A year ago, at a closed-doors meeting between the USA and EU officials and the leaders of the four major parties of FYROM in Strasbourg, a route map for the resolution of the protracted political crisis was agreed on (or rather imposed). The roots of this political crisis are to be found outside FYROM: it is actually more a confrontation by proxy between “the West”, which supports the opposition, and Russia, which is trying to maintain its influence in the region. In conjunction with the public discontent at government policies and the escalating corruption, the negotiations have contributed to sharpening the crisis, which has become acute.
The route map imposed on the closed-doors meeting between US representatives and the EU and local political leaders was supposed to lead to elections in April 2016. But the elections were postponed to 5th June 2016, in order to be “better prepared”. As it turned out, the elections were not held on 5th June either. They were postponed once again, thanks to intervention by the same people who had insisted in the first place on their being held: the representatives of the USA and EU representatives. Given that the process did not develop in the way intended, the “Westerners” instructed their local gatekeeper parties not to participate. The result was that that only one group of parties met the deadline for registration: the coalition supporting the current government.
Both sides warnings
Directly after this, the declarations and warnings started :
“The government that will emerge from these elections will not be trustworthy. Such a government will not be a reliable partner for discussions with the international community and there will be a setback to the accession negotiations”.
This was the threat issued by M. Kostantich, the EU spokesman. Matthew Nimetz, the UN representative, also said that “it is urgent to form a really democratically elected government, and after that we can resume negotiations on the country’s name …”
The answer from the other side intervening in the region came immediately: “The internal political crisis must be solved without interference from the outside” declared Oleg Shcherbak, Russian Ambassador in Skopje , at the inauguration ceremony of the new Russian Consulate in Ohrid. At the same time, the opening of a new Russian military base in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia – Herzegovina was announced, its declared mission being “confrontation with the spread of jihadism in the Balkans”. Given the on-going demonstrations from the opposition, with the photograph of its leader Zoran Zaev throwing tomatoes at governmental offices being beamed all over the world, the Albanian DUI party (ally of the government and one of the two main parties representing the strong Albanian minority) submitted a proposal for the elections to be postponed once again. It was supported by 96 MPs.
Even the date of the elections is decided outside FYROM
As a condition for the “Westerners” giving the go-ahead for a new date to be set, the US spokesperson Brian Hoyt demanded submission and immediate ratification of new bill that would enable the country’s president Gjorge Ivanov to repeal the pardon he had issued for the 55 former governmental officers charged with wiretapping and corruption, to be submitted and voted on the same day. The demand was also supported by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and his German representative in the EU Johannes Hahn, having been imposed, as usual, in a closed-doors meeting of the four parties. The mandate was implemented immediately: President Ivanov has already revoked the pardon to 22 officials, among them former ministers, heads of security and intelligence, general secretaries of government, presidents of Parliament etc.
But the opposition claims that this is not enough. It requests withdrawal of pardon for all 55 of those under indictment. The prime target is Nikola Gruevski, leader of the ruling party and for a decade Prime Minister of FYROM. Meanwhile, the “color revolution” continues. The protests have spread to other cities as well, with dominant slogans “Resign” and “Nikola to prison”. Gruevski himself announced that he has resigned and is not interested in claiming the premiership again. According to reports he is in the process of transferring his bank accounts abroad and attempting to strike a deal that would enable him to flee to Russia, together with the former interior minister, former head of the secret service and four businessmen.
The president of FYROM Ivanov has resigned himself to signing overnight whatever is dictated to him by imperial powers (even if it contradicts what he had signed the day before), at the same time salvaging his national pride with barbed comments against Greece: “The Greeks believe that we will conquer their country with the two helicopters we own.” Moreover, in order to show that FYROM has no intention of doing anything without receiving prior permission from the foreign powers, he is even willing to make himself the butt of his own humour: “NATO has obliged us to change our military action plan seventeen times. After so many changes we are virtuosos: we have been trained in every possible strategy! ”
The incredible (and dangerous) servility of local politicians
The conflict is growing and none of the key players in the geopolitical regroupment that is under way in the region seem inclined to lose their access to any vital sphere of influence. The whole of the Balkans, not just hybrid states or provinces like Kossovo, is evolving into a twofold protectorate. Both governments and oppositions are afflicted by incorrigible servility, clearly eager to link their fate to one of the major foreign players. At every opportunity they affirm their willingness to sell out everything, including the few lingering traces of national sovereignty.
In the NATO Parliamentary Assembly the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama declared the immediate necessity for integration of FYROM and Kosovo into NATO, in order to put a check on Russian geopolitical designs in the Balkans. Since May 19 Montenegro has been a signatory to the NATO accession protocol and will participate in all proceedings with observer status. Following ratification of the protocol by the member states of the alliance it is programmed to become the 29th member.
At the same time that all the above was taking place the SEECP (South East European Co-operation Process) was proceeding in parallel. Started in Belgrade in 1996 as an initiative of Greece and Bulgaria, the SEECP’s main goal was, and remains, full European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the whole region. This is taken for granted and not questioned, even in jest by, for example, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, to judge from his statements.
The scene in FYROM and all across the Balkans is clearly reminiscent of older colonial times, when imperialist intervention in what were later called third-world countries was overt in character. But nowadays these interventions are even more dangerous, given the geopolitical conflict among the great powers in the region and the direct link between what is happening in the Balkans and the war in Syria, the chaos in Libya and the wider instability that exists in the environs of Russia and in the wider Middle East.
Chris Hedges is on vacation and will return to writing his weekly Truthdig column on Sept. 5. While he is on break, we are republishing some of his past columns. This one originally appeared Nov. 10, 2008
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically ...
Here we go again. Earlier this year, some were surprised to see Project For The New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and longtime DC fixture Robert Kagan endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.
They shouldn’t have been. As is now clear from a policy paper [PDF] published last month, the neoconservatives are going all-in on Hillary Clinton being the best vessel for American power in the years ahead.
The paper, titled “Expanding American Power,” was published by the Center for a New American Security, a Democratic Party-friendly think tank co-founded and led by former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy. Flournoy served in the Obama Administration under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the next secretary of defense, should Hillary Clinton become president.
The introduction to Expanding American Power is written by the aforementioned Robert Kagan and former Clinton Administration State Department official James Rubin. The ...
Only when we refute the monolithic interpretation of Zionist theory and practice can we approach an understanding of the contested relationship between anti-zionism and antisemitism.
Israel - BDS. Flickr/ Takver. Some rights reserved.The relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a vexed and controversial question. My starting point is to elucidate an understanding of the meaning of Zionism; a term and a political concept which is rarely defined and frequently misunderstood. This is hardly surprising given that today in the 21st century, Zionism/ist is construed as an insult by some and is often equated with apartheid and even worse, Nazism. My understanding of Zionism seeks neither to exonerate, praise nor condemn. Rather we must seek to comprehend the Zionist movement and concomitant ideology in its historical, material and constantly evolving context.
A form of nationalism
Put simply Zionism is a form of nationalism which developed under two sets of linked influences in the ...
Tony Blair and his bloodstained paws
With most of the Balkans firmly under the grip of the Atlantic Empire, the empire now seem to be placing their dirty paws on the only place in the region that is left for them to further pillage, plunder and colonize: Serbia. War criminal Tony Blair is back in town, and so are some of the criminals that were directly involved in bombing Serbia in the 1990s. Once Blair arrives in town, fellow warmongering psychopaths can't be far behind.
In 2014 former CIA Director David Petraeus, now chairman of KKR Global Institute, subsidiary of Wall Street vulture capitalist firm KKR & Co., visited Serbia and met with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who welcomed him and his plans with open arms. The theme of their conversation was about 'attracting foreign investors' - neoliberal economic-speak for plundering Serbian companies, workers and resources. Petraeus emphasized that KKR Global Institute ...
USAID is spending $300,000 to fight traditional Christian morality in the Republic of Macedonia (a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-367912520/stock-photo-puzzle-with-the-national-flag-of-macedonia-and-dollar-banknote-concept.html?src=1NQf52M43o22eQ682DptgQ-1-66″>esfera/Shutterstock).
A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:
Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):
Macedonia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention. Through ratification of these human rights treaties, Macedonia has assumed obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect, and to fulfil human rights. Despite the adoption of international human rights principles, which are incorporated in domestic legislation, Macedonia has made little progress towards meeting European Union criteria in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights according ...
According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report.
According to various well respected journalists, including Seymour Hersh, the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed.
Sadly, it seems that the evidence released years ago was only scratching the surface.
While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it comes out.
Giving a speech at the ACLU last week after the senate torture report was initially released, Hersh gave some insight into what was on the Pentagon’s secret tape.
In the most revealing portion of his speech he said that:
“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened ...
THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO
Author: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages: 411 with complete index
Available to order from Global Research
The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the ...
The facile and indiscriminate use of the term fascism has led to a widespread misunderstanding and misuse of its meaning. Asked to define fascism, most people would respond in terms such as dictatorship, anti-Semitism, mass hysteria, efficient propaganda machine, mesmerizing oratory of a psychopathic leader, and the like.
Such a pervasive misconception of the meaning of the term fascism is not altogether fortuitous. It is largely because of a longstanding utilitarian misrepresentation of the term. Fascism is deliberately obfuscated in order to sanitize capitalism. Ideologues, theorists and opinion-makers of capitalism have systematically shifted the systemic sins of fascism from market/capitalist failures to individual or personal failures.
Thus, the origins, the rise and the ravages of the classic European fascism are blamed largely on Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, not the socio-economic circumstances that gave rise to those instrumentally “useful” characters. An obvious flaw of this interpretation of fascism is that it cannot ...
From Brussels we hear here in Serbia, the signing of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) is a "new phase in relations with NATO." While Ivica Dacic and Bratislav Gasic issue PR proclamations applauding themselves though, many Serbians are dissenting. Here's the other side of the coin.
The dictatorial government that rules Serbia is leading our people into ruin. Slowly but surely we leave military neutrality and become just another puppet state, a pawn in the greater game of western hegemony. We’re a puppet country with a puppet government. Unfortunately for us, the government can defend its argument that NATO membership was chosen by the vast majority of our people, but here with us, many are now ashamed to be Serbs.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Defense Minister Bratislav Gašić signed the so-called IPAP, or the Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO. It should be carved in stone here that ...
With every day, the true face of Europe mirrors ever so clearer the abject inhumane colonial power that raped and usurped Asia, Africa and South America for hundreds of years, as so well depicted in numerous articles and essays by my friend, philosopher, historian and war journalist, Andre Vltchek. Every day this neo-colonial continent spits out new atrocities. And it’s getting worse. Jean Paul Sartre was right, when he said the US is but a Super-European-Monstrosity. The colonial Europeans, mostly Anglo-French Europeans, are at the helm of this monster-octopus, self-declared empire. They are behind the mysterious and Machiavellian eye on top of the pyramid on the US-dollar bill, the symbol of the Freemasons, the forefathers of today’s United States of America – and the driving force towards the New and One World Order.
They pull the strings via such semi-secret organizations like the Bilderbergers, Trilaterals, CFRs (Council on Foreign Relations), Chatham ...
The objectives of the US military presence in Africa are well documented: counter Chinese influence and control strategic locations and natural resources including oil reserves. This was confirmed more than 8 years ago by the US State Department:
In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of “protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” (Nile Bowie, CIA Covert Ops in Nigeria: Fertile Ground for US Sponsored Balkanization Global Research, 11 April 2012)
At the beginning of February, AFRICOM’s “head General David Rodriguez called for a large-scale US-led ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign against groups in West Africa during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC:
The term "security" is a very multifaceted one. But today's geopolitical situation forces us to think about its military aspect above all.
Our attention is completely absorbed by news about wars, conflicts, military exercises and increasing defence capabilities. An average European reader has no chances to skip this kind of news while looking through news feeds of popular media.
Even planned further militarization of the European region and Russia pose the real threat today. A whole generation of European children is growing in the firm belief that the war is approaching. We destroy ourselves by our fears. We notice everything concerning military issues and neglect economic and social sides of our life. We live in a changed world and we are to blame for it.
Let's take Lithuania as an example. This small country with reach history and with immensely kind and open people last few weeks falls into the center of world ...
The US Senate Report documenting CIA torture of alleged terrorist suspects raises a number of fundamental questions about the nature and operations of the State, the relationship and the responsibility of the Executive Branch and Congress to the vast secret police networks which span the globe – including the United States.
CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force
The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. CIA organized large scale death squad activities and extreme torture in Vietnam (Phoenix Project); multiple assassinations of political leaders in the Congo, Chile, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere; the kidnapping and disappearance of suspected activists in Iraq and Afghanistan; massive drug-running and narco-trafficking in the “Golden Triangle” in Southeast Asia and Central America (the Iran-Contra war).
A complex geopolitical situation in the region forces the Baltic States and their NATO allies to take unprecedented efforts to increase defence capabilities to counter potential aggressors. A new Lithuanian military strategy approved in March describes Russia actions along with terrorism as the main threats for the security of Lithuania, as reported by Delfi.
Unfortunately for pacifists, the Alliance and Russia today are arming and demonstrating their military power. They constantly compare their armed forces' strength and capabilities, conduct large-scale military exercises, respond to each other by deploying new contingents and military equipment closer and closer to the NATO-Russian border.
The Baltic States have become such a border.
Moscow has placed Iskander-M launchers in Kaliningrad. The Russian Iskander is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has never been made available to any foreign army for operational use. The weapon affords Russia the ability to use its Baltic exclave to threaten US missile ...
NATO has expanded dramatically after the collapse of its primary rivals, the USSR and the Warsaw Treaty Organization, Canadian Professor Michael Jabara Carley notes, posing the question whether NATO was founded as a defensive or an offensive alliance.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance aimed against the Soviet Union, was established on April 4, 1949; and only seven years after the formation of NATO the Warsaw Treaty Organization was established bringing together eight nations (versus 15 NATO member-states).
So, who was the real "aggressor"? What alliance was an offensive one?
"There has been much discussion recently of NATO in the mainstream and alternate media. Why was NATO founded in the first place and why did it expand so rapidly after the collapse and dismemberment of the USSR in 1991," Professor Michael Jabara Carley of the University of Montreal writes in his article for Strategic Culture Foundation.
© AFP 2015/ FRANCISCO LEONG
The Canadian academic points out that according to widely held views in the West, NATO originated as a ...
Professor Noam Chomsky said it would be “no small trick” for the Ferguson protests to turn into an anti-racism and social justice movement, considering America’s founding principles are slavery and the extermination of the indigenous population. In a sweeping interview covering everything from Iraq and Syria to China, capitalism, and the protests in Ferguson, MIT linguistics professor Chomsky told GRITtv’s Laura Flanders that events in Ferguson and the protests that have followed show how little race relations in the United States have advanced since the end of the Civil War.
“This is a very racist society,” Chomsky said. “It’s pretty shocking. What’s happened to African-Americans in the last 30 years is similar to what Baptist (Edward E. Baptist in The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and The Making of American Capitalism) describes happening in the late 19th Century.” Chomsky said constitutional amendments were supposed to free African-American slaves, which they ...
In Arabic TV interview, Labour’s ex-London mayor blames Israel for IS attacks in Europe and mass expulsion of Jews from Arab world, again claims Hitler supported Zionism
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone on Wednesday called the creation of Israel “fundamentally wrong,” and “a great catastrophe.” The existence of the Jewish state in the Middle East, he said, could ultimately lead to nuclear war.
“The creation of the state of Israel was fundamentally wrong, because there had been a Palestinian community there for 2,000 years,” Livingstone told an Arabic language TV station based in London, in a clip posted and translated by the watchdog MEMRI group.
“The creation of the state of Israel was a great catastrophe,” he repeated. “We should have absorbed the post-World War II Jewish refugees in Britain and America. They could all have been resettled, whereas 70 years later, the situation is still very tense, and there is potential for ...
In an interview for the German news magazine Zuerst! (April 2015) Srdja Trifkovic considers the significance of Otto von Bismarck’s legacy, 200 years after his birth.
Dr. Trifkovic, how would Bismarck react if he could see today’s map of Europe?
Trifkovic: He would be initially shocked that the German eastern border now runs along the Oder and Neisse rivers. Otto von Bismarck was a true Prussian. In his view, cities such as Königsberg, Danzig or Breslau were more properly “German” than those in the Rhineland. His first impression therefore would be that Germany has “shifted” to the West, and that an important social and cultural aspect of his Germany has been lost. Once he’d overcome this initial shock, he would look at the map of Europe again in more detail. The considerable distance between Germany and Russia would probably amaze him. What in Bismarck’s time was the border between Germany and Russia is now ...
The Arctic has in recent weeks become a focal point of geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States. Given the present rate of global warming, scientists anticipate that the region will be ice-free by the summer of 2030. It is believed to contain a large portion of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. It is also an important maritime route, one that is increasingly accessible due to the thawing of its ice cover.
The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions of the world. According to a study commissioned by the US government, some 30 percent of unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of undiscovered oil and gas condensate are located there. Only Russia has a greater supply of raw materials.
The Northeast Passage, which extends beyond the Arctic, is regarded as an alternate sea route from Europe to Asia to the southern route, which runs via the ...
Exclusive: Few Americans understand the ugly history behind the Nazi-affiliated movements that have gained substantial power in today’s U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime. Western propaganda has made these right-wing extremists the “good guys” versus the Russian “bad guys,” as Jonathan Marshall explains.
By Jonathan Marshall
The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, one of the leading journals in its field, offers a two-page photo essay on “what to see, do, and buy” in Lviv, a picturesque city in the Western Ukraine. “Amid the turmoil that has rocked Ukraine over the past two years,” the article gushes, “Lviv has stood firmly as a stronghold of national culture, language, and identity.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another, less charitable way would be to note that Lviv has for nearly a century been a breeding ground of extreme Ukrainian nationalism, spawning terrorist movements, rabid anti-Semitism, and outright pro-Nazi political organizations that continue to pollute the country’s politics.
Sen. John ...
Hillary Clinton’s Project For A New American Century
Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
‘Soft Coup’ In Belgrade? Tony Blair Becomes Advisor To Serbian Government As Wall Street Plunders State Assets
America’s Culture War Mercenaries
Classified Evidence: US Soldiers Raped Boys In Front Of Their Mothers
NATO: Proudly Delivering Death Since 1949 – A Book Review
Distorting Fascism to Sanitize Capitalism
A Serb View Of Partnership Action Plan With NATO
BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe
Is Boko Haram a CIA Covert Op to Divide and Conquer Africa?
Who will secure Lithuania?
Imperialism And The Politics Of Torture: Towards A Global Secret Police Force
Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: Defence against Russia or target for terrorists?
Why Didn’t Washington Dissolve NATO After Collapse of USSR?
Chomsky on US: ‘This is a very racist society’
Ken Livingstone: Creation of Israel was ‘a great catastrophe’
Bismarck’s System Of Continental Alliances
US Imperialism And The New Race To The Arctic
Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict