Thursday, March 20, 2008

Trouble in Macedonia

A repeat of the Kosovo crisis is brewing, this time in Macedonia. It’s a many-faceted affair, and ethnic Albanian Muslims in Macedonia are only one component of it.

Part of the trouble is caused by the name “Macedonia”. The Greeks claim a proprietary interest in the name as a reference to the northwestern province of their own country. Macedonia attempted to placate Greek opinion by making the country’s official name “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, but that wasn’t enough to assuage Hellenic national sentiment.

Map of the Central Balkans

The UN is mediating without success between Greece and Macedonia over the issue during talks in Vienna:

[UN mediator Matthew] Nimetz’s latest proposals — Republic of Upper Macedonia, New Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje) — have been already rejected by disputing parties. [Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola] Gruevski sees the proposals unacceptable.

The stalemate over the country’s name is significant, because Macedonia is hoping to join NATO at the upcoming summit in Bucharest on April 2nd. Greece is threatening to veto Macedonian membership over the issue of the country’s name.

To make matters worse, Macedonia is the throes of a political crisis over the issue of Kosovar independence. Croatia, Hungary, and Bulgaria have recognized Kosovo, ratcheting up the pressure on Macedonia to do the same. But any recognition of Kosovo by Macedonia would incur the enmity of neighboring Serbia, and possibly trigger sanctions and other actions damaging to the Macedonian economy.

The crisis came to a head a week ago when the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), a key part of the ruling coalition in Skopje, decided to leave the government. According to Maxfax:

The Democratic Party of Albanians left the government after the Prime Minister did not respond on the party’s six ultimatum demands, including resocialization of NLA’s fighters, making the Albanian language and flag official, urgent recognition of Kosovo, increasing of representation of Albanians in the public administration and closing of the four Hague cases.

One can see why the Macedonian government might choke on some of these demands. Even if it can be pushed to recognize Kosovo — and it looks like the pressure may be so strong that it will have to — the rest of the demands set the stage for a reprise in western Macedonia of the bloody conflict in Serbia over Kosovo.

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Macedonia’s troubles are deeper and more difficult to resolve than Serbia’s because of the ethnic mixture within Macedonian territory. Out of roughly two million people, the ethnic breakdown (as of 2004) looks like this:
- - - - - - - - -
Macedonian 66.6%
Albanian 22.7%
Turkish 4%
Muslim 2.3%
Roma (Gypsy) 2.2%
Serb 2.1%

I’m not sure what “Muslim” means in this context — possibly Bosniak or Arab — but if you add it to the Albanians and the Turks, Muslims make up 29% of the population. Assuming that the relative demographics are the same as in other parts of Europe, with the non-Muslim population decreasing while the Muslim birthrate remains high, the political paralysis in evidence now seems likely to continue indefinitely.

The centuries-old conflict with Greece makes matters worse. The region was originally ethnically Greek, part of a larger territory that included what is still called Macedonia in northwestern Greece. During the second half of the first millennium A.D., as Byzantine strength receded, the region was invaded by Slavic tribes. The largest ethnic group in the country is Slavic and closely related to the Bulgarians.

The Macedonians share responsibility for the ongoing dispute with Greece, since some of the more militant Slavic nationalists draw the map of Macedonia to include the ethnically Greek areas of the province Macedonia south of the border. Greek intransigence over NATO membership for Macedonia is motivated partly out of a long-term resentment and fear of Macedonian irredentism.

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Like the Bulgarians and the Serbs, Macedonia had to endure five centuries of brutal Ottoman rule, and the non-Muslims in the country are understandably chary of granting special rights and autonomy to the Albanian minority.

The situation is a recipe for disaster. Watch the dominos lining up here: First an independent Kosovo, then the demands for special rights for Albanians in Macedonia. Next comes a failure to gain NATO membership, then ethnic unrest, violence, UN action, peacekeepers, and an eventual push for a Kosovo-like solution in western Macedonia. We all know the drill.

This long slippery slope leads towards a Greater Albania on the eastern shore of the Adriatic and extending into the heart of the Balkans.

What comes after that?


Other articles used in researching this post:

Worldpress.org
Turkish Weekly
Makfax
Balkan Insight 8683
Balkan Insight 8758

Hat tip: Afonso Henriques.

10 comments:

Timbre said...

How about calling it Oleoresincapsicumdonia?

Afonso Henriques said...

Well, I made a long and defiant comment but I erase it because i feel that this is not the time to discuss different views. I think that we must be united now and as so, I will just say:

Thank you Baron for not turning a blind eye towards the South East European peoples who have been in the front line against Jihad much longer than anyone I can recall - even Israel.

Thank you Baron because this can matter and awake some people to what is really happening. And also, thank you Greece for not letting such a asswhole as Macedonia join the Atlantic Alliance, we already have Turkey and it is already a great asswhole to stand with.

I just do not agree when you say that there is centuries old conflict between Greece and Macedonia.

This information shall not be silenced! I had news of unrest in the West of Macedonia, but I can not say wether it is true or pure especulation.

Diamed said...

What is the difference between albanians getting their own state by redividing lines on a map, and flemish getting their own state by redividing lines on a map? What will happen after every ethnicity gets its own land? Peace on earth and good will towards men.

Henrik said...

What is the difference between albanians getting their own state by redividing lines on a map, and Flemish getting their own state by redividing lines on a map?

There's one very significant difference. The Flemish inhabiated their area for a millenium, the Albanians in Kosovo rose to dominance through ethnic cleansing before and during the NATO intervention and UN regime.

We are effectively rewarding UCK/KLA for their terrorism campaigns, thus encouraging more ethnic based violence and insurgency. While I actually applaud the idea for Flandria to become a state on their own (they're a nation already), the price paid in possible insurgencies everywhere has been holding back my friends from supporting it outright.

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it's time for Belgium to be dissolved, and we'll need to tackle the other coming insurgencies head on. We're in for a rough ride.

Baron Bodissey said...

Afonso --

I just do not agree when you say that there is centuries old conflict between Greece and Macedonia.

What is now Macedonia was taken by force from ethnic Greeks by ethnic Slavs more than a thousand years ago.

If that doesn't constitute a "centuries-old conflict", I don't know what does.

The Greeks have long memories. If the Serbs can burn with passion over 1389, the Greeks can go them one better by conjuring up the 7th century in northern Macedonia.

If there's a statute of limitations on ethnic territorial vengefulness, nobody has reached it yet.

Afonso Henriques said...

Baron,

There was no "Macedonian" entity untill the XIX century.

Macedonia has traditionally been a region, not a Nation. The troubles with Greece come from a "Nationalisation" of a traditionally Greek region.

Also, that territory went directly from Greek Bizantine control towards muslim turk control.

But neither the Macedonians know what they are! Some claim to be Bulgarians, other Serbians and other Greeks. Many claim to be a mixture of this ethnicities, being Macedonians.

Also, the "phisical" Slavisation of the Bulgarian people is dubious. They are probabily Thracian peoples who have been badly Slavicised. As the Romanians have been romanised. It's stupid to say that Romanians are ethnicaly latins just because they speak a Latin language, as are the Northern French and the Native American peoples who are called "Latinos" or "Hipanics" (sic) (I am the one who's Hispanic!) in the U.S.A.

Well, there was never conflicts between Greece and Macedonia. The conflicts were over Macedonia, not between Greece and Macedonia.

Actually, the Greeks wanted to anexate Macedonia after the fall of Yugoslavia.

Baron Bodissey said...

Afonso --

It’s hard to believe that a self-professed “militant ethnic nationalist” such as yourself could be so obtuse about militant ethnic nationalism.

The Greeks held Macedonia, and the Slavs took it from them. The current “Macedonians” are the descendents of those Slavs. They speak a Slavic language which is a close cousin to Bulgarian. The Greeks haven’t forgotten. This is a quintessential ethnic territorial conflict.

The Huns took Hungary from the Slavs and the Germans.

The Saxons took England from the Gaels.

The Irish took Ireland from the Tuatha de Danaan.

The Franks took France from the Gauls.

My ancestors took Virginia (or most of it) from the Indians.

The Visigoths took part of Iberia from the Basques.

And so it goes, across the whole world, for all of recorded history. Any surviving ethnic group that has been dispossessed may resent its dispossessors, and many of them do.

Some retain their anger and resentment for millennia, which is exactly what has happened with the Greeks concerning Macedonia.

’Twas ever thus.

Afonso Henriques said...

"It’s hard to believe that a self-professed “militant ethnic nationalist” such as yourself"

Calm down Baron!
I have never said that I was a "militant ethnic Nationalist", I have no party, no group of pression, nothing. I just think that the way out of this current situation is only one: Militant Nationalism.
It doesn't mean that I am one, I have simpathy for them (or some of them, at least, the ones who carry the ideals), just all. And, as all Nationalism has to have an ethnc base...
I recognise that American History is very difficult to aprehend once it is so "quasi-mythological" but, from the knowledge I have, I do admire Malcolm X, despise Louis Farrakhan and "tolerate" but not praise Martin Luther King. I think Martin Luther King would be a nobody if it wasn´t for Gramsci. But those are only my "curent convictions" and it can be biased.

"This is a quintessential ethnic territorial conflict."

Yes. But it is more than this. The Macedonians have been used Greek symbolism as their own, which is indeed offensive. Also, this particular case is much more commplex. Macedonia has always been a simple region, and if they do in fact descend from Bulgarians, they should become part of a greater Bulgaria. This would put Greece at odds with Bulgaria, not with Macedonia once that Macedonia is hardly a Nation.

"The Huns took Hungary from the Slavs and the Germans."

The Huns preceded in fact both expansions: The Slavic and the Germanic. And I do not consider the modern Hungarians to be Huns. They may have Hun(ic) blood, but it's only a tiny pproportion.

"The Visigoths took part of Iberia from the Basques."

Calm down again! Iberia was never all Basque! The Basques lived in their own smal corner for ages... And the Visigoths were only an elite. They did not dispossessed the "Hispanics". That's why the Iberians/Hispanics do not look Germanic, because we are not. The Visigoths and Suebi intermarried with "us" and then became abosorbed into the general population, leaving no trace once they were a tiny minority. Only the nobels who descend from them can claim more German blood. The Germanic contrubution to Iberia is estimated between 15 to 20 percent and the muslim less than 5%; From less than 1 percent in the North to some 10 to 15 percent in the South (the North and Centre have a greater populational density, as well as the litoral). Also, the Germanics conquered Iberia from the Romans... and it was not part, it was all!

But I got your point and I agree.

Thank you once more for posting this one!

Nick Kolevski said...

afonso, when someone like youself says probably in their opinions it shows you do not know what the hell your on about. Especially someone from where you are from to throw demeaning comments about a nation you do not know nothing but what you read from other peoples opnions about. I am from the balkan region and i am in fact macedonian and i come from modern day "greece" a place that they call thessolaniki. A place that was taken by greece from macedonia after 1913 when a macedonian uprising fought away the ottamon empire after 1913 pirin macedonia which is the east of macedonia went to bulgaria, vardar macedonia went to serbia, a little went to albania and the part where im from Aegean macedonia went to greece and if you google treay of bucharest you will find this out. When this happened genocide occurred in those parts and the macedonians had limited human rights after 1913. My great grandfather had his eyes poked out and skinned alive infront of my father and his family for the reason he did not change his last name to a greek one and did not refer to himself as greek but macedonian. Many tens of thousands of macedonians amoung were children, mothers and fathers slaughtered for the simple fact that they were macedonian. villages along with the people were burnt down genocide was committed and human rights violated in aegean macedonia. I was raised in a country where i was not allowed to speak my native language i only learnt it and my history behind closed doors otherwise if you were heard and if you went against the propaganda brainwash you were taught at school you were punished. We could not cross back into the macedonia border of what is left of it because they were always closed greece has just limitedly open the macedonia and greek border in the recent decade. See i dont speak like i know everything about a country from what i have read from propaganda sources, i know from living in an environment where i have had limited human rights and seeing people lose their lives and being punished severly because they want to have the freedom of saying who they and where they are from. The northen part of greece has only named itself macedonia since 1991 the year macedonia separated from yugoslavia prior to that even in ancient greek sources greeks didnt even regard macedonians as people and know all of a sudden in recent decades the macedonian are supposedly greek or bulgarian...what a joke and if so who slaughters thousands of their own kind if that was true. Greece is trying to block macedonia out of the un unless they change their name otherwise their at risk of loseing the land and entitlements back to us. Even with a corrupt government this will never happen as the macedonian people have gone through hell and suffered way to much. It doesnt matter how hard you try in the end the truth always comes out and now with the situation with the albanians its like a great big pimple about to burst and trust me the people in macedonia are not afraid to die for freedom to be themselves. So please dont talk about a country you know shit about and if you can show me a independant source that is not from a greek or serbian propaganda one that says macedonians are greeks or that region belongs to greece i will applaude you and why do you have to use such condesending words about a country you know fuk all about you ignorant son of a cunt. If you really want to know stuff about a country go to it and learn from primrary sources not secondary sources that comes from peoples opinions and then regurgitate that as it is your own opinion.

serbovka said...

The Indo-European languages include Albanian language, Greek language, Slavic language but there is not any Macedonian language.
Ancient chronics document that, the Dardanian King Bardhyll (BARDH YLL )-(WHITE STAR), was involved in a battle against Macedonian King Faruk (Alexander the Great Father). Dardanian didn’t win but was not destroyed either.
What languages were speaking those two armies? Based on the name of Dardanian King Bardhyll (White Star), there is no doubt Dardanian were speaking Albanian then Illyrian language.
If he will be speaking Serbian, or Slavic Macedonian his name will be Bela Zvezda. It is not true his name was not Bela zvezda his name was Bardh yll.
What language was speaking Macedonian army under the King Faruk. We know for sure what language was speaking the King’s son. Alexander the Great. There is no doubt the son speaks the father’s language.
When Alexander the Great was dying, one of his close friends asked him. Alexander to whom are you going to leave the Empire? The answer was. TO THE STRONGEST.
He said this word in pure Greek language. This is very well documented.
Nowadays Macedonians speak a Slavic language more similar to Bulgarian, and one third speak Illyrian with dialect GEGE. The Slavic Macedonians can’t pretend speaking Macedonian they speak a language similar to Bulgarian with differences only in the frame of different dialect of the same language, which is similar to Ukrainian to.
Modern Macedonians are a nation without a distinct language, they speak Slavic Ukrainian
Their lays, pretending to be autochthon in the land are only Fanatic Nationalist Fantasy.
After lying for more than 1300 years, now it is the time for them to face the reality. They came in Balkan on the 6th century A.D from Ukraine replacing Thracians and Illyrian in a violent way.
Actually those people are weak and are surrounded by stronger neighbors, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece armed with Leopard 2 heavy tanks, fighter jets F-16 and more. The small Albania is stronger than Macedonia to. Many interests overlap over Macedonia and this nation was a receipt for trouble. This is the reason why the Global Financial Oligarchy (Globalists) put their hands there, since the beginning.
To find who they are refer to: En Route to Global Occupation: Gary H. Kah: Books. And you can find the World reorganized on 10 regions, published by Club of Rome 1973, here: http://i25.tinypic.com/2qcffo5.gif
These things are not games, they are for real. Now they are working on region 2 and region 7. They can’t control the region 10. In the beginning region 5 was dismembered. Russia vent down and turned in shambles, but not anymore. Putin’s Russia changed from e former military superpower in an energetic superpower. They control 16 % of oil export and soon this figure will be 27%. Their economy increase fast, GDP totaled 2 trillion dollars and increases. Europe is dependent on their raw materials.
The point is the One Government World is not going to happen for some time.
To be more realistic in the years to come the world will be bipolar. Balkans will be incorporated in the E U. We are particles of sand in a big SAND STORM.
PEACE.