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Kosovization of the FYR of Macedonia

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It passed a year after the last open armed conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – FYROM (former Socialist Republic of Macedonia as one of six federal republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) in May 2015 that was just an expected continuation of constant tensions between the ethnic Albanians and the Macedonian Slavs during the last quarter of century.

However, these tensions are time to time transformed into the open armed conflicts of the Albanian extremists, usually coming from Kosovo, with the Macedonian security forces. The most notable conflict incidents in Macedonia after the Kosovo War in 1998−1999, when the Kosovo Albanians started to export Kosovo revolution to Macedonia, up to 2015 are recorded in 2001 that was ended by the EU/USA sponsored Ohrid Agreement, in 2007 when on November 7th, Macedonian special police forces liquidated six armed Albanians from the neighboring Kosovo on the Shara Mt. in the North Macedonia – the region known from 1991 as the most nationalistic and separatist Albanian area at the Balkans after Kosovo and in 2008 after the parliamentary elections in June. In the 2007 case, for instance, police found a large amount of hidden arms and ammunition on one location at the Shara Mt. (brought from Kosovo). The Balkan political analytics are kin to speculate that what is happening in Macedonia after 1999 is just a continuation of the export of Kosovo revolution from 1998−1999. It basically means that Macedonia is scheduled by the Kosovo Albanian “revolutionaries” (i.e., by the political leadership of the Kosovo Liberation Army−the KLA) to be the next Balkan country which will experience a “Kosovo syndrome” that was successfully finished by the proclamation of the Kosovo independence in February 2008. It is as well as assumed that Montenegro is going to be the third Balkan country infected by the process of Kosovization.

The pre-1991 “Macedonian Question”

Macedonia always was the crossroad of the Balkans having a vital strategic position at the peninsula. The geostrategic importance of Macedonia was probably expressed the best by the German kanzellar Otto von Bismarck: “Those who control the valley of the River Vardar are the masters of the Balkans”.

A whole historic-geographic territory of Macedonia was formerly part of the Ottoman Empire from 1371 to 1912. Macedonia was the first Yugoslav land to be occupied by the Ottomans and the last one to be liberated from the Ottoman yoke. Before the Ottoman lordship, Macedonia was governed by the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria and Serbia. A Bulgarian sponsored the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (the IMRO) was established in 1893 in Thessaloniki with the ultimate political goal to include whole Macedonia into Bulgaria. After the Balkan Wars of 1912−1913 a territory of historic-geographic Macedonia was partitioned between Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria. During the WWI Macedonia became a scene of fierce fighting between the Central Powers and the Entente (the Macedonian front). Allied forces landed at Thessaloniki in October 1915 to be soon accompanied with approximately 150.000 Serbian soldiers who escaped from the occupied Serbia. In September 1918 under the French General Franchet d’Esperey, a joint British, French and Serbian army advanced against Bulgaria and soon liberated Serbia.

After the WWI the Treaty of Neuilly confirmed the Vardar Macedonia as a part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, while the Aegean Macedonia with Thessaloniki remained the Greek and the Pirin Macedonia the Bulgarian. In the 1920s a large population movement transformed the ethnic composition of the population of the historic-geographic Macedonia. The crucial exchange of population occurred after the Treaty of Lausanne as some 350.000 Muslims from Macedonia were exchanged with Turkey by around 1.200.000 ethnic Greeks from Anatolia. In the interwar time a Bulgarian sponsored IMRO terrorism activity increased in the Yugoslav Macedonia seeking to destabilize the country in order to finally annex Macedonia into Bulgaria. After 1945 the Vardar Macedonia became a socialist republic within the Yugoslav federation with recognized a separate Macedonian nationality, Macedonian language and alphabet which was standardized for the first time in history. Up to 1991 the Yugoslav authorities fostered Macedonian self-identity and nationalism at the expense of the Serb and Bulgarian national interests. Therefore, for the very reason to keep a territorial integrity of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, her Albanian minority was not granted a status of an autonomous province like the Kosovo Albanians in Serbia who had, according to the last Yugoslav constitution in 1974, their own president, government, assembly, police, university and academy of sciences – a state within the state.

The post-1991 “Macedonian Question”

During the violent destruction of ex-Yugoslavia, in November 1991 the Socialist Republic of Macedonia proclaimed independence that was firstly recognized by Bulgaria. However, Bulgaria never recognized a separate Macedonian language and ethnicity as for Bulgarians up today all Macedonian Slavs are the ethnolinguistic Bulgarians. Of course, when Skopje decided to declare independence the Macedonians decided at the same time to deal alone with the Albanian nationalism and separatism in Macedonia without help by the Serbs. The government in Skopje believed that the West will protect a territorial integrity of Macedonia and therefore yet in 1991 the NATO’s troops were invited to be deployed in this newly proclaimed independent state which became internationally recognized in 1993 but with a provisional state’s name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – a unique case in the world history. Nevertheless, a new Macedonian constitution, a constitutional state’s name (the Republic of Macedonia) and the state’s symbols created immediately extremely tense and hostile relationships with a neighboring Greece as Skopje developed rival (and unjust) claims to the ethnohistorical heritage of the ancient Macedonians and the Kingdom of Macedonia. Greece and the FYROM recognized each other five years after the Macedonian official proclamation of independence when Greece lifted economic blockade against the FYROM as well.

However, the crucial challenge to the post-1991 “Macedonian Question” is coming from the ethnic breakdown of the country and historical background of interethnic relations between the Macedonian Slavs and the Macedonian Albanians. The later are the biggest and most nationalistic ethnic minority in the FYROM composing today about 30% of total population. Their number increased during the Kosovo War in 1998−1999, especially during the NATO’s “a prominent example of unauthorized humanitarian intervention” against Serbia and Montenegro, as the Kosovo Albanians, formally as the refugees, came to Macedonia followed by their compatriots from Albania – a country out of any warfare at that time. Majority of those Albanian “refugees” in fact never returned back to their homeland. Interethnic tensions between the Macedonian Slavs and the Macedonian Albanians soon became increased due to both worsening economic situation and the uncompromised Albanian nationalism as an effect of the exported “Kosovo syndrome”.            

“Kosovo syndrome”

The export of Kosovo revolution after 1999 as a direct outcome of the “Kosovo syndrome” to neighboring Macedonia is in direct connection with much serious regional problem of creation of a Greater Albania from 1878 up today. After June 1999 when the NATO’s troops occupied and divided Kosovo into five occupation zones, transforming this region into their colony, the West Macedonia became a stronghold for the rebel Albanian terrorist forces which in fact came from Kosovo. The Macedonian Albanian separatism backed by the KLA paramilitary troops in the area of Tetovo, Kumanovo and Gostivar in the North-West Macedonia became directly encouraged by the fact that neighboring Kosovo Albanians finally succeeded to separate Kosovo from the rest of Serbia with direct NATO’s and EU military and diplomatic support. greateralbania2The same or very similar scenario was drawn now and for the West Macedonia with Skopje as a capital of the Albanian independent state of the Republic of Ilirida – a state proclaimed by the local Albanian nationalists twice after the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia: in 1992 and in September 2014. Of course, an ultimate goal is pan-Albanian unification with Tirana as a capital of a Greater Albania as it was during the WWII. Here it has to be stressed that between Kosovo, the West Macedonia and Albania in fact there is no cross-border checking as it is formally controlled by the Albanians themselves, if it is controlled at all. Therefore, in practice a Greater Albania already exists. Furthermore, the traffic connections between Tirana and Prishtina are planned to be radically improved as the Kosovo Albanian government recently agreed with the government of Albania to connect their two capitals with a modern highway probably financially sponsored by the western economies.  

It is clear that according to the strategy of creation of a Greater Albania the Albanian-populated territories of the FYROM between Albania’s border and Vardar river are scheduled to be next to follow the case of Kosovo separation. The original tactic by the Albanian nationalist to separate the western portion of the FYROM from 1999 to 2001 was to struggle for the territorial-national autonomy within Macedonia with obvious purpose finally to separate it from the rest of the country as they did it with Kosovo. As a first institution for such territorial-national autonomy to be established was projected the University of Tetovo as an ideological spring of an independent Republic of Ilirida in the town that is projected to be its capital. Even in this matter the “Kosovo syndrome” is clear visible: the University of Prishtina was established by the Communist authorities to be exactly the ideological-nationalistic source of the Albanian separatism in Kosovo.

Just for the very political reasons Macedonian Albanians formally accepted a concept of a multicultural society (the 2001 Ohrid Agreement) but in practice they as the Muslims fight for the division of the society according to the ethnic lines and transformation of self-proclaimed their “territory” into the Islamic Illiridastan according to the pattern of creation of Kosovostan after June 1999. No doubt that both of Illiridastan and Kosovostan finally have to become integral parts of a Greater Albania(stan) founded on the Islamic law and tradition according to the First Prizren League’s concept from 1878. The policy of ethnoconfessional separation in the FYROM is probably mostly visible in the case of country’s capital Skopje which is strictly divided on the Christian Macedonian (Slavonic) and Muslim Albanian parts. Macedonia’s Albanians following as well as “Kosovo syndrome” are silently committing a policy of ethnic homogenization in the West Macedonia especially near the borders with Albania. Their pure propaganda claims that there are already up to 40% ethnic Albanians in the FYROM has as its political aim to obtain a constitutional status for the Albanians followed by a proclamation of the Albanian language as one of two state’s languages (like bilingual Belgium). However, according to the official 1994 census under the international observation control, there were 442.914 ethnic Albanians (22.9%) out of a total FYROM’s population that was at that time 1.936.877.          

Perspectives

The “Macedonian Question” has always been at the heart of the Balkan politics and of interest of the Great Powers. Macedonia – the small, landlocked territory at the South Balkans has been contested during the last 150 years by all its four neighbors – Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. A Socialist Yugoslavia of Josip Broz Tito claimed to have solved the “Macedonian Question” by the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as a part of the Yugoslav Federation from 1945 to 1991. Nonetheless, the destruction of the second Yugoslavia in 1991 reopened the issue of the future of the territory of the Vardar Macedonia – a Serbian-Yugoslav part of a geographic-historic Macedonia given to the Kingdom of Serbia by the Bucharest Peace Treaty on August 10th, 1913. A successor “Republic of Macedonia” has been proclaimed as an independent state in November 1991 but it has not received immediately universal international recognition either of its formal political independence or of its state-flag and state-name.

Basically, after 1991 up today there are three main problems in regard to the “Macedonian Question”:

1.Will Macedonian state’s territory be divided between the Slavic Macedonians and the ethnic Albanians (who are 30% of Macedonia’s population)?;

2.Will all members of international community recognize the name of “Republic of Macedonia” (according to the Macedonian Constitution of 1991) or they will continue to call this country as it is today officially named by the UNO – the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (the FYROM); and

3.Will the FYROM has territorial pretensions on other parts of geographic-historic Macedonia included into Greece (the “Aegean Macedonia”) and Bulgaria (the “Pirin Macedonia”) after the Second Balkan War in 1913?

The Macedonian independence from 1991 created an extremely tense relationship with the Greek government, since Macedonia developed rival claims for ethnicity and statehood. This rivalry was epitomized in a dispute about the state’s name, as Greece objected to the use of Macedonia, whose historical heritage it claimed. These two countries eventually recognized each other in 1995, and the Greek economic blockade against Macedonia was lifted.

Nevertheless, the crucial problem in this country is that the ethnic make up of the FYROM continued to change as the Albanian refugees poured in from Kosovo and Albania increasing the size of the Albanian minority de facto to 30%. Tensions were increased through the worsening economic situation, which escalated as a result of international sanctions and the war against its main trading partner – ex-Yugoslavia. As the situation in Kosovo escalated and war erupted in 1998−1999, Macedonia became an important stronghold for the moderate Albanian opposition from Kosovo, but also for the rebel KLA. Extremely encouraged by the recognition of the Albanian required rights in Kosovo from June 1999 by the West, the Albanian minority in the West Macedonia became more assertive and politically aggressive. Following violent clashes in 2001 between the Macedonian police forces and the (Kosovo) Albanian rebels, the NATO followed the plea of the pro-western Macedonian government and increased its presence in this South Balkan country. A higher scale of a civil war was narrowly avoided in 2001 when the Macedonian parliament in Skopje agreed, but under the direct western (the EU/the USA) pressure and blackmailing, great concessions granting linguistic and limited political autonomy to the Albanian minority in Macedonia. In return, the KLA rebels in Macedonia (under the official name of the Albanian National Army – the ANA) agreed to give up their arms to the NATO’s troops – a gesture that was done more for the TV screens as the main guns’ arsenal of the KLA was returned back to Kosovo to be activated in Macedonia once again on May 9−10th, 2015 regardless on the presence of the NATO’s peace-keeping troops in Macedonia which came their in the early 1990s following the plea of the Macedonian government after the violent clashes between the Macedonian police and the Albanian rebels.

Conclusions

The “Macedonian Question” after the 2001 KLA rebellion in Macedonia primarily was depending on solving the “Kosovo Question”. In the other words, it was logically expected that in the case of “international” (i.e., the western) recognition of Kosovo self-proclaimed and by the west sponsored quasi-independence after February 17th, 2008 the Albanians from the West FYROM (likely followed by their compatriots from the East Montenegro) will follow a Kosovo example of regional revolution for the sake of getting territorial-national independence with a final aim to be united with a motherland Albania as it was clearly noticed even in 1997 by at that time Kosovo Albanian leader (later on the “president” of Kosovo) Ibrahim Rugova and recently in May 2015 confirmed by the PM of Albania, Edi Rama. Now we are in the process of practical realization of the Greater Albania project that was designed for the first time by the Albanian First Prizren League in 1878. Or better to say, we are today dealing with the revival of a Greater Albania created by Mussolini in 1941 – a real state that existed until the end of the WWII. A difference is only that the WWII Greater Albania was sponsored by the western nazifascism while a present-day Greater Albania is backed by the western self-proclaimed liberal democracies.

The present Macedonian government of Nikola Gruevski (PM from 2006 and a leader of the VMRO-DPMNE) is punished in May 2015 by the US-led NATO’s World Order by activating the NATO’s sponsored and protected KLA in Macedonia for two reasons:

1.A Macedonian policy not to introduce sanctions against Russia.

2.A Macedonian wish to join Russia’s sponsored the “Turkish Stream” of supplying Europe with the Siberian gas.

Nevertheless, the activation of the KLA fighters from Kosovo in the area of Kumanovo in the FYROM has and the “Greek” dimension, as well. As the current Greek government is becoming more and more close to Russia the Kosovization of Macedonia can be well used and against Greece as an instrument of punishment the Greek pro-Russian policy. Namely, a summer holiday tourism is for Greece one of the most important incomes for the national budget per year. As a huge number of the European tourists are coming to Greece by the highway that is crossing Serbia, Macedonia and exactly the Kumanovo area it is quite expectable that in the case of conflict situation in the FYROM the European tourists will simply quit an idea to visit Greece taking into account two reasons:

1.They have to cross conflicting area in Macedonia.

2.The conflict in Macedonia can spill over to Greece itself and most probably to Serbia – a country also on their road to Greece.      

Finally, the armed KLA rebellion in May 2015 against the state of Macedonia is used only as a pretext for the realization of the final political aim in this Balkan country: to change the government in Skopje by the Colored Revolution like in Belgrade in October 2000. Similarly to Serbia after October 2000 a new post-revolution Macedonian government is expected by its western sponsors to transform Macedonia into another client state of the post-Cold War NATO’s World Order. If this plan is going to be realized depends only on one actor – Russia.  

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How Can Parity Be More Proportional?

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International diplomats located in Bosnia-Herzegovina have recently launched an initiative requesting the Parliament of one of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s two entities, the Federation, to reconstitute its upper chamber, the House of Peoples, in line with „more proportional representation“. Yet, how can representation in the House of Peoples be more proportional, when already based on the principle of parity? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Representation can be based either on the principle of proportionality or on the principle of parity. When based on the principle of parity, it cannot possibly be more proportional. Moreover, such an initiative encroaches on the sovereign right of that very Parliament to constitute and reconstitute itself, without external interference.

Indeed, what does sovereignty mean in the present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina? In the rest of Europe it has been adopted, almost axiomatically, in the traditions of both Locke and Rousseau, that sovereignty is indivisible and inalienable. For, the will of the people, as the expression of sovereignty, can not be divided; otherwise, it ceases to be the will of the people and becomes a collection of individual wills and then the people can only be a collection of individuals. Also, sovereignty can not be alienated from its bearer: power may be transferred, but not will; it is impossible for any organ to exercise the sovereign will save the sovereign body itself. The state, as a state, can no more alienate its sovereignty than a man can alienate his will and remain a man. There is but one possible bearer of sovereignty, the people.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, it has been accepted, no less axiomatically, in the tradition of its long-negotiated partition sponsored by international envoys, that this country’s sovereignty can easily be divided, alienated from its people as a whole and transferred to its constituent ethnic elements and then consumed by its three ethnic oligarchies in the form of unrestrained political power over the pieces of territory assigned to them in the process of partition. Actually, such a divided sovereignty is treated as transferred to these oligarchies and consumed in the form of their private property over the resources found on the given pieces of territory.

Thus, whereas sovereignty is elsewhere treated as generated by a contract signed by free individuals, who thereby constitute themselves as the people and sovereignty as their general free will, in Bosnia-Herzegovina sovereignty is treated as dissolved by a contract signed, under the auspices of international envoys, by its three major ethnic groups, renamed for that purpose as ‘constituent peoples’, who thereby construct only a provisional state structure with no declared or acting bearer of sovereignty. ‘Constituent peoples’ are perceived as the contractors who should presumably be represented on the basis of the principle of parity in the parliamentary institutions, on the levels of both state and its two ‘entities’ (Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska), and it is only their three wills that are taken into account, although even they are not treated as sovereign, either, but only as dependent on each other’s acquiescence.

Moreover, yet another part of the country’s divided sovereignty has been transferred to the so-called High Representative (a diplomat appointed by major international powers), whose will may reign supreme over particular wills of the oligarchies claiming to represent their respective ‘constituent peoples’. In this sense, as a part of the country’s Constitution, the High Representative comes closest to the notion of the sovereign, although in practice this person rarely exercises his will and imposes his decisions on the three oligarchies in question. Still, the position in the Constitution makes the High Representative irremovable from the country’s legal structure, in spite of the permanent efforts of the three ethnic oligarchies to eliminate this potential threat to their unrestrained power.

Yet, is such a multiple division and transfer of sovereignty truly a part of the Bosnian Constitution, or it is rather an arbitrary interpretation of the country’s constitutional structure by both foreign diplomats and local politicians? In the preamble of the country’s Constitution one can really find its sovereignty divided among several different categories, positioned as sovereignty’s bearers:

Bosniacs, Croats, and Serbs, as constituent peoples (along with Others), and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina hereby determine that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina is as follows.(The Dayton Peace Agreement, Annex 4, The Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina)

A similar formula can be found in the Washington Agreement (1994), which preceded the Dayton Peace Agreement (1995) and served as the basis for creation of the Federation of BiH, as one of Bosnia’s two entities:

Bosniacs and Croats, as constituent peoples (along with Others) and citizens of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the exercise of their sovereign rights, transform the internal structure of the territories with a majority of Bosniac and Croat population in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a Federation, which is composed of federal units with equal rights and responsibilities.

Here sovereignty is divided between Bosniacs, Croats and others – whatever their ethnic identity or a lack of identity – and they are all treated as possessing a double identity,first as constituent peoples and then as citizens of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For, the form ‘constituent peoples (along with others)’ presupposes that ‘others’ – whatever their ethnic identity or a lack of identity – are also to be treated as ‘constituent peoples’, along with Bosniacs and Croats. By analogy, Bosniacs, Croats, and Serbs, along with Others, are to be treated as both ‘constituent peoples’ and ‘citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina’ in the Dayton Peace Agreement’s Annex 4.But who can actually be proclaimed the bearer of sovereignty on the basis of these two constitutional acts?

Following the modern theories of sovereignty mentioned above, if sovereignty is to be regarded as indivisible and if, accordingly, there can be only one bearer, then the bearer must be the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, acting as a whole. Then the ‘constituent peoples’ (Bosniacs, Croats, and Serbs, along with Others) are to be understood simply as the constituent elements of the whole, which cannot be treated as multiple bearers of sovereignty. And then the citizens may be represented in a unicameral parliament, founded on the principle of proportionality.

On the other hand, if we take sovereignty as divisible, the ‘constituent peoples’ maywell be regarded as its multiple bearers. Then, however, these ‘constituent peoples’ are not to be reduced only to Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs: the preambles used in both of these constitutional documents suggest that the category of Others is to be regarded as equal to the categories of Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs.

Constitution makers, obviously, had no clear answer to the question of sovereignty’s (in)divisibility in the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina: instead of a formulation that would follow the principle of sovereignty’s indivisibility (for example, „Bosniacs, Croats, and Serbs (along with Others) as citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina“), they introduced the ‘constituent peoples’ as parallel to the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina and thus proposed a form of shared sovereignty between the citizens and the ‘constituent peoples’. This shared sovereignty is reflected in the structure of the parliamentary institutions of Bosnia-Herzegovina and both of its entities: all the parliaments are bicameral, the lower chambers representing the citizens on the basis of election results in accordance with the principle of proportionality, and the upper chambers representing the ‘constituent peoples’ on the basis of the principle of parity.

Yet, even such relative consistency has ceased to exist in the practical implementation of these two principles. In the the upper chamber of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the House of Peoples, the principle of parity is applied only to representatives of Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs (each represented with 5 seats), while Others are totally absent, as if they do not exist in the Constitution’s preamble among ‘constituent peoples’, along with Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs. In the upper chamber of the Parliament of the Federation of BiH, the House of Peoples, the principle of parity is again applied only to representatives of Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs (each represented with 17 seats), while the number of representatives of Others is arbitrarily reduced to only 7 seats, as if Others are not to be found among ‘constituent peoples’ in the Constitution’s preamble, along with Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs, and as if the principle of parity can be applied selectively or in some reduced manner. Similarly, in the upper chamber of the Parliament of Republika Srpska, the Council of Peoples, parity is applied again only to Serbs, Bosniacs and Croats (each represented with 8 seats), while Others are represented with only 4 seats, as if they have not been put into the category of ‘constituent peoples’, along with Serbs, Bosniacs and Croats. In other words, even if we theoretically accept the possibility that sovereignty may be divided between the ‘constituent peoples’ and the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, such shared sovereignty is in its constitutional implementation distorted to such an extent that only Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs are recognized as ‘constituent’, whereas Others are sometimes treated as partially constituent, with a reduced number of seats, and sometimes as non-constituent, that is, practically non-existent!

Obviously, when the principle of parity is applied in such a selective manner, it ceases to function as parity. Otherwise, Others would be represented in all these parliamentary institutions on the basis of parity, along with Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs. And then, it only means that Others have been permanently discriminated in the political reality of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that such a constitutional discrimination must be removed if the model of shared sovereignty is to be applied at all. If not, then full sovereignty must be given back to the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, regardless of whether they link their identity to any of its ethnic groups or not. And that has to be reflected in the structure of all its parliamentary institutions: the Houses of Peoples should be abolished and the parliaments should then become unicameral, so that only the citizens would be represented in the Houses of Representatives, based on the principle of proportionality and the principle one person/one vote. Of course, for that purpose the country should get a new constitution, adopted by its own Constitutional Assembly, instead of the one tailored in such an inconsistent (and theoretically problematic) manner by foreign diplomats as a part of the international peace treaty.

However, the international diplomats calling for „more proportional representation“  obviously do not distinguish between, and directly mix up, the principle of proportionality and the principle of parity. They assume that the House of Peoples in the Parliament of the Federation of BiH is based on the principle of proportionality, and ask for more proportionality, although it is clear that parity is its sole founding principle. For, political representation can either be proportional, reflecting the proportion of actual votes for actual political parties and candidates, or it can be based on parity, reflecting the parity between the constituent elements of the entire constituency (presumably, of the country’s population as a whole). As already noted above, it is the principle of parity in the House of Peoples that has been violated by under-representation of Others: while Croats, Bosniacs and Serbs are all represented with 17 seats in this House, Others are represented with only 7 seats. Yet, the diplomats do not pay any attention to this violation of the constitutional principle of parity. Instead, they suggest the Parliament to adopt even „more proportional representation“ in its upper chamber (which, in practice, can only be over-representation of one of the groups already represented in line with the principle of parity), so as to even further undermine its founding principle of parity, already violated by the existing under-representation of Others!

Such a legal absurdity is certainly unsustainable and can only lead to the total dissolution of the existing constitutional order in Bosnia-Herzegovina, already distorted by the abandonment of the principle of indivisibility of sovereignty and further undermined by the selective implementation of the principle of parity in the parliaments’ upper chambers. This brings us to a crucial point: either the parliamentary structures in Bosnia-Herzegovina will follow the logic of this request, abolish the existing provisional constitutional order and leave the country without any constitutional order whatsoever, or they will abolish this constitutional order and establish a non-provisional one, based on the principle of sovereignty’s indivisibility, reflected in a unicameral parliament, representing only the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole, regardless of their ethnic identity or a lack of it.

It is up to the parliamentarians. They may follow the principle of sovereignty as applied in the rest of the European countries, or obey the diplomats’ request, whatever the price for the country’s constitutional order. As for the diplomats, whoever they are, one should finally ask whether they would ever apply in their own countries any of the models they advocate for Bosnia.

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Do Angela Merkel and Germany have a joint future?

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Many foreign media and even some German media people reported during the endless appearing process for finding a coalition 2017/2018 about a “governmental crisis”. This mostly due to the lack of knowledge these coalition talks being a defined process despite taking unusually long. Germany sure wasn’t able to take major decisions hurting especially Emmanuel Macron and his affair of the heart: the renovation of Europe. On the topics Europe and Foreign Policy, Germany steps on the brakes for many years now, therefore the result remains the same – little or nothing happens anyway.

The new German government is in operation since a few weeks now but there is trouble brewing afoot in Berlin. Unexpectedly, the right wing AfD is pretty quiet at the time.

The CSU remains the arsonist

Those who have hoped the CSU (the Bavarian sister party to the CDU of Angela Merkel) will concentrate on governing the country after the forming of the government are utterly wrong. With the elections ahead in Bavaria, Horst Seehofer wanted to gather his voters and attract those who have left CSU for the AfD with the powerful comment “The Islam does not belong to Germany”. He even doubled within this context by adding “People of Muslim Belief belong to our country”. Just like one could take his belief and values off before going out on the streets. It certainly appears Horst Seehofer is able to abandon his belief and Christian values scarifying them to preserve his own power.

If you look into the history of Europe and Germany – and therefore Bavaria – you soon will discover Horst Seehofer wants to make the pure opposite of history to become reality. Whether by ignorance or on purpose is hard to determine, however based on facts the Bavarian Blusterer simply is wrong – “fake news” might the right term. During the early Middle Age Arabs and the academic people from their countries brought an enormous amount of knowledge to the backwardly European countries. People actually have to thank the Muslims for the following flourishing or Europe. They benefitted from countless innovative products and a vast knowledge transfer from the Occident into the countless by monarchs oppressed, socially underdeveloped and by a faint educational system inhibited countries of Europe. A startling detail: the majority of the academics originate from Chorasan – an expanded Afghanistan – and Iran, namely from the former intellectual stronghold Bagdad.

Angela Merkel took a clear position, criticised and rectified Horst Seehofers statement – who received it thin-skinned but did no longer make such unqualified statements.

Settlements within CDU still not finished

Angela Merkel has many areas with the need for improvement within her own party, too. While the Chancellor tries to convey she has understood the vote and is working on improvements her Health Minister Jens Spahn is backstabbing her. It took him just three appearances – perceived by the people concerned as big-headed and ice-cold calculated arrogance – to destroy Angela Merkels recently planted crop of hope. “Hartz IV does not mean poverty” was his first statement causing backlashes from many sources but also support by those who do not like governmental interventions (Hartz IV is the German unemployed support and welfare system introduced by the SPD in earlier times and a constant annoyance since it does not cover the rapidly increasing cost of life). With his second appearance Jens Spahn talked against the liberalisation of the abortion law unveiling his lack of knowledge and tact. Just a few days later he wanted to comply with his promise to create 8000 new jobs in health care and wanted to speed up the homologation of education certificates of nurses and doctors from other European countries. Again, the Health Minister unveiled he is unprepared since today it already is impossible to convince more than 1000 nurses from EU countries per year to come to Germany – also due to the questionable working conditions and much too low salaries in Germany.The situation is critical since many German nurses and doctors leave for better jobs in other countries like Switzerland. Based on these facts counting on foreign nurses and doctors seems to be questionable on two levels: these people leave a vacancy in their home countries and the problem in Germany becomes the burden of the foreign workers – the question is how long this can be done. Even more problematic is the continuous decrease of the quality in nursing which gradually becomes life-threatening, particularly with cheap foreign workers. Voices rise Jens Spahn is pulling wool on people’s eyes.

Even CDU exponents oppose the young politician and reveal there’s much to learn for Jens Spahn. At least, with his thoughtless, unemotional and erroneous appearances Jens Spahn is keeping all these issues prominently on top of the agenda of the Grand Coalition.However, the local CDU parties and the local party members have not yet understood the troubles of the German society, thus their ignorance could become a bigger problem than expected. The CNT Alliance visited some Kreisveranstaltungen (party gatherings) of the CDU in first semester of 2018 and discovered the mostly elderly party members are interested only in issues securing their own wealth. Other issueswere just briefly touched by the politicians on stage.

All this is a bit more than a tendency towards right. Like the strategy paper presented the group “WerteUnion” (Union of Values) beginning of April with lots of criticism for Angela Merkel. With this paper the opponents request a re-positioning of the CDU from the middle towards the right and fiercely oppose Angela Merkels refugee policy. Within this conservative manifesto they request the “return to the core values” of the CDU. The main part of the manifesto focusses on the Islam and migration. Again, it seems much easy for the authors of this manifesto to leave their Christian values behind (refugees) and putting them back in the centre of attention (Family) by demand. It doesn’t come as a surprise Jens Spahn sending a greeting to the approximately 100 people of this manifesto.

Interest to enthuse new members and to focus on younger people or migrants does not exist – in the contrary: our questions regarding rejuvenating the CDU or to include new members originating from foreign countries were quietly, but definitely opposed even with some discomfort. It seems Angela Merkel does not recognize the “Small AfD” among their own people – or she tolerates them on purpose.

Little fuss from the SPD

The partner in the coalition, the SPD, did not stir issues up after they’ve started governing. During the coalition negotiations the SPD has secured the Ministries of Finance, Justice and the Foreign Ministry besides others, much to the displeasure of those people in CDU and CSU who were keen on these jobs as well. With these ministries the SPD owns quite some power and the ability to steer the government: an excellent success for the negotiators of SPD.

At the other hand the SPD remains in a fuzzy situation not just within its own quest for identity. Several representatives of SPD do not find common ground regarding the welfare programme Hartz IV. Some people around vice president Ralf Steger for instance want to replace Hartz IV knowing the programme was introduced by the SPD but also is the reason for the downfall of the party. At the other hand, the Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to keep Hartz IV – since it is some kind of his own child from the time he worked for Chancellor Schröder, the facilitator of Hartz IV. The designated president of the party Andrea Nahles rarely shy of some “Kick-Ass”comments is very quit despite the discussion about Hartz IV and the job market being the opportunity for SPD to position itself clearly. She commented Jens Spahn’s intentional slip geared towards media with surprisingly soft voice, but straight into the face. Horst Seehofe and Jens Spahn are after the personal representation but missing out on their duties, and adds: “The primary job of the Chancellor is to sort out the act of government”.

Angela Merkel is flagging

Over the past years Angela Merkel became the symbol for political stability and predictability. She is popular in Germany and abroad but scratches in the paint become visible. Her political style is increasingly perceived as boring and leaden even by her own people. Usually, watched from distance she acts successfully and well balanced even for extensive problems. Angela Merkel is the chancellor of compromises and subtle but also of half-hearted decisions and stalling in front of complex problems. This works fine at the moment since economy runs excellent and tax revenues are on a steady high – both causing additional problems which she isn’t regulating. This stability increasingly is perceived as stagnancy which it actually is e.g. if looked at the Digital Offensive launched by the government many years too late.

Along with a certain fatigue in society towards Angela Merkel – a phenomenon previous chancellor Kohl encountered too – and her style the many postponed “building lots” become visible. Media often simplify the situation and explain the fatigue towards Angela Merkel merely with her misjudgment in the situation with the refugees and her catastrophic and negligent management of this issue. This, however, is just a small part of the real reasons for the poor results of the elections and the steep head wind Angela Merkel is facing. It is the combination of various diverse issues such as the state of emergency in nursing, poverty among the elderly, housing shortage, low wages and this in combination with contemptuousness and ignoring several population groups, particularly those at the far right of the political spectrum. The situation with the refugees therefore is just one part of the picture – but one people easily can discharge their hate and anger. Also because of the right wing party AfD right wing ideas and right wing protesting became “En Vogue” – even the voters of CDU/CSU are going towards the right. In this climate the uprising hostility against the Jews in the German society and the anti-Semitic activities of the past month are not unexpected. The internal policy of Angela Merkel was meant to be visionary and creative but it looks more like uncertain, delayed, reactive, and unveils many large problem.

Rumble at the right

The “old” parties still underestimate the right wing AfD. The equally underestimate the potential of right wing populism and the count of German citizen having conservative/right wing thoughts – even within CDU and CSU. For example, much disregarded by politics the right wing union “Zentrum Automobil” gained six mandates during the last works committee elections in March 2018 at the Daimler (Mercedes) plant in Untertürkheim (Stuttgart) – with the result of 13.2% they achieved a similar result like the AfD during the election last year, the Bundestagswahlen. The “Forschungsgruppe Wahlen“ stated approximately 15% of the members of the politically social unions did voted for AfD instead for SPD during the last Bundestagswahlen. A result pretty much replicated during the works committee elections at Daimler.

The statements by some of the exponents of the works committee of the IG Metall union: right wing ideas today are little visible but are spread subliminal throughout the whole company and, therefore, it’s expected to see a further rise of the “Zentrum Automobil”. The confronted union IG Metall got us evasive responses only.It seems this issue is hushed up. Time will tell whether Angela Merkel tactics to sit such problem out are the successful tactics for the unions. Looking at the general tendency in the country towards the right we believe Angela Merkel and the unions both are playing with fire.

Some more foreign policy?

During the past Germany was known for a little consolidated, imprecise and often lacking foreign policy. Domestic policy always was more important and it still is. The country focuses on economic foreign policy driven by the industry and its lobbyists, and otherwise relies on symbolic policy geared towards the media.

This image could slightly change. One of the first official acts by Heiko Maas, the new foreign minister, was his visit to Israel. His predecessor Sigmar Gabriel several times acted awkwardly and Angela Merkel didn’t want to become involved but Heiko Maas clearly, pragmatically and quietly put down some counterpoints.On top of it he clearly took position against the lighting up anti-Semitism.

Despite his appearances sometimes being perceived as nicely stage-made he did not make his own life easier since expectations are high now. The quick and friendly meet up with the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Israel stirs up some hope Germany – after months of naval-gazing – finally will take over responsibility in Europe and the World. Moving from inactivity towards political creation with the friendly support by France.

The future of Angela Merkel

Foreign policy slowly picks up speed but Angela Merkel seems to have a hard time with her country. It no longer seems to be the Germany she knows. She seems to lose more ground contact the more she tries to understand the problems of society therefore losing more and more ground contact while facing fronts she has to fight. In the Bundestag CDU/CSU and SPD have to heavily deal with an number of parties, all of them having gained more than 5% of the votes. On top there is the AfD, the strongest party in the opposition owning an uncomfortable agenda – some of it even being attractive to her own party members.

With their vote for the Grand Coalition the SPD members have saved it and also saved the faces of SPD as well as the CDU/CSU. The SPD finds herself in a disruption and renovation process, even more so than the CDU. On top of it the parties of the opposition got stronger and this comes together with the incapability or the active reluctance of the governing parties to tackle the urging problems in the country in all consequence.

A forecast about the future of Angela Merkel and, therefore, of the German bipartisan system seems to be tricky. Though, the recent Grand Coalition steers towards the end of the factual bipartisan system in Germany. And people in Germany will be even more discontent for the next elections in 2021.The question how CDU/CSU and SPD will score is eligible. And whether the right wing AfD will establish itself as the third constant in the party landscape. The other question is whether the other parties will see the signs. Some media are singing the swan song for Angela Merkel forgetting she is not for nothing the most powerful woman in this world. It will be interesting to see how she will cope with the erosion on several fronts. It is not the end of Angela Merkel but she and her party are showing heavy signs of wear.

*Ajmal Sohail contributed to this article

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Europe

Big mistake of EU against Washington

Mohammad Ghaderi

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The EU is still confused! The U.S. government’s actions in the field of foreign affairs and economics have not been accompanied by strong and strong reaction from the European Union.

This has led the U.S. President Donald Trump to continue his efforts to isolate Europe in the international system more quickly. Since the beginning of the Tramp presence in the White House, the movements of nationalist and extremist groups and opposition to the European Union have intensified. That same issue has put the EU in jeopardy. It is widely believed that the President of the United States supports the collapse of the European Union and the euro- zone. However, it seems that some European officials still do not understand the deterioration of the situation in this region!

The fact is that if the European Union does not take a decisive decision against the United States and its policies in the international system, it will have to see its fall in the international system and the return to the twentieth century in the near future.

During the World Economic Summit in Davos, the Chancellor of Germany and the President of France both gave a significant warning about the return of nationalism and populism to Europe. This warning has been sent in a time when Far-Right movements in Europe have been able to gain unbelievable power and even seek to conquer a majority of parliaments and form governments.

In her speech, Angela Merkel emphasized that the twentieth century’s mistake shouldn’t be repeated. By this, the German Chancellor meant the tendency of European countries to nationalism. Although the German Chancellor warning was serious and necessary, the warning seems to be a little late. Perhaps it would have been better if the warning was forwarded after the European Parliamentary elections in 2014, and subsequently, more practical and deterrent measures were designed.However, Merkel and other European leaders ignored the representation of over a hundred right-wing extremist in the European Parliament in 2014 and merely saw it as a kind of social excitement.

This social excitement has now become a “political demand” in the West. The dissatisfaction of European citizens with their governments has caused them to explicitly demand the return to the twentieth century and the time before the formation of the United Europe.

But it seems that one of the issues that European leaders have not understood is the role of the United States in the process of destroying the European Union. This role is so high that few have the power to deny it: from the U.S. economic war with Europe to the direct support of the White House from nationalist groups in Europe. However, some European politicians still try to look at optimism about U.S. behaviors. Without doubt, this optimism will in the future lead to the destruction of the European Union.

Speaking at the Davos summit (2017), “Emanuel Macron” the French President warned of the victory of nationalists and extremists in Europe and said:

“In my country, if I do not make sense of this globalisation then in five, 10, 15 years time it will be the nationalists, the extremes which win — and this will be true of every country.”

The commonality of Merkel’s and Macron’s remarks is their concern about the return of European citizens to nationalism. As noted, this process has intensified in Europe. The extremist party of Freedom found way to the Austrian coalition government, and the increase in radical far-right votes in countries like France, Sweden and Germany, is a serious crisis in Europe. The recent warnings by the German Chancellor and the French President should therefore be seriously analyzed and evaluated.

But the main question is whether the French President and German Chancellor are aware of their great mistakes in the United States and the Trump government? Do they still ignore the White House’s role in strengthening extremist groups in the European Union? What is certain is that it is possible for Merkel and Macron to realize their deep mistakes over the Trump government that there is no longer a way to save the European Union.

First published in our partner Tehran Times

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