Socialist-Albanian Election Win Leaves Macedonians in Pit of Despond

Sunday, September 15, the Macedonian voter overwhelmingly returned to power the former Social Democrat prime minister Branko Crvenkovski, dumping the ruling coalition led by the nationalist VMRO minister Ljubco Georgievski and partner, the moderate Democratic Party of Albanians. Both were widely accused of corruption.
The socialists, who governed the country from 1992 to 1998, are expected to invite the newly-elected Albanian Public Democratic Party to share power. This was mandated in the Western-brokered Ohrid peace accord, that last year halted the ethnic Albanian rebellion insurrection on the brink of civil war. The new ethnic Albanian face in Macedonian politics is Ali Ahmeti, formerly a key commander of the National Liberation Army (NLA) that led the rebellion. In the predominantly Albanian city of Tetovo, Ahmeti’s supporters danced and fired guns in the air to celebrate his victory. Ethnic Albanians are Muslims and account for roughly one-quarter of the population.
debkafile‘s Balkans expert comments:
The voter turnout was low – no more than 50 percent, a reflection of the majority Macedonians’ disbelief in their ability of their politicians, elected or deposed, to heal this tiny landlocked Balkan nation’s afflictions. Two million Macedonians scarcely hope that any administration rising in Skopje can eradicate the country’s festering ill of organized crime, dominated by the Albanian mafia and Islamic extremists, which feeds on ethnic, religious and communal strife and does not conceal its ambition to establish a Greater Albania.
Neither Macedonian police officers nor international peacekeepers dare venture into parts of Tetovo and most of the villages strung along the country’s western frontier. Both are powerless to stem the almost daily shooting attacks on – and abductions of – Macedonians, even in the capital Skopje.
Violence is also rife in the Albanian-dominated areas where rival ethnic Albanian factions wage turf wars. The PDP party that guerrilla leader-turned politician Ahmeti established for the election is challenged by Arben Xhaferi’s Democratic Party of Albania. A showdown between the two – both leading lights of the NLA (an offshoot of the Kosovo Liberation Front, hence the group’s acronym of KLA/NLA) – is inevitable now that the election is over. Already, a wave of reciprocal liquidations has begun. More than one gangster has been gunned down in his favorite outdoor haunt by a speeding motor cyclist.
Untold profits are at stake: control over the most lucrative dope smuggling route in Europe – the Balkans Golden Triangle. Albanian liberation fighters battling in the hills of Macedonia and southern Serbia have been identified by international law enforcement agencies as the paramilitary wing of the Albania mafia which traffics in drugs, women, stolen luxury cars and other contraband to Europe, Russia, Africa and across the Atlantic.
German and Scandinavian police say Kosovo Albanians are their countries’ leading suppliers of heroin and other drugs. In Italy, police say Albanian gangsters are the leading importers of prostitutes from Eastern Europe and Russia.
The Albanian mafia is estimated to control at least 80 percent of the heroin entering Western Europe, and 40 percent of the drug sold in Europe and North America
Unrest in Macedonia and Kosovo is a positive boon for these criminal activities.
Huge sums of money flowing from Kosovar-Macedonian Albanian control of the Central European drug market fund terrorist activities in Tetovo and Kosovo. They finance the purchase of the latest weaponry and have long funded an international industry promoting ethnic Albanian victimhood over that of any other member of the Balkans’ ethnic rainbow.
Beside its links to crime, the KLA/NLA has opened the door of Macedonia to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda and Islamic elements from the Middle East, a presence that poses a potential threat of extremist Muslim penetration to other parts of former Yugoslavia and their European neighbors.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly Issue No. 75, drawing on its intelligence and counter-terrorism sources, depicted this situation in detail on September 6, 2002:
A hostile enclave runs from Crna Gora and Sar Plan near Tetovo in the north to the divided lake districts of Ohrid and Prispankso Ezero in the south, spanning 2,700 square kilometers (1,400 square miles), where any Western intruder risks disappearing without trace or turning up dead.
The enclave is ruled over by five allied groups, each with its own turf:
— The KLA/NLA, many of whom are Albanian-Americans, under the control of the Albanian mafia – the major partner, and Sigurimi, the Albanian State Security Service.
— A group of 600 to 900 young Saudis, aged between 16 and 25 – Islamic radicals, GIS general intelligence operatives and al-Qaeda fighters, dispatched rom Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Chechnya and Central Asia.
— Some 1,200 to 1,600 Iranians, most Pazdaran, ie Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
— Between 200 and 300 Lebanese Hizballah extremists, under the command of secretary-general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and the Iranian Shiite terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh.
— At least 70 to 120 Iraqi agents, members of Saddam’s crack, super-secret al Amn al-Khas, or 14th Directorate, the special presidential security agency serving directly under his orders – all fluent in Balkan languages, as well as English and German. The 14th Directorate was responsible for the failed attempt on the life of the first President George Bush during his visit to Kuwait in April 1993.
The Iraqi agents are scattered around the enclave, while the other four groups have each commandeered its own slice of the territory. Non-Albanians were “ethnically cleansed” from the area, their property confiscated and homes expropriated or destroyed. The remaining ethnic Albanians couldn’t be more pleased. The interlopers maintain security and public order, do not levy taxes, but hand out monthly stipends to the locals ranging from $150 to $350, requiring in return only that they come every day to pray at the new mosques built with Iranian, Saudi and Iraqi money.
Most of the small children and youngsters in villages and towns in the area wear tee shirts with a picture of bin Laden which are handed out free of charge. Young ethnic Albanians are recruited at centers in the new mosques, drafted into the Albanian Liberation Army or local militias run by foreign agents, depending on their medical fitness. Both are given on-site training in terrorist tactics, the use of weapons and explosives and urban and mountain warfare.
The combined strength of the five alien contingents occupying this region of Macedonia is estimated by Intelligence agencies as ranging between 12,000 and 20,000 highly trained and well equipped fighting men and officers, who are thought to be drafting around a total of 700 to 900 young locals each month. The ranks of the militant Islamic movement in the heart of Europe are thus swelling constantly.
This anti-West Muslim coalition force formed of Saudis, al Qaeda, Hizballah, Iraqis and Iranians has got away with conquering a territory of several thousands of square miles in the middle of Europe – and building an Islamic legion – under the noses of an international force assigned to keeping the peace in the stormy Balkans.
And the buildup continues under one guise or another.
Intelligence sources consulted by DEBKA-Net-Weekly are not clear what the five groups intend doing with this mushrooming Islamist army. All five are clearly acting under orders from their respective intelligence masters at home. The overriding impression gained by our sources – from dozens of interviews with escapees from the badlands who came out one piece – is of a single controlling hand, a higher authority which activates all five groups, whether foreign or indigenous, from a command center, from somewhere outside the mountains of Macedonia.
From the second half of August, the surveillance monitors picked up unusual bustle, set up they believe by instructions to al Qaeda personnel to take out of storage a large cache of heroin and opium hidden in a local Macedonian village or hiding place in the mountains. The narcotics were smuggled into Macedonia in the winter via Central Asia, Bulgaria and Croatia. The enormous Macedonia drug cache, destined to be Osama bin Laden’s Christmas-New Year gift for Western Europe, may account for the UN and other reports published this week that his organization is again flush with funds and free to strike very shortly after the first anniversary of September 11.

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