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Context of the Macedonian Crisis
The crisis accelerated the disentanglement, destruction or transformation of local, foreign and composite networks (intelligence gathering and dissemination, extortion, blackmail, organized crime and terrorism among other activities).
Through it all, we have enjoyed a very rare opportunity to monitor historical events unfold in real time. With patience, discretion and focus, Balkanalysis.com has anticipated aspects of the crisis since well before it began.
Only a very small handful of people know what has really gone down here. So let’s examine the structural and institutional issues that set the rules of engagement, and unravel the networks. The following articles and e-books to come help get to the truth.
Europe’s Macedonian Intervention, Part 1: Assessing EU Behavior (June 13, 2016)
One problem facing serious research is that the events, trends and activities we must approach defy chronological narration. There are clear and significant distinctions between when plans for actions are first made, when they are envisaged to happen, when they actually do (or don’t) happen, and why. Further, later events and comments about plans and actions that have already occurred not only serve to obfuscate reality, but can actually accelerate it- the Great Unraveling has not already occurred, and we are well aware that these further revelations will add to ‘the story’ and have unpredictable results or ramifications.
This is what makes the current project somewhat of an experiment and, perhaps, a dangerous one, as we expect heavy direct and indirect retaliation from persons and groups involved during the period in question. Hopefully, the cumulative result will be a product of genuine historic interest to the public.
The Question of Models in a Unique Environment
There is no specific model for this sort of work, which is still after all ongoing. Present events happen too quickly to be noted, whereas past ones must be verified again and again. And, of course, the future is always in the process of creation.
Given the opacity of the evidence and the very large amount of details and events that cannot be established for certain – let alone the high likelihood that significant decisions were taken based on threats that may have had real backing or were mere bluffs – it would be futile to attempt a simple political history. Such a narrative might reveal many things of interest but would not ultimately convey the feeling of life under the crisis conditions.
This is very important in this case, because Macedonia is less a country than a state of low-intensity, passive-aggressive psychological warfare that is as subtle as it is relentless. The suffocating pressure of life in a small country that has been blocked from achieving its goals for a quarter-century and suffered recent war is intensified by this innate sentiment. The involvement of local and international factors in the 2015 crisis has only added to this psychological state of constant siege warfare.
As we have said, the Macedonian Crisis does not lend itself to a typical political narrative. Perhaps a structural approach like the one found in Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Politics and the Death of JFK could be most applicable. In that work, the author (a University of California professor) did not try to solve the assassination, but rather to paint a picture of the various groups, connections and interests that inhabited the commingled worlds of politics, intelligence, business and crime.
Of course, that study was centered on a single, seminal event; fortunately, there have been no major assassinations (though several have been thwarted) during the current crisis in Macedonia, but the events have unfolded in a context characterized by similar power dynamics and tactics.
So, what we will most likely end up with for the proper assessment of the current case is a combined thematic and historical approach. Here are some possible examples that can be explored.
Big-picture themes that are of some interest, in a larger context, include developments on the world’s political, economic and security stages before and during the crisis.
These include the infiltration and hijacking of the Obama administration by billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, as well as the impact of investment trends in the region. They also include competition from (and within) the US, EU and Russia over energy and security issues, as well as the global US-Chinese competition over infrastructure, investment and natural resources. As a small but strategically located country, Macedonia is of interest to all of these parties.
Another global issue in which Macedonia found itself unhappily involved was the migration crisis that began in early 2015. This theme, however, actually worked both for and against the country and involved parties during the period in question. The way in which Macedonia handled three crises (political, security and humanitarian) both surprised and motivated persons involved in various ways.
Locally, another constantly repeated theme in the Great Unraveling – which was visible even before the crisis began – was tactical failures (usually, timing failures) that actually aggravated and worsened the crisis due to the compromising and need to thus protect or destroy networks. We will explore the reasons for these types of repeated tactical failures, which seem to result from personnel, mentality and intelligence failings.
There are many other themes worthy of exploration and, as we continue to update this page and provide links to new articles, we will hopefully have much more to add in the weeks and months to come.