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Re: Albania

Released on 2012-08-09 18:00 GMT

Email-ID 904093
Date 2011-01-26 02:40:42
He was, until the anarchy.

I have heard that he in fact profited immensely from the beginnings of KLA
operations in Kosovo and that he aided them greatly. But that is not at
all exclusive to this insight. That he then made his money smuggling
gasoline to Serbia during embargo also makes sense.

On 1/25/11 7:27 PM, Bayless Parsley wrote:

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
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 Kosovo.

. 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 countries?

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 well

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.

Marko Papic
Analyst - Europe
+ 1-512-744-4094 (O)
221 W. 6th St, Ste. 400
Austin, TX 78701 - USA