Whose Plans are Stymied by Milorad Dodik?

Whose Plans are Stymied by Milorad Dodik?

The situation in and around the Republika Srpskahas been getting worse. It has no direct relation to the decision of President Milorad Dodik to hold a referendum on confidence in the country's state justice system and in the authority of High Representative to Bosnia. The disputes over the fate of Han Pijesak military test range are not a cause, but a consequence.

These are elements of a much more complicated problem – the multifaceted process of political reshaping to encompass the Balkans, as well as the whole Eurasia. Prepared by the Western power centers, the scenario envisions no place for political entities, parties and individuals whose activities do not dovetail with the plans of Washington or Brussels. The Dayton Agreement laid down the basis for the republic’s international recognition (the Dayton Accords is the peace agreement reached at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, United States in November 1995, and formally signed in Paris on 14 December 1995. These accords put an end to the Bosnian War). 

The United States and late Richard Holbrooke, a well-known US diplomat, did a lot to reach the agreement, but even then it was clear that the Bosnian Serbs’ statehood was a fact the West was reluctant to put up with. The only thing standing in the way of the plans to speed up the process of undermining this state was the need to tackle other problems. A rear had to be secured so that the West could concentrate on such issues as the independence of Kosovo, reshaping the Greater Middle East and meddling into the affairs of the states that belonged to post-Soviet space. 

Bosnian Serbs gave up their plan to hold a referendum on the work of the Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) Court and Prosecutor's Office after the effective intervention of the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton who arrived unexpectedly in Banja Luka to discuss the situation with local leaders. Ultimately Republika Srpska and the European Union had to make mutual concessions.

Today the situation has gone through fundamental changes. Washington and Brussels view all countries and politicians through the prism of attitude towards Russia, especially regarding the energy and integration projects. Milorad Dodik, an independent politician able to block foreign policy decisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is viewed as almost the main challenge to the plans of European Atlantists (excluding Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and like-minded people in the countries of Mediterranean Basin).

A multi-pass and complicated geopolitical game is taking place in the Middle East. The situation has greatly aggravated there after the US intervention into Afghanistan and Iraq. Under the circumstances the support rendered to the Muslim authorities in Sarajevo in their confrontation with Bosnian Serbs has become an important element of US policy towards the Islamic State, Turkey and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf led by Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations Security Council’s resolution to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrennitsa massacre was to serve as a legal basis and propaganda instrument to do away with the Serbs statehood. That is exactly why it has been prepared now, not five or ten years ago. The adoption of the resolution would set a precedent – a state entity established in accordance with the decision taken by great powers would be declared a «product» of «ethnic cleansing» to be made disappear with multi-billion reparations paid.

In 2008 Stipe Miocic, former President of Croatia, said he was surprised that the Republika Srpska, created as a result of ethnic cleaning and genocide, still existed. In 2009 the US House of Representatives controlled by Democrats recognized the Dayton Agreement as a document reached as a result of many compromises made. The House stated that the compromises hindered the progress to be reached by political structures of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Russia was adamant sticking to its principles. It blocked the endorsement of the draft resolution – a document of unparalleled cynicism. Now the West is expected to take new steps aimed at undermining the Bosnian Republika Srpska and toppling its leaders. That’s why the discussions have become focused on the referendum to be held by Bosnian Serbs. The West is not bothered by a verdict to be handed down in regard to the court or prosecutor’s office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it is upset by the very intent of Milorad Dodik to go straight to people for support. The same way the European Union was shocked by the decision of Greek government to hold a referendum and, what’s even more important, the wide support expressed for the policy implemented by Prime Minister Tsipras.

Serbia is in a difficult situation. Or to be precise – the situation Serbia created itself. It faces a plethora of issues to address, including Kosovo, the European Union and socio-economic problems, but instead of planning its own referendum to ask the opinion of people, Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic tried to persuade Dodik to abandon the idea of plebiscite. The reasons he adduced are very illustrative. According to him, he agrees with the arguments put forward by the President of Republika Srpska but «the price is too high». How come the price could be excessive in case of such a democratic procedure as holding a referendum? The Serbian Premier never explained.

Le Monde has emphasized recently that «The Serbia’s government has taken a surprisingly steep turn towards Europe. Despite the fact that Belgrade has always had close relations with Moscow, Prime Minister Alexander Vucic is evidently leaning towards the West. No matter if he is motivated by convictions or opportunism, this policy may put into doubt the sacred principle of Serbia’s military neutrality».

Wish Serbia would lend an ear to other actors on international scene besides Washington and Brussels. Today the situation in Europe and the world is too complicated to be seen exclusively through the eyes of US government or congressmen.