Interview on the Political Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Šušnica: Moscow and Belgrade will try in every way to transfer the issue of the organization of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the framework and mechanisms of the Dayton Agreement and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the framework of the Security Council, where Russia possesses veto power. That will become possible through the change in the reality of the situation on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, most probably of a military-political nature, which will unpack and destroy the Dayton Agreement.
The political realities that change the rules of the game will be: One, a referendum on the state status of Republika Srpska or the so-called Herceg Bosna either inside or outside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Two, armed incidents that would escalate rapidly, or, Three, the presence of a foreign military force in Bosnia and Herzegovina outside the Dayton agreement. Or a combination of all three realities.
It is important to understand that if a referendum happens (lacking a response from state institutions and leading to an escalation of armed violence before the West strengthens its preventive military presence through the Althea mission 1), Moscow will declare the Dayton Agreement a failed peace, Republika Srpska endangered, and will land in Banja Luka. Every new engagement of international military missions will then be conditioned by the approval of the Security Council, where Russia has a veto!
The Althea mission woud then be observation missions if the Russians approve, and they would exist outside the territory of the Republika Srpska. These are terrible scenarios for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, no matter what they are called, except for Dodik and regime junta in Banja Luka and elsewhere.
Maybe we should begin counting the days till those who will be the first to land at the Banja Luka airport or till those who will be the first to take an effective stand on the Bosnian side of the border with Serbia. Whoever does that is going to turn the situation in BiH in their favor.
If the West does not promptly respond to calls from Bosnia and Herzegovina and if the American administration does not respond urgently and adequately to these challenges, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, inside and outside, may look on the inauguration of the new American president with bitterness.
Bosnia and Herzegovina may become the first betrayed promise of Biden’s administration, even before it comes to power.
Radiosarajevo.ba: Should all of this be observed in the context of Biden’s victory, as well as his messages that “the work in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not done”?
Šušnica: I think that Biden’s victory has only accelerated the processes which Belgrade and Moscow have been working on for a very long time and with dedication. Lavrov’s aggressive gesture in Sarajevo is not a response to Biden’s administration, but a whistle that indicates time is running out and the game they have prepared for years can begin any time soon.
If it did not happen now, it would happen in four years, perhaps in an even more favorable climate for the disintegration of Bosnia and for moving the borders in the Balkans. The key disruptive force in the region, especially for Bosnia and Herzegovina, is not Moscow, but the regime and the political structures in Serbia, never demilitarized and pacified, and never forced to admit to their state’s responsibility for the war and genocide.
The regime in Belgade has rehabilitated political ideas and forces from the 1990’s; they have a strategy and the key political and security levers in the region. They promote political processes open up to Moscow, Beijing, Turkey or European ultra-rightists, African and Asian autocrats, for anyone who can be of benefit to their “national” interests.
The regime in Belgrade and the one in Banja Luka are now facing a key choice: escalate immediately, create the favorable conditions on the ground and call on Moscow to intervene or else miss this moment and try to maintain the quo status, until, for them, escalation is inevitable.
I believe that many are aware and many are unaware that Belgrade and Moscow will never have a more favorable moment or a better constellation of forces and international relations in the region and Europe for intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina than they have during the next few months. For the radical minds in Serbia, this is a historic chance.
When historical processes come to the point where opponents see at the same time a historic chance, wars are not the exception, but the rule!
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