In recent columns, I’ve focused on the big issues within the European Union. How is Angela Merkel fairing against her ideological opposition in both the U.S. and Russia? How far will the EU go to block a functional Brexit? Will there be a major secession in 2017?
But lost on the fringes of these big ideas are the little things happening in places like Moldova and Macedonia. I don’t claim to be an expert in Moldovan or Macedonian politics but it seems to me that the timing of these flare-ups are not coincidental. And they all can trace their routes back to the collapse of ISIS. This will take some time but bear with.
In Moldova, a weakening pro-EU coalition government expelled five Russian diplomats in conjunction with a minor party defection. Russia responded in kind, similar to its response to former President Obama’s deportation of 35 diplomats in December.
The pro-Russian President, who has little real power, is a symbol of the changing attitudes of Moldova’s ethnically-fractious population. And he was not happy with the actions of his government.
In Macedonia, Albanian nationalists have been slow-rolling a coup of the sitting government with obvious backing by NGOs connected to, who else, George Soros. Both of these moves are important when considering future gas pipeline buildouts.
Trouble has been brewing in Moldova since the Ukrainian coup in 2014 over worries of semi-autonomous region, Transnistria, breaking away from the rest of the country under the auspice of Russian protection. Transnistria is predominantly Slavic, while most of Moldova in Romanian, for simplicity’s sake.
Any breakaway would be a similar situation to that of Crimea where the Russian military’s presence is both legal and welcomed by the local population to defend itself against an attempt to stop the process.
Of course, this would be a non-starter for the EU, the U.S. Deep State and NATO. I’m sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants nothing of this scenario either as it further complicates any possible reconciliation with the West over Crimea and the burgeoning independence of the breakaway republics of Ukraine, Donestk and Lugansk (known as Novorussia).
Those are much more pressing issues that are going to need resolving in the next year. Kiev’s push to punish Novorussia militarily has increased in recent months in response to the very practical moves made to make life there bearable – using the Ruble, issuing official documents, etc.
Their independence, recognized officially by no one, is practically a done deal. All that is left is for the local governments to hold an election similar to the one Crimea held and ask for Russia’s official protection.
While in Macedonia, do not discount the connection between the Albanian takeover of the government there and the Albanian Mafia which is financed through the heroin trade, a heroin trade that is the lifeblood of ISIS and other radical Salafist groups around the world.
This article yesterday at The Duran by Adam Garrie lays out the connection to ISIS, Albania and the uprising in the Philippines.
Other reports have found that ISIS are working with the Albanian mafia to smuggle drugs throughout Europe. Drugs represent half of Albania’s GDP and is known as a country where ISIS have one of their biggest yet rarely spoken about strongholds in Europe. The ISIS-narco trade is even more apparent in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. Here, the Albanian mafia essentially rule the roost. According to the British paper Daily Mirror, ISIS have seized over $4 billion worth of drugs in Albania.
I say this all the time that there are no coincidences in geopolitics. And to the uninformed that makes it easy to dismiss these connections as ‘conspiracy theory.’ ISIS has been in a mad scramble for money since Russia shut down its oil smuggling operation in Syria in 2016.
With each push West towards Deir Ezzor and South from Aleppo towards Raqqa, the Syrian Army coalition is eroding ISIS’s financial infrastructure. There is now a concerted diplomatic effort to go after ISIS in Afghanistan as well by a group of six countries led by Russia, Iran and Pakistan to engage the Taliban and begin the long process of stabilizing that country.
Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte is taking flak in the western press by none other than Chelsea Clinton with her faux outrage virtue signaling to cover for her parents’ involvement in all of this. And to advance the narrative that Duterte is a monstrous thug for wanting to clean up the drug trade fueling worldwide terrorism in his backyard.
And all of this funnels right back into a failed U.S. foreign policy to create a crazed army of insurrection and aim it like a missile at the whole western and southern border of Russia from Kiev to Kabul.
Watching how these big changes in little countries affect the big picture is incredibly important. And when the same people keep cropping up on both sides of the conflict, it strains credulity that it it’s just a crazy conspiracy.