by "Reporter" investigative team
However, the story about "suspicious activities" near Zenica does not end here. Our sources from SFOR claim that the Turkish soldiers have reported that unidentified persons were keeping their facilities and their movement under surveillance. The activities carried out to arrest these individuals were unsuccessful. Consequently, SFOR units in and near Zenica increased the number of patrols, and strengthened their intelligence activities in cooperation with the FBI. The result of these activities, according to our sources from SFOR, is the discovery of Belkacen, whose arrest was left to the Bosnian police in order to test the decisiveness of the authorities in the struggle against individuals under suspicion for involvement in terrorist activities, above all bin Laden's Al Qaida.
Dying and cutting: Authorities in Zenica-Doboj canton, which issued Belkacen without any checks and trouble a new passport on July 21, 2001, are being tested because SFOR has evidence that the local officials and the police are trying to hide, protect and keep several hundreds of Mujahedeen who live in the Zenica municipality. With that goal in mind, according to witness reports, in parts of Zenica where Mojahedeen live, the civilian authorities and religious leaders have organized meetings at which these naturalized Bosnians were suggested to shave their beards and dye their hair, so that they blend in as much as possible with the local population. Witnesses confirm that several tens of them did just that, while a few refused to accept that type of disguise.
These events are not discussed publicly because international officials believe that they could endanger the support of NATO allies for the SFOR mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina. At the same time, last week senior NATO officers obtained firm promise of the officials of the ruling Alliance for Changes that they would work with SFOR on the discovery, arrest and deportation of extremists from Islamic countries, as well as on isolation of all political elements that provide financial and other assistance to the extremists. It was demanded that the authorities check links of these extremists with similar elements within the Federation BH Army and among the leaders of until recently ruling Party of Democratic Action. In it interesting, according to our sources, that the role of Alija Izetbegovic and Hasan Cengic was especially under scrutiny, as NATO-analyses labeled them as politicians who still protect and promote various fundamentalist Islamic groups in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
After the forced resignation of Haris Silajdzic, about which Reporter has already written, Izetbegovic was also advised to withdraw from politics, under threat that otherwise the Hague War Crimes Tribunal would indict him.
Izetbegovic's connection: Since the leaders of the Alliance are not exactly doing great at the moment as far as the local political scene is concerned, they stand to profit twofold from the removal of Izetbegovic from the political scene. The leading SDP would get rid of the main competitor for the votes of Bosniaks and at the same time send to the international public the message that it is prepared to fulfill every order from abroad in the fight against terrorism. The statement of the chair of the Chamber of Nations of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia-Hercegovina and one of the SDP leaders, Sejfudin Tokic, who "unprovoked" stated in Banja Luka that the officials from the Council of Europe in Strasbourg warned him about the alleged existence of a photograph of Alija Izetbegovic in company of Osama bin Laden should be interpreted in this context.
Tokic and the team that came up with that ploy were, naturally, right when assessing that the denial, regardless of its origin and official nature, would be far less potent than the denied information. The statement by the Prime Minister of Federation BH, Alija Behmen, who scared the citizens of this country by his assertion that 70 Al-Qaida fighters have Bosnian passports, also falls in this series.
The leaders of the Alliance for Changes, especially SDP officials, are doing all of this because they are aware of the fact that it is not at all difficult to prove the links between Alija Izetbegovic and the SDA political leadership and the imported fighters from the Islamic countries. There is a lot of evidence about that, some of which was recorded by cameras, since Izetbegovic considered Mojahedeen units for the striking power and elite forces of his army, and on numerous occasions during the war, as well as after the signing of the Dayton agreement, he visited, commended and decorated them.
Two NATO-analyses obtained by Reporter are among more interesting evidence about the links between Izetbegovic and Islamic extremist and terrorist organizations that were or are still active in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
The first analysis, written before the terrorist attacks on the US, lists all Bosniak extremists organizations that existed on the territory of the current Federation BH during and after the war, while the second one gives the assessment of the situation after the attack on New York and Washington and after a possible, now already under way, military response of the Western allies to those attacks.
SDA axis: Both documents are careful to distinguish fundamentalist Islamic circles that reject violence and extremists who use Islam as ideological justification for their actions. In the first analysis it is taken for granted that every Bosniak connected with the former Mujahedeen from abroad, who practices fundamentalist brand of Islam, regardless of whether he is politically active or involved in violent activities, should be viewed as a potential member of Bosniak extremist organizations.
At the time when this document was compiled, according to unofficial assessments, there were between 200 and 600 Mujahedeen in Bosnia-Hercegovina. These individuals were in Bosnia, according to the NATO-analysis, with knowledge and support of parts of authorities or political parties. The report states that most of them live in Zenica, Donja Bocinja, Orasac, Travnik and near Bihac.
According to this document there were, or still are, 20 extremist Muslim organizations in Bosnia-Hercegovina. It is interesting that the list of these organizations includes some that are well-known in Bosnia-Hercegovina: Patriotic League, Muslim secret police AID, and the group Seve within it, Green Berets, Naser Oric's group. Then the report lists the following groups: Wahhabis, Red Rose, Free Bosnia, Pharaohs, Active Islamic Youth, Zetra 1,2,3, El Mujaheed, Return of the Messiah, Islamic Legion, Muslim Youth, Islamic Warriors, Guerillas, Fish Heads, Struggle, and others.
The most interesting part of the analysis starts with the assessment that the Bosnian government, with the dominant SDA majority, was the central axis for the gathering of members of armed Muslim extremist organizations (AIE - armed Islamic extremists, in the report).
The authorities, headed by Alija Izetbegovic, used these groups to introduce strict Islamic rules and establish an independent Muslim state, claims the report, and adds that these groups, especially in the Bihac and Cazin region, were used for terrorist actions against political opponents, mostly followers of Fikret Abdic. In that context the report mentions Seve, Green Berets, which were supposedly especially active during the Pope's visit to Sarajevo, Red Rose, which according to the report is behind several assassination attempts on Fikret Abdic, and AID. According to the analysis, the AID was created on January 12, 1996, under the auspices of Alija Izetbegovic and SDA. It is added that the AID was used by Izetbegovic as his personal political intelligence service, whose agents were mostly trained in Iran, while it is also described as an organization that works on the spreading of radical Islam all over the country and is closely linked with many terrorist organizations.
Wahhabis and Red Rose: Whole chapters of the analysis are dedicated to the Wahhabis and the Red Rose, religious sects and terrorist organizations active in the region of Buzim, Cazin and Bihac. According to the NATO document, Wahhabis are headed by hodja Hasan Makic. Besides Makic other leaders of Wahabbis are hodja Meho Stolanovic and, in and around Velika Kladusa, Osman Galijasevic.
The report quotes Galijasevic's statement according to which "the West can forget about any sort of red threat from the east. The real threat to the West is the green color of Islam". The report claims that the Red Rose is linked with Iranian Hamas and that it is under the direct control of the AID, while Mirsad Veladzic is its leader according to the report.
The NATO analysis also focuses on Islamic humanitarian and youth organizations which are used either as a front for the activities of the extremist organizations of as a tool for recruitment of extremists. The report mentions the Islamic youth movement, Muslim Youth Council (MOS), founded in 1991 in Sarajevo with about 30,000 members in 13 municipalities of the Federation BH, Active Islamic Youth Organization, also from Sarajevo, infamous for putting up posters in 1997, during the Christmas holidays, which called on the Muslims to boycott all non-Muslim celebrations.
The report also describes the activities of the Islamic Youth Organization, whose president, Adnan Pezo from Zenica, stated in one interview that he sees Bosnia-Hercegovina as an Islamic country, based on the principles of shariah law with the application of the model of Saudi Arabia.
The second analysis, obviously compiled immediately after the attack on the US, estimates that there are currently between 100 and 200 Mujahedeen from the Islamic countries in BH. The report states that during the war there were camps for their training. However, that training was not directed against SFOR, but was preparing Islamic fighters for the war in Kosovo or Chechnya. "Although numerous democratic parties (Alliance for Changes) came to power, the Muslim SDA is still very influential. Islamic fundamentalists prosper because they are protected by influential and distinguished Bosnian politicians and businessmen, such as Alija Izetbegovic and Hasan Cengic, one of the most powerful individuals in Bosnia-Hercegovina," the analysis states and adds that they still have influence in the state administration, intelligence service (AID), Police, schools and universities. The report assesses that the SDA leaders are still capable of informing, influencing and even manipulating the Islamic part of the Bosnian community through local religious leaders.
Hard and soft targets: The most recent SFOR analysis warns about the openness of Bosnian borders, and the fact that it is easy to enter and leave the country undetected, as well as that weaponry and explosives are "easily available".
"The most recent, but unconfirmed reports, indicate the possibility of terrorist attacks on American and NATO targets in BH in the coming days," the analysis warns and lists the so-called "hard" and "soft" targets of extremists in BH, as well as methods and weaponry that could be used for these attacks. Precisely because of such indications, the conclusion of the analysis stresses that the danger of extremist attacks ranges from "moderate" to "high". Consequently NATO soldiers in the field, especially after the allied attack on Afghanistan, are on high alert.
The last moves of the authorities in Sarajevo can easily be linked to the assertions, assessments and warnings from the two abovementioned analyses. Besides Izetbegovic and Silajdzic, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Federation BH, Muhamed Besic (Party for BH), was also forced to leave politics, while Sejfudin Tokic announced new purges within the Alliance, whose ranks have been infiltrated by the old SDA and HDZ officials. The knowledgeable individuals claim that there will also be disputes within the SDP, in which there are too many officials from the time of the war, while current developments demand faster and more decisive showdown with the past. It is expected that the informal leader of the Alliance for Changes, the president of the SDP, Zlatko Lagumdzija, will also be strongly criticized. It's high time for him to realize that secret dinners with Izetbegovic do not pay off.