The international community fears that the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia, which is located near the center of the Balkan Peninsula – a region close to the heart of Western Europe – could become a “lawless black hole” of conflicting ethnic rivalries, according to a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“A similar case may be made for Kosovo and possibly Macedonia,” stated Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, referring to areas that have also sustained years of ethnic struggle.
At nearly the same time as the radio service issued its report, a small ultra-right wing Albanian nationalist party, calling itself the Party for National Unity, openly demanded the creation of “Greater Albania,” which it named “Chemeria,” comprising all Albanians in the Balkan region. The claim was first noted by Athenian Radio, relayed by the Macedonian Information Agency and cited by Reality Macedonia.
Observers have long claimed that the formation of a “Greater Albania” was a driving force behind Albanian ethnic struggles throughout the Balkans and have noted that ethnic Albanian politicians have consistently objected to the borders imposed on ethnic Albanians by a 1912 agreement, brokered by the major European powers of the time.
A “Greater Albania” or “Chemeria” would include all of Kosovo, nominally a part of Serbia, half of the nation of Macedonia, the western region of Greece and nearly half of Montenegro. The national capitals of Macedonia and Montenegro, Skopje and Podgorica respectively, would also fall under Albanian control.
The pro-Albanian site www.Alb-net.com includes a map entitled “Historical Ethnic Albania,” although the site claims that it does not advocate a change in present Balkan borders.
The ethnic Albanian struggles throughout the Balkans have received support from Muslim nations including Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as from the al-Qaida terrorist network.
In a recent development, the former Bosnian interior minister, Bakia Alisahic, was indicted on charges of running an Iranian supported “terrorist training center” in Bosnia in 1995, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
In an attempt to halt inter-ethnic conflict in Bosnia, and to prevent the eruption of a “lawless black hole,” U.N. High Representative for Bosnia Wolfgang Petritsch issued a new constitution that lessens the power of the ethnic-oriented parties in Bosnia.
Petritsch issued the new governing document because the Serb and Croatian/Muslim governing entities did not agree upon a new method of government within the specified time limit, according to a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Denying that the new form of government was forced on Bosnia by the international community, Petritsch stated, “This is not an outright imposition. … This is clearly … a partnership,” reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
In issuing his new constitution, Petritsch offended each of the major ethnic groups in Bosnia – the Croats, Muslims and Serbs.
Among the three ethnic groups, the Serbs feel particularly snubbed by the West, believing that the West has consistently favored Muslim forces in the region. The recent release of a 7,000-page Dutch report, which, in part, documents U.S. assistance to Muslim forces in Bosnia during the 1992-95 Bosnian civil war, has added to Serb bitterness.
A large Serb population is in Bosnia, which borders on Serbia proper. Kosovo was at one time 10 percent Serbian, but many fled during the NATO air war in 1999. Serbs revere Kosovo, considered the “cradle” of Serb culture. According to U.N. Resolution 1244, the area remains technically part of Serbia, although administered by the U.N. through a Muslim-controlled government.
A mood of defiance among the Serbs toward the West and the international community is palpable.
Radovan Karadzic, the former president of the Serb entity in Bosnia known as the Republic of Srpska, is an indicted war criminal and the man most wanted by The Hague War Crimes Tribunal.
The support for Karadzic remains firm, despite great pressure from the U.S., NATO and the U.N. for his arrest.
“I have made thousands of new friends, about whom my pursuers do not know,” boasted Karadzic, according to a British Broadcasting Corporation report.
Although he has a $5 million price on his head, posters have appeared with Karadzic’s image throughout the Serb cities of Belgrade and Novi Sad, stating that “every Serb is Radovan,” according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
In response to demands that he surrender to The Hague Tribunal, Karadzic defiantly sent a letter to a Serbian law professor offering his “regrets” that he could not attend the war crimes trials, the BBC stated.
Karadzic has also published, through his friends and supporters, a book entitled “The Situation, A Light Comedy.”
The plot contains five characters, according to a Reuters report: a waiter, an aspiring leader, an “image maker,” a representative of the “international community” and the voice off stage of a Muslim who advises the international community representative.