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Re: Albania

Released on 2012-08-09 18:00 GMT

Email-ID 888403
Date 2011-01-26 02:27:02
many Kosovars remember that Berisha gave only lukewarm support to the KLA,
and was believed to have profited personally by allowing fuel shipments
into Serbia and Montenegro, despite the NATO embargo at the time.
so i guess that means the weapons flow in 1997 was not b/c of anything
Berisha did (err, wait, was he in power back then? my Albanian history is
getting all jumbled)

On 1/25/11 6:09 PM, Fred Burton wrote:

From TrapWire in response to Marko's questions --

Fred -- Just in. Haven't had time to give a good scrub/spell check etc.
so might be a bit raw. (His English is excellent, but not perfect). M


1. Any thoughts on what repercussions unrest in Albania
could have for the region as a whole?

Instability in Albania generally means instability within
the Albanian diaspora in the region.

. Kosova: Just came out of general elections and is now facing
an internal crises . The winning party does not have enough votes to
elect a PM or create a new government. At the same time, the leadership
of the winning party has been accused for war crimes and trafficking in
human organs by a Swiss reporter. These issues have endangered the
current political process towards Kosovo independence. Negotiations with
Serbia are now on hold. An unstable political situation in Albania will
be a big loss for Kosovo. Kosovo has no representation in international
institutions and Albania is her biggest supporter and ally regarding
Kosovo foreign policy. A crisis in Albania will make the dialogue
between Kosovo and Serbia, which is seeking a division of northern

. Macedonia: Our neighboring country has a population of 30%
Albanians, who have been in constant conflict with the Macedonian
government regarding their rights as a minority. Macedonian-Albanians
are divided in to two groups: one that is more liberal and has
assimilated into Macedonian society; and the other a much more radical
group that is in conflict Macedonian policies. Add to this Macedonia's
on-going conflict with Greece, and one could speculate that any major
crisis in Albania will only compound the problems inside Macedonia --
particularly for those Albanians seeking greater rights inside
Macedonia. There is a precedence for this problem during the 1997
conflict in Albania.

. Greece: Our only neighboring country with EU membership is
still going through a very bad political and economic crises itself.
There are almost 1.5 million Albanians living in Greece -- many are
illegal immigrants working illegally. Another crises in Albania could
likely fuel another mass exodus to Greece (and Italy) -- particularly
now that Albanians can finally travel without visas in Europe.

2. After 1997 anarchy, weapons flowed across the borders to Kosovo and
Macedonia. Any chance that another crisis has an effect on neighboring

In my opinion, it is unlikely the current situation will
deteriorate to the point of 1997, which was fueled by economic collapse
rather than only political differences. Albanians still have strong
memories and feelings about this period, and would likely try to avoid a
repeat...particularly as the only groups who will profit from another
crises would be the weapons, drugs, and fuel traffickers .

3. What is Berisha's role in neighboring Kosovo and
Macedonia. Does he have influence with Kosovo leadership? Or Macedonian
Albanian leadership?

Generally speaking, Berisha does not have much of a role in
the region. He continues to be viewed as a model of the old leadership.
Clearly, Kosovo will always need the support of the Albanian PM
and his government; however, many Kosovars remember that Berisha gave
only lukewarm support to the KLA, and was believed to have profited
personally by allowing fuel shipments into Serbia and Montenegro,
despite the NATO embargo at the time. Berisha is still viewed as
having too close of ties to Serbia -- one of his closest
contacts is Damir Fasllic, a character who is believed to have contacts
at the highest levels of the Serbian government. Berisha does
not appear to have particularly strong ties to Macedonia and, with the
loss of Jukanovic, probably has limited influence in Montenegro as

4. If there is a change in government to Edvin Rama, would
it in any way change the situation in Albania or region?

Edvin Rama is the leader of the Albanian opposition
Socialist Party -- which represents about 50 % of the Albanian voters.
Rama is known as a head-strong and somewhat radical figure amongst
the international community in Albania. He is not very good at
dialoguing -- often creating situations that neither side can win.
Despite these weaknesses, Rama represents the "modern" leader
that many Albanians have been hoping for since 1990. His work in
modernizing and cleaning-up the capital has made him very
popular, and given him the image of someone who can get things done for
the people (He has twice been re-elected as mayor). Rama's
popularity and modern thinking has been commented on favorably by many
EU leaders and representatives.