For in Libya, as earlier in Kosovo and Bosnia, there are alarming signs that America has continued to underwrite Islamist terrorism as a means to dismantle socialist or quasi-socialist nations not previously in its orbit: first the USSR, then Yugoslavia, today Libya.
The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Bosnia
Similarly, Clinton’s interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo were presented as humanitarian. But both sides had committed atrocities in those conflicts; Like the western media, Washington downplayed the Muslim atrocities because of its other interests.
Most Americans are aware that Clinton dispatched U.S. forces to Bosnia to enforce the Dayton peace accords after a well-publicized Serbian atrocity: the massacre of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica. Thanks to a vigorous campaign by the p.r. firm Ruder Finn, Americans heard a great deal about the Srebrenica massacre, but far less about the beheadings and other atrocities by Muslims that preceded and helped account for it.
A major reason for the Serb attack on Srebrenica was to deal with the armed attacks mounted from that base on nearby villages: “intelligence sources said it was that harassment which precipitated the Serb attack on the 1,500 Muslim defenders inside the enclave.”27 General Philippe Morillon, commander of the UN troops in Bosnia from 1992 to 1993, testified to the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) that Muslim forces based in Srebrenica had “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region”28 According to Prof. John Schindler,
Between May and December 1992, Muslim forces repeatedly attacked Serb villages around Srebrenica, killing and torturing civilians; some were mutilated and burned alive. Even pro-Sarajevo accounts concede that Muslim forces in Srebrenica…murdered over 1,300 Serbs…and had “ethnically cleansed a vast area.29
Former U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith later admitted in an interview that the U.S. administration was aware of “small numbers of atrocities” being committed by the foreign mujahedin in Bosnia, but dismissed the atrocities as “in the scheme of things not a big issue.”30
Other sources reveal that Washington gave a tacit green light to Croatia’s arming and augmentation of the Muslim presence in Srebrenica.31 Soon C-130 Hercules planes. some but not all of them Iranian, were dropping arms to the Muslims, in violation of the international arms embargo which the U.S. officially respected. More Arab-Afghan mujahedin arrived as well. Many of the airdrops and some of the mujahedin were at Tuzla, 70 kilometers from Srebrenica.32
According to The Spectator
(London), the Pentagon was using other countries such as Turkey and Iran in this flow of arms and warriors:
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. …. 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’.33
Cees Wiebes’ detailed account, based on years of research, documents both the case for American responsibility and the vigorous American denials of it:
At 17.45 on 10 February 1995, the Norwegian Captain Ivan Moldestad, a Norwegian helicopter detachment (NorAir) pilot, stood in the doorway of his temporary accommodation just outside Tuzla. It was dark, and suddenly he heard the sound of the propellers of an approaching transport aircraft; it was unmistakably a four engine Hercules C-130. Moldestad noticed that the Hercules was being escorted by two jet fighters, but could not tell their precise type in the darkness. There were other sightings of this secretive night-time flight to Tuzla Air Base (TAB). A sentry who was on guard duty outside the Norwegian medical UN unit in Tuzla also heard and saw the lights of the Hercules and the accompanying jet fighters. Other UN observers, making use of night vision equipment, also saw the cargo aircraft and the fighter planes concerned. The reports were immediately forwarded to the NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Vicenza and the UNPF Deny Flight Cell in Naples. When Moldestad phoned Vicenza, he was told that there was nothing in the air that night, and that he must be mistaken. When Moldestad persisted, the connection was broken.
The secretive C-130 cargo aircraft flights and night-time arms drops on Tuzla caused great agitation within UNPROFOR and the international community in February and March 1995. When asked, a British general responded with great certainty to the question of the origin of the secret supplies via TAB: ‘They were American arms deliveries. No doubt about that. And American private companies were involved in these deliveries.’ This was no surprising answer, because this general had access to intelligence gathered by a unit of the British Special Air Services (SAS) in Tuzla. The aircraft had come within range of this unit’s special night vision equipment, and the British saw them land. It was a confirmation that a clandestine American operation had taken place in which arms, ammunition and military communication equipment were supplied to the ABiH. These night-time operations led to much consternation within the UN and NATO, and were the subject of countless speculations.34
Wiebes reports the possibility that the C-130s, some of which were said to have taken off from a US Air Force base in Germany, were actually controlled by Turkish authorities.35 But U.S. involvement was detected in the elaborate cover-up, from the fact that US AWACS aircraft, which should have provided a record of the secret flights, were either withdrawn from duty at the relevant times, or manned with US crews.36
A summary of Wiebes’ exhaustive report was published in the Guardian
The Dutch report reveals how the Pentagon formed a secret alliance with Islamist groups in an Iran-Contra-style operation.
US, Turkish and Iranian intelligence groups worked with the Islamists in what the Dutch report calls the "Croatian pipeline". Arms bought by Iran and Turkey and financed by Saudi Arabia were flown into Croatia initially by the official Iranian airline, Iran Air, and later in a fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The report says that mojahedin fighters were also flown in, and that the US was "very closely involved" in the operation which was in flagrant breach of the embargo. British secret services obtained documents proving that Iran also arranged deliveries of arms directly to Bosnia, it says.
The operation was promoted by the Pentagon, rather than the CIA, which was cautious about using Islamist groups as a conduit for arms, and about breaching the embargo. When the CIA tried to place its own people on the ground in Bosnia, the agents were threatened by the mojahedin fighters and the Iranians who were training them.
The UN relied on American intelligence to monitor the embargo, a dependency which allowed Washington to manipulate it at will.37
Meanwhile the Al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, which in the 1980s had supported the “Arab-Afghans” fighting in Afghanistan, turned its attentions to Bosnia.
Al-Kifah’s English-language newsletter Al-Hussam (The Sword) also began publishing regular updates on jihad action in Bosnia….Under the control of the minions of Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman, the newsletter aggressively incited sympathetic Muslims to join the jihad in Bosnia and Afghanistan themselves….The Al-Kifah Bosnian branch office in Zagreb, Croatia, housed in a modern, two-story building, was evidently in close communication with the organizational headquarters in New York. The deputy director of the Zagreb office, Hassan Hakim, admitted to receiving all orders and funding directly from the main United States office of Al-Kifah on Atlantic Avenue controlled by Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman.38
One of the trainers at al-Kifah, Rodney Hampton-El, assisted in this support program, recruiting warriors from U.S. Army bases like Fort Belvoir, and also training them to be fighters in New Jersey.39 In 1995 Hampton-El was tried and convicted for his role (along with al-Kifah leader Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman) in the plot to blow up New York landmarks. At the trial Hampton-El testified how he was personally given thousands of dollars for this project by Saudi Crown Prince Faisal in the Washington Saudi Embassy.40
About this time, Ayman al-Zawahiri, today the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley, where he was hosted by Ali Mohamed, a U.S. double agent and veteran of U.S. Army Special Forces who had been the top trainer at the Al-Kifah mosque.41 Almost certainly al-Zawahiri’s fund-raising was in support of the mujahedin in Bosnia, reportedly his chief concern at the time. (“The Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that, in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda's second-in-command, to direct his operations in the Balkans.”)42
Wiebes’ detailed report and the news stories based on it corroborated earlier charges made in 1997 by Sir Alfred Sherman, top adviser to Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of the influential rightwing nationalist Centre for Policy Studies, that “The U.S. encouraged and facilitated the dispatch of arms to the Moslems via Iran and Eastern Europe -- a fact which was denied in Washington at the time in face of overwhelming evidence.”43 This was part of his case that
The war in Bosnia was America's war in every sense of the word. The US administration helped start it, kept it going, and prevented its early end. Indeed all the indications are that it intends to continue the war in the near future, as soon as its Moslem proteges are fully armed and trained.
Specifically, Sherman charged that in 1992 Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger had instructed Warren Zimmerman, U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, to persuade Bosnian President Izetbegovic to renege on his agreement to preserve Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian unity, and instead accept American aid for an independent Bosnian state.44