Issue No. 217 - April 2, 2001
Contents:

1. FRY/Serbia: FIRST STEPS TOWARD THE HAGUE
            By Zoran Mamula

2. Macedonia: HOW TO OPEN A DIALOGUE
            By Zvezdan Georgievski

3. Belarus: OFFICIAL MINSK PORTRAYS THE ENEMY
           By Paulyuk Bykowski

 4. Slovakia: NEW POLITICIAN STAR IS BORN
           By Peter Mikes

 5. Special addition: NEW AT TOL

 


FRY/Serbia: FIRST STEPS TOWARD THE HAGUE
     By Zoran Mamula
    Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, accused of war
crimes by the Hague Tribunal, was arrested last Sunday, on April 1,
and sent to the Central Prison where he was put into the custody for 30
days. In that way, two days of drama came to an end. One policeman
was wounded by Milosevic's bodyguards when police first tried to
arrest him; several supporters of the former president where hurt in
clashes with the police at the front gates of Milosevic's residence.
    Although Milosevic threatened that he would kill himself before
letting himself be taken into the custody, he eventually surrendered
after hours of negotiations with representatives of the new Yugoslav
authorities led by Cedomir Jovanovic, representative of the Serbian
prime minister Zoran Djindjic. Milosevic, who ruled Serbia and
Yugoslavia for a decade and caused four wars, was finally influenced
by a meeting with the highest leadership of the country, which showed
that, contrary to Milosevic's expectations, the DOS coalition fully
supported Milosevic's arrest.
    Slobodan Milosevic's last hope was new president Vojislav
Kostunica, who has resisted cooperating with The Hague until now.
But after discussions with his colleagues, Kostunica stated that nobody
could  be above the law, not even Milosevic. It also seems that Milosevic's
decision to surrender came after only few hundred supporters gathered
in front of his house, and not a hundred thousand as expected.
Djindjic's representative also reassured Milosevic that he is to be arrested
not according to the demands of the Hague court, but rather because the
Belgrade DA office has charged him with the misuse of the official
position  and funds, which caused 300 million dollars worth of damage
to the country.
    The reason behind Milosevic's arrest is sparking disputes between the
international community and the new Yugoslav authorities. Most world
governments, and the US in particular, think it is much more important
to try Milosevic for war crimes than for the theft, while Belgrade
authorities claim they cannot extradite the former president to The Hague
before the Parliament adopts the special law on cooperating with The
Hague. The US set a March 31 deadline for the Yugoslav government
to establish the full cooperation with Hague. If not, US financial aid to
Belgrade would be suspended.
    The day before the deadline, the US State Department issued a
message to Belgrade clearly stating that Washington didn't expect
Milosevic to be extradited  to the Hague immediately, but that he
had to be urgently arrested. Belgrade was a little late, but still fulfilled
this request. Now, according to local and American analysts, it is
improbable that president George Bush will deny aid to Yugoslavia.
    Influential US experts on the Balkans Charles Ingrow said it would
be next to impossible for Bush's administration to deny further aid to
Serbia after the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic. According to Ingrow,
Milosevic's arrest means a huge leap forward in discrediting the former
Yugoslav president and, he hopes, his regime. Ingrow says the US
government has been giving signals for weeks that it wanted to cooperate
with Yugoslav authorities, although some statements from Vojislav
Kostunica, who is labeled as a nationalist, including his criticism of the
Hague Tribunal, met a bad reception.
    According to Ingrow, Serbia will a need long-term aid to rehabilitate
the economy and society. That cannot be achieved without the help
of the international community, warned Ingrow. However, a number
of influential congressmen are asking Bush to cancel aid to Yugoslavia
if Milosevic isn't to extradited to Hague immediately, which would
be a distressing situation for Belgrade. On the other hand, Serbian prime
minister Zoran Djindjic said he would be "very surprised and disappointed"
if American government decided not to continue helping Serbia and FRY.
    "I think US Congress will approve further financial aid to Serbia,"
said Djindjic, "not because we arrested Milosevic, but because of our reforms,
which displayed decisiveness and got results." There is no doubt that
Yugoslav authorities will be helped by the statement from the Hague court's
chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who said Milosevic could be first
tried in Belgrade, and then in The Hague, and that she expected for
Slobodan Milosevic to appear before the Hague Tribunal sometime
within the next several months. Whether George Bush approves financial
aid to Yugoslavia or not, it is certain that the pressure of the international
community will continue and that former the Yugoslav dictator will have
to appear before the Hague court sooner or later.
 
                        *  *  *

Macedonia: HOW TO OPEN A DIALOGUE
     By Zvezdan Georgievski
    However the crisis in Macedonia ends, one thing is certain - nothing
will ever be the same. Regardless of the motives of Albanian terrorists
attacking Macedonia - be they political or those of a mafia feeling
threatened by the control of the Macedonian-Yugoslav border
(highly profitable smuggling of arms, drugs and persons), dialogue
must begin regarding basic political issues in Macedonia. It seems that
the Macedonian political elite is also facing this fact.
    There has been some progress in solving the basic problems of the
Albanian minority (as well as others) in Macedonia. Macedonian foreign
minister met with his Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo at the beginning
of the siege. Rumors here say that they discussed all possible
"concessions" to the Albanian population in Macedonia.
    There is a general agreement that Macedonia flushed ten years of
peace down the toilet instead of using them to settle its relations with
minorities, especially Albanians. First, there is the unfortunate wording
of the first paragraphs of the Macedonian constitution, which state that
Macedonia is the state of the Macedonian people and the Albanian,
Turkish, Vlai and Roma minorities. This means that although Macedonia
is still defined in the Constitution as a civil state, this paragraph spurs
nationalist sentiments.
    Politicians are also aware that the law on the local government is
aggravating this new situation. The law on the local government is what
sets Macedonia apart from Europe the most. According to this law,
the government is almost completely centralized, wielding its authority
in fields such as urban planning, education and culture not to mention the
budget.
    The next issue is the flag, then comes the official language and its use,
then education (especially higher), then proportional ratios in state and
public services, then equal access to state media, and so on. These issues
must be opened and finally resolved.
    The government passed the bill on the local government even before
the insurrection, but it had not yet been adopted by the Parliament. It
looks as if the text will undergo some changes. For example, borders
will be patrolled by border units from the local population.
A similar solution will be found for the police. Macedonians think the
law on the local government will also resolve the language issue, as
well as some other open issues burdening Macedonian-Albanian relations.
    Probably the bigger problem will be changing the constitution and
canceling its opening paragraphs. It is well known that the maximum
that Albanian politicians are demanding is the federalization of Macedonia,
proclaiming Albanians to be a constitutional nation in Macedonia and
the introduction of a so-called consensual democracy. Agreeing to these
demands would de facto mean the collapse of Macedonia. Most
Macedonian politicians, therefore, consider the canceling of the
opening constitutional paragraphs as the first step
in the country's collapse. Also, Constitution is seen as a sacred object
that isn't to be meddled with, especially after the Macedonian crisis
with its pressures.
    Regarding higher education in Albanian, it seems the problem is
on the verge of being resolved. According to the Macedonian constitution,
classes in high educational institutions are exclusively in Macedonian,
except at the Faculty of Pedagogy, which educates primary teachers.
    This serious obstacle was surpassed by so-called Stuhl's College
(named after the high OSCE representative Max van der Stuhl,
who acted as a middleman), a private university financed by the EU
and unregulated by Macedonian constitutions.
    Put more simply, the official position of Macedonian politics is that
all hinges on who will talk to whom and who will carry out these
reforms. The current Macedonian government probably lacks the
political clout to resolve the problems; its reputation is constantly on the
decline, not only among Albanians but also among Macedonians.
    On the other hand, Macedonian Albanians don't automatically
follow the ruling Democratic Party of Albanians. Many claim that
that party failed to defend Albanian interests. Another legitimate
representative of Albanians, the opposition Party of Democratic
Prosperity, is now trying to assume political leadership over Albanians,
and has announced that it would leave the Parliament because
of "the violence the government is using against Albanians".
    Some are thinking about forming a Government of National
Unity proportionally made up of all the parties, which also means
difficult and long negotiations.
    Even after everything that has happened, and even if the
conflict ended this moment, the government would still have
some legitimacy to bring crucial decisions. In the best case,
it could pass laws for new early or regular elections (the
latter come next year) and hand the hot issues over to the
newly formed government. This solution would be acceptable,
but local analysts say too much time has already been lost,
and that any postponing of top issues is dangerous.
    Finally, even with its good intentions, Macedonia is being
forced to count once again on the international community
and ask for its help in creating dialogue. This solution is hardly
ideal, since the country will once again demonstrate that it
cannot solve its own problems, but then, in such a
situation, not many political options remain.

                   *  *  *

 
Belarus: OFFICIAL MINSK PORTRAYS THE ENEMY
     By Paulyuk Bykowski
    The current Conception of the National Security was
passed in Belarus on March 27, 1995, that is, before the
referendum to change the constitution was held at president
Alexander Lukashenko's initiative in November 1996.
The results of that referendum are not recognized by the
world community. The head of state monopolized his power,
dissolved the parliament and extended his term. It is widely
acknowledged that the unconstitutionality holds reign in Belarus.
    According to the press center of the State Secretariat of the
Security Council of Belarus, the proposed new conception
"includes changes reflecting, in addition to international aspects,
the system of national security that has developed in the present
circumstances in the Republic of Belarus and future democratic
transformations." Thus, "in the new edition, constitutional
amendments made as a result of the 1996 referendum have been
considered, as have current Belorussian legislation and international
agreements, including those pertaining to national security.
Clauses in the proposed Conception have also been supplemented to
indicate the necessity of developing cooperation with the
Russian Federation within the agreement to found a union state."
    An interdepartmental working group was founded at the Security
Council to draft the proposed Conception.  Its membership included
deputy state secretary of the Security Council Stanislav Knyazev
(former head of counterintelligence and the Institute of National
Security), Leonid Maltsev (former minister of defense) and 31
representatives of state divisions and agencies. That is all that is
known of the document so far.
    STINA asked Pavel Kozlovsky, the first defense minister of
independent Belarus, to comment on the programmatic national
security document.
    "When the institutions of the independent state were just
beginning to be formed, the leadership of Belarus took a very
sensible policy on the national security.  We voluntarily gave up
nuclear weapons, which was a highly regarded step internationally
. Immediately following the Declaration of State Sovereignty,
we adopted a military doctrine, then wrote the country's neutrality and
nuclear-free status into the constitution.  Belarus did not see specific
enemies around it. We formed a military group and distributed
it evenly throughout the country, without portraying any side, not the
North, East, South or West as hostile.
    "After the change in leadership in the country in 1994, that policy
changed.  The first Conception of the National Security was passed
secretly in 1995, without any discussion or publication.  A restatement
of it appeared in the army newspaper "For the Glory of the Homeland"
after the fact.  In Russia they did it differently. The national security
conception and military reforms were published for discussion and then,
after an open discussion, they were examined and confirmed by
president Boris Yeltsin and published again.
    "Proposals for a Belorussian Conception of the National Security
and military reform were developed in 1993-1994 but proved to be
unnecessary after the change of the leadership.  The current leadership
has only now returned to them in earnest.  Judging from everything,
today it is a matter of changing the military doctrine-selecting a concrete
image of the 'enemy of the union' [he has in mind that Belarus will
defend Russia from its enemies, while still having none of its own-P.B.].
That is a very serious issue for our country.  Where do we expect
the threat to come from?  From the West, it seems...
    "Incidentally, the state must define many components: what
challenges to its security does the country have, what types of
power structures do we want to see, what are our goals and
what resources do we have to maintain those structures in
working order?  Everything is turned upside down--no one
has defined the necessary size of the army, ministry of the interior,
KGB, and so on.
    "I don't know how detailed it is, but there is talk of forming
a single power structure that would be intended to solve internal
as well as external problems.  That is, the army would be used
not only to defend national sovereignty, but for police functions.
The realization of such a proposal could lead to the establishment
of an absolute police state.
    "Personally, I do not see any enemy that would want to start
an aggression against the Republic of Belarus tomorrow at dawn.
It's a different world today.  Our country has different external
threats-terrorism, drug smuggling, possible unrest in neighboring
states...But not the threat of direct aggression.  I am deeply
convinced of that.  Have they assessed those threats correctly?
    "As for internal threats, have they assessed such factors as
schism within our society, poverty, the state of the economy,
ecological problems, which the ruling regime plays down or
denies altogether?
    "A Conception of the National Security that is adequate to
that state of affairs cannot be developed in secret.  The rush
it is being prepared in (they expect to confirm it in May) makes
me extremely wary.  Obviously, the document is being prepared
in advance of the election campaign, and it can be guessed that
the authors of the Conception will try to use it as a fundamental
reason to retain the current head of state."
    On March 21, one of the authors of the proposed new
conception, deputy state secretary of the Security Council General
Knyazev called journalists to a press conference to acquaint them
with it and, in keeping with the best traditions of  counterintelligence,
said nothing about the matter at hand. The meeting was not entirely
pointless, however.  It was shown that Kozlovsky was right.  Belarus
is actually defining its external threats, and its main potential opponent
is thought to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Knyazev's discussion was fit for Freud.  "But we're not the ones who
made adjustments to our conception first," he said.  "The NATO bloc,
and you, all well-informed people, know that they have already made
adjustments to their strategic conception.  They have expressed their
determination to use forceful means to decide questions even outside
the NATO bloc.  That is reality."
    NATO was not openly called the enemy.  Knyazev stated that
"the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has
demonstrated its inability to regulate conflicts under new conditions,
"and suggested that European states should now try to set up a new
center of power, including military power, "with elements of federalism"
to guarantee their security.  "We cannot help but take that into
consideration, just as we do the changes made earlier in the NATO
strategic conception and changes in the military doctrine of Russia,"
he stated.
    Concerning Russia, it has loudly and widely proclaimed, once
again, that that Belarus and Russia do not have a military union,
but only cooperation in the military sphere.  "Yes, today we have
certain elements of common defense of the airspace.  We do not
deny that.  But that is not a military union," Knyazev said.  In his
opinion, a military union would be "intended for some sort of
aggressive action," which is not in the plans of the two countries.
    Knyazev also said that the joint Belorussian-Russian military
group, the foundation of which was announced a year ago by
Belorussian leader Alexander Lukashenko, does not yet exist.
 He claimed that that would be realistic only if Russian military
bases were located on Belorussian territory.  "But neither you
nor I know of any such group," Knyazev said.  "There is no
such group! If there were some kind of aggression, would we
be able to join forced for defense?  That's another question."
    At the same time Knyazev specially noted that, in the
proposal for the Conception, priority is given to establishing
the national security, including raising the level of trust for
state institutions and lowering crime in the country.  "We
emphasize the priority of our national peculiarities, although,
to a great extent, our Conception is also grounded in generally
acknowledged humanitarian values recognized by the world
community," he said incomprehensibly.

                    *  *  *
 
 Slovakia: NEW POLITICAL STAR IS BORN
     By Peter Mikes
    A new political party is emerging like a star on the Slovak
political sky. Its name is fitting for a new star, too--Nova.
Despite this, the new party seems more like a comet -
nobody knows which direction it will go.
    The founder of the party, the birth of which should be
officially announced sometime in mid-April, is Pavol Rusko.
That is the reason political analysts consider the party to be
a serious player in the next year's parliamentary elections.
Pavol Rusko is the co-owner of the first private - and most
popular - TV station Markiza. Although he is no longer
director, it is public knowledge that nothing important
happens there without his knowledge and approval.
Rusko, also called Slovak Berlusconi, tried to create a
political niche for himself in the 1998 elections. His TV
news supported the whole opposition - Mikulas Dzurinda
and his Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), and especially
the Party of Civil Understanding (SOP), which gave
Slovakia president Rudolf Schuster. Rusko was disappointed
by both the SDK and the SOP after the  elections; Rusko had
been promised the position of chief of parliament for his
yellow journalism, but when nobody needed him any longer,
this promise was forgotten.
    Now in the next elections, he has been careful not to be
left behind: he is creating his own party. Some political analysts
are going even farther- they are supposing that Rusko, after
being disappointed by SDK, is only creating his party to take
revenge, and after the elections will form a coalition with
Vladimir Meciar's Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS).
This is not impossible-- persons with connections to HZDS can
be found in the inner circle of people creating the new party with
Rusko. Rusko himself is keeping mum on his own party's political
orientation, admitting only that it will be social liberal and cooperate
with any political body seeking the good of Slovakia. On the
question of whether he would cooperate with Meciar, Rusko is
not giving any clear answer.
It is not clear, therefore, which party would be politically damaged
by the new party at most. Meciar and Dzurinda are hoping the
most damage will be  suffered by another new party created in
year 2000: Robert Fico's SMER (Direction). With 16-20
percent support, SMER is ranked the second most powerful
political party after HZDS and is the haven for disappointed
voters of prime minister Dzurinda. Meciar and Dzurinda are
hoping that some of Fico' s voters will switch to the new party,
and that voters of HZDS or the recent governmental coalition
will be not lured to Pavol Rusko. They could be disappointed
- TV Markiza could be more influential than they think. The best
demonstration of this fact is the success of SOP in the 1998
elections--when it was backed by TV Markiza--and the recent
more than 400 percent decline of SOP preferences, after TV
Markiza withdrew its support. One thing is sure- the chances of
Slovak Berlusconi in a shaky Slovak democracy can not be
underestimated.

                            *  *  *
 

 Special addition : NEW AT TOL
    --- OUR TAKE: Unjustified Rebellion ---
    The West must act now in Macedonia.
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=16&NrArticle=673&ST1=body&ST_T1=wir&ST_max=1
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    - - - TOL Message - - -
    This message reaches 27.000 people. Want to reach the region?
Visit our mediakit at http://archive.tol.cz/mediakit/index.html,
or e-mail us at marketing@tol.cz.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- TOL WEEK IN REVIEW ---
    Tit For Tat, That's Where It's At
    The U.S. boots 50 Russian diplomats and Moscow threatens to do
the same?case closed.
    by Sophia Kornienko
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Explosions Rock Russia
    Near-simultaneous blasts shake three towns near the Chechen
border.
    by Sophia Kornienko
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Peace Before Dialogue
    As fighting intensifies in Macedonia and ethnic Albanian
solidarity rises, the unity of the ruling coalition looks shakier than
ever.
    by Gordana Icevska
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Croatia: High Noon
    Gangland-style violence in Zagreb has citizens on edge.
    by Mirna Solic
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Those Pesky Diplomats
    An unwanted faux-pas for the already-pressured Czech
diplomatic corp.
    by Petra Breyerova
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    MORE WEEK IN REVIEW:
    http://www.tol.cz/week.html
    Yugoslavia Stands Divided Over War Crimes
    Belarus' Freedom Day Protests Prove Arresting
    'Eyewitness' Arrested in Croatian Bombing
    Albanian Energy Co. Asks To Be Left Alone
    Bugging Allegations Anger Mongolian Opposition
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- MEDIA ---
    Exposing the Exposers
    Russia's print media finally caught in the act of printing
paid-for
    articles.
    by Maria Antonenko
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=4&NrArticle=663
    No Poetic Justice
    A controversial appointee may not survive the storm
surrounding his nomination to head Bulgarian National Radio.
    by Konstantin Vulkov
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=4&NrArticle=662
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OPINIONS ---
    Stupid Bluff or Shrewd Conspiracy?
    By Elena Chinyaeva
    The Russian parliament's bizarre back-and-forth over a
no-confidence vote illustrates the farcical nature of attempts to
re-make the party system.
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=3&NrArticle=669
    Imperial Outpost, Social Provider Defining Russia's
relationship with Georgia's isolated Akhalkalaki.
    TOL partner post from EurasiaNET.
    by Anatol Lieven
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=3&NrArticle=667
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- FEATURES ---
    Wives, Wives, and More Wives ...
    Polygamy creeps silently through Russia's southern outskirts.
    by Nabi Abdullaev
    http://www.tol.cz/look/TOLnew/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=6&NrSection=2&NrArticle=664
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    - - - TOL partners - - -
    - Oneworld.net (www.oneworld.net) Working through a network of
hundreds of organizations spread throughout the world, Oneworld
aims to be the online media gateway that most effectively informs
a global audience about human rights and sustainable development.
    - Prague Watchdog (www.watchdog.cz) Prague Watchdog monitors
current events in Chechnya with a special focus on human rights
abuses, media access and coverage, and the humanitarian and
political situation.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OUR TAKE: Unjustified Rebellion ---
    The West must act now in Macedonia.
    In the 1990s, Macedonia has always been the fiery melting pot
waiting to happen. Historically, a number of conflicting
aspirations converge there. If the conflict starts to unravel,
Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Albania will clash--one way or
another. It is the ultimate Balkan nightmare scenario, and that's
why it is vitally important to draw the line in the sand now.
    The region's stability depends on the West whether it likes it
or not. The West, especially the United States, should be prepared
to give full support to the Macedonian government politically,
economically, and militarily through NATO and European Union
structures.
    NATO wants to beef up its military presence with 1,200 troops
on the Kosovo side of the border, cutting off supply lines to the
rebel National Liberation Army. France and the United States have
promised to send unpiloted spy planes to patrol flashpoint areas.
And on March 25, NATO allowed hundreds of Yugoslav troops to
enter the border region in an attempt to cut off the transport of
weapons to the insurgents. NATO and European Union leaders are
meeting in Skopje on March 26 to urge the Macedonian government
to exercise restraint, and Russia has suggested that troops be sent
into Macedonia proper.
    The United States must not shy away from its responsibility
for several reasons. First, Washington has been heavily involved
throughout the 1990s and has created high expectations in the
region. Leaving the region to fend for itself--the strategy with
Bosnia at the beginning of that conflict--is irresponsible.
Second, local players usually don't ignore what the United States
says. In particular that is true of ethnic Albanians. Many see the
United States as their "savior" after the Clinton administration,
in effect, adopted the Kosovar Albanians--and even waged a war to
liberate them. Third, resentment and bitterness toward NATO still
lingers strongly in many corners of the Balkans. Most Serbs think
that, for whatever reason, NATO favored ethnic Albanians unfairly.
Action from NATO would prove to some of  the alliance's detractors
that its actions are non-partisan and in the interests of
democracy and peace. Some, of course, will take more convincing
than others.
    Moreover, the ethnic Albanian rebellion in Macedonia is
unjustified. To say the country is a model of multi-ethnic
coexistence is chimerical. But it is important to recognize that
the country--in a region still ravaged by ethnic intolerance--has
made great strides. The soon-to-be-launched Tetovo university is
one example, ethnic Albanians gradually gaining greater
representation in the police and armed forces, is another. Prior
to the insurgency, the authorities--as they had in in Milosevic's
Kosovo--had not conducted a protracted campaign, led by
paramilitary forces, aimed at depopulating and breaking the back
of the local majority ethnic Albanian community. Before the
fighting broke out most ethnic Albanians in Macedonia complained
of being second-class citizens, in Kosovo they feared for their
lives. And fortunately, the area in which the fighting has taken
place is not the cradle of Macedonia nationhood--like Kosovo for
the Serbs--and cannot be manipulated as such.
    Prompted by the recent crisis, the government has also
promised to open far-ranging discussions on the grievances of
ethnic Albanians, but only after the rebels lay down their
weapons; based on their progress in tackling such problems to
date, officials should be given the benefit of the doubt.
    So far the Bush administration has been irresponsibly slow in
condemning the rebels. Already, divisions in Macedonia's
inter-ethnic government coalition are widening and tensions
between ordinary ethnic Macedonias and Albanians are escalating.
Last week, the killing of two ethnic Albanians, a father and son,
was caught on camera. The two were shot dead, allegedly after
trying to throw hand grenades at a police position. The incident
has already entered the folklore of the two ethnic groups: For
ethnic Albanians, two innocents brutally slaughtered by an
oppressive regime; for ethnic Macedonians, testament to the ethnic
Albanians' warmongering. The same old destructive cycles of
revenge that keep conflict in the Balkans alive are beginning to
spiral out of control.
    That is especially worrisome considering that the region's
foreign policy in the last decade has been haunted by the death
knells of "safe havens" and "cautious restraint." Ineffective
action and dilly-dallying supposedly ended with the horrors of
Srebrenica. The United States should immediately and
uncategorically condemn the rebels, send presidential envoys to
Macedonia, and prepare to send military support to Macedonia. The
Bush administration should make clear that there is no way
Washington will ever support or tolerate the goals of the
insurgents in Macedonia. To do that would take the wind out of the
rebels' sails, and their cause will lose momentum. To a large
extent, Balkan conflicts have been waged for
international--especially American--sympathy. Those who don't get
that often end up the losers.
    -- Transitions Online - Intelligent Eastern Europe Copyright:
Transitions Online 2001