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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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Chapter 5Management of the Albanian Insurgency 157

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Chapter 5 Management of the Albanian Insurgency This chapter explores the evolution and management of the 2001 armed conf lict in the FYR Macedonia, in order to analyse the transformation of unresolved ethno-political disputes into violent confrontations. It also examines the important strategic parameters inf luencing the decision to use violence, and the ef fectiveness of coercion in the containment of regional conf licts (George, 1991, 1994). The prominent military and diplomatic analyst, Alexander George, claims that coercion is ef fective only if one matches threats and pressures with rewards and f lexibility. The real aim of coercion, according to George, is to help avoid escalation and persuade the opponent to reassess the costs and risks of an action, rather than compel- ling them by force. This chapter distinguishes three phases in the evolution of armed conf lict: emergence, escalation and settlement. In each section, we review and assess the ways in which international and local policymak- ers exchanged threats and provided incentives as part of a f lexible policy intended to terminate hostilities. In this way, we are able to examine the motivations, opportunities and reactions of the conf lict participants, under- stand the exchange between pressure and f lexibility, and draw a number of conclusions concerning the ef fectiveness of strategic coercion in the containment of violent inter-ethnic conf lict. Conf lict Emergence In the first phase, we seek to understand how the opposing sides view the outbreak of hostilities, and examine the government’s military and political failure...

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