The Centre for Peace in the Balkans
Bin Laden’s Balkan Connections
Dedicated to all victims of terrorism, including a member of The Centre for Peace in the Balkans who is still listed as missing in the World Trade Centre bombing.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 2, 1999, CIA Director George Tenet warned of the worldwide threat posed by the Bin Laden network:
"There is not the slightest doubt that Osama Bin Laden, his worldwide allies, and his sympathizers are planning further attacks against us. Despite progress against his networks, Bin Laden´s organization has contacts virtually worldwide, including in the United States. And he has stated unequivocally that all Americans are targets. Bin Laden´s overreaching aim is to get the United States out of the Persian Gulf, but he will strike wherever in the world he thinks we are vulnerable. We are anticipating bombing attempts with conventional explosives, but his operatives are also capable of kidnappings and assassinations. We have noted recent activities similar to what occurred prior to the African embassy bombings, Mr. Chairman, and I must tell you that we are concerned that one or more of Bin Laden´s attacks could occur at any time."
According to the September 15, 2001 issue of the New York Times (U.S. Demands Arab Countries ´Choose Sides´ by Jane Perlez) the United States has issued a communiqué to its embassies around the world "…listing the conditions that nations were expected to meet in order to qualify for membership in the anti-terror coalition." Considering that the US supports countries where many terrorists originate or are trained (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania), we are concerned about the fallout should those countries fail to meet the stated US demands.
Furthermore, we must note with tragic irony that the United States trained and financed Islamicist “freedom fighters” during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to the tune of $10 billion (September 13, 2001, Washington Times). Osama Bin Laden was part and parcel of that military “aid” program.
Yet, it would be willful blindness to suggest that the roots of terror begin and end in Afghanistan or the Middle East. When examining events that have transpired in the Balkans over the past ten years, Osama Bin Laden’s name appears prominently. Bin Laden directly aided the Bosnian Muslims, both financially (weapons procurement) and with training. In addition, that same “aid” was extended to the separatist Albanians of Kosovo and Macedonia. Ironically, the US found Bin Laden and his supporters “convenient” allies when dealing with Bosnian Muslims and Kosovo Albanians, again in another so-called struggle for “freedom”.
Bosnian Muslim weekly “Dani” reported on September 24, 1999, that Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted terrorist in the world, was issued a Bosnia-Herzegovina passport. Bin Laden was issued the Bosnian passport by the Bosnian embassy in Vienna in 1993. However, Bin Laden was not the only one. A number of suspected terrorists have traveled the globe utilizing “legally issued” Bosnia-Herzegovina documents.
According to ‘Dani’, the Bosnian Foreign Ministry was seized by panic when Mehrez Aodouni, another Bosnian passport bearer, was arrested in Istanbul on September 09, 1999. Aodouni was believed to have close ties with Bin Laden. The Party of Democratic Action (SDA) [Bosnia´s main Muslim party led by Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic] issued a statement that on September 23, 1999, Audouni obtained the Bosnia-Herzegovina citizenship and a passport because he was a member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Army.
Albania/ Kosovo Albanians
Osama Bin Laden’s activities in Albania are well known and documented. As a matter of fact at one point the presence of his network in that country was so powerful that US Defence Secretary William Cohen cancelled a scheduled visit July 1999 for fear of being assassinated.
It is believed that Bin Laden solidified his organization in Albania in 1994 with the help of then premier Sali Berisha. Albania’s ties to the Islamicist terrorist blossomed during Berisha´s rule when the main Kosovo Albanian KLA training base was on Berisha´s property in northern Albania.
Fundamentalists were well established in Albania, despite several raids by the CIA and Albanian security forces that seized five key members of Islamic Jihad and other Middle Eastern groups in summer of 1998.
Around that time, a joint CIA-Albanian intelligence operation has reported mujahadeen units from at least half a dozen Middle East countries streaming across the border into Kosovo from bases in Albania. The American request came at a meeting of US envoys with the leaders of the ethnic-Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army at their headquarters in Geneva.
A few years ago, Albanian authorities working with the Central Intelligence Agency claimed to have uncovered a terrorist network operated by Osama Bin Laden. The network is said to have been set up to use Albania, a nominally Muslim country, as a springboard for operations in Europe.
Fatos Klosi, the head of Shik, the Albanian intelligence service, said that Bin Laden had visited Albania himself.
Bin Laden’s organization was one of several fundamentalist groups that had sent units to fight in Kosovo, the neighboring province of Serbia. Apparent confirmation of Bin Laden´s activities came when Claude Kader, 27, a French national and self-confessed member of Bin Laden´s Albanian network, was jailed for the murder of a local translator. He claimed during his trial that he had visited Albania to recruit and arm fighters for Kosovo, and that four of his associates were still at large.
Bin Laden is believed to have established an operation in Albania in 1994 after telling the government that he was head of a wealthy Saudi humanitarian agency keen to help Europe´s poorest nation.
In April 2000 the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said the "notorious international terrorist" and "Islamic fanatic" arrived in Kosovo from Albania.
"Until recently, Bin Laden was training a group of almost 500 mujahadeen [Muslim fighters] from Arab countries around the Albanian towns of Podgrade and Korce for terrorist actions in Kosovo."
The report added that an eventual 2000-strong group of "extremists" planned "to set off a new wave of violence in southern Serbia (the area linked by the towns Presevo, Bujanovac, Medvedja)."
In March of 2000, the BBC reported that KFOR raided a Saudi charity operating in Kosovo after being tipped off by U.S. officials that it may have links to Bin Laden. The Islamic relief organization strongly denied the allegations.
Before the NATO air campaign, the Yugoslav government said on its website that KLA fighters from Kosovo had been attending terrorist training camps in Arab states, "financed by some renegade Saudi businessmen" - an apparent reference to Bin Laden.
In May of 1999, the Washington Times reported that the KLA had borrowed money "from known terrorists like Osama Bin Laden."
Two months earlier, Israeli investigative journalist Steve Rodan wrote that, according to European security and diplomatic sources, "Kosovo has become the latest and most significant arena for radical Islamic states and groups that seek to widen their influence in Europe."
The danger exhibited by Macedonia was foreseen by Henry Kissinger in his Washington Post article of February 22, 1999 ("No U.S. Ground Forces for Kosovo: Leadership Doesn´t Mean That We Must Do Everything for Ourselves"):
Balkan wars and terrorist ties
Director of the U.S. Congress' Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional warfare: "Some Call It Peace"
NATO Probes Claims that Bin Laden is in Kosovo
Persecution Watch : Kosovo
Defang the KLA
Destabilizing the Balkans: US & Albanian Defense Cooperation in the 1990s
Bin Laden in Kosovo
Bosnia Arrests Three Suspected Bin Laden´s Associates
A Bosnian Village's Terrorist Ties; Links to U.S. Bomb Plot Arouse Concern About Enclave of Islamic Guerrillas
Bin Laden opens European terror base in Albania
US tackles Islamic militancy in Kosovo
US alarmed as Mujahidin join Kosovo rebels
The Centre for Peace in the Balkans
BALKAN - ALBANIA - KOSOVO - HEROIN - JIHAD
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