While the physical scars of the 1992-1995 Bosnia war have healed, political agony and ethnic tension persist. Real peace requires a new constitution and bottom-up political change.
Occasional violence notwithstanding, Islamism poses little danger in Bosnia, whose real risk stems from clashing national ideologies, especially as Islamic religious leaders increasingly reply with Bosniak nationalism to renewed Croat and Serb challenges to the state’s territorial integrity.
Only thorough constitutional reform can resolve Bosnia and Herzegovina’s deep political crisis and implement a landmark European Court of Human Rights decision to put an end to ethnic discrimination.
The international community should start a process to close its supervision of Bosnia’s Brčko District at its meeting next week and develop a new strategy to better help domestic institutions address governance challenges and corruption, while retaining the ability to sanction any attempts to undermine security.
If the leaders of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) continue driving every conflict with Sarajevo to the brink, they risk disaster for themselves, the country and the Western Balkans.
Bosnia faces its worst crisis since war ended in 1995. Violence is probably not imminent, but there is a real prospect of it in the near future unless all sides pull away from the downward cycle of their maximalist positions.
The European Union (EU) should make 2011 the year when it finally takes the lead international role in helping Bosnia on its journey from a war-ravaged ward to a stable member state.
Whether the Federation – the mostly Bosniak and Croat part of Bosnia and Herzegovina – can solve its government crisis after 3 October elections will go a long way to determining whether the country can survive.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) post-war status quo has ended but the international community risks muddling the transition by delaying decisions on a new kind of engagement.
The administration of Mostar is collapsing, a warning sign for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).