Friday, December 3, 2010

Where is the Camp Bondsteel?


Camp Bondsteel is known as the “grand dame” in a network of US bases running both sides of the border between Kosovo and the FYROM. In less than three years it has been transformed from an encampment of tents to a self sufficient, high tech base-camp housing nearly 7,000 troops—three quarters of all the US troops stationed in Kosovo.

There are 25 kilometers of roads and over 300 buildings at Camp Bondsteel, surrounded by 14 kilometers of earth and concrete barriers, 84 kilometers of concertina wire and 11 watch towers. It is so big that it has downtown, midtown and uptown districts, retail outlets, 24-hour sports halls, a chapel, library and the best-equipped hospital anywhere in Europe.

At present there are 55 Black Hawk and Apache helicopters based at Bondsteel and although it has no aircraft landing strip the location was chosen for its capacity to expand. There are suggestions that it could replace the US Air-force base at Aviano in Italy.

How can a foreign state's base stretch on both sides of the borders between other two states? Seems U.S. military hadn't the greatest regard of borders when they built it! Also, shows a lot about how U.S. officials actually see the Balkans.

So, here is Camp Bondsteel, the “grand dame” of U.S. bases in the Balkans, and here's the reason the world bothers over a handful of FYROM ultra-nationalists, as told by a NATO commander: G.W.Bush has this country outspending the next 46 countries in the world in terms of spending on Death. What needs to be pointed out is that America finds it necessary to have 176 such bases all over the world. Germany has several .. As does England.

So much for ending the cold war!

In April 1999, British General Michael Jackson, the commander in the FYROM during the NATO bombing of Serbia, explained to the Italian paper Sole 24 Ore “Today, the circumstances which we have created here have changed. Today, it is absolutely necessary to guarantee the stability of Macedonia and its entry into NATO. But we will certainly remain here a long time so that we can also guarantee the security of the energy corridors which traverse this country.”

Energy corridors that are infrastructure built by -guess which- companies: Exxon-Mobil and Chevron!
And yet some people still fail to see the bigger picture. The FYROM government first! They don't mind being at ill with their neighbors, they don't mind being the protectorate of some war-mongers, as long as they feed their ego thinking they descent from a king who in his great marches didn't even meet a tribe by the name... 'Slavs'

From the following statistics it's clear that Greece sees Skopje as trading opportunities. Greek businesses get benefited from the neighbor-ship and benefit the under-developed Skopjan economy as well, while a handful of Skopjan ultra-nationalist officials hang propagandist maps on Skopjan streets showing Greek Macedonia as part of their expanded state. That's the difference of mentality between the two parts. Greeks wouldn't mind at all if a name other than 'Macedonia' is used by Skopje, in fact, it's to the Greeks' best interest that a solution is reached soon. But you cannot trade historical heritage.

Between the years 2000-2006, Greeks invested almost 263 million USD in their nascent neighbor. That would make Greece the second largest foreign investor in FYROM. Of the 20 most sizable investments in FYROM's economy, 17 are financed with Greek capital. More than 20,000 people are employed in Greek-owned enterprises (c. 6% of the active workforce in this unemployment-plagued polity).
Greeks are everywhere: banking (28% of their total investment in the country); energy (25%); telecommunications (17%); industry (15%); and food (10%).

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