Is Bosnia and Herzegovina in danger of disintegration?
Nowadays, the WB region faces many challenges. First, Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a profoundly political and social crisis after Serbian leader Milorad Dodik threatened to break away from the rest of the country on November 2.
The problematic situation was highlighted by the High Representative of United Nations, Christian Schmidt, who warned that the country is amid one of the most serious crises since the end of the war in 1995.
The issue of autonomy for Bosnia and Herzegovina seems to be a sensitive topic. The Dayton Peace Treaty addressed the post-war order and the political division of power. As a result, Bosnia and Herzegovina became a confederation of two entities: the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Currently, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a formal EU and NATO military presence on its territory mandated by the UN Security Council. That complicates the situation as Russia has threatened to block the resolution about the mission’s mandate unless the new international community’s High Representative in BIH powers are limited. That would undermine Schmidt’s authority, which oversees compliance with the Dayton Accords. In contrast, Dodik maintains robust ties with Serbia and the Russian Federation, which escalates tensions.
Observers fear that even if Dodik does not move towards secession, his actions can be seriously destabilising and cause violence, forced migration and suffering for ordinary people. The impact would, of course, be felt beyond Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Several analysts are examining the situation and believe that if a breakaway did take place, the peace road would no longer help. However, the truth is that the Balkans are on the threshold of the EU, which allows the influence of two actors – Russia and China, who can “shuffle the cards” in the region.
On the other hand, they wonder if the war would be possible. Undoubtedly, Dodik is trying to draw attention to himself because elections are approaching in the country when he needs to gain the lost popularity of his citizens. Dodik, therefore, uses nationalist elements and populism, as this is an essential tool in the multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina. But, on the other hand, BIH is currently unable to finance the war because it does not have sufficient financial resources.