At the Gates
KLA hurt, its patrons launch diplomatic offensive
tarried for a week, Macedonian Army (ARM) and police units
finally launched their promised assault on Albanian militants
above Tetovo this past weekend. Reinforced with two Ukrainian
helicopters, they rained shot and shell on the Albanian
"Liberation Army." Its vaunted fighters, who vowed
to exact a bloody price on any Macedonian attack, melted away
into the woods and ran
for the safety of NATO-occupied Kosovo, leaving the Macedonians
The "NLA" headquarters in the village of Selce was
Tuesday morning, after the bandits ordered the civilian population
to retreat with them. NATO’s patrols reportedly detained several
armed men that crossed into Kosovo posing
welcomed this show of force. The government in Skopje showed
it had the will and the way to resist those who sought to
"talk" with it through threats and blackmail. One
would think the "international community" would
welcome this development as well. NATO – the self-appointed
adjudicator of all Balkan disputes – supported Macedonia’s
sovereignty with plenty of words, but no action. Surely, now
that the Macedonians have managed to deal with the problem
by themselves, the reluctant superpower should be overjoyed
it doesn’t have to tackle the problem. Moreover, Macedonia
had full support for this military action. Javier Solana,
NATO’s former trigger-happy GenSec turned EU policy czar,
himself told the Macedonians last week that one should "not
negotiate with terrorists."
Solana, who seems to have the uncanny ability to say two different
things in the same sentence, was at it again Tuesday. Now
that the ARM did exactly what the rest of the world does to
terrorists, Solana rushes to stop them and give political
advice to the bandits.
think a country has a right to control its territory,"
Solana said Tuesday – forgetting his role in a war NATO started
two years ago to deny Yugoslavia that very right. Then he
said something most chilling: "The battle to stabilize
the Balkans goes on. We still have a lot to do."
what? Neither the EU nor NATO has in any practical
way aided the Macedonians in their legitimate struggle. Rather,
they’ve hindered it every step of the way. What could they
possibly hope to contribute to the "battle to stabilise
the Balkans", if that is how this is called? The obvious
answer is just too dark to contemplate…
was hardly overjoyed with ARM’s success. Reuters’ choice phrase
was "considerable dismay." As
soon as humanly possible, high NATO and EU officials flew
into Skopje and demanded that the government – stop the police
action and appease the Albanians!
Britain’s repulsive Foreign Minister who was one of the loudest
advocates of NATO’s 1999 aggression against Yugoslavia, spoke
out against "violence" as soon as the Macedonians
started to fight back with any success. NATO’s GenSec George
Robertson, another 1999 bombing enthusiast, demanded
of Skopje not to use "excessive force" and "get
involved in a political discussion" with Albanian parties
– though one of them quit
the parliament in protest over the ARM action. Even Colin
Powell, the man who replaced Madeleine Albright at the helm
of US Department of State, said that Macedonians should immediately
their constitution to accommodate
the militants’ demands.
Trajkovski found himself in a paradoxical position. His troops
have chased the bandits off the Tetovo hills, but his state
might yet be destroyed by the "well-wishing" Westerners
who insist he appease the Albanians! Even though the Macedonians
have won a battle,
it seems they are being set up to lose the war.
week, the media swung sharply against their Macedonian hosts.
Sensing perhaps a coalescence of policy in imperial power
centers, agencies and newspapers universally derided Skopje’s
actions. Even before the attack on Albanian bandits began,
reports began to appear of Macedonian paramilitaries
being organized, and even linked them to Serbia’s Tigers,
commanded by the late Zeljko Raznatovic-Arkan. Needless to
say, these phantom militants were nowhere to be seen during
the weekend’s fighting.
Washington Post openly called ARM’s action "a
turn for the worse," in an editorial that categorically
said that any long-term peace solution for the Balkans must
satisfy Albanian interests, and – what a surprise! – that
the only country capable of effecting such a solution was
the US. The fact that Macedonia’s government is not only democratic
but "pro-Western" either matters little, or means
that it will roll over and accept NATO’s demands that much
Intelligence Review sought to minimize the bandits’ importance,
portraying them as a band
of smugglers that could only grow stronger if the government
cracks down on them. Presumably, giving in to their demands
would destroy them.
hear the wires describe it, the conflict consisted of Macedonian
stormtroopers intimidating innocent Albanian women and children
(whose husbands and sons, by the way, were away in the KLA),
mistreating Albanian teachers and torching empty
villages. Others saw Macedonians as scared, incompetent
bullies, who could not hit the broad side of a barn and stood
no chance against the militants.
New York Times even tried to describe the bandits as
careful analysis of terminology reveals a shift as well. Macedonians
are now "ethnic Slavs," fighting "ethnic Albanians,"
while both people, presumably, merit the name "Macedonians."
What an amazing coincidence that turning Macedonia into a
bi-ethnic "federation" of Albanians and Macedonians
is exactly what the "NLA" is advocating by
force, and its "moderate" wing in the government
(DPA and Arben Xhaferi) want to achieve through
exactly do Macedonia’s Albanians want? Turns out, they have
agenda. Statehood status, first of all. Amending the constitution
so that Macedonia, currently a nation-state of Macedonians
with full civil rights of minorities, would become a nation-state
of Macedonians and Albanians. Albanians also want a
third of all state jobs (a lot to ask in a still-socialist
economy), which is more than their population percentage.
Finally, they want the Macedonian state to fund their ethnically
and media. In a somewhat blunt translation: Give us power,
privileges and rights we don’t deserve, and pay for it, too!
wonder the Macedonians are fighting. Wouldn’t you?