Day: November 21, 2011

Wahhabist Militancy in Bosnia Profits from Local and International Inaction

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Relationships between Bosnian constitutive nat...

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 42

November 17, 2011 03:28 PM Age: 4 days
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Home Page, Featured, Europe

Ali Pasha’s Mosque, constructed in Sarajevo during 1560-61

Though the United States once took the lead in international efforts to save the Muslims of Bosnia during the bitter conflict that struck that nation in the 1990s, it is now under attack by the Salafist/Wahhabist community that began to flourish there after foreign jihadists were allowed to settle in Bosnia after the conflict. The current Wahhabist perception of America has even found its way into song:

America and other adversaries should know
that now the Muslims
are one like the Taliban
listen, brothers,
believers of the world
with dynamite on their chest
lead the path to dzennet (heaven)

The above lyrics were written by Bilal Bosnic, a Wahhabi community leader from the city of Bihac in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) (, November 4). [1] Bosnic sings it at weddings and other kinds of social gatherings. How, then, did America become the enemy of radical Islam in the Balkans after undertaking two military interventions aimed at protecting Muslim civilians (Bosnia in 1994 and Kosovo in 1999)?

Many claim that Islamic extremism established itself among Bosnian Muslims thanks to the “inaction” of the West when the 1991 UN arms embargo left Muslims defenseless and when the West failed to secure UN protection zones in Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde during the war. The failure to protect these zones led to what some termed the first post-WWII genocide in Europe. This “inaction” gives a partial explanation but not a complete one. There is another “inaction” of local origin that contributed much more to the growing influence of Islamic extremists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There are countless examples of local authorities in Bosnia failing to act properly against Islamic extremism. The majority of these criminal cases have not been resolved and when the terrorists are identified the trials take years. There are some claims that “inaction” in Bosnia had its roots nearly 20 years ago when Bosnian authorities granted 50 passports to foreign mujahideen, most of whom were Salafist/Wahhabis (Oslobodjenje [Sarajevo], November 3). This “inaction” is not related to the police or court capacity or poor equipment, but rather to the ethnically divided BiH police and judiciary that has political sponsorship. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Lessons from Other Peoples’ Wars

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U.S. Army War College >> Strategic Studies Institute >> Publications >> Details

Edited by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. David Lai, Mr. Roy Kamphausen.

Chinese Lessons from Other Peo... Cover Image

Brief Synopsis

The importance of China stems not only from its current international role and its influence on the Asia-Pacific region in particular, but also because China’s impact on global developments will likely continue to grow. One of our enduring imperatives is to accurately survey China’s experiences as a means to grasp its existing perceptions, motivations, and ambitions. More than ever, solid, evidence-based evaluation of what the PLA has learned from the use of force and conflict elsewhere in the world is needed to shed light on the prospects for its cooperation, or rivalry, with the international community. This volume provides unique, valuable insights on how the PLA has applied the lessons learned from others’ military actions to its own strategic planning.

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Also by the /Editors:

The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China’s Military
Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions other than Taiwan
The “People” in the PLA: Recruitment, Training, and Education in China’s Military
Projecting Pyongyang: The Future of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il Regime
Right Sizing the People’s Liberation Army: Exploring the Contours of China’s Military
North Korea’s Military Threat: Pyongyang’s Conventional Forces, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Ballistic Missiles
Shaping China’s Security Environment: The Role of the People’s Liberation Army
Kim Jong Il and North Korea: The Leader and the System

View other pubs in the following categories:

Asia Pacific
Military Strategy and Policy
National Security Strategy

Facing far right extremism in Serbia

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Policing the pride parade

Reducing the threat of far right extremism – particularly its manifestation through terrorist means – involves findinga delicate balance between under-reacting and over-reacting; between giving tacit encouragement and sparking its escalation.

By Vladimir Ninkovic

Anders Behring Breivik reminded us once again that terrorism is an omnipresent threat that can strike in both rich and poor countries alike. A terrorist can be a man or woman, an engineer or a shepherd, a psychopath or mentally sane person. It is, therefore, very difficult to speak about the conditions and environments that facilitate the appearance of terrorism; whilst its erratic dynamics do not help us predict the time and place of the next terrorist attack.

Three years in a row, far-right organizations – together with the most conservative wing of the Serbian Orthodox Church and groups of football fans – have used threats of violence and de facto civil war to create a state of fear prior to the Pride Parade. In 2009 and 2011 they were successful enough to force the police and government to cancel the event at the last moment; whilst in 2010 – the only time it was held – the centre of Belgrade was wrecked by those who saw the Parade parade as an anti-Serb, anti-Orthodox and almost Satanic procession. Members of the LGBT and Roma communities, plus foreign citizens, have also been physically attacked several times in last few months.

Apart from football hooligans, the most prominent organizations which endorsed and participated in these events are generally understood to belong to the far right, such as the clerical-fascist ‘Obraz’, the chauvinist-nationalist ‘SNP Nasi 1389′ and the reactionary movement ‘Dveri’. Disconcertingly, such activities were de facto backed-up by the belligerent statements of certain politicians and church hierarchs. Read the rest of this entry »

Separating religion and state in Bosnia | TransConflict

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Dayton peace agreement
Image via Wikipedia

With the role of religion having remained largely ignored in post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina, there is a need to promote a process of secularization by upholding the separation of religion and state.

By Dusan Babic

Bosnia and Herzegovina (henceforth, ‘Bosnia’) is now more than ever burdened by the legacy of war and the contradictions of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Post-Dayton Bosnia is a unique country in many respects, particularly its complex, irrational and inefficient administrative structure. This can, in part, be attributed to the ethnic concept of governance which is – by all relevant parameters – a failed concept; yet one which is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Whilst many obstructive elements – including the paternalism and hegemonism of neighbouring Croatia and Serbia – have been identified, the role of religion has remained entirely ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

Spotlight on Iran

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Highlights of the week

  • Iran’s NPT withdrawal threats resume following IAEA report
  • Debate on Syrian regime’s future resumes as Syria is suspended from Arab League
  • Iran denies any link between explosion on Revolutionary Guards base and military build-up program
  • More and more Iranians watch foreign satellite broadcasts despite authorities’ fight against satellite dishes
  • President expands his supporters’ online activity, launches new social network for young people

Highlights of the week

Iran’s NPT withdrawal threats resume following IAEA report

Iran once again threatens to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) following the release of the IAEA secretary-general’s report on the Iranian nuclear program last week.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani said this week that the Majles intends to reexamine Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA since it’s now clear that cooperation, or lack thereof, has no influence on the “unprofessional decisions” of the agency. In addition, Kazem Jalali, spokesman for the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, reported that the committee began discussing Iran’s further cooperation with the IAEA. He said that committee members doubt whether there is any point in continuing to cooperate with the agency, which doesn’t help Iran achieve its right for nuclear technology. He did clarify, however, that at this point, the discussion is not indicative of a demand to withdraw from the NPT.

Meanwhile, student organizations in Iran called on Majles Speaker Ali Larijani to pass a bill stipulating that Iran has to withdraw from the NPT in protest of the IAEA secretary-general’s report.

While some called for considering the possibility of withdrawing from the NPT, different views were published by the Fararu website. An editorial titled “What should be done with this agency?” argued that withdrawing from the NPT is unreasonable and even dangerous, since it could serve the interests of Iran’s enemies and help them justify their claim that Iran is working to achieve nuclear weapons. Iran needs to gain an understanding of how committed IAEA leaders are to fulfill their responsibility towards it as member of the organization, and even suspend cooperation with the IAEA, but no good will come to Iran as a result of withdrawing from the NPT.

International affairs expert Hassan Beheshti-Pour also argued that it makes no sense for Iran to withdraw from the NPT after years of claiming that it is not interested in nuclear weapons. He noted that Iran should warn the IAEA about the impact of the report on Iran’s willingness to continue cooperating with the agency, but not withdraw from the NPT, which could give the West a new excuse to act against Iran.

In the past, there have been similar calls to withdraw from the NPT in response to mounting pressure and escalating sanctions against Iran.

 Debate on Syrian regime’s future resumes as Syria is suspended from Arab League

The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization has reignited the debate in Iran over developments in that country and the future of the Syrian regime. While the official stance of Iran, which supports the Syrian regime, hasn’t changed so far, a growing number of voices in the Iranian media are stressing the gravity of the internal situation in Syria and casting doubts over the ability of the Syrian regime to successfully negotiate the crisis.

In response to the Arab League’s decision, earlier this week members of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee released a statement supporting Syria as the main axis of resistance in the region. Speaking at his weekly press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the decision made by the Arab League does not help resolve the crisis in Syria, and that President Assad should be allowed to implement the reforms in his country without foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.

Some conservative media also continued to express support for President Assad’s regime. The daily Qods strongly criticized the Arab League’s decision, claiming it was dictated by the West and contradicted the league’s charter, which stipulates that it has no right to intervene in the internal affairs of its members. The Arab League’s decision proves, according to the daily, that it has a two-faced approach to developments in the Arab world. While it ignores the suppression of human rights and killing of civilians in Bahrain and Yemen, it is setting the stage for the escalation of international pressure on Syria. The daily warned that the league’s current policy can result in the withdrawal of several Arab countries from the organization and even to its disbandment.

The daily Tehran Emrouz also criticized the Arab League’s decision, accusing it of serving the interests of the United States and Israel and weakening the most powerful Islamic front faced by Israel and compromising the interests of the Islamic world. Read the rest of this entry »

Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 107 | Critical Threats

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By Katherine Zimmerman November 20, 2011

Negotiations between ruling and opposition party officials may resolve the political crisis in Sana’a. Yemen’s unrest outside of the capital is unlikely to end after a transfer of power.

Yemeni troops defected Saturday in Tagheer (Change) Square. Over 400 soldiers, the majority of whom were from the Republican Guard or Central Security Forces, arrived in the military compound of the defected First Armored Division in Sana’a.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh spoke in front of the Republican Guards 4th Brigade in Sana’a. There, he warned defectors and opposition tribesmen against attacking Republican Guard military bases in Arhab, Samaa, Frijah, Beit Dahrah, Nihm and Naqeel bin Ghailan. Saleh said, “We tell them that’s enough . . . Our response will be harsh and decisive.” Last week, Saleh appointed new military commanders to positions held by defected officers. Opposition media reported that shelling in Arhab killed at least one person Sunday.

Yemen’s opposition reports that political negotiations are in the final stages. An opposition leader noted that the focus of the discussion has turned to control over the Yemeni military during the transition period. The opposition is seeking for military authorities to be transferred from the president to a committee. UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar said that a UN Security Council meeting on Yemen had been delayed one week until November 28 “at the request of the protagonists.”

Yemeni security forces in Taiz shelled the Islah (Reform) party’s headquarters in al Hasab neighborhood in Taiz Friday. Two people were killed and at least two others were injured.

Gunmen riding a motorcycle shot and killed Colonel Said al Radhi, a senior security police officer, in al Mukalla in Hadramawt governorate. Another police officer was injured in Saturday’s attack.

The oil refinery in Aden stopped production after crude oil supplies ran out. Attacks on a supply pipeline running from Ma’rib to Ras Issa created crude shortages. It is likely that the closing of the Aden refinery will exacerbate current fuel shortages in Yemen. Separately, Yemen’s Supreme Economic Council approved the establishment of a new oil company, Masila Company for Petroleum Exploration and Production (PetroMasila) to take over the oil rights to the Masila reserves (Block 14), which had been up for renewal with Nexen.

Arms Control and Proliferation Challenges to the Reset Policy

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U.S. Army War College >> Strategic Studies Institute >> Publications >> Details

Authored by Dr. Stephen J. Blank.

Arms Control and Proliferation... Cover Image

Brief Synopsis

The current U.S. reset policy with Russia involves efforts to blaze a path of mutual cooperation on arms control and proliferation. In arms control, we see determined administration attempts to promote greater nuclear reductions in the direction of nuclear zero, including reductions in tactical nuclear weapons. This necessarily leads Moscow to raise issues of missile defense in Europe that it vehemently opposes. This monograph analyzes Russia’s position on these arms control issues and examines the chances for the United States to achieve its arms control goals in the foreseeable future. It also looks at the Russian position with regard to the main nonproliferation issues of Iran and North Korea, what the implications of these positions are for the achievement of U.S. policy goals, and what the United States might do with regard to Russia to advance those goals in a dynamic international environment.

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Also by the Author/Editor:

Russia in the Arctic
Central Asian Security Trends: Views from Europe and Russia
Russian Military Politics and Russia’s 2010 Defense Doctrine
Civil-Military Relations in Medvedev’s Russia
Russia’s Prospects in Asia
The Russian Military Today and Tomorrow: Essays in Memory of Mary Fitzgerald
Challenges and Opportunities for the Obama Administration in Central Asia
Russia and Arms Control: Are There Opportunities for the Obama Administration?

View other pubs in the following categories:

Europe and Russia
Homeland Security and Defense
Military Change and Transformation
Military Strategy and Policy
21st Century Warfare