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FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally tonight in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. March 2, 2024.

REUTERS/Jay Paul/File Photo

Hard Numbers: Republicans regret Trump, Bosnia gets EU pathway, Pakistan swears in cabinet, Somalia’s pirates seize the moment

50 million:Donald Trump may have a chokehold on the Republican Party, but that doesn’t mean he has a grip on all Republicans. The group Republicans Voters Against Trump, which first appeared in 2020, has recently raised $50 million to produce a campaign of video testimonials by Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 but say they just can’t do it again this year.

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Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik in 2018.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We’re Watching: Trouble in Bosnia, China shifts Ukraine tone

Fears rise of new Bosnian conflict. As if one major conflict brewing on Europe’s doorstep wasn’t enough, rising nationalist rhetoric and threats over the possible breakup of Bosnia and Herzegovina are prompting fears of another. Bosnia’s Serb President Milorad Dodik wants to withdraw his Republic Srpska (RS) from key Bosnian institutions, most notably the armed forces, to establish Serb-only government bodies instead. Any such move would violate the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords and could spark another violent conflict in the Balkans. While Dodik — notably a Srebrenica genocide denier — has long threatened to secede, his talk of setting up a separate RS army is what’s causing real alarm. The US has threatened to use sanctions should the Bosnian Serbs secede and formally join Serbia. European foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the situation. While many European countries want to impose sanctions, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia — in addition to Russia — are expected to stand behind Dodik.

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Other pressing issues to discuss in Munich

Much of the media attention on the Munich Security Conference will focus, understandably, on the Russia-Ukraine standoff. But other important security questions will be discussed. Here are three of the most important.

The Balkans. Bosnia now faces its most worrisome threat since the end of the Yugoslav civil war in 1995. To keep warring factions apart, the peace agreement ending that war created a special enclave within Bosnia for ethnic Serbs. The leader of that enclave, Milorad Dodik, has threatened secession over a new law banning the denial of the genocide that Serbs inflicted on Bosnian Muslims during that conflict. A breakup of Bosnia could trigger a new war.

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Gabriella Turrisi

Hard Numbers: No Aussie tech for China, young Bosnians want out, US fossil fuel auction, EU deforestation import ban

63: Australia will prevent Chinese companies from importing or investing in a group of 63 technologies that Canberra considers critical to its national interest. The off-limits areas include 5G, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and quantum computing.

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Annie Gugliotta

What We’re Watching: Erdogan picks 10 fights, Sudanese coup, Bosnia on the brink, Chilean right-winger surging, G-20 split on climate, Colombia nabs top narco

Turkey's Erdogan ups the ante with the West: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared diplomats from 10 Western countries "persona non-grata" after the group — which includes the US, France, and Germany — called on Ankara to release Osman Kavala, a Parisian-born Turkish businessman who's been held in jail since 2017 but hasn't been charged with a crime. Erdogan says that Kavala was involved in an attempted coup against the government in 2016. This latest move is a sign of Turkey's authoritarian drift in recent years, which has seen Erdogan's government increasingly crack down on opposition members as well as journalists. It also reflects Turkey's increasingly fraught relations with the West: things got particularly bad between Washington and Ankara after Turkey purchased missile defense systems from the Russians in 2019. The Council of Europe (the continent's leading human rights organization) had previously warned that Ankara has until November to release Kavala or it would impose "infringements," though it's unclear what those would be.

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What We're Watching: Bosnia's deepening political crisis

Bosnia on the brink: Bosnia is facing its worst political crisis since the end of the bloody Yugoslav civil war in 1995, which pitted ethnic Bosnians against Serbs and Croats and left more than 100,000 dead. What's going on? Well, when that war ended, the peace agreement created a special enclave within Bosnia for ethnic Serbs — the better to keep warring ethnicities apart. This has always been a messy arrangement, but now the nationalistic leader of that enclave, Milorad Dodik, is threatening to secede altogether, amid a spat over new laws meant to ban denial of the genocide that Serbs carried out against Bosnian Muslims during the war. A breakup of Bosnia could quickly lead to serious violence, and both the EU and US staunchly opposed the move. But Dodik is undaunted. He says that Serb-only institutions will be in place as soon as November. Asked how he'd pull this off, Dodik — who recently oversaw provocative military drills that spooked Bosnia's other ethnic groups — said "as the Slovenes did it." That's a not-so-veiled reference to the breakup of former Yugoslavia, which led to years of bloodshed. Indeed, it's not a good omen, and is raising fears of a return to the deadly violence of the 1990s.

Bosnian Serbs will boycott government over genocide denial law
Bosnian Serbs Leaving Institutions in Reaction to Genocide Denial Law | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Bosnian Serbs will boycott government over genocide denial law

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is going on in Bosnia with Bosnian Serbs boycotting all major institutions?

Well, it's a reaction against a decision that was taken by the outgoing high representative during his very last days, after 12 years of having done very little in this respect, to have a law banning any denial of Srebrenica and other genocides. But this issue goes to very many other aspects of the Bosnian situation. So, it has created a political crisis that will be somewhat difficult to resolve.

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