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Letters from Tokyo
Islamic Terrorism: Afghanistan to Bosnia and Then September 11
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent
An Islamic mosque interior

The former conflict in Bosnia was manipulated by Islamic and Western media because both focused on the “innocent Muslims” and the need to protect Muslims from the forces of evil. In other words, “the forces of evil” were Christian Serbs and it was essential to protect the Muslims. However, nothing is ever that simple because a “hidden war” was happening in which radical Islamists and terrorists were allowed to travel to Bosnia despite the vast distances. Also, many well known terrorists and terrorist organizations were allowed to freely bypass so many security checks. Therefore, just what was this “hidden hand” and how did this calamity impact on September 11th?

According to Vojin Joksimovich, author of The Revenge of the Prophet, he states on page 298 that “Osama Bin Laden saw a great opportunity in Bosnia and established a base of operations in Europe against Al Qaeda’s true enemy, the U.S. The Afghan Jihad and the Gulf War combined to produce fertile ground for 9/11. However, Bosnia became the direct springboard for 9/11, the Madrid train bombings and probably London.”

However, during the Bosnian conflict the mass media ignored the role of radical Islam and international terrorist networks. The same mass media also did not show Christian Serbs being beheaded or killed in other vile ways. Instead, the media focused on an overtly simplistic point of view and this applied to demonizing the Christian Serbs and ignoring the reality on the ground. This applies to radical Islamists and international terrorists killing and slaughtering at random and in the full knowledge that their crimes would be ignored.

Despite this, some writers and specialists are trying to enlighten people about the real “hidden war” and the more you dig, the more it becomes clear that both the Muslim leadership and international terrorists had “a free hand” in Bosnia. This in itself links Islamists from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a host of other nations, to both the war in Bosnia and September 11th. However, if this link is openly seen and debated, then how would this look in America and to people all over the world who have an interest in both the past conflict in Bosnia and the ongoing Islamization of Kosovo?

B. Raman (Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi) states in the South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No 2251, that "al-Sharq al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned, London-based daily, ran a front-page story on Abu Abdel Aziz and his activities in Bosnia. In August 1994, "Al-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem (The Straight Path)", an Islamic journal published in Pakistan (Issue No. 33), carried an interview with Abu Abdel Aziz. The journal, without identifying his nationality, reported that Abu Abdel Aziz spoke perfect Urdu and that he had spent extended periods in Kashmir. It was stated that Abu Abdel Aziz's followers, believed to be mostly Indian Muslims from the Gulf, were part of the seventh battalion of the Bosnian Army (SEDMI KORPUS, ARMIJA REPUBLIKE BH).

B. Raman continues that in the interview he expressed that "I was one of those who heard about Jihad in Afghanistan when it started. I used to hear about it, but was hesitant about (the purity and intention of) this Jihad. One of those who came to our land (presumably Saudi Arabia) was Sheikh Dr. Abdallah Azzam. I heard him rallying the youth to come forth and (join him) to go to Afghanistan. This was in 1984 — I think. I decided to go and check the matter for myself. This was the beginning (of my journey with) Jihad. Then the conquest of Kabul came.”

"A new Jihad started in Bosnia, (we moved there), and we are with it. As to Arab Mujahideen (in Bosnia), they do not have a separate battalion. There is a battalion for non-Bosnian fighters. Arabs are a minority compared to those of the Mujahideen (gathered from around the World). This battalion is under a unified command and is called Kateebat al-Mujahideen (Mujahideen Battalion), or "El-Mudzahidin" as they call them in Bosnian. Militarily, it has a link to the Bosnian government under the general command of the Bosnian Armed Forces. It is in fact part of the seventh battalion (SEDMI KORPUS, ARMIJA REPUBLIKE BH) of the Bosnian Army. I am a field commander under the "General Unified Armed Command". We have full jurisdiction in the region we are responsible for (Editor's note: Mostly central Bosnia). The general command of the Muslim forces wants to see results; it does not dictate strategy or action.”

However, during the Bosnian conflict we were never told about the “hidden war” and this applies to Bill Clinton and the role of radical Islam and terrorism. Yet we are not talking about an empty conspiracy theory, on the contrary, the Republican Policy Committee on January 16, 1997, which can be viewed by clicking onto http://rpc.senate.gov/releases/1997/iran.htm is damning, to say the least. Therefore, it is clear that many people within important circles in America are also alarmed by the real facts because Islamic terrorist networks are still operating in Bosnia and in other parts of the Balkans.

The House Subcommittee report concludes on page 2 that “The Administration’s Iranian green light policy gave Iran an unprecedented foothold in Europe and has recklessly endangered American lives and US strategic interests.” The report also highlights the role of other nations and leading terrorists who conspired with Bill Clinton during the collapse of Yugoslavia.

It states the need “To understand how the Clinton green light would lead to this degree of Iranian influence, it is necessary to remember that the policy was adopted in the context of extensive and growing radical Islamic activity in Bosnia. That is, the Iranians and other Muslim militants had long been active in Bosnia; the American green light was an important political signal to both Sarajevo and the militants that the United States was unable or unwilling to present an obstacle to those activities — and, to a certain extent, was willing to cooperate with them. In short, the Clinton Administration’s policy of facilitating the delivery of arms to the Bosnian Muslims made it the de facto partner of an ongoing international network of governments and organizations pursuing their own agenda in Bosnia: the promotion of Islamic revolution in Europe. That network involves not only Iran but Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (a key ally of Iran), and Turkey, together with front groups supposedly pursuing humanitarian and cultural activities.”

The report is clearly highlighting “the hidden hand” and how radical Islamists like Osama Bin Laden were allowed to fund and cause untold misery and suffering in Bosnia. This is clearly an untold story or a story on the margins because images of Bosnia according to the majority of the mass media was about a democratic led Bosnian Muslim leadership which supported pluralism and the rule of law. However, in reality you had elements within the Bosnian Muslim leadership, alongside the secret Clinton agenda, shaking hands with Islamic terrorists and killers who were intent on killing Christian Serbs in order to create an Islamic state.

The report also focuses on the role of so-called humanitarian organizations which were supporting the terrorist network by stating that “…….one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phony humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. ["How Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Arms Embargo: Relief Agency Brokered Aid From Nations, Radical Groups," Washington Post, 9/22/96; see also "Saudis Funded Weapons For Bosnia, Official Says: $300 Million Program Had U.S. 'Stealth Cooperation'," Washington Post, 2/2/96] TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Bin laden, a wealthy Saudi émigré believed to bankroll numerous militant groups. [WP, 9/22/96] (Sheik Rahman, a native of Egypt, is currently in prison in the United States; letter bombs addressed to targets in Washington and London, apparently from Alexandria, Egypt, are believed connected with his case. Bin Laden was a resident in Khartoum, Sudan, until last year; he is now believed to be in Afghanistan, “where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.” [WP, 9/22/96])

In my earlier article called Bosnia and Clinton’s Radical Islamists, I stated that “Sky News has obtained clear and proper evidence of a major cover-up and footages of massacres against Serbian Christians have been seen. According to the investigation and footages which were shown, it is abundantly clear that thousands of radical Islamists from all over the world were given a free-reign in Bosnia”.

“This free-reign meant that innocent Serbian Christians were to meet terrible and disturbing deaths at the hands of radical Islamists who celebrated openly while cutting the heads off innocent civilians. The same Islamic forces which unleashed September 11th and which stone people to death in order to create “year zero,” were welcomed openly by ex-President Clinton and by people within his administration.”

Returning back to Vojin Joksimovich, he states on page 248 that “The Clinton administration not only turned a blind eye to radical Islam but also actively supported the Islamists, including the Al Qaeda terrorists. This commitment to actively support an Islamist agenda in the Balkans offers a plausible explanation why Bin Laden and Al Qaeda did not show up on the radar screen in Washington until late 1995.”

Vojin Joksimovich continues on page 249 by stating that “By virtue of making Iran-led Islamists and Al Qaeda allies of convenience in the Balkans, the Clinton Administration had provided an invaluable service to terrorism. Iran and Al Qaeda established a beachhead in the centre of Europe. Al Qaeda formed a terrorist brigade called Al Mujahid, which played the pivotal part in 9/11 and the Madrid train bombings.”

In other words, while the mountains of Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan were vital in arming and funding radical Islam against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan, the Islamic terrorist network was now given a beachhead to spread their terror in the centre of Europe. At the same time, Islamic networks and organizations learnt how to play the media card and how to utilize the humanitarian network system in order to further the cause of radical Islam. Also, it is clear that intelligence agencies were involved in creating false passports and Islamists could freely travel between many continents. Therefore, the Islamic revivalist movement was spreading from Afghanistan and Pakistan and moving to Europe and further afield.

B. Raman also highlights the international nature of the Bosnian war by stating that "Arab "Afghans" have been moving further afield as well. Some are in Bosnia, helping fellow Muslims fight the Christian Serbs. Between 200 and 300 of these veterans of the Afghan war, including non-Arab Muslims, are based in Zenica in Bosnia, where they are widely feared. Hundreds of "Afghans" have made their way to Bosnia. The number of non-Bosnian Muslims in the military is estimated at between 500 and 1,000 from a dozen countries in the Middle East. From all accounts, they have fought with some distinction. Some 300 "Afghans," organized into a unit known as "the Guerrillas," operate with the Bosnian 3rd Corps in Zenica. Algerian leader Kamar Kharban, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, has visited Bosnia several times over the last two years.

"The 'Afghans' and other Muslim volunteers have also been a source of friction with the Bosnians, who are largely secular Muslims. The outsiders' religious zeal and arrogant commitment to their holy war has angered their hosts. But many of the volunteers represent wealthy organizations or countries whose support the beleaguered Bosnians count on. The "Afghans" are believed to have been behind the murder of British aid worker Paul Goodall on Jan. 27, 1994, near Zenica. Three Muslim volunteers, all Arabs carrying fake Pakistani passports, were shot dead by Bosnian military police at a roadblock near Sarajevo. Three others were arrested by police for questioning in the murder. The Al-Kifah, or Struggle, Refugee Center in New York, which used to recruit and raise funds for Mujahedeen headed for Afghanistan, last year announced it was switching its operations to Bosnia. It was established in the mid-1980s by Egyptian Mustafa Rahman as a joint venture with Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, spiritual leader of Gamaat al-Islamiya. "

In 1996, in a book titled "Offensive In the Balkans", Mr. Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Republican Task Force On Terrorism And Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives, wrote as follows on the Bosnian Jihad:

"...The build-up of new Islamist units was completed in Bosnia- Herzegovina in the spring of 1995. These forces are closely associated with the Armed Islamist Movement (AIM) and Islamist international terrorism, and include the first organized deployment of Martyrdom Forces (suicide terrorists), both veteran Arabs and newly trained Bosnians.

"These new activities were conducted under the guidance of the new Islamist headquarters in Teheran and Karachi, decided upon during the Popular Arab Islamic Conference (PAIC) convened in Khartoum in the first days of April 1995. The Conference decided to establish "new Islamist representative offices" for the international Islamist movement. The new regional center in Tehran will be responsible for Islamist activities (training, equipping, operational support, etc.) in Bosnia-Herzegovina (as well as other politically-sensitive hot spots), while the comparably new center in Karachi would be responsible for Islamist activities in Albania (and Kosovo). Furthermore, this overall Islamist effort and build-up is not just to cope with the situation in the Balkans, but also to be used as A SOUND BASE FOR THE ISLAMISTS' ABILITY TO EXPAND OPERATIONS INTO WESTERN EUROPE - mainly France, the UK and Germany...”

"Meanwhile, the leadership of the Armed Islamic Movement (AIM) was formally notified in mid-May 1995 that the "Mujahedin Battalion is an officially-recognized army battalion of the Bosnian army. It is comprised of non-Bosnian volunteers, called ANSAR, along with Bosnian Mujahedin. The formal name of the unit is "Armija Republic BiH, 3 Korpus, Odred el-Mujahedin". The commander, an Egyptian "Afghan", was identified as "Ameer Kateebat al-Mujahedin Abu al-Ma'ali" - a religious-military title and a nom the guerre. The Islamist force is based in Travnik and Zenica areas in central Bosnia...”

In my article called Radical Islam and Terrorism in the Balkans I state that “If we turn the clock back and focus on Alija Izetbegovic it is clear that he had stated that he believed in an Islamic state and he clearly welcomed radical Islamists into Bosnia. The former leader was instrumental in helping to spread radical Islam because in his book The Islamic Declaration it is clear that Izetbegovic desired an Islamic state and pictures show him smiling with radical Islamists who were bent on slitting the throats of Christians.”

Izetbegovic stated that “… Muslim nations will never accept anything that is explicitly against Islam, because Islam here is not merely a faith and the law, Islam has become love and compassion. He who rises against Islam will reap nothing but hate and resistance. …”

Therefore, the leader of the Muslims in Bosnia during this period, Alija Izetbegovic, shared a common thread with the global jihad movement because he also stated“… In one of the thesis for an Islamic order today we have stated that it is a natural function of the Islamic order to gather all Muslims and Muslim communities throughout the world into one. Under present conditions, this desire means a struggle for creating a great Islamic federation from Morocco to Indonesia, from the tropical Africa to the Central Asia. …”

The international nature of the Bosnian war is clear and B. Raman also highlights an important international meeting because he comments that “Other reports indicated that in May 1995, like-minded fundamentalist groups formed a "Rapid Deployment Force" called "Katiba al Mujahideen (Battalion of the Mujahideen) at a meeting held in the Philippines. The meeting was attended among others by al-Sheikh Abu Abdul Aziz, described as the Chief Commander of the 7th Brigade of Muslim forces in Bosnia, Salamat Hashan, the Chairman of the Moro Islamic Front (Philippines), Abdul Karim, Chairman of the Islamic Front (Eritrea) and Prof. Hafiz Mohd Saeed, Amir MDI (Pakistan). The meeting chalked out the following objectives- (a) nationalities and frontiers on the basis of races was an un-Islamic perception; (b) to work in support of Muslims in all those parts of the world where action was being taken against them; (c) the Mujahideen of the newly formed Katiba Al-Mujahideen would carry out militant operations and fight in Kashmir to eliminate un-Islamic perceptions of nationalities and frontiers.”

In concluding this article, I will return back to the book called The Revenge of the Prophet by Vojin Joksimovich because you have a very interesting quote which sums up the “hidden war.” On page 146 Gregory Copley states “What is clear is that analysts and the media in the West did not, and still do not, understand the linkage between the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia in the 1990s and the broader terrorist wars, which have been waged against the West.”

Also, on the same page Vojin Joksimovich states a very interesting quote because he states that “It is not far fetched to assert that if the U.S. allowed the Serbs to deal with the Islamists in Bosnia, the 9/11 calamity may have been averted.”

Irrespective of your opinion about the Bosnian war, which was a war where innocents were killed on all sides. It is clear that a “hidden war” was going on and this war was kept from people by the mass media and national governments who had vested interests. However, major players gave Islamists a free hand and it is clear that Islamists had a higher agenda and this agenda is still ongoing because Saudi funding continues to support radical Islam in Bosnia and throughout the Balkans.

However, did events in Bosnia enable September 11th to take place? This answer may be unanswerable or the answer may be known but kept secret because of the consequences?

Despite this, it is clear that Islamists did obtain a beachhead in Europe whereby Islamic military camps and international Islamists could use Muslim dominated areas in Bosnia and then Kosovo. It is also abundantly clear that fake passports were easily given and international systems were set up in order to move Islamists and terrorists to Bosnia and Kosovo. Also, it is clear that radical Islam is gaining ground today in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia. Therefore, given the past history and the terrorist free hand, you may just have another ticking time bomb which may erupt in the future?



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Lee Jay Walker serves as Tokyo Correspondent of The Seoul Times. He specializes in int'l relations and geopolitics. He is also involved in analyst work and research on business. After finishing BA degree in East European Studies at the University of London, he earned MA degree in Asia Pacific Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Website at http://www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com where work is published.

 

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