Following the visit of the Russian top diplomat Sergei Lavrov to Serbia, about a week ago, a number of political and military figures in the Balkans’ neighbourhood, and Europe/NATO have been vocal in accusing Russia for using Serbs (in Serbia and Bosnia) to fuel new instability in the ever volatile region. To shed some light on the origins of the real instability in the Balkans, during the breakup of former Yugoslavia (and before), as well as to dispel the false narrative about Russians as the instigators of instability in the region, our editorial team has decided to republish a well researched article from 2002 that explains the “Bosnian Issue”, the first attempt to create an ‘Islamic State’, roots of European jihad, and the real instigators of instability. We find that the article is particularly relevant given a recent liberation of Aleppo, the ongoing operations in Iraq and Libya, and the retreat of jihadists into Europe, and in particular the narrative that has surrounded the conflict in Bosnia and its similarity with the one we’re witnessing in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere where terrorists claim to fight a ‘holy war’, which is anything but.
Islam, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy: The Civil War in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-1995
Throughout its history, Bosnia-Herzegovina has remained a battleground where Roman Catholicism, Sunni Islam, and Eastern Orthodoxy have maintained a tenuous and precarious co-existence. Bosnia is the focal point and nexus where these religions, cultures, and civilizations clash. Bosnia-Herzegovina is made up of three communities: Serbian Orthodox, Croatian Roman Catholic, and Bosnian Sunni Muslim. US, German, and Vatican intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina caused a senseless, needless, and brutal civil war. The Bosnian civil war and concomitant carnage and suffering need not have occurred. The senseless Bosnian conflict was the result of arrogant and mindless policies of US diplomacy. Otto von Bismarck termed politics/diplomacy the “art of the possible.” But US diplomacy, straight-jacketed and constrained by Cold War realpolitik, was myopic, based on ignorance, and guided by sheer stupidity and mindlessness, and an arrogant disdain. To add insult to injury, the US role in causing the Bosnian conflict was covered-up by a mindless and shameless infowar/psyop/propaganda campaign. The Bosnian civil war demonstrates what results when there is a failure of diplomacy.
Bosnia-Herzegovina had never been a modern nation-state. Bosnia existed as a medieval empire, but this medieval statelet was destroyed when the Ottoman Turks invaded and occupied Bosnia. The Turkish forces executed the Bosnian king and destroyed the indigenous Bosnian hierarchy. Bosnian Muslims, as a distinct community in Bosnia only emerged after the Turkish conquest and occupation. The Bosnian Muslims claim to be the successors and the heirs to the pre-Ottoman Bosnian population. But that claim is spurious and tenuous. The Bosnian Muslims owe their origins and their existence as a community only to the Ottoman Turkish occupation. In short, they are tied to the foreign occupation forces, to the foreign Islamic invaders. Indeed, with the expulsion of the Ottoman Turkish occupation forces, many Bosnian Muslims emigrated from Bosnia to Turkey and Anatolia along with the Ottoman Turks because their identification was with Turkey and the Turks that created their identity. Invaders and occupiers of Bosnia have sought to create an artificial “Bosnian identity” or “Bosnian nationality”. The Austro-Hungarians were one of the first foreign occupiers of Bosnia to systematically promote a “Bosnian nationality” primarily to prevent a Serbian national identity of the Bosnian Serb population of Bosnia, and to a lesser extent the Croat population. The Austro-Hungarians sought to create an artificial ethnicity or nationality because in this way they sought to deny the Serbian population their right to self-determination and to prevent any association between the Bosnian Serb population and Serbia proper. This was done so that Austria-Hungary could annex Bosnia itself. The post-World War II Yugoslav Communist dictatorship under Josip Broz Tito established the “Muslim ethnic classification” for the Slavic Bosnian Muslims in 1971 and a “Muslim nation” was recognized for Yugoslavia.
There has never been a Bosnian nationality. The term “Bosnia” is derived from the name of a river, the “Bosna” River. Linguistically, there is no such language as Bosnian. All three groups speak Serbo-Croatian. “Bosnian” is an arbitrary and artificial term. Sir Alfred Sherman, in his article “No Such People as Bosnians”, from the Evening Standard of London for June 4, 1993, noted that “there is no Bosnian nation, only Serbs, Croats, and Moslems who live there.” There is, likewise, no Herzegovina ethnic group or nationality. Herzegovina is made up of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. The name is derived from the German word “herzog”, “Herzog”, or Duke, which was given by King Tvrtko of Bosnia to the governor of the province in 1358. In the medieval era, Bosnia was ruled by Serbian Knez or King Caslav. Both Bosnia and Herzegovina were vilayets or provinces after the Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered the region in 1463. Herzegovina was a sandzak under the Vizier of Bosnia. There were medieval Bosnian Kingdoms and Bosnia was once part of the Serbian Empire but Bosnia never existed as a modern nation-state or country. Certainly, the Slavic Muslims cannot claim any exclusivity to the Bosnian name or any succession or inheritance to the medieval state for Islam and Muslims came to Bosnia as an occupation force in 1463 when Bosnia was overrun and subjugated by the Muslim Ottoman Turks. Thus, Islam and Muslims are not indigenous or native to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The media and the commentators on Bosnia have completely failed to grasp this obvious fact. From the appearance of Muslims on Bosnian soil as an invading armed force in 1463 to 1878, Bosnia has not been a state or country but has been a part of Ottoman Turkey, the staging point for the Ottoman Turkish Muslim conquest of Europe, which was stopped at Vienna. Sherman explained this fact this way:
There never was an “independent, peaceful, internationally recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina” as Dame Shirley Williams claims (We must feed the minds of these poor children, 1 June). As a number of expert witnesses recognize (including former “peace envoy” Lord Carrington), Bosnia was a creation bounced through the EC foreign ministers by Germany. I am concerned at politicians who lay down the law without knowledge on the basis of a brief trip, while those of us who have studied these lands for decades are deprived of access to the mass media. “We must feed the minds” indeed—but foremost of our politicians and pundits.
Thus, the Muslims can claim no especial right to the name Bosnian, in fact, the claim is just as valid for Christian Orthodox Serbs, Roman Catholic Croats, who have always lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina and can be said to pre-date the Bosnian Muslims or Slavs following the Bogomil teaching which was founded in the 12 century and which had adherents in Bosnia. The Bogomils or “friends or dear ones of God”, also were known as the Pavlikani or Paulicians and practiced a religion based on Manichean principles. The Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat populations of Bosnia are just as indigenous to Bosnia-Herzegovina as the Bosnian Muslim population is, even more so.
The Yugoslav Communist dictatorship which emerged after World War II established the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1945, creating a collective presidency and a Republic consisting of three communities, Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Muslims. The domination of one group(s) over the other(s) was precluded by giving each community veto power. Grievances following the war remained, however. Under the NDH regime made up of Croats and Bosnian Muslims, from 1941 to 1945, Bosnian Serbs were the victims of a systematic and planned genocide. Before 1941, Bosnian Serbs were the largest population group in Bosnia. During World War II, over two hundred thousand Bosnian Serbs are estimated to have been murdered by Croats and Bosnian Muslims. This genocide resulted in a major demographic change in Bosnia. The Bosnian Muslims became the largest population group in Bosnia. Grievances remained because the Communist dictatorship regime locked in and preserved the Bosnian Muslim and Croat population gains achieved through the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Serbs. The Communist regime of Josip Broz Tito, in short, allowed the Bosnian Muslims and the Croats to benefit from the genocide and war crimes committed during the war. The federal Yugoslav Communist regime, moreover, was engaged in the manipulation and exploitation of the Bosnian Muslim and Croat genocide of the Serbian population of Bosnia and Herzegovina to maintain its power and the federation. Once the Communist federation and regime of Yugoslavia collapsed in 1991, these grievances of the Serbian populations of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Krajina and Croatia exploded into the open. What emerged were civil wars between the three groups or ethnic communities in a three-way civil war where each group sought to gain control of regions and areas of the former Yugoslavia where their population group predominated.
In 1991, the Muslims and Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina again united and formed a short-lived alliance, a marriage of convenience, against the Serbian population of Bosnia as they had done during the NDH regime from 1941-1945. The goal of the Bosnian Muslims and Croats was again to break Bosnia away from Yugoslavia and to create respectively a Great or Greater Islamic State of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a Muslim Bosnia, and Herceg-Bosna, a Great or Greater Croatian statelet of Bosnia-Herzegovina either allied with Croatia or incorporated in Croatia.
The Bosnian Muslim conception of Bosnia-Herzegovina was not as a state made up equally by three constituent communities, Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, but as the national homeland of the Bosnians, Bosanci, Bosniaks, that is, of the Bosnian Muslims. The Serbian Orthodox and Croatian Roman Catholic communities of Bosnia were to be tolerated as peripheral or marginal minorities, but Bosnia would be a Muslim state, the national homeland of the Bosanci, that is, Bosnian Muslims only. The SDA, Stranka Demokratske Akcije, Party for Democratic Action, which emerged in 1990, co-formed by Alija Izetbegovic, is a Muslim nationalist party made up only of Muslims to advance Muslim nationalist goals. The evidence demonstrated that a multi-ethnic state was not the goal; ensuring equal representation to all three communities was never the goal. US government/media propaganda maintained that the SDA was “secular”, “multi-ethnic”, “pluralist”, and committed to “democracy”.
The US psyop infowar notwithstanding, the SDA was factually a militant and radical extreme Muslim nationalist party. Former US Ambassador to the former Yugoslavia, the self-styled “last ambassador”, Warren Zimmermann, admitted that the US supported a Muslim-dominated state that would relegate the Serbian and Croatian communities to the periphery as minorities. Because Bosnia-Herzegovina lacked a majority population, however, it is misleading to speak of minorities. But US government and media policy was to assume that the Bosnian Muslim population was a majority, when in fact it was not. A model that was proposed for Bosnia was the cantonization model based on the cantons of Switzerland, a nation made up of three ethnic groups, Germans, French, and Italian.
At the Lisbon meeting, the Lisbon Agreement or Partition Plan emerged which would ensure that each of the three Bosnian groups would be able to control regions that were predominantly made up of that group. Zimmermann, however, informed Izetbegovic to renounce the Lisbon Agreement and to establish a Muslim-dominated state. The goal was to establish Muslim dominance, to create a Bosnia-Herzegovina where Muslims would “predominate” even though Muslims were not the majority. In the September 21, 1992 article “The Nation that Wasn’t: The Roots to the Bosnian Conflict” from The New Republic, Aleksa Djilas maintained that “most Muslim leaders believed only a Muslim should be allowed full citizenship.” The Muslim government even produced Bosnian passports that were green in color, green being the symbolic color of Islam. The Bosnian flag incorporated a pre-Muslim fleur-de-lis pattern of the medieval Bosnian state, but significantly, excluded a Serbian Orthodox or Croatian Roman Catholic national symbol.
The message was clear: Only the Muslims, as the legitimate heirs to the pre-Muslim Bosnian kings, were Bosnians, Bosanci, Bosniaks. Many militant and nationalist Muslim political leaders of Bosnia, however, sought to expel all non-Muslims, driving the Orthodox Serbs across the Drina River into Serbia and expelling the Croat Roman Catholics to Dalmatia. These Muslim nationalists and fundamentalists argued that “the rule of non-Muslims over Muslims was blasphemous.” The Muslim SDA regime of Alija Izetbegovic/Ejup Ganic argued that Muslims should have supremacy and should predominate in a Muslim Bosnia. What followed was the inevitable civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina as Roman Catholic Croat and Orthodox Serb populations sought to prevent Muslim hegemony and domination and marginalization.
The US government/media and the Western press represented Alija Izetbegovic as a “secular” Muslim political figure committed to a “multi-ethnic” and “pluralistic” society. But the evidence does not support this assertion. In the West, The Islamic Declaration (1970) was suppressed and censored. The 1983 conviction of Izetbegovic and subsequent prison term was similarly censored. Izetbegovic had espoused a militant form of Muslim nationalism, in fact, rejecting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s secular model or framework for the Muslim state, and opposed the inter-marriage of Muslims with non-Muslims. There should be no separation between the state and religion. The state should be governed by the Sharia, Islamic religious law or code. Izetbegovic was charged with seeking to establish an “ethnically pure Islamic republic” in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Lubor J. Zink, in his July 21, 1993 article “Thoughts on Balkan Strife” from the Toronto Sun, noted that “Alija Izetbegovic, the current presiding member of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s peculiar institution of a collective presidency, is a one-time radical Islamic fundamentalist who wrote a sort of Mein Kampf for Balkan Muslims.” Zink stated that Izetbegovic’s Islamic Declaration is “undoubtedly inspired by Khomeini’s doctrine of ‘revolutionized’ medieval Islamic fundamentalism” and that the message of the book is as follows: “Establishment of a Muslim state as a operation base for Islamic expansion in Europe.” Zink noted that there was a three-way civil war in Bosnia and that civilians in all three communities were victims of the conflict: “A British soldier sees the bodies of three Croat children who had their throats cut by Muslim soldiers. Does he want to see those Muslims with bigger and better weapons. Do we?”
While the Western media had vociferously denied that the Bosnian Muslim leadership espoused Islamic fundamentalism and nationalism, nevertheless, the Muslim Armies of Bosnia were bolstered by significant numbers of mujahedeen and Islamic fundamentalists and volunteers from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries. The estimates of the number of mujahedeen and Islamic fundamentalist soldiers in the Muslim Army of Bosnia ranged from at least 2,000 to over 10,000 forces. NBC News reported that Osama bin Laden had himself fought in the Bosnian Muslim Army with his Afghani mujahedeen forces against the Bosnian Serb forces. Alija Izetbegovic is reported to have met with and issued to Osama bin Laden a special Bosnian passport. Bin Laden maintained forces and a headquarters in Bosnia. One of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist bombing possessed a Bosnian passport issued by the Bosnian government. ABC News reported that Bosnian Muslims were part of the group led by Egyptian Islamic cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman that planned the first terrorist attack on the World Trade center in 1993, which the FBI initially blamed on the so-called Serbian Liberation Army. The Bosnian Muslim government forces, moreover, had at their command the 7th Muslim Brigade, which was made up exclusively of Islamic fundamentalist mujahedeen soldiers. These forces were also suspected of murdering a British United Nations worker and injuring several others in an attack near Zenica. In Le Quotidien De Paris, for November 15, 1993, the following description of the 7th Muslim Brigade appears:
The Seventh Muslim Brigade of Zenica, composed exclusively of Mujahedins, is one of the best organized and most courageous units of the Bosnian Army. The exact number of mujahedins in the brigade is unknown. The estimation ranges from 200 to 1,000 and citizens are afraid that they could harm them if they do not obey Islamic laws…Last Thursday, the Zenica police clashed with mujahedins who raided downtown cafes and destroyed bottles of alcoholic beverages. These “God’s warriors” also harassed walking couples holding hands…Another example: when Bosnian army units stationed in Zenica participated in the battle for the Croatian stronghold in Vares, several soldiers marched into this town waving the green flag of the Islamic republic of Iran shouting “God is great”.
The role of mujahedeen “volunteers “(Islamic “freedom fighters”) from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, in the Bosnian civil war was suppressed by the US/Western media. The Pentagon and CIA, which had armed, trained, and supplied these Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s, including Osama bin Laden, allowed these Islamic “freedom fighters”, militant Islamic jihadists, to enter Bosnia-Herzegovina through US client state Croatia. The atrocities these Afghan mujahedeen committed in Bosnia against Serbian and Croatian civilians were never shown or presented by the US/Western media. In the September 21, 1992 issue of The New Republic, Major Milovan Milutinovic of the Bosnian Serb Army, gives the following description of the mujahedeen jihad against Christian Serbs:
Fundamentalist mujaheddin there are waging a jihad against the Serb population… The major briefed us on what he said were atrocities committed by Muslims against the Serb population. The mujaheddin kill Muslims, Croats, and Serbs alike, he warned, and then roast them on a spit. The major showed us a long scroll paper covered with Arabic script. It had been found on a jihad fighter, he said, explaining that it was a call to arms against the Serbs, promising salvation to anyone who died in the defense of Islam.
The rise of Islamic militancy and fundamentalism in Bosnia is described as follows in Le Quotidien De Paris:
People frequent mosques in increasing numbers, while an even greater number of women wear “chadors” (Islamic veils). A citizen of Zenica said that before the war only about ten women had worn chadors while today this number raised to 200…Accustomed to the western way of life, the young are afraid that they will lose their freedom. The Koran prohibits boys to have girlfriends, to consume alcohol…
The US media censored and suppressed reports on the destruction of Serbian Orthodox monasteries by Bosnian Muslim and Croat forces. Atrocities and murders of Bosnian Serbs was likewise suppressed and deleted from US media reports. In a November 22, 1993 article in the Wall Street Journal, Roger Thurow quoted Predrag Radic, the mayor of Banja Luka, who reported that 56 Serbian Orthodox Churches were destroyed and leveled by the Muslims around the Muslim stronghold of Tuzla. Thurow quoted Radic as follows:
“He tells of a Serbian man who had 100 pounds of explosives strapped to his back before being shot. ‘A heel of a foot,’ he says, ‘that’s the only thing that remained of him.’ And he tells of nine Serbian men who were roasted on a spit like pigs.”
The mujahedeen terrorists and the Islamic fundamentalist volunteers in the Muslim Army of Bosnia have committed many reported and documented atrocities and massacres against Serbian Orthodox Christians. In the fall of 1992, these mujahedeen forces attacked the Serbian town of Milici in eastern Bosnia and massacred up to fifty Serbian civilians. The bodies were badly mutilated, many were beheaded and their heads placed on spikes, many of the male victims were forcefully circumcised, and their bodies were cut and ripped open. American doctors who volunteered to provide humanitarian medical assistance in Bosnia, later reported that Muslim mujahedeen and Islamic fundamentalist soldiers from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia had performed circumcisions on Bosnian Serb prisoners without anesthesia. Circumcisions are customary under Islamic religious practice. The Bosnian Muslim forces executed, massacred, and mutilated Bosnian Serbs in the Serbian town of Kamenica outside of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia, where the corpses were later exhumed. The bodies were severely mutilated, many being decapitated. Dozens of bodies of massacred Serbian civilians were found in a mass grave near Kamenica. The Western media censored and suppressed these Muslim atrocities against the Bosnian Serbs. This is an example of the Selection Technique in propaganda/information technology/information warfare. The US government/media psyop propaganda campaign relied on this technique during the Bosnian conflict. This is how the Selection Technique is described in the US Army Psychological Operations Field manual, No.33-1, in Appendix 1: PSYOP Techniques:
Card stacking or selective omission. This is the process of choosing from a variety of facts only those which support the propagandist’s purpose. In using this technique, facts are selected and presented which most effectively strengthen and authenticate the point of view of the propagandist. …Card stacking, case making, and censorship are all forms of selection…. In time of armed conflict, leading personalities, economic and social systems, and other institutions making up a nation are constantly subjected to propaganda attacks. Card stacking is used to counter these attacks by publicizing and reiterating the best qualities of the institutions, concepts, or persons being attacked. …The technique may also be used to describe a subject as virtuous or evil and to give simple answers to a complicated subject. An intelligent propagandist makes his case by imaginative selection of facts.
Major Thomas Collins of the US Army Information Service, i.e., military propaganda department, admitted that US Army psyop specialists, i .e., military propagandists, had been “involved in the Gulf War, the Bosnian war and the crisis in Kosovo.” Collins conceded: “Psyops personnel , soldiers and officers, have been working in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta through our program ‘Training With Industry.’ They worked as regular employees of CNN.” This is a very standard and routine propaganda technique that has a long history in the US. The technical term is “planting”. It is not new. The US government or Pentagon or corporations put “plants” in the media to advance their interests. The American viewer and public is deluded and hoodwinked into believing that the plant is neutral, objective, and not self-interested. In fact, the plant is part of a systematic and organized plan of manipulation and brain-washing. Planting is routine and common. There was planting in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Kosovo War, and the Bosnian War. Planting indicates that an infowar/propaganda war is in progress.
The US psyop specialist and the intellectual elitist cadre hired to supplement and to augment the US State Department/Pentagon/PR firm propaganda campaign censored information about Alija Izetbegovic. The US government/media suppressed information about Izetbegovic’s activities with the Young Muslims terrorist group in the 1940s. Izetbegovic was in prison from 1946-48 in Yugoslavia because of his radical Muslim nationalism. Izetbegovic’s criminal conviction in 1983 for advocating militant and radical Muslim nationalism was likewise suppressed. On August 20, 1983, in the so-called ‘Islamic Declaration’ Trial, the multi-ethnic and pluralistic Yugoslav government had tried and convicted Alija Izetbegovic and 12 other Muslims of “hostile and counterrevolutionary acts derived from Muslim nationalism” in Sarajevo. Izetbegovic was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison under Articles 136 and 114 of the federal criminal code, which was reduced to 11 years on appeal. He would serve 6 years, from 1983-1988. At the trial, 58 witnesses were called and 80 documents were examined.
The Yugoslav prosecutor charged Izetbegovic with conspiracy to make Bosnia-Herzegovina an “ethnically pure Islamic republic”. Five of the defendants were accused of planning a January, 1983 trip to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic fundamentalist Iran. They were also accused of “racial and religious prejudice through the above activities and by urging Muslims not to associate or marry non-Muslims” which was clearly against the multi-ethnic and pluralistic policies of Yugoslavia, a nation made up of diverse ethnic groups and faiths. Previously, in the late 1940’s, Izetbegovic had been convicted for his membership in the Young Muslims (Mladi Muslimani), a militant and radical Muslim nationalist group, which the Yugoslav government described as a “terrorist organization”. The prosecutor stated that the Islamic Declaration “indicated a desire to create an ethnically pure Muslim state out of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and other Muslim areas.”
The prosecutor also claimed that the Islamic Declaration was the “modernized platform and program of the former terrorist organization, the Young Muslims.” The Islamic Declaration (Islamska Deklaracija) was first published in 1970 in Serbo-Croat and had been translated into Arabic, Turkish, German, and English. The prosecutor argued that based on The Islamic Declaration an “Islamic revival” must start with a “religious revolution” which was subsequently to be followed by a political revolution. Izetbegovic stated that The Islamic Declaration was concerned with the “general emancipation of Muslims, not with Yugoslavia and Bosnia in particular, and that it was meant to apply to countries where the overwhelming majority of the population was Muslim.” Izetbegovic maintained that he had given The Islamic Declaration to Arab students to get their opinion of the text and he had it translated into Arabic because “the Muslim world was turning into a third world power” and “the declaration offers the vision of a democratic and humanistic social order.” Another book by Alija Izetbegovic, Islam Between East and West, was banned in France.
One of the Muslim defendants, Melika Salihbegovic, was charged with writing a letter to Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in which the following statements appeared:
For 37 years I have been living in a Christian milieu and in atheistic Europe, where a handful of scared Muslims live in an atmosphere of falsehood and hypocrisy. It is no wonder therefore that my youth and that of thousands of my young compatriots was spent straying along the paths of ignorance; it is no wonder that we are returning to Allah. If we are submissive, it is our despair.
Izetbegovic and the other co-defendants were also accused of seeking the “Islamization” of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mustafa Spahic, an imam, was charged with spreading “hostile propaganda” under Article 133 of the federal criminal code, convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison, reduced to three years on appeal. Spahic was accused of seeking the “Islamization” of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He denied the charge as follows:
When Islam came to the Balkans is well known. It is known that the Turks ruled here for 446 years over what we call Bosnia-Herzegovina which is inhabited by three ethnic communities, the Serbs, the Croats and the Muslims—as these latter have been classified as a nationality since 1971. The Turks never could, nor perhaps tried, to make Bosnia-Herzegovina ethnically homogeneous.
The subsequent actions and policies of the SDA party and of Alija Izetbegovic and Ejup Ganic disprove Spahic’s assertions. In 1993, Alija Izetbegovic made an official state visit to Islamic fundamentalist Iran, a visit the US media did not cover, although important diplomatically for Bosnia as Iran would become the key arms and financial supplier for Izetbegovic. Ejup Ganic, the Muslim deputy president of Bosnia, made a similar visit to Muslim fundamentalist militants in Algeria. The significance of these official state visits was apparently lost on the US/Western media and the diplomatic corps and political analysts. The New York Times for December 16, 1993 reported that Kammar Eddinbe Kharbane, the leader of Algeria’s radical Muslim fundamentalist militants, had made several trips to Bosnia: “One of the Algerian militants’ leaders in exile, Kammar Eddinbe Kharbane, has made several trips to Bosnia. Bosnia’s deputy president, Ejup Ganic, a Muslim, visited Algeria last week.” Algerian militants had murdered not only Algerian Muslim civilians that opposed their radical Islamic policies, but scores of foreign workers in Algeria. In the article, “12 Technicians from Balkans Slain at Algerian Construction Site”, it was reported that Islamic militants and fundamentalists had up to then murdered 23 foreigners in a brutal reign of Islamic fundamentalist terror. Twelve Christian technicians from Croatia and Bosnia had been the recent victims having been stabbed to death in a surprise attack on their living quarters. A Croatian diplomat was quoted as stating that the “victims throats were slit” as about 50 Muslim attackers took control of the compound near Blida, 30 miles south of Algiers, at a construction site. More than 2,000 people had been killed at that time in Algeria due to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism and militancy.
As the following statements from the Islamic Declaration (1970, republished, 1990) demonstrate, Izetbegovic is a radical Islamic nationalist and Muslim fundamentalist whose goal and objective is the creation of a Muslim-dominated and Muslim-controlled Bosnia:
An Islamic revival cannot start without a religious revolution, and it cannot be successfully carried out without a political one… The Islamic movement should and can take over power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough to not only pull down non-Islamic power structures, but also to replace them… There can be no peace or coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic societies and political institutions. Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility of activity of any strange ideology on its own turf…Turkey, as an Islamic country used to rule the world. Turkey, as an imitation of Europe, represents a third-rate country.
Bosnia and Kosovo, because of their Muslim populations, have long been regarded as safe havens and spearheads and bases for the infiltration of militant and radical Islamic groups. Indeed, both Kammar Kharbane, leader of the Algerian Muslim fundamentalist militants, and Osama bin Laden, leader of Al-Qaeda, both fought in Bosnia where they set up headquarters. They are known to have met with Alija Izetbegovic and Ejup Ganic. Osama bin Laden is reported to have been issued a special Bosnian passport by Alija Izetbegovic. A U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, House Republican Research Committee, September 3, 1992, reported as follow: “…Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Muslims have long been considered by the Islamist leadership in the Middle East to be ripe as a vehicle for expansion of Islamic militancy in Europe.” In 1993, the U.S. State Department issued a warning that Iranian-backed Islamic fundamentalist Hizbollah guerrillas, in support of the Muslim Bosnian government, were planning to launch a large terrorist attack on Westerners in Bosnia and Croatia and warned American travelers to avoid those regions.
The Bosnian Muslim Army and the Bosnian Muslim Government of Alija Izetbegovic and Ejup Ganic sought to re-establish the World War II Nazi Waffen SS Divisions formed out of Bosnian Muslims, the 13th Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS “Handzar/Handschar” and the 23rd Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS “Kama”, formed in 1943-45 by Heinrich Himmler. The London Daily Telegraph of December 29, 1993, in the news report by Robert Fox in Fojnica, “Albanians and Afghans Fight for the Heirs to Bosnian’s SS Past”, has reported that the Bosnian Muslim forces had formed a new and updated version of the World War II Nazi “Handzar” SS Division, made up of about 6,000 troops and supported by the Muslim leadership. Fox reported on the reformed Handzar Division as follows:
These are the men of the Handzar division. “We do everything with the knife, and we always fight on the frontline,” a Handzar told one U.N. officer. Up to 6,000 strong, the Handzar division glories in a fascist culture. They see themselves as the heirs of the SS Handzar division, formed by Bosnian Muslims in 1943 to fight for the Nazis. Their spiritual model was Mohammed Amin al-Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who sided with Hitler, according to U.N. officers. Surprisingly few of those in charge of the Handzars in Fojnica seem to speak good Serbo-Croatian. “Many of them are Albanian, whether from Kosovo … or from Albania itself.”…They are trained and led by veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan, say U.N. sources…Pakistani fundamentalists are known to have had a strong hand in providing arms and a small weapons industry for the Bosnian Muslims.
Fox described the Handzar troops as wearing “a beret with an insignia in green Arabic script.” The Bosnian Muslim troops in the original Handzar Waffen SS Division formed by Himmler in 1943 wore a fez, which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had outlawed for secular Turkey in 1925. The beret is the modern version or substitute for the fez. Handzar is derived from the Arabic word “khangar”, which means “dagger”, an Islamic curved dagger symbolic of Islamic power. This is why the term “knife” is used by the Handzar troops, the modern version or substitute for the Turkish hancher or handzar/handschar, a curved dagger. Fox also described “men with the Koranic texts hanging from their fatigues.” The original Handzar Division had approximately 300 Kosovo Albanian Muslim troops who were later transferred to the 21st Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS “Skanderbeg” which occupied Kosovo-Metohija, southern Serbia, southern Montenegro, and western Macedonia. Fox noted that the “strong presence of native Albanians” in the reformed Bosnian Muslim Handzar division is an “ominous sign”: “It could mean the seeds of war are spreading south via Kosovo and into Albania, thence to the Albanians of Macedonia.”
Remarkably, in 1993 Fox was able to see the connection between the Bosnian conflict and its eventual and inevitable spread to Kosovo and Macedonia. He perceived the inter-relationship between the conflict in Bosnia and in Kosovo and Macedonia, while other journalists and political analysts saw Bosnia as an isolated case in a contextual vacuum. Fox concluded that the new Handzar division had the backing and support of the “increasingly extreme leadership” in Sarajevo, made up of foreign minister Ejup Ganic, prime minister Haris Silajdzic, and the head of the Bosnian Muslim military forces, Enver Hadjihasanovic. Fox attributed the formation of the new Handzar division to “hardline elements of the Bosnian Army, like the Handzar.” The first operation in the Fojnica region was the murder of two Croatian Roman Catholic monks. Incredibly, at the same time US government and media propaganda/information technology was maintaining a genocide and Holocaust propaganda strategy against the Bosnian Serb forces, here under its very nose the Bosnian Government and Army was blatantly and shamelessly reforming a Nazi SS Division from World War II. Could it get any more absurd than this? While American-Jewish activist Susan Sontag, Peter Jennings, and Anthony Lewis were crusading on behalf of the Bosnian Muslim Army and Government using a Jewish Holocaust analogy and propaganda campaign, the very same Bosnian Government and Army was re-creating and re-establishing a Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division, forces that were willing executioners of Bosnian Jews during World War II.
Absurdly, the Western media failed to note the significance of the reformed Handzar division in Bosnia. NPR, CNN, ITN, the BBC, the New York Times, engaged in a manipulative and moronic propaganda campaign that was intellectually dishonest, morally repulsive, and arrogant. The intellectual elites and the elitist journalistic cadre had deluded themselves to the point of absurdity and fantasy and unbounded intellectual conceit. That is the inevitable result of a dehumanizing propaganda/infowar/psyop campaign by the US/Western media orchestrated by the US government and Pentagon. Fox analyzed this Western media myopia and callous indifference as follows:
More significant is the nature of the Handzars, and the influences of the Albanians in their command, and the support from Pakistan. These suggest, politically and militarily, the war in Bosnia has spread—under the dozing eyes of the West.
But was this lack of understanding and manipulation of the Bosnian three-way civil war due to incompetence and blundering on the part of the West (“under the dozing eyes of the West”) or was it a systematic, planned, organized, willful manipulation under the auspices of US Army Psyop specialists and the State Department and CIA? Was it a faux pas, an inadvertent mistake or blunder, or was it a planned and systematic US Army and intelligence psyop or information technology operation under the control of the US Government and Pentagon?
The US/Western media and EU/NATO governments/media suppressed the fact that the SDA Alija Izetbegovic/Ejup Ganic regime lacked the popular support of the majority of the population of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Not surprisingly, the radical all-Muslim SDA regime was rejected by the Serbian population, the Croatian population, and a segment of the Muslim population as well. In the Velika Kladusa region of the Bihac pocket, a large population of Bosnian Muslims sought to overthrow the Izetbegovic regime and opposed the radical and nationalist version of Islam Izetbegovic and the SDA espoused. What the US/Western media sought to conceal was the lack of popular support for the Izetbegovic regime, a US-backed regime. A Muslim-dominated Bosnia was thus factually untenable and not viable and was therefore doomed to failure and collapse. What was needed was a multi-ethnic government made up of all three ethnic communities as envisioned in the Lisbon Agreement. But the US rejected such a multi-ethnic government, instead choosing to back the SDA Muslim regime which offered the best prospects for becoming a US client state. In an October 7, 1993 New York Times Article, “U.N. Fails to Stem Muslim Rebellion in Bosnia”‘ which described the secession of the Bihac region from the Muslim leadership in Sarajevo, the Muslim supporters of Fikret Abdic characterized the Muslim government of Izetbegovic as follows:
“Mr. Izetbegovic, despite his expressed preference for a Bosnia where Muslims, Serbs, and Croats share power within a single state, is a Muslim nationalist who is likely to turn the areas of Bosnia under his control into an Islamic Fiefdom.”
A Reuters dispatch quoted a soldier defending Velika Kladusa … as saying, “We don’t want ‘Allahu Akbar’ and the veil here. We want a European system. The reference was to an Arabic incantation meaning “God is great”.
Islamic nations, particularly Saudi Arabia and Turkey, had been supplying and assisting the Muslims of Bosnia with economic and financial assistance, with military volunteers, and with weapons and arms. Libya and Iran were reported to have shipped large quantities of military weapons to the Bosnian Muslim forces in late 1993 to aid the over 200,000 strong Muslim Army of Bosnia. In an article from October 14, 1993 in the New York Times, “Slovenia Reports Finding a Cache of Arms Going to Bosnia Muslims“‘, the following appears:
Slovenian authorities have seized a large cache of infantry weapons that they said were destined for the Muslim-led armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in violation of an international embargo…The cache consists of 11,000 assault rifles, 750,000 rounds of ammunition and 30 mortars…They were to be transported by helicopter, labeled as food and medicine…One report spoke of a total of 1,200 tons. The weapons had been sent by air from Islamic-controlled Sudan, a militant Muslim fundamentalist state which has been conducting an unreported genocide against its Christian population for years.
In the Monthly Newsletter of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington D.C., it is reported that 213 tons of Saudi food and other essential supplies were distributed to Muslims in Bosnia by Riyadh Province Governor Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Chairman of the Supreme Commission for Collection of Donations for the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The commission had sent a further 515 million Saudi riyals (137.33 million U.S. dollars) in donations from Muslim Saudis to the Muslims of Bosnia. Over 400 Muslims injured in the fighting have been flown to Saudi Arabia for treatment.
Much of the aid to Bosnia by Arabic and Muslim aid and relief organizations consisted of sending mujahedeen troops and Islamic religious instructors meant to radicalize Bosnian Muslims and to reinvigorate Islamic influence. The Arabic/Muslim aid organizations were, in fact, fronts for shipping in weapons in violation of the embargo and for bringing in radical Islamic instructors and organizers. The goal was invariably to spread and to advance Arab and Muslim influence in Bosnia, not to provide food, clothing, and housing to Bosnian Muslim civilians, or if so, only secondarily.
In the October 22, 1994 article “Islamic teachers offer pensions in return for jihad” which appeared in The Times of London, Anthony Lloyd, reporting from Zenica, analyzed how Islamic charity groups and organizations acted as fronts to import radical Islamic nationalism and fundamentalism. Lloyd noted that non-governmental Islamic aid agencies, such as the Arabic organization Islam Sans Frontieres, the Kuwaiti Organization for the Rebirth of Islamic Thought in Zenica, the Balkan Islamic Center in Zenica, and Rebirth of Islamic Tradition for Bosnia-Herzegovina, had flooded Bosnia since the Bosnian regime signed a US-brokered “federation deal” with Croatia, whose armed forces had occupied and actively fought on Bosnian territory held by Croats. He described the case of Bosnian Muslim widow Azera, whose husband was killed in action. She was given 100 Deutschemarks by the Kuwaiti Organization for the Rebirth of Islamic Thought in Zenica. In return, however, she had to send her son to a Muslim school that the Kuwaitis had set up in Zenica. Here Bosnian Muslim students were taught Arabic and studied the Koran. According to Lloyd, “he is given radical Islamic literature by Palestinians and taught in a way that is far removed from anything he has experienced before.” Azera complained to Lloyd about the Arab humanitarian aid agencies and organizations which only exploited the Bosnian Muslim population to advance Islam, an Arabic religion:
It is sad that they use our children to spread Islam, children who have already lost their fathers. But I do not have any other income and I have to agree to this. It means we are being paid for believing.
One of the Islamic textbooks at the Zenica school is entitled Attitutes That We Have to Change, which is published by the Rebirth of Islamic Tradition for Bosnia and Herzegovina, “which advocates the implementation of Islamic law, the Sharia, in Bosnia.”. The textbook is written by an Egyptian “commander at a Mujahidin headquarters in Podbrezje”, Imad Elmisri. Lloyd described the contents of the text as follows:
…[O]n its pages the infidel is condemned, socialism and democracy are denounced as enemies of Allah and readers are warned that they will turn into monkeys or pigs should they continue listening to songs with instrumentals or female vocals.
Lloyd quoted Abu Mohammad, a Palestinian Arab working for the Kuwaiti organization, who emphasized the need for Islamic indoctrination in Bosnia:
The Muslims here have turned their back on their faith. God and the Koran tell Muslims ‘who abandons my orders resists me—this one will be punished’. So these people are being punished by the war until they return to the real way.
The Kuwaiti organization, like many of the other so-called Muslim aid and charity organizations, is a front for inciting an Islamic jihad, or holy war, in Bosnia, according to Lloyd. Lloyd noted: “The Kuwaiti organization is heavily involved in propagating a radical brand of Islam in Bosnia and its actions are representative of the multifaceted concept of jihad, or holy war.”
The Islamic jihad is not limited to an armed conflict but in Arabic means a struggle. Lloyd quoted “a middleman in the introduction of Mujahidin to Bosnia: “Jihad is not just about fighting. It is also about food, money, and the media.” The Kuwaiti organization opened a Balkan Islamic Center in Zenica. Elzedin Berbic, 15, a Bosnian Muslim student at the Center, described the activities there as follows:
We hear, we talk, we pray together, we are shown films about the Islamic jihad. The films are different, some in Bosnian, some in Arabic, but they are all about jihad. The war was started to destroy the Muslim people, so now it must be a jihad.
The US government/media propaganda machine censored reports that contradicted the US propaganda line that Bosnian Islam was “secular”, “multi-ethnic”, and “democratic”. The US propagandist/infowar specialist/psyop technician used the Selection Technique in propaganda analysis.
The Bosnian conflict engendered global Islamic radicalism and militancy instead of a good faith effort to resolve the conflict equitably and justly and prevent further needless deaths. Le Quotidien De Paris reported that in November, 1993, a conference was held in London by several representatives of several Islamic movements called “Bosnia and the World Islamic Movement” organized by the “Muslim Parliament” in Britain and led by its president, Khalim Sadiqi. The Islamic conference was set up to “consider the ways and means in which the Islamic movement should mete out due punishment to those who are to blame for the ‘crimes’ against the Bosnian Muslims.” The establishment of a militant Muslim state in Bosnia was an important goal of the world Islamic movement and for those Muslim nations which seek to expand Islam and Arabic influence into Europe.
The Bosnian civil war from 1992 to 1995 was a needless and senseless conflict that never should have been allowed to occur. The conflict was fomented and precipitated by US diplomacy. US diplomacy then allowed the civil war to continue needlessly, when no viable or practicable objective could be achieved. The US-brokered Dayton Accord of 1995 which ended the Bosnian conflict in essence reinstated the Lisbon Agreement or Partition Plan, establishing a partition or modified cantonization of Bosnia-Herzegovina and a three-member collective presidency. The Lisbon Agreement, rejected by the US initially, now after the senseless loss of life and wanton destruction, was in essence accepted as a framework for peace. In June, 2000, Alija Izetbegovic resigned from the collective presidency of Bosnia because of his dissatisfaction with the “international community” for not supporting a Muslim-dominated Bosnia, a Muslim Bosnia as he had initially envisioned.
The Bosnian civil war represents the utter failure of US diplomacy. But instead of modifying US policies in the former Yugoslavia based on the diplomatic fiasco in Bosnia, the US government replicated that policy in Kosovo and Macedonia. The same modus operandi used in Bosnia was replayed and re-enacted in the Kosovo and Macedonia conflicts. Consequently, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia remain Vietnam-style quagmires requiring the military occupation by US/NATO troops. US “humanitarian intervention” in the Bosnian, Kosovo, and Macedonian conflicts has exacerbated them while offering no viable resolutions of these intractable conflicts.
Carl K. Savich
Source: Project Rastko
*Emphasis added by Geostrategic Media editorial team