The Macedonian Tendency: March 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Some Get's It Right About Macedonia vs Greece!

By David Edenden

one of the very few articles that provides a reasonable summary of the issues that divide Macedonia and Greece over the "what's in a name issue". I like Ed's description of "ethnic Macedonian" minority in Greece rather than the pejorative "slav Macedonian". I was also pleasantly surprised that he even mentioned that Macedonians in Greece "still lack fundamental rights".

Now I really could complain that Ed's former employer, the International Crisis Group (more) (more) should have been covering the plight of Macedonians in Greece years ago, but I won't because I am in a charitable mood today

Oh Ed ... sorry for the nasty comments concerning your op-ed ... about ... you know who!
A risky end-game
International Herald Tribune:

Monday, March 31, 2008

The dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the latter's name jeopardizes this week's NATO summit in Bucharest - and Balkan stability. Failure by Macedonia to start the process of joining NATO could open a political crisis in the small, divided country that could ultimately threaten the peace agreement that halted a burgeoning civil war in 2001.

This in turn would create shock waves for neighboring Kosovo. With Serbia still defiantly against Kosovo independence, and with its ally Russia adamant about halting NATO expansion, landlocked Macedonia's fate at Bucharest is crucial.

U.S.-led diplomacy continues, but time is nearly up. The Greek government of Prime Minister Kosta Karamanlis, clinging to the narrowest of Parliamentary majorities, has gone on a full-court press aimed not only at forcing Macedonia to change its name, but dictating that name as well.

For its part, Skopje 's rightist government has gone out of its way to provoke Athens on symbols, renaming the country's airport after Alexander the Great. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, like his counterparts in Athens, sees domestic political benefit from taking a hard line on the name.

But if Macedonia is left behind as its neighbors Albania and Croatia join NATO, Gruevski may eventually see his short-term calculation overwhelmed by forces outside of his control. Only with great reluctance has Gruevski indicated his willingness to join the moderate President Branko Crvenkovski in accepting a name change.

While Greece and Macedonia have both behaved irresponsibly, their concerns are not irrational. Macedonians and Greeks have their own legacy of conflict. The Greek civil war saw subversive attacks launched from Macedonian soil, and ended with tens of thousands of ethnic Macedonians fleeing their homes. Those Macedonians who stayed behind, like other minorities in Greece, still lack fundamental rights. Property issues have never been fully resolved. (My Emphasis - David Edenden)

There is no time to debate whose claims have greater merit. What matters is that the dispute engages core U.S. and European interests in a region where NATO troops are still deployed. Allies must seize the remaining hours to forge a deal.

London, Berlin, Paris and other EU capitals need to join with Washington and send an urgent message to Macedonia and Greece: Accept the compromise name proposed by the United Nations - "Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)" - or accept the blame.

Without a unified position, the end-game could well lead to a deadlock. The allies must convince Athens that protecting Greek heritage by denying its neighbor membership in NATO is a Pyrrhic victory.

If Greece continues to move toward a veto, then all NATO members - not just the United States - need to make it unmistakably clear that Greece will bear a heavy political price.

Rescuing both sides, and NATO, from the impending crack-up, will require intensified pressure across the Atlantic. Failure to bring Macedonia into NATO now will be a failure for American diplomacy, UN mediation and European security, which will burden the alliance for years to come.

- EDWARD P. JOSEPH worked for more than a decade in the Balkans, including duty with NATO and the International Crisis Group.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yes to Macedonians, no to "Skopians"!

By David Edenden

Am I the only one that has noticed the dangers in accepting the final proposal of “Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)" by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

This is not a workable compromise because it invites the Greek government and its US lobby to push for re-naming ethnic Macedonians as "Skopians", notwithstanding what is said in the agreement.

We are going to see a never ending campaign to denigrate the culture and history of ethnic Macedonians. The Macedonian government and parliament should reject this agreement now!

The failure of Matthew Nimetz to include the plight of ethnic Macedonians of Greece as part of his thinking in resolving this dispute, has put him in a box with no viable recommendation to make. He should apologize to the Macedonian people for wasting all these years in fruitless negotiations.

Here's my recommendation:

1. Mathew Nimetz should resign and replaced with Michael Dukakis!
2. Macedonia should be admitted to Nato with the FYROM name.
3. Negotiations on the name to continue for one year.
4. Status of ethnic Macedonians in Greece to be including in the "Terms of Reference".

Thank you ... I think I solved the problem.
Note: "Balkan Insight" is an offshoot of "The International Crisis Group". They are both a bunch of vampires!
Macedonia Says UN 'Name' Proposal Final:

28 March 2008 Skopje

Macedonia sees the latest UN proposal for a solution to the 'name' dispute with Greece as final, the country's Foreign Minister says.

'After 15 years of talks we think that this proposal is the final one,” Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki told reporters after holding talks with political leaders on Friday.

However he refused to say whether the government had accepted the proposal.

It was offered to both Greece and Macedonia earlier this week by the United Nations mediator in the dispute, Matthew Nimetz but neither side has commented on what was in the proposal. Read more:

The plan is widely seen as a last ditch attempt before next week's NATO Summit in Bucharest where Greece is threatening to block Skopje's bid to join the alliance because of the unresolved 'name' row.

The upcoming summit has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity to end the dispute once and for all.

“The process for building our position regarding this final proposal will continue in the coming days,” Milososki said, adding the country's Parliament will discuss the proposal on Monday. It will be the first time the Parliament has discussed a proposed solution to the 17-year long row.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said that unless a national referendum is called on the matter, the issue will be voted on in Parliament.

Media speculate that Nimetz has offered the proposed name of “Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)” which will be used exclusively among international institutions, while the more than 120 countries that have already recognised Macedonia under its constitutional name would be advised to use the new name but will have no obligation to do so.

The proposal also foresees that neither side will have exclusive use of the adjective “Macedonian.”
Greek media report that Athens has already rejected the plan and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has cancelled a meeting between the two countries' Premiers during Saturday's European Union ministerial summit in Slovenia.

Reports in Athens suggested there will be a meeting under UN auspices on Monday in New York where Nimetz will table a new solution.

Athens objects to Skopje’s use of its constitutional name “Republic of Macedonia” arguing it might lead Skopje to make territorial claims over Greece's own northern province of Macedonia.

Friday, March 28, 2008

By David Edenden

This is a very encouraging (edited) oped from Donald Rumsfeld. I also like the cartoon by David Klein with the Macedonian flag flowing proudly. I can't predict what will happen regarding Nato (I am not optimistic) but it is nice to have some senior US officials on our side.

Some Greeks had bitterly complained that US recognition of "Macedonia got a political boost from the United States when the Bush administration dropped the FYROM name in 2005, after Macedonia agreed to send a few troops to Iraq. He called the action "Rumsfeld gift," referring to former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld."

My advice to Macedonians is to stand firm, stand tall and go to the UN if Greece vetoes Macedonian membership in Nato. If Nato members want to bend over backwards to accommodate Greece while ignoring the plight of ethnic Macedonian minority then Macedonians have lost nothing!

In the meantime, lets get cracking about building that statute to Rummy is Skopje.

Defense Secreatary Donald H. Rumsfeld, center left,
and Macedonian Minister of Defense Vlado Buckovski
take part in a press briefing, Oct. 11, 2004, in Skopje, Macedonia

NATO Expansion Should Continue

Wall Street Journal
March 28, 2008; Page A13

Next week Romania's capital of Bucharest will host representatives from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 26 member nations. There the alliance will make critical choices about its mission in Afghanistan and expanding to several former Soviet-bloc nations. These decisions need not and should not be further delayed for yet more "meetings" and "consultations" in capitals across Europe.


[NATO Expansion Should Continue]
David Klein

There is no better way for NATO to move forward than by extending full membership invitations to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia and by beginning the process to bring Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance in the future through membership action plans (MAPs). At a time when European commitments to the NATO mission in Afghanistan are being questioned, the determination of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia to contribute to tough missions is clear. Collectively, the three Balkan nations have more than 650 troops currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

At the moment Croatia has more than 200 troops training the Afghan National Army and serving in Provincial Reconstruction Teams. A company of Macedonian troops leads the mission of defending NATO's International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. In addition to its continuous troop presence in Afghanistan since 2002, Albania was among the first nations to deploy to Iraq in 2003. Five years later, Albania intends to be among the last to leave. As the Albanian military commander in Mosul, Iraq, recently said, "We'll be here as long as the Americans are."


For the past several years under membership action plans, the governments of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia have been preparing to join the ranks of NATO. They now meet the necessary criteria for membership. They have shown their commitment to human rights and regional stability by protecting the rights of ethnic minorities. They have allocated a greater percentage of their GDP to defense expenditures than most NATO countries in Western Europe, and they have built sound defense capabilities in intelligence, medical support, and special operations.

Perhaps most important in light of NATO's demonstrated shortcomings, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia have made use of those capabilities in Afghanistan and Iraq by taking on the tough missions that several current NATO members have been unwilling to carry out. Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are certainly not large geographically, but the operational -- and attitudinal -- contributions they bring to NATO will far outstrip their size.


The administration, bipartisan majorities in Congress, and most members of NATO have expressed support for extending membership to nations in Southeastern Europe and for partnerships with those nations beyond. Why then the hold up? Aside from Russia's opposition, Greece has threatened to issue a sole veto over Macedonia's entry because Macedonia refuses to change its country name. The future of the trans-Atlantic alliance -- and its credibility as the pre-eminent political and military instrument of the world's democracies -- are too important to be constrained by narrow disputes over semantics or to intimidation tactics more befitting the last century (My Emphasis - David Edenden)


Expanding NATO to Albania, Croatia and Macedonia and building closer partnerships with Georgia and Ukraine would help to assuage any concerns that the alliance no longer has the collective grit for the tough work necessary to overcome the challenges in Afghanistan. All five non-NATO nations currently under consideration -- in contrast with several full NATO members -- have demonstrated willingness to accept NATO responsibilities.

Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are today ready to accept those responsibilities. Georgia and Ukraine will likely be ready to accept NATO responsibilities in the coming years if issued membership action plans next week. The Bucharest summit presents an opportunity to advance the interests of all 26 member nations by expanding the NATO alliance. Now is not a time for self-doubt. It is a time for U.S. and European leadership.

Mr. Rumsfeld was U.S. ambassador to NATO from 1973 to 1974 and was the 13th and 21st U.S. secretary of Defens

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

By David Edenden

Nice oped by our Antonio Milososki. The Wall Street Journal seems to feel some sympathy (or maybe its pity for the plight of Macedonians.
Too bad that Antonio was too timid to mention the plight of Macedonians in Greece.

NATO's Balkan Destiny
Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2008

SKOPJE, Macedonia

The NATO summit in Bucharest is less than a week away. Yet Macedonia's bid to join the trans-Atlantic alliance hangs in the balance. Strangely, the problem is the name of my country, which Greece doesn't recognize, and not our record on civil and military reforms, which Macedonia has been diligently pursuing.

Seven years ago, Macedonia was a net security consumer. We're now a net provider with 3.5% of our troops engaged in security missions abroad -- mainly in Afghanistan. Ninety percent of our citizens support NATO membership, a rarity in this region. Support for the alliance unites the multiethnic Macedonian society and cuts across ethnic, party and social lines.

Our close cooperation with NATO goes back to its 1999 intervention against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. Macedonia was the key country in the region in assisting the alliance, providing infrastructure and logistics for NATO combat operations. We also opened our doors to 380,000 Kosovo refugees who found a shelter in Macedonia. Some stayed on to make their lives in Macedonia.

Kosovo remains a pressing security issue today, and Macedonia is honoring its end of the bargain. We are the host country of the logistics headquarters for KFOR, the Kosovo stabilization force. It is operated by the Macedonian army and financed through our budget.

Kosovo's independence last month changed the security and political outlook for the Balkans. We still don't know what the end game will look like. Much progress was made in the recent years in the Western Balkans in terms of keeping stability and expanding our economies. This has been achieved in no small part thanks to the positive roles played by the EU and the U.S. in our region in the last decade.

But there are numerous potential sources of instability. Political structures in Kosovo are underdeveloped. Political cohesion in the region is weak. From a security perspective, NATO is still needed, particularly in and around Kosovo to help administer borders and keep a close watch on trafficking and organized crime.

Positive messages from the EU and the U.S. on integration into NATO and the EU are vitally important. NATO membership is a staple of progress in our region. To this extent, progress, stability and prosperity will be enhanced in the Balkans if Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are invited to join NATO next week in Bucharest.

The more states from the Balkans we have joining NATO, the less NATO we will need in the Balkans. The alliance would then be freed up to cope with challenges further a field

Considering what's at stake, Macedonia's NATO membership shouldn't be held hostage to a bilateral dispute with Greece over my country's name. But that's just what has happened in recent months.

Our soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan shoulder to shoulder with the Greek, Americans, the Dutch, and others. No one minds the label "Macedonia" on their uniforms. Macedonia was asked to fulfill the Membership Action Plan (or MAP) criteria to be considered for NATO membership. This we did.

Our issue with Greece is a bilateral one. We are prepared to settle it together with our Greek friends. We are ready to compromise. But we won't be pushed into accepting a solution concerning our name as a condition of getting into NATO.

My country remains committed to the 1995 Interim Accord where we agreed -- with the UN serving as the guarantor -- that neither Macedonia nor Greece will block the other's membership in international organizations.

NATO membership and the start of the accession talks with the EU are the two bottom-line priorities for Macedonia -- no matter who's in power. But Macedonia will not yield to pressure.

NATO isn't where the name issue should be decided. Let's keep the alliance focused on security. With that in mind, it should be clear that excluding Macedonia from the club will do nothing to boost security in the Balkan region. It may even bring about the opposite result.

Mr. Milososki is foreign minister of Macedonia.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Op Ed: Why Macedonia isn't going to NATO

Have a read of this, very interesting indeed and so wickedly evil it has the West (aka US/EU & NATO) written all over it. Of course some will dismiss it as mere nationalistic gibberish but I believe it deserves a closer look.

Click on link below for original article...

Op Ed: Why Macedonia isn't going to NATO
Macedonia News, Stocks - Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

It's Samantha Power, Obama's Advisor, Who is the Monster, Not Hillary Clinton

By David Edenden

I feel a bit like Christopher Hitchens criticizing Mother Teresa, but it is Samantha Power, Obama's adviser and "human rights activist" (A Problmen From Hell) who is the monster, not Hillary Clinton.

I believe that Samantha Power was instrumental in convincing Barack Obama to adopt the Greek position on the "what's in a name dispute" between Macedonians and Greeks ... which is tantamount to supporting racism and cultural genocide.

Anyway, below are a few posts about the "saintly" Samantha Power and the "inspirational" Barack Obama.

Samantha Pow

Barack Obama and "The Banality of Evil"

I'm Not in Love With Obama

Robert Redford: Listen Up!

Obama Ignores Macedonian Cry, Accepts Greek Gifts

Will the Macedonian-Greek Dust-Up Sink Barack Obama

Samantha Powers, Obama's Advisor

More on Samantha Power

Samantha Power - One More Time