By Matthew Parish
Following the brutal wars which raged within the former Yugoslavia within the early Nineteen Nineties, Bosnia and Herzegovina used to be awkwardly partitioned into governing entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. yet there has been one a part of the rustic which can no longer be outfitted into both class: the Breko District, a strategically serious land-bridge among the 2 elements of the Bosnian Serb territory. This zone used to be the topic of a hugely strange test: put lower than a regime of across the world supervised govt, Breko grew to become a ""free city,"" evoking the reminiscence of Trieste or Danzig within the nineteenth century. What has this test in state-building printed in regards to the heritage of this stricken nook of the Balkans - and its destiny? What classes may be utilized to clash solution in different components of the area? And was once the test profitable or have the electorate of Breko suffered extra by the hands of the overseas group? A loose urban within the Balkans investigates the increase and fall of Breko and post-war Bosnia and investigates what classes may be realized for foreign peacekeeping missions elsewhere.
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Extra resources for A Free City in the Balkans: Reconstructing a Divided Society in Bosnia (International Library of War Studies)
5 As economic problems created widespread dissatisfaction in both Yugoslavia and the rest of Eastern Europe in the 1980s, maintaining the political unity of the country looked increasingly unlikely. A brief moment of optimism was experienced when Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984, but it was not to last, and the immediate trigger for the break-up of Yugoslavia was amendments to the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Serbia, passed in March 1989 by Slobodan Milošević, at this time leader of the Communist Party of Serbia.
The international community also chose and appointed the mayor (the head of the District’s executive branch) and all senior government officials, who under the law were supposed to be appointed by the elected Assembly. Finally, international officials handpicked all the judges too. Thus institutions were created within a democratic legal framework, but for an unspecified interim period there would be no elections. Once elections were held, they would fit neatly within the institutions created, and there could be reasonable continuity between the internationally appointed officials and the District’s first elected officials.
The principal US interest was to avert mounting domestic criticism of inaction over a humanitarian catastrophe. There was also a lesser interest, in the face of American concern over the rise of fundamentalist Islam, to prevent the emergence of an exclusively Islamic state within Bosnia. Part of the American agenda for promoting a unified state was the thought (however misconceived) that a mixed Bosnia would entail watered-down Islam. The contemporary European interest, by contrast, was far narrower: to secure return of the vast number of Bosnian refugees that were creating political and economic problems for a number of countries in continental Europe.