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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 6Strategic Coercion and the Backlash Ef fect 197


Chapter 6 Strategic Coercion and the Backlash Ef fect Coercive settlements are generally risky, and often fail to produce long- term peace and stability ( Jakobsen, 2004; Brown, 2003). We have seen that coercive approaches, when properly applied, may constitute an ef fective tool for the termination of violence, and generally succeed in bringing about a negotiated end to conf lict. Yet analysts regard the use of pressures, an essential part of coercion, as a highly risky method in the resolution of conf licts, and a potential source of renewed conf lict and instability (Dugan; 2003; Burgess, 2004; Brown, 2003; Stedman, 2001). This is evident in Jakobsen and Carlson’s accounts of the long-term ef fects of coercion in the resolution of conf licts: the enforcing and pressurizing nature of coer- cion aggravates inter-ethnic grievances, despite the provision of incentives and guarantees. Systematic external coercion risks producing winners and losers, thereby stimulating revenge and the rectification of perceived injus- tices, and triggering a dangerous backlash ef fect. Enforced compromises can produce victors and victims, and help cultivate win-lose perceptions, especially at the grassroots level. In order to highlight the potential dangers of coercive settlements, this analysis will point to the renewed grievances and “negative peace” in FYR Macedonia after the settlement. This chapter explores the crucial indicators of negative peace, and presents the emerg- ing antagonisms in the post-crisis political system between the perceived victims and beneficiaries. 198 Chapter 6 Political Antagonism The Ohrid Framework Agreement was an enforced settlement, reached with...

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