Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Islamic arch in the making, by Ioannis Michaletos

The Islamic arch in the making (Originally published on the 14th of March 2009)
Over the 1990′s one of the most popular theories regarding the changing nature of the Balkan affairs, was the existence of the “Islamic arch” or the “Green traverse” stretching from Turkey up to Croatia that would unite all the Balkan Muslim communities into a single force, subject to control by either Turkey or the Middle Eastern Sunni powers and the Shiite Iran as well.
The years after 9/11 many of such Islamic networks that were also connected with international terrorism, were disband. Moreover this particular theory faded away from the mainstream media, although it is still a reality that is being pursued by various Islamic circles.
This present article will briefly provide the most important events of this Balkan Islamic arch project that are related to terrorism.

Diary of events since 2003
November 2003: Al Qaeda strikes Istanbul with bombs that targeted two Synagogues, a British bank and the UK Consulate. The brain behind the attack has the Syrian citizen Louai al-Sakka, who was also planning to blow up two Israeli cruise ships but he was arrested on August 2005 and subsequently it was found that he maintained close links with Bosnian extremist Islamic circles.
July 2005: A group of Bosnian Muslims were arrested in Italy because on April that year they tried to place explosives during the funeral of late Pontiff John-Paul II.
August 2005: The fugitive Moroccan terrorist Abdelmajid Bouchar was arrested in Serbia after he escaped from Spain where he took part in the bombing attacks in Madrid in March 2004. He was in contact with radical Muslims in the Balkans over the previous years.
October 2005: The Bosnian security forces arrested Bosnian Muslims that were in procession of plastic explosives and were preparing a terrorist attack in Western Embassies in Sarajevo. The group was revealed that was in contact with the Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
December 2005: United Nations sources in Pristina indicate that North African terrorists may have allocated themselves in Kosovo with the assistance of local collaborators.
September 2006: In Oslo the Pakistani citizen named Arfan Qadeer Bhatti was arrested because he was planning the bombing of the American and Israeli Embassies in the Norwegian capital. Himself was an associate of the Kosovo Albanian heroin smuggler Princ Dobrosi and has visited numerously the Balkans.
December 2006: In Trevizo-Italy Bosnian Muslims and Albanians were arrested, because they were smuggling weapons from Turkey and were also related with terrorist organizations.
February 2007: A group of Bulgarian Muslims -Including a proselyte woman- were arrested by the Bulgarian authorities due to their collaboration with Wahhabi groups in order to arm Chechen terrorists. They were also planning to impose Sharia law once the group took a hold in the Muslim communities of the country.
March 2007: The Serbian police uncovers a crypt in the Sanjak region containing heavy armaments (Rockets, bombs, machine guns, grenades, communication systems) that belonged to a group of local Wahhabis.
November 2007: The FYROM police uncovers stashed weapons capable of arming a small army of a 1,000 men in a remote village near the borderline with Kosovo. The arms belonged to an Albanian paramilitary group from Kosovo that included in its ranks radical Muslims.
December 2007: The Albanian government and its Ministry of Economics announced that it outlaws the operation of several Islamic charities and forbids the transaction of certain foreign citizens with local institutions.
Some of the names and organizations banned are:
Saad Rashed Mohammad Al-faqih (Provided support to Al Qaeda)
Anshori Abdullah Anshori (Jemaah Islamiya related)
Abd Al-Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil (Director of the outlawed NGO, IIRO Eastern Province (IIRO-EP) of Saudi Arabia)
All Sayyid Muhamed Mustafa Bakri ( Al Qaeda member and chemical weapons expert)
Dieman Abdulkadir Izzat (He took part in the assassination attempt against the Iraqi Prime Minister in 2004 in Germany)
Elehssan” (Cover organization for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad)
“Lashkar-e- Tayyiba” (The armed terrorist wing of the Pakistani radical group, Markaz-ud- Dawa-wal-Irshad)
December 2007: Bosnian Muslims and a Turk were arrested in Germany, because they were planning terrorist attacks against the country’s transportation system
March 2008: Five Wahhabis in Bosnia were arrested carrying heavy armaments and were aiming at attacking Christian Churches during the coming Easter Period.
May 2008: In Skopje the Albanian Imam Halim Bekiri was arrested because he was receiving funds from the Kuwaiti based outlawed organization Revival Islamic Heritage Society, in order to facilitate the infiltration of Wahhabis in the Balkans.
June 2008: Ten Islamic extremists were arrested in Bosnia transferring illegally obtained weapons to Croatia in order to arm terrorist cells in Central Europe. All of them were revealed that maintained links with Mujahedeen fighters from the 1990′s wars in Ex-Yugoslavia
July 2008: A TIR truck from Iran heading towards Kosovo was stopped for inspection on the FYROM-Kosovo borderline. Officially it was carrying diesel but it was reveled that it contained a chemical substance. Ten border guards were sent to the hospital with signs of contamination.
A similar case was recorded with a truck from FYROM to Greece in May the same year.
July 2008: Abu Hamza in Bosnia, one of the main Mujahedeen figures of the ’90′s, stated in the media that he received assistance from the Turkish intelligence (MIT) during the war against the Serbs and Croats in Bosnia, in order to arm his Islamic fighting units.
All the above are just a very synoptically note of all the incidents that have occurred over the past few years in the region where the Islamic arch is supposed to have been formed.
It has to be noted also that:
- During the “cartoon demonstrations”, the Muslims communities in FYROM, Sanjak and Bosnia revealed intense dynamism and made numerous riots in the respective regions.
- It is a well known fact that the Balkan radical Islamists have an articulate propaganda system composed by companies that issue magazines, record music and create websites, aiming at spreading mostly Wahhabi values.
- Over the past five years numerous Byzantine era Churches have been attacked in Albania by “unknown assailants” whilst there have been incidents of threats being issued against Christian citizens in the form of graffiti in walls or notes placed in their cars and houses.
- In FYROM, Wahhabism exorcism has been recorded and youth festivals have been trashed by radicals in Bosnia and Sanjak as well.
Female circumcision is also being performed by radical Muslims in the Balkans and Imams from North Africa and the Middle East have allocated themselves in the region.
- Moreover Turkey’s mutation into an Islamic state is in process and the Christian communities in Bulgaria, FYROM are decreasing due to their very low birth rates. In Kosovo the non-Muslim population was eradicated and in Albania the majority of Eastern Orthodox and Catholics has emigrated. In a sense the Balkans are being formed into a semi-Muslim region where the radical element is pretty strong and increasing.
- Although populations such as the Albanians are still in a pre-modern level and that means they group themselves on kinship ties rather on cultural or religious ones, that will inevitably change in the coming generations due to the entrance of the region in a more “Westernized” social environment and then the societal divisions that are being examined are going to surface with dire consequences.
More pressing is the issue of Bosnia-Herzegovina that is already divided between three groups (Serbs, Croats, and Muslims) with the first two resenting the primal position that Muslims have attained.
As the Balkans enters into Europe they tend to drift away and that is the irony of history.