Kenneth R. Timmerman
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The man who helped overthrow Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic says the State Department is pressuring him to hand over Christian Bosnia to its powerful Muslim neighbor, threatening the delicate balance that ended the Bosnian War.
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The Bosnian Serbian entity was created under the 1995 Dayton peace accords.
"At the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, I was threatened that if I did not agree to these U.S. demands, I would have problems," Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Milorad Dodik told NewsMax in an exclusive interview.
In a meeting on Wednesday at the State Department, Dodik said that Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried didn't repeat the threats, but insisted that Dodik and the Christian Bosnian Serb government agree to dissolve its independent police force and parliament, and merge them into Muslim-majority federal institutions.
"The United States is trying to assimilate us into Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), which is a Muslim entity," Dodik said. Today, Dodik will be meeting with Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is expected to reinforce these demands. Dodik told NewsMax, "I will refuse."
Asked why he was coming to Washington if to be read the riot act, Dodik said it was "hard to refuse when you've been summoned."
Nearly 1.4 million Serbian Christians live in the Republic of Srpska, the autonomous Serbian entity that Serbs say was "forced down [their] throats" under the 1995 Dayton agreement.
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. official who negotiated the 1995 agreement, told a forum marking the 10th anniversary of the Dayton accords in November 2005 that among his "mistakes" were the words "Republika Srpska." He called for the Serbian entity to be dissolved into Muslim Bosnia.
Dodik said that while 99 percent of Bosnian Serbs would prefer to live in an independent state, the Dayton accords had achieved a "balance" and that it would be a mistake to change them now.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey was taken by surprise when a reporter asked him at the daily briefing on Wednesday about the visit of Dodik and BiH president, Sulejman Tihic, a Muslim.
"I can confirm for you that we will have some Bosnian officials here in the building today," he said. "They'll be meeting here with Dan Fried. It's an opportunity for us to talk about our longstanding desire to see Bosnia move forward with some of the necessary constitutional reforms that we have long been advocating and that many Bosnian leaders have long recognized as being necessary for the country to finalize the Dayton process."
The only Bosnian leaders seeking the "reforms" Casey mentioned are Bosnian Muslim leaders, Dodik said.
"If the U.S. project of turning BiH into a single government controlled under one man one vote, in 10 years there will be no more Serbs in the area. All I want is for the U.S. to leave us alone."
Under the current arrangement, the Bosnian Serbs have 22 members of the federal parliament, and the Bosnian Muslims have 24 members. Simple majority rule, as advocated by the United States, would allow the Bosnian Muslims to transform the Bosnian federation into an Islamic Republic.
In addition, the assimilation of the independent Bosnian Serb police force into a single, federal force "would mean we must accept terrorists who have been recruited into the police by the Bosnian Muslims."
Dodik and several advisers who also spoke with NewsMax in Washington warned that Muslim Bosnia has become "a platform for attacking the United States and Europe using ‘white' Al Qaeda members who look like Europeans."
"When I was asked by [former State Department official] Bob Gelbard why we have to stay in Bosnia, I said it was to prevent the creation of a Muslim state in the heart of Europe," Dodik said.
Well before the Dayton accords, the Bosnian Muslim authorities forged a close relationship with Osama Bin Laden, even providing him a Bosnian diplomatic passport after his Saudi passport was revoked by the Saudi government.
Five of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were trained in Bosnian Muslim al Qaeda camps.
During the Clinton administration, "the U.S. gave its blessing as 4,400 jihadis came to Bosnia from Afghanistan," Dodik said.
"The areas where these jihadis operated were also the scenes of horrible crimes against Christian Serbs," he added. "Until now, there is no data on crimes against Serbs in the UN human rights data bases."
Only a handful of the jihadis who came to Bosnia during the 1990s have been extradited to the United States and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. More than 700 of the original group of jihadis have been given Bosnian passports and are still based in the country, Dodik said. Among them are 87 Egyptians, 75 Algerians, 80 Jordanians, 28 Lebanese, and 108 Syrians.
Dodik acknowledged that the war between Muslims, Croats and Serbs took a heavy toll. "But the figure that you always hear – that 300,000 Bosnian Muslims killed – is just not true," he said. "Nevertheless, that has always been the basis for State Department policy."
The real casualty figures, he said, were closer to 56,000 Bosnian Muslims and 35,000 Bosnian Serbs.
Dodik also warned of the involvement of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran in Bosnia.
"The Saudis have funded and built more than 1000 new mosques" in the Muslim areas, he said. "These mosques serve as bases for training Muslim extremists."
Many of the humanitarian organizations funded by the Saudis in Bosnia have been identified as key elements of the Wahhabi jihadi movement. "Thirty percent of the Bosnian Muslims approve of or are directly involved in the Wahhabi movement," Dodik said.
Asked where Bosnian Serb military leader General Mladic, who is wanted for war crimes, Dodik said he would "like to get rid of this issue," but didn't have a clue where he was hiding.
"Nick Burns should ask our federal head of intelligence. He talks to the Americans more than he talks to me," Dodik said.
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