GREATER ALBANIA PROJECT

GREATER ALBANIA PROJECT IS ACCELERATING AS KOSOVO’S STATEHOOD IS IN QUESTION

Clear indications have been made that there is a project for a Greater Albania and it is progressing ahead, especially as the world’s attention is focussed on and distracted by the coronavirus, Libya and Syria’s Idlib province. The ultimate goal of Albania was to absorb Kosovo and the Preševo Valley in Serbia, southern Montenegro, Epirus in Greece and western North Macedonia into a single Greater Albania state.

Although this may not be official policy of the Albanian Republic, it is ingrained into the Albanian mythos. However, this has now changed with the Kosovo-born Albanian Minister-in-office for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj and the Foreign Minister of Kosovo Glauk Konjufcameeting yesterday to discuss the establishment of common economic space for free movement of people, goods and capital between Albania and Kosovo, as well as sharing embassies around the world which so far only exists in the Australian capital of Canberra.

Cakaj said on Twitter about “the need to deepen cooperation between [Albania and Kosovo] and strongly support the coalition of Albanian political parties in [Serbia’s] Preshevo [Preševo] Valley” to the east of Kosovo. Although the tweet just emphasizes deeper cooperation between Albania, Kosovo and the Preševo valley, it was his comments to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that gives the biggest suggestion of a Greater Albania project being put into action. Cakaj said to the agency that:

“the borders between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Albania should not exist at all, they should be removed immediately and our countries should enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement and unhindered ability to deepen economic cooperation.”

Although it may seem like that Albania and Kosovo are making strong efforts for the Greater Albania project, it rather demonstrates their desperation as Kosovo continues to lose legitimacy and countries withdraw their recognition of the quasi-independent state that illegally broke off from Serbia in 2008. A total of 14 countries since 2017 have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo, meaning only 51% of United Nations members now recognize it. The usual norm in statehood recognition is that more and more countries overtime recognize the state, not withdraw recognition. If we look at the Israeli situation, since its founding in 1948, only five states have withdrawn recognition and 162 of the 193 United Nations member states recognize it. It is inevitable that with incentives from China and Russia more states will withdraw their recognition of Kosovo.

This brings a new question then. Has the failings of Kosovo actually accelerated the Greater Albania project?

The proposal by Finnish Nobel “Peace” Prize winning Marti Ahtisaari to establish an independent Kosovo and Kosovan identity has been an abject failure. Rather, Kosovo has taken on the Albanian identity openly with KosovoPrime Minister Albin Kurti, who is currently serving as the fourth Prime Minister of Kosovo since February 3 2020, not differentiating between nation and ethnicity as he sees Kosovo as an extension of Albania, despite the nation and the state not being the same. Kurti also does not recognize the flag and anthem of Kosovo, as well as the Kosovar identity.

As Kosovo continues to lose legitimacy, meaning the breakaway province could return back to Serbian administration, it is attempting to avoid this situation by merging Kosovo into Albania. It is for this reason that Cakaj says the borders between Albania and Kosovo should not exist at all and that they should both share embassies. As Serbia’s position has strengthened, Albania’s official support for Kosovo is an attempt to parry it and jointly formulate a strategy to achieve some success.

The broader goals of merging Albania and Kosovo are multiple – to confirm Kosovo’s independence from Serbia; to propagate the Greater Albania project; and to put pressure on Serbia as well as international states to challenge Belgrade’s foreign policy successes. The campaign cooperation between Albania and Kosovo demonstrates the attempts to raise the issue to a higher level and the desire to establish new mechanisms and measures, with the incumbent government in Pristina to implement a practical policy because all tactics so far have not yielded results and giving up is not an option.

Therefore, there is no reason why Serbia should give up its current policy of pushing states to withdraw their Kosovo independence recognition. Belgrade must maintain that Kosovo is an integral and historical part of Serbia. Belgrade’s efforts have produced results and the Serbian public demand results. Serbia should not accept any blackmail and demands from Kosovo or Albania, especially as it continues its project of reintegrating Kosovo. Only days ago, it was announced that rail links between Belgrade and Pristina will be constructed, something that does not even exist between Kosovo and Albania. Although Kosovo’s failings continue, it has also accelerated the Greater Albania project in an effort to prevent the reintegration of the breakaway province back into Serbia.

By Paul Antonopoulos
Source: InfoBrics

The NATO/EU Rape of ‘Complex’ Macedonia

ALEKSANDAR PAVIC

In an interview for the Russia-1 television channel, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed that he had raised the question of egregious Western meddling into Macedonia’s recent (September 30) referendum and parliamentary voting (October 19) to push through changes to the country’s name and constitution in order accelerate its accession to NATO (and, much later, if ever, to the EU) with US National Security Adviser John Bolton during his recent visit to Moscow.

“I told him we were accused of meddling not only in the US, but also in Spain, in Brexit and now also in anything that happens in the Western Balkans… We said we kept silent on Macedonia’s referendum, while its capital of Skopje was visited by NATO chief Stoltenberg, defense minister Mattis, German chancellor Merkel… who publicly and bluntly demanded that Macedonians ‘vote for their future’ and say ‘yes’ in a referendum on their membership in the EU and NATO by ‘only’ changing their country’s name,” recalled Lavrov, further reminding that the referendum had flopped but that, nevertheless, the Macedonian parliament went ahead with a vote to amend the country’s constitution, and secured the necessary two-thirds vote “through bribes and promises not to start criminal persecution,” overseen by the US Ambassador to Macedonia, who was present during the proceedings and “who did not merely sit there.”

Bolton’s response? According to Lavrov, he simply smiled and replied that Macedonia was a “quite complex country.”

So, there you have it. It’s officially open season on all the world’s “complex” countries – and guess who gets to define “complex” – should they ever even contemplate voting the “wrong way,” as interpreted by the West’s arbiters of democracy, even the avowed “non-interventionists” in the White House.

If anything, Lavrov was understating what some observers literally described as a “rape” of Macedonia’s democratic [sic] institutions on the part of the Western deep state establishment hell-bent on dragging the tiny country into NATO (with the highly unrealistic prospect of EU membership merely being used as a carrot to placate domestic and international public opinion), in order to completely encircle the last staunch anti-NATO holdouts in Europe outside of Russia and Belarus – Serbia and the Serbs in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It was bad enough that Western officialdom simply ignored the popular will of the Macedonians and collectively pretended that a 36.91% referendum turnout in fact expressed the “will of the majority,” and that it was sufficiently legitimate to move the matter to Parliament, where a two-thirds vote was required to move forward with the process of amending the constitution. This despite the fact that the West’s hand-picked prime minister, Zoran Zaev, had given assurances before the referendum that “citizens will make the decision,” and that Parliament would vote on the necessary constitutional changes only if the referendum was successful (meaning a 50% + 1 turnout and a majority “yes” vote).

Then, five days before the parliamentary vote, US Vice-President Mike Pence sent a “letter of support” to Zaev, ascertaining that Macedonians had, in fact, approved the name change agreement with Greece after all, because, you see, “90% (or less than a third of all the Macedonian voters – author’s note) of those that voted approved the Prespa Agreement.” Two days later, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Wess Mitchell, fired off a letter to Hristijan Mickoski, the leader of Macedonia’s main opposition party (which opposes the name change agreement with Greece), VMRO-DPMNE, expressing “disappointment” with his party’s negative position vis-à-vis the referendum and the upcoming parliamentary vote and urging him to “create space” for his party’s MPs to vote “free from threats of violence, retribution, or other forms of coercion.”

As it turned out, Mitchell’s just wanted to make sure that “threats of violence, retribution or other forms of coercion” would remain the exclusive domain of Zaev’s puppet government and the US Embassy. And, thus, four days before the parliamentary vote, Zaev put forth an “indecent proposal” for the opposition, i.e. “amnesty for their members who are on trial for unrest at the Assembly that took place on April 27 of last year,” when a former Albanian terrorist guerilla commander was elected as Parliament Speaker under strong US and EU pressure. Or, as Zaev pithily put it: “I know that everything has a price. I am ready to pay it.”

On voting day, October 19, the vote was delayed three times until the necessary two-thirds majority was secured. As to how it was secured was best summarized by a Russian Foreign Ministry statement:

“We consider what happened as a flagrant violation of all norms – both from the point of view of the law and in the moral sense… Eight votes that were necessary to secure a qualified majority were ensured by the means of blackmailing, threats and bribing opposition parliament members. Three of them, purely by chance, were released from arrest on that same day. Two others, who had open cases investigated by special prosecutors, were promised freedom. Others received corrupt financial offers in exchange for ‘the right vote’. Parliament members were locked in their rooms, their cell phones were seized – this is very much in line with the spirit of European democratic practice… The American ambassador was present in the Parliament building until the end of the session, leaving no doubt as to who was leading the process… Such dirty manipulations cannot be considered the expression of will of parliament members….”

That the Russians were not exaggerating was confirmed by, among others, a tweet from Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos: “Who would have thought that in Europe of values and democracy those who do not vote according to instructions are jailed, and those who comply get a 2 million euro bonus in black money.”

Opposition leader Mickoski denounced the parliamentary circus as Macedonia’s “Black Friday” and a case of “classic rape,” and proceeded to expel from the party the seven MPs who changed sides and helped secure the necessary two-thirds vote. Bulgarian daily “Sliven Now” accused the CIA and Greece’s Soros funds of bribing the renegade Macedonian MPs. (Links between US diplomats – specifically the present US Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess Baily – and billionaire interventionist George Soros and their joint work on destabilizing Macedonia using US taxpayer money have been public knowledge for a couple of years.) According to a former adviser to the Macedonian President, Cvetin Chilimanov, the Parliament building was “under siege” on the day of the voting, teeming with politicians, police and officials from the public prosecutor’s office, and opposition leaders claimed that their MPs were offered anywhere from 250.000 to 2 million euros to change their vote.

Naturally, as was the failed referendum, the parliamentary charade was hailed by the usual EU/NATO suspects. EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn gushed that it was “a great day for democracy in Skopje,” adding for good measure his expectation that “the free choice of all MPs is fully respected.” Hahn also issued a supportive joint statement with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission. And NATO’s Gensec Jens Stoltenberg unflinchingly “welcomed” the outcome of the Macedonian parliamentary shenanigans and urged the MPs to “seize this historic opportunity.”

The process is not finished, as two more votes (or “votes”) are pending in what’s left of the Macedonian Parliament – on a draft proposal of the necessary constitutional amendments (needing a simple majority), and on the adoption of the final amendments, for which a two-thirds majority will once again be needed, along with the signature of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, who himself boycotted the referendum. If everything goes as planned and/or paid, the scene will then move to the Greek Parliament, which must also vote on the changes. According to the Prespa Agreement, the Macedonian side needs to finish its business by the end of 2018, and it is expected that the Greek Parliament will do its part in early 2019. With a little help from their Western friends, no doubt.

Source: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/31/nato-eu-rape-of-complex-macedonia.html?fbclid=IwAR1ziJDIaMinRN8w77utWSmRcAstmC2Egauau4XWEnq0r73WIIHU3txgveg

Quasi-State: Kosovo is Europe’s Blind Zone – Economist

German economist, Martin Heipertz, spent several years in Kosovo as deputy head of the industrial and financial sector of the International Civilian Office, which later evolved into an EU mission in the region (EULEX).

After his time in Kosovo, Heipertz wrote a book called “Macchiato diplomacy — Kosovo — the blind zone of Europe”, he spoke about it to Sputnik Serbia.

Sputnik: Why coffee?

Martin Heipertz: Coffee has always been a symbol of friendly chatter and rest. Sipping coffee, they say something about everything. And we never spoke about serious political issues while drinking coffe. In Henry Kissinger’s epic book, “Diplomacy”, he develops the concept of strategic policy, and my book is a reverse story, which shows that all diplomacy in this case was reduced to talking over a cup of coffee.

Sputnik: What does it mean — the blind zone of Europe? 

Martin Heipertz: I think as a motorist. You don’t see what’s happening in the blind zone. This applies to Kosovo — that’s how in Western and Central Europe the issue of Kosovo is perceived. The matter is sometimes raised before society, and then again forgotten, and no one talks about it. And it’s necessary to talk about Kosovo constantly, it shouldn’t be in the blind zone.

READ MORE: US Pulling the Strings of Power in Kosovo — Expert

Sputnik: Does this mean that Kosovo as a state is a failed project? 

Martin Heipertz: Kosovo is an inefficient project that shows us an example of how a quasi-state looks.

putnik: So Europe made a mistake recognizing the independence of Kosovo?

Martin Heipertz: Everyone should answer this question based on their own interests. If we think that it was possible to find a better solution, then we are mistaken.

Sputnik: There wasn’t one?

Martin Heipertz: When I arrived in Kosovo, the decision (on recognition of independence) had already been made, so I do not know if there was an alternative. But if someone asked me, I would say that the best solution for Kosovo would be the Tyrol model, an autonomy. Kosovo’s autonomy within Serbia. But I don’t know if it would have been realistic and if it wasn’t too late to make such a decision.

Sputnik: Can something from what you’ve mentioned still be realized now?

Martin Heipertz: I think time has already passed and no other decision on Kosovo can be made now.

Sputnik: In your book you often mention corruption as the main problem in Kosovo. You worked in the international administration system, how large is the system’s responsibility for the problem remaining unsolved?

Martin Heipertz: The Bible says that we tend to see the speck in our brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in our own eye. Corruption is a problem in many states, it’s not only the problem of Kosovo. We at EULEX wanted to create a legal state, and this turned out to be a very high goal, so we failed to reach it. Our result was very bad. I don’t criticize the fact that corruption rules in Kosovo, but us, because we couldn’t do anything about it.

Sputnik: You’ve said that the United States played a critical role is the Kosovo issue. Why did Europe agree to it?

Martin Heipertz: I’m often pretty provocative talking about European impotence. I think Europe can’t show itself as a force, because it does not have an inner unity. We need a political union, a political union within the EU in order to implement coordinated foreign policy. That we can also impliment by military means in some cases.

Sputnik: In other words, does the EU need its own army? 

Martin Heipertz: Yes. We lack political unity and therefore lack a common foreign policy and a unified army.

READ MORE: There Can Be No European Army ‘Without NATO’s Blessing’ – Serbian General

Sputnik: But what about NATO?

Martin Heipertz: NATO is a collective security system, not an instrument of active foreign policy. That’s why we are divided and weak, and we give, so to speak, the battlefield to America, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia. We have a strong economy, but there’s no common foreign policy.

Sputnik: Should recognition of Kosovo’s independence be a condition for Serbia’s accession to the EU?

Martin Heipertz: I don’t want to compare the situation, but West Germany couldn’t pursue a foreign policy towards Russia and the East, until it reconciled and became accustomed to the idea of ​​losing the eastern territories. Serbia will be able to normalize political relations with the EU if it gets used to the idea of losing Kosovo.

Sputnik: What do you think of the Spanish non-paper document on Kosovo’s European integration?

Martin Heipertz: I wouldn’t recommend equating the attitude of Spain and the EU towards Kosovo.

 

The Eurasian Century Is NOW Unstoppable

The transfer of the geopolitical center of gravity to Eurasia is something the West will have to get used to

 

William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, “New Eastern Outlook


I recently returned from a fascinating two week speaking tour in China. The occasion was the international premier of my newest book, One Belt, One Road–China and the New Eurasian Century.

In the course of my visit I was invited by China’s Northwest University in Xi’an to give a lecture and seminar on the present global political and economic situation in the context of China’s New Economic Silk Road as the One Belt, One Road project is often called.

What I’ve seen in my many visits to China, and have studied about the entirety of this enormously impressive international infrastructure project convinces me that a Eurasian Century at this point is unstoppable.

The idiotic wars of the Washington war-hawks and their military industry–in Syria, in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq and now the South China Sea provocations against China–are not going to stop what is now clearly the most impressive and economically altering project in more than a century.

The term “American Century” was triumphantly proclaimed in a famous editorial in Life magazine in 1941 in the early phase of World War II, before the United States had even entered the war, to describe the system publisher Henry Luce saw dominating the postwar world after the fall of the rival British Empire.

The American Century has lasted a mere seven decades if we date from the end of the war. Its record has been one of dismal failure on balance. The industrial base of the United States, the predominant leading industrial nation and leading scientific innovator, today is a hollowed, rotted shell with once-booming cities like Detroit or Philadelphia or Los Angeles now burned-out ghettos of unemployed and homeless.

The Federal Debt of the United States, owing to the endless wars its Presidents engage in, as well as the fruitless bailouts of Wall Street banks and Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie Mae, is well over 103% of GDP at an astonishing $19.5 trillion, or more than $163,000 per taxpaying American and Washington is adding to the debt this year at near $600 billion. Countries like China and Russia are moving away from subsidizing that debt at a record pace.

America’s economic basic infrastructure–bridges, sewer and water treatment plants, electric grid, railways, highways–have been neglected for more than four decades for a variety of reasons.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently estimated that gross domestic product will be reduced by $4 trillion between 2016 and 2025 because of lost business sales, rising costs and reduced incomes if the country continues to underinvest in its infrastructure. That is on top of the fact that they estimate the country at present urgently requires new infrastructure investment of $3.3 trillion by the coming decade just to renew.

Yet US states and cities are not able to finance such an investment in the future in the present debt situation, nor is the debt-choked Federal Government, so long as a cartel of corrupt brain-dead Wall Street banks and financial funds hold America to ransom.

This is the sunset for the American Century, a poorly disguised imperial experiment in hubris and arrogance by a gaggle of boring old patriarchs like David Rockefeller and his friends on Wall Street and in the military industry. It is the starkest contrast to what is going on to the east, across all Eurasia today.

Flowing the Thought to Transform

The Eurasian Century is the name I give to the economic emergence of the countries contiguous from China across Central Asia, Russia, Belarus, Iran and potentially Turkey. They are being integrally linked through the largest public infrastructure projects in modern history, in fact the most ambitious ever, largely concentrated on the 2013 initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping called the One Belt, One Road initiative or OBOR.

The project and its implications for Europe and the rest of the world economy have been so far greeted in the west with a stone silence that defies explanation.

It’s been now three years that have transpired since then-new Chinese President Xi Jinping made one of his first foreign visits to Kazakhstan where he discussed the idea of building a vast, modern network of high-speed train lines crossing the vast Eurasian land space from the Pacific coast of China and Russia through Central Asia into Iran, into the states of the Eurasian Economic Union, principally Russia and potentially on to the select states of the European Union.

That initial proposal was unveiled in detail last year by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s economic planning organization, and the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce.

It’s a useful point to look now more closely at what has transpired to date. It reveals most impressive developments, more because the development process is creative and organic. The great project is no simple blueprint made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and then simply imposed, top down, across the so-far 60 countries of Eurasia and South East Asia.

An international conference was recently held in Xi’an, origin of the ancient version of One Belt, One Road, namely the Silk Road. The purpose of the international gathering was to review what has so far taken place.

It’s fascinating, notably, in the care that’s being taken by China to do it in a different way, as indications so far are, different from the way American Robber Barons like Cornelius Vanderbilt, E.H. Harriman, Jay Gould or Russell Sage built rail monopolies and deluded and defrauded investors with railroad monopolies more than a century ago.

The seminar, titled the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Shared Memory and Common Development, on September 26th, brought together over 400 participants from more than 30 countries including government officials, universities, corporations, think tanks and media.

A key role is being played by Renmin University of China’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies to identify progress and problems of the OBOR project. Their report in Xi’an presented principles underlying the OBOR international project: It adheres to the principles of the UN Charter; it is completely open for new participant nations to cooperate; it will follow market rules and seek mutual benefit of participating countries.

Those are noble words. What’s more interesting is the flow process underway to realize such words and to build the mammoth game-changing infrastructure.

Notably, China’s Xi Jinping decided to encourage input from sources other than the state central planning agency or the Communist Party for the complex OBOR. He encouraged creation of private and independent think-tanks to become a source of new creative ideas and approaches.

Today there is a Chinese Think Tank Cooperation Alliance group coordinating efforts around OBOR headed by the dean of the Renmin University. In turn they partner with think tanks along the OBOR route including think tanks in Iran, Turkey, India, Nepal, Kazakhstan and other countries.

There will be two main routes of the OBOR. On land there are several routes or corridors in work. The Initiative will focus on jointly building what is being called a new Eurasian Land Bridge from China via Kazakhstan on to Rotterdam. Other OBOR land rail corridors include developing China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Pakistan, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar, and China-Indochina Peninsula economic corridors.vThis is huge.

It will build on international transport routes, relying on core cities along the OBOR route and using key economic industrial parks as “cooperation platforms.”

At sea, the Initiative will focus on jointly building smooth, secure and efficient transport routes connecting major sea ports along the “Belt and Road” including modern upgraded super port construction that will link present China ports at Haikou and Fujian with Kuala Lumpur’s port in Malaysia at the Malacca Strait passage, Calcutta in India, Nairobi in Kenya and via the Suez Canal to Athens and beyond. Crucial is that land and sea parts of OBOR are seen as one whole circulatory system or flow of trade.

The OBOR Initiative will link key Eurasian ports with interior rail and pipeline infrastructure in a way not before seen

To date China has signed memoranda of understanding with 56 countries and regional organizations regarding OBOR. Since his initial proposal in 2013, President Xi Jinping has personally visited 37 countries to discuss implementation of OBOR. China Railway Group and China Communications Construction Company have signed contracts for key routes and ports in 26 countries.

Power plants, electricity transmission facilities and oil and gas pipelines, covering 19 countries along the “Belt and Road” in some 40 energy projects have begun. China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile are speeding up cross-border transmission projects in countries along the “Belt and Road” to expand international telecommunication infrastructure.

Already, taking the full sea and land routes of OBOR, some $3 trillion of China trade since June 2013 has flowed over the route, more than a quarter of China’s total trade volume.

To date China has also invested more than $51 billion in the countries along the present OBOR route. The new land rail routes will greatly reduce transportation costs across Eurasia, enable formerly isolated regions to connect efficiently to sea and land markets and ignite tremendous new economic growth across Eurasia.

The effects of the OBOR are already beginning to appear. Earlier this year an Iranian container ship arrived at Qinzhou Port in China with 978 containers from several countries along the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road opening the first shipping route linking the Middle East and the Beibu Gulf or Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnamese.

In February 2016 a container train with Chinese goods took only 14 days to complete the 5,900 mile (9,500km) journey from China’s eastern Zhejiang province through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

That was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, according to the head of the Iranian railway company. China and Iran, now formally part of the OBOR, have targeted bilateral trade, none in US dollars by the way, to exceed $600 billion in the coming decade.

China is presently in negotiations with 28 countries China is in talks with 28 countries including Russia, on high-speed rail projects, China’s train maker, China CNR reports.

It includes a major joint China-Russia $15 billion high-speed Kazan to Moscow line. The 770 kilometers of track between Moscow and Russia’s Tatarstan capital, Kazan, will cut time for the journey from 12 hours now to just 3.5 hours. China has agreed to invest $6 billion in the project which would become a part of a $100 billion high-speed railway between Moscow and Beijing.

Notably, for the new high-speed track being laid, China is developing a new generation of trains capable of reaching speeds of 400 kilometers per hour. And the new trains will solve the costly rail gauge switching problem between China rails and Russian.

Trains in Russia run on a 1520mm track, compared to the narrower 1435mm track used in Europe and China. Jia Limin, the head of China’s high-speed rail innovation program told China Daily that, “The train… will have wheels that can be adjusted to fit various gauges on other countries’ tracks, compared with trains now that need to have their wheels changed before entering foreign systems.”

Given its strategy of building thousands of kilometers of high-speed railways and developing its domestic Chinese rail sock manufacture as well as other rail technology, China today is the world’s leading producer of rail technology.


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Is Non-aligned Movement (NAM) the answer? Option worth considering

 

 

Non-Aligned Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states which are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. As of 2012, the movement has 120 members.

The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely conceived by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru; Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno; Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah; and Yugoslavia’s president, Josip Broz Tito. All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern Blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat V. K. Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.

In a speech given during the Havana Declaration of 1979, Fidel Castro said the purpose of the organization is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics”. The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’s members and contain 55% of the world population. Membership is particularly concentrated in countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World.

The 16th NAM summit took place in Tehran, Iran, from 26 to 31 August 2012. According to MehrNews agency, representatives from over 150 countries were scheduled to attend. Attendance at the highest level includes 27 presidents, 2 kings and emirs, 7 prime ministers, 9 vice presidents, 2 parliament spokesmen and 5 special envoys. At the summit, Iran took over from Egypt as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement for the period 2012 to 2015. The 17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement is to be held in Venezuela in 2016.

Origins

The Non-Aligned movement was never established as a formal organization, but became the name to refer to the participants of the Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries first held in 1961. The term “non-alignment” was established in 1953 at the United Nations. Nehru used the phrase in a 1954 speech in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In this speech, Nehru described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations called Panchsheel (five restraints), these principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. The five principles were:

  • Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
  • Mutual non-aggression
  • Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs
  • Equality and mutual benefit
  • Peaceful co-existence

A significant milestone in the development of the Non-Aligned Movement was the 1955 Bandung Conference, a conference of Asian and African states hosted by Indonesian president Sukarno, who gave a significant contribution to promote this movement. Bringing together Sukarno, U Nu, Nasser, Nehru, Tito, Nkrumah and Menon with the likes of Ho Chi Minh, Zhou Enlai, and Norodom Sihanouk, as well as U Thant and a young Indira Gandhi, the conference adopted a “declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation”, which included Nehru’s five principles, and a collective pledge to remain neutral in the Cold War. Six years after Bandung, an initiative of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito led to the first Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, which was held in September 1961 in Belgrade. The term non-aligned movement appears first in the fifth conference in 1976, where participating countries are denoted as members of the movement.

At the Lusaka Conference in September 1970, the member nations added as aims of the movement the peaceful resolution of disputes and the abstention from the big power military alliances and pacts. Another added aim was opposition to stationing of military bases in foreign countries.

The founding fathers of the Non-Aligned Movement were: Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Sukarno of Indonesia, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Their actions were known as ‘The Initiative of Five’.

Organizational structure and membership

The movement stems from a desire not to be aligned within a geopolitical/military structure and therefore itself does not have a very strict organizational structure. Some organizational basics were defined at the 1996 Cartagena Document on Methodology. The Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned States is “the highest decision making authority”. The chairmanship rotates between countries and changes at every summit of heads of state or government to the country organizing the summit.

Requirements for membership of the Non-Aligned Movement coincide with the key beliefs of the United Nations. The current requirements are that the candidate country has displayed practices in accordance with the ten “Bandung principles” of 1955:

  • Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Recognition of the movements for national independence.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
  • Respect for justice and international obligations.

 

Role after the Cold War

Since the end of the Cold War and the formal end of colonialism, the Non-Aligned Movement has been forced to redefine itself and reinvent its purpose in the current world system. A major question has been whether many of its foundational ideologies, principally national independence, territorial integrity, and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism, can be applied to contemporary issues. The movement has emphasised its principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual non-aggression in attempting to become a stronger voice for the global South, and an instrument that can be utilised to promote the needs of member nations at the international level and strengthen their political leverage when negotiating with developed nations. In its efforts to advance Southern interests, the movement has stressed the importance of cooperation and unity amongst member states, but as in the past, cohesion remains a problem since the size of the organisation and the divergence of agendas and allegiances present the ongoing potential for fragmentation. While agreement on basic principles has been smooth, taking definitive action vis-à-vis particular international issues has been rare, with the movement preferring to assert its criticism or support rather than pass hard-line resolutions.

The movement continues to see a role for itself, as in its view, the world’s poorest nations remain exploited and marginalised, no longer by opposing superpowers, but rather in a uni-polar world, and it is Western hegemony and neo-colonialism that the movement has really re-aligned itself against. It opposes foreign occupation, interference in internal affairs and aggressive unilateral measures, but it has also shifted to focus on the socio-economic challenges facing member states, especially the inequalities manifested by globalization and the implications of neo-liberal policies. The Non-Aligned Movement has identified economic underdevelopment, poverty, and social injustices as growing threats to peace and security.


 

Putin calls for non-aligned international security system in face of global terror threat

Vladimir Putin said Russia is all for creating a non-aligned system of international security to counter global terror. The president, speaking at the V-Day parade in Moscow, called on all nations to learn the lessons of WWII.

“Today our civilization has faced brutality and violence – terrorism has become a global threat,” the Russian president said, addressing the crowds on Moscow’s Red Square ahead of a parade dedicated to the 71st anniversary of victory in WWII. “We must defeat this evil, and Russia is open to join forces with all countries and is ready to work on the creation of a modern, non-aligned system of international security.”

 

 

How long will Belgrade seesaw between NATO and Russia?

by Sergey Belous

While a dozen lists are competing for the election of the new Serbian Parliament on 24 April 2016, and the coalition of President Tomislav Nikolić and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić is given winning by the polls, the country has to actually make a choice : should it accept today what he had refused yesterday —is to say an alliance with NATO—, or should it instead return to its traditional alliance with Orthodox Russia?

 

 

 

“We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing and that’s what they are going to get.” This was how then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the draft peace agreement during a break at the conference in Rambouillet (February 1999). At the time the Yugoslav delegation had stated its willingness to concede many points, with the exception of independence for Kosovo (which was nonnegotiable for the Albanians). But the Yugoslavs did not see the final draft of the accord until the last day of the talks, and as it turned out, two-thirds of that document was entirely new to them (and they were presented with it literally only a few hours before the signing deadline) [1]. In particular, one of the newly introduced chapters (no. 7, appendix B, p.79) called for NATO troops to be deployed not only in Kosovo but throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Moreover, alliance personnel would, in this case, “be immune from the Parties’ jurisdiction in respect of any civil, administrative, criminal, or disciplinary offenses” and would “enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters.” (para.6-8)

Feeling like they were being asked to accept terms of occupation and surrender, the officials from Belgrade refused to sign the agreement. NATO then treated this rebuff as a casus belli: after the Serbian government definitively rejected the ultimatum thrust upon them in the document, the alliance began missile and bomb strikes in Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999. It is telling that even Henry Kissinger later called the draft of the Rambouillet agreement “a provocation, an excuse to start bombing.”

As a result, NATO’s 78-day Operation Allied Force, which was never approved by the UN Security Council, damaged or destroyed 89 factories and industrial plants, 48 hospitals and infirmaries, 70 schools, 18 kindergartens, 9 university buildings, 4 dormitories, 82 bridges, 35 churches, and 29 monasteries. At the time the government put a price tag of $100 million on the damages inflicted on the country’s infrastructure and economy. But the biggest tragedy was that during the bombing campaigns (which employed banned cluster bombs and shells plated with depleted uranium), approximately 2,000 civilians were killed and another 10,000 seriously injured.

Paradoxically, on Feb. 12, 2016, the Serbian parliament ratified a new agreement with NATO that included terms very similar to those demanded in Rambouillet 17 years ago [2]. In other words, the bar that at the end of the 20th century Belgrade considered to be “set too high” and which they could not stomach even as a cost of war has now been accepted – little by little, unobtrusively, and almost meekly – over the past decade by Serbia’s new leaders.

In particular, the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the NATO Support and Procurement Organisation (NSPO) on Logistical Support Cooperation [3] requires the government in Belgrade to allow NSPO staff: to move freely throughout the country (article 10, paragraph 2), access to public and private facilities (article 11, paragraph 1), and diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention (article 10, paragraph 1), as well as to exempt the alliance’s property and representatives from customs duties and taxes (article 10, paragraphs 4 and 5).

This agreement was signed back in September 2015, but received almost no media coverage, and thus the “alarm bells” only went off for the public after it was ratified in February 2016 [4]. Responding to popular discontent and criticism from his opponents, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić asked, “If we’re going to demand that NATO protect Serbs in northern Kosovo, how can we at the same time not allow it to enter northern Kosovo?”

But in fact, this rhetorical question is nonsensical (and not just because NATO has its own airfields in Kosovo as well as Camp Bondsteel, the second-largest American military base in Europe). NATO has never played any role in protecting Serbian interests in Kosovo.

Here’s an example. On Nov. 3, 2013, local elections were held in northern Kosovo for the first time under the authority of the government in Pristina. By the end of the day, voter turnout in many cities ranged from 5% to 14%. Because the Serbs did not want to take part in legitimizing the self-proclaimed republic, a campaign was launched to boycott what they called the “Albanian elections” (“šiptarske izbore”). Violence erupted in the evening: a group of men wielding bats pulled up in a black jeep without a license plate and broke into a polling station in Kosovska Mitrovica, smashing the ballot boxes (it is interesting that the police and OSCE staff had left that station half an hour before the attack). Although the leaders of the boycott campaign were neither involved nor complicit in that incident, Belgrade, Pristina, and Brussels blamed them for it and even claimed that the low voter turnout was the result of public “intimidation” by opponents of the election. A new election date was set for Nov. 17.

On that day Kosovska Mitrovica was literally inundated with soldiers and police, armed to the teeth and even driving armored vehicles (they included NATO’s KFOR troops, the EU Police Mission, and the Kosovo police force)! All this is to say that nothing prevented the alliance from interfering in events in northern Kosovo when it had something to gain from doing so. However, at that time its role was to deter peaceful protests and demonstrations of the strength of the local Serbian population. This was an example of an election (which had been initiated by the EU) that was literally held at gunpoint. Despite being pressured and threatened with layoffs and the loss of benefits payments from Belgrade, as well as other dirty little games – only 22.8% of the voters ultimately showed up to the polls. But that did not stop the EU from recognizing the elections as valid, despite the fact that in February 2012, Brussels had refused to accept the results of a referendum in northern Kosovo in which 75.28% of the voters turned out and 99.74% of them voted against recognizing the government of the “Republic of Kosovo.”

It is a fact that after NATO troops entered Kosovo, approximately 210,000 people were forced to leave (according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees), and over 300 Serbs were killed and 455 went missing just during the five-month stay of the international peacekeeping force. In addition, during the infamous wave of violence that took place March 17-19, 2004, NATO representatives passively allowed Albanian extremists to burn more than 900 Serb homes and to set fire to, severely damage, and desecrate 35 Orthodox monasteries (many of which date back to the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries and some are even under the protection of UNESCO), while also driving over 4,000 Serbs from the region.

Partnering but not joining

Serb leaders never tire of assuring their citizens that they have no aspirations to join the NATO Alliance. “Serbia has no plans to enter NATO, it wants to be militarily neutral,” stated Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić once again (on March 2, 2016), commenting on the opposition parties’ demand that a referendum be held on the issue. The head of the government does not think that there is a need for the public to vote on the matter. And it’s true that the people’s will would be easy to predict, because according to the latest public surveys, which were conducted in January and February of this year, only 10.5% of Serbian citizens support the idea of NATO membership, while 79.1% are opposed (10.4% declined to answer). A recent study by IPSOS revealed a similar pattern: only 7% hold a positive opinion of the alliance.

This was precisely why the ratification of the agreement was only covered by the media after the fact, and President Tomislav Nikolić hurriedly signed the ensuing law (confirming the treaty) on Feb. 19, the day before a scheduled protest to demand its veto. Immediately after many thousands of protesters flocked to an anti-NATO rally in Belgrade on Feb. 20, President Nikolić published an article titled, “Why I Signed the NATO Law,” [5] in which he tried to convince the public that the legal underpinnings and prerequisites for the statute had been established ten years earlier when Serbia joined the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program. Overall, the article resembles an attempt to shift the bulk of the responsibility for the rapprochement with the alliance onto the shoulders of previous administrations. But let’s look at how this process unfolded, in order to grasp the significance of the agreement and get an idea of what the future realistically holds for Serbia.

It all began right after the first-ever “electoral revolution,” which broke out in Belgrade in October 2000 (with Washington’s support). During this revolution, Slobodan Milošević – the president of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but who had fallen from favor in the West – was deposed. The new government quickly redirected the country’s foreign policy toward the ideal of European integration – which meant that Serbia was then predestined for assimilation into Europe’s security architecture, which is tightly bound to NATO.

The first turning point was the July 2005 agreement with NATO to allow transit for the purpose of conducting peacekeeping operations (this was primarily needed so that KFOR forces could pass through Serbia). In a way this was a precursor to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which was a key document that was signed in Washington in near secrecy in January 2014 by Nebojša Rodić, the then-minister of defense, and was just quietly and without public debate ratified by the Serbian Parliament in July 2015.

According to the SOFA, Belgrade will offer the alliance the opportunity to use Serbia’s military infrastructure, to train its soldiers at Serbia’s Jug military base, to bring the legal framework regulating defense into line with EU rules, and to introduce the standards of NATO and the Bologna Process into the military education system for Serbian officers. The agreement also includes a detailed description of the legal issues affecting the status, powers, and responsibility of both the military personnel arriving from overseas as well as the servicemen in the host country.

The next step was the signing in January 2015 of the operational document known as the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) [6], which dictates a broad spectrum of cooperation between Serbia and the NATO Alliance – not only in regard to security and defense, but also pertaining to the issues of human rights and economic, domestic, and foreign policy, including the prospect of European integration. It may seem baffling, but Serbia has even pledged to “[i]ntroduce a public information strategy on cooperation with Euro-Atlantic structures through PfP with the aim of gaining public support,” which means that Serbian taxpayers must shell out from their own pockets to pay for the propaganda directed against them. (!)

All of the above documents, in addition to the recent Logistical Support Agreement, so firmly tie Belgrade to the alliance that no particular purpose would be served by officially joining it (which at any rate would be impossible because of the negative opinion of the alliance and the unresolved problem of Kosovo). As the editor-in-chief of the magazine Nova srpska politička misao (“New Serbian Political Thought”), Đorđe Vukadinović, has aptly stated, “although Serbia has not officially entered NATO, NATO has effectively entered Serbia.”

“Geopolitical split”

Yet at the same time, and despite the escalating Euro-Atlantic propaganda, Russia’s popularity in Serbia is growing, and the idea of “European choice” is gradually losing its devotees. This is backed up by a study from the company Ipsos: in 2014, 54% of the public would have voted in favor of EU membership, but by early 2016 that number had dropped to 48%; and while 46% of respondents expressed a positive opinion of Russia in 2014, this year that number has risen to 72%!

A survey conducted by the weekly Vreme (“Time”) not only came up with an almost identical number – 50.9% – after tabulating the responses about European integration, but the news magazine also included the question “Do you support an alliance with Russia?” to which 67.2% answered affirmatively (18.8% were opposed and 14% declined to answer).

And finally, according to the most recent study conducted by a Serbian NGO, the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID), which is funded by Western foundations and states, on the eve of the snap elections for parliament (scheduled for April 24th), 71.6% of the public is against the idea of “Serbian membership in the EU and NATO” (with 11.2% “in favor” and 14% “undecided”), and 55.2% of the electorate have indicated their preference for the “traditional affiliation with Russia” (with 19.2% “against” and 21.5% “undecided”).

In this context, the oft-delayed signing of the agreement to grant diplomatic status to the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Niš (as was recently granted to the NSPO) looks very suspect. It’s worth remembering that in May 2014, when Serbia was hit by a devastating flood, Russian rescue teams were the first to arrive and in only two days managed to evacuate more than 2.000 residents (including over 600 children) from the flood zone, while the Russian Ministry of Emergency Management delivered over 140 tons of humanitarian relief to Serbia (as well as to Bosnia and Herzegovina). According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the real problem lies in Germany’s desire to prevent any expansion of Russian influence in the Balkans [7]. The periodical stated that “Merkel telephoned Serbian Prime Minister Vučić, urging him not to sign such an agreement because Berlin is afraid that this center could become a permanent base for Russian espionage.” At an April 1 press conference hosted by the foreign ministers of Serbia and Russia, Sergey Lavrov made an interesting statement, “Over the years of this center’s operations we have responded to this type of fear and grumbling by inviting the EU and US to visit the center and see for themselves what the staff are doing. As might be expected, the EU has refused our invitations. They know that their claims are false.”

Serbian government officials continue to chant the phrase “military neutrality” at every opportunity, like a mantra. This is because a 2007 parliamentary resolution made reference to NATO’s negative role in recent Serbian history while announcing a “decision to proclaim the Republic of Serbia’s military neutrality toward existing military alliances until such time as a referendum is held that will render a final decision on the matter.” [8]

However, under international law – specifically the Hague Conventions of 1907 – during wartime it is “forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.” In other words, in the event of a regional or international conflict, NATO’s Logistical Support Agreement could invalidate Serbia’s neutral status. In addition, the very idea of EU integration presumes a “common policy toward security and defense” – which is also somewhat inconsistent with euphemisms such as “military neutrality.”

The questionable principle of “balance” has also been turned on its head in regard to military cooperation: in 2015 only two Russian-Serbian joint exercises were conducted, while the Serbian army took part in 22 exercises alongside NATO. And even this limited cooperation with Moscow was sharply condemned by the EU. Maja Kocijančič, a spokesperson for the European Commission, denounced Serbia’s consent to Moscow’s proposal to hold two special-forces joint exercises in 2016: “Under the current circumstances, such a joint military exercise [between Serbia and Russia] would send the wrong signal.”

The new government that will be formed after the April 24 elections won’t have it easy: the rapidly growing estrangement between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia means that Belgrade will eventually emerge as a geostrategic fault line. When, figuratively speaking, the earth begins to shift under the feet of the Serbian elite, no virtuoso “geopolitical splits” will allow them to avoid answering key question – whose side are they on, anyway?

Source
Oriental Review (Russia)


Eurasia-News-Online Comment:

There is more chance that Sun will raise from the west than Serbian PEOPLE joining Nazi NATO made of some of the most genocidal ex colonial powers in history of this planet!

Every government in Serbia should remember 27th. March of 1941. before they sign Serbian membership in NATO! People of Serbia will not tolerate it under any circumstances.