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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 12:37 PM
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Yet Americas role in backing the mujahedin a second time in the early and mid-1990s is seldom mentioned largely because very few people know about it, and those who do find it prudent to pretend that it never happened. Following the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the collapse of their puppet regime in 1992, the Afghan mujahedin became less important to the United States; many Arabs, in the words of the journalist James Buchan, were left stranded in Afghanistan with a taste for fighting but no cause. It was not long before some were provided with a new cause. From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon assisted with the movement of thousands of mujahedin and other Islamic elements from Central Asia into Europe, to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs.

The Bosnia venture appears to have been very important to the rise of mujahedin forces, to the emergence of todays cross-border Islamic terrorists who think nothing of moving from state to state in the search of outlets for their jihadist mission. In moving to Bosnia, Islamic fighters were transported from the ghettos of Afghanistan and the Middle East into Europe; from an outdated battleground of the Cold War to the major world conflict of the day; from being yesterdays men to fighting alongside the Wests favoured side in the clash of the Balkans. If Western intervention in Afghanistan created the mujahedin, Western intervention in Bosnia appears to have globalised it.

As part of the Dutch governments inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University compiled a report entitled Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, published in April 2002. In it he details the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamic groups from the Middle East, and their efforts to assist Bosnias Muslims. By 1993, there was a vast amount of weapons- smuggling through Croatia to the Muslims, organised by clandestine agencies of the USA, Turkey and Iran, in association with a range of Islamic groups that included Afghan mujahedin and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia were airlifted from the Middle East to Bosnia airlifts with which, Wiebes points out, the USA was very closely involved.

The Pentagons secret alliance with Islamic elements allowed mujahedin fighters to be flown in, though they were initially reserved as shock troops for particularly hazardous operations against Serb forces. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times in October 2001, from 1992 as many as 4,000 volunteers from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, known as the mujahedin, arrived in Bosnia to fight with the Muslims. Richard Holbrooke, Americas former chief Balkans peace negotiator, has said that the Bosnian Muslims wouldnt 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 recovering.

By the end of the 1990s State Department officials were increasingly worried about the consequences of this pact. Under the terms of the 1995 Dayton peace accord, the foreign mujahedin units were required to disband and leave the Balkans. Yet in 2000, the State Department raised concerns about the hundreds of foreign Islamic extremists who became Bosnian citizens after fighting against the Serbs, and who pose a potential terror threat to Europe and the United States. US officials claimed that one of bin Ladens top lieutenants had sent operatives to Bosnia, and that during the 1990s Bosnia had served as a staging area and safe haven for al-Qaeda and others. The Clinton administration had discovered that it is one thing to permit the movement of Islamic groups across territories; it is quite another to rein them back in again.

Indeed, for all the Clinton officials concern about Islamic extremists in the Balkans, they continued to allow the growth and movement of mujahedin forces in Europe through the 1990s. In the late 1990s, in the run-up to Clintons and Blairs Kosovo war of 1999, the USA backed the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serbia. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post in 1998, KLA members, like the Bosnian Muslims before them, had been provided with financial and military support from Islamic countries, and had been bolstered by hundreds of Iranian fighters or mujahedin ... were trained in Osama bin Ladens terrorist camps in Afghanistan. It seems that, for all its handwringing, the USA just couldnt break the pact with the devil.

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nradisic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 12:49 PM
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1. And now they are in Kosovo!
People need to wake the fuck up. A good chunnck of those fighters have stuck around.....quite a few are in Kosovo and the US is recognizing Kosovo's independence? That is scary!
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 01:00 PM
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2. 'You are only allowed to see Bosnia in black and white'

Professor Cees Wiebes, a senior lecturer in the Department of International Relations at Amsterdam University, caused a storm with his book Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992-1995. As part of the official Dutch inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 - when Bosnian Muslims were killed by Serbs in a United Nations-designated safe haven towards the end of the Bosnian war - he was charged with analysing the role of Western intelligence and security services in Bosnia, including secret arms supplies and 'other covert actions'.


One of the most sensational sections of the book - and the bit which grabbed the headlines ('temporarily' says Wiebes) when it first came out in 2002 - details the role of the Clinton administration in giving the 'green light' to Iran to arm the Bosnian Muslims. Wiebes catalogues how, from 1992 to January 1996, there was an influx of Iranian weapons and advisers into Bosnia. He describes how Iran, and other Muslim states, helped to bring Mujihadeen fighters into Bosnia to fight with the Muslims against the Serbs, 'holy warriors' from Afghanistan, Chechnya, Yemen and Algeria, some of whom had suspected links with Osama bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan. And all of this took place under the watchful eye of a Clintonian policy of 'no instruction' - that is, that US officials should do nothing to prevent such movements into Bosnia; that, in fact, they should covertly give them the 'green light'.


The USA threw itself into the Bosnian war after the inauguration of President Clinton in January 1993. During his election campaign in 1992, Clinton made the lifting of the UN arms embargo against the Bosnian Muslims a central policy platform. UN Resolution 713, adopted on 25 September 1991, ruled that all member states must suspend 'the delivery of all weapons and military equipment to Yugoslavia' (2). In spring 1993, Clinton's national security adviser Anthony Lake outlined the USA's preferred policy on Bosnia: the 'lifting the arms embargo with arms going to Bosnian Croats and Muslims and air power to stop Serbian interference with these shipments.' (3)


Wiebes documents how in 1992 and 1993, Iran had started secretly arming the Bosnian Muslims. On 4 September 1992, the CIA discovered an Iran Air Boeing 747 at Zagreb airport in Croatia; it contained weapons, ammunition, anti-tank rockets, communication equipment, uniforms and helmets destined for the Army of Bosnia Herzegovina (ABiH). In October 1992, then Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic (now deceased) visited Tehran and 'entered into an agreement according to which Iran would again attempt to supply necessary goods via Zagreb'. On 1 November 1992, an Iranian Boeing 747 arrived in Zagreb with 60 tons of 'humanitarian goods' (suspected to be a massive consignment of weapons). In a three to five-month period in late 1993, around 30,000 ABiH soldiers were armed and equipped by Iran and also Turkey (4). The Croats also benefited from the Iranian weapons-smuggling, often creaming off around 30 to 50 per cent of the imports as payment for the use of Zagreb territory.


This US-backed pipeline between Iran and the Bosnian Muslims - the way in which Muslim states were allowed to strengthen their influence over Bosnia often at the expense of Turkish influence - also opened the gates to the arrival of Mujihadeen forces. According to US Lieutenant Colonel John Sray, an intelligence officer in Sarajevo from April to August 1994, 'Approximately 4,000 Mujihadeen, supported by Iranian special operations forces, have been continually intensifying their activities in central Bosnian for more than two years' (10). In his book, however, Wiebes says that the numbers remain uncertain: 'There are no reliable figures on the number of mercenaries or volunteers in Bosnian, Srpska and Croatia.' (11) Where Sray estimated that there were 4,000 Mujihadeen, the UN put the number at about 600 and the USA later claimed, after 1995, that there were about 1,200 to 1,400.

'I discovered that the role of the Mujihadeen in Bosnia probably wasn't that big', Wiebes tells me. 'But the fact that they could set up training camps there, possibly for hundreds of volunteers, I thought that was quite amazing.' Wiebes says the Mujihadeen came from Yemen, Algeria, Chechnya, the Middle East and of course Afghanistan. This is where the Reagan administration first helped to found and fund the Mujihadeen, including Osama bin Laden's Office of Services set up to recruit volunteers from overseas, to fight against the Soviet invasion. Between 1985 and 1992, US officials estimate that 12,500 foreign fighters were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and guerrilla warfare tactics in Afghan camps that the CIA helped to set up (12). Some of the Mujihadeen then took these skills to Bosnia.


'As soon as the war was over, the first assignment of the various CIA station chiefs in the region was to get them out', says Wiebes. 'This was also the task of MI6 in the region. Great pressure was put on Izetbegovic's government to force the Mujihadeen out of Bosnia, which he started to do very reluctantly. I also discovered that some nasty things were done to the Mujihadeen when it was decided they had to go. There were SAS raids on training camps where many Mujihadeen were killed; some were forced to leave across the Croatian border where they were then shot by Croatian guards; there were also car accidents and hit-and-run incidents, covert operations to get rid of some Mujihadeen.'

Despite these attempts to get the Mujihadeen out of Bosnia, throughout the late 1990s the Clinton administration discovered that it is one thing to give the green light to the movement of Islamic groups across territories, but quite another to rein them back in again. In 2000, the State Department raised concerns about the 'hundreds of foreign Islamic extremists' who became Bosnian citizens after fighting against the Serbs, and who pose a potential terror threat to Europe and the United States. US officials claimed that one of bin Laden's top lieutenants had sent operatives to Bosnia, and that during the 1990s Bosnia had served as a 'staging area and safe haven' for al-Qa'eda and others.

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