Monday 12 November 2001

Macedonia Teeters on the Edge of Peace

I wrote this article from Skopje for TIME magazine, which ran it on 12 November 2001.


"There will be problems," NATO spokesman Mark Laity said back in late September. "There will be violence. There will be incidents." Laity was absolutely right: On Nov. 11, Albanian rebels clashed with government forces yet again, this time leaving three policemen dead and dozens of Macedonians held hostage near the city of Tetovo.

Before this flare up, NATO's Essential Harvest operation had ostensibly fulfilled its task of collecting thousands of weapons from the rebel Albanians of the National Liberation Army (NLA). The mission was being replaced by operation Amber Fox, the German-led NATO effort to protect international observers. But this latest incident has been accompanied by the appearance of a new group, the Albanian National Army (ANA), which claimed responsibility for the killings of the policemen. No one can be sure what role they will now play.

Lessons from Kosovo

This is a piece I wrote from Pristina for TIME magazine. It ran on 12 November 2001. I was reminded of it in early April 2011, when the editor of an American magazine asked me if they could reprint it as part of an examination of international intervention over the past decades in light of current events in Libya.


Two-and-a-half years after NATO bombers attacked Yugoslavia to force a resolution to the Kosovo conflict, the breakaway region is holding its first general elections on 17 November. The election will lead to a 120-seat assembly and a president, institutions that will hold little power but have great symbolic significance.

Most Kosovars feel they know the outcome of those elections already. Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) is likely to win a majority just as it did in local elections last year, and Rugova will likely be Kosovo's first president. The campaign has mostly been straightforward and without incident, and this lack of excitement is generally seen as a victory for the international community. Being in Kosovo as U.S.-led bombing continues in Afghanistan, I cannot help but think back to 1999 when the same bombers were pelting this country. Like many people here, I find myself wondering what lessons Kosovo holds for the international community and Afghanistan today.