Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bosnia and the European Jihadist movement, by Ioannis Michaletos

The latest reports streaming from ongoing investigations in Bosnia, point out on elaborate and long-term relations between the local Mujahedeen cells and Al Qaeda, amongst other terrorist groups.

The Department of the Security Service in Bosnia during the war of the early 1990’s had accurate information about telephone numbers and fax numbers for communication between members of the "El Mujahid" with organizations and individuals in the Gulf, Europe and America, among whom was Osama Bin Laden. That is the assessment of leaked top secret information.

The document No. 03 / 1-174-265-1, of the Department of the Security Service of the Third Corps of October 31, 1995 under the symbol "military secret", it is stated that the "shipments in the Gulf countries are charged by Muhammad Al-Kasim, who has as a number: "00966123992".

In this report from October 1995, when the commander of the Third Corps was Sakib Mahmuljin it was added to Al-Kasim "to continue shipments for distribution."

"As far as European countries for the distribution in charge was the Islamic Cultural Center in Milan - Italy, number 0039266802777," the document states.
It adds that from the Islamic Cultural Center in Milan, it was included the number 00441716242462 of the then leader of the terrorist network Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden.

"In the area of America is in charge of Abu Muvefak at number 0017139815604", according to the information and adds that Muvefak further distribution is performed accordingly by another two assigned numbers.

The document points out that these figures are "accurate" and that their source is "very reliable".

Bosnia's Prosecutor's Office issued on 11th  March 2015  an order to conduct an investigation against Mahmuljin and former chief of the Security Services Centre of Zenica, named Šefika Džaferović for war crimes with which they are associated. Numerous documents thus are now been made known for the first time and shed light to the wars of the 1990's and the association of Al Qaeda with leading Islamic figures of that country. 

Concurrently, a recent high-level closed conference in Vienna-Austria that was attended by both local and European security circles, revealed that the majority of the Bosnia and Serbian Muslims that ventured into the Jihadist war theaters in Syria and Iraq, had passed through Austria, where a number of radical cells are based. 

Despite several arrests as of late and enchased surveillance, the problem still exists due to the interlinks the Austrian groups have with Western Balkan and Italian similar networks. Therefore more international cooperation in that sector is to be expected, along with a wider crackdown of those assisting international terrorism.

In Germany, in the city of Stuttgart, special Police forces raided recently a Bosnian Islamic cultural center which was the coordinating center for Jihadist volunteers into the Middle East. Reports streaming from the region indicate for around 120 hard core nucleuses of extremist Wahhabis that formed the outer support shell of that center. 

In addition to the aforementioned, local authorities are also directing their attention to an Egyptian Islamic center in the region and the NGO Islamic Alliance. In the whole of Germany a number of around 5,000 potential Jihadists are often quoted by authorities, without including in those numbers people in secondary and tertiary support roles. 

Bearing in mind that an effective "neutralization" via surveillance for each terrorist suspect requires at least 15 people for a 24/7 basis, then it is obvious that the security services in many EU states have surpassed the limits of their operational capacities. 

To all the above the attention given into obstructing the inflows from the Middle East should also be accounted for, as well as, enchased sensitivity into securing the so-called "soft targets" which often but only include, massively visited touristic sites and cultural monuments. 

The task also of making sure that "Lone wolf types" of potential perpetrators are not able to launch their own attacks is another heavy burden to the Police and intelligence apparatuses. 

In sort, the threat of yet another terrorist attack in the EU remains as great as ever and the situation in the wider MENA region does not offer any optimistic assurances that the radicalization process is about to be stopped any time soon.