Under the influence of the Trump administration, Albanians are increasingly angry about the problems that have arisen in their country. Continued crime and corruption at the top levels of the country are not the only problems. In several recent articles, Rama has been criticised for hosting the Mojahedin Khalq on behalf of the Trump administration.
In the Balkans Post, Olsi Jazexhi, a Canadian Albanian historian describes the problem: “Edi Rama, whose family belonged to communist nomenklatura has reinvented himself as a new autocrat of Albania. For this he has the backing of the Trump administration and top U.S. officials who do not care what goes on in Albania as long as the Rama government hosts the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and other extremist organizations in the country.”
Reza Alghurabi in The American Herald Tribune says MEK terrorists are complicating Rama’s EU accession talks. “The presence of the [MEK] … in a base around Tirana could also make Albania’s situation more complicated in its EU accession talks. The MEK was relocated to Albania under U.S. pressure after no other countries took the group in following its expulsion from Iraq.”
Since arriving in Albania from Iraq, the MEK has built a de facto extra-territorial enclave with armed guards which it calls Camp Ashraf III. When Donald Trump became president, plans to de-radicalize the group were halted. Albanian citizens feel MEK crimes are increasingly infecting every aspect of their country, with neither the police nor the security services able to intervene in their camp or their activities. It is akin to having toxic waste dumped on the country but without the means to de-toxify it.
President Rama is unrepentant. In an interview with FaxNews (see translation below), journalist and activist Aulon Kalaja commented that Rama has used hosting the MEK for America as an excuse to remain in power and delay the reforms to the judicial system which are necessary if Albania is to accede to the EU.
Dr Olsi Jazexhi also pointed out that the MEK have corrupted government officials to such an extent that they are perceived as running the country’s foreign policy in relation to Iran. He also says the “verbal and slander attacks that MEK conducts against the free media in Albania, have created a climate of fear in the country”. MEK reportedly pays media outlets to quash news about its nefarious activities being made public.
“MEK has managed to terrorize not only the media but even many Albanian MPs. An Albanian MP who takes part in the meetings that MEK and Maryam Rajavi holds every year in Paris under the banner of Free Iran, told the writer of this article that ‘We know who the MEK are. They are a terrorist organization, whom the Americans killed themselves. But the Americans have told us to protect them, and we are protecting them’.”
The Trump administration loves the MEK solely because the group echoes regime change chants against Iran. The price for this is being paid by Albanians as American protection has allowed the MEK to continue its criminal activities in Albania with impunity. It’s time the citizens of Albania regain control of their country.
Kalaja: Rama has done America a favour – he is using it to stay in power longer | FaxNews, August 13, 2019:
Invited to FaxNews studio tonight, renowned journalist and activist Aulon Kalaja has commented on recent political movements in the country, ranging from “cracks” within the Socialist Party to Rama’s “abandonment” of the new mayor of Shkodra, Valdrin Peter, Fran Frrokaj’s departure the day before the new mayor of Lezha was sworn in, and even problems in the justice system.
Referring to Rama’s statements to Peter, which came at a time when the Democratic Party published documents showing the arrest, conviction and subsequent expulsion of Peter from Italy, Kalaja says such moves are expected by Rama. According to Kalaja, Rama often dismisses his associates as truths come to light.
“Rama dismisses his associates the moment the truth comes out. This has always happened and everyone who is close to him has this fear.
I judge that Valdrin Peter’s case is not a coincidence but a phenomenon, which you no longer need to betray, despite Peter’s being there with his orders and found there thanks to Rama’s faith.”
Referring to the oaths made by the new mayors in the municipalities, the journalist says that they are illegal because if we consider the way the elections were held, these mayors have gained their positions without competition.
Asked about the dismissal of Lezha’s mayor, Fran Frrokaj, the day before the new mayor was constituted, Kalaja says this is not an emergency but simply something different from the other oaths we are used to seeing so far.
“City Council oaths are made illegally. Neither in form nor in content has June 30 produced a proper mayor. Entering the elections and governing means defeating your opponent in the race. Who beat Edi Rama?
Most of the citizens are under-represented, the figures clearly show. Rama will not hold all 61 Municipalities. It will be impossible. There is nothing remarkable about the Fran Frrokaj case. This was the release of the post by the mayor in a way different from what happened before. But the situation should not stop there. Such a case does not make a difference. “There must be unified action by the opposition”, said the journalist.
Asked about Justice Reform and the Constitutional Court, Kalaja says Rama is exploiting the Mojahedin, who, in his view, are Trump’s ‘weakness’ to drag out Justice reform.
As for the Constitutional Court, the journalist said that because this court is the most important institution in the country, politics should stay away from it. According to Kalaja, even in the event of political rotation, this court must be invalid.
“Rama has given the keys to Justice reform to the Americans, but he is using a contribution he has made to America. He is exploiting Albania’s hosting of the Iranian opposition, which for Trump is an extremely important issue.
“Rama is holding on to the American state because of the Mojahedin. This is a very sensitive issue for them. That is why it gives Rama the space to drag out Justice reform, only by using the Mojahedin.
“This is absurd… The Constitutional Court is sacred and is set in motion by 1/4 of the deputies, the individual or the ombudsman; this itself shows the strength of this court. It must be invulnerable. I don’t know what will happen with the change of power, but I think the right thing would be for the government not to intervene in the judiciary at all.”
Speaking, among other things, about the artists’ protest, the reporter reiterated that the idea of demolishing the building is to devour public funds.
He has called for all art lovers to contribute some money so artists can restore the theater themselves.
“There is no ammonia there or a toilet,” says Mr Veliaj. Those who are lovers of art, let them set up another theater elsewhere but not touch the existing one. But this is not about theater but about swallowing up funds.
However, artists will strive to rebuild this theater with the proceeds from art lovers and international donors. So, when you leave the theater, you contribute”, Journalist Aulon Kalaja concluded his interview.