Inapplicability and necessity in Bosnia Herzegovina
Tanya Dramac Jiries
More than twenty years after the end of the fighting, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has continued to face the war’s aftermath. BiH’s post-war political and socio-economic conditions have shown little improvement, raising the real possibility of renewed armed conflict. BiH confronted a new challenge that exacerbated its stalled development and bleak future: foreign fighters joining wars in Syria and Iraq. Although ample research has been undertaken to ‘counter violent extremism’ (CVE), policymakers and academics still struggle to explain why Bosnian citizens took up arms in states they had never visited, alongside recruits they had never met, against enemies they had never encountered. Moreover, despite the bevy of research and recommendations, in general, the BiH government does not know how to mitigate future occurrences of violent extremism. Consequently, this chapter analyses the inapplicability of mainstream CVE logic in this multi-ethnic country, and in particular, its orthodox approach to Islamic fundamentalism. It argues that post-conflict states must do more to deliberately minimise romanticised notions of war in efforts aimed at younger generations, especially in countries like BiH, where the peacebuilding process never effectively took root.