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Strategic Rebellion

Ethnic Conflict in FYR Macedonia and the Balkans


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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Chapter 2The Collapse of Socialist Yugoslavia 51


Chapter 2 The Collapse of Socialist Yugoslavia This chapter examines the sources of minority discontent in the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, and underlines the strategic fac- tors that inf luence the violent transformation of ethno-political conf lict. We analyse the impact of socio-economic decline on the attitudes of the Albanian community in the Socialist Federal Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and assess the grievances expressed by the Albanian community in FYR Macedonia throughout the first ten years of the post- Yugoslav era. Using the analytical framework of “strategic rebellion”, we demonstrate how socio-political oppression and economic marginalization impacted on the Albanian community in FYR Macedonia, causing an intense feeling of aggressive frustration among them. However, the system- atic political and socio-economic deprivation of the minority Albanians in FYR Macedonia cannot suf ficiently account for, or justify, the organ- ized violent rebellion, unless other factors of vital strategic importance are taken into consideration. Hence, in Chapter 5 we examine three major pre-conditions allowing for the decision of politically active minority groups, in this case the Albanians in FYR Macedonia, to use violence: (a) state strength and denial of external state legitimacy, (b) rebel resources and (c) regional conf lict spillovers. Political Oppression and Economic Decline On 31 January 1946, the Yugoslav Communist Party of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of ficially declared the new Constitution of the Socialist (People’s) Yugoslav Republic (SYR) of Macedonia. The 52 Chapter 2 Constitution provisioned for the protection of ethnic minority rights, and...

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