By Stella Jatras

Reprinted with permission from Jihad

Stella L. Jatras details jihadist activity in Bosnia and some of its implications:

A series of bombs devasted London; the number of casualties numbered more than 40, 13 of whom died in a bus attack. An al-Qaeda group is linked to the London blasts: AP reports, "A group calling itself 'Secret Organization — al-Qaeda in Europe' has posted a claim of responsibility for the series of blasts in London according to a report in Der Spiegel."

Evan F. Kohlmann, author of Al-Qaeda's Jihad in Europe: The Afghan-Bosnian Network, argues that the "key to understanding Al Qaida's European cells lies in the Bosnian war of the 1990s. Using the Bosnian war as their cover, Afghan-trained Islamic militants loyal to Osama bin Laden convened in the Balkans in 1992 to establish a European domestic terrorist infrastructure in order to plot their violent strikes against the United States. As the West and the United Nations looked on with disapproval, the fanatic foreign 'mujahideen', or holy warriors, wreaked havoc across southern Europe, taking particular aim at UN peacekeepers and even openly fighting with Bosnian Muslims at times. Middle Eastern religious and charitable organizations, largely based in and funded from the Arabian Gulf, were responsible for bankrolling this effort, and providing travel documentation for would-be mujahideen recruits." Kohlmann adds that "many of the cell members – responsible for some of the most notorious terrorist attacks of the past decade – spent their formative years waging jihad in the unlikely Muslim land of Bosnia."

Therefore, it is safe to say that the birth of al-Qaeda as a force on the world stage can be traced directly back to 1992, when the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic issued a passport in the Vienna embassy to Osama bin Laden. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2001 that "for the past 10 years, the most senior leaders of al Qaeda have visited the Balkans, including bin Laden himself on three occasions between 1994 and 1996. The Egyptian surgeon turned terrorist leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has operated terrorist training camps, weapons of mass destruction factories and money-laundering and drug-trading networks throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bosnia. This has gone on for a decade. Many recruits to the Balkan wars came originally from Chechnya, a jihad in which Al Qaeda has also played a part."


An AP article of 2002 entitled, "U.N.Lawyer Turns Over Hijacker Info," reported that "the chief U.N war crimes prosecutor has turned over information about one of the Sept. 11 hijackers to the United States, France and the Netherlands, the U.N. spokesman said Wednesday...The war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said last October that information concerning people with connections to terrorist groups, primarily in Bosnia, was provided to Pierre Prosper, the U.S. ambassador at large for war crimes.

"On Wednesday, [UN Spokesman] Eckhard confirmed for the first time that the information included material related to 'one of the named terrorists said to have been on one of the hijacked aircraft' on Sept. 11. Eckhard refused to name the hijacker but said the information was also shared with the French and Dutch governments."

The report further states that "following the terrorist attacks on the United States, Del Ponte was approached by the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands and asked for information in identifying those responsible, Eckhard said. The office of the prosecutor did in fact have some information in relation to one of the named terrorists said to have been on one of the hijacked aircraft, he said. An electronic version of some of the information was then given to Prosper as well as French and Dutch officials, Eckhard said.

"Florence Hartmann, the spokeswoman for Del Ponte, said U.N. investigators may have had information about some Muslim fighters who stayed on in Bosnia after the civil war ended in 1995."

Moreover, Gregory R. Copley, editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs, writes: "The Islamist-dominated Government of Bosnia & Herzegovina (B-H) is proposing as its new Ambassador to the United States a woman who was one of the founders of the radical Islamist Muslim SDA Party (Party of Democratic Action [Stranka Demokratske Akcije]), which has had, since its foundation, strong links with al-Qaida and a variety of other Islamist terrorist organizations, and to the intelligence and terrorist-training arms of the Iranian Government."

In his commentary, "We bombed the wrong side?" former Canadian UNPROFOR Commander Lewis MacKenzie wrote, "The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early '90s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary. When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world."

I repeat these words of General MacKenzie: "Just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world." (My emphasis)


In his book, Dereliction of Duty, Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, chief military aide to President Clinton writes: "The White House Situation Room was buzzing. It was fall 1998 and the National Security Council (NSC) and the 'intelligence community' were tracking the wehereabout of Osama bin Laden, the shadowy matermind of terrorist attacks on Americn targets overseas. 'They successfully triangulated his location,' yelled a 'Sit Room' watch stand. 'We've got him.' Beneath the West Wing of the White House, behind a vaulted steel door, the Sit Room staff sprang into action. The watch officer notified National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, 'Sir, we've located bin Laden. We have a two-hour window to strike'. Characteristic of the Clinton administration, the weapons of choice would be Tomahawk missiles. After several attempts to first locate President Clinton to receive permission to get Osama bin Laden, Presindent Clinton was nowhere to be found. When the President finally accepted Berger's call, there was discussion, there were pauses -- and no decision. 'We studied the issue until it was too late -- the window of opportunity closed'."

On 11 March 2004, 190 people were killed at the Madrid Train Station. One of the main terrorists was born in Bosnia yet very little was made of this important connection. However, whenever or if ever information is uncovered of a possible connection of the London terrorists to Bosnia, it will be played down as was the Bosnia connection to the Madrid bombing. It wouldn't be prudent.

About the Author

Stella L. Jatras was born in New York to Greek immigrant parents. In 1953, she married George Jatras, also the offspring of Greek immigrant parents, and began a long and varied life as the wife of a career U.S. Air Force Officer.

As a career military officer’s wife, Stella Jatras traveled widely and lived in several foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. She lived in Moscow for two years, where she worked in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy. She also lived in Germany, Greece and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries.

Prior to the Bosnian Civil War, Mrs. Jatras’ primary interest in foreign affairs centered on the Soviet Union and the issues of the Cold War. She and her husband lectured on their experiences in the Soviet Union at The Naval War College, the Air Force Command and Staff College and to many civic groups.

With the advent of the war in Bosnia, Mrs. Jatras immediately recognized the bias of the Western media, especially in the United States, and began her efforts to present to the American people a more accurate view of that tragic situation. Her letters and articles have been published in The Washington Times, The Washington Post, the Arizona Republic, the Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a number of magazines and periodicals. In addition her writings have had worldwide distribution via the Internet.

In recognition of her efforts on behalf of the Serbian people Mrs. Jatras was honored in September 1998 at a luncheon given for her in Washington, D.C. by the Serbs of the Capital Area. Later that same month she was the Guest of Honor at the annual convention of the Serbian Unity Congress, also in Washington, D.C. In June 1999, Mrs. Jatras was the main speaker at the 54th Annual Serbian Day Celebration of Canadian Serbs in Niagara Falls, Canada. In her speech she stressed the bond between those of Serbian and Greek heritage because of their shared Orthodox Christian faith. In recognition of her devotion to the Orthodox Faith and her dedication to helping the Serbian people, Father George Alexson of St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church (Falls Church, Virginia) presented Mrs. Jatras the piece of the traditional St. Basil Day bread (Vasilopita) which he dedicated to the Serbian people in 1998.

HCS readers who find Mrs. Jatras' article informative may wish to read other seminal pieces by her:

Balkans Expert Cautions Against Repeat of Kossovo Within Greek Borders
Hellenic Genocide: Was It at 'Catastrophe' or a 'Devastation'?
The Other Side of the Story ['Rathergate' Again? AP Refuses to Print Other Side of Story Despite Increasing Calls of Falsified Claims]

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