Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and Its Reversal

By Gerard Toal; Carl T. Dahlman | Go to book overview

9
Localized Geopolitical Struggles

As Bosnia and Herzegovina entered the twenty-first century, it seemed unlikely that the country would see any meaningful minority returns. Bosnia was still an overwhelmingly ethnically cleansed space. It was more than seven years since most of Bosnia’s displaced population had fled their homes. Growing numbers of them had given up on returning, contributing to the growing permanence of an ethnoterritorially divided country. The emergence of oppositional politics in the entities’ parliaments had not softened ethnocratic regimes at the opština level. Although security improved following SFOR’s belated support for Annex 7 and the removal of some officials by the OHR, the number of minority returns actually dropped between 1998 and 1999. This drop was due to a decline in minority returns within and to the Federation. Notably, however, minority returns across the IEBL to Republika Srpska were increasing, an indication of RRTF’s growing success in opening uncontested space to greater numbers of returnees. Still, minority returns were the exception not the rule. According to UNHCR there had been only 127,721 minority returns between the end of the war and 1999. In contrast, the UNHCR estimated there remained 1.4 million displaced persons and refugees, of whom most would be minorities should they return home.1 International aid was, meanwhile, dwindling, limiting help for those still wanting to return.2

Speaking at the Chatham House in February 2000, High Representative Petritsch acknowledged that “progress in BiH is often so incremental as to be almost invisible, especially to the outside world.”3 At the same time, he

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Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and Its Reversal
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xv
  • Figures xvii
  • Tables xix
  • Abbreviations xxi
  • Introduction - Ethnic Cleansing and Return as Geopolitics 3
  • 1 - Yugoslavia’s Violent Dissolution 20
  • 2 - A Distinctive Geopolitical Space 46
  • 3 - Polarization and Poison 83
  • 4 - Ethnic Cleansing 112
  • 5 - Persistent Ambivalence 142
  • 6 - Early Battles over Returns 167
  • 7 - Building Capacity 194
  • 8 - Rule of Law 228
  • 9 - Localized Geopolitical Struggles 256
  • 10 - Did Ethnic Cleansing Succeed? 293
  • List of Interviews 321
  • Appendix 327
  • Notes 337
  • References 411
  • Author Index 441
  • Subject Index 446
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