Destinations Magazine

Danger Or Distraction?

By Stizzard
Danger or distraction?

SOME things are clear. What happened this month in Kumanovo, Macedonia’s second city, was the worst violence in the Balkans since 2004—and indeed the worst in that fissile country since it teetered on the edge of inter-ethnic war in 2001. Over May 9th and 10th, police made a full-scale military assault on what they called “Albanian terrorists”. Eight policemen were killed, as were 14 Albanians. Fear of a new Balkan conflict rippled across the region.

But for anybody trying to work out what it all means, there are more questions than answers. According to the authorities, the alleged terrorists, many of whom came from neighbouring Kosovo, were starting a battle for a “Greater Albania” comprising Albania, Kosovo and parts of Macedonia. A quarter of Macedonia’s 2m people are Albanian; since war was averted 14 years ago, power has been shared uneasily by coalitions representing both the ethnic majority, who are Orthodox Christian and speak a Slavic language, and the mainly Muslim Albanians.

It may be that the gunmen did plan such attacks. But the group is reported to have overlapped with criminal fraternities plying the…

The Economist: Europe

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