Macedonia - Victim of Western Conflict-Mismanagement
By Jan Oberg
For the umptieth time, the politico-military-media complex tells us that local
conflicts are caused solely by locals. The international "community" only nobly
tries to promote peace. Truth is that the West has destablised teh region beyond repair
Since few seem to be burdened with a political memory stretching just two years
back, let's recapitulate why Macedonia, the land described by that selfsame complex as an
"oasis of peace" and a success for "preventive" diplomacy, is now at
the brink of war:
The potential of the OSCE was never fully utilised
The OSCE Mission in the country has done an impressive job in promoting tolerance
and a democratic and tolerant political culture. But it was never given enough resources
to really have an impact, and OSCE is now completely marginalised in the new world
Macedonia was forced to side with the West against Yugoslavia.
The Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement to set up an OSCE Verifiers' Mission in Kosovo
(autumn 1998) lead to the deployment of an "Extraction Force" in Macedonia, a
force that was seen by Belgrade as a clear breach of the agreement and a threat to Kosovo
and Serbia. This forced Macedonia to play an anti-Yugoslavia role that served everybody
else but herself. Belgrade from now on saw Macedonia as a target for retaliation if need
Its territorial integrity and sovereignty was violated.
Earlier Macedonia had been forced to accept NATO violation of its airspace when
Wesley Clark wanted to conduct a bombing simulation high enough over Macedonia to be seen
by FRY radars and thus signalling potential war. Then President Kiro Gligorov told me that
the first time he heard about this simulation was from the evening news! The West did not
exactly respect the sovereignty of the newly independent - and fragile - Macedonia.
Macedonia became a military base and refugee camp for the West.
NATO's bombing turned Macedonia into a combined military base and refugee camp.
The miracle was that the country survived this physically and politically. However, from a
psychological perspective, its identity as an independent, sovereign country was
fundamentally shaken. Ever since, there has been insecurity about its ability to remain
united, about its future course vis-a-vis the European Union and NATO.
The sanctions destroyed its economy.
A decade of Western sanctions against Yugoslavia have had only negative impact on
Macedonia, like on all other trade partners. Macedonia lost its main markets due first to
the wars in Croatia and Bosnia, then because of the sanctions. It could either observe the
sanctions by virtually closing its border; that would lead to bankruptcy. Or it could
muddle through by criminalising its foreign trade, i.e. letting a lot of goods go through
to Serbia/Kosovo. The official Western interpretation was that Macedonia was loyal to the
sanctions regime; international observers knew better but their reports were re-written
Corruption of economy and politics.
Thus, it was the heyday of the mafia. The criminalisation of foreign economic
relations coincided with (and was reinforced by) the appropriation of socially-owned
property, i.e. what workers had produced over the preceding decades, into shareholding
companies controlled mainly by new party bosses. This is what in Western parlance is
called privatisation and democracy. Today's economic corruption scandals are the
structural consequence of these externally-enforced policies.
Macedonia received no compensation.
It has been estimated that the price the countries around Yugoslavia paid for the
sanctions is around US $ 25 billion. Yugoslavia's share in Macedonia's foreign trade was
huge, in contrast to that of Western big powers for whom not trading with Yugoslavia meant
virtually nothing. A TFF associate recently asked Macedonia's President Trajkovski whether
he expected any compensation from the West for its use of Macedonia as a military base,
the refugee inflow and the sanctions; his long-winded, diplomatic answer could safely be
interpreted as "no."
The international community lied about KLA/UCK demilitarisation.
Macedonia's deep crisis now is a consequence of the abominable moral and political
fiasco of KFOR/NATO and the UNMIK mission in occupied Kosovo/a. In contrast to the
politico-military-media complex' amnesia, some of us can still remember what happened two
years ago. Rambo-like NATO generals rolled in and carved up Kosovo in sectors, sent the
Yugoslav forces, soldiers, administrators and their families over to Serbia and declared
self-confidently that the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA/UCK, had been disarmed and dissolved
and that stability had been introduced. KLA and related politicians had been wonderfully
co-operative and were rewarded for this demobilisation and abolition by the establishment
of the Kosovo Protection Corps, KPC, run by virtually the same generals but said to be
completely civilian and serving, among others, as fire fighters. While the KLA numbered
some 20,000 troops, the KPC was 5,000. We never heard what the rest chose to do.
The UN and NATO/KFOR turned a blind eye to KLA aggression.
Less than a year after this complete demilitarisation of the KLA, KLA units have
passed unimpeded, it seems, through the American sector into the demilitarised zone and
set up bases there from which they attack targets in Serbia. If Kosovo is an international
protectorate, KLA's activity inside Serbia amounts to an international aggression.
Virtually no media or Western politicians ask the simple question: how could a disbanded
KLA from which all weapons have been taken, mount an attack across an internationally
guarded and protected border? How could they do so under the eyes of 40.000 NATO/KFOR
soldiers? Neither is the question raised: did they in fact keep the weapons (which means
that NATO lied to the world) or were they disarmed and afterwards given weapons by
As if this was not enough, Albanian military units turned up inside Macedonia in
March. According to virtually all observers, they are predominantly armed from Kosovo/a,
most performing openly as UCK. They tell world media that they can mobilise 40.000 man at
arms and that the only things Macedonians understand is the language of weapons.
The dark forces of the West: CIA and all that.
A series of independent "dissident" analyses have focused on the
question: who armed, and keeps on arming, Albanian extremists? Most of them point toward
the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA (once run by a Bush), and the German BND (once run
by Klaus Kinkel). It is no longer a secret, if it ever was, that CIA infiltrated the OSCE
Verifiers' Mission; it provided one pretext for the bombing by, among other activities,
deciding on the spot and before investigations were made that the people found dead in
Racak were victims of massacre by Serbs. Expert reports have challenged this, at the time
unfounded, assertion. But it served its purpose: helping Clinton and Albright to justify
The United States arms both sides!
Perhaps more conspicuous: Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), a
mercenary company in Virginia, the United States, working on contract with Pentagon has
trained BOTH the KLA and the Macedonian Army. It has worked also for the Bosnian Army and
was deeply involved in training the Croatian Army which drove out some 200.000 legitimate
Serb citizens from Croatia in 1995. In short, the type of actor that really helps bring
about the specific EU and NATO type of peace.