Moscow/Brussels: Analysts have warned that tensions arising out of Bosnia, one of the Balkan countries from Europe, can become a point for a new conflict between Russia and NATO. It has been nine months since the elections were held in Bosnia, but the state has not formed a government as yet. The dispute over the NATO membership is said to be the primary reason behind it.
NATO had invited Bosnia to be a member nation in 2010. Even though the groups of the Bosniaks and Croats that are a part of the Bosnian government are in favour of the NATO membership, the Serbian political faction is strongly opposed to the proposal. Therefore, Bosnia has not been able to take the process of NATO membership forward, even after nine years from receiving the invitation.
As per the political system in Bosnia, leaders from three factions are nominated for the Presidency, and one of them becomes the President. Currently, Milorad Dodik, who represents the Serbs, has been elected to Bosnia’s three-person Presidency and is known to be a staunch opponent of NATO. Furthermore, Dodik has support from Russia and has even met Russian President Vladimir Putin several times.
The groups of the Bosniaks and Croats have claimed that Russia’s hand was behind Dodik’s opposition to NATO. Also, British analyst Marko Hoare suggested that Russia was using the political issues in Bosnia to curb NATO and the European Union (EU). Additionally, Hoare said that keeping Bosnia unstable was in Russia’s interest and the country had gained reasonable success in safeguarding its interests. The analyst has drawn attention to the fact that in the last few years, Russia had tried to destabilise the Balkan countries which attained NATO membership.
“Except Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, all the other nations from the Balkans, have received NATO membership. As Serbia is completely under Russian influence, it would not become a member of NATO, whereas, the status of Kosovo is still under dispute. Therefore, Russia would make all possible efforts to maintain its influence over Bosnia”, US analyst Daniel Server said.
Russia has an extensive intelligence network inside Bosnia and reports on the state having assisted in building paramilitary and rebel organisations have also surfaced. Through President Dodik, the groups would make all possible attempts to prevent Bosnia from joining NATO. Resultantly, they could turn into a reason for flaring up a new conflict between Russia and NATO.
The killing of Price Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo in 1914 had triggered the First World War. It is thus a known fact that the repercussions of the developments in the region are felt the world over. Consequently, the severe consequences of the proxy wars between Russia and NATO, over Bosnia, may emerge in the near future.