Civil-Military Relations in Macedonia: Between Peace and War
erschienen in der Publikation "Civil-Military Relations in South-East Europe" (ISBN: 3-901328-54-8) - April 2001
Autor(en):Prof. Dr. Biljana Vankovska
Macedonia as former Yugoslav republic, making difficult steps on her way to building democratic societies and proving as reliable PfP partner.
Macedonia was the last to join the dissolution of the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA) and even participated in the wars against Slovenia and Croatia. On its side the YPA took along all movable armament and equipment from Macedonia, and what could not be moved - was destroyed, writes Prof. Vankovska.
The newly born Macedonian army had no internal contenders in terms of paramilitary forces. It was formed on the basis of the former Territorial Defence (TD) and the YPA.
Civil-military relations in Macedonia have been strongly dominated in the beginning of the 1990s by the ‘ethnic composition of the military’ issue. It appeared to be a long-term problem.
Having no armed forces of its own before, the Macedonian model of democratic control over the military was of a normative character, preceding the establishment of the very object of such a control.
However, the initial deficiencies of the national model stem from the very normative model of separation of powers in Macedonia among the Parliament, the President and the Government. In addition, there still exists unclarity as to the Defence Minister’s responsibilities.
Another deficiency of the existing civil-military relations in Macedonia is using the process of "civilianising” the MoD for purges by the authorities.
It is obvious from the study of the Macedonian national case by Prof. Biljana Vankovska that before coming to terms with itself it would be hard for Macedonia to come to terms with its neighbours Albania and Bulgaria. The latter is tacitly accused of rendering harm to the Macedonian armed forces by donating some 100 old tanks that are far from the best NATO standards. However, Bulgaria is not a NATO member and does not possess sophisticated new brands of tanks the Alliance has. Furthermore, Macedonia has accepted the donation without being forced to do it. Having some functional tanks, however, is better than having none. The Bulgarian side is trying to help the new armed forces of Macedonia to acquire also free NATO compatible radar communication system.
Prof. Vankovska writes that the fermentation of the relationship between the politics and the military has not yet reached its zenith since the political system and the military still go through serious mutations with an uncertain outcome on both sides. She adds that two contradicting factors have been shaping the mentality and the institutional identity of the Macedonian military for years: ‘Yugonostalgia’ and ‘pro-Macedonianism’. The new Macedonian military had to abandon a messianic vision of being ‘the ultimate defenders’ of the constitutional order. A real problem of the young Macedonian armed forces, writes Prof. Vankovska, is that they are badly armed and poorly trained. This would hardly allow them to be effective if they will have to fulfil their external function and mission.
The presence of international military units is perceived, according to Prof. Vankovska as definitely putting additional problems to the civil-military relations. The reason is the addition of a ‘non-national’ component to the ‘military’ side of the relationship. It is true that the non-national element complicates the issue, on the one side, but on the other - it is a fundamental reason for the stability of the country and the broader geo-strategic area around Macedonia.
At the present moment the Macedonian state lacks a clear concept of national security as well as a working model of democratic control of the military. A continued and active participation in the PfP is an appropriate format of gradually dealing away with most of the deficiencies in that aspect.