By Marinko Ucur, Banja Luka
In the perception of most Europeans, the end of the 20th century was shaped by the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall as a symbol of the previous division of the old continent and the multipolar world. But to this day it is unclear to many what happened in the last decade of the 20th century in the Balkans as the antechamber of Europe. The former Yugoslavia, a federation of six semi-autonomous republics, disintegrated in a bloody civil and ethnic war, justifying its nickname as the “Balkan powder keg”.
The newly created Balkan states each went their own way, although they had never before been independent states in the sense of subjects of international law. The exception is Serbia and Montenegro, which became sovereign, internationally recognized states by a decision of the Berlin Congress in 1878. A certain, albeit incomplete, international subjectivity also had a fascist creation recognized by the countries of the Third Reich during the Second World War, namely the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH), signatory of the Tripartite Pact, as well as Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia , Japan, Spain, Denmark, Finland and Manchuria. With the coming to power of the Communist Party and Josip Broz Tito after the end of World War II, the Yugoslav Federation was formed, made up of historically confronted nations. With the fall of communism, age-old hostilities escalated again and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disintegrated in the bloodiest war of 1991-95.
Worst of all was the Central Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was recognized by the US, the EU and soon after by most other states in 1992, plunging this trinational community of Serbs, Croats and Muslims straight into a bloody civil war. The Serbs were opposed to leaving the Yugoslav federation, but were outvoted by Croats and Muslims, who, at the urging of the West, organized a referendum on leaving Yugoslavia. The Serbs, who have a constitutional right of veto those who had such decisions warned in vain that the results of the referendum would not be accepted. This was simply ignored by the other two nations and the multinational community, and civil war with elements of inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict was inevitable.
But after a four-year conflict and almost 100,000 casualties, this ended like any other war with a peace agreement. The legally binding “Dayton Peace Agreement” was concluded and signed in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995. Both parties to the conflict and representatives of the great powers signed it.
It was at that time a compromise solution for the settlement of the conflict that was acceptable to all. The former Muslims, who have since become Bosniaks, pledged, along with the Croats, to accept the division of that country into two entities, namely the Republika Srpska, with a Serb majority population, and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a Croat and Bosnian majority Bosniaks and clearly defined demarcation lines and the division of the territory of the newly formed state in the ratio 49:51 percent.
Today, 27 years after the signing of the peace agreement and the end of the civil war, two diametrically opposed aspirations are coming to the fore in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While the Serbs insist on a position of the Republika Srpska within Bosnia-Herzegovina as originally enshrined in the peace treaty, the Bosniaks are in favor of centralizing and unitarizing the state and stripping powers from the entities in favor of its supposedly more functional development.
The Croats, as a numerically smaller people, are now aware of their mistake and earlier alliance with the Bosniaks against the Serbs – with whom they tackled the referendum that was the reason for the outbreak of the war – and therefore have persisted, especially recently and supported by Croatia on their equality in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Recognizing this danger and the desire for dominance of one of the largest nations over the other two, the Republic of Srpska pointed to the illegal violations of the Dayton Accords. That is why their legitimate representatives in the institutions of the federation of states pointed out the inadmissible interference in the internal affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the German Bundestag.
On May 30th of this year, the Bundestag in Berlin passed an eight-page resolution that outlines the political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and determines Germany’s further course of action on the question of Bosnia-Herzegovina. German MPs criticize the Bosnian-Herzegovinian authorities for “increasingly relying on separatism, hatred and hate speech” and directly accuse Serb and Croat leaders of aiming to destroy the state. The document also points out that the serious political crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina could escalate into a security crisis and notes very biasedly:
“The current political situation and the actions of parts of the political elite are worrying and endanger the peace that has been achieved with great effort in Southeastern Europe. Members of Serbia’s political leadership not only show a lack of distance to the ethnic-nationalist idea of a ‘Greater Serbia’, but also fuel such ideas with their own statements. Also, the strong support of the Russian leadership under President Vladimir Putin for the divisive forces in the region should not be underestimated. Russia has an undisguised interest in destabilizing the western Balkan region and thus the European Union. As a sovereign state, Bosnia and Herzegovina has the right to freely choose its alliances. In this context, the German Bundestag positively notes the country’s will to move closer to NATO, which is expressed, among other things, by the adoption of the Membership Action Plan in 2019,” it said in the document i n which, however, deliberately conceals the fact that the Republika Srpska firmly rejects membership in the western military alliance because of the tragic experience of 1999 when NATO tried to discipline the Serbian people with bombs, which later marked the beginning of the independence of the self-proclaimed Serbian province of Kosovo was.
The information contained in the resolution of the Bundestag triggered alarm in the Republic of Srpska, which threatened to refuse the agreement to the new German ambassador in Sarajevo, Thomas Fitschen. The agrément was accepted at the last minute. But a clear message was also sent to the Unitarians of Sarajevo, as well as to Germany, as a signatory to the Dayton Accords, that the Republika Srpska is not prepared to accept Germany’s one-sided and fanatic role in the multinational community and its advocacy of the concept of To accept civil society in place of the tri-national state defined by the Constitution. Republika Srpska is also outraged that Germany insists on the illegal appointment of its citizen Christian Schmidt as High Representative of the international community in BIH, whose mandate was rejected by UN Security Council permanent members Russia and China. The “Tourist Schmidt”, as he is perceived in this entity, did not follow the prescribed procedure in the UN Security Council, which is considered discriminatory and anachronistic political action by Germany’s political garrison and interference in the already complex internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
more on the subject – The Balkans: “Yugo nostalgia” – A magic that has disappeared