INAUGURATION OF THE NEW SERBIAN LEADER IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
|The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses events in the Middle East and the Balkans. IFIMES has prepared an analysis of the current political events in the region in view of the recently concluded US Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most relevant and interesting sections from the comprehensive analysis entitled “Inauguration of the new Serbian leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina” are given below.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
INAUGURATION OF THE NEW SERBIAN LEADER IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The US Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo from 19 to 21 May 2009 is an expression of the restored interest of the new US Administration in the Balkans and Bosnia and Herzegovina as the central country in the region. It also represents the end of the “Dayton phase” of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the beginning of the new phase of upgrading the Dayton Agreement or entering into a new agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Dayton Agreement should not be regarded or understood outside the context of other diplomatic efforts for the region carried out during the same period. The “Z4” Plan was marked by the cooperation of four ambassadors – of the US, Russia, Britain and the EU – and envisaged the division of Croatia into several enclaves whereby about one fourth of the territory would belong to the so called Serbian enclaves. However, the plan failed since the Croatian authorities feared the consequences of its implementation and therefore prevented its realisation with the military operations called “Flash” and “Storm”, carried out with the material support of the USA. That was possible since Croatia was in a much better position than Bosnia and Herzegovina at that point in time.
Nevertheless, it is becoming more and more clear why the Dayton Agreement has been ineffective. If the Dayton Agreement was implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina together with the implementation of the “Z4” Plan in Croatia, this would have represented a single Balkan agreement. However, as the “Z4” Plan failed, the Dayton Agreement was also doomed to fail, since its merit lies in its joint implementation with the “Z4” Plan in Croatia. The Dayton Agreement thus ended the war, but it has not contributed to the modernisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The activities of the responsible statesmen should not be aimed at strengthening the Dayton Agreement but at creating the firm foundations of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim of achieving stability in the whole region and accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures. This can be realised with the new agreement and international monitoring or with the new regulation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Dayton Agreement was signed almost 14 years ago by three presidents who have all passed away. One of them was the citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of the other two, one died in the Hague while the other one died during his term of office as president of the state. As such, the Dayton Agreement can not serve as the basis for a modern European state, which Bosnia and Herzegovina wishes to become.
In this context the entities of Republika Srpska and the Federation of BiH should be regarded as temporary structures and administrative arrangements.
The fact is that the Dayton Agreement newer was applied to its full capacity and therefore can not be used as a permanent structure. It may be therefore expected that the US Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina will be followed by the appointment of a special US envoy to the Balkans. Most probably the special envoy would have already been appointed were it not for the strong influence from Richard Holbrook who is in favour of appointing a diplomat close to him. However, the analysts regard his influence as fatal due Richard Holbrook’s role in the Balkans during the period 1992-1995.
The US are aware of the mistakes made in Bosnia and Herzegovina and have realised that steps should be made to modernise this state, which can be best achieved through the planned constitutional amendments.
Biden’s visit to BiH was given additional gravity by the simultaneous visit of the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, as well as by the fact that the US and the EU have assumed a harmonised position on Bosnia and Herzegovina and its future.
IGOR RADOJIČIĆ – NEW SERBIAN LEADER IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Chairman of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (NSRS) Igor Radojičić has organised the “prayer breakfast” to take place in Banja Luka from 22 to 24 May 2009. He is trying to present this as a regional event modelled on the traditional White House Prayer Breakfast organised by the President of the US.
The prayer breakfast in Banja Luka actually represents the inauguration of Igor Radojičić as the new Serbian leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While in Bosnia and Herzegovina all the attention was focused on Milorad Dodik, the present Chairman of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska Igor Radojičić publicly and secretly met international officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina and abroad and prepared for taking over the position of the leader of Serbs in BiH (this has been dealt with in the IFIMES analysis from September 2008 ). Thus Radojičić, who proclaims himself an ethnic Montenegrin, will be informally inaugurated at the prayer breakfast as the new leader of Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This represents the continuation of the tradition according to which the leaders of the Serbian nation in Bosnia and Herzegovina are of Montenegrin nationality, such as Radovan Karadžić who is the Montenegrin citizen born in Montenegro. It should be noted that the invitation for the “prayer breakfast” does not state the name Bosnia and Herzegovina but only that of Republika Srpska, which is an evident attempt to present Republika Srpska as an independent state rather than an entity within the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, the protocol for the prayer breakfast in Banja Luka was organised in Belgrade.
The question is who can be the organiser of the prayer breakfast. Surely it has to be a person with the real moral and political credibility, which is not the case with Radojičić as the vice president of Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD). SNSD is a political party whose members have openly expressed anti-Semitism (which was mentioned in previous analyses). SNSD does not have any clear positions on the committed genocide, return of refugees and displaced persons nor on human rights and freedoms. Individual SNSD officials do not comprehend the concept of rule of law and believe that police investigations against Serbs can not be carried out by police officers who are Croats and that Serbs can not be prosecuted by judges who are Muslim. In the Republika Srpska entity the buildings of the Muslim community are still being destroyed, burned and devastated, war crimes convicts are escaping from prisons (the crimes convict Radovan Stanković escaped from the prison in Foča in May 2007), the situation in prisons is disastrous, Republika Srpska is engaged in illegal armament, organised crime and corruption are constantly on the increase, Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina have turned into an oasis for criminals while the authorities in Republika Srpska are attempting to publicly discredit the representatives of Transparency International. The activities of the political opposition have been minimised. The present authorities of Republika Srpska continue to apply the legal regulation of the war authorities led by Radovan Karadžić. The organiser of the prayer breakfast in Banja Luka Igor Radojičić is reasonably suspected to be a member of the criminal organisation which is not trying to hide its intention to proclaim a new state of Republika Srpska in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The National Assembly of Republika Srpska (NSRS) is an institution in which religious leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church perform religious ceremonies at constitutive meetings of the parliament and in which deputies take their oaths as part of the ritual of the Serbian Orthodox Church which also organises meetings of Orthodox deputies. This is a typical example of clericalisation of the society or a threat to the secular society. Other religious communities in Republika Srpska (notably the Roman Catholic Church and the Muslim community) do not have the same status and position.
On the basis of the above facts analysts have noted that the concept of the prayer breakfast has been misused in order to achieve certain political goals, which may even devalue the traditional Prayer Breakfast organised by the US President in the White House.
DEFEAT OF SDA
The upcoming 5th congress of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) scheduled for 26 May 2009 will be held under very unfavourable circumstances which the Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina are currently facing. They have found themselves in the most difficult situation since the end of the war in 1995. Most blame for such situation can be attributed to Sulejman Tihić (SDA) and Haris Silajdžić (Party for BiH), who have marginalised the role and importance of Bosniak/Bosnian politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The upcoming congress of SDA as the strongest political party in Bosnia and Herzegovina is therefore of extreme importance.
Election of SDA President at the congress represents the most speculative election of a party president in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three candidates have already submitted their candidacies: the incumbent president Sulejman Tihić, vice president Bakir Izetbegović and deputy president Adnan Terzić.
So far SDA has managed to survive thanks to the political legacy of Alija Izetbegović, but now it is facing its political destruction. Following the defeat at the 2006 parliamentary elections Tihić was expected to resign his position of SDA president in order to prevent further internal disintegration of the party. Tihić was defeated despite the assistance of German Christian Democrats (CDU) at the 2006 elections. However, as a return favour Tihič had to enable some German companies close to CDU to enter the energy sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina (which was dealt with in the IFIMES analysis from September 2006). This was the reason why Tihić spared no effort to prevent the other political lobby in Bosnia and Herzegovina to enter the energy sector.
By signing the so called Prud Agreement and adopting the constitutional amendment regarding the Brčko district, Tihič bestowed the territory of the Brčko district on Republika Srpska and enabled its territorial continuity. The creation of a compact (integrated) territory is a precondition for forming a new state on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is essential for the entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to have territorial discontinuity in order to prevent any intentions to form compact territories and eventually proclaim new states on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tihič was awarded for his willingness to cooperate by the regime-led media in Republika Srpska which named him personality of the year 2008 in Republika Srpska, which marked the beginning of the end of his political carrier. Sulejman Tihić is undoubtedly a "worn out" politician who makes big promises to international officials while in practice there is very little he can do and who has no control over the situation in SDA. Election engineering and pressuring the voting decisions of the delegates may be expected at the upcoming SDA congress. Analysts believe that Tihić is trying to transform SDA as a national party into some kind of a social-democratic party which would inherit also a part of the communist legacy.
At its 5th congress SDA will probably experience what had already been expected after the departure of Alija Izetbegović – further weakening of its political strength. The same happened to all major parties after the departure of their big leaders. In such situation the mitigating factor for SDA is Haris Silajdžić (SBiH), who has been politically weakened and marginalised.
Analysts have noted that the politics led by Sulejman Tihić (SDA) and Haris Silajdžić (SBiH) have proven to be baleful for Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are facing the most difficult situation since the end of the war and who will obviously have to select their new leaders.
CREATING NEW REALITIES
Analysts are pointing to the detrimental effects of politicians who are trying to attribute special meaning to the realities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The realities for Bosnia and Herzegovina are the war, ethnic cleansing, genocide and their consequences. It is the task of the responsible politicians to create new realities in the interest of all the citizens. The dominant expression of ethnic or religious affiliation is an anachronism which will bring Bosnia and Herzegovina back to the 19th century instead of developing into a modern European state of the 21st century.
The IFIMES International Institute is of the opinion that in view of the present constellation of relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is of vital importance for this country to become a NATO member as soon as possible in order to prevent the rhetorical and any other expression of intentions of eventual secession or separatism.
Ljubljana, 26 May 2009
International Institute for Middle-East
and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) – Ljubljana