2/23/2006

Deconstructing the Mladic story

For the latest in rumors: Serbian (not Kostunica's office) and Romanian officials claim that Mladic was arrested by British and Romanian special forces troops yesterday near Drobeta Turnu-Severin in Romania, near the Serbian border. Maybe true, maybe not, I haven't heard from anyone I trust about it yet. The Mladic affair has really shown how the powerful players have developed in the war crimes hunt. The February 21st flurry of rumors were believed over statements of the Serbian government that they weren't true. It wasn't until del Ponte and the ICTY issued a denial of the Mladic arrest that the buzz (albeit, much of it legitimate buzz) began to settle down. Where was the US in its statements? Where was the EU? They may have had something to say, but they've become comparatively more marginal in FRY influence as Del Ponte has increased her influence. And even though the Europeans have EU club membership to dangle, don't count on them to independently assess Serbia. Rather, they will continue to do whatever Carla del Ponte tells them to do regarding Serbia.

Back to Mladic, here are some probabilities:
"Mladic has been located in the last week" - near certain
"Mladic was located in Belgrade" - 50/50
"Mladic was arrested in western Serbia" - unlikely
"The Serbian government will not allow Mladic to be arrested in Belgrade" - probable
"The Serbian government arrested Mladic but denies it" - unlikely
"ICTY negotiated payment for Mladic with his handlers" - likely
"Mladic was arrested in Romania" - we'll see
"A rivalry of two or more groups demanding payment is delaying Mladic's arrest" - possible

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