Bosnia: Either Dayton Stays, or the Serbs Separate

By James Bissett
Thursday, 16 Sep 2010

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In an interview for the daily Vesti (September 16) Ambassador James Bissett, Chairman of The Lord Byron Foundation, gave his assessment of the current political situation in the Balkans, including the uncertain future of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey's neo-Ottoman designs, and the dead end of Belgrade's misguided diplomacy.

The Republic of Srpska [Bosnian-Serb republic] should fiercely resist the centralization of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the Bosniak domination. Its position should be “backed up by threat of secession and a declaration of independence,” according to James Bissett.

Bissett thinks that, while it is hard to predict what might happen in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the election, it seems obvious that the Americans and the EU are determined to see constitutional changes that would transform BiH into a centralized unitary state under Muslim domination. To do so, however, would require changing the terms of the Dayton Accords.

“This should be fiercely resisted by the RS and backed up by threat of secession and a declaration of independence. After all if the Albanians in Kosovo can do so why not the RS?” Bissett asks. He is the Chairman of The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, former Director of the International Organization for Migrations, and the last Canadian Ambassador in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Bissett thinks that the best solution is for Bosnia and Herzegovina is to get rid of the "gauleiters" sent in to rule over it and to let the country manage itself under the terms of Dayton..

Over time, he says, a modus operandi might evolve to the point where the three sides might be able to cooperate and work together. This will not happen unless the outside interference from the USA and the EU is stopped. “Paddy Ashdown, George Soros, Marti Ahtissari and all of the other foreigners have their own agenda and it does not include the welfare and future prosperity of the inhabitants of BiH. The sooner the people of BiH realize this reality the better,” says Bissett.

Bissett thinks that in the short term the Republika Srpska will have to rely on its own resources with little or no help except the terms of Dayton. “The main thing is not to be frightened by the threats of the EU or by the United States. These two entities are in very serious decline and will become preoccupied by their own economic and financial problems. “The last thing anyone wants to see is another armed conflict in the Balkans and the RS should make it clear it is Dayton or separation,” according to Bissett.

The leadership of the Republika Srpska should be lobbying hard to maintain the status quo under the terms of Dayton and their political leaders should be persuading Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to support their cause. It is likely, Bissett adds, that these nations have a more realistic amd pragmatic view of the Muslim encroachment into the Balkans.

Turkey seeking dominance in the Balkans

Bissett thinks that the question of increasing Muslim influence in the region is an unsettling one. “Turkey obviously is pushing hard for its previous dominant position in the Balkans. Islam’s influence in Kosovo, Albania, Sandzak and in BiH will undoubtedly increase and it poses a threat not only to the Republic of Srpska but to the rest of the Balkans as well.”

Normally, he says, the non - Muslim countries of the Balkans should expect sympathy and help from both Russia and the countries of the democratic west – including the USA – but unfortunately, with the exception of Russia, the other countries are led by short-sighted politicians who have little sense of history or strategic vision.

Serbia “has thrown all of its eggs in the EU basket”

One might have expected as well that Serbia could be counted upon for support for Dayton but in light of the recent decision to abandon its allies in the United Nations General Assembly on the issue of Kosovo independence it is obvious that the present Government has thrown all of its eggs in the EU basket. This was a fateful decision because - to use a biblical analogy - "What does it profit Serbia to gain entry into the EU if it lose  its soul.”