Zijad Becirovic, director of the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, assessed that the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is “not good”, which he recalled was also confirmed by the increased presence of EUFOR forces. In a recent interview, he expressed doubts about the credibility of EUFOR and OSA the Intelligence – Security Agency (OSA) of BiH, which rejected the allegations of BiH Defense Minister Zukan Helez that there are paramilitary camps on the territory of the BiH entity Republika Srpska (RS). “We cannot trust those institutions unconditionally. Both the minister and those institutions have not confirmed their claims with evidence, but the fact is that the presence of EUFOR has increased,” Becirovic reiterated.
Interview question: “Do you share the apprehension with Minister Helez when he talks about the alleged paramilitary camps, which have connections with the Russians?”
“There have been warnings about the security situation in BiH for some time and as a result, we have an increased presence of EUFOR soldiers. We had a situation in Brcko where EUFOR deployed forces from both sides of the District. The presence of Russian agents has been recorded. The situation in BiH is not good, and if the Minister of Defense says so, it worries not only the domestic but also the international public,” Becirovic stated.
Interview question: “EUFOR and OSA say they have no such knowledge. What is the truth?”
“It’s very easy to determine… At the head of EUFOR is a Hungarian, Orban’s general, and in OSA is Karadzic’s war intelligence officer. The situation with OSA and the awarding of certificates was very sketchy, so these institutions are not functioning. It is symptomatic how quickly OSA announced itself (after Helez’s claims). Such serious claims were immediately denied. We cannot trust these institutions unconditionally. Both the minister and those institutions did not confirm their claims with evidence, but the fact is that the presence of EUFOR has increased,” Becirovic said.
Interview question: “Are statements like what Minister Helez said unnecessary spreading of panic?”
“They are not. It would be spreading panic if we lived in an ideal world and BiH was the only one where this kind of thing happened. But now, there is a big war in Europe, there is a big world problem in Gaza – so people are not frightened. These warnings should be understood in the sense of making people aware in order to act preventively, to eliminate threats,” he emphasized.
Interview question: “Do you think EUFOR or OSA would really keep quiet if there was a paramilitary camp or terrorist cell?”
“It’s not a question of the camp in one or another location, the situation is generally not good. Those camps are not static, they move… that’s not easy to investigate. BiH institutions normally work poorly and the whole situation is worrying not only here, but also in Europe. There is a real possibility that some people want to take their conflicts to BiH because we are impassionedwhen it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, but also about the war in Gaza,” Becirovic explained.
Interview question: “The NATO alliance says it stands by BiH. Does Stoltenberg’s visit have anything to do with Zelenskyy’s statement that Russia is planning conflicts in the Balkans?”
“The visit was previously planned. The BiH NATO path was outlined in the Dayton Peace Agreement. NATO wants the entire Adriatic coast “covered” by its influence, and our part is missing. NATO wants new members in order to increase its territory, and for that reason, it will not give up on BiH joining its alliance, but there are resistances (to this intention),” he concluded, N1 reports.