Tip O’Neill‘s famous dictum isn’t just for American politics. Writing on the arrest a couple of days ago of Radovan Karadzic, Jonathan Davis explores three possible reasons for Karadzic’s sudden capture, all related to Serbian internal politics:
- Poetic Justice: Political rivals set up the Interior Minister, Dacic, with the hope that Dacic would then be killed by the organized-crime and security-service elements that had been protecting Karadzic. The “poetry” comes from the suspicion that Dacic’s Socialist Party was involved in the assassination of then-Prime Minister Djindjic in 2003, and that Karadzic’s arrest was arranged as “payback.” Davis notes that Dacic quickly issued a statement saying he had nothing to do with the arrest.
- Backlash: Former Prime Minister Kostunica or elements in the Radical Party used their influence with the security services to create a nationalist backlash against President Tadic of the Democratic Party (Serbia). As Davis thinks the majority of Serbians actually welcome Karadzic’s arrest, he doesn’t give this one much credit, in spite of legitimate Serbian anger at the ICTY’s failure to punish war criminals who committed crimes against Serbs.
- Tadic Transformed: This is the explanation Davis thinks most likely, or at least hopes is true. In this scenario, President Boris Tadic waited for the right time to move against Karadzic (and those protecting him) to enhance Serbia’s chances for entry into the EU — and his own power in Serbia, of course. The decision of the Serbian Socialist Party to become a mainstream social-democratic party and support Tadic’s coalition (and this bringing with them their secret influence in the security services) made it the right time for this move, which weakens Tadic’s nationalist rivals and brings Serbia much closer to EU membership, though much is left to be done.
Davis lives in Belgrade and is thus much closer to the situation, so, for the sake of justice for the victims Karadzic and Mladic, and for stability overall in SE Europe, I hope he’s right.
Oh, and Karadzic still deserves to hang.