Op-ed for Washington Times

I admit that writing a letter to the editor for the Washington Times is like writing a policy brief to Rumsfeld telling him that the war in Iraq was a bad idea and hoping for change. Anyhow, I did write one following a particularly disturbing opinion piece on Bosnia, which hit on all the themes any nationalist publication in Serbia would be proad of: The Islamist-terrorist threat, the artificial nature of multiethnic states and the threat through centralization to Serbs and Croats.

The letter can be read at:

http://fbieber.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/2005-12-letters-to-the-editor-the-washington-times.pdf

The original article “Islamist State in Europe” with such memorable lines as “The Croatians are dying” is available at:

http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20051218-125507-6951r.htm

Post-War Bosnia

On the occassion of the 10 year anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, I am glad to announce the publication of my study of post-war governance of Bosnia, published with Palgrave in the UK. The book discusses in detail how Dayton has shaped institutions in Bosnia, the attempts at overcoming the legacy of the war and evolution of Bosnia over the past decade.

If you are interested in sample chapters or more detailed information, don’t hesitate to contact me at bieberf at gmx.net

I apologise for the high price of 45 Pounds (it’s still less than 25 pence per page).

Florian Bieber

Post-War Bosnia: Ethnicity, Inequality and Public Sector Governance

London: Palgrave, 2006. pp. 176 + xvi.

Florian Bieber

http://www.palgrave.com/products/Catalogue.aspx?is=1403998825

Ten years after the end of the war, ethnicity in Bosnia continues to matter and the country remains dependent on international intervention. The Dayton Peace Accords signed in 1995 successfully ended the war, but froze the ethnic conflict in one of the most complex systems of government in the world. The book provides an in-depth analysis of governance in this divided post-war country, providing important lessons for international intervention elsewhere around the world, from Afghanistan to Iraq.

Contents

Front Matters

Introduction

Historical Legacies

Cleavages and Inequalities in Post-War Bosnia

Governance and Administration in Bosnia

The Record of the Post-Dayton Elections

Addressing Inequality & Reforming Governance in Post-war Bosnia

Conclusions

Appendice

Notes

Bibliography

Index

‘An informative study of the special challenges of governance, stabilization and European integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be useful to scholars and policymakers alike.’ – Sumantra Bose, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

‘Bieber’s exemplary study of Bosnia and Herzegovina…is based on extensive research, in-depth knowledge, and a remarkably balanced view of the achievements and shortcomings of the international overlords. Bieber presents a convincing contribution to the debate on how to turn this experiment in state building into a truly self-sustaining democratic and multi-ethnic Bosnia.’ – Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1999-2002

Substance or Status: published comment for NIN (I wonder why?)

Here’s a short comment on the beginning of the status talks on Kosovo. I wrote it for NIN, the Serbian weekly, but they decided against publishing it in the end.

Substance or Status?

The beginning of final status talks is an acknowledgement that democratization, minority rights and economic and social development in Kosovo cannot be advanced without resolving the status and local authorities taking more responsibility. While timing matters, there was never much doubt outside of Serbia itself since June 1999 that Kosovo would not return under Serbian rule. At the same time, the failure of both the international presence and the political elite (Kosovo Albanian and Serb alike) to promote a democratic society, a vibrant economy and a functional political system, suggest that ‘independence’ (with or without qualifiers) is not going to resolve the problems of Kosovo, but without a resolution of the status question, non eof the real issue will be tackled.
So where to go from there? The formula of the Serbian authorities “Less than independence, more than autonomy” does not help much and is in fact as little of a compromise (why would one side propose a compromise?), as complete independence from the Kosovo Albanians side. Even in the worst repression under Milošević, Kosovo was conditionally independent in the sense that Serbia did not control the social, political, cultural and economic life of the Albanian majority other than by repression. It is hard to offer less independence to a population and government who will act as if they have that independence (consider Montenegro).
What is lacking, both on the Albanian and on the Serbian side, however, is a discussion on the substance, not the form of the final status. What should be the substance of Serbia’s interests in Kosovo? Here are some suggestions: a) the rights of Kosovo Serbs should be secured and displaced Serbs and Roma should be able to return in Kosovo (or receive support if they want to stay in Serbia); b) the border should be open and there should be a free flow of goods and persons between Kosovo and Serbia, c) the cultural heritage in Kosovo, including the Serb heritage should be protected (argubly the cultural heritage is European, not only Serb). d) Kosovo should be stabile, with strong institutions and a vibrant economy. Such practical goals, rather than symbolically clinging to formal status, are much more likely to yield results and provide both security for Serbia and a future for Serbs in Kosovo.

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