Monday, November 24, 2008

#507 INTL - Why did Silajdzic go to USA?

National Congress of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina


No. 507

November 18, 2007


1. Why did Silajdzic go to USA?

2. Why the Whistle-blower Has Been Killed in the “Serbian Entity” of Bosnia-Herzegovina


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1. Why did Silajdzic go to USA?

Last week the ethnic Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH, or Bosnia, for short), Haris Silajdzic, in the middle of a political crisis that brought the resignation of Premier Nikola Spiric, unexpectedly went on an "official" visit to the capital of the US, Washington DC. His trip completely surprised the Bosnian people as it was unscheduled and unpublicized beforehand, and it caused him miss a scheduled Presidency meeting about the pressing business of Mr. Spiric's resignation, which had to be postponed. In addition, the true nature of his business in the U.S. capital was not revealed either before he left or after he returned.

Indeed, upon his return to the Sarajevo airport, he was asked by reporters exactly that - what the purpose of his visit was? He answered that he had to lobby on behalf of Bosnia, because we, the Bosnian people, have neglected to do so in the past. He implied that, as a result, the U.S. is now conspired against our country, and the consequences are dire. He actually said, with a grave tone in his voice, that he "was asked, twice, why not divide Bosnia?" He neglected to mention who exactly asked him that preposterous question. Perhaps two of the U.S. lawmakers that he reportedly met with:

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, OH
U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, KY
U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, KS (Retired)
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, NY
U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, IL
U.S. Rep. George Radanovich, CA
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, CA
U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, AK
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, IL
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, NJ
U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, FL
U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, VA

It is simply not plausible that it was any of them who asked that ridiculous question. Most of the people on the list above are members of the Bosnian Congressional Caucus, which means that they consider themselves to be friends of our country, and have acted in the Congress on resolutions in the past that were and are very helpful in the Bosnian people's struggle toward nullifying effects of genocide and aggression in our country. For example, Congressman Smith recently introduced a resolution into procedure in the House that calls for a new constitution for our country to strengthen the state, and to do away with the territorial division based on results of ethnic cleansing contained in the Dayton constitution (H. Res. 679).

Also, none of the people on that list could have possibly asked Silajdzic that question because none of those people are stupid.

No, no, Silajdzic's dire warnings to the Bosnian public simply follow a well rehearsed pattern of deflecting own culpability immediately prior to, or immediately following, a catastrophic subversion of the country or its people in favor of its enemies - the Serb ultra-nationalists. Former President Alija Izetbegovic invented the technique to explain his Dayton signature: he was forced to sign that occupied and ethnically cleansed parts of our country would become a "Republic of the Serbs" (RS), because "the world" decided that Serbs deserve a part of Bosnia for themselves. The second common excuse involves some cooperation from Serb politicians, who would make threats in the media, and then the catastrophic deals would be sold to the people as being rather good, compared to total annihilation.

We are getting a heavy dose of both of these excuses in this crisis. At a time when Europe and its High Representative Lajcak are actually pressuring the RS with the intent of abolishing its criminal and genocidal police, and forcing it to respect the institutions of the state BiH, Silajdzic helps the RS by creating agreements with it that undermine Europe. When that leads to loss of support from the Bosniak people whom he is supposed to represent, he needs to make a show to prove that despite whatever the U.S. says about supporting the High Representative, the U.S. really wants to support the RS and it wants to allow Bosnia to fall apart. Furthermore, because of Lajcak's measures to enforce attendance in the BiH Parliament, which has the effect of forcing RS politicians to actively sabotage the legislative process in BiH, instead of just declining to show up as in the past, the RS has started to saber-rattle again. They are threatening to collectively resign from state institutions; there is talk of an independence referendum; Premier Spiric, who is a Serb, has already taken down the government with his resignation in protest, etc. This provides Silajdzic with the right conditions to invoke the second excuse - we have to make a bad deal again, in order to avoid a bloody war.

Silajdzic has already done much to help the RS in its conflict against Europe. Notably, he recently made two agreements with the RS, both of which we discussed previously. The first was the agreement on police structures, which sought to preserve the RS police, but was accordingly rejected by Europe as insufficient to allow Bosnia to continue along the path to integration. The second was aimed to hold off any further measures by Mr. Lajcak to unblock the functioning of BiH at the expense of the RS entity, and also to preempt and undermine the aforementioned U.S. Congress resolution. Namely, they agreed that police and the constitution would be reformed, at some later time but only by consensus of the parties in BiH, and that the new formulation would respect Dayton. Both of those are simply the exact opposite from what he promised to the Bosnian people at election time, and he has to blame those actions on someone else. In this case, given the clear position of Europe and the High Representative, he chose to imply that it is the U.S.

However, his show for the Bosnian public was likely not the primary reason for his trip to Washington. One possibility is that he wanted to undermine Congressman Smith's resolution. The resolution in question, although obviously non-binding to Bosnia, would still give a huge boost to the Bosnian people. It would be another message, and strongest yet, that the U.S. does not actually favor the RS, and the ethnic division of our country. In fact, a failure to pass that resolution will surely be publicized by the Bosnian media as "proof" of the conspiracy theory that Silajdzic is using right now. (This is very similar to the way that Izetbegovic had used the wartime arms embargo on Bosnia as proof that the U.S. wanted Bosnia to lose the war, neglecting to mention that initiatives for removal of the arms embargo, such as Sen. Dole's resolution, were directly undermined by Izetbegovic's own insistence on perpetually negotiating with Karadzic and Milosevic.) So Silajdzic supposedly meets with a group of congressmen that originated and are very likely to support this very helpful resolution, with the explanation that he is lobbying for Bosnia. Is he fixing something that isn't broken? Or did he want to communicate to them to hold off on pushing this resolution, perhaps for the sake of "stability" of Bosnia? If his message to them really was along these lines, we counter with a plea to the Congressmen to continue pushing for this resolution, as drafted, because it is the best thing that they can do for Bosnia and its people at the moment.

Another possibility for the true purpose of Silajdzic's visit to Washington is to undermine High Representative Lajcak's current efforts. Perhaps coincidentally, but possibly in anticipation of such subterfuge by Silajdzic, Deputy High Representative Raffi Gregorian testified last Friday at the U.S. Congress Helsinki Commission that Silajdzic as well as RS Premier Milorad Dodik seem to prefer isolation for Bosnia by not allowing reforms that can advance the state toward European integration. He noted that over 70 percent of the people of Bosnia want to join Europe. So Mr. Gregorian clearly communicated to Congress that Silajdzic and Dodik belong in the same category of people who are hindering Bosnia. Dodik does not hide it - it is his job as the Premier of the RS. Silajdzic does it covertly, claiming to work in the best interest of Bosnia, but joining the RS in thwarting Europe's intentions to help Bosnia.

Perhaps in the long run nobody can help a person who is truly determined to commit suicide. However, that is not the case with Bosnia. Silajdzic's very election victory last year actually proves that the people of Bosnia want to save their country. Namely, Silajdzic was the candidate who promised to strengthen Bosnia at the expense of the entities, to abolish the genocidal RS police, to lead Bosnia as a unified country into European membership. He promised not to compromise on these most important points. The Bosnian people chose him for those promises, and their only fault is that they did not know that he was insincere. We ask the friends of Bosnia in the U.S.

Congress and elsewhere to see past the lies of this snake-oil salesman, and to trust their own instincts when they think about what is best for Bosnia.

Sahin Pasic

National Congress of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina


2. Why the Whistle-blower Has Been Killed in the “Serbian Entity” of Bosnia-Herzegovina

Certainly all of our readers are aware that the police of the Republic of the Serbs (RS) was judged by the International Court of Justice at the Hague to have organized and carried out genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), specifically in the UN safe haven of Srebrenica in July 1995, when, within only a few days, 8,000 captive non-Serb men and boys were executed. Following that massacre and through the subsequent signing of the Dayton agreement, the self proclaimed state "Republic of the Serbs" became a legal "entity" on the ethnically cleansed half of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Srebrenica The police of the Republic of the Serbs thus became the organization officially charged with upholding law and order within the RS entity borders, which means that one of its tasks became protecting those surviving non-Serbs who wished to return to their homes. Indeed, in Bosnian newspapers we often read about examples, some very recent, of the RS police either attacking and abusing returnees, or declining to protect them when they are attacked by other parties.

(As an aside, note that both the RS and the Dayton constitution are still not actually legal, because Dayton was never accepted by the parliament of the Republic of BiH, either as an international agreement, or as a new constitution. Dayton was simply implemented against the existing laws of the Republic of BiH, and against the objections of many elected officials.)

BiH is in the early stages of the process of joining the EU, which the vast majority of the people in BiH support. However, Europe certainly cannot allow the RS police to be granted the label of a "European" police force when BiH does join the EU. As described in our previous posts, the EU has therefore set three conditions for police reform which must be carried out before BiH can continue on its integration path, and those conditions leave no room for the survival of the entity police forces, only a single police for all of BiH. Yet it is unclear whether the genocide is even the main reason for such demands from Europe. Namely, the police of the Republic of the Serbs is not only an enforcer of ethnic politics, but it is also corrupt and deeply connected with organized crime. Of this also, the Bosnian media have documented many examples, and the following two are recent.

The first is the story of Radenko Momic, a former RS policeman, and one of the very few sent to prison for corruption. He was sent there for having falsified an accident report so that some friend of his could collect insurance money, of which he is guilty, by own admission. He was caught when a colleague snitched on him. However, from behind bars he revealed, to reporters from the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIN) the shocking extent, and the sophisticated mechanisms of corruption of police in the RS. By his estimation the RS police is "responsible for 70 percent of the criminal activity in the city [of Banja Luka]". He brags that he has become rather wealthy over the years, and that he has started his own company with a large investment of cash from his exploits as a policeman. Punishment for those who get caught, if any, is almost always handled internally, and almost never involves prison time. He says: "Cases are covered up, because policemen protect each other". He describes that one needs to gain the trust of superiors, because the superiors can give more lucrative assignments, such as traffic control. Of course, the superiors expect a share of the money, which he says is thirty percent.

The other news we cite from AFP, (via Southeast European Times):

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) -- A man who accused Republika Srpska officials of corruption died when his car blew up on Wednesday (November 7th). Milan Vukelic, an employee of the town planning authority, accused his boss of taking bribes and the police of threatening him. Police have refused to comment on the accusations, but revealed they had been investigating the bombing of another car owned by the victim and an arson attack on his mother's home. Two people were seriously injured when Vukelic's car exploded on Banja Luka's main street, near the interior ministry building.

end citation.

At the same time, the RS government and parliament are furiously resisting police reform mandated by the three principles, which would give BiH police oversight and control. Milorad Dodik, RS Premier, recently stated that the RS will never give up its police, even at the cost of isolation from the EU. Such insistence by Premier Dodik and other officials in the RS, likely has two reasons. The first, which is stated publicly as if it is something to be proud of, is that they want to preserve the RS as a Serbian entity with all the attributes of statehood, including police, that were given to it in Dayton. That firmly puts Premier Dodik on the same line with war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic who created the RS through ethnic cleansing. (Curious, isn't it, that both are known as war criminals, yet the Republic of the Serbs, the creation of which was the very reason for those crimes, still exists, and is vouched for by all the nations that are signers of the Dayton Agreement.)

The second possible reason for such a firm stand by the RS politicians like Dodik to protect that corrupt police from reform may be precisely that the corruption that Mr. Momic describes goes up to not only his former superiors, but to the superiors of his superiors. The two news stories above, and countless others, indicate that the RS police functions as an organized crime syndicate, with layers of corrupt bosses. We can only speculate how high that corruption goes, but certainly there does not seem to be any effective oversight from the top. Perhaps Dodik does not fear isolation from the EU, because perhaps he will live comfortably as long as he can protect the RS police.

S. P.

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