June 14, 2001

Meditations On The Edge Of The Abyss

What does it take for a country to realize its very existence is in jeopardy?

For the second time in three months, the government of Macedonia has considered declaring a state of war. And for the second time, it abandoned the idea under intense pressure by Albanian political parties and the unholy trinity of EU, NATO and the U.S.

Yet how have Brussels, Mons and Washington – not to mention Arben Xhaferi and other Albanian political leaders – deserved to have their “advice” honored at the expense of Macedonia’s existence? Xhaferi and other Albanian leaders fully support the objectives of the terrorist “National Liberation Army,” (UCK) declaratively condemning only their methods while finding ways to rationalize them. Without NATO’s invasion and occupation of Kosovo, there would not have been a UCK – neither the original nor the present spin-off. Lest we forget, that invasion was masterminded and commanded from Washington, with EU’s enthusiastic support.

People like EU’s Javier Solana and George Robertson, who led and cheered NATO’s 78-day, blatantly illegal terror-bombing of Serbia, now come to Skopje every week and tell Prime Minister Georgievski and President Trajkovski that “violence is not the solution.” The only reason Solana and Robertson have any credibility as peacemakers is that both Trajkovski and Georgievski seem to listen to them.


Predictably, listening to such sages of peace has brought Macedonia well past the brink of abyss. In March, when it faced a relatively small pack of bandits in the hills above Tetovo, Skopje heard Solana and Robertson say, Do not declare war! So they didn’t. Instead, they formed a coalition government with Macedonia’s opposition Social Democrats as well as two Albanian parties – ethnically exclusive outfits firmly supporting the Albanian concept of parallel-society apartheid.

Since then, the aforementioned pack of bandits has grown into a well-armed and organized hostile force, repeatedly legitimized by Western diplomacy and relentless propaganda. “Lord” Robertson may call them “murderous thugs,” but the UCK now controls the flow of water to Kumanovo, has guns right above Skopje, and is back in the hills above Tetovo.

While the UCK has thus grown, the morale of Macedonia’s citizens and soldiers has steadily eroded with every “ceasefire,” every visit by Solana or Robertson. Even the betrayal of Albanian politicians, signed with the UCK in Prizren under the auspices of an American ambassador to OSCE – the same organization which helped set the stage for the bombing of Serbia when its American head of mission invented a massacre in Kosovo – was glossed over, again at Solana’s initiative. The man who thought nothing of reducing Serbia to ruins somehow found himself “unable to convince” Xhaferi and Imeri to renounce their act of treason, but thought nothing of it – and told Trajkovski he should, too.

Macedonia has suffered greatly for its service to the West; first came eight years of economic stagnation because of UN sanctions against Yugoslavia. Then it lent itself out as a logistical base for NATO’s attack in 1999, then for its occupation of Kosovo – not to mention serving as a refugee camp for hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, many of whom are now in the UCK. Having thus helped Albanian separatists and their patrons to occupy and ethnically cleanse Kosovo of Serbs, Skopje was rewarded with a dinner invitation – with Macedonia as the main course.


As the pathetically servile regime in Skopje accepted the “urging” of Brussels and Washington not to declare war – despite the fact that three of its largest cities have become targets of a well armed terrorist “army” – the Macedonian people finally began to grasp the intention of Western well-wishers. General Jovan Andrevski, commander of Macedonia’s armed forces, tendered his resignation Tuesday morning. He refused to command young men who could do nothing but die, because their government refused to let them fight. He probably did not need Wednesday’s International Herald Tribune to spell out the Western policy towards Macedonia:

“The Western position includes pressure on Mr. Trajkovski, who leads a Slav-dominated government, to make significant political concessions to ethnic Albanian demands and thus undercut the rebels’ appeal to Macedonia’s Albanian minority.”

NATO’s advisors were already on the way to Skopje, probably to help the government practice the form of “restraint” that has landed Macedonia into this predicament to begin with. They are also supposed to help disarm the UCK, if it ever accepts a NATO-drafted “peace” proposal officially attributed to President Trajkovski. The proposal, incidentally, does exactly what NATO’s policy prescribes. It opposes the means of UCK’s struggle, while fully supporting its ends – a state-within-a-state for Macedonia’s Albanians, paid for by the Macedonian public treasury.

On Monday, the government called for a cease-fire, ostensibly to allow a convoy with food and supplies to reach some 10,000 Albanian villagers in UCK-occupied territory. These are the very same villagers who support the UCK and tell the enthusiastic Human Rights Watch reporters tall tales of abuse at the hands of Macedonian police. Meanwhile, repairs to Kumanovo’s water supply system – shut off by the UCK – are depending on the bandits’ invitation, which has not been forthcoming. It just so happened, of course, that the ceasefire came right after an UCK commander threatened to bombard Skopje.


Most ominous, though, is the fact that Macedonia seems to be rapidly losing not only territory and spirit, but also the media war. Throughout the English-speaking press, the term “Macedonian” has lost all ethnic and national character; ethnic Macedonians have been transformed into faceless “Slavs,” while the conflict is increasingly characterized as an issue of “ethnic Albanian rights.” The “ethnic” is crucial here, as simply calling them “Albanians” would imply the politically incorrect (though accurate) notion that Albania is their mother country, where they have all the rights they could possibly want. Specifying that Macedonian Albanians are an immigrant minority with astronomical birthrates would make Western audiences draw parallels to immigrants in their own countries – which cannot, must not ever be allowed to happen.

So from the desks of Associated Press and Reuters, to the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the media wallow in cesspools of “editorial guidance,” aimed at framing the conflict in UCK’s terms while pretending to condemn its terrorist actions. Why else would every article about Macedonia, whether it dealt with political restructuring, fresh fighting, or the UCK-induced water shortage in Kumanovo, inevitably contain a photo of despondent Albanian refugees?

“CRY 'HAVOC,' AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, 3.1)

Those dogs, Fear and Panic, slowly devour Macedonia’s will to fight and leave most people resigned to the prospect of capitulating to Albanian demands. Three months ago, even considering the appeasement of Albanian apartheid would have been dismissed out of hand. Now, however, everyone seems resigned to appeasing the Albanian politicians to somehow sideline Albanian terrorists – even though, again, their aims are the same. Since the UCK would be getting exactly what it wanted, I am a little unclear as to how this would “sideline” or “undercut” their position. If the “good Albanians” and the “bad Albanians” work together, they can hardly be played against each other through concessions, can they?


The forces of Empire have already moved beyond simple appeasement, though. Thus the hyper-hawks Richard Holbrooke and Jeane Kirkpatrick shriek in Tuesday’s Washington Post that NATO must intervene in Macedonia to save itself and everything it has done in the Balkans. Because, as they say, in both Bosnia and Kosovo “NATO’s involvement produced benefits for the cause of peace and stability.”

Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung is more blunt:

“The West must establish itself as a constant presence there, telling the politicians what they must do. For one thing must be clear to Macedonians and Albanians alike: without Western assistance, the country will not survive.” (my emphasis)

Financial Times also called for a military occupation of Macedonia, joined by a proposal for political occupation by – surprise, surprise – the International Crisis Group and OSCE in the International Herald Tribune last weekend.

NATO diplomats dismissed a military occupation – on the grounds that it would “let (Slav) Macedonian leaders off the hook about the reforms they need to implement to improve the rights of their Albanian minority.” Who again, is it that NATO claims to be supporting?

Perhaps that is why an UCK spokesman (incidentally named Xhaferi) can hold a press conference – in Brussels, of all places – and say, deadpan, that “…the international community, NATO, the EU and the United States will stand by the Albanians and not allow a new ethnic cleansing.”

Sure enough, these creators of “peace and stability” enabled the original UCK (KLA) to make Kosovo into the world’s largest brothel, heroin refinery and ethnic ghetto. Now they employ misdirection to convince the Macedonians of their support, all the while helping the UCK and its sinister racist agenda. Under NATO’s very nose, in the middle of Kosovo, a UN-paid former KLA general can call up “reservists” and dispatch them to still functioning KLA training camps in Albania, and from there on to Macedonia. Wouldn’t it be ironic if these men’s wages were paid from the UN budget for the so-called “Kosovo Protection Corps,” an outfit created by NATO to legitimize the KLA – as is most likely the case?

Helping Albanian bandits with both hands while speaking to Macedonians in a forked tongue – that is the perfect image of today’s West, determined to finish its conquest of the Balkans at the expense of whoever happens to be in the way.

Text-only printable version of this article

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo, and had contributed to the Independent. As a historian who specialized in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia and Serbian politics, which were published by the Serbian Unity Congress. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com appears every Thursday.


Past Articles

Meditations On The Edge Of The Abyss


Terms of Betrayal

Presevo – A False Victory

The Balkans: Land of Delusions

Enemies at the Gates

ICG’s Blueprint for Destruction

Kosovo: Between Death and Taxes

Madness in the Mountains: Montenegro's Looming Secession

A House Divided


Empire at the Gates

Macedonian Maelstrom

Pax Americana

The Fourth Balkan War

Mayhem in Macedonia

Surreal Realm

Santayana’s Curse

The Croatian Conundrum

March of the Black Eagle

Showdown in Belgrade

Out of the Shadows

With a Grain of Salt

Crusade's End

The Worst of Times

Moments of Transition

Déja Vu

The Crucible

Bandits on the Border

It's the Spelling, Stupid

Zoran Djindjic: Serbia's Richard III

Wheels of Injustice

The Tragedy of Bosnia

The Suspended Castle

Hand Of The Empire: Decision in Kosovo

Introduction: The Balkans Babylon

ITN: Case Closed


Though Antiwar.com should not advocate war, Libertarian political thought strongly favors legitimate self-defense. Not in its twisted, Imperial interpretation of sending stormtroopers halfway around the world and slaughtering thousands of civilians to achieve “strategic interests,” but taking up arms against an invader, or a terrorist movement, threatening a state that represents a guarantor of its people’s liberty and property.

If anyone is truly repressed in the current Macedonian state, it is its citizens of non-Albanian origin, who are consistently denied the right to defend their persons and property against armed assailants – while left at the mercy of those very same assailants by the utter lack of intestinal fortitude on part of their elected leaders, and paramount duplicity of their patrons in the West.


If something radical does not happen to change the current state of affairs, within six months Macedonia will cease to exist as a state. It will either be partitioned and annexed by its rapacious neighbors – those loyal to NATO, naturally – or occupied in the fashion of Bosnia and Kosovo, relegated to a pathetic semi-existence in permanent twilight.

As for the immediate future, we should expect a “peace conference” akin to Rambouillet, with a platform drafted most likely by NATO and OSCE, calling for Macedonia to effectively demolish its Constitution to accommodate Albanian demands. Albanian representatives will be led by the UCK, and advised by Americans. If Macedonia’s leadership does not sign the plan, a NATO intervention of some sort is not excluded.

This assumes, of course, that Macedonia would manage to mount a measure of resistance. With the current government, however, Skopje would be more than willing to capitulate as soon as the opportunity presents itself. NATO made sure to make an example out of Serbia, so no one else in the region would dare disobey its dictates again. Is this the lesson Skopje chose to learn – to commit suicide, or be killed?

Macedonia thus falls prey to Santayana’s curse, doomed to repeating the recent history that should have served as a warning. Then perhaps this should be a warning too, and a word of advice as well:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Hamlet, 3.1)

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