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Al Qaeda Bogeyman at Work as U.S. Rethinks Balkans
Reuters ^ | Mon October 6, 2003 07:23 AM ET | By Douglas Hamilton

Posted on 10/09/2003 9:58:55 AM PDT by mark502inf

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Serb and Croat nationalists are warning Washington that Bosnia's Muslims will let Al Qaeda infest the soft underbelly of Europe, unless they are called in to guarantee security should the U.S. military quit the Balkans.

Western diplomats in the region discount the threat. They believe the nationalists' real goal, as ever, is to isolate the Muslims and split Bosnia on ethnic lines, while winning kudos as America's staunch ally in some "clash of civilizations."

But they worry that scare-mongering may sway Congress.

An October article in the Washington Times says Bosnia "now serves as a base" for Al Qaeda. Croats are the best U.S. ally on the "front-lines in the war against Islamic terrorism in the Balkans" and can be its "eyes and ears," the Times says.

A new paper by U.S. think tank Strategic Forecasting also calls the Balkans a "frontier conflict...in the U.S. war against the Islamist world," but proposes that Serbs handle security.

This is news to Westerners who live in the Balkans, where ethnic rather than religious friction is the real concern. A senior diplomat notes that the September 11 hijackers planted cells in the cities of Western Europe and the United States.

MORE BARS THAN MOSQUES

Since the September 2001 attacks, Washington has mostly ignored the Balkans. The influential, neo-conservative Project for the American Century and the American Enterprise Institute have both said little about it on their Web Sites since 2000.

The idea of extracting 4,000 U.S. troops from NATO peace missions in Bosnia and Kosovo was raised in September by visiting General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as a means of partially relieving U.S. overstretch in Iraq.

(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: albania; alqaeda; balkans; bosnia; kosovo; serbia; terrorism
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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Haven't tried to post an excerpt before. I apologize in advance if this doesn't work.

Nice recap at the end of the much less influential role Islam plays in the Balkans than in the Middle East. Lots of propaganda & misinformation about "Islamists" in the Balkans, but the real deal is ethnicity, not religion.

1 posted on 10/09/2003 9:58:55 AM PDT by mark502inf
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2 posted on 10/09/2003 9:59:34 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: mark502inf; billbears; sheltonmac; u-89
Wolfowitz in Skopje – What Next for Macedonia?"
by Christopher Deliso May 20, 2003
3 posted on 10/09/2003 10:13:47 AM PDT by JohnGalt (Attention Pseudocons: Wilsonianrepublic.com is still available)
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To: mark502inf
Seems to me that we really haven't seen too many Al Qaeda members from Afghanistan, never mind the Balkans.

But you've got to give it to our friends on FR - some of them have made quite an effort trying to sell the Balkans - Al Qaeda connection. I'm just sorry you weren't around for the whole "hijackers as Bosnian citizens" fiasco.

4 posted on 10/09/2003 10:15:10 AM PDT by Hoplite
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To: mark502inf
So the article quotes the Washington Times, and then does basically nothing to debunk its claim. I guess we're just supposed to know that the WT is one of those eeevil conservative newspapers, and therefore can't be trusted.

In any case, I think it might be a good idea to quote a bit more extensively from that briefly mentioned article:

In the past, Saudi Arabia has sent millions of dollars in aid to "humanitarian" agencies that encourage Bosnian Muslims to promote the doctrines of Wahhabism, a particularly intolerant and puritanical version of Islam. Mosques have been established throughout the Muslim-Croat federation, many of whom preach the need for "jihad" against the country's Catholic Croats and Orthodox Christian Serbs.

The result has been numerous acts of terror perpetrated upon civilians — especially the Croats. During the past several years, Catholic churches in and around Sarajevo have been vandalized by Islamic extremists. Cemeteries where Croats were buried have been desecrated. Many ordinary Catholics are afraid of walking on the streets of Sarajevo with a cross around their neck for fear of being attacked.

The most notorious incident occurred on Christmas Eve, when three Croats — a father and his two daughters — were gunned down in their home by an Islamic militant near the town of Konjic. Their crime: celebrating Christmas.

An all we have in response is a quote from Paddy Ashdown saying, Nothing to see here!
5 posted on 10/09/2003 10:16:18 AM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Serb and Croat nationalists are warning Washington that Bosnia's Muslims will let Al Qaeda infest the soft underbelly of Europe, unless they are called in to guarantee security should the U.S. military quit the Balkans.

Western diplomats in the region discount the threat. They believe the nationalists' real goal, as ever, is to isolate the Muslims and split Bosnia on ethnic lines, while winning kudos as America's staunch ally in some "clash of civilizations."

But they worry that scare-mongering may sway Congress.

An October article in the Washington Times says Bosnia "now serves as a base" for Al Qaeda. Croats are the best U.S. ally on the "front-lines in the war against Islamic terrorism in the Balkans" and can be its "eyes and ears," the Times says.

A new paper by U.S. think tank Strategic Forecasting also calls the Balkans a "frontier conflict...in the U.S. war against the Islamist world," but proposes that Serbs handle security.

This is news to Westerners who live in the Balkans, where ethnic rather than religious friction is the real concern. A senior diplomat notes that the September 11 hijackers planted cells in the cities of Western Europe and the United States.

MORE BARS THAN MOSQUES

Since the September 2001 attacks, Washington has mostly ignored the Balkans. The influential, neo-conservative Project for the American Century and the American Enterprise Institute have both said little about it on their Web Sites since 2000.

The idea of extracting 4,000 U.S. troops from NATO peace missions in Bosnia and Kosovo was raised in September by visiting General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as a means of partially relieving U.S. overstretch in Iraq.

If this puts a Balkan pullout on the 2004 election agenda, the Al Qaeda scare could blacken the image of Bosnian Muslims and benefit those vying to be what the Times, in an echo of the 13th century Crusades, called the "rampart of Christendom."

There are seven million Muslims in the Balkans. But this is not Afghanistan, Chechnya or the Middle East.

It is customary to remove shoes on entering a home, but veiled faces and long beards are rare. There are more bars than mosques, serving women in jeans. Life does not come to a halt five times a day for prayer, and Sharia law is not an option.

There is no growing fundamentalist fervor and no deep resentment of or hostility to America -- rather the reverse.

There is no "war" or terrorist emergency. The main priority of secular governments in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia is to complete reforms so they can join the European Union.

The Washington Times, however, states that a "resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in Bosnia...seeks to either wipe out or convert all Christians in the region."

Strategic Forecasting says Islamists in Albania and Bosnia are able "to hit U.S. troops in both areas." A Balkan Al Qaeda, it warns, "could explode in Washington's face at any time."

Both analyzes cite sparse and questionable anecdotal evidence as the basis for their alarming conclusions.

"INSULTING AND INACCURATE"

The fundamentalist bogeyman serves as an "I-told-you-so" justification for vicious treatment of Muslims by their Serb and Croat neighbors in the wars of 1992-95. Potentially, it can help wreck the Dayton pact that has bound Bosnia since 1996.

The idea of consigning Balkan security to the Serbs, whose two wartime leaders are on the run from charges of genocide, meets with incredulity.

Bosnia's International High Representative, Paddy Ashdown, rejected the Times' "insulting and inaccurate prejudices from afar" insisting it "is not a terrorist base nor will become one."

"Those of us who live in the Balkans have yet to see any evidence of Islamic terrorism," he told the newspaper.

The Turkish Ottoman empire occupied the Balkans for 400 years from the 15th century, introducing a tolerant Islam. But communist secularization greatly eroded its influence.

Balkans Islamic scholars told Reuters the "white Al Qaeda" scare relies on ignorance of the faith and of Muslim gratitude for America's role in stopping Serb aggression.

Today, about 10 percent of Bosnian Muslims attend Friday prayers, said Ahmet Alibasic of Sarajevo's Faculty of Islamic Studies. But the number of those praying five times a day -- the key measure of devoutness -- is maybe just a few percent.

Stalinist Albania banned religion in 1967, declaring an atheist state and turning mosques and churches into warehouses. Religion has not revived strongly since communism fell in 1991.

"Islam in Albania has a peripheral dimension because it has been away for too long," said Islamic poet Ervin Hatibi.

Next door in Kosovo, where Muslim Albanians number two million or 90 percent of the population, a similar picture emerges: the percentage of fervent believers is quite small.

The soil for extremism, as Ashdown said, is no more fertile here than in U.S. or Western Europe cities where the September 11 hijackers planted their cells. Even if it were, tolerating extremism would be the fastest way to kill U.S. support for united Bosnia and Kosovo's hopes of independence from Serbia.



>>>>Western diplomats in the region discount the threat.

So what's new?
6 posted on 10/09/2003 10:19:07 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
Bubba and the RATS really messed this up.
7 posted on 10/09/2003 10:20:15 AM PDT by seth456
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To: inquest
Atrocities in the Balkans are not exclusively perpetrated by Slavic Muslims. If the Croats could ditch their fond memories of the Ustasha and the Serbs give up their perpetual god of victimhood they could both begin to reclaim some moral ground. But until that happens they will all keep on behaving badly. In the Balkans, the past is prologue. No one there wants to talk honestly about what wrongs their side has done, only about what wrongs have been done to them.
8 posted on 10/09/2003 10:29:11 AM PDT by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
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To: mark502inf
Well, a great many of us have been saying that clinton fought the war on the wrong side, even before it started.

The Serbs used to be our main allies in the Balkans. Clinton decided to ally himself with the Muslims. He winked his eye when thousands of terrrorists poured into Bosnia. And he bombed civilian targets in Yugoslavia in order to turn Kosovo over to a bunch of drug-running, church-burning Albanian thugs.

Reuters just noticed?
9 posted on 10/09/2003 10:31:31 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: moni kerr
Yes, there have been atrocities on all sides. But clinton and the liberal press have been pretending that the only atrocities were performed by Serbs.

A whole different question is, what is in the national security interest of the United States, and what promotes the stability of Europe?

It's not paving the way for Muslim terrorists (many of whom came in from outside) to enter Europe.
10 posted on 10/09/2003 10:33:47 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: mark502inf
No. Writing that 'the real deal is ethnicity' in the context of the Balkans shows an absolute misunderstanding of the Balkans. Serb, Croat and Bosniac are all the same ethnicity! The defining difference is religion.
11 posted on 10/09/2003 10:38:42 AM PDT by The_Reader_David
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To: Cicero
Pray tell - since WW2, when we sided with Tito, not the Serbs, when have the Serbs been on our side in anything?

Did they help us in Korea or Vietnam?

Show me you actually have some semblance of a clue rather than just blindly repeating what others have told you - the Serbs weren't autonomous or in any position to be our allies in anything until Yugoslavia broke apart in the late '80's, and under Milosevic they unequivocally acted against our interests in the region, not for them.

12 posted on 10/09/2003 10:40:23 AM PDT by Hoplite
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To: moni kerr
It wasn't the point of my post to talk about who's most to blame for the atrocities. My point was to point out that Paddy Ashdown is a Clintonite lying hack when he says that nobody's seen any evidence of Islamic terrorism in the Balkan's. I suppose it all comes down to what your definition of "terrorism" is.

Quoting him to "prove" that there's no al-Qaeda in the Balkans is like quoting Walter Duranty to "prove" that there was no genocide in the Ukraine under Stalin.

13 posted on 10/09/2003 10:47:00 AM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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To: seth456
You couldn't be more right. Back then I believed Bubba was laying the groundwork, along with Gen. Clark, for partition of southern Serbia and allowing a radical Islamic foothold in the Balkans. Typical Liberal move.
14 posted on 10/09/2003 11:06:38 AM PDT by pankot
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To: mark502inf
Douglas Hamilton from Reuters. Well, well, well. That guy's on my media hit list since Operation Iraqi Freedom and before. A little more subtle than Robert Fisk. Guy thinks he's clever. He changed Comical Ali's words once from "America will be stuck in a swamp from which they will never escape" to "American will be stuck in a quagmire..." Hamilton just rewrites the facts and history as he sees fit.

This guy is a piece of work. When you see his name on the article, keep in mind he was one of the ones putting heavy duty negative spin on everything that was happening back in March/April. He has an agenda to say the least.

15 posted on 10/09/2003 11:10:16 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: The_Reader_David
No. Writing that 'the real deal is ethnicity' in the context of the Balkans shows an absolute misunderstanding of the Balkans. Serb, Croat and Bosniac are all the same ethnicity! The defining difference is religion.

Good point on ethnicity--I stand corrected.

In clarification however, I think it would be incorrect to say you can line up a Croat, a Bosniac, and a Serb and say they are the same except for their religion. Over the centuries, each of those groups has developed a sense of separateness & nationality derived in some degree from religion, but also based on geography & culture & time spent under the dominion of others such as the Ottoman Empire or Austro-Hungary and so on. Throw in the areligiousness of communism for 45 years and the result is that the primary driver of contemporary conflict between the groups is nationalist identity. The same goes for the Macedonians and Albanians, who can more properly be described as ethnically separate. One result is that to a large extent, churches & mosques are not seen as primarily religious structures, but as symbols of the nationality with which they are associated.

Thanks for catching me on the mis-use of ethnicity.

16 posted on 10/09/2003 11:42:18 AM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
The Times of London has also reported that al-Quaida and other Islamists have hopes to use the Balkans as a staging ground for further mischief in Europe, and I believe it. I believe pan-Islamic sentiments are more powerful than ethnic loyalties.
17 posted on 10/09/2003 12:02:38 PM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Steve_Seattle
I believe pan-Islamic sentiments are more powerful than ethnic loyalties.

True for a few, but not for the vast majority in the Balkans. There are always some fanatics; remember we've had that problem with a few American citizens. What the writer said about more bars than mosques is true--and the bars are a lot more crowded, also!

The biggest problem with the Balkans is that weak governmental control over some areas combined with organized crime, corruption and established smuggling routes make it a place where terrorists can stage and move into and out of with less fear of interdiction.

18 posted on 10/09/2003 12:16:46 PM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
The biggest problem with the Balkans is that weak governmental control over some areas combined with organized crime, corruption and established smuggling routes make it a place where terrorists can stage and move into and out of with less fear of interdiction.

So does this mean you're not denying that al-Qaeda is active in the Balkans?

19 posted on 10/09/2003 2:30:40 PM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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To: mark502inf
http://www.usatoday.com/news/index/bosnia/feb96/nbos156.htm
20 posted on 10/09/2003 2:35:22 PM PDT by konijn
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To: inquest
The biggest problem with the Balkans is that weak governmental control over some areas combined with organized crime, corruption and established smuggling routes make it a place where terrorists can stage and move into and out of with less fear of interdiction....you're not denying that al-Qaeda is active in the Balkans?

It only makes sense that they would use this area as a gateway into Europe. We know the Albanians have killed and captured terrorists from Islamic Jihad, which is closely linked to Al Qaeda. Islamic "charities" associated with channeling money to Al Qaeda have been shut down in the region. And there have been the well known incidents in Sarajevo.

However, if Al Qaeda & the various Mid-East terrorist groups never existed, the fighting in the Balkans would have happened anyway with the same results as we see today. Balkans conflicts are based on Balkans problems, not Al Qaeda. And Al Qaeda has very limited involvement now; mostly based on extracting charity donations from the gullible & exploiting the chaos to move people and money--and its getting harder and harder to do that. We're getting good cooperation now even from Belgrade and adopting a much more comprehensive approach to tracking funds and sharing information--multi-national & multi-agency intelligence fusion centers in the region, multi-national law enforcement liaison teams in Balkans capitals, and so on.

So is there Al Qaeda in the Balkans? Sure, but not nearly as much as many here say. Especially those who conflate Al Qaeda & Islamist ideology with such organizations as the UCK or Bosnian Muslim military.

21 posted on 10/09/2003 4:13:54 PM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
Especially those who conflate Al Qaeda & Islamist ideology with such organizations as the UCK or Bosnian Muslim military.

You're implying that fanatical Islamic nutcases won't have much common cause with "ex"-Communist factions in Bosnia and Kosovo. But look at the Palestinians. There, you have Hezbollah at one end of the spectrum, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine at the other, and everything else in between; and they're all part of the same terror network. Religion and ideology are mere facades for their real objective - power, plain and simple.

22 posted on 10/09/2003 4:23:24 PM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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To: inquest
Religion and ideology are mere facades for their real objective - power, plain and simple

I disagree. Al Qaeda really wants to establish Islamic rule. They do not want power just for its own sake--its what makes them so dangerous & fanatical. Their religious based objective is fundamentally different than, say, the Albanians in either Kosovo or Macedonia who are fighting for nationalist type causes--independence or a Greater Albania or some greater measure of rights or autonomy; depending on the faction.

You ever notice the lack of suicide bombers in the Balkans? Different ideology, motivations, and objectives than the Al Qaeda guys who do that as a normal tactic.

23 posted on 10/09/2003 5:35:24 PM PDT by mark502inf
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To: Cicero
The extract from the Washington Times gave the impression that attacks on Croatian churches and civillians was something to be uniquely outraged about. Attacks like that are not unique to Bosnian Muslims.

But yes, we did get an earful about Serb atrocities, perhaps because those were the most visible and obvious ones.

A whole different question is, what is in the national security interest of the United States, and what promotes the stability of Europe?

An appropriate question. Less conflict and more stability might be good place to start (sorry for stating the obvious). Letting Croatian or Serbian nationalists handle security is not in anybody's interest except those two groups.

As an aside, was it in Europe's and America's best interests when the Croatians ethnically cleansed the Krajina Serbs? I think we all know who aided and abetted that one.

24 posted on 10/10/2003 1:03:40 AM PDT by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
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To: inquest
Not what 'terrorism' is but rather the motives of terrorists. Not all Bosnian Muslim terrorists share the Islamofascists' goals. Most of them are probably just seeking revenge. Just like a lot of Croat and Serb terrorists. Revenge for things that happened in the 90's, or WW2 or WW1 or even further back. They just won't let go of the past.
25 posted on 10/10/2003 1:14:43 AM PDT by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
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To: Hoplite
Did Yugoslav forces serve in Korea as part of the UN forces? Did Yugoslav forces serve in Viet Nam? I know Yugoslavia was the "good" communist nation during the cold war as Tito refused to be a Stalinist puppet. But I don't think they supported US military efforts in either conflict?
26 posted on 10/10/2003 3:16:07 AM PDT by Burkeman1 ((If you see ten troubles comin down the road, Nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.))
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To: Burkeman1
Did Yugoslav forces serve in Korea as part of the UN forces? Did Yugoslav forces serve in Viet Nam?

The Yugos never supported the USA militarily during the communist period. They, along with Cuba, were active in the so-called "non-aligned" movement; a pseudonym for anti-western movement.

Later, under Milosevic, Yugoslavia had great relationships with such wonderful leaders as Qadaffi & Saddam Hussein. Sold weapons to Iraq; awarded Qaddafi Yugoslavia's highest medal. They were NOT our friends.

27 posted on 10/10/2003 7:33:16 AM PDT by mark502inf
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To: moni kerr
Less conflict and more stability might be good place to start (sorry for stating the obvious)

Except for many, it does not seem to be so obvious. The argument that what happens elsewhere is none of our business has lost a lot with the proliferation of WMD technology & globalization of communications & travel. Condi Rice & Colin Powell have both addressed this--we cannot afford to have places where terrorists or others who seek to do us harm can hang out & get organized, equipped, & trained to attack us.

28 posted on 10/10/2003 7:42:45 AM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
You ever notice the lack of suicide bombers in the Balkans? Different ideology, motivations, and objectives than the Al Qaeda guys who do that as a normal tactic.

For one thing, suicide bombing is not merely a religious wacko phenomenon. The Palestinian bombers as a whole (particularly the ones with two X chromosomes apiece) I would wager are motivated less by their love of Islam than by their hatred of Jews - hatred that runs far deeper than what you see in the Balkans.

I also notice the lack of suicide bombers in Syria and Saudi Arabia, but it doesn't mean that there isn't any al-Qaeda in those places. They may be willing to die, but they're not infinitely expendible. Takes time to train (brainwash) a terrorist, so they should only be used on targets that they can get a lot of mileage out of.

And finally, your observation applies only to the footsoldiers. The ones pulling the strings I can guarantee you have a far different motivation. And the fact that the Balkans aren't as of yet fertile breeding ground for these footsoldier types, doesn't mean that it doesn't function as an asset for al-Qaeda.

29 posted on 10/10/2003 10:17:21 AM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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To: moni kerr
Not all Bosnian Muslim terrorists share the Islamofascists' goals.

The information presented in the WTimes article would seem to contradict that. Mosques preaching "jihad". Croats afraid to display crosses. A father and daughter slain for celebrating Christmas. And of course, the fact that this is happening to Croats, who were aligned with the Bosniacs during the war. All this points to Islamofascism, not mere revenge-seeking.

30 posted on 10/10/2003 10:39:45 AM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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To: mark502inf
I can see Yugoslavia being part of the whole non aligned thing. But Cuba? The Soviets used Cuban proxy troops in Africa time and again to fight wars they didn't want to fight- especially in Angola.
31 posted on 10/10/2003 11:18:29 AM PDT by Burkeman1 ((If you see ten troubles comin down the road, Nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.))
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To: inquest
Some good points on the suicide bombings. However, going back to the original point of contention, Al Qaeda is simply not a major player in the Balkans. The course of events in Bosnia, Kosovo, & Macedonia were based on the people and issues of the Balkans, not Al Qaeda presence, influence or support.

It is obvious that some factions wish to tar their opposition by associating them with Al Qaeda as well as using the Al Qaeda bogey-man in order to distract from or somehow excuse their own actions.

32 posted on 10/10/2003 11:36:23 AM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
The course of events in Bosnia, Kosovo, & Macedonia were based on the people and issues of the Balkans, not Al Qaeda presence, influence or support.

The course of events in Nicaragua and El Salvador were based on the people and issues of Central America, going back to the Spanish conquest of the region. Doesn't change the fact that the Soviets were able to take advantage of the situation and set up shop there.

33 posted on 10/10/2003 11:39:55 AM PDT by inquest ("Where else do gun owners have to go?" - Lee Atwater)
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To: Burkeman1
I can see Yugoslavia being part of the whole non aligned thing. But Cuba?

Exactly--it was a load of B.S. Notice I used "so called" prior to "non-aligned". Its what they called themselves, its not what they were.

34 posted on 10/10/2003 11:40:07 AM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
I agree- the "non aligned" always seemed to vote the Soviet way at the UN for some "strange" reason.
35 posted on 10/10/2003 12:03:40 PM PDT by Burkeman1 ((If you see ten troubles comin down the road, Nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.))
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To: inquest
The course of events in Nicaragua and El Salvador were based on the people and issues of Central America, going back to the Spanish conquest of the region. Doesn't change the fact that the Soviets were able to take advantage of the situation and set up shop there.

That's a false parallel. As I said before, Al Qaeda may indeed be exploiting the chaos & criminal activity in portions of the Balkans. But the Central America situation was based on ideology and the Soviet Union was the leader of that ideology. The Balkans conflicts are nationalistic in nature and Al Qaeda is not.

36 posted on 10/10/2003 12:28:03 PM PDT by mark502inf
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To: mark502inf
The real deal is religion and always has been. Ethnic conflicts were artificial and inflated from outside - with oil money. New mosques are popping up in the region faster than I can type - again with oil money. It's a religious conquest which Western Europe tried to exploit with help from Clintoon, but it exploded on our soil too. Now EU is using the Islamists against US, hoping to gain economic supremacy. But at the same time they have been culturally conqured by the Islamists. That's why Reuters (oil money) is trying to downplay the religious connection. Everyone who trusts these skunks deserve their fate.
37 posted on 10/11/2003 3:25:49 PM PDT by singsong
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To: Hoplite
Pray tell - since WW2, when we sided with Tito, not the Serbs, when have the Serbs been on our side in anything? id they help us in Korea or Vietnam?
Did Norway, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Germany help us in Vietnam? The Serbs were not on the USSR side, despite the heavy pressure. They kept their society quite open. Travel was open, the land was private, religion was free. Which one of these you disaprove?
38 posted on 10/11/2003 3:50:25 PM PDT by singsong
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To: moni kerr
Not what 'terrorism' is but rather the motives of terrorists.
Terrorists motives DON'T MATTER. They change them like handkerchieves. No motive can justify what they do, besides their motives are always made-up pretence.
39 posted on 10/11/2003 3:55:43 PM PDT by singsong
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To: mark502inf
However, if Al Qaeda & the various Mid-East terrorist groups never existed, the fighting in the Balkans would have happened anyway
Very naive statement. The conflicts were inflamed from outside. Mostly from the Arab world with EU actively helping in order to rid themselves from a pestering competitor. See my post #37.
40 posted on 10/11/2003 4:02:07 PM PDT by singsong
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To: singsong
The Serbs used to be our main allies in the Balkans.

You cannot speak of "the Serbs" as having a policy under or being synonymous with Tito. As soon as they had the autonomy to decide for themselves, the Serbs chose Milosevic, and it was a very poor choice, as his policies set the Serbs in opposition to American interests.

Before Tito?   Can you explain how the Serbs were any better friends to us than anybody else in the region?

41 posted on 10/11/2003 4:41:56 PM PDT by Hoplite
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To: Hoplite
Can you explain how the Serbs were any better friends to us than anybody else in the region?
Albania, Romania and Bulgaria (sp?) were in the Warsaw Pact, in the front lines with USSR. Serbia is the only Balkan country taken by Stalin after WW2 that slipped out of his grip. Human rights and religious freedoms were respected and no political or military support was given to the USSR. This IS help. (I exclude Greece which was taken by US and British troops.) May be I have to remind you that Albanians, Romanians and Bulgarians (and Bosnians) sided with Hitler too. This makes the record quite long and convincing.
42 posted on 10/11/2003 6:32:53 PM PDT by singsong
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To: singsong
Serbia wasn't a country after WW2 - Yugoslavia was.

And I would remind you that the Serbs weren't the only group fighting the German occupation during WW2 - none of the ethnic groups in the Balkans were allied with the Germans in toto, as each ethnicity or nation in the region had partisans fighting against the Axis occupation, to include the Albanians.

43 posted on 10/11/2003 7:26:53 PM PDT by Hoplite
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To: Wend
Neat - all of the sudden all the non-Serb partisans no longer exist and the Chetnik cooperation with the Nazis, not to mention the Nedic regime in it's entirety, disappear in the same way.

Wonderful all-encompassing view you have there, sport.

Let me put it this way - if you are in denial about what the Serbs did to their neighbors during the 1990's, your views on WW2 are moot.

I could care less what you think if you are unable to accept what Milosevic's forces did to non-Serbs under the guise of righting wrongs committed against Serbs in the past - you do not get to enumerate the sins against you while denying your own sins.

45 posted on 10/11/2003 7:59:33 PM PDT by Hoplite
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To: Wend
What facts have I negated?

The United States didn't enter WW1 until 1917 - the same year Greece did. How the Serbs were supporting our interests prior to that time is kind of a hard sell - you will remember the whole shooting match started because Serb nationalists gave the Austro-Hungarians the excuse they were looking for to confront Serbia over Bosnia. Was plunging Europe into World War 1 in our interests? I don't think so.

The Serbian fighting force during World War 2 was the Chetniks - not the partisans. And the Chetniks collaborated with the Nazis against the Partisans - again, it is and was you who were trying to illustrate an overlap between Serbian and American interests, so I am merely pointing out to you that Tito better represented our interests than Mihailovic, and the Serbs who fought under Tito adopted the Yugoslav ideal, rather than the ethno-racist dogma of the Chetniks, which when you get down to it is no different than any of the other ethno-racist dogmas in the neighborhood - they're all garbage.

I'm not denying the rescue of American Airmen - it was and is greatly appreciated. I neither deny what the Germans did at Kragujevac or to Belgrade, what the Croats did at Jasenovac, nor that Serbs were also victimized in the last round of ethnic blood-letting in the Balkans. But while I accept that the Serbs were sinned against, greatly in the case of World War 2, I also know that they were the greatest sinners in the 1990's in this regard, and so did those driving our foreign policy.

So you go ahead and think about what Milosevic and his minions wrought in the 1990's - I will leave you with this: achieving Serbian Nationalist aims through military force is no longer an option, and as military force was the only way they could be achieved, you had better rethink your approach to the region's people and problems.

47 posted on 10/11/2003 9:31:24 PM PDT by Hoplite
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To: inquest
The Croats were not aligned with Bosnian Muslims during the war. They drove them out of Mostar at gunpoint and burned people alive in their homes. They also blew up mosques quite regularly.

The info in the Wtimes seems to come from Croatian sources who have their own agenda. Its not likely to be very reliable.

48 posted on 10/11/2003 9:39:29 PM PDT by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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