The latest attempt of the Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik’s for partition represents Bosnia and Herzegovina’s deepest crisis since the 1995 Dayton Accords, said the Co-Chair of the US-Europe Alliance in Washington, Reuf Bajrovic in an interview with The Geopost.
Bajrovic stresses that the source of this crisis is Dodik’s attempt to complete the genocidal project of the former Bosnian Serb leader, war criminal Radovan Karadzic in 1992, supported by Moscow . He considers that the diplomatic intervention from the west, particularly from the US is vital to prevent a deeper crisis.
According to him, the Serbian Church is Russia’s main tool in the Balkans. Along with Moscow-controlled mainstream media, the Serbian Orthodox Church is a tool that guarantees Putin’s influence over Serbs throughout the Balkans. This includes Serbia, where Putin would surely aim to oust Vucic if he believes Vucic is turning to the West on issues that Moscow considers of their key interests.
In the Balkans, Bajrovic estimates that after pro-Russian elements took power in Montenegro, the fall of Zoran Zaev in North Macedonia is Russia’s second victory in the region. Kosovo and BiH are certainly the main objectives of what will follow in the coming months, Bajovic says.
Read below the full interview:
THE GEOPOST: How do you consider the political situation in BiH today?
BAJROVIC: BiH is in the deepest political crisis since Dayton. The cause of that crisis is the decision of Milorad Dodik to try to complete the genocidal project of Radovan Karadzic with the great help of Russia. There is no doubt that Dodik will push BiH, but also the entire region, into war conflicts if he does not stop before he has a chance to resume the 1992 uprising, following Karadzic’s direct example. He is wholeheartedly supported by parts of the EU (Orban, Jansha, Milanovic), while the EU diplomatic service perfidiously does the same things as the ultra-right forces from the EU, which are managed by Putin.
THE GEOPOST: Can Dodik transfer responsibility for the army to RS (Republika Srpska)
BAJROVIC: It cannot. The effort itself is the overthrow of the constitutional order and the beginning of the rebellion he will lead. Sarajevo continues to play the most important role in the crisis, despite Moscow’s open malice, the EU’s perfidious game, and Washington’s indifference. I am convinced that the negative response from Sarajevo to the threats and offers that will follow is still the best guarantee that Dodik will be defeated in the end. It is important that Dodik be forced to withdraw all the moves he promised to withdraw, because that is where the diplomatic game led by Western officials ends and then this becomes a first-class political problem for Biden, but also for Erdogan. Both will be politically damaged if they passively look at the hell highway that Dodik will open sometime after January 9th, following the example of Radovan Karadzic. The main tool of the pro-Bosniak forces is that there is no more JNA and that the public is much more mature compared to 1991 when Yutel calmed the future victims of genocide to the needs of those who planned it at the time. In Sarajevo, the naive have almost disappeared, leaving only those who knowingly lie to the public in the service of Dodik and Covic and this task is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfill.
THE GEOPOST: What is the influence of Russia on Dodik and us in general?
BAJROVIC: Dodik’s greatest strength is that he understands the international context better than almost all the politicians in the Balkans. This is probably because he has spent considerable sums of money on the best legal and political experts in Washington and Brussels for fifteen years, with whom he has naively ridiculed in Sarajevo and the anti-Dodikovska Banja Luka for years. The international context is that some EU countries (Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Cyprus and Greece) openly support Dodik, and this is more than enough to paralyze the entire EU in its response to the BiH crisis. Dodik is more than aware that the toothless EU can not and does not want to stop it. Berlin and Paris will do everything possible to use the EU institutions to send a message to Vladimir Putin that they are not the ones who will live up to his wishes in the Balkans, meaning that Russia will not spit on them as they do now in Poland, by sending thousands of immigrants to that country.
THE GEOPOST: In which part of the Balkans does Russia have the greatest influence?
BAJROVIC: The Serbian Orthodox Church is Russia’s main tool in the Balkans. Along with Moscow-controlled mainstream media, the Serbian Orthodox Church is a tool that guarantees Putin’s influence over Serbs throughout the Balkans. This includes Serbia, where Putin would surely aim to oust Vucic if he believes Vucic is turning to the West on issues that Moscow considers key interests. Recognition of Kosovo’s independence is certainly at the forefront.
THE GEOPOST: Can the Balkans and BiH solve this Russian aggression without America?
BAJROVIC: Perhaps the Biden administration will intervene with strong measures to support BiH integrity at the last minute – and there are such announcements behind closed doors – but it is much more responsible to be ready with to protect what is right with all the means available. The United States will be on the side of BiH and Kosovo in all international debates when Dodik – perhaps even Vucic – start the violence. The only question is whether that is enough? That is why it is important to be ready for such an opportunity, because we choose whether we defend the state of BiH, without which Bosniaks become Palestinians. So in the end, it’s up to us!
THE GEOPOST: Have you noticed China’s influence in the Balkans and the way it operates?
BAJROVIC: China and Russia have different interests in the Balkans. The Chinese are interested in long-term economic impact while Russia wants to cause the maximum level of instability.
THE GEOPOST: How does Russia uses Serbia to destabilize the region?
BAJROVIC: Putin has built such a strong position within Serbia itself that it sometimes makes decisions on behalf of the authorities in Serbia and without their consent. Departure of Russian Ambassador Bocan Kharchenko to the border with Kosovo is a good example of this. Minister Stefanoviq is undoubtedly in conflict with Vucic and the fact that he went to the border with Kharchenko is more than a clear signal to Vucic that he is not trying to resist Putin’s orders. The Russians believe that the north of Kosovo is a territory that they can eventually use for a great solution with the United States for changing borders in Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo and BiH. There is no doubt that the EU would eventually agree with such a thing, because EU itself is under a hybrid attack from Russia in the form of a wave of migrants to Poland and threats to cut off gas supplies if Nord Stream 2 does not obtain an operating license.
The destabilization of the Balkans is a part of the much broader strategy that Russia is pursuing for the preparations of a new invasion of Ukraine, threats against the Baltic states, the use of hybrid operations within the EU and a large lobbying network of oligarchs close to Putin, who are committed to corrupt the political elite throughout the West. Gerhard Schroeder is the best example of what Putin can achieve by spending the intended money on the acquisition of the political and business elite in the West.
THE GEOPOST: How do you see the announced Vucic’s visit to Putin?
BAJROVIC: Vucic is trying to sit in at least three chairs and this is obviously increasingly difficult to be reported. On one hand, Putin is forcing him to give full support to Dodik’s madness, but on the other hand America and the EU are rewarding it abundantly for maintaining the status quo. Anthems of Angela Merkel to Vucic in the middle of Belgrade are the best indicator of the goals of the whole EU.
THE GEOPOST: What about the North Macedonia and the resignation of PM Zaev?
BAJROVIC: After pro-Russian elements took power in Montenegro, the fall of Zoran Zaev is Russia’s second victory in region. Kosovo and BiH are certainly the main objectives of what will follow in the coming months. It remains to wish that this will become clear to the authorities in Tirana. Edi Rama must understand that the illusion it created, which they are overcoming with the Open Balkans, is only a cover for the aggression of Putin’s allies to the rest of the region.