Archive for January 2009

Serbian FM asks around 80 countries to address ICJ

January 29, 2009

Source: Tanjug

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has sent a letter to around 80 countries, proposing that they consider sending their opinion on the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  On behalf of Serbia, he expressed gratitude for the shown respect for Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for the votes with which they backed the relevant Resolution at the UN General Assembly.
Jeremic sent the letter, which was made available to Tanjug, to United Nations (UN) member-states that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo or maintained a neutral stand during the vote at the UN General Assembly.
The ICJ will this year take a stand on whether the proclamation of the independence of Serbia’s southern province was in keeping with international law.
The case of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence records that the ICJ has been asked for the first time to assess the legality of attempted secession from a UN member-state, Jeremic said in the letter.
In that respect, the conclusions of the ICJ will establish a strong criterion with far-reaching consequences for the UN system.
The outcome will either act as a strong deterrent to other separatist movements, or it will result in a conclusion that could encourage them to act in a similar fashion, Jeremic said.

On October 8, 2008, Jeremic pointed out, the UN General Assembly adopted a Resolution asking the ICJ to provide its advisory opinion on the legality of the move made by the interim institutions of Kosovo.
The Serbian minister offered to the countries he addressed also any possibly needed assistance from Serbia’s legal team.
On behalf of Serbia, he expressed gratitude for the shown respect for Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for the votes with which they backed the relevant Resolution at the UN General Assembly.

India against Kosovo independence

January 26, 2009

Indian Ambassador in Belgrade, Ajay Svarup, said that India will continue to support Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity over Kosovo.

“India will support Serbia on the issue of protection of her sovereignty in all international forums. Our position is well known to other countries, and our position in the international relations today is such that India’s opinion is respected,” the ambassador said.

The Ambassador said that India backed and continues to back UN Resolution 1244 that defines Kosovo as a Serbian territory despite the legal rebellion of some states, led by the US, to violate it.

Over 75% of world countries have not recognized Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence.

“The Indian government believes that the problem of Kosovo should have been solved via peaceful means, finding a mutually acceptable solution through dialogue,” the Ambassador said.

The Ambassador said that said that the principle of self-determination, which some have cited in favor of Kosovo’s declaration, “was relevant at the time of liberation from colonial rule,” and Kosovo is not a Serbian colony but intricate part of the territory.

India recently voted in favor of Serbia’s UN General Assembly initiative to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whether the Kosovo Albanian declaration of independence was legal.

US political analyst John Zavales told the Voice of America that the International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo will put the countries that have recognized Kosovo in a problematic predicament.

“If the International Court of Justice decides that Kosovo’s independence was not established in line with international law, then the countries that have recognized it will find themselves in a predicament, since the thesis about the uniqueness of the Kosovo case will no longer be sustainable,” Zavales said. 

Zavales said that Kosovo will not be the main diplomatic issue for America any more and that the ICJ ruling will make Kosovo of interest only “on a theoretical level”.’

Last week, Spain has urged countries to submit their briefs to the International Court of Justice in support of Serbia’s territorial integrity.

Kosovo is a Serbian province whose Albanian violent separatists have illegally declared independence in 2008 after ethnically cleansing over two thirds of the Serbian population while NATO troops, there since 1999, claim they are there to keep peace. The remaining Serbs are exposed to daily attacks of various sorts. Some states have extended a diplomatic recognition to these separatists claiming the province is a “unique” case.

 

 

Source: Serbianna

Another Real Estate Crisis is About to Hit – Paul Craig Roberts-

January 23, 2009

The Second Stage

 

Another Real Estate Crisis is About to Hit

 

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

 

For a picture of the US real estate crisis, imagine New Orleans wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, and before the waters even begin to recede, a second Katrina hits.

The 1,120,000 lost US retail jobs in 2008 are a signal that the second stage of the real estate bust is about to hit the economy. This time it will be commercial real estate–shopping malls, strip malls, warehouses, and office buildings. As businesses close and rents decline, the ability to service the mortgages on the over-built commercial real estate disappears.

The over-building was helped along by the irresponsibly low interest rates, but the main impetus came from the slide of the US saving rate to zero and the rise in household indebtedness. The shrinkage of savings and the increase in debt raised consumer spending to 72% of GDP. The proliferation of malls and the warehouses that service them reflect the rise in consumer spending as a share of GDP.

Like the federal government, consumers spent more than they earned and borrowed to cover the difference. Obviously, this could not go on forever, and consumer debt has reached its limit.

Shopping malls are losing anchor stores, and large chains are closing stores and even going out of business altogether. Developers who borrowed to finance commercial ventures are in trouble as are the holders of the mortgages, derivatives and other financial junk associated with the loans.

The main source of the economic crisis is the infantile belief of US policymakers that an economy could be based on debt expansion. As offshoring moved jobs, incomes, and GDP out of the country, debt expanded to take the place of the missing income. When the offshored goods and services were brought back to be sold to Americans, the trade deficit rose, adding another level of financing for an economy that consumes more than it produces.

The growth of debt has outpaced the growth of real output. Yet, the solution offered by Obama’s economic team is to expand debt further. This is not surprising as Obama’s economic team consists of the very people who brought on the debt crisis. Now they are going to make it worse.

 

 

MORE: http://www.counterpunch.org/    -January 22, 2009-

Top Balkans bankers believe financial crisis would affect region slightly

January 19, 2009

Source: Portalino
 
The heads of the central banks of eight Southeast European states agreed that the region would be affected slightly by the global financial crisis.
The central bank directors from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia held their regular meeting in Sofia in October 2008.

The Director of the Bulgarian National Bank Ivan Iskrov explained there were no banks in Southeast Europe, which owned securities of the type that caused problems in the USA.

He did point out, however, that the crisis was going to an indirect impact on the region by raising the credit interest rates by an average of 1,5%.

Another potential indirect effect could ensue in case the global crisis leads to a recession some of the Western European states, which are primary export partners of the Balkans states, because this would reduce their exports, and would stifle the economic growth.

Iskrov announced that the Bulgarian banks had an average profit of over 30%. He pointed out that the European banks had sufficient assets but that they kept them off the market because of lack of trust.

World military update

January 17, 2009

Serbia develops Lazar armoured vehicle

 

The Serbian defence industry has completed the prototype of a new
multirole armoured combat vehicle (MRACV) called the Lazar, which has
been developed by the Serbian Military Technology Institute to meet the
potential requirements of Serbia as well as export customers. Designated
Lazar BVT 8808-SR, the first prototype was completed in late 2008 and is
currently undergoing tests. The hull is made of all-welded steel armour
with applique armour added to provide a higher level of protection (the
highest level is over the frontal arc)

 

 
Pakistan seeks China’s help in shipyard construction
Pakistan has requested assistance from China in constructing two naval
shipyards and modernising another, according to a statement issued by the
country’s government on 14 January. “The minister [for Defence
Production, Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi] sought the assistance of [the]
Chinese government for expanding and building the Karachi and Gawadr
shipyards,” said the statement

 

 

 

India orders Spyder missile systems
India has signed a contract with Rafael for the supply of an undisclosed
number of Spyder surface-to-air missile systems. A contract worth
approximately INR1,137 crore (USD260 million) for the purchase of what
the Indian Ministry of Defence described as “low-level quick-reaction
missile systems” was signed on 1 September 2008, following an evaluation
of tenders from several potential missile suppliers. However, the deal
was not disclosed until 17 December 2008

 

 

 

 
Russia tests missile for S-400

 

The Russian Air Force has started tests of a new missile for the S-400
Triumf (SA-21 ‘Growler’) air-defence system. Colonel General Alexander
Zelin, commander of the air force, told the RIA Novosti news agency on 26
December 2008 that testing had begun, but did not identify the new
missile. The first S-400 battery entered service in the Moscow region in
2007 and some of its hardware was briefly displayed at that year’s MAKS
airshow at Zhukovsky

 

 

 

 
Australia appoints first national security adviser
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has abandoned an election pledge to
establish a US-style Department of Homeland Security, instead appointing
the country’s first ever national security adviser and forming a national
intelligence and co-ordination committee responsible for collating
foreign, defence, security and law enforcement intelligence. Delivering
the inaugural national security statement to Parliament on 4 December,
Rudd said the best solution for Australia was not another agency “but a
new level of leadership, direction and co-ordination among the agencies
we already have”

 

 

 

 

 
German Navy hopes to benefit from investment in third support ship
The German Navy is to acquire a third Berlin-class (Type 702) underway
replenishment ship by 2012 at a cost of about EUR330 million (USD436
million): some 35 per cent higher than previously budgeted. A contract
between the country’s ARGE shipbuilding consortium and the Federal Office
of Defence Technology and Procurement was concluded in mid-December 2008
and announced by the consortium on 12 January 2009

 

 

 

 
Source: Jane’s Defence Journal

Third Balkan War on the Horizon

January 12, 2009

Source: http://de-construct.net/e-zine/?p=4298

If the UN and the EU fail to seriously address the issue of Albanian land-grabbing terrorism, the malignancy will spread and grip not only all of Serbia but the entire Balkans. Albanian separatist-terrorist movement will not be satiated with the secession of Kosovo and Metohija province from Serbia, but it will extend its tentacles to rob parts of FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and south-eastern Serbia. That will inevitably lead to armed conflicts, which is an introduction to the Third Balkan War. History has shown that the borders in the Balkans were never changed by peaceful means, but through the long and difficult wars.

This bleak projection was expressed in the interview given to Revija 92 by Professor Dr. Radoslav Gaćinović, scientific advisor to the Institute for Political Studies in Belgrade and the international terrorism expert.

Professor Dr. Radoslav Gaćinović is the scientific advisor of the Institute for Political Studies in Belgrade and the international expert for security and counter-terrorism. He defended his dissertation thesis fifteen years ago at the Faculty of Law in Belgrade, on the topic “International terrorism and security of Yugoslavia”. He is the author of a number of books, such as “Countering diversion activities”, “Terrorism and propaganda”, “How to fight against terrorism”, “Contemporary terrorism”, “Violence in Yugoslavia”, “Seizing Kosovo and Metohija,” “Terrorism”, “Anti-terrorism”, “Introduction to the security studies”, and the most recent “Political violence and globalization”.

Q: Will Balkan become a powder keg once again, as Juval Aviv, Israeli Mossad agent recently said?

RG: In the criminal and security terms, Balkan is currently the most unkempt region in Europe. Albanian terrorism simply seeped into every cell of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and they live in total fear. For them, Balkans broke out in flames long time ago.

It is true, however, that Israeli intelligence service monitors the situation in the Balkans and cooperates with Western intelligence services, but the public statements of top information agents are far from the actual situation on the ground. Being that the disintegrating processes in the Balkans have not yet been completed, it is realistic to still expect a number of uncertainties in terms of security.

Q: Will Serbia be the target of terrorist attacks (so-called “Army of the Republic of Kosovo” has taken responsibility for the recent attack on the EULEX office in Priština) or will the Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija continue to be the only targets?

RG: Since Kosovo and Metohija are Serbian territory, Serbia is continuing to be the target of terrorist attacks, and it is also possible that the terrorism expands to Serbia proper. Terrorist activities are unpredictable, terrorism is like a phoenix phenomenon: as soon as you start thinking it’s gone, it reappears.

My assessment is that the main target of attacks in Kosovo-Metohija will be the remaining Serbs until Albanian terrorists establish ethnically clean territory in the entire southern Serbian province. After that, they will attack international security forces if they refuse to serve Shiptar [Kosovo Albanian] separatist-terrorist movement. If EULEX in Kosovo-Metohija really takes its mission seriously and disallows violence against the Serbs and secession of the province, they will be attacked en masse and purged from this region. The recent attack on EULEX headquarters in Priština is only a warning to the UN and EU.

Q: Who is financing the “Army of Republic of Kosovo”?

RG: Financing of the Shiptar [Kosovo Albanian] forces in Kosovo and Metohija was approached in a very responsible manner. Shiptar mafia allocates 125-150 million dollars annually for Kosovo and Metohija seccession, and over 25 million dollars for the so-called “Kosovo Protection Corps”. During the past nine years, the international community has given 2,3 billion euros to Shiptars in Kosovo and Metohija.

Albanian funds “Fatherland Calling”, “Freedom for the People”, “Kosova Fund”, etc. are very active organizations worldwide and their only task is to collect as much money as possible for secession of Kosovo province. In addition, Republic of Serbia owns around 220 billion dollars’ value in Kosovo-Metohija, but unfortunately Shiptars have placed that money in the service of an “independent state of Kosovo”. Behind these formations and all activities of Shiptar political elites stands primarily United States and those countries which have recognized their unilateral act of secession, i.e. those who are snatching 15 percent of Serbian territory.

Q: What is their ultimate goal?

RG: Albanian separatist-terrorist movement represents danger to the security of the Balkans, because they will not be satisfied by the secession of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia alone. In the first stage, they will exercise all kinds of activities to create the “greater Kosovo” out of parts of FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro and south-east Serbia.

After that, they will most likely form some type of union with Albania. In this case, the territory under the Albanian control would be the size of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or around 50,000 square meters. Creation of such Albanian state in the Balkans would encourage further ethnic arrogance of the Albanians. This will be the source of an open clash with Serbia or any of these other countries, which would inevitably lead to the Third Balkan War.

This is a warning to the UN and EU to seriously address Albanian land-grabbing issue in the Balkans. And also to all the political elites in Serbia, that the numbers in the state army must be kept up to the necessary levels, because the disintegration processes have not even started, and history testifies that borders in the Balkans were never changed by the peaceful means, but through the long and difficult wars.

Q: Is the fear that terrorism will take hold here justified and how can that be prevented?

RG: Serbia has a strategy of deterring and response strategy. Strategy of deterring means a very respectable military force, trained and equipped with modern weapons and equipment, which will not attack anyone, but with its strength it will represent a deterrence factor to potential attackers, while, at the same time, it will also be a factor of stability in the Balkans. That presupposes total political consensus when it comes to national interests and a very wise foreign policy. A response strategy includes the state’s ability for resolute and swift response by all the allowed and available means in the case of terrorist attack.

Serbia will Never Enter the EU

Q: Will Belgrade become the target of Shiptar terrorists?

RG: They don’t want to come to Belgrade to commit terrorist acts. There is, however, danger of members of al-Qaeda doing it in their name, or the members of other Islamic terrorist organizations.

Q: Are Albanians in Belgrade lying in wait?

RG: The majority of Albanians who live in Serbia proper are economically well off. They have their own trades and shops, and some own major businesses, so they are seemingly indifferent to the political situation in the Balkans, but they very much support the general interests of their national community. Regarding Shiptars in Belgrade, no one is so naive to cut the branch on which he sits comfortably.

Q: Recently, Shiptar hackers attacked the web site of Raska-Prizren Diocese [Kosovo-Metohija and Raska region], where they glorified Islam and “united Albanian states”. What is behind that provocation?

RG: That is another method of intimidating Serbs remaining in Kosovo and Metohija and the Eastern Orthodox clergy. Cyber-terrorism in a very cruel way reminds Serbs that the events of the March 17 can be repeated and that they are unwanted in the province.

Q: Is this situation in Kosovo and Metohija slowing down Serbia’s joining the European Union?

RG: Serbia will never enter the EU and there is a reason for that. In a letter Willy Wimmer had sent to the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2000, as the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, under the point no. 8, he stresses that Serbia must remain permanently excluded from the European development in order to secure unobstructed American military presence in the Balkans.

Americans, in fact, are seizing parts of Serbia in order to compensate for the “error” of General Eisenhower from the Second World War, to have American soldiers stationed on the stolen Serbian territory.

In order for Serbia to enter the EU, it must have good neighborly relations with all the EU member states. Since almost all of them have recognized the independence of Kosovo, before entering the EU Serbia would also have to recognize the secession and to establish diplomatic relations with that so-called state.

No Serb will ever have either the legality or legitimacy to do that. I would replace the political slogan “Europe has no alternative” with the desire of the majority of Serbian citizens: “Sovereignty of Serbia has no alternative.”

Muslim Bosnia and Kosovo Province Seething with Islamic Terrorists

Q: A large number of Islamic fanatics remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Will they join their Shiptar equivalents?

RG: Mujahedeens which the UN calls “God’s lunatics” have stayed on to live in Bosnia after the war ended. There are currently around 30,000 of them. Reports by the international security forces stationed in Bosnia claim that more than 50 percent of the members of the Muslim military forces are linked with mujahedeens. Because of these trends, Muslim part of Bosnia must be under permanent control of the international forces, so that the activities of mujahedeens and the Islamic terrorists are kept under control.

Islamic Route [“transferzala”], which was designed to connect Asia Minor with the most prominent Islamic enclave in Europe — and that is Cazin in Bosnia — represents a great danger to the security of Europe. This route toward Central Europe is an inroad for the smooth influx of the Islamic terrorists, drugs, weapons, white slaves… In order to achieve that goal, Islamic fanatics who stayed in Bosnia will most certainly support all the actions of Kosovo Shiptars.

Sooner or later, Europe will be forced to face the problem coming primarily from Kosovo and Metohija. Unfortunately though, its reaction is already very late.

Americans Pulling all the Strings in the Balkans

Q: Shirley C. DioGuardi, Balkan Affairs Advisor to the Albanian-American Civic League and wife of Joseph DioGuardi, the most fanatical Albanian lobbyist in U.S, is issuing public calls to Albanian leaders in Priština to start the “strong counteroffensive against Serbia”…?

RG: Albanian lobby in United States was founded in January 1989, and called “Albanian-American civic league” (AACL), as a non-profit organization which aims to “actively lobby in the legislative and executive organ of power in the United States”, in accordance with US laws. Its founder and president is the former U.S. congressman of Italian/Albanian origin, Joseph Joe DioGuardi, who opened the “Kosovo issue” before the U.S. Congress in 1985.

Joe DioGuardi and Antal Tom Lantos were in 1989 the first American politicians who visited Albania after the Second World War, and the following year they went to Kosovo and Metohija for the first time, with Bob Dole and six other senators.

Shirley DioGuardi’s activities were intensified in the last ten years. Her latest offensive encourages Shiptar terrorists to organize a new wave of terror. None of Serbian officials has ever said that all Albanians are Islamic fundamentalists. It is difficult to predict the ultimate intentions of Shirley DioGuardi against Serbia and the Balkans, but they certainly do not lead to peace and stability, but to further violence and aggravation of the situation in the Balkans.

It is an indisputable fact that Americans are pulling all the strings of the Balkan crisis and of the region’s instability. However, it is also certain that Russians will not stay on the sidelines either when it comes to Balkans, which is increasingly falling under the sphere of big powers’ interest. Hence, in the coming period political and military instability of the region is inevitable.

Unprecedented Wave of Terror

Q: What are the crimes Albanian terrorists have committed in Kosovo-Metohija?

RG: Since the arrival of KFOR to Kosovo and Metohija (from June 10, 1999) until the end of 2005, armed terrorist groups of Shiptars have committed a total of 7,757 terrorist attacks. In these actions, members of the KLA have killed 1,252 Serbs, wounded 2,237 and kidnapped 1,150. They completely destroyed or visibly damaged 150 Serbian churches and monasteries. 144 prison camps were discovered, in which Serbs were illegally detained, tortured, abused and killed.

Since June 1999 until the end of November 2003, 5,100 of the Serbian gravestones were destroyed in Kosovo-Metohija, value of which is estimated at over 5 million euros. In this period 250,000 non-Albanians were expelled from Kosovo-Metohija province, 107,000 houses and apartments owned by the Serbs were torched or stolen, and their value is estimated at about 5 billion and 350 million euros.

Q: Which country is the leader of Islamic fundamentalism?

RG: In the past 25 years, Saudi Arabia was the biggest driving force of Islamic fundamentalism, and its so-called charitable organizations were channeling hundreds of millions of dollars to jihad and al-Qaeda organizations all over the world, and they are especially interested in the inroads of the “Green Route” (”Zelena transferzala”).
It is estimated that around 70 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia were spent on spreading the Wahhabi sects, fundamentalism and jihad in the world. With this money some 1,500 mosques were built, 210 Islamic centers, 202 Islamic universities and 2,000 schools, all in non-Islamic countries. Only in 1994, according to the estimates of the embassy in Riyadh, Saudi donors have sent 150 million dollars through the Islamic organizations to the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

World military update

January 10, 2009

USAF releases new energy policy

The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a new ‘Energy Program Policy’: a blueprint for driving forward future energy-related initiatives, which are set to be a high priority for the Obama administration. The policy lays out a set of efforts to decrease demand for oil-based fuel products, increase supply and change the USAF culture to be more energy-conscious

 

 
South Africa revives tactical vehicle programme
Armscor, the South African defence acquisition agency, is set to relaunch its project to acquire a new family of tactical logistic vehicles for the country’s army after nearly two years’ delay over allegations of impropriety. The new request for proposals (RfP) for Project Vistula is expected to be issued around the middle of February, albeit for a modified acquisition that now also includes five-tonne payload 4×4 trucks

 

 

 

Mixed fortunes ahead for US defence industry

 

The financial downturn has affected all corners of the US economy and the Federal Reserve expects unemployment to rise from 6.3-6.6 per cent in 2008 to a possible 8 per cent in 2009. President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulation plan could reach USD800 billion: potentially the largest government package since President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s

 

 

Tajikistan receives new Pechora-2M system

 

Tajikistan has taken delivery of the new Almaz-Antey S-125-2M Pechora-2M (SA-3 ‘Goa’) surface-to-air missile system, according to Russian press reports in early December. The standard being delivered represents a further upgrade of an earlier configuration shown for the first time in 2003. Both the control post vehicle and the UNK command post vehicle are based on the KAMAZ-4320 chassis and are networked with a CASTA-2E2 reconnaissance and target-designation radar based on the same chassis or on a trailer

 

 

UK cuts Meteor purchase to minimum, delays ISD

 

Procurement of the MBDA Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) for the UK’s Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft is to be reduced to a quantity that meets “minimum contractual commitments”, a report by the UK National Audit Office (NAO) has confirmed. Additionally, the in-service date (ISD) has been moved back to 2015. According to the NAO’s ‘Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 2008’, published on 18 December: “The department [Ministry of Defence] has reviewed the Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile programme in 2007-08 in the light of the changing strategic environment and has decided to delay the integration of Meteor onto Typhoon as this capability is no longer required as early as previously foreseen.” As a result, the ISD has been redefined into two stages “in the light of changes to the perceived threat and to achieve a more cost-effective integration onto Typhoon”, says the report

 

 

 

India signs for eight P-8I MRA aircraft

 

India has signed its biggest ever defence deal with the United States: an estimated USD2.1 billion order for eight Boeing P-8I Poseidon multimission maritime reconnaissance aircraft (MRA) with an anti-submarine warfare capability for the Indian Navy (IN). IN officials confirmed to Jane’s that, according to the “direct commercial agreement” concluded between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Boeing in New Delhi on 31 December, the navy would receive its first P-8I by the end of 2012 or early the following year and the remaining seven by 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Jane’s Defence Journal