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Boba Borojevic | Columns | serbianna.com INTERVIEW
Islamic Terror in Bosnia and Kosovo
By Boba Borojevic
February 4, 2007

The war in the former Yugoslavia ended eight years ago but illegal arms trade and training of Islamic terrorists continues across the Balkans, particularly in Bosnia and Kosovo currently administered by EU / UN Missions.

Reports of such developments came also from Gregory Copley. In his article “Strong warning indicators for new surge in European Islamic terrorism” he says that, “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 significant new slate of operations.”

Listen to Shaul Shay Interview
Shaul Shay, an officer in the military intelligence of the Israeli Defense Forces and expert on international and fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, has published the new book "Islamic Terror and the Balkans". In that book he analyzes the growth of radical Islam in the Balkans. He shows how the war in Bosnia and the war in Kosovo provided the historical opportunity for radical Islam to penetrate the Balkans.

“It was an ongoing process. During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina Islamic mujahideens from different parts of the world came to support the local Muslims. Later on when the war was over they formed an [Islamic terrorist] infrastructure that exists even today,” said Shaul Shay in his interview to Monday’s Encounter on January 6.

“I have written twelve books on the subject of Islamic terrorism in different places and different parts of the world. One of the more interesting and important places was the Balkans. I decided to study this issue and the result was the book. In it, I show the process and the development of this phenomenon during two wars, first in Bosnia and Herzegovina and later on in Kosovo,” continued Shay.

Intelligence sources reveal that there have been for more than a decade, three main radical Islamist mujahideen operating in Bosnia: The Iranian mujahideein, consisting entirely of Iranian nationals, the Arab mujahideen, consisting mainly of volunteers from Saudi Arabia, from Palestine, Jordan and Yemen and the North African mujahideen, mainly involving Egyptians, Algerians and Moroccans. Some of them have been engaged in some of the more serious terrorist actions (including the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US).

Muslim charities and an independent Islamic territory in Bosnia and Kosovo

“After 9/11, when the US started examining the financing of terror organizations, it discovered that many of the Islamic charities that operated during and after the war in the Balkans were channeling “terror” money . A big chunk of that money that was supposed to be used for humanitarian purposes went to finance those  [Islamic terror] infrastructures, ” Shay stated.

Dr. Shaul Shay holds the rank of Colonel in the Israeili Army. He is a graduate of the Israeli National Defense College and completed both MA and PhD at Bar Ilan University in Political Science – International Affairs. Dr. Shay is a lecturer at Bar Ilan University, senior research fellow of the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzilya and heads the Department of Military History of the IDF.
According to a declassified 1996 US intelligence report one of the prominent Islamic charities, the Egyptian charity EHRA, dominated by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was actively involved in “humanitarian” efforts in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The Bosnian Muslims received smuggled arms also through Fatih's Third World Relief Agency (TWRA) for their cause in 1992. Shay said that,

“In the beginning the main purpose was to help the local Muslims in the war against the Serbians. When the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended, terrorist infrastructures remained there and served as a basis for the Islamic terror activities in Kosovo. Today, the Balkans serve as a forefront on European soil for Islamic terror organizations, which exploit this area to promote their activities in Western Europe, and other focal points worldwide.

“In the eyes of the radical Islamic circles, the establishment of an independent Islamic territory including Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania along the Adriatic Coast, is one of the most prominent achievements of Islam since the siege of Vienna in 1683. Islamic penetration into Europe through the Balkans is one of the main achievements of Islam in the twentieth century”, said Shay.

Bosnian and Albanian Muslim leadership tied to Islamic terrorist groups in the Balkans

An investigation by the Los Angeles Times newspaper wrote in 2004 that dangerous Islamic extremists travel in and out of Bosnia at will. There the Islamic fundamentalist regime of Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic had been aided and abetted since it's inception by Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda .

The Former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia James Bissett revealed in his article  “War on terrorism skipped the KLA”  that Bin Laden and radical Muslim groups had been deeply involved in the Balkans since the civil wars in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995. It was reported that Muslim authorities had issued a Bosnian passport to Osama bin Laden at the Bosnian embassy in Vienna in 1993. Shaul Shay supports Bissett’s claim by saying that,

“During the war in Bosnia the Muslim leadership and the government in Bosnia were directly supported by mujahideens both from Iran and elsewhere. These Muslim volunteers were part of the Muslim army in Bosnia. Many remain in Bosnia today and are recognized as a serious threat to the West.

“During the war in Kosovo, the KLA enjoyed the support of former Albanian President Berisha, who regarded the war in Kosovo as a Jihad and issued a call to all Muslims to fight for the protection of their homeland. In one way or the other we had similar developments in Albania including the Islamic charities, which financed the KLA in Kosovo . Some of the key figures that participated in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina were involved in the war in Kosovo as well,” Shay said.

America and NATO countries approved the Islamic terror activities in the Balkans

Despite a UN arms embargo and with the knowledge and support of the United States, arms, ammunition and thousands of mujahideen fighters were smuggled into Bosnia to help the Muslims. Shay believes that the Clinton administration and NATO countries did know about ties between Bosnian Muslim government i.e. Kosovo’s Albanian government with the Islamic terror organizations during 1990s.

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“I have a chapter in my book called the “Green light policy of the word” which reveals that Iranians were permitted to form this [Islamic terror] infrastructure in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” pointed Shay.

The Clinton administration had provided a strong support to the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), even though it was known that the KLA supported the Muslim mujahideen. Despite that knowledge, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had the KLA removed from the State Department list of terrorists. This action paved the way for the United States to provide the KLA with needed logistical support. At the same time, the KLA also received support from Iran and Osama bin Laden, along with 'Islamic holy warriors' who were jihad veterans from Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.

(In)correct analysis

Shay believes that it is, “Incorrect to analyze the war in the Balkans [Bosnia and Kosovo] as the war between Christianity and Islam. The conflict was based on political and humanitarian ground. The western support was significant in protecting Muslims in both wars, mainly in Kosovo.” Shay claims that, the West intervened to prevent, “ethnic cleansing and crimes against the Muslims. I am afraid that people at that time,” continues Shay, “ did not take into consideration a long-term consequence of the emergence of these Islamic terror infrastructures in the Balkans.”

In the meantime the Sky News has obtained evidence of hundreds of radical Islamic Holy warriors hiding in Bosnia a decade after the end of the war. It reported a growing radicalization, and a new base for Al Qaeda. The Los Angeles Times article “Terrorists Use Bosnia as Base and Sanctuary” cites the classified U.S. State Department report and interviews with international military and intelligence sources by saying that, “ Hundreds of foreign Islamic extremists who became Bosnian citizens after battling Serbian and Croatian forces present a potential terrorist threat to Europe and the United States.”.

“In the course of 1999-2000, several terror cells were discovered in the U.S. and Canada whose members lived in Bosnia or were connected to radical Islamic entities that resided there. Only after the 9/11 when the campaign against the global terror started, we saw the [counter terrorist] operations in the Balkans trying to clean up these area from Islamic terror infrastructure,” Shay had concluded.

Boba Borojevic
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