Western interference in all things Bosnian is hardly news. Not today, not yesterday, not 26 years ago, when the then-US ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmerman, encouraged Bosnian Muslim fundamentalist leader Alija Izetbegovic to reject a peace plan – accepted, incidentally, by the very same Bosnian Serb leaders soon to be demonized by the unipolar West as “aggressors” on their own land – that had a good chance of preventing the outbreak of a bloody, three-and-a-half-year civil war that produced about 100,000 dead and many more wounded and homeless people in this former federal republic of ex-Yugoslavia.
But it is news when such a charge comes out of the mouth of Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, who, although eager to keep and develop good relations with Russia and China, has over the years remade himself into an essentially pro-Western politician, whose main ambition is to integrate his country and the rest of the Balkans into the EU, torpedoes be damned. Thus, Vucic’s announcement that, as soon as the October 7 general elections in Bosnia were over, he would present “astonishing evidence of the most brutal interference of certain Western powers in the elections in Republika Srpska” (one of two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a majority Orthodox Serb population, taking up 49% of the country, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, dominated by Muslims and Catholic Croats), is a fairly reliable sign that the West has truly outdone itself, even by its own standards of “democracy export,” going so far, in Vucic’s words, that certain Western ambassadors were calling opposition candidates and threatening them not to switch allegiances, otherwise they would “answer both for real and imagined crimes.”
The first accusations of US meddling in the upcoming Bosnian general elections could already be heard back in May, when the Bosnian Serb government presented evidence to the UN Secretary-General regarding US State Department and USAID media financing designed to influence the elections, to the tune of more than $12 million. Then in June, President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik similarly accused the British government, referring to its decision to send 40 intelligence specialists to, as British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (he of the “go away and shut up” Russia fame) put it, counter “malign external influence” – as “meddling in internal affairs” and “an act that borders on intrusion into this country.” In August, Dodik once again pointed his fingers at the Americans, charging that they were interfering in the upcoming elections by funneling “anti-corruption” funds to local, anti-government NGOs. And then in the first days of September, Dodik reproached the outgoing US ambassador to B-H, Maureen Cormack for – you guessed it – “flagrantly meddling in political processes and elections in Bosnia,” having lobbied for US sanctions against the vice-president of Dodik’s party, Nikola Spiric and his family, for alleged corruption – during the 2014 (!) election campaign. In Spiric’s own words, Cormack “made a desperate move 28 days before the general election in order to help her puppets from Sarajevo – the Alliance for Change.”
Dodik went even further, opining that Cormack was, in fact, the ambassador of George Soros, and that the real reason behind the sanctions against Spiric was his “refusal to support the anti-Serbian agenda of the B-H Intelligence-Security Agency… and participate in a commission that was supposed to legalize eavesdropping” of him, current Republika Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic, Serbian President Vucic and other officials of Serbia and Republika Srpska. Earlier in the month, before the sanctions against Spiric had been announced, Zeljka Cvijanovic had already publicly accused the B-H agency of illegally eavesdropping on “around 70” officials from Serbia and Republika Srpska.
So the stage is set for, to say the least, eventful elections in the (former) unipolar world’s model democratic and multi-ethnic protectorate, Bosnia and Herzegovina, still “supervised” by a de facto viceroy in the form of a “High Representative,” with a “constitutional court” in which three of the nine judges are foreigners, and unwieldy and paralyzed institutions that are producing a “fatalistic cynicism” amongst its populace. That is, if regular elections even take place. For, there are increasing fears that there is a (naturally) Western scenario for preventing or voiding the elections in Republika Srpska in order to block the victory of Dodik and his ruling coalition. According to sources cited by Serbian Sputnik, two scenarios are in play: according to the first, the elections would be sabotaged in advance if it was judged that Dodik is too strong, while, according to the second, the election results would not be recognized should Dodik’s party gain the majority of the vote. Mass demonstrations would be incited in either case, with the lead role being played by the British, due to the “weakening” of America’s Balkan policy under Donald Trump.
The mass demonstration scenario is not unrealistic. Demonstrators in varying numbers have been occupying the main square of Banja Luka, the Republika Srpska capital, for months, accusing the government of complicity in the death of 21-year old David Dragicevic, even though they have yet to produce concrete evidence (doesn’t that sound familiar) for their claims. The victim’s father has even threatened that there would be “no election in Republika Srpska until the murder of David and other children is solved.” The demonstrations are obviously well financed, and are supported and occasionally attended by members of the pro-Western opposition. And, considering that, on the eve of the elections, Dodik is slated to visit Russia and meet its president, Vladimir Putin (Russia has consistently upheld the integrity of B-H, as provided for by the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995, and the absolute equality of its three constituent peoples, which was reiterated during Sergey Lavrov’s recent visit to the country) it will indeed be exceedingly difficult for the end-of-history West to refrain from trying to “teach” the Balkan deplorables at least one more lesson in “democracy.” Because all the previous ones there and elsewhere – Syria, Libya, Iraq instantly come to mind – have produced such wonderful results…
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Aleksandar Pavic is an independent analyst and researcher.
Featured image is from the author.