Macedonia, which a year ago was on the verge of civil war, has held elections. They were marred only by sporadic incidents of violence traceable to criminal elements and Slav extremist groups. As in Kosova, the Muslim Albanians are blamed for the unrest.
For anyone who wants to know how Balkan powder-kegs form, the latest developments in the Macedonian peace process are enlightening. After collecting and destroying almost 4,000 weapons from the fighters of the National Liberation Army (NLA), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has wrapped up its mission to Macedonia.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC), the decision-making body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), on August 21 authorized the deployment of 3,500 allied troops to Macedonia to collect weapons from ethnic Albanian militants.
There were angry demonstrations in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, on June 25 as Macedonians protested that members of the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) and other Muslims had been allowed to escape from the village of Aracinovo in the outskirts of Skopje.
The Albanian Muslims of Macedonia, who constitute more than a third of the country’s population, are fighting for the constitutional rights enjoyed by the Slav majority but denied to them, and for autonomy only in the regions inhabited predominantly by them.
Amid the thumping and shrieking of mortar-shells and the unnerving complicity of the international community, thousands of Albanian villagers continue to leave their villages around the northern Macedonian city of Tetovo, chased away by advancing Macedonian troops.
The west’s handling of the recent outburst of violence in south-eastern Serbia and north-western Macedonia has exposed what it stood for all along: to quash the aspirations of ethnic Albanians in the former Yugoslavia for independence and freedom...