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Strategic Rebellion

Ethnic Conflict in FYR Macedonia and the Balkans

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Pavlos Ioannis Koktsidis

Since the end of the Cold War, the consolidation of peace and security in south-eastern Europe has been one of the most complex and troublesome issues facing the international community. The sequence of conflicts in the Balkans has resulted in serious loss of life, economic collapse, and a number of controversial interventions, leading contemporary scholars to reconsider old perceptions about violent ethnic conflict. Drawing on a wealth of theoretical and empirical sources, this book tackles some of the prevailing questions on the root causes and management of ethnic conflict. Under what conditions do ethnic minorities become violent? How credible are the theories of «relative deprivation» and «greed» in explaining the outbreak of conflict? Is the use of coercive diplomacy a superior alternative to direct military forms of intervention? This book provides an analytical account of the socio-economic roots of ethnic conflict, the opportunities for violent mobilization and the success of strategic coercion in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and it also examines related developments in Kosovo and the Balkans.

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Introduction 1

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Introduction Ethnic conf lict and associated political violence is one of the contemporary world’s most significant, and often seemingly persistent, political problems. Contemporary security analysts have counted numerous states directly af fected by armed conf licts, while many other regions continue to suf fer from conf licts that remain in a state of limbo. Today, the vast majority of societal conf licts contain a strong ethnic dimension and contemporary wars are mainly fought between ethnic or religious factions within the bounda- ries of a state. A major outburst of such identity-based societal conf licts coincided with the end of the Cold War. Although the frequency of ethnic conf lict during the 1980s and 1990s has increased at only about one-third of the level of increase that characterized the 1950s and 1970s, ethnic wars continued to multiply as separatist movements attempted to take advan- tage of the vast changes in political arrangements that accompanied the transformation of the post-Cold War world system. Ethnic conf licts tend to persist even though the general frequency of violent conf lict onsets in the global system continues to diminish in total magnitude. This is largely because societal conf licts are suf fused with non-negotiable identity and sovereignty issues, which make these conf licts less susceptible to settlement and more prone to violence (Monty and Benjamin, 2009). Hence, ethnic conf licts tend to continue despite the apparent decline in the frequency of newly erupted conf licts since 1996. Yet most of these conf licts are neither...

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