Skip to comments.Wolfowitz in Skopje – What Next for Macedonia?
Posted on 05/20/2003 8:51:59 AM PDT by Destro
Wolfowitz in Skopje What Next for Macedonia?
by Christopher Deliso
May 20, 2003
A total eclipse of the full moon on Friday morning, street warfare between Macedonians and Albanians in Tetovo on Friday night could these portentous events have had anything to do with the next day's visit from US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz?
Über-hawk Wolfowitz touched down briefly in Skopje on the third leg of his Balkan tour. At his first stop (Sarajevo) Wolfowitz oversaw the signing of a treaty guaranteeing that Bosnia will never extradite an American soldier to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. At the second stop, Kosovo's Camp Bondsteel, Wolfowitz inspected the troops at this all but forgotten imperial outpost.
Wolfowitz's trip to Macedonia was decidedly low-key, and lasted only a few hours. Officially, he came for the photo op and speech praising the Iraq-bound Macedonian conscripts. However, the fact that he also met in private with former NLA boss Ali Ahmeti, President Boris Trajkovski, and later with Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski and Defense Minister Vlade Buchkovski seems to indicate that Rumsfeld's right-hand man came to talk business.
Operation Evade Journalists
However, it is slightly unclear as to what that business was. Wolfowitz's entourage, which included US Ambassador Laurence Butler and the proverbial men in dark suits and sunglasses talking on mobile phones, were escorted briskly in and out of government buildings all morning, leaving little chance for interrogation. Although Wolfowitz answered two or three mundane questions in a mundane way when meeting with Trajkovski, no real explanation for his visit was given. And the US Embassy on Saturday claimed to have no one available who could speak on the matter.
Saturday's final photo op for Wolfowitz was the Macedonian Army's Ilinden barracks, a sprawling encampment situated on a high wooded bluff overlooking Skopje. Here Wolfowitz gave a short speech to the 39 Iraq-bound Macedonian soldiers. Among them are members of the Wolves (special forces), as well as army medics.
Flanked by officials, Wolfowitz stood opposite the neatly-arrayed Macedonian troops and thanked them for playing their part in the "liberation" of the Iraqi people from " one of the worst dictators of modern history." He also alluded to the US-imposed Ohrid Agreement when praising the Macedonians for "settling issues by talking instead of by fighting." He then proceeded down the row, cordially shaking hands with each of the conscripts. Much snapping and flashing ensued from the thicket of cameras adjacent.
photo by Cvetin Cilimanov for Antiwar.com
(Excerpt) Read more at antiwar.com ...
That incident among a long list of others stands as an example to expose these neo-con slav haters, islam lovers for what they are.
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Kiev Ukrainian Television UT1
July 28, 2001
Macedonian envoy unhappy about requests to stop Ukrainian arms supplies
Macedonian Ambassador to Ukraine Vlado Blazevski has reacted angrily to the request to Kiev to suspend arms supplies to Skopje, which had been aired by US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice. Blazevski suggested that international attention should instead be focused on resolving the crisis in Kosovo. The following is the text of the report by Ukrainian television on 28 July.
Fragile but unbreakable US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, speaking for the White House, has requested the Ukrainian authorities to suspend arms supplies to the Republic of Macedonia. The [Ukrainian] president [Leonid Kuchma] said Ukraine would consider the request. Kuchma stressed that Ukraine is committed to a political settlement of the situation in Macedonia. At the same time, our state will stick to its commitments in the military and technical sphere. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Macedonia to Ukraine, Vlado Blazevski, has given an exclusive interview to UT1 about the military and trade cooperation between Ukraine and Macedonia and commented on the request by Condoleezza Rice [to suspend arms supplies to Macedonia].
As the ambassador of Macedonia, I completely disagree with the demands put to Ukraine by certain countries, allegedly because of their worries that these arms could destabilize the situation in Macedonia. I would first of all invite all of these countries to take care about the situation in Kosovo, from whose territory the terrorists and international mercenaries are coming. I as the ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia cannot understand the demand, the request to suspend or, God forbid, to stop [arms supplies to Macedonia]. The republic of Macedonia and Ukraine started this cooperation not yesterday - it was started a year, two years, three years ago. I would also like to say that this cooperation will not contradict international treaties. I would like to stress that the Republic of Macedonia is not under any sort of embargo. As a state, Macedonia has its own commitments within the [NATO] Partnership for Peace programme, which requires creation of a small but strong army. Proceeding from this, we began to build our army. We are confident that had the international community resolved the situation in Kosovo, this would not have happened.
As to the comments made by [Ukrainian Foreign Affairs] Minister Anatoliy Zlenko, the Republic of Macedonia is very happy with his statement and I am grateful that he explained Ukraine's position. The Republic of Macedonia is very happy with the position proclaimed by Ukraine.
The only country Ukraine has a free trade agreement with, outside the CIS, is the Republic of Macedonia. This agreement was ratified by our parliaments within just four hours. This is very symbolic. It shows that our nations are tied together, tied by our past. Our nations have been friends for a thousand years now. I would like to use this opportunity to urge Macedonian and Ukrainian businessmen to step up their work.
Destro, you're a lion sized ego with a mouse sized brain - we have been attempting to prevent Macedonia from splintering into ethnic statelets all along, and I would direct your attention to the results, which, while not perfect, are a damn sight better than what the morons in charge of the extremes of each of the warring parties were hoping for.
You're just going to have to get used to having your little christoslavist hopes and aspirations remaining unfulfilled - who in the US government supports your wacked out worldviews?
Nobody, that's who. Deal with it.
He and his ilk should be hounded out of office.
I therefore want to lay out the aims of this government especially with regard to recent events. Last week this government had to take decisive action to remove the threat of terrorists operating close to the heart of our capital. The aim of that operation was to force the terrorists out of Arachinovo.
With the help of NATO and the EU this government removed the terrorist forces from Arachinovo, quickly and completely. By this method we achieved the same aim as the military operation to remove the terrorists from the village.
President Trajkovski 6/26/01
I guess President Quisling needed to say something to answer the angry protestors.
More signs NATO is behind ethnic Albanian attacks on Macedonia
by Stephen Gowans
A Canadian journalist has evidence that NATO is arming and equipping the ethnic Albanian guerillas who have waged a five-month long insurgency against the Macedonian government in Skopje.
Scott Taylor, editor of Espirit de Corps magazine, says that on a visit to guerilla bunkers overlooking the besieged Macedonian city of Tetovo he was welcomed with shouts of, "God bless America and Canada too for all they have provided to us." Canada is a member of the US-led NATO coalition.
Taylor says guerrilla commanders showed off their arsenal, which included side arms, sniper rifles and grenade launchers, all marked "Made in the USA." Says Taylor, one commander remarked that, "thanks to Uncle Sam, the Macedonians are no match for us."
Taylor isn't the first to charge that Washington is aiding the guerillas. The Macedonian government alleged that US helicopters were delivering supplies to guerillas in the mountains above Tetovo. US officials don't deny that airdrops were made, but say helicopters were transporting vital humanitarian aid. But Taylor says the local guerilla commander told him that the helicopters were delivering heavy mortars and ammunition. The guerillas have bombarded Tetovo with artillery.
Taylor says ethnic Albanian villagers cheer at the sight of US helicopters, while guerillas at brigade headquarters wear Nike-style T-shirts bearing the phrase, "NATO Air - Just do it!" Meanwhile, one Macedonian police officer lamented to Taylor that "if NATO hadn't been arming and equipping the (KLA) in Kosovo there would be no need for them to disarm these guerillas now."
This isn't the first time complaints about the US and NATO arming ethnic Albanian guerillas have been made. In March, a European K-For battalion commander told the London Observer that, "the CIA has been allowed to run riot in Kosovo with a private army designed to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic...Most of last year, there was a growing frustration with US support for the radical Albanians." And in January the BBC reported that Western forces were training guerillas, then opening a new front in southern Serbia and Macedonia.
In June, when Macedonian forces were closing in on guerillas in the town of Aracinovo, NATO intervened, transporting ethnic Albanian rebels out of the besieged town in air-conditioned busses. According to the German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt, 17 US advisors, belonging to an American mercenary firm involved in other Balkan conflicts, were among the guerillas. And the newspaper pointed out that 70 percent of the equipment carried away by the guerillas was US made.
Days earlier, a American diplomat was slightly wounded by Macedonian gunfire as he emerged from the woods (around Aracinovo) with two other Americans," according to the International Herald Tribune. The diplomats were emerging from rebel-held territory.
Two months ago, the London Sunday Times reported that at least 800 ethnic Albanian guerillas fighting in Macedonia are members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, a paramilitary police unit created by the UN from the KLA. The Times says, "Hundreds of KPC reservists were called up by their Albanian commander Agim Ceku, in March. They subsequently disappeared to former KLA training camps in Albania and are now re-emerging in Macedonia."
Ceku, one of the top leaders of the KLA, along with Hacim Thaci, was artillery chief of the Croatian army when it launched a war in the Krajina region of Croatia, which led to 250,000 Serbs being driven from their homes. Under the KPC, 250,000 Serbs, and another 100,000 Roma, Gorani, Turks and Jews have been driven from Kosovo. Now, the KLA offshoot in Macedonia, the NLA, seems intent on ethnically cleansing the largely Albanian Tetovo region. Over 120,000 Macedonians have fled or have been driven from their Tetovo area homes by guerillas. Ilir Hoxha, a 25-year old ethnic Albanian said, "Let them leave. They should never return. Tetovo is Albanian and it will remain Albanian."
For years, many Albanians have dreamed of resurrecting the greater Albania established under the Italian fascists, and then under the Nazis. It incorporated parts of Macedonia and Greece, southern Serbia, and Kosovo into Albania proper. Some reports say an ethnic Albanian Liberation Army of Chameria will open a new front in Greece soon.
Skopje has been hampered in its response to the guerillas. NATO and the EU have warned Macedonia not to crack down on the guerillas, and Ukraine, which was providing equipment to the under-equipped Macedonian army, was warned to stop shipments of materiel.
Meanwhile, press reports in the West describe NATO and EU diplomatic efforts as aimed at preventing a civil war, though the intention appears to be to prevent a strong Macedonian response.
The guerillas say they're fighting to win language rights, but critics point out that an armed attack is highly disproportional to the NLA's stated aims. Moreover, the fact that the guerillas have been recruited from Kosovo, pass freely over a Kosovo-Macedonia border presumably patrolled by NATO K-For forces, and have driven non-Albanians from their homes in an apparent effort to ethnically cleanse the Tetovo region, points to the pursuit of other goals, fully backed by NATO.
Taylor, who served in the Canadian Armed Forces, says NATO's support of the guerillas is so blatant "it is little wonder that the Macedonian majority have staged violent anti-NATO riots."
Mr. Steve Gowans is a writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada.