics, to make coalition government.
Christos Pappas, in an interview with Arthur Zhei, News 24 TV

 Large audience in Greece, of Christos Papas interview, on "News 24"

It followed in Greece interviews deputy Christos Papas Golden Dawn gave journalist Artur Zheji during the show "360 degrees" on TV "News 24".

Many website especially those with nationalistic, announced for the show, even posted on their websites link "News 24" to follow live TV interview.

These website announced the date and time of the interview, advertise Christos Papas statements, which were aired on broadcast advertising spots.

Christos Papas presented in this news as "the man who has become very popular in Albania because of his visits to Northern Epirus, but also for statements made in the Greek Parliament and frequent questions directed the government on issues of North Epirus ".

Quote scriptures especially Papas MP statements made on the show, about the autonomy of Northern Epirus. "There are no end to the challenges of the Golden Dawn, which this time went beyond the borders of Greece, as deputy Christos Papas was interviewed Albanian channel" News 24 "and demanded the autonomy of Northern Epirus," said a Greek websites. "Autonomy of Northern Epirus is in effect a treaty, it exists and must be implemented," said the MP.

Another website when Papas interview touches demanded autonomy of Northern Epirus, while carrying in the hands of the Albanian flag in 1940-s, saying "this flag had the courage to attack Greece."

Also quoted statement of the law of war that exists between the 2 countries. "The law of war is not removed from a Papoulias statement, or a statement of the Foreign Minister. Basically we are still at war, "are phrases that are separated and accompanied by comments from the readers viewers.

The essence of Christos Papas statements related to the ideology of extremist party Golden Dawn, but the special was that these statements were made in an Albanian Albanian television before an audience and in a country, which claims that extremist MP is Greece and the writings , "interviews can also cause a diplomatic incident between the two countries."

Lavrov: Redrawing of borders unacceptable

MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on Tuesday that any redrawing of borders in Europe is unacceptable, and that everybody should adhere to the principles of the Helsinki Accords, and that fully refers to the situation in the Balkans.

Lavrov said this in response to Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's calls for creating an integrated Albanian state.

The Russian minister called on all European countries, including Albania, to strictly adhere to the Helsinki Final Act

This also refers to the situation in the Balkans, where much blood was shed. I believe that no one would want to witness the recurrence of such events, Lavrov said at a press conference after meeting his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Poposki.

The Macedonian minister said that Skopje does not back nationalism and redrawing of borders, noting that such actions would not lead to stability in the region.
Macedonia is a good example of peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians, representatives of various nations. The Balkan states are small and their interest is to seek integration and transparency, Poposki said.

Lavrov underscored that Moscow is disappointed with the way in which the West reacted to the acts of vandalism in Kosovo.
We are disappointed with the way in which Western partners reacted to acts of vandalism targeting Serb monuments in Kosovo, especially because these are World War II monuments. We are of the opinion that this is a dangerous trend, Lavrov said.

"Kurds set to announce ceasefire with Turkey"

ANKARA -- Kurdish militants will reportedly announce a cessation of hostilities with Turkey, in line with a fragile peace process aimed at ending their rebellion.
A Malian soldier (Beta/AP, file)
A Malian soldier (Beta/AP, file)
The first step in building trust between the Turkish state and the rebels will the disarming and withdrawal from Turkish territory of about 100 members of the guerrilla Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
This is according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

Turkish intelligence officials late last year began talks with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is in prison. The daily writes that negotiations were also held with the PKK in northern Iraq, where a majority of the organization's members are located.

More than 40,000 people have died in the clashes since the beginning of the rebellion in 1984, the goal of which is to establish a Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey. Turkey, the U.S. and the EU consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

The conflict is the main internal political problem faced by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after ten years in power.

"According to a timetable that is in circulation, the PKK will announce its decision on the cessation of hostilities in February, shortly after the official call by Abdullah Ocalan," the Turkish newspaper said.

As part of the peace plan that has been considered with Ocalan, "the PKK will definitely be disarmed after the withdrawal from Turkey, and the government will, in turn, introduce greater rights for the Kurdish minority", said the report.

from both countries are to meet this week.



Thousands in Kosovo Protest Decani Ruling

Some 2,000 locals living near the famous Serbian Orthodox monastery in western Kosovo protested against a court decision which they said unfairly favoured the monastery.
Edona Peci
Thousands of locals in Decani in western Kosovo on Monday attended a protest against a Supreme Court decision on land ownership, which pitted the famous nearby Serbian Orthodox monastery against two socially owned enterprises.
On December 28, the court rejected the claims of the two firms, Apliko and Iliria, against the monastery, one of the best known medieval Serbian heritage sites in Kosovo - but one now sitting in solidly ethnic Albanian territory.
The cases, according to the EU's law and order mission in Kosovo, EULEX, relate to donations made by the Serbian government to Decani Monastery in 1997 during the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
The companies had been challenging the legality of the donations, claiming ownership rights over the properties in question.
Protesters called the verdict “discriminatory” and said it was political influenced. Adem Lushaj, one of the organizers, said the court had “become a victim of political pressure”.
He also called on the US embassy to “stop this situation and not allow further provocations” to local people.
Police in the Peja region said about 2,000 people participated in the protest, which ended without incident.
Apiko and Iliria had initially filed claims with the Municipal Court in Pec and in Decani in 2000.
Monday’s protest is the second organized by locals in Decani, who have stressed that they will continue protesting against the ruling.
Samuel Žbogar, the EU Special Representative to Kosovo, urged all parties involved “to demonstrate respect for the rule of law and proper legal process”.
Decani was founded in 1327 and houses the grave of its founder King, Stefan Uros "Decanski".

Athens wants "real" union of the Greeks in Albania
22 years since the creation of Omonia, the organization, it has brought division and has met the requirements of diplomatic of Athens, but nothing, for the Greek community

A lunch of the members of the Greek minority in Albania, which represented also in Albanian politics, also with the Greek consul in Argjirokaster.

Greek diplomats calls for unity, to vote these representatives, are "old music" a historic failure of Athens to the Greek community., Who is surviving in new reality based on conjectures and the Balkan perspective.


Greece: How Long Until Junta?

By Bill Frezza* – It is often said that to get a glimpse of our future we should study the lessons of the past. Or we can observe the fate of those marching a few steps ahead of us down a road we seem determined to travel. Take Greece. Long hailed as the birthplace of democracy, it is now a poster child for excessive government spending, bloated public sector unions, unfunded entitlements, and stultifying regulations. What happens when the politicians frantically trying to stave off economic collapse finally run out of other people’s money?
The hapless Greeks have managed to keep themselves off the front pages for a few months as they burn through their latest cash infusion, courtesy of the German taxpayer. This is no mean feat considering the dire state of the country’s economy and the ever-present threat of a Greek debt implosion that could light the fuse for the unwinding of the euro, the opening act of what would surely become a worldwide economic catastrophe.
But the simmering cauldron that is the Greek body politic has not stopped boiling. Widespread misery and despair are breeding lawlessness and violence. The sense that the country is falling apart is emboldening fringe political parties on both left and right to spew apocalyptic rhetoric, as they inexorably move to fill the vacuum left by Greece’s discredited and collapsing center.
Read through the stories appearing everyday in the Greek press (which you might only find buried on the back pages of American newspapers) and you will undoubtedly ask yourself: “How long will these proud people put up with such degradation?”
To combat an explosion of smuggling and tax evasion, the Greek government has increased taxes on home heating oil by 50 percent. To no one’s surprise (except perhaps those who believe that taxes don’t affect behavior), home heating oil sales plummeted by 75 percent as eight out of 10 Greeks switched to wood-burning stoves. This blew a 400 million euro hole in anticipated tax collections.
And where are Greeks getting all that wood? They are denuding state forests. Environmentalists are going berserk as entire hillsides are being clear cut. It was even reported that an ancient and revered olive tree under which Plato taught his students disappeared one night to be fired up some shivering Greek’s chimney. The good news is that now that the trees are disappearing fewer Greeks will be blaming unscrupulous developers or Turkish agents for setting forest fires.
And where is all that smoke going? Into the air around Athens, which has become so laden with soot and smog that authorities are concerned it will precipitate a public health crisis. The proposed solution? The government is promoting the use of modern, ecologically friendly wood-burning stoves! No doubt some minister’s brother-in-law can make you a good deal, if you can get the cash.
Strikes are an everyday occurrence, which shouldn’t be surprising, as many strikers expect to be paid even when they don’t show up for work. Unemployment has passed the 26 percent mark, as Greece vies with Spain for the honor of being Europe’s top economic basket case. Youth unemployment has passed an astounding 55 percent. Suicides are skyrocketing as elderly and middle-aged breadwinners see no hope for the future. Barter club scrip is replacing currency as Greeks rediscover the true meaning of money. And while the black market is doing an admirable job forestalling starvation, the consequences on tax revenues have been so dire that the government is considering a ban on cash transactions larger than 500 euros, which would force citizens to use credit cards or other payment methods that leave an audit-able paper trail.
Former Greek deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas has suggested that the jobless be put to work on a voluntary basis without payment. One can only wonder how this is being received by the horde of former public employees long accustomed to getting paid without working.
A series of small-scale bombings and arson attacks have rattled Athens. Roving bands of club-wielding thugs have targeted immigrants and minorities in vicious drive-by beatings. Gunshots have flown through the windows of politicians who have fallen out of popular favor. An urban guerrilla group whose name translates to the “Circle of Outlaws/Nucleus of Lovers of Lawlessness-Militant Minority” is claiming responsibility for attacking journalists for the crime of defending government policy. Arrests for any of these crimes are rare.
How long before someone gets the clever idea to stage a Reichstag fire?
Study the Greek character and you will find a conundrum of contrasts. On the one hand, you have the caricature of the lazy, tax-evading shirker, sipping ouzo with his buddies in the taverna as he collects money for a no-show government job that his uncle got for him. On the other, you have a fighting spirit so fierce that even Hitler praised the Greeks’ martial prowess after he was forced to divert six crack units of the German Twelfth Army to put them down: “For the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks, of all the adversaries who confronted us, fought with bold courage and highest disregard of death.”
Talk about a volatile combination.
Anyone who believes that the situation now spiraling out of control in Greece will end peacefully is dreaming. There is no credible plan for economic recovery. Greek GDP is imploding. Multinational corporations are pulling up stakes, sometimes selling off their Greek operations for one euro just to get out. No foreign investor in his right mind would put money into a new business there, and the local entrepreneurs who try are usually strangled in a tangle of red tape through which no amount of fakelaki can cut. So far the tourism industry is hanging on by a thread as there are many bargains to be had, but when strikes and violence cross the nuisance threshold and the first whiff of foreign casualties hit the news, those international tourists will quickly go elsewhere.
And so the pressure builds and the clock ticks down to the next sustaining bailout payment — which, at some point, simply won’t be there once the Troika is forced to acknowledge that Greek “promises of action” are worth about as much as Penelope’s promises to her frustrated suitors.
When the anarchist/communists explode and the fascist/nationalists fight back, will we see a repeat of a civil war that claimed more Greek lives than World War II? How long before a frightened and suffering middle throws its weight behind a junta promising security? Someone will have to restore order when the German money runs out, because it sure won’t be German soldiers that are sent to keep the peace.