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Election "Hot Spots"

The Multinational Division (North) (MND(N)) Election Cell developed a simple, straightforward, but useful, method for determining the likelihood of any specific area becoming a "hotspot" that might require MND(N) action. This was used during the period leading up to, and immediately following, the Bosnia Herzegovina municipal elections. Under the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP), the Stabilization Force had responsibility for the control of widespread political violence as part of its mission to provide a stable and secure environment for the elections. Thus it became necessary to anticipate those areas where such violence might occur. The Election Cell determined that there were six significant factors that led to the likelihood of political violence or other public disturbance in any given area.

As shown below, these factors were: voter registration that suggested a change in political rule, split opstinas (the equivalent of counties), strategic importance of the area, expectation of movement across Inter-Entity Boundary Lines, any history of inter-ethnic violence and any recent cases of terrorism or other extremist activity. Each of these factors was then weighted according to the perceived relative importance of each factor as an indicator. Those factors judged most important were given a value of two points, while all others were given a value of one point. The determination of these actors and the detection of significant change in them required local knowledge, skill and judgment on the part of the Election Cell. The results, however, were easily displayed and understood.


The following four opstinas were rated as hot spots by TF Eagle because they had a high potential for election-related violence. The maps include relevant items of interest such as freedom of movement choke points, key bridges, and other approved roads that could be used to access a particular hot spot.


Brcko was one of the most contested areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina due to its location in the strategically important Posavina Corridor. Because of the arbitration process, Brcko had consistently been the focus of the international community. Brcko was critical because it was the centerpiece of a political battle among all three major ethnic entities in Bosnia. Note that the Brcko Opstina actually included "three Brckos"-- one for each area of ethnicity. These were: the Bosniac Rahic-Brcko and Brka, the Croat Ravne-Brcko, and the Serbian-controlled city of Brcko. The Serbs had been very defensive about the status of Brcko. Some local Serbian authorities identified that they would sooner go to war than hand over Brcko to another entity. Additionally, some Muslims had been rebuilding their homes in communities (Brod, Dizdarusa and Omerbegovaca) on the Serb side of the IEBL south of Brcko. Recent resettlement further exacerbated tensions between the two ethnic groups. When Ambassador Frowick announced that elections would be held in the Brcko municipality on the RS side only, the decision upset the Muslims on the Federation side of the Brcko opstina a great deal. This decision likely intensified the conflict in Brcko.


Zepce was a Croat pocket in the Muslim-dominated Zenica-Doboj Canton. Prior to the war, Zepce's population consisted of approximately 47-percent Muslim, 40-percent Croat, 10-percent Serbian, and 3-percent other ethnic backgrounds. During the Municipal Election, the population consisted of over 95-percent Croat and less than 5 percent other minority groups. Historically, violence in Zepce occurred as the result of either Muslim or Croat groups attempting to exercise their rights to freedom of movement in the Maglaj Finger. The municipal elections could have further destabilized an already tense situation in the region.


The Doboj Opstina couls have been an extremely contentious area during the elections. The potential for violence was high in Doboj for several reasons. First, Doboj had strategic value to both the RS and the Federation. The town straddled a two-kilometer corridor into the Ozren Salient, a large pocket of Serbian territory southeast of the city. If a non-Serbian entity controlled Doboj, that entity could effectively cut off the Serbian pocket from the remainder of the RS. Prior to the war, the population of Doboj consisted of approximately 40-percent Muslim, 39-percent Serbian, 13-percent Croatian, and 8-percent other ethnic backgrounds. At the time of the election, the population consisted of over 90-percent Serb and less than 10-percent other minority groups. The majority of the 21,820 Muslim residents of East Doboj were from Doboj and wished to return to their original homes. Before the elections, Serb crowds from Doboj confronted Muslims trying to cross the Usora bridge into town and prevented their freedom of movement.


The potential for violence in the Zvornik Opstina was high during the Municipal Elections. Pre-war statistics indicated the Zvornik area was predominantly Muslim. After the war, the Serbs became the dominant ethnic group. Many of Zvornik's displaced persons (DPs) lived in the Tuzla Valley and were in an excellent position to cross the IEBL to vote in the Zvornik opstina on election day. Many DPs crossed through Kalesija into Zvornik. Estimates of Zvornik bound voters ranged from 300-1,300 personnel. It was thought that Muslims returning to Mahala or Jusici carrying weapons would force further confrontations with the Serb Police. There was a Zvornik Special Police Detachment (SPD) that could respond to incidents during the municipal elections. This SPD had approval to serve as a QRF using helicopter support to move to areas of civil unrest.

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btn_prev.gif 1.18 KAppendix A: Glossary and Acronyms
btn_next.gif 1.18 KAppendix C: TFE Leader's Election Dozen

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