f_0022437_18491

f_0022437_18491 - THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JUNE 2011 PAGE 29...

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Bosnia Kenneth Morrison While the ghosts of the 1992-95 Bosnian war have been invoked by political elites in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries as a justification for the need to provide humanitarian intervention in Libya, the political situation in Bosnia barely merited mention. Indeed, while the focus has been fixed on the events in the Middle East and North Africa, Bosnia’s problems have incrementally but steadily worsened. PAGE 29 AP PHOTO/HIDAJET DELIC THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JUNE 2011 Crisis Averted? A Bosnian Muslim woman attends a religious service at the Gazi-Husref Bey's Mosque in Sarajevo.
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r ELATIVELY FEW COLUMN INCHES HAVE BEEN devoted to the recent political crisis which enveloped Bosnia, possibly the most acute since the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995. One notable exception was Lord Paddy Ashdown, a former High Representative (HR) in Bosnia, who made a timely intervention reminding those who do not closely follow the country’s affairs of the potential dangers that lie ahead if the international community continues to turn a blind eye. In an article for The Times , he argued that while great efforts were being made to prevent a Bosnian-style scenario in Libya, the international community’s approach to Bosnia itself was, conversely, characterised by inaction. The fundamental problem remains Bosnia’s complex political structure, and the competing interpretations of what kind of state it should be. Divided into two entities - the predominantly- Serb Republika Srpska and the Croat-Bosniak Federation, the latter of which was further decentralised into ten cantons - each possess their own governments, parliament and presidency, but are linked only by weak and increasingly embattled central institutions. Consequently, political power has remained concentrated at entity, not state, level. Bosnian Serbs, in particular, have vigorously resisted constitutional reforms that would, as they see it, undermine their autonomy. Their strategy of strengthening their own institutions by blocking as much state-level legislation as possible has assured that the Bosnian state remains weak. Acting as arbiter, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) has attempted to implement its vision of the Dayton Agreement and push reforms that would make Bosnia a functioning state, and one better prepared to embark upon the process of Euro-Atlantic integration. The HR, who from 1997 was endowed with the so-called
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f_0022437_18491 - THEWORLDTODAY.ORG JUNE 2011 PAGE 29...

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