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The War Nerd September 18, 2003
Albania: Great and Greater
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

I've been surfing up on Greater Albania lately. The name still makes me laugh. "Greater" Albania? Greater than what? Let's face it, "great" and "Albania" don't go together for most people. But there's been a lot of buzz lately about a new Albanian guerrilla army, the Albanian National Army or AKSh, and it turns out that's what they're fighting for: Greater Albania.

What they mean by "Greater Albania" is "bigger Albania," Bigger than the Albania on the maps. Personally, I'd be more likely to enlist on behalf of Less Albania. That'd be our slogan: "Albania -- the less, the better!" But these guys' idea of a perfect world is one where Albania is about 10% bigger than it is now. Yeah, that's what it would take to turn that country from the basket case of the Northern Hemisphere it is today into Switzerland.

In other words, we're dealing with loonies. But there's some kind of a program behind it. If you click up your atlas, you'll see Albania is like a slug slithering up the Adriatic. But the slug on the map leaves out a few Albanian-majority villages in next-door countries like Serbia (that's Kosovo we're talking about), Greece, Macedonia and Montenegro.

I mean, God forbid all these Greater Albanians should have to live with a bunch of uncivilized Greeks.

The only way the borders will ever get fixed, in the opinions of the AKSh, is by starting up little Albanians-only bushwhacking clubs called "Armies." You may've heard about one of them, the KLF or Kosovo Liberation Front. Remember the days of Slippery Bill Clinton, the draftdodger who gave Monica those knee burns? Well back in '99 Bill told us we had to bomb the hell out of the mean Serbs because they were massacring Albanians in Kosovo. Which they were. What he didn't tell us -- maybe Monica's internship was reaching a climax or something -- what he didn't tell us is that's how it's done in the Balkans: if a Serb gets the drop on an Albanian, you get a dead Albanian. And if an Albanian draws faster, cross one more Serb off the Christmas-card list.

But Bill was an American, so instead of admitting there IS no good side in the Balkans, he made it into a Star Wars script: the nice Ewoks (the Albanians) fighting off Imperial Stormtroopers (the Serbs). And naturally Bill was going to play Luke Skywalker to the rescue.

Bill's script pretty much floored everybody in Europe, because everybody who ever had to deal with actual Albanians knew that Albanians make up a disproportionate number of successful bandits, smugglers, pimps and killers, not to mention Western European prison inmates. Sorry, but it's the truth. It's not their fault they're like that. Albania's a little country in a real rough part of the world, it's been stomped on lots of times, and you can't afford to go soft. Albania was chained down under a Stalin-midget, Enver Hoxha, till the USSR fell, and it went from there to gangster-ocracy in a few bad months, with one of the biggest pyramid schemes in history grabbing all the legal cash in the country in between.

So yeah: tough childhood. But the fact is, Albanians are not peaceful, they're not nice guys, any more than the Serbs are. All the "nice" tribes in the Balkans are in the graveyards. Everybody still in the game there is a stone killer.

Bill sent in the USAF. Wooo baby, were we merciless to those Serbs! We didn't actually try to kill any of them, but we took out every transmission tower or broadcast room in Serbia with guided AS missiles that cost about ten times as much as their targets. Talk about total war! Why, those poor Serbs couldn't even get the Weather Channel when we were through with them. We didn't leave one single rerun standing. The whole Serbian TV Guide was bombed back to the Stone Age.

And the Serbs never understood why we were so mad at them. It was just business as usual, Balkan-style. They said if we didn't let them slap down the Albanians in Kosovo every now and then, the Albanians would be at their throats in a second.

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.


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