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National Liberation Army (Albanians of Macedonia)

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National Liberation Army
(Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kombëtare)
Participant in Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia
Active 2000 - 2002
Leaders Ali Ahmeti
Samidin Xhezairi
Ahmet Krasniqi
Rahim Beqiri
Headquarters Šar Mountains
Area of operations Northwest Macedonia & North Macedonia
Strength 2,000 to 7,000
Originated as formed by former Kosovo Liberation Army members
Became Officially disbanded
Allies Albania, Kosovo Liberation Army
Opponents Republic of Macedonia, KFOR in Macedonia
Battles and wars Battle of Tetovo

The National Liberation Army (Republic of Macedonia in 2001 and was closely associated[2] with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Following the 2001 Macedonian War, it was disarmed under the terms of the Ohrid Agreement, under which greater rights and autonomy were to be given to the country's Albanian minority population.

Contents

  • Background 1
  • The NLA and the Macedonian War 2
    • Composition and military capabilities 2.1
    • War Crimes 2.2
  • Ceasefire and disarmament 3
    • Recent developments 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Sources 5.1
  • External links 6

Background

Ali Ahmeti organized the NLA of former KLA fighters from Kosovo and Macedonia, Albanian insurgents from Preševo, Medveđa and Bujanovac in Serbia, young Albanian radicals and nationalists from Macedonia, and foreign mercenaries.[3] The acronym was the same as KLA's in Albanian.[3]

The NLA and the Macedonian War

The NLA was founded in the fall of 1999, and was led by former KLA Commander Albania.

Beginning on January 22, 2001 the NLA began to carry out attacks on Macedonian security forces, using light weapons.[6] The conflict soon escalated and by the start of March 2001, the NLA had taken effective control of a large swathe of northern and western Macedonia and came within 12 miles of the capital Skopje.[7]

In March 2001, NLA members failed to take the city of Tetovo in an open attack, but controlled the hills and mountains between Tetovo and Kosovo. On May 3, 2001 a Macedonian government counter offensive failed in the Kumanovo area.[7] By June 8, the rebels took Aračinovo, a village outside of Skopje. On August 13, the two sides signed a peace deal ending the open conflict.

Composition and military capabilities

The NLA was estimated to comprise some 5,000 men at its peak and some of its members were trained by British SAS and Parachute Regiment officers.[8][9] As was the case with the KLA, they were fairly lightly armed – generally with small arms and mortars – though there were later reports that they had acquired FIM-92 Stinger and SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles. As the war progressed the rebels managed to acquire heavy weapons including T-55 tank's and armoured personnel carriers captured from Macedonian government forces.[10][11]

War Crimes

Conflict areas.

Although the conflict in Macedonia was brief, it was not scant of war crimes. According to Human Rights Watch, "Ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia tortured, sexually abused road workers after abducting them from the Skopje-Tetovo highway.[12]

Dozens of ethnic Macedonians were kidnapped. While many were released after a short time, 12 people apparently remained missing after the NLA released 14 others in late September. In October, reports suggested that the 12 may have been killed and buried in mass graves near Neproshteno. The case was referred by the Macedonian government to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for investigation.

Another incident which is claimed by Macedonian government to be a war crime was that of the so-called

  • Chronology of the war
  • Battles
  • Battles
  • Macedonia's Civil War: 'Made in the USA'
  • Macedonia On War Footing Over Kosovo Border Provocations
  • November Battles, Start of War, January 2 2001
  • 2002 attacks

External links

  • Pål Kolstø (2009). Media Discourse and the Yugoslav Conflicts: Representations of Self and Other. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.  
  • Iztok Prezelj (2008). The Fight Against Terrorism and Crisis Management in the Western Balkans.  
  • Thomas, Nigel (2006). The Yugoslav Wars (2): Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia 1992 - 2001. Osprey Publishing. 
  • Michael Charles Pugh; Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu (2003). The United Nations & regional security: Europe and beyond.  

Sources

  1. ^ Pugh; Sidhu 2003, p. 126
  2. ^ Prezelj 2008, pp. 49-50
  3. ^ a b Kolstø 2009, p. 173
  4. ^ "Macedonia timeline". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "BBC News - EUROPE - Who are the rebels?". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Three Serb policemen killed by Kosovar extremists", The Scotsman, 19 February 2001
  7. ^ a b "Macedonia timeline". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Friends of Bosnia article,Albanian rebels, trained by the SAS are gaining ground in Macedonia, aiming for the key city of Tetovo
  9. ^ "How many groups, how many guns?", The Economist, 25 August 2001
  10. ^ "BBC News - EUROPE - Macedonia sets new peace conditions". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Macedonia on brink of war", Sunday Times, 10 June 2001
  12. ^ "Torture, Kidnappings by Albanians in Macedonia - Human Rights Watch". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Yahoo! Groups". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Yahoo! Groups". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG)". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  16. ^ http://www.morm.gov.mk:8080/morm/en/pr/news/8_god_od_vejce.html
  17. ^ "Macedonia blast hits monastery". the Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  18. ^ Smith, Michael (2001-08-22). "Monastery blast fails to derail Nato peace effort". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  19. ^ "Macedonia blast hits monastery". BBC News. 2001-08-21. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  20. ^ "Macedonian police kill suspected militants". UPI. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  21. ^ Ansar Burney Trust – Human Trafficking and Smuggling – Slave Labor/Labour
  22. ^ "Macedonia men cleared of murder". BBC News. 2005-04-22. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  23. ^ "Macedonia 'fake raid' trial opens". BBC News. 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  24. ^ Fake shoot-out' minister sought"'". BBC News. 2004-05-04. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  25. ^ "Macedonia's 'mujahideen' - immigrants or terrorists?". BBC News. 2002-03-20. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  26. ^ "'"Macedonia shows off dead 'militants. BBC News. 2002-03-03. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  27. ^ Foreign militants' killed in Macedonia"'". BBC News. 2002-03-02. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  28. ^ "Macedonia faked 'militant' raid". BBC News. 2004-04-30. Retrieved 2010-04-06. 
  29. ^ http://www.ansarburney.org/images/human_trafficking-smuggling_labor_page_pic2.jpg
  30. ^ http://www.ansarburney.org/images/human_trafficking-smuggling_labor_page_pic3.jpg
  31. ^ a b "Macedonia - Crimes Against Civilians: Abuses by Macedonian Forces in Ljuboten, August 10-12, 2001". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  32. ^ "TRIAL : Profiles". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  33. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Macedonia
  34. ^ "Page Redirection". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  35. ^ "Макфакс - Макфакс". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 

References

See also

On the 11th of May 2010, a shootout occurred just across the border of Kosovo and Macedonia. The men opened fire on Macedonian police when they refused to pull over. All four men in the car were killed as a result of the shootout. Macedonian police say they found a cache of weapons once again and it might be linked with the NLA, which threatens to ignite a new Balkan civil war.[35]

In April 2010, a weapon cache believed to be intended for the group actions was discovered near the border with Serbia, it included uniforms with UÇK marks.[34]

Recent developments

Many members of the Albanian NLA, led by Ali Ahmeti, later formed the Democratic Union for Integration, a political party that won the majority of the Albanian votes in the 2002 election and formed part of the ruling coalition along with SDSM and LDP until August 2006 when, following July 2006 parliamentary elections, a conservative VMRO-DPMNE / DPA coalition came to government . Total casualties of war on each side are not known, but both sides claimed their own military casualties were around 60 each, while about 60 - 80 ethnic Albanian civilians and possibly about ten Macedonian civilians are thought to have been killed. (See Casualties and displacement in the 2001 Macedonia conflict)

Operation "Essential Harvest" was officially launched on 22 August and effectively started on 27 August. This 30-day mission was to initially involve approximately 3,500 NATO that number went up to 4,200 NATO troops and Macedonian troops to disarm the NLA and destroy their weapons. Just hours after NATO wrapped up the operation, Ali Ahmeti told reporters attending a news conference in the rebel stronghold of Sipkovica that he was dissolving the National Liberation Army and that it was time for ethnic reconciliation.

U.S. soldier loading up ethnic Albanians of the NLA in a truck for a trip to a detention center.

The Albanian side agreed to give up any separatist demands and to fully recognise all Macedonian institutions. In addition, according to this accord the NLA was to disarm and hand over their weapons to a NATO force.

After the Ohrid Agreement, the NLA agreed to cease-fire in June. Under the Ohrid Agreement, the Macedonian government pledged to improve the rights of the Albanian population, that make up just over 25% of the population.[33] Those rights include making Albanian language an official language, increasing the participation of ethnic Albanians in government institutions, police and army. Most importantly, under the Ohrid Agreement, the Macedonian government agreed to a new model of decentralization.

Ceasefire and disarmament

Other crimes were like that of a three-day operation by Macedonian police against the ethnic Albanian village of Ljuboten, from August 10–12, 2001, which left ten civilians dead and resulted in the arrest of more than 100 men, many of whom were severely beaten and tortured while in police custody.[31] According to the Macedonian government there was a presence of Albanian National Liberation Army in the village; however, the Human Rights Watch investigation on the ground in Ljuboten found no evidence of this and said it was a clear violation by Macedonian forces on human rights. These events led to the trial of the Macedonian minister of internal affairs of the time, Ljube Boškoski, in the International War Crime Tribunal in The Hague.[31] Eventually he was found not guilty.[32]

NATO Military experts said that by evidence gathered from “The fact that the battery was lying within an area spattered by rubble and wreckage seemed to suggest that it was detonated using a relatively sophisticated timer device“ also the extensive amount of explosive used and the type of explosive all pointed to the Macedonian military.[18] This incident is to this day disputed and the monastery is now under reconstruction built with some donations from the Albanian Islamic Union of Macedonia to erase any bad blood and Macedonian government.[19] On the other hand, the Macedonian forces blew up a mosque in the town of Neprosteno. Both structures were rebuilt in 2003 with funding from the EU. The most notable incident was the infamous Asian Immigrant Massacre, when Macedonian special police forces murdered six Pakistanis and an Indian immigrants afterwards planting weapons, explosive and Islamic literature on the corpses claiming they were Al-Qaida cells which were about to attack US Embassy in Skopje. This was conspired by Macedonian government to link the Albanian guerrillas to Al-Qaida so that Macedonia can sympathise with the west by making it seem they are to fighting a War on Terror against Islamic extremists. This atrocious war crime was heavily criticised by the whole world and caused Macedonia to lose much of its foreign support especially from the west, the EU and Pakistan governments strongly insisted that the people responsible for this war crime be brought to justice but the four men allegedly responsible for this were cleared of all charges and received a hero’s sheared after they left court.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28] There were disturbing images of the dead bodies released to parade the victims on TV as trophies.[29] [30]

The alleged NLA bombing of the 13th-century Orthodox monastery Sveti Atanasij in the village of Lesok[17] however no one has ever claimed responsibility for the attack and Albanian guerrilla officials have demised all responsibility and placed the blame on Macedonian special forces saying it was another poor attempt to link the NLA to Islamic extremism, like that of the Asian immigrant massacre and that these incidents were seriously putting the Ohrid agreement and the established peace treaty into jeopardy. Eye whiteness interviewed by British Telegraph reported claimed the cooperates of this incident came from the ethnic Macedonian village of Rate. Even the Macedonian ministers and diplomats in Skopje agreed that the possibility of this attacking being carried out by Albanians was unlikely as the NLA had no history of attacking any religious or cultural buildings or sites.

[16][15][14][13]

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