Published On: Sub, pro 18th, 2021

BARBARIĆ: With its moves, the OHR has become a constitutive part of the problem of the BiH political system



In an interview for the Croatian Media Service doc. Dr. Dražen Barbarić, a political analyst and professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, the University of Mostar, commented on recent events in Bosnia and Herzegovina,the great political crisis, and inflammatory rhetoric in which even the issue of war breaking out is being mentioned. The boycott of the general elections looms over BiH if the Election Law is not changedThe Election Law reform has been the subject of intensive talks mediated by American and EU diplomats in recent days.

HMS: Prof. Barbarić, at the beginning, what is your view of the talks on the election law reform so far and the role of the international community, i. e. the mediation of the USA and the EU?

BARBARIĆ: There are two dimensions to the problem of international actors in BiH. On the one hand, international actors, primarily through the institution of the High Representative, have become the Constituent Entity of our political system.

A kind of extra-institutional “sovereign as needed” who drastically changed the agreed Dayton constitutional order with his decisions.

It should not be forgotten that at the very beginning of the 2000s, the decisions of Wolfgang Petritsch created an institutional possibility of Bosniaks declaring themselves as Croats and running for the House of Peoples and county assemblies.

Furthermore, one should not forget the electoral model and statute of the City of Mostar imposed by Paddy Ashdown, which brought the city into a situation of complete political crisis and administrative paralysis.

After all, Valentin Inzko’s cowardly move, which imposed amendments to the Criminal Code just before leaving his post in BiH, resulted in a blockade of the state level of government and the withdrawal of all Serbian officials from the executive and legislative branches.

Thus, the OHR’s ​​actions have become a constitutive part of the problem of the BiH political system.

On the other hand, there is a tremendous hypocrisy on the part of certain Bosnian- Herzegovinian political actors who have double standards towards these same foreign officials and diplomats.

When the latter are in favor of or advocate political models that correspond to the so-calledhe “pro-Bosnian” front are then considered “friends of Bosnia” and advocates of the territorial integrity of the state.

However, when they do not go hand in hand with Bosniak actors, they suddenly become “foreign mercenaries”, “Serbian sons-in-law”, “holders of high Croatian state medals”, “lower-class diplomats”, “half-world”, etc.

Each of their moves is then treated as a “private policy” that allegedly disintegrates BiH.

Consequently, they are denied legitimacy to represent their own countries or the EU, and are accused of malice towards BiH.

As long as one side treats the international community as an extended arm or partner in pursuingtheir own national interests, there is certainly no chance of sincere dialogue, let alone BiH being a sovereign state.

HMS: Some claim that BiH is currently in the worst situation since the Dayton agreement, some even mention the possibility of awar breaking out, the country’s disintegration etc. How likely are these scenariosand what is the goal of this kind of rhetoric?

BARBARIĆ: Pursuing narratives about a potential war and a return to the 1990s is a tragicomic attempt to divert the full attention of the public and international actors from the negotiation process on the reform of electoral legislation.

It only speaks of the political infantilism of those actors who disseminate such stories. It also represents alack of any rational proposals to change electoral legislation and desire to reach an agreement in general. Their arguments about war preparedness and the potential disintegration of the country are being drawn in this context .

Which is why, in the midst of negotiations, the SDA leader is countingtanks. This kind of discourse is reinforced  by political satellites that swear by civic values.

In such a surreal media framework, it is  an everyday activity for activists on Twitter to voice their threats  that Bosniaks will not agree to any possible changes changes in the electoral legislation concerning the House of Peoples  “even if it means going to war” or for the consul in Frankfurt to write about ammunition warehouses in Konjic and Gorazde; howitzers being placed in Travnik; even RPGs ready for use in Hadžići!”

Unfortunately, this narrative hook was bitten by international diplomats, and after specific meetings, they triumphantly ensured the public that there would certainly be no war. The political spin succeeded, the illusion of fear was achieved, and BiH was “defended again”.

The problem is that this option has never been realistic, nor are there any severe political forces in Banja Luka and Mostar that would advocate for it, or at least flirt with it. Even with Serbian actors, it would not improve their  negotiating position so as to irritate Sarajevo.

On the contrary, these “patriotic forces,” as they like to call themselves, question the further development of statehood with their stubbornness, while the narrative of war buys them more time to avoid carrying out crucial reforms and taking on their share of political responsibility.

It is easier to threaten other political actors with war and invoking patriotism rather than  explaining to your voters the benefit of coming to a compromise with the Croatian or Serbian side .

In other words, what was never an option (war) is not likely to become a reality, and what should have been achieved by an agreement (on the election law reform) falls into the background and remains secondary media content.

HMS: How do you see the position of the Croatian side, and howdid Croatian political representatives present their legitimate political demands?

BARBARIĆ: At the moment, the Croatian negotiating position does not have a wide range of maneuvering. The problem of electoral legislation, primarily the election of delegates to the Houses of Peoples and members of the Presidency of BiH, has become a question of political subjectivity of a minor constituent people.

In this regard, The political representatives of Croats in BiH have shown a high level of responsibility. Firstly, they did not back down on their initial negotiating positions, which they can maximize in the later stages. Still, it is undoubtedly a sign of goodwill and sincere commitment to solving the problem.

Secondly, only Croatian representatives were proactive and constantly offered different models. Those models would implement the decisions made by the Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights.

In fact, at the moment, Croatian politicians in BiH are seeking a reset to the Dayton settings that guarantee equality and rule out the possibility of national hegemony of the majority people.

HMS: Many will compare the current views of Bosniak politics with those of the proponents of a Greater Serbia from the late 1980s. They insist on something that would eventually lead to war! One-man-one-vote majoritarianism, the election of their Croat to the BiH Presidency three times already. This is presented as something completely normal. On the other hand, Croats and their political representatives are called “UZP” (members of a joint criminal enterprise (JCE)); loyalty to the state is sought, which in return treats you as an intruder in a country in which you are a member of a constituent people and which is your homeland!

BARBARIĆ: There are indeed people in this country who do not identify as one of  the three dominant national identities and genuinely advocate a certain form of a civil state that would be a liberal representative democracy.

It is paradoxical that such people have little sensitivity to the demands of the minority nation, such as Croatian people and their political needs, concerning all those who pretend or hide behind civic models.

The latter try to portray their ethnonationalism with mimicry of being a civic option, while in political discourse, they symbolically “turn machine guns towards Mostar, call for “return to the forests,” and talk about “the number of cruise missiles” and calling on “arming BiH patriots.”

In any normal democratic state, they  would be considered radical nationalist populists, while only in BiH can they be sold for emancipatory civic and leftist forces.

They aspire to ensure the hegemony of the majority nation in the Federation of BiH through the concept of majority democracy and to start settling accounts with the Republika Srpska according in a similar vein.

There are some whose folklore consists of propagating the notion of a civil state without understanding what it essentially means and what it would bring to BiH; they do not disguise their national background, but rather graft a civic narrative on it because it would seem more receptive to the international community.

As long as the luminaries of such citizenship are the former reis ulema Ceric, who proposes the thesis of Bosniaks in BiH being “surrounded by local Serbs and Croats,”and the SDA leader who is photographed with a notorious spreader of interethnic hatred, with a radical from Luxembourg linked to individuals close to terrorist organizations, it remains pretty clear how much danger the civic model can bring to BiH and how grotesquely it appears  in our context.

  • How is it that the SDA in Sandzak advocates the constitutivity of Bosniaks as a fundamental political principle and in BiH defames it as a “Soviet model”?
  • How is it that the SDA of Croatia is conducting a campaign “I am a Bosniak” to become a more visible national minority with a political representative in the Croatian Parliament, while the exact demand of Croats in BiH is being labelled as “anti-civilization like,” “JCE,” “racist,” and “fascist”?

HMS: Judging by the current atmosphere and the results of the negotiations, and the messages of Bosniak representatives who reject any agreement between the three nations, there is little chance of success. Therefore, Serbian and Croatian political representatives openly mention a boycott of the elections if no agreement is reached. What will happen and what can happen if Serbs and Croats boycott the 2022 elections.

BARBARIĆ: That would be the worst-casescenario because it would mean that an agreement has not been reached and that we are entering the election cycle without any agreed rules of the political game.

This would rule out any possibility of a democratic constitution of the legislature on all levels of the political system and would lead to its absolute paralysis. In that case, the Serbs would be left with their entity, and the Croats with  county institutions in which they form the majority of the electorate, which would constitute a de facto political division of territories.

We are entering a state of emergency in which the international community is exercising its  neo-colonial powers to overcome the structural crisis.

Such a fragile state is unable to resolve this kind of a crisis and is threatened by the implosion of its political system.

The cards will be shuffled, and the negotiating positions stretched and radicalized. If this happens, the proposed models for changing the electoral system, implementing the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court, would be considered child’s play compared to what the political actors of BiH would find on the negotiating table.

M.L. l
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Komsica za predsjednika.
Komsica za predsjednika.
5 mjeseci prije

Jos drecite za tutom?
OHR vam je trn u oku,ne dozvoljava da provedete politiku mate bobana;pobiti,pozatvarati,protjerati.

Šta ti kažeš na ovo?  Komsica za predsjednika.
5 mjeseci prije

Sami ste si krivi što se, s razlogom, bojite pok. Bobana kad imate Dayton, međunarodni sporazum. ali ga uporno pokušavate srušiti zakulisnim, nepoštenim igrama kako bi napravili islamsku drzavicu sebi po mjeri! Boban je pokojan ali je HR Herceg Bosna sačuvana kroz županijski ustroj Pfederacije i može se reaktivirati ako nastavite sa svojim opasnim, idiotskim marifetlucima.

5 mjeseci prije

Nije nama problem OHR već korumpirani ljudi koji koriste OHR .Bošnjaci placaju lovište milionima FA nas zezaju i pametuju.Da su to dali na lobiranje da se dovedu strani investitori.Danas bismo bili zapad i nikoga nebi interesovalo uredjenje države sem budala I lažova.Samo da naglasim Vucic je skonto kome da da pare da lobira za Srbiju sto se tice stranih ulaganja.To je bila Angela Merkel.Ona mu je dovela većinu stranih firmi.

4 mjeseci prije