Islamicism on the march


The conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina seems at last to be drawing to a close. This has resulted from the imperialist-brokered Dayton agreement. The USA confirmed its position as the most powerful state on the planet by enforcing the agreement. It did this with the aid of troop deployments following hard upon Nato air strikes against Bosnian Serb positions.

The position of the Weekly Worker has been that all the sides in the Bosnian conflict were equally reactionary. I have little doubt that the majority of killings in Bosnia were indeed the work of Bosnian Serbs.

However, all the warring sides were motivated by reactionary ideologies of one kind or another. The Bosnian Serbs were the most successful militarily until the USA (and a revived Croatia) weighed in. Their successes allowed them to commit the most atrocities. Croatia’s president Franjo Tudjman is widely regarded as the big winner of the Bosnian conflict. In the summer of 1995, his troops obliterated the Krajina Serb republic which had seceded from Croatia years before. Serbs fled en masse from areas of Croatia where they had lived for centuries. Perhaps they reaped what they had sown, but the Croatian state and army are no more motivated by ethnic fraternity than their Serb counterparts are. And what of the Bosnian state? Much has been said of its multi-ethnic nature.

This has often been stressed by supporters of Bosnia-Herzegovina, including on the political left in Britain. It is interesting to note that many of the Serbs in Sarajevo who remained loyal to the Bosnian government throughout the siege are becoming increasingly isolated, and many non-muslims are planning to leave, along with the more secular-minded elements among the muslims.

As a result of this exodus the hand of the governing Party of Democratic Action is being strengthened.  Hard-liners in the party have already driven out moderates in the government such as the former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic.

The media of all three communities in Bosnia are in the hands of nationalists. This is evident from reading transcripts of broadcasts by Bosnia-Herzegovina radio in Sarajevo throughout the siege. These routinely referred to “Serb murderers”, which may have been an intriguing statement for pro-Bosnian government Serbs to have to listen to. Also, broadcasts on the radio were often Islamic in content, increasingly so as the war progressed.

The trend appears to be for the Islamic nationalist element to gain the upper hand. Bosnia-Herzegovina is trying to build a state in competition with Croats and Serbs. The most obvious banner around which to rally such a nation is the Islamic religion, in my view. It serves to separate most Bosnians clearly from mainly catholic Croats and from the Serbs, who are almost entirely orthodox.

Non-muslims and secular muslims are becoming increasingly exposed. Events since the Dayton agreement seem to be setting the seal on this. Those that rallied around the so called ‘progressive’ side of the Bosnian government surely must think again and learn the dangers of such big guy, small guy politics.

Steve Kay