Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inzko is going for broke in Bosnia

Bosnia's international overlord (OHR) Inzko has thrown down the gauntlet: he has stated that Dodik has violated Dayton and announced that he will go to the Security Council. It is the culmination of a long policy of confrontation from both sides, but mostly from Inzko.

In the Dayton Agreement Inzko's function is described as a mediator. But Inzko hasn't shown any of the neutrality that is expected from a mediator. Instead he has extensively tried to use his "Bonn powers". These powers were after Dayton given to the OHR to enable him to counter obstruction like the blocking of refugee returns. Inzko abused them by instead trying to use them to "improve" Dayton. What he failed to perceive was the element of authoritiveness. Using the Bonn powers to fight obstruction was in the spirit of Dayton and as such Bosnia's Serbs could accept it. However, using these same powers to "reform" the Dayton Agreement in a way that makes it more acceptable for the Bosniaks and less acceptable for the Serbs definitely is not acceptable for them. By acting so Inzko has undermined the credibility of his function.

Dodik has reacted to this with his own challenge: he wants a referendum on the extension of the appointment of some international judges. He claims that these judges are prejudiced but he doesn't seem very serious about that: I haven't heard a list of complaints or seen a website that attacks the functioning of those judges. They definitely would be there if Dodik wanted to convince the international community of his viewpoint. Instead it looks like Dodik just is trying to pick a fight on a point where he thinks he can get the support of his population.

This confrontationist attitude may cost Dodik dearly. By shaping the confrontation as a challenge to the OHR and the international community he is doing exactly what his enemies wish: challenging the world's big powers openly more or less forces them to react. It looks like Dodik has become overconfident after his previous confrontations with Inzko and now wants to definitively dispower Inzko.

In my opinion both sides are foolish. Their behavior may seriously harm Bosnia.

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