Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bosnia i Herzegovina

In BiH, the dean of the faculty for political sciences Šaćir Filandra and philosophy professor from the University of Mostar Mile Lasić met to discuss the recent Radio Free Europe article how soon BiH can and will take the road to EU integration. Recently, special envoy to BiH Peter Sorenson commented that BiH ought to have an internal discussion regarding EU accession. Omer Karabeg, the journalist who questioned Filandra and Lasić, sought to know what Sorenson might have alluded to in his comment. Filandra explained that the social contract, which is needed at this moment in BiH, is very complex. On one hand is the fundamental question of political identity and necessity to implement a structure that is agreed upon by key political actors – and these constitute of all three nations. At the same time, differing societal structures are necessary. Here, Filandra has in mind religious communities, trade unions businessmen and media people, for instance. Lasić explained that BiH has a serious problem. In BiH, political elites continue their battle with policies that previously have been fought with weapons. Meanwhile, the state of BiH has been forgotten. Here in BiH, we live according to an old paradigm that involves the imposition of will and dismissal of identities, explained Lasić. Karaberg also wanted to know if the current elite is able to reach an agreement to which Lasić expressed skepticism stating that he was not even sure if they sought to find one. A lot of people are afraid of a Bosnian-Herzegovinian “Sanaderization” process (Sanader was at the head of Croatia’s government. He faces charges on the basis of corruption). As a result, the Euro-Atlantic integration process is very slow. These days, BiH seems closer to Kosovo and Albania. Filandra added that BiH started the process of defining her national and cultural identity very late in the 19th century explaining that political actors are still in the process of creating one. This fact, says Filandra, is often overlooked while at the same time; our politicians seem to think about nothing but the process of forming an identity. Europeans, said Lasić, work on creating a transnational society, we here in BiH seeks to create three different nation-states. In addition, explained Lasić, BiH political leaders are no longer afraid loosing elections. In other words, politicians are ‘sure’ of their reelection at which point one can no longer speak of a democratic society. Asked about what exactly he was implying when he said that Bosniaks must sit down and have discussion with these people that seek a ‘different BiH’, Filandra explained that Bosniaks ought not go to look on other places for allies and instead should accept the friends they already have. This must happen in spite of the fact that Bosniaks were the victims during the war. In Filandra’s view, Bosniaks must reach out to their neighbors so as to open and maintain channels of communication. Regarding BiH’s stability and her dependence thereof on Belgrade and Zagreb, Lasić answered that they are not only BiH’s enemies from the war as is often thought. Instead, they are her potential partners. Filandra shared Lasić’s notion adding that all that was bad, as well as all that was good in the past, came from Belgrade and Zagreb. Asked whether Bosniaks have ‘a’ Belgrade or Zagreb of their own and if this was perhaps Istanbul, Filandra answered that this was not true explaining that these are just rumors. He explained, however, that Bosniaks are in a peculiar situation. For the past 150 years, he explained, Bosniaks were heavily oriented toward Belgrade and Zagreb all the while being split between Istanbul and Vienna. Yet, there exists no evidence by which Istanbul could be regarded as BiH’s political center. Only a few domestic politicians of BiH use this metaphor while only nationalists that decry Bosniaks as Ottomans rely on this myth. Lasić added that such allegations sprouted also in part because Izetbegović recently stated that the Turkish president Erdogan was also BiH’s leader. This, however, is impossible as no person from another country can be regarded a leader, not even someone from Belgrade or Zagreb. Lasić explained that it was especially counterproductive when BiH’s minister of foreign affairs invites and meets with ‘some’ Turkish ministers while refusing to meet with the president from the neighboring country. It comes thus as no surprise that nationalists will interpret this the way they see fit, while, one does not even need be a nationalist to interpret such events the wrong way.

Bakir Izetbegović who currently presides over BiH’s rotating presidency stated that BiH is likely to gain EU membership in 8 – 10 years. This is the only realistic timeframe. Realistic only if BiH behaves accordingly and if no additional yearly pauses interrupted the process as has happened in the past. Referring to the NATO summit in Chicago, Izetbegović stated that BiH could only be considered a future member in its entirety and if processes for integration are organized on the BiH – or state level. Izetbegović also explained that it was important to secure equal rights for Bosniaks and Croatians in BiH’s institutions adding that Ottoman times have long gone by. Current Turkish – BiH relations are based on good relations and results and nothing else.

In BiH, politicians’ assets may be in the hundred thousands while others, according to Vjesti, measured in in millions. Analysts have criticized that relevant institutions do nothing to investigate these assets and the origin of those properties to reduce corruption and are generally thought to be part of the corrupt system. For instance, ten years ago, Semsudin Mehmetović’s, assets were worth an estimated €116,000 while today, Mehmetović’s asset value rose to €226,000. Mehmetović is a deputy of BiH’s parliament He allegedly owns two apartments, land and drives luxurious cars. Politicians in the region meanwhile have a salary of roughly €2,500. Mehmetović assures that he did not enrich himself during his political career. Milorad Dodik’s assets are thought to reach €1,426,000 while his son too is an independent millionaire. And while BiH’s politicians get richer, BiH’s population gets poorer. A third of BiH’s population lives on the brink of poverty while 63 percent of BiH’s population is considered to be socially excluded. BiH’s political structure is partially responsible for that as in BiH only five to six people hold real power. These individuals stand above the courts, the entities, the state and the law.

A report on how the young of BiH feel bout their situation on Saturday, March 31, 12. The research was conducted under the auspices of Nansen Dialogue Center (NDC) and the Non Governmental organization Safeworld UK. Young people filled out the questionnaire, so Radio Free Europe, all across BiH. Young people of BiH are dissatisfied with their economic and political situation and with the sheer impossibility of getting jobs in the country. According to the study conducted by NDC, these are all reasons as to why young people would be ready to move away should they be given the chance to do so. Selena Grizić from Travnik, for instance, asked her interlocutors what they thought about their political situation and was surprised how well the young are informed. She explained that she was very surprised to learn how well informed young people are about BiH and foreign politics. Their dissatisfaction is thus not due to misinformation but based on their disappointment with the countries condition. Gordana Raković found that young people seek to partake in the political process but wish to work in a healthy environment without corruption and nepotism were they can reach the top on the basis of their ideas and attitudes. Regarding to question were they see BiH in ten years from today, young people answered they see BiH as a unified state and a member of the EU. BiH, according to their views, will be a state were all citizens will have equal opportunities regardless of nationality, religion, sex and sexual orientation.

“Mladi nezadovoljni stanjem u BiH, ali veruju u bolju budućnost”. Radio Slobodna Evropa. accessed March 31, 12.

“Novčanici bh. političara sve deblji”. Accessed March 26, 2012.

“BiH u EU za 8 – 10 godina, realno”. B92. Accessed March 27, 2012.

“BiH: Pogubne iluzije o Beogradu, Zagrebu I Istanbulu”. Nezavisne Novine. Accesed March 18, 2012.


In southwestern Serbia, the Democratic Party (DS) is the only certain coalition while all other parties have not yet reached a conclusion with whom to enter a coalition for the local elections on May 6th. The reason for this, so news outlet RTV, is that parties might wait for directions from Belgrade. The current local government of Novi Pazar is made up of Serbia’s Socialist Party (SPS), Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), New Serbia (NS) and the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) that are together on the “United Serbian List” together with the coalition “For a European Sandžak” which in turn forms the backbone of Rasim Ljajić’s Sandžak Democratic Party (SDP). Suljemna Ugljanin’s Sandžak Democratic Party (SDA) forms the opposition. Peca Pavlović who chairs the municipal committee of SPS in Novi Pazar stated that there are possibilities by which parties with a pro-Serbia orientation will join forces. Muamer Zukorlić meanwhile is thought to get ready to join the Bosniak Democratic Communty (BDZ) though he dements such allegations. Regarding the upcoming elections on a national level, Mujo Muković’s who heads the Bosniak People’s Party (BNS) teamed up with Serbia’s Progressive Party (SNS) because this coalition would provide his party with a safe seat in the Serbian Parliament, said Muković. Sandžak’s People Party (SNP) jointed the United Regions of Serbia List. SNP’s head and former mayor of Novi Pazar Mirsad Đerlek explained that he is not interested in gaining a seat in the parliament but rather in improving people’s lives in the region.

“Srpske stranke u Raškoj još pregovaraju”. Radio Televizija Vojvodine. Accessed March 26, 2012.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Armageddon Averted – The Soviet Collapse 1970 – 2000 by Stephen Kotkin. Oxford University Press, 2008. pp 220. ISBN 978-0-19-536863-5. Reviewed by Sandra King-Savic.

Stephen Kotkin shines a light on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s (USSR) slow implosion and explains how the Soviet Union (SU) remained at peace notwithstanding its changing status on the international stage, during its societal, political and economic transformation. Mikhail Gorbachev stands at the center of this account as the man who managed the SU’s dissolution and the end of the Cold War. While one may argue that Gorbachev knew, or in fact planned the SU’s dissolution, Kotkin portrays Gorbachev from another side. He explains that the last General Secretary of the Communist Party (1985 - 1991) was usurped by his own policy – glasnost and perestroika – when in fact, Gorbachev sought to return to the socialist values upon which the USSR was built in 1917. Kotkin chronicles the USSR’s beginning of the end in seven chapters starting with History’s Cruel Tricks, followed by Reviving the Dream; The Drama of Reform; Waiting for the End of the World; Survival and Cannibalism in the Rust Belt; Democracy without Liberalism?; and ending with Idealism and Treason. Armageddon truly was averted considering the tectonic shifts through which the SU’s population as well as its politicians lived during the 1990’s. This is especially true when considering that the USSR could have gone the way of the former Yugoslavia should the August 1991 coup have been successful. In this instance, the new Kremlin leadership could have used force to hold the Union together. Yet it is important to keep in mind that Russia has not yet reached the endpoint of switching from a command-to-market-economy, expertly clarified by Kotkin’s work as he takes his readers all the way from 1970 to 2000.

1973 was not only a watershed year for the Middle East, the U.S., and Western Europe as the former fought over borders while the latter stood in line for gasoline. It was also a defining moment for the USSR as gas prices increased by 400% at a time when the SU’s energy exports accounted for 80% of its economy. Kotkin calls these the “windfall years” as energy exports increased the SU’s hard currency earnings while Arab states went on a spending spree of military equipment that further increased the SU’s revenues. Yet, explains Kotkin, revenues often ended up in the pockets of party leadership while the USSR’s aging industry gulped up oil reserves without concern for cost. The SU was therefore already bursting at its seams while the 1970’s oil crisis merely stalled the USSR’s complete demise. Into this picture came Gorbachev who sought to turn around the Union’s slow implosion by returning the SU to its original, pre-Stalinist values with glasnost and perestroika. Gorbachev’s policies – often hailed as the key policies for East-West reconciliation – however, dealt the death knell to the USSR instead of returning the Union to its socialist path. Here, Kotkin’s thesis becomes crystallized as Gorbachev’s policies unintended consequences rendered a pacific transformation on an international scale while, internally, bringing about Russia’s democratizing process. Nothing makes this transition as palpable as the peaceful unification of West and East Berlin, which Kotkin calls the SU’s returning of its crown jewel.

Armageddon Averted, though published in 2008, is well worth reading, not only because the author’s writing style is witty, sharp and at times quite entertaining, but because Kotkin illustrates through a historical monologue Russia’s current political and economic situation. Kotkin drives home the point that Russia’s relatively calm transition was vulnerable, yet managed by the “virtuoso tactician”, as he calls Gorbachev, without whom the transition period may have taken on different dimensions. Kotkin’s work illustrates a unique behind the scenes account of the USSR’s demise and for anybody interested in the region because he avoids unnecessary jargon, which makes his work accessible and enjoyable from the first to the very last page.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bosnia i Herzegovina (BiH)

The news-outlet Kurir reported that Mevlid Jašarević’s motive for shooting at the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, BiH, was to punish Western coalition forces for their attitudes toward Islamic states. The report referred to a testimonial, allegedly left by Jašarević on the day of the shooting, that stated Jašarević chose the U.S. embassy because he identified the U.S. as the most powerful force. The note also served to illustrate to his fellow BiH citizens – except those resident in the Wahabbi stronghold Gornja Maoča – that the form of Islam practiced in BIH is not correct. His goal was allegedly to shoot at U.S. soldiers upon which he sought to die “that way”. There are still unanswered questions regarding how and why Jašarević managed to enter BiH in August though he was denied entry to the state sine July of 2011. The report further questions why Jašarević was not under surveillance and claims the only reason why he was not liquidated during the attack was because there was nobody in BiH who could have given such an order.

The military manufacturing industry of BiH is among the fastest growing industries and has nearly doubled its revenue compared to 2010. BiH’s Foreign Trade Chamber made this financial data available. Head of BiH’s Foregin Trade Chamber Zdravko Marinković explained to Banja Luka’s Independent that arms exports amounted €15 million in 2010 while in 2011, exports rose to over €22 million. At the same time, however, BiH’s import of arms declined to €1.75 million in 2011 which is half the sum spent on arms compared to 2010 imports.

“BiH izvoz oružja i vojne opreme”. Accessed March 21, 2012.

“Jašarević želeo da kazni Amerikance zbog politike”. Kurir. Accessed March 19, 2012.


The Turkish daily Turkije reported that mufti Muamer Zukorlić’s succession to grand mufti Mustafa Cerić of Sarajevo is almost certain. Cerić’s mandate is running out this year. However, the paper argues that Sarajevo’s political circles deny allegations that Zukorlić enjoys advantages over other possible candidates in taking over Cerić’s post. It remains to be seen how and if Sandžak’s lobby will be able to exert influence at the upcoming election. At this point, however, it is certain that Zukorlić enjoys strong support in Sarajevo and all of BiH. This is especially true for the political and financial circles that themselves are from Sandžak. Among Zukorlić goals is to solve the urgent question of Bosniaks of Serbia – a task that is supported by BiH as well as Turkey. The paper Turkije stated that all Bosniaks of BiH support highlighting the alarming situation as well as Sandžaks quest for autonomy.

In a recent interview published in Dnevni List Danas, Zukorlić was asked about the Turkish daily’s certainty about his taking over Cerić’s position answering that it is no surprise that a great deal of attention is being paid as to whom is going to take over the post of grand mufti. The reason for this, so Zukorlić, is because the position comes with great responsibility of leading the Muslim communities of Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, but also because the Islamic community of BiH and Sandžak seek to preserve their autonomy. Asked about Turkey’s initiative of uniting the two Islamic Communities of Serbia, Zukorlić answered that Turkey acted upon having received falsified information from Serbian president Boris Tadić having been told that the Islamic Community poses an important national and political question. However, stated Zukorlić, it has likely become clear to Turkey that it is Belgrade that stands behind the Islamic Communities’ internal division.

Kurir reported that should a referendum be held on the autonomy of Sandžak, 80-90 percent of all Bosniaks would consent to that measure. Zukorlić stated that Sandžaks autonomy is an indispensible necessity that would stabilize Serbia. He told the news-outlet B92 that because of its genocidal actions during the war, Serbia should not have been given a republic while denying Sandžaks historical autonomy. The mufti stated that he expects autonomy for the Serbian as well as Montenegrin parts of Sandžak, which, as Zukorlić explained, is possible within the statutes of Serbia’s constitution adding that he also expected a clear victory at the upcoming election within the Bosniak Democratic Union (BDZ).

“Tadić nas je dva puta prevario”. Dnevni List Danas. Accessed March 21, 2012.

“Zukorlić: Autonomija Sandžaka neophodna nužnost”. Kurir. Accessed March 20, 2012.

“Zukorlić ‘vodi’ u trci za Cerićevo mesto?” Mondo. Accessed March 19, 2012.


Serbia’s electoral commission declared that six party-lists are to compete at the upcoming parliamentary elections. Each list needed 10,000 signatures to be able to compete and the following coalitions managed to garner enough support: first in row is Boris Tadić’s Democratic Party (DS) under the slogan “The Choice for a Better Life”, followed by Serbia’s Radical Party (SRS) lead by Dr. Vojislav Šešelj, The United Regions of Serbia under Mladjan Dinkić, Čedomir Jovanović’s Preokret (shift/reversal), in fifth place is Tomislav Nikolić’s Progressive Party (SNS) with Vojislav Koštunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) taking the last place during the elections’ order. In all, there are 41 candidates partaking in the election within the above coalitions of which Jovanović’s list Preokret represents the most Bosniaks, a total of nine. Eleven candidates from Sandžak are Koštunica’s DSS, six are with Šešelj’s radical party while all other coalitions have five politicians from Sandžak on their lists. The most candidates come from Novi Pazar – 14 total, 11 are from Prijepolje, Priboj has 7 candidates in the race while three candidates each represent Sjenica, Tutin and Nova Varoš. In all, there are 10 women in the race – 31 one of the competing candidates are men. Rasim Ljajić who is on Boris Tadić’s DS list is best positioned being situated in fourth place on the list.

“Iz Sandžaka 41 kandidat na listama”. Press Online. Accessed March 21, 2012.žaka+41+kandidat+na+listama.html

“Izbori 2012 – Proglašena lista DSS”. B92. Accessed March 21, 2012.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Novi Pazar, double the number of institutions, half the rights. This is, according to Politika, how most proponents of this thesis describe the vulnerably of Bosniaks in Serbia. According to the 2002 census, about 136,087, or 1.82 percent, of Serbia’s population is Bosniak. Meanwhile another 19,503 individuals who declared themselves as Muslim in a national sense could be added to that number. “This” national community does not reach an overall 2 percent of Serbia’s population, has four deputies, two national council’s for Bosniaks, two Islamic Communities and 12 national Bosniak parties, all of whom struggle for the rights of Bosniaks, especially before the elections…The term Bosniak is relatively knew, as Politika explained, and in the 1991 census, the term Bosniak did not exist. There were an overall 173,871 Muslims in Serbia. “The new-old” name for Muslims was established in the All Bosniak Congress held in 1993 in Sarajevo. In Serbia, the majority of Bosniaks resides in the southwest. Six municipalities (Novi Pazar, Tutin, Sjenica, Prijepolje, Priboj i Nova Varoš) are located in Serbia while for most politicians; the area is called Sandžak to which also belong five Montenegrin municipalities. Bosniaks make the majority of Novi Pazar, Tutin and Sjenica while Serbs constitute the majority Prijepolje, Priboj and Nova Varoš. Though this territory is made up of multiple nationalities, mainly of Bosniaks and Serbs, “Bosniak politicians consider this as their sole space and demanding structural changes in the process”. In 1992, the Muslim National Council – later called the Bosniak National Council – that presided by Sulejman Ugljanin, organized a referendum that called for full poloitical and territorial autonomy for Sandžak with the right to become a member of another former Yugoslav state. The news outlet Politika explains that the organizers announced (while the referendum was illegal and therefore no official oversight) that nearly 100 percent of said national minority voted for an autonomous Sandžak. The referendum is often recalled in connection with the upcoming elections while Bosniak politicians emphasize that political autonomy is the goal of their task. The greatest proponent of this thesis is head of one of Serbia’s Islamic Communities mufti Muamer Zukorlić. The religious leader with the rich vocabulary, and, as some say, ambitions, rode on the wave of verbally fighting for the rights of Bosniaks together with the Bosniak Cultural Association in 2010, winning 17 of 35 seats. Politka explains the the Bosniak National Council can not be considered a political entity while it cannot be considered only religious either thus straddling both issues, religion and politics. The Council was joined by two other ministers from the list upon which the they formed a larger coalition, yet, the state did not recognize them. Errors of non-recognition of this council can be attributed to the former minister Svetozar Čiplić and the unwillingness of the Belgrade regime to acknowledge Zukorlić’s victory. Meanwhile, the “old” Bosniak Council – previously presided by Ugljanin – continued in its technical mandate now under Esad Džudžević. Minister Milan Marković who headed the jurisdiction of human rights and national councils repeatedly called for new elections for the National Council for Bosniak, though nobody knows when these elections will take place. Zukorlić considers these elections unnecessary. Bosniaks resident in Serbia are devided among many issues. They have two Islamic Communities. The Islamic of Serbia originated in Sandžak during the Yugoslav wars and was united until 2007 when a group of Imams gathered around mufti Hamdi Jusufspahić and formed a new Islamic Community headed by Adem Zilkić. While the seat of each community is located on the same street in Novi Pazar and only separated by some 50 meters, the division is clear and one knows exactly which mosque belongs to which Islamic Community. Until recently, the Turkish initiative to unite the Islamic Communities has shown no results. Five political parties including Rasim Ljajić’s, but excluding Ugljanin’s SDA, have that have gathered around Zukorlić in 2006, have brought forward a declaration condemning the marginalization of Bosniaks in Serbia’s constitutional process raising criticism that Serbia ought not to be defined as a Serbian nation and all peoples that live in it. And though Ugljanin has previously stated that Bosniaks have achieved the highest level regarding the materialization of their national rights, the SDA leader now, in the pre-election season has joined those that bring forward the disenfranchised rights of Bosniaks. The SDA thus adopted the resolution previously circulated by the Bosniak National Council. The resolution calls for full recognition national identity and the possibility to access individual human and minority rights in addition to changing the constitution that would guarantee regional autonomy for the six municipalities with the right to cooperate with the five municipalities located in Montenegro.

According to news outlet Kurir, a group of imams sent a letter to the Islamic Community of Sandžak (IZ) raising serious accusation against mufti Muamer Zukorlić. The imams wished to remain anonymous. As Kurir reports, the letter questions the mufti’s integrity stating the Zukorlić led IZ has become a family led organization that exercises unlimited power. The IZ’s goal, so Kurir, is to arrogantly seize waqf property (religious landholdings) and loot Sandžak’s diaspora for personal enrichment. Since 2009, the IZ is run like a family company headed by director Muamer Zukorlić, managed by Mohammad Zukorlić (brother), whose finance director is Elma Zukorlić (the wife of one of the brothers though not specified in the article), policy director Emir Elfić (brother in law) and presided over by Usam Zukorlić (son). According to the report, the imams sighted 43 more individuals, all of whom are personally connected with the mufti. The imam’s state that Zukurlić’s business practices are non-transparent explaining that nobody - not even his former associates - know the sum of the donations that have flown toward the IZ and/or how they are used. Zukorlić meanwhile asserts that only 10 percent of his donations come from abroad while the rest has been collected from within Sandžak.

The news outlet Radio-televizija Srbije (RTS) reported that 13 ambassadors of Middle Eastern and African states toured the Sandžak the past week. Sulejman Ugljanin, minister without a portfolio, hosted the ambassadorial corps. Proposed projects are planned to be led by “Sandžak Invest” part of which is the proposed development zone in Tutin. Mersar Mujović who heads “Sandžak Invest” explained that the zone is planned to be developed in Leskovo, which is located about 20km from Tutin. The total value of investment is estimated to amount to €I billion. If investors can be attracted, then the project counts on employing between 12,000 and 15,000 people. The proposed project, so Mujović, is planned as an intergovernmental venture for which an already signed agreement between Serbia and Turkey serves as a guarantee. In order to solve property rights issues and provide the project with design and technical documentation, two million euros have been invested already.

“Abasodori u poseti Sandžaku”. RTS. Accessed March 17, 12. http://www.rts/rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/1065092?Ambasadori+u+poseti+Sandžaku+.html

“Buna u Sandžaku: Imami istali protiv Zukorlića”. Kurir. Accessed March 12, 2012.

“Bošnjaci traže izmenu Ustava i autonomiju: Multietnička Srbija”. Politika. Accessed March 12, 2012.


The respective heads of Serbia’s Progressive Party (SNS) and the Bosniak National Party (BNS) announced their cooperation for the upcoming elections in Serbia. The BNS stated that it would support Nikolić at the presidential election. Mujo Muković who heads the BNS explained that SNS lead coalition will bring much needed change to resolving the problems faced by Bosniaks. Until last year, Muković was the vice president for Rasim Ljajić’s Democratic Party of Sandžak (SDP) and state secretary at the ministry of infrastructure until he found the BNS in mid-January. Meanwhile, party member of the SNS central committee Marko Đurić stated that the SNS will announce its candidate for the presidential elections when the elections get under way. Asked whether the SNS will support the academic Matija Bećković for the presidential election, Đurić answered that Nikolić is ready to win with an overwhelming victory against Boris Tadić.

B92 reported that the border crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak, between Kosovo and Serbia, serve as the major route across which drugs are smuggled. The U.S. state department released this information after its investigation on drug smuggling worldwide in a document called “International Narcotics Control Strategy 2012”. The U.S., according to B92, suggested that all illegal crossings by Jarinje and Brnjak be closed so as to undermine illegal narcotics trafficking. The news outlet reported that Serbia came up several times in the report and was mentioned in relation to drugs trafficking from Macedonia and Bulgaria while a whole chapter was devoted to drugs trafficking within Serbia. Serbia, so B92, was praised by America regarding its cooperation in “Balkan Warrior” and its seizure of three tons of cocaine and 1,6 million dollars in Italy and Uruguay as well as actions taken against drug boss Darko Šarić. Serbia, according to the report, is considered a transit country for drugs coming from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Turkey and reaching Western Europe as the news outlet Blic learned, adding that Montenegro, Albania and Serbia are states where the narcotics trade to the EU should be halted. According the research conducted by the State Department, only a small amount of Marijuana remains in Serbia while synthetic drug production and trafficking is still cause for concern. Kosovo, so B92, is considered a problem of special attention, as Serbia does not recognize the states independence leading to non-cooperation between the officials of those two states. The Serbian ministry for the interior (MUP) signed a cooperation agreement with EULEX while direct cooperation remains non-existent. Serbia’s non-cooperation, so B92, is based on the incidents in Northern Kosovo that transpired last year in July.

In an interview released in Dnevni List Danas, speaker of the national assembly of Serbia Slavica Đukić-Dejanović stated that the Raška municipality and Sandžak region are a source of wealth and at the heart of the Serbian state. Everything that happens in Serbia, so Đukić-Dejanović, also happens there. The economic situation is felt there as in other parts of Serbia though some think the political problems are the most important. At any rate, the people of Sandžak are wonderful neighbors and relatives. The area is, according to Đukić-Dejanović, a wealth to Serbia because of its ethnic and cultural diversity that co-exists in relatively small place. Asked about her views by which the Serbian government has been accused of ignoring that region, Đukić-Dejanović stated that she believes these accusations are unfunded. Yet, the region surely must be developed just as all of Serbia must move toward a higher level regarding the infrastructure. However, economic possibilities dictate the level of development. As of now, the state is involved in regional problems by way of two ministers as well as through a large number of deputies. After the upcoming elections, those elected to the executive and legislative branches will have to fight even more so that the region receives what it deserves. How, asked Dnevni List Danas, does she imagine the government can solve existing problems in the region? The region, explained Đukić-Dejanović, should be fully developed because its potential is great. She sees special opportunities for the textile industry, which, says Đukić-Dejanović, could become a booming industry. Current problems that arise from economic malaise ought to be solved by attracting foreign investment while University and inter-University cooperation should increase so that young people can receive an education in the region.

“Raška oblast i Sandžak su bogatstvo Srbije”. Dnevni list Danas. accessed March 15, 2012.

“Srbija semlja za transit droge”. B92. Accessed March 13, 2012.

“Bošnjaci na izbore sa Nikolićem”. Vesti Online. accessed March 11, 2012.

Bosna i Herzegovina (BiH)

According to the coordinator of the Croatian Civil Society in BiH Leo Pločkinić, more then half of all the members of the Congress of North American Bosniaks (KBSA) are members of BiH’s and other Salafi-Wahhabi movements abroad. He requested that KBSA members publicly break their ties and distance themselves from terrorists that are members of the congress. In a letter addressed to the KBSA, Pločkinić invited the members to sever links with the Wahhabi movement, whose members are responsible for attacks carried out in Salk Lake City, U.S. marines at the airport in Frankfurt and the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Kemal Hamulić, a spokesman for the KBSA previously denied allegations that said organizations supported and financed the Wahhabi movement in BiH.

“Vehabije na čelu Bošnjaka iz Severne Amerike?!” Vesti Online. accessed March 14, 2012.