vo. FYROM is landlocked (surrounded by Greece, Albania,rnSerbia, and Bulgaria), poor, and mountainous. Its capital cityrnis Skopje.rnApart from the meager data in the foregoing paragraph,rnthere is next to nothing to be said about FYROM and its inhabitantsrnthat would not be subject to dispute. As an alternativernto a blow-by-blow account of Macedonian events sincernAlexander rode Boukephalos off toward the sunrise, suffice itrnto say that topical questions include, but are certainly not limitedrnto, the following: Are FYROM’s Slavs really Serbs? (Evenrnbefore annexing the region in 1912, Belgrade said yes, butrnduring World War II, Tito, who was half-Slovene and half-rnCroat and all communist, decreed otherwise.) Are they Bulgarians?rn(Sofia, in two Balkan wars and as many world wars,rnhas staked everything on the proposition that they arc.) Orrnare they a distinct Macedonian nationality? (The relation ofrnethnonyms to toponyms can be very troublesome. By way ofrncomparison. Englishmen, Welshmen, and Scots live in Britain,rnand are therefore called “Britons,” but the previous Celtic inhabitantsrnof the same land, also known as “Britons,” were displacedrnor exterminated by the Germanic ancestors of today’srnEnglishmen, with contemporary Welshmen and Scots constituting,rnin part anyway, survivors.) Are the Muslims a minor minorityrn(under 20 percent, as FYROM Slavs say they are) or arnmajor minority (over 40 percent, as FYROM Muslims themselvesrnclaim)? If the Slavs do constitute a nation, do the peoplernof Bulgaria’s Pirin region, who speak an identical form ofrnBulgarian or Macedonian or whatever it is, count as “Macedonians,”rnwith the obvious irredentist implications? (This isrnnot an idle question. Relations between Sofia and Skopjernalmost broke down last year over the statement, in referencernto a trade pact, that it was executed in “the Bulgarian andrnMacedonian languages,” the latter of which Sofia rejects butrnSkopje insists upon.) What about the undetermined numberrnof speakers of the same language in northern Greece, who, despiterndecades of relentless and sometimes brutal Hellenization,rnonly by quite a stretch of the imagination meet Athens’ surrealrndescription of them as “Slavic-speaking Greeks”? Whererndoes “Macedonia” end? (FYROM constitutes only about onethirdrnof the region traditionally designated by the toponymrn”Macedonia,” with most of the rest lying in Greece, includingrna lot of waterfront property and Greece’s second-largest city,rnThessaloniki.) And why do the answers to any of these questionsrnmatter, anyway?rnBecause FYROM is likely to be the place where the regionalrnBalkan war, having misfired in Bosnia, finally goes off,rnpulling Serbia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, and probably Bulgaria,rnmaybe even Romania and Hungary, into the melee, withrneach receiving the patronage of the United States, Britain,rnFrance, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Italy, and doubtlessrnmany others. Moreover, in addition to its lack of internalrnethnic cohesion and identity, FYROM occupies, as MisharnGlenny has pointed out, a unique strategic position: “Controlrnof Bosnia guarantees strategic superiority in the northernrnBalkans. And Macedonia (the Vardar Plain) is the only territoryrnwhere the Balkan mountains can be traversed north tornsouth and east to west. Thus, those who control Macedoniarn[i.e. FYROM] control the economy of the southern Balkans.rnThe question is which traffic route will prevail.” Actually,rnGlenny understates the issue: this is not a question of whichrnway trucks will carry fish or rutabagas, It is one of regionalrndominance, which will run either along an axis from Constantinoplernwest via Adrianople, Sofia, and Skopje, terminatingrnat the Adriatic port of Durres, or along an axis from Thessalonikirnthrough Skopje to Belgrade and points north. Or, tornput it another way, if, on the one hand, the North/South orientationrnprevails, the Balkan Peninsula and all Central Europe,rnright down to the traditional entranceway into Hades wherernCape Tainaron sinks into the sea, is firmly glued politically,rneconomically, and culturally to the rest of the continent, withrnany serious Muslim influence confined to Turkey’s vestigialrnhold on East Thrace (and even that, some still hope, might sliprntoo). In such a case the main political task in the region is arnrational apportionment of German and Russian spheres ofrninfluence (a decidedly Old World Order term that ought tornbe revived), a formidable but by no means impossible task.rnOn the other hand, if the EastAVcst orientation prevails, thernTurks are back at the gates of Vienna. (Figuratively speaking,rnsince we are talking about the forceful reentry into Europeanrnaffairs of not just Turkey but the Islamic world in a broaderrnsense. Of course, the Bihac “pocket” is still some 200 milesrnfrom Vienna, or 40 miles from Zagreb, but it amounts to thernsame thing). FYROM is the keystone that joins, on the cast,rnthe heavily Muslim Greek-Bulgarian border region extendingrnto European Turkey, and, on the west, Albania, Kosovo (arnprovince in Serbia with a 90 percent Albanian Muslim population),rnSandzak (a Muslim-majority region in rump Yugoslavia,rnstraddlmg the line between Serbia and Montenegro),rnand Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Bosnian Serbs call thisrn”Allah’s Road,” a continuous line of Muslim settlement fromrnthe Turkish border to north of Sarajevo. Cutting that “road”rnhas been one of the Bosnian Serbs’ principal, and thus farrnsuccessful, war aims. During the April 1994 Gorazdc crisis,rnwhich saw the Brst application of American military force inrnthe war, few observers took note of the real Muslim objective:rnto break out of Gorazdc across the nearby BosnianA’ugoslavrnborder to Sandzak. If they had been successful, the Muslimsrnwould not only have restored an important lifeline to the east,rnbut the Yugoslav army would have been forced to react, perhapsrntriggering the long-sought-after American intervention,rnthe Muslims’ only hope of victory.rnAs it turned out, despite massive preparations, the Muslimsrnsuffered another humiliating defeat. The American intervention,rnconsisting of a couple of air strikes, was politicallyrnsignificant but far short of what many observers hoped for.rnStill, for reasons that are not entirely clear, the United Statesrnis unambiguously and consistently aiding the Muslim effort allrnalong “Allah’s Road.” The Istanbul publication Aydinlik reportedrnon May 21, 1994, that hundreds of Muslim youthsrnfrom Sandzak are being secretly brought into Turkey, via FYROM,rnfor commando training. “The project of training thernSandzak Muslims,” it states, “is part of a plan to create ‘a Muslimrnstate in parts of Serbia and Montenegro.’ This also compliesrnwith the views of [Bosnia’s Muslim President Alija]rnIzetbegovic’s party, which is active in Sandzak. It was thernUnited States that put forward the plan to establish a Muslimrnstate in Europe. Saudi Arabia is openly supporting it. Besides,rnTurkey’s secret diplomacy in the Balkans is being financed byrnSaudi Arabia.”rnOn February 14, 1994, the Sofia publication Duma reportedrnon a visit by two American diplomats to the Bulgarian borderrnregion with Greece. According to Duma, their purpose wasrnto help “draw together” Muslim communities and politicalrn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn