Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo

August 22, 2001

Mission to Macedonia

So, you're the ruthless ruler of a worldwide empire, and you want to take over a poor, hapless, unsuspecting nation – whaddaya do? Step number one: fund a guerrilla insurgency.


There's always some disgruntled minority that will take up arms, especially if tempted with all sorts of extra little perks (like control of the local drug trade). It doesn't matter if their grievances are real: the Anglo-American media, liberal to a fault, is always on the lookout for new victim groups to champion. (This, after all, makes them look like crusaders for justice instead of the shameless hacks they are). Not only that, but the endless search for new victim groups necessitates the need for new villains, and, if we are talking about the Balkans, there is only one group so designated, and that is, of course, the Slavic people. If the Albanians can do no wrong, then anything the Slavs do to preserve their national sovereignty or resist the Western takeover is, by definition, "racism" and must be mercilessly punished.


Secondly, having created the problem to begin with, you must then proceed to "solve" it by means of direct military intervention – preferably by getting the target nation to agree, but, if not, going in anyway. After all, "human rights" are at stake. In the case of Macedonia, NATO has gotten the government to agree to what is little short of an invasion – on the pretext that NATO troops will "disarm" the insurgents. Gee, that's funny, but I could've sworn that Scott Taylor's report from Tetovo made pretty clear just who armed them to begin with:

"The UCK commanders welcomed me with a shout of, 'God bless America and Canada too for all that they have provided to us!' In the well constructed UCK bunkers overlooking the besieged city of Tetovo, there is ample evidence of US military hardware. Everything from sidearms and sniper rifles to menacing-looking grenade launchers are emblazoned with a 'Made in the USA' logo."


According to Taylor, the insurgents have good reason to be grateful. While the NATO-crats naturally deny that they are supplying the Albanian extremists with guns, ammo, and sophisticated equipment giving them a clear advantage over the Macedonian army, Taylor cites one Albanian, "Commandant Mouse," who confirmed that the Americans had in fact delivered "heavy mortars and ammunition" to the UCK. Taylor continues:

"As proof of 'Mouse's' claim, Thursday, 16 August, the UCK began bombarding Tetovo with 120mm and 82mm mortars. Judging from the duration and intensity of the bombardment, which I witnessed, ammunition supply is not a problem for the UCK fighters."


A recent press conference given by the commander-in-chief of the Albanian forces featured an odd display of flags behind the speakers: not only the black eagle on a red background that serves as the emblem of "Greater Albania," but also three others – NATO's missile-shaped fleur-de-lis, the EU's ominous field of stars, and Old Glory. "Asked why the Macedonian flag was absent if his National Liberation Army fighters really intended to demobilize and work within a democratic Macedonia," a Reuters report informs us, "Ahmeti suggested feelings were still too raw to resurrect state symbols on rebel turf. 'For sure the Macedonian flag will be here in the future, not tomorrow or the next day but later...''' Much much later – i.e., over his dead body.


The rebel display of the NATO flag is not just a symbolic gesture: where else do you suppose the NLA is getting those night goggles that give rebel fighters an unbeatable nighttime advantage? The whole point of the NATO "disarmament" process is to give the rebels ample cover while they consolidate their gains and establish a rival center of power within Macedonia. NATO has already established a "no fly zone" over the rebels' domain. The Macedonians, for their part, agreed to pull back their forces (albeit temporarily) and endorsed the "no fly zone" concept – effectively ceding a third of the country to the NLA. Aside from Macedonia, the only other country that has a "no fly zone," Iraq, agreed to it under the terms of an agreement that codified its military defeat.


No wonder Ahmeti was crowing that this was a great "victory" for the rebels (and, parenthetically, for the Macedonians, too, on the somewhat disingenuous grounds that they have been spared further terrorism on the part of the NLA). "We believe the war is over," he declared, and he's right – the NLA, with NATO, American and European assistance, has won. What is being negotiated, now, is the terms of surrender.


Anyone who believes the NATO mission is going to last only a month, or that the Albanians will really agree to give up their weapons – and, most of all, anybody who takes seriously Ahmeti's reassurances that the NLA wants to be a part of "democratic Macedonia" – is living in a fantasy world. The much-vaunted "ceasefire" never took effect, and the latest Albanian outrage – the bombing of Macedonia's most revered Orthodox church – merely confirms what everyone knew to begin with. As the Macedonian Ministry of the Interior trenchantly put it: "This just confirms the anti-historical mental makeup of the Albanian terrorists and historically locates them in the period of savages when simply nothing sacred existed."


The irony is that it isn't the Albanian terrorists who are being blamed, but – get this! – the Macedonians! A Reuters report gives a perfunctory bow to the obvious – the view that the bombing was the work of the NLA – but allots much more space to the opinions of the Albanians, the EU "monitors," and various anonymous diplomats, who are floating a conspiracy theory that pins the blame on the victims:

"'I am convinced it was done by a special team of Macedonians opposed to the peace agreement who want to cause political destabilisation,' the black-bearded fighter [Commander 'Leka'] said over a cup of coffee in a crowded cafe."

"'I'm no expert, but my opinion is that it was mined,' a European Union monitor at the scene told Reuters. 'There are no shell craters around.'"

"'It's rather suspicious,' a Western diplomat said. 'The NLA is not known to have attacked religious sites before.'"


I guess this means the takeover of the monastery in the village of Matejche, near Kumanovo region, on May 4, doesn't count. The monastery, built in the 13th century, has been used as a headquarters by the local NLA thugs, who have "cleansed" the surrounding villages of ethnic Macedonians. What is particularly galling about this Western diplomat's groundless speculations is that the NLA, in its hatred of Orthodoxy, is the mirror image of its progenitor: the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The KLA has burned, looted, and leveled to the ground virtually every Orthodox church in Kosovo: what makes anyone believe that they will not carry out the same campaign of cultural cleansing in Macedonia?


Although the Macedonian Security Forces were in no shape to combat the insurrection at the start, the influx of arms to the Macedonians from the Ukraine and Russia is said to continue despite pressure from NATO and the US to cut them off. We'll see how long that lasts, or even if it is true at all. But in any case, the essentially ill-equipped and ill-prepared Macedonian armed forces are in a very bad position. In exchange for being allowed to secede peacefully from Yugoslavia, in 1992, the Macedonians turned the great bulk of their heavy weaponry over to the Yugoslav Army. This suggests a possible way out for the cornered Macedonians, who find that they are facing not only the Albanians, but their European and American sponsors.


If the US-NATO-Albanian alliance is allowed to conquer Macedonia – essentially without a shot being fired – then the way is opened to the destabilization and eventual destruction of the other regional powers as well. The fate of the former Yugoslavia – and, indeed, all the Slavic nations of the Balkans – is inextricably bound up with that of Macedonia. What is needed is a regional defense pact against further incursions by either NATO or their Albanian clients.


Bulgaria, Romania, and especially Greece – lazing luxuriously in the Mediterranean sun, thinking itself immune to the Balkan Disorder – must stand up together, or fall one-by-one. If Macedonia falls, then southern Serbia is next, not to mention Epirus, parts of Bulgaria, and beyond. The return of Yugoslav Army troops to Macedonia would be cheered by the beleaguered Macedonian people: and, if that is too politically sensitive, then perhaps just the return of all that heavy weaponry, most of which survived the Kosovo war. Now that would be a good way for President Vojislav Kostunica to strike back at his Western opponents, who have avidly supported Zoran Djindjic, his chief rival, and done everything to undercut Yugoslavia's revival. Go ahead, Mr. President – stick it in their eye!


The recipe for taking over a country wouldn't be complete, however, if it didn't include a good dose of propaganda – actually, two doses, one directed at a Western audience, and the other for consumption by the victims. The Albanian victimology championed by most major Western media outlets permeates international coverage of the Macedonian crisis. Even the rabidly pro-Albanian [UK] Guardian admits that, "Western journalists are more likely to report from Albanian areas, where they are welcomed." (Gee, I wonder why?)


On the Macedonian front, however, the US government is not leaving anything to chance. Uncle Sam is paying for a huge propaganda blitz in order to ensure the passage of the Western-imposed "peace plan" in the Macedonian Parliament. $250,000 will be spent on radio, television, and newspaper advertisements – a huge amount in such a small, media market. No doubt more will pass under the table to members of Parliament, since theirs are the only votes that will count. The International Republican Institute – the international branch of the GOP, which receives federal dollars through the National Endowment for Democracy – is busily taking surveys (push-polling) and creating "public service announcements" that basically boil down to this: you can surrender now, or you can surrender later – but surrender you must.


The ultimate irony – and tragedy – of what is happening to the people of Macedonia is underscored by a recent incident in which an American citizen of Macedonian extraction, one Mr. Stamatovski, of Detroit, had his property in Macedonia looted and burned. Mr. Stamatovski campaigned for George W. Bush and is active in the Michigan Republican party. After his home was trashed and burnt to a cinder, the Albanian terrorists left a message amid the ruins: "Where is your Bush to help you now?"

Where, indeed....

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