Skip to comments.How we trained al-Qa’eda
Posted on 09/12/2003 3:22:30 AM PDT by konijn
How we trained al-Qaeda
Brendan ONeill says the Bosnian war taught Islamic terrorists to operate abroad For all the millions of words written about al-Qaeda since the 9/11 attacks two years ago, one phenomenon is consistently overlooked the role of the Bosnian war in transforming the mujahedin of the 1980s into the roving Islamic terrorists of today.
Many writers and reporters have traced al-Qaeda and other terror groups origins back to the Afghan war of 19791992, that last gasp of the Cold War when US-backed mujahedin forces fought against the invading Soviet army. It is well documented that America played a major role in creating and sustaining the mujahedin, which included Osama bin Ladens Office of Services set up to recruit volunteers from overseas. Between 1985 and 1992, US officials estimate that 12,500 foreign fighters were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and guerrilla warfare tactics in Afghan camps that the CIA helped to set up.
Yet Americas role in backing the mujahedin a second time in the early and mid-1990s is seldom mentioned largely because very few people know about it, and those who do find it prudent to pretend that it never happened. Following the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the collapse of their puppet regime in 1992, the Afghan mujahedin became less important to the United States; many Arabs, in the words of the journalist James Buchan, were left stranded in Afghanistan with a taste for fighting but no cause. It was not long before some were provided with a new cause. From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon assisted with the movement of thousands of mujahedin and other Islamic elements from Central Asia into Europe, to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs.
The Bosnia venture appears to have been very important to the rise of mujahedin forces, to the emergence of todays cross-border Islamic terrorists who think nothing of moving from state to state in the search of outlets for their jihadist mission. In moving to Bosnia, Islamic fighters were transported from the ghettos of Afghanistan and the Middle East into Europe; from an outdated battleground of the Cold War to the major world conflict of the day; from being yesterdays men to fighting alongside the Wests favoured side in the clash of the Balkans. If Western intervention in Afghanistan created the mujahedin, Western intervention in Bosnia appears to have globalised it.
As part of the Dutch governments inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University compiled a report entitled Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, published in April 2002. In it he details the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamic groups from the Middle East, and their efforts to assist Bosnias Muslims. By 1993, there was a vast amount of weapons- smuggling through Croatia to the Muslims, organised by clandestine agencies of the USA, Turkey and Iran, in association with a range of Islamic groups that included Afghan mujahedin and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia were airlifted from the Middle East to Bosnia airlifts with which, Wiebes points out, the USA was very closely involved.
The Pentagons secret alliance with Islamic elements allowed mujahedin fighters to be flown in, though they were initially reserved as shock troops for particularly hazardous operations against Serb forces. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times in October 2001, from 1992 as many as 4,000 volunteers from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, known as the mujahedin, arrived in Bosnia to fight with the Muslims. Richard Holbrooke, Americas former chief Balkans peace negotiator, has said that the Bosnian Muslims wouldnt have survived without the help of the mujahedin, though he later admitted that the arrival of the mujahedin was a pact with the devil from which Bosnia is still recovering.
By the end of the 1990s State Department officials were increasingly worried about the consequences of this pact. Under the terms of the 1995 Dayton peace accord, the foreign mujahedin units were required to disband and leave the Balkans. Yet in 2000, the State Department raised concerns about the hundreds of foreign Islamic extremists who became Bosnian citizens after fighting against the Serbs, and who pose a potential terror threat to Europe and the United States. US officials claimed that one of bin Ladens top lieutenants had sent operatives to Bosnia, and that during the 1990s Bosnia had served as a staging area and safe haven for al-Qaeda and others. The Clinton administration had discovered that it is one thing to permit the movement of Islamic groups across territories; it is quite another to rein them back in again.
Indeed, for all the Clinton officials concern about Islamic extremists in the Balkans, they continued to allow the growth and movement of mujahedin forces in Europe through the 1990s. In the late 1990s, in the run-up to Clintons and Blairs Kosovo war of 1999, the USA backed the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbia. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post in 1998, KLA members, like the Bosnian Muslims before them, had been provided with financial and military support from Islamic countries, and had been bolstered by hundreds of Iranian fighters or mujahedin ...[some of whom] were trained in Osama bin Ladens terrorist camps in Afghanistan. It seems that, for all its handwringing, the USA just couldnt break the pact with the devil.
Why is this aspect of the mujahedins development so often overlooked? Some sensible stuff has been written about al-Qaeda and its connections in recent months, but the Bosnia connection has been left largely unexplored. In Jason Burkes excellent Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror, Bosnia is mentioned only in passing. Kimberley McCloud and Adam Dolnik of the Monterey Institute of International Studies have written some incisive commentary calling for rational thinking when assessing al-Qaedas origins and threat but again, investigation of the Bosnia link is notable by its absence.
It would appear that when it comes to Bosnia, many in the West have a moral blind spot. For some commentators, particularly liberal ones, Western intervention in Bosnia was a Good Thing except that, apparently, there was too little of it, offered too late in the conflict. Many journalists and writers demanded intervention in Bosnia and Western support for the Muslims. In many ways, this was their war, where they played an active role in encouraging further intervention to enforce peace among the former Yugoslavias warring factions. Consequently, they often overlook the downside to this intervention and its divisive impact on the Balkans. Western intervention in Bosnia, it would appear, has become an unquestionably positive thing, something that is beyond interrogation and debate.
Yet a cool analysis of todays disparate Islamic terror groups, created in Afghanistan and emboldened by the Bosnian experience, would do much to shed some light on precisely the dangers of such intervention.
Brendan ONeill is assistant editor of spiked-online.
Don't walk away, run.
While European newspapers headlined "Muslims 'slaughter their own people'," (The [London] Independent, 22 Aug. 1992,) "Serbs 'not gilty' of massacre," (The Sunday [London] Times, 1 Oct. 1995,} and "U.S. Framed Serbs for Market Bombing," (The Stoneyhill Centre, Gloucester, UK, 18 Oct. 1995,) no such headlines were read by Americans. Furthermore, Yossef Bodansky, author of "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War On America," wrote in his 1995 book, "Offensive in the Balkans," that the mortar used in the bombing of the Markale market place in Sarajevo, the excuse Clinton used to bomb the Bosnian Serbs, was DESIGNED with the help of HezbAllah, and was self-inflicted to further demonize the Serbs and to gain sympathy for the Bosnian Muslims. Mujahedin from all over the Islamic world converged into Bosnia while the Clinton and the Blair administrations not only looked the other way but encouraged Iran to ship arms and weapons into Bosnia.
Bosnia, today, is Islam's corridor into Europe along with it's prostitution and drugs. Kosovo is a basket case with Osama bin Laden's KLA terrorists murdering remaining Serbs and I'm sure anyone who defends Islamic actions in the Balkans are in pure "hog heaven."
Western journalists call this a success.
As for the World Trade Center 1993, the Serbs were accused of the bombing. For three days, well-known American radio commentator Paul Harvey said that the Serbs were guilty of bombing the WTC, according to his CIA contacts. Even after he learned that the Serbs had not committed this atrocity, he never apologized to Americans of Serbian descent. Such reports caused American Serbs to be subjected to harassment; desecration of their churches; loss of jobs. I'm sure many Serb-haters writing their comments here were delighted with the outcome.
"Yet a cool analysis of todays disparate Islamic terror groups, created in Afghanistan and emboldened by the Bosnian experience, would do much to shed some light on precisely the dangers of such intervention." Scarey.
Thanks for posting this
Without having to state who was the morally superior president at the time, we should recognize our role in the biggest political blunder of the 20th century in Serbia/Bosnia.
Maybe the second biggest.
Well you should have. Because we did.
How old are you, anyway?
1. Was the benefit of an alliance with Al Qaeda greater than the cost of the consequences (Al Qaeda infiltation into U.S. intel community)?
2. Why the Serbs are the enemy of the United States to justify U.S. becoming an ally of Al Qaeda? Or they were only a decoy in a ploy to import the cancer of radical islamism into the heart of Europe?
Thanks for pulling WWII analogy,it seems you understand WWII well. Perhaps you could elaborate the strategic angle of U.S. influence into financing Hitler's rise to power in the 1930's and keeeping Hitler's war and economic machine powered and lubed before and during WWII (well documented how U.S. companies helped Hitler with knowhow and suply of strategic materials). Hitler became U.S. Enemy #1 only after December 6 1941. Europe was 2 years in war with Nazi Germany by then. Serbs were fighting Nazis for 6 months by then.
When U.S. entered WWII, Serbs helped U.S. war effort by running the largest rescue mission behind the enemy lines and saving 500 U.S. flyboys. As a thank you note, USAAF bombed Belgrade on Easter Sunday 1944 and killed thousands of Serbs. In subsequent bombings tens of thousands were killed. For some reason, Serbs were designated as U.S.enemies, even when directly helping U.S. war effort.
In final analysis, in the 20th Century, Serbs fought against two enemies previously aided and abetted by the United States, Hitler and Al Qaeda.
Serbs waged the war against islamic terror since 1992. Was that the reason why Serbs as a people were singled out as U.S. enemy?
ALWAYS REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET - CLINTON'S SUPPORT TO AL QAEDA IN BOSNIA MADE 9-11 POSSIBLE!
1. We have literally turned over the Balkans to Osama bin Laden's KLA terrorists, and that is the final result of our intervention.
2. The Serbs lost the PR war. The bottom line is that Saudi Arabia, the real culprit in this civil war, wanted the first Islamic state in the belly of Europe and the U.S. wanted Saudi oil and money. The Saudis' had signed a letter of intent to buy $6 billion worth of Boeing aircraft. The day AFTER we bombed the Bosnian Serbs, based on a staged self-inflicted massacre by Bosnian Muslim forces in Sarajevo at the Markale market place. A coincidence? I don't think so. The Bosnians and Croats were able to hire the best PR companies in the U.S., among them Ruder & Finn. It is my guess that since they didn't have the money to hire such an expensive PR, it was the Saudis who financed them. As for the Serbs, because of sanctions, they were not permitted to hire any PR firm in the United States.
The reports about Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo were and continue to be completely controlled by the anti-Serb media. News like the machine-gunning of three Serb youths while they were swimming, would have been on the news throughout the country. The recent atrocities in Kosovo of Serbs barely makes the news, especially in any of the major media that couldn't wait to put out their propaganda against the Serbs.
Surely, Goebbels would be envious today of the role the media played in the outcome in the Balkans.
Today's map of the Balkans is almost identical to that envisioned by Hitler.
President Bush said that "we will do whatever it takes to fight the terrorists." Notice, "Islamic terrorists," is no longer used. Politically incorrect.
Why, then, were the Serbs denied the right to defend themselves against the same terrorists that President Bush and our allies are fighting today?
"The reports about Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo were and continue to be completely controlled by the anti-Serb media. News like the machine-gunning of three Serb youths while they were swimming, would have been on the news throughout the country had they been ALBANIAN OR BOSNIAN youths. The recent atrocities in Kosovo of Serbs barely makes the news, especially in any of the major media that couldn't wait to put out their propaganda against the Serbs."
Your flawed historical analogy proves your flawed morality. You and those Americans like you are a danger to America if they ever get to power, as was proven with the Clinton administration.
It has been an honor serving in the Balkans front with all of you. We were among the first.
Richard Holbrooke, ...later admitted that the arrival of the mujahedin was a pact with the devil
You mean like in the Anti-Christ?
You are, of course, free to hold and voice whatever opinion you choose, but posting erroneous and misleading articles and expecting no negative feedback is just asking a little much, don't you think?
The author's central thesis matches Serb-nationalist revisionist thinking on the matter of Bosnia's Muslims - back in 1992 Serbia went to war with Bosnia's Muslims on the basis of their being 'Turks', not the boogeymen who would emerge from Afghanistan later.
Furthermore, the author mistakenly attributes Al Quaeda's 'internationalization' to the Bosnian conflict - rather than attibuting the Al Qaeada presence in Bosnia to Al Quaeda's organizational aim of extending it's reach globally during the early 1990's - in addition to Bosnia, Al Quaeda was active in Somalia, and was working on setting up operatives in America itself while operating itself out of the Sudan, rather than Afghanistan.
Getting back to the 4,000 Mujahadeen in Bosnia, they mostly came from organizations allied with Iran - and it is conveniently forgotten that Iran and Al Quaeda have never had congruent views of Muslim Fundamentalism - each sees itself at the head of the purported Muslim Caliphate to be emplaced after the revolution is complete, and the two fought each other by proxy in Afghanistan to the detriment of the Afghanis caught between them.
Al Quaeda used Bosnia more like it uses Palestine - they could give a rat's ass about the people there, but will happily set up charity organizations in order to gather funds for non-charitable purposes and send small groups of personnel to make recruiting materials to gather men for the main effort elsewhere.
The main point with the Bosnian conflict, however, is that Amercia was fighting terrorism - and the terrorism in that instance was directed from Belgrade.
Now I realize that this goes against the conventional wisdom on these threads, but the subscribers to the conventional wisdom on these threads tend to support an agenda more in line with foreign interests (Serbia first) than on in line with our interests: law and order and accountable governance rather than paramilitary states who make up their own rules as they go along.
Rant away, Konjin. You say my time has past, but I will outlive the Republika Srpska and everything Milosevic inflicted upon this world. History is rendering a different verdict than you are.