Internal and external dimensions of pro-independence movements in Republika Srpska and Iraqi Kurdistan



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Tartu Ülikool


The aim of this study was to analyze the internal and external channels that Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iraqi Kurdistan put to use to promote their internal sovereignty and external political actorness. The theoretical implications of the research are that comprehensive peace agreements contain elements that can be deemed to encourage secessionism in the power-sharing structures they create, which challenges the solution of ethno-nationalist civil wars through establishing federalist states. Receiving constitutionally guaranteed powers, the minority elites continue promoting their cause using state structures and competencies granted to them by the state, contesting the central government in the internal political domain. Though I find that the actions of these entities slow down bureaucratic processes in the state and challenge central authorities, I did not find support that the secessionist politics led by sub-state entities have the aim of secession as a short-term goal. Rather, sub-state entities use structures given to them to re-negotiate their positions with the central government, and engage in foreign relations to strengthen their political and economic ties with external actors, which serve to legitimize the perpetual actions of challenging central authorities and gaining support from sub-state constituents.