Bosnia: The Looming Storm

General November 21, 2007


By: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

Bosnia is supposed to be enacting constitutional reforms aimed at
transitioning the state to European Union (EU) membership from the
stabilisation brought by the Dayton Accords. The Dayton Accords, which ended
the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict, upheld the territorial sovereignty of the
independent state of Bosnia while dividing it into two largely-autonomous
entities: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska (Serb
Republic). Inherent in Bosnia's transition to the EU is the EU (and American)
requirement that Bosnia strengthen its state institutions at the expense of
its entities.

The constitutional reforms proposed for Bosnia are contentious however because
Bosnian Islamists, such as Bosnia's Muslim President Haris Silajdzic, are not
interested in seeing Republika Srpska's institutions scaled down -- they want
Republika Srpska abolished. The Islamists want to extend Muslim rule across
all of Bosnia. Meanwhile, because Bosnia is a Muslim-majority state and
Bosnian Serbs -- traditionally and culturally Serbian Orthodox -- have no wish
to be dominated by Muslims, the Bosnian Serbs want to retain the autonomy that
safeguards their religious liberty, security and culture. As it is, the
traditionally Catholic Croats of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation are so sick
of being discriminated against by the increasingly radicalised Muslim majority
(see link 1) that they want to leave the federation. Croat groups are
petitioning for a separate Croat-majority entity where they can enjoy their
constitutional rights.

(For more details on Bosnia's radicalisation, religious tensions,
constitutional reforms and background history, see link 2.)

All this of course is very frustrating for Slovak diplomat Miroslav Lajcak,
the High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, who is
supposed to be orchestrating Bosnia's transition. Lajcak recently complained
to an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent
Council meeting in Vienna, "No one wants to be a minority and they all want to
have a state." (Link 3)

Through this complaint, Lajcak not only displays contempt for the genuine
complaints and concerns of religious minorities, he also misrepresents the
truth. For unlike Serbia's minority Albanians, Bosnia's Croats and Serbs have
not been calling for an independent "state". They simply desire the autonomy
that would enable them to safeguard their religious liberty, security and
culture within the Muslim-majority state. If the "International Community"
(US, EU, UN) orchestrate the re-subjugation of the Bosnian Serbs (and Croats),
then Bosnia might end up transitioning, not forwards from stabilisation to EU
membership, but backwards from paralysis to crisis to ethnic-religious conflict.

LAJCAK IMPOSES LAWS AND TRIGGERS WORST CRISIS SINCE WAR

On 19 October, High Representative Miroslav Lajcak exercised his supreme power
and decreed changes to the law that rules how Bosnia's democratically elected
federal Council of Ministers conducts its business.

Lajcak's imposed changes to Bosnia's law on the Council of Ministers will
benefit Islamists by making it easier for them to have their proposals passed.
Previously when lawmakers representing the Muslim majority put forward
proposals that were unacceptable to Republika Srpska, Bosnian Serb lawmakers
(when they knew they could not get a majority to defeat the proposal) would
simply boycott the session to force a postponement of the vote. Lajcak's
measures alter the way a quorum is calculated and reduce by half the number of
members of parliament needed to pass a law. Laws may now be passed on the
majority votes of the lawmakers present, rendering ethnic boycotts
ineffective. (Link 4)

The President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, rejected Lajcak's measures,
describing them as unacceptable. When Bosnian Serb lawmakers requested Lajcak
to reconsider, he rebuffed them, saying that the matter was not open for
discussion! Lajcak regards the resultant crisis as "artificial". According to
Lajcak the Bosnian Serbs have "overreacted to these measures in order to
create a political crisis". Once again Lajcak is showing contempt for the
genuine and reasonable concerns of the religious minorities who regard this as
a substantial crisis.

The Office for the High Representative has issued a statement confirming that
Lajcak's measures will not be withdrawn, crisis or not. Terrorism analyst Anes
Alic in Sarajevo quotes the OHR statement as saying: "If the tensions continue
to escalate without particular reason, that will be the choice of the Bosnian
Serb authorities and they would be therefore deemed responsible for such a
situation and possible consequences." According to Alic, "The US Embassy in
Sarajevo issued a similar statement." (Link 5)

The new laws are now in force on a temporary basis. If Bosnia's Council of
Ministers fails to endorse the law changes on 1 December, Lajcak (an
unelected, imposed foreigner) will enact them unilaterally. The Republika
Srpska (RS) Assembly has warned that if Lajcak does not reconsider or amend
his measures to make them acceptable to Bosnian Serbs, then the RS Assembly
will bring the issue to the attention of the RS Constitutional Court and even
to the UN. (Link 6)

BALKAN FORECAST

Balkan forecast for December: dark clouds with storms (possibly violent and
highly destructive, especially in the south). Unless changes blow in, 1
December will see Lajcak, with backing from the US and EU, dictating laws in
Bosnia that threaten Serb autonomy, liberty and security, opening the door for
Islamists to gradually extend their rule and dominance over all Bosnia,
including its 1.4 million Serbs. Then on 10 December Albanian separatists in
the Serbian province of Kosovo, with backing from the US and most EU member
states, will declare unilateral independence. With this, Muslims will have
re-annexed Serbian territory, the southern province of Kosovo and Metohija
(church lands), complete with some 100,000 remnant Serbs and centuries of
priceless Serbian and Christian heritage.

Note: US-EU-NATO policy regarding Bosnia -- ethnic-religious unification
according to the will of the Muslim majority -- is contrary to its policy
regarding Serbia -- ethnic-religious partition according to the will of the
Muslim minority.

Serbs (allies of the West through two world wars) are supposed to willingly
submit to re-subjugation in Bosnia and accept partition of Serbia -- the
excision of their historic and spiritual heartland -- in line with the demands
of Albanian ethnic separatists and Islamists.

The only thing consistent about US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans is that it
consistently aligns with Muslim forces and advances the Islamist agenda at the
expense of Christian peoples, in particular Orthodox Slavs. It is reminiscent
of the way Britain aligned with the Ottoman Turks in the Balkans a century
ago, propping up Muslim forces as a bulwark against Russian expansion into the
region.

US-EU-NATO policy in the Balkans has nothing to do with justice or "democracy"
or humanitarianism and everything to do with post Cold War geopolitics,
without regard for "collateral damage" (local Christians) or long-term
consequences (regional and global instability and insecurity).

Elizabeth Kendal
[email protected]

Links

1) BALKAN MUJAHEDEENS
Fundamentalist Islam Finds Fertile Ground in Bosnia
By Renate Flottau in Sarajevo, Bosnia. 9 November 2007
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,516214,00.html

2) Bosnia and Herzegovina: Religious tensions rising.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 19 September 2006.
By WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.
http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/view.htm?id=692
(this posting also contains a historical background under the heading:
"CREATING CONTEXT: HISTORY'S WEDGES")
SEE ALSO
Bosnia: Fragile stability threatened by Islamisation.
WEA RLC News & Analysis, 12 October 2006.
WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal
http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/view.htm?id=721

3) Lajcak: Everyone in Bosnia wants their own state
25 October 2007, Source: Tanjug
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=10&dd=25&nav_id=44869

4) Decision Enacting the Law on Changes and Amendments to the Law on the
Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Friday, 19 October 2007
http://www.ohr.int/decisions/statemattersdec/default.asp?content_id=40687

5) Dangerous rumblings in Bosnia
By Anes Alic in Sarajevo for ISN Security Watch. 2 Nov 2007
http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=18310
SEE ALSO
RS Proposal: No Basis For Further Discussion
OHR Sarajevo | Friday, November 09, 2007
http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/presso/pressr/default.asp?content_id=40821

6) Bosnia Serbs Rebuffed over Imposed Laws
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. 30 Oct 2007
http://www.birn.eu.com/en/110/15/5442/

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