Albanians in Macedonia

Pfaff, William

OF SEVERAL MINDS WILLIAM PFAFF ALBANIANS IN MACEDONIA Quit while you're ahead Peace in Macedonia and balance in the rest of the Balkans depend on whether the ethnic Albanian forces in...

...As matters stand, they have won what they had a right to win...
...It was the U.S...
...The Albanians, whose situation in Kosovo was ignored at Dayton, concluded, not unreasonably, that violence would pay...
...They have largely succeeded...
...Otherwise, another war may follow...
...The AmerCommonweal 10 September 14, 2001 ican army is actually afraid to expose its soldiers to danger...
...During the war that followed, NATO effectively allied itself with KLA forces on the ground inside Kosovo...
...They are an acknowledged political force in Macedonia, have established this position through armed action, and have seen it ratified by NATO and the European Community...
...but under the leadership of Ibrahim Rugova, they began to practice an exemplary policy of disciplined civil disobedience and nonviolence, a policy without precedent in twentieth-century Europe...
...The Serbs would not agree...
...Intensified Serbian repression was the response to Albanian violence in Kosovo...
...The Albanian militants should know that it is time now to stop...
...Three obstacles remain...
...Third is return of the people from both sides who have been displaced from their homes...
...The last can happen only if the first two obstacles are overcome...
...The Macedonian government fears permanent division of the country and eventual Albanian secession to a future single Albanian homeland...
...Second is ratification of the peace agreement by Macedonia's parliament...
...2002, Los Angeles Times Syndicate International Commonweal 11 September 14,2001...
...Kosovo's Albanian militants, organized as the Kosovo Liberation Army, demanded Kosovo's independence...
...It is compromised by a longstanding complicity with Albanian mafias implicated in all the sordid trades of the war-wracked Balkans: the traffic in girls, drugs, cigarettes, stolen cars, arms, refugees, and illegal immigrants...
...Within two years, the situation was so bad that NATO reluctantly concluded that it had to act...
...We shouldn't leave a united Europe only as a slogan," he says...
...Army's refusal to properly police this zone and its frontier that allowed the Albanian militants to mount their new drive into Macedonia...
...One is actual surrender to NATO of enough guerrilla weapons to assure the Macedonian majority of the Albanians' good faith...
...Under Western pressure, and with American assurances of support, the KLA moderated its demand and said it would accept autonomy for KosovoŚwith, however, an intrusive NATO presence there and in Serbia...
...If it does happen, the new status of the Albanian minority is assured...
...As a result, in April 1996 the armed resistance force, which had prepared itself outside Kosovo, struck the Serbs in locations across the province...
...The Albanians nonetheless successfully maneuvered the Serbs out of their domination of Kosovo...
...The vision of Macedonian moderates, and of the European states supplying the troops now in the country, is the traditional liberal one of a nonethnic state with equal rights for all citizens, and with ethnic origin a matter of cultural but not political identity...
...We should achieve it here, like it is in the rest of Europe...
...He has agreed to the current settlement, under which the guerrillas are to give up arms...
...That was five months after the Dayton agreement had ratified Croatian and Bosnian Moslem independence from Yugoslavia...
...To stop when you are ahead, however, is an act of wisdom rarely displayed, especially in situations where ethnic feeling and anger are as intense as in Macedonia...
...The proclaimed aim of the guerrillas is to win for Macedonian Albanians the status they have until now been denied: the right to school and university instruction in their language, official status for the Albanian language, an equitable presence of Albanians in police and government, and power devolution...
...It got them nowhere against the repressive regime of the Serbs...
...The Albanians of Kosovo had been stripped of their political rights and civil status by Slobodan Milosevic in 1989...
...The EU and NATO nations would not agree...
...OF SEVERAL MINDS WILLIAM PFAFF ALBANIANS IN MACEDONIA Quit while you're ahead Peace in Macedonia and balance in the rest of the Balkans depend on whether the ethnic Albanian forces in Macedonia, having won, will know when to stop...
...The Macedonian Albanians now have the essentials of what they have wanted...
...Whether he controls his troops remains to be seen...
...Ali Ahmeti, the head of the Albanian Liberation Army in Macedonia, says he accepts the liberal state...
...They set out to make the NATO powers and the European Union rescue them, too, from Serb domination...
...They have forced NATO to take a role in Macedonia, one that it is unlikely to be able to abandon, and which is a guarantee of the Albanians' own position...
...The Albanians' victory was originally launched from the diaspora, from Switzerland, Germany, and the United States...
...After Serbia's surrender, in order to increase pressure to oust Slobodan Milosevic's government, the United States gave new support to the KLA and to its allies inside southern Serbia, as they launched a separatist campaign...
...After the Milosevic government was unseated, these Albanian fighters moved on to Macedonia, where the territories bordering Kosovo are also mainly populated by ethnic Albanians...
...This contributed to the impression, now widespread in Macedonia, that the United States secretly backs the Albanians against the Macedonian Slavs...

Vol. 128 • September 2001 • No. 15


 
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