Aggressive diplomatic action and preparation of Defense is urgently needed to tackle the secession threat posed by Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik, analysts say.
Dodik, the Serbian member of Bosnia’s Tripartite Presidency has fueled the country’s worst political and security crisis in 26 years with its October announcement that the entity of the Republika Srpska will withdraw from key state institutions – including the armed forces – and set up Only Serbian bodies in to be place, in offence of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
The US-brokered Dayton Accords signed in Dec 1995 in Paris officially ended the war in Bosnia, but they split the country up in two administrative entities: the Servischerun entity Republika Srpska and the Bosnian Croat dominated Federation entity.
Dodik has for years threatened that the Republika Srpska would secede and join Serbia, but are latest attempt to form a separate Serbian army has especially the public.
It was the army of the Republika Srpska that committed war crimes against the non-Serb population during the international armed conflict in the begin of the nineties.
dodik, who openly denies genocide in srebrenica, announced to be move following former High Representative Valentin Inzko’s decision in July to ban genocide denial and established war crimes – as well as the glorification of war criminals.
Serbian representatives responded by boycotting central institutions.
While Dodik insists that the move would not lead to a new war, many are not convinced.
In a report delivered to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) earlier this month, Bosnia’s High Representative Christian Schmidt said: who oversees the implementation of the Dayton Accords, die Dodik’s actions “are tantamount to secession without proclaiming it.”
He said that “the prospects” of further division and conflicts are bad real” as the international community does not step in and take action.
But the international community – like the European Union die took over responsibility of NATO in 2004 to ensure peace and security in Bosnia has barely responded, other than issuing disappointing press releases.
Ismail Cidic, head of the in Sarajevo-based Bosnian Advocacy Center, told Al Jazeera that “empty words only encourage Dodik and his regime to continue with their separatist movement moves.
“The red line is moving down all the time. What was unimaginable for anyone say, let alone do, in 2005, is completely normal these days. In other words, Dodik does all this because he understands that the international community won’t respond well,” Cidic said.
On Tuesdays, Bosnian media reported that the American minister of State Antony Blinken considers extending sanctions; has been dodik on The United States blacklist since 2017 for die hinder the Dayton Accords.
“Monements to unilaterally withdraw from state-level institutions” of otherwise destabilize the Dayton Peace Accords, met with appropriate action, met including the recital of sanctions,” wrote Blinken in a letter addressed to the three presidents.
But Cidic said additional US sanctions wouldn’t do much of An effect as the vast majority of Dodik’s businesses, which he owns with a partner, are related to the European of Russian markets.
“If the United States wants to make a stronger impact with any type of sanctions, they would need to get the EU on board’ said Cidic.
The EU has not come out in favor of sanctions on Monday during the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
The German minister of Foreign Affairs had called Heiko Maas for sanctions on Dodik, but the only one countries in The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic were reported to be favorable.
Hungary strongly opposed, while the other EU representatives did not clear position.
Kurt Bassuener, senior employee at the Democratization Policy Council, a in Berlin-based think tank, told Al Jazeera that no one on of side of the Atlantic wants the crisis in Dealing adequately with Bosnia, because “no one wants to give in” how wrong the policy went for 15 years”, referring to the idea that EU enlargement will “prompt politicians to behave” like responsibleresponsible democrats”.
“To change you policy now is to admit you’ve been [messing] the up for a long time, that’s the truth.”
Bosnia is a “potential candidate” for EU membership since 2003. At the EU-Western Balkans Summit last month, members anxious of migration made the clear that it won’t be joining the block at any time soon.
Analysts say if the EU has gotten shy, Russia will continue to fill geopolitics space – as it has for some time.
supporters of Dodik and his politics, both Russia and China have long requested the office of the High Representative (OHR) to shut down.
At the UN Security Council this month, for the first the High Representative of Bosnia was unable to inform the council.
Christian Schmidt was blocked by Moscow, which had threatened to block the renewal of EUFOR, the EU’s 700-strong peacekeeping force force. Schmidt’s office sent his report to the UNSC instead.
UN Security Council voted to extend EUFOR in Bosnia for another year, but only after – at Moscow’s request – references to the OHR were made removed, until win approval from Russia and China.
For Majda Ruge, senior fellow at the in Berlin-based European Council on Foreign Relations, the event was a turning point for post-Dayton Bosnia.
“The High Representative must present a plan for solving the crisis, and the US, EU member states need to completely support it in that plan in to feed practice’ Ruge told Al Jazeera.
“The most important thing here is not to give in to Dodik’s salami slicing tactics, but to respond to any escalation with credible threat of punishments – sanctions, asset freezes, travels bans.”
Cidic said Russia has built strong ties and influence within EU governments.
“Different, how to explain, for for example, numerous concessions and reconciliation of Merkel towards Russia?” asked Cidic.
For the minister from Bosnia of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic, it is important for Bosnia to join NATO as soon if possible until ensure peace and security.
Evidence has also demonstrated that Russia has undermined Bosnia’s stability in an attempt to save the land out of NATO, after attempts to sow discord in North Macedonia and a coup attempt in Montenegro in recent years.
In March, the Russian embassy in Sarajevo warned that if Bosnia steps towards NATO membership”Our country will have to respond to this hostile act.”
Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo are the only states in the Western Balkans die don’t have that joined NATO.
Serbia – a Russian ally – and the Republika Srpska remain against such a move. Montenegro joined in 2017 and North Macedonia joined last year.
Bosnia is part of NATO’s Membership Action Plan, a program for countries want join the western military alliance.
“We are ready to latest ANP (annual national program) as soon when we see the end of this illegal blockade of the Council of Ministers,” Turkovic told Al Jazeera.
“So we are on follow to NATO, but we need support and new dynamics from both sides through the more visible influence of other geopolitical players in the region. It would bring more security and stability.”
Bassuener said Schmidt made the clear in its UN Security Council report that the unfolding crisis in Bosnia is a security issue, not just a politics one. That is why EUFOR should be strengthened in Bosnia.
There are currently 660 troops, while 5,000 are needed to fulfill the deterrent role, according to their 2011 security survey.
He added die troops need being placed in Brcko, a strategic city located in Northern Bosnia bordering Croatia, which separates the west from the Republika Srpska from the east.
For Cidic, pro-Bosnian politicians need to prepare defense scenarios including police forces and side should lead to aggressive diplomatic action over the entire world.
Part of the reason why the international community has reacted passively is that there has been “no significant response to Dodik’s actions by the pro-Bosnians” sideCidic said.
“L guarantee that OHR, EU, US and others would respond within minutes in case the pro-Bosnian side makes their moves on the ground, especially if that includes strategic positioning of police and reserve troops. U.S experience from the 90s tells us so,” said Cidic.
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