Did Ethnic Cleansing Succeed?
In May 2007, the RS prime minister, Milorad Dodik, and Bosnian president, Haris Silajdžić, visited Washington, D.C., for talks with U.S. government officials and presentations before the city’s policy community. Dodik’s visit was managed by Quinn Gillespie and Associates, a lobbying firm the RS had hired to promote its interests.1 The firm helped place an opinion piece by Dodik in The Washington Times, which framed his message within the language of U.S. federalism. The Dayton Agreement “remains a permanent and solid foundation for building relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it balances perfectly between a complex inner structure of BiH, from one side, and the need to preserve its statehood, from the other.”2 Perfect balance and wise checks on any tyranny of the majority are especially necessary, he argued, since they are Muslims: “By acknowledging the fact that BiH is made up of three constituent ethnic groups, of which the Bosniak Muslim community is by far the most populous, Dayton set up entities as a mechanism for the protection of equality of all people in BiH.” But, the op-ed explained, the Muslim Bosniaks are attacking and ignoring Dayton. “Their ultimate goal is a BiH in which one group, Bosniak—and one religion, Islam—will gain unquestionable supremacy.” A decade and a half after its establishment, the leadership of Republika Srpska may have been savvier in its public relations but its underlying message remained rooted in the same Islamophobic discourse that propelled the war: the demographic threat from Muslims and the civilizational threat from implacable Islam.
Both this and the Quinn Gillespie and Associates makeover of Republika Srpska were evident in Dodik’s public presentation at the Woodrow Wilson