VIEWPOINT FROM LONDON
CO-OPERATING WITH THE SERBIAN MAFIA
The Croatian Herald, Australia No. 959 - 21 March 2003
For some time I have maintained that the "regionalco-operation" policies of the European Union willprimarily benefit organised crime, terrorists and thelike (read more), and will damage Croatia (read more).The assassination of Serbian Prime Minister ZoranDjindjic, apparently by gangsters, has emphasised thispoint. Who was Djindjic?
When news broke of Djindjic's assassination, many newsagencies - CNN in particular - lauded him as a greatdemocrat, who took on Milosevic, organised crime etc.
Let's un-spin that. Djindjic was a 'Prcani' - that isa Serb from outside Serbia - from Bosnia-Herzegovina.Like many such 'Prcani' politicians - "Arkan", RadovanKaradzic etc - he was notable for his Greater Serbiaextremism, supporting Serbia's wars. He helped RadovanKaradzic, endorsing him in elections.Indeed, in 1996he claimed that an opposition win against Milosevicwould mean the union of Republika Srpska (BiH) withSerbia itself.
Djindjic studied Marxist philosophy in Germany,reportedly associating with far left Characters linkedwith terrorism. He was thus compared with Germanforeign minister Joschka Fischer, who has a similarpast. In 2002 Djindjic claimed he left Germany a'conservative' having apparently changed his views -but not before completing a Marxist thesis.
Djindjic - who was himself linked to gangsterism - wasgiven millions by the US government to defeatMilosevic; he was in their pocket. This may helpexplain why he was left alone when it transpired thatSerbia had been providing military expertise to Iraq -which he must surely have known about.
He was a firm believer in a hegemonic Serbia,enthusiastically supporting "regional co-operation"and believed the ex-Yugoslav republics should cometogether as a block. That would certainly benefitSerbia, but hardly Croatia, who would then be linkedwith a country described as possibly becoming"Europe's Columbia". The link is already happening;the BBC ran a headline "Balkan horror at Djindjicdeath" quoting President Mesic. It is a disaster forCroatia's image to be linked with mafia-riddledSerbia; people will assume Croatia is just the same.
And this is why "regional co-operation" is dangerousfor Croatia. Serbia is a country where the mafia canmurder the Prime Minister. It's not as if this is anisolated event. Assassinations are regular in Serbia;a senior officer in the Federal Interior Ministry wasmurdered last November.
EU imposed "regional co-operation" policies such asfreedom of movement - relaxing of visa requirementswill be of great assistance in helping the Serbianmafia spread its influence.
Does Croatia want that? Does Europe? Ironically, itmay well be that the Serbian mafia killed someonewhose policies may have benefited them. Croatia - andEurope - needs to think seriously. And Croatia shouldalso ponder the implications of the West helping intopower a man like Djindjic.
© Brian Gallagher
My 'Viewpoint from London' column appears fortnightlyin the Australian 'Croatian Herald', and thereafter athttp://www.croatiafocus.com