Al-Qaeda’s Global Network and its influence on Western Balkans nations
Countries of the Western Balkans have long been a target of Islamic fanatics aiming to create an opening for radical Islam to expand into Western Europe and the
Keywords: terrorism, Al-Qaeda, Islamic extremists, humanitarian organizations, global network, Islamic fanaticism;
One should not look at the contemporary world for the roots of terrorism used as a means of fighting by Islamic extremists. Though it can be said that contributing causes of Islamic terrorism are social and economic circumstances and the ideological replacement of Communism by Islamic fanaticism, the main cause motivating Islamic fanatics for centuries has been the establishment of a global Islamic state - the Ummah. In this way, Islam itself has been abused as an excuse for the fanatics’ ambitions. There is also the issue of misinterpreting the Koran, mostly by those Muslims who publicly declare Islam a religion of peace while in private dedicate themselves to the pan-Islamic cause that simply excludes the existence of others. Among those who engage in religious manipulation without hindrance – indeed, with approval of the highest religious authorities – are terrorists of the Al-Qaeda network.
Bosnian Muslims’ religious authorities and the international community ought to be very concerned that Al-Hussein Hilmi Arman Ahmad, a.k.a. Eslam Durmo, was at the head of 16 madrassahs during the Bosnian civil war, and six afterwards. He was identified as the ideological leader of the radical Islamic Wahhabi movement in Islamic terrorist circles. According to official Egyptian sources, Eslam Durmo is actually Al-Hussein Hilmi Arman Ahmad, born 14 January 1960 in
Former Iranian leader and president Ayatollah Khomeini publicly advocated Iranan leadership of a global Islamic revolution. In
Other nations besides
Initially, the fledgling terrorist network of Islamic extremists operated on two tracks. The first, and legal, relied on Islamic organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the World Islamic League (RABITA) and “Islamic Committee for
The other, and illegal, focused on achieving the fundamental ideas of the Ummah through extremist groups practicing violence and terror, with the help of terrorism-sponsoring governments and the aforementioned organizations. Such groups were, for example, the “Muslim brotherhood” and “Gama’a al – Islamiyya” of
Links between 9/11 and the Al-Qaeda network in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Officials of the Muslim-Croat Federation in B-H never released any information to the
The Interpol office in
SEVEN KEY AL-QAEDA MEMBERS WHO DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY TOOK PART IN 9/11 AND ARE LINKED TO BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
- Nawaf al Hazmi, a Saudi. He was a September 11th hijacker. He fought in BiH in 1995.
- Khalid al-Mihdhar, from Yemen. He also was a September 11th hijacker. He also fought in BiH with the foreign mujahideen battalion in
in 1995 Bosnia
- Sheikh Omar abd-al Rahman (convicted of the 1993 attack on the WTC) was connected with the so-called humanitarian organization TWRA, which was a cover for terrorists. Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic made personal guarantees for TWRA’s general director and personal friend Elfatih Hassanein, so he could open an account with Die Erste Osterreich Bank in
in 1993. Vienna, Austria
- Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who recruited Mohamed Atta into Al-Qaeda, had a terrorist base in
. Zammar is also responsible for recruiting two of Atta’s lieutenants, Ramzi Binalsahib and Said Bahaji. Bosnia
- Osama bin Laden received a Bosnian passport from the Embassy in
. Many other Al-Qaeda members were issued B-H passports, which enabled them to continue their terrorist activities. Vienna, Austria
- Abu al-Ma’ali (Abdelkader Mokhtari), a senior Al-Qaeda operative, was stationed in
until recently. Just a few years ago, US officials used to call him “Osama Bin Laden, Jr.” Bosnia
- Bensayah Belkacem was arrested in
in October 2001. Numbers saved in his cell phone connected him with at least one top-rank associate of Bin Laden. Bosnia
Al-Qaeda’s role in radical Islamic activities and events in
REPORT OF THE JOINT INQUIRY INTO THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 –
BY THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AND THE
SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE
…..Al-Hazmi first traveled to
key al-Qa’ida facilitator in
al-Qa’ida leader Abu Zubaydah when Zubaydah visited
Saudis to attend al-Qa’ida camps in
with his brother
[page 138] where, [ ], he disclosed information about the
Al-Mihdhar’s first trip to the
Mohamed Atta lived at Marienstrasse 54 in
Director Tenet testified that, after Bin al-Shibh failed to obtain a
member,” Essabar, “tried [on two occasions in December 2000] and failed to obtain a visa in
January 2001” to travel to
report that Essabar was in
September 3, 2001 for
DCI Tenet testified that Muhammad Heydar Zammar was an acquaintance of members of
Atta’s circle in
1961, was described by DCI Tenet as “a known al-Qa’ida associate,” active in Islamic extremist
circles since the 1980s, who trained and fought in
It has been reported that
figure in understanding the genesis of the September 11 attacks. DCI Tenet told the Joint
[page 141] Inquiry that Zammar “was taken into custody by the Moroccans [ ]”
when he traveled to
Syrian custody, where he has remained.” It has also been reported that Zammar has provided
details about the September 11 attacks to
said that he met Atta, al-Shehhi, and Jarrah in the late 1990s in
he “persuaded them to travel to
DCI Tenet testified that Atta may have traveled to
The NSA Director also cautioned in his testimony, “If these hearings were about the war
that had broken out in
we had been surprised by a conflict in South Asia or if we had lost an aircraft over
American forces had suffered casualties in
here telling you that I had not put enough analysts or linguists against the problem. We needed
more analysts and linguists across the agency, period.”
Al-Qaeda’s modern organization based on the “
The Western Balkans has been a region of interest to Islamic extremists for decades. Numerous Muslims living in the so-called “Green Traverse” represent both a recruitment pool and a springboard for attacks in
One tactic the Islamic fanatics implemented in the Western Balkans was population warfare. When Muslims are a minority, they seek to increase their numbers through high birthrates – sometimes ten times those of the non-Muslim populace. Once they attain a majority in a desired territory, they invoke the popular claim of Islamic fanatics: “Allah’s law on Allah’s land”. Thus in mid-1994, the top Bosnian Muslim cleric (Reis-ul-ulema) Mustafa Ceric issued a decree ordering Bosnian Muslim women to bear at least five children.
Studies of Islamic extremists’ activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Balkans in general, their international connections, and the consequences of their political, propaganda and terrorist activities (including war crimes) have provided valuable insights into the global Islamic terror network. According to the available information, the Al-Qaeda network seems to consist of several committees. Every committee is an important link in the chain, engaged at the local, national and international level. International activity includes the recruitment of individuals with substantial political power, which can be used to further Islamic fundamentalist objectives.
The Financial Committee has the task to provide the Network’s funding. Fundraising methods differ from place to place, but rely mainly on accounts directly or indirectly available to Osama Bin Laden and the funds provided through the wide network of “humanitarian organizations” which use their charity as a cover for fundraising and recruitment of future terrorists. This committee is also in charge of money transfers. One of its methods is the “hawala” system, where money and other commodities are transferred directly, without the involvement of banks. Such transactions are virtually impossible to trace. Basic funding derives primarily from the production and distribution of narcotics – specifically heroin, which is produced in
Funds thus obtained are put to use in pursuit of Islamic fanatics’ darkest aims. Al-Qaeda and other organizations act locally, but think globally. For example, the newly established Islamic terrorist organization, LIVO, whose striking fist is the Uzbekistan Islamic Movement, is pursuing the plan for establishing Islamic states – and eventually, the Caliphate – in
The Law and Religion committee focuses on justifying terrorist activities. In conjunction with the Media committee, it promotes the view that everywhere in the world, Muslims are constantly victims, and even when they do commit atrocities, those are fully justified as self-defense and righteous Jihad. The ultimate aim is to foment conflict between all Muslims and the rest of the civilized world.
The Media Committee coordinates with the owners of pro-fundamentalist media and activists inside major media outlets to spread Islamic fundamentalist propaganda. The basic function of this Committee is to justify the activities of Islamic fundamentalists. The main weapon is to claim that Muslims are always and everywhere the exclusive victims of violence. Of course, truth is completely different, because the Islamic fundamentalists initiate violence for the purpose of establishing the pan-Islamic Ummah, a theocracy that excludes the existence of other religions. For example, in Kosovo-Metohia Islamic extremists among the Kosovo Albanians, with Al-Qaeda’s help, have managed to create a perception that the Albanian majority was endangered by the Serb minority. Thanks to the work of the Media Committee, the secession and terrorism of Islamic fundamentalists among the Kosovo Albanians were presented as a “struggle for freedom.” One of the main objectives of the Islamic fundamentalists’ global network is to create a perception in the world public opinion that Muslims are always the victims, in order to justify conflict and conquest. Victim status is thus claimed for Kosovo Albanians, their co-religionists in Kashmir,
In addition to recruiting and training the Jihadi suicide bombers, the Military Committee also coordinates, plans, and commands terrorist activities throughout the world. It organizes logistical support for the attacks, sets the objectives and maintains communication with terrorist cells, all for the purpose of accomplishing the ultimate objective – a global Islamic state, Ummah, built by jihad and atrocities in the name of Allah. One of the first camps training the members of the global Islamic terror network was in
The NGO Committee coordinates an entire network of NGOs connected by the shared ideals of Islamic fundamentalism and common funding. These organizations often have names that lack any Islamic identification. The goal of these organizations is to infiltrate the civil society of countries such as the
The Government Committee recruits government officials of target nations, contributes financially and otherwise to the campaigns of recruited elected officials, and coordinates with intelligence services of terrorism-sponsoring nations. This Committee pursues the goal of establishing the Ummah by working through government institutions both nationally and internationally. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is a typical example of how the Islamic fundamentalist network is protected internationally. The organization has over 60 members, and is currently the strongest international voting bloc in the United Nations.
It is extremely important to note that every committee can function autonomously.
The model depicted above is a basic scheme of Al-Qaeda, which is defined as all organizations serving the cause of Islamic extremists. Al-Qaeda does not have a supreme command, but a supreme objective. Its instructions are what the Islamic extremists believe is contained in the Koran. All this makes Al-Qaeda unpredictable. Only observation and analysis of the committees’ actions at all levels can explain the consequences of their activities. After several decades of activity worldwide, it is becoming increasingly clear who finances the terrorists, what sort of global propaganda they employ and with whose assistance, and how entire nations are being demonized at Al-Qaeda’s behest. [Wartime Bosnian Muslim officials] Haris Silajdzic and Muhamed Sacirbey used to pay large sums of money to public relations firms, such as Ruder Finn LLC, to demonize Serbs. It is entirely clear today where this money came from.
The “White Al-Qaeda” in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Information available to experts on international terrorism indicate that B-H is at this time one of the most dangerous countries in Europe, as it represents a nursery for potential Islamic terrorists – the so called “white” or “European” Al-Qaeda. Money from Islamic countries that is laundered through “humanitarian” organizations finances the religious education of at least 100,000 young Bosnian Muslims. In addition to such education, which follows the interpretations of Wahhabi Islam, there is another type of “training” in various officially registered camps throughout the B-H Federation. There, the young and carefully selected Wahhabis attend “additional courses” in marksmanship, explosives and martial arts. Organizations such as “Furqan,” the “Active Islamic Youth,” the “Muslim Youth Council” and others – differing only in name and primary donors, but otherwise interchangeable – teach young Muslims computer and Internet skills, so they could establish contacts with their coreligionists worldwide. Knowing all this, the former head of UN Mission in Bosnia Jacques Paul Klein recently said that some 200 mujahid’din in
Al-Qaeda’s Network: Iran to the Balkans, via
Investigation of the recent suicide attacks on British and Jewish targets in
Iranian authorities and radical Turkish groups have worked on two fronts. The first was establishing a “green traverse” in the Balkans, and the second a similar corridor in central Asia, through
One notable link in that chain is Jusuf Halilagić, now Minister of Civil Affairs and Communications for B-H, and a former high-ranking officer of the 3rd Bosnian Army Corps, home of the notorious “El-Mujahid” unit. Halilagić was the one who drove Abu Hamza, one of the most wanted Islamic terrorists in the world, from
Since the beginning of their involvement in
The fact that Halilagic is today a member of the Coordinating Task Force for combating terrorism in B-H speaks volumes about the involvement of the Bosnian Muslim leadership with Al-Qaeda. Halilagic was delegated to that post by the Party of Democratic Action, whose founder is the Islamic extremist and war criminal Alija Izetbegovic. Immediately after his death in October 2003, ICTY prosecutor’s spokesperson Florence Hartmann said that it had been a matter of days before an indictment was issued against Izetbegovic. It remains a mystery why the ICTY had not indicted Izetbegovic in his lifetime, as they had not lacked evidence. There is also a suspicion that this institution is under a strong influence of Islamic nations and interest groups. Nonetheless, Izetbegovic directly participated in the cover-up and reorganization of Al-Qaeda in
Turkish authorities have established the link between the suspects in the
The Al-Qaeda terrorist network in Bosnia-Herzegovina
It is little known that Islamic fanatics trained to fight against the Serbs in B-H in camps near
The principle along which the terror network is established is very simple. Consider the example of central Asia, where recently a terrorist organization “LIVO” was established with the help of
The same exact pattern occurred in the Balkans. Young men from Kosovo went to Al-Qaeda camps in northern
The alarming fact is that a complete terrorist network exists in the
An Islamic university was established recently. Some Serbian politicians who applauded that development obviously do not know what lies at the root of the Wahhabi teachings: extremism, spreading of Islam by force. Will
Not so long ago, an association of citizens “Furqan” was registered in
The AIO was established in Zenica in October 1995 by the veterans of the notorious unit “El-Mujahid.” The first president of the organization, which has offices in every Muslim-majority municipality in the B- Federation, was Nedim Haračić. Later that office was held by Ismet Fazlić, Adnan Pezo and Almin Fočo. Activists of AIO can be found among the returning refugees in the
In 2000, AIO activists sent anonymous threat letters to representatives of the international community – demanding they leave B-H – and political opponents of the SDA. Because of the Russian Army’s activities against the Chechen separatists and terrorists, AIO also threatened to attack the Russian Embassy in
After the terrorist attacks on
The “High Saudi Committee”, “Al-Haramein” and other Islamic “charities” operating in B-H are the main source of funding for AIO and “Furqan.” Most of these organizations are donors and cover for international terrorists connected to Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden. One example is “Benevolence International Foundation” (BIF), an organization whose founder and director, Enam Arnaut, is on trial in the
BIF had offices in
Two members of the “Algerian Group” also worked at BIF: Budellah Hajj, a.k.a. Abu Omar, and Mustafa Ait Idir. They were extradited to the
The “High Saudi Committee” (HSC) may be difficult to shut down, despite the explicit demands from the
Ahmed Zuhayr, a.k.a. Handala, is another terrorist who worked for the HSC and managed to “escape” from the Bosnian Muslim authorities. Thus Sudanese, who was mentioned previously, is considered responsible for the murder of UN mission worker William Jefferson in
The HSC employed two members of the “Algerian Group,” Saber Lahmar and Mustafa Abdul Kadr. Lahmar was sentenced to five years for assault on Western aid workers near Zenica, but was pardoned in 1998 by a special decree signed by the Federation president Ejup Ganić. It is believed that Lahmar and Kadr, who later worked at the “King Fahd” Islamic center in
The “Global Relief Foundation” (GRF), accused in the
Among the organizations of interest in the struggle against terrorism are also the Saudi charity “Igassa,” which smuggled weapons and ammunition into B-H during the war, as well as “Al-Muwfaq,” whose member Safiq Iyadi (of Tunisia) had made a $.5 million transfer to an account at the SAB Bank in Sarajevo in 1996. Iyadi is on the American blacklist, and his accounts in the
The aforementioned organizations are just the tip of the iceberg. The phony Islamic “charities” in Bosnia-Herzegovina, along with the extremists and terrorists, have become returning to B-H after the victory of the SDA in the October 2002 general election.
Other forms of terrorist organization in B-H
NGOs that have been clearly identified as conduits for terrorism have begun to reappear in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Sometimes they change their names. Some of the most extremists NGOs are the already mentioned Saudi Relief Committee, then Global Islamic Relief, International Aid Organization, Egyptian National Aid, Saudi Islamic Committee and the Islamic Institute. All of these organizations are known to anti-terrorism experts.
An additional issue is with the orphans taken to Al-Qaeda’s terrorist camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina. There are videotapeps, testimonies and documentary evidence of this. One example is the case of Ahmed Zuharir, a.k.a. Handala, whose main contacts in B-H are Omer Stambolic of the Federal police and Haris Silajdzic. This terrorist had the official ID card of the organization called “Charitable Community for Orphans,” but who was he? Zuharir, a Sudanese, is a member of the terrorist group “Gaama’a al Islamyya,” and a former member of the “El Mujahid” unit of the “Bosnian Army.” He was convicted in absentia by the B-H Federation authorities for a car bombing in western Mostar in September 1997. Other participants in this terrorist attack were Ali Ahmadom al-Hamadom, a.k.a. Ubayda, of Bahrein; naturalized B-H citizen Saleh Negil Ali El-Hil, a.k.a. Abu Yemen; Abdullah ba’Awr, a.k.a. Husayfa; and Kal-al-Sheif, a.k.a. Suleyman.All are suspected associates of Osama bin Laden. Handala was never caught, because the Bosnian Muslim authorities connections to the global Islamic terror network. So, the Bosnian Muslim authorities – headed by the late Alija Izetbegovic – entrusted this notorious terrorist with the care of war orphans. Another issue altogether are mujahid’din wives, trained for years in various terrorist camps.
Citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina need help, because they cannot fight against this pestilence alone. One should be careful to differentiate the extremists from the Muslim population in general; one of the extremists’ goals is to foment conflict between all Muslims and modern civilization.
This is what the leaders of Al-Qaeda in Kosovo are doing. According to expert information, the top extremists in the area are: Ramush Haradinaj, Hashim Taqi, Ilaz Selimi, Ahmed Krasniqi (Haradinaj’s enemy), Setmir Krasniqi (organized crime) Muxhar Basha, Snu Lumaj, Ismet Bexhet, Remi Mustafa, Nazmi Bekteshi, Xhimshit Osmani, Ramadan Dermaku, Luzim Aliju i Baylush Rustemi. All are connected to imam Omar Behmen. Their funding comes from various sources, but all have in common the Swiss enterprise called “
If Turks, who are regarded as secular Muslims, were capable of mounting suicidal terrorist attacks on Turkish shoil, one can only wonder what the Balkans Muslim extremists are capable of.
In Lieu of a Conclusion
The international community is facing a major dilemma concerning the ways and means of combating Islamic extremists. One impediment is that Islamic terrorists use the very sensitive issue of religion to propagate their dark ideas. Fact is that nations that sponsor terrorism, active terrorist cells and the widespread terrorist network – whose methods and activities we have tried to describe in this study –represent a serious threat to the entire humanity. There is no cure for this kind of evil save for international cooperation, exchange of information and prevention. One remedial action could be the multilateral destruction of the Afghan poppy fields, because heroin coming from that country represents 78% of the world production, and is the main source of income to Islamic terrorists. Additionally, nations sponsoring terrorism should face international penalties.
 Islamic religious school;
 Yosef Bodansky, Target
 Secret advisor to the B-H mission to the UN, appointed by Muhamed Sacirbey and supported by Ivica Misic, until recently the deputy B-H Foreign Minister; together with Imam Siraj Vahaj, Catovic organized a Jihad summer camp in
 See Darko Trifunovic, “Islamist Fundamentalist Global Network –Modus operandi-Model
Velko Miloev: “Salata ot gluharceta, Bosna mezdu dve voyni,”
 See the testimony of Matthew Epstein and Evan Kolmann before the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation: “Progress since September 11, 2001: US achievements in efforts to finance counter-terrorism; funding of Al-Qaeda by Arabian Gulf countries through US-based banks, corporations, and charities”; March 11, 2003
 Ibid. p. 10, 11
 I.e. Bosnia-Herzegovina was indicated as one of the 40 countries with active Al-Qaeda cells. The top Bosnian Muslim leadership, mostly belonging to the SDA party but including others, is involved with the Al-Qaeda network and receives funding from it. See Gregory Copley, Defense Foreign & Affairs, September 17, 203: “Bosnian Officials Links With Terrorism, Including 9/11, Become Increasingly Apparent as
 This number is far greater. Klein probably cited the information he had available as the head of UNMIBiH. Yet in accordance with the Dayton Accords, not even those 200 should have been allowed to stay in B-H. Long have people such as Klein covered up the truth, mostly about their own professional failures, thus endangering the lives of all Bosnian citizens.
 According to recent reports of GIS – Defense Foreign & Affairs, Mullah Omar’s new name is Abu Yazid. Omar and his wives and children are currently in
 ["Bosnian Croats vow to probe war crimes by Moslems," Agence France Presse, 5/12/95]
 Halid Cengic and his two sons are known Islamic extremists with special connections to
 Abu Tala’t or Talat Fuad Qasem, Algerian, uses the alias Ibrahim Yakob Ezzat or Ibrahim Yakubizet, and belongs to the “Gama’ a al Islamiyya” terrorist group. He is also an Afghan veteran. He belonged the the group that assassinated Egyptian president Sadat in 1981, and the group that attempted to kill President Mubarak in 1995. Tala’t was tried in absentia in
 See the report of
 It is a fact that
 Known camps in Bajram Curri, Tropoja and Kukes.
 Information available to the
 SDA – Party of Democratic Action, a Bosnian Muslim nationalist party with an Islamic extremist and fundamentalist orientation. Its memers have worked on destruction of the former