ABSTRACT

Hailed as an exemplary case of successful interethnic cooperation, Macedonia surprised analysts and diplomats when it almost surged into a full-blown civil war in the first half of 2001. Led by Ali Ahmeti, the previously unknown National Liberation Army (NLA) – a motley group of former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters from Kosovo and Macedonia, Albanian insurgents from the south-east Serbian regions of Preshevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, young Albanian radicals and nationalists from Macedonia, and foreign mercenaries – between February and August 2001 organized an armed insurrection against the Macedonian government (Bellamy 2002, 132).1 Following prolonged warfare, and with emotions running high among government officials and ordinary Macedonians and Macedonian Albanians, the danger of civil conflict was real. The international community, led by the European Union, reacted swiftly by producing the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the pacification of the NLA, thus ending the conflict.