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West Destabilising Macedonia in Fear of Russia’s Influence in Balkans

The US does not want Russia to build the gas pipeline through the Balkans since it understands that it would lessen its control over Europe, and consequently Eurasia, according to Andrew Korybko

This is an excerpt from a longer interview of Andrew Korybko, a prominent political analyst and Russia Insider contributor.

Translation from the Oriental Review. Original article appeared on May 16th on the Macedonian website “Net Press”.

<figcaption>A tested scenario </figcaption>
A tested scenario

Q1: The situation in Macedonia is obviously raising the red alarm in Greece also, since the both are going to be transit countries for the gas, together with Serbia... Should the Greek government expect some similar pressure now or this time they are planning to go after all the transit countries by using the ISIL fighters and the story of Great Albania?

Andrew Korybko: I think it’s certainly possible and I wouldn’t discount that scenario, but I feel that it’s more likely that the US will first try to use internal pressure against Syriza before it resorts to external means like in Macedonia. They want to split the party’s base and lead to its dismissal in early elections, hoping that this could be a more cost-effective and easier way to sabotage Balkan Stream in Greece.

Other means they may employ could be offering Greece generous financial deals in exchange for reneging or delaying Balkan Stream, as well as paying some of the German World War II reparations that are currently being discussed. Such payments would only be a form of bribery to Syriza in this case, as Germany has no motivation to provide any money to Greece without political strings attached.

Finally, the US diplomatic push in Greek affairs and sphere of influence is obviously purposed as some type ‘grand deal’ that Washington wants to make with Athens. This explains why John Kerry and Amos Holstein are lobbying for the TAP [Trans-Adriatic] pipeline over Balkan Stream, even though it’s in Greece’s best interests to have both pipelines transiting its territory. It’s also telling that Russia doesn’t object to this at all, and that it’s the US that wants to force Greece to make a choice.

In order to ‘sweeten the deal’, Washington is now proposing a federalization model for Cyprus in order to resolve the long-standing conflict there. It would be foolish for one to think that these two diplomatic pushes aren’t connected, since it’s obvious that the US hopes to lobby Greece against Balkan Stream by all of a sudden pretending that it’s pursuing its interests in Cyprus.

Q2: More or less, all the transit countries are and will be facing pressure on many ways and levels, but why it seems that so far Macedonia is facing the hardest pressure? Was one of the reasons maybe because they couldn`t find better allies as the ones they find in Macedonia? Do you think that the leader of the biggest Serbian or Greek opposition party would accept to go with this dark scenario, the way SDSM and Zoran Zaev did?

AK: I think that Color Revolutions and their evolving political tactics are always possible and remain a threat to every country that resists the unipolar world, but Macedonia was targeted specifically because its demographics make it an ideal ‘laboratory’ setting. Allow me to explain. There are only a little more than 2 million people in the country, thereby making it relatively easier for foreign intelligence services to spy on a larger percentage of the population than in larger states. This also means that the country has a smaller media market which can easily be penetrated by Color Revolutionary (Soros) influence and external information pressure.

Additionally, there’s around a 25% Albanian minority according to some statistics and they live mostly along the Albanian-“Kosovo” border, thereby making them exceptionally vulnerable to the temptation of Greater Albania. Finally, the ‘opposition’ was already boycotting the Parliament as it was, thereby creating the perfect social situation for a Color Revolution to took root and be ‘convincingly’ broadcast to outside audiences.

All of these factors came together to create a situation that the West couldn’t’ resist destabilizing, if only for the fact that its demographics provide it with easily controllable variables to that make for a perfect Color Revolution test scenario. The destabilizing lessons being refined in Macedonia are designed for export elsewhere afterwards (perhaps to Serbia once more), but at the same time, the resistance of the Macedonian people (inspired by their Syrian counterparts) can serve as an exported example as well to help counter these mechanisms in future theaters.

Q3: It seems that more and more countries are turning towards Russia, or to be more concrete, more and more leaders are facing lots of pressure from Brussels and Washington simply because they are nurturing good and friendly relations with Putin and are also willing to corporate in different ways. At the same time, we see that the crisis in Macedonia was developing really fast and the creators are pushing it real aggressively, so is this aggressiveness the result of them losing global power and being unveiled on the global scene, and are you optimistic that the Balkan Stream will soon be pumping Russian gas?

AK: I think that the harsh reaction is definitely due to the fear that Russian influence in the Balkans can serve as the backdoor to soft influence over the rest of Europe. In reality, however, the completion of Balkan Stream would at the very least be a continuation of the existing state of affairs where Russia provides around 30% of the EU’s energy needs. Balkan Stream is basically a replacement for South Stream, which for its own part would have been a replacement for the Ukrainian-bypassing pipelines that will be phased out by 2019.

The discomfiting fact that EU policy makers try to forget is that they can’t survive without Russian gas – it’s impossible. The EU and Russia are natural partners by virtue of their geography and history, and the completion of Balkan Stream will reinvigorate their positive bilateral relations.

The conflict, however, is that the US absolutely does not want this to happen since it understands that it would lessen its control over Europe, and consequently Eurasia. One needs only to reference former National Security Advisor and noted Polish-American geostrategic Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ‘The Grand Chessboard’ to see this explicitly stated. Therefore, the US wants to use its proxy EU elites to enforce pressure on whichever leader or country wants to build pragmatic relations with Russia, hence the current externally driven destabilization in Macedonia.

The future of the Balkans runs through Macedonia, and the country is now the latest flashpoint of the New Cold War.

Be that as it may, I have full faith in Macedonians that they will bravely resist this aggression and fight for their sovereignty and security, and I don’t expect them to capitulate like the divided Ukrainians did so early in the game. Instead, I see them embodying the spirit of Syrians in pushing back against this external offensive and protecting their cherished country.

All in all, it might take a bit more time than initially expected, but I do predict that Balkan Stream will eventually be created and that Russian gas will continue being pumped through the region.

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