Terrorists springboards in the Balkans

1. Is Albania Sponsoring 'Freedom Fighters' Next Door?
And What Happened to the Balkan Mujahedin, Anyway?
(by Christopher Deliso)

2. Al Qaeda's European attack route is the Balkans, new
evidence claims (by Christopher Deliso)

3. THE COMING NEW SURGE in European Islamist Terrorism:
The Momentum Has Begun (By Gregory R. Copley, Editor,
Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, September 2003)


JIHAD the Holy War - Lashva valley:

Video fragments showing Alija Izetbegovic's links with Mujahedin units:

The Union of Death - Terrorists and Freedom Fighters in the Balkans (by
Sam Vaknin):

How we trained al-Qa’eda. The Bosnian war taught Islamic terrorists to
operate abroad:

=== 1 ===


Is Albania Sponsoring 'Freedom Fighters' Next Door?

And What Happened to the Balkan Mujahedin, Anyway?

by Christopher Deliso
October 30, 2003

In 1998, when NATO's war on Yugoslavia was first being
organized, secret camps were set up in northern Albania.
There, British and American forces trained the rag-tag fighters
of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The two countries openly
armed, supplied and supported the KLA during the war against
Milosevic, using the paramilitary group as NATO's ground

A New Question

All of this is fact. Albania's army also directly trained the KLA.
After all, if the West said it was OK, then there was nothing to
be embarrassed about. However, once the fallout from Kosovo
registered and Macedonia was destabilized by the renamed
militants of the NLA (National Liberation Army) in 2001, Tirana
changed its tune. It officially deplored the violence and denied
having anything to do with sponsoring the rebels.

However, at the same time "all contact stopped" between the
intelligence services of the two countries, according to one
informed Macedonian source. Clearly, Albania was not entirely
pleased with beleaguered Macedonia's attempts at self-

Since then, the Albanian government has gone to great lengths
to boost economic and defense cooperation with Macedonia,
under the rubric of NATO enlargement and participations in
joint ventures along the east-west Corridor 8, such as
prospective railroad lines and oil pipelines . Albania is clearly
looking for a new lease on life and deliverance from the
economic dark ages that afflict most citizens who aren't super-
rich politicos or gangsters.

Nevertheless, despite these increasingly positive
developments, a new question has been raised regarding the
current involvement of the Albanian government – in whole or
in part – in sponsoring paramilitary groups active in
neighboring states. This issue is complex; its contemplation
only invites further questions. With Albania, do we have state-
sponsored attempts at control through disruption (as was the
case with Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban?) Or could it be
instead just the manipulations of sparring political gangs?

Tirana Cracks Down: One Arrested, Another Indicted

In July, the Albanian government arrested one Gafurr Adili,
leader of the Front of Albanian National Unity (FBKSH). This
diaspora-based group claims to be the political wing of the
AKSH (or ANA, Albanian National Army), active since 2001 in
Kosovo and Macedonia. The group's stated goal is to gather all
"Albanian lands" into one majestic 19th century nation-state, by
waging war with the "Slav colonizers," Greeks, and whoever
else gets in their way.

Simultaneously, the Swiss banned Adili from living in their
country. Stated the BBC, "…until now he has enjoyed refugee
status – though it appears that he is not actually barred from
visiting Switzerland where members of his family live." Such
ambivalent restrictions are completely characteristic of the
West's schizophrenic, lax treatment of Albanian militants since
even before 2001.

On 8 October, a second arrest warrant was lodged for the
leader of Albania's right-wing Party of National Unity, Idajet
Beqiri. A high profile FBKSH leader, Beqiri is accused of
"incitement and support for the extremist group."

Since last spring's attack on a bridge near Mitrovica, which
proved that Kosovo Protection Corps staff members were
moonlighting for the AKSH, the group has been deemed a
"terrorist" one by Balkan and Western governments alike.
Reports in the Economist and elsewhere described it as
being run by increasingly desperate criminals and KLA
veterans impatient with UNMIK's rule in Kosovo. This year's
more concerted crackdowns by KFOR on smuggling, as well as
similar revived efforts by Macedonian authorities, have also
angered the militants. Averred the Economist on 12

"…the AKSH represents few ethnic-Albanians. Its core consists
of some 50-70 cigarette smugglers drawn from both sides of
the border with Kosovo. Their latest violence has been largely
prompted by their desire to stop Macedonia's police from
shutting down their smuggling routes and putting them behind
bars. Hisni Shaqiri, an ethnic-Albanian MP in Skopje who is
trying to help keep the peace between Macedonia's Albanians
and Slavs, describes Avdil Jakupi, the AKSH's "divisional
commander" known as Chakala, as a "mental patient and
heroin addict". A British brigadier advising the Macedonian
government on defence calls the AKSH "criminals flying a
political flag of convenience in the hope of finding legitimacy."

Revelations from the Inside

Until now, little has been revealed about the "highly secretive"
AKSH. Who runs it? What are its plans? Does it really exist?
Most importantly, perhaps, what is the leadership and extent of
support enjoyed by its political wing, the FBKSH?

Recent new information from Idajet Beqiri himself casts
considerable light on this issue. In its October 11-17 issue, the
Serbian publication NIN ran a lengthy interview with him.
Apparently, Beqiri also has a pseudonym – Albana Viosu –
and is the secretary of the FBKSH. He founded Albania's Party
of National Unity, was elected its president in 1991, and
embarked on a volatile political career that saw him imprisoned,
empowered and involved with various scandals.
He has a law degree from the University of Tirana, served as a
judge and claims to now work as a lawyer. Since 1997, he has
been stationed in Western Europe, where he has lobbied and
raised money for Albanian militant groups.

NIN claims the interview was arranged "…by tracing the news
of an Albanian lawyer who organizes gatherings for wealthy
Albanians throughout Western Europe." A "smiling" Beqiri then
met the interviewers in Brussels.

Taking All the Credit…

Doubtless, we have to take the inevitable boasting with a grain
of salt. Such figures tend to exaggerate their popularity and
gains. Thus when asked whether the group only exists "on the
internet," Beqiri cited "proof" to the contrary, being "…the 33
attacks for which we have assumed responsibility, as well as
numerous members that join us daily."

Indeed, there have been around 30 minor bombings, murders
and other mishaps since 2001, but it is decidedly unclear as to
whether these were all carried out by one unified group under
a single banner and command. Beqiri himself states that right
now "…seven armed groups that aren't under our control act in
Kosovo and Macedonia," each having around 40 members.
Given the track record for Albanian gang infighting in Kosovo
and Macedonia, it seems more likely that other groups have perpetrated
some of these attacks – for reasons other than the
Greater Albania.

Indeed, an obscure incident took place in Kumanovo a few
weeks ago, when an Albanian from south Serbia opened a
new pizza parlor. Apparently he was trespassing on someone
else's turf, because his first customer was a drive-by shooter,
who fired a hail of bullets into the shop. It is believed that two
people were injured. And there have been numerous other
incidents of such "cross-border cooperation" between Kosovo and


Amazingly enough, Beqiri does not claim responsibility for the
worst attacks – like the land mine deaths of Polish soldiers in
Macedonia last spring, or the murder of Serbian children in the River
Bistrica this summer. In the interview, he doesn't mention
the former (they blamed it on the Macedonian army trying to
discredit the AKSH), and as for the latter, he makes the rather
brazen claim that the Serbs machine-gunned their own
children to turn Western opinion against the Albanians. Beqiri
carefully restricts his group's stated activities to legitimate
military targets (though blowing up railroads and bridges
doesn't seem to exactly fit the bill).

In any case, says Beqiri, "…the Front of Albanian National
Unity (FBKSH) completely controls all diplomatic and armed
ANA forces." This would rather seem to implicate him and his
comrades for the effects of their ordained actions. According to
the now fugitive secretary, the AKSH "…hasn't performed a
single attack without the approval of FBKSH."

An AKSH Chronology

Beqiri's recounting of the group's recent history is particularly
interesting. After the Tetovo turf war of spring 2002 , and the
short-lived Coordinative Council for Albanian unity led by Ali
Ahmeti, many of the latter's "disappointed" NLA fighters went over to
the AKSH. However, adds Beqiri, "…a large part didn't
join anyone and was completely independent. Chaos was
created and the need for establishing was urgent."

Here is where the story takes an interesting twist. Beqiri's
summary of what happened next casts aspersions on Albania's
alleged "neutrality" in Kosovo's ongoing vortex of violence.
States Beqiri:

"…in July 2002 we organized a large gathering in the
Congress Palace in Tirana, where, apart from all commanders
of various fractions from Kosovo and Macedonia, also were
present many high intellectuals, military people, as well as
representatives of all Albanian political parties. It was
established then that all of us share the same desire for
resolving the 'Albanian issue' and it is necessary for the sake of
it to establish a military and political structure with a clear
system of hierarchy. This is how FBKSH was created."

Say What?

If Beqiri can be taken at his word, key players from the whole
Albanian establishment – politicians, intellectuals and most
importantly of all, military men – are behind the AKSH. This
story wildly contradicts every official statement made by Tirana
since the war in Macedonia, i.e., that the country is not helping
paramilitary forces. The most compelling aspect of all this is the
alleged role of the military:

"…the generals played the key role from Albania, who enjoy
enormous authority among the fighters and their commanders.

"…The general personnel are mostly from Albania and from
Kosovo. The main chief of the GS (General Staff) ANA is
General Vigan Gradica. He was honored with three stars and
has enormous experience. The supreme council of ANA, that
brings all military decisions, is made up of a total of eight
generals. The entire general core is educated, mostly in
Croatia and Albania, and even in Germany. All of them are
professional soldiers."

Albania Implicated – and the Diaspora Too

This rather eye-opening statement calls into question Tirana's
publicly stated anti-militant position. Apparently, right up until
Gafurr Adili's arrest the FBKSH operated out of Tirana – "…
where our base has been from the beginning." After losing their
leader, the group went underground – i.e., to Kosovo – where
Beqiri claims they work, "…completely openly as a legal
political party." Given his present indictment by the Albanian
government, and KFOR's uncompromising new attitude, this
assertion will be tested.

According to Beqiri, the FBKSH command structure is made up
11 people and focuses on 5 "interest zones" of conquest: south
Serbia's Presevo Valley, Kosovo, Macedonia, Ulcinj (in
Montenegro) and Greece. Other protagonists in the movement
are stated as being professor Femi Kelmendi, the
aforementioned General Gradica and Bestar Kosova, "who is
in charge of all security affairs."

As with all liberation wars past, funding for weapons comes
mostly from the diaspora. Jane's estimated that during a 6
month period in 2001 the NLA raised $60 million from diaspora
contributions. As was the case then, says Beqiri, "…most of the
aid comes from America, then Canada, Germany, Switzerland,
and Belgium." Card-carrying members (Beqiri rather
bombastically claims to have 20,000) are required to kick down
monthly; locals pay 2 euros per month, diaspora members, 20
euros per month. Finally, he adds, "…we are trying to organize
as many as possible gatherings in the Diaspora at which we
encourage people to help us as much as they can."

It is highly likely that American diaspora funding is being
organized by the same congressional lobby groups that
funded the last two wars, and which retain strong links with
former KLA leaders. The fact that Mr. Beqiri was invited one
month ago to advertise his views in front of the International
Crisis Group in Brussels cannot be reassuring either.

Antagonisms on the Home Front

What kind of support does the AKSH enjoy in Albania itself,
however? It would appear quite a lot. Yet is this a case of
official state support (i.e., the Pakistan model), or a side effect
of instability? Probably the latter. Rather than categorically
blame the Albanian government, we might mention the current
political volatility there – a state of affairs which leaves plenty of
room for third-party mischief.

For months, unrest has been building with the government of
Fatos Nano. Last week his Socialist Party suffered its second
setback in 3 months, winning "…only 65 votes for nominees as
foreign and interior ministers from 131 members of parliament,"
reported Reuters on Thursday .

With longstanding rival Ilir Meta calling for early elections in
Spring, it is quite possible that Nano's days are numbered.
Nano "…accused rivals who voted against him of a 'palace
coup' and making common cause with the opposition
Democratic Party " of Nano's other archenemy, former
president Sali Berisha.

Interestingly enough, from the NIN report we learn that Nano
goes way back with FBKSH Secretary Beqiri – all the way back,
in fact, to their mutual imprisonment under Berisha's regime.
When that regime tanked in 1997, due to the collapse of a
colossal pyramid scheme that impoverished thousands
overnight, Beqiri won his release, and joined a political
coalition with the also-freed Nano. The latter came to power,
but was removed a year later. The enmity between the two
camps continues even now.

The NIN report mentions the Beqiri-Nano friendship and
shared opposition to Berisha. Yet despite their common cause,
the report states, Beqiri and Nano have "divergent" political
views. Is NIN trying to imply that Nano is not a closet supporter
of the AKSH adventure? If this were true, then how was Beqiri
able to operate the FBKSH with such impunity and such high-
level cooperation in Tirana, as he claims?

Indeed, this connection is being made by Beqiri's enemies in
Kosovo, too. Albanian leaders there have recently damned the
AKSH as a dangerous monstrosity run by Hoxha-era
"Communists" under the implicit control of Nano – in other
words, as an unofficial branch of the state.

That said, should we understand current Tirana's crackdown
on Adimi and Beqiri as indicative of Nano's dwindling authority? Or is
he being forced to sacrifice his friend due to
political pressure, either internal or Western?

Hey – What Ever Happened to the Mujahedin?

No article of mine has inspired such a rancorous reaction as
my brief history of Islamic terrorist involvement in Albania.
While admittedly I may have exaggerated the threat, everything
was based on facts and detailed reports. Since 2001, there
haven't been many new developments on this front. However,
another byproduct of today's political volatility in Tirana may be
the subtle penetration of foreign Islamic fighters. The revelation
that bin Laden's forces were training the KLA in 1999, just as
the US and Britain were, was embarrassing enough for the US;
but what if, after so many subsequent anti-terror operations, the
Evil One has returned to the Balkans?

In a report dated 19 September, congressional director of the
Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare Yossef
Bodansky claims that Albania is once again being used as a
"springboard" for terrorist activities in Europe:

"…starting in mid-August 2003, there was a discernible
increase in the number of foreigners in the Islamist mosques
throughout Albania. 'They [originally] come from Turkey, Saudi
Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran. They come from many countries,'
noted an eyewitness in Tirana. 'They arrive [in Tirana] from
Afghanistan,' he added. These expert terrorists are being
prepared in Albania for their specific missions in the West.

"This training program is conducted under the cover of the
Albanian National Army (ANA or AKSh in Albanian) with most
senior trainers and commanders being 'mujahedin who
retreated from Bosnia' and are affiliated with al-Qaida.

"In return for the Albanian support of this endeavor, the
Islamists assist the local terrorists in preparing for launching
spectacular terrorism into the major cities of Serbia and
Montenegro, with Belgrade and Nis believed to be the top
targets. As well, Islamist cadres, mainly veterans of Bosnia, are
providing advance training to thousands of Albanian terrorists
in camps in Kosovo-Metohija, near Prizren, on the slopes of Mt.
Sara, in the Kosovo Morava River valley, in the Albanian towns
of Kukes and Tropoje, and around Tetovo in western

A Mess of Contradictions

This tantalizing testimony directly contradicts Beqiri's statement
of policy to NIN, namely, that the AKSH desires no help from
the mujahedin and has no interest in attacking Belgrade. Beqiri
claims that all attacks are to be carried out only within the
specified "zones of operation" (i.e., Albanian-populated areas).

However, he also admits that other, apparently unaffiliated
militant groups presently prowl the hills and forests of
Macedonia and Kosovo. Could some of these have struck with
the Islamists? Indeed, a well-informed Western security
official in Kosovo told me earlier this year that the AKSH had
broken up into three groups, precisely because of cooperation
with the mujahedin – unsavory for some, expedient for others.

Yet as Beqiri maintains, the main AKSH body is probably
content to exist solely as a magnificent fighting force of secular-
enough Albanian nationalists. Especially since they seem to
have such a well-oiled and experienced diaspora machine,
this bunch has no interest in winding up on the wrong side of
the war on terror. However, this does not mean that Islamist-
associated fringe groups don't exist in Albania, Kosovo and

In the end, Bodansky's enigmatic evidence leaves one very
curious as to his sources. Had the Bush Administration not
been so disingenuous with the evidence on Iraq, there would
be no doubting these Balkan revelations. Now we have to be a
bit more critical. One hopes that an American congressional
investigator would be better-informed than a lowly freelance reporter.
However, the mystery may remain unresolved, barring
further violence or other inside revelations.

However, even if we never get an answer on mujahedin in the
Balkans, Albania is not off the hook. Should the authorities
there actually arrest Mr. Beqiri (or other of his cohorts), a
clearer picture will no doubt emerge of the precise connection
between Tirana and the neighborhood's most notorious
paramilitary group.

=== 2 ===

( Source:
ERP KIM Newsletter 30-10-03b - Special Edition )

Al Qaeda's European attack route is the Balkans, new evidence claims

A provocative report from the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism
and Unconventional Warfare claims that the Balkans is about to heat up
again as an Islamic terrorist base. This surpasses traditional
nationalist rifts, claims author Yossef Bodansky, and is intended to
increase al Qaeda infiltration. Thus the Balkan operations would be
ultimately controlled by the Evil One, OBL.



Posted on Thursday, October 30 @ 00:00:00 EST by CDeliso

A provocative report from the US Congressional Task Force on Terrorism
and Unconventional Warfare claims that the Balkans is about to heat up
again as an Islamic terrorist base. This surpasses traditional
nationalist rifts, claims author Yossef Bodansky, and is intended to
increase al Qaeda infiltration. Thus the Balkan operations would be
ultimately controlled by the Evil One, OBL.

However, it remains to be seen to what extent this is true. Bodansky
does not cite sources, and his assessment for Bosnia is more likely to
be accurate than his view on Macedonia, for example.

The report, dated 19 September 2003, states that ".starting in
mid-August 2003, radical Islamist leaders elevated the role of the
terrorism infrastructure in the Balkans as a key facilitator of a
proposed escalation of conflict into the heart of Europe, Israel and
the United States."

Apparently, the elevation of one Shahid Emir Mussa Ayzi- a veteran of
Afghanistan with close al Qaeda and Taliban ties- to coordinate and run
special recruitment operations is the ominous development here.

In what can't be a compliment to anyone, Bodansky states the new goal
as making jihadis of the "Slavs" or as jihad leaders call them, "white
devils." He can't be talking about Serbs or Macedonians here. Indeed,
just a little later he describes the "main recruitment pool" as
consisting of Bosnian Muslims, as well as some "Russian converts"
(Chechens?) recruited in the Caucasus.

The report states that in August Ayzi took over this Balkan brigade,
and reported his success with the "Slavs" to Mullah Qudratullah, a
"senior Taliban official." Another key leader is said to be Muhammad
al-Zawahiri, the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Apparently,

".the senior Islamist commanders now consider what they call "the
Albanian land"- Albania, Serbia's Kosovo province and parts of
Macedonia - to be safe for use as a springboard for the insertion of a
new wave of expert terrorists, including the Slavs, into Western Europe
and onward throughout the West."

Bodansky claims that at the same time, ".there was a discernible
increase in the number of foreigners in the Islamist mosques throughout

"'.They [originally] come from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and
Iran. They come from many countries,' noted an eyewitness in Tirana.
'They arrive [in Tirana] from Afghanistan,' he added. These expert
terrorists are being prepared in Albania for their specific missions in
the West."

Here is where things get interesting. The Albanian lobbyists in
American are now doubt enflamed by the next charge- that the Albanian
National Army (ANA or AKSH) is now training these dubious imports, with
most of the senior trainers being "mujahedin who retreated from Bosnia."

In return for Albanian support, Bodansky claims, "the Islamists assist
the local terrorists in preparing for launching spectacular terrorism
into the major cities of Serbia and Montenegro, with Belgrade and Nis
believed to be the top targets."

This is certainly a different picture than we get from the AKSH leaders
themselves. Idajet Beqiri, the fugitive political leader with the
group, was recently recorded as saying the AKSH has no contact with
mujahedin- but rather exists only to fight for the Greater Albania. He
vehemently assured that the group does not work with Islamists.

However, we know that in the past, even as recently as 2001 in
Macedonia, this was not the case. Mujahedin from al Qaeda did train the
KLA in 1999 in northern Albania's remote mountains, and documentary,
photographic and verbal evidence exists to indicate a presence among
NLA ranks in Macedonia in 2001. Occasional "sightings"- like the
dark-skinned, bearded man who allegedly loads down an enormous shopping
cart weekly in Skopje's Vero while wearing a bullet-proof vest under
his shirt- are evidence of a continued presence. The enormous,
Saudi-built medresah in the nearby village of Kondovo may be another
site fostering unrest. Israeli sources have also claimed that a certain
number of Albanians were being trained in Hamas camps in Lebanon- but
that the Macedonian government showed no interest in following this up.

Indeed, Bodansky claims that the Islamists are active in Albania,
western Macedonia, and Kosovo (the last is most likely of the three).
Balkanalysis.com has independent information attesting to recent
upsurges in Islamic recruiting activity in the Prizren area (near the
border with all three), as well as cross-border arrests in weapons and
drugs smuggling in recent weeks, that can be linked with terrorist or
at least militant funding.

Still, care should be taken to separate the Islamist movement from the
Albanian one. The latter is predominantly secular. We believe that the
AKSH split earlier this year over just such a divergence in objectives.
If tensions do increase in Kosovo, it will be due to Albanian
impatience with the UNMIK provisional government and a latent fear that
the US is becoming too Serb-friendly. Could lurking Islamists attempt
to ride the coattails of their discontent, in order to make mischief of
their own?

A major aspect of both secular and religious terrorism is symbolism.
The Islamists want their acts to be seen as representative of
something, as do the Albanian separatists. Neither wants the other to
take the credit for their own work, and the latter are especially
fearful that an Islamic attack on the wrong target could be blamed on
them. Indeed, it seems unlikely that the AKSH wishes to perform a
"spectacular" terrorist attack in either Nis or Belgrade (Beqiri
restricted their operations to strictly "Albanian" lands). After all,
there would be no way to bring Serbian tanks back to Kosovo faster than
a firebombing of Belgrade.

When it comes to Bosnia, however, Bodansky might have a more realistic
point to make. He reminds that Islamists have a grudge over Srebrenica
(while, remarkable for an American, admits that the Muslim death count
was bloated for propaganda purposes). According to the London-based
extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, the failure of UN peacekeepers to
protect the Bosnian Muslims made them legitimate targets in Iraq.

On 18 October, Serbian authorities also sounded the alarm. Darko
Trifunovic, a Serbian expert on terrorism, visited Washington then and
announced that:

".a group of ten mujahedin who were trained in Afghanistan have managed
to enter BiH. They are currently in al-Qaeda camps in the vicinity of
Zenica and Tuzla. A plan of this group to blow up a tunnel through
which a row of US vehicles was supposed to pass was prevented at the
last moment."

Once, such warnings would have been cast aside as yet more Serb
propaganda. Now, however, they are being listened to. According to
Trifunovic, a group of 3000 young Kosovo Albanians (who had been
trained in northern Albania), were also sent into Kosovo and Macedonia
along with mujahedin from Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Trifunovic further states that some of them went on to stir up trouble
in Sandzak, while others were arrested in other parts of Serbia. Citing
numerous similar actions in Bosnia, Trifunovic also pointed out that
two banks there (Vakufska Banka and Islamska Banka) continue to work
with impunity despite being suspected of having terrorist ties.

Independent of this, Balkanalysis.com has been informed that a group of
1,000 Iranian students were allowed to attend Serbian universities, a
couple of years ago, on student visas. When a similar request was
lodged in Skopje, the Serbian authorities informed them that of the
original 1,000 students, only "about 30" could be found after one year.
Macedonia wisely ignored the Iranian request.

According to Brendan O'Neill of Spiked! The US adventure in training
foreign mujahedin in Bosnia was "very important" to the rise of a
globalized jihad, in which terrorists ".think nothing of moving from
state to state in the search of outlets for their jihadist mission."

The US should surely know some of the routes through which arms are
smuggled into Bosnia from neighboring states. After all, it created
them in the 1990's arming of the Bosnians. Weapons were taken through
Croatia or airlifted from as far afield as Saudi Arabia, something
about which the US had "very close" knowledge and cooperation. Today,
American diplomats regret this complicity, but doggedly stick to its
necessity for helping the defenseless Muslims of Bosnia:

".Richard Holbrooke, America's former chief Balkans peace negotiator,
has said that the Bosnian Muslims 'wouldn't 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

Of course, the interventionists then were paid to get a job done, not
think of long-term dangers. This was obfuscated by the continuing
"moral blind spot" that the West has regarding Bosnia, O'Neill
contends. That said, from their enthusiasm with using imported Islamic
fighters in not only Bosnia but Kosovo, one would suspect that the
policy makers had forgotten about the Afghan experience of the 1980's;
lamentably, they would only remember it after September 11th, 2001.
Hopefully they won't suffer more persistent and vivid reminders than
that of this bad decision in the years to come.

=== 3 ===

( Source:
ERP KIM Newsletter 30-10-03b - Special Edition )

THE COMING NEW SURGE in European Islamist Terrorism: The Momentum Has

INTELLIGENCE SOURCES IN THE Balkans and Middle East indicate that the
Iranian and Osama bin Laden terrorist networks, assets and alliances
built up in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Southern
Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans are preparing for a significant new
slate of operations. Initial operations in this "new slate" have
already begun in Kosovo, and are expected to expand in southern Serbia
in late October and into November 2003.


Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, September 2003, pp. 9,12-13

By Gregory R. Copley, Editor

INTELLIGENCE SOURCES IN THE Balkans and Middle East indicate that the
Iranian and Osama bin Laden terrorist networks, assets and alliances
built up in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Southern
Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans are preparing for a significant new
slate of operations. Initial operations in this "new slate" have
already begun in Kosovo, and are expected to expand in southern Serbia
in late October and into November 2003.

The intelligence, from a variety of primary sources within the Islamist
movements, points to:

1. Escalation of Islamist terrorist attacks on Serb civilians within
the predominantly Muslim region of Kosovo and Metohija, which is in the
Serbian province of Kosovo;

2. Commencement during October-November 2003 of seemingly-random
bombings of public places, including schools, in Muslim-dominated
cities in the southern Serbian/northern Montenegrin Raska Oblast (this
oblast, or region - not a formal sub-state as in the Russian use of the
word "oblast" - is referred to by Islamists by its Turkish name,
Sandzak) as a prelude to wider violence in this area, and eastern
Montenegro, adjacent to the Albanian border and reaching down to the

3. Coordination of incidents by the so-called "Albanian National Army"
- a current iteration of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA, or UCK:
Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves, in Albanian; OVK in Serbo-Croat) - in
Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with activities in
Raska, led by the Bosnian radical Islamist party, SDA (Party of
Democratic Action) of Alija Izetbegovic, and all supported by Albanian
Government-approved/backed training facilities inside Albania, close to
the border with Serbian Kosovo;

4. Escalation of incidents - including threats, political action,
terrorist action - within Bosnia-Herzegovina, designed to further
polarize the Serbian and Croat population away from the Muslim

5. Eventual escalation of "incidents" to create a "no-go" area for
Serbian, Montenegrin, Republica Srpska security forces and
international peacekeepers in a swathe of contiguous territory from the
Adriatic through Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Southern Serbia and
Macedonia into Bosnia-Herzegovina, effectively dissecting the Republica
Srpska state (which is within Bosnia-Herzegovina) at the Gorazde
Corridor and isolating Montenegro;

6. Using the extensive safe-haven areas and "no-go" zones created by
the actions, undertake a range of terrorist actions against targets in
Greece - which is contiguous with Albania and (FYR) Macedonia - during
(and possibly before) the August 2004 Olympic Games. Specific
intelligence points to the fact that the Islamist groups have already
predetermined target opportunities during the Games.

The new intelligence contradicts the public positions of both the
Government of Serbia and the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina
that terrorist threats in their two states were now not evident. The
Serbian Ministry of Interior did, however, acknowledge increased
activities by Wahabbists (such as the bin Ladenists) and intelligence
on planned Islamist bombings in southern Serbia in the coming months.
Significantly, however, Bosnia-Herzegovina High Representative Paddy
Ashdown published, in The Washington Times of October 6, 2003, a letter
to the editor in which he said:

"After September 11 [2001], the Sarajevo authorities took important
steps to ensure that Bosnia-Herzegovina could not in any way be used as
a platform for terrorist attacks of any sort, in Europe or elsewhere.
This country is not a terrorist base, nor will it become one."

Mr Ashdown's statement, in which he actually attempted to predict the
future, is not borne out by the evidence of radical Islamist activities
inside Bosnia.

There were several significant motivations behind the new wave of
coordinated actions, according to our sources and analysis by Defense &
Foreign Affairs.

(i) Iran and al-Qaida Breakout: The Iranian Government, as well as the
Osama bin Laden organization (now being referred to as al-Qaida), have
been working since at least the breakup of the former Socialist Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991-92 to build a strong base of Islamism
and terrorist capability in the heart of Europe, and relying on the
entree to the area given by Alija Izetbegovic's SDA party in Bosnia.
Neither Iran nor bin Laden undertook this extensive work for nothing
and, despite the very large Iranian Embassy presence in Sarajevo,
Iran's Shi'a clerics have been happy to provide training, logistics and
intelligence while allowing the Wahhabist/Salafist bin Laden organizers
to work more openly with the Sunni Bosnian Muslims. The Bosnian
structures were used to support and actively participate in the
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States.

Now that both Iran and al-Qaida are under pressure from the US, their
networks in Bosnia - now far stronger than in 2001, and with virtually
all international and Serbian capabilities to stop them suppressed for
fear of political outcries in the event of again attacking the "Muslim
victims" - are preparing to launch their new break-out attacks against
the US and the West, both in order to polarize the Muslim world from
the West at the Olympics [see below] and to build a stridently Islamist
state (or network of states: Bosnia, "Sandzak" [Raska], Kosovo,
Albania, parts of Macedonia, etc.) within Western Europe [see below].

(ii) Olympics: The August 2004 Athens Olympics, with large crowds
present and an estimated four-billion television viewers worldwide, has
been identified as the most obvious symbolic point to force, using
terrorist "spectaculars," the schism between the West and the Muslim
ummah, with the objective of polarizing the Muslim world around a "new
caliphate" of radicalism, forcing the West to further react against the
Muslim world, thereby reinforcing the tendency to drive Muslims toward
the radical leaders. This interpretation is not based on speculation,
but on known plans for the Olympics within terrorist groups related to
al-Qaida and Iran. The Athens Olympics provides the perfect selection
of terrorist targets, especially given the thus-far poor performance of
Greek security services in preparing for the Games, as well as because
of the proximity of Athens to major terrorist operating areas and
support lines (through the Eastern Mediterranean, Albania, etc.).

(iii) Islamist-Controlled Territory in Europe: The prospect of creating
an Islamist territory, comprising Bosnia, Kosovo, and adjacent areas,
reaching from the Adriatic into the heart of Europe, is the most
significant strategic gain foreseen by the Islamists since Muslim
fortunes in Europe waned when the siege of Vienna was raised by the
King of Poland in 1683. Numerous Islamist sources have indicated that
they believe that this "return to Europe" is now within their grasp,
offering enormous political symbolism of the success and power of the
radical Islamists to the Muslim world, particularly if such an
achievement is made as a result of great loss by the West.

Iran, Iranian surrogate forces and al-Qaida are under increasing
pressure to begin the escalation of operations in the Balkans, not just
because of the imminence of the Olympic Games, but also to help deflect
US-led pressure against, and preoccupation with, Iran and
counter-terror operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Revived US
pressures on Syria - a major strategic ally and conduit for Iran - is
seen as escalating the urgency of the "break-out" operations in the
Balkans. The Balkans, however, also remain a strategic goal in their
own right, quite apart from their value in relieving pressure on Iran
and the damaged prestige of the terrorists and Islamists as a result of
the current "war on terror."

During the first half of August 2003, 300 Albanian-trained guerrillas -
including appr. 10 mujahedin (non-Balkan Muslims) - were infiltrated
across the Albanian border into Kosovo, where many have subsequently
been seen in the company (and homes) of members of the so-called Kosovo
Protection Corps which was created out of Kosovo Albanian elements
originally part of the KLA. In fact, the Kosovo Protection Corps seems
almost synonymous with the Albanian National Army (ANA), the new
designation for the KLA. The guerrillas were trained in three camps
inside the Albanian border at the towns of Bajram Curi, Tropoja and
Kuks, where the camps have been in operation since 1997.

The US Government, during the Clinton Administration, supported these
camps, and some sources have said that US and German nationals were
still involved in training guerrillas in the camps. Their existence is
known to the Albanian Government, which reportedly also provides both
protection and support for the facilities. They brought with them from
Albania a variety of light weapons, including mortars and landmines.

Some elements of the 300 in the August 2003 group - believed to be the
mujahedin element - went into action almost immediately, in the
Serbian-occupied Kosovo town of Gorazdevac, near the city of Pec (in
the West, close to Montenegro), on four occasions and on one occasion
killing some children. Significantly, the Albanian doctor who examined
two of the children injured in one of the attacks, Dragana Srbljaka and
Djordje Ugrinovic, was accused by Serbian Government authorities and by
other local medical authorities of having "purposefully making a wrong
diagnosis of fractures, instead of gunshot wounds." He put plaster over
the gunshot wounds and discharged the children, rather than
hospitalizing them.

After these attacks, some of the mujahedin involved moved immediately
Westward, going through Islamist safe-havens in Raska to Bosnia. Many
of the remainder went to areas on the Kosovo border with central Serbia
and/or across into central Serbia. They also engaged in mining in areas
used by Serbia-Montenegro Army vehicles using claymore-style roadside

It was understood from the Defense & Foreign Affairs sources that US
and NATO intelligence officers operating with UNMIK peacekeeping forces
in Kosovo were aware - or appeared to be aware - of the incursion of
the 300 new Islamist fighters and were also aware, at least to some
extent, of the mingling of the guerrilla fighters with the Kosovo
Protection Corps officials.

Significantly, the transit of weapons and fighters to and from Bosnia
to the Kosovo and Albanian areas has been underway for more than a
decade. In testimony to the State Security service of (then) Yugoslavia
in September 1991, Bosnian Islamist Memic Senad (born 1953)
acknowledged that Sarajevo Muslims, under Izetbegovic's SDA, pushed
arms and ammunition into Raska (Sandzak), and that this was done with
the knowledge of Izetbegovic. The arms had earlier been smuggled into
Bosnia via Croatia, with the help of Croatian police, before going on
to Raska. These shipments consisted of, among other things,
Romanian-made assault rifles and M56 machineguns. The weapons
themselves were acquired in Slovenia, and one shipment noted by Senad
included 1,240 AK-47 assault rifles.

SDA official Hasan Cengic was in charge of buying the weapons,
according to Senad. Hasan Cengic, an Islamist theologian, has been
linked with Iranian-sponsored terrorism since 1983. He is a veteran of
the 13th Waffen SS division of the German Army from World War II, and
later a general in the Bosnian (Islamist) Army as well as former Deputy
Bosnian Defense Minister. He organized much of the influx of foreign
mujahedin fighters into Bosnia during the 1990s and was a member of the
governing board of TWRA (Third World Relief Agency), founded in Vienna
in 1987 and linked with a range of al-Qaida-related and other terrorist
groups. The particular shipment cited in Senad's testimony was escorted
from Bosnia and into Raska by a Libyan consular vehicle, with
diplomatic plates. An Islamist organization, Active Islamic Youth,
actually handled the delivery. Amer Musurati, a Libyan diplomat based
at the Libyan mission in Belgrade, Serbia, paid for the weapons,
despite a long history of cooperation between Qadhafi's Libya and the
old Yugoslavia of Pres. Tito.

At the same time, the Libyan consulate in Sarajevo backed the People's
Democratic Movement of Rasim Kadic. Kadic was also involved in the
distribution of weapons into areas of Bosnia, Raska and Kosovo. Zelic
Cefedin and Kadic were known to have been in Czechoslovakia where they
tried to buy weapons from Australian citizen Hans Herdla.

What assists in diffusing the whole pattern of Islamist activities is
the seeming lack of coordination and formal organization. The links,
however, become evident in the pattern of cooperation, common targets
and accommodations between groups of apparently different ideologies -
such as the Libyans, the Syrian and Iranian-backed HizbAllah Shi'as,
the Wahabbi and Salafi extremist Sunnis, and so on - which is also
evident in terrorist operations around the world. Indeed, cooperation
between Christian (Catholic) Irish Republican Army (IRA) officials with
Libyan and Islamist backers and colleagues, is a case in point. As
well, the issues of a common enemy and, often, a common financing means
(usually narcotics trafficking), brings disparate groups together.

Much of the new round of Islamist activity is centering on the southern
Serbian (Raska) city of Novi Pazar (literally "New Bazaar"). This city
of some 30,000 people is approximately 80 percent Muslim. It has one of
the most radical Islamist bookstores in the world, and the store is
doing brisk business. Here, the principal business of the city is
crime: illegal smuggling of consumer goods, heroin and weapons. And
with its street bazaars and coffee houses, it appears as a Middle
Eastern city within a countryside populated by Orthodox Christian
Serbian farmers. [During Turkish occupation, it was necessary for
inhabitants to adopt Islam in order to gain work in the cities; thus
the farmers remained Orthodox, the city-dwellers became Muslim.]

Novi Pazar is the focus of the Islamist attempt to build a landbridge
from Albania and Kosovo to Bosnia. Further to the East, in southern
Serbia's Raska Oblast, are three other concentrations of Muslims:
Sjenica and Pester area (lightly populated but mostly Muslim),
Prijepolje (some 50 percent Muslim) and - very close to the Bosnia
border where Republica Srpska controls the slender Gorazde corridor -
Priboj (also some 50 percent Muslim). The land between is Serbian
farmland, but the Islamist goal is to link the cities as "evidence"
that the entire region is, or should be, Muslim territory. The same
strategy worked successfully in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where Serbian
farmers were driven off their lands during the civil war.

Just south of the Serbian area of Raska Oblast is the Montenegrin part
of Raska region, where, for example, Bijeljo Polje is some 60 to 80
percent Muslim, and Pijevlja, close to the Bosnian border, is about 40
percent Muslim. These Montenegrin towns, like those of the Western
Serbian Raska region, are the key to the illicit arms and
narcotrafficking across the Gorazde Corridor to Bosnia.

Further southeast in Montenegro, Albanian Muslims now make up some 95
percent of the Adriatic town of Ulcinj, only a few kilometers from
Albania itself.

But it is Novi Pazar which is the focus of the Islamist activity and
ideology. It is, in essence, the equivalent of Pristina in Kosovo, or
Sarajevo, in Bosnia, as far as the Islamists are concerned. A new
Islamist university has opened in Novi Pazar, ostensibly a normal
college, but led by an Islamist mufti of little formal education. And,
as in Pakistan, the divide between "14th Century Islamists" and "21st
Century Islamists" is apparent. This modern institution - whose
officials proclaim it a normal educational institution - reveals its
character in its symbol: the Wahabbi/Salafi dawa symbol, an open Q'uran
surmounted with a rising sun. The university, in a renovated former
textile factory, is a known center of radical Islamist thinking. A book
fair held there in early October 2003 distributed very radical Islamist
literature, specifically advocating conflict with the West.

The dawa sign indicates that the university is predominantly
Saudi-funded, although some Western funding is known to have been
pumped into the institution, reportedly largely to undermine Serb
interests in the region.

It is also significant that the graffiti which dominates Novi Pazar
supports Alija Izetbegovic's SDA party, despite the fact that the SDA
is a Bosnian party and Novi Pazar is in Serbia. But many of the
residents call themselves "Bosniaks," as do the Islamists of Bosnia.
The process by which the Izetbegovic followers are attempting to
"legitimize" their claims to southern Serbia is apparent. [Other
parties, such as Stranka za Sandzak, are evident in Novi Pazar, but
they do not match the SDA's control of the streets.]

And if the escalation of violence erupts on the scale anticipated, the
Serbian Government would be forced to attempt to suppress it. This is
the deliberate intention of the Islamists, to force intervention so
that the Serbs could be, again, blamed for suppressing the "Muslim
victims." [Italic: my emphasis] Effectively, the "no-go" status of
Raska (Sandzak) would create not only a corridor for weapons,
combatant, narcotics and other trafficking, but it would also cut off
Serbia from Montenegro, and deny Serbia its access to the sea. And
although some Montenegrin politicians, supported by some 2.5 percent of
the population of Serbia and Montenegro, have advocated secession from
the Union with Serbia, this de facto separation of the two states by
Islamist militant action would - along with Islamist action in
Montenegro's eastern towns, such as Ulcinj - spell the end of
Montenegro as a self-governing state.

The patterns of recent ANA activities in Kosovo and FYR Macedonia
already shows an upsurge of violence, just as the Kosovo-Serbia talks
began in Vienna in October 2003. The injection of Albanian-trained
guerrillas, linked with ANA and the Kosovo Protection Corps, is also
significant. These indicators, plus other intelligence obtained by
Defense & Foreign Affairs, highlight the broader trend which relates
directly to the need by al-Qaida and Iran's clerics to regain their
initiative and to keep the US strategically at arm's-length.

The Olympics, coupled with the forced deterioration of the security
situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina - and the strong likelihood that the
Dayton Accords in Bosnia will be rendered ineffective within, perhaps,
a year - all point to a significant strategic threat emerging to the
West in the Balkans.

Defense & Foreign Affairs analysts believe that the collapse of the
clerical leadership in Iran is the only thing which could remove the
core backing for the al-Qaida groups operating in the Balkans, although
narcotrafficking, supported by criminal elements in Turkey, Albania and
elsewhere and other criminal activities would still sustain some of the
radical activities, as would ongoing funding from some Saudi sources.
But the removal of Iranian support would (and associated Syrian fronts)
significantly reduce the instability in the Balkans.