A NEW WAR, OR JUST THE OLD ONE AGAIN?
After September 11th, life has gone on in Macedonia, though
the world has taken but little notice. Violence too has continued
unabated, though Macedonia's complaints of Albanian terrorism have
fallen on deaf ears in the West. The failure to get the NLA labeled
as "terrorists" has led to its logical conclusion: the passing of
major constitutional capitulations, as envisaged in the treacherous
Treaty of Ochrid.
A PROLOGUE ON SPADES
few weeks ago at Stanford University, I saw the Indian Consul-General
and his Russian counterpart speak out against "terrorism." To a credulous
crowd of graying Americans, they bemoaned a common problem: the lack
of a commonly understood definition of terrorism. "It's high time,"
declared Consul Viswanathan, "for us to call a spade a spade, and
recognize these people for what they are terrorists."
BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH
Macedonia's downfall was set up a long time ago, way back in March 2001. Given US support for the KLA in Kosovo, it was not hard to see how this friendly relationship would be extended southward, in the event of an Albanian uprising against Macedonia. Anything otherwise would have meant the embarrassing admission that the US-instigated war in Kosovo had been an absolute disaster something NATO had not the stomach to admit.
SETTING A PATTERN: MEDIA COVERAGE IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE WAR
most faithful barometer of US policy in the media has traditionally
been the New York Times. Last winter, when the "National Liberation
Army" first reared its ugly head in Macedonia, the coverage in the
Times would prove decisive to Macedonia's fate. Would it win
or lose the PR war? Were claims of terrorism justified, and even if
they were, would the United States (then happily terrorist-free) even
THE WEAPON MACEDONIA WILL NEVER GET
the evidence, a general pattern becomes clear. Even in the earliest
days of the war, the US media had made up its mind about which side
to back. As was noted even then, despite the rhetoric, time would
be on the side of armed militants. Although the Times coverage
was not then especially pro-NLA, it tolerated the Albanian position
well enough by being NLA-neutral, and branding their members as overwhelmingly
"ethnic rebels." The maintenance of this neutrality was essential:
it allowed a gradual change in the media, towards the unabashed love
of the NLA that resulted in Frowick's secret deal in Prizren, the
MPRI farce at Aracinovo, and the latest US betrayal, which we will
Many commentators have latched on to this contradiction the alleged presence of terrorists in Afghanistan, but not in Macedonia. The former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, James Bissett, reiterated it last week. Joseph Farah also commented on the strange dichotomy. Yet perhaps Nebosja Malic, equipped with that perverse Balkan sense of humor, put it best when he said that Macedonia "continues to be framed for its own murder" by NATO and Western diplomats, urging the country to give in to NLA demands and in doing so, show that violence gets results.
MACEDONIA AFTER 9/11 THE CONFLICT SEETHES
would have thought that, between the onset of colder weather and the
embarrassment of being linked to
bin Laden, the NLA would have gone on its winter vacation by now.
Yet quite the reverse has occurred. Since 9/11, NATO has increased
pressure on Macedonia to
amnesty the NLA the very individuals who had spent the last
few months blowing up police
stations, bombing churches,
up the bodies of civilians. Under the fiction of being peacefully
"disarmed," the NLA (according to NATO) now no longer poses a threat
to Macedonian stability. The truth is, the militants merely handed
over a few rusty guns, sent the good stuff to Kosovo, and disappeared
into the civilian community to reappear, no doubt, when the mountain
snows melt next Spring.
for all this, the worst violence in recent weeks may have been orchestrated
by an American "diplomat," James Pardew. If the allegations are in
fact true, then it is clear that the US is playing a reckless game
of Russian roulette, attacking bin Laden affiliates around the world
but continuing to defend his former Albanian allies in Macedonia.
WESTERN MEDIA WOLVES SCENT FRESH KILL
story, of course, is not mentioned in the mainstream media. In what
amounted to an apology for the NLA and the Ochrid "peace treaty,"
Reuters report (16 November), tried to justify Pardew's brazen
THE NEXT ALBANIAN OFFENSIVE?
that a scrap of paper was Macedonia's only problem. Yet the NLA has
learned in 2001 that violence gets results and also legitimizes
its perpetrators. Now that Ali Ahmeti has become a political personality
in his own right, the agenda of terrorism has won out in Macedonia.
We should have no illusions, however, that the violence will stop,
or the ridiculous claims end. While NATO chooses to look the other
way to the fact that criminals and terrorists have assumed political
power in Kosovo and Macedonia, the reality that Balkans terrorism
is rewarded becomes glaringly obvious.
MEET THE ALBANIAN NATIONAL ARMY
the allegedly disarmed NLA now elevated to the level of respectable
negotiating partners, and Macedonia's constitutional capitulations
made, one would think that the Albanians would be satisfied. Yet what
would be the fun of life without terrorism? The NLA, therefore, has
metamorphosed beautifully into the ANA the "Albanian
National Army." Just as the NLA was once known as the KLA, the
slippery shift of nomenclature continues a total farce to everyone
with a pulse excepting, of course, Western "peacemakers."
A BITTER PILL
diplomats continue to try and justify their cooperation with Albanian
extremists in Kosovo and Macedonia, in the face of all right reason
and everything that has been seen in 2001. The acronym is unimportant;
whether you call it the KLA, the NLA, the ANA, or the Liberation Army
of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac, the organization and its goal
are one and the same: to create an ethnically homogenous "Greater
Albania," at the expense of its neighbors' sovereignty. This is as
true now as it was last year, as true as it was in 1878, when the
Albanian "League of Prizren" first advocated the idea. After all the
unabating violence in Macedonia this year, the US and its allies remain
in serious denial (or secret complicity) if they have other beliefs
on the matter.
Previous articles by Christopher Deliso on Antiwar.com
Christopher Deliso is a journalist and travel writer with special interest in current events in the areas of the former Byzantine Empire the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and the Caucasus. Mr. Deliso holds a master's degree with honors in Byzantine Studies (from Oxford University), and has traveled widely in the region. His current long-term research projects include the Macedonia issue, the Cyprus problem, and the ethnography of Byzantine Georgia.
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