Donald Trump releases presidential memorandum citing the Balkans as a national security threat to the United States of America. Across the Atlantic, Austrian defense minister Hans Doskozil issues a dire warning to Europe about the Balkans region. The issuance of Trump’s presidential notice and Doskozil’s statement both point towards an impending Balkans conflict.
Trump’s extension of Executive Order 13219 is a clear and present reminder of the volatility the Balkans region has experienced. The executive order states in poignantly strong language that there are active hostile forces at work in the Balkans.
The last paragraph states, “the actions of persons threatening the peace and international stabilization efforts in the Western Balkans, including acts of extremist violence and obstructionist activity, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
Doskozil directed the blame for apparent danger on the confluence of Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s actions in the Balkans region. Doskozil was quoted in the Sputnik saying, “We can see the slow Islamization in the Balkans. The European Union is losing its influence in the Balkans. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in contrast, are increasing their influence.”
Dr. Erdoan Shipoli, a Balkans geopolitical expert, told Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, that the strategy of President Recep Erdogan of Turkey is to use the Balkans region as leverage against greater Europe. Dr. Shipoli also opined, “When it comes to ex-Yugoslav states, the strongest influence it has is in Bosnia, then Macedonia, then Kosovo, with Albania [not an ex-Yu state] coming at the end.”
Carlotta Gall wrote, “How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS” in the New York Times in 2016. In the article, Gall draws a direct link to Saudi Arabian government money and Wahhabi mosques in Kosovo. Gall’s reporting adds credence to the concern of Doskozil that the Balkans face a perilous reality due to the advantageous meddling in the region by the governments of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Doskozil specifically pointed out the countries of Serbia, Albania, and Kosovo. None of the aforementioned Balkan nations are presently members of the European Union. Immediate explanation of the specific nature of the threats that inspired Trump’s notice or Doskozil’s ominous warning of impending danger in the Balkans have been disclosed.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]