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The War Nerd September 18, 2003
Albania: Great and Greater
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
Page 2 of 3
And you know what? It was true. Now it's these pissant Albanian "armies" doing the killing in Kosovo, Macedonia, and yes, Serbia. A couple weeks ago in Kosovo some brave soldiers of Greater Albania came across a couple of Serb kids swimming in a lake, so they just limbered up the ol' AKs and emptied a few clips into them. Easy shooting: like Serbs in a barrel. The whole Pepsi commercial scene, all cute teenagers swimming and flirting, suddenly got turned into a splatter movie.

That massacre was by some faction of the KLA, the Kosovo-Albanian gang. See, the KLA aren't too happy with the way things are going in Kosovo -- the UN is still there, and they haven't managed to ethnically cleanse all the non-Albanians after NATO moved in, though they got close. So they want the UN and NATO out to let them mow down the last couple thousand Serbs, Roma and Gorani.

This new Albanian "army," the AKSh, deals with the Macedonians. (Albanians are real fair: they hate ALL their neighbors, no bigotry about it.)

You hear "Macedonian" and you think Philip and Alexander. Well, these aren't those Macedonians. Those were the really Greater Macedonians. The 21st century Macedonians are Slavic, not Greek. They just happened to have wandered into Alexander's home territory a few centuries back and stuck around. They're pretty peaceful by Balkan standards -- not really up to much serious killing. And in the Balkans, being peaceable is a real liability. The Macedonians haven't been able to stop the AKSh from doing their stuff, which is mostly blowing up bridges and smuggling cigarettes and heroin over the border.

You have to understand that in the early stages of a 21st-c. guerrilla war, like this one, there's no such thing as "purely military" action. It's all about publicity. So the AKSh has been doing attacks that don't hit anything and aren't even supposed to. A couple of months ago they fired some homemade rockets at a Macedonian border post. The rockets blew up in mid-air, did no damage, but the mission was successful: the AKSh got a lot of press. Those rockets were more like neon ad lights than artillery.

When the AKSh has tried anything more serious, they usually mess it up. Last April 14 they blew up a railroad bridge in Kosovo. There were only two casualties: two AKSh men died. I haven't been able to find out how they bought it, but it was probably the kind of "Whoops!" you get a lot with first-time bombers. Bomb-making is one of those jobs where you don't really learn from your mistakes. Your mistakes usually go off in your face, and they have to scrape you off the walls with a spatula and slide you into a Hefty bag at the funeral. I've read in soldiers' stories from Ulster how when some dumb IRA mick got the red and green wires mixed up and blew himself into guacamole, the Brits used to call it an "own goal" -- scoring against yourself in soccer. So probably the AKSh scored an "own goal" under the bridge.Not very hero type deaths, but the AKSh has already turned the two dummies into heroes. In fact, their dead bodies are now officially sacred. I found a whole article on it in this website for the AKSh's "political wing," (translated into lousy English.) The editorial was threatening the UN if it doesn't give back the bodies of two AKSh thugs who got whacked. The headline was a classic: "Don't kill our heroes for the second time; don't play with the feelings of the Albanians!"

You have to read the first paragraph to get the feel: "We are very concerned about the fate of the two dead bodies of the freedom fighters of the Albanian National Army, Islam Berisha, known as Commander 'Lami' and Hamze Behrami, the most recent heroes of the Albanian nation, who for the sake of the reunification of the Albanian ethnic territories didn't even question the most important thing, their lives. They fell heroically, so Northern Mitrovica won't fall; where the serbo-slavic fascists of Belgrade are aiming their weapons toward the Albanians and their ethnic territories."

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.

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