Croatia: Internal Hybrid Warfare Against Freedom From Communism

Among today’s greatest ironies for countries that have since the fall of the Berlin Wall in late  1989 seceded from communism with the intention to transition into democracy, fought a war of independence such as Croatia that cost thousands of lives and untold damage both physical and mental, rare or non-existent is a Croatian politician in power or government since year 2000 who speaks adeptly about the values of the Homeland War which the Croatian nation must uphold above all else, adhere to and, where needed, perfect with view to serving the Croatian people and their friends who fought for freedom in any way and against communist oppression. On the contrary, the very existence of Croatian nation that fought during the 1990’s for its absolute right of self-preservation in the harsh winds of brutal Serb and former Yugoslavia Army aggression is under threat and is constantly being undermined, diminished, and attacked. This is inward hybrid war or hybrid war against own national values and identity. 

This internal aggression in Croatia is particularly visible and felt deeply painfully by masses through the constant vitriol and aggressive bickering between the President of Croatia (Zoran Milanovic) and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and all his government ministers. Plenkovic was embroiled in similar intolerance and lack of collaboration with the former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic that was and is essential for any successful nation. The governing Croatian Democratic Union in attempts to fend off increasing criticism of its governance or lack of it, has become sarcastic, cynical, and quick to ridicule any criticism or suggestion from the opposition even if it may be a good one for the nation!

Placing fake news with view to ousting political leaders intent on implementing lustration and prosecuting communist crimes perpetrated by former communist Yugoslavia operatives into the public and political arena appears to have been the tool of choice employed by former communist operatives with view to running down and/or destroy the Croatian national pride and maintain a communist Yugoslavia mentality within independent Croatia at all costs. A vivid example of this was the case of false allegations of fraud and misappropriation against HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, who wanted lustration and prosecution of communist crimes when he was Minister of Internal Affairs, and his wife in 2016. Fake news, of course, is a potent tool used in hybrid warfare where, in Croatia, political warfare within the related ‘grey zone’ that has seen and sees a terrible fight to retain communist mentality and communist symbolism as something Croatia should be proud of and to run down Croatian fight for independence from any kind of Yugoslavia during World War II and from communist Yugoslavia during 1990’s.

And so, ever since the 1990’s the world has seen innocent Croatian generals falsely accused of war crimes in the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, initiated and set up by no other that Stjepan Mesic and his followers, last president of communist Yugoslavia and leading politician in Croatia including having a stint at the Presidency for two mandates since year 2000. It took falsely accusing Croatia as aggressor in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1990’s by not other than former communist Yugoslavia operatives. It took the rotten, biased and pro-communist Yugoslavia Croatian judiciary to mount criminal charges, always unfounded from the perspective of defence and war that had to be fought to preserve Croatian lives, and try in courts prominent Croatian defenders and leading war veterans such as Tomislav Mercep, Branimir Glavas, Mirko Norac, Duro Brodarac, Mihajlo Hrastov, the policemen in Lora in Split, while leading members of the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army and rebel Serb forces, the murderous brutal aggressor against, Croatia went unpunished and untried.

The Croatian Security Agency, SOA, in its report to the Government of the state, the Office of the President of Croatia, the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament (report available to all Croatian people in corridors of power), warned of corruption in the Croatian judiciary in 2016 and identified 20 judges by name as representing a threat to the Croatian national security. But to this day, these judges have not been dismissed; they still wield “justice” in a country whose government vows continuously and repeatedly to be fighting corruption! What does that tell us?

The governments and the country’s Presidents have had their mouths full of praise for the Croatian diaspora and its huge importance to the success of Croatia as an independent state; incessantly calling the diaspora to return! And yet there has not since year 2000 been a single plenary debate in the Croatian Parliament on the diaspora and how to best harness its knowledge and material wealth for the good of all Croatians. On the contrary the parliamentary seats for the diaspora have been cut from 12 to 3! Lately, there are several government-supported boastings about increased number of citizenship applications and expat returns under the current HDZ government. The problem with these boastings is that they omit to compare with numbers from 1980’s and 1990’s when many more returned to Croatia from the diaspora than these days. But, then again, mass disinformation or misinformation or biased information campaigns (and government in Croatia controls the mainstream media) that are aimed as showing a government in a brighter light than what it is or what it truly deserves are a characteristic found in hybrid warfare.

It has been obvious for many years that the goal of both the Croatian government and the office of the President has been and is to cancel the so-called of the Homeland War and to preserve the power borne in communist Yugoslavia that enabled criminal conversion and privatisation in Croatia post break up of communist Yugoslav. Cheap acquisitions of companies and housing were the order of the day when former communists and their friends became wealthy overnight; major banks were sold to foreign countries under non-transparent and suspicious circumstances; corruption and nepotism continued defining Croatia as they did communist Yugoslavia.   

Although the start of this internal aggression took place in wartime circumstances, particularly from around mid-1992 when Stjepan Mesic visibly began abusing his position of power in plots to overthrow President Franjo Tudjman and weaken Croatian resolve for independence from communist Yugoslavia, when the will of the people was incredibly strong for an independent Croatia and Mesic consequently ended up deposed from the position of Speaker of the Parliament in 1994,  the true dimension of that hybrid war and grey zone markings were revealed after the change of government in early 2000. The Socialist Democratic Party/SDP, former League of Communists of Croatia, won government and Stjepan Mesic, by now within his own new political party unconvincingly called Croatian Independent Democrats (HNS), won the Presidency of the country. This was a lethal combination that would see the Croatia’s fight for independence, its defence from Serb and Yugoslav aggression, prostituted and betrayed with false accusations, political twisting of facts to dangerous levels for individual veteran life and the whole nation and a proliferation of communist mentality and symbols assaulting the intellect of even most common folk let alone intellectuals and multitudes that suffered under communism.  Subsequently, the Croatian Democratic Union Party/HDZ government under Ivo Sadaner and Jadranka Kosor, Stjepan Mesic’s puppets and corrupt communist players to the core, intensified this internal aggression which is still so visible and felt under today’s Andrej Plenkovic HDZ Croatian government.

This persistent internal aggression has gained so much momentum in the past decade, when SDP and HDZ government both sought coalition with the Serb aggressor aligned SDSS political party in Croatia, neglecting purposefully values of the Homeland War, apparently in favour of a reconciliation between aggressor Serbs and victim Croats. The most recent example of this shocking government-led hybrid warfare against the values and justice of the Homeland War was the 18 November 2022 Prime Minister Plenkovic’s defiant visit to Skabrnja Massacre commemoration, together with Greater Serbia’s SDSS (Independemt Democratic Serb Party) Deputy Prime Minister Anja Simpraga. Skabranja’s  defense commander during the Serb massacre of Croat civilians and prisoners of war, Marko Miljanic, said as Croatian veterans present at the commemoration turned their backs to Plenkovic and Simpgraga, “We did not fight for this”. Internal aggression is conducted on multiple fronts and in a coordinated institutional and extra-institutional manner. The forced reconciliation without justice for the victims of the Serb aggression that the Croatian government is attempting to achieve is simply not possible nor will it ever be achieved. Justice must be seen to be done and in Croatia with such governments of communist mentality, with fraternising in government with the Croatian peoples’ and national independence enemies, with the now long-standing aggressive moves to equate victim with the aggressor, Croatia is still on a war path for its dignity, for justice, for truth and independence from Yugoslavia. It is meaningless for Simpraga having condemned the Serb perpetrators of Skabrnja massacres, for her to keep saying “We need to move forward, towards peace, tolerance and coexistence of Croats and Serbs” when she does nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice; when she laments over having to flee Croatia as a child in August 1995 without stating that Croats did not make Serbs flee but guilt for their own crimes prior to 1995 Operation Storm that liberated the part of Croatia her kin had ethnically cleansed of Croats and occupied since 1991. Plenkovic, who was relatively unknown to the Croatian public when thrust into HDZ power in 2016, under the influence and control of the leader of the Greater Serbian fifth column, SDSS’s Milorad Pupovac, appears the main proponent of the damaging thesis that a civil war was fought in Croatia during 1990’s as Serb aggression occurred, and not that Croatia was a victim of Greater Serbian aggression by Belgrade! They undermine even the International Criminal Tribunal’s thorough investigation and conclusion that it was an international conflict with Serbia (servant of Yugoslavia) as aggressor. If it was considered a civil war then no Hague prosecutions could have proceeded under the standing laws and Geneva conventions etc.

The HDZ government will often accuse those rightfully criticising them as leading hybrid warfare against Croatia when in fact it is the government who is quite guilty of hybrid warfare. And it uses not the Croatian Serbs who fought alongside Croats to defend Croatia from Serb aggression in 1990’s but those aligned and related to the Serbs who were the aggressors!  Hence, it has almost become necessary to expose the intentions of this internal aggression daily. Regretfully, such exposures do not reach the general public, because the main mainstream television and radio public service is under the strict control of the ruling Croatian-Serbian coalition. We often come across praises for communist Yugoslavia in this mainstream, produced with Croatian taxpayers’ money, but not for the victorious Homeland War that ensured Croatia’s independence. Time for some serious corrective actions when it comes to the smothered Homeland War values in the political and daily life fields in Croatia. Ina Vukic

Investment in Croatian Gas Could Bolster American Security

Tomislav Karamarko (L)
James Jay Carafano (R)
Photo: Croatian Institute for Security & Prosperity

By: Tomislav Karamarko and James Jay Carafano

Europe is hooked on Russian energy. Last year, the European Union (EU) relied on Russia for 34 percent of its gas imports —up significantly from 2015. European nations like Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia and Slovakia—remain dependent on Russia for more than 60 percent of their natural-gas imports.

What is more, Russia has no qualms about using energy as a trump card, cutting gas supplies to get its way in political disputes. For example, Moscow stopped supplying natural gas to Ukraine in 2006, 2009, 2014 and 2015, as that nation struggled to align itself with the West. Russia also cut back its cut back its natural-gas exports to Austria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in 2014 when these countries supported Ukraine.

Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is not in line with the interests of Europe and the United States. Decline of European gas production with no turnaround in sight speaks for itself. Last year, for example, the government statistics office in the Netherlands reported that 80 percent of the country’s natural-gas reserves were gone.

Still, there is a way to make Europe more energy independent with the help of American energy exports and the construction of new import facilities in Europe. One potential new entry point for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) is Croatia’s Krk Island. A planned LNG import facility there would initially accommodate delivery of two billion cubic meters of gas a year.

Krk Island’s strategic location would allow for LNG distribution both west (into countries like Italy and France) and south into other Balkan nations. That promising location is one reason why the terminal project has already secured over €100 million in funding from the EU.

The terminal project would let Croatia work with its closest ally—the United States—to forge a deeper energy partnership. Together, the facilities and the partnership would enhance both nations’ security and prosperity for decades to come.

All signs are positive. President Trump endorsed the project during his recent meeting with leaders from the Central and East European region. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic voiced support in response.

President Trump’s statement that “the United States will never use energy to coerce your nations, and we cannot allow others to do so,” is key to understanding the importance of this project to Croatia, the EU and the United States.

The Krk Island terminal would join Lithuania’s Klaipėda terminal and Poland’s Świnoujście terminal as critical gateways for American LNG imports. And these three facilities can help ease the pressure of the Kremlin on Europe.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Russia is lobbying for completion of a different energy project: the Nord Stream II pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which would connect Russia with Germany. However, that project is neither economically necessary nor geopolitically prudent.

As European nations reinvest in security, a comprehensive approach demands developing alternatives to Russian energy. The timing could not be better. For the first time in decades, America is becoming a net exporter of energy. Increasing U.S. energy exports to Europe will bind the Atlantic alliance closer, enhance energy security and create jobs and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

An LNG terminal on Krk Island would do far more than create tremendous economic opportunity for Croatia and the United States. It could exert outsized influence on behalf of energy security and stability throughout the region.
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Tomislav Karamarko is founder and chairman of the Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity. James Jay Carafano is a Heritage Foundation vice president, in charge of the think tank’s research program on issues of national security and foreign relations.

 

Croatia At Crossroads – Tomislav Karamarko Publishes Manifest

Tomislav Karamarko

 

Euractiv portal has 19 May 2017 published Tomislav Karamarko’s analysis headed “Croatia at Crossroads”. Given the newly founded Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity, headed by Karamarko himself ,after spending some months of mainly staying away from public political spotlights ,he reappeared on the scene this month announcing new paths of action to achieve changes needed in Croatia it is of exceptional value to relay Karamarko’s published manifest on this blog .

Tomislav Karamarko is chairman of the newly established Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity. He previously served in government as first deputy prime minister and interior minister. He was president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) from 2012 to 2016.

By Tomislav Karamarko 

On Sunday (21 May), Croatians will go to the polls to elect new local councils and mayors across the country. Why should elections in a small EU country warrant much attention?

Croatia’s location is of exceptional geostrategic importance: the Balkans has been a catalyst of global and regional military conflict for over a century. With forthcoming elections in Albania and Kosovo, as well as continuing political crises in several other Balkan nations, we are entering a period of profound political and security risk.

The cloud of these political issues has overshadowed this year’s celebration of a quarter-century of Croatian independence. But looking back over the past 25 years, Croatia’s positive accomplishments are profound.

The Croatian people are the main heroes of this story – making hard sacrifices, adapting to a new world, and committing to a constructive path for the future. We went from a state on the brink of collapse to a member of the European Union, a member of NATO, and a leader in the region.

However, Croatia today is at a crossroads. Despite our accomplishments, the situation is uncertain and the problems facing our country, our region, and our world are just getting harder. Now is the time to build a stronger, more prosperous Croatia where every citizen has a chance for the best quality of life.

To that end, I took first the steps for the official launch of the Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity, which will be dedicated to help shape the next chapter for Croatia and its citizens. The first independent think tank in Croatia will bring together the best minds in Croatia and the world to tackle complex issues and propose real solutions of critical importance to Croatia’s future.

The Institute will contribute to the development of a comprehensive and integrated plan for the future and address issues that are crucial to strong democracy, security and the economy.

Unfortunately, Croatia has no long-term vision for development or the capacity to solve its most difficult problems; short-term thinking and crisis management have weighed us down. Our goal is to bring together people, ideas, and successful case studies that can be applied in Croatia in order to improve the lives of present and future generations.

This is the right moment to think big and to craft policies that will both make Croatia safer and wealthier. Nothing demonstrates this more than the collapse of Agrokor, Croatia’s largest employer and business, which risks contagion to the wider economy.

With some 50,000 or more jobs at stake and a regional ripple effect is already being felt in several neighbouring countries.

I will leave it for law enforcement and the courts to investigate the causes of this crisis, though I imagine greed, self-interest, and a weak regulatory regime will have played a part in the story. There is also a significant international aspect.  Agrokor is a major debtor of Russian banks, which can certainly result in Russia’s influence on economic processes in Croatia, and thus our security.

The Agrokor upheaval also reveals structural problems and lack of diversity in the Croatian economy. Our largest employers are seasonal tourism and import-based businesses. Croatia’s domestic production capabilities have crumbled, as has our traditional agriculture base.

We have not made the necessary financial or political investment in providing good jobs to our young people. That’s why we are facing the exodus of talented, creative and motivated youth from Croatia.

Several years ago, I initiated a pilot program to bring Israeli advance agriculture technology and know-how to Croatia to improve the agricultural output of our fertile soils in the east. This highly successful programme serves as a model of how to achieve sustainable solutions by applying international expertise to Croatia’s challenges.

In the coming months, in cooperation with our international partners, the Institute will be developing and leading the implementation of new programs to reinvigorate our agricultural and domestic manufacturing base and put the talents of our youth to work in Croatia.

Our food and water are our some of our most important natural resources. Development of strong rural areas is a pre-requisite for a successful country.

We can take comfort in our accomplishments and being an independent nation. But the hard work is just beginning. I hope my fellow citizens and all of Croatia’s friends in Europe, America, Israel and elsewhere will support our efforts in building stronger, safer and prosperous Croatia.

Our success will help bring stability and prosperity to the entire Balkan region.

WEBSITE FOR CROATIAN INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY AND PROSPERITY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.isph.hr

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