With the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, an old conflict between Greece and Macedonia has taken on added significance for the international community. Greece has vehemently argued, particularly in the West, that the name Macedonia was in fact Greek and that its use by this new nation in the Balkans portended Macedonia's expansionist ambitions. The Macedonians bitterly disputed this, ting that Alexander the Great was a Macedonian, and adducing many other fascinating and rational arguments.Tensions were said to have been reduced by an interim agreement between the two countries, but the attempted assassination of Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov in October 1995 has again heightened hostility in the area. The genesis of the conflict is detailed here, as well as the modern day events that have led many observers to believe that the area is a flashpoint for a major war, greater than that in Bosnia.
John Shea is a senior associate of the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia. He lives in Australia.