Bosnia and Herzegovina become a battleground for world powers

Bosnia and Herzegovina become a battleground for world powers

Lydia Misnik
Bosnia and Herzegovina is in imminent danger of collapse; the country has a “very real” prospect of a return to the war of the 90s. This statement was made earlier this month by Christian Schmidt, High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to him, if the Serbian separatists fulfill their threat to rebuild their own army, breaking the national armed forces of the state in two, more international peacekeepers will have to be sent to the country, and only in this way it will be possible to prevent a new war.
International support
The internal problems of Bosnia and Herzegovina regularly become the subject of discussion in the international arena. Turkey, a member of the Council for the Implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, is also taking part in the fate of the state. On November 9, the head of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Serbs Milorad Dodik met with its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. The Turkish leader called the preservation of peace in the country a priority.
Shortly before this, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations ( UN ) Vasily Nebenzya at a meeting of the Security Council stated that Russia was concerned about the aggravation of the internal political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
In Moscow, external forces were called the catalyst of what was happening, because of which “all the achievements of the long and difficult process of interethnic reconciliation were under a serious threat.”
He noted that Russia, as one of the guarantors of the Dayton Accords, cannot remain indifferent to what is happening.
At the end of September, Dodik met with the representative of the US State Department for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar. As the head of the Bosnian Serbs noted, during the ne-gotiations, the parties spoke about the separation of the Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This issue, according to the politician, “suggests itself as a topic for discussion,” but there were other problems on the agenda.
“We also touched upon other important issues, such as the need to stabilize the political situation in BiH, which has been living a“ illegal ”life for a long time and in which there is a high representative whom we do not recognize. Mr. Escobar certainly supports the role of High Representative. I am not afraid of sanctions, I am already subject to American sanctions, ”the RTRS TV channel quoted Dodik as saying.
He assured that the Republika Srpska would not tolerate interference in its affairs by the international community, usually aimed at forgiving Serbian autonomy and the Dayton Agreement.
The European Union, which Bosnia and Herzegovina aspires to, does not remain indifferent to this either. She applied to join the EU in February 2016. The European Union has repeatedly supported the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Balkan Republic.
“The United States insists that Bosnia and Herzegovina remain united, and Russia reminds that this country must adhere to the Dayton Accords, accor-ding to which the Republ-ika Srpska has a lot of autonomous rights. There-fore, there are nuances, discrepancies between the position of Russia and the position of the US and the EU, ” Elena Guskova, a leading researcher at the Department of Contempor-ary History of Central and Southeastern Europe at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted in a comment to Gazeta.Ru.
She recalled that Russia has historically always patronized the Orthodox Slavic peoples, including the Serbs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, she said, is no exception to the rule.
“If we compare the policies of the United States and Russia in the first half of the 1990s in the Balkans, we will see that Russia did not take any serious political steps there, unlike the United States, which declared the Balkans a zone of US national interests and developed a number of programs there. including Bosnia and Herzegovina, ”said the expert.
Tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina meets the interests of absolutely all international actors: Turkey, the United States, the EU, and Russia, Yekaterina Entina, professor at the HSE Department of International Relations, told Gazeta.Ru.
According to her, Bosnia and Herzegovina is becoming a zone that conditionally does not offend anyone’s national interests, where geopolitical contradictions are being worked out.
“We have returned to a situation commensurate with the Cold War, when the contradictions between the superpowers were brought to some third zones that did not touch the strategic interests of the country. Unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina is now turning into such a zone: nobody cares about it, so there you can bring the situation to the extreme, ”she said.
Experts interviewed by Gazeta.Ru expressed confidence that no one is interested in the collapse of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been much talked about lately.
As Elena Guskova noted, no one ever spoke about the independence of the Republika Srpska or the collapse of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the same time, the expert acknowledged that for many years the Republika Srpska felt the unequal attitude of the United States towards different parts of the country. Autonomy was deprived of a strong part of the army, it lost 68 of its autonomous rights, transferring them to Sarajevo. Republika Srpska also believes that within the country the money received from various organizations, including the EU, is divided incorrectly.
“Therefore, several times, when this feeling of inequality reached the maximum possible height, Dodik stated that the Republika Srpska, if its rights were violated, would strive for independence. But at a meeting of the Senate, when this question was raised, he replied: “I am in favor of us thinking about the secession of the Republika Srpska in the future, but I declare to you openly – the time has not yet come,” the expert quoted him as saying.
According to Ekaterina Entina, it is realistic to say that interethnic tensions are seriously increasing in the country, since the Dayton Agreements stimulate the distribution of the country along ethnic lines, and not on the basis of citizenship.
“None of the nationalities identify themselves as citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They identify themselves as Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. This is the logic laid down by the Dayton Accords themselves. I do not see a real threat that Bosnia will disintegrate. The real threat is that over time the Bosnians, Serbs and Croats not only do not find a point for national reconciliation, but more and more dissociate themselves from each other, ”she said.

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