Skip to main content

Conspiracy Theories

Sometimes Albania reminds me very much of Northern Ireland. When President Clinton came to Belfast, people came up with all kinds of suggestions - some mildly credible; many totally implausible - as to the real reason for his visit.

As Albania prepares for the visit of President Bush, the same kind of speculations are in the air. So far I have come across three. (These have been reported to me second-hand, so I can't be sure how accurately they have been reported to me, nor how many people believe any of them.)

Theory 1 - Kosovo. According to this one the US government is about to reach a deal with the Russians over the status of Kosovo that will fall some way short of independence. President Bush is in town, the theory goes, to sweet talk the Albanian leadership into going along with the deal.

Theory 2 - Guantanamo. The US wants to close Guantanamo but won't send many of the remaining prisoners back to their home countries. Since Albania has already taken some Guantanamo inmates, the President is here to offer the Albanian government incentives to take many more.

Theory 3 - Missile Shield. The US wants to build a defensive missile shield to protect against the
threat from 'rogue' states. The President is coming to Albania to persuade the government to allow the US to build part of this system in Albanian territory.

This kind of speculation is great fun, but sometimes - as Freud probably didn't say - a cigar is just a cigar.

Why is President Bush visiting? Well, Albania has contributed military personnel on a regular basis to Afghanistan, and it is no secret that Albania has accepted prisoners from Guantanamo when no other country would. So it makes sense for the President, since he is in Europe anyway, to call by and express his appreciation. It's called diplomacy.

It is also no secret that the US is an enthusiastic supporter of Albanian (and Macedonian and Croatian) membership of NATO. The President only recently signed the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act affirming that support and enabling financial assistance to the countries identified as they prepare for membership. A personal visit from the President gives an opportunity to offer the US government's support and encouragement at the highest level.

Not as entertaining, granted, but it might just be that simple.

If Tony Blair turn up at some point, though, I will be more than prepared to entertain the most outlandish conspiracy theories any of you can come up with regarding my esteemed (soon to be ex-) Prime Minister.


Anonymous said…
You're funny.

I've really enjoyed reading your more editorialized posts lately.

Thanks a lot for posting this stuff. I discovered your blog only recently, but it's cool to see what's going on in Albania from a source other than our amateur newspapers. Of all those three theories posted, none makes any sense, but I find the Albanian imagination amusing.
The first theory could be true, but I don't see why that would come from the US, where it could very well come from the EU since some members are obviously opposed to the independence of Kosovo.
As for theory #2, it could very well be that the US wants to close Guantanamo down considering the critisism it has gotten both domestically and internationally, but I doubt that the US would be comfortable letting all those prisoners (most of which, if not all at this point, are known terrorists) out in a foreign country.
As for the third theory, it's well known that the US wants to build the missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland, and even if it wanted to build it in Albania, Albania would be more than happy to accomodate it and wouldn't need a presidential visit to allow it.
Anonymous said…
LOL....OMIT, I gotta hand it to you. The above conspiracy theories read like a passage from a KADARE book. Very cool indeed.

Keeps up the postings.
olli said…
Thanks folks. Welcome to the blog NoVa.
Rod said…
On News 24 This evening (Thursday) they said that...
1) All Albanian Air space will be under the control of the U.S. Air Force.
2) All Albanian Territory will be under the control of the U.S. Military
3) U.S. Aircraft will block all mobile phone service during the Presidents visit.

The Albanian Government has apparantly agreed to this!

Which other country in the world would ever agree to their country coming under the authority of another countries military even for 5 hours?

These are not conspiracy theories - these are news reports! So any of the above theories you write about are quite possible..... then there is the one that since the USA will have total Military control of Albania for 5 hours that they will just Annex it to the USA!
Anonymous said…
"then there is the one that since the USA will have total Military control of Albania for 5 hours that they will just Annex it to the USA!"

Oh, God - please. Thanks but no thanks.

We have enough trouble with Colombians.
Anonymous said…
What about the AMBO pipeline that finishes on the Albanian coast and is the energy alternastive for middle East oil - isnt that a good reason for Bush to go and meet the Albanians. $400 trillion of oil and get out of Iraq!

Popular posts from this blog

Dy Rame Per Tirane

I was watching Top Channel last night, first the news, then Fiks Fare. According to them Tirana's citizens now have a choice not only between Rama and Olldashi, but also between Rama and Rama. A minor right-wing faction, Parti 'Balli Kombetar' , submitted papers to the election authorities registering their candidate, Akile Rama. The people on Fiks Fare got hold of the papers and sent a reporter and camera team to the address listed for Mr A Rama. After much ringing of the bell the gate was reluctantly opened by a middle-aged woman who refused to speak to the reporter and tried to close the gate on her. Back in the studio Saimiri and Doctori - the two presenters of Fiks Fare - revealed that Mr Akile Rama was 73 years old, in hospital, and did not know he was now a candidate for mayor. They also compared two documents - the papers submitted on his behalf, and a genuine document he had signed. The signatures were not even remotely similar. There was an interview with the lea

Guide Turistike

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council , the future is bright for Albania. The Council ranks Albania ninth out of 174 countries for tourism growth over the next ten years. A summary of the Council's report is available, as is the full report complete with many pages of graphs, charts and spreadsheets. This summer I have seen a number of tourists on the streets of Tirana. Some of them may well be Albanian expats, or people of Albanian descent returning home to visit family, but others are genuine 'foreigners'. Judging from their appearance, they are probably best described as 'independent travellers' - the kind of people who are not interested in luxury hotels or crowded beaches. This is a good start, but independent travellers are not the kind of big spenders that the tourist industry likes. In the longer term, if Albania wants to bring in the kind of free-spending tourists who currently holiday in Croatia or Slovenia, there will have to be a huge invest

Big in Albania

Ask me how much I knew about Albania before coming here and my list would be a short one: Enver Hoxha, bunkers and Sir Norman Wisdom. I have no idea when or how I acquired this extensive body of knowledge, but the association of Norman Wisdom with Albania was by far the most interesting part of it. I remember watching Norman Wisdom's old films on British television. My parents were fans of his wholesome, slapstick comedy, but apparently missed the ideological significance of Pitkin's relationship with Mr Grimsdale. Pitkin, the downtrodden and oppressed representative of the workers, triumphed every time over his capitalist oppressor, Mr Grimsdale - and he got the girl. It took a theorist of Hoxha's insight and profundity to discern this deeper political message. It always seemed tremendously unlikely, yet the story of Sir Norman's fame in Albania has been reported in worthy sources like the BBC , the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph . According to the Guardian, when Wi