Skip to comments.The Balkans' Mujahedin
Posted on 02/27/2009 3:10:18 AM PST by Doctor13
The wars in the former Yugoslavia are not a field of study known for having spawned objective and dispassionate literature. Perhaps no topic is more controversial than the role of Al Qaeda in the Balkans in the 1990s.
This much is known: Several thousand foreign mujahedin from the wider Islamic world fought on the Bosnian Armys side during the 1992-1995 war, and Al Qaeda was closely involved in their transport and activities there. Almost everything else is highly contested.
Sensational claims have been made that the Bosnian government itself was closely linked to Al Qaeda, and that Bosnias wartime president, Alija Izetbegovic, was personally an ally of Osama bin Laden and shared his ideology. Some argue that Bosnia formed a stepping stone via which Al Qaeda transported its jihad from Afghanistan to Europe, aided by the Clinton administration. And there are even those who contend that the Bosnian jihad laid the groundwork for Al Qaedas terrorist attacks in New York and elsewhere.
The literature on this topic is divided between works of investigative journalism that seek to describe the phenomenon of the foreign Islamist presence in Bosnia, and political polemics that endorse wilder claims. Those seeking to confirm negative stereotypes about Islam and Bosnia can find authors that tell them what they want to hear. The rest of us can be grateful to those authors who have probed deeper.
Evan Kohlmanns Al-Qaidas Jihad in Europe was the first serious work to address the topic of the foreign mujahedin in Bosnia and specifically Al Qaedas role in the war. Kohlmann is a freelance international terrorism consultant from the United States who has worked with the FBI, the Nine/Eleven Finding Answers Foundation, and NBC News. He is not a Bosnian specialist as such, and his book is more a chapter in the history of the international jihadi movement rather than of one of the former Yugoslav war. He approaches the topic with no political agenda regarding the Bosnian conflict, which is what renders his book so convincing.
Kohlmanns work is both an analysis and a narrative account of the international Islamist involvement in Bosnia, providing detailed factual information and historical background. It does not do the book justice to reduce it to its conclusions. But in a nutshell, Kohlmanns case is that members of the international Islamist movement, including Al Qaeda,were very interested in the Bosnian war and actively intervened in it. He argues that Al Qaeda (though not necessarily all the Islamic radicals involved in the war) hoped to use Bosnia as a base for operations against the United States and its allies in Europe.
The United States was not involved in the transport of the mujahedin to Bosnia, and in fact looked askance at their presence there, while the Islamists for their part tended to view the United States as pro-Serb. In the end, the Islamists plans for Bosnia as a jihadi base were greatly disappointed. Their agenda diverged from that of the Bosnian government and army, which increasingly found themselves at odds with the mujahedin. Very few local Bosnian Muslims were attracted to what the mujahedin were offering, and when they were, it was generally because of their bravery and prowess in battle, and never because they wanted to participate in an international jihad.
Kohlmann does, nevertheless, claim that Bosnia was a crucial step toward Western Europe for Al Qaeda. It is the only major claim that I found unsubstantiated, though in subsequent commentary on the subject he has elaborated that Bosnias importance lay in the fact that it acted as a meeting place, bringing various jihadi elements and individuals together. This may be so, but the case that Bosnia made a fundamental difference to the emergence of this network, or that this network would have looked substantially different today had the Bosnian war not occurred, remains unconvincing.
This caveat aside, Kohlmanns excellent book is the best introduction for the English-language reader. His conclusions about the politics of the mujahedin and their role in the Bosnian war have essentially been confirmed by Esad Hecimovics superb work of investigative journalism, Garibi: Mudzahedini u BiH 1992-1999 [Garibs: The Mujahedin in Bosnia Hercegovina, 1992-1999]. Hecimovic, a veteran Bosnian journalist, provides more of the local Bosnian context to the story of the mujahedin than Kohlmann. (...)
Hoare writes: "Sensational claims have been made that the Bosnian government itself was closely linked to Al Qaeda, and that Bosnias wartime president, Alija Izetbegovic, was personally an ally of Osama bin Laden and shared his ideology."
In his own words, Izetbegovic writes: "There can be no peace or co-existence between Islamic Faith and non-Islamic faith political institutions...The Islamic movement must and take place as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough, not only to destroy the non-Islamic one, but to build up a new Islamic one. (From his Islamic Declaration).
"As early as 1992, Izetbegovic outlined a very precise and uncompromising strategic political objective for the Sarajevo regime: To get the West to defeat the Serbs and establish a Mulim-dominated state for him." (Offensive in the Balkans by Yossef Bodansky-page 62)
In 1993, Alija Izetbegovic issued a passport to Osama bin Laden at the Vienna embassy whereby Osama was able to visit both Bosnia and Kosovo.
Profession Schindler makes the following points:
how the Bosnian conflict has been misrepresented by the mainstream media, covering up the large role played by radical Islam and al-Qaida;
how Osama bin Laden used Bosnia as a base for terrorist operations worldwideincluding attacks on the United States from the Millennium Plot to 9/11;
how veterans of the Bosnian jihad have murdered thousands of Americans and conducted terrorist attacks around the world;
how the Clinton administration, in collaboration with Iran, secretly supplied Bosnias mujahidin, including al-Qaida, with millions of dollars of weapons and supplies; how Americas Bosnian allies have been in covert alliances with radical anti-American regimes in several countries;
why Bosnia and its secret jihad matter to America and our War on Terrorism today.
Al-Qaida: in the 80s they were in Afghanistan, supported by America and fighting the Russians. In the new century they have metastasized throughout the worlds geopolitical body. Where were they in the 90s? Unholy Terror provides the answer, with all its terrifying implications for our world today.
This book provides the missing piece in the puzzle of al-Qaidas transformation from an isolated fighting force into a lethal global threat: the Bosnian war of 1992 to 1995. John R. Schindler reveals the unexamined role that radical Islam played in that terrible conflict--and the ill-considered contributions of American policy to al-Qaidas growth. His book explores a truth long hidden from view: that, like Afghanistan in the 1980s, Bosnia in the 1990s became a training ground for the mujahidin. Unholy Terror at last exposes the shocking story of how bin Laden successfully exploited the Bosnian conflict for his own ends--and of how the U. S. Government gave substantial support to his unholy warriors, leading to blowback of epic proportions.
From the Inside Flap
The Bosnian conflict of 1992 to 1995 has been largely misrepresented in the West . . . until now. In Unholy Terror, John R. Schindlerprofessor of strategy at the Naval War College and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officerreappraises the war in Bosnia, illuminating its pivotal role in the development of radical Islamic terrorism.
The long hidden truth is that Bosnia played the same role for al-Qaida in the 1990s that Afghanistan did in the 1980s, providing a battleground where mujahidin could learn to wage holy war. Schindler exposes how Osama bin Laden exploited the Bosnian conflict for his own ends and the disturbing level of support the U.S. government gave to the Bosnian mujahidinjust as had been done with the Afghan mujahidin. Repeating the mistakes of Afghanistan contributed to blowback of epic proportions: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (the mastermind of 9/11) and two of the 9/11 hijacker pilots were veterans of the Bosnian jihad.
Unholy Terror is a compelling and meticulously researched step toward finally learning the lessons of Bosnia, which can only help in the continuing battle against Muslim extremists and their global jihad.
From the Back Cover
Al-Qaida. In the 1980s they were in Afghanistan, supported by the United States as they fought the Soviets; by the new millennium they were responsible for the deadliest attack on American soil in the history of the republic. Where were they in between, and how did they transform themselves from scrappy Afghan rebels to worldwide threat? This enlightening new book, Unholy Terror, provides the frightening answer: the Bosnian war of 1992 to 1995 was the core of Osama bin Ladens growing global jihad. It is frightening not so much because of the tragedies of that war, but because those tragedies occurred under the nose of the U.S. governmentat times with U.S. complicity.
To order Professor Schindler's book, go to:
It is so good to see you posting again, Doctor13!
Thank you for posting this.
When the photos and TV images of the “fighters” in Bosnia first started coming out in 1992, there were those of us astute enough to recognize that some of those fighters did not look like Serbs, “Bosnians”, or Croats - in other words, they were clearly not “from” the former Yugoslavia.
What is truly tragic about the U.S. “Humanitarian” efforts in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s and into this current decade, including the “humanitarian bombings” and “sanctions”, is that they were “helping” the very people who have come to terrorize America and for whom the destruction of America (and Israel of course) is a primary goal in life.
The Serbs understood who and what they were fighting against. The Serbs were right.
We are doomed.
Bodansky wrote based on all the information available at that time, but in fact, he was a little late on his "as early as 1992" date.
The Golden Chain list. [Source: Public domain]In March 2002, authorities in Bosnia, Sarajevo, will raid the offices of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) due to suspected funding of al-Qaeda (see March 2002). The raid will uncover a handwritten list containing the name of twenty wealthy donors sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The list, referred to as The Golden Chain, contains both the names of the donors and the names of the recipients (but does not mention amounts given). Seven of the payments are made to Osama bin Laden. [United Press International, 2/11/2003] Most accounts will be vague on what year the Golden Chain document was written; some say 1988. [Wall Street Journal, 3/18/2003] But counterterrorism tsar Richard Clarke will say it dates from 1989......"
What this means is that Jihad was planned IN Bosnia, three or four years before the Bosnian war ever began.
What the Christian people of the Balkans needs to re institute is an Orthodox League who along with Russia can finally put a stake through the Secular monster and its islamic muscle.
Do you know anything about this?—in the early 90s during the early Clinton regime - there wsa talk of an Orthodox Balkan confederation with Russia part of it and the state dept went nuts against this.
“The Clinton regime sold out the western world for hard cash.”
And George Bush did the same for hard cash, crude oil and the greater glory of The Religion of Peace. The smoking ruins of Eastern Christian communities from the Adriatic to the Iran/Iraq border are testimony enough for that.
“What the Christian people of the Balkans needs to re institute is an Orthodox League who along with Russia can finally put a stake through the Secular monster and its islamic muscle.”
Obama is now firmly on the Clinton/Bush program of destruction of Eastern Christianity and the promotion of Mohammedanism with his $900,000,000.00 donation to the rebuilding of Gaza.
The only hope of Christian civilization is a restored Orthodox League and a complete break with the doomed West.
No, I don't know anything about it. And, as an American & an Orthodox Christian, I have mixed feelings about it.
Mixed feelings? Not sure about how a confederation of Orthodox nations would affect the US negatively.
About what aspect of an Orthodox Christian league? To the contrary it seems to me that such an entity would go a long way in helping our own nation find its moral compass.