Thursday, September 28, 2006

question: Other Bosnian politicians and the election

Okay, not exactly the most concise title in the entire world, but, I guess it would have to do.

I know what the positions of Dodik and Silajdik are with regards to the potential independence of the RS/Unification; and I know what the position of the HDZ is; but what about the other Bosnian politicians?

What is Tihic's position? I know he and Silajdik are neck and neck and fighting for the same constituency.

What about the SDP? I went on their site, but unfortunately it is almost entirely exclusively in Bosnian, and even more unfortunate, I don't speak the language.

However, from the little I have read about the SDP, they appear to be the political party in Bosnia that I would most likely support if I lived in Bosnia.


Katja said...

Tihić is against Republika Srpska being a seperate entity. He's made this position fairly clear and personally I think he's right. If you have one ethnic group getting their own area, then why doesn't eveyr ethnic group have their own area? There's no legal entity for Croats specifically or for Muslims specifically.
Serbs only got Republika Srpska out of genocide and the fears of the West that the war could not be stopped without accepting the partition of BiH.
As the experience of places like Ireland/Northern Ireland, Cyprus, India/Pakistan/Bangladesh shows, certain kinds of partion might temporarily result in a cessation of armed conflict, but in the end, the result is that it ends up in war later a LOT of times, maybe most of the time.

Bg anon said...

Indeed, I'd call Tihic very much a hardliner on anything concerning Bosnian ethnic questions.

He is completely opposed to RS and pretty much enthusiastic in supporting suspected Bosniak war criminals.

The problem is Katja that the entire break up of Yugoslavia seemed to be all about an ethnic group getting its own area where it formed a majority. I dont like it but the precedent has already been set.

You just call a referendum and when you get the majority then sooner or later will be granted the right to your own country.

I'm afraid the justice or injustice of that appears irrelevant compared to the so called interest of the majority. Human or ethnic minority rights arent important, (recognition of Croatia and soon for Kosovo) history of the area isnt important (Kosovo). The right of the majority is paramount. If it were upto me there would be strict criterea to be applied before any ethnic group / people are awarded a nation state.

Thats why I think that the argument that RS was built upon genocide, war, agression, call it what you like, in the longer term will not make any difference.

Much stronger argument in Bosnias case is what will happen to the rest of the federation if RS seceedes. The pressure from Bosnian Croats to form their own state will be intense and a rump Bosnia (that may hardly be even a viable state) will be left behind.

This is the argument supporters of Bosnia and Bosnian politicians should be repeating / rehearsing if and when the inevitable happens. And I think this is an argument more likely to be listened to in the West. The state they backed, supported will collapse.

In practice this may ensure that either the Bosnian Serbs never call their referendum (this of course will cost the West) or if that does happen the West will ensure the prevention of a Croatian statelet in Bosnia.

At the moment though I really think most of Bosnias politicians are obsessing over the wrong things instead of looking at the immediate and medium term future. They need a serious plan to make sure the state survives. They also need to forget about their stupid war 'heros' - that goes for all of them.

Srebrenica Massacre said...


what happened to all these posts about Momcilo Krajisnik's sentence?

I don't see them anymore.

Also, I would love you to join my and Owen's discussion here:


Owen said...

Dan, I can still see them, on the right hand sidebar.

Kirk Johnson said...

The RS is about as viable a state as Northern Cyprus; it will continue to be an international pariah pseudo-state, recognized only by it's client nation, and falling further and further behind the rest of the country economically and politically.

That's the argument I would make--the Republika Srpska is bad for Bosnian Serbs.

bg anon is being a little one-sided, I think--yes, it's true that Croatia was given a pass on human rights issues. That is an issue that the Western powers that backed Croatia have yet to account for. But Croatia was a Republic with historically legitimate borders; it's independence was recognized before any widespread human rights abuses had occured. HDZ rhetoric at the time was truly troubling, but the Croatian Serb rebels in Knin weren't helping matters, either.

As for Kosovo--the situation there is unique, and any attempt to examine it without taking the context of recent history and events is rather pointless.

Context matters--and the history of RS is so directly tied to acts of genocide and a vicious ethnic war that to legitmize it as a sovereign nation would set a horrible international precedent. I agree with bg anon that there are disturbing factors behind Croatia and Kosovo's recognition and support by the Western world; but there are qualitative and quantitative differences between those examples and the RS.

Bg anon said...

Kirk perhaps I am being one sided I dont know but I think you are also being one sided in a way.

In Croatias case you talk about the historic borders etc which is ok. That is to say that history matters in the decision to grant an area / people independence.
If it is about that then the same reasoning should be applied to Kosovo and indeed Republika Srpska. The latter of course will lose out if use this type of reasoning. But if we use 3 different types of reasoning for 3 areas of the former Yugoslavia then clearly different principles are being applied. Again which is ok to an extent - sort of. But if you look at the loser on each occasion - Serbs, well its kind of worked out a little unfairly that the dice is stacked this way on 3 different areas.

Nonetheless it seems to me that the ONLY thing that matters these days is whether a particular ethnic group are CURRENTLY in the majority in a given area. If so all they have to do is to excercise their right to self-determination, call a referendum and the next stop is indepdence.

That is the lesson that has been learnt in the Balkans. This was the overriding argument / tool used by Kosovo Albanians, Bosnians, Croatians, Slovenes for independence - the fact that they each constitute a majority in the area they inhabit.

This is also the argument used by some Bosniaks in Sandzak (Serbia) who want to be annexed to Bosnia. This is the argument used by Albanians in South Serbia (Bujanovic) who want to become either a part of Kosovo or Greater Albania (that is one groups stated aim, not propoganda). That is the argument even used by some Hungarians in Vojvodina who would like Vojvodina to have its own state.

Lingering in your mind might be the 'they all want to get away from Serbia, look, its not much of a problem in other former Yug countries'.

That is because Serbia is the most multicultrual of all the former Republics. In Kosovo the minorities have been cleansed as some minorities were in Croatia.

If any of the former Republics had substantial presence of minorities I would wage my life on it that those minorities would be seeking the same status that some minorities are seeking in Serbia.

So what do we do about them in Serbia? Grant them each their own state on account of their majority and insist that Bosnian Serbs dont have the same right to self-determination?

I would add that in the case of Kosovo recent history must be taken into account yes - particularly the last 5 years. If the laymans argument goes, that Serbia lost the right to govern Kosovo then the same argument applies to Kosovo Albanians. Or are we again only applying a principle in one case and not another?

Owen said...

In Kosovo/a there's a case for some degree of self-administration in the Serb majority area within the framework of a majority Kosovan Albanian state. This would of course be matched by a similar degree of self-administration for the areeas where non-Serb minorities are in the majority within Serbia. And self-administration for Serbs within Kosovo/a would be predicated on Serbia's guarantee not to use the Serb minority as an excuse to meddle in Kosovan affairs (as well as on the majority's commitment to respect the rights of the minority).

Republika Srpska is quite another matter. As Katja has pointed out the territory is the outcome of a land grab by a joint criminal enterprise achieved through genocide. The international community is supposed to sanction contempt for international humanitarian law by recognising RS statehood? I think not.

Genocide is not going to be rewarded. And no concessions should be contemplated to a regime still protecting war criminals. Any modification of the Dayton disposition would have to be preceded by the return of all the displaced population, restitution of their property and compensation for their losses as well as a guarantee by the majority of respect for the rule of law and for the status of all minorities within the entity.

I doubt that's quite the scenario the RS separatists are contemplating.

Bg anon said...

Like I said Owen the lesson that we have seen in the Balkans shows us that concepts such as genocide and ethnic cleansing are second in importance to right of the majority to decide their own futures.

Where in international law does it say that no state may be bestowed with nation state status if comes about, in some way, by genocide?

How many of the worlds states have come about from genocide by the way? By way of murdering / going to war against the original population and then colonising the place? Do you recognise these states? Yes? Then I really dont understand why, again, its one rule for one group and another for another. I would like you to explain this to me because it doesnt make sense.

As far as Kosovo is concerned, it is very unfortunate because there is no getting away from the fact that the country will be born literally, on ethnic cleansing. Again, sadly that isnt extraordinary but again its being sanctioned by the international community.

Belgrades 'meddling' may upset Albanian politicians but its ordinary Serbs and Roma who are being persecuted at the moment. I think if you care about human rights, about people, it should be this you should mention.

Bg anon said...

Owen forgot to mention on the Bosnia / Kosovo issue - you may already know that some Bosniaks (politicians and others) support a unitary Bosnia but are against an independent Kosovo.
They do that for their own reasons of course but realise that there is a connection / inconsistency in principles whether they like it or not.

Let me just add (reiterate) that I am not a supporter of RS independence. I am against the granting of new states without fufilling human, ethnic minority rights. Are you Owen?