SAT, 02 DEC 1995 12:50:37 GMT
Echoes of the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia
The leadership of the Bosnian Serbs has not accomplished a single objective proclaimed on the eve of negoriations in Dayton. Both the political and the military conception have changed, and Karadzic will, evidently, have to leave as soon as he carries out his last task - makes the Serbs accept implementation of the agreement in the field.
AIM Belgrade, November 26, 1995
Negotiations in Dayton have ended in a total defeat of the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs. None of the three key demands Pale have made - division of Sarajevo, exit to the sea and 20 kilometre wide corridor near Brcko - have been fulfilled. Despite opposition of the three members of the negotiating team from Pale, President of Serbia Slobodan Milosevic signed the document pursuant to which the area around Brcko will be placed under international supervision, and Sarajevo will remain an integral city. The exit to the sea is not mentioned in the Dayton documents for the time being, at least as far as it is possible to learn, and it seems it will be discussed subsequently by Milosevic and Croat President Franjo Tudjman.
At the moment the negotiations in Dayton were about to end, one of the members of the Serb negotiating team from Pale (probably the chairman of the parliament Momcilo Krajisnik) told the Bosnian Serb news agency 'Srna' that there was a deep disagreement in the Serb delegation. The agency carried his statement that the Serb delegation had still not seen the maps on division of territories. Krajisnik, this time with his full name, made a statement after signing of the agrement had been made public and said that the part of the negotiating team from Pale had not accepted the agreement and that it was done, practically by force, by Milosevic.
After their return from Dayton, two days of tedious and unpleasant talks with Milosevic were in line for the Bosnian Serb leaders, and, as well-informed Serb sources claim, serious rebukes and even threats. "It was as when your child does something 'bad' in someone else's house. While you are there you scold it mildly, on the way back you raise your voice, but when you get home, you take a cane", the Serb source which wished to remain anonymous explained.
Talks with Milosevic were completed on November 23 by signing of a document which referred to adoption of the agreement reached in Dayton. It was not signed individually, but Radovan Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serbs, put his signature on it in the name of everyone else. Milosevic immediately forwarded the papers to Washington as a token of his cooperativeness, but also as evidence that he had regained decisive influence on the leadership in Pale.
Krajisnik seems to have continued to oppose the agreement even in Belgrade, but in the end he too accepted everything, since ther was no other way out for the Bosnian Serbs. Karadzic and his associates were then ordered to do the hardest part of the job - to return to Bosnia and see that the agreement be implemented in the field.
Drop of Karadzic's popularity
Right after it was made public that an agreement had been reached in Dayton, it became clear that there would be serious problems in implementing it. As concerning the Serb party, it seems that it will be the most difficult with Sarajevo. The population in the part of the city controlled by the Serbs started demonstrations on November 24, opposing the arrival of the police and the army from "the other" part of the city.
Karadzic and Krajisnik were forced to appear on Serb television in Pale that very day and try to explain what had happened in Dayton. Their addressing the public was still under strong impression of the talks with Milosevic, and Karadzic called the Serbs in Sarajevo to continue the struggle by "political means". In this way he practically transmitted Milosevic's message to them that they could not count on any kind of military protection and that they had to abide by the solutions reached in Dayton.
It seems, though, that the leadership from Pale has ceased to enjoy high popularity even among the Serbs in Grbavica and other parts of Sarajevo controlled by the Serbs. Their acceptance of the agreement was received as "treason", and demonstrations continued even after Karadzic and Krajisnik had spoken on television. Demonstrants (a few thousand of them) received a message from military commander general Ratko Mladic on November 25, that the army would not leave Grbavica.
Karadzic was forced the day after to "revise" his stance in reference to the agreement previously reached with Milosevic, so he repeated, in a somewhat sharper form that Sarajevo was still an open issue and that it would be demanded for the part controlled by the Serbs to either remain controlled by local army and police or be under international military control in the next five yers.
It is certain that the authorities of the Bosnian Serbs will do their best make the most of discontent of the population in the Serb part of Sarajevo until Dayton agreement will finally be signed in Paris in the beginning of December. There will obviously be more demonstrations, and the authorities will probably even try to additionally rouse them.
In the part of Sarajevo controlled by the Serbs there are about 150 thousand people, according to allegations of the Serb authorities. Basically, discontent of the local population is caused by fear of what might happen when Government forces and police enter Grbavica. The two parts of the city were mercilessly fighting each other until just a few days ago, so the arrival of the army and the police of the other party is inevitably perceived as a threat to security, especially in view of the ugly experiences from the latest developments in Croatia and Western Bosnia.
Change of military doctrine
The Bosnian Serbs are militarily not capable of making any serious moves any more. Mladic's threat about defending Grbavica should be taken only conditionally. Something like that could happen only in the case of a sudden and rash attack of Government forces on demarcation lines, which would offer legitimacy to engagement of the Serb army.
War with mass movements of troops and use of artillery and tanks, such as raged until recently, obviously definitely ended in Dayton. It is hardly possible that any of the warring parties would dare engage massive forces, especially when one knows that about 60 thousand soldiers of the NATO will soon be arriving in Bosnia, and that this time Serb President Milosevic officially appeared as some kind of a guarantor that the agreed division of territories would be respected. That is why, for instance, demonstrations of the Serb population in Grbavica are a much more serious threat to the idea of integral Sarajevo than general Mladic's threat that he would use the army. These mass demonstrations were broadcast by all world TV stations and discontented civilians were clearly seen, while threats with the army could just be counter productive.
In accordance with this, the military concept is also completely changing, and the Bosnian Serbs have already taken steps to adapt their army to the new demands. Formation of strong mobile units has already begun instead of the former corps, there are changes in both the military and the police units, and the significance of minor infantry units capable of fast operations is growing.
Along with "dying out" of the fomer conception of creation and defence of the state proclaimed by the Bosnian Serbs, political forces which have stood behind this conception are also slowly sinking. All things considered, Radovan Karadzic himself will obviously pay the bill, since he has almost completely lost political influence in Banjaluka, and his position in the East is also seriously jeopardized, after he had been forced to agree to Sarajevo as an integral city.
(AIM) Dragan Janjic