December 04th 2006 04:30:30 PM
From an informal translation of a SPEIGEL ONLINE interview with ex-terrorist Ali Hamad, who commanded an al Qaeda unit in Bosnia that had been ordered by Bin Laden, and who in prison has written a book about al Qaeda’s role in the Bosnian war:
Hamad: Al-Qaeda wasn’t interested in helping the Bosnian Muslims, they were interested in creating a base that would allow them to increase their radius of operations….Some leaders of the Western World noticed that, but did nothing. [Indeed, the Clinton administration approved the weapons and mujahideen transfers from Iran.]
…1992 there had been a mass influx of mujaheddin into the Balkans….Croats and Bosnians let us pass and those who wanted a Bosnian passport received it — though most of us used false names for that. The political and military command of Bosnia at that time, granted us the highest privileges and immunity from the police.
SPEIGEL:Was there no protest against your fighting methods?
Hamad: Of course our methods were cruel. Al Qaeda demanded to torture the enemy, to cut him into pieces with chainsaws, to massacre him with knives. Though we officially had to obey the command of the Bosnian army, our conditions were accepted. No Bosnian general was allowed to command us.
How many times do I have to say it? The Serbs’ reality is our future. And we helped create both. Meanwhile, I’m renting “Saw III” as soon as the DVD comes out. And when is “Hostel 2″ due in theaters? I’m trying to build up my tolerance.
SPEIGEL: Contrary to the Dayton peace treaty, the foreign combatants actually stayed in the country, as “sleepers” for future terror attacks on the European continent?
Hamad: The Bosnian leadership put themselves out so we would get Bosnian passports after the war. We were advised to marry Bosnian women, so we could stay in the country as civilians. Many al Qaeda fighters entered “humanitarian organizations” and got their papers that way. Concerning the future danger of terrorism: Had the terrorism in Bosnia not been able to root in the Balkan, he (bin Laden) would not be able to threaten Europe as open as he is doing it now.
SPEIGEL: Bosnia wants to become a member of the EU. Doesn’t al Qaeda have to fear that the persecution of potential mujaheddin will become much easier for the EU (and also the USA) in this way?
Hamad: In the current Bosnian leadership, there are those who welcomed our arrival in the past. Also there were 400 native, Bosnian mujaheddin in our unit, which supported the terrorist methods of al Qaeda. Today, about 800 Bosnians belong to the so-called “White al Qaeda “ – they are terrorists with white skin. Their enrollment is supported by the economic crisis. These will help later on to expand this terror network into Europe.
Translated from the original German here.
See also a September article picked up by BBC Monitoring Europe, in which Hamad states the following:
I will never understand Bosnia and the people that lead this country. I openly tell them that I am a terrorist and that I committed many crimes, but they are convincing me that I have not and that I am innocent.
(Hat tip: Melana Pejakovich.)