A well-known expert on security and Islamic terrorism in the Balkans, Javad Galijasevic gave an exclusive interview to News Front in Serbia. The speaker commented on the latest statements by European politicians who expressed serious concerns that Bosnia and Herzegovina could become the “terrorist base” of Europe, spoke about the situation in that country and the Balkans in general, touching on the latest developments in the Middle East.
Recently, there has been some concern from the European Union over the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sebastian Kurtz, Milos Zeman and others spoke on this subject, their statements are widely spread in the media. Why so much attention is paid to this country, is Europe feel a threat?
Of course, in Europe, first of all I mean the “main” (Germany, Great Britain) are well acquainted with the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And now Europeans have two reasons to narrow down on the problem. The first is the fear of security, the fact is that the network existing in BiH surpasses the importance of itself, and it was created not for the sake of BiH, but in order to use it for attacks on Europe. A new event, which led diplomats to point out this problem again, is the turn that Turkey made to Russia.
In any case, the fact is that this network in BiH was created in the war, in grave war crimes, among which the cutting off the heads. The biggest problem is that Europe did not react to those acts of Islamists. Now responds, this is good news, it’s better late than never.
In Bosnia, there are entire settlements, completely Muslim, where the Shariah operates. How do these settlements look and function, do the state authorities have any control over them?
In BiH there are at least 64 such settlements completely separated from the political system. There is no education under the laws of BiH, polygamy is openly used and so on. Extremists choose places with impregnable roads, buy houses, the owners of which were expelled during the war and did not return, it is cheap. And in those settlements they propagandize the most radical interpretation of Islam. Therefore, those settlements are called “parallel jamas”. Many of them entered the Islamic Association of BiH, but 22 did not enter and continue to function from the standpoint of extremism, promote jihad and so on. It was radical Islamists who went to war in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, at one time and in Kosovo.
That is, they are the unconstitutional bases in which combat and non-combat actions are committed. Since 1996, all the terrorist attacks, including September 11, 2001, the Spanish railway station, and the last attacks in Brussels, Germany and France, in St. Petersburg, have always had a trace, as in the case of Charlie Hebdo, ammunition, or weapons, or there people from Bosnia directly participated.
This summer, ISIS have published an open letter to non-Muslims in the Balkans, where the events of the 1990s are mentioned. How much the threat is perceptible?
In the organizational sense, from the 1990s and now, most Islamists in BiH belong to the terrorist organization Al Qaeda and its armed units. Al Qaeda in the 90s formed its infrastructure here, often – according to the knowledge and assistance of Western secret services. This infrastructure was then used to transport to the war in Syria. Bosnian Muslims mainly went to Front-al-Nusra, which then belonged to Al Qaeda and was its military wing. The exception is 24 militants, directly connected with the “Islamic state”. Al Qaeda is a classical terrorist organization, which has branches in BiH, and this is Wahhabi bases. ISIS has supporters in BiH, but has no structure, organization. Only a vague idea, nothing more. Radical Islamists in BiH support the idea of the Islamic community, this is the only thing that connects them.
So, the terrorist structure was created by Al Qaeda, and here the Western countries (British, French, Americans) did the most, they helped, they knew how to create the infrastructure. Therefore, there is no pressure on it, there is not even any research, it does not follow the sanctions. Obviously, this structure is being protected, its future is being negotiated. This Al Qaeda structure directly participates in the war against legal power in Damascus, against Bashar Assad and against the help provided by Russia to the legal authorities to withdraw it from the terrorist nightmare and jihad, liberated the country and saved it from disintegration. So the problem is exactly Al Qaeda, which organizes attacks in public places, attacks unprotected facilities, children, women, that is, civilians.
How do you assess the contribution of foreign states to the process of Islamization of the Balkans, and if it takes place, which states are we talking about?
Western countries do not want to defeat terrorism. Neither in Iraq, nor in BiH. Britain, France, the United States, and in part Germany, want, as a matter of fact, to use terrorist organizations in the struggle of clearly formulated Russian interests. Use terrorists against Russia. Here, of course, Serbia is under threat, which has the image of “small Russia” in the Balkans, as well as the Republika Srpska with the policies of its president, Milorad Dodik. The West participated in the formation of terrorist organizations, covered terrorist attacks. Clearly, Western countries are not partners in the fight against terrorism. It is profitable for them so that this segment of radical Islamism existed.
They, in fact, achieve the loyalty of those groups. Therefore, now the centers of ISIS are being attacked and are promoting the fight against ISIS, but in fact they are being pushed by these attacks against Western civilians. They want to push ISIS to the front line with the forces of Bashar Assad, and not to defeat IS. The actions of US aviation kill more civilians than militants, because they want to use ISIS as well as they used Al Qaeda, the Free Syrian army and some other military groups in Syria.