Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
Update No: 089 - (30/09/04)
MI6 spies exposed by Balkan rivals
British spies in Bosnia and across the Balkans are being moved after being
publicly identified in several media reports planted by disgruntled local
The Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, has been forced to
withdraw its chief officer in the Serb capital, Belgrade, and another spy in the
Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, is about to leave, reported the Daily Telegraph on
A third man, who has also been branded a British spy in the Balkans, has left
the office of the High Representative in Bosnia, Lord Ashdown, to take up a post
A further two British intelligence officers working in the Croatian capital,
Zagreb, have so far remained in place despite their cover being blown in the
The series of exposes in the three capitals has markedly undermined British
intelligence operations in the Balkans, previously thought to have played a
vital role in the handover of the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic
to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
But the continuing efforts of SIS officers to capture The Hague's most wanted
men have riled many local intelligence agencies in the Balkans, some of which
are suspected of continuing ties to alleged war criminals.
The SIS is heavily involved in the hunt for the former Bosnian Serb political
leader, Radovan Karadzic, and military commander, Gen Ratko Mladic, who are
linked to a vast range of war crimes including the murder of Srebrenica's
surrendering male population and organising the siege of Sarajevo.
Also being sought is the main Croatian war crimes suspect, Ante Gotovina, who is
accused of forcing 150,000 Serbs from their homes in 1995.
"MI6 operated not so much a spy network as a network of influence within
Balkan security services and the media," said James Lyon, the director of
the International Crisis Group in Serbia and Bosnia. "It is some of those
people who are now upset."
The reopening of the Old Bridge at Mostar on 23 July 2004, a decade after
its destruction by HVO units, has been generally seen as an important symbol of
Bosnia's renewal. The fact that Croatia had contributed to the reconstruction,
and that president Mesic and premier Sanader attended the ceremony, sent a clear
signal that relations between the two neighbouring states should henceforth be
But serious reports of the occasion described Mostar's continued partition on an
ethnic basis, as well as its altered national composition as a result of the
war. The river Neretva, which for centuries bound the city together, now serves
as a border between two separate zones, one controlled by the HDZ, the other by
the SDA. The Old Bridge, for all its reborn beauty and the efforts invested in
its resurrection, is thus at best an ambiguous symbol. Mitrovice in Kosovo
provides another bridge whose divisive symbolism currently far outweighs its
The bridge at Višegrad, made famous by Ivo Andric, has likewise gained
additional dark connotations during the war of 1992-95, with numberless fresh
bodies thrown into the Drina to join those cast there by the Chetniks of World
War II. And does Andric himself not partake in striking measure of this symbolic
ambiguity? Bosnia's no doubt greatest and certainly most famous modern writer,
his relationship to the country and its interwoven confessional and national
identities is nothing if not fraught. He moved from a Catholic Croat youth, via
Yugoslavism and Mlada Bosna (like Gavrilo Princip), to an interwar diplomatic
career tainted by anti-Albanian prejudice and loyalty to an unpalatable regime,
only to emerge in postwar Belgrade as a pillar of the Communist establishment.
Yet his great works, which eloquently evoke the glories and the horrors alike of
Bosnia-Herzegovina's Muslim heritage, also espouse lofty humanist ideals. Like
the bridges he celebrated and endowed with ambiguous symbolism, he too is part
of the country's complex heritage. The Old Bridge once again spans the Neretva,
but the city it was meant to serve remains divided. So long as this is true, the
bridge will symbolize not unity but division. The dignitaries who rejoiced in
its reopening now have a duty to ensure the rebirth of the old Mostar too, as a
place where Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs could all once again live together. But
it is hard to imagine how this could happen, without the country being released
from the constitutional fetters imposed on it at Dayton.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Bosnian Serb entity, Serbia to step up economic ties - premiers
The [Bosnian] Serb Republic (RS) Prime Minister, Dragan Mikerevic, said recently
in Dobrun after talks with Serbian Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica, that it
was necessary to step up efforts in the realization of the agreement on special
relations between the Serb Republic and Serbia, and particularly with regard to
economy, SRNA News Agency reported.
Mikerevic said that a meeting between the Serb Republic and Serbian prime
ministers and certain ministries would take place in the near future in Belgrade
to draft concrete measures for a comprehensive economic cooperation.
The Serbian prime minister said that the gathering in Dobrun [marking the 200th
anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising] was a testimony to a successful
cultural cooperation between Serbia and the Serb Republic because of the
traditions which belonged to the same people living on the two banks of River
Kostunica took the view that more effort had to be invested in deepening
economic cooperation in the spirit of the agreement on special relations, which
provided a swifter flow of goods and people on both sides of the border.
The two prime ministers met in Dobrun Monastery.
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