Ashdown’s article on the clear and present danger for
the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina has stirred up
more than a few spirits in
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Miroslav Lajcak, the High Representative and the EU
Special Representative is calmly determined to help the
local political leaders reach an agreement that would
loosen the Dayton imposed straightjacket before he sheds
the former of his two functions.
Having in mind
that the so-called political leaders only share the fact
that they like to be called leaders, and roam the
country in search of fine restaurants to be used as
venues for their barren meetings, an uncoerced agreement
on anything other than the menu is highly unlikely. The
reason is quite prosaic.
The Serb leaders
are fairly satisfied with the current arrangement. They
remain focused on Republika Srpska and are dedicated to
bring back ‘home’ the competencies the previous entity
governments were forced to surrender to the state level
at a political gunpoint.
The thought of
Republika Srpska makes Bosnian leaders’ flesh crawl, and
they are committed to using the Office of the High
Representative as well as the undeniable war atrocities
committed against them, to bring an end to the existence
of this entity. However, their plans are flawed in more
than one way. Namely, the existence of Republika Srpska
is guaranteed by the Dayton Peace Accord and, even
though the villains of the piece, the Serbs did not lose
the war. The structure of the country provides ample
Croat leaders are
so incompetent and egocentric that they are hardly able
to speak in one voice. The Croat electorate in Bosnia
and Herzegovina is shrinking at a rate, which will soon
enable them to exercise direct democracy. They are
ostensibly trying to secure an equal treatment for
Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina while using the trust
vested in them to secure opulent lifestyles for
The Offices of
the High Representative and the US Representatives in
Bosnia and Herzegovina still pack the biggest guns.
However, their use is interpreted as a sign of failure
and weakness i.e. if the attractive carrot (possible
accession to the EU) needs to be supplemented by a stick
the entire exercise becomes somewhat pointless.
Representative ought to consider leaving the (in)famous
local leaders, and have them reach an agreement that
would make the country somewhat less Frankenstein-like
while proving that the trust of citizens was not
misplaced. Should they fail this would be a clear
indicator for the international community to either
assume a long-term protectorate function or maybe, after
almost thirteen years, the time has come for all the
involved to go their separate ways.
Barisic: Age 35. Citizen of both Bosnia & Herzegovina
and Croatia. Permanent resident of the US since 2005.
Holder of a BSc in Politics and International Relations
from the University of London/London School of Economics
and Political Science. From Jan 1999 until Dec 2005 (7
years) served with the Office of the High Representative
Bosnia and Herzegovina
in positions ranging from Assistant to Special Envoy of
the High Representative to Return and Reconstruction
Task Force Officer/Media Officer and Econ/Legal Officer.
Currently working as a desk researcher.