RISKING A NEW KILLING FIELD IN MACEDONIA

 

RISKING A NEW KILLING FIELD IN MACEDONIA

by Shirley Cloyes and Joseph DioGuardi

 

The Bush Administration Is Ignoring the Lessons of Bosnia and Kosova

NATO is currently collecting weapons from the National Liberation Army, while failing to address the root of the problem in Macedonia. The fundamental factor in whether or not Macedonia will escape war and partition is not the NLA; it has always been the intransigence of the ethnic Macedonian leadership in refusing to respond to the Albanian population’s legitimate grievances about institutionalized discrimination, racism, and police brutality. This intransigence and a history of egregious human rights violations is the result of a century of anti-Albanian racism that the West continues to ignore at its peril. The other, equally important factor, is the legacy of economic devastation and disparity from communism that has never been addressed. Contrary to what the West would like to believe, Macedonia never completed the transition, in either political or economic terms, from communism to democracy after the fall of the former Yugoslavia began in 1991.

NATO is currently collecting weapons from the National Liberation Army, while failing to address the root of the problem in Macedonia. The fundamental factor in whether or not Macedonia will escape war and partition is not the NLA; it has always been the intransigence of the ethnic Macedonian leadership in refusing to respond to the Albanian population’s legitimate grievances about institutionalized discrimination, racism, and police brutality. This intransigence and a history of egregious human rights violations is the result of a century of anti-Albanian racism that the West continues to ignore at its peril. The other, equally important factor, is the legacy of economic devastation and disparity from communism that has never been addressed. Contrary to what the West would like to believe, Macedonia never completed the transition, in either political or economic terms, from communism to democracy after the fall of the former Yugoslavia began in 1991.President George W. Bush, like his father and Bill Clinton before him, seems oblivious to the fact that the greatest price for the West’s inaction in Macedonia, and therefore complicity, will be paid by the next victims of genocide in the Balkans, the Albanians of Macedonia. They will be left unprotected when the 4,800-member NATO force, which is currently on a mission to collect weapons from the Albanian fighters in the National Liberation Army, leaves on September 26. Out of concern for the price that it might pay for greater engagement in Macedonia, the Bush administration has ignored persistent warnings from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, some of our NATO allies, and an array of Balkan experts that refusal to pay what seems to be a high price now will mean paying an even greater price later on.

NATO is currently collecting weapons from the National Liberation Army, while failing to address the root of the problem in Macedonia. The fundamental factor in whether or not Macedonia will escape war and partition is not the NLA; it has always been the intransigence of the ethnic Macedonian leadership in refusing to respond to the Albanian population’s legitimate grievances about institutionalized discrimination, racism, and police brutality. This intransigence and a history of egregious human rights violations is the result of a century of anti-Albanian racism that the West continues to ignore at its peril. The other, equally important factor, is the legacy of economic devastation and disparity from communism that has never been addressed. Contrary to what the West would like to believe, Macedonia never completed the transition, in either political or economic terms, from communism to democracy after the fall of the former Yugoslavia began in 1991.President George W. Bush, like his father and Bill Clinton before him, seems oblivious to the fact that the greatest price for the West’s inaction in Macedonia, and therefore complicity, will be paid by the next victims of genocide in the Balkans, the Albanians of Macedonia. They will be left unprotected when the 4,800-member NATO force, which is currently on a mission to collect weapons from the Albanian fighters in the National Liberation Army, leaves on September 26. Out of concern for the price that it might pay for greater engagement in Macedonia, the Bush administration has ignored persistent warnings from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, some of our NATO allies, and an array of Balkan experts that refusal to pay what seems to be a high price now will mean paying an even greater price later on.The United States is courting a replay of the tragedy that transpired in Bosnia and Kosova by leaving the resolution of the current crisis in Macedonia to Europe and simultaneously restricting NATO’s mandate there. Macedonia is too volatile for the United States to experiment with adopting a hands-off policy, before Europe has had the time to create its proposed “Rapid Reaction Corps,” which will not be in place until the beginning of 2002. Also, Macedonia is so close to all-out war that neither the United States nor Europe can afford to continue to ignore the warning signs and to watch and to wait, hoping for the best, just as we did with former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic for ten years, who ultimately waged four wars of conquest at a cost of 350,000 dead and 3 million displaced.

Macedonia The situation in Macedonia today is reminiscent of Kosova in February 1999, when now-incarcerated war criminal Milosevic amassed 20,000 Serbian troops with tanks on the Serbian border while the Western-brokered peace talks were underway in Rambouillet, France. The United States and Europe uttered not a word of opposition to Serbia’s preparations for war, and as soon as the political negotiations collapsed at Rambouillet, the Serbian army invaded, killing thousands of Albanians and expelling one million. They were stopped only when NATO finally intervened on March 24, 1999. This bitter and costly experience should not now be lost on the West in preventing ethnic war in Macedonia.The situation in Macedonia today is reminiscent of Kosova in February 1999, when now-incarcerated war criminal Milosevic amassed 20,000 Serbian troops with tanks on the Serbian border while the Western-brokered peace talks were underway in Rambouillet, France. The United States and Europe uttered not a word of opposition to Serbia’s preparations for war, and as soon as the political negotiations collapsed at Rambouillet, the Serbian army invaded, killing thousands of Albanians and expelling one million. They were stopped only when NATO finally intervened on March 24, 1999. This bitter and costly experience should not now be lost on the West in preventing ethnic war in Macedonia. 

The situation in Macedonia today is reminiscent of Kosova in February 1999, when now-incarcerated war criminal Milosevic amassed 20,000 Serbian troops with tanks on the Serbian border while the Western-brokered peace talks were underway in Rambouillet, France. The United States and Europe uttered not a word of opposition to Serbia’s preparations for war, and as soon as the political negotiations collapsed at Rambouillet, the Serbian army invaded, killing thousands of Albanians and expelling one million. They were stopped only when NATO finally intervened on March 24, 1999. This bitter and costly experience should not now be lost on the West in preventing ethnic war in Macedonia. The United States Must Insist on the Implementation of the Ohrid Peace Agreement Before NATO Leaves Macedonia

The August 13 peace agreement signed at Ohrid gives more civil rights to the ethnic Albanian population of Macedonia, in exchange for NLA disarmament, but the ethnic Macedonian leadership insists that passing all of the 36 amendments that are listed in the agreement will lead to the nation’s disintegration. In reality, the agreement represents a first step to granting full human and civil rights to the country’s sizeable Albanian population, and implementing it is the only way to end the war and prevent the nation’s disintegration. The Ohrid agreement will change the ethnocentric concept of the state in the current constitution to grant equal rights to all ethnic groups. It will give the Albanian language official status and Albanians, who comprise at least 30 percent of the population, greater representation in the police force and the government.

EU foreign ministers wisely decided on September 9 to back a new, small multinational force in order to fill the security vacuum and to provide protection for the unarmed OSCE monitors (currently only 150 in number), who will be charged with guaranteeing the implementation of the Ohrid peace agreement once the NATO mission expires. But the composition of the post-NATO force that will implement the Ohrid agreement and which entity will deploy it continues to be the subject of much debate.

The United States has been so wedded to a restrictive mandate in Macedonia, crafted to avoid being drawn into what it fears might be a lengthy, risky, and costly engagement, that it has tied the rest of NATO to an approach that is incapable of insuring a durable peace. NATO is decommissioning only the National Liberation Army (NLA), while ignoring the substantial threat posed by the ethnic Macedonian military and paramilitary troops that are rapidly gearing up for war. To make matters worse, NATO has announced that if full-scale fighting breaks out, or if the peace agreement stalls, the alliance will leave Macedonia. This is exactly what the ethnic Macedonians leaders and citizens who oppose extending civil and human rights to ethnic Albanians want.

Prime Minister Georgievski has repeatedly expressed his disdain for the Ohrid peace agreement, insisting that it rewards aggression by terrorists, and he has made it clear that

he does not expect it to be implemented. Georgievski is the architect of the obfuscating strategy and delaying tactics on the part of ethnic Macedonian members of Parliament. On September 6, ethnic Macedonian parliamentarians, led by Speaker Stoyan Andov, accused the more moderate President Trajkovski of “treachery” for forcing the country to capitulate to NATO and to “Albanian terrorism” and publicly stated their intention to deal with the NLA militarily when the alliance withdraws.he does not expect it to be implemented. Georgievski is the architect of the obfuscating strategy and delaying tactics on the part of ethnic Macedonian members of Parliament. On September 6, ethnic Macedonian parliamentarians, led by Speaker Stoyan Andov, accused the more moderate President Trajkovski of “treachery” for forcing the country to capitulate to NATO and to “Albanian terrorism” and publicly stated their intention to deal with the NLA militarily when the alliance withdraws.Arben Xhaferi, chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians in Macedonia and a signatory to the Ohrid peace agreement, told Shirley Cloyes by phone that the ethnic Macedonian leadership has every intention of trying to change the content of the agreement. Xhaferi also expressed anguish about the impending security vacuum. Once NATO withdraws after disarming the NLA, he said that, “Albanians will be defenseless, a multiethnic police force has not been created, and the ethnic Macedonian leadership is calling for a UN force in opposition to NATO. We need to have monitors, and we need to have NATO for a longer period to bring peace for the sake of all of us.” As Blerim Shala, editor of the Kosova daily Zeri, explained in the Balkan Crisis Report on August 18, “Macedonia lacks the capacity, in political and security terms, to implement Ohrid. An abrupt departure by NATO…would leave behind a vacuum that could easily be filled by fresh, armed conflict. The key must be not just to eliminate the weapons that brought the war, but to eliminate the causes behind it.”

he does not expect it to be implemented. Georgievski is the architect of the obfuscating strategy and delaying tactics on the part of ethnic Macedonian members of Parliament. On September 6, ethnic Macedonian parliamentarians, led by Speaker Stoyan Andov, accused the more moderate President Trajkovski of “treachery” for forcing the country to capitulate to NATO and to “Albanian terrorism” and publicly stated their intention to deal with the NLA militarily when the alliance withdraws.Arben Xhaferi, chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians in Macedonia and a signatory to the Ohrid peace agreement, told Shirley Cloyes by phone that the ethnic Macedonian leadership has every intention of trying to change the content of the agreement. Xhaferi also expressed anguish about the impending security vacuum. Once NATO withdraws after disarming the NLA, he said that, “Albanians will be defenseless, a multiethnic police force has not been created, and the ethnic Macedonian leadership is calling for a UN force in opposition to NATO. We need to have monitors, and we need to have NATO for a longer period to bring peace for the sake of all of us.” As Blerim Shala, editor of the Kosova daily , explained in the Report on August 18, “Macedonia lacks the capacity, in political and security terms, to implement Ohrid. An abrupt departure by NATO…would leave behind a vacuum that could easily be filled by fresh, armed conflict. The key must be not just to eliminate the weapons that brought the war, but to eliminate the causes behind it.” 

The West Must Confront the Hardliners in the Macedonian Government

What should have been a clear, early warning signal to the West that the hardliners in the Macedonian government were bent on a military solution to the Slav-Albanian conflict came on June 25, when 6,000 ethnic Macedonians stormed the parliament, shouting “Death to NATO” and “Albanians to the gas chambers.” But the West has consistently chosen to ignore the anti-Albanian, anti-NATO, and anti-Western outlook of the vast majority of ethnic Macedonians and their leaders since the conflict began. Averting their eyes to this reality, U.S. and European officials have condemned only the actions of the National Liberation Army. The public stance of the West has been to support the “Macedonian state” and to invest in a diplomatic solution. However, because of their belief (or need to believe) that the NLA was the primary source of instability in Macedonia, the United States and Europe ended up giving tacit endorsement to the Macedonian government’s now seven-month military offensive against Albanian civilians.

What should have been a clear, early warning signal to the West that the hardliners in the Macedonian government were bent on a military solution to the Slav-Albanian conflict came on June 25, when 6,000 ethnic Macedonians stormed the parliament, shouting “Death to NATO” and “Albanians to the gas chambers.” But the West has consistently chosen to ignore the anti-Albanian, anti-NATO, and anti-Western outlook of the vast majority of ethnic Macedonians and their leaders since the conflict began. Averting their eyes to this reality, U.S. and European officials have condemned only the actions of the National Liberation Army. The public stance of the West has been to support the “Macedonian state” and to invest in a diplomatic solution. However, because of their belief (or need to believe) that the NLA was the primary source of instability in Macedonia, the United States and Europe ended up giving tacit endorsement to the Macedonian government’s now seven-month military offensive against Albanian civilians.Unfortunately, the West’s failure to confront, condemn, and then put an end to the war against the Albanian civilian population being conducted by Prime Minister Georgievski and his henchman, Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, has brought Macedonia to the brink of civil war. The ultranationalist Boskovski, who has said that NATO, “by its symbolic collection of weapons, will open the way for us to clean up the terrorists,” has been publicly arming ethnic Macedonian civilians and is the sponsor of two notorious

What should have been a clear, early warning signal to the West that the hardliners in the Macedonian government were bent on a military solution to the Slav-Albanian conflict came on June 25, when 6,000 ethnic Macedonians stormed the parliament, shouting “Death to NATO” and “Albanians to the gas chambers.” But the West has consistently chosen to ignore the anti-Albanian, anti-NATO, and anti-Western outlook of the vast majority of ethnic Macedonians and their leaders since the conflict began. Averting their eyes to this reality, U.S. and European officials have condemned only the actions of the National Liberation Army. The public stance of the West has been to support the “Macedonian state” and to invest in a diplomatic solution. However, because of their belief (or need to believe) that the NLA was the primary source of instability in Macedonia, the United States and Europe ended up giving tacit endorsement to the Macedonian government’s now seven-month military offensive against Albanian civilians.Unfortunately, the West’s failure to confront, condemn, and then put an end to the war against the Albanian civilian population being conducted by Prime Minister Georgievski and his henchman, Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, has brought Macedonia to the brink of civil war. The ultranationalist Boskovski, who has said that NATO, “by its symbolic collection of weapons, will open the way for us to clean up the terrorists,” has been publicly arming ethnic Macedonian civilians and is the sponsor of two notorious Page 4/AACL/Macedonia paramilitary groups (“The Tigers” and “The Lions”). These groups are responsible for kidnapping, torturing, jailing, and executing ethnic Albanians and looting and burning Albanian homes and businesses at a rate that is increasingly alarming Western diplomats.paramilitary groups (“The Tigers” and “The Lions”). These groups are responsible for kidnapping, torturing, jailing, and executing ethnic Albanians and looting and burning Albanian homes and businesses at a rate that is increasingly alarming Western diplomats.Boskovski, who made a fortune smuggling weapons to Croatia during the 1990s, is currently under investigation by the International War Crimes Tribunal for his role in orchestrating the torture and murder of ethnic Albanian civilians in the village of Ljuboten from August 10 to 12. This atrocity, the worst since the conflict began, has been courageously documented by Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch. Boskovski claims that the Macedonian government was hunting down NLA members after ten Macedonian soldiers were ambushed and killed. In reality, the Albanian villagers of Ljuboten had rebuffed NLA offers of protection. These villagers have since confirmed that Boskovski was in charge of the operation that left 6 dead, 150 injured, and 50 severely beaten. Human Rights Watch also accused international monitors from OSCE of remaining silent about the atrocities committed there.

paramilitary groups (“The Tigers” and “The Lions”). These groups are responsible for kidnapping, torturing, jailing, and executing ethnic Albanians and looting and burning Albanian homes and businesses at a rate that is increasingly alarming Western diplomats.Boskovski, who made a fortune smuggling weapons to Croatia during the 1990s, is currently under investigation by the International War Crimes Tribunal for his role in orchestrating the torture and murder of ethnic Albanian civilians in the village of Ljuboten from August 10 to 12. This atrocity, the worst since the conflict began, has been courageously documented by Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch. Boskovski claims that the Macedonian government was hunting down NLA members after ten Macedonian soldiers were ambushed and killed. In reality, the Albanian villagers of Ljuboten had rebuffed NLA offers of protection. These villagers have since confirmed that Boskovski was in charge of the operation that left 6 dead, 150 injured, and 50 severely beaten. Human Rights Watch also accused international monitors from OSCE of remaining silent about the atrocities committed there.The facts on the ground show that the ethnic Macedonian leadership, led by Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, intends to use what they hope will be disarmament of the NLA and the subsequent NATO withdrawal to finally “solve” their Albanian problem through large-scale village burnings, killings, and deportation of NLA members to Kosova. In the most ominous and telling development, the Macedonian army has been using the current ceasefire to import plane-loads of military hardware from Russia and the Ukraine on secret, night-time flights. From the onset of the conflict at the end of February, the Macedonian government has bought and leased several helicopter gun ships, including two Russian “Alligators,” which are armed with an automatic gun, armor-piercing rockets, rocket launchers, bombs, and two machine guns, four Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 attack aircraft, and other weapons and ammunition.

At the end of August, Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski flew to Kiev to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to secure a greater military commitment. According to NATO observers, four recent shipments to Petrovac airport, near the capital, Skopje, have included sophisticated Russian SA-13 anti-aircraft missile systems and, in the same week that the reform package was voted on in Parliament, 300 rockets and 31 tanks arrived from the Ukraine. On September 2, the Sunday Times of London reported that, “Intelligence experts fear that the Macedonians are trying to purchase a new ‘retrofit’ version of the Frogfoot bomber, complete with Israeli avionics fitted in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, [which] could permit pin-point accuracy in raids.”

On September 7, the West hailed the Macedonian Parliament for voting to support the constitutional reform agenda outlined in the Ohrid peace agreement, even though endorsement was simply an easy way to trigger the second phase of the NATO disarmament plan–a ploy that even the pro-government daily newspaper, Nova

Makedonija, acknowledged. This was apparently lost on NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who stated that, with the Macedonian Parliament’s vote for reform, “the onus of furthering peace now lay with the ethnic Albanian rebels.” As Arben Xhaferi said recently, “The voluntary disarmament of the NLA has no precedent in Eastern Europe. Albanians are not preparing for fighting; they believe completely in NATO. It is the ethnic Macedonians who are preparing for a second war.”, acknowledged. This was apparently lost on NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who stated that, with the Macedonian Parliament’s vote for reform, “the onus of furthering peace now lay with the ethnic Albanian rebels.” As Arben Xhaferi said recently, “The voluntary disarmament of the NLA has no precedent in Eastern Europe. Albanians are not preparing for fighting; they believe completely in NATO. It is the ethnic Macedonians who are preparing for a second war.”Many hardliners in the Macedonian government, in conjunction with their Russian counterparts, would like to convince the international community that the homegrown conflict in Macedonia is “a spillover of terrorism from Kosova.” But it should now be obvious to the Bush administration that as long as inequality is institutionalized in Macedonia, the state will be under threat of violence from within. , acknowledged. This was apparently lost on NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who stated that, with the Macedonian Parliament’s vote for reform, “the onus of furthering peace now lay with the ethnic Albanian rebels.” As Arben Xhaferi said recently, “The voluntary disarmament of the NLA has no precedent in Eastern Europe. Albanians are not preparing for fighting; they believe completely in NATO. It is the ethnic Macedonians who are preparing for a second war.”Many hardliners in the Macedonian government, in conjunction with their Russian counterparts, would like to convince the international community that the homegrown conflict in Macedonia is “a spillover of terrorism from Kosova.” But it should now be obvious to the Bush administration that as long as inequality is institutionalized in Macedonia, the state will be under threat of violence from within. The Bush Administration Must Change Course in Macedonia Now The time has come for the West to ask whether it is actually willing to tolerate another round of ethnic cleansing, and even to risk genocide in the Balkans. Or will it change course by lengthening and broadening NATO’s mandate in order to end the war, enable 140,000 displaced civilians to return to their homes, and bring genuine democracy to a country that is closer to an apartheid state—a country that currently functions to maintain the supremacy of one ethnic group, the Slavic Macedonians. Changing course will require demilitarization of the entire country (not just the NLA), full amnesty for NLA fighters who disarm, release of all prisoners of war, and a serious peacekeeping operation backed by NATO troops to implement the Ohrid peace agreement.The time has come for the West to ask whether it is actually willing to tolerate another round of ethnic cleansing, and even to risk genocide in the Balkans. Or will it change course by lengthening and broadening NATO’s mandate in order to end the war, enable 140,000 displaced civilians to return to their homes, and bring genuine democracy to a country that is closer to an apartheid state—a country that currently functions to maintain the supremacy of one ethnic group, the Slavic Macedonians. Changing course will require demilitarization of the entire country (not just the NLA), full amnesty for NLA fighters who disarm, release of all prisoners of war, and a serious peacekeeping operation backed by NATO troops to implement the Ohrid peace agreement.Changing course will also mean tying the planned donors conference for Macedonia to the government’s implementation of the peace process. Just as the United States succeeded in making Serbia’s access to international financial institutions contingent on extraditing Slobodan Milosevic to stand trial in The Hague, the United States and Europe must now use their economic leverage to withhold urgently needed aid from Macedonia until it institutes the reforms that it agreed to at Ohrid. 

, acknowledged. This was apparently lost on NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who stated that, with the Macedonian Parliament’s vote for reform, “the onus of furthering peace now lay with the ethnic Albanian rebels.” As Arben Xhaferi said recently, “The voluntary disarmament of the NLA has no precedent in Eastern Europe. Albanians are not preparing for fighting; they believe completely in NATO. It is the ethnic Macedonians who are preparing for a second war.”Many hardliners in the Macedonian government, in conjunction with their Russian counterparts, would like to convince the international community that the homegrown conflict in Macedonia is “a spillover of terrorism from Kosova.” But it should now be obvious to the Bush administration that as long as inequality is institutionalized in Macedonia, the state will be under threat of violence from within.The time has come for the West to ask whether it is actually willing to tolerate another round of ethnic cleansing, and even to risk genocide in the Balkans. Or will it change course by lengthening and broadening NATO’s mandate in order to end the war, enable 140,000 displaced civilians to return to their homes, and bring genuine democracy to a country that is closer to an apartheid state—a country that currently functions to maintain the supremacy of one ethnic group, the Slavic Macedonians. Changing course will require demilitarization of the entire country (not just the NLA), full amnesty for NLA fighters who disarm, release of all prisoners of war, and a serious peacekeeping operation backed by NATO troops to implement the Ohrid peace agreement.Changing course will also mean tying the planned donors conference for Macedonia to the government’s implementation of the peace process. Just as the United States succeeded in making Serbia’s access to international financial institutions contingent on extraditing Slobodan Milosevic to stand trial in The Hague, the United States and Europe must now use their economic leverage to withhold urgently needed aid from Macedonia until it institutes the reforms that it agreed to at Ohrid.Finally, changing course in Macedonia will require a reappraisal of the West’s foreign policy objectives in the Balkans. It is time for the United States and Europe to acknowledge that we failed to prevent the wanton killing of thousands of innocent Bosnians and Kosovar Albanians and the destruction of millions of dollars worth of property because we wanted to keep the former Yugoslavia together at all costs. The lesson of Bosnia and Kosova is that realpolitik, pursued at the expense of justice, human rights, and democracy, can only backfire. When massive human rights violations are being perpetrated against part of a population, as they are in Macedonia, we must take a multilateral stand that makes respect for a state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity contingent on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

, acknowledged. This was apparently lost on NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who stated that, with the Macedonian Parliament’s vote for reform, “the onus of furthering peace now lay with the ethnic Albanian rebels.” As Arben Xhaferi said recently, “The voluntary disarmament of the NLA has no precedent in Eastern Europe. Albanians are not preparing for fighting; they believe completely in NATO. It is the ethnic Macedonians who are preparing for a second war.”Many hardliners in the Macedonian government, in conjunction with their Russian counterparts, would like to convince the international community that the homegrown conflict in Macedonia is “a spillover of terrorism from Kosova.” But it should now be obvious to the Bush administration that as long as inequality is institutionalized in Macedonia, the state will be under threat of violence from within.The time has come for the West to ask whether it is actually willing to tolerate another round of ethnic cleansing, and even to risk genocide in the Balkans. Or will it change course by lengthening and broadening NATO’s mandate in order to end the war, enable 140,000 displaced civilians to return to their homes, and bring genuine democracy to a country that is closer to an apartheid state—a country that currently functions to maintain the supremacy of one ethnic group, the Slavic Macedonians. Changing course will require demilitarization of the entire country (not just the NLA), full amnesty for NLA fighters who disarm, release of all prisoners of war, and a serious peacekeeping operation backed by NATO troops to implement the Ohrid peace agreement.Changing course will also mean tying the planned donors conference for Macedonia to the government’s implementation of the peace process. Just as the United States succeeded in making Serbia’s access to international financial institutions contingent on extraditing Slobodan Milosevic to stand trial in The Hague, the United States and Europe must now use their economic leverage to withhold urgently needed aid from Macedonia until it institutes the reforms that it agreed to at Ohrid.Finally, changing course in Macedonia will require a reappraisal of the West’s foreign policy objectives in the Balkans. It is time for the United States and Europe to acknowledge that we failed to prevent the wanton killing of thousands of innocent Bosnians and Kosovar Albanians and the destruction of millions of dollars worth of property because we wanted to keep the former Yugoslavia together at all costs. The lesson of Bosnia and Kosova is that realpolitik, pursued at the expense of justice, human rights, and democracy, can only backfire. When massive human rights violations are being perpetrated against part of a population, as they are in Macedonia, we must take a multilateral stand that makes respect for a state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity contingent on respect for human rights and the rule of law.September 12, 2001

What should have been a clear, early warning signal to the West that the hardliners in the Macedonian government were bent on a military solution to the Slav-Albanian conflict came on June 25, when 6,000 ethnic Macedonians stormed the parliament, shouting “Death to NATO” and “Albanians to the gas chambers.” But the West has consistently chosen to ignore the anti-Albanian, anti-NATO, and anti-Western outlook of the vast majority of ethnic Macedonians and their leaders since the conflict began. Averting their eyes to this reality, U.S. and European officials have condemned only the actions of the National Liberation Army. The public stance of the West has been to support the “Macedonian state” and to invest in a diplomatic solution. However, because of their belief (or need to believe) that the NLA was the primary source of instability in Macedonia, the United States and Europe ended up giving tacit endorsement to the Macedonian government’s now seven-month military offensive against Albanian civilians.Unfortunately, the West’s failure to confront, condemn, and then put an end to the war against the Albanian civilian population being conducted by Prime Minister Georgievski and his henchman, Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, has brought Macedonia to the brink of civil war. The ultranationalist Boskovski, who has said that NATO, “by its symbolic collection of weapons, will open the way for us to clean up the terrorists,” has been publicly arming ethnic Macedonian civilians and is the sponsor of two notorious

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