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Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Albanian Factor

Some analysis of things happening in the Balkans, especially Albania, as a visit By President Bush nears in a troubled region, as found here:
Along with the invasion of Iraq, Guantanamo is one of the main issues to have angered Albania’s Islamist groups. Since some of these groups have shadowy foreign sponsors, the Americans are obviously taking no chances with security. On May 16, an explosion in a Tirana cafĂ© located very close to the US Embassy injured one waitress. According to the Associated Press, “police are investigating who was responsible and what sort of device was used.”

Most recently, on May 30, “a plastic bag containing a few grams of explosives was found at 2 p.m. [in] a courtyard at the economics faculty of Tirana University, about 100 meters [from] the U.S. Embassy,” reported the IHT, adding that “half an hour later, a package containing 30 grams (1 ounce) of explosives was found at Mother Teresa Square, near the office of President Alfred Moisiu.”

While it cannot be proven, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that these were deliberate plants by the authorities made in order to scare citizens into accepting the draconian security measures that will be in place for Bush’s visit. Indeed, Tirana residents are likely to feel more than a little restricted. According to BIRN, the Albanian capital will be turned into “a high-security zone.” This apparently means “a complete shut down of traffic in the capital and rooftop snipers on every major building along the route of the Bush motorcade… most residents of apartment blocks close to places Bush is expected to visit will be prohibited from appearing on their balconies.” For the record, the preparations are being made under direction of the US Secret Service by a working group headed by Deputy Premier Gazmend Oketa.

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