The Balkans have always been fertile ground for foreign interests. Political intrigue in the region sparked the First World War and nationalist struggles after the dissolution of Yugoslavia filled world headlines in the 1990s. It was in the latter period that the door was opened to substantial investment from the Middle East, both from Gulf countries and Iran, to help rebuild the region's infrastructure and institutions.
Krithika Varagur will report on the fruits of that period's foreign religious investments in the Balkans, as well as the challenges of reintegration and rehabilitation for returning extremists. She will also investigate foreign political influence in Bosnia, one of the world's most complex democracies, where there is growing Russian and Turkish influence alongside receding involvement from the United States and the European Union.