Monday, November 22, 2021

Problems in Bosnia

There is a great article from one of the students I worked with in Sarajevo. It explains what is going on there now, and it isn't good. I'll summarize for those not familiar with Bosnian politics. 

And, while it may not seem important, the wars in the 1990s caused death, displacement and systematic rape of muslim women - and pulled in European and American forces.

The Bosnian war ended in a fragile peace that was designed to be replaced by a elected government within 5 years. That is the Dayton Peace Accords, negotiated in part by Warren Christopher, President Clinton's Secretary of State, and Richard Holbrook, lead negotiator. (Just as aside, this was one of the major areas where US involvement was very effective. So effective that Bosniaks still have a great opinion of Americans.

That was over 20 years ago. To end the war, one of the details was to divide the country into two units temporarily. The Srpska Republic, made up of Serbian Bosnians (Orthodox) and the Bosnia / Croat Federation, made up of Bosniaks (Muslims) and Croats (Catholics).

Occasionally the Serbians in Srpska demand to be confederated with Serbia. This has always been opposed by the Bosniaks and Croats, because it would lead to war or a rump state that is not viable (the entire country is the size of West Virginia). It is also opposed by the European forces that kept the peace for decades and the Americans who do not want to be drug into another conflict.

But patience rewards despotes that are persistent. In this case the Serbian head of the Srpska Republic has announced he plans to pull out of Bosnia in deed if not officially yet. He plans his own Bosnian Serbian army, seperate from the Bosnian Government. He has then announced plans to secede and join Serbia. This will probably cause another war in the region.

With problems in European Union and with America's attention elsewhere, the Serbian leader has not had any real (external) pushback. The Srpska entity is getting diplomatic support from Russia and China, who sense a foothold in Europe via Serbia and Serbian interests. They have prevented the UN from even hearing from the Bosnian representative in the Security Council.

They support Serbia, in part, to deny the West from another diplomatic win in the region. Four post-Yugoslav states have entered NATO (Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and North Macedonia). The first two are members of the EU. A war in this region will be terrible.

Anywho, watch the region. It could be trouble.

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