Wednesday, September 27

Russian maneuvers in support of Serbs put Bosnia on the brink




Lieutenant general Claudio Graziano, Chairman of the EU Military Committee, officially visited Bosnia last week to make it clear that Brussels would not tolerate any movement that leads to the disintegration of this complicated country. The top EU military official wanted to express his support for the unified Bosnian armed forces, after the leader of the Bosnian Serb side, Milorad Dodik, threatened to withdraw his men to form an exclusively Serbian army as the first step towards the disintegration of the country.

The Italian general’s visit comes shortly after the High Representative of the international community in Bosnia, Christian Schmidt, a report published by the British press should be sent to the United Nations, in which it warns that if the army split it would be necessary to reinforce the peacekeeping missions that are still there and that in any case would represent the “greatest threat” to the survival of the country.

The paralysis of the institutions has lasted for three months due to the Serbian boycott that began using as a pretext that the High Representative accepted the amendments to the penal code They include the prohibition to deny that Serbs committed acts of genocide against Bosnians during the war.

Joint armed forces

The existence, at least theoretical, of a joint armed forces incorporating Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian components after these communities were at war with each other in the 1990s, was seen as the greatest achievement of the Dayton peace accords of 1995 that divided Bosnia into two highly autonomous regions, the Republic of Serbia and the Federation of Croats and Bosnians, both united through a weak central government that has needed the support of the EU and the US to be moderately functional. However, the current leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Milorad Dodik, supported by Russia, threatens to declare that his soldiers only belong to the so-called Republika Srpska, which is the region only populated by Serbs.

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It was therefore very significant that the EU’s highest ranking military official traveled to Sarajevo to say that he was the bearer of “a message from the 27” in support of Bosnian institutions. He said it next to the Bosnian general Senad Masovic, head of the joint headquarters who in turn recalled that according to the Defense law, the federal armed forces are the only legal and legitimate military organization in the entire Bosnian territory, so “anything else will be considered a paramilitary organization” , which means that it would be persecuted as such. The EU and NATO still have peace missions in Bosnia, theoretically with an almost symbolic character, although the most obvious symbol that things are not working well is that they could not be withdrawn because the threat that the conflict will rebound has not disappeared. In his first report to the UN, Schmidt affirms that if the Serbian separatists carry out their threat to form their own army, more international peacekeepers will be needed and warned that Bosnia faced “the greatest threat to its own existence of the period. postwar. Now him UN Security Council it must renew the mandate of these peacekeeping missions, but Russia threatens to veto it. Christian Schmidt had addressed the Bosnian parliament on the occasion of this political crisis to say that it is “unacceptable to undo the achievements of the last 26 years” and that the unilateral destruction of state institutions would be a “very serious setback” for the very existence of Bosnia as a country.

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