Heutige Proteste. Warum die Amerikaner nicht nur ihre MEK Terroristen in Albanien entsorgen, sondern nun auch noch offiziell angefragt haben dies in Albanien zuermöglichen, zeigt ein Chaos in der US Aussenpolitik des US Department of State. Die Stimmung der Albaner war seit vielen Jahren sehr kritisch, weil man immer wieder für irgendwelche dubiosen Geschäfte, das kriminelle Treiben der Politiker im Kosovo und Albanien duldete, inklusive dem Drogen- und Waffen Handel.
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13 Nov 13
Weapons Request Shakes Albania’s Love for US
US pressure on Tirana to host the destruction of Syria’s abandoned chemical weapons makes many Albanians feel that their loyalty to America is being abused.
Albanian officials have confirmed that the United States has asked its small Balkan ally to host the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
Speaking in parliament on Friday, Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati said the government was still considering the request, which had been the topic of a phone call between the new Prime Minister, Edi Rama, and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Although the government has yet to take a decision, many Albanians already feel worried and humiliated by the request. People fear the possible consequences of having the chemical weapons arsenal of the Assad regime of Syria placed on their soil, and with good reason.
Although with US assistance the destruction of munitions laden with chemical agents might be safe and successful, it will still leave behind a cocktail of hazardous waste. Tirana has no capabilities to deal with such waste.
Waste from its own stockpiles of chemical weapons, which were also destroyed with Washington’s help, is still sitting in a poorly guarded facility and posing an environmental threat.
Albania’s Stalinist dictator, Enver Hoxha, stored massive amounts of ammunition, rocket fuel and other dangerous agents in bunkers across the country, fearing an attack from both the East and West.
The legacy of Hoxha’s madness was a number of deadly explosions over the past two decades, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds of others injured.
Many poor Albanians still try to make a living by salvaging metal from the artillery shells scattered across the country. This not exactly a safe place by any standards to transfer 1,300 tons of deadly chemical agents, ranging from mustard gas to VX.
Apart from the fear that the destruction of Syria’s weapons in Albania will turn into yet another tragedy, Albanians feel humiliated. Many feel the United States is rewarding them for their pro-American sentiments by turning the country into dumping ground.
They feel an even worse sense of shame at their own government’s handling of the issue. Many believe that Albania’s possible nod to the transfer of the chemical weapons will spring from a government culture of saying “yes’ to anything Washington wants.
Urban legend has it that Albania’s corrupt political class lives in constant fear that one day it might become the target of Western law enforcement agencies.
To avert those unwanted probes, Albanian politicians are happy to play ball with anything that the West, and especially the United States, throws its way.
What gives credo to such beliefs is the fact that Tirana has accepted more former Guantanamo prisoners who could not be repatriated to their home states than any other country.
Only recently it agreed to take in 210 members of the Iranian resistance group, Mujahidin-e-Khalq, based on yet another US request.
Hosting the Iranian mujahedin and the former Guantanamo prisoners on humanitarian grounds provoked little resistance from the general public.
However, the mixture of shame and fear produced by the request to take in Syria’s chemical stockpile has drawn protests from the street to social networks.
Those most angry at the government and the US request are the same people who only a few months ago, in the June 23 elections, handed a landslide victory to the centre-left coalition headed by Socialist leader Edi Rama.
Many Socialists supporters fear the transfer of the chemical weapons even more than a return to power of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Rama’s archenemy.
Rama’s stay in power is dependent on his junior ally, Ilir Meta, and it’s unclear what impact a dispute over these weapons might have for the coalition.
Meta has already declared that Albania does not have the capabilities to destroy the agents and “should not bear a burden larger than its shoulders”.
When news broke that Albania might take in Syria’s stockpile, some analyst pointed out that Albania’s only comparative advantages as a host country were its lack of a developed civil society and its culture of unresponsive politics.
As they noted, there was no reason for the international community to handpick such a small and impoverished country as the final destination of Assad’s weapons of mass destruction, when other NATO states have far more sophisticated disarmament technology.
Rallies were held across the country on Wednesday against a US request to the Albanian government to host the
Albania asked to host destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal The U.S. is turning to its tiny staunch ally to find a place where Syrian weapons can be destroyed, officials in Tirana have confirmed.
By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON — For years, when the United States has needed to hand off a dirty diplomatic chore, one obscure nation has reliably raised its hand: Albania.
Now the United States is turning to Albania again, hoping it will allow Syria’s chemical weapons to be destroyed on its soil.
The Obama administration’s request to Albania, confirmed by government officials in Tirana last week, aims to resolve one of the thorniest questions surrounding the U.S.-sponsored plan to disarm Syria’s lethal arsenal of sarin, VX and mustard gas.
With a civil war raging in Syria, President Bashar Assad wants his weapons — including 1,300 tons of chemical agents and precursors, and 1,200 tons of unfilled munitions — destroyed outside the country. The head of the international watchdog agency overseeing the disarmament has said removing the materiel from Syria “remains the most viable option.”
The United States is leading the search for a country to take in the toxic stockpile. But few nations have been eager to volunteer for a task that could provoke domestic opposition, create security and environmental challenges and cost tens of millions of dollars.
Another country that U.S. officials asked to handle the job, Norway, has refused. And Danish officials said Friday that their country was willing to help transport weapons from Syria by sea, but not destroy them. Albanian officials said they were considering the request. The State Department said no decisions had been made and declined to discuss the matter further.
“There have been some positive signals from Albania, but it is a very sensitive issue there,” said a European official with knowledge of the talks who was not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Albania has experience with chemical weapons. In 2007, with extensive U.S. technical and financial help, the coastal Balkan nation became the first country to destroy its arsenal under the Chemical Weapons Convention, the international treaty banning the production and use of the weapons.
But after years of importing non-hazardous waste from richer neighbors such as Italy — a scheme that produced thousands of jobs and millions in revenue — Albanians decided they no longer want to be Europe’s garbage dump. A new Socialist government in Tirana recently imposed a ban on waste imports after a two-year campaign by environmental activists led to a referendum on the issue.
“Albania has been quite the yes man toward Washington, but taking in Assad’s chemical stockpile will likely face more resistance,” Besar Likmeta, Albania editor for the news website Balkan Insight, said by phone from Tirana. “Taking in the weapons now for destruction, after imposing a ban on non-hazardous waste, is a tough sell.”
There also are serious questions about Albania’s ability to secure dangerous materials. In 2008, an explosion at a munitions depot outside the capital, where old artillery shells were being dismantled, killed 26 people and injured 300.
Much of the waste from its mustard gas program remains stored in huge containers at an army facility near Tirana. Likmeta said that when he visited the base last week there was no guard in sight.
The speaker of the parliament, Ilir Meta, said Friday that his country doesn’t have the “necessary means” to destroy Syria’s stockpile.
Still, some Albanians believe that doing so could bolster their corruption-riddled nation’s standing among Western powers and help its bid to join the European Union.
In the 2000s, the United States spent $45 million to help destroy Albania’s 18 tons of mustard gas. Eliminating Syria’s far larger program would prompt a fresh influx of Western cash and equipment.
“There has to be some money, obviously, though we don’t know how much,” said Adrian Neritani, a former Albanian ambassador to the United Nations who practices law in New York. “But if this is a way that Albania can offer its help and assistance and show it is a good member of the international community, why not?”
Polls rank Albania, with an overwhelming majority of Muslims, among the most pro-American nations. The sentiment dates to President Woodrow Wilson, who backed Albanian independence after World War I, and was strengthened during the 1999 NATO military campaign in Kosovo, a majority ethnic Albanian region that later declared independence from Serbia.
Albania deployed a small contingent of troops to Afghanistan and was among the first to send soldiers to Iraq. In 2007, when then-President George W. Bush was being pilloried across Europe, he received a hero’s welcome in Tirana.
The government this year presented Bush’s former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, with a medal as thanks for backing Albania’s 2009 entry to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
On an official visit late last month, Hoyt Yee, a senior State Department official, reportedly visited several border posts. In public remarks, Yee praised the two nations’ “strong relations, friendship and partnership.”
Less subtly, the U.S. ambassador to Tirana, Alexander Arvizu, was quoted by Radio Free Europe on Thursday as saying that “all responsible NATO partners must find a way to contribute” to rid Syria of chemical weapons.
It was a reminder, Likmeta said, that “all Albanian governments are susceptible to U.S. pressure.”