Saturday, May 18, 2013

Real Madrid Fans:  Kosovo is Serbia  

In the stadium "Santiago Bernabeu", during the King's Cup final to Spain to play between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, a banner is seen on the inscription "Kosovo is Serbia".

Banner was placed behind the gate of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid held by fans.

The photo has made the rounds of the internet world and has been one of the messages that is posted on many social network "Twitter". Albanians responded by posting photos on social networks where Barcelona fans support the independence of Kosovo and its membership in FIFA.

Balkan Islamic states meeting in Tirana

"Europe has 300 years to learn the lesson from Albania"

Presidents of Muslim Communities in the Balkans are expected today at a meeting of the Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha during the organization of the conference 6th in Tirana. Berisha stressed the importance of intercultural dialogue, and has singled out the example of Albania, whose religious beliefs do not differ for a moment this nation.

"There are beliefs that put people against each other, but use policies as a pretext beliefs," said Berisha. "The Balkans can be given as an example in the world of peaceful coexistence of religions," he added.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey's Muslim community, said the anxious movement of trucks at the construction site of the great mosque of Tirana, which he said he would strongly support. He said that prayer had a day earlier in Shkodra, where I was very close to the mosque.

"Europe has 300 years can not learn this lesson that Albania provides for religious harmony," said Gomez, who added that Berisha was lucky to meet a month before the elections so that religious leaders prayed for his health and success.

Albania-Kosovo joint patrols during summer


May 17 2013

General Director of Kosovo Police, Rilind Mexhuani and director general of the Albanian State Police Burgaj, signed in Tirana agreement for joint patrolling in the streets of Albania during the summer, according to a notice of the Kosovo Police.

According to the announcement, the two directors praised the co-operation between the two police forces, with special focus on common operational measures to be applied by the respective police.

"Increased safety in road traffic, sharing experiences, strengthening road safety, prevent accidents with consequences for life and punishing violators of traffic rules, are elements of the contents of the signed agreement , "the statement said .

It notes that the establishment of measures at border crossings as explicated action necessary to create incentives for citizens of both countries. The agreement covers the period from June to September 2013.

Russia reveals Moscow CIA station chief's identity

MOSCOW -- Russia has named the alleged U.S. intelligence chief in Moscow - a move seen as breaching diplomatic protocol.


It follows Moscow's decision to expel U.S. diplomat Ryan Fogle, who was accused of trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer as a spy, the BBC has reported.

Fogle, a purported CIA agent, was arrested on Tuesday while wearing a blond wig and was briefly detained.

Russia says it warned the CIA Moscow station chief in 2011 to stop the "provocative" recruitment of spies.

An unnamed official of the Russian FSB security services told the Interfax news agency on Friday that if recruitment attempts continued, the FSB "would take 'mirror' actions in relation to CIA officers".

The report gave the full name of the alleged CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) chief of station in Moscow. However, it is not clear if the same person remains in the post.

Fogle is said to have been a third secretary at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. He has been declared "persona non grata" for what the Russian foreign ministry called "provocative actions in the spirit of the Cold War".

He has been ordered to leave Russia but it is not clear whether he has already done so.

Russia said Fogle was caught while trying to recruit an FSB counter-terrorism agent in the Caucasus.

The Kommersant newspaper said he was investigating the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing attacks, who came from the Caucasus.

The FSB said another alleged spy, also a third secretary, was caught and expelled in January.

U.S. officials have refused to comment on the naming of the alleged CIA chief.

"We still feel that we have a very positive relationship, and one that we can continue to work together on areas where we agree," said U.S. state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, quoted by the AFP news agency.

"There are still areas, of course, where we disagree. But I'm not going to weigh in further on the impact here."

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Itar-Tass news agency: "This does nothing to contribute to the further building of mutual confidence between Russia and the U.S."

Relations between the two countries have been strained, most recently over the conflict in Syria. Russia backs the government, while the U.S. supports the rebels.

Ieronymos Visits Boston

By Hellas Frappe on 18.5.13

During his first visit to the United States, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece visited Boston a couple of days ago where on Saturday he would be proclaimed an honorary professor of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The trip was made following an invitation from Archbishop Demetrios of America.

The Archbishop visited the Boston Art Museum on Thursday and the scene of the bloody bomb attack near the finishing line of the Boston marathon race last month. Later in the evening, attended a formal dinner given in his honor by Metropolitan Bishop Methodios.

On Saturday afternoon, accompanied by Archbishop Demetrios, he is to visit New York for a series of meetings with US officials and members of the Greek-American community as well as several Greek Orthodox churches, schools and institutions.

Fourteen Iran exiles head for new life in Albania

Friday, 17 May 2013

Albanian national flags have been put up ahead of the first anniversary of Kosovo's independence in the town of Kacanik, on Feb. 15, 2009. (Reuters)

AFP, Washington -
Fourteen Iranian opposition members have left a former U.S. military base in Iraq heading for Albania as part of U.N. attempts to resettle hundreds of exiles, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Tirana has offered to resettle some 210 members of the People’s Muhajedeen of Iran, or Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) currently housed among about 3,000 people in Camp Liberty, near Baghdad.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the first 14 residents had left Wednesday “for permanent relocation in Albania.”

“The United States expresses its appreciation to the government of Albania for its generous humanitarian gesture,” she added in a statement.

But she also urged MEK leaders to “cooperate fully” with the relocation process being organized by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and to help U.N. monitors have access to camp residents.

“It is the responsibility of the MEK leadership to facilitate for the residents... free and unfettered access to U.N. human rights monitors,” she said.

A February mortar and rocket attack on Camp Liberty killed seven people, according to the group, and there has been deepening concern about the safety of the residents.

The MEK was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah, and after the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted him, the group took up arms against Iran’s clerical rulers.

Then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein allowed the MEK to establish a base called Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, after he launched the 1980-88 war with Iran.

But almost all MEK members in Iraq have now moved to Camp Liberty from Camp Ashraf as part of a U.N.-backed process to resettle them outside the country.

The MEK says it has now laid down its arms and is working to overthrow the Islamic regime in Tehran by peaceful means. Britain struck the group off its terror list in June 2008, followed by the European Union in 2009 and the United States in September 2012.

Friday, May 17, 2013

CEZ starts trial with Albania

CEZ starts trial with Albania

The Czech Group “CEZ” has officially started the legal procedures against the Albanian government at the International Arbitrary court. CEZ announced that the government has been notified about the decision of CEZ, which demands compensation for the damage caused by not protecting their investment in the energy distribution network.

CEZ say that the lawsuit is based on the iternational energy treaty, signed by the Czech Republic and Albania. The treaty was negotiated in 1995, and clearly defines the international rules for protecting investments in the energy sector. The notification was sent to the Albanian government by the CEZ company, meaning that the legal procedure has started.

However, the Czech Company clarified that both parties are still in time to reach a reconciliation outside the court.

After many disagreements between both parties, the Energy Regulation Entity decided to revoke the CEZ license with the argument that this company was not fulfilling the privatization conditions, and turned it under the government management once again.

“The new administrator took all the rights for the management of the company and on this basis the Czech Group is looking for a compensation of its investment by the Albanian government”.

“If Priština obstructs talks, we will turn to UN”

BELGRADE -- If the talks on Kosovo fail because of Pristina's obstructions, other exit strategies should be considered, even returning the talks under the UN auspices.


This is according to Serbia's Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planning Minister Milan Bačević.

"We do not expect new requirements from the EU or other countries that have shown interest in the talks between Belgrade and Priština. At this point, Brussels has the mandate to continue the talks, but I would not have anything against the UN getting involved in solving the problem if that would be more efficient and faster," he told daily Večernje novosti.

"Thanks to a mistake made by the old government, and above all former President Boris Tadić, the Kosovo issue was transferred from the UN to a different field. If we get guarantees that these talks can be completed and have a positive outcome for both sides, then this format and mediator are acceptable. If the talks do not go at a good pace, and Europe favors only one side, then we will certainly try to find some other way to solve the problem more efficiently. I believe that could be the UN, but I also have confidence in the EU right now," he noted.

“Priština has achieved its old goals in various ways, and always with the help of powerful protectors,” the minister was quoted as saying.

"Things are now radically different, because the Serbian team for the talks has succeeded in convincing those powerful protectors of the Albanian side that there is another truth as well," Bačević explained.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Poll: Albania, the most racist country in Europe 
May 16 2013

An international survey data from the World Value Survey collected and processed by the Washington Post reveals that Albania is the most racist country in Europe and worldwide more racists.

The survey attempts to make a connection between economic development and being tolerant inside a society with ethnic crashes..

Thus, the most tolerant countries in the world are the Nordic countries, Great Britain and some of its former colonies, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Countries with high tolerance are also in Latin America, where Venezuela exception.

First place for intolerance is Hong Kong, but the following countries are all developing countries. Then are Bangladesh, Jordan and India.

Countries of the former Soviet Union are relatively tolerant, whereas they are more racist Balkan countries. According to the Washington Post that may be related to the wars in this region. However, the country that stands with his racism is Albania, which is not involved in wars.

Engel: June 23rd elections are very important

Engel: June 23rd elections are very important

Eliot Engel, a lawmaker at the United States House o Representatives, says that the elections in Albania are extremely important and have got the attention of the entire international community.

In an interview for Radio Free Europe, Engel hopes that the elections will be honest and will bring out the real winner, and that this is a good step for the integration aspirations of our country.

“Albania is a proud NATO member, and I would be happy to see it in the European Union. The EU will observe these elections and will decided if Albania is a valid candidate for the European Union by basing their opinion on the progress of these elections”, Engel declared.

The United States high rank official says: “I hope that the disagreements that exist with the Central Election Commission will be resolved. We hope that whoever wins will have a victory that is accepted and respected by everyone”.

Engel says that the conflicts of the past cannot be part of the developments that we have today, adding that Albania must show that they deserve to join the European Union, and that the elections will be an important part for the European Union’s opinion.

“I think that Albania should be a candidate member. I would like to see Albania and Kosovo in the European Union, but these elections are extremely important and they have got the attention of the entire world”, Engel declared.

Visa, USA: Albania is not ready

 Visa, USA: Albania is not ready

The electoral campaign in Albania is expected to be interesting, at least in propaganda terms. “With our deepest reforms we lifted the visa regime with Europe. With other deep reforms we will lift the visa regime with the United States of America, and you will be able to move freely throughout the world”, Berisha declared during a meeting in Durres.

This declaration of the Prime Minister, although he didn’t give any detail about how the visa lifting would be achieved, has already revived the dreams of many Albanians.

This surprise promise of the Prime Minister found most of the Albanians unprepared. But who really decides on this case is the United States government, and not the Albanian one.

Top Channel sent an information request to the United States Embassy in Tirana, and asked them if there us any plan to lift the visa regime with Albania. The embassy replied:

“The Visa Waiver Program is sanctioned by law and there are a number of statutory requests that should be fulfilled before a country can be taken in consideration for VWP membership. The current law requires that only the countries with a visa refusal level of 3% and under can travel without visa in the United States. Albania’s level for 2012 was 40.5%”.

The declaration of the United States Embassy does not leave to much space for dreams. It remains to be seen if Mr. Berisha will keep promising this, which in the current conditions seems almost impossible.

SP: The US “placed visa” for Berisha . Milo: Electoral lie

The opposition sees no real chances in Berisha’s promise, and commented it more in the political view.

“Berisha cannot promise anything to the Albanians, when the United States have “placed a visa” on him”, declared Ditmir Bushati.

Paskal Milo, head of the Social Democracy Party and former Foreign Minister declared that Berisha’s is just an electoral promise.

In fact, with a simple search on the internet, the visa free regime is applied only with 37 states in the world, and countries like Poland, Romania, Cyprus and Bulgaria, although they are European Union members, cannot enter the United States without visa.

Albanian resolution on Cham  'genocide '

As in the case of Turkey, so in case of Tirana, the Greek government continues to support the European orientation of Albania, while the situation of the Greek minority has deteriorated and while nationalism and expansionism affect crucial not only Greek-Albanian relations, but also climate in the Balkans.

The party of Chams (PDIU) took advantage of the climate of nationalism and anti-Greek prevailing in powerful political circles in Tirana and the media, and managed to impose it on the political agenda of Albania.

By Sotiris Sideris


Alarming proportions has begun to take the effort of political parties in Albania to impose a resolution of Parliament with which to pay the "genocide of the Cham", which they claim ... did the Greeks after the end of World War II, which, if finally happens, it will cause huge political, historical and psychological changes in Greek-Albanian relations, which will be difficult to repair for many years.

The nationalist delirium that has erupted in Albania since last November, when we celebrated the centenary of the founding of the state and formalized the commitment to 'Greater Albania', may be partly abated after tough interventions dozen governments, including the USA, but many aspects remain active and merely rhetoric is somewhat depressed, but the request remains. One particular aspect, that of the Chams, which concerns our country is almost daily in the agenda and receive much in the Albanian press, but things be serious enough to submission of the resolution to the Foreign and Defence Parliament genocide of the Cham Greece.

The Party of the Chams, the PDIU, took advantage of the climate of nationalism and anti-Greek prevailing in powerful political circles in Tirana and the media, and managed to impose it on the political agenda of Albania as a whole political forces have already been incorporated in political reasons, the "tsamiko issue" and diagkonizontai about who has the most dynamic representations to Athens. This shows that the political deterioration of a risk is criminal and also shows that minorities sometimes evolve into powerful lobbies and sometimes decisively affect the dominant forces. In Greece for years the risk is downgraded, never analyzed properly, perhaps not analyzed-even, thus even now the Greek government can not address the problem.

Episodic meeting
Last Friday was a very eventful meeting of the Foreign and Defence in Tirana with contributors Members of the Socialist and the Democratic Party to request more time. The Party of Chams is the great protagonist, and has a consolidated its position in the political system as the expression 'the persecuted and murdered Chams ". During the meeting broke onslaught against Vangelis Dule, president of KEAD and member of the Committee, for expressing the vertical disagreement with the resolution. Eventually after hours of tension, the debate continued yesterday and while the "Topical" en route for the printshop.

If finally the resolution filed onto the House and approved, it is obvious that it will change the flow of relations between Greece - Albania and affect the political climate of the entire area. In this case, nothing will no longer be the same and Greece will be faced with a category or imagined anyone ever politician or diplomat. Why such a category will not stay on the bilateral level, will become an international issue, and Greece will run to face the consequences of denigration that will build on the falsification of history once again.

According to the Albanian press, members of the Commission have studied both the resolution and the accompanying interpretive material and discuss the content of the resolution in the new session of the Commission. The same reports estimated that the final course of action the Committee members are expected to be positive as to the filing of the resolution in the House of Assembly. Until a few days most parties, especially the Socialist leader Edi Rama-that caused the problem with the Constitutional Court's maritime zones-had spoken positively, while question is what will be the final stop of the Berisha government, as the Democratic Party led initially expressed support for the resolution, while the last few days show signs of folding, without knowing what trend will eventually prevail. The fact that Albania is going through the final weeks of large campaign for June elections is, however, a negative element.

What seeks Tirana?

Even though the Committee on Foreign and Defence Policy do not decide to deposit the resolution in the plenary of the Albanian Parliament, the problem exists and shall vest according to developments and political aspirations of Tirana. In simple words, this issue is already a tool pressure on Greece, which must now react to central political level.

By developments that the activation of the Greek embassy in Tirana is not by itself enough to influence developments and push for full and permanent withdrawal of the resolution. Because what is required is the total mobilization of government and design dynamic intervention to understand that in the event of an adoption anyway ahistorical resolution which is born of Albanian irredentism, will lead to crushing blow to bilateral relations and will open a new capital in the region. Information indicates that the direction of voting for the proposal for "genocide" backed with passion from the Turkish embassy in Tirana.

Albania has managed to repel fully Greek influence and aggregating constantly demands has embarrass the Greek diplomacy remains inactive or unable to design a policy of defense of national interests. Albania has refused to be ratified by the Parliament of the Agreement on maritime zones under the pretext of a Constitutional Court decision, pushing for the lifting of the belligerents threatens the resolution on genocide, makes maps for the "Greater Albania", violate the rights the Greek minority, while Greece has withdrawn from the fronts of good IMPLIED Claiming under an institutional policy for the EU's relations of good neighborliness.

As in the case of Turkey, so in case of Tirana, the Greek government continues to support the European orientation of Albania, while the situation of the Greek minority has deteriorated and while nationalism and expansionism affect crucial not only Greek-Albanian relations, but also climate in the Balkans.

Ibraj: Plan B for elections, there will be unexpected



Albania risks, after elections national security

Former President Mosiu: If elections are in danger, then it is in danger the stability of Albania

Published on 16/05/2013

Shekulli newspaper

Former Director-General of State Police, Ibraj, expressed concern about the situation before the election and its continued tension. During the meeting of the Civic Forum, Ibraj, who served for two years as Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Security and Director of Information Security in the Council of Ministers, requires security institutions that have nearly plan B.

Plan B for Nationjal Security after elections

"I am concerned and as a citizen of the fact that, not just before the election, but if there is no immediate composition of the CEC will indeed be major problems. A Word have given the U.S., EU and other officials. I do not know what awaits politics in general. Should increase sensitivity. I really look for parties and campaign ribbons are waiting in the campaign, but will invite national security institutions, should immediately prepare Plan B, Plan unexpected situations. It is necessary because there is very little time left. Concerns we recognize and regret that international, especially the USA and the EU, are not listened carefully and heard no response is that we should have. June 23 is very close and not talking about other issues, "said former Director General of State Police, Ibraj. In his speech, Ibraj said that since 2003, the CEC is politically and legally. "It's been 13 years and we now have a legally CEC is politicized to the changes on the 2003. Even a football game takes place if an arbitrator lacks. How can elections be held in this situation? Who will certify? Who will be the product? "Said Ibraj.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

OSCE observers launch mission for Albania's June 23 parliamentary election

The Associated Press
| May 15, 2013

TIRANA, Albania - Electoral observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have launched their monitoring mission for Albania's June 23 national polls.

Previous elections in Albania have been marred by violence, vote-rigging and intimidation.

The first 15-member OSCE team is in the capital Tirana, and up to 400 more short-term observers will arrive just before the parliamentary election, mission head Conny McCormack said Wednesday.

Some 3.3 million registered voters will elect 140 legislators for a four-year term. The two main parties are conservative Prime Minister Sali Berisha's Democratic Party and the Socialist Party of Edi Rama.

"250,000 Montenegrins live in Turkey"

ISTANBUL -- There are 250,000 Montenegrin immigrants living in Turkey, their representatives have announced.


This figure is equal to 40% of the total population of Montenegro.

An association gathering persons coming from Montenegrin who live in Turkey met on Wednesday in Istanbul with the Montenegrin prime minister's adviser for foreign policy, Nebojša Kaluđerović.

Interest was expressed during the meeting to open consulate general of Montenegro in Istanbul, while Kaluđerović announced his country would soon adopt a law on the diaspora.

Montenegro does not have legislation related to this issue, and has not set up a state organ to deal with cooperation with the diaspora - although this was envisaged in the 2009 national strategy.

Proinos Logos Newspaper

To give answer to the Albanian challenges!

"The Protocol of Corfu, which as you know, has been abandoned by the Greek diplomacy, and not used, not for the posting of land from the neighboring country, but not even to ensure basic human and property rights in the Greek minority of Northern Epirus. 
The consistently strong interest in Russian diplomacy to highlight the Protocol to the UN Security Council, but also the fact that the decision of th.e U.S. Congress in 1920 is still in force, be sure alarmed Berisha"


* "The Greeks of Albania after the fall of the regime than in 1990, there were still victims of systematic attacks and attacks by the Albanian state and local authorities, aimed to exterminate the people that as minority ethnic, cultural and religious '.

This highlights including a communication by the Albanian authorities, the Appeals Committee Northern Epirus at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for violating the cultural, human and minority rights. The minority does not enjoy either fundamental rights under international law and included in what should respect Albania, as a candidate member of the European Union.

List some of them:
Absence census Greek population-based self ethnicity, limiting the region where the Greek minority recognized repudiation of origin and trying to absorb it, not return the confiscated property of the Orthodox Church, implicit integration and assimilation of the Greek Orthodox Communities, systematic and progressive disappearance of the Greek public schools, non-use of the Greek language in Public Administration which provide an unjustified expropriation of Greek property, seizure Greek media, very limited Greeks working in public administration.

The challenges of Albanians are not confined to a minority. Leading Albanian circles continue to delude themselves with the idea of ​​Greater Albania several years after the independence of Kosovo, as show news and events, causing the international community.
Some of these are:
The annual search for the Balkans, released on 9-12-2010 by the international polling firm Gallup in partnership with the European Fund for the Balkans, highlighted the issue of "Greater Albania" as one of the most important in the region. In the same survey the leaders of Albanian state in the Balkans that soon the region of Presevo will follow the fate of Kosovo, that would secede from Serbia. Themselves have set a target time for the implementation of "Greater Albania or Physics» 2015. In meetings between Albanians of the Balkans, made Tirana, discussed the formation of a union under "List of Natural Albania".

The so-called "Albanian National Army" with online communication, sent to the media and Tirana, Kosovo, Skopje, Presevo and Ulcinj Montenegro had informed that began preparations for the first military operations, and the creation of "ethnic Albanians", the "Greater Albania", which extends to several areas beyond the current boundaries of the Albanian state.
In the announcement, UKSH states, inter alia: "It is time to get rid of the Serbs Slavs and Greeks conquerors who neither time did not stop killing innocent Albanian population living in honored territories, so the war is inevitable. " At the end of the announcement of UKSH calls to former UCK fighters in Kosovo, the UCK in Albanian and Macedonian UCK and Mentvegkie Presevo (southern Serbia) to unite for a cause, the union of the Albanian territories and the creation of "National Albanian '.

Appeared the "Liberation Army of the occupied territories of Albania» (ACTOSH), a terrorist organization with challenging notice threatening ... will hit Balkan targets, among which Konitsa Thesprotia, to annex territories, as mentioned, belong to Albania. For Greece, in particular, ACTOSH says Tsamouria, Kastoria, Florina Konitsa is not Greek and thus must pass into their hands in any way.

Many people associate this new terrorist organization with "UCK" (pp former Albanian Liberation Army of Kosovo). That's because the mode of action and words into communication reminded the specific organization. The only item in the hands of the authorities is the name of the head of the organization. This is a Kosovar named Koustrim Mtrovitsa, considered particularly hardline.
Body of Albanian irredentism is the UCC (Liberation Army Tsamouria). Recall Article of the German magazine «Der Spiegel» (nr. 46 / 10.11.2003) entitled "The revolt of Skipetaron: Albanian extremists planning an armed struggle in Northern Greece in order to create a Greater Albania."

The UCC estimated directly controlled by the UCK. The headquarters of the UCC is in southern Albania, where they have installed their headquarters Chams guerrillas, organized along the lines of UCK. Their power is estimated at 5,000 armed revved to take action and guerrilla sabotage within Greece. Only in the region of Epirus and 12 months were discovered by the Greek security services more than 1,000 Kalashnikovs, 200 pistols and many bullets that the Albanians 'coincidentally' is introduced in this part of Greece. Confidential information that says warehouses with heavy weapons the UCK and the UCC are scattered on the outskirts of Athens and in secret spots in northern Greece. Recruiting additional members from 1,500,000 Albanians living in Greece.

Cham Muslims of Albania, relatives and descendants of war criminals of 1941 to 1944, claiming the free entry into Greece to honor as announced, the anniversary of ... genocide by the Greeks on 27 June 1944. Please remember that 19,000 Chams Muslims who escaped the population exchange in 1923, the 1900 sentenced by the Court quislings Ioannina in 1945 as associates of Germans and conquerors as responsible for crimes against the Greeks of Thesprotia. Rebel groups N. Zervas chased them and they fled to Albania, so been tried in absentia, while the estate of convicted confiscated. Today parties Albania supporting the revanchism of Tsamos organizations and use the purported theme of Human Rights as a distraction to the real issue of the oppression of the Northern.

The Chams in Albania have approached law firm in England and claim refund in Thesprotia, restitution and recognition of "genocide"! Began a process to erect monument of "genocide" by the Greeks in the village Klogkeri of Saranda!
Recently the Albanian Foreign Minister Panariti in private conversations requires recognition genocide for Chams, apparently not having regard to the definition of genocide under international law.

In the Albanian parliament appear Members who openly declare their Tsamis cooperate with Berisha and require Greek lands. End of June 2010 the two Chams Members of PDU Spetim Idriz and Dashamir Tahiri had starred in challenges against Greece in the Albanian parliament. Idriz once again blamed Greece for genocide and asked the House to observe a minute of silence "in memory of the victims of mass massacres in Tsamouria." While all Members present stood up and observed a minute of silence, did the same and the president of KEAD Vangelis Dulles. His attitude angered Tahiri, who ascended to the floor of Parliament and called the president of KEAD 'puppy Zervas'. (Note blog: correctly report the incident Mr. Gkorezis but should keep in mind that the party leader of the National Albanian Army are in the same alliance with Rama and Dule).

Albanian students through new textbooks, they learn the history of "Greater Albania". Naturally, once the book is structured in the sense of "Greater Albania", taught, inter alia, that "the Northwest Greece, from Florina to Preveza on Albanian territory in which" bloodthirsty "Greeks carried" ethnic cleansing "in the Chams who pleiopsifousan in these soils."

The Albanian authorities renamed "Square Tsamouria," as they defiantly Greek Epirus, the main square of Tirana, within the celebration of 100 years of independence, and sacrilegious Albanians invade the Orthodox churches and the profane, the most recent incident in the Temple Saints in Himara. Block the entrance Northern Epirus in Greece, indicating their passports to Albanian place names that exist in the constructed map of Greater Albania supposed to express so irredentist tendencies!
Alvanoi xethemeliosan the monument legendary gypsomatos 731, which shamed the nice spring attack the Italians on 9 March 1941, supervised himself Mussolini! To not party puce Alliance announced that their new branch in Greece is called "puce Tsamouria Alliance" and is based in Thesprotia!

To all this the Albanian government squints and passed the "Dooku", despite the international noise they generate. Moreover, he repeatedly Albanian Prime Minister has gone ... soft nail on the challenges of the Chams to Greece. As if that were not enough, Sali Berisha on the occasion of one hundred years of independence the country said some time ago shamelessly that Albanians have always in their plans of "Greater Albania", encompassing Kosovo, part of FYROM, the Florina to Kastoria, Ioannina, Arta and Preveza!

And last, the Albanian government Berisha:
Delimitation of the maritime border of the country to 12 nautical miles, thus putting the tombstone already inactive agreements between Greece and Albania on 'maritime border. " Take into account that the distance Corfu and Saranda is 6 nautical miles (correct observation but omitted the crucial contribution of the President of SP leader Edi Rama in its application to the Constitutional Court).
Appointed Deputy Education Minister of Albania Ardian the extreme nationalist, President of Tsamos club «cameria» who wants to close the Greek schools in Northern Epirus and makes the struggle for restitution to "Chams".

On 17 May 1914 the Greek Northern won with the blood of his heart and the signing of the Protocol of Corfu Autonomy. O struggle continues today unabated, the steps outlined by the late Metropolitan Konitsis Sebastian and the worthy successor of Andreas.
Is a national need for all healthily minded Greeks:

To demand that Greek diplomacy to begin to face Albania in international fild. And proclaim that the only real minority issues in Greek-Albanian relations are the Greeks of Albania, whom we can rely upon.
Be clear that we respect each labor and honest Albanians who works in our country, but we will not accept the emergence of these temporary residents of our country recognized minority.

And as a first step in this direction could be the epanadiethnopoiisi Protocol of Corfu, which as you know, has been abandoned by the Greek diplomacy, and not used, not for the posting of land from the neighboring country, but not even to ensure basic human and property rights in the Greek minority of Northern Epirus.
The consistently strong interest in Russian diplomacy to highlight the Protocol to the UN Security Council, but also the fact that the decision of the U.S. Congress in 1920 is still in force, be sure alarmed Berisha.

* George Gkorezis is Author veteran, Former President of the International Commission of Military History, Chairman of the Retired Officers in Ioannina

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Albanian-Macedonian cooperation
The Macedonian Defense Minister, Talat Xhaferri, declared during his visit in Tirana that both countries will cooperate in common peacekeeping missions after 2014, reducing this way the financial cost.

Xhaferri declared that Macedonia is offering its training centers to Albania.

“We are ready to keep contributing with the common ally forces even in the post ISAF 2014 format. We made an offer for our training capabilities to be used also by the Albanian Army”, Xhaferri declared.

The Albanian Defense Minister offered our government’s support for Macedonia’s NATO accession. Imami said to be optimistic for a quick solution of Macedonia’s name issue, so that the country can be part of the NATO.

“The first and most important issue is the integration of Macedonia and the entire region in the Northern Atlantic structures. Albania’s position is stable in the fact that Macedonia should be a NATO member. The name issue, which has been the only obstacle for this country, should find a solution as quickly as possible”, Imami declared.

Both ministers reiterated the support that they should give to Kosovo, so that they can be present in all military initiatives in the region. They greeted the Belgrade-Prishtina agreement and added that Kosovo should take an active role.

Talat Xhaferri also met with the Albanian President, Bujar Nishani, with whom he discussed about the cooperation between the countries and reinforcing the security in the region.

Europeans "rapidly losing confidence in EU"

BRUSSELS -- Europeans are rapidly losing confidence in the EU project and look at each other with increasing suspicion, a survey conducted in eight EU countries has shown.
The favorable view of the EU in the past year fell from 60 to 45 percent, researchers of the American Pew Research Center found. They published the results of an extensive survey with the participation of the citizens of Germany, France, Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain and Italy.
The biggest drop was in France, where in 2012 about 60 percent of the population supported the EU, while today that percentage barely exceeds 40 percent.

Different levels of the decline were recorded in all other countries except the Czech Republic, where last year it rose by four per cent, but the total number of Czechs with a favorable opinion of the EU remain very low at only 38 percent - less even than in the traditionally euroskeptic Britain, where 43 percent still support the EU.

The results also show that citizens are increasingly doubtful about the ability of national leaders to pull their countries out of the crisis, and in France and Italy the support for national governments almost halved in the last year and barely exceed one third (France), and one quarter (Italy) of respondents.

The only exception is Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has the backing of as many as 74 percent of respondents - lower, however compared to last year's 80 percent, but still unmatched in any other country.

Germany in this study differs also in most of the other indicators, and is the only among the eight countries covered where citizens believe that their economic situation over the past five years had improved, while all others recorded a drastic deterioration, particularly Greeks and Spaniards.

Interesting results were obtained by the Pew Center when it explored ethnic stereotypes by asking respondents which nations they considered most reliable and generous, and most arrogant and fickle.

Germany is considered "the most reliable nation," while Germans have the most favorable opinion of themselves. Germans also see themselves as "least arrogant and most generous of all."

Even though they all acknowledge its "reliability," most other nations see Germans as "arrogant and unfeeling" - with the exception of the British who, not surprisingly, attributed these negative traits to the French.

According to the survey, the only other nation that can match Germans in the narcissism department are the Greeks, who consider themselves the most reliable, generous and least prone to arrogance - an opinion that is not shared by any of the other participating nations.

Among the rare good news in this survey is that the confidence in the euro is growing despite the current crisis and is now around 65 percent. The trend is also present in the hardest-hit countries such as Spain and Italy.

All this could give reason to politicians, who last week pompously celebrated Europe Day, to seriously think about the diminishing confidence of voters in both European and national institutions, and the growing xenophobia in relation to the near and distant neighbors

Russian FSB catches suspected U.S. spy "red-handed"

MOSCOW -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) on Tuesday announced that they detained a U.S. diplomat suspected of being an undercover CIA agent.
The diplomatic ID issued to Fogle by the Russian authorities (Beta/AP/FSB Public Relations Center)
The diplomatic ID issued to Fogle by the Russian authorities (Beta/AP/FSB Public Relations Center)
According to reports, the FSB held the man, identified as Ryan Christopher Fogle, briefly in custody before handing him over to the U.S. embassy in Moscow - "after necessary procedures were completed."
The Russian counterintelligence officials said that Fogle was caught on May 13 as he was trying to recruit an officer from once of Russian special services.

Fogle served as third secretary in the political department of for the American embassy.

He was in possession of “special technical devices, written instructions for the Russian citizen being recruited, a large sum of cash and means of changing his appearance,” an FSB statement, quoted by RIA Novosti, said.

A letter he was carrying, which which was released by the FSB, read:

“We are ready to offer you USD 100,000 and discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. Payment can be significantly higher if you are prepared to answer specific questions. Furthermore, we are offering up to USD 1 million a year for long-term cooperation with additional bonuses for information that can help us.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to come in Wednesday to discuss the incident.

The FSB concluded its statement by saying it had recently registered multiple attempts by U.S. intelligence to recruit agents from among Russian law enforcement and special services.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow is yet to issue an official reaction regarding the incident.

Protocol of Corfu

May 17, 1914 

 99th Anniversary


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:Protocol of Corfu 1914.JPG
The Protocol of Corfu (Greek: Πρωτόκολλο της Κέρκυρας, Albanian: Protokolli i Korfuzit), signed on May 17, 1914, was an agreement between the representatives of the Albanian Government and the Provisional Government of Northern Epirus, which officially recognized the area of Northern Epirus as an autonomous self-governing region under the sovereignty of the prince of the newly established Principality of Albania.[1] This agreement, granted to the Greeks of the districts of Korytsa and Argyrokastro, which form Northern Epirus, wider religious, educational, cultural and political autonomy, inside the borders of the Albanian state.
After the end of the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), the subsequent peace treaties ceded the region to Albania. This turn of events catalyzed an uprising among the local Greeks which lead to the Northern Epirote Declaration of Independence, at February 28, 1914. Finally on May 17, the International Commission of Control, an organization responsible to secure peace and stability in the area, intervened and the Protocol of Corfu was signed. However the protocol’s terms were never implemented because of the politically unstable situation following the outbreak of World War I and it was eventually annulled in 1921 in the Conference of Ambassadors.[2][3]

Albania; Document approved for the Strategic Defence Review, as the first document of this kind as a NATO ally

Ethnic, religions and social conflicts, under the changes borders in Balkan, great risk for politic stability of Albania

Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania adopted its Strategic Defence Review. It is the most important document and Safety and conducted at a time when Albania is a country allied North Atlantic Treaty. This document is an analytical assessment of current and anticipated environmental safety and protection, identification of national interests and objectives, analytical argument for the role of the Armed Forces in this environment, the quantity and quality of the capacities they need to dispose of according to possible scenarios of their use, and their organization into a modern and reliable for mission accomplishment constitutional protection under collective or separate.

Document Strategic Defense Review was initiated by the Prime Minister of Albania, was formulated by teams of national expertise and best supported by a coherent NATO allies. Strategic Defence Review is a document for all: for politicians, citizens, experts, military, journalists, interest groups and civil society, including the international community.

Open to the public edition of this document, except respect democratic norms, is an expression of transparency in defense. Process Strategic Defence Review considerably exceeded the size of the institution of Defense. In which more than 150 civilian and military experts from ten other state institutions, and to consult with other governmental and civil society.

Monday, May 13, 2013


 RIEAS Research Institute for European and American Studies
Strategic Analysis 

Greece over the past decade has become a source country concerning the entrance of an unspecified amount of illegal immigrants, mostly from Asian and African states, that enter mainly through the Greek-Turkish borders and with the complicity or indifference of the authorities of the neighbouring country, despite the bilateral and international  agreements that have been sealed for this matter.
Illegal immigration is actually an asymmetrical threat aimed at destabilizing the Greek state and it is of critical interest to view it under the prism of Ankara’s stance concerning Greece’s role in the region. In simple terms Turkey uses the masses of desperate people being gathered in its territory in order to inflict great losses in the Greek economy and alter its ethnic and social profile. The latest information that have verified the above writings are videos and images depicting the Turkish Coast Guard deploring immigrants in the Greek Islands; that were shown in Greek national TV without any denial from the other side.
Turkey as a Eurasian Crossing
The Turkish authorities have announced from time to time that they expel some 100,000 illegal immigrants from their territory each year, whilst between 1995 and 2005 they managed to expel over 575,000 and arrest 6,100 smugglers. Even though the flow of people from the East to the West seems unstoppable, and an 8 billion USD illegal industry has been created, cantered on the main metropolitan Turkish centres.
The same criminal groups that are apt into securing great earnings from the modern slave trade, are also involved in the narcotics and arms trade, thus presenting the real magnitude of the threat involved which is the multiplication of organized crime activities and the existence of a multifunctional parallel crime syndicated state in Turkey that is also a threat to Greek and European stability.
The prices for a “crossing” between the Turkish shore and the Aegean Islands – a few miles apart- costs from 2,000 to 5,000 US dollars and for an illegal route from Turkey to Northern Europe the smugglers demand up to 15,000 USD. The immigrants from the African countries travel to Izmir, Istanbul and Mersin through vessels crossing the Mediterranean Sea, whilst Arabs come mostly through the Syrian-Turkish borders. The Asians (Pakistani, Kurds, and Afghani) pass through the Iranian-Turkish borders and it has to be noted that both countries do not have a visa regime, although Teheran is accused by the world community as a sponsor of terrorism. Therefore the flow of people from Iran to Turkey is in fact unconstrained and there has not been pressure to Ankara to alter this state of affairs with its neighbour.
At this point it has to be noted that between Middle East, Iran and Greece there is only one country apart and that it Turkey. That is one of the main reasons USA does not lift the visa between Greece and the States because there is a real threat of terrorists, criminals and other travelling through the Atlantic once reaching Greek territory. As it was mentioned before that is much easier that originally though, judging by the fact that from Central Asia to the Aegean the border controls are either lax or non existent.
Once reaching Turkish territory the immigrants are literally stashed in old warehouses or decaying apartments and wait for their transfer. In the meantime -a period up to 2 years- they work as underpaid manual workers in the local tourist and industry businesses, thus minimizing labour costs in Turkey.
Currently it can be safely estimated that there are 1 million illegal immigrants “in transit” from Turkey to Europe and many of them will end up in Greece and allocate themselves in the newly founded ghettos in the centre of Athens, in the port of Patras or in various locations in the countryside, thus adding up to the 2.5 million illegal aliens already present in Greece.
Greece and Turkey had signed a bilateral agreement concerning organized crime and illegal immigration (17/12/2005), although it has not been practically put into action and most importantly Athens already accuses the other side that it does not conform at all in the obligations written in the official documents, such as re-acceptance of expelled people from Greece that had left previously the Turkish coastline.
The Stakes Involved
Greece is on the front line of the European periphery, meaning its actions have wider ramifications for the overall security architecture of the Continent.
There are three parameters by which the issue can be viewed upon.Firstly there seems to be a trial by the Turkish state to exhaust the Greek security, police and military forces that apart from their conventional duties have to deal with the increasing problem of persons crossing daily and in great numbers the borders in land and in the sea. Additionally to that the creation of large Muslim communities will play a destabilizing role concerning the societal balances of Greece as recent experience in France, UK, Italy and the Netherlands has shown.
Moreover the undocumented aliens are responsible for the introduction of hygiene issues into the Greek territory and diseases such as tuberculosis that were almost extinct, have gain in strength recently. Further the Greek state budget is pressured due to the increased health, education, security, humanitarian and transport needs of a large number of people that don’t pay taxes nor do they bring capital into the country but instead they transfer abroad the largest amount of the wages they gain in Greece.
Lastly illegal immigration is a suitable terrain for the infiltration of European space by terrorists, criminals, espionage agents and any other category of the population wishing to avoid control and detention. Thus the future of Europe and Greece is being compromised due the lack of the basic principles of security in the international system, which is the verification of the identity of the passengers, a key factor for the existence of a stable and peaceful environment in the present day globalized era.
Athens should realize that the time has passed where the issue could have been resolved though the use of intellectual debates and non-practical dialogue between oblivious politicians.Actually the climax is near judging by the fact that the overpopulation in the East and the global economic crisis will arrive shortly, thus creating further strain in the borderlines.
Therefore some practical steps are needed:
The domestic intelligence network of Greek informants and collaborators that cooperate with their Turkish counterparts should be neutralized and disbanded before any sustainable gain could be made.
The role of Turkey as discussed above and the regime relating to border crossings in the Middle East, should be made vocally known by the Greek Foreign Ministry to the global forums, conferences and the international organizations. The pampering of states and regimes that degrade the security of other societies should be brought to a halt and the full consequences of their actions should be publicly known.
For the moment the Greek diplomatic authorities are extravagantly at ease with the current distressful situation and completely out of tune in relation with the above proposed action.
Moreover the Greek patrol guards and teams should be able to make sensible use of their light firearm arsenal, since illegal crossing is in direct violation of a country’s independence and the numbers are so great that they constitute a sort of an invasion.
Furthermore that does not mean the killing of innocent civilians, but rather the use of hard power composed by the new technology “non lethal weapons”, the targeting of the smugglers-criminals involved, even the use of psychological warfare techniques into the territory of the neighbouring country before even the preparation of the crossings begins.
The Greek state could also make use of its bilateral relations with countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Syria and others in order to persuade and pressure the foreign governments to take responsibility for their citizens ending up in Greece, many times without documents and passports. The creation of online data-bases with the latest techniques of facial recognition that verify for the identity of every immigrant can assist to that. It has to be noted that any initiative by Athens to those states will only have a minimal effect since the governments in there are mostly interested in dealing with their social issues by allowing the immigration of large numbers of unemployed and unskilled citizens and there are also indications concerning the initiatives by Islamic groups to form strong communities in Europe by exploiting the religious faith of the newly comers.
The stance of Greece should be in overall terms, that of a state that considers it s territory a “non suitable illegal immigration route” and make it know in an international level. Although the Greek governmental officials seem rather hesitant into implementing the above recommendations, the historical necessity and the international obligations of the country might activate them rather soon than latter.
Albanians in Italian universities

Albanians in Italian universities
Albanians make the highest number of foreign students in Italian universities. The Italian University System has registered 79.000 foreign students, 11.800 of whom are Albanians, followed by the Chinese with 6000 students.

More than half of the students outside the European Union aim faculties such as those of Economy, Engineering, Medicine, Surgery and Nursery.

One third are concentrated in the Universities of Rome, Firenze, Peruggia and Siena. Although there is a higher number of foreign students in Italian universities, Italy remains among the last industrialized countries that attracts foreign students.

The total number of foreign students in the European Union is 1.7 million. The reasons that stop the massive arrival of foreign students in Italy might be the high bureaucratic level for the residence permits, the living conditions, the lack of dormitories and the low spread of Italian language.
Territory Regulation approves touristic complex and HPPs

Territory Regulation approves touristic complex and HPPs
The Council of Territory Regulation has approved a series of projects that are mainly focused in energy and tourism.

Under the direction of the Prime Minister, the Council has approved the permits for the construction of some tourist complexes in the Lalzit Bay and Hamallaj, which will be built by the “Balfin Group”, owned by Samir Mane. 

This area has had several conflicts, even a violent clash with the police, over the expropriation and demolition of illegally built houses.

Besides the tourist projects, the Council of Territory Regulation has approved the permits of nine small hydropower plants in several areas of the country. 


"SOT" Newspaper

Berisha gives Dhermi beaches concession, partners connected with his family  
Albania: "Bad situation in hospitals"

Bad situation in hospitals
After monitoring the situation at the Tirana University Hospital Center and other hospitals through the country, the Ombudsman has sent a critical report to the Health Minister, Halim Kosova, in which he states that the public health system does not offer the quality and standards that the citizens need.

“There are problems with infrastructure, with the lack of medicaments, with the specialization of staff, with the way how patients are treated, and a series of other things that are very important. Our health system lacks of standards and quality for a decent service to the citizens”, Totozani declared.

The Ombudsman has received several complaints about the absence of basic medicine in hospitals, especially at the Onkology.

“Patients don’t have the necessary medicaments and the state has halved its investments in this area, while the patients have doubled, which makes this situation urgent. This is unacceptable”, Totozani declared.

The report quotes that the need to supply medicine to hospitals is immediate, because not all patients can buy expensive medicine in private pharmacies.

According to the Ombudsman, their absence makes a violation of the Patients’ Right Card.

A few days ago Totozani was elected by the UN in Geneva as member of two important boards: the European Regional Network and the Board of Directors at the International Committee, which guarantees the cooperation of national institutions with the High UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

Lavrov, Kerry to Meet in Sweden This Week

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (archive)
15:36 13/05/2013MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on the sidelines of the two-day Arctic Council meeting due to begin in Sweden on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.
"Following the talks held on May 8 in Moscow, the Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State plan to hold a separate meeting in Kiruna,” Ryabkov said, adding that the agenda of the meeting is currently being drafted.
According to information obtained by RIA Novosti, the talks will focus on the Syrian civil war, as at the previous meeting held in Moscow on May 7. During those talks, Russia and the US agreed to hold an international conference aimed at facilitating a solution to the Syrian crisis through political dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition forces.
This week’s meeting in Sweden will be the fifth meeting between the top US and Russian diplomats this year, following talks in Berlin, London, Brussels and Moscow.
The Arctic Council intergovernmental forum, comprising Russia, the United States, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, was established in 1996 to protect the nature of the Arctic region and its indigenous peoples. The council’s eighth meeting will be held in Sweden’s northernmost city of Kiruna on May 14-15.

Patriarch and president meet and urge "unity"

BELGRADE -- Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej and President Tomislav Nikolić met on Monday and urged "absolute unity and responsibility".
This is necessary "in the search for a solution to the Kosovo and Metohija issue as the most important national matter."
“We wish to resolve the Kosovo and Metohija issue in a way that does not jeopardise the Constitution or Serbia's sovereignty, nor calls into question the lives and security of Kosovo-Metohija citizens, especially the local Serb population,” the president said in a joint address to reporters after the meeting with the SPC patriarch in the Belgrade Patriarchate.

The patriarch also voiced the need for unity and warned that splits are the most difficult problem in the search for a solution to the Kosovo and Metohija issue, as well as stands voiced without grounds or reasons and excuses which can prove detrimental and cannot be of any use to Serbia.

Nikolić underscored that the patriarch and himself agreed in everything, adding that it is not easy to decide on behalf of the nation just as it is not easy to decide on behalf of the Church.

“Still, it is much better when there is unity among those who make decisions on behalf of the people and those who make such decisions on behalf of the Church,” the president said.

He noted that they also wish to avoid any discrepancies in the statements since there are none in their stands, and expressed the hope that Serbia would come out of this stronger and preserve its dignity.

The president said that certain individuals should take into consideration whether or not they are causing damage by their statements to Serbia's relations as a whole.

According to him, everyone can and should say what they think and voice their ideas, but nobody is allowed to abuse their position in any way.

He noted that the Belgrade Patriarchate has always been a home where one can receive advice, appeasement and comfort, and added that he is grateful to the patriarch for their exchange of stands which always yields positive results for Serbia.

“The problem is rather comprehensive and it is very important for us to be united when it comes to the Kosovo and Metohija issue,” Irinej said.

“We know that the situation is difficult but we must not lose common sense and give in to emotions because reason needs to prevail so that we could see which path and solution we should opt for,” the patriarch said.

He remarked that certain statements were made over the past few days whose nature is purely individual and personal.

“We will discuss this within our bodies as well, as it is only natural for the Church to be united in everything, as the Church has always been the concept of unity,” the patriarch said.

For American foreign policy, no good options

One feels sympathy for U.S. President Barack Obama. Whatever he does in Syria, he is doomed. Had he intervened a year ago, as many pundits demanded, he might presently be in the midst of a quagmire with even more pundits angry at him, and with his approval ratings far lower than they are. If he intervenes now, the results might be even worse.
Buildings damanged by an Israeli airstrike in Damascus, on May 5 (Beta/AP/SANA)
Buildings damanged by an Israeli airstrike in Damascus, on May 5 (Beta/AP/SANA)
Journalists often demand action for action's sake, seemingly unaware that many international problems have no solution, given the limits of U.S. power. The United States can topple regimes; it cannot even modestly remake societies unless, perhaps, it commits itself to the level of time and expense it did in post-war Germany and Japan.

Indeed, Obama has onerous calculations: If I intervene, which group do I arm? Am I assured the weapons won't fall into the wrong hands? Am I assured the group or groups I choose to help really are acceptable to the West, and even if they are, will they matter in Damascus in the long run? And, by the way, what if toppling Syrian leader Bashar al Assad through the establishment of a no-fly zone leads to even more chaos, and therefore results in an even worse human rights situation? Do I really want to own that mess? And even were I to come out of it successfully, do I want to devote my entire second term to Syria? Because that's what getting more deeply involved militarily there might entail.

In the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, intervention did not provoke other powers in the region such as Russia, because Russia in the first decade after the Cold War was a weak and chaotic state unable to project its usual historical influence in the Balkans. But intervention in Syria could get the United States into a proxy war with a strengthened Russia and with Iran.

In a media-driven world, holding power is truly thankless. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will have his term in office defined by three things: a withdrawal from Afghanistan, a serious reduction in the defense budget and responses to any overseas emergencies that crop up. There is no good way to accomplish the first two, and the third usually presents the same sort of awful choices the administration now faces in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry energetically engages in negotiations with Iran and Afghanistan, and with Israel and the Palestinian territories, not because he necessarily wants to, but because he must. Anything less would indicate an abdication of America's responsibility as a great power. And yet the chances of good outcomes in all of those cases are slim.

The overarching theme here is that the media assumes American policymakers have significant control over events overseas, whereas in truth they often have very little. The complex, messy realities of ground-level war and politics in Syria, Iran and Afghanistan – short of aerial and naval bombardments or tens of thousands of boots on the ground – are probably not going to be pivotally shaped by American officials.

During the Cold War, when chaos was relatively limited and much of the globe was divided up into two ideological camps, it was at least possible to formulate creative diplomatic strategies through the mechanical manipulation of this or that country or group of countries against others. But in a world of weak and fragmented democracies, considerable anarchy and anemic alliance systems, it is much harder to manipulate reality. There is no night watchman. No one is in control, even as the media is more relentless than ever. (Indeed, could one imagine in today's media climate a Henry Kissinger or a James Baker constructively and sternly pressuring Israel as they once did?)

A relentless media means policies have little time to mature before they are declared failures. It means there is less secrecy because of so many leaks. And because so much is leaked, government officials themselves have less incentive to be candid, even in private meetings, on account of the assumption that no transcript stays secret forever, whatever the security classification given it. So the quality of discussion inside government deteriorates, even as the public policy climate outside also worsens. In sum, the semi-anarchic, post-Cold War world narrows the space for foreign policy success at the same time that the quality of foreign policy itself wanes.

Adding to the dilemma are the really hard problems – the ones that even the most creative diplomacy cannot solve. Every president of either party going back decades has failed on the issue of North Korea. Meanwhile, each administration gets blamed anew for the failure.

In such a climate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ranks as the model diplomat. She often practiced activity for activity's sake, circling the globe nonstop before adoring cameramen while having no real diplomatic accomplishment to her credit, despite a refreshing tendency to speak boldly on occasion. The media approved of her because she was, well, a celebrity. She did promote one useful idea, though: the "pivot" away from the Middle East and toward the Asia-Pacific region. For that and maybe for that alone will she be remembered. The pivot was less a brilliant idea than a natural, organic evolution of policy intent, given the winding down of two Middle Eastern wars and the rising strategic and economic importance of the Pacific. But as noncontroversial as it should have been, the pivot was attacked in the media as being both too weak-kneed (How come we don't have more warships dedicated to Asia?) and too belligerent (against China).

So what is an American leader to do in such circumstances? How can one be a statesman in the face of reduced American influence in a semi-anarchic world and in the face of an increasingly demanding media?

The answer may be exactly what Obama is doing now in Syria: modestly assisting some of the rebel groups, but essentially avoiding the level of involvement that would make him henceforth responsible for events on the ground. In other words, let Iran get sucked deeper and deeper into the Syrian maelstrom, not the United States. The maintenance cost for Iran in a crumbling Syria will grow, even as Iran enjoys less influence there than it did during the era of a strong al Assad regime. At the same time, intensify the economic and diplomatic aid to Jordan, which, with its relatively small population and small economy, may well be possible to save. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and so forth are all destined to be weak, quasi-chaotic states that the United States cannot put to rights without the kind of gargantuan effort that would undermine its interests elsewhere in the world and at home.

It may be — barring some military attack on the United States or on a treaty ally that plainly justifies a commensurate military response — that successful administrations will go unloved during their tenures, even while they are granted grudging respect in the years and decades that follow. This has often been the case in American history. But owing to the nature of the media and the nature of the world overseas, it might become increasingly the norm. Remember that President George W. Bush enjoyed high public approval ratings from the very beginning of his presidency, through 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. But it was the very military actions that he took, popular in the media at the time, that led in his second term to becoming a tragically failed president.

The lesson is this: When it comes to foreign affairs, there is usually no way to get good reviews. But once an American leader internalizes this, he might then begin to craft a strategy that is honorable and will ultimately secure his reputation.

For American Foreign Policy, No Good Options is republished with permission of Stratfor

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Archbishop Demetrios Asks US President To Protect Ecumenical Patriarch

By on 11.5.13

Archbishop Demetrios of America apparently sent a letter to US President Barack Obama asking the American President to do everything that he could in order to ensure the safety and well-being of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios following the shocking reports from Turkey on Thursday and Friday claiming that there was a plot to assassinate the leader of the Orthodox Church.

Vartholomaios remains the highest-level Christian religious leader in a Muslim country.

In his letter, Demetrios asked Obama to “exercize his good offices to ensure the safety of His All Holiness."

Syria denies role in Turkey blasts

ANKARA, DAMASCUS -- Syria has denied being responsible for two car bombs which killed 46 people in a Turkish border town on Saturday.


Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi told a news conference on Sunday his country "did not commit and would never commit such an act because our values would not allow that".

Turkish police say that nine people have been arrested in connection with Saturday's attacks in Reyhanli.

Ankara has said that it suspects the involvement of Syrian intelligence.

The Turkish government said on Sunday that the number of people killed in the blasts had risen to 46 and that more than 50 others were still being treated in hospital.

All nine of those arrested in connection with the attacks were Turkish citizens, officials said.

"This incident was carried out by an organisation which is in close contact to pro-regime groups in Syria and I say this very clearly, with the Syrian Mukhabarat," Interior Minister Muammer Guler told Turkish TV.

Turkey, a NATO member, is a strong supporter of the opposition in Syria's civil war and a vocal critic of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The U.S. and NATO have condemned the bombings and expressed support for Turkey.

Hundreds of mourners have been attending the funerals of the victims in Reyhanli, which is home to many Syrian refugees.

Zoubi said that "it is not anyone's right to hurl unfounded accusations".

"We were saddened by the martyrs' deaths" [on] Saturday in the town of Reyhanli," he said.

"It is [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan who should be asked about this act. He and his party bear direct responsibility."

Zoubi also launched what correspondents say was one of the harshest personal attacks on Turkey's prime minister by a Syrian official so far. He demanded that Erdogan "step down as a killer and as a butcher".

Zoubi said it was the Turkish government that had facilitated the flow of arms, explosives, vehicles, fighters and money across the border into Syria.

He said that this had turned the border areas into centers for international terrorism and the Turkish leadership had to take political and moral responsibility for it.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has vowed to catch those behind the attack. On Sunday he said that he believed fighters loyal to Syrian President Assad were responsible.

The Syrian opposition coalition has added its voice to the Turkish accusations that Damascus was behind the bombings, saying it was a blatant attempt to drive a wedge between Turkey and the thousands of Syrian refugees who have been given shelter on the Turkish side of the border.

Davutoglu said that the attacks "have nothing to do with the Syrian refugees in Turkey, it's got everything to do with the Syrian regime".

He said that it was "not a coincidence" that the bombings occurred as diplomatic efforts to solve the Syrian crisis were intensifying.

"There may be those who want to sabotage Turkey's peace, but we will not allow that," he said.

"No-one should attempt to test Turkey's power. Our security forces will take all necessary measures."

He said those behind Saturday's bombings were believed also to have been behind an attack on the Syrian coastal town of Banias a week ago, in which fighters backing President Assad in the civil war were reported to have killed at least 62 people.

Reyhanli is an entry point for refugees fleeing violence in Syria and local people attacked Syrian refugees and cars with Syrian number plates after the attack, according to local media.

The Turkish government said the bombings were intended to pit Turks against Syrian refugees in Reyhanli, adding that refugees had no role in the attack.

The attacks will put pressure on the Turkish prime minister, BBC has reported.

Erdogan's policy on Syria has always been to support the Syrian opposition but not become involved in the war, but the attacks now make it very difficult for him to carry on staying out of the conflict.

He is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama in Washington on Thursday with the U.S. currently considering its options over Syria.

There has been some speculation that the bomb attacks may strengthen the hand of those urging the creation of a no-fly zone and safe haven for the Syrian opposition inside Syrian territory.