The Balkans -The Next Tinderbox

After its military interventions in Ukraine and Syria,will Russia invade the Balkans next?

Dr. Joseph Frager‏ ,

Dr. Joseph Frager‏
Dr. Joseph Frager‏
צילום: מירי צחי

Ever since Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire in 1876, the Balkans have been one of the most incendiary of conflicts in the world. After Syria the next big conflagration could well be the Balkans.

With Russia flexing its muscles all over the globe including its invasion of Crimea (which it annexed) and the Ukraine in 2014, and establishing a joint military campaign with Bashar Assad in Syria in 2015, there is grave concern that Putin’s next move will be an invasion of the Balkans.

Most remember that the Balkans sparked the outbreak of World War I with the assassination of the heir to the throne of Austria Hungary Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 1914 by a Bosnian Serb nineteen year old Gavrilo Princip.

The Balkan Peninsula consists of Albania, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia all formerly under Communist control and Greece and European Turkey with a capitalist past. It is situated at the crossroads of three major empires:1)The Ottoman Empire, 2)Russian, and 3)Austri-Hungarian.

It is best known today for the fact that the First Lady, Melania Trump is from the Balkan Country of Slovenia. It is also possible that the First Lady will play a significant role in preventing bloodshed in the Balkans.

In the past 20 years, the main conflict was seen in Kosovo. The so called “Tomahawk Diplomacy” of President Bill Clinton ended the conflict in 1999. The Kosovo War began in February of 1998 and ended in June of 1999. It was fought by forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia) which controlled Kosovo before the War against the Kosovo Albanian rebel group-Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) with air support from NATO and ground support from the Albanian Army. President Clinton’s Tomahawk Diplomacy forced Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to halt his brutal siege of Kosovo and negotiate with the province’s ethnic Albanians.

Presently, the Russians are itching to invade the Balkans in order to gain a stranglehold on Central Europe and the Mediterranean. One of its prime targets is Albania which is the window to the Mediterranean from Russia. Putin is trying to resurrect the former USSR which held dominion over the Balkans.

Under President Obama, the Russians were allowed to invade Crimea, the Ukraine and hold sway in Syria. It was a colossal foreign policy disaster for America and the world. It is now up to President Trump to prevent further Russian aggression.

Putin so far has been kept at bay. He is former KGB so he will pick the moment the President is least expecting, to invade the Balkans. The President and his administration must be on high alert to prevent the Balkans from becoming another Tinderbox.