Towards a Greater Albania

The following article from Les Observateurs focuses on a potentially dangerous movement in the Balkans that has as its principal aim the creation of a Greater Albania. Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation:

The Greater Albania project: a danger of an Islamic hotbed in the heart of Europe?

September 2, 2017

I am a blogger of Greek descent and I would like to submit my article on the Albanian question. Thank you for your attention.

Balkans: the “Albanian question”, the puzzle for Washington

The NATO intervention led by Washington in Yugoslavia in the 1990s plunged the region into chaos. Their bombing campaign killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed apartment buildings, farms, schools, hospitals, churches and bridges. The Kosovo war opened a Pandora’s box and created the threat of a Greater Albania.

The idea of a Greater Albania developed in the nineteenth century, while the Ottoman Empire was still present in the Balkans. Greater Albania is a nationalist project aiming at bringing together within Albania all Albanians living in neighboring states of Albania. These include Kosovo and Metohija [Serbian designation for Kosovo], the Preševo region [Serbia], territories in Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece.

The most dangerous thing is that this virus of ethnic nationalism is difficult to control. Indeed, since the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo, the Albanian nationalists have a free hand. And they feel at ease to use the issue of a great Albania as a political tool.

Thus, in his interview with the Politico portal, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama did not exclude the possibility of unification of Albania and Kosovo “if the prospect of the accession of the Balkan countries to the EU continues to recede.” Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi also said that national unity remains an alternative if the EU does not want Albanians. The remarks that the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn has deemed unacceptable and even counterproductive are not new. But they are gaining ground.

The Kosovo syndrome has spread in the region among populations of Albanian descent. It is enough to mention the very violent inter-ethnic crisis that killed 100 to 200 people in Macedonia in 2001. That year the country experienced several clashes. There were parades almost daily in Skopje, the capital, and in the main cities of the country. The protesters accused the Albanians of wanting to federate Macedonia, to divide it. There may also be riots in Greece or Montenegro. Indeed, many similar incidents have already occurred in these territories. As a result, Montenegrin deputy Predrag Bulatović stressed that “we are witnessing the organized and coordinated regional actions of Greater Albanian nationalism in order to promote the idea of Greater Albania”.

It should be noted that Washington has a geopolitical interest in these Balkan countries. Kosovo (today) and Albania are the two most American-phile states of the Balkans. Indeed, American policy in the Balkans is rather ambiguous. On the one hand, Washington prefers to avoid any conflict in the region so as not to lose its power. On the other hand, the Republic of Kosovo was created with the support of NATO, which Albanian nationalists still take advantage of. Moreover, the situation is worsened by the political crisis that drags on and begins to worry Western countries, including the United States. The most recent government of Kosovo fell in June, due to a disagreement over the course of the border with neighboring Montenegro, another former Yugoslav republic. And since then, everything has been blocked.

In the absence of an economic take-off, Kosovo could indeed become an Islamic hotbed in the heart of Europe. Thousands of young Kosovars, destitute and discouraged by the lack of a future, have left for the jihad in Iraq or Syria.

It’s a real time bomb.

The answer to the question of whether the Albanian national movement represents a threat to the region is therefore obvious. It remains to be seen whether Washington intends to add oil to the fire or maintain peace and ensure security in the Balkans, which is also what it proclaimed as its main mission at the time.

— Maria Haros, Greek-born blogger, 8/31/2017

9 thoughts on “Towards a Greater Albania

  1. They don’t call it “the Balkan Tinderbox” for naught. The Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck also said the whole place was “not worth the bones of one Pomeranian Grenadier.”

  2. Wasn’t the entire point of the US-led bombing campaign in support of Kosovo to create an Islamic hotbed within Eastern Europe?

  3. I remember the war on Serbia waged by the US and its NATO allies back in 1999 in order to give control over the historical Serbian province of Kosovo to the terrorist organisation known as UCK which is an Albanian abbreviation meaning “Kosovo Liberation Army”.

    When Kosovo was part of Yugoslavia, Albanians there enjoyed political and cultural autonomy. They had a parallel Albanian-language system of education, Albanian-language press, printing shops, etc. However, they felt it was not enough. They began to put pressure on ethnic Serbs beating and insulting them and raping Serbian women. They used some more insidious means, too. A nun from the US who visited a Serbian convent situated near an Albanian village mentioned, in a description of her pilgrimage, that Albanians sent their children to break windows in the convent. The police could not do anything, as the children were too little to bear any responsibility.

    Of course, many Serbs left, and Albanians became the overwhelming majority. They tried to secede and to throw away the remaining Serbs. Serbia sent troops to put down their rebellion. And here the US and NATO intervened on the pretext of ‘protecting the human rights of ‘Kosovars’ (meaning Albanians)”. After a bombing campaign of Serbia, in which a number of civilians were killed, the ‘Kosovo Liberation Army’ established its control over the land. They killed a number of Serbs, pillaged their property, destroyed or desecrated hundreds of churches and monasteries (many of which are important cultural and historical heritage, as Kosovo is the cradle of the Serbian statehood).

    Now, the few remaining Serbs live in villages, monasteries or town neighbourhoods under armed protection of NATO troops. If they venture outside, they usually get killed. Albanian doctors refuse to give them medical assistance. Albanians sometimes shoot at people in Serbian reservations, the authorities often switch off electricity there.

    And they are trying to use the same tactics elsewhere – in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

    And the official West still considers Albanians as poor victims of Serbian ‘fascism’. The mainstream media in the West continues to depict Serbs as subhuman racists and Albanians as nice and cuddly.

  4. Albania was really a ‘third world’ country in Europe, and the only Muslim majority one.

  5. I was married to a Serb (1996-2010). Won’t bore you with the personal stuff, but I now see she was right about the Albanians.

  6. What would be the prospects for local gov’ts to promote native settlements? E.g. Greeks get incentives to move to Epirus, Serbs to Montenegro, Sandjak, Presevo, etc.

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