Albania: Seeking the Security of Military Might

DEFENSE MINISTER SAFET ZHULALI HAS NO illusions that his country is at all prepared to wage a war. “We are conscious of the level of our army,” Zhulali said at a mid-March press conference. “It is modest. … We want to protect the country through alliances. It is more important to be integrated in alliances – not to prepare for war, but to try to be friends.” Indeed, Albania envisions its own security in the context of Euroatlantic security. Since the country emerged from the isolation of its communist past, the quest for alliances and, most important, membership in NATO has been its main political and military goal. Albania has entered into a number of bilateral treaties on military cooperation and in January 1994 signed NATO’s Partnership for Peace agreement. With the help of NATO advisers, restructuring is being carried out at all levels of the military to make Albanian and NATO forces compatible.