Al-Qaeda in Bosnia: Bosnian Muslim War Crimes
By Carl Savich
Bosnian Muslim War Crimes
The ICTY has brought war crimes charges against Bosnian Muslim military commanders Enver Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura in Case No: IT-01-47-PT. The trial is important in showing the extent of Al-Qaeda involvement in the Bosnian Civil War of 1992-1995. Hadzihasanovic and Kubura are charged with command responsibility for wart crimes committed by mujahedeen troops in the Bosnian Muslim Army. These foreign Muslim Jihad or “holy warriors” were assembled in a special Bosnian Army unit called the “El Mujahed unit”. This unit committed some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity against Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat civilians and POWs. The commander of the Bosnian Muslim unit “El Mujahed” was Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”, described as a “senior Al-Qaeda recruiter” in a report before the National Commission of Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, or known as the 9/11 Commission chaired by Thomas H. Kean.
Enver Hadzihasanovic was the commander of the 3 rd Corps of the Muslim Army of Bosnia and Hercegovina (ABiH). He was later made part of the joint command of the Bosnian Muslim Army and was the Chief of the Supreme Command Staff. Amir Kubura was made the commander of the 7 th Muslim Brigade of the 3 rd Corps of the Army of Bosnia. They were both charged with war crimes by the ICTY for command and control responsibility. The 7 th Muslim Brigade was formed on November 19, 1992 based in Zenica. It was comprised of three battalions: The first was located in Travnik, the second in Zenica, and the third in Kakanj. It was used as an “infantry manoeuvre unit” in the Bosnian Muslim Army.
El Mujahed Unit
“Mujahedin” or “holy warriors” arrived in Bosnia in the summer of 1992 from Saudi Arabia . Mujahedeen means literally in Arabic one who is a “struggler” or one who is willing “to do battle” In the modern context, it means to be a soldier or guerrilla waging a war in the name of Islam, a religious war. It comes from the Arabic root “JHD”, and means someone who wages a struggle for Islam. In Islam, there is no distinction between the political and religious sector. In Islam, all aspect of a person’s life are guided by Islam. Islam is more than a religion, but a way of life. It is an ideology that is all-encompassing. The reason Saudi Arabia sent mujahedeen in Bosnia first and organized the effort is because Arabs see Islam as their creation or invention. The Wahhabi sect of Islam in Saudi Arabia is a radical fundamentalist version of Islam. Islam is an Arabic religion and way of life. This is why Saudi Arabia was there first.
The ICTY indictment noted that mujahedeen “were prepared to conduct a ‘Jihad’ or ‘Holy War’ in Bosnia . Osama bin Laden’s right hand man, Saudi Abu Sulaiman al-Makki, was part of the first mujahedeen force to arrive in Bosnia . These were mujahedeen recruited, financed, and organized by Ossama bin Laden. Al-Makki joined Barbaros in the first attack by about 43 Saudi Arabian mujahedeen in central Bosnia against Bosnian Serb forces. This is the engagement where the Saudi Arabian mujahedeen decapitated three Bosnian Serb troops near Teslic and held their heads as war trophies. Al-Makki was paralyzed from the waist down in combat against Bosnian Serb troops. He was shown in the famous video released in 2001 where Ossama bin Laden and al-Makki are shown sitting on a couch discussing the 9/11 attack. Al-Makki has a blanket over his legs in the video. We now know that senior Al-Qaeda leaders fought and were seriously injured in Bosnia . German reporter Renate Flottau of Der Spiegel reported that she personally saw and spoke to Ossama bin Laden in 1994, when he allegedly visited Alija Izetbegovic in Sarajevo. Bin Laden was issued a Bosnian passport through the Bosnian Embassy in Vienna . One of the suicide hijackers in the 0/11 attack had a Bosnian passport.
The mujahedin were “incorporated and subordinated” within the structure of the 7 th Muslim Brigade when it was formed on November 19, 1992 . On August 13, 1993 , the mujahedeen were organized in the “El Mujahed” unit. The Bosnian Muslim military command put this unit in the 3 rd Corps area of operations and subordinated it to the command of that Corps.
The “El Mujahed” unit was charged with the murder, ritual execution, ritual beheading, torture, and imprisonment of Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat civilians and POWs. According to the ICTY indictment, “at least 200 Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb civilians were killed.” Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb POWs were killed and tortured. At the Orasac Camp, which was staffed and run by Saudi-Afghan mujahedeen, Bosnian Serb civilian Dragan Popovic was ritually beheaded by mujahedeen on October 20, 1993 . Other POWs were then forced to kiss his severed head. Other POWs and civilians were forced to dig their own graves. POWs were terrorized and physically and psychologically abused and mistreated. POWs were also forced to give blood.
Steven Emerson presented a report on July 9, 2003 to the 9/11 Commission in which he detailed the activities of the commander of the Bosnian Muslim “El Mujahed” unit, Abu Abdel Aziz Barbaros:
When Senior Al-Qaeda recruited Shakh Abu Abdel Aziz Barbaros was interviewed in 1994 about his experiences organizing the Arab-Afghan jihad in Bosnia , he explained: I—alhamdulillah—-met several prominent Ulema. Among them.. Sheikh Abdel Aziz Bin Baz. and others in the Gulf area. Alhamdulillah, all grace be to Allah, they all support the religious dictum that “the fighting in Bosnia is a fight to make the word of Allah supreme and protect the chastity of Muslims.”
According to Evan Kohlmann, Barbaros told other senior Al-Qaeda members who were assembled at a meeting in Zagreb that the Al-Qaeda objective in Bosnia was not to bring humanitarian assistance to Bosnian Muslims as US propaganda claimed, but “was to establish a base for operations in Europe against al-Qaeda’s true enemy, the United States .” Thus, Al-Qaeda saw through the US game from the start. The mujahedeen were formed, armed, trained, and financed by the US Government beginning in 1979 when US Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski initiated their use as proxies. He manipulated Islam to get them to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan . The goal was to make the Soviets bleed according to Brzezinski. The mujahedeen were just pawns in his bigger chess game. Brzezinski was a Roman Catholic Pole who still spoke with a Slavic/Polish accent. His ultimate goal was to get the Soviet forces out of Poland so that Poland could join the US NATO alliance. US President Ronald Reagan declared the mujahedeen were “freedom fighters. defending . freedom.” in the early 1980s and the US Government established “Afghanistan Day” in the US . Absurdly, the “war on terrorism” is rationalized as a global struggle to safeguard “freedom” from “freedom fighters.defending..freedom.” US support empowered the mujahedeen. Ed Bradley of CBS’ 60 Minutes even argued that Muslims should be grateful to the US Government because it allowed them to kill Serbian Christians and to take their lands. But Muslims saw through the ruse and sham. The mujahedeen were just cannon fodder and worthless pawns. Brzezinski told the mujahedeen that “God is on your side”, exploiting Islam as a religion and using it to get Muslims to kill Soviet troops. But the mujahedeen saw through this shameless ploy. The denouement of this policy came on September 11, 2001 , when veterans of the Afghan war organized the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York .
Al-Qaeda was created in 1988 by bin Laden with veterans of the war in Afghanistan because he wanted the mujahedeen war to be extended as a global or world-wide jihad. In 1992, the Soviet-backed regime was overthrown and a civil war emerged between various mujahedeen factions. In 1996, the Taliban (from Pashtun “students of the book”, the Koran, from Arabic talib, student) mujahedeen seized power in Afghanistan with help from Pakistani troops and the Pakistani and US governments. US foreign policy favored the Pakistani-sponsored Taliban over the Russian-backed Northern Alliance which allowed for the emergence of the Taliban Government. In 2001, the US would reverse its allegiance away from its Taliban ally to the Russian-sponsored Northern Alliance . The Taliban was the fruit of US policy in Afghanistan . US policy had allowed the Taliban to emerge.
Pact with the Devil
The US Government knew Al-Qaeda forces were being deployed to Bosnia but allowed them to come through channels established in Croatia . Unmarked Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft were bringing arms and weapons to the Bosnian Muslim troops at the airport in Tuzla . Bosnian Serb forces even recorded communications from the aircraft and determined that it was piloted and manned by US forces on a clandestine mission. Transport aircraft routinely landed in the Zagreb airport where arms, weapons, and supplies from Iran were unloaded for trans-shipment to Bosnia in plain sight. It was common knowledge that the US was in cahoots with Teheran and mujahedeen forces to bring arms and troops from Iran to Bosnia illegally, in contravention of the UN arms embargo. The US turned a blind eye to the shipment of arms to the Bosnian Muslim forces by Iran , a Muslim fundamentalist state. US Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith and Bosnian Muslim president Alija Izetbegovic should also be charged with war crimes. Indeed, US President Bill Clinton can be charged for war crimes based on command responsibility. The US Government used diplomatic code to conceal the fact that it was working with Al-Qaeda and Iranian forces in Bosnia . The US Government told US diplomats in the Balkans that it had “no instructions” on Al-Qaeda and Iranian terrorist troops entering Bosnia . This was a green light to Al-Qaeda and Iranian forces. US President Bill Clinton bears criminal responsibility for bringing Al-Qaeda to Bosnia where these terrorist forces committed atrocities and war crimes against Bosnian Croat and Bosnian Serb civilians and POWs. Why isn’t Bill Clinton in the dock at the ICTY?
Richard Holbrooke claimed that the Bosnian Muslim regime could not otherwise survive without Al-Qaeda mujahedeen support and the aid provided by Muslim fundamentalist Iran . Izetbegovic was even allowed to visit Teheran by the US Government during the civil war, although the US media ignored the event and suppressed it. As Holbrooke himself conceded, it was a “pact with the devil”. It was a pact with the devil that saw its apotheosis with the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Why weren’t US President Bill Clinton or Alija Izetbegovic indicted for war crimes at The Hague ? Instead, we see the ICTY charging two patsies and small fry, Hadzihasanovic and Kubura. Why not go after the big fish and the big fry?
Before the attack on 9/11, Al-Qaeda regrouped in Bosnia during the civil war there where it found a new mission and was able to consolidate its bases and to finalize its strategy of global terrorism. What we are not told is that this was all Made in the USA . It was a pact with the devil that resulted in blowback. Ultimately, the chickens came home to roost. And the result was the World Trade Center and Pentagon attack on 9/11.