Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Some bad news for George Galloway.......

Forget Senate inquiries or being attacked by fanatical pro-war websites- the former Big Brother contestant has rather more serious things to worry about.......

7-7 London bombings: The Bosnian Link

I wonder what the propagandists at the Bosnian Institute will have to say about this?

New UK Look at Bosnia Terror

Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. Alexandria: 2006.Vol.34, Iss. 1; pg. 3, 1 pgs

The UK Government made a major policy breakthrough by sending a team of investigators, to Sarajevo during the week of January 15-22, 2006, to investigate a "Bosnian link" to the London terrorist bombings of July 7, 2005, which killed 52 people. The visit by the British team was confirmed by the Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) State Prosecutor's Office. But what makes it significant is the fact that, until now, both the British official in charge of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown (the "High Representative") (who retired in January 2006) and the office of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair have literally persecuted any officials who have suggested that terrorism or terrorist support operations existed in BiH.The Office of the High Representative and the UK Blair Government have consistently denied or ignored reports by Defense & Foreign Affairs that major terrorist operations were underway from Bosnian bases, and that Bosnia and Kosovo were specifically linked to the London July 7,2005, bombings. The Blair Government's consistent support for the BiH Islamist leadership follows its strong support for it during the BiH civil war, under strong pressure from the then US Clinton Administration. The Blair policy was a complete turnaround on Balkan policy from the former Government of Prime Minister John Major.
UK interest during the January 2006 team visit to Bosnia was concentrated around four British citizens of "Afro-Asian origin" who were seen in Bosnia at the time of Bektasevic-related arrests [see below]. One of the men spotted in Bosnia was understood to be a brother of one of the London suicide bombers. British citizens were "positively identified" in Bihac area in late October 2005, and had links to one of the known mujahedin villages in BiH. The OHR and the UK Government have essentially said in the past that such "mujahedin villages" did not exist.In late October 2005, Bosnian police arrested five teenagers on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks on Western embassies in Sarajevo. Days later, police in Denmark arrested six teenagers believed to be linked to those arrested in Bosnia. The first two men arrested in Sarajevo were identified as Cesur Abdulkadir and Mirsad Bektasevic, whose confiscated mobile phones and laptop computers led to the arrest in December 2005 of three more suspects in the Sarajevo suburb of Hadzici. One of the suspects was believed to be the leader of a Bosnian militant cell. The BiH State Prosecutor's Office indicated that Bektasevic had arrived in Sarajevo from Sweden and Abdulkadir from Denmark. A young man of Afro-Asian origin with Danish citizenship arrived from Denmark.BiH police alerted the Danish authorities after finding the Danish citizen's contacts in the confiscated mobile phone and laptops. Danish police had revealed that a raid on the suspect's parents' home in Denmark had uncovered US$500,000 in cash, of as-yet undetermined origin.German sources said that the four British subjects went missing after they spent one month in Sarajevo, mainly around King Fahd Mosque, a major gathering point for foreign jihadists in the city. Their movement included Vogosca, Kakanj, and Hadzici near Sarajevo. The investigation of Bektasevic's group came to the conclusion that Hadzici "served as the base for Bosnian terror cell". Bajro Ikanovic was believed to be the leader of the group.

The Profits of War

Here's an excellent piece by Joshua Frank on how profiteering from the Iraq war is not confined to members of the present US administration, or to those with links to the Republican Party. The Democrats in the U.S. are, as Frank says- not part of the solution- they are an integral part of the problem. Don't forget that Henry 'Scoop' Jackson, the godfather of neo-conservativism was a Democrat- and his disciple Richard 'Prince of Darkness' Perle is one too.

Latest War Tally: Neo-Cons 0 British Soldiers 103,,1719919,00.html
In addition 41 people have been killed in Iraq today- bringing to 1300 the number killed since last Thursday.

Most Patronising Piece of the Day

Bruce Anderson feels it's right and proper that the murderer of headmaster Philip Lawrence should be released from prison after serving just twelve years. It's 'not the time for bitterness' , today's Times Thunderer argues.
Really Bruce? How would you feel if a murderer of one of your nearest and dearest was released from jail after serving such a derisory sentence? And how would you feel if you read some pompous hack extolling you not to feel bitter? The arrogance of Britain's metropolitan elite really is breathtaking.,,3284-2061327,00.html

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hypocrisy and Death Penalties

Here's a piece I wrote for The Australian a couple of years back on the intellectual dishonesty of both Australia's and Britain's political elites to the issue of capital punishment. With the news emerging of the Iraqi government's death squads, the hypocrisy is still there for all to see.

Neil Clark supports capital punishment, but can't fathom how John Howard and Tony Blair can endorse summary justice in Indonsia and Iraq

THE AUSTRALIAN August 11th 2003

Recent events have highlighted the intellectual inconsistency of both Australia's and Britain's political elites to the issue of capital punishment. Not so long ago, we heard Foreign Minister Alexander Downer speak of Australia’s ‘universal and consistent opposition to capital punishment’, as he intervened to prevent Sydney woman Le My Linh being executed in Thailand for drug trafficking. A few months later, as Prime Minister John Howard hails as ‘appropriate’ the death sentence passed by an Indonesian court on the Bali bomber Amrozi., it is apparent just how ‘universal and consistent’ Australia’s opposition really is.

In Britain meanwhile, Tony Blair’s thought processes appear even more disturbed. As befits a lawyer with impeccable liberal-left credentials, Blair has never made any secret of his opposition to the ‘barbarism’ of capital punishment. The British Prime Minister has a problem with executing people after they have been found guilty of a capital offence in a court of law. But having taken his country into five military conflicts in six years, it is clear that he has no problem with state-ordered killing per se. For Blair, the recent deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein was ‘great news’. Yet if he thinks Saddam’s brutish sons deserved to die (even though they had not been convicted of murder in a court of law) why then doesn’t he believe that Dr Harold Shipman, the convicted English serial killer, who murdered over 200 of his trusting, unsuspecting patients, deserves to meet his maker too ?

Blair’s squeamishness over state-sponsored executions mysteriously vanishes when it comes to supporting the U.S. in their assassination attempts on world leaders who stand in their way. Back in 1999 NATO launched a cruise missile attack on the Belgrade villa of Yugoslavia’s President Milosevic, based on intelligence reports that he was at home. Similar attempts were made on the lives of Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan two years later. At present, US and British forces are engaged in a man hunt for Saddam Hussein- and don’t seem too concerned whether they take him dead or alive. In the words of Paul Bremer, the US supremo in Iraq, ‘the sooner we kill him or capture him the better’. From a US administration that accepts the state’s right to take life, such a policy, cannot be said to be contradictory. But for an anti-hanging British Prime Minister to support it so enthusiastically surely is.

Unlike Tony Blair, I have a problem with summary execution, but none with capital punishment when, in a rule of law, due process democracy, a murderer has been found guilty after a fair trial. Leaving aside arguments of deterrence, the main moral argument for the death penalty is that murder, being such a terrible and unique crime, warrants a unique punishment. Any other punishment, devalues the crime and simply does not give the victim the respect that he/she deserves. The state should execute a murderer not because it holds life in low regard, but precisely because it holds the lives of those that the murderer dispatched in such high regard. Capital punishment is pro and not anti-life. The sentence passed in Indonesia on Amrozi was therefore a just one. Whether his execution will turn him into a martyr is a matter for debate. But it is right and just a man found guilty of prematurely ending the lives of 202 people should himself pay the ultimate penalty.

Although convinced of the moral case for capital punishment, I can however fully respect the arguments of those, who from a pacifist viewpoint argue that it always wrong for the state to take life, in whatever circumstances. But this is not the position that Tony Blair and most opponents of the death penalty argue from. Recent events show us is that it is the supporters of the death penalty who are the true upholders of due process, and not decidedly non-pacifistic anti-hangers like Tony Blair, who would shoot first and ask questions afterwards. What the British Prime Minister seems to believe in is a very crude form of summary justice which may very well belong in the OK Coral, but surely not to a 21st Century democracy. With their contradictory stances on capital punishment both Blair and John Howard have much explaining to do. Could the British Prime Minister kindly tell us why he endorsed the dropping of four 2,000lbs bombs on a Baghdad restaurant where Saddam Hussein was thought to be dining- but why he would not support the execution of the ex-Iraqi leader if he were found guilty of capital crimes in a court of law ? And could John Howard please explain why Australian murderers should not be executed for killing Australian citizens but Indonesians should be ?

Copyright Neil Clark/The Australian 2003
All Rights Reserved

Fearful and Fearsome- the neo-con agenda

Here's a terrific piece on the neo-con agenda from Jack Dresser, a former US Captain in the Medical Corps. An honourable, decent man who unlike most neo-cons has actually served his country. As we see from Dresser's article, neo-conservative support for governments which use death squads is nothing new.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Who is more comparable to Hitler, Ken?

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has been suspended for four weeks for comparing a Jewish journalist with a concentration camp guard. Seven years ago, before the start of the war against Yugoslavia, Livingstone said 'We are told that it is facile to compare Milosevic with Hitler. He might not be fully comparable, but he is well down the road'.
I have always thought that those who are quick to use the 'Nazi' 'New Hitler' jibe are those with
a mindset very similar to the Nazis themselves. Livingstone is a case in point. Milosevic, who Livingstone accused, is a life-long socialist, a man who never made a racist or anti-Jewish speech in his life and whose parents fought as partisans against the Nazis in World War Two. Livingstone by contrast invites judeophobic Islamic preachers to London and when challenged by a Jewish journalist responds with an appalling holocaust jibe. Livingstone may not be 'fully comparable' to Hitler, but many will come to the conclusion that he is already 'well down the road'.

Democracy's the last thing they want

Here's a great piece from the consistently excellent Dr John Laughland from the latest edition of the American Conservative. Of course, democracy is the last thing neo-cons want- witness their reaction to election results in Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s, in Palestine this year, in Venezuela and in Iran last summer. The 'democracy' that Messrs Perle, Wolfowitz and Frum want is the one which leads to the election of pro-Western puppets- who will surrender their economies to Western capital and allow the world's hyperpower to build military bases there. If election's don't achieve this result then their solution is simple. Just call the countries concerned 'undemocratic' , label their leaders 'dictators' and work for 'regime change'.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

He's better writing about movies.......

He's as good on theatre, cinema and the arts as he is bad on Iraq. I am referring to Mark Steyn-arch proponent of destablising the Middle East in the name of the war on terror. Memo to Mark: why don't you leave Iraq alone and concentrate on writing your brilliant articles on other subjects? Here is Steyn with a piece commemorating the centenary of one of my favourite actresses- the 'West Brom' rose Madeline Carroll, co-star with Robert Donat in the original- and best version of The 39 Steps.
While we're on the subject of Steyn- here's my favourite couple of lines of his: ' Saudi Arabia has 7,000 princes - at the time of writing; it may be up to 7,600 if you're reading this after lunch. Many of us have never met a Saudi who isn't a prince'.
And here's my favourite line about Steyn 'You've written a book on Broadway musicals and you're not gay or Jewish'? The man's a class act- (he is as entertaining in person as he is in print)- but why- oh why can't he do the decent thing and concede that he was totally wrong on Iraq?

How to spot a politician in Zimbabwe

Paul Theroux once said you could always tell a politician in sub-Saharan Africa by their size-
unlike the people they governed, politicians always made sure they were well-fed. In Zimbabwe it seems you can tell a politician by their age. Under Mugabe, life expectancy in Zimbabwe has fallen to 37. But the 'great man' himself is still going strong at the age of 82.

Daily Telegraph
Mugabe plans a lavish party as nation suffers
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare (Filed: 22/02/2006)

Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe turned 82 yesterday in robust health, in contrast to the state of his country.
Life expectancy for Zimbabweans is plunging, three quarters of the population is short of food and inflation is 613 per cent. However, President Mugabe is as healthy as a man his age could be. He recently told the state press that a doctor said his "bones were not exactly as a boy of 26, but certainly someone of 30".
A shortage of bread has pushed the price up to Z$45,000
To mark his birthday, which comes in his 26th year in power, the state-controlled Herald newspaper ran congratulations, mostly from bankrupt state companies, carried in a 16-page supplement.
The notices described him as a "beacon of light", and a "statesman, an icon, a living legend". The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, unable to import fuel for a year, said in its quarter-page birthday advertisement that it valued his "wisdom". The Zimbabwe National Water Authority, unable to supply clean drinking water to the capital Harare, congratulated his "legendary existence".
The United Nations recently estimated that the average life span for Zimbabweans had dropped to 37 years, due chiefly to the unchecked spread of Aids. More than 1.6 million people, one in 13 of the population, have HIV-Aids, but only 8,000 can afford anti-retroviral drugs.
About 4,000 mostly young people die every week from complications of the disease, exacerbated by poor nutrition and a collapsed health service.
Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party is meanwhile beset by internal squabbles about who will succeed him when he steps down, perhaps in 2008. He has begun lashing out at his cabinet colleagues, blaming them for the disintegrating economy. Acknowledging a poor harvest despite good summer rains, Mr Mugabe has now blamed ministers for the crop failures. There is no maize, the staple food, in shops and bread is in short supply.
For decades about 40 per cent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency was provided by agricultural exports. This has changed since 2000 when Mr Mugabe confiscated 95 per cent of white-owned farms.
On Saturday Mr Mugabe's motorcade will speed 165 miles east to Mutare, the mountain resort on the border of Mozambique, for his birthday party.
"It's awful that he is coming here when so many people are suffering," said Misheck Kaguabadza, the elected mayor of Mutare, who was sacked by the government seven months ago. His crime was to show the UN around Mutare's poor suburbs last year after Mr Mugabe ordered bulldozers to demolish thousands of small houses.
The UN said more than 700,000 people were made homeless in the mid-winter campaign entitled "Clean out the Trash".
Mr Kaguabadza said: "They are going to spend billions of dollars on a party for him and our clinics have no drugs and people are dying of malnutrition."

The Road to Nowhere

Once a pillock, always a pillock. Neil Kinnock, the former Labour leader- the one-time fierce Euro-sceptic and opponent of the House of Lords who ended up as a EU Commissioner and a Lord, has now got a new hobby-horse: changing all 200,000 of Britain's road signs to kilometers. Imperial road signs, according to his Lordship, 'contradict the image- and the reality- of our country as a modern, multicultural and dynamic place'. What utter rot! How many people look at a road sign in miles and think 'oh what an old-fashioned, monocultural, undynamic place Britain is'.
Lord Pillock is to be joined in this mad-cap crusade by a couple of other political losers, Lord 'Dead Sheep' Howe and Lord Dick Taverne, whose claim to fame is that he once won a by-election over thirty years ago.....,,1715807,00.html

This is what 'instability' looks like, Mr Steyn

Well done Messrs Perle, Kristol, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Frum, Feith, Cohen and the Wurmsers!
You've turned a stable, if repressively run country- one which posed no threat to anyone- into a bloody war-zone- one which in the words of a recent CIA report has become the 'major center for jihadists'.
I remember a pre-invasion piece in The Spectator by the neo-con writer and theatre critic Mark Steyn in which he lambasted the so-called 'stability' junkies (me included) for not supporting regime change in Iraq. Well Mark, you've got your 'instability' now. Are you satisfied?,,1715873,00.html

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oliver Kamm: 'wrong and intellectually dishonest'

This very revealing post on how Oliver Kamm deals with those challenging his claims has been sent to me.
Over the next week, I will be printing a series of posts on Kamm and the way he deals with those who question him. Those of you who have been urging me to do a thorough fisking of Kamm's work will not be disappointed!
Representative Press

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Problems with Oliver Kamm
Pejman Yousefzadeh points out that Oliver Kamm makes the mistake of claiming a paraphrase from Chomsky is a quote from the New York Times. The actual quote from the NYT was posted in a comment on Kamm's blog but Kamm deleted it:"Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today. He is also a disturbingly divided intellectual. On the one hand there is a large body of revolutionary and highly technical linguistic scholarship, much of it too difficult for anyone but the professional linguist or philosopher; on the other, an equally substantial body of political writings, accessible to any literate person but often maddeningly simple-minded. The 'Chomsky problem' is to explain how these two fit together."A commenter at points out "Your point that this was an unjust criticism is therefore even stronger, shouldn't Kamm and Sully correct this?" -Posted by: MaB at November 19, 2003"At least you are substantially more honest than Mr. Kamm (who not only hasn't made a correction, but has also removed the comments) and Mr. Sullivan." -Posted by: MaB at November 21, 2003 a comment from linkOliver Kamm wrote, "The dust jacket bears the legend, which one can't be around a Chomsky fan for long without hearing: "Arguably the most important intellectual alive" - The New York Times This very old quotation from the newspaper of record is in fact truncated." Kamm claimed the full quotation was: "Arguably the most important intellectual alive, how can he write such nonsense about international affairs and foreign policy?" Kamm got it wrong. What Kamm quotes is not from the NYT but from a Chomnsky's paraphrase.
The fact is Oliver Kamm is wrong and intellectually dishonest because the real quote was, accourding to Mab, pointed out to him in a comment on his blog (and Kamm removed it): "Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today. He is also a disturbingly divided intellectual. On the one hand there is a large body of revolutionary and highly technical linguistic scholarship, much of it too difficult for anyone but the professional linguist or philosopher; on the other, an equally substantial body of political writings, accessible to any literate person but often maddeningly simple-minded. The 'Chomsky problem' is to explain how these two fit together." -The New York Times Book Review, February 25, 1979 zmagWelll clearly this isn't the first time Oliver Kamm removes comments that point out facts he does not want to admit. I posted a comment that corrected his claim that Israel does not target civilians. HE REMOVED IT. (now I wonder if I am going to get a response to the email I sent him yesterday (see the previous post)) Here is that comment I REPOSTED yet he deleted it again. see here:Kamm wrote, "When it refers to 'violence against civilians' it means, astonishingly, the party in the conflict that doesn't target civilians in the first place"This is not true. Look at Yitzhak Shamir's attitude: “Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war... We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle. First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today...” - Yitzhak Shamir Israeli Prime MinisterPhysicians for Human Rights USA which investigated the high number of Palestinian deaths and injuries in the first months of the Intifada, concluded that:"the pattern of injuries seen in many victims did not reflect IDF [Israel Defense Forces] use of firearms in life-threatening situations but rather indicated targeting solely for the purpose of wounding or killing."[Source: PHR USA, 22 November 2000]This finding was based on "the totality of the evidence" the investigators collected about:"the high number of gunshots to the head; the volume of serious, disabling thigh injuries; the inappropriate firing of rubber bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets at close range; and the high proportion of Palestinian injuries and deaths."The findings of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch confirm this pattern. Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has documented and condemned the targeted use of violence against Palestinian civilians and has found evidence of systematic torture of thousands of Palestinian detainees, including children.What has been confirmed by human rights groups has also been observed directly by journalists.In October 2001, Harper's magazine published the "Gaza Diary" of journalist Chris Hedges. Hedges' entry for June 17, 2001 provides even more shocking evidence of the wanton and deliberate killing of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers at Gaza's Khan Yunis refugee camp.You don't seem to have a grasp on the conflict. Zionists moved into Palestine with the agenda of removing non-Jews and imposing a system of Jewish supremacy upon those within the land they grabbed. And that is exactly what they did and continue to do by force. Israeli land confiscation and settlement of Palestinian land has continued all through the so called "peace process". Is this not understood?After I noticed that Kamm removed my comment, I posted this question: "I noticed you removed my post, can you tell me why? It violates none of your rules. What it does do is point our facts you refuse to deal with. Is this what a moral person does? When presented with facts of the intentional killing of children you sweep it under the rug because of who the killers are? Mr. Kamm, do you realize what you are doing? You are mocking religious groups for standing up for human rights. What gives?"Oliver Kamm is a denier. He claims Israel "doesn't target civilians" when the fact is Israel does target and kill civilains.
posted by Tom at 4/28/2004 12:34:00 PM

21 Years of Patronising the Working Class

'East Enders' is twenty-one years old this week. Doesn't that tell you something about this nation's cultural decline? The BBC soap has surely got to be one of the most depressing programmes ever made. Every time I've ever switched on (accidentally, believe me) and its been playing- one character is fighting or arguing with another.The middle class graduates who make the programme no doubt think this terribly 'authentic'. But anyone who does know a little bit more about working class life, will know it's just pap. Working-class people can, believe it or not go ten minutes without screaming and shouting, organising contract killings or contracting AIDS.
Whatever happened to television programmes that were uplifting? Escapism, adventure and romance are dirty words with our programme makers nowadays. So too it seems is good drama. For realistic, non-patronising portrayals of working-class life, don't look to East Enders. Buy the box set of WhenThe Boat Comes In.

The Man's A Star

The New York Times on Alija Izetbegovic

Here's the latest in our regular series of posts detailing Alija Izetbegovic's Nazi past. This one is from that 'obscure' and 'conspiracist' 'Chetnik' newspaper The New York Times.
Oliver Kamm v David Binder and the New York Times? Go for it Ollie!

October 20, 2003
Alija Izetbegovic, Muslim Who Led Bosnia, Dies at 78
Alija Izetbegovic, the former Bosnian president whose dream of a Muslim-led independent Bosnia and Herzegovina was transformed by Balkan ethnic rivalries into a protracted war, died Sunday in Sarajevo. He was 78 years old.
The cause of death was heart disease complicated by injuries he suffered in a fall at home, The Associated Press said.
In a sense, he became the father of a republic that was the first Bosnian state since a short-lived medieval kingdom. But it was a profoundly divided country whose very creation in 1992 provoked a fierce internecine battle between Muslims, Serbs and Croats — wars in which some 200,000 people were killed and more than were one million driven from their homes. Even after the American-brokered Dayton peace accord ended 42 months of fighting late in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina remained a state administered largely as an international protectorate with few prospects for future unity.
Imprisoned for his Islamic convictions during Yugoslavia's Communist era, Mr. Izetbegovic (pronounced ih-zett-BEH-go-vitch) built a Muslim political organization in 1990, as the old Yugoslavia began to dissolve into a maelstrom of competing nationalisms. After winning elections late that year, Mr. Izetbegovic led his republic toward independence that was supported by the West but not by the Serbs who made up some one-third of the prewar population.
The Bosnian Serbs had repeatedly warned of war if Mr. Izetbegovic declared independence. Gambling that international recognition would provide protection, he declared independence on April 6, 1992.
A sense of mission clearly drove him. "I would sacrifice peace in order to win sovereignty for Bosnia," he said early in his presidency, "but for that peace in Bosnia, I would not sacrifice sovereignty."
But he overestimated the commitment of the West to an independent Bosnia and underestimated the determination of the Serbs.
The Bosnian Serbs, backed by Serbia itself, initially enjoyed superior firepower and laid siege to Sarajevo, shelling the city that had hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics for all three and a half years of the war.
The Serbs claimed they were battling "Islamic fundamentalism," although the Muslims of Bosnia were overwhelmingly a secular people. In his strong religious faith, Mr. Izetbegovic was the exception rather than the rule.
As the support of Serbia eroded and Mr. Izetbegovic's Muslim-dominated Bosnian Army improved, the three sides fought to an effective military stalemate. Ultimately, after a NATO bombing campaign against the Bosnian Serbs in the late summer of 1995, this balance became the basis for a peace settlement and the silencing of the guns.
By then, Bosnia was a shambles: a country divided along ethnic lines with less than a third of the territory under the control of Mr. Izetbegovic's government, its cities shattered and many of its smaller towns razed.
Alija Izetbegovic was born on Aug. 8, 1925, in Bosanski Samac, a town in northern Bosnia now under the control of Bosnian Serbs. His father was a bookkeeper. The family moved to Sarajevo in the 1930's. He grew up among the Slavic Muslims who already in the last decades of the 19th century had developed a strong sense of identity, even of nationhood.
During World War II, when Bosnia became part of the puppet-Nazi state of the Croatian Ustashe, Mr. Izetbegovic joined the Young Muslims, a group torn between siding with the German-sponsored Handzar divisions organized by the German SS or with the Yugoslav Communist partisans led by Josip Broz Tito. Mr. Izetbegovic supported the Handzars.
After Tito's Communist government was established in 1946, a military court sentenced Mr. Izetbegovic to three years in prison for his wartime activities. Once free, he earned a law degree at Sarajevo University and remained engaged in politics.
He is survived by his first wife, Halida, who lives in Turkey; a son, Bakir; two daughters, Leila Aksami and Sabina; his second wife, Melika; and his third wife, Amira, whom he married in 1993 under Shariah, the Islamic code of law. In February 1995, the newspaper Slobodna Bosna published congratulations to him on his fourth marriage, without naming the woman.
His major work, "Islam between East and West," published in 1980, was, by the author's definition, "not a book of theology" but an attempt to define the "place of Islam in the general spectrum of ideas." The book argues that "Islam is more than a religion."
But Mr. Izetbegovic became better known for a 1970 manifesto entitled "The Islamic Declaration" that was widely brandished during the Bosnian war by Serbs as "proof" that fundamentalism was about to engulf Bosnia and entrench itself in Europe.
Circulated among Bosnian Muslims, the declaration was seized upon by the Communist government in 1983 as grounds for Mr. Izetbegovic's arrest on charges of conspiring to create a Muslim state. Convicted with 12 others, he received a 14-year sentence but was released in 1988.
His two terms in prison appeared to imbue Mr. Izetbegovic with a patience and implacability that gave him the inner strength to endure a grueling war as the symbol of his beleaguered people. But his spells of other-worldliness also maddened many international interlocutors.
As Yugoslavia began to fall apart, Mr. Izetbegovic founded the Party of Democratic Action, a Muslim grouping which triumphed in Bosnia's first non-Communist elections because Muslims then had a plurality of about 40 percent in the republic.
At first, the ethnic parties formed a coalition with Mr. Izetbegovic as president. A Serb became speaker of Parliament and a Croat was named as prime minister. But tensions soon became overwhelming.
During the death throes of Yugoslavia, Mr. Izetbegovic often showed prudence. At one stage, he argued for a loose confederation that might preserve the state.
By January 1992, after Croatia and Slovenia had seceded and won international recognition, Mr. Izetbegovic's options had narrowed: either independence from Slobodan Milosevic's truncated Yugoslavia, with the risk of war, or a life within it that could become as intolerable for Bosnia's Muslims as it had become for Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.
Indecision gripped Mr. Izetbegovic, who had made scant preparation for war. On Feb. 23, in Lisbon, he signed, along with leaders of Bosnia's Croats and Serbs, a European-brokered agreement creating a confederal structure for the three Bosnian ethnic groups. A few days later, influenced by what he saw as an encouraging conversation with Warren Zimmermann, the United States ambassador, he changed his mind.
The Izetbegovic government then staged a countrywide referendum on the issue of Bosnian independence. Muslims and Croats endorsed independence by 99.4 percent while the Serbs boycotted a vote their leaders said was illegal.
Street fighting broke out in Sarajevo on April 5. The next day, the European Union recognized Bosnia, and the United States did so a day later. By then, the Serbs were already shelling Sarajevo, and a concerted campaign to drive Muslims from their homes along the Drina, Bosna and Sava rivers in eastern and northern Bosnia had begun.
Through the summer, Bosnian Serb forces seized 70 percent of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expelling hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Many were herded into detention camps where men of fighting age were sometimes executed; women and children were pushed across the lines after suffering abuse and humiliation.
With neither the United States nor the European Union ready to go to war for the state they had recognized, Mr. Izetbegovic turned increasingly to Islamic states, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya, for assistance. Osama bin Laden visited him in Sarajevo in 1993 and sponsored some fighters from Arabic countries to fight on the Muslims' side in Bosnia, according to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Through more than three years of war, there were repeated international efforts to make peace. But Mr. Izetbegovic's resolve stiffened as his army grew stronger, and an American-brokered truce with the Croats in March 1994 helped him concentrate on battling the Serbs.
Determined to cut losses and establish contiguous territory in a war that was now going against them, Gen. Ratko Mladic's Bosnian Serb forces overran the eastern Muslim enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa in the summer of 1995. The massacre of thousands of Muslims from Srebrenica by General Mladic's forces drew international condemnation and helped galvanize the United States and other Western powers into ending the war.
The ultimate determination of Mr. Milosevic to end the war and the defeat of Serb forces in Croatia also stiffened a new resolve within the Clinton administration and at NATO. Beginning on Aug. 30, 1995, American-led NATO forces hit the Serbs with air raids that turned the tide of the war.
Mr. Izetbegovic remained reluctant to the last to accept the division of Bosnia. By the terms of the Dayton accords, 51 percent of Bosnia went to the uneasy alliance of Muslims and Croats, while 49 percent went to a Serbian republic.
The nationalist leaders who signed the Dayton accords ending the violence were Mr. Izetbegovic; Franjo Tudjman, the Croatian president who died in 1999; and Mr. Milosevic, who is on trial at The Hague, accused of war crimes.
Mr. Izetbegovic continued to serve as president of Bosnia, though the position eventually became a three-person office. He stepped down in October 2000.

The Review They Want to Burn

Little did I know when I wrote this book review for the Daily Telegraph last December of the controversy it would cause. I had heard from other independent journalists of the steps neo-conservatives will go to to discredit those who challenge them. But nothing prepared me for the barrage which was to follow. Letters of complaints to commissioning editors, abusive emails- a co-ordinated campaign to discredit me as a journalist- to stop me from exposing neo-conservative double standards ever again.
I refuse to be intimidated by an unrepresentative cabal of powerful, but morally bankrupt people. People who it seems can make any claims they like- be it on 'genocide' in Kosovo, or the non-existent Iraqi 'threat'- but who never have to produce sources or evidence for their assertions.
Not content with their disproportionate influence in the West's media, they are hell-bent on trying to silence those few voices who oppose them.
Here's my review again. And ask yourself what was in it that has made such a powerful group of people so angry.

Daily Telegraph
31st December 2005
Did neo-conservatism meet its end in 2005? The collapse of the levees in New Orleans and its exposure of President Bush's policy of paying for wars of intervention abroad, by cutting back on public provision back home, led many thinkers to believe that it had. Douglas Murray and Oliver Kamm are not among them. For these two young British writers, neo-conservatism is not only still alive and kicking- its finest hour is yet to come. Murray, described by historian Andrew Roberts as 'the Right's answer to Michael Moore', believes that the creed of Leo Strauss, Paul Wolfowitz and Irving Kristol should not only be the ideology of a rejuvenated Conservative Party, but of 'any political party committed to the ideals of freedom at home and abroad'. For Murray, neo-conservatism can provide the 'moral and practical answers' to the political and societal malaise of our country. As to the extent of that malaise there can be no dispute: Britain has the highest level of violent crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and one parent families in Europe. But would the neo-con domestic agenda which Murray advocates make things any better? His attacks on welfare dependency, the glorification of misanthropic rap culture and other examples of multicultural idiocy are justified, and his call for 'broken windows' policing, an increase in church schools and for the state to withdraw from its life-long support of single mothers makes plenty of sense. Yet on what is arguably the main cause of 'societal defects' in Britain today- the pernicious effect of uncontrolled consumer capitalism, Murray is strangely silent. The problem for Murray is that economic liberalism -which he likes- fuels social liberalism which he doesn't. If we really want to see happy families promenading together again on Sunday afternoons, we need to erect “Keep Out” signs to stop the encroachment of market forces into areas they have no right to go. This is something which Murray, in his enthusiasm for a low-tax, deregulated economy, is unwilling to do. And when it comes to our political malaise- most visibly demonstrated by our leaders' failure to tell us the truth over Iraq- Murray once again falls short. Murray would have us believe that the government really did think Iraq possessed WMDs, and incredibly castigates Blair, Campbell and co for 'telling the public too much'. But if our leaders did think Iraq possessed the stockpile of chemical and biological weapons the various dossiers claimed- why on earth would they do the one thing which would provoke Saddam to use them? History tells us that countries attack others only when they are sure of their opponent's relative weakness- something one might have expected Murray to have learnt during his years at Oxford. In trying to put the case for “Left-wing” case for war against Iraq, Oliver Kamm is equally unconvincing. Having told us how the principle of deterrence worked so well during the Cold War, he fails to explain adequately why the deterrence of Saddam, which Secretary of State Powell had been lauding only months before 9/11, could not have continued. Kamm has fun baiting the woolly minded peace activists of the 1930s, and the supporters of unilateral nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, but is on much shakier ground when trying to portray those who opposed the invasion of secular, Ba’athist Iraq as apologists for Islamo-fascism. In fact, it is the neo-cons themselves who have a track record of siding with Islamic extremists- either in Afghanistan in the 1980s or in the Balkans a decade later. Similarly, while lambasting the “amoral quietism” of the Major government for its non-intervention policy in Bosnia, Kamm fails to inform readers that the Bosnian leader Alija Izetbegovic- whose separatist cause neo-conservatives enthusiastically championed- not only wrote “the first and most important lesson from the Koran is the impossibility of any connection between Islamic and non-Islamic systems”, but also recruited for an SS division in the Second World War. It is difficult to think of a man for whom the term “Islamo-fascist” could be more appropriate - yet that didn't stop arch the neo-con Richard Perle acting as an adviser to Izetbegovic's delegation at the Dayton Peace Conference in 1995. On the issue of terrorism, there are double standards too. Terrorists, according to Murray and Kamm, should be always be condemned wherever they are found- but not it seems if they are the gun-runners, drug-smugglers and civilian-murderers of the Kosovan Liberation Army, on whose side NATO acted, with strong neo-cons approval- as an armed proxy in the war against Yugoslavia in 1999. And amid all their words of praise for Israel, there is nothing from either Murray or Kamm on the role that Zionist terrorism played in that state's foundation. If neo-cons really want us to take their ideas more seriously, a little more consistency- and honesty- is surely called for.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Liars Place

If you're in a hole, stop digging. That advice seems to have been lost on David T, a bone-headed blogger on the neo-conservative website Harry's Place'. Today, David T, in a frantic attempt todiscredit me for my having the temerity to challenge HP's pin-up boy Oliver Kamm- printed four lies about me on the site.

The first, was that a claim I made regarding Alija Izetbegovic came from an 'acknowledged Chetnik source'. It did not.
Second, that I am 'backing away' from claims I made about Izetbegovic. I am not.
Thirdly, that a quote I used to highlight Izetbegovic's radical Islamism had been made up. It had not.
Fourthly, that I am an 'A Level resits tutor'. I am not.

As we saw from Kosovo and Iraq, lying seems to comes very easy to neo-conservatives.

Neo-Con Hypocrisy on Muslim 'Threat'

Isn't it revealing that those who championed the separatist cause of the Bosnian Muslims are now among the loudest of those warning us of the threat that radical Islam poses to our society?
The neo-conservatives demonised the Bosnian Serbs for preferring to live in multi-ethnic Yugoslavia- rather than in a breakaway state led by a man who had written 'the first and most important' conlusion to be drawn from the Koran is 'the impossibility of any connection between Islamic and non-Islamic systems'. Now they warns us of the danger of the creeping Islamisation of Britain, revealed in a Sunday Telegraph poll which says that 40% of British Muslims would like to see Sharia Law introduced here.
But what possible objection could Stephen Pollard, Oliver Kamm, David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen and co have to living in an Islamic-dominated state? If it was good enough for the Bosnian Serbs- why isn't it good enough for them?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A President George who Didn't Lie

Here's some topical humour to mark George Washington's birthday this week, from

"George Washington, as a boy, was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie." Mark Twain
"George Washington never told a lie - but then he entered politics when the country was very young".
"George Washington was the first and last man elected President of the United States without telling a lie".
"George Washington never told a lie, but then he was never stopped by a state trooper for speeding."
"George Washington never told a lie, but then he never had to file a Form 1040."

To which could be added:
"George Washington never told a lie, but then he never had to justify an illegal war which only a few crazy neo-conservatives from the AEI, PNAC and the Henry Jackson Society thought was a good idea"

Military option unleashes the brute

Here's my piece on Abu Ghraib from today's (Monday's) Australian.
Military option unleashes the brute
The ugly consequences of the 'humanitarian' war in Iraq were entirely predictable, argues Neil Clark

THE most surprising thing about the latest shocking images of prisoner abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail, revealed on Australia's SBS last week, is that anyone should find them surprising. What else did those who supported the invasion of Iraq expect?This is war, after all, not a cocktail party, and in war two things are always guaranteed. One, innocent people get killed -- usually lots of them. Two, people end up doing the most unspeakable things.

In the Boer War, the British came up with the novel idea of concentration camps in which to incarcerate women and children: more than 26,000 inmates, 80 per cent of whom were children, died from starvation and disease. The widespread abuse of prisoners in World War I led to 128 countries signing the Third Geneva Convention, but that didn't make too much difference as the Germans and the Japanese, aided by the advances of science, soon took the abuse of captives to new, terrible depths.
Even when the scourge of Nazism was removed from the face of the earth and the Geneva Convention was extended to include ill-treatment of civilians, war's ability to cause mankind to sink to barbarism has continued: from Rwanda to Vietnam, from Afghanistan to the Congo.
There has not been a single military conflict in history where atrocities of one form or another have not taken place. Yet, incredibly, there were still those who believed three years ago that the Iraq war would, in some way, be different. What do these people, the ones who argued for a war not to rid Iraq of its phantom weapons of mass destruction but to "liberate" its people, say now as the latest pictures of Abu Ghraib appear on our screens?
Their first response is to come out with formulaic condemnations and to stress how important it is for those responsible to be held to account. Their second is to say that however bad the abuse may be, Iraqis were being abused a whole lot worse under Saddam Hussein.
Neither line is anywhere near good enough. No one would dispute that those found guilty of abusing enemy prisoners should be prosecuted, but what of the responsibility of the politicians whose lies and chicanery led to such an unnecessary, illegal and brutal conflict in the first place? And as to the second line of defence, did we really go to such trouble and expense merely to abuse Iraqis a little less than Saddam did?
Those who did fall for the humanitarian case for war three years ago should have done a little more homework. Just four years before the Iraq invasion came the war in the former Yugoslavia, an intervention couched in exclusively humanitarian terms. Its supporters claim it to have been a success; in reality it was anything but.
Far from preventing a humanitarian catastrophe, the NATO bombing campaign actually precipitated one: a trickle of Kosovan Albanian refugees before the bombing soon turned into a flood. Although the Yugoslav military remained undefeated, 1500 civilians lost their lives, and the high levels of cancer in areas where depleted uranium was dropped mean that the final death toll will be far higher. And since Kosovo was liberated, an estimated 300,000 people have been forced to flee the province -- Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, Egyptians and other non-Albanian minorities; an Amnesty International report details extensive abuse of human rights.
All this begs the question: If Kosovo is an example of a successful humanitarian intervention, what on earth would an unsuccessful one look like?
The problem with a humanitarian war is that wars are by nature unhumanitarian. Electricity and water supplies get cut off. Disease spreads. Innocents get killed: be they Iraqis in a crowded marketplace, Afghans at a wedding or Serbian students on a bridge. We call these casualties collateral damage. Iraqis, as Martin Samuel of Britain's The Times points out, have different words for them: Mum, Dad, Junior. The same words are used by Afghans and Serbs, too.
Does the unhumanitarian nature of war mean that it can never be justified? Not quite. The only war in the past 100 years -- some would say of all time -- that satisfies St Augustine's criteria for a just war is World War II: in 1939, however terrible war was, to have done nothing would have been worse. The fact that out of the 165 wars in the 20th century that killed more than 6000 people, only one can be justified ought to make us pause for thought.
The next time a politician stands up and tries to convince us of the moral case for war, just remember the pictures you saw on SBS last week. And think too of the 100,000 civilians who have lost their lives since the Iraq conflict began. "Wars would end if the dead could return," said British prime minister Stanley Baldwin. They might also end if we stopped believing that they can ever be humanitarian.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Genocide That Wasn't

There's been much talk of making genocide denial a crime. But what about those who claim genocide when there isn't any? Like former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen? Or former President Bill Clinton?
There was no genocide in Kosovo. What there was was a terrorist-counter-terrorist conflict between the Western backed Kosovan Liberation Army and the Yugoslav authorities.
What words can be used to describe those who claimed Yugoslavia was carrying out a deliberate policy of 'genocide'? And what greater insult can there be to the memory of the genuine victims of genocide- than to use the 'G' word to justify an illegal and immoral war?

Some critics have accused the coalition of leading a war in Kosovo under the false pretense of genocide [6]. President Clinton of the United States, and his administration, were accused of inflating the number of Kosovar Albanians killed by Serbians[7]. Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen, giving a speech, said, "The appalling accounts of mass killing in Kosovo and the pictures of refugees fleeing Serb oppression for their lives makes it clear that this is a fight for justice over genocide [8]." On CBS' Face the Nation Cohen claimed, "We've now seen about 100,000 military-aged men missing...They may have been murdered[9]." Clinton, citing the same figure, spoke of "at least 100,000 (Kosovar Albanians) missing[10]". Later, talking about Serbian elections, Clinton said, "they're going to have to come to grips with what Mr. Milošević ordered in Kosovo...They're going to have to decide whether they support his leadership or not; whether they think it's OK that all those tens of thousands of people were killed...[11]". Clinton also claimed, in the same press conference, that "NATO stopped deliberate, systematic efforts at ethnic cleansing and genocide[12]." Clinton even compared the events of Kosovo to the Holocaust. CNN reported, "Accusing Serbia of 'ethnic cleansing' in Kosovo similar to the genocide of Jews in World War II, an impassioned President Clinton sought Tuesday to rally public support for his decision to send U.S. forces into combat against Yugoslavia, a prospect that seemed increasingly likely with the breakdown of a diplomatic peace effort[13]." Clinton's State Department also claimed Serbian troops had committed genocide. The New York Times reported, "the Administration said evidence of 'genocide' by Serbian forces was growing to include 'abhorrent and criminal action' on a vast scale. The language was the State Department's strongest yet in denouncing Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević[14]." The State Department also gave the highest estimate of dead Albanians. The New York Times reported, "On April 19, the State Department said that up to 500,000 Kosovar Albanians were missing and feared dead[15]."
However, the numbers given by Clinton and his administration have been proven false. The official NATO body count of the events in Kosovo was 2,788 (not all of them were war crimes victims)[16], with Slobodan Milošević charged with the "murders of about 600 individually identified ethnic Albanians[17]". Critics have noted that these numbers can not be considered genocide. The headline of The Wall Street Journal, which had launched an investigation into whether genocide had occurred in Kosovo, on December 31, 1999 was "War in Kosovo Was Cruel, Bitter, Savage; Genocide It Wasn't"[18]. The Wall Street Journal wrote, "the U.N.'s International War Criminal tribunal has checked the largest reported sites first, and found most to contain no more than five bodies, suggesting intimate acts of barbarity rather than mass murder... Kosovo would be easier to investigate if it had the huge killing fields some investigators were led to expect. Instead, the pattern is of scattered killings[19]."
In addition, a United Nations Court had previously ruled that Serbian troops did not commit genocide against Albanians. The court wrote "the exactions committed by Milošević's regime cannot be qualified as criminal acts of genocide, since their purpose was not the destruction of the Albanian ethnic group[20]". According to BBC, "the decision was based on the 1948 Geneva convention which defines genocide as the intent 'to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such'[21]". Milošević was not charged with genocide in Kosovo by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) but the more broader "crimes against humanity"[22]. Spanish forensic surgeon Emilio Pérez Pujol, who led the Spanish forensic team in Kosovo, gave an interview to the British paper The Sunday Times. The paper wrote, "In an outspoken interview, Pujol complained he had been sent to head a large investigation team attached to the ICTY, consisting of pathologists and police specialists, to work in the north of the country. But he found that what was publicised as a search for mass graves was 'a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines, because we did not find one—not one—mass grave.'[23]".

Legality of the war
The United Nations Charter does not allow military interventions in other sovereign countries with few exceptions which in general need to be decided upon by the United Nations Security Council. Since Russia and the People's Republic of China vetoed the military intervention it can be seen as illegal.
On April 29, 1999 Yugoslavia filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague against ten NATO member countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the USA). The Court did not decide upon the case because Yugoslavia was not a member of the UN during the war.

Consequences of the war
When the war ended on June 10, it left Kosovo in chaos and Yugoslavia as a whole facing an unknown future.

The most immediate problem — the refugees — was largely resolved very quickly: within three weeks, over 500,000 Albanian refugees had returned home. By November 1999, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 808,913 out of 848,100 had returned. However, much of the remaining Serb population of Kosovo fled or was driven out by revenge attacks. Gypsies, Turks and Bosniaks were also driven out after being blamed by Albanians for siding with the Serbs. The Yugoslav Red Cross had registered 247,391 mostly Serbian refugees by November. The new exodus was a severe embarrassment to NATO, which had established a peacekeeping force of 45,000 under the auspices of the United Nations Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK). Kosovo's Serbian population was soon reduced by over 75%, with NATO apparently unable to provide much security to Serbs outside a few enclaves, most notably the northern town of Mitrovica and the surrounding countryside. Most Serbian refugees have been unable to return and NATO has not yet been able to provide returnees with security guarantees, largely because of KLA violence.

Locals claimed these to be graves of Albanians killed by Serb security forces
The war inflicted many casualties. Yugoslavia claimed that NATO attacks caused between 1,200 and 5,700 civilian casualties. Human Rights Watch counted a minimum of 500 civilian deaths in 90 separate incidents. NATO acknowledged killing at most 1,500 civilians. The majority of deaths appear to have been within Kosovo itself; there were up to 5,000 military casualties according to NATO estimates, while the Serbian figure is around 1,000. Large numbers of Albanian civilians were also killed, although the exact numbers are unclear. Early predictions of hundreds of thousands of deaths proved untrue, but in the months after the war some 2000 mostly Albanian bodies were dug up around Kosovo. Some alleged mass graves were also found in Serbia itself, on Yugoslav military bases or dumped in the Danube. The total number of Albanian dead is generally claimed to be around 10,000, although several foreign forensic teams were unable to verify more than a few hundred dead, and some of those appeared to be Serbs rather than Albanians. The largest mass grave so far found is in Dragodan, an Albanian suburb of Priština. Those bodies so far identified are of Serbs, Gypsies and anti-KLA Albanians, some, or possibly all, of whom were alive when NATO moved in. One explanation is that some of the largest mass graves were cleared before the war's end in an apparent effort to obliterate potential war crimes evidence though it would be amazingly difficult to remove microscopic forensic evidence of the presence of so many bodies. Another explanation is that the whole story is a deliberate lie. Shortly after NATO started bombing the US State Department issued a claim the 500,000 Albanian men were "missing" and by implication dead. The International Red Cross compiled a list of over 3,000 missing Albanians. Most of them turned out to be prisoners transferred to Serbia, and have been released, although some 1,000 are reported to still be in Serbia today. Around 1,500 Serbian civilians were reported missing, believed dead

This Is News: Harry Talks Sense At Last!

Harry of Harry's Place has a terrific posting on the smoking ban.
There's a first time for every thing I suppose. ....

Someone who was there

Those who disagree with the content of my earlier post - don't have to take my word- or Seumas Milne's on the successes of European communism. They can read the testimony of someone who was actually there. Here's my wife Zsuzsanna's Guardian piece on growing up under communism in Hungary in the 1970s and 80s.,,824560,00.html

Quote of the Day

'The absurdity of a government that kills thousands of innocent people in Iraq and then worries about smoking in pubs should be obvious'

It should be- but not to the "illiberal liberals" who voted for both the illegal invasion- and the ban.
Here's the full article from the incomparable John Mortimer.

The Trial They Want Us To Forget

I'm sure there's quite a few people in high places hoping that Slobo snuffs it in hospital. That would get them out of the jam they're in- namely how to convict someone of crimes for which the prosecution has failed to produce any credible evidence. Of course, if there was such a thing as justice in this world, Milosevic would be set free, allowed to return to Yugoslavia and then be able sue those politicians and Empire-supporting journalists who have called him 'The Butcher of Belgrade' and accused him of 'genocide'. Sadly, that won't happen- but wouldn't it be wonderful if it did?

What they still fear the most

Here's a terrific piece by Seumas Milne on what the Empire really fears the most- and it's not Islamic terror.
The problem with European communism was not that it was unsuccessful, but that it was too successful. Undermining communist/leftist regimes has been the number one priority in Washington since the late 1940s- it's why the mujahadin was funded in the 1980s- and why the US sided with radical Islamists in the Balkans in the 1990s. It's also why sanctions are imposed on both Cuba and Belarus. Belarus is a particular irritant for the US- it's the only former Soviet Republic which has actually risen in the UN Human Development Index since 1991. It's done so by following a completely different path to the one prescribed by the US/The IMF and the World Bank. The success of Belarus is living proof that there is an alternative to the current neo-liberal orthodoxy. Which is why, for The Empire and its emissaries, 'regime change' in Minsk is now such an urgent priority.,,1710891,00.html

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What hasn't been posted today on Harry's Place,,1711156,00.html

A true conservative speaks

The joint-Prime Minister in my 'dream' New Statesman Peace Party Cabinet is in tip-top form. Come on Sir Peregrine- rescue British conservatism from the neo-conservatives who have hijacked the movement! Your country needs you!

He's back.........

It's good to see Stephen Pollard back blogging after moving house. Yep, I know he's a New Year's Eve hating, hard-core neo-conservative pro-war, anti-NHS fanatic-- but I'll say one thing for him- he does possess a sense of humour- something seriously lacking by certain other neo-conservative bloggers I could name. His post today on a typo I made- I typed 'sight' instead of 'site' is, I must admit, extremely funny. In fact there's another thing I'll say in Pollard's favour (I'm sure he's fainted now if he's reading this): his passion for National Hunt racing. Any man who regards the Cheltenham Festival in March as one of the highlights of the year cannot be completely evil. He also looks to have a decent hurdling prospect on his hands in the shape of Major Miller.
And a third, final point in Pollard's favour. Peter Shore. Shore is one of my all time political heroes- a man honest enough to admit that you can't talk of greater equality without also extending public ownership. I corresponded with Shore when I was working abroad, teaching Economics in the early-mid 1990s- he sent me copies of the debates on the Maastricht Treaty from Hansard and then, most kindly, a copy of his book 'Leading the Left'. I was not a constituent of Shore's- yet still he replied to my requests- and could not have been more helpful. And at the time I was corresponding with him, Shore's Research Assistant was a certain Stephen Pollard. Any man who has a sense of humour, likes horse-racing and once worked for Peter Shore must have something going for him.
ps don't worry Stephen, I'll resume normal hostilities tomorrow....

This Is What 'Liberation' Looks Like

Remember 'Operation Iraqi freedom'?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Style Council

And also, the long-awaited revival of cigarette holders may also be affected by yesterday's Parliamentary madness. Here's a piece of mine from the The Spectator on the most subversive fashion accessory anyone could wish to have.

The last twenty years have not been happy times for lovers of pure, unadulterated glamour. The global hegemony of Anglo-Saxon capitalism, whatever benefits its apostles ascribe to it, has done to style what The Crusades did to Arab/Christian understanding- as any glance at the baseball-capped hordes marauding down a British High Street on a Saturday afternoon will evidence.
How can we begin the fight-back? Some might prefer a national demonstration for the reintroduction of glamour. But if 2m people shouting ‘Stop the War’ failed to persuade the P.M. of the folly of invading Iraq, it is hard to see how 2m shouting ‘Stop the Grunge’ could be anymore successful. The ancient Chinese philosophers advise us to begin any great enterprise with a small step. The single most effective way for us to begin the battle for a more colourful, exciting and stylish world is to head down to St James’s and buy a cigarette holder. By smoking with a cigarette holder you are doing two things. First, you are enjoying the pleasures of tobacco in the safest way possible: a silicon filter inserted in the holder reduces the intake of tar and other carcinogens by up to 30% . Secondly, you are cocking a snook at the puritans and grunge merchants determined to eliminate the last vestiges of style from our lives. Surely, there is no single item known to man more stylish, sophisticated or downright sexy as a cigarette holder. There is also, in this age of corporate induced uniformity, no item more subversive.
Cigarette holders first appeared on the scene in the mid to late 1920s, the essential fashion accessory for any flapper or self-respecting bohemian.
An early populariser of the habit was Edith Nesbit, poet, Fabian and author of The Railway Children. For Nesbit, a long cigarette holder ‘became part of the picture she suggested- a Raffish Rossetti, with her long full throat and luxuriant hair, smoothly parted’. Unsurprisingly, Nesbit always found herself ‘surrounded by adoring young men’, dazzled by ‘her magnificent appearance‘.
The cigarette holder entered a new golden age with invention in Germany of the Denicotea filter in 1932. Described as ‘the ultimate means to reduce tar and nicotine and avoid yellow fingers’, the DA cartridge meant that smoking with a holder was not only drop dead sexy, but could, if the smoker so wished, be stay alive healthy too. As a supreme irony, a few months after the breakthrough, the most tabagophobic government in history came to power in Germany. Berlin, spiritual cigarette holder capital of the world in the 1920s, became, in 1936 the first city in the world to ban smoking in public places. In the free world, things were thankfully still done differently.
In those glorious, smoky days of the 1930s and 40s, almost anyone who was anyone could be seen smoking with a cigarette- holder. World leaders and politicians from across the political spectrum: FDR, Pandit Nehru, Joszef Broz Tito; military men like Douglas MacArthur; gangsters like Al Capone. Britain’s best selling writer of the inter-war period, Edgar Wallace made the cigarette holder his trademark, as did its most famous composer of musical plays, Noel Coward. For Hollywood or Elstree starlets of the age, smoking with a cigarette holder was almost de rigeur. Today’s ‘stars’ hold wedding parties where guests are issued matching pink track-suits and are served with hamburgers. Sixty years ago, they sat at nightclubs, sipping pink champagne and exhaling nonchalantly from their holders, as the band played on. In Britain, cigarette holders survived post-war austerity and remained in vogue for many years. That ‘one cool chick’ Princess Margaret did her bit for the cause, when, at the age of 19, she was first seen in public with her 3 inch holder; sales rocketed again after Audrey Hepburn’s unforgettable portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Nyree Dawn Porter, Peter O’Toole, Terry-Thomas and Anne, Duchess of Westminster- owner of Arkle, the greatest racehorse of the period, were other post-war icons who must be mentioned in dispatches.
Thirty years on and the sad march of health fascism and political correctness means that while FCUK t-shirts are two a penny in the High Street, spotting a cigarette holder in use has become a rare sight. Anti-smoking fanaticism becomes more hysterical by the day: in the new Thunderbirds film, Lady Penelope is not only deprived of her strings, but her cigarette holder too, on the grounds that ‘it would not set a good example’. Forget the bad language and casual violence which pepper most of today‘s films, clearly it’s the use of a smoking accessory which represents the greatest social evil.
For those determined to resist this insidious nonsense and to help initiate a new golden age for the cigarette holder, Davidoff’s of London on the corner of St James’s and Jermyn Street must be the first port of call. The store stocks a wide selection of Denicotea and two and a half/ three and a half inch Dunhill holders,( ranging from £18-£26) into which silicon filters can be fitted, as well as an individually made meerschaum holders, without filters, which come in their own individual boxes and cost £24.50. Head-turning telescopic holders ranging from five to eighteen inches long are available from £12.50, and for those who like to get every last ounce of pleasure from their cigarette, a twelve inch black and gold tipped ejector model (£14.95) is both an elegant and practical option. Dainty five inch ’trumpet’ holders ( £12.50 ) are perhaps the call for those having to do the majority of their smoking in confined spaces, but if he/she’s buying, then one of Davidoff’s exquisite lacquered enamel, silver or gold plated holders (£73) is highly recommended. For cigarillo smokers wishing to take up the holder habit, Davidoff’s has a collection rodium plated holders from £75 to £90: if you’ve never smoked a cigarillo before in your life, one look at these beautiful pieces of workmanship will make you want to start the habit pretty quickly.
Down the road at Alfred Dunhill’s, 48 Jermyn Street, the holders on sale range from £12.90 models to three inch holders made of briar (£75). There is also a good selection of ‘trumpet’ holders. All the holders in the Dunhill ‘White Spot range come equipped with filters - further details can be found on their website A good collection of meerschaum holders, ranging from £12.95 to £17.95 can be found round the corner at J.J.Fox & Robert Lewis, 19 St James’s Street, as well as a range of Lucite holders, costing from £4.55. For those unable to get to London, or who find their nearest tobacconist does not stock holders, there are various possibilities on the Internet. The Gothic Shoppe’ has a mouth-watering variety- including a new four and half inch model which fits cloves and slimmer cigarettes.
Wherever you do buy your holder, be sure to use it in public. Only when cigarette holders are as common a sight in our streets as FCUK t-shirts are today, will we know that the fight against the mind-numbing ugliness of modern capitalism is well under way. Yesterday’s subversives used petrol bombs. Today’s only need a cigarette holder.



We won't be Havana good time

Sadly, thanks to the fanatics in Parliament, the chances of a cigar club culture ever starting in the UK now looks to be zero. What a pity. We're a country that seems to have lost the art of having a good time.

We just ain’t Havana good enough time
Britain should turn to cigar clubs to restore a culture of pleasure, says Neil Clark

France has over 70, Switzerland has 20 and in Berlin there are two for women alone. Yet London, home to eight million people, has none.While anti-smoking campaigners will no doubt be rejoicing that Britain has missed out on the cigar club culture sweeping Europe and the US, there is, I believe, a good reason to hope that cigar clubs will eventually spring up here too.The point about these clubs is not so much the smoking, but their underlying philosophy. "Networking" and the exchange of business cards may sometimes play a part, but it is the spirit of epicureanism which predominates. Nowhere more so than at La Cape D'Epicure, a club for les amateurs de cigares, based in northern France. For La Cape D'Epicure, "the ideas of conviviality and of pleasure are paramount";Cigar clubs represent cultures that understand having a good time does not mean indulging in excessits members meet not only to smoke and compare notes on cigars, but to enjoy the pleasures of friendship, conversation and good food. Sadly, the spirit behind La Cape seems to be woefully lacking in modern Britain. Although Epicurus taught that "pleasure is the beginning and end of a happy life", he also emphasised moderation in all things, for the simple reason that excess leads to pain instead of pleasure. Anyone doubting how far Britain is away from the Greek philosopher's ideal only needs to spend a night out in any of our towns and cities. Binge drinking, and the manic shrieking and undercurrent of violence which usually accompanies it, are not the signs of a society that knows how to enjoy itself - quite the opposite. Cigar clubs, by contrast, represent cultures that still understand that having a good time does not mean indulging in excess but calmly savouring the things which really make us happy.


The Divine Right of Neo-Conservatives to Jump the Queue

The divine right of kings is long gone- but the divine right of neo-conservatives to jump the queue and have their voices heard above everyone else is still with us. Here's a very revealing insight from The Cat's Blog-on how they operate- and the disproportionate influence they have, even sadly it seems with the Guardian's Letters Editor.
The only way to beat these people is to play them at their own game. To monitor every single claim they make and challenge them to come up with the evidence. Don't let them put us off with their usual 'stop spamming me' brush-offs.
For the past ten years the propagandists for endless war have had far too easy a ride.

Subject: Problems with Oliver Kamm

The Cat's Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Guardian's Readers' Editor's strange idea of democracy

Dear Mr. Mayes,
Regarding your last piece, “Open door. The readers' editor on ... a complaint about a controversial correction” (Ian Mayes, The Guardian, Monday, December 12, 2005), there are a few questions I would like to ask. You write:
Throughout the entire period of my consideration of the complaint I, like Emma Brockes, was among the targets of an electronic lobby group, Media Lens, lobbying broadly in protest at the treatment of Prof Chomsky. Other targets included the editor of the Guardian.What you describe as “an electronic lobby group, Media Lens, lobbying broadly in protest at the treatment of Prof Chomsky” it seems to me an open community of citizens, exercising their rights to be fully participatory in a mature democracy, demanding a correct and honest information by the mass media. Since you disagree with me, how would you describe democracy?You write:
I did not engage with or respond to this lobby, whose members poured several hundred emails into the Guardian. I did not read more than a tiny sample of the emails directed at me. I consider organised lobbies in general to be in effect - whatever the rights or wrongs of their position - oppressive to put it mildly.Aren’t you the Readers’ Editor at the Guardian? Aren’t you the Organization of News Ombudsmen’s President? If you “did not engage with or respond to” the Guardian’s readers writing to their editor; if you “did not read more than a tiny sample of the emails directed” by the Guardian’s readers to their editor; if you consider your readers “oppressive to put it mildly” may I ask you what you consider to be your job? You write:
In the case of Media Lens, those who respond to their Media Alerts are asked to be polite. They do not all manage to follow that advice. I also consider that it is unreasonable to expect me to read the contents of any email bombardment while dealing with a complaint from the principal person involved.I can’t speak for others, but I think to have always been more than polite, every time I wrote to you. Still, I have never received any answer from you. Why? I hope you don’t consider being frank and voicing dissent a sign of impoliteness. About your second point here, with all the respect, I completely disagree with you. I do NOT consider “unreasonable to expect [you] to read the contents” of your readers’ emails. Again, isn’t this your job?You write:
The new complaint, which has prompted this column, is concerned with what Noam Chomsky, and Diana Johnstone, who was also referred to in the Chomsky interview and in the correction, do or do not believe with respect to the events at Srebrenica and to the description of the massacre itself. It comes in the form of a letter to me of about 4,500 words (an estimate) signed by three people: David Aaronovitch, Francis Wheen and Oliver Kamm. All three write for other publications. Oliver Kamm in addition runs a lively website.

So, let me understand here. You “did not engage with or respond to (...) several hundred emails”. You “did not read more than a tiny sample” of these emails. You “consider [these emails] to be in effect (...) oppressive to put it mildly”. But a letter written by three people “has prompted this column”. Does the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor apply a double standard to his readers?I hope you won’t find this email too “oppressive” and I look forward to reading the prompt reply from my editor.
Thank you.
Kind regards,
Gabriele Zamparini
PS I also “write for other publications” and “in addition [I run] a lively website”.
posted by The Cat's Dream at 1:11 PM

Flirting with Fascism

What is it about neo-conservatives and fascism?

The neo-con's favourite Islamofascist: Part Two

As promised here's the latest in a series on posts detailing the shady past of the neo-con's favourite Islamofascist, Alija Izetbegovic. It's from the widely respected U.S. based International Strategic Studies Association-( -which has as its Director of Research Mr Yossef Bodansky- a former senior consultant to the US Department of Defence and the US Department of State. Sorry, Oliver Kamm and your Harry's Place chums-I'm afraid there's no Richard Perle or Robert Kagan on the board of the ISSA- so I guess that for you, it's value as an 'authoritative' source and an 'independent' body is seriously jeopardised!

December 8, 2003
Alija Izetbegovic: A Retrospective Look at His Impact on Balkan Stability
Analysis. By Vojin Joksimovich.

Alija Izetbegovic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) 1990-96, rotating president 1996-2000 and the 1994 winner of King Faisal Award and 2001 the Figure of the Year in the Islamic World, spent most of his life dreaming of a Muslim-led independent B&H. His US supporters and admirers, such as former US President William Clinton, Clinton’s Balkans envoy Richard Holbrooke, former US Ambassador to Belgrade Warren Zimmermann and various handmaidens in the media characterized him as a devout Muslim but committed to a multi-ethnic and democratic Bosnia. They claimed that Serbs and Croats only painted him as an Islamic supremacist, and that this was not the case. But the two prison terms and his writings, as the “Islamic Declaration” discussed below, defeat that argument.
As US-based Bosnian writer Nebojsa Malic has concluded: “Izetbegovic’s vision of Bosnia was not a multi-ethnic democracy, but a multi-caste hierarchy of the kind that existed under the Ottoman Empire, the memories of which were still fresh at his birth in 1925” [Malic, 10/22/03]. Jonathan Eyal, director of London-based Royal United Services Institute, stated that Izetbegovic was not only responsible for atrocities committed by Bosnian Muslims, Iranian and Arab mujahedin, the declaration of independence, which was unnecessary and when it was abundantly clear that it was leading to the war, for gambling with the destiny of his people, but also for the corrupt, single party state he was attempting to establish and for the rule through nepotism [Eyal, 2003].
It is incongruous to claim that the author of the “Islamic Declaration” and he winner of the Islamic Figure of the Year award from King Fahd in Saudi Arabia is somehow not an Islamic supremacist! His writings are as Islamic fundamentalist as it gets. In order to succeed in their public relations construct for deceiving the American people, Clinton, et. al. concealed from the American public Izetbegovic’s writings. It boiled down to nothing short of a Big Lie, propaganda intended to mislead the US and the world public about the root causes for the war in Bosnia.
“ ‘If you read President Izetbegovic’s writings, as I have, there is no doubt that he is an Islamic fundamentalist,’ said a senior Western diplomat with long experience in the region. ‘He is a very nice fundamentalist, but he is still a fundamentalist. This has not changed. His goal is to establish a Muslim state in Bosnia, and the Serbs and Croats understand this better than the rest of us.’’ [The New York Times (NYT), 9/2/96].
During the war and even thereafter he was characterized by many in the Western media as a hero of Muslim resistance who led his country to independence. “As the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo was surrounded by besieging Bosnian Serb forces, battered by enemy artillery and its residents picked off by snipers, Izetbegovic captured the world’s sympathy by running the government from sandbagged buildings pocked and shaken by mortar and gunfire” [Los Angeles Times (LAT), 10/20/03]. The fact is that eight years after the signing of peace accords at Dayton, Bosnia is not independent but a NATO/EU (was UN until 1/1/03) protectorate. Izetbegovic opted for the war while militarily unprepared. As Malic has pointed out: “Izetbegovic’s alleged heroics were a media ploy. In reality, Izetbegovic ordered thousands of Sarajevo residents to work and live under constant threat, allowing only those with special government permits to leave the city, while his family was sent to safety and he himself retreated into a bunker. If the city was the Serb’s hostage, its residents were Izetbegovic’s” [Malic, 10/22/03].
Political and Religious Background
Izetbegovic was born in 1925 in Bosanski Samac, Northern Bosnia, into a family of impoverished Ottoman aristocrats (beys). Allegedly, his family lived in Belgrade until 1868, the year most Muslims fled the Serbian dominated city [LAT, 10/20/03]. His grandfather, who served as mayor of Bosanski Samac, saved the lives of 40 Serbs after Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, leading to World War I. Thirty years later, young Izetbegovic was captured by Gen. Draza Mihailovic’s chetniks who were fighting Hitler’s troops. He was freed due to deeds of his grandfather [ibid]. His father, an accountant, moved the family to Sarajevo in the 1930s.
The German assault on Yugoslavia in 1941 created the Independent State of Croatia with B&H being part of it. At the age of 16, Izetbegovic avoided identifying himself with either the Croat Ustaše Administration or the two Serbian dominated movements of Royalist Gen. Mihailovic or Tito’s communist one. Instead, he founded the “Al Hidayya” or “The Muslim Youth Society”, a subset of the militant Muslim organization “Young Muslims”. “The society was influenced by the ideas of the Bosnian students educated at Cairo’s Al-Azhar’s University. The Society concluded that Islam is an ideology, according to which life should be lived. It is not a religion that is confined only to individuals and religious rituals” [Islam Online, 2003].
From 1943, Izetbegovic was the head organizer of a recruiting drive for the infamous, all Muslim, Waffen SS 20,000-strong Handzar or Hanjar Division. Handzar is derived from the Arabic word which means “dagger.” Religion was an essential motivational tool. Each battalion had an imam. The spiritual leader was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini. Upon expulsion from Palestine by the British, the Grand Mufti organized a brutal anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad in 1941. Having failed to install a pro-nazi Iraqi Government, he escaped and spent the rest of the war in Germany and Italy. He recruited Bosnian Muslims and Muslims from the Caucasus for dedicated Nazi SS units. In a March 1, 1944 broadcast from Berlin he stated: “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion.” He wrote a pamphlet, “Islam and the Jews,” which served to incite the slaughter of Jews and Serbs. [Bostom, 2002].
The number two nazi after Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, formed two Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS divisions: the 13th Waffen SS Gebrigs Division der SS Handzar and the 23rd Waffen SS Division Kama. They committed hideous crimes in Bosnia against the Serbs, killed hundreds of US troops fighting the 5th US Army division in Italy for six months. Upon capitulation of Italy, the Nazi Bosnian Muslims fled to Yugoslavia and maintained the railway link between the Balkans and Auschwitz thus making their contribution to the “Final Solution.” The picture of Heinrich Himmler, inspecting the Handzar division, is reproduced in my Kosovo book [Joksimovich, 1999, p.41]. The original photo is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London. Following the end of World War II, many from the Handzar division joined the Arab armies which fought against the Jews in then Palestine.
Malic notes: “Just as Islam dictated Izetbegovic’s philosophy, so did World War II experience shape his political relations with Bosnia’s Christian majority, the Serbs and Croats. Between 1941 and 1945, Bosnia was part of the Independent State of Croatia, in which Serbs were being persecuted as fiercely as Jews in the nazi Reich, among others by the Muslim Waffen SS and irregulars, whom Izetbegovic supported” [Malic, 10/22/03]. For his World War II and post-World War II activities, such as publishing the journal called Mujahid (“The Warrior”), Izetbegovic was convicted in 1946 and sentenced to five years of imprisonment by the Supreme Yugoslav Military Court (566/46, dated June 15, 1946) for the crimes against the people and the state.
The prosecutor characterized the “Young Muslims” as a terrorist organization. After serving the sentence for three years, Izetbegovic began studying law and graduated from Sarajevo University in 1956. He continued to work for the moral and religious regeneration of the Muslim community. Islam Online (UK) claims that ”Egyptian President Nasser asked his friend Tito about Izetbegovic and Tito replied that Izetbegovic was more dangerous than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt” [Islam Online, 2003].
The Islamic Declaration
Izetbegovic’s most famous writing was, a political manifesto, “The Islamic Declaration: A Program for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples” [Izetbegovic, 1990]. The text was written in 1970 but was not made available to the public at large. It was illegally duplicated and circulated among Muslims, to serve as a manual and a practical instruction for the Islamic propagandist-political and organizational work of adversaries of the secular, non-islamic order. The Declaration was officially published in Sarajevo in 1990 upon collapse of the communist system. During the war in Bosnia, 1992-1995, the Islamic Declaration was printed in tens of thousands of copies and distributed to military and police units loyal to Izetbegovic [Doc Center, 2002].
Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Raphael Israeli, wrote: “The declaration, which in many respects sounds and looks like the platforms of Muslim fundamentalists elsewhere (eg: the Hamas Charter) assumes that its appeal will be heeded by Muslims around the world, not only by its immediate constituency.” It accuses the West of wishing to ‘keep Muslim nations spiritually weak and materially and politically dependent’ [Izetbegovic, pp. 1-2] and calls upon the believers to cast aside inertia and passivity in order to embark on the road of action” [Israeli, 2002].
It is apparent that Izetbegovic was influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian ideologue Sayyid Qutb’s writings. Malise Ruthven wrote: “More than any other recent Muslim writer, he (Qutb) is the inspiration behind 9/11” [Ruthven, 2002]. Izetbegovic shuns local nationalism of any sort and substitutes it with creation of a universal Islamic polity, or umma from Morocco to Indonesia [Izetbegovic, p.3]. It is difficult to imagine a Catholic or an Orthodox, or any other confession representative having similar dreams in 1970s. What would Europe look like? Izetbegovic mentions that “a few thousand true Islamic fighters forced England to withdraw from the Suez Canal, while the nationalist armies of the Arabs were losing battles against Israel,” and where “Turkey, an Islamic country, ruled the world, yet when it tried to emulate Europe it dropped to the level of a third world country. It is not nationalism that makes the force of Muslim nations, but their abidance by Islam in its universal version” [ibid, p.4]. He has obviously shown a disdain for Western values. One can surmise that the Bosnian Muslims ought not to take part in any form of government which is not Islamic. The options are: either subscribe to the Muslim revival and its political requirements, or be doomed to stagnation and oblivion [ibid, p.4].
The manifesto holds that there is no point in legislating laws, as in the West, because they end up corrupting the society. It is infinitely better to educate people and teach them to obey Allah, for this will put an end to corruption and lawlessness, which is the reason for the “incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems,” therefore “there can be no peace nor coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions” [ibid, p.23]. In the Bosnian society, no provision is made for non-Muslims or for a multi-religious or multi-cultural society. “Islam determines its internal and Pan-Islamism its external relations, because Islam is its ideology and Pan-Islamism its politics” [ibid, pp.27-28]. “There can be no independence and freedom without Islam” [ibid, p.35]. Freedom in Islamicist-speak means freedom to oppress others.
The manifesto provides religious freedom and “protection” to the minorities, “providing they are loyal,” which boils down to the protected people under its aegis [ibid, p. 40]. Since the Bosnian Muslims were in minority, they were counting on the intervention of the World Muslim community, which was corroborated in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars. “We must be preachers first and then soldiers.” Force to take over power will be applied “as soon as Islam is morally and numerically strong enough, not only to overthrow the non-Islamic rule, but to develop the new Islamic rule”, because to act prematurely is equally dangerous as to be late in taking the required action” [ibid, p.46]. The model for the new Islamic order is Pakistan, the Muslim state that, in spite of its many deficiencies, remains the “great hope” of Izetbegovic [ibid, p.48]. The fact that feelings of affinity for oppressed Muslim brothers everywhere is not translated into action is the fault of the Western-educated Muslims who substitute nationalism for Pan-Islam [ibid, p.51].
Commitment to Islamic Dominance
The Islamic Declaration was followed up with the book “Islam Between East And West”. This comprehensive praising of Islam was completed in 1980, but first published in English in 1984 after it was smuggled into the US, Turkish in 1987 and Serbian in 1988. The book revealed Izetbegovic’s deep Islamic culture and knowledge of the western intellect with its points of strength and weakness. Izetbegovic believed that “there are only three integral outlooks on the world and there can be no more than three: religious, materialistic and Islamic”, claiming that “Islam is more than a religion [Izetbegovic, 1988, p.7]. It boils down to that the Muslims’ holy task is first to implement the Islamic attitude to the world at home, and subsequently, by accomplishing this goal, bring happiness to the to the entire world as well. “No East, no West, Islam is the Best.” It is Izetbegovic’s Khomeini-type message.
In 1983, the Yugoslav communist regime arrested Izetbegovic, with 12 others, on charges of conspiring with Iran to create a pure Muslim state. The prosecutor claimed that the Islamic Declaration indicated a desire to create an ethnically pure Islamic Republic out of B&H, Kosovo and other Muslim areas. He argued that the Declaration advocated an Islamic revival starting with a religious revolution to be followed by a political revolution. Izetbegovic rejected Kemal Ataturk’s Turkish secular model as framework for the Muslim state,.the model the US favours for islamic countries. There should be no separation between the state and religion. The state should be governed by sharia, the Islamic religious code. Izetbegovic was sentenced to 12 years in prison but pardoned in 1989 and set free. Five of the defendants were accused of urging Muslims not to marry non-Muslims and of planning a trip to Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic fundamentalist Iran. There were riots organized by clerics who had been trained in Qom (holy city for Shiite Muslim in Iran) and sent back to Yugoslavia by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Only Izetbegovic and Ayatollah Khomeini, out of all presidents who visited Turkey, did not pay respect to the grave of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, founder of the post-Ottoman Turkish state. “Kemalism” is a form of nationalist modernization, which would prefer to treat Islam as a kind of a folk culture in Turkish society rather than part of the religious fabric of the country. For Khomeini and Izetbegovic he was a traitor of fundamentalist Muslim principles. During a 1993 ceremony in Saudi Arabia bestowing on him an award for service to Islam, Izetbegovic said: “It is true that all my activities, since my youth, have been inspired by the idea of Islam, they will be in the future, too” [LAT, 10/20/03].
“President” of Bosnia
Izetbegovic came to national prominence in March 1990 when he co-founded Bosnia’s first nationalist ethnic based political party, Party for Democratic Action (SDA) after the League of Yugoslav Communists imploded opening the way for multi-party elections. SDA has been the Muslim nationalist party made up of Muslims only to advance their goal of a Muslim state with the Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats to be tolerated as marginal minorities despite the fact that they were de facto in majority. Aleksa Djilas [Djilas, 1992] maintained that “most Muslim leaders believed only a Muslim should be allowed full citizenship.” One of the SDA co-founders, Adil Zulfikarpasic, argued that the SDA should represent the Muslim interests without becoming “Islamist.” He was rebuked by Izetbegovic, who told him that “five hundred imams” would play a key rôle in it [Trifkovic, 10/23].
Many Bosnian Muslim political leaders advocated expulsion of Serbs across the Drina River into Serbia and Croats to Dalmatia. They argued that “the rule of non-Muslims over Muslims was blasphemous” [Savich, 2002]. The Bosnian Muslim government produced even green colored Bosnian passports and a flag which excluded the Serb and Croat symbols. Actually, the passports have been blue from the start. The flag was blue shield with six golden fleurs-de-lis, separated be a diagonal white bar. King Tvrtko was crowned in a Serbian monastery Mileseva. Hence, these symbols could be taken as Serb; the flowers are also a Catholic symbol. The only people they absolutely did not represent were the Muslims-but by claiming these symbols, Izetbegovic made sure no one else could. Should this not suggest that this attitude for Muslim hegemony was a root cause of the conflict? The Serbs and Croats would follow suit, forming their own ethnic based parties. Hence, the SDA existence was incendiary. The politics of ethnic exclusiveness made the war predictable.
In November 1990, the first non-communist elections resulted in the SDA’s victory on the basis of the numerical plurality of Muslims (43% of the population). The three ethnic parties reached a power-sharing agreement. A government coalition, Bosnia and Herzegovina or B&H Presidency was formed. Izetbegovic was elected president of a seven-member, multi-ethnic rotating presidency; a Croat was the prime minister while a Serb was president of the Assembly. Of all the heads of state in the six republics of the former Yugoslavia, Izetbegovic uniquely had been a lifelong anti-communist. All the others were communist party aparatchiks, although Croatian president Franjo Tudjman swapped his communism for nationalism in late 1960s.
In the election campaign, the SDA was led by Fikret Abdic, a secular Muslim, in order to shield the party from criticisms of being led by a Muslim fundamentalist. Izetbegovic came second, after Fikret Abdic, in the race for the two presidency seats reserved for the Muslims. However, Izetbegovic most likely muscled Abdic out of the job or Abdic withdrew to attend to rebuild his Agrokomerc company after its collapse in late 1980s as the Independent claims [Independent, 10/20/03]. Abdic, together with his 20,000 secular Muslims, opposed the war. When it erupted, he made deals with all sides: Serbs, Croats, Izetbegovic’s Muslims and the UN to keep the northwest part of Bosnia, known as the Bihac pocket, free of conflict. Izetbegovic was an autocrat, removing or physically eliminating those who became too ambitious or independent. Hence, Abdic was compelled to fight against Izetbegovic’s 5th Corps, including mujahedin. His rebellion, one of the most unreported stories in the war, came to an end in August 1995. His followers were ill-treated by Izetbegovic’s forces. One of his followers said: I’m a Muslim and I’m not ashamed of it. But I don’t want to fight Serbs. I don’t want to go to war. I don’t want my children to learn the Koran and Arabic” [AP, 1995]. Abdic was arrested in Zagreb and sentenced.
Once elected, Izetbegovic started behaving as a Bosnian Muslim nationalist or Bosnjak (Bosniak-an English translation). A term chosen purposefully for its closeness to “Bosanac” (Bosnian in English), a geographic descriptor, so it would imply the Muslims were the real Bosnians, while Croats and Serbs were interlopers. He claimed that the Muslims were a nation with a separate language despite the fact that the Serbs, Croats and Muslims speak the same language: the Serbo-Croat. By doing so, he denied the Serbs and Croats, who are also indigenous people, the right to the land of their birth. The Serbs, Croats and Muslims are all Bosnians. As a matter of fact, the Muslims are Serbs or Croats Islamized under the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, Izetbegovic asserted that for “almost a thousand years Bosnia has existed as a distinct political entity” [Trifkovic. 10/23]. The claim was baseless.
Furthermore, Izetbegovic made a bold statement to the Bosnian parliament on February, 27 1991, before Croatia and Slovenia declared unilateral independence: “I would sacrifice peace for a sovereign Bosnia and Herzegovina, but for that peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I would not sacrifice sovereignty" [LAT, 10/20/03]. It was a cry for war as far as the Serbs were concerned, a war for which Izetbegovic was militarily ill prepared. Izetbegovic had secret armed militia at his disposal and counted on seizing Federal Army weaponry as the Army was retreating. Lord Carrington, Chairman of EC Peace Conference on Yugoslavia 1991-2, warned Izetbegovic not to gamble with the fate of his people, that the Muslims would be overrun and destroyed, and urged him to make a peace with the Serbs. Izetbegovic replied that he could not do that and that he would fight [Danas, 2001].
Izetbegovic appointed the Muslim National Council (MNC) of Bosnia to achieve long-term aspirations, to create a Muslim state in the Balkans. This state would defend the Muslim interests throughout Yugoslavia, i.e. Sandzak, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia). “Rise brother Muslims, there are enough of us to accomplish our goals, whom the Muslim and those of Muslim blood will not betray. This time will never come again. Now is the opportunity to realize the dream of every Muslim” [qouted in Doc Center, 2002 from the Bosnian Muslim magazine VOX]. Among other objectives the MNC was working for were the creation of a Muslim state within the borders of present day B&H and formation of the Muslim Armed Forces.
In October 1991, the MNC defined its political platform: “The day is nearing when the announced Islamic Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be proclaimed. The date, which every Muslim in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sandzak [Raška] is ardently waiting for has been known for a long time to be the 31st December. There are some indications that the Serbs might oppose this historic event...Every individual Serb must be aware of the responsibility of the entire nation, the penalty for crimes will be collective-for one dead Muslim one hundred Sebs will be liquidated-for one wounded Muslim (depending on the wound severity) 10-50 Serbs will be executed [ibid].
The document further elaborates how the Serbs would be treated in the Islamic Republic. “All Serbs will have a 12-hour working day. The wages will be proportionate to the loyalty of all employees and as a rule they will be paid 30 percent less than the wages of Muslims whom occupy the same post ... Serbs will receive rations for food, which they will obtain in special shops. Serbs do not have national parties and if the do not abide by the rules of political life, they will not be entitled to political organization or to vote..Serbs are equal to Muslims if, of their own will, they are received into the Islamic faith of their forefathers...A good Serb is a living and obedient Serb or a dead, disobedient Serb [ibid].
The presidency of the Association of the Islamic Clergy (Ilmia) for B&H offered in 1992 in huge print, run in annual Takvim, the following instruction for jihad: “Jihad in Islam is not only a war in the name of Allah. In reality, Islam is a revolutionary ideology and program that aims at changing the social system of the whole world and order it in harmony with its regulations and ideals. Islam wants to destroy all the states and governments anywhere on earth which stand opposed to the ideology and program of Islam, regardless of the state or the nation that is in power. The purpose of Islam is to establish the state based on its ideology and program, no matter which nation becomes the bearer of Islam or which nation is undermined in the process of establishing the ideological Islamic state” [ibid].
Izetbegovic showed prudence first by arguing for a loose confederation that could preserve the country. He may have made the proposal knowing fully the Serbs would never agree to it-something he’d done again and again later. On June 3, 1991, the Izetbegovic-Gligorov (President of Macedonia) plan was announced, which was referred to as “sovereign republics in a sovereign state” or “commonwealth of sovereign republics.” On June 6, at the sixth and last Summit of Presidents of Yugoslav Republics, Izetbegovic-Gligorov plan was not accepted. On June, 21 the Yugoslav Federal Government adopted proposals along the Izetbegovic-Gligorov platform [Markovic, 1996]. The same day, Secretary of State James Baker, visited Belgrade and met with all Yugoslav Republic presidents. He told them that the US supported democratic and unified Yugoslavia and that the US would not recognize unilateral secessionist moves. Four days later, Slovenia and Croatia announced unilateral declaration of independence. Hostilities erupted first in Slovenia and than in Croatia leading to the Serb-Croat war of July 1991-January 1992. It should be noted, that while the war in Croatia was raging Bosnia remained calm. After a fashion; Izetbegovic urged Muslims not to answer conscription notices, declared Bosnia “neutral”. yet sent some militia organizers to fight with the Croats.
During a visit to Turkey in July 1991, Izetbegovic put in a request for B&H to join the Organization of Islamic Conference with no consultation with his Serb and Croat coalition partners. In mid-July 1991, Zulfikarpasic obtained Izetbegovic’s agreement to contact the Serb leaders and negotiate constitutional arrangements. The result was “The Belgrade Initiative” providing for a Serb-Muslim power sharing arrangement. It was immediately rejected by Izetbegovic. To this day, Zulfikarpasic remains convinced that a unique chance to secure peace had been lost, and he places the responsibility firmly on Izetbegovic [Trifkovic, 10/23].
Secession and War
A key development took place October 14-15, 1991. Izetbegovic’s deputies joined forces with the Croat deputies to push through the Assembly a “memorandum” proclaiming sovereignty of B&H, paving the way for its secession from Yugoslavia. The Serbian deputies, insisting on observance of the Constitution and international of laws, walked out. The Yugoslav Constitution did not allow republics to simply secede. The Constitution of B&H explicitly stated than two ethnic groups could not outvote the third one. Any of the three ethnic groups had veto power. Out of international laws, the most obvious breach was that of the Helsinki Accords. The Serbs wanted to stay in Yugoslavia. If others wanted to secede so be it, but if Muslims and Croats had the right of self-determination, the same privilege applied to the Serbs. The American equivalent was when a part of Virginia wanted to stay in the Union resulting in creation of West Virginia.
When the EC countries bowed to German pressure to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia on January 15, 1992, Izetbegovic faced essentially two options: independence from rump Yugoslavia, an outright gamble with a high likelihood of war; or a life within Yugoslavia which would have denied him a chance of pursuing his Islamist ambitions. Had B&H stayed in Yugoslavia, Serbs would not have fought. The wars in Yugoslavia would have ended on January 2nd, 1992 with Cyrus Vance’s mediation between the Serbs and Croats.
Izetbegovic requested international recognition from the EC despite vehement Serbian objections. The EC, instead of respecting the B&H constitution and the Helsinki Accords, responded by requiring a referendum which boiled down to the rule: “Might is Right”. In the referendum, held February 29-March 1, 1992, the Muslims and Croats (62.68 percent) endorsed independence while the Serbs boycotted the referendum. The Croats played a duplicitous game. They wanted B&H out of Yugoslavia, before demanding secession of their part of B&H and joining Croatia. This declaration of independence was a trigger for war.
Jose Cutileiro, the Portuguese Foreign Minister as Portugal held the rotating EC presidency, chaired the The International Conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina on February 14 in Sarajevo. As a follow-up, he sponsored a meeting in Lisbon on February 23, 1992. Izetbegovic represented the Muslims, while Dr. Radovan Karadzic and Mate Boban represented the Serbs and Croats respectively. Cutileiro, was successful in brokering a preliminary agreement. B&H was to be a confederation divided into three ethnic regions based on a constitution drafted by Lord Carrington and Cutileiro using Swiss-style cantons as the model. All three parties signed the agreement. This agreement was probably the last chance to avert the civil/religious war.
Cutileiro, in a letter to The Economist, confirmed that “principles for future constitutional arrangements of Bosnia and Herzegovina” were AGREED BY ALL THREE PARTIES (Muslim, Serb and Croat) in Sarajevo on March 18, 1992, as the basis for future negotiations. These continued, MAPS AND ALL, until the summer, when the MUSLIMS RENEGED ON THE AGREEMENT ... To be fair, President Izetbegovic and his aides were ENCOURAGED TO SCUPPER THAT DEAL and to fight for a unitary Bosnian state by well-meaning outsiders who thought they knew better” [Economist, 1995].
David Binder [NYT, 8/29/93] wrote: “Mr Izetbegovic’s acceptance of partition, which would have denied him and his Muslim party a dominant role in the republic, shocked the Unites States policy makers ... The embassy was for recognition of B&H from sometime in February on,” Ambassador Zimmermann said of his recommendation from Belgrade. Upon Izetbegovic’s return from Lisbon, on February 25, Mr Zimmermann called on him in Sarajevo, noting: “He said he didn’t like it. I told him, if he didn’t like it, why sign it?”
Ambassador Zimmermann in his book claims that the Bush 41 administration “strongly supported” the EC sponsored talks. “Eagleburger had told Izetbegovic that the US would back a negotiated outcome under EC auspices. The war, once under way, changed American attitudes. In August 1992 Eagleburger began to criticize the EC’s efforts as dividing Bosnia.” Furthermore, he says that Izetbegovic “was astonished by the EC proposal for the creation of ethnically based regions. This could create three states within Bosnia and amounts to partition from within.” Allegedly, Izetbegovic said that “he had been put under pressure by the other parties, including Cutileiro, and felt he had to give in. When he got back to Sarajevo, his Muslim colleagues upbraided him for weakness. Now he did not know what to do....I encouraged Izetbegovic to stick by what he’d agreed to. It wasn’t a final agreement.” In the hindsight of history, Zimmermann concluded that the Cutileiro’s plan would have worked better for the Muslims than any subsequent plan, including the Dayton Accords, since the divisions would have reflected the ethnic percentages of the populations [Zimmermann, 1999, p.188-190].
Louis Sell, retired Foreign Service Officer who spent eight years in the Former Yugoslavia , wrote: “European diplomats claimed that the US decision on recognition undermined negotiations on the Cutiliero agreement, for which they purported to have Milosevic’s backing...while recognition did not, by itself, cause the fighting in Bosnia, it helped push both the Serbs and Muslims along already existing paths toward war. It reduced incentives for the Muslims to agree to the ethnically driven Cutileiro plan, which was in any case repugnant to the integralist vision of Bosnia. It also increased Sarajevo’s hope, perhaps its only consistent strategy throughout the war, that someday the US would come to rescue. Conversely, recognition increased the Serb proclivity to go for a military solution in Bosnia-and option for which they were already well prepared” [Sell, 2002].
“Even before the first shots were fired, Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger made it clear that a goal in Bosnia was to mollify the Muslim world and to counter perception of an anti-Muslim bias regarding American policies in Iraq” [Trifkovic, 10/03]. On April 6, 1992, the anniversary of the 1941 nazi Germany’s attack on Yugoslavia in World War II including bombing of Belgrade killing 17,000 civilians, in Luxembourg, the Ministerial Council of the EC adopted a Declaration on Yugoslavia in which the EC and its members decided to recognize the Republic of B&H within its present borders. Armed clashes broke out in Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia. Fourteen people were killed and more than 100 wounded. The Yugoslav Federal army intervened on the side of the population loyal to the Federation, ie: the Bosnian Serbs. Would Lincoln have done it differently?
On April 7, 1992, US Pres. George H. W. Bush signed a decree on recognition of independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia within the present (“administrative”) boundaries of these former Yugoslav republics. The EC/US recognition was characterized as “foolhardy in extreme” by Lord David Owen, co-author of the Vance-Owen plan and the principal EC negotiator [Owen, 1995]. The recognition was indeed “foolhardy in extreme.” It could be best illustrated by examining the March 10, 1992 State Department map of B&H [StDet, 1992]. The map shows that the Muslims had population majority only in 15 percent of the territory. What actually was recognized? Was there a historic precedent for this type of recognition? Besides a host of international laws was violated. It clearly was an act of aggression against Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was dismembered via the diplomatic recognition. It instigated the 42 months war with devastating consequences.
The same day, The Assembly of Serbian People in B&H declared in Banja Luka the independence of the Serbian Republic “which may enter into association with other entities in Yugoslavia." The Serbian representatives in the B&H Presidency resigned. On April 8, 1992, the B&H Presidency, without the Serbian members, declared the state of impending war threat. On April 11-12 in Sarajevo, a new round of negotiations chaired by Cutileiro took place. All three warring parties agreed on conditions of ceasefire. General agreement also achieved on determination of future constituent units. In spite of the agreements, armed conflicts escalated. However, having secured recognition, Izetbegovic had no incentive to take EC-brokered talks seriously any longer. Also, he seemed to have believed that the Bush 41 administration would come to his rescue.
On April 14, the US State Department issued a statement condemning the Yugoslav People’s Army military interference in internal matters of B&H, “the independent state with internationally recognized borders,” and named leadership of Serbia as the main culprit for conflicts and warned that measures of economic and political isolation of Serbia would be undertaken. The government of Serbia issued a “sharp demarche to the US administration” because of the “onesided, unobjective and biased policy pursued recently by the US in connection with theYugoslav crisis in B&H and situation in Kosovo and Metohija.” The US administration was requested to “adjust its policy to facts and truth, respect for dignity of the Serbian nation and its legitimate interests in the Yugoslav crisis,” and “in the interest of further good relations and positive solution to the overall Yugoslav crisis stop the current unprincipled campaign against Serbia” [Markovic, pp. 36-37].
Had the [first] Bush Administration taken a balanced, unbiased and neutral approach to the Yugoslav crisis as opposed to “mollifying the Muslim world”, which resulted in advising Izetbegovic to pull out from the Cutileiro mediation, the war in Bosnia would have been most likely terminated and on the order of 100,000 lives saved (not fictitious 250,000 commonly quoted in the Western and the US media in particular).
This is not to suggest that Izetbegovic, Tudjman and Milosevic should not share the blame. Izetbegovic was blinded by his Bosnian Muslim nationalism to create the Islamic Bosnian Republic and opted for the war. Tudjman was blinded by his nationalism, while Milosevic was blinded by his lust for power, political survival and his ideology. His philosophy was best illustrated with his slogan “Peace has no price.” Lord Owen, who had met with Milosevic on numerous occasions, in his ICTY testimony characterized Milosevic as a pragmatist and not an ethnic purist [Reuters, 11/3/03]. A stark contrast with his standard Milosevic portrayal by the Western media. The Clinton administration should most certainly share the blame for prolonging the war to 42 months. The US Clinton Administration, which followed the first Bush Administration, axed 4 EC/EU/UN peace proposals, including the Vance-Owen plan, all supported by Milosevic. When advised that he may not be reelected, Clinton ordered the war to be terminated. Another guilty party must be mentioned: the EC countries. They rejected the Dutch July 1991 memorandum to redraw the republic’s boundaries, characterized as the “biggest mistake” by David Owen [Owen, pp. 31-33].
Islamic Involvement: Not a Last Resort Through the summer of 1992, the Bosnian Serb forces controlled about 70 percent of the territory with the Croats and Muslims splitting 30 percent. Izetbegovic was pleading for a Western intervention. Neither the US nor the EC were interested in going to war for the state they haphazardly recognized. Many writers, including knowledgable David Binder of The New York Times, wrote that than Izetbegovic turned to the Islamic states, ie: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya for assistance [NYT, 10/19/03]. However, Izetbegovic and his followers cultivated close relations with Iran since early 80s. Hasan Cengic; an Islamist theologian, veteran of the 13th Waffen SS division, later general in Izetbegovic’s Army and deputy Defense Minister, has been linked with Iranian-sponsored terrorism since 1983 [Copley, 2003]. Pre-war ties with Turkey existed as well.
The Iranians were the first ones to arrive, followed by Sudan based Armed Islamic Movement (AIM) affiliates, umbrella organization of Islamist terrorist organizations committed to global pan-Islamic causes, and bin Laden’s al-Qaida. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states provided the bulk of the financing. Bin Laden visited Sarajevo in 1993 and obtained the Bosnian passport in Vienna. He appointed Ayman al-Zawahiri to head the al-Qaida operations in Bosnia. The rôle of these Islamists is addressed in detail elsewhere.
Here, briefly, they started arriving in June 1992. They were incorporated into the Army of B&H with Izetbegovic as the supreme commander. Their presence was legalized by Izetbegovic’s presidential decree signed on August 1, 1992. They were given the pamphlet titled: “Instructions to a Muslim Fighter.” Among other things it said: “... the military command has the right to decide whether it is more useful to release, exchange or kill the enemy prisoners of war”. Numerous violations of the 1949 Geneva Convention were documented. Serbs living in areas where mujahedin operated abandoned en masse their homes and property leaving less than 50,000 Serbs in areas where about 500,000 lived before the war.
The mujahedin committed unspeakable atrocities including decapitations preceded by torture, severing of body parts and gouging of eyes [Doc Center, 2002]. The ICTY in the Hague has indicted nobody for these atrocities despite the fact that the UN authorities had detailed knowledge about these atrocities. The UN Commission of Experts, chaired by the American Muslim professor Cherif Bassiouni, in their report to the UN Security Council, stated: “The mujahedin forces came from several Muslim states and many of them were veterans of the Afghan war. The mujahedin forces were reported to be under the command of the B&H Army... Reports also indicate that the mujahedin had the support of President Izetbegovic and his government...Reports submitted to the Commission of Experts alleged that the mujahedin have been responsible for the mutilation and killing of civilians, rape, looting, the destruction of property, and the expulsion of non-Muslims ... Troops from Saudi Arabia allegedly killed three Serbian Territorial Defense members and placed the victims’ severed heads on poles near the Tesanj turret. ..Beheadings of Serbs bu mujahedin forces have also been reported in other areas [UN, 1994]. In a recent brief conversion with Richard Goldstone, the first ICTY chief prosecutor between 1993 and 1996, Goldstone told me that he was unaware of these crimes.
On November 14, 1993, Izetbegovic visited the mujahedin training camp in Zenica. He blessed the mujahedin fight and assistance to the brotherly nation in Bosnia. He also addressed members of his SDA party. Told them that a joint state with the Serbs and Croats was an impossibility. He described also his vision of future B&H. It would be a state comprising 80 percent Muslim population. He compared it to France with (then, as stated) three-million Arabs. In France, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and all other ministers are the French. Hence, the remaining 20 percent Serbs and Croats would not be an impediment. He also advocated the German model in which Western Germany absorbed the Eastern Germany without military action but by superiority of the political model [Danas, 2001].
During the war, Izetbegovic further advanced his Islamic credentials, by marrying his third wife, Amira, using the sharia law which allows Muslims to have four wives concurrently. In February 1995, he acquired the fourth wife. Slobodna Bosna published congratulations but did not name the woman [NYT, 10/20/03].
On September 11, 1995, Izetbegovic’s army including infamous “El Mujaheed” unit captured the town of Vozuca in central Bosnia. Mujahedin decapitated tens of captured Serb POWs. The survivor testimonies were corroborated by the photographs taken by the executioners, who posed next to their victims. Besides photographs the executioners also filmed the executions and used them to produce propaganda material that was later distributed to donors abroad. A copy of the tape on which the ritual butchery was recorded was sent as a gift to Izetbegovic.Video-tapes of this massacre were sold for fund-raising purposes. Milan Ivancevic, a Serb member of the Commission for the Search of Missing, was quoted as saying: “General Mahmuljin (military commander) told me that the mujahedin who killed soldiers in Gosovici (village) presented Izetbegovic with 28 heads, while they sent the remaining 28 to Iran” [Sl Bosna, 2001].
Izetbegovic’s pleas for the American intervention materialized on August, 30, 1995, when US-led NATO combat aircraft bombed the Bosnian Serb positions turning the tide of the war and contributing to Serbian defeats in Western Bosnia. Prior to that, the US brokered a truce with the Croats, leading to formation of so called Muslim-Croat federation in March 1994. Croatia had been allowed to attack Bosnian Serbs from Croatia and to have troops in Bosnia, while Serbia was sanctioned for helping Bosnian Serbs. The Dayton Accords of November 1995 signed in Paris in December, divided Bosnia: 51% went to the Muslim-Croat federation and 49 percent went to Republika Srpska. This division was proposed by negotiators more than two years earlier.
A Haven for TerroristsIzebegovic was dissatisfied as was the rest of the Muslim world. He was pained to sit next to Milosevic and Tudjman at the signing ceremony and signed it in total science. The best he could say in support of the deal was that “this may not be a just peace, but it is more than a continuation of the war.” On December 13, in Khartoum, Sudan-based Pan-Islamic Movement leader Hassan al-Turabi decreed the Dayton Agreement as ”a plot aimed at at eradicating Islam in Bosnia in a way which resembles eradicating Islam in Europe 500 years ago” [Bodansky, 1996, p.19]. “The unsatisfactory nature of the deal also raised the question of whether a more experienced or pragmatic politician than Izetbegovic might have secured a similar agreement at an earlier stage-and with fewer victims” [IND, 10/19/03].
Bosnia became the safe haven for bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorists. The US was finally persuaded to oppose the presence of mujahedin as a part of the Dayton Accords. The concern was the future threat to the US peacekeepers. After the war, Izetbegovic alienated his Western backers for allowing mujahedin to remain in the country and serve as a springboard for the European and even the US jihad. Izetbegovic argued that they came to Bosnia when nobody else would. He allowed them to marry Bosnian Muslim women and obtain Bosnian citizenship. However, 99 percent of the reporters and politicians, fail to make the point that Izetbegovic was directly responsible for bringing thousands of mujahedin and military equipment from Central Asia and the Middle East to the heart of Europe, to Bosnia, to launch jihad alongside the Bosnian Muslims against the Christian Serbs and Croats. De facto the Bosnian war taught mujahedin how to operate abroad.
Two of the September 11, 2001, hijackers who attacked the US, and who came through San Diego, fought in Bosnia and belonged to al-Qaida for six years. Another Bosnian war veteran recruited the Hamburg al-Qaida cell, including Mohamed Atta, which played a pivotal rôle in 9/11. Two US Muslims who fought in Bosnia were al-Qaida recruiters in the US They recruited the “Lackawanna Six” for the sleeper cell near Buffalo [St. Petersburg, 2003]. In January 2002, the US troops in Sarajevo arrested six Arab terror suspects, five naturalized Bosnian citizens, who were immediately flown to Guantanamo Bay [WSJ, 3/18/2002]
Trifkovic notes “Izetbegovic stepped down in 2000, but he had prepared a cadre of Islamic hard-liners loyal to him. They were deeply embedded in Bosnia’s state structure, and to this date are suspected of operating their own rogue intelligence service that protects Islamic extremists. In addition to being a terrorist haven, Bosnia has become a staging post for illegal Muslim immigrants from the Middle East making their way into Western Europe” [Trifkovic, 10/03]. According to Yossef Bodansky, starting in mid-August 2003, the radical Islamist leaders elevated the role of the terrorist infrastructure in the Balkans as a key facilitator of a proposed conflict into the heart of Europe, Israel and the US Bin Laden’s senior commanders decided to expand the recruitment and activation of Slav cadres because they look European and non-Arabs. The main recruitment pool consists of Bosnian Muslims [Bodansky, 2003].
Escaping Judgment
Izetbegovic died in Sarajevo on October 19, 2003. The last, the day before his death, his high level visitor was the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, leader of the Turkish Islamist party, said: “Alija Izetbegovic enjoys great respect and has a special place in the hearts of Turkish people.” At his funeral there were large delegations from Turkey and Iran.
Izetbegovic requested to be buried at the main shahid cemetery in Sarajevo, next to the holy warriors who died for his vision. Shahid is an Islamic martyr or witness for the faith. Shahids die in Muslim holy wars or jihads rather than in a “struggle for some fictitious multi-ethnic utopia” [Malic, 10/22/03].
Several weeks before, Izetbegovic was visited by former US President William Clinton and Richard Holbrooke. Upon his death, Holbrooke stated: “Bosnia would not exist today if not for Alija Izetbegovic.
It was his tenacity, his determination and the courage that kept it going under the relentless bombardment of the Serbs. ... Milosevic even said that because Izetbegovic refused to abandon Sarajevo during the siege, he had won the right to a united city” [LAT, 10/20/03]. Paddy Ashdown, the West’s viceroy in Bosnia, said: “Without him I doubt if B&H would exist today.”
A spokesman for the Serbian Democratic party, said Izetbegovic was “a symbol of the politics that destroyed” the Yugosav federation. Milorad Dodik, former Republika Srpska prime minister, said that Izetbegovic was responsible for wartime atrocities against Serbs and Croats. The chief prosecutor’s spokeswoman, Florence Hartman, did not confirm until his death that he was “a suspect and under investigation” [IND, 10/23/03].
The Bosnian Serbs filed charges against him at the ICTY. The first set of documents were filed with the ICTY in 1998. It included charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of rules and customs of war committed in the districts of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Milic and Skelane [Trifunovic, 1998]. A more complete dossier was filed with the ICTY in 2001 [Doc Center, 2002].
It is not unreasonable to assume that the ICTY was awaiting his death rather than having the courage to indict him. A replica of the Tudjman case? Jonathan Eyal, does not believe that Izetbegovic would have been indicted even though he was undoubtedly responsible and should have been indicted [Eyal, 2003].