Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

The Pentagon’s secret alliance with Islamic elements allowed Mujahideen fighters to be ‘flown into Bosnia:

How we trained al-Qa’eda

by Brendan O’Neill

The Spectator September 13, 2003
www.globalresearch.ca   13 September 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ONE309A.html

Editor's Note:

The thrust of this article on the collaboration between the Pentagon and Al Qaeda in Bosnia is corroborated by a 1997 report of the Republican Party Committee of the US Congress, which outlines the support provided  to the Militant Islamic Base by the US Military under the Clinton administration.

The RPC Report asserts that the Clinton administration --under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake-- had "helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base" leading to the recruitment  of thousands of Mujahideen from the Muslim world.

For further details see:

The Clinton Administration supported the  Militant Islamic Network ,  1997 Congressional Report, Republican Party Committee.

The evidence presented in Brendan O'Neill's article in the case of Bosnia confirms that Al Qaeda is not an "outside enemy" but rather a creation of the US military-intelligence apparatus. The same pattern of collaboration between the US military (and indeed NATO) and the Islamic brigades was replicated in Kosovo (1995-99) and Macedonia (2000-2001)

For further details see: 

The main justification for this war has been totally fabricated. "Osamagate," Michel Chossudovsky 


Michel Chossudovsky, 13 September 2003


The Bosnian war taught Islamic terrorists to operate abroad

For all the millions of words written about al-Qa’eda since the 9/11 attacks two years ago, one phenomenon is consistently overlooked — the role of the Bosnian war in transforming the Mujahideen of the 1980s into the roving Islamic terrorists of today.

Many writers and reporters have traced al-Qa’eda and other terror groups’ origins back to the Afghan war of 1979­1992, that last gasp of the Cold War when US-backed Mujahideen forces fought against the invading Soviet army. It is well documented that America played a major role in creating and sustaining the Mujahideen, which included Osama bin Laden’s Office of Services set up to recruit volunteers from overseas. 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.

Yet America’s role in backing the Mujahideen 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 Mujahideen 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 Mujahideen 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 Mujahideen forces, to the emergence of today’s 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 yesterday’s men to fighting alongside the West’s favoured side in the clash of the Balkans. If Western intervention in Afghanistan created the Mujahideen, Western intervention in Bosnia appears to have globalised it.

As part of the Dutch government’s 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 Bosnia’s 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 Mujahideen 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 Pentagon’s secret alliance with Islamic elements allowed Mujahideen 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 Mujahideen’, arrived in Bosnia to fight with the Muslims. Richard Holbrooke, America’s former chief Balkans peace negotiator, has said that the Bosnian Muslims ‘wouldn’t have survived’ without the help of the Mujahideen, though he later admitted that the arrival of the Mujahideen 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 Mujahideen 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 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. 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 Mujahideen forces in Europe through the 1990s. In the late 1990s, in the run-up to Clinton’s and Blair’s 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 Mujahideen ...[some of whom] were trained in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist camps in Afghanistan’. It seems that, for all its handwringing, the USA just couldn’t break the pact with the devil.

Why is this aspect of the mujahideen’s development so often overlooked? Some sensible stuff has been written about al-Qa’eda and its connections in recent months, but the Bosnia connection has been left largely unexplored. In Jason Burke’s excellent Al-Qa’eda: Casting a Shadow of Terror, Bosnia is mentioned only in passing. Kimberley McCloud and Adam Dolnik of the Monterey Institute of International Studies have written some incisive commentary calling for rational thinking when assessing al-Qa’eda’s origins and threat — but again, investigation of the Bosnia link is notable by its absence.

It would appear that when it comes to Bosnia, many in the West have a moral blind spot. For some commentators, particularly liberal ones, Western intervention in Bosnia was a Good Thing — except that, apparently, there was too little of it, offered too late in the conflict. Many journalists and writers demanded intervention in Bosnia and Western support for the Muslims. In many ways, this was their war, where they played an active role in encouraging further intervention to enforce ‘peace’ among the former Yugoslavia’s warring factions. Consequently, they often overlook the downside to this intervention and its divisive impact on the Balkans. Western intervention in Bosnia, it would appear, has become an unquestionably positive thing, something that is beyond interrogation and debate.

Yet a cool analysis of today’s disparate Islamic terror groups, created in Afghanistan and emboldened by the Bosnian experience, would do much to shed some light on precisely the dangers of such intervention.

Brendan O’Neill is assistant editor of spiked-online.  © Copyright Brendan O’Neill 2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .