Oct 11, 2021
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Milorad Dodik challenges the West

Will Republika Srpska become a decorative appendix to the project of a unitary Muslim Bosnia?

Serbian member of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik did what none of his predecessors dared to do: he recalled that Bosnia must live according to the Constitution and the 1996 Dayton Agreement.

The appeal to the laws and international agreements sounded like a declaration of war: after all, by the decisions of the Western overseers for BiH, the so-called High Representatives, the Serbian entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina was deprived of about 70 (!) Of its competences, which are listed both in the Dayton Agreement and in the Constitution of BiH …

“By the end of this month, at the latest – in the first week of next, we will come up with an extensive agenda, which will lead to the withdrawal of our consent to the formation of a common army (common for BiH. – Ed.), for the payment of indirect taxes; These functions, according to the Constitution of BiH, belong to the Republika Srpska (RS), ”Milorad Dodik said on October 7 while on a visit to Belgrade. – Even the border, that is, border management on the RS territory belongs to us, not BiH…. The Supreme Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH was invented as a place for making decisions and appointing all judges, but the Republika Srpska will return these powers to the jurisdiction of its own judicial system…. We will cancel and prohibit the activities of SIPA and OBA (Sarajevo special services. – Ed.), we will reject all laws imposed on us in the past by the Supreme Representatives ”.

Boldly, sharply, categorically! However, the ax of war was not dug by Dodik. It all started when the West declared the representatives of the Republika Srpska war criminals in the late 90s and early 2000s. They were convicted at the Hague Tribunal on trumped-up charges against the background of acquittal of the Boshnik Muslim thugs. Then the High Representatives began to gnaw off its powers from the Republika Srpska piece by piece. Banja Luka was deprived of Dayton’s guaranteed right to its own army, to conduct foreign economic activities, on its own independence day, and was even forced to change its coat of arms. The Sarajevo Constitutional Court, which is ruled by foreigners appointed from Brussels, transferred military facilities on the territory of the RS, state farmland, forests, and water bodies to the jurisdiction of Sarajevo.

Banja Luka resisted, sometimes sabotaging such decisions: the Republic Day parade was held annually in spite of the ban and administrative cases; In response to threats from Sarajevo, where the army is dominated by Muslim Bosnians, Dodik created the gendarmerie – internal troops subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the RS. The republic has worked closely with Serbia, which, despite the dissatisfaction of Sarajevo, intends to build a cascade of hydroelectric power plants and a new airport in Trebinje on the territory of the Serbian entity. And also with Russia, from where, again despite the opposition of Sarajevo, the Ansat helicopters arrived for the local health care system, and soon a subsidiary of Gazprom will build a gas liquefaction plant there. Finally, the position of the Serbian member of the BiH Presidium does not allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to enter NATO, which is what the Bosniac and Croat representatives are seeking.

For Sarajevo and the West, Dodik is a bone in the throat. And they are trying to “resolve the Serbian issue.” It began with the summer amendments to the Bosnian Criminal Code of the outgoing High Representative for BiH, Austrian Velentin Inzko. The amendments criminalized the denial of the “Srebrenica genocide” and the glorification of Serbian commanders convicted by the Hague Tribunal. After that, the Bosnian prosecutor’s office opened several dozen criminal cases against Serbian citizens, starting with journalists and ending with Dodik personally. In response, the RS authorities announced a boycott of all levels of government in BiH and recalled Serbs from their posts in BiH. And the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republika Srpska received an order to oppose any actions of the Sarajevo special services. Banja Luka refused to recognize the new High Representative, German Christian Schmidt, because the West despised the obligatory procedure: the candidacy of the new overseer was not approved by the UN Security Council.

After that, Bosnia and Herzegovina went wild. Before the start of the EU-Western Balkans summit, which took place in Slovenia on October 6, Schmidt said that he did not intend to cancel the “genocide” law, and the Serbs were obliged to return to the authorities. In response, Milorad Dodik boycotted the summit because of the participation of the High Representative.

Then the Minister of Defense of BiH Sifet Podzic canceled the joint exercises of the armies of BiH and Serbia at the Manyacha training ground in the Republika Srpska, for which the sides had been preparing for six months. After that, the Prime Minister of BiH, Serb Zoran Tegeltia, dismissed Podzic for arbitrariness, but the petition for Podzic’s resignation still has to go through the parliament, where the majority are Bosniaks.

Next, the new US representative in the Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, met with Dodik, ostensibly to listen to the position of the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, but at the meeting, the American informed Dodik that new sanctions were being prepared against him (earlier, the Serbian member of the BiH Presidium was banned from entering the United States; was an order was also given to freeze all of Dodik’s bank accounts overseas, but he did not have any).

“Don’t threaten me,” Dodik commented. – They will never treat us as equal partners, they will always consider us people of a lower level in order to control us…. The BiH Presidium no longer functions, its work is reduced to the individual actions of its members, BiH is in a dead end, from which there is no way out. Therefore, when the Republika Srpska is hypothetically ready for independence, there will be no obstacles to the start of this process, because it has a stable budget, functioning institutions, prepared laws that are awaiting adoption. “

However, neither Sarajevo nor the West wants RS independence. Disagreements have emerged within the Serbian community of Bosnia. The deputy chairman of the Social Democratic Party of BiH, Serb Voin Mijatovic, wrote a “Letter to the former chairman” to Dodik on Facebook, where he reproached the Bosnian Serb leader for “betraying the ideals of social democracy”, refusing to “reconcile peoples” and conniving at nationalists and war criminals. Mijatovic said that Dodik’s days in politics are numbered. And the leader of the main opposition Serbian Democratic Party RS Mirko Sharovic compared the actions of Dodik with those of Gaddafi.

The Bosnian Serb leader will have to fight many. And it depends on whether Milorad Dodik resists whether the Republika Srpska becomes a decorative appendix to the project of a unitary Muslim Bosnia.

Photo: REUTERS / Dado Ruvich

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