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Bosnia, 1992. The war just started...

Excerpts from different sources.
For fair use only...


ISLAM'S LEGION SEEKS BLOOD IN BOSNIA

The Oserver (London)
Sunday, October 18, 1992

Colin Smith finds an Afghan-style fanaticism on the road from Split


"Why is the West taking Muslim children from Sarajevo to Rome, Germany, even to England?"

My questioner was a young man with a full, long beard and darker-skinned than is the norm for the Bosnian mountains. He was squatting with toes and heels on the ground in the manner that most European men, from Balkans to Scandinavia, find painful to emulate.

One of his two companions had the African hair and features not uncommon in the old slave-raiding states of the Gulf, who introduced the word 'kaffir', meaning unbeliever, to Africa. The other was an older man, a bit roly-poly, with a fuller, friendlier-looking face.

We met on a dirt road in the mountains of western Herzegovina waiting for a Croat bulldozer to clear a pile of newly blasted rock and earth from the bend ahead. This is a new route from Split on the Dalmatian coast to the hills west of Sarajevo that avoids pockets of hostile Serbs.

They turned out to be Saudi Arabian volunteers working for the Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz al Ibrahim foundation, a Saudi charity which now has an office with a brass plate on the door on the second floor of the Inter- Continental Hotel in Zagreb.

Behind them, in a line of vehicles held up by the bulldozer, were the lorries in which, they said, they had delivered food and blankets to Travnik, frontline town swamped with Muslim refugees.

The older man was from Dhahran where he had an administrative job in the oil-fields. He said he had been in Bosnia for a month and was looking forward to going home to his family.

Surely it was better children were taken out of Sarajevo whenever possible? "No", he said, with vehemance."They must stay. They all must stay! They must not go away to become Christians."

But what if they were killed?

"It doesn't matter. What this land needs is more blood!"

By now, a fair-haired militia-men with the HOS flashes of Bosnia's Croatian militia was crouched beside us, taking the weight on his Kalashnikov. To my amazement he nodded in agreement at his lunacy.

"How many died in Afghanistan?" demanded the oil worker, warming to his theme. "One million? Two million? It doesn't matter. If we die, we go to paradise. If they die, they go to hell."

The younger Saudi wanted to know why America, Britain and France had failed to come to the aid of the Bosnian Muslims. After all, they had helped Kuwait. They had not hesitated to massacre those Iraqi soldiers when they were running away. Could it be, he suggested, that you do not feel able to kill Christian Serbs in the same fashion, even when they are murdering Muslim Women and children?

The Saudis encountered on the way down to Split appeared to be unarmed. Near Travnik, a Reuter reporter met an Islamic warrior with a hennaed beard who called himself Abu Abdul Aziz and said he was a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir. He would not say where he was from, but he appeared to be an Arab, possibly a Palestinian or Saudi.

This photograph of Abu Abdel Aziz is taken from Newsweek, October 5, 1992, page 52 (Photo by Pascal le Segretain - Sygma).

Abdul Aziz is said to command between 400 and 500 men, most of them Arabs, who drift in and out of Bosnia as the mood takes them. "Some come for a week" he admitted." Others say they are here until victory or shaheed (martyrdom)."

All this is music to the ears of men like Dr Radovan Karadzic, [sic!] who has led the Bosnian Serbs... For months, he has been telling anybody who would listen that his Orthodox Christians are engaged in a crusade against Islamic fundamentalists who have launched a jihad to carve out their firsy European colony.

For anybody who has ever met the Slav Muslims of Bosnia, this has always appeared ludicrous. It is true that Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic is a devout man who was imprisoned by Tito, but he has never been a fundamentalist in the accepted sense. Most Muslims in Bosnia are descendants of Christians who converted to Islam during 500 years of Ottoman occupation. During the 40 years of Communist rule, they became as secular as most Yugoslavs. Their women are usually as emancipated as any other Western women. Six months ago, they seemed unlikely material for a jihad.

But the growing clamour in the Islamic world about the state of Bosnia's Muslims seem to indicate that Karadzic's wild slanders might yet turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To date the only nation caught breaking the UN arms embargo on all of former Yugoslavia is Iran. UN officials at Zagreb airport found weapons in an Iranian aircraft that was supposed to be bringing relief supplies.

A few days after the Iranian arms find I met Ajup Ganic, Izetbegovic's deputy in Sarajevo. "When you are drowning," he said, "you don't ask the name of the man who puts out his hand."


Muslim chief hints at use of chemicals

The New York Times
Saturday, October 31, 1992


TEHRAN- The president of Bosnia-Herzegovina said yesterday that his Bosnian Muslim forces had poison-gas weapons and might use them as a defensive measure against Serbian forces.

"Bosnian Muslims live under very difficult conditions," the Bosnian leader, Alija Izetbegovic, told Iranian television at the end of a two-day official visit to Tehran.

" If the current situation continue, the people Bosnia will be forced to use poison gas to defend themselves and end the crimes committed by the Serbs, even though this may be against their true wishes."

Izetbegovic did not specify how the poison gas had been obtained, but added that his forces had the chemicals in Bosnia.

At a ceremony in which senior Bosnian leaders placed a wreath on the tomb of the leader of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Izetbegovic thanked Iran for its "over-all support" to Bosnia and stressed the need for fuel and food, with the approach of winter.

AID PROMISED

President Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran assured Izetbegovic that "more significant aid" would be forthcoming and urged other Islamic countries to "take serious action and rush to the help of struggling Muslims in Bosnia."

Senior Iranian officials who have repeatedly denounced Serbian attacks on Muslims as a genocide and "a new Crusade of Christians against the Serbs by Muslims across the world."

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme religious leader, said two weeks ago that Iran was prepared to send "volunteers" to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims.


[Serbian] BISHOP VASILIJE WARNS:
"THIRTY ORTHODOX TEMPLES
RAZED TO THE GROUND"

Politika, Belgrade
Saturday, October 31, 1992


Reverend Vasilije, Bishop of the Zvornik-Tuzla eparchy [Eastern Bosnia], informed the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church that 30 orthodox temples in his eparchy were razed to the ground, two of them only recently completed and not yet consecrated.

"Temples in the eparchy," reports Bishop Vasilije, "outside combat areas were deliberately blown up and disappeared from the face of the earth in the following localities: Pribojevici, Krnici, Srebrenica (cathedral church and the graveyard chapel built after World War Two), Derventa, Bosanski Luzani (both the old and new church), Polje, Zboriste, Bosanski Sijekovac, Lijesce, Visnak, Vrelo, Svilaj, Gnionica, Podgajevi, Kladanj, Pozarnica, Jeginov Lug (not yet consecrated), Jasenica, Dubnica, Bosanska Bijela, Cerik, Modrica, Gradacac, Krecane, Maglaj and Kostres (the village church and the graveyard chapel not yet consecrated)." Bishop Vasilije informs the Holy Synod that, in addition to the said 30 churches that have been razed to the ground, another 7 churches in his eparchy have been so damaged that service in them is impossible, while in 13 churches service is possible despite substantial damage. 14 parochial homes have been levelled and 6 damaged, reports the Bishop of the Zvornik- Tuzla Eparchy, adding that both Orthodox temples in Tuzla have been damaged, as well as the episcopal seat which was also looted on two occasions, while the central church community building was shelled.


IRAN PLEDGES TO SUPPORT BOSNIA

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
November 6, 1992
By Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.


Sarajevo Radio reported on 5 November that the general headquarters of Iran's armed forces issued a statement pledging their readiness to provide "any kind of material or moral assistance" to the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina if ordered to do so by Iran's leaders. In an interview broadcast by Tehran TV on 5 November Alija Izetbegovic, President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, said Bosnia's Muslims and government were grateful to Ayatollah Khamene'i, President Hashemi-Rafsanjani, and the government and people of Iran, for declaring their support for the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Last week Izetbegovic paid an official visit to Teheran.


Pro-Iran guerilla groups send fighters to Bosnia

Reuter
November 9, 1992
By Nadim Ladki


Beirut, Nov 9, 1992 - Pro-Iranian Lebanese groups have sent more than 50 guerillas to train Moslem forces fighting in Bosnia, Moslem sources in Lebanon said on Monday. They said veteran guerillas from the Shiits Moslem Hizbollah (party of God) and the Suuni Moslem Islamic Tawheed group recently arrived in the former Yugoslav republic, torn by ethnic fighting between Moslems and Serbs. 'the men were dispatched to help train and organise the Bosnian fighters', one Moslem security source told Reuters. 'They have left in the past weeks and more might be sent soon'. The source said most of the guerillas reached Yugoslavia by sea from the port of Tripoli, 70 km north of Beirut. Other Moslem sources said more then 50 fighters had left.

Asked if the Iranian-trained guerillas took any weapons with them, the sources: 'They only took their expertise'. A pro-Iranian political source said the move was 'aimed at stressing solidarity among the Moslem peoples. Our brothers in Bosnia are being slaughtered and Europe is merely watching'. 'We want to make sure that the Bosnians are not left alone and we will do all that is in our capacity to help them', he said. There was no immediate comment on the report from Hizbollah, waging a guerilla group war against Israeli forces in South Lebanon.

Hizbollah, which is funded by Iran and is the most active anti-Israeli guerrilla group, was set up during Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Its fighters are trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Hizbollah has specialised in suicide bombings and hit-and-run attacks, relying on small highly mobile groups of fighters. Pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon have established a "Committee for the support of Bosnia's Moslems" and launched a publicity drive to collect many and clothes to be sent to Bosnia and refugees. walls in most areas of Beirut are plastered with posters highlighting the plight of Bosnian Moslems. One shows victims of an alleged massacre by Serbian forces at a Bosnian village. The Committee organised a sitting on Monday near the United Nations headquarters in Beirut in support of Moslems and to urge international intervention "to stop the slaughter of Bosnians." (Reuter)


Islamic Conference

Wall St. Journal
December 3, 1992


Excerpts (of a long article):

The Saudis, however, say they have quietly funneled $70 million to $100 million in food and cash to Bosnia. And they say much more aid will flood in if the West ignores the conference. (THE FINAL DECLARATION IMPLIES THAT IF THE U.N. HASN'T TAKEN CONCERTED ACTION BY JAN. 15, ISLAMIC NATIONS WILL TAKE IT UPON THEMSELVES TO ARM THE BOSNIANS.)

There Bosnians, notable for their relaxed attitude towards Islam, were shown in modest headscarves or standing near shattered minarets or graveyards with captions such as: 'From the barbaric Serbian invasion, only with a gun can a mosque be saved.'

In fact Somalia's famine is largely the result of civil war. The real difference, a Saudi official concedes, is that Somalia 'doesn't echo on the streets and in the mosques the way Bosnia does. When a war is perceived as Christians killing Musims, no government in the Islamic world can just sit still and do nothing.'


On My Mind

By: A. M. ROSENTHAL
The New York Times
OpEd, Friday, December 4, 1992,
page A31


Excerpt:

Full-scale military intervention by the West to save Bosnia will not happen. The West is not willing to try what Hitler and his puppet Croatian Fascist Government failed to accomplish in World War II: destroy the Serbs in their own mountains.


OUR COMMENT: The West did exactly that and was somewhat more successful than Hitler. Hitler also tried to enlist support of Islam fundamentalists. The West was better at that too. Soon, United States will start (not so) covert operations to arm, train and equip mujahedin. The mujahedin will gather from all over the globe. The US will ship them to Bosnia.



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Last revised: October 15, 2003