The January 9, RS Day, passed in BiH in an atmosphere of visible tension and breaking of confidence ties between several parties which are making up the ruling coalition in joint, state level. During the time of this crisis two key players were defined and both of them are threatening the nation’s stability with future political developments. RS president and SNSD leader, Milorad Dodik, is trying to convince Serbs that Bakir Izetbegovic, leader of SDA and member of BiH Presidency, is trying to convince Bosniaks that Dodik wants to separate Republic of Srpska from BiH.
Let’s see what will happen if Dodik organizes a referendum on RS separation from BiH. The first question is: what then? People will vote, probably in favor of RS independency, but this part of BiH will face several problems. Big problems, in fact.
The scenario that RS, after the separation, will join Serbia, is just a dream of Milorad Dodik. Serbia and its leadership cannot agree with that for several reasons. First of all, Serbia is guarantor of Dayton peace agreement and, in international sense, is the state which signed the international document and is obliged to keep BiH as a whole state, respecting its sovereignty and independency. Second, Serbia’s economy situation is not bright and the state is not able to merge with a territory that has more than million citizens. RS has a lot of financial obligations and loans in international banks, International Monetary Fund, EBRD and World Bank. Serbia doesn’t need to add them on its list of financial obligations and it would became a hard ballast which will lead the whole state to bankruptcy.
Third, the international position of Serbia at this moment and in the future is not strong enough that it can allow itself the kind of political adventurism that is changing of internationally recognized borders. EU countries, SAD even Russia, in the best case scenario, would impose sanctions against Serbia pushing her deeper and deeper in isolation and collapse.
In that situation, Dodik would have the chance to try to make RS an independent state. But… First, for independency, a state must have the economy, resources, sources of energy and satisfied citizens able to create new jobs and new value. RS has none of that.
The economy is devastated, the banking system is in chaos, the energy is in the hands of two or three persons and natural resources are not enough to feed its citizens, which mean that the Government would have to take more loans and lead the whole economy to disaster.
Second, in the first days of its independency, RS would face the problem of enemy nations on the biggest part of its border. To the North and West is Croatia and to the South the Federation BiH, with Bosniaks as majority. The RS problem is that it would have to make the army able to protect so sensitive borders. There is no such thing and it never will be. The reasons are simple: there is no money for such army and, also, only a small number of citizens is ready to join an army that would go to a war which is lost in advance. Most of the citizens, in the most likely scenario, will try to escape and find a new place to live. Also, BiH is a balance for peace in this part of region which mean that NATO and other international organizations will react. Dodik, in that case, will not be able to count on Serbia or Russia, which he mention as a RS’s “great friend”. The Russians are not keen to join another crisis, having their cup full with Ukraine and Syria. In other words, nobody would confront NATO and trigger a bigger conflict to save RS and Milorad Dodik. For the above reasons, his paper with the threat of a referendum on RS independency is blank.
Bakir Izetbegovic, on the other side, is the son of Alija Izetbegovic, first BiH President and writer of “Muslim Declaration”. In that booklet, Alija Izetbegovic published the intentions to make BiH an islamic state. He died and his wish remained unfulfilled. Bakir, obviously, is trying to continue this job. It is important to say that Bakir Izetbegovic triggered the last crisis on RS Day, since he submitted the complaint to BiH Constitutional Court. The court declared this holiday unconstitutional and the crisis soon became unstoppable. His next move is not to difficult to predict: the next complaint to the same Court will be the questioning of the RS name, since it reflects just one nation, Serbs, are constitutional nation in that part of the country.
But there is a problem with the Court. Republic of Srpska and BiH Constitutional Court are, under these names, mentioned in BiH Constitution, which is Annex 4. of Dayton Peace Agreement. If the Court challenge the name “Republic of Srpska” and order its change, that will be the change of BiH Constitution. In that case, the whole document will be under question, and as such the Constitutional Court decisions would have no legitimacy. Moreover, the whole Dayton Peace Agreement would be a dead letter. And that situation would be very dangerous, bringing in the question the existence of BiH as a country.
Bakir Izetbegovic knows that and that is why the paper with his threats is also blank.
At this moment, young Izetbegovic and Dodik are like two politicians who are trying to convince their nations that there is a real danger and that they are leaders able to save Bosniaks and Serbs respectively. At the same time, they are not trying to do the most sinmple thing on Earth – to sit and solve all open questions in direct conversation./IBNA
Photo: Mladen Dragojlovic (Parade in Banja Luka January 9)