A note from Radarsite: Radarsite is proud to present this second installment in a four part series, cross posted from our good friend and fellow patriot Allan, "Spook" at Fire Base America on the truth of Kosovo.
The Balkans have deservedly won the reputation as being the quintessential political and ethnic labyrinth, an historically tumultuous battleground between the opposing forces of East and West, between Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Islam, a smoldering powder keg of competing and constantly shifting political, nationalistic and ethnic factions. More than once this precarious powder keg has exploded, often with far-reaching and always deadly repercussions. Yet for all the influence the Balkans has undoubtedly had -- and still has -- on world historical events, to many of us, this whole volatile region remains an inscrutable and complex puzzle of seemingly endless contradictory alliances and loyalties.
This is why we are fortunate enough to have someone such as our compatriot Allan to unravel some of these formidable mysteries for us. Allan brings to this challenge his own formidable credentials, which include an extensive background in military intelligence, with particular emphasis on the Balkans.
We began this series earlier this month with Allan's informative and fascinating Kosovo: The War Democrats Loved. I hope that my readers find these articles as informative and rewarding as I have. - rg
- The Dayton Peace Accords called for the removal of foreign combatants from Bosnia after the Balkans war.
But hundreds of mujahedeen fighters stayed, and today they are successfully spreading their fundamentalist islamist views.Thick iron bars blocked the entrance to Abu Hamza's store in Sarajevo's islamic shopping center.
Affixed to the bars is a handwritten note: "My Bosnian citizenship has been revoked. I have to defend myself, and for this reason my store is only open sporadically." Abu Hamza, a bearded 42-year-old man originally from Syria, used to sit in his store among colorful veils and gold-embroidered tunics and speaks in a gentle voice about Bosnia's fate. He believed that there will be either an evolution of true islam or a revolution.
Abu Hamza was one of the stars among the missionaries who want to spread a strict interpretation of islam in Bosnia. He came to Bosnia in the early 1990s, one of thousands who aided their muslim brothers in the war against the Christian Serbs.
In return, they were given Bosnian citizenship.This meant that they were "nationalized" and thereby did not fall under the provisions of the Dayton Peace Accords, which stipulated that all foreign combatants had to leave the country.
The United States in particular was annoyed by the trick and, under pressure from Washington, a Bosnia government commission revoked the Bosnian citizenship of nearly 400 "suspected mujahedeen of foreign heritage," including Abu Hamza. The suspects are believed to have ties to islamic terrorists.
American diplomat Raffi Gregorian, deputy high representative for Bosnia, speaks of a growing number of al-Qaida sympathizers in the country. Gregorian works for the Office of the High Representative, the civilian peace implementation agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Terrorism experts fear Bosnia could become a base for extremists (where there are muslims, there are extremists....duh!), since many Bosnian muslims have become radicalized through the influence of foreign combatants as well as the charitable islamic organizations that spread their beliefs with money. Before the war, women in full-body coverings and men with long beards were a rare sight.
Today, though, they hardly turn a head.
wahhabism is quickly gaining ground in the country, with polls showing that 13 percent of Bosnian muslims support the conservative Sunni islam reform movement. The movement is financed primarily by Saudi Arabian backers, who have invested well over a half-billion euros in Bosnia's development -- especially in the construction of over 150 mosques.
-The 8,187 square meter (88,124 square foot) King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo alone cost €20 million ($29 million), and it's also where radicals go to pray.
In trying to transform the country into a theocracy, the new preachers of fundamental islam aren't just fighting with the koran. In Kalesija, militant wahhabis drove out the local imam after a fight between local muslims and the wahhabis. In the village of Dedici, residents took up their shotguns to defend their mosque against the attacking fanatics.
Recently, the Careva Mosque (Emperor's Mosque) in Sarajevo locked its doors during prayer for the first time in its 441-year history when a group of Wahhabis tried to enter and perform their own prayer rites.
A notorious mujahedeen commune in the remote village of Bocinje, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Tuzla in northeastern Bosnia, is considered the birthplace of the religious movement. Shortly before the end of the war in 1995, the mujahedeen unit moved into Bocinje.
The combatants occupied the homes of Serbs who had been driven out, and they established a fundamentalist enclave there. Among the high profile visitors who have come to Bocinje is Aymen al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's second in command. In 2002, after shooting, fighting and legal injunctions, the missionaries were forced to leave the village.
-A mosque in Sarajevo: Bosnia has seen a surge in its muslim population of al-Qaida sympathizers.
But it is believed that camps still exist in the surrounding woods, where Bosnians are trained as terrorists. One of the leaders of the Bocinje enclave was Abu Hamza, who used to say he has faith in the country's youth. They have discovered islam, he said with a smile, as an answer to the nationalism of the Serbs and Croats. "They see us as an authority," he said. "We protected them during the war, while their politicians were safe in shelters or out of the country."
Abu Hamza was unperturbed when older Bosnians sometimes held out beer bottles to him tauntingly from their cars. He saw muslims who drank alcohol die in Srebrenica, he said, and it seemed almost as if he saw God's punishment in this fact.
Every day he expected police to come and take him to the airport to be deported, he said. But that day had yet to come. The Bosnian government wasn't making any moves and the country's interior minister said most of the 400 suspects couldn't be found.
-Abu Hamza was one of 400 "suspected mujahedeen of foreign heritage" living in Bosnia.
People like Abu Hamza have made preparations for the worst. Some foreign islamic organizations plan to claim those without citizenship as their representatives in Bosnia -- and, as a means of precaution, Bosnian sympathizers have adopted their fellow muslims.
Muslim ex-fighters and their supporters wave islamic flags in the central town of Zenica February 2, 2008, during a protest against the deportation of Syrian-born Imad Al Husayn known as Abu Hamza. Hamza was an informal leader of foreign volunteers who fought in the 1992-95 war alongside Bosnian muslims against Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats, and stayed on after marrying Bosnian wives. The Bosnian government has begun deportations of volunteers whose Bosnian citizenships had been revoked under pressure by the West. REUTERS/ Danilo Krstanovic (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA)
*Yes, Hamza was deported and rightfully so. Look at the picture above, none of that belongs in Europe or any western country. What a colossal failure created by the Bill Clinton Administration, the EU, Nato and the Dayton Peace Accords. This is just a small part of a massive disaster.