From Weakness to Strength: The Political Roots of Security Sector Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The mixed results of efforts to reform the governance of security forces in the aftermath of conflict require deeper examination of the political constraints that shape statebuilding processes. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, attempts to restructure and centralize the security forces led to a substantial though incomplete reform of the military, but limited impact on the police forces. These uneven results are rooted in the nature of political coalitions that constrain recipient leaders and shape their interaction with external actors. While Bosnian leaders mostly relied on a cohesive political base that favoured close links between political parties and the police forces, fragmentation within these parties generated internal threats that enabled reforms to the military. This case demonstrates the limits of external influence without changes to underlying political conditions.

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