New separatist movement rising in one of Europe’s most troublesome spots: The Balkans – Forward Observer Shop

New separatist movement rising in one of Europe’s most troublesome spots: The Balkans

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik wants to pull his faction out of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and he has one powerful friend on his side: Russia.

The Tripartite agreement reached in 1995 has kept the region together, ending Europe’s deadliest conflict since the end of World War II. But now Dodik — whose stance led the U.S. to impose new sanctions — believes the time has come to launch Republika Srpska, after Serbia.

Russia is the No. 2 investor in the region, and Dodik has met several times with Russian President Vladimir Putin since 2011. He’s also met recently with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov five times in the last decade, according to Kremlin records.

“Bosnia is undergoing a silent breakup, and that’s best for it,” Dodik said in a recent interview. “If we saw a chance we wouldn’t miss it. Nobody should doubt that.” As for Russia, “I have not had a single unpleasant situation with the Russians. With others from the West, I always face an ultimatum.”

Despite decades of international aid, little has changed among attitudes in Bosnia. There is much bickering between its three ethnic groups who share a complicated power structure, but are separated largely by religion. The situation has led to inertia among state institutions.

“Bosnia is experiencing its most serious crisis since the end of the war,” said Timothy Less, director of the Nova Europa political risk consulting firm in Cambridge, U.K. “Not only have the shared institutions of government reached the point of near total breakdown, no one seems particularly interested in reconstituting them.” [source]

Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2:  What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints?

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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