Friday, August 26, 2016


Bosnia On The Verge Of Dissolution?

The seat of the Bosnian Presidency
The seat of the Bosnian Presidency
By Nenad Pejic
This summer I spent a few days in the Bosnia-Herzegovinian town of Medjugorje, which has been visited by millions of pilgrims since apparitions of the Virgin Mary were reported there in 1981. The region is also known across Bosnia for its aspiration to become part of Croatia.

That dream hasn't come true, but this summer locals there told me how happy they were to be paying a special surtax for the construction of a motorway from Hungary through Sarajevo to the Adriatic coast. "We see this as a great opportunity for Medjugorje and the region," I was told. "This will make Poland two hours closer to us -- imagine how many Polish pilgrims will come then!"

An optimist might see this as a chance for economic development and strengthening Bosnia. A pessimist might wonder whether the deeply divided Bosnia could pull off such a project. In this case, as we will see, the pessimist is correct.

Senior Cynicism

But first, a bit of a digression.

A few days ago, Nebojsa Radmanovic, the ethnic Serbian member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency, said in an interview with the Belgrade-based daily "Evening News" that Bosnia is one step closer to dissolution than it is to being a functioning state. That is a harsh statement to be coming from one of the three men in Bosnia most responsible for seeing to it that Bosnia functions as a state. If Bosnia is not "working," he and the other two presidency members are the first ones to be blamed.

But that doesn't bother Radmanovic, for whom the dissolution of Bosnia would be just fine.

About 10 days ago, Serbian President Boris Tadic visited Bosnia. He participated in the opening of a school called "Serbia" in Pale, about 15 kilometers from Sarajevo. Addressing the crowd, he said Serbia "bears responsibility wherever our people live."

"Serbia is responsible for all the people who bear our name," he said.

This was a provocative thing to say, given the name of the school.

But it wasn't Tadic's only provocation.

He visited Bosnia without being invited by the authorities of that country or attempting to meet with its leaders. His motorcade passed by the building of the Bosnian Presidency without slowing down. Instead, he met only with leaders of the ethnic Serbian community. The visit was a replay of a similar visit he made to Banja Luka, the capital of Republika Srpska (the ethnic Serbian entity within Bosnia), in June. Both trips sent the same message and served to incrementally weaken the Bosnian state.

Gestures like Tadic's and statements like Radmanovic's have encouraged leaders in Banja Luka. Recently, for instance, Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik denied the crimes against humanity committed in Tuzla in 1995, even though the war crimes tribunal at The Hague has established the incident and sentenced the responsible general to 20 years in prison for causing the deaths of 71 civilians. Dodik knows these facts, but his statement was intended to stir up enmity and foster ethnic tensions.

About a month ago, Bosnian Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Trisic-Babic said she might step down because she could not work with Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj. Alkalaj then confirmed the two had not spoken directly for months, maybe even years. Is this a functioning state?

My Way Or The Highway

Getting back to Medjugorje: The people there will not see an influx of Polish pilgrims, and who knows if the motorway will ever be built. The parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Muslim-majority entity of Bosnia, adopted a law on the highway and introduced the surtax, which people were happy to pay.

But the entity's executive branch -- led by representatives of the Muslim community -- unilaterally changed the law. As a result, the Croat representatives in the government walked out of a government session.

Clearly, when an executive branch rewrites laws passed by a legislature, the country is weakened. It's another step toward dissolution, and in this case, the Muslim representatives are to blame.

On September 17, their party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), was expected to announce whether it would suspend participation in the entity's government because the others oppose its nominee for the government's top security post.

Such "my-way-or-the-highway" behavior, again, weakens the state, and pushes it closer to dissolution. In Sarajevo it is a widely held perception that Muslim representatives often exploit their majority position to push their own agenda at the expense of other ethnic groups. More steps down the path toward dissolution.

And what about the international community?

An intellectual in Sarajevo told me last week that Bosnia is like a sick patient who needs hospital treatment, but who is told he must recover before he can be admitted. The world -- particularly the EU -- has been slow to respond to developments in Bosnia, usually reacting slowly rather than acting decisively. And that, too, is pushing the country toward dissolution.

Nenad Pejic is associate director of broadcasting for RFE/RL. The views expressed in this commentary are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL
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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 4
by: Ivo
September 18, 2009 12:41
If the West and especially the USA (i.e. the ones who fund RFERL) didn't want to pour oil in the fire of irredentist aspirations they shouldn't have carved out Kosovo out of Serbia in first place. <br /><br />All that how it's a unique case etc is a hypocritic bull.... <br /><br />You reap what you sow, pity you can't be objective about it and have to go by the official line.

by: Brazilian Man from: S&#227;o Paulo - SP, Brazil
September 20, 2009 04:44
I think the problem of Bosnia is not “ethnic”, since the there are no significant differences between the hair colors of Bosnians, and all of them live in similar places and speak the Serbo-Croatian language.<br /><br />The problem is, basically, political: the politicians and their state-owned media mouthpieces use religion and clan surname as a way to stir up “nationalism” and keep the divisions that keep them powerful, corrupt and rich.<br /><br />The Dayton Agreement of 1995 stopped the war, but cemented the division created by politicians, mainly the “Greater Serbia” masterminds of Republika Srpska.<br /><br />Bosnia to function must have a sole and effective country-wide parliament, prime minister and just one person in the presidency of the republic, and scrap the “three-nationality power scheme” and put a unified, civillian-based, constitution of the country.

by: Brazilian Man from: S&#227;o Paulo - SP, Brazil
September 20, 2009 04:49
And about Kosovo… well, it wasn’t “carved out of” Serbia — in fact, Kosovo existed in its current borders since the end of World War II and had an autonomous parliament and governemnt from Central Serbia’s until Slobodan Milosevic dissolved the Kosovar autonomy and imposed Serb military-police rule in the 1990s.<br /><br />Quite different from the war-gerrymandered territories of Bosnia’s “Republika Srspka”, carved out from the former unified Bosnia by the guns of Ratko Mladic and Arkan Raznatovic between 1992 and 1995.

by: Antifascist
September 21, 2009 00:06
Exactly right, Brazilian Man, I have nothing to add to it. Except that Kosovo will NEVER return under Serb rule; and as for Bosnia, let the Bosnian Serbs try something foolish. Actually, Dodik is only interested in making troubkle so he can keep at his evil ittle scheme (which is to continue RS as it was under Karadzic: a huge organized crime operation to enrich its leaders, and nothing else. However, the day may come when Dodik will have to take himself by his own word; and then, the Bosniaks will have to defend themselves. And since they know what to expect (more of the same as last time: Brute force, bad faith, treachery, oppression, persecution, robbery, rape, destruction, exile, death) they will not let themselves be led like lambs to the slaughter. They will make it as hard and as bitter as they can for the Serbs, and they will NOT be brought to their knees!

by: Martin Bright
September 21, 2009 05:09
One must remember that the only people who up until today have been permanently ethnic cleansed in the balkans are the plus 200 thousnand krajina serbs and the +200 thousands kosovo serbs, and the international community say nothing about. <br />And I agree with brazilian man that the problem is not ethnic but political one: elite people who manipulates their correligionists in order to thriver in the mess.<br />Sadly that our governments begin the war by recognizing Croatia back in the 1990s

by: Sergey
September 21, 2009 11:36
If Yugoslavia is divisible, then Bosnia should be divisible too. I don't think that Christian Serbs or Croats should be forced to live under Muslim rule with all the accolates that come with it, such as Sharia Law (Stoning of Women for adultery, amputation of limbs for petty theft, etc.). Some may say that Islam in Bosnia is &quot;Europeanized&quot;, but this is nothing but a wishful thinking. Islam is Islam--a rigid, imperialistic and totalitarian religious and political system and the Western liberal intellectuals (including those working for RFE/RL) better wake up to that harsh reality or we all one day wake up in the worldwide Islamic Caliphate.

by: Brazilian Man from: S&#227;o Paulo - SP, Brazil
September 22, 2009 04:59
Yugoslavia after World War II wasn’t a unitarian state — it was already divided into six republics and two autonomous regions with practically the same status: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and the autonomous Serbian regions of Vojvodina and Kosovo, all of them with equal federal powers under the 1974 constitution. And internally each republic and autonomous region was unitary with its own parliament and capital.<br /><br />Milosevic and his henchmen (the SANU intellectuals, most of the Yugoslav Army, Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, Vojislav Seselj, Arkan Raznatovic, etc.) were the responsible to upset the federal order that existed since 1946 and reformed in 1974 in the late 80’s/early 90’s with the aim to create a “Greater Serbia” trough the suppression of political autonomy of Vojvodina and mainly Kosovo and the carving up of Croatian and Bosnian territories to annex them into a centralized Serbian dictatorship with its command in Belgrade.<br /><br />The general bankruptcy of European communism and the nationalist plans of war criminal Slobodan Milosevic were the factors responsible for the violent end of Yugoslavia.

by: Antifascist
September 22, 2009 10:33
By the year 2018 the Bosniaks will be the majority in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then there will be no way the Serbofascists will carve it up, and all those non-Bosniaks who hate and reject Bosnia can go to Serbia or Croatioa. After all they all have Serb or Croat passports, so what's keeping them? But Bosnia-Herzegovina will NOT be partitioned, the Bosniaks will NOT be ghettoized and turned into the Palestinians of Europe, the cross will NOT chase the Crescent from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the whole world will have to accept the fact that there IS a people professing the Muslim faith in Europe, there ARE native Muslims in Europe, and they have a right to live in a free, sovereign and undivided country! And Muslims are NOT second-class human beings who can be kept subdued! And everybody who thinks so is just plainly inhuman, foul and evil!

by: Sergey
September 22, 2009 11:39
&quot;The general bankruptcy of European communism and the nationalist plans of war criminal Slobodan Milosevic were the factors responsible for the violent end of Yugoslavia. &quot;<br /><br />To a large extent it is true. However, there is also a big danger of Islamist takeover of Balkans as the result of dissolution of Yugoslavia and the creation of 2 Islamic enclaves on its former territory--Muslim part of Bosnia and Kosovo. Bosnian grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric, for example, hailed by Western liberals as &quot;moderate&quot;, in several interviews proclaimed that his ideal would be to have Sharia law instituted in Bosnia. He also wants Sharia law to be incorporated into Bosnia constitution. <br /><br /><br /><br />Also throughout 1992-1995 war, thousands of Jihadists from North Africa to Afghanistan and Pakistan went to Bosnia to assist Bosnian Muslims in the war against Milosevic Serbia and Bosnian Serbs. A number of Mujahedeen stayed behind in Bosnia after the war was over and they brought with them rigid form of Islam. Many of them also joined the vast network of Islamic terrorists in Europe. For instance, the Islamist preacher Abu Hamza (currently imprisoned in England for publicly supporting Islamic terrorism and Sharia Law) fought in Bosnia under assumed name in the early 1990's.<br /><br />During Marshal Tito times in Yugoslavia, Islam was largely decorative and there could not be, of course any talk of Sharia law or Jihad. Certainly, I am aware of numerous abuses that were going on in Tito's Communist Yugoslavia. However, we have to acknowledge that Tito's rigid police state had success in keeping Islamists (and Serbian or Croatian extreme nationalists) at bay.<br /><br />While I am not defending brutalities and crimes of Milosevic regime, the Western liberal policies that allowed de-facto creation of Muslim enclaves in the former Yugoslavia is a terrible strategic blunder that will imperil Western Civilization and security in a not too distant future.

by: Antifascist
September 22, 2009 22:37
So what do you want to do about it, Sergey? Do you think the genocide against the Bosniaks can be justified? Or that the best thing is to ghettoize, decimate and expel the Bosniaks, since their very presence &quot;is an Islamist beachhead in Europe?&quot; By your statements, you are an avowed Islamophobe and a fascist. Woe betide the country where people with your ideas should gain power. It would be Nazism all over again. I would not want to be part of such an Europe and indeed I woudl feel like those antifascist germans who were in Britain or the USA during World War II. So to you it is all right when the Bosniaks are put down because &quot;they imperil Western civilization&quot;. To you all Muslims are Islamists and dangerous subversives.Then you are as fascist as the new Julius Streicher Geert Wilders! &quot;thousands of jihadists in Bosnia&quot; Dirty propaganda lies! the Bosniaks had more than enough manpower, they lacked heavy weapons, and there was only a handful of foreign fighters. And you will NOT bury the Bosniaks Sergey, THE CROSS WILL NEVER CHASE the CRESCENT FROM THE BALKANS. THE BANNER OF ISLAM SHALL NEVER BE LOWEREED IN BOSNIA! And I tell you, the Bosniaks have NO interest in convertingteh non-Muslims by force nor to &quot;export the Islamic revolution to the rest of Europe!&quot; They just want to live in freedom and peace, like all the rest of the people in the world, and by saying they are &quot;jihadists&quot; or &quot;are a beachhead of islamism in Europe that will eventualy destroy Western culture&quot; you essentially say that it is right to put them down, and even though you deny it you support what Milosevic did! You said yourself that human rights violations against Muslims in Tito's Yugoslavia are justifiable! And even if you really did not approve of any human rights violations committed against Muslims, people who read your statements would use your arguments as a justification! Islamophobia and that drivel about &quot;Eurabia&quot; is nothing but FASCISM! And fascism is not an opinion it's a CRIME! And ALL fascists are CRIMINALS! ANd besides that, you are insulting me personally! So you say, because I profess the Muslim faith I am a dangerous subversive who ought to be put under observation, or in jail, or expelled! Like al Islamophobes you only show that you are nothing but a bigot, racist and xenophobe, and Mankind can very well do without people like that!
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