Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dodik and Status of RS

Recently the PM of the RS has made several statements calling for the RS to seceed from Bosnia-Herzegovina, citing the recent secession of Montenegro from Serbia. He has also stated that he wouldn't support EU demanded reforms of the security apparatus, including the creation of single police force.

While one could easily dismiss Dodik's statements as an example of pre-election posturing, the heart of the matter, the status of the RS has been a decisive point ever since the Dayton Accords.

Dayton, which ended the war, also left many unaswered questions about the peace. Principle amongst these question was the status of the RS, what degree of autonomy should it have, what should its relationship be with the Muslim Croat federation, and even whether the creation of the RS was morally justifiable in the first place.
In this recent election, Bosniak politicians like Haris Silajdzic have openly called for the RS dismantling.

My own personal point of view is that there should be one unified Bosnia, without either a RS or a Muslim-Croat federation. However, considering the political climate taking place in Bosnia right now, openly calling for the RS dismantling seems to only cause further worry and resentment and help the cause of the pro-secessionists.

I also think that it is fair to say that the EU will try to keep a muzzle on the situation, and that the status of the RS will remain the same as it has for over a decade, a semi-autonomous sector of the Bosnian state.

If Dodik does turn the talk of secession into action, then there will likely be a domino effect throughout Bosnia. I wouldn't be suprised if that would give any inspiration to the remnants of the Herceg-Bosna leadership in Herzegovina.
Either way, I can't imagine there not being the break out of another Balkan war if the RS tries to formally seceed.

The silver linging of this story is that while the politicans are calling for division, many Bosnians want unity and to live in a multi-ethnic state. Identity with the Bosnian state is most apparent amongst Bosniaks, followed by Bosnian-Croats and finally by Bosnian Serbs. However Bosnian Serbs who have interactions with Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats are more likely to have a greater attachment towards Bosnia.


Kirk Johnson said...

The comparison to Montenegro seems rather forced--Montenegro has several centuries of history as an independent state, not to mention its fortmer status as one of the six Republics--but the parallel he, and many other Serb nationalists--draw to Kosovo is more troublesome and needs to be addressed head on. Which is why I think that the autonomy of RS needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Owen said...

As far as I understand, secession would be contrary to the Dayton Accords. So for secession to be allowed would require the Dayton settlement to be set aside, in which case the whole issue of the allocation of 49% of Bosnian territory would need to be re-opened.

Bg anon said...

Actually I dont think that the argument that a state has never had independence and therefore should not be bestowed with that 'honour' very compelling.

I do agree that secession of Repblika Srpska could have a bad impact on Bosnias future. The Croats in Bosnia will begin another push for Herzeg Bosna. If Bosnia was split into three leaving just a rump federation - well if Bosnians future isnt exactly bright at the moment, this scenario would impact very badly.

Its why in a way I understand the (over?)reaction by some Bosniak politicians. They know very well that it wouldnt stop at Republika Srpska secession.

Kirk one doesnt need to be a Serb nationalist to see that Kosovo status has / is impacting on the future of Bosnia. And I expect for other movements around the world to use Kosovo indpendence as an example to push for their own causes.

The problem is when different standards are applied it becomes a free for all. Banditer was supposed to be authoritative. Now its almost irrelevant (Kosovo).

Its hard to know how to be consistent in the Balkans, or should we just abandon consistency and do everything on a case by case basis?