More Bosniran, from Saturday’s Jerusalem Post:

A tale of two ‘wilayets’

One can only conjecture Iranian plans and achievements in the Balkans, but the size of Iran’s embassy in Sarajevo testifies to the importance Iran places on Bosnia.

…[A] conference of Balkan and Israeli scholars was held in the ancient monastery of the Patriarchate of Pech [in mid-October], under the auspices of His Grace Jovan Culibrk, the Bishop of Ulpiana (MA the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

The occasion was the centenary of Ottoman Turkey’s defeat in the Balkan war of 1912. Since then, Turkey’s territory in Europe was reduced to Thrace and the Balkans forswore the heritage they share with the Middle East.

Fast forward to the present, Serbia lost many of the territories she had won, the Republic of Turkey never held more sway in the Balkans and other Middle Eastern powers and interpretations of Islam made their entrance in the region….

Speakers from Israel were professor Martin van Creveld, recently of the University of Tel Aviv…and Col. Shaul Shay of the Begin- Sadat Center for Strategic Studies….Prof. van Creveld reiterated his well-published opinion that the wars of the future…would be skirmishes of small, specialized units. He foresaw that the nation-state will not be the only agent of war, as more non-state actors such as Hezbollah or Hamas continue to chip away at the concept of sovereignty worldwide.

In light of this, van Creveld proposed Serbia needed no new warplanes but should rather invest in highly mobile armies capable of small-scale, ground-based conflicts in the diverse terrain of the Balkans.

…Col. Shay [had a] series of lectures on what he sees as the destructive tsunami of the Islamic revolution called by the westerners the “Arab Spring.” Whichever of the scenarios for the overthrow of old regimes we apply, including democratic elections, the result is the rise of Islamism in the Arab world. It can be said that Islamists are very much in favor of one-time elections, but once they assume power, they intend to close that road for others and undertake Islamization of society and politics, all the time double-talking the West. Compared to such prospects, Shay prefers “the devil we knew” – secular Arab dictators – for the sake of Israel’s security.

HOW DOES this reflect on the Balkans? Since 1990s, most of the Muslims in former Yugoslavia have turned to Turkey as their patron, a few to Saudioriginated Wahabism and even fewer to Iran…

The two tenets of [Turkey’s] Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s policy – reclaiming the Ottoman sphere of influence and having zero problems with neighbors, clashed in Israel, the Balkans and now Syria, by standing behind the Mavi Marmara flotilla, supporting rebels and talking of the Ottoman empire’s rule as the halcyon days of tolerance and multiculturalism…

Although Turkey’s influence in the Balkans was described as pernicious and destabilizing, Vladimir Ajzenhamer and Gordon Bardos (of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Economy in Belgrade, and former assistant director of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University respectively) presented a stronger case against Saudi Arabia.

Many jihadists came into the Balkans in the 1990s thanks to the Saudi sponsorship of the Muslim side during the Bosnian conflict, making Bosnia a springboard to the West. As Bardos pointed out, every major action of Islamic terrorism had perpetrators who had built their jihadist reputation in Bosnia.

The Wahabis had already established a firm foothold in the village of Gornja Maocha, from which they conducted several operations, including a failed lone-shooter attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo [in Oct. 2011]. But their main targets are other Muslims, whom they charge with religious falsehood. The Islam the Ottomans brought is of the Hanafi school, the most liberal one, and in Bosnia it was always lax and tolerant of transgressions….Wahabism threatens traditional Bosnian Muslims first, and non-believers second. [As Chris Deliso has told us repeatedly, and illustrates in his book The Coming Balkan Caliphate.]

Along with the Wahabis, another completely new player entered Bosnia in 1990s, transferring an ancient rivalry from the Middle East to Bosnia: Shi’ite Iran. Iran’s influences are thought to be small-scale, but they are in many ways hidden. Whether for reasons of propaganda or accurate information from the ground, Wahabis estimate the number of Shi’ites at two to three thousand.

Also, as Bardos wrote in The Jerusalem Post earlier this year, there could be a Hezbollah-Bosnia connection involved in the Burgas attack this summer.

One can only conjecture Iranian plans and achievements in the Balkans, but the size of Iran’s embassy in Sarajevo testifies to the importance Iran places on Bosnia. […]

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Ignored by the leftist participants in rage-filled street demonstrations is the fact that the Clinton team’s Balkan policies were viewed by establishment politicians as so outside the normal confines of American diplomacy that the actions of the US Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith and then NSC Director Anthony Lake were referred to the Justice Department by the House of Representative for possible criminal action.

Pipeline News, 2008

The Administration’s Iranian green light policy gave Iran an unprecedented foothold in Europe and has recklessly endangered American lives and US strategic interests…The Iranian presence and influence [in Bosnia] jumped radically in the months following the [Clinton] green light. Iranian elements infiltrated the Bosnian government and established close ties with the current leadership in Bosnia and the next generation of leaders. Iranian Revolutionary Guards accompanied Iranian weapons into Bosnia and soon were integrated in the Bosnian military structure from top to bottom as well as operating in independent units throughout Bosnia. The Iranian intelligence service [VEVAK] ran wild through the area developing intelligence networks, setting up terrorist support systems, recruiting terrorist ’sleeper’ agents and agents of influence, and insinuating itself with the Bosnian political leadership to a remarkable degree. The Iranians effectively annexed large portions of the Bosnian security apparatus [known as the Agency for Information and Documentation (AID)] to act as their intelligence and terrorist surrogates. This extended to the point of jointly planning terrorist activities. The Iranian embassy became the largest in Bosnia and its officers were given unparalleled privileges and access at every level of the Bosnian government.

– from the Final Report, House Select Subcommittee to Investigate the United States Role in Iranian Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia, page 201

Until a couple months ago, the second excerpt above was available at a Senate.gov page, which is now removed (Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base). That full report can be seen here at the Srpska-Mreza site.

And who can forget: Iran Gave Croatia Millions for Help to Bosnia (July 20, 2007)

Croatia provided Bihac with weapons and ammunition in exchange for millions of dollars it received from Iran.

In 1994 and 1995 Iran paid Croatia more than 50 million dollars so Zagreb could deliver weapons and ammunition to the Bosnian government necessary for the defence of Bihac, former Bosnian diplomat, Ivica Misic, said.

In a brief interview published by the Nezavisne novine daily from Banja Luka (BH), Misic said that he had personally witnessed talks between the then Bosnian foreign minister Haris Silajdzic, former Croatian foreign minister Mate Granic and Iranian official Ali Akbar Velayati.

“At the meeting it was agreed that Croatia deliver weapons, ammunition and other assistance to Bihac and that everything would be paid for by Iran”, Misic said, explaining that the talks had held place in New York in the autumn of 1994 when Silajdzic had asked for help to prevent the occupation of Bihac.

“It was a vast amount of money that encompassed some earlier deliveries as well”, the former Bosnian ambassador at the United Nations said.

Misic did not specify the exact amount of money, but said that it was “much more” than 46 million dollars as had been speculated.

“Velayati asked Granic how much money was needed. I was shocked with the number Granic came up with and Velayati just said: Send the weapons to the Bosnians and tomorrow you will get the check”, Misic said.

Mate Granic confirmed for Nezavisne novine the cooperation between Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Iran, but refuted that he had personally attended the meeting Misic spoke about.

And so, if you accept the Devil’s gold, you will pay the price. Croatia has only itself to blame.