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19.11.2008

November 13, 2008 (the date of publication in Russian)

Mikhail Yambayev

HOLBROOKE FAVORS NEW JIHAD IN THE BALKANS?

U.S. Ex-Assistant Secretary of State prepares a new headache for Europe, in accord with Haris Silaidzic, a lobbyist for Bosnian Mujahideen

"THE SERBS HAD DO BE UTTERLY DEFEATED"

After the victory of Barack Obama at the US Presidential elections, Richard Holbrooke, ex-Assistant Secretary of State and Special Envoy in the Balkans, is regarded as one of the most probable candidates for Secretary of State. Mr. Holbrooke has got a lengthy background of cooperation with elected Vice President Joe Biden, another specialist in the Balkan crisis. In the current situation, Holbrooke's public demarches should be watched with special attention, as they are likely to develop into new Washington's foreign policy initiatives.

Lately, Richard Holbrooke has attracted public attention with his article in The Guardian, co-authored by Lord Paddy Ashdown, International High Representative in Bosnia in 2002-2006. This couple insists on revision of the Dayton Accords and on annihilation of Republika Srpska, the Serbian part of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two strategists are terrifying Europe with the gossip that Milorad Dodik, RP President, has struck a deal with the Russians in order to use the supposed financial support from Moscow for the purpose of secession.

Thus, Miroslav Dodik, once favored by the West for his opposition to Karadzic's Serbian Democratic party, is now viewed as its successor, allegedly inheriting SDP's program and policy. In their concoction, Holbrooke and Ashdown are blaming Brussels for overlooking the "dangerous processes" taking place in Republika Srpska, and for the failure to back up Miroslav Laicak, a gifted Slovakian diplomat, in his efforts to reduce RP's role in Bosnia to a merely symbolic level.

Ashdown and Holbrooke insist that the "trans-Atlantic community" interfere in Bosnia's affairs. Their concerns are in fact substantiated. It is true that the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is guaranteed mainly with the presence of the NATO contingent. However, centrifugal tendencies could hardly be convincingly explained with Moscow intrigues: the secessionist sentiment of the Serbs is shared by the Croatian community as well. The failed state – in both political and economic terms Ц is pulled together exceptionally by military coercion.

This fragile situation has two possible outcomes: a peaceful divorce, or a new war. The latter option is practically pursued by Croatia's President Stipe Mesic, who regularly ostracizes the RP leadership. According to independent Croatian websites, the alliance of Mesic and Moslem leader Haris Silaidzic has got an economic basis. The two are involved in common business in Sarajevo. Reportedly, Mr. Silaidzic facilitated the takeover of Sarajevo Putevi, a major Bosnian construction company, by Croatia-headquartered Neks Group.

Peter Galbraith, ex-US Ambassador in Croatia, is also presently practicing in conspiracy theories. He has recently declared that Republika Srpska's leadership has been as "fascist and genocidal" as its army. Galbraith bemoans the "Dayton compromise" with the Serbs, insisting that in case the town of Banja Luka, the present center of RP, were granted to the Croats, "the Serbs had to be utterly defeated, and stability would have thus been guaranteed to the whole region".

MUJAHIDEEN REPLACE SERBS

Bosnia and Herzegovina's independence was declared in spring 1992. In fact, the republic has never existed as an integral entity, becoming instead a battlefield of Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks who created their own proto-statehoods of Republika Srpska, Republika Herzeg-Bosna, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In March 1994, the Croats and the Moslems signed an agreement on the foundation of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation. At that time, Republika Srpska was reluctant to join. Six months later, Slobodan Milosevic was forced to sign the Dayton Accords on RP's behalf, while RP's leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were accused of military crimes, thus losing the possibility to join the negotiation process.

The Dayton Accords were engineered by Richard Holbrooke. The document approved the intervention of an international peacekeeping (in fact NATO) contingent, with involvement of particular non-NATO states like Yeltsin's Russia and Ukraine. At that time, Washington demanded that Belgrade cease military support of Bosnian Serbs. At the same time, Washington conveniently overlooked the penetration of hundreds and thousands of Islamic Mujahideen from the Middle East and Africa to Bosnia. After the war, they quietly settled in the country, achieving passports of the new state, making families and opening Wahhabi schools and paramilitary training camps.

According to Serbian media, advocated for a Shariat order are gaining strength in Bosnia. Referring to the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism (Herzliya, Israel), Glas Srpske, a major Banja Luka paper, reports that the members and sympathizers of the new Mujahideen movement have established secret communities. The core of these cells is formed from the former Bosnian members of El Mujahideen, a paramilitary movement that was active in the war of mid-1990s. These persons have adopted a "conservative" version of Islam, and predominantly populate villages. However, their presence is felt also in the vicinity of major towns.

It is noteworthy that the described Wahhabi organizations are reluctant to comply with the legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, recognizing only the Shariat law. Their members have frequently surfaced in criminal reports.

Referring to the mentioned report, Glas Srpske adds that only a massive joint police operation, involving professionals from Italy, Croatia, and Bosnia, prevented a series of terrorist attacks in Italy during the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

ETHNIC CLEANSING: TO BE CONTINUED?

Haris Silaidzic, and Islamic radical and well-known backer of the Mujahideen, travels across the globe, with complaints that Republika Srpska is posing "a threat to the Republic's integrity and thus has to be liquidated as a "genocidal entity". He raises the old issue of the Srebrenica massacre Ц a media product once imposed on the views of the global audience. Silaidzic and his cronies are now pursuing the idea of an "ethnic pure", Serb-free state Ц in accordance with the ideas of Bosnia's first president Alija Izetbegovic. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Silaidzic tried to convince the audience that the existence of Republika Srpska contradicts to UN principles.

Shortly after the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, Mr. Silaidzic publicized his political credo in unambiguous expressions: as Republika Srpska has not become multiethnic, in accordance with the Dayton Accords, and continues to "suppress multi-ethnicity", the task is clear: Republika Srpska is to be exterminated".

Silaidzic's invective aroused resentment in Banja Luka. In mid-October, RP Association of Former Prisoners and the South European Anti-Terrorist Expert Council addressed the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU institutions (primarily the office of High Representative) to ban two major Islamic parties Ц Democratic Action Party and Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the grounds of their connections with international terrorism.

Croatian journalist Domagoj Margetic, member of the Expert Council, emphasized that the ban should target particular political figures which had "established and maintained the terrorist network in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the last 18 years. After the war, top figures of the Democratic Action Party continued to protect terrorists and their network. Until today, they impede criminal investigation of horrible military crimes committed against Croatian and Serbian civilians and servicemen".

Domagoj Margetic reminds that the recently completed "black list" of the UN Security Council indicates that Bosnia and Herzegovina remains a safe haven and source of support for terrorists. Given the close connections between Sarajevo and the official Zagreb, it is not surprising that the same "black list" includes also Croatia.

Silaidzic's definition of Republika Srpska as "a genocidal entity" reveals an uneasy conscience that betrays itself. In fact, the Croatian-Bosnian federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina is cleansed from Serbs much more radically than Republika Srpska from Croats and Bosniaks Ц though this fact is swept under the carpet by Western institutions and cushioned by the official Belgrade as well.

Stevo Pasalic, Director of the Center of Public and Demographic Research, reminds in his interview to Glas Srpske on October 23 that the Serbian community of Zenica once comprised 20,000. Today, not a single Serb is elected to the local municipality. The same is true for Sarajevo.

Only 1800 of 80,000 of Serbian homes in Sarajevo, destroyed during the war, are restored by today. The total of Serbian homes ruined in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina amounts to 50,000.

Veljo Stevanovic, chair of the RP Council of Refugees, Internees and Repatriates, indicates that the recent local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not reveal any presence of Serbs in the Federation.

A NEW HEADACHE FOR EUROPE

German scientist Juergen Elsesser, author of five books on Mujahideen in Bosnia and Herzegovina, describes the activities of Islamic radicals in the Balkans. In his interview to Glas Srpske, he claims that humanitarian aid, delivered from the West to the war-torn republic, has "sunk in the pockets" of local politicians, and eventually surfaced in joint ventures with Saudi Arabia which dispatched lots of Wahhabite scholars to the republic.

After the Dayton Agreements came into force, many Mujahideen were employed to MPRI (Military Professionals Resources Inc), an international private military company. MPRI had been reportedly established by a number of retired US servicemen with a background of fulfilling "delicate missions" in various regions of the world.

In particular, MPRI was involved in training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). The same firm trained the Croatian military for the cleansing operations in Blesak and Oluja, the same operatives being subsequently deployed to Kosovo and later to Macedonia. MPRI's traces also surfaced in Georgia.

On September 12, Banja Luka-issued Focus magazine reported that the number of Mujahideen, operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ranges between 200,000 and 400,000. The magazine refers to Djevad Galjasevic, a renowned anti-terrorist expert of Bosnian origin. According to Galjasevic, radical Islamists even tried to push the law permitting polygamy in the republic.

The current exacerbation of the Mujahideen activity in Bosnia reflects the intention of US strategists to eliminate Republika Srpska. The "domino effect" is likely to spread to Macedonia, the Bosniak-dominated Presevo Valley in Serbia and other areas of radical Islamic activities. A new upsurge of religious and ethnic hate is going to become a serious problem for the EU, particularly for Central Europe. However, this is what the Anglo-American axis is pursuing today: Balkan wars have been traditionally used to intimidate and thus subordinate Central Europe to the system of trans-Atlantic relations.


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