From Don Surber's column in the Charleston Daily Mail, 06 DEC 2007:
The real danger to the world is not a strong commander-in-chief. It is a weak one. A mealy-mouthed one. One who worries more about world opinion than he does about the world's security.This is a fascinating view that, somehow, President Clinton got Kosovo 'right'.
Bill Clinton ticked me off about a number of things. But he did oversee the balancing of the budget and the end of welfare as we know it. In many ways, he completed the tasks that President Reagan began.
And Clinton was right about Kosovo. I was wrong. True, its fate remains in the air even eight years after. But at least the slaughter of Muslims has ended.
Lets take a skip forward from President Clinton to the present day before hopping backwards to see how this mess came about, and I will try to restrict things to at least the Post-WWII era, but there are ethnic problems there dating back at least 700 years and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find some dating back to the first Roman Legions marching through the region. Keeping a grudge and what your great-great-great-great granduncle did to my great-great-great-great grandfather is enough to make the Hatfields and McCoys seem like a relatively peaceful afterdinner squabble.
So lets take a look at how 'good' things are going in Kosovo, this from AKI - Adnkronos International, 06 DEC 2007:
Kosovo: Serbs brace for probable secessionAnd you know what? Serbia is absolutely *right* on the international law aspect of it. Remember, now, the US and European allies are looking to break up a Nation without going to war against it, without stating clear and present danger for interfering there, and in violation of, yes, international law. How is this against international law? Kosovo never declared independence from Serbia nor asked to be seen as a separate Nation from Serbia, nor stood up its own form of government either via dictator or constitutionally so as to create a separate entity known as Kosovo. It remains an 'occupied province' of Serbia, done under some lovely UN mandate, that just really never was able to get the two sides to talk to each other.
Belgrade, 6 Dec. (AKI) - Most analysts expect breakaway Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanians to proclaim independence in the next few months, backed by the US and some European powers, despite staunch opposition from Belgrade and the UN administered province's tiny Serb minority.
The Serbian government has ordered all its ministries to prepare a “plan of action” to counter a declaration of independence from Kosovo after the failure of the UN sponsored talks.
Details of the government's "action plan" have not been released as it is classified a state secret.
“Naturally, we can’t reveal all our cards ahead of time, but we won’t be sitting with our arms folded,” government spokesman Milivoje Mihajlovic told Adnkronos International (AKI).
Asked to elaborate, Mihajlovic said Belgrade would first resort to diplomatic means and 'adjust its relations' with the countries which might recognise Kosovo's independence.
Serbia's position has strong backing in international law and the United Nations Charter, which uphold the inviolability of the existing state borders, Mihajlovic added.
Kosovo has been under UN control since NATO airstrikes drove Serbian forces out of the province in 1999, amid ethnic fighting and gross human rights violations. Ethnic Albanians form 90 percent of its population.
But Belgrade has retained parallel institutions, especially in health, education and social policies in Serb populated areas, which have functioned separately from those controlled by majority ethnic Albanians.
A 'troika' of envoys from the US EU and Russia must by 10 December issue a report on the outcome of recent talks on Kosovo to United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
After years of international sanctions, the 1990s Balkan wars and subsequent NATO bombings, Serbia is in no position to defend Kosovo militarily against leading world powers and the 16,000-strong NATO presence, analysts said, however.
But prime minister Vojislav Kostunica’s aid, Aleksandar Simic in a Serbian TV appearance on Tuesday shocked the Serbian public when he stated: "War also represents legal means” in defence of the country, “when there are no others.”
The statement caused a rift in the governing coalition and president Boris Tadic’s centre-left Democratic Party said Simic’s statement was “dangerous and irresponsible.”
For all of those talking about the US being in the middle of a 'civil war' in Iraq, I have some news for you: we have been fostering one in Kosovo. And when another State or States interferes, even in trying to broker a peace agreement, and the host Nation has had enough of you being there as you have not brought peace and, indeed, are trying to divide up their Nation like a bunch of Imperial Warlords, that Nation has the right to respond. That's right, here the US, EU and Russia are acting Imperially and are proposing to break up a Nation via fostering an independence movement and running 'peace and reconciliation talks' that have not worked for going on 8 years now.
I have a suggestion about 'peace and reconciliation talks' that drag on for that long and the host Nation is threatening to wage even feeble war to make its rights known: leave.
This was no official war that the US, EU, Russia and the UN embarked upon, but a 'humanitarian mission' which these partners have botched, and horribly. Yes, there has been no active fighting going on but that is not the whole story and never is.
Here is the last part from that article:
The International Red Cross has listed 3,000 Serbs in Kosovo as having been killed or disappeared since 1999.Our right to remain there *ends* where 'nation building' turns out to have gone horribly awry. Remember 3% of the ethnic Serbian population has just 'disappeared' in this, that is not fostering good intentions that is giving a cover to ethnic strife and hatred. This is 'nation building' of the Clinton school: choose an ethnic side to 'protect' to give it the ability to attack other ethnic minorities in the area you are 'protecting'.
Jaksic said the 100,000 Serbs remaining in Kosovo, who live mainly in northern part of the province, would try to retain ties with Belgrade even after the declaration of independence.
He expressed the hope that NATO forces would protect them if ethnic Albanians resorted to violence. “But I have a feeling that they are more concerned with blocking our ties with Belgrade and keeping Kosovo united under Albanian control,” he said.
“If Albanians have the right to self-determination, why shouldn’t we have the same,” said another Kosovo Serb leader, Milan Ivanovic.
Jaksic blamed the US and other western powers for spearheading Kosovo's independence bid, saying the Serbs have no other choice “but to wait for better times and a change in the balance of power in the world to get Kosovo back.”
Belgrade political analyst Slobodan Eric said granting Kosovo independence “would not solve, but only freeze the problem. It will inevitably surface again, sooner or later,” Eric told AKI.
And as for those Kosovars we are protecting, lets take one more look at the *now* so that we can start going into the past to find out just what the hell is going on there. This from AKI 25 SEP 2007:
Serbia: Five more Wahabis 'probed for terrorist activities'Radical Wahhabists? In KOSOVO?
Belgrade, 25 Sept. (AKI) – A special Belgrade prosecutor for terrorism and organised crime on Tuesday ordered an investigation of five members of the fundamentalist Islamic Wahabi movement suspected of planning terrorist acts.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that police arrested Nedzad and Dzavid Bulic, Adis Muric and Enes Mujanovic from the southern Serbian town of Novi Pazar and Bajram Aslani from the nearby Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica.
Only ten days ago the prosecutors indicted another 15 members of the Wahabi movement who they said were also suspected of planning terrorist acts "with the same goal and in the same part of Serbian territory."
"But the investigation should show whether their activities were coordinated," the prosecutor's office statement said.
Although still a small group, Wahabis, are increasingly seen by officials and observers as a growing threat to the Balkans.
Wahabism originated in the Middle East in the early 18th century and preaches a 'pure Islam'. It advocates religious intolerance towards other religious groups, including moderate Muslims.
Wahabis first appeared in the Balkans during Bosnia's 1992-1995 civil war when thousands of mujahadeen fighters from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims.
Visibly identifiable by their beards and ankle-length trousers many have remained in the country since the war, and according to foreign intelligence sources have been indoctrinating local youths and even operating terrorist training camps.
Earlier this year, police arrested seven suspected militants in southern Serbia and uncovered a radical Islamist training camp and weapons cache.
Tensions between Wahabis and mainstream Muslims have been simmering as Wahabis seek to gain influence in Bosnia-Heregovina and also in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Several clashes have been reported in Bosnia and in Sandzak between Wahabis and moderate Muslims, including in a shootout in Novi Pazar last November in which several people were injured.
Well isn't *that* a lovely outcome to the 'peace keeping' and 'nation building'?
The US, EU and Russia get to create their very own 'failed state' on the door step of Europe complete with Radical Islamic terrorists all ready to get going with training camps and everything. Why, this is such a masterful success of intervention, now, isn't it? Protecting folks just long enough so that they can radicalize, become intransigent beyond where they started and start up their own illegal warfare against other ethnic populations around them in an attempt to gain power.
Now it is time to head a bit back in time, to the wonderful days of President Ronald Reagan and 1984, the year that AT&T was broken up, the year when CIA station chief in Beirut, William Buckley, was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad, when Hezbollah would kill 22 people at our Embassy in Beirut to remind us to stop bothering them, a year when Dell computers would be founded and when 'crack' cocaine would first be recognized.
On 01 FEB 1984 (and my thanks to The American Presidency Project hosted at UCSB for the wonderful cache of articles there!) the President of Yugoslavia, now in its post-Tito era, would come to the US to try and normalize relations for the up and coming Winter Olympics, and give an address to the University of Texas along with President Reagan. Here is part of what President Reagan would say during this address:
Relations between Yugoslavia and the United States are good. President Spiljak's visit follows a long and well-established tradition of consultation and cooperation. The United States strongly supports Yugoslavia's independence, unity, and territorial integrity. Further, we respect its policy of nonalignment. Further, we respect this man who has done so much in these recent years for his country.The general view was that Yugoslavia, post-Tito, would be a multi-ethnic country that could be swayed from its Communist roots now that it was emerging into a time of greater cooperation with Europe. Yes *trade* would be the great panacea, just as it was to President Wilson with the Middle East in 1917 and to President Nixon with China in 1972. The great boon of trade is clearly on display in The Balkans! In China! In the Middle East!
Despite understandable differences, consultations between us provide a unique and valuable perspective, and today's meeting was no exception. I expressed to the President our continued support for his government's efforts to meet its serious economic challenges. We'll do our part to help in cooperation with other Western governments, international financial institutions, and commercial banks. Vigorous economic recovery in the United States will itself help Yugoslavia by creating new opportunities for mutually beneficial commercial activity and the strengthening of bilateral trade.
Yugoslavia, like other nations of Europe, hopes for progress in arms control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union. I conveyed to President Spiljak our deeper commitment to reach equitable, verifiable agreements with the Soviet Union. Such agreements would be in our interest, the Soviet Union's interest, and in the interest of all mankind. We're flexible and realistic in pursuit of this goal and share the President's hope that the negotiations will resume in the near future.
Today, we also discussed the serious menace of international terrorism and underscored our intention to cooperate in opposing it wherever it occurs and for whatever reasons. The United States deplores all terrorist attacks against Yugoslav diplomatic counsellor and other representatives, and we will not tolerate such attacks on our territory.
President Spiljak would have this to say, as part of their co-address:
As President Reagan displayed the interest, I briefed him on the essence of the Yugoslav long-term program for economic stabilization. The achievement of our targets will offer a broader basis for an overall economic cooperation with all countries and in which United States of America is one of the most significant partners. In this context, I would like to emphasize that we attach great importance to the results achieved, as well as to the prospects to further develop mutual, economic cooperation in all areas. In this respect, special attention should be devoted to industrial, technological, financial cooperation as well as joint ventures.Yes, such great cooperation to a better world was seen... mind you terrorism was already showing up in Yugoslavia by then. Even before the 1990's this little 'concern' was seen as a problem and one that, as we see today, has become more deeply rooted. Even under President Carter, the view that Yugoslavia would be a help against terrorism was seen as a goal of US foreign policy:
President Reagan reiterated the resolve of the United States administration to prevent the terrorists and other hostile activities against Yugoslavia which are, at the same time, directed against the good Yugoslav-American relations and cooperation.
I had a very useful exchange of views with President Reagan on pressing international issues. Thus we acquired a greater knowledge of, and gained a better insight in, the positions and activities of our two countries on the international scene. We share the concern over the present dangerous developments and further deterioration of the situation in the world.
The two Presidents observed that terrorism is a common scourge of the international community, and they agreed that effective measures must be taken to eliminate this senseless threat to people throughout the world. President Carter specifically condemned the violence directed against Yugoslavia by terrorists in the United States and pledged his government's commitment to take firm measures to prevent and to prosecute such criminal activity which is against the interests of the United States and of good United States-Yugoslav relations.That from when President Tito visited the US on 09 MAR 1978. Yes keeping Yugoslavia intact was, indeed, the goal of things as: 1) a fractured Yugoslavia would have made pre-1914 seem like a lovely time, and, 2) there wasn't much we could do about it with Tito around. In a year, of course, President Carter would come to wish that he had worked just a bit harder to confront terrorism globally, but that wasn't high on his agenda until then. And by 03 JUN 1980, President Carter would get to see that terrorism against Yugoslavia in America could happen.
President Garter [sic] reiterated the continuing support of the United States for the independence, territorial integrity and unity of Yugoslavia. During the talks it was stressed that good relations and cooperation between the United States and Yugoslavia constitute an essential element of American foreign policy and that the United States is interested in a strong and independent Yugoslavia as a factor for balance, peace and stability in Europe and in the world.
During the 1980's and the post-Tito era the country of Yugoslavia would start coming apart and one of those places was Kosovo. Already an 'autonomous province', which it still *is*, Kosovo would start to become a flashpoint in Yugoslavia. This is clearly seen in the indictment by the UN against Milosevic:
75. During the 1980s, Serbs voiced concern about discrimination against them by the Kosovo Albanian-led provincial government while Kosovo Albanians voiced concern about economic underdevelopment and called for greater political liberalisation and republican status for Kosovo. From 1981 onwards, Kosovo Albanians staged demonstrations, which were suppressed by SFRY military and police forces of Serbia.Thought that the Serbs were the start of this? Actually, due to the tangled ethnicities in the region, the old 'who invaded what last' and the general problems of pushing more ethnicities into small mountain valleys than can fit in largish size Nations, they just might be! But the recent stoking was that ethnic hatred rising up from the Albanian Kosovars. Slobodan Milosevic exploited *that* tension to his own ends. And, remember, we are nowhere *near* President Clinton in the late 1980's!
76. In April 1987, Slobodan MILOSEVIC, who had been elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia in 1986, travelled to Kosovo. In meetings with local Serb leaders and in a speech before a crowd of Serbs, Slobodan MILOSEVIC endorsed a Serbian nationalist agenda. In so doing, he broke with the party and government policy, which had restricted nationalist expression in the SFRY since the time of its founding by Josip Broz Tito after the Second World War. Thereafter, Slobodan MILOSEVIC exploited a growing wave of Serbian nationalism in order to strengthen centralised rule in the SFRY.
Now, to those of you wondering about why Kosovo is not a Nation on its own, lets look at the record for Milosevic just a bit further on, when he is starting to flex dictatorial muscle there:
79. Simultaneously, within Serbia, calls for bringing Kosovo under stronger Serbian rule intensified and numerous demonstrations addressing this issue were held. On 17 November 1988, high-ranking Kosovo Albanian political figures were dismissed from their positions within the provincial leadership and were replaced by appointees loyal to Slobodan MILOSEVIC. In early 1989, the Serbian Assembly proposed amendments to the Constitution of Serbia which would strip Kosovo of most of its autonomous powers, including control of the police, educational and economic policy, and choice of official language, as well as its veto powers over further changes to the Constitution of Serbia. Kosovo Albanians demonstrated in large numbers against the proposed changes. Beginning in February 1989, a strike by Kosovo Albanian miners further increased tensions.And which Nations actually *recognized* the Republic of Kosovo?
80. Due to the political unrest, on 3 March 1989, the SFRY Presidency declared that the situation in the province had deteriorated and had become a threat to the constitution, integrity, and sovereignty of the country. The government then imposed "special measures" which assigned responsibility for public security to the federal government instead of the government of Serbia.
81. On 23 March 1989, the Assembly of Kosovo met in Pristina/Prishtinë and, with the majority of Kosovo Albanian delegates abstaining, voted to accept the proposed amendments to the constitution. Although lacking the required two-thirds majority in the Assembly, the President of the Assembly nonetheless declared that the amendments had passed. On 28 March 1989, the Assembly of Serbia voted to approve the constitutional changes, effectively revoking the autonomy granted in the 1974 constitution.
82. At the same time these changes were occurring in Kosovo, Slobodan MILOSEVIC further increased his political power when he became the President of Serbia. Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the Presidency of Serbia on 8 May 1989 and his post was formally confirmed on 6 December 1989.
83. In early 1990, Kosovo Albanians held mass demonstrations calling for an end to the "special measures." In April 1990, the SFRY Presidency lifted the "special measures" and removed most of the federal police forces as Serbia took over responsibility for police enforcement in Kosovo.
84. In July 1990, the Assembly of Serbia passed a decision to suspend the Assembly of Kosovo shortly after 114 of the 123 Kosovo Albanian delegates from that Assembly had passed an unofficial resolution declaring Kosovo an equal and independent entity within the SFRY. In September 1990, many of these same Kosovo Albanian delegates proclaimed a constitution for a "Republic of Kosovo." One year later, in September 1991, Kosovo Albanians held an unofficial referendum in which they voted overwhelmingly for independence. On 24 May 1992, Kosovo Albanians held unofficial elections for an assembly and president for the "Republic of Kosovo."
No foreign Nations recognized Kosovo as a Republic.
Ok, here is the deal on Nation States: you have only a few ways to get one as a people.
The first is to declare independence from a Nation, stand up a military in uniform, a government and institute a new government and laws, and agree to abide existing treaties until such time as you get a chance to review them. Its a sweet deal! What it requires, however, is organization and some forethought which, unfortunately for the Kosovars, they didn't have. Declaring independence is not enough, and as the US did, setting up a new form of government during that interim is necessary. For the US it was the Articles of Confederation that lasted until the Constitution was ratified, and President and Congress elected. For Kosovo it was... nothing.
Ok, that route didn't work out, so what is the next way? This is a bit harder to do, and has been the cause of a few wars throughout history: declare your independence and get another Nation to recognize you! Damned simple, really, and most of these situations have the native population already having a 'backer' someplace. All the Kosovars needed was ONE Nation, anywhere on Rock 3 from the Star Sol to recognize it and the entire set of international law would then swing into play. Everything from official recognition to respecting the Geneva Conventions by all signatories of that. With that recognition you can get a bit of breathing space, some legitimacy and be able to put something together that will last until any conflicts are over.
The Kosovars, apparently, couldn't even get ALBANIA to do that!
Excuse me? Their ethnic homeland wouldn't recognize them as a Nation?
'Houston, we have a problem!'
Kosovo can't really be a 'failed state' as it was never a 'state' in the first instance, although we are turning it into a real failure as time goes on.
So that leaves us trying to get the third way in operation... you do know that there is a third way to do this, right? No? Strangely enough there is and it is to get the mother Nation to throw you out on your own... the territory is then 'fair game' to anyone who can stand a government up there FIRST. This is, of course, what we are trying to do - convince Serbia to reject Kosovo and toss it out of the Nation so that the territory becomes 'lawless land'. That is damned hard to do, but if it can be done then the ensuing new Nation, if it can govern and protect itself, then starts out from *scratch* with no overhead from the mother Nation left with it. Mostly this has been done with tiny islands in the middle of oceans, but the rule remains the same for any Nation wishing to get rid of an ungovernable part of itself: cut them off, declare they are not part of your Nation and be done with them. There are no 'interim rules' in such a place, it is truly without any law whatsoever, as the sustaining sovereignty has been withdrawn. Folks might wish to draft a Nation or legislation after stand up to pick up such laws, but that is up to them.
That is where Kosovo is right now, exactly where it was in 1992: still part of Serbia because the Serbs will not get rid of them, no other Nation will recognize the Republic of Kosovo, and the folks there are so clueless that they will not stand up independent government to solidify their declaration of indpendence and cut off their legal ties with Serbia.
Just as this was starting to flare up, with things going down the tubes for Yugoslavia as a Nation and becoming disjointed into the current mess, here is what President HW Bush would put forth while visiting Greece on 18 JUL 1991:
To the north, Europe's first post-cold war crisis has erupted. The peoples of Yugoslavia struggle to secure newfound freedoms and overcome the pull of ancient hatreds. The international community, rallied by the bold initiative of the EC, appeals to the Yugoslavs to chart a new future -- a democratic future -- through peaceful negotiations. We call upon the leaders there to spare their people from dreadful civil war.Or, in other words... 'Greece, help out where you can while the mess unfolds, ask your European neighbors for help. Its your problem, cya!'
As an EC country and a stable democracy, you can help nations, such as Albania and Bulgaria, who struggle along the road to freedom. Struggle they might, but look back at very recent history. And who would have predicted that these countries now want to go down freedom's road, democracy's road. Your Balkan neighbors, including Yugoslavia, look to you for guidance and help and hope.
On 08 NOV 1991, President HW Bush would get this question at a news conference in Italy:
Q. Mr. President, what's your reaction to the decision by the European Community to impose sanctions against Yugoslavia?Ah! The loveliness of sanctions was about to rear its head as a way to do something other than actually address the problem. What, you mean trade didn't work?
The President. We're going to take a look at that now. The question, if you didn't hear in the back, sorry. Well, he just said, what was my reaction to the EC move this morning to place sanctions on Yugoslavia, EC sanctions against Yugoslavia. We're taking a hard look at that. The Secretary and I will be discussing it, and we will have more to say on that in the not-too-distant future.
So, I can't fault what they're doing at all. In fact, I congratulate the EC for the leadership role they have taken in trying to resolve the difficulties between these various entities in Yugoslavia. I can't tell you what the final U.S. position is going to be yet because I've not made a final decision.
Q. But do you have any reaction to their call for the United Nations to impose an oil embargo?
The President. Do I have any what?
Q. They've asked that the U.N. impose an oil embargo.
The President. No, but we will have a U.S. position on that fairly soon. This just happened this morning.
And then on 09 NOV 1991 a bit more of the same while the President addressed a meeting with PM Lubbers concerns at the Hague:
The answer lies not in suppressing the dark impulses that destroy nations but in surmounting them, cultivating a spirit of democratic tolerance and peaceful change, a concept of majority rule that respects minority rights. Democracy is not the cause of strife in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union but rather the solution. Western Europe stands as proof that in the space of little more than one generation, the spirit of democracy can transcend centuries of rivalry, war, nationalistic strife.Yes, thank you, Europe, for being so adult and taking care of this mess on your doorstep. Good on ya and keep up the good work, and all that! You are all adult Nations that have put aside these frivolities of warfare... say, you still do have armed forces, right?
We see in Yugoslavia how the proud name of nationalism can splinter a country into bloody civil war. America supports, strongly supports, the efforts of the European Community to bring that conflict to an end. We salute Lord Carrington for his indefatigable efforts. And we urge all parties to stop the violence, to seek through peaceful means an immediate end to the suffering. We are ready to join the EC in holding accountable those in Yugoslavia whose parochial ambitions are perpetrating this agony.
Then on 12 DEC 1991, in another meeting in Greece:
Our meetings today also focused on challenges that stand as obstacles to lasting peace in your corner of the world: The longstanding conflict in Cyprus, and Yugoslavia's fratricidal civil war.Yes, indeedy! Europe take the lead! You fight, we will talk and TYVM for doing it this way, this time, as we have had it with the other way around.
Let me start with Yugoslavia. Who can fail to be moved by these heartrending images, carnage and suffering on a scale that recalls the horrors of the Second World War rather than the hopes of the new era we've now entered. The U.S. supports the European Community's efforts, the EC's efforts, including economic sanctions, to stop the fighting.
We remain convinced that a negotiated settlement, helped along by the United Nations and the interested international community, is possible, necessary, and certainly long overdue.
Also to those who can't figure out when a 'civil war' starts: it starts when separate governments stand up and then there is a fight for independence of some sort. This set of conflicts in the Balkans is a prime place to examine 'civil war' and how it does and does not work. Practically textbook cases on both sides.
So on 04 JUN 1992, a few weeks after Kosovo declares itself to be a Republic, more or less, what is the resounding response by President HW Bush? Well the newsconference featured a question on that:
Q. Sir, you say that you have a strong international leadership role. But the new world order that you are promoting is being challenged in Yugoslavia these days. It appears that the sanctions are not working against Serbia. When are you going to take the lead of an international coalition to force Milosevic out of Bosnia, the way you did with Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait?Sanctions uber alles! And if we need to do the military thing, well, we will have to talk about that some more. The number of questions about Kosovo becoming a Republic? It wasn't even brought up. Nor on 19 JUN 1992, although we would talk with the Soviets a bit on problems. Then one of his last addresses as President was to West Point on 05 JAN 1993:
The President. I think the sanctions -- I'm not prepared to give up on the sanctions at all. They've only been in effect for a few days. As you know, first on this question of Yugoslavia, out in front was the United Nations. You had Cyrus Vance as a representative of the United Nations, did a superb job trying to negotiate, ably supplemented, I might say, by Peter Carrington. They tried to work that problem, had our full support.
The EC, which is right there in the neighborhood, tried to have an effective role. It now appears that a U.S. role, catalytic role, is important. Thus, we are moving forward. Secretary Baker made a very strong statement on this recently, has worked closely with the leaders of Europe. So we are united in this sanctions question. Let's see if it works. But I'm not prepared to say these sanctions will not work.
Q. Is the fact that the elections are approaching in the U.S. preventing a military action?
The President. I think prudence and caution prevents military actions. If I decide to change my mind on that, I will do it in an inclusive way. But at this juncture I want to stay with these sanctions.
Sometimes the decision not to use force, to stay our hand, I can tell you, it's just as difficult as the decision to send our soldiers into battle. The former Yugoslavia, well, it's been such a situation. There are, we all know, important humanitarian and strategic interests at stake there. But up to now it's not been clear that the application of limited amounts of force by the United States and its traditional friends and allies would have had the desired effect, given the nature and complexity of that situation.This can be seen as opening up the door for President Clinton to go on his 'nation building' spree, sending the US armed forces all over the place in support of 'humanitarian missions'.
Our assessment of the situation in the former Yugoslavia could well change if and as the situation changes. The stakes could grow; the conflict could threaten to spread. Indeed, we are constantly reassessing our options and are actively consulting with others about steps that might be taken to contain the fighting, protect the humanitarian effort, and deny Serbia the fruits of aggression.
We now have the Presidential inaction side pretty well scoped out: keep Tito propped up, try to hold the place together with as much trade as we can risk, and then let Europe know they are the ones to have to fix this place as they are neighbors. And Europe's success rate?
Now for the terrorism part, and this is not pretty, I assure you. I will be drawing from my previous article on Iranian influence in Bosnia, which, itself, gives a good view on some of the activities of Iran and others in The Balkans. One of the lead-ins to that is a press briefing at the White House on 02 MAR 1993 by George Stephanopoulos:
Q: But, George, the main aim of that, the airlift, was to bring the factions back to the negotiating table. And right now - - a new Serbian offensive in Eastern Bosnia. So what does it say about the success of the airlift?This is, actually, a major question on how radical islam infiltrated into The Balkans and Kosovo, but that would not become apparent until a couple of years later. This would begin the idea that during an ethnic conflict that you want stopped, you should have an 'embargo' on it and then not enforce it across the board. By 24 MAR 1993 President Clinton would express his belief that the Vance-Owen process for Bosnia was working during an interview with CBS News' Dan Rather. The interview, however, would yield up two interesting views, one on Iran and terrorism, and the other on Saddam Hussein:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, again, the airlift had, first of all, the purpose of making sure we got food and medicine to people in need where they needed it and that we think it is being successful. At the same time, we will continue to press for the negotiations to continue.
Q: Is there a feeling that maybe the Serbs are taking you for a ride or somewhere?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No. We just continue to hope that both sides will negotiate.
Q: Do you think that it is possible to ignore this information that the Russian military sent arms to the Serbs in breaking the U.N. sanctions?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Which information?
Q: Well, there was information -- on Sunday that the Russian military is delivering arms to the Serbian side and breaking the U.N. sanctions. Would you know about that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I can't comment on it because I haven't seen anything on that, but I'll look into it.
Mr. Rather. Iran: Particularly if it is proven that Iranian-sponsored terrorists had anything to do with the World Trade Center bombing, would you be prepared to retaliate?We would see the basis of the problem linking 'rogue states' with terrorism and WMDs at this point, something that would be a continual worry from here on out. Also that Saddam is to be judged on his conduct in meeting his agreements, not on anything else. In each of these areas President Clinton would take no actual action to back up these concepts and, instead, back-burner everything.
The President. First, let's note that even as we speak, we were just given notice that another major arrest was made and someone brought to the United States from Egypt where the apprehension was made. That's very good news. I don't want to speculate about who was behind it until I know. That would be a very dangerous thing to do.
Let me say that I'm more concerned about the Iranian government maintaining its militance, perhaps supporting, in general, terrorists organizations or engaging in unsafe proliferation of weapons of mass destruction for its own use or for the benefit of others. I wish Iran would come into the family of nations. They could have an enormous positive impact on the future of the Middle East in ways that would benefit the economy and the future of the people of Iran. I am very troubled that instead of trying to contribute to alleviating a lot of the problems of the Islamic people to the region, they are seeming to take advantage of them. I hope that they will moderate their course.
Mr. Rather. I want to move on, but I want to make sure that I understand. I asked the question, should it be proven they had anything to do with the World Trade, would you be prepared to retaliate? So far, you're on the record as not answering.
The President. That's right. I want to be on the record as not answering. I want to maintain all options in dealing with terrorists, but I want to be on the record as not answering because I don't want the inference to be there that I'm accusing them of something that I have no earthly idea whether they did or not.
Iraq and Saddam Hussein—
Mr. Rather. I understand.
Iraq and Saddam Hussein: Just before you came into office, you were quoted as saying words to the effect, well, if Saddam Hussein goes a certain way, I, Bill Clinton, could see relations getting better. Do you regret having said that, or is that a fair quotation?
The President. I think the inference was wrong. What I said was, I cannot conceive of the United States ever having any kind of normal relationship with Iraq as long as Saddam Hussein is there. I can't conceive it. What I said was that I did not wish to demonize him; I want to judge him based on his conduct. And in that context, I will be very firm, and the United States will remain very tough on the proposition that he must fully comply with the United Nations requirements, which he has still not done, in order for us to favor any kind of relaxation of the restrictions now on him through the U.N. That's my position.
Now for those who have forgotten looking at Yugoslavia's break-up was not the only other thing that President Clinton was 'nation building' at. That list includes: Haiti, Somalia and the ongoing 'no-fly' zone in Iraq along with sustaining the Kurds. Plus trying to figure out who bombed the WTC in 1993. After Iraq, each of the military 'peace keeping' or 'humanitarian' or other similar mission was a strain on the armed forces. Then there was the 'peace dividend' of drawing down force size, force capability, stores and replacements to 'save money'. The press conference on 10 JUN 1993 by Dee Dee Myers and then the one by President Clinton on 17 JUN 1993 would typify how everything was going just before things started to turn sour in multiple places.
Within a year the result of these various problems, from the 'Blackhawk down' to the extreme problems of trying to bring any stability to Haiti would be seen as Bosnia starts to fall apart as seen by Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) as found in the Congressional Record: May 10, 1994, LIFTING THE ARMS EMBARGO ON BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:
Mr. President, I strongly support Senator Dole and Senator Lieberman's legislation. I strongly feel that we must allow these people to defend themselves. As the Vice President of Bosnia said in my office 3 weeks ago, "We are dying. At least let us die fighting." If we do not lift this embargo with or without--hopefully with--the agreement of the United Nations, we will have a blot on the history of this Nation which will take a long time to erase because we failed to allow a decent and honorable people to defend themselves.The Vance-Owens process had collapsed, NATO had proven ineffective and Bosnia was going to hell due to the arms embargo not being enforced across the board. And the arms that were coming into Bosnia through various routes, who was supplying them? This would be the one man that remained untouched for his role in Iran/Contra and would exploit his contacts to expand narcotics, drug-running and money laundering into South America: Monzer al-Kassar. Alone and working with Jean Bernard Lasnaud would work through the Menem regime of Argentina to supply arms to clients in the Balkans and elsewhere. This is seen in a 2005 review of European Arms Exports to Latin America, an IPIS background report by An Vranckx MAR 2005:
I would like to make an additional comment, Mr. President, about the impact that has not been discussed on the floor of this situation in Bosnia. Throughout the Moslem world today, Moslems are wondering and asking the question: Would the United States and the United Nations be so loath to lift this embargo if these people were not Moslems?
A couple of weeks ago, there were large-scale demonstrations in Ankara, Istanbul. Islamic fundamentalism, which is a great threat to peace and freedom throughout the world, is using the cause of the Moslems in Bosnia as a way to inflame and, indeed, enrage the passions of Moslem peoples throughout the world.
Mr. President, it is an unjust charge that the United States of America and the United Nations is discriminating against Moslem peoples. But believe me, it is real and it can have far-reaching consequences as well.
(Re) exporting military equipment to a belligerent nation constitutes an obvious infringement on the arms embargo that had been set at the time. To make the situation look even worse, Argentina was one of the guarantors in the multilateral arrangement to contain Ecuador - Peru tension. The political responsibility for the Argentinean arms transfer was later ascribed to then president Carlos Menem. The case was investigated along with a string of corruption affairs, in which the former president was named as well. Menem was revealed to have signed three presidential decrees between 1991 and 1995, that allowed the sale of military equipment that belonged to the Argentinean armed forces. Panama and Venezuela were inaccurately mentioned as end users on the export certificates that substantiated these sales. The material was in actual fact shipped off to destinations under international arms embargo, not only to Ecuador, but also to a belligerent party in former Yugoslavia. The deals were brokered with the aid of Jean-Bernard Lasnaud, a French citizen and resident of the United States. Lasnaud - whose real, Polish name is Lasnosky - was arrested in Switzerland in May 2002. He there testified that he assisted in the sale of 10000 small arms and 10 million pieces of ammunition to Ecuador in February 1995, in a deal worth about US $7 million, which he concluded with colonel (r) Diego Palleros. The latter represented Fabricas Militares, the Argentinean state company that holds FN production licenses. In October 2004, Palleros, Carlos Menem and his former minister of economy were convicted for having trafficked ammunition, canons and machine guns made by an Argentinean state company to Ecuador and Croatia.These deals were coincident with Monzer al-Kassar's retinue in Argentina working with the various munitions and military groups, and using his influence to bypass export controls. This is seen in a MAR 2000 Middle East Intelligence Bulletin on links between Syria and the 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing in Argentina:
Argentinean arms, including Belgian designed FN FAL 7,62 mm rifles, ended up into the hands of non-state actors and common criminals as well, such as the Rio de Janeiro drug mafia. Statistics on weapons confiscated in Rio by the Brazilian police, further reveal that FAL are but one of several FN products that circulate illegally. 9 mm pistols that circulate there too, appear to have been manufactured in the Belgian factory in Herstal. And yet, “According to Brazilian legislation, the use and possession of automatic weapons and 9 mm semi-automatic pistols is forbidden for civilians. That factor rules out the possibility that these weapons were legally exported to Brazil, for commercialisation by authorized sales agents. That is, the chances are very high that seized Belgian weapons reached Rio de Janeiro through illicit channels”.
This report hypothesizes a "Syrian connection" to the bombing of the Israeli embassy and the AMIA building, mainly through the presence and suspicious activities of a Syrian, Monzer al-Kazzar and an Argentine, Alfredo Yabran, and their link to then presidential candidate Carlos Menem's trip to Syria in 1988 and his promises concerning the Condor II missile and the installation of nuclear reactors in return for campaign funding. The report accuses investigators of a cover-up, noting that any possibility that sectors of the Syrian government or its surrogates could have been involved in the preparation or execution of the bombings have been ignored.This is not a 'one time' happening, but a direct and dedicated set of work to ensure arms supplies from unaccountable sources for Iranian and Hezbollah needs. Also the 'hypothesizing' is trying to figure out just *how* arms got from Argentina to different points on the compass... not that such did happen.
According to the report, taped testimony that tied certain people with the main suspects disappeared due to the negligence of the security services. The involvement of foreigners intimately associated with the previous government has been ignored, and they have been freed of suspicions "thanks to the lies spilled by civil employees of the government." These manipulations were to be expected since "all those investigated and soon rejected suspects were related, in one way or another, intimately with sectors of the previous government, including ex-president Carlos Menem himself." Suspicious activity by a number of Syrians are described in the report, including Mohamed Alem, Narman al-Hennawi, Ghassam al-Zein, Hassan Iasin Satin, Ali Chedade al-Hassan, Yalal Nacrach, Jacinto Kanoore Edul, Nassif Haddad, Javier Haddad and Monzer al-Kassar.
While there had been a successful attempt during the years since the attack to show that the Iranian track was antagonistic to the Syrian one, the Argentine group believes that both tracks "not only are not antagonistic to each other, but are interrelated with each other."
"The intent to show their antagonism is due, above all, to a real ignorance of the geopolitical alliances that were established in the Middle East, the deep relations that both sides maintain, the communion of interests, and, mostly, the clear objective to want to deviate the attention of public opinion from any indication that will involve the former government with suspects of the attacks, knowing, beforehand, the international scandal that this signifies."
In the petition filed against al-Kassar, Public Prosecutor Rivoli pointed out that the unfulfilled promises by al-Kassar (to invest millions of dollars in the country) were for the purpose of realizing activities, publicly acknowledged, such as the sale of armaments. While al-Kassar was settling himself in Argentina under the protection of the former government (he was able to obtain an Argentine passport in "record time"), Ibrahim al-Ibrahim was installing himself in the Customs of Ezeiza, and Yabran was strengthening his power over the fiscal deposits, the post office, and the transfer of wealth. Separate investigations affirmed that the establishment of the trio in "neuralgic sectors of power" facilitated the creation of a "real parallel customs" or "free zone" from where all types of merchandise entered, circulated, and exited without any control. Thus the suspicions that part of the technological secrets of the Condor II left through Customs and that the "exogenous" material that blew the embassy of Israel entered.
Incidentally, it was in 1991 that the illegal sales of arms to Croatia and Ecuador began. A witness, whose identity has not been disclosed and who presumably belonged to the organization led by al-Kassar, declared before the Swiss judge that the Syrian arms trafficker was the intermediary between the Argentine government and Croatian President Tujdman for the resulting arms into Argentina. The witness, of Spanish origin, affirmed that the cargo was destined for Croatia, moving through the Spanish port of Malaga.
Al-Kassar is also linked with the presidential nephew, Yalal Nacrach, known as the "Hezbollah " of Menemism. Yalal appears tied to the arms cause, among others, via the deposits in the famous account of Daforel on the part of the Eltham Trading investment fund with the investigations of the scandal of the sale of arms. Four hundred thousand dollars was deposited in the Daforel account, which Palleros earmarked as the payment of a bribery to a "high-level industrialist tied to the power."
Another element which the report indicates links al-Kassar with the Argentine arms traffic is an Ecuadorian government document, classified as "top secret," published by the Ecuadorian daily Posdata on September 11, 1998, which states that the intermediaries for the arms operation were al-Kassar and Jean Lasnaud. Most importantly were the suspicious relations that maintained ties between the arms operation and some of the suspects in the attack on AMIA.
On March 17, 1992, the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was blown up, product of a supposed car bomb that exploded in front of the diplomatic headquarters. The expert of the Supreme Court of Justice, Oscar Laborda, who later worked for AMIA, demonstrated that the explosive contained 65 kilos of extraneous material known as C-4 or Sentex. His conclusions were similar to those reached by the American agency for the Control of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
At the same time that the Israeli, American, and Argentine experts were debating over the origin of the explosive, then-Minister of the Interior, Josè Luis Manzano, was receiving through the intermediation of a high-placed English diplomat, confirmation that al-Kassar was at that time in Argentina. Manzano was alarmed when he read that the Syrian had entered the country through the Ezeiza airport on Iberia flight 6940, originating from Spain.
Another file processed by the Spanish secret services has information that ties al-Kassar with the attack on the embassy and would be used by the secret service as a form of blackmail against the arms trafficking so that al-Kassar would continue to perform "some jobs" for Spanish spies. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, also demonstrated that the same file was the one used by Anserment to accuse al-Kassar in the triangulation of the Sentex.
The then prosecutor of the Swiss district, demonstrated, in his indictment against al-Kassar, that based on the evidence from the Spanish Ministry of Mines, the investigations of the journalist, Bermudez, and the information from Spanish intelligence, there was a definite possibility that al-Kassar had triangulated part of the Sentex from Spain, going through Damascus, and reaching Buenos Aires via the fiscal deposits of Ezeiza.
According to Anserment's investigation, the Sentex was bought in a Spanish factory by Cenrex Trading Corporation, LTD of Varsovia. The prosecutor was able to establish that the owner of the firm was none other than Monzer al-Kassar, under the alias of "Monzer Galioun." His investigation also showed that the material, which had been destined for the Democratic Republic of Yemen, was never shipped. He also pointed out that part of the cargo of the triangulated Sentex was sent to Syria, and from there, left for Buenos Aires in 1991, a few months before the attack on the embassy.
According to the majority of those who investigated the attack on the embassy (but not all), the explosion resulted from a Ford F-100 truck, which had been rented by a person with false identity, using the alias "Elias Griveiro Da Luz." This person paid $21,000 for the truck, 50 percent more than its value on the market. According to the report, it can be established that the money used to pay for the truck originated at a house of currency exchange in the Lebanese city of Biblos, a subsidiary of a larger house of exchange, the "Society of Change in Beirut," which was the property of al-Kassar.
The Syrian arms trafficker pointed out to the daily, Clarin, and later in a broadcast on "Hora Clave" that he had "abandoned the sale of arms and had dedicated himself to construction and the managing of the most important exchange house in Beirut," which, by chance, was none other than the Society of Change in Beirut, the most important in the Lebanese capital. The Justice department did not bother to investigate if the $21,000 originated from the holding company "Al Khaled Kassar," with headquarters in Damascus and immense interests in Lebanon. According to journalists, the holding company belonged to Ahmed Jibril, leader of the pro-Syrian movement, the Palestine-Comando Special Popular Liberation Front, to Rifaat Assad, brother of the Syrian president, and al-Kassar.
The Court also did not investigate the movement of Customs between the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992, which the reporting opposition group had demanded, despite the fact that organizations such as the CIA, DEA, and others had denounced Ezeiza, which was directed by al-Ibrahim.
The report affirms that the investigations of the attack on the embassy of Israel have been relegated to absolute silence, investigating false trails to the point of condemning "generically" an organization, Islamic Jihad, which because of the investigators' lack of knowledge of the prevailing reality in the Middle East, did not even try to learn when and in which context that organization makes a public appearance. It was more than 20 years ago when Islamic Jihad appeared "for the one and only time" in the attack against the US marines in Beirut, only to disappear from the map right after.
"The Trail that Menem Fears" details the relationship between Customs, the house of exchange, the trafficking of arms, the meeting of al-Kassar and Yabran in Falda del Carmen, the relationship with Yamal Batich, Ibrahim al-Ibrahim, as well as former president Menem (the actual target of this report), all of which it concludes leads to a Syrian connection to the bombings of the Israeli embassy and AMIA. Its principal "proof," however, is the resistance to following the various leads, which may have proven this Syrian connection.
The PBS program Frontline had a special on Mr. Kassar by Matthew Brunwasser, one of the first parts of interest is the Anatomy of a Deal Gone Bad:
On June 5, 1990, Monzer Al Kassar and his wife opened an account, number 1964, at the Audi Bank in Switzerland. Al Kassar and his wife used their real names and both signed the documents, highly unusual for a bank account that would later be used in an illegal arms deal. The initial purpose of the account is unknown. The bank records from this account and others would later become evidence used by a Swiss prosecutor to freeze Al Kassar's proceeds from the illegal sale of Polish arms to Croatia and Bosnia.These are *different* shipments by al-Kassar from his friends in the Polish arms industry, who also supplied the arms for one of the Iran/Contra deals that al-Kassar brokered. The Polish Government was a bit on the incensed side over this as seen by documents at the Norweigan Initiative on Small Arms Transfers and their cache of documents on the small arms trade. It turns out that Mr. Kassar would be doing arms shipments to various groups and organizations from Poland (cited in this FBIS translation of Warsaw Rzeczpospolita in Polish 6 Jan 00 page A4) which would be more than just Croatia, but include:
Subsequent events provided the necessary ingredients for an embargo-breaking arms deal: a war, an attempt by the international community to stop it, and a broker able to work around it. Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves independent from Yugoslavia in June 1991. A bloody civil war ensued. The United Nations Security Council voted on September 25, 1991, to impose an arms embargo on Yugoslavia, whose constituent republics were not yet recognized by the international community as independent countries. Bosnia declared its independence in March 1992, which was followed by an even more bloody and complicated civil war.
Like many other states, the Swiss Federal Council adopted the arms ban -- U.N. Security Council Resolution number 713 -- on December 18, 1991, making the embargo Swiss law (RS 514.545). This later formed the basis for Swiss legal proceedings against Al Kassar. U.N. embargoes mean nothing unless they are adopted by the legislatures of individual U.N. member states and enforced by their respective legal systems.
Shortly thereafter, a Croatian couple, Snejana and Zeljko Mikulic, holders of an account at Die Erste Bank in Vienna, ordered $2,649,000 in bank transfers to the account of Bassam Abu Sharif, one of Yasser Arafat's closest advisors, at Arab Bank in Geneva. A Die Erste Bank document states that the transfers were for a shipment of sugar, powdered milk and tea to Croatia.
A few days later, Sharif began a series of transfers, ultimately totaling $2.3 million, to account number 1964 at Audi Bank, the account belonging to Monzer Al Kassar.
In turn, Al Kassar transferred $2,549,135 to the Luxembourg bank account of Cenrex, the Polish state arms company.
On March 10, 1992, a Honduras-registered ship, the Nadia, docked at Ceuta, Spain (a Spanish territory in Morocco) for supplies. When port officials examined the cargo documents, they found the papers in order. The 27 containers of arms and ammunition were being sent by Cenrex in Poland to the defense ministry of Yemen. After the ship was allowed to proceed, it headed not to Yemen but to Rijeka, Croatia, where it unloaded.
"Arms and ammunition were smuggled through the port in Gdynia to Latvia and Estonia where they were received by international criminal organizations and to the former Yugoslavia and Somalia, to regions where conflicts were going on and which were under an international embargo," Prosecutor Mariusz Marciniak and Captain Stanislaw Kaminski informed. With the help of trade companies legally operating in Poland, Latvia and Estonia, 24,600 TT pistols, 8,000 automatic pistols, 401 Kalashnikovs, 660 grenade launchers, 100 "Taurus" revolvers, sniper guns, 1,000 grenades, 9,000 mortar shells, and over 36 million pieces of gun and pistol ammunition were illegally exported. Invoices show the total value of the exported arms was above $4.5 million.Some of this went overland, some by sea and, undoubtedly, some by air freight. President Clinton was, most famously, doing not much to solve this problem. Soon President Clinton would be looking to intervene in Bosnia, after the WTC boming, after the attempt at 'nation building' in Somalia gone awry with 'Blackhawk down', ongoing mis-adventures in Haiti and after a few years of an arms embargo in the Balkans. The question of the readiness of US armed forces to actually do anything in Bosnia or the Adriatic as a whole, to stop the civil war conflict going on was brought into question years after Monzer al-Kassar, Lasnaud and others had been funneling arms, training and support into the area. This from a press conference President Clinton held after meeting with the JCS on 01 DEC 1994:
Q. Mr. President, are you ready to send U.S. ground troops to Bosnia to help in any evacuation of U.N. peacekeepers if that is necessary?This is after the President and Congress started to cash in on the 'peace dividend'. Now, for those of you wondering about the two regional conflicts thing: this was the proposed idea that the US could handle two smaller conflicts that were globally separated simultaneously. Shall we now list a range of smaller ones that this did not and could not cover because of the structural needs for something 'other than war'? That list, by then, included: Somalia, Haiti, Cuba, Gulf containment of Saddam via no-fly zone and Kurdish protection, and ongoing commitment to counter-narcotics work in South America. If you had a problem, President Clinton was ready to send troops there and then ask for the help of Congress... for a few very, very small things, such as evacuating US citizens from a war zone, that is fine. For ongoing, open-ended commitments? Congress since the founding of the US has never supported 'Presidential adventurism' on the Public's dime. The US Marine Corps is the President's 'rapid reaction force', but after that the idea is to either 'put up or shut up': without a Congressional mandate, the Nation makes no commitment to backing up US foreign policy with arms unless the Nation, itself, is threatened.
The President. There has been no discussion of that, and the U.N. peacekeepers have not decided to leave Bosnia.
Q. Mr. President, some critics might argue that your action today is a passive admission that defense has been cut too much.
The President. That's not right. What we have done—I'll remind you, we started out, when I became President—when I became President I said, we have a commitment to maintain readiness and the quality of life for our troops; we have a commitment to be able to meet our strategic mission, which is principally to be able to conduct two regional conflicts nearly simultaneously. We have reviewed that; we have managed that. In the last 2 years, we have also had significant costs for other things, as you know. And our military has performed very well in Haiti, in the Gulf, in dealing with the migration problems in Cuba, in Haiti, and in many, many other areas. We've also stepped up a lot of our operations in the Adriatic and in the area around Bosnia.
So we have had a lot of unanticipated costs. And what we've tried to do is to look at this and then decide what it would take to maintain our readiness in the short term and in the long run. The short-term problems can be readily remedied by the emergency supplemental that I've asked for and by the budgetary changes that I am making. The long-term problems will require the adoption of this five-point plan.
We are moving into the future with a very aggressive strategy. It is consistent with the commitments I made when I came here. And we have seen the military, frankly, have to deal with an amazing number and variety of unanticipated challenges. They have done so with great skill, but now they need the support that I think we ought to give them.
And in this era when we are definitely going to continue to reduce the size of the budget, we are going to continue to cut Government, we are going to give the American people a leaner Government, I still believe the people of this country expect us to do right by our men and women in uniform and to maintain our readiness and preparedness and to plan for the future. And that's what this budget does. That's my job; that's the Secretary of Defense's job; that's the Joint Chiefs' job, and we're here doing it today.
That is the structural difference between these 'peace keeping' operations and fighting Congressionally authorized conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq: the 'peace keeping' operations must be so low level as to be sustained in the regular defense budget, items for Congressionally mandated work gets the full support of the Union. Well, at least it did before the last few conflicts which Congress got watery guts about, at least.
Lacking Congressional support or mandate, President Clinton would launch one of his many 'introduce the topic' concepts to then commit forces... and then have no additional funding spent by Congress on the endeavour. On 05 DEC 1994 he would begin that at the CSCE meeting, to show how the US had been helping to protect Europe for 50 years, and so on. By 21 FEB 1995 Mike McCurry would give a press briefing on how France wanted the 'unilateral embargo' enforced by the US to be ended. A senior administration official gave a background briefing in which the idea of NATO involvement in the Balkans to rescue the UN might be necessary just 3 days later. By 27 FEB 1995 Mike McCurry's press conference would touch on the fact that Croatia was turning negative on the UN and that France and Russia seemed to be offering a deal: drop Iraq sanctions and they would offer some help in The Balkans. That is never explicitly stated, of course, but the quid pro quo would be offered again and again for the rest of the 1990's in an attempt to weaken US resolve on Iraq.
By 28 FEB 1995, President Clinton would be in the Netherlands and hold a press conference with Prime Minister Kok, and Bosnia would be brought up and one place in particular that would be of concern:
Q. Croatia with U.S. troops? Would U.S. troops help bring them out, if necessary?Of all the places that the UN would fail, Srebrenica would stand out as the one that demonstrated the futility of UN 'nation building', but that would only come a bit later. This is heading on to a year *after* the 10 MAY 1994 letter from Bosnia asking the US to remove the arms embargo so that they could defend themselves. One year and two weeks later, on 24 MAY 1995, President Clinton would announce US commitment to air support of the UN in the mission in Bosnia.
The President. Let me, first of all, say, we did not discuss that explicitly. You know, the United States has—I guess we ought to get this clear—the United States has committed explicitly and has a plan for helping on the troops in Bosnia. And one of the reasons that the Dutch have been so strong in believing we should not unilaterally lift the arms embargo is that they have troops in and around Srebrenica, I think——
Prime Minister Kok. Right.
The President. And perhaps the most vulnerable of all of the United Nations troops are the Dutch. They have really been brave. They've stuck their necks out. They have prevented much more bloodshed and saved a lot of lives. And that's why they're against the unilateral lift of the arms embargo, because they know what could happen not only to their own troops but, if they are compelled to withdraw, what could happen in that fragile area. And we all remember it wasn't so long ago when that whole area was given up for lost and now hasn't been.
Now, we have gone through that. We're still doing our best to preserve the U.N. mission and presence in Croatia. We may not be able to persuade President Tudjman and his government to do that. We have, therefore, not articulated a clear position. Obviously, we feel a great obligation to all of our allies who are in UNPROFOR who are in vulnerable positions. But I want to say that we have not at this moment explicitly embraced a plan, consulted with the congressional leadership, and ratified it. But obviously, we are just as concerned about the U.N. forces in Croatia as those in Bosnia, but the decisionmaking process is at a different point.
This is the beginning of 'nation building' in the Balkans.
Unfortunately it came well after the radicals started to appear.
From Congressional Record: May 7, 1996 (Senate), DOCID:cr07my96-154, AMERICAN TROOPS IN BOSNIA:[Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)]
Now, Mr. President, in addition to the total abrogation of his word to the American people regarding when the troops would come home from Bosnia, we now learn that, in fact, while President Clinton was stopping us from lifting the arms embargo, he was allowing another country to provide arms in violation of the embargo. Was it a legitimate ally of the United States? No, Mr. President, it was not a legitimate ally of the United States that was allowed to violate the arms embargo that we in this Congress were trying to lift. No, it was an enemy of the United States, a terrorist country: Iran.And then a bit further into things we get the following from Sen. Larry Craig, (R-ID):
Despite widespread rumors that Iranian arms were being shipped to Bosnia in violation of the arms embargo, an embargo this administration said we must support, and despite senior officials' strong denials, we learn we were deceived. Here we have the quotes, Mr. President. On April 15, 1995, a State Department spokesman, Nicholas Burns, told the Los Angeles Times, "We do not endorse violations of U.N. embargo resolutions whatever. We are not violating those resolutions. We don't endorse anyone else who is violating them."
On June 16, 1995, Secretary of State Warren Christopher said, "I think you get some instant gratification from lifting the arms embargo. It is kind of an emotional luxury, but you have to ask yourself, what are the consequences of that?" As late as March of this year, President Clinton himself told Congress that "Iran continued to engage in activities that represent a threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."
Mr. President, despite all of those statements by senior administration officials and the President himself, we have learned in recent weeks that this was not the case at all. Just 3 weeks after the President's report to Congress on Iran, it has been reported that the administration had given its tacit approval of the shipment by Iran, one of America's most hostile adversaries, of weapons to the Bosnian Muslim government.
We are justified in concluding, Mr. President, that the Clinton administration policy on Bosnia has been cynical. What many of us were advocating for so long--arming the Bosnians and allowing them to defend themselves with legitimate sales of arms by people who cared about the people--was, in fact, being opposed by the administration by day, but by night secret arms shipments from Iran were moving forward with the administration's blessing.
Now, Mr. President, we are faced with similar cynicism regarding the deployment of American troops. Those troops are there precisely because the administration refused the suggestions by Senator Dole and others in the Senate that arming the Bosnians and letting them fight for themselves was the best way to go. Instead, the administration adopted a half-a-loaf policy of covert arms shipments from Iran, which was too little, too late, from the wrong source.
As with arm sales to Bosnia, the American people have been deceived by the Clinton administration on the question of withdrawing American troops from Bosnia. Very simply, the President made a commitment to the American people, and he is now saying he will not honor that commitment.
Let me read two quotes that I think speak volumes about what our President has caught himself in--that is, doublespeak. Mr. President, today you are not telling the American people the truth. For the last several months, you have been caught in a very difficult and very deceptive game of doublespeak.And from Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-GA) and any resemblance you hear to this and current remarks by those Congresscritters Upon the Hill is purely intentional:
Your representative, Richard Holbrooke, who immediate repudiated the Dayton peace accord was quoted on May 3 in a Reuters article saying:"I will state flatly for the record that this policy was correct--"He is referring to allowing the Iranians to move arms into the former Yugoslavia."and that if it hadn't taken place, the Bosnian Muslims would not have survived and we would not have gotten to Dayton."That is an absolute opposite from what our President has been telling us. Mr. President, that is double speak.
The next quote from Richard Holbrooke:"We knew that the Iranians would try to use the aid to buy political influence. It was a calculated policy based on the feeling that you had to choose between a lot of bad choices, and the choice that was chosen kept the Sarajevo government alive. But it left a problem--were the Iranians excessively influential on the ground?"Mr. President, President Clinton once again was caught in double speak. This Congress gave our President an option, a viable, responsible, well-thought-out option, to allow the arms embargo to be lifted so that parity could be built on both sides. He chose not to do that. He chose to openly and publicly deceive the American people.
As I mentioned, a main part of the debate on the crisis in the former Yugoslavia has involved the arms embargo, first imposed against the Yugoslavian Government in 1991.
Information continues to surface, showing that while the Congress was openly debating the lifting of the arms embargo, the administration was giving a green light to Iran, allowing them to circumvent the arms embargo.
Richard Holbrooke, the administration's representative who helped to mediate the Dayton Peace Accord, was quoted in a May 3, 1996, Reuters article saying:"I will state flatly for the record that this policy was correct and that if it hadn't taken place, the Bosnian Muslims would not have survived and we would not have gotten to Dayton."Mr. President, I would agree with the comment made by Mr. Holbrooke. Allowing Iran to circumvent the arms embargo was not this administration's only choice--it was certainly not a correct choice. The Congress, just last year, provided President Clinton a viable alternative by the passage of S. 21, legislation that would have unilaterally lifted the U.N. arms embargo illegally enforced against Bosnia.
There was ample reason to question the enforcement of the 1991 embargo against Bosnia. The original embargo was not imposed on Bosnia, because it did not exist in 1991. Rather, it was imposed on Yugoslavia. In addition, enforcement of this embargo could arguably violate Bosnia's right to self-defense under article 51 of the U.N. charter.
The legal, unilateral lifting of the arms embargo that was called for in S. 21, would have allowed rough parity to exist in this conflict.
The President chose to veto S. 21, citing concerns that it would be breaking from an agreement with our allies, and diminish our credibility with Europe.
Mr. President, the only credibility that has been diminished here has been through the administration's efforts to allow one of the strongest supporters of terrorism around the world, Iran, to violate the arms embargo and gain a foothold in Europe.
In addition, Iran only provided light weaponry to the Bosnian's, which was fine for providing a little protection. However, it was not enough to provide the needed shift in the strategic military balance, altering Serbia's enormous advantage in the conflict. Therefore, even after this evasion of the arms embargo had begun, thousands of Bosnians were still being killed, and the Serbian forces continued to capture more territory.
Mr. President, these elections will not occur until September at the earliest. It is, therefore, likely that our troops will not be withdrawn until January 1997.
Mr. President, Richard Holbrooke made another assertion about the administration's decision in the May 3 reuters article, with respect to the risks of dealing with Iran.We knew that the Iranians would try to use the aid to buy political influence. It was a calculated policy based on the feeling that you had to choose between a lot of bad choices, and the choice that was chosen kept the Sarajevo Government alive. But, it left a problem--were the Iranians excessively influential on the ground?The article continues with Mr. Holbrooke claiming that this problem was adequately dealt with through the negotiations of the Dayton accord, by including in the agreement that all foreign forces would have to leave the country. This is precisely one of the problems that our troops have had to face: the removal of foreign forces including Iranian forces.
In addition, it is my understanding that this arms transfer operation was allowed to continue until January of this year--after our troops were beginning to be deployed as peacekeepers in Bosnia.
In closing, the Iranian presence that the Clinton administration helped to promote is now actively threatening the Dayton accord, the American and NATO peacekeepers seeking to enforce it, and the military viability and democratic character of Bosnia itself.
Mr. President, this situation needs to be addressed, and our troops need to be brought home.
I thank my colleague from Texas for taking out this special order. I hope the select committee in the House will thoroughly investigate what this President is failing to do in foreign policy.
In addition to, I think, setting a political precedent that could lead to problems in the future, let us just look at the financial ramifications of it. The United States, which is now the single world power, in a period of enormous domestic financial pressure cannot be the ultimate financial resource in resolving these world conflicts. And the cost of the operation in Bosnia has been and continues to be enormous. The effect of that is to squeeze training, squeeze logistical support, and squeeze research and development in our own standing military. These vast sums of money going into the peacekeeping operations put enormous pressure on the ultimate mission of our own military, which is to defend the integrity and the shores of the United States.So with things not trudging along well, what was the Clinton Administration's view on Iran in Bosnia? Well, Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) asked the State Dept. for its views and got them in a letter from Barbara Larkin, Acting Assistant Secretary, Legislative Affairs dated 20 MAY 1996, which he had put into the Congressional Record: June 11, 1996 (Extensions), DOCID:cr11jn96-22, THIRD-COUNTRY ARMS DELIVERIES TO BOSNIA AND CROATIA, an excerpt follows:
At the time we were discussing all these questions, Secretary Perry came before our Foreign Relations Committee, and in testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee Secretary Perry indicated that the maximum duration of the U.S. commitment would be 1 year. And I can remember on the lips of virtually every member of the committee was the assertion or the worry, the anxiety that there would be mission creep; that we would get into nation building; that we would begin to assume the responsibility of rebuilding this poor and war-torn country and circumstance. And there was worry because of the ethnic divisions that in 1 year how would all that be quelled. But the assurances from the administration, the assurances from Secretary Perry were that we would not be in a mission of nation building; it was a military mission, as suggested by the Senator from Texas, and that it would be 1 year and that would have to suffice. That was the U.S. commitment.
As the Senator from Texas has suggested this morning and has read some of the quotes of the London Times of April 30:The Clinton administration has scrapped plans to withdraw its forces by the end of the year.And we are beginning to hear pleas from the European theater and suggestions that, well, we maybe cannot conclude this at the end of the year, and, yes, maybe we will be involved in other activities other than the initial military mission of separating the warring parties.
That suggestion leaves the American people once again unclear as to how to respond to a Presidential commitment. You go to the American people and say we are going to send your sons and daughters over there but they are only going to be there a year. You come to the Congress. You say we are only going to go for 1 year. We are going to have a very narrow, very defined mission.
When we began to discuss an exit strategy, it was quelled in a minute because the administration said the exit strategy was we are out of there in a year. And now with the slippage of time, we begin to undermine those commitments. Not only does that leave the American people, not only does it leave their Representatives, the Congress of the United States, unclear as to just where we are and where this all leads, but it is almost a certainty to mean more resources, more dollars.
What that means is more pressure on the principal mission of the military, more pressure on the budget, more pressure on the funds necessary to train American soldiers, more pressure on the budget to enter into research and development to keep us the technological military we displayed in the Persian Gulf--keep it at the edge.
The political and military dynamic in Bosnia changed in March 1994. In that month, as a result of active U.S. mediation by our Special Envoy, Ambassador Charles Redman, the leaders of Bosnia, Croatia, and the Bosnian Croat community signed agreements ending their military conflict and setting up a bi-communal Federation between Bonsia's Muslims and ethnic Croats. The newly born Federation immediately received strong U.S. diplomatic support, and deservedly so; its founding principles reflected pluralistic Western values and the cease-fire it engendered helped free up government forces to defend their country against the Serbs and, over time, altered the military balance.Yes, Iran was supplying the money, training and ensuring arms would flow into the Balkans while President Clinton was doing his 'nation building' gig. Remember Congress was in the dark about where the arms were coming from, only that Iran was supplying them to adherants in Bosnia and elsewhere. The arms embargo had only made things worse because it could not stop the shipment of illicit arms via combined organized crime and terorist channels.
When President Tudjman of Croatia approached Ambassador Galbraith in Zagreb in April 1994 to elicit U.S. views on allowing third-country arms shipments to Bosnia via Croatia, we determined that a negative response could have led to the collapse of the Federation and a new deterioration of the Bosnian Government's military position. Instead, we decided that the best course was neither to object to nor approve of arms transfers to Bosnia through Croatia. This was consistent with our practice in the preceding months not to take active steps to prevent third-country arms shipments. At the same time, we did not believe it would have been appropriate to endorse actions contrary to UN Security Council resolutions. Thus we told Ambassador Galbraith to state that he had "no instructions" on the matter.
Our decision eventually bore fruit. By sustaining the Federation and eroding the Serbs' military advantage, it paved the way for the American diplomacy, backed by NATO air power, that produced the peace agreement at Dayton. Our decision allowed us both to observe our legal obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 713 and to promote the achievement of peace.
How did the Administration assess the implications of such a policy change on international adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 713 and U.S. efforts to get friends and allies to stop trade, economic dealings, and investment ties with Iran?
Iran's entry into the Bosnian conflict occurred long before the April 1994 decision. Iranian efforts to gain influence in Bosnia date back to the 1980s. They gained momentum in 1991-92, in the early stages of the war, when the international community proved unable to confront Serb aggression. During this period, despite the UN arms embargo, Iran established itself as Bosnia's principal arms supplier and dispatched hundreds of Revolutionary Guard and other personnel to assist in training Bosnian Government forces. Iranian military aid was part of a multi-pronged campaign of support that also included intelligence cooperation along with economic and humanitarian assistance. We have no evidence that Iran's presence in Bosnia increased significantly after April 1994. It is also worth noting that, through the Dayton Accords and subsequent diplomacy, we have reduced Iranian military influence in Bosnia to its lowest levels in years.
The April 1994 decision had no discernable impact on U.S. efforts to gain international support for the use of economic pressure to alter Iran's objectionable behavior, including its support for terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Prior to 1994, our Allies had generally been unresponsive to our requests that they not provide Iran with economic benefits such as new official credits and loan guarantees. In the past year, however, following the President's decision to impose a trade and investment embargo against Iran, most European countries have substantially reduced the pace and volume of economic activity with Iran. We continue to urge European governments to join our efforts to pressure Iran economically. Based on our ongoing consultations, including the April 19 meeting in Rome of the U.S.-EU-Canada Working Group on Iran, we have concluded that the April 1994 decision has not significantly affected our Iran diplomacy.
Did the United States have discussions regarding these deliveries only with the Croatian and Bosnian authorities, or did the United States also have discussions directly with third countries supplying or financing these arms deliveries?
The United States had no communications with Iran regarding arms for Bosnia, nor are we aware of any occasion on which U.S. officials, in any discussions with other countries, requested them to transfer arms to Bosnia or Croatia.
What countries besides Iran were involved in the financing and delivery of arms to Bosnia? Were Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt involved?
We have provided classified documents which address this question to the Senate Intelligence Committee and we will provide these same materials to appropriate Congressional committees that request them.
If there was a change of policy, why was there a change of policy, and who was informed of it? Was Congress informed, were Allies informed, and were all appropriate officials of the United States informed about a change in policy that affected stated, public policy? If not, why not?
In order to succeed, the thrust of our diplomatic activity both before and after April 1994--adhering to our obligations under UN resolutions, maintaining the cohesion of the Western Alliance, while not taking action to prevent the Bosnians from receiving weapons--required great discretion. That is why the Administration kept the April 1994 discussions with the Croatian government closely held within its own ranks.
It should be noted, however, that the Congressional leadership and relevant committees were made aware of the existence of Iranian arms shipments both from Administration-provided intelligence briefings and press reports. Furthermore, the U.S. decision not to object to such shipments was not inconsistent with the will of Congress as expressed in a June 1994 vote in the House of Representatives to lift the arms embargo unilaterally. In October 1994, the full Congress voted to cut off funds for U.S. enforcement of the arms embargo. No exception for Iranian arms was contained in the legislation, nor was any such exception proposed during the debate.
That was US policy: to turn a blind eye towards those bringing in arms to circumvent the embargo.
That policy brought in Iran. But not alone, far from it.
From Expert Magazine, 30 AUG 1999, via Globalsecurity document cache:
In 1994 Saudi Arabia deprived bin Laden of his citizenship, compelling him to leave for Sudan together with his "Afghan veterans." In a bid to do the United States a favour, the government of Sudan ejected him in 1996. Bin Laden then returned to Afghanistan, dreaming to copy the Afghan model all over the Moslem world, first and foremost in the post-Soviet republics. A ramified war-veteran organisation, as well as prosperous enterprises, which provide jobs and money to such people, and which also effectively conceal their real-life activities, still operates in Sudan, constituting bin Laden's rearguard. Those undercover "veterans" have committed bloody outrages in Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Israel, Germany, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.You did know that Osama bin Laden used Kosovo and Albania as a centralized meeting point and a good area to set up training camps, right? Not just training camps, either.
However, bin Laden's phone conversations on Afghan territory have been intercepted increasingly frequently over the last few months. Accordingly, bin Laden has begun to use couriers for communicating with his "veterans." Indeed, such couriers have handed over coded PC floppy disks in the course of some macabre death-relay race. But this practice has entailed less efficient management. Apart from that, bin Laden has become convinced that, given the current globalisation of NATO's police functions (he was particularly impressed with the war in Yugoslavia - Ed.), terrorist cells are unable to achieve any impressive successes in the Middle East, which is regarded as a strategic region by the West. In this situation, the seething Caucasus has become a rather attractive area for El Qaidah's militants.
From Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 24/09/99, "In Whose Shadow Do the Terrorists Hide?", by Dr. Vladimir Kuznechevsky, via Globalsecurity document cache:
Dr. Aleksandr Ignatenko (Philosophy), a prominent researcher of Islam, says that in 1979-1989 virtually all extremists from Islam-proliferating countries were trained during the Afghan war. Those of them who survived were subsequently dispatched to Bosnia, Chechnya and Russia (Daghestan). Military specialists agree that the mujaheddin fighters, both commanders and ordinary fighters, become better organised and trained with every passing year. In fact, they now have army units with corresponding weapons and training.The man is, to say the least, also bitten by the conspiracy theory addiction, but that only grows out of some solid basis and here he has given it: income from the drug trade. He makes some good points, even given some of the background problems.
By the way, the West has not yet seen the true meaning of this phenomenon on the international scene. The USA has only recently denounced bin Laden as the number one terrorist of the world, but its secret services closed their eyes to his activities during the Afghan war. It is slowly that one comes to see the light. Washington remained silent for a whole week during the terrorist invasion of Daghestan. Only when the CIA came to the conclusion that bin Laden stood behind Basayev and Khattab did the State Department speak up against the aggression and supported Moscow's actions to combat the terrorists. But the Western press is still restrained, if not sympathetic about the mujaheddin. Even such respected newspapers as The Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and Le Figaro do not write about "bandits" or "extremists," but about "rebels".
The wars in Afghanistan and Bosnia not only engaged the vast human resources of the Moslem world, but also provided mind-boggling profits from drug trafficking. Can the Western civilisation reach a compromise with this new political force? Absolutely not. First, the 10 trillion dollars of surplus capital need to act. And when acting, this capital will roll over any owner or a group of such, be it a man, a family, an international organisation or a state. And second, the geo-strategic Moslem centre has been working too long for securing a part of the world to itself. Not that its leaders want absolute domination - although they indoctrinate the rank-and-file mujaheddin in this idea. But this is done only for the propaganda effect. We have had this in history before. Hitler's armies also marched to win the world for the fascists, with "Gott mit uns" (God is with us) written on their belt buckles. It took more than six years, from 1939 to 1945, and 10.3 million German lives for the nation poisoned with fascist ideology to understand that Germans cannot dominate the world.
First is the drug trade in Afghanistan and the Balkans, in which the first is evident as a producer but the second is the 'trans-ship point' between the Americas, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. There is a lot of money to be made between wholesale exchanges and doling out to retail drug kingpins and gangs, and that money is made in the Balkans.
Second is the amount of cash available in Saudi Arabia, which has been funding extremist islam since the 1950's so as to counter Nasser and then secular government in general. Ten trillion dollars would be a good rough estimate, although Iran has fallen into bare subsitance with its economy, while the Saudis continue to garner reserves and excess to fund terrorism off of *interest*.
Third is the subversion of the Western Press, so infatuated by anyone standing up to 'The Man' that they don't want to call a barbarian as just that when one appears. By being unable to differentiate between civilized means to protest and, indeed, rebel against government and those that seek to overturn all governments to form their own empire, the Western Press is dying in a vat of ill-liberalism... liberalism so myopic that it now empowers killers, thugs and barbarians to become warlords over any that protest their vile hatred of all other parts of mankind.
Now to back up a bit to the drug trade and the amounts involved here, we will go to a 13 DEC 2000 Congressional briefing by Frank J. Cilluffo, Deputy Director, Global Organized Crime Program, Director, Counterterrorism Task Force, Center for Strategic & International Studies, and I will pull out the section dealing with this, and it is long, headings are either bold or italics in original, all other bolding is mine:
A Brief Snapshot of the WorldNote the $400 billion/year estimate going through the Balkans *alone*? A 1% skim off the top of that is $4 billion/year, which is a great return on investment to get your hands on 1% of the narcotics trade in the Balkans, put a terror extortion of 10% on that for $400 million/year. Also the large amounts in narcotics trafficking is a natural draw to terrorists: easy money ready to get. This draw of terrorists to cash is one that cannot be ignored, which is why 'failed states' tend to draw terrorists: as the rule of law declines, the ability to get funding from illicit sources increases.
Narco-terrorism is a worldwide threat. It knows no ideological or traditional territorial boundaries. Groups from the far right to the far left and every group in between is susceptible to the lure of drug money. In fact, the vast majority of major terrorist organizations rely, at least in part, on the drug trade as a source funding.
While publicly crusading against the drug trade in Ireland, there is compelling evidence that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its radical offshoot, the Real IRA, are involved in an unholy alliance with the Middle Eastern narcotics industry. Seizures of ecstasy and cannabis in Northern Ireland has dramatically increased is the past few years. As a result, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) have devoted more and more resources to combating the drug problem. The IRA is not the only guilty party in the conflict. Protestant paramilitaries are also heavily involved in using profits from drug sales to finance their organizations.
Turkey is strategically located between the lush poppy fields of Central Asia and the vast market of Europe. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has taken advantage of this fact and financed their separatist movement by "taxing" narcotic traffickers and engaging in the trade themselves. The PKK is heavily involved in the European drug trade, especially in Germany and France. French law enforcement estimates that the PKK smuggles 80 percent of the heroin in Paris.
During the NATO campaign against the former Yugoslavia in the Spring of 1999, the Allies looked to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to assist in efforts to eject the Serbian army from Kosovo. What was largely hidden from public view was the fact that the KLA raise part of their funds from the sale of narcotics. Albania and Kosovo lie at the heart of the "Balkan Route" that links the "Golden Crescent" of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the drug markets of Europe. This route is worth an estimated $400 billion a year and handles 80 percent of heroin destined for Europe.
The Bekaa Valley continues to remain a base of operations for Hizbullah to export narcotics. Despite efforts from the Lebanese authorities to shut down cultivation in the Valley, production of drugs continue. With funding from Iran seen to be dwindling, the Hizbullah is expected to increase their drug trafficking to fill the void. There is also evidence of cooperation with the PKK to export narcotics into Europe. It is also clear that Russian Organized Crime is using Israel and Cyprus as twin bases for its operations in Western Europe and the United States.
The countries most affected by the fall of the Soviet Union are the Central Asian Republics. The void left by the authority of the Communist Party has been replaced by organized crime syndicates, narcotics traffickers, and Islamic fundamentalists. Civil war and corruption are common. The proximity of the "Golden Crescent" of Pakistan and Afghanistan, make Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan the crossroads of the opiate trade to Europe and Russia, where narcotics consumption is increasing.
Spurred by radical Islamic fundamentalists such as Osama bin Laden, new cells of terrorists have spawned in the Central Asian Republics. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is one these groups. The IMU, using Tajikistan as a staging area, have made incursions into Kyrgyzstan on hostage-taking missions.
In the radical Islamist attempt to foment jihad in Chechnya, guerillas have also used Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Tajikistan as logistical hubs for their attacks on the Russian military.
South and East Asia
Maoist insurgent groups in Nepal have turned to drug trafficking for funding. Nepal serves as a hub for hashish trafficking in Asia. The insurgency has grown since its war with the Nepalese government began in 1996. The war began in three provinces in western Nepal, but has now spread to 68 of Nepal’s 75 districts.
The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) rely on the funding generated by expatriates in the US and Canada in their fight against the Sri Lankan government. Under the guise of humanitarian relief for victims of the civil war, the LTTE uses the funds to launch hundreds of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombing and political assassination. The Tamil Tigers have also turned to the narcotics industry. Sri Lanka lies at an important narcotics transit point and the Tamil Tigers take full advantage of this. There is evidence of a close relationship with military leaders in Myanmar. In the past, the Myanmar military has provided training and weapons in return for LTTE members acting as couriers of heroin into India and Europe. Whether or not the relationship continues is unknown.
Evidence has also surfaced of cooperation between the LTTE and Indian organized crime. Indian traffickers supply drugs and weapons to the LTTE, who in turn sell the drugs. The profit garnered from the drugs are then used to repay the Indians for the weapons.
The Abu Sayyaf group has made headlines recently with the mass kidnapping of foreigners and the subsequent ransom provided by Libya. While kidnapping has proven to be a lucrative trade, members of Abu Sayyaf have also taken advantage of marijuana plantations in the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf is a good example of an ideologically driven group that have transformed into a criminal enterprise.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by the Spanish acronym FARC) was established as a communist insurgency group intent on overthrowing the Colombian government. In 1990, however, their ideological leader Jacobo Arenas died. His successors had very little qualms about breaching their ideological ethics. FARC had for a long time "taxed" narcotics traffickers. By the mid-1990s FARC guerillas began to take a more in-depth role in the trafficking process by supplanting themselves as the middlemen between the farmers and the cocaine processing labs owned by cartel bosses. The changes in FARC over the last decade have been significant. As the revenue from the drug trade has expanded, so to has the power and influence of FARC.
Of particular concern is FARC’s territorial control. FARC controls an estimated 40 percent of Colombia. Included in that territory is their "safe haven." Prior to peace talks in 1999 with the Colombian government, FARC negotiated for control of an immense swath of Colombian territory under the pretext of it being a demilitarized zone. The zone covers an area of approximately 42,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Switzerland. The Colombian government have seen this as a concession to FARC to push them to the negotiating table. FARC, however, has used the safe haven to continue the cultivation of narcotics and staging grounds for assaults on the Colombian military.
Cuba had been a major contributor to the FARC cause, providing funding, training, and refuge for FARC soldiers. With the end of the Cold War came a significant reduction in Cuban support. The successful campaigns to eradicate coca crops from Bolivia and Peru pushed the trade to areas controlled by FARC in southern Colombia.
Experts estimate that over half of FARC’s funding comes from drug cultivation and trafficking, with the rest coming from kidnapping, extortion, and other criminal activities. A Time Magazine article recently estimated that FARC makes $700 million annually from the drug trade.
An alarming trend has been the increasing cooperation between FARC and elements of the Russian mafia. The Colombian drug cartels had cultivated a relationship with the Russian mafia since the early 1990s. But with the decline of the drug cartels and the rise of guerilla armies in the drug trafficking business, came new relationships. Never one to shy away from opportunities with new customers, the Russian mafia increased their business deals with FARC. The Russians built a arms pipeline to Colombia, bringing in thousands of weapons, and tons of other supplies to help FARC fight their war against the Colombian government. The weapons range from assault rifles and RPGs to military helicopters and, according to media reports, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles. Evidence has surfaced regarding an arms-for-drugs deal between Russian organized crime groups and FARC. Russian cargo planes loaded with small arms, anti-aircraft missiles, and ammunition would take off from airstrips in Russia and Ukraine and fly to Colombia. The weapons and ammunition were unloaded and sold to FARC rebels. In return the planes were loaded with up to 40,000 kilograms of cocaine and shipped back to Russia, where the Russian mafia would distribute the drugs for profit. At the time the story broke, the operation had been on-going for two years.
FARC is also extending its cooperation to the borders of the United States. The recent arrest of a FARC figure in Mexico have convinced Mexican and American authorities of a Colombian link to the Arellano-Felix-run Tijuana cartel. The State Department believes that FARC supplied cocaine to the Tijuana cartel in return for cash and weapons.
A defeat of FARC would not spell an end to drug trafficking out of South America. History has shown that as soon as one area has successfully been eradicated of drug crops, new areas of cultivation spring up across borders. If FARC is defeated, groups like ELN and paramilitary groups are likely to fill the vacuum. This "balloon effect" may further spread the drug trade and the associated violence into states bordering Colombia, such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil.
Despite publicly announced efforts by the Taliban to combat drug cultivation and trafficking, Afghanistan continues to be the largest producer of opium in the world. And production of the crop is growing. According to the Intelligence Community’s Counter-Narcotics and Crime Center, opium cultivation grew from 41,720 hectares in 1998, to 51,500 in 1999, and 64,510 in 2000, an increase of over 54 percent in two years. In some districts, as much as 60 percent of the land is used to grow poppies. The Poppy cultivation is expanding territorially in Afghanistan as well, expanding into provinces not previously used for poppy cultivation. Afghanistan became the world’s leading producer of opium in 1998, and now produces more than three times as much as Myanmar, the previous leader. This, despite Afghanistan having only 58 percent of Myanmar’s area of cultivation.
The Taliban gets funding from taxing all aspects of the drug trade. Opium harvests are taxed at around 12 percent. Then the heroin manufacturing labs are taxed at $70 per kilogram of heroin. In the final stage, the Taliban gives transporters a permit for $250 per kilo of heroin to carry for presentation to Taliban checkpoints throughout the country. The Observatoire Geopolitique des Drouges estimates that this adds up to $75 million per year in taxes for the Taliban.
Unlike Latin America or Europe, where organized crime attempts to penetrate the state, North Korea is penetrating organized crime. With the economy in shambles, the government of North Korea has turned to drug trafficking and organized crime for funding. A number of indicators suggest that North Korea is involved in the methamphetamine, opium, and heroin trafficking. Not only do the North Koreans cooperate with organized crime groups, but members of the armed forces, the diplomatic corps, and the intelligence service actually engage in trafficking of narcotics.
Western intelligence agencies have confirmed the presence of large-scale opium production facilities in North Korea. But the North Koreans are not limited to drug production facilities. There is also evidence of printing plants used to produce high-quality counterfeit currency. And Japan grows increasingly nervous as members of its local Korean population with ties to the North become involved more deeply in this dirty, underground trade.
Another to testify was Ralf Mutschke, Interpol's Assistant Director, Criminal Intelligence Directorate to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime on 13 DEC 2000 and he would also address this problem of organized crime and transnational terrorism:
I would like to draw the particular attention of the Committee to the Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA) , considering the events of December last year. On 14 December 1999, Ahmed Ressam, was arrested near Port Angeles, Washington State, while trying to enter the United States from Canada. He was in possession of a timing device, explosive materials and false identification documents. Ahmed Ressam is known to have shared a Montreal (Canada) apartment with Said Atmani, a known document forger for the GIA. It has been established that before Ressam attempted to enter the US, he was in the company of Abdelmajid Dahoumane in Vancouver (Canada) for a 3 to 4 week period . An Interpol Red Notice was issued regarding the latter. The investigation has revealed links between terrorists of Algerian origin and a criminal network established in Montreal and specializing in the theft of portable computers and mobile telephones. The group in Montreal was in contact with individuals involved in terrorist support activity in France, and with several Moudjahidin groups who are active in Bosnia.I would say that Osama bin Laden had some view to looking at Albania and Kosovo as a fertile ground to lay down a cross-continental network. He would continue on a bit later looking at Albania as it relates to the Balkans:
Subsequent to the arrest of Ressam, the Montreal police arrested twelve persons who were committing theft of valuable goods in cars in the Montreal downtown area. The proceeds of these criminal activities were sent to an international network with links to France, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, Australia and Bosnia.
The events in Canada and the United States should be seen in a wider perspective. Indeed, intelligence shows that several Algerian terrorist leaders were present at a meeting in Albania, which could also have been attended by Usama bin Laden , who was believed to be in Albania at that time. It was during this meeting that many structures and networks were established for propaganda and fund raising activities, and for providing Algerian armed groups with logistical support. The arrest at the Canada-US border in December 1999 may indicate that the Algerian terrorists are prepared to take their terrorism campaign to North America.
Albanian Organized Crime Groups.Here one of the head individuals of Interpol is pointing out that external armed forces for 'peace keeping' must take this into account. This is not something that one signs up for on a 'peace keeping' mission with shooting going on - conducting operations against organized crime. And yet, that is specifically the case in the Balkans as a whole and in Kosovo and Bosnia.
Albanian organized crime groups are hybrid organizations, often involved both in criminal activity of an organized nature and in political activities, mainly relating to Kosovo. There is certain evidence that the political and criminal activities are deeply intertwined. Also, it has become increasingly clear that Albanian crime groups have engaged in significant cooperation with other transnational crime groups.
Several extraneous factors explain the current, relatively strong, position of Albanian organized crime:
1. Concerning Albanian organized crime in the United States, the 1986 break-up of the "Pizza connection" made it possible for other ethnic crime groups to "occupy" the terrain which had until then been dominated by the Italians. For Albanians this was especially easy since they had already been working with, or mainly for, Italian organized crime.
2. Due to a highly developed ethnic conscience - fortified by a Serb anti- Albanian politics in the 80’s and 90’s, Albanians, particularly Kosovars, have developed a sense of collective identity necessary to engage in organized crime. It is this element, based on the affiliation to a certain group, which links organized Albanian crime to Panalbanian ideals, politics, military activities and terrorism. Albanian drug lords established elsewhere in Europe began contributing funds to the "national cause" in the 80’s. From 1993 on, these funds were to a large extent invested in arms and military equipment for the KLA (UÇK) which made its first appearance in 1993.
3. From 1990 on, the process of democratization in Albania has resulted in a loss of state control in a country that had been totally dominated by the communist party and a system of repression. Many Albanians lacked respect for the law since, to them, they represented the tools of repression during the old regime. Loss of state structures resulted in the birth of criminal activities, which further contributed to the loss of state structures and control.
4. Alternative routing for about 60% of European heroin became necessary in 1991 with the outbreak of the war in Yugoslavia and the blocking of the traditional Balkan route. Heroin was thus to a large extent smuggled through Albania, over the Adriatic into Italy and from there on to Northern and Western Europe. The war also enabled organized criminal elements to start dealing arms on a large scale.
5. Another factor which contributed to the development of criminal activities, is the embargos imposed on Yugoslavia by the international community and on the F.Y.RO.M. by Greece (1993-1994) in the early 90’s. Very quickly, an illegal triangular trade in oil, arms and narcotics developed in the region with Albania being the only state not hit by international sanctions.
6. In 1997, the so-called pyramid savings schemes in the Albanian republic collapsed. This caused nation-wide unrest between January and March 1997, during which incredible amounts of military equipment disappeared (and partly reappeared during the Kosovo conflict): 38,000 hand-guns, 226,000 Kalashnikovs, 25,000 machine-guns, 2,400 anti-tank rocket launchers, 3,500,000 hand grenades, 3,600 tons of explosives. Even though organized crime groups were probably unable to "control" the situation, it seems clear that they did profit from the chaos by acquiring a great number of weapons. Albanian organized crime also profited from the financial pyramids which they seem to have used to launder money on a large scale. Before the crash, an estimated 500 to 800 million USD seem to have been transferred to accounts of Italian criminal organizations and Albanian partners. This money was then reinvested in Western countries.
7. The Kosovo conflict and the refugee problem in Albania resulted in a remarkable influx of financial aid. Albanian organized crime with links to Albanian state authorities seems to have highly profited from these funds. The financial volume of this aid was an estimated $163 million. The financial assets of Albanian organized crime were definitely augmented due to this situation.
8. When considering the presence of Albanians in Europe, one has to keep in mind the massive emigration of Albanians to Western European countries in the 90’s. In 2000, estimations concerning the Albanian diaspora are as follows:
United States and Canada: 500,000
Great Britain: 30,000
For those emigrants to EU countries or Switzerland, the temptation to engage in criminal activities is very high as most of them are young Albanian males, in their twenties and thirties, who are unskilled workers and who have difficulties finding a job. For Italian organized crime, these Albanians were ideal couriers in the drug trafficking business running through Albania as they were able to circumvent the area border patrols after the outbreak of the war in Yugoslavia. Many of them came into contact with Albanian organized crime through Albanian émigré communities located throughout Western Europe. This gave an impetus to the dispersion and internationalization of Albanian criminal groups.
The typical structure of the Albanian Mafia is hierarchical. Concerning "loyalty", "honor" and clan traditions, (blood relations and marriage being very important) most of the Albanian networks seem to be "old-fashioned" and comparable to the Italian Mafia networks of thirty or forty years ago. Infiltration into these groups is thus very difficult. Heroin networks are usually made up of groups of fewer than 100 members, constituting an extended family residing all along the Balkan route from Eastern Turkey to Western Europe. The Northern Albanian Mafia which runs the drug wholesale business is also known by the name of "The Fifteen Families."
Regarding cooperation with other transnational criminal groups, the Albanian Mafia seems to have established good working relationships with the Italian Mafia. On the 27th of July 1999 police in Durrës (Albania), with Italian assistance arrested one of the godfathers of the "Sacra Corona Unita", Puglia’s Italian Mafia. This Albanian link seems to confirm that the Sacra Corona Unita have "officially" accepted Albanian organized crime as a "partner" in Puglia/Italy and delegated several criminal activities. This might be due to the fact that the Sacra Corona Unita is a rather recent phenomenon, not being as stable nor as strong as other Mafias in Italy. Their leaders might have decided to join forces rather than run the risk of a conflict with Albanian groups known to be extremely violent. Thus in certain areas of Italy, the market for cannabis, prostitution and smuggling of illegal immigrants is run mainly by Albanians. Links to Calabria’s Mafia, the "Ndrangheta", exist in Northern Italy. Several key figures of the Albanian Mafia seem to reside frequently in the Calabrian towns of Africo, Plati and Bovalino (Italy), fiefs of the Ndrangheta. Southern Albanian groups also seem to have good relationships with Sicily’s "Cosa Nostra", which seems to be moving steadily into finance and money laundering, leaving other typical illegal activities to other groups. Close relationships also exist with other criminal groups active along the Balkan route, where Turkish wholesalers, Bulgarian and Romanian traffickers are frequent business partners. There are also indications that a South American cartel has become active in Albania through Albanian middlemen, in order to place more cocaine on the European market
The heavy involvement of Albanian criminal groups in drugs trafficking, mainly heroin is proven. Currently, more than 80% of the heroin on the European market has been smuggled through the Balkans, having mainly been produced in Afghanistan and traveled through Iran and Turkey or Central Asia. In the Balkan region, two routes seem to have replaced the former traditional route, disrupted by the Yugoslavian conflict: one Northern route running mainly through Bulgaria, then Romania and Hungary and one Southern route running from Bulgaria through F.Y.R.O.M., the Kosovo region and Albania. An average of more than a ton of heroin and more than 10 tons of hashish are seized along those Balkan routes each year. According to DEA estimations, between 4 and 6 tons of heroin leave Turkey each month bound for Western Europe, traveling along the Balkan routes.
Albanian trafficking networks are becoming more and more powerful, partly replacing Turkish networks. This is especially the case in several German speaking countries, Sweden and Norway. According to some estimations, Albanian networks control about 70% of the heroin market today in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries. According to analyses of the Swedish and Norwegian police, 80% of the heroin smuggled into the countries can be linked to Albanian networks. In 1998, Swiss police even estimated that 90% of the narco-business in the country was dominated by Albanians. Throughout Europe, around 40% of the heroin trade seems to be controlled by Albanians. Recent refugees from the Kosovo region are involved in street sales. Tensions between the established ethnic Albanians and newcomers seem to exist, heroin prices having dropped due to their arrival and due to growing competition in the market.
Albanian networks are not only linked to heroin. In the Macedonian border region, production laboratories for amphetamine and methamphetamine drugs seem to have been set up. Currently, these pills are destined for the local market. Cannabis is grown in Albania and cultivation seems to have become more and more popular, especially in the South. Annual Albanian marijuana revenue is estimated at $40 million. In 1999, cannabis plantations existed in the regions of Kalarat (about 80 kilometers from Vlorë/Albania) and close to Girokastër in the regions of Sarandë, Delvina and Permetti. Albanian cannabis is mainly sold on the Greek market. In order to transport the drugs to Greece, Albanian crime groups work together with Greek criminals.
Albanian criminals are also involved in the traffic of illegal immigrants to Western European countries. It is part of international trafficking networks, which not only transport Albanians, but also Kurds, Chinese and people from the Indian subcontinent. The Albanian groups are mainly responsible for the crossing of the Adriatic Sea from the Albanian coast to Italy. Departures mainly take place from Vlorë, some of them from Durrës or even from Ulcinj in the South of Montenegro. By the end of 1999, the crossing costs about $1,000 USD for an adult and $500 USD for a child. It is interesting to notice that some illegal immigrants had to pay for their journey only once in their home country (e.g. $6,000 in Pakistan), but that the nationality of the trafficking groups changed as they moved along. This implies that Albanian groups are only a part of international distribution networks. In 1999, approximately 10,000 people were smuggled into EU countries via Albania every month. The Italian border patrol intercepted 13,118 illegal immigrants close to the Puglian coast from January until July 1999. It estimated arrivals only in this coastal region at 56,000 in 1999. For the Albanian crime groups, illegal immigration - even though it can not be compared to the narco-business - is an important source of income, bringing in an estimated fifty million USD in 1999.
Immigration is not only a source of income, it is also very important in order to create networks in foreign countries and thus create bridgeheads for the Albanian Mafia abroad. Reports indicate that of the people admitted into Western European or North America as refugees during the Kosovo conflict, at least several had been carefully chosen by the Albanian Mafia to stay in the host country and act as a future liaison for the criminal networks.
Trafficking in women and forced prostitution seem to have become much more important for Albanian organized crime in 1999, with thousands of women from Kosovo having fled to Albania during the armed conflict in the region. About 300,000 women from Eastern European countries work as prostitutes in Europe. More and more seem to be "organized" in Albanian networks that are not only limited to ethnic Albanian prostitutes, but also comprise women from Romania, Bosnia, Moldova, Russia, etc. The pimps often pretend to be Kosovars in order to have the status of a political refugee, even though many of them come from Albania. Some seem to control the "business" from abroad. Belgium, in particular, seems to be the seat of several leaders of the trafficking networks. In 1999, ten people linked to Albanian crime were shot in Brussels.
Finally, Albanian criminal groups frequently engage in burglaries, armed robberies and car theft in Europe and the United States.
There might still be links between political/military Kosovar Albanian groups (especially the KLA) and Albanian organized crime. Of the almost 900 million DM which reached Kosovo between 1996 and 1999, half was thought to be illegal drug money. Legitimate fundraising activities for the Kosovo and the KLA could have been be used to launder drug money. In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden. Another link to bin Laden is the fact that the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Djihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict. In 1998, the KLA was described as a key player in the drugs for arms business in 1998, "helping to transport 2 billion USD worth of drugs annually into Western Europe". The KLA and other Albanian groups seem to utilize a sophisticated network of accounts and companies to process funds. In 1998, Germany froze two bank accounts belonging to the "United Kosova" organization after it had been discovered that several hundred thousand dollars had been deposited into those accounts by a convicted Kosovar Albanian drug trafficker.
The possibility of an Albanian/Kosovar drugs for arms connection is confirmed by at least two affairs in 1999:
an Italian court in Brindisi (Italy) convicted an Albanian heroin trafficker who admitted obtaining weapons for the KLA from the Mafia in exchange for drugs.
An Albanian individual placed orders in the Czech Republic for light infantry weapons and rocket systems. According to Czech police sources, the arms were bound for the KLA.
Each KLA commander seems to have had funds at his disposal in order to be able to pay directly for weapons and ammunition for his local units’ need.
It is difficult to predict the further development of Albanian organized crime. Being a recent phenomenon, its stability is difficult to estimate. Nevertheless, future threats are realistic given the ruthlessness and lack of scruples displayed by Albanian crime groups, the international links which already exist, the professionalism which characterizes most of their activities and the strong ties created by ethnic Albanian origins. Moreover, the strong position of Albanian crime groups in Kosovo, F.Y.R.O.M. and the Albanian republic itself, is definitely a cause of concern to the international community, especially when one takes into account the geo-political instability in the region and the presence of a UN peacekeeping force.
Yes, the killings were stopped!
Yes, organized crime then flourished integrating with Sicilian, Italian, Russian, South American, Turk, Greek and other organized crime groups. Isn't it wonderful that white slavery, heroin trafficking, money laundering, illegal arms deals and extending criminal enterprises to the US, Western Europe and beyond was enabled by 'peace keeping' and 'nation building' in Kosovo by Albanians that really don't respect the rule of law overmuch? And since the UN and the US were so nice to send the military to Kosovo, you would think some of this might get addressed, no?
The answer has been, apparently, no.
And we also have a very, very good answer as to why Serbia refuses to let Kosovo go, don't we? There is too much money flowing through there on the black market to just 'let it go' due to the Albanian Kosovars who are involved with organized crime. Remember, if you can get ever 1% of that trade you are doing very, very well, indeed. And if, as the State Dept. reports, the Albanians are cracking down on organized crime, then where would the 15 families naturally look to next? Yes, ethnically aligned Kosovo!
But before heading on further, there is a need to review all the grandness that wasn't done via this work in the Balkans. We, indeed, did 'stop the killing', but the expenditures to get that were not what we expected. President Clinton was more than willing to be the big-hearted Policeman to the World, and had problems finding any mission he wouldn't want to send the troops to take on for him. The US, however, was not ready for President Clinton's binge of 'peace keeping' and 'nation building', and that was especially true of the US armed forces. The results on the ground speak volumes, but the armed forces also were quite unready for it. Here is what the FY 2000 National Defense Authorization Act had to say about this:
The National Military Strategy of the United States envisioned that the armed forces would be prepared to fight and win two nearly simultaneous major theater wars, the most likely being the Persian Gulf and the Korean peninsula. The strategy did not anticipate a third theater of war, such as the operation in Kosovo, and 13involvement in multiple, concurrent contingency operations. Strained by ongoing day-to-day operations, the contingency operations in Bosnia and Iraq, and the escalating conflict in Kosovo, it is anticipated that the long-term and indirect military readiness, quality of life, and modernization costs of these operations will be considerable. The United States is risking its ability to protect national interests in other critical regions of the world. The committee is very concerned about the administration's failure to adequately address that significant risk through policy, planning, and resource allocation. The committee looks forward to a more meaningful resolution of these issues in future budget submissions and the FYDP.Yes, no one had ever forecast such a daft thing to go and do! The US armed forces had not structured their logistics plans and environment to cover such a thing, nor training, nor recruitment, nor any of that. And they couldn't as the US was not at WAR with anyone and Congress saw no reason to fund these ventures. This would have a negative impact on the US armed forces, and I reviewed this, in part, in an article on Mountain Warfare. The reason I did that is that Mountain and Alpine warfare troops have some very rigorous training that allows them to operate in an environment that would wear down normal troops in almost no time flat. So here is what was seen due to all the lovely work by President Clinton in the 1990's:
What was worrying on 9/11 and thereafter was the state of the US 10th Mountain Division because of the state it had fallen into during the previous Administration. At the Defense and National Interest site they have a 1997 report on a staff trip to the NTC and JRTC (National Training Center (NTC) and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) made by a Senate staffer.Yes, 'looked good on paper', just like 'peace keeping' and 'nation building' does since 'the killing has been stopped'. I am a results oriented person, of that there is no doubt, and if 'stopping the killing' was what we were about, then a lovely dictatorship would have stood us in good stead. Yes, those do tend to be brutal, nasty and attack their own populations but at least it would not be brutal and nasty 'civil war' right? A more or less accountable dictator that will abide by international rulings and do his or her best to only suppress most of the population and help organized crime, that would have been a sure winner!Army-wide Shortages in Key PersonnelThe problems seen were Army-wide, but concentrated due to the conflict in Bosnia and 'peace keeping' there by US troops. Shortages in skills, personnel, equipment and the such like are being described with the drain being due to Bosnia. One of the groups sent to Bosnia and then suffering through this was the 10th Mountain Division. By NOV 1999 the 10th Mountain Division and 1st Infantry Division had both fallen to the lowest readiness level since Vietnam. Given the high level of training necessary to make the 10 MD, this was astonishing and pointed to some larger scale problem that could allow any part of the Army, but *particularly* the 10 MD to fall to that level. In the year 2000 an investigation due to presidential campaigning ensued and found the following, as seen at the DNI site hosting this report:
Despite high operating tempos and work loads, both OPFORs at the NTC and JRTC were described as fully manned, enjoying high esprit de corps, and having retention rates at least as good as the rest of the Army, if not better. For the units rotating into the NTC and JRTC—i.e. the Army's combat units; that is to say, the heart and sole of the Army—there is a very different story. I was told the following:Units coming to both training centers frequently do not come with many of their sub-unit commanders; these have frequently been assigned to peacekeeping missions or other deployments that separate them from their units. As a result, sub-units—from basic squads on up—do not train with the commanders that they would go to war with. When this happens, it violates a key dictum of readiness and one of the basic points of having the NTC and the JRTC: the Army should “train just as you go to war.”At the JRTC, units were described as typically missing 25% of their basic infantry: mostly junior enlisted personnel with combat military specialties and mid grade non-commissioned officer (NCO) personnel. This was described as a recruiting problem and specifically not because of deployments such as Bosnia.
At the NTC, units rotating in typically come with a 60% shortage in mechanics and a 50% shortage in “mounted” mechanized infantry (in their Bradley APCs). These were described as “Army-wide” shortages: they were demonstrated by virtually all the units coming to the NTC. These shortages were described as due to these personnel, especially the mechanics, being deployed abroad for missions such as Bosnia. On average, all Army personnel now spend from 180 to 220 days of each year away from their home base, and families, on deployments. This average used to be about 165 days per year. According to Army testimony to Congress, the increase in these deployments is for peacekeeping missions.
In actuality, these problems may be worse than indicated here. I was told at the NTC that the NCO shortages are often temporarily addressed by pulling junior NCOs into the unfilled senior and mid level slots to make more complete units for training purposes. At the JRTC, because one third of each brigade's junior enlisted and NCO personnel do not deploy for a rotation, it is possible that gaps in the units that do deploy are filled with those that would otherwise stay home. I was told this is not occurring; however, I am skeptical that it never happens.Summary Findings and Conclusions
The character, enthusiasm, and professionalism of the officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and enlisted men and women in the 10th Mountain Division is impressive. The 10th Mountain Division is officially rated by the Army at a level that lends support to General Shelton and the other respondents to candidate Bush's assertion of non-readiness. Strenuous efforts of the 10th Division's personnel are manifest to make it as effective a combat unit as resources permit. Various unit commanders expressed a willingness and readiness to take on and perform effectively any mission assigned, as has been the case in the past.
However, beneath the favorable overall readiness rating and an understandable - and professional - expression of confidence by various commanders, and despite all the hard efforts of the officers, NCOs, and enlisted personnel, the 10th Mountain is today experiencing multiple, serious shortages of people and material resources, training deficiencies, and other impediments to readiness, a large number of them resulting from policies imposed by Washington.
The issues include the following:Incomplete manning in many combat and support units, sometimes to the extent that important secondary - if not primary - missions cannot be performed and/or primary mission performance is degraded. Moreover, because of Army force structure decisions, what is normally one-third of a US Army division's combat strength (an entire ground maneuver brigade) does not exist in the 10th Mountain Division.From these findings and the data presented below, it is concluded that,
Gaps in the leadership of the Division throughout its hierarchy, such that enlisted personnel are frequently doing the work of sergeants, lieutenants are doing the work of captains, captains of majors, and so on. Also, in cases where a position is occupied by an individual of appropriate rank, that individual may be less experienced than in the past or than experienced personnel - in and out of the 10th Division - deemed sufficient.
Training deficiencies that include less satisfactorily trained personnel received from Army training or personnel trained on equipment not assigned to the division, and incomplete opportunities to overcome these training inadequacies.
Non-availability of various equipment , training ammunition shortages, and funding shortfalls for facilities.
Various policy directives and allocation of resources from Washington (i.e.: from the civilian and military leadership of the military services and the Department of Defense and from Congress) that either impede readiness or that are ineffectual at addressing known deficiencies.
A lack of inquiry by various entities to collect on-the-ground, empirical information on the condition of the 10th Mountain to establish what basis candidate Bush may have had for his statements and/or to verify the statements of General Shelton, Secretary of Defense Cohen, Vice President Gore, and others.As stated by a 10th Mountain soldier at Fort Drum "There are two different armies; the one described in Washington, and the one that exists." And, from another, "There is a mind-boggling difference between the division that Washington DC describes and what exists in 10th Mountain." And from still another, "The [Division] only looks good on paper."
Well, no, it wouldn't, of course, but providing a safe haven for organized crime that supports terrorism is, in some ways, worse than that as the various forces in Kosovo under UN auspices is not doing a DAMNED THING to stop it. The entire affair actually gave an opening to start radicalizing the area even more while we helped to 'stop the killing'. The Serbian Nationalists on a killing binge were atrocious, yes. But they were ethnically motivated Nationalists in an age-old grudge match in Kosovo. Yes, they were bad. Then there are those Wahhabists who were coming into the area and here an article "Erasing Culture: Wahhabism, Buddhism, Balkan Mosques" by Michael A. Sells in The Turkish Times from 02 APR 2001, helps us see what has been going on there during those lovely 1990's 'peace keeping' and 'humanitarian' missions:
Although the Saudi government does not give official aid to the Taliban, wealthy Saudis and religious authorities continue to support them and influential Saudis are the only force with any practical influence over the Taliban. Neither the Saudi government nor the Saudi religious establishment joined the rest of the Islamic world in urging the Taliban not to dynamite the Buddhas. The Saudi government may be afraid, but the Wahhabi religious establishment clearly approves of the act. In Bosnia and Kosovo, under the guise of "reconstruction aid", Saudi, Kuwaiti, and other Gulf organizations have bulldozed major monuments that survived attacks by Serb and Croat militias. In other cases, they have gutted them and transformed the classic Balkan Muslim interiors into what one expert has called "hospital white" boxes. For these Wahhabi groups, a centuries-old mosque complex, or library, or tomb is an another idol, even though these monuments were created by Muslims with an Islamic culture and tradition stretching back to the 14th and 15th century long before Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab made his 18th century alliance with the warlord who founded the Saudi dynasty. In some cases, the Wahhabi destruction was completed before the Bosnians or Kosovars knew what was to be done. In other cases, the Saudi-financed Wahhabi groups told the villages and neighborhoods that they would only supply aid for rebuilding houses and infrastructure if they could be put in charge of the re[de]construction of the local Muslim monuments and sacral architecture.The Serbs waged war on a people, the Wahhabists were waging war on them and their culture to try and erase *both* from the face of the planet, and getting along pretty far in doing so.
"What the Serb militias couldn't finish in their three-year siege and shelling of Sarajevo, the Wahhabi's are now trying to complete"
The latest example is the Wahhabi-directed annihilation of the interior of the great Gazi Husrevbeg Mosque (Begova Dzamija) in Sarajevo, one of the jewels of Southeast European architecture. The mosque had been shelled by the Serb military, but the magnificent, classic interior had survived. The Begova was perhaps the single most important surviving Muslim (Ottoman) monument in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is impossible for me to describe adequately what was done to it under the Saudi-sponsored renovation, and even if I could, I wouldn't have the heart to do so. The before and after pictures are below.
The only government that can persuade the Taliban to stop their war on Afghan culture is the Taliban's sponsor and ideological mentor, Saudi Arabia. The only government that can persuade the Saudis to stop supporting the Taliban's repression and destruction is the U.S. government of which Saudi Arabia is a client state.
Below are small excerpts of reports [published in 2001] on some of the other destruction work.
Yugoslavia: Saudi Wahhabi Aid Workers Bulldoze Balkan Monuments
Jolyon Naegele - Last week, construction workers in Kosovo bulldozed the 18th century facade of a library and a 16th century Koran school that Serbian forces damaged during fighting last year. The construction workers were not Serbs, but employees of a Saudi Arabian reconstruction agency, and were armed with official permits rather than Kalashnikovs. As RFE/RL correspondent Jolyon Naegele reports, this was not the first time war-damaged Islamic monuments in the Balkans have been destroye in the name of fraternal Islamic assistance.
Prague, 4 August 2000 (RFE/RL) -- The Saudi bulldozing of some of the most historically valuable architectural monuments in the western Kosovo market town of Djakovica is merely the latest in a series of iconoclastic activities in the Balkans undertaken in the name of reconstruction assistance by Arab aid organizations. War-damaged historic buildings are not repaired, but rather demolished to make way for what the Arab donors consider to be more proper Islamic structures. The destruction is a further blow to Kosovo's architectural heritage, following the destruction by Serbian forces and civilians in 1998 and 1999 of over 200 mosques and other Islamic structures -- about one-third of the total number in the province.
What the Serb militias couldn't finish in their three-year siege and shelling of Sarajevo, the Wahhabi's are now trying to complete. Strange, but perfectly compatible bedfellows.
Getting us a bit closer to 2007 and the UN force helping to divide Kosovo out of Serbia and protect terrorists attacking Serbia, aren't we? Just what sort of 'Independent Kosovo' are we protecting there? And why were they planning an attack on the US Embassy in Serbia?
What? Didn't hear that? Planning to attack the US Embassy? Yes, while we may have some problems with the Serbs one of the few things they have done is penetrate some of the terror network in Kosovo that is trying to spread into other parts of the Balkans, and this latest is from 06 DEC 2007 on the Serbianna site:
Well, at least the killings have stopped, right? I am quite sure that marking down major tourist, cultural and foreign national locations is just a 'coincidence'! Great places for 30-40 men in contact with radicals to 'visit'.
Wahhabis planned terror on US Embassy in Serbia
December 6, 2007
The arrested 15 members of a Wahhabi terror group have been charged by the Serbian authorities for planning terror attacks on various locations in the capital Belgrade that were to include bombings of the US Embassy in Serbia.
According to the indictment, the arrested Muslims have engaged in terror planning and the evidence includes confiscated weapons, various communication intercepts between the members inside Serbia, Bosnia and Saudi Arabia and detailed maps with specific markings for potential targets.
"The indicted ones have established a close network with the similarly minded individuals, commanders, ideologues and mentors abroad - in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria and Saudi Arabia, with whom they were communicating through telephones, email and otherwise, and through the recorded commands on CDs," says the office of the prosecutor that has charged the men.
The 15 Muslim men that are charged are led by Senad Ramovic from Novi Pazar located in the Serbian southern region of Raska where rival Muslim groups have recently engaged in mutual violence. The authorities in Serbia say that Ramovic was planning to assassinate the rival Muslim leader Mufti Muamar Zukorlic.
One of the accused, Senad Vjeselovic, says that the group was in close contact with various radicals in Mecca and Madina, both in Saudi Arabia, who were transmitting orders from "Sheiks" on whether Mufti Zukorlic should be assassinated or not.
Serbian authorities have also found maps in the confiscated computer owned by Mehmed Koljšija, a member of the terror group. The maps identified locations inside the city of Belgrade such as the Theater, Beogradjanka building, Hotel Park and the US Embassy.
When asked why did his computer have the marked maps, Koljšija said that he likes those particular maps as well as the marked buildings but could not recall where did he download the maps from.
There is also the re-appearance of the KLA this year, after taking a few years off, in their bombing of a UN mission in Pristina, on 19 FEB 2007. One of the leaders of this was Agim Ceku, who would also put another guise on the KLA: the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). Julie Gorin goes over this in a FrontePageMag article of 19 NOV 2007, "Platform For A Terrorist" and the platform is... well here is the opening from her article:
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article on Kosovo’s impending unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. The piece attested to the inevitability and rightness of this independence. It was also penned by a terrorist. Specifically, by the “former” terrorist and current “prime minister” of the province, Agim Ceku.Yes, the Wall Street Journal is whitewashing a terrorist. But that is of little concern to the US State Dept., as seen on 06 MAR 2006:
If Hamas were threatening to declare unilateral Palestinian statehood, would The Journal print an unopposed perspective from the leader of Hamas, or of Hezbollah, for that matter?
QUESTION: On Kosovo. Mr. Casey, anything to say on the Belgrade spokesman statement who said, "The Serbian Government finds absolutely unacceptable that Agim Ceku, who should be tried for war crimes, could be elected to any political office in Kosovo."Remember 9/11?
MR. CASEY: Well, I think Adam addressed that for you on Friday. Obviously who the Kosovars choose to be their political representatives is something that's up to them and is an internal political manner.
QUESTION: I mention this since your government, as I said to Mr. Ereli the other day, (inaudible) has characterized this illegal organization KLA in February 1997 as a terrorist by Robert Gelbard, then U.S. Balkan envoy. Do you consider Mr. Agim Ceku terrorist or what, in your opinion?
MR. CASEY: I was trying to think of an appropriate witty response to something Bob Gelbard might have said in 1997, but you know, I guess it will take me a few years to come up with one.
No, Mr. Lambros, I really don't have anything further to add to what Adam told you on Friday.
QUESTION: One follow-up. What is your position on his arrest warrant issued by Serbia accusing Mr. Ceku of crimes against Serbians in Kosovo and Croatia?
MR. CASEY: Again, I don't have any particular opinion to share other than that. As you know, the appropriate way for handling the war crimes prosecutions has been through the ICTY and The Hague and obviously we continue to call on all individuals who have knowledge of the whereabouts of any of the war criminals wanted by the ICTY to come forward and to help and ensure that both Ratko Mladic and his other counterparts are taken into custody and sent to The Hague to face justice there.
Sue, go ahead.
QUESTION: With the --
QUESTION: Sir, the last --
MR. CASEY: Is it really the last?
QUESTION: KLA and its commander-in-chief Agim Ceku was also linked by Yossef Bodansky with of Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida with Islamic fundamentalists in the Balkans. Any comment?
MR. CASEY: Mr. Lambros, again, I think the decisions on the political leadership in Kosovo are best left to the people of the region. I think that the ICTY has spoken eloquently on the subject of those who committed heinous crimes during the Balkan wars: All those who are wanted by the ICTY should face justice. But in terms of some of these other local issues, local prosecutions pending, I really don't have any comment.
Going after al Qaeda?
Apparently the US State Dept. doesn't.
Because it is helping to stand up a brand new Wahhabi State in Europe by the name of Kosovo.
I am sure that we will all be glad that the killings had stopped long enough for that, and that to end the 'slaughter of Muslims' we get a nice terrorist State backed by European drug money to do whatever it wants in Europe.
Such a good Nation to build, isn't it?
A pre-failed State to order... there are reasons I don't think that Nation building without going to war isn't such a good idea. It can mean getting the war after the building, and that really is the wrong way to do it.