Crossfire War – Kosovo Independence Rejected by European Union

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Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – TIRANA – PRISTINA WATCH – Southeast Europe Theatre – Tehran – Riyadh – Sarajevo – Tirana – Pristina/(Brussels – Vienna – Warsaw)/Kosovska Mitrovica – Belgrade – Banja Luka – Podogrica – Athens – Skopje – Sofia – Moscow; Kosovo Impasse Continues in London – “We are going to London as a state” – PM Ceku – “The label means nothing” – EU (Ger) Negotiator Ischinger; Lebanon Phalange Party Candidate Antoine Ghanem Assassinated by Tehran; Heavy Fighting Continues in Kashmir During Ramzan

Night Watch: LONDON – The negotiation front of the Southeast Europe theatre has shifted to London where the heavily armed impasse, between the Serbian government in Belgrade and the Albanian administration in Pristina concerning the Kosovo independence issue, will most likely reach its final failure though I think talks are to be held later this month at the United Nations in New York. Agim Ceku, one of the former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and now Prime Minister of the ethnic Albanian majority province declared, “We are going to London as a state…we want to talk about technical issues between independent states and we want to discuss them beyond independence.” But one of the members of the Contact Group Troika, Wolfgang Ischinger of Germany, has rejected completely any consideration Kosovo should be recognized as an independent country. “The label (independence) is worth nothing. Where are they going to get their income? They will continue to rely on foreign aid.” [SERBIANNA]

What Ceku will not reveal of course is Tehran has increased its contacts with the Albanian government in Tirana, which supports the Albanians in Kosovo even to the extent of armed support. Only Iran is more eager to see war resume than Albanian nationalist groups, some of whom are fighting for Greater Albania, which threatens the territory of Greece, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. The resumption of war in Southeast Europe would give Tehran an opportunity to not only have NATO caught up in the fighting and increasingly on the defensive, but it would also allow Iran a chance to silence Vienna and end the investigation into Iran’s nuclear weapons program. There have already been attacks against Macedonian police stations since August. And what has increased Albanian anger, in and out of Kosovo, is they were given the impression earlier this year that Brussels, headquarters of the European Union and NATO, was close to officially recognizing Kosovo independence.

Washington – But what has probably changed Brussels’ position is Belgrade stating consistently for more than a year Serbia would go to war to retain control over the province, and they have been re-armed with obvious assistance from Moscow. Not only has Brussels changed its position but also now, it seems the Bush Administration has also, even though just recently there were statements from State Department officials in support of Kosovo independence. AP reported the recent visit to Washington by Portugal Prime Minister Jose Socrates, who stated in his discussions with President George W. Bush, “I guaranteed to the President that the first priority I have in my mind regarding Kosovo is to keep Europe united.” He was not just speaking for Lisbon. It was his way of saying Washington should not be alone on this issue. [SERBIANNA]

It will be Albanians who re-start the war and before the year is over.

Sin el-Fil – “It is the end of dialogue. We will not dialogue with murderers and we will not dialogue on the blood of our martyrs.” That was the angry quote, over Al Jazeera, of Lebanon Minister of Social Affairs Nayla Moawad, after today’s assassination of Antoine Ghanem a candidate for Parliament of the Phalange Party, one of the Lebanese political parties with close relations with Paris and the West. What Moawad may not realize is this is Tehran’s preferred way of dialogue, through events, war and assassination, which Iran uses to not only ignite controversy but to eliminate any political-military obstacle to Tehran controlling West Asia and its resources. Since Iran’s main obstacle is Paris and the West then any significant leader with close relations to them is at extreme risk. Tehran has been conducting this campaign of destabilization and assassination for two years and that is why the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in February 2005 summoned France President Jacques Chirac to Beirut. [LEBANONTODAY]

Ghanem, 64, was just the latest in a series of them. He was killed when a 40-kilogram car bomb destroyed his car and damaged eight other vehicles in the pre-dominantly Christian area of Beirut, Sin el-Fil near the wealthy suburb of Horsh Tabet. He had just returned two days ago from Abu Dhabi where he had been living for reasons of personal safety. A friend of his spoke on condition of anonymity Ghanem had confided to him Tuesday evening, “I face the threat of assassination. They want to kill me to open the door for by-elections to choose a new MP from Michel Aoun’s Free Political Movement.” Ghanem represented the Baabda-Aley district in Beirut that is a major base of Hizbullah the political-military group supported by Tehran-Damascus. That is mostly in the south suburbs, the area of Beirut hit hardest by Israel’s air strikes last year in its war with Hezbollah.

Ghanem’s Phalange party is part of the March 14 Forces bloc in Parliament, the current majority and they are the ones most threatened by the new coalition led by Hezbollah, a coalition which includes Christian nationalists who want a Lebanon more independent from France. Paris lost their support as France keeps insisting Lebanon’s owes them a huge debt from the 15-year civil war, 1975-90, that was started by a group controlled by France, Maronite Catholics. March 14 is the date in 2005 when Syrian forces began to leave Lebanon but due to the instability being caused by Tehran, it will soon provide Damascus its excuse to re-occupy the country in the name of stability.

Srinagar – Fayaz Wani of NewsBlaze is reporting heavy fighting is continuing in Kashmir as it has ever since the beginning of the Muslim holy (war) month of Ramzan, a month of rituals that are designed to inspire Muslims to hate non-Islamic people. With Tehran having completed preparations to enter the fourth war between Pakistan/India, since their independence in 1947, it should not be surprising Tehran-Islamabad have had attacks and infiltrations attempts increase this month. It is also significant the Islamic uprising, in this Muslim majority province, began in 1989 November. If these attacks-infiltration continue to increase the fourth war could become (f)allout before this year is over. Delhi has constantly threatened to use its “hot pursuit” policy of attacking Islamic militant bases in Pakistan and Pakistan’s part of Kashmir. Islamabad has stated if that ever happens, Pakistan will be forced to respond and I suspect along the lines of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s “Action Plan” which he presented to Tehran when he visited there in February. [NEWSBLAZE]

The latest action took place at Ganiwar 52 km (30 miles) from the summer capital Srinagar. Heavily armed militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba attacked an Indian military convoy causing many casualties. The day before eleven Islamic militants were killed as they attempted to infiltrate through the thick forest at Sariwas adjacent to Bandipora in North Kashmir. Two senior commanders of Islamic groups were killed, one from Lashkar-e-Toiba and the other from Jaish-e-Mohammad. [NEWSBLAZE]

Moscow – Moscow is preparing to fill the economic vacuum in Iraq, alongside Tehran after the debacle in the desert caused by the lost alliance of London-Washington. RIA reports Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshair al-Zibari is in Moscow negotiating with Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavorv on energy investments and projects Russia will be investing in post-World War III Iraq. Lavrov stated, “The oil and natural gas sector and power engineering have been traditional areas of our cooperation. Hoshiar al-Zibari reaffirmed his country’s interest in expanding Russia’s role in Iraq’s economic rehabilitation in the post-war period.” Al-Zibari has been meeting with Russia Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and Russian businessmen discussing in particular the vast West Qurna field to be developed by the Russian energy company LUKoil. [RIA]

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Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.