Balkans: December 18, 2004


Albania is actively cracking down on ethnic Albanian guerrillas operating in Macedonia and perhaps Kosovo. On December 14, the Albanian government arrested Gafur Adilli, who is supposed to be the current commander of the shadowy Albanian National Army (ANA, or AKSH, the Albanian acronym). The ANA has been active in both Kosovo and Macedonia. Last year the United Nations declared the ANA to be a terrorist organization.  Adilli's arrest appears to be "house arrest" (suggesting that his arrest might be more political theater than a crackdown on crime and terror). Even house arrest, however, is still good news. Adilli had been urging the ANA to renew "operations" (guerrilla warfare?) in Macedonia. However, Macedonian Albanian politicians, including ethnic Albanians in the current Macedonian government, are staunchly opposed to the ANA. The news of Adilli's arrest follows a December 13 report that said the Albanian government had seized three SA-7 "Strela" shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. The missiles were being shipped to ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia (the ANA?). The Albanian police arrested four men in the operation. The men entered Albanian from Montenegro. The men were driving in a van owned by a sausage-making company. An Albanian security official suggested the Albanian police officers were acting on a tip. It looks like the Albanian government has decided it prefers Balkan stability to any notion of a "Greater Albania." (Austin Bay)

December 11, 2004, Leaders of two ethnic Albanian parties in Macedonia are trying to help disarm holdout guerrillas. Leaders of the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (which is part of the coalition government) and the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians met in the village of Konovo with members of the Albanian National Army (ANA). The ANA led the rebellion which broke out in January and February of 2001. Macedonian Albanian politicians who have joined the democratic political process have repeatedly stated that the remaining "armed opposition" in the ANA has few members. After a December 6 meeting between the Albanian democrats and the ANA rebels, ANA demanded "full implementation of the amnesty agreements." Ali Ahmeti, who leads the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (the Albanian abbreviation is BDI) was at one time the ANA's chief political officer. Ahmeti has insisted that the ANA holdouts do not represent Macedonian Albanians. He intends to draw them out of the hills and into the political system. Macedonia is another example of a successfully, integrative, democratic political process ending a rebellion. Now the former rebels share power-- and have to figure out how to repair potholes and pick up the garbage.




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