Ignore at Peril: the Growing Cauldron of
Kosovo and Bosnia
Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy. Alexandria: Nov/Dec 2005.Vol.33, Iss. 11/12; pg. 7, 3 pgs
THE 1995 DAYTON ACCORDS were supposed to have resolved the issues of sovereignty in the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, the Serbs and Bosnian Serbs, for whom the Accords were meant to be a defining containment, have abided comprehensively with those Accords, whereas the Bosnian Muslims and Albanian Islamists and narco-traffickers with whom they are allied have not. Neither has the European Union or the United States - both of which were the powers imposing the Dayton Accords on the Serbs - honored the treaty which they forced on the two main Serbian communities.
Now, as the US and EU attempt to change the Dayton Accords to absolutely abrogate the final promises they made to the Serbs, the questions of "independence" for the Serbian province of Kosovo is being promoted by the US State Department at the same time such an option is being denied to the Bosnian Serbs.
Within this framework, Kosovo and the Muslim-dominated parts of Bosnia are emerging as the unified cauldron which is at the heart of all the recent terrorist attacks - including the French, German, and Belgian riots - as well as the "Great Ramadan Offensive" which is the start of global unrestricted terrorist warfare against the West.
The next outbreak in Kosovo, far more extensive than the March 2004 violence, is only months away.
The following exclusive reports come from Defense & Foreign Affairs field collectors on the ground in Kosovo.
New Evidence Highlights Albanian Link to Explosives Used in London, Madrid
Deeply-placed sources within the Islamist community in Kosovo have identified the source and type of the explosives used in the jihadist terrorist bombings in London on July 7, 2005, and the Madrid commuter railway bombings of March 11, 2004.
The man at the center of the provision of the explosives in both instances was an Albanian, operating mostly out of Kosovo (with links into Bosnia), who is a second-ranking leader in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK: Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosove), Niam Behzloulzi (phonetic spelling), also known as "Houlzi". He carries ID under the name of Niam Behzloulzi.
The principal explosive used in the London and Madrid bombs was CK123 plastic explosive which is similar to, but slightly more powerful than, Semtex.
"Houlzi" provided the Madrid explosives in December 2003. It is known that the CK123 provided for the London attacks, and probably the Madrid attacks, was supplied in Kosovo and then carried to Western Sahara, before being routed to the target cities. The London explosives were routed via Madrid. Significantly, CK123 cannot be detected by most - perhaps all - airport explosives detection equipment operating at that time. It is not at this time known whether the Saharan link was via Algeria or Morocco, but both Moroccan and Algerian Islamists have been extremely active in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Separate Defense 6- Foreign Affairs intelligence sources, outside the region, noted that there was still debate as to how the CK123 reached London. Earlier in 2005 there were one or more shipment(s) by truck directly from Bosnia-Herzegovina to several destinations in Western Europe. These shipments were stopped when a truck was captured on the French-Belgian border. At that point, given the imperatives of the "Great Ramadan Offensive"1 planned for the Muslim month of Ramadan in 2005, back-up High-Explosives (HE) shipments were rushed via north Africa into France and Spain. It is not clear from which shipment the London explosives were drawn. Fuses were smuggled directly to London and Madrid from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Madrid bombings reportedly used a mixture of CK123 and C4 explosive; the July 7,2005, London bombings used the CK123 and some other additives, according to Defense & Foreign Affairs sources.2
Some of the CK123 was from Albanian Government stocks, originally provided by the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Albanian sources told Defense & Foreign Affairs that they believed that the CK123 had originally been for the warheads of torpedoes supplied during the Cold War by the PRC for Albania's Chinese-supplied submarines (no longer in service). Significantly, intelligence operatives, or possibly former intelligence operatives, of the PRC - now functioning in a very significant "Chinese mafia" now operating in Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - in the past two years told Kosovo Albanians about the stockpiles of CK123 which remained in Albania.
At that point, according to the sources, some of the material was moved from one of many Albanian military caches into Kosovo by people described by the Albanians as "Chinese mafia", clearly acting with knowledge of the explosives and their whereabouts from the Cold War period of close Albanian-PRC ties. [What is significant is that PRC intelligence and diplomatic officials in FYROM have, during the past three to four months, been paying substantial amounts - $3,000 to $4,000 - of money to journalists and others deemed as credible sources for written reports on Kosovo.]
Meanwhile, "Houlzi" is described by Defense & Foreign Affairs sources who have met with him as "the number two man" in the KLA, reporting directly to Hashim Thaci. "Houlzi" is reportedly in charge of many of the KLA's secret operations, including narco-trafficking and narcotics production, and controls Islamist cells. He is, however, not related to the "political wings" of the KLA. He is described by those who know him as a "fanatical Islamist", who was trained in Afghanistan, and there was some suggestion that he may have taken his present name after his experience in Afghanistan.
He has operated in the town of Visoko [Lat. 43°59'N, Long. 18°10'E], near Sarajevo, in Bosnia, but moves frequently throughout Kosovo. Associates say that he has taken "lots of money from Arabs", and is regarded as a key link between the al-Qaida networks and the KLA. As well, "Houlzi" had a reportedly strong working relationship with an Albanian in the US, Florin Krazniki (Krasniqi), who is now known to have been engaged in the purchase of weapons in the US and their shipment to the KLA. Since publicity emerged during 2004 on Krazniki's activities, "Houlzi" has reportedly ceased communications with him. But before the publicity, Krazniki was known to have shipped to the KLA 12.7mm sniper rifles, M82A1 Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles: in all, some 280 to 300 weapons in 1999 alone.
The Defense & Foreign Affairs sources said that "Houlzi" had sold some 25 of the Barretts to Islamists around Europe. Significantly, the sources reported, since the extensive worldwide crackdown on the use of banking systems to move terrorist funds, the exchange of goods and services between Islamist groups is undertaken more on a barter basis, often involving the exchange of narcotics (usually heroin) for weapons, but sometimes including food or other commodities. The sources said that "Houlzi" also sold at least one SA-7 Grail- Strela manpad SAM to an Islamist in Europe.
An Orthodox church burns in Prizren, Kosovo, on March 22, 2004: the Kristalnaacht visited on the Serbs in Kosovo in 2004 was worse than its namesake event in Germany in 1938; the nazi Kristalnaacht also failed to awaken international concerns. Kosovo 2006: the real war begins.
The sources said that the curbing of the use of banks for terrorist purposes had meant that the al-Qaida-linked services were now turning more directly to the use of heroin and opium as currency, whereas in the past the narcotrafficking operations had been conducted as parallel, but separate, operations to achieve cash funding.
The sources also said that the KLA often sets up phony weapons trades, and then tips off either British or US intelligence officials so that it appears as though there is cooperation between the Kosovo Albanian leadership and the Western intelligence services.
Jihadist Terrorist Leader Returns to the Balkans as Actions Intensify to Promote Kosovo Independence
Sources within the NATO force command in the Serbian province of Kosovo have indicated that there is concern with the organization that the murder of four Serbs in Kosovo at the beginning of September 2005 was part of a greater plan by KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) Albanians to begin to exacerbate disorder as part of the agitation for the independence of the area from Serbia. The riots in March and June 2004 resulted in 19 Serbian deaths, 900 injured and more than 4,000 people displaced from their homes. Many Serbian villages were destroyed.3
NATO fears have been strengthened by intelligence derived by Western countries on the existence of a strong Islamist network in Kosovo and Bosnia. Specifically, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) confirmed that the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London were organized by Islamic cells in Bosnia and Kosovo. The German press agency DDP (Das Deutschland-Portal) reported that the BND forewarned about the new terrorist attacks in London, which were carefully organized in Kosovo.
The secret service of a Balkan country, which works actively in the area, reported to Defense & Foreign Affairs that one of the most dangerous Islamist terrorists in the world, who was involved in the bombing attack against US and German soldiers in the beginning of 1990 in Germany, has returned to the area from Pakistan in early September 2005.
His name is Abdul Qadir Mukhtari, whose Bosnian passport identifies him as Abu al-Ma'ali.4 He is often also referred to as Abu-Ma'ali, a nom de guerre which he adopted during the 1990s. He rose rapidly through the ranks in Bosnia-Herzegovina ending up as the commander of the Mujahedin Brigade (3rd Bde). Until 2001-02 (at least), he was also a prominent member of Osama bin Laden's/Ayman al-Zawahiri's shura (consultative high command council) dealing with remote jihadist theaters. In this capacity he held extensive correspondence with Khattab in Chechnya (until the Russians killed him). Defense & Foreign Affairs Senior Editor Yossef Bodansky noted: "AbuMa'ali is a senior and nasty guy. His presence on-site should be taken most seriously."
Abu al-Ma'ali was involved in the Bosnian war in the early to mid-1990s, and he had founded the terrorist organization HUA (Harkat ul-Ansar), with some 200 Pakistanis of British nationality, who were trained in Pakistan by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). [Harkat ul-Ansar (later known as Harkat ul-Mujahedin) was heavily involved in jihadist operations in Indian-controlled Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), operating from bases in Pakistan, and had undertaken training during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan at Khost and Jalalabad with the objective that combatants would subsequently be deployed in J&K. ]
Second-in-command was the British-Pakistani, Haroun Rashid Asouat, who is wanted in the United Kingdom by Scotland Yard. According to former US Federal prosecutor John Loftus, Haroun was recruiting volunteers for Kosovo. Mr Loftus also accused the British secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI-6) of protecting Haroun because he was allegedly an SIS agent.
According to an interview given by a British Labour Party Member of Parliament Michael Meacher, to the UK newspaper, The Guardian, SIS recruited Muslim British-Pakistanis in Britain for terror training in order to fight against Serbia in Bosnia. The MP also reported to the research foundation, The Observer Research Foundation, based in Delhi, India, information that 200 Pakistanis from Great Britain were sent to Pakistan in order to be trained on terrorist activities. This information was also confirmed by sources in the Dutch Government, which reported that Great Britain and the United States had permitted terrorist organizations to operate in Bosnia and later in Kosovo.
Sources from the area report that Haroun transferred many members of the terrorist organization al-Muhajiroun group into Kosovo during the Summer of 2005 and these were integrated with the members of HUA.
Two young Pakistanis of British nationality were blown up recently in Kosovo, while they were testing the linkage of a cell phone to a remotelycontrolled bomb. The two young men participated in seminars organized by an institute - Renaissance of the Islamic Heritage - which is based in Sarajevo and which has a branch office in Pristina. Abu el-Maali was recently moved from Kosovo to Sarajevo, where he installed a cell for recruiting Islamists in the "King Fahd" mosque in the suburb of Dobrinja.
Abu el-Maali is one of the very well known mujahedin leaders, and he has returned to the Balkans from Pakistan, where, according to very reliable Islamist sources, he was meeting members of al-Qaida in order to organize their activities in the area and also in Europe.
Heroin Production Flourishes in Kosovo, Under US Protection
Three major heroin production laboratories, run by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK), are operating within the Urosevac [Lat. 42.38°N, Long. 21.17°E] area of the Serbian province of Kosovo which is under the control of US Army units operating from Camp Bondsteel. The US authorities operating in the area have specifically protected the laboratories from inspection by other NATO forces in the area, and there is evidence that, over a period of years, US military and possibly intelligence elements have actively engaged in commercial and/or support relations with the narco-traffickers involved with the heroin laboratories.
Very well-placed Defense & Foreign Affairs sources said that, essentially since the withdrawal of Serbian Government control over its Kosovo province, there has been an increasing amount of opium grown in the area, and this is a major supply source for the heroin laboratories, although it is understood that some raw opium may also be fed into the laboratories from, or via, Turkey (possibly including some raw opium from Afghanistan). Albanian "mafia" control of the heroin trade in Western Europe is now well-documented.
[In Turkey, it is not illegal to grow opium, and, as well, there is a growing production of opium in Iraqi Kurdish areas; these production areas are also believed to support the heroin laboratories in the Urosevac area.]
Very senior sources within NATO governments have confirmed that the US military command in the Urosevac area has instructed other foreign forces, serving alongside the US in the NATO peacekeeping operations, to avoid certain areas where the processing laboratories function, repeating the warnings of the KLA combatants in the area that the land is mined. The determination of the KLA to defend these facilities is now well-known locally. A Russian unit, some three or four years ago, engaged the KLA in a firefight in the area, at night, after which the KLA forces were sufficiently strong and well-armed that they surrounded the Russian camp and essentially prevented the Russian forces from leaving their camp.
Other NATO and peacekeeping forces in the immediate area and elsewhere in Kosovo were asked whether there was a chance that the US command at Camp Bondsteel was unaware of the heroin laboratories and their related activities. All confirmed the view expressed by one official: "There is not a chance that the senior US military in the area do not know about the [heroin production] facilities." However, there was also anecdotal evidence that military personnel from other countries deployed in the area were also engaged in narcotics trafficking with the KLA.
The KLA's use of Kosovo as a criminal
clearing-house extends to a wide range of other activities. Stolen cars from all
around Europe, but particularly from Italy, are "re-processed" in Kosovo, and
given new papers, before being re-exported to places such as Albania. One such
car was used for some time by the Albanian Interior Minister, until a few years
ago, when, on a visit to Greece, it was identified because of an Interpol alert,
and seized. As well, electrical goods and household fittings removed from the
homes of Kosovo Serbs, who have been driven from the area, are on sale through a
major network of retail outlets in Albania.
Little of this gains international attention, although the use of roadblocks by the KLA reached such a level that the United Nations and NATO leaderships in Kosovo have issued warnings to their personnel.
However, US involvement with the narco-trafficking has gone beyond merely turning a blind eye to the activities of the KLA in the area. US military vehicles, several years ago, were known to have actually transported narcotics from Kosovo, through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and into the Florin area of northern Greece, and then on through the Greek western port of Igoumenitsa (capital of the region of Thessprotia, lying just across from the island of Corfu), the closest port to Italy with direct connections to Brindesi, Bari and Ancona. On at least one occasion (before 2001), the trucks carrying the narcotics were said to be carrying the bodies of dead US servicemen, and, as a result, Greek newspapers carried reports claiming that 14 US troops had been killed in Kosovo.
Significantly, as the question of the "final status" of Kosovo moves to center-stage, the US has begun moving some of its intelligence capabilities from Bosnia and into Kosovo over recent months. Many of the Bosnian Croat sources being run by the US Central Intelligence Agency or other US agencies now appear to be being handled by British secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI-6) control.
1 See Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, 9-2005: "Planning the 'Great Ramadan Offensive'", by Yossef Bodansky.
2 CK123 is a PRC-made HE very close to Semtex. Both the JNA (pre-war Yugoslav Armed Forces) and the Bosnia-Herzegovina (Muslim) forces purchased it. The HE in Spain and the captured truck came from stockpiles in B-H. This was confirmed by chemical signature. Because of the difficulties in retrieving forensic evidence, and the presence of home-mixed HE in the charges, the chemical signature of the London bombing is inconclusive as to whether the CK123 came from the same batch as the others (then it is from B-H) or from another batch (which, on the basis of other intelligence, points to the Albanian/UCK source). There are still questions as to the exact stockpile/batch from which the CK123 came from. Having said that, there is abundant evidence from other sources that plenty of CK123 was smuggled from Kosovo via North Africa to France and thence the rest of Western Europe. Whether this specific HE was used in London on July 7, 2005, and/or will be used in the forthcoming bombs is of lesser importance.
3 See Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, 4-2004: "Kosovo: the Planned Terror Trigger", by Gregory R. Copley
4 See also, Bodansky, Yossef: Offensive in the Balkans, published by the International Strategic Studies Association, Alexandria, Virginia, 1995. On page 72, it noted: "... [T]he leadership of the Armed Islamic Movement (AIM) was formally notified in mid-May 1995 that the 'Mujahedin Battalion is an officially-recognized army battalion of the Bosnian army; it is comprised of non-Bosnian volunteers, called Ansar, along with Bosnian Mujahedin. The formal name of the unit is Artnija Republike Bh 3, Korpus Oared el-Mudzahidin . The commander, an Egyptian "Afghan", was identified as "Ameer Kateebat al-Mujahedin Abu al-Ma'ali": a religious-military title and a nom de guerre. The Islamist force is based in the Travnik and Zenica areas in central Bosnia.
Copyright International Strategic Studies
Association Nov/Dec 2005
Reprinted with Permission.