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Albanian extremist groups cause reaction in Greece | Serbianna Analysis

Posted by satyrikon στο 2 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2012

The AK-47 was first adopted in 1949 by the Sov...

The AK-47 was first adopted in 1949 by the Soviet Army. It fires the 7.62x39mm M43 round. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sep 2, 2012

Ioannis Michaletos Balkanalysis Editors and Contributors Ioannis Michaletos

By Ioannnis Michaletos

Since 2010 and the beginning of the Greek debt crisis which has resulted in an outright economic depression in the country, the Greek security services have investigated around the potential of extremist groups, in this particular case, Albanian ones; taking advantage of the situation for either criminal or nationalistic purposes. The research has provided data of increased importation of armaments into the country, as well as, the formation of close-knit potential extremist groups within the Greek territory that are for the moment in communication with other cells in Albania and elsewhere.
In late August 2012, a video that briefly aired on YouTube showed a band of around 5 Albanians in a mountainous location near Kukes in Albania, firing against a Greek flag with AK-47 (Chinese type) and issuing threats for mass assassinations of Greek citizens, as well as arsons. Incidentally, there were several arson cases in Greek forests during the summer period, and also in FYROM and Serbia and a number of local pundits blamed -amongst other- Albanian extremist groups as responsible for such illicit actions.

The video where the Albanian group was firing rounds with Kalashnikov was clad in paramilitary summer uniforms, with the insignia of the “SS”, a reminder of the 21st Waffen – Gebirgs – Division der SS Skanderbeg that was established in April 1944. Forensic security analysts in Greece have assured that this video was made for the purposes of “psychological warfare” and should be related with the inner workings of Neo-Nazi Albanian tendencies of extremist groups that are scattered between Albania, Kosovo and FYROM.

In Greece, a group of Albanians residing in the Kalavryta region of North-Western Peloponnese and in the Menidi outskirt of Athens reposted the video through their Facebook accounts. Subsequent investigation by the Greek state security revealed that the group was in the process of evolving into an extremist one as well, by mimicking the Neo Nazi tendencies of those in the original video. Scores of photo material was confiscated and one person was deported for being without legal documentation in the country. What’s most important though is that a wide-scale mobilization in the security forces was enacted in order to disband other groups before they became a threat in terms of social stability.

It is interesting to note that the group in Greece had organized itself through their common passion for motorcycles and named it “Motorristat-Fierak-Albanian-Stunt”. The Albanian (Mr. V.Z) who was mostly interrogated concerning the involvement of his group with extremist action within the country was also frequently travelling across the country using a Red BMW AXI-..##.93 & Hyundai coupe YZT-…##09 and stayed in the expensive Hotel Mont Helmos in mid-August 2012. The ease of capital and the existence of photo material revealing weaponry such as berretta’s is a lead that is still been reviewed by the authorities in charge, as to whether it is related with the organization of a “sleeping cell” in the country.

On April 2007, a paramilitary ethnic nationalist group known as UCC has claimed on a video their military actions and objectives against the Greek State in the Epirus Region. According to Research Terrorism Center in Washington, UCC is a known terrorist group with its first military action in Himara Region on 2003, killing a person, while in Northern Greece there has been an explosion in an electric station which links Italy and Greece in Egoumenitsa, which by some accounts was blamed in that group. The combination of Albanian nationalistic plans for a Greater Albania along with the abundance of smuggled weaponry and paramilitary personnel is an alarming indicator for the security forces of the region in order to avoid any potential crisis.
UCC is a by-product of the well-known UCK which has now evolved into the government of Kosovo and controls also most of Northern Albania in a delicate balance of powers with the President’s Berisha’s own clan support group. UCC is based in loosely connected cells in Vlore and in theory it can mobilize up to 5,000 men, although the nucleus is not more than a couple of hundred people at any given moment, many of those had combat experience of some sort in Kosovo (1998-1999) and FYROM (2001).

The Greek security forces are monitoring a dozen people, all Albanian immigrants residing in Greece, as possible UCC collaborators and espionage instruments. In parallel since 2007 around 20 caches and depots of armaments have been discovered by the authorities , especially in the region of Epirus, Boeotia and Attica and some 1,000 AK-47′s, hundreds of pistols (Berettas and Makarovs), as well as, over 500 Chinese made hand grenades have been discovered.

Moreover, in several cases of narcotics contraband in Greece where Albanian smugglers were involved, links were established as for the ulterior motive of the smuggling which included raising capital for extremist purposes. In similar fashion, a leading Greek journalist and security expert, Manos Eliades has showcased in a recent book of his, links and case studies of direct cooperation between certain Albanian immigrants to Greece and the Turkish intelligence service MIT.
For the time being it has been established that UCC, although still in nascent form, is being kept as a potential destabilizer regarding Greece and it is being supplied with weaponry from the Albanian black market. There is also support from radical Albanian-American groups and the Turkish intelligence service and the focus has been shifted from propaganda purposes into recruiting Albanian immigrants in Greece by using as a pretext the economic distress many of those have felt due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country and the lack of employment opportunities. Lastly small-scale paramilitary training is taking place in Northern Albanian and UCC serves yet another role -this time regarding domestic Albanian politics- by having the ambition of be seen in the South of the country as the “Long arm of the Kosovo Albanians”, which do keep their aims of uniting the rest of Albania with Kosovo and not vice-versa.

The countermeasures implemented so far by the Greek state include a variety of intelligence and security actions. One of those that is on an training level and it is going to be fully operation by the end of 2012, is the creation of rapid and heavily armed Police mobilization units to intervene in cases both of heavy criminality (armed robberies with the use of AK-47) and any potential paramilitary actions, as the hypothetical threat by UCC.

The men selected to join these teams have served previously in the Greek special armed forces and receive an extra training by the already established Greek-antiterrorist and special crimes unit (EKAM). They will be equipped with heavy defense body armor and defense mechanisms for their off-the road vehicles, and will have for offence purposes P-90 submachine guns, UMP submachinesMP-5 with penetrating bullets and FN assault rifles, along with MAG machine guns. Lastly the units will also use AK-47 (7,62×39 mm) and G-3 (7,62×51 mm). The units will interact with all the security and intelligence establishment of Greece and will be joined on occasion by other Army or Police units and have access to helicopters, airplanes and high speed sea transport. The rising organized criminality in Greece and the resurgence of Albanian organized crime involved in armed robberies by using machine guns played a decisive role into speeding up the process for the creation of such forces in the country.
Lastly, all available information points out that a mass of light weaponry has entered Greece through Albanian lately, and in a more worrying trend, the same development has been observed in FYROM, which according to many independent experts is a potential hot spot of any paramilitary action that will involve offshoots of UCK. In addition the Albanian government in Tirana is also fully aware around the developments and NATO itself is paying close attention in order to avert any potential destabilization caused by extremist groups that primarily live off by contraband, extortion and organized illicit activities and have as a hub of operations the territory of Kosovo. The upcoming USA elections in November 2012, whatever the outcome is, will bring back the American (and Anglo-Saxon) policy circles into re-examining their place in Europe (which for the moment has been reduced in expense of the rise of the German-Central European one). In parallel the dramatic developments in the Middle East, already have started to affect the “contraband routes” of heroin smuggling and illegal immigration into Europe. In addition the fragile political balance of powers in Skopje and the shift in international policies of Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia are re-focusing the objectives in the Balkans of all interested parties be it state or supranational entities, legal and illegal ones. For all the above reasons, the security alertness in the region is increasing both for the countries located into and for the international forces serving there.

μέσω Albanian extremist groups cause reaction in Greece | Serbianna Analysis.

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