Re: Massacre waiting to happen (The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, 7 July 2001)
- Subject: Re: Massacre waiting to happen (The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, 7 July 2001)
- From: "Fulvio Grimaldi" <bassottovic at libero.it>
- Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 22:05:21 +0200
Gli unici comprovati commettitori di war crimes sono stati da parecchi anni
gli albanesi dell'UCK: Non ciruliamo nel manico. Queste veline sono ormai
grottesche. Tanto sforzo per niente. Much ado about nothing. Sosteniamo la
difesa dei macedoni contro l'invasione dei tagliagole e narcotrafficanti
della fanteria Nato.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paola Lucchesi" <paola.lucchesi at mail.inet.it>
To: <pck-yugoslavia at peacelink.it>
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2001 7:01 PM
Subject: Massacre waiting to happen (The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, 7
> 08 July 2001
> Massacre waiting to happen
> Conal Urquhart
> (curquhart at scotsman.com)
> A SENIOR government official has warned that Macedonian armed forces
> could massacre Albanian civilians unless the international community
> intervenes in the country's burgeoning civil war.
> He said some elements of the police were not under government
> control and one of the major Macedonian political parties, a partner in
> the coalition government, was actively destabilising peace efforts and
> fomenting ethnic hatred.
> The official, a Macedonian Slav, said there was a real danger of
> some Macedonians committing war crimes on a scale seen in Croatia,
> Bosnia and Kosovo. "We have our own Karadzic and Mladic (Bosnian Serbs
> indicted by the Hague for massacres of Bosnian Muslims) in our midst. We
> need the European Union to make it clear to some members of this
> government that they will be sent to The Hague to answer for their
> actions if they step outside acceptable boundaries."
> The Macedonian government will struggle to deliver the ceasefire it
> signed on Thursday because of the malevolent power wielded by some
> members of VMRO, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation,
> which holds a number of key ministries.
> The ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) control a large
> swathe of border territory and have resisted the attempts of the
> Macedonian security forces to dislodge them. British soldiers will lead
> a Nato peacekeeping force, when and if a political solution is agreed,
> which will feature improved rights for Albanians in Macedonia.
> The VMRO, whose name derives from its roots as a nationalist party
> opposed to Turkish occupation a century ago, has used its ministries to
> arm civilians, create paramilitary groups and persecute Albanians,
> according to Macedonian government sources.
> The nationalists have also become increasingly anti-Nato, blaming
> them for the resurgence of Albanian guerrillas and a recent agreement
> where NLA fighters were removed from the outskirts of Skopje. "There is
> a clear anti-Nato structure emerging within the government of Macedonia.
> It is not inconceivable that when Nato comes they will be fired on by
> these elements rather than the NLA," said the government official.
> As the fighting continued this week, hundreds of Albanians were
> re-building their homes after government officials supported by police
> bulldozed and destroyed Albanian houses claiming that they contravened
> planning regulations. The action appalled Macedonian moderates in the
> government but they were unable to take action because the two
> ministries involved are controlled by VMRO elements pursuing an
> anti-Albanian agenda. Garip Azemi, 46, returned to his home in the
> suburbs of Skopje to find its supporting walls knocked out and the roof
> on the point of collapse. "I was devastated. My home is all I have."
> Veli Mici, 31, a relative, said the police inspector was sympathetic
> to their appeals to halt the destruction but each time he tried to stop
> the demolition he was over-ruled by his superiors.
> Telephone calls to the ministry responsible for planning were not
> answered and it was left to local politicians to intervene on the ground
> in other areas. Imer Selmani, the mayor of a local council outside the
> capital, managed to prevent bulldozers from levelling an Albanian house.
> "I warned the official and the policemen in attendance that if they
> began flattening houses here they were declaring war on 80% of the
> population here or 20,000 people. I told them that they were creating a
> crisis and they would be responsible for its consequences."
> Tens of thousands of Albanian homes are not recognised by the state
> and some Albanian villages that have existed for decades cannot be found
> on official maps because the central government has not recognised their
> right to own land or build property. Historically a visit from a
> planning official was dealt with by a bribe which would supposedly lead
> to legal recognition but simply gave the owners a few years grace until
> the next visit.
> The destruction of houses is just one of a host of hostile actions
> taken by extremists in the government which have radicalised the
> Albanians in Macedonia, who make up one-third of the population.
> The NLA began their uprising in February purportedly to demand equal
> rights for Albanians in Macedonia. Some Macedonians believe the NLA aims
> to separate Albanian-dominated areas from the rest of Macedonia to
> create a Greater Albania or Greater Kosovo.
> Boris Trajkovski, the Macedonian president and a member of the VMRO,
> is keen to reach a political settlement with the ethnic Albanian
> community but he and other moderates are undermined by his fellow VMRO
> cabinet ministers, including Ljupco Georgievski, the prime minister, and
> Ljube Boshkovski, the interior minister who controls the country's main
> military force, the police.
> The two ministers have been described as "completely insane" by
> government colleagues, a view which is shared by western diplomats. They
> are believed to have been behind recent anti-government, anti-Nato
> demonstrations during which foreigners were beaten up and shots were
> fired through the window of the president's office.
> The senior government official said: "We do not know what will
> happen next. Some of the police reservists are not under any official
> control. I would not be surprised if there was a bombing attempt in the
> capital or some kind of political assassinations. There is a battle for
> the government between those who want a political solution and those who
> want a purely military solution. It is not clear who will win."
> The VMRO also controls television stations and newspapers which feed
> the Macedonian Slav public their prejudices in which the terms
> 'Albanian' and 'terrorist' have become synonymous. One report featured a
> presenter placing a round in a mortar and then firing it at an NLA
> position. Faced with such reporting, Macedonians, who have mostly
> co-existed peacefully with Albanians, are coming to distrust and fear
> The Albanian community have become increasingly alienated since the
> dispute began in February. Every military assault on a rebel-held
> village begins with the shelling of the mosque, which to Albanians
> symbolises not merely an attack on the NLA but an attack on their faith.
> This week has seen the arrest and harassment of senior Albanian
> figures and Albanian journalists . According to Human Rights Watch, some
> refugees have been refused re-entry into Macedonia. In one incident
> confirmed by the government, police reservists harassed and threatened
> civilians in the village of Rasce where there has been no NLA activity.
> Over 100,000 refugees, mostly Albanian, have left Macedonia. In
> Kosovo, the international community is preparing for many more. Eight
> miles north of the Macedonian border, the United Nations High
> Commissioner for Refugees has prepared a large refugee transit camp with
> water, sanitation and plenty of room for expansion.
> The Macedonian government has increased its firepower, leasing or
> buying an airforce of eight helicopters and four ground attack fighters
> from the Ukraine. The aerial power has flattened Albanian villages but
> made only minimal impact on the NLA, whose numbers have swelled from 300
> to 3,000 over the past five months. Government officials admit they do
> not have the equipment or the ability to defeat the rebels.
> The NLA is likely to carry on growing as instability continues and
> it develops new supply routes to circumvent increased policing of the
> Kosovo border by Nato troops. It can draw on the arms and manpower of
> the Kosovo Liberation Army, from which it emerged, while recruiting
> disaffected Macedonian Albanians.
> In the Kosovar town of Elisan, Vebi, 28, said that he was resting
> after fighting with the NLA in Gracani. A former KLA fighter, he said
> that there were around 150 men from his town currently with the NLA,
> while dozens of others were waiting to be summoned into action.
> "Crossing the border into Macedonia and avoiding Nato troops is
> easy. I have been smuggling here for years and guiding supplies into
> Kosovo during the war. They would need to build a wall to stop us.
> "And even then, we would just tunnel under it," he said.
> The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday