Crossfire War – Fighting Breaks out in Macedonia’s Parliament

Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Skopje – Belgrade Watch – Southeast Europe Theatre: Tehran – Belgrade – Athens – Sofia – Ankara – Moscow – Podogrica – Belgrade – Skopje/(Brussels – Vienna – Warsaw)/Pristina – Tirana – Tehran; Political Infighting – Disputes Shuts down Parliaments of Macedonia – Serbia – Rule of Law to Become Rule of Arms – Police Arrests Armed Group in Front of Macedonia Parliament – Turkey – Iraq Sign Treaty of Cooperation Against Kurdish Nationalists; Palestinian Groups Continue Rocket Attacks as Israel Completes Preparations for Major Invasion of Gaza; Constant Fighting in Kashmir

Night Watch: SKOPJE – Macedonia’s Parliament in Skopje was seriously disrupted when fighting among some members of opposing political groups began during a break in a Parliamentary session. It began when DUI member Sadula Duraku physically attacked PDP leader Abdulhadi Vejseli. Also involved were, DUI deputy head of the party, Teuta Arifi as he was attacked by DPA leader Menduh Thaci and Ruzdi Matoshi. Other unnamed members of Parliament and political committees became involved in the fighting and even a journalist waiting for an interview was attacked, as were news camera operators. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski appealed for calm and stated political disputes should be conduced in an atmosphere of mutual respect, but in an atmosphere of such divisive thinking and hatred, which has obviously become quite personal, that is impossible and it is an atmosphere which spans the entire European continent from the Atlantic to the Urals as every capital, including Washington, has a heated position when it comes to the former Yugsoslavia. [MAKFAX]

What set the stage for this latest eruption was the senseless recognition, led by Germany, of Yugoslavia’s division in 1991 as the European Union-NATO and to some extent Warsaw Pact governments attempted to use the crisis in the country to orchestrate to the world an example of European Unity. The country had been in a growing political crisis since the death of its last strong leader Marshal Tito in 1980 and European institutions, both East and West, assumed they could end the political-religious -nationalistic disputes simply through a round of diplomatic conferences while there was an inner circle within NATO that wanted to use the conflict to make a power projection in the region. As a result, all the institutions became more divided than Yugoslavia as each round of fighting set the stage for more divisions, sub-divisions and war. Washington’s Ambassador to Skopje, Gillian Milovanovic fired off this statement, “Today’s shocking incidents of violence, threats and intimidation in Macedonia’s Assembly are a disgraceful betrayal of the democratic process.”

Skopje – But the rule of law is about to become the rule of arms, power, street fighting and invasion. Makfax reports Macedonian police had to detain nine people for possessions of weapons outside the Parliament building as the dispute continued to increase Tuesday night. Some of the weapons seized were two Uzis and a Kalashnikov submachine gun. Most of the arrested were from villages near the capital though one was from Tetovo, an area that is Albanian majority, near Albania’s border and one person arrested was from Kosovo in Serbia. The police also had to prevent an attempt by 20-30 people from breaking into the Parliament building. Macedonia, as the rest of Europe, has been in an uneasy calm ever since 1990 at the end of the Cold War and the last serious fighting ended 2001 after seven months of armed conflict between ethnic Albanian nationalists in western Macedonia and the government in Skopje. [MAKFAX]

Attacks against Macedonian police stations began in August and have continued this month, which forced the Parliament to debate the issue recently. In the meantime on Macedonia’s northern border is the Serbian province of Kosovo, which has contained armed Albanian groups for at least 10 years, dedicated to achieving Kosovo independence through war. And that is why, though Tehran has excellent strategic relations with every government in the former Yugoslavia, Iran has emphasized increased relations with the Albanian government in Tirana. Tehran knows it is Albanian groups that are the most likely to restart the hostilities and conflicts Tehran intends to use, not only to keep the West busy away from Iran, but to also use the war in this theatre to silence Vienna and end the investigation into Iran’s nuclear weapons program by the UN agency based there. For that purpose, Tehran had one of its leading ballistic missile experts disappear into Turkey (Feb. 28, 2007) as a high-level liaison officer with Turkey’s military to launch Iran’s Shahab-3 missile at the city. General Alireza Asqhari was a Deputy Defense Minister during the administration of President Mohammad Khatami 1997-2005.

I suspect the launch date is timed for November due to a hint from Iran’s former President Khatami when he passed through Vienna, (November 15, 2005) discussing annihilation of weapons of mass destruction instead of saying what Iran wants to annihilate is Vienna. Khatami made a similar hint in September 2000 when he spoke at the United Nations opening as Iran’s President and announced, “2001 is the year of the dialogue.” After Iran’s last Presidential elections two years ago Khatami was given a new title, head of the Association of Combatant Clerics, which makes him more of a representative of Tehran’s foreign policy than the current President who is not a cleric. Iran’s religious leadership has been directing the foreign policy since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Belgrade – A milder version of what happened in Skopje took place in Belgrade during the debate over the Kosovo issue. Marko Jaksic, a member of the Prime Minister’s political organization, Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), accused Vladan Batic of the Christian Democratic Party of Serbia (DHSS) of having a Gypsy mentality. He later apologized but the Speaker of Parliament Oliver Dulic adjourned the session for five minutes. Jaksic is a member of the Serbian negotiating team on Kosovo. The current impasse on the issue will continue in New York this week at the United Nations. There is no peaceful solution. [B92]

Gaza – RIA is quoting Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying pinpoint attacks by aircraft and helicopters against Qassam rocket positions have not been enough to stop the constant fire by mobile Palestinian fire teams mostly from the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad. Barak stated, “We are getting closer to carrying out a widespread operation in Gaza which for many reasons has not taken place in the past weeks. I must be clear that an operation of this type is not simple, not in terms of the forces and the amount of time, which we will have to stay there in terms of the operational challenges which the troops will have to meet.” [RIA]

This is obviously a full-scale invasion and post-operation occupation being planned. A spokesperson for Hamas, political ruler of the 1.5 million population of Gaza Strip responded by saying, “Of course we welcome the attack. We consider it a worthy answer to the crimes of the occupant.” Palestinian militant groups see Israel as occupying Palestinian territory. “The Jihad continues-we have one language, the language of guns and rockets.”

Ankara – AKI reports Iraq Interior Minister Jawad Bolani is in Ankara to make official the treaty between Turkey-Iraq on a joint security operation in northern Iraq against Kurdish nationalist groups like the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). This is a follow up to the memorandum of understanding both governments signed a month ago in Ankara during a state visit by Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki as he met Turkey Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Washington withdrew its forces from northern Iraq a few months ago. [AKI]

Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Highway – KONS reports a new wave of violence across Kashmir, the Muslim majority province between Pakistan/India, the flashpoint of two of the three wars since their independence in 1947, (1947-8, 1965) and the flashpoint for the fourth war, which actually began November 1989 with the Islamic uprising. Islamic militants of the two main organizations Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba were both engaged in heavy action and infiltration attempts. There was also a significant ambush of an Indian Army convoy near Churu, Sopore on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway. Only an invasion is more fighting than this. [KONS]

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.