The Shadows of Srebrenica

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The Shadows of Srebrenica

    Fifteen years on, haunting images of the massacre that shamed Europe.

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    On July 11, 1995, the Serbian army entered the town of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the days that followed killed 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. The Srebrenica genocide was the largest mass murder in Europe since the end of World War II, and the country is still recovering from the war that ended 15 years ago. Hatidza Mehmedovic, who lost her husband and two sons in the genocide, stands in a Srebrenica cemetery.

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    At the gate of the Srebrenica cemetery, Mehmedovic gestures toward a memorial marker with the number 8,372, though no one knows precisely how many Bosniaks were killed.

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    Near the small town of Papratne Njive, in central Bosnia, each year Serbs mourn the Serbian soldiers and civilians killed by Bosnian forces during the war.

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    Today in Sarajevo, physical traces of the war are everywhere. In the suburb of Novo Sarajevo, a boy plays basketball in the shadow of a bombed-out hotel that has yet to be renovated or torn down after 15 years.

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    Fazila Efendic lost her husband and son during the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    In the center of Sarajevo, the morning commute brings residents past half-destroyed buildings, looming reminders of the past that still today define the city skyline.

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    Fifteen years after fighting ended, the streets of Sarajevo are no longer scenes of violence, but instead a palpable sense of neglect.

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    The old National Library in Sarajevo, which was gutted by Serbian mortars during the war, today remains a shell. The books and documents inside -- a repository of Bosnia's national cultural identity -- burned down during the war and have not been replaced.

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    Grbavica, a neighborhood of Sarajevo, was a front line during the war and saw heavy fighting between Serbian and Bosnian forces.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    A bird flies above the ruins of the former Yugoslav Army's barracks in Sarajevo, nicknamed the Marshal Tito Barracks after the Yugoslav dictator. The buildings were destroyed in the first months of the 1992-1995 siege of the city.

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    For the estimated 100,000 people who fled their homes during the war and have not returned, life remains a waiting game. At the Spionica camp for internally displaced persons, most of the 350 residents have no job and little hope for a better future.
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Lutvo Begovic, who lives in the Spionica camp, lost his parents during the war and lived as a refugee in Switzerland. He returned when the fighting was over, but has yet to truly restart his life in Bosnia. He is in his mid-20s, with no close relatives and no idea of what to do next.

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    The houses, simple cement blocks, were built as temporary shelters, not permanent residences. Many families have hardly decorated inside, even after years of living there.

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    Many of the camp's inhabitants were originally from Srebrenica but are still too frightened or traumatized to return to their homes. So they remain paralyzed: afraid of going back and afraid of starting a new life somewhere else.

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    The Spionica camp is located some 10 miles from the next city; there are no jobs in the region and no way to generate income for the families.

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    Although people have been living in the Spionica camp for 15 years, it was not designed as a permanent settlement. The main street is simply a dirt road. All residents can do there is wait -- but it's not clear what, exactly, they're waiting for.
     
  6. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    for me the Yugoslav wars were the war that i grew up with and has left me with deep mental scars to but still it is shocking to see the pictures 15 years after it really happened
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Radical Islamic charities and Jihad in the Balkans


    Vojin Joksimovich highlights this in chapter five because he focuses on the role of Islamic charities. This applies to terrorism, indoctrination and the goal of creating an Islamic state in Bosnia and for others, then much further. On page 161 of ‘The Revenge of The Prophet’ the author Vojin Joksimovich informs us that the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA) stated that “Bosnia must become a Muslim state eventually, for if that did not happen, then the whole war would be senseless and would have been fought for nothing – concluded in 1994 Elfatih Ali Hasanejin (Elfatih Hassanein), the head of the organization the TWRA” (Miroslav Toholj, p.81)
    [...]
    Vojin Joksimovich also highlights this by stating that “There was a close partnership between the Islamist network in the U.S. and the one in Bosnia. Emerson, in his testimony to the U.S. Congress, pointed out the entire spectrum of radical groups from the Middle East has been replicated in the U.S. (Steven Emerson, 1998) Page 151
    “Emerson cited Oliver Revell, former Associate FBI Deputy Director: The U.S. is the most preferred and easiest place in the world for radical Islamic groups to set up their headquarters to wage war in their homelands, destabilize and attack American allies and ultimately move against the U.S. itself” (ibid.) Page 151
    [...]
    John Pomfret, Washington Post Foreign Service, wrote an article called ‘Bosnia’s Muslims Dodged Embargo’ (Sunday, September 22, 1996; Page A01). He stated that “Last September, European police backed by anti-terrorist squads raided the office here of a seemingly obscure organization, the Third World Relief Agency, headed by a one-time Sudanese diplomat named Elfatih Hassanein.” “Since then, poring over several van loads of documents, they have pieced together one of the untold stories of the Bosnian war: how Bosnia's Muslim-led government evaded a United Nations arms embargo and purchased hundreds of millions of dollars worth of black-market weapons.”

    “In the documents and in the bank accounts of the Third World Relief Agency, Austrian investigators have tracked $350 million they say flowed from Muslim governments and radical Islamic movements to Bosnia. At least half was used to purchase weapons illegally and smuggle them to the Bosnian government army, according to Western intelligence estimates.”

    This article highlights the linkage between so-called Islamic charities and the reality of what was really happening. This applies to linkages between the TWRA, elements within the Bosnian Muslim leadership including Alija Izetbegovic, Osama Bin Laden, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and a host of other major terrorists and nations which were either friends or foe of America. The article also highlights the role of Bill Clinton and his role in allowing these terrorist networks to move freely despite many massacres against innocent Christians and in the knowledge of what Islamic terrorism meant.

    John Pomfret continues by stating that“The agency took funds and support for Bosnia from wherever it could find it, and the bulk of the cash originated in the Middle East: Iran was a big contributor, as was Sudan, which like Iran is on the U.S. State Department's watch-list of countries that support terrorism. Saudi Arabia was the largest contributor, according to banking officials and intelligence sources, and donations also came from pro-Western countries like Pakistan, Turkey, Brunei and Malaysia.”

    “But militants in the terrorist underworld are also believed to have used the relief agency to get money to the Bosnian government, including the wealthy Saudi Arabian émigré Osama Bin Laden, a suspected sponsor of militant Islamic groups around the Middle East. Bin Laden, a resident of Sudan until last year, is reportedly now in Afghanistan, where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.”

    “Investigators say the agency also had ties to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a radical Egyptian cleric who was convicted of planning several terrorist bombings in New York and is linked to the group that carried out the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. Intelligence agencies say they have tapes of telephone calls by Rahman to the agency's office, during which he discussed its commitment to sell the sheik's videotapes and sermons in mosques around Europe.”

    “Hassanein, identified by Western sources as a member of Sudan's ruling National Islamic Front, built his arms smuggling operation with Islamic activists from Bosnia who, like him, had ties to Izetbegovic, the Bosnian president. Several of these men now hold senior positions in the Bosnian government and, according to U.S. officials, they form the core of a radical Islamic movement that has resisted U.S. attempts to exert influence over the army and security services
    .”

    The CIA also states that prominent Islamic charities were involved in terrorism because the report which was given to the State Department (1/1996) states that “……of more than 50 Islamic nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in existence, “available information indicates that approximately one-third… support terrorist groups or employ individuals who are suspected of having terrorist connections.” The report notes that most of the offices of NGOs active in Bosnia are located in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Zenica, and Tuzla. There are coordination councils there organizing the work of the charity fronts.”

    “The report notes that some charities may be “backed by powerful interest groups,” including governments. “We continue to have evidence that even high ranking members of the collecting or monitoring agencies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Pakistan - such as the Saudi High Commission - are involved in illicit activities, including support for terrorists.” The Wall Street Journal will later comment, “Disclosure of the report may raise new questions about whether enough was done to cut off support for terrorism before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001… and about possible involvement in terrorism by Saudi Arabian officials.” (Central Intelligence Agency, 1/1996; Wall Street Journal, 5/9/2003)
    [...]
    Returning back to Vojin Joksimovich he states that “Bosnia established a successful model for embattled countries around the world: organizing, arming, and funding mujahideen units, skimming money from humanitarian charities, linking up with crime bosses including narco-terrorists, etc. Islamism both produces and profits from mayhem. Albeit to a much lesser magnitude, the Bosnian model was replicated later on in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia. Al Qaeda and the Taliban found a route for the heroin trafficking from Afghanistan into Europe via the Balkans.” Page 150
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    The wars in the former Yugoslavia were very different to the mass media versions. After all, Alija Izetbegovic stated his dream of an Islamic state and fellow pan-Islamists did not care about Bosnia but they did care about the creation of an Islamic state and in time an Islamic Caliphate.

    Turning back to a quote from the book by Vojin Joksimovich on Page 161 “Bosnia must become a Muslim state eventually, for if that did not happen, then the whole war would be senseless and would have been fought for nothing – concluded in 1994 Elfatih Ali Hasanejin (Elfatih Hassanein).”
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Religious wars


    Fifteen years have passed since the massacre of
    thousands of Bosnian Muslims en masse in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serbs. Nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed by the Serbs in just five days back in July 1995. Even to this day the dead are being recovered from the mass graves dug during the Srebrenica genocide and reburied by their loved ones who survived the horror. The massacre was termed ‘genocide’ by both the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It was a modern day ‘ethnic cleansing’. The reasons behind the genocide had more to do with the Islamic faith of the Bosniaks than anything else. They were as much Slavs as the Serbs, but on the basis of faith, the Serbs set off a religious war.

    The roots of this faith-based conflict date back to the colonial era and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Those who opine that the rise of ‘Islamic terrorism’ is a result of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians need to look back in history and trace the trajectory of events that led to the rise of extremist ideology in the Muslim world. The Palestinian issue is a festering wound from 1948 and cannot explain in entirety the violent extremist angle that some Muslims later turned to.

    For more than six centuries, the Turkish sultanate ruled most of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. It is because of the Ottomans that there are still many Muslims in Europe who had converted during Ottoman rule. The Christians under Ottoman rule felt resentment towards the Muslims, thus giving rise to a deep-seated, lingering Islamophobia, which even the communist interlude in Yugoslavia could not overcome. The UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica were silent spectators when these gory murders were being committed right in front of their eyes. What is the logic of having ‘peacekeeping’ forces when they cannot even intervene to prevent massacres? By killing Bosnian Muslims, the Serbs made an attempt to obliterate one part of their history in a frenzy of national/religious chauvinism in the midst of the break-up of post-communist Yugoslavia. Former US President George W Bush’s policies were a manifestation of neo-colonialism. His misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq are a prime example of this ideology. Terrorism’s appeal in the Muslim world is not just limited to poverty, it has its roots in cumulative layers of resentment against western bullying and repression, not helped by provocative actions such as publishing caricatures of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in newspapers, starting a ‘Draw Mohammad Day’ campaign, banning headscarves, the controversy about the veil, among other things. For the western world, the word ‘Islam’ is by now linked with terrorism. On the other hand, many in the Muslim world look at neo-colonialism as another version of the Christian Crusades.

    The response in some sections of the Muslim world has taken the form of a purist fundamentalist reaction. These extremists harp on about the millenarian ‘golden age’ in Islamic history. They wish to impose their narrow, literalist view of Islam on Muslims, in preparation for the conquest of the rest of the world in a latter-day resurrection of the Islamic empire. Islam spread because of its liberatory and tolerant principles. The Quran tells us there is no compulsion in religion. But Iran’s extremist Shia theology and Saudi Arabia’s and al Qaeda’s extremist Sunni ideas represent opposite intolerant poles of Islamic fundamentalism. If both the west and the Muslim world want peace, they have to come to an understanding that their common enemy is puritan ideology, both within the western world and Muslims. *
     

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