SHEIKH STOJAN – Tito’s Arabist passes away

by Sasha Uzunov

Stojan Andov has died (1935-2024). He was Macedonia’s first Parliamentary Speaker (1991-96; 2000-02) when it became independent on 8 September 1991 by breaking away from the then disintegrating Yugoslavia. 

Andov, a former high ranking communist Yugoslav official and diplomat, in 1990 set up his own political party, the Liberal Party, after the collapse of communism. The Macedonian politician became a leading player along with Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov in the early years of Macedonia’s independence, including Greece’s attempts to economically and politically suffocate the country.

Greece used all of its diplomatic clout and closeness to the United States to destabilise Macedonia because Greece opposed the use of the name of Macedonia. Athens blocked Macedonia’s international recognition, and applications to join the European Union and NATO military alliance.

On 4 October 1995, Andov became acting President of Macedonia after Gligorov was seriously wounded by a car bomb in a failed assassination attempt in Skopje, the Macedonian capital. Andov later gained notoriety in claiming the then Interior Minister, Ljubomir Frcoski was behind the assassination attempt on Gligorov.

Top left: Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. Top right: Ljubomir Frckoski. Bottom left: Stojan Andov.

Andov in the 1970s ran the Yugoslav government’s Africa/Middle East economic office and did a stint as Yugoslav Ambassador to Iraq (1987-91). In 1990 Iraq invaded neighbouring Kuwait. In January 1991, a United States led coalition fought a short but successful war to liberate Kuwait.

During the 1970s and 80s Andov had the unique distinction of selling Yugoslav weapons on behalf of Tito to Arab strongmen such as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Hafez Al Assad and non Arab (Persian) Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Andov worked on strengthening Gaddafi-Tito links in the 1970s.

To have held such a very sensitive position in Communist Yugoslavia, Andov in all likelihood – balance of probabilities- was also a SID officer. SID was the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry’s own intelligence service, separate from SDB or UDBa, the Yugoslav Intelligence Service also known as YIS.

SHIFTING ALLEGIANCESkeeper of secrets. Prized asset

He became a strong “supporter” of the US post 1991. With his extensive knowledge of Tito’s Middle East arms dealing and contacts it would’ve been crazy for the US to have cut him loose! Andov would have been a prized asset for Washington.

Andov backed US’s foreign policy agenda on Macedonia, which included name change to satisfy Greek demands. But when the US managed to strong arm Macedonia into changing its name via controversial Prespa Agreement that Macedonia signed with Greece in 2018, Andov had long left politics but played the role of senior pundit for the Macedonian media to quote.


Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic communist federation founded in 1945, modelled on the Soviet Union, and fell apart in 1991 into various independent nation states. Communist strongman Marshal Josip Broz Tito ruled Yugoslavia until his death in 1980 and during the height of the Cold War managed a great balancing act between East and West. He was seen as an indirect ally of the West after his infamous split with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in 1949.

Tito deliberately cultivated the Third World or emerging nations that sprung from post World War II de-colonisation in Africa, Asia. He drew close to oil rich Arab states such as Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria.

From the CIA archives – link
1987 CIA archive – link