Part 8:

A charitable Brotherhood, outsourcing an international holy war

Earlier, we explored how the history, founding ideologies, and influential figures of the Muslim Brotherhood and related Islamists and were all heavily intertwined with the fascist movements of 20th century and how that history involves some of the same central figures in the modern day financial nexus that is the al-Taqwa Group. We also got a glimpse of how the postwar Nazi underground and Muslim Brotherhood members became prized “freedom fighters” and state assets. In the last essay, we looked at how the Muslim Brotherhood was replaced by its own offshoots as the direct source of Islamist violence in Egypt and we examined how members of those same splinter groups, Gama’a al-Islamiya and Egyptian Islamic Jihad in particular, were the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and closely allied to (and eventually merged with) al-Qaeda.

In this essay we’re going to take a closer look at the recent history and present-day outgrowth of those “freedom fighter” movements because the Mujahedeen lives on in more ways than just al-Qaeda. What we’re going to find is that al-Qaeda, itselfs, can be view as just one branch (a particularly troublesome branch) in a larger menagerie of armed movements which are now the proxy armies in a Muslim Brotherhood/Saudi/Pakistani (to name just a few sponsors) supported and financed international jihad unified by the Muslim Brotherhood’s long-standing goal of creating a single Islamic state. It’s a hydra-like movement that cannot be stopped with a single decapitation, and Osama bin Laden is not its only head.

The mythical, multi-headed headed hydra isn’t a perfect analogy for what we’re talking about here, although its menacing, deadly nature is quite apt. Perhaps a better analogy for the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated movements is the internet. Like many clandestine movements, it is hierarchical, but not strictly pyramidal in nature, with a backbone of powerful people (people of princely stature and sometimes princely status) that keep the funds flowing, the fighters armed, the propaganda written and heard, and, where it’s an option, the political elections won. And yet this backbone still allows enough freedom for the lower-level actors to enable a flourishing, resilient network with military, business, political, and social components spanning the globe and providing the necessary capacity for the allied Jihadist movements to wage a sustained War of Civilizations. Ironically, perhaps fittingly, and quite unfortunately, it’s a war often directed against the very same countries that fostered and fueled this network as their very own “freedom fighters”.

We’re going begin this examination of the financial backbone of this Jihadist meta-hydra with an obvious staring point: The Bin Laden family. It’s the same family that also worked with the West and helped build that meta-army decades ago and now renounces its Black Sheep brother. If the Saudis and Muslim Brotherhood’s core leadership are like the financial and logistical backbone of the Hydra, the Bin Ladens are similar to the Hydra’s leg: a foundational pillar of the multi-headed beast. So let’s take a look at Der Spiegel’s 2005 report on the history of the Bin Laden family:


Osama's Road to Riches and Terror

By Georg Mascolo and Erich Follath

The Bin Laden family disowned black sheep Osama in 1994. But have they really broken with the mega-terrorist? Recently revealed classified documents seem to suggest otherwise. Osama's violent career has been made possible in part by the generosity of his family -- and by his contacts with the Saudi royals.

In early spring 2002, American intelligence agents tipped off authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina that something wasn't quite right with the "Benevolence International Foundation." Their reaction was swift; special forces stormed eight offices of the Islamic foundation in Sarajevo and in Zenica. They found weapons and explosives, videos and flyers calling for holy war. More importantly, however, they discovered a computer with a mysterious file entitled "Tarich Osama" -- Arabic for "Osama's Story."

After printing out the file -- close to 10,000 pages worth -- the intelligence experts quickly realized they had stumbled upon a true goldmine. They were looking at nothing less than the carefully documented story of al-Qaida, complete with scanned letters, minutes of secret meetings, photos and notes -- some even written in Osama Bin Laden's handwriting. CIA experts secured the highly sensitive material, dubbed "Golden Chain," and took everything back to the United States. To this day, only fragments of the material have been published. Now, however, SPIEGEL magazine has been given complete access to the entire series of explosive documents dating from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.

During that time, Osama bin Laden, known as "OBL" in CIA parlance, was primarily interested in "preserving the spirit of jihad" that had developed during the successful Afghanistan campaign -- a fight which saw an international group of Muslim fighters stand up to the mighty Soviet army. Bin Laden wanted to expand the group's activities to battle "the infidels" in the West. A full decade before the attacks on the Twin Towers, the documents make horrifyingly clear, bin Laden was already dreaming of "staging a major event for the mass media, to generate donations."

Finances are the focal point in these early al-Qaida documents. OBL, as one of the heirs of a large construction company, had a substantial fortune at his disposal, but it was still not enough to finance global jihad. The Saudi elite -- and his own family -- came to his assistance.

The capture of the “Golden Chain”, and its list of early al-Qaeda sponsors, was unfortunately not talked about nearly as much as it should have been when it was found in the “Benevolence International Foundation” raid of 2002. Even if the “Golden Chain” list wasn’t found, the fact that a prominent Saudi foundation "worked... to purchase and distribute [weapons] to various mujahedeen camps, including camps run by al-Qaeda" is still quite telling.


"Be generous when doing God's work"

The evidence lies in the most valuable document investigators managed to acquire: a list of al-Qaida's key financial backers. The list, titled with a verse from the Koran, "Let us be generous when doing God's work," is a veritable who's who of the Middle Eastern monarchy, including the signatures of two former cabinet ministers, six bankers and twelve prominent businessmen. The list also mentions "the bin Laden brothers." Were these generous backers aware, at the time, that were not just donating money to support the aggressive expansion of the teaching of the Islamic faith, but were also financing acts of terror against non-believers? Did "the bin Laden brothers," who first pledged money to Al-Qaida and then, in 1994, issued a joint press statement declaring that they were ejecting Osama from the family as a "black sheep," truly break ties with their blood relatives -- or were they simply pulling the wool over the eyes of the world?

The “Golden Chain” list includes a number of interesting names beyond the Bin Ladens (1): One of the names on the list is the Al-Rajhi family, which we’ve already seen as being at the heart of the SAAR network working in the United States. Is also includes Khalid bin Mahfouz, the Saudi billionaire banker whose wealth shows up in the financing of everything from global jihad to George W. Bush. We will have more to say about the Bin Mahoufouz empire in future essays, although in Khalid bin Mahfouz’s case it’s important to point out he’s in no way connected with terrorism (which needs to be said because otherwise he might sue your ass).


Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism for the CIA, says, "I tracked the bin Ladens for years. Many family members claimed that Osama was no longer one of them. It's an easy thing to say, but blood is usually thicker than water."

Carmen bin Laden, a sister-in-law of the terrorist, who lived with the extended family in Jeddah for years, says, "I absolutely do not believe that the bin Ladens disowned Osama. In this family, a brother is always a brother, no matter what he has done. I am convinced that the complex and tightly woven network between the bin Laden clan and the Saudi royal family is still in operation."

French documentary filmmaker Joël Soler even goes so far as to refer to the family as "A Dynasty of Terror," in his somewhat speculative made-for-TV piece.

But could this really be possible? Are the bin Ladens (or "Binladins," as they more commonly spell it), with their 25 brothers, 29 sisters, in-laws, aunts and, by now, at least 15 children of Osama, nothing but a clan of terrorists? Or are relatives being taken to task for the crimes of one family member, all on the strength of legends and conspiracy theories?

A third possibility is that some of the bin Laden brethren have past, and possibly ongoing, ties to terrorism, which the evidence seems to suggest. As the article points out (as does Carmen bin Laden’s daughter, Wafah) the bin Ladens are a large family, and hardly homogeneous.

Skipping down in the article, let’s take a look at the roots some of their familial divisions …

Even as a boy, Osama was always considered the "holy one" in the family. He drew attention to himself when he denounced school soccer tournaments as a godless waste of time and assiduously monitored the houses of neighbors, taking it upon himself to enforce the state's prohibition of music. He enrolled in the economics program at Jeddah's King Abd al-Aziz University, where the curriculum was determined by anti-Western agitators from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

The family became divided, into a more stationary branch, and an "international" branch that settled across the globe. One member of the latter camp was Salem bin Laden. He attended a British university, married a woman from an upper-class British family, and vacationed in Disneyland. In 1972, when the Saudi government relinquished control over SBG, Salem, as the family's eldest son, was named head of the company and quickly made it clear that he had no compunctions about doing business with the United States.

Salem bin Laden established the company's ties to the American political elite when, according to French intelligence sources, he helped the Reagan administration circumvent the US Senate and funnel $34 million to the right-wing Contra rebels operating in Nicaragua. He also developed close ties with the Bush family in Texas. But Salem's successors, not Salem, were the ones who were able to fully capitalize on these connections. In 1988, Salem died in a plane crash near San Antonio, Texas, when the aircraft he was piloted became entangled in a power line. After Salem's death, Bakr took control of SBG.

Note Salem bin Laden’s involvement with the Reagan administration’s program to fund and arm the Contras and recall that the Saudis became major funders of the Contras after Congress cut off funding. We’re going to see a lot more Iran Contra figures popping up in the background of 9/11 because on top of the direct US Government and Saudi Government sources of funding the Iran Contra and Afghan Mujahedeen programs in the 80’s, both efforts also utilized many of the same money-laundering and arms trafficking networks to covertly provide additional resources to the proxy-armies. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, money-laundering and arms trafficking networks are an essential component of modern conflicts across the globe, where powerful nations often quietly or covertly fund and arm local armies, often in the midst of the civil war, and thus avoid directly committing their own troops. And the US and Saudi Arabia are by no means the only two countries engaged in funding these kinds of “low intensity conflicts”.

Also note that the presence of anti-Western agitators from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at Osama’s University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and also recall that a great number of the Muslim Brotherhood members who were forced to flee from Egypt during the Nasser’s purges were welcomed into Saudi Arabia after fleeing from Egypt. They became lawyers, engineers, and even the teachers for Osama’s generation of young Saudis and their educational and ideological influence is still seen today.


Brother terrorist

In the meantime, trouble was brewing at home in Saudi Arabia -- in Mecca, of all places, and with the presumed involvement of a family member. In November 1979, insurgents occupied and barricaded themselves into Islam's holiest site, demanding an end to corruption and wastefulness in Saudi Arabia and charging the royal family with having lost its legitimacy by currying favor with the West. It was an act of terror that foreshadowed every major plank of the al-Qaida platform of radical fundamentalism -- and it was no coincidence that this radical group was lead by members of the Muslim Brotherhood with ties to Osama's professors.

At the time, Osama was still entrenched in Saudi society, but his older brother, Mahrus, maintained ties to the fanatics. It's even speculated that he may have used his access to SBG's offices to obtain the renovation plans for the Great Mosque, together with all its secret passageways, and handed them over to the radicals. In any event, the fanatics forced their way onto the mosque's grounds in a truck that was later identified as a Binladin company vehicle.

Mahrus bin Laden was arrested, but was then released for lack of evidence. The terrorist attack turned into a nightmare for the authorities. With the help of French special forces, the Saudis managed to overcome the attackers, but only after a two-week siege and a bloody battle claiming more than a hundred lives. For Mahrus's career, however, the affair proved to be nothing more than a minor speed bump and he later resurfaced as head of SBG's office in Medina.

In late 1979, Osama, with the royal family's blessing, set off for Afghanistan to participate in the jihad against the Soviet Union, which had invaded its neighbor to the south. Both the CIA and Saudi Arabia helped fund the Mujahedeen's armed struggle against the communist "infidels." Prince Turki, head of the Saudi secret service, visited Osama several times in Afghanistan and heavy equipment provided by the SBG family business was used to excavate secret tunnels. For Osama, the support of the Saud family and the bin Ladens became a reliable source of funding.

An interesting note on Prince Turki: His 24 year role as head of the Saudi secret service ended on August 31, 2001, less than two weeks before 9/11.

And finishing our look at the Der Spiegel article…

In 1990, after his triumph in Afghanistan, OBL offered the Saudi royal family the use of his troops to battle Saddam Hussein, whose forces had invaded Kuwait. But King Fahd decided instead to bring in American forces. The decision proved to be a financial coup for the family business, which helped build military bases for the outsiders, but it was turning point in Osama's life. Embittered, he went to Sudan in 1992, where he built training camps and organized attacks with his al-Qaida group, especially against "infidels" from the United States. He also made sure that the planning of terrorist activities remained in the family. His brother-in-law, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, was involved in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. On his visa application for the United States, he had listed his occupation as an "employee of the Saudi Binladin Group." Khalifa was briefly detained in the United States, but was then deported to Jordan, where he was released because of formal legal errors. In the past, he had also been implicated as a financial backer of the Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization.

That ends the Part 1 of the Der Spiegel report. Part 2 of the Der Spiegel report asks whether or not the respectable bin Laden family is still in touch with their notorious brother. We are going to take a look at the second half of the Der Spiegel report, but in a future essay (Part 11), after we’ve had a close look at the financial structure of modern terror, its worrying exploitation of massive loopholes in the globalized economy, and its far more worrying co-operation is with organized crime, drugs lords, arms traffickers, and governments using terrorist groups for their own ends.

The the expansion and outsourcing of Jihad

We’re now going to expand our examination beyond the bin Laden family and take an overview look at what became of the Afghan Mujahedeen that the bin Ladens helped create. When referring to the “Afghan Mujahedeen”, it’s important to point out that we’re not talking about actual Afghans. Instead we’re referring to network of foreign volunteers, primarily Arab, that were known as the “Afghans” throughout the Muslim world. These foreign fighters hailed from places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen and became legendary symbols of self-sacrifice and global Muslim solidarity that act as a core unifying element in the Jihadists’ vision of uniting the “Umma” (the global Muslim community) under a new Caliphate. It is well known that these foreign who were armed and funded by Saudi Arabia and CIA, trained in Pakistan, and provided essential support to the native Afghanis opposing the Soviet occupation. What is often forgotten is what exactly happened after the war to the 10,000+ group of foreign fighters and the large, sophisticated logistical and financial support network. It is sometimes said that the force “became al-Qaeda”, which is an oversimplification. A shorter and slightly less simplified answer is that many of those fighters just went home, and was was left evolved and expanded. It evolved from centers of operation like Pakistan and Sudan into an even larger and more complex network with self-sustaining sources of funding (while keeping its Persian Gulf money flowing in) and expanded to new bases of operation in places like Bosnia, Chechnya, the Phillipines.

So let’s pick up where Part 1 of the Der Spiegel report left off, because there is much that needs to be said about Osama’s brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa and his presence in the Phillipines.

Mr Khalifa and the IIRO goes to the Phillipines
Remember how it was a 2002 Raid on the Benevolence International Foundation that yielded the “Golden Chain” list of early (around 1988) financiers of Osama bin Laden’s growing army of Jihadist? Well, it turns out that during that same same there were actually two sister “Benevolence International” organizations, both started back in the late 80’s to assist in raising funds for the Afghan Mujaheddin. One, Islamic Benevolence Committee, was set up by a wealthy Saudi businessman, Adel Batterjee. Batterjee, we’ll recall, headed the World Assemby of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in the early 90’s (2), an organization with close ties to two more bin Laden Brothers. The Islamic Benevolence Committee was located on the Afghan border in Peshawar, Pakistan, where the bulk of the Mujahedeen training and resupply operations were located, including the “Mountain Camp” training center which Batterjee also ran. Islamic Benevolence Committee’s sister foundation, Benevolence International Corporation, was founded in the Phillipines by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama’s brother-in-law and a friend of Mr. Batterjee. The two organizations appeared to work separately until 1992, when the two merged and relocated to Chicago where the Saudi money was already flowing.

Mr. Khalifa is a central figure in modern terror: First, he has been implicated in the development and financing of Abu Sayyaf, the al-Qaeda linked movement in the Phillipines which is intent on establishing an Islamic State in the predominantly Muslim regions of the country. Abu Sayyaf emerged as a violent force in the 90’s, and included veteran Jihadists from Afghanistan and other fighters trained in same Jihadist camps that the Taliban used in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and Yemen. The camps remained active after the defeat of the Soviets (3), and are indicative of the growing influence of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, an influence financed and organized by Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Khalifa’s financing of these activities was done through the Phillipines branch of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), which Khalifa himself directed. The Virginia-based IIRO is one of the organizations that was also raided in the March 20, 2002 Operation Greenquest raid. Let’s take a quick look at an excerpt about IIRO with this exellent August 20, 2003 article in the Washington Post:

In early 1991, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), one of the largest Saudi-sponsored charities in the world, opened a U.S. branch, which was based first in Washington and then in Northern Virginia. The IIRO is part of a huge Saudi-sponsored charitable and religious organization called the Muslim World League.

Shortly after opening its office, the IIRO, which operates in the United States under the name of the International Relief Organization (IRO), received $10 million from Saudi Arabia, according to the affidavit. The money was used to set up yet another company, Sana-Bell, Inc., which was responsible for investing the money. The return on the investment was to be used to fund IRO's charitable activities. Sana-Bell's office was also in the Herndon complex.

The IIRO’s sister company, Sana-Bell, is another interesting group in that its two founders, Saleh Kamel and Ibrahim Afandi, are both also members of the infamous “Golden Chain” of early al-Qaeda supporters.

In 1994, FBI agents also found evidence of Khalifa’s ties to Ramzi Yousef, a mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (Yes, Sheikh Rahman was also a mastermind…there are many masterminds in such things) and who was also convicted of planting a bomb on a plane flying from Manila to Tokyo on December 11, 1994. This bombing is thought to have been a test run for a much grander plot, Operation Bojinka, a plan to bomb 12 US passenger jets. And Operation Bonjinka has more than just an chilling similarity to 9/11: Ramzi Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, also worked with Youseff in the Phillipines on a number of operations. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the accused mastermind of 9/11.

In 1994, Manila expelled Khalifa from Indonesia over his ties to violent militants, and he managed to flee to the US with a visa obtained in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, apparently with help from the CIA (4). This was just one of a number of questionable Visas issued from Jeddah since the first Gulf War that has fueled tensions between the FBI and CIA over the CIA’s lenient attitude towards its “Islamist partners” (which is not to say that the FBI doesn’t have its own “issues” with interdicting terrorist outfits…just wait until Parts 12 and 13). Remember that this is a network that the CIA worked directly with and helped build just years before, so we’re talking about a very complicated relationship. Two weeks later Khalifa was detained by US immigration authorities and extradited to Jordan, where he had been previously tried and convicted to death in absentia over his accused of involvment in plots to bomb public places. Mr. Khalifa was retried and acquitted.

So to briefly summarize Mohammed Jamal Khalifa’s story, the critical “Golden Chain” list of early al-Qaeda backers was discovered in a raid on a Benevolence International, a charity founded, in part, by Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Mr. Khalifa, himself an accused major financier and organizer of the al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, which involved veteran fighters from the Afghan war and utilized some of the same training camps set up to train the Arab “Afghan” volunteers. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this regional component of al-Qaeda and Mr Khalifa’s role in al-Qaeda, since every single major al-Qaeda plot has a link to its Southeast Asian branch.

So what ever became of Mr Khalifa after he went missing? He currently owns a restaurant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he proclaims his innocence in terrorist activities. How about Mr Khalifa’s partner in Benevolence International, Abdel Batterjee…surely there’s a story about him. Yep, which is what we’re going to look at now.

Mr. Batterjee goes to Bosnia
It’s not particularly surprising that Bosnia was where investigators stumbled across the “Golden Chain” list. Ever since the fall of Communism, the radical Islamist machine that bled the Soviets to death in Afghanistan began moving in wherever there were Muslim peoples previously living under Communist rule. Bosnia, which descended into one of the most brutal civil wars in recent history, was an early new front for the holy warriors and became an epicenter of Jihadist activity in Europe.

Facing an ethnic-Serbian army that inherited much of the former Yugoslavian army’s infrastructure, the Bosnian Muslims were dependent on outside help and a rallying cry for a new Balkan holy war erupted. Benevolence International Foundation, led Adel Batterjee, played a leading role in providing humanitarian aide and covert military supplies. Other financiers and logistical supporters of this new “Bosnian network” included the IIRO and Khalid bin Mahfouz’s Muwafaq Foundation (aka “Blessed Relief Foundation”), which was reported to have been used to funds to Bosnian-Muslim fighters. Neither Khalid bin Mahfouz nor Adel Batterjee have been successfully prosecuted (Khalid bin Mahfouz is the teflon-Don of terrorist-financing…err-related-activities).

The purpose of this new Bosnian branch of the Mujaheddeen network was to provide a Muslim counterweight to the newly formed Serbian army that was the main beneficiary of the ex-Yugoslavian military’s infrastructure. This was to be, in essence, a repeat of the kind of global Muslim solidarity movement that gave rise to the Mujahedeen effort in Afghanistan in the 80’s (a repeat on multiple levels). The new “Bosnian Network” was going to have three centers of operation, in Sarajevo (where the new training “camps” were to be located), London (an international hub for radical Islamic leaders), and Pakistan. The “Bosnian Network” would also provide the “holy war” starting in Afghanistan a base of operations to expand in Europe and North Africa (5).

Al-Taqwa’s merciful Mr Eddine in Bosnia
Recall from Lucy Komisar’s article that the al-Taqwa Group’s directors and shareholders, Khaldoun Dia Eddine in particular, were also involved in Bosnia:

Included in the list of shareholders of Al Taqwa are bank founder and director Ahmed Idriss Nasreddin, an Ethiopian who worked for the Binladen Group (the bin Laden family's construction company) and was honorary consul of Kuwait in Milan, board member of the Islamic Center of Milan and president of the Islamic Community of Ticino. Others are Sante (Abdulwahab) Ciccarello, director of the Islamic Cultural Center in Milan, and Kaldoun Dia Eddine, president of the Committee to Aid Refugees of Bosnia-Herzegovina and secretary of the Islamic Community of Ticino.

In 1996 DIGOS became suspicious that humanitarian help to Bosnia organized by Nasreddin in Milan was being skimmed. The amount the charity sent didn't coincide with what it raised. According to the U.S. investigations into the 1998 attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Milan center was also a gathering place for recruits to an alQaida training camp in Afghanistan.

It turns out Mr. Eddine, a member of the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, played an additional role in the Bosnian war efforts beyond the above. After his employment with al-Taqwa, he became the chief coordinator for Mercy International, an institution publicly known for its charitable presence in war-torn places like Bosnia, Chechnya, and Albania. Like Benevolence International, Mercy International was also known for actively circumventing a weapons embargo on the Bosnian army and for recruiting mercenaries and volunteers for the new Bosnian network (6). In 1997 the Kenyan government dismantled a number of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the Sudan-border area and, according to investigations by European Intelligence services, Mercy International centralized money collected in Muslim communities in the US and several Europeans countries (including Switzerland and Italy), for the purpose of financing Osama bin Laden’s network (7). Mercy International was also implicated in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies and Kenya and Tanzania. According to then-Assistant Attorney General Patrick Fitzgerald "Mercy International, while it does have legitimate charitable purpose, has other purposes that are contrary to that." Like many of the organizations with ties to the world of terror, Mercy International was investigated but not shut down, and is today headquartered in Michigan, and had an annual budget of $2 million in 1999 (8).

Mr. Eddine also headed the now-dormant “Association for Commercial, Industrial and Tourist Development between the Gulf State and Switzerland” (another one of Ahmed Idriss Nasreddin’s outfits). This association, also known as the “Gulf Office”, doesn’t limit its activity to Switzerland and the Gulf States. It’s also charged with distributing recruitment videos for the Algerian GIA. Since 1994 these commando videos have been sold under the table in mosques throughout Europe, with glorifying footage of a 1994 attack on Algerian security forces (one of the first large-scale ambushes by the GIA), and even contained the same phone number as the Gulf Office (9).

In 1994, Mr. Eddine’s Gulf office came under scrutiny of the Italian Judiciary as part of Operation “Clean Hands”, an early 90’s investigation into Italy’s endemic political bribery and corruption (10). Not too surprisingly, one of the figures investigated was former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (whose Swiss investment lawyer, we’ll recall, was also al-Taqwa’s lawyer). In 1995 Operation Clean Hands was ended when it became clear to enough politicians that if the investigations continued they would all end up in jail.

Mr Qassem’s early arrival and mysterious departure
Now what about that Islamic Cultural Center in Milan that Al-Taqwa figures Sante Ciccarello and Ahmed Idriss Nasreddin were involved in? Well, the Milan Islamic Cultural center, which acted as a gathering place of al-Qaeda recruits, appears to be a regular stop-point for folks associated with the Jihadist movement. It was also preached at by Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, the same fellow who was controversially renditioned in Italy by the CIA back in 2003, and has more recently been charged with providing false passports and travel documents to Northern Iraq.

In 1994, a fellow by the name of Talaat Fouad Qassem stayed at the Islamic Cultural Center in Milan. We briefly mentioned Mr. Qassem (a.k.a. Abu Talal Al-Qawimy) in Part 7. He took part in the early creation of Gama’a al-Islamiya before joining its armed branch in the late 1970’s. And he was an associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri. So what is the significance of Mr Qassem being in Bosnia? Well, let’s just say Mr Batterjee was not the first Afghan veteran on the Bosnian scene. Talaat Fouad Qassem was chosen by his fellow Afghan Mujahedeen to plan and orchestrate the new “Bosnian Network” of foreign fighters back in 1990, two years before Bosnia descended into civil war. Mr. Qassem centralized the management of this network while the international wing of the Muslim Brotherhood provided the financial and logistical support of what came to be some two thousand volunteers that joined the Bosnian camps (11).

Mr Qassem also happens to be the first individual to be subject to the US’s policy of extraordinary rendition. On September 12, 1995, a year after Mr. Qassem’s stay in Milan, he disappeared in Croatia through an extraordinary rendition involving US agents and Croatian police, and was eventually turned over to Egyptian authorities. And this brings us to another confusing aspect of this story, but an important one that reveals some of the divides within the Muslim Brotherhood’s international movement. It also juxtaposes the moderate, explicitly non-violent public face of the Muslim Brotherhood that has been part of its Modus Operandi since the days of its founding with the overtly violent character of many of its members and afilliates. On November 13, 1995, one month after the disappearance of Mr Qassem, an Egyptian diplomat in Geneva was murdered . A previously unknown group that called itself the International Justice Group claimed responsibility (although it appears to be associated with Gama’a al-Islamiya) and said the killing was in retaliation for the diplomat’s efforts in tracking down Muslim activists. Swiss Attorney General Carla del Ponte (who is a now familiar figure given her ties to al-Taqwa lawyer Pier Felice Barchi) announced the next day that Swiss investigators would leave open all possibilities in their investigation. And yet, from the very beginning they stuck to the track of looking into possible gambling debts, woman troubles, and things of that nature. In the end they blamed the killing on a case of mistaken identity involving rivals factions of the Kurdish Communist Party (PKK), much to the disappointed of the Egyptian government. All of this took place months after the July 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. And much like the Egyptian Response to the Luxor Massacre of 1997, Egypt accused Switzerland and several other European countries of sheltering terrorists, icluding “Osama’s brain” Ayman al-Zawahiri (12).

According to Egyptian security services, the diplomat engaged in negotiations was none other than the “case officer” in observing the Geneva-based Ramadan family. As we saw in Part 5, the Ramadam family’s patriarch, Said Ramadan, was the son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and was instrumental in establishing the Muslim Brotherhood’s outpost in Europe in the 1950’s. The Ramadans happened to be Swiss-based managers of some $200-$500 million of the Muslim Brotherhood’s funds. Said Ramadan died August of 1995, leaving his family in charge of managing those funds, which they apparently helped themselves to in great quantities. There was also a question as to whether or not the Swiss-based Muslim Brothers were negotiating their return to Egypt with the diplomat in an exchange that involved ensuring the funds in their possession would remain in Europe, and at least not directly be used to finance Egypt-based militant activities. This opened a serious dispute between the Ramadan family and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, according to Egyptian intelligence sources (13).

Now, returning to the case of the missing Mr Qassem, Egyptian intelligence also state that , Mr Qassem and a German-based compatriot Mohamed Mehdi Akef – who co-founded the Muslim American Society in Falls Church, VA and who is now the “Supreme Guide” to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - were known to be in Geneva 15 days before his disappearance in Croatia. Qassem and Akef were charged by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to retrieve some of the funding under the control of the their Switzerland-based brethren (14), and violent threats were made against the Ramadan family upon failure of these talks. The Ramadan brothers, Tariq and Hani, charged with misappropriating those funds for their own purposes are to this day leading, though controversial, Islamic intellectuals in Europe. And finally, documents from the Egyptian diplomat indicate that the funds in question were held in a series of financial institutions in the Lugano Switzerland/Tessin Italy area, including al-Taqwa, which should come as little of a surprise at this point (15).

So to summarize the mystery of Mr. Qassem’s disappearance, it appears that the leader of the Gama’a al-Islamiy’a’s international military branch, who was sent to Europe in 1990 in preparation for expanding a Muslim Brotherhood/Saudi backed holy war, was extraordinarily renditioned in Croatia not long after a rather heated discussion with Ramadan family in Switzerland involving money. Beyond reminding ourselves that money matters a lot when it comes to financing conflict, who knows what are we to make of the tale of Mr. Qassem. But yeah, money matters. And not just for militant Jihadists, as we’re about to see.

Jihadists out, Mercenaries in (and Jihadists still kind of in too)
Not long before Qassem’s disappearance new actors came onto the scene in the Bosnian civil war. In April 1995, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), one of the top private US companies offering “military expertise”, began training a professional Croatian army. By August the Croatian army began utilizing Western-style military tactics with Operation Storm. In 1996 MPRI did the same for Bosnia, at a cost of approximately $400 million, paid for by the Saudi government (16). Today MPRI operates throughout the world and is an example of one of the most significant trends in modern warfare: the privatization of military capabilities and expertise (and blame, in case anything goes wrong), and their increasing use for “Special Operations”, itself an increasingly preferred method for conducting warfare in the post-9/11 environment.

Now, was it just a coincidence that Mr Qassem, the early orchestrator of the Mujaheddin efforts, was extraordinarily renditioned just months after US private contractors came on the scene? Perhaps, but to get an idea of some of the forces at work during this time let’s take a look at this revealing 2002 article from the London Guardian:

America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims

The Srebrenica report reveals the Pentagon's role in a dirty war

Richard J Aldrich
Monday April 22, 2002

The Guardian

The official Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, released last week, contains one of the most sensational reports on western intelligence ever published. Officials have been staggered by its findings and the Dutch government has resigned. One of its many volumes is devoted to clandestine activities during the Bosnian war of the early 1990s. For five years, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University has had unrestricted access to Dutch intelligence files and has stalked the corridors of secret service headquarters in western capitals, as well as in Bosnia, asking questions.

His findings are set out in "Intelligence and the war in Bosnia, 1992-1995". It includes remarkable material on covert operations, signals interception, human agents and double-crossing by dozens of agencies in one of dirtiest wars of the new world disorder. Now we have the full story of the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamist groups from the Middle East designed to assist the Bosnian Muslims - some of the same groups that the Pentagon is now fighting in "the war against terrorism". Pentagon operations in Bosnia have delivered their own "blowback".

In the 1980s Washington's secret services had assisted Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Then, in 1990, the US fought him in the Gulf. In both Afghanistan and the Gulf, the Pentagon had incurred debts to Islamist groups and their Middle Eastern sponsors. By 1993 these groups, many supported by Iran and Saudi Arabia, were anxious to help Bosnian Muslims fighting in the former Yugoslavia and called in their debts with the Americans. Bill Clinton and the Pentagon were keen to be seen as creditworthy and repaid in the form of an Iran-Contra style operation - in flagrant violation of the UN security council arms embargo against all combatants in the former Yugoslavia.

As these revelations indicate, the relationship between the Islamist Mujaheddin and their state sponsors is a complicated one, often characterized more by quid pro quo relationships than ideological goals. Anti-Communism was the primary shared ideological goal that acted as a kind of glue for Western democracies and Islamists groups, but it also served to paper over deep divides.

Oh, and some of the Muslim foreign fighters were allegedly military officers sent from countries like Pakistan and Libya (see paragraph 80).


The result was a vast secret conduit of weapons smuggling though Croatia. This was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah. Wiebes reveals that the British intelligence services obtained documents early on in the Bosnian war proving that Iran was making direct deliveries.

Arms purchased by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia made their way by night from the Middle East. Initially aircraft from Iran Air were used, but as the volume increased they were joined by a mysterious fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft. The report stresses that the US was "very closely involved" in the airlift. Mojahedin fighters were also flown in, but they were reserved as shock troops for especially hazardous operations.

Light weapons are the familiar currency of secret services seeking to influence such conflicts. The volume of weapons flown into Croatia was enormous, partly because of a steep Croatian "transit tax". Croatian forces creamed off between 20% and 50% of the arms. The report stresses that this entire trade was clearly illicit. The Croats themselves also obtained massive quantities of illegal weapons from Germany, Belgium and Argentina - again in contravention of the UN arms embargo. The German secret services were fully aware of the trade.

The participation of Germany, Belgium and Argentina, Iran, and Turkey point out that the US is far from the only county that makes use of groups like the Mujaheddin as proxy warriors and not all holy warriors are of the Sunni variety. Proxy wars, private mercenaries, and “low-intensity” conflicts, are used by countries all over the world.

The presence of the Shiite Hezbollah working with the largely Sunni-based Mujaheddeen in Bosnia also shows that the Shiite-Sunni divide is not as great as is often portrayed (al-Qaeda’s internal politics aside). Like with so much we’ve seen, the leadership of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Ayatollah regimes share roots, with the ayatollahs in Iran emerging from the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate “Devotees of Islam” . Recall too that Francois Genoud financed the Ayatollah Khomeini’s stay in France while the Shah was in power. The Ayatollah, in turn, was so impressed with the theories of Genoud’s protégé, Ahmed Huber, that he once invited Huber and Ahmed Huber and Ahmed Huber to sit at his feet during a gathering in Tehran (17). According to Canadian intelligence, Iran paid for al-Qaeda camps in Sudan and provided military trainers back in the early 1990’s (18). If you read that statement and think “Oh wow! Now we really need to bomb Iran because they’re supporting al-Qaeda!!”, recall that the US and lots of other countries were too, so you had better have a lot of bombs because you have a lot of targets and that really would be WWIII (if you’re you’re up for such action, also recall that you’re a psycho). And you’re thinking “Well, that was then, and we don’t support al-Qaeda anymore but Iran does! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb!” then….well, just keep reading. We are in a horribly messy situation.


Rather than the CIA, the Pentagon's own secret service was the hidden force behind these operations. The UN protection force, UNPROFOR, was dependent on its troop-contributing nations for intelligence, and above all on the sophisticated monitoring capabilities of the US to police the arms embargo. This gave the Pentagon the ability to manipulate the embargo at will: ensuring that American Awacs aircraft covered crucial areas and were able to turn a blind eye to the frequent nightime comings and goings at Tuzla.

Weapons flown in during the spring of 1995 were to turn up only a fortnight later in the besieged and demilitarised enclave at Srebrenica. When these shipments were noticed, Americans pressured UNPROFOR to rewrite reports, and when Norwegian officials protested about the flights, they were reportedly threatened into silence.

Both the CIA and British SIS had a more sophisticated perspective on the conflict than the Pentagon, insisting that no side had clean hands and arguing for caution. James Woolsey, director of the CIA until May 1995, had increasingly found himself out of step with the Clinton White House over his reluctance to develop close relations with the Islamists. The sentiments were reciprocated. In the spring of 1995, when the CIA sent its first head of station to Sarajevo to liaise with Bosnia's security authorities, the Bosnians tipped off Iranian intelligence. The CIA learned that the Iranians had targeted him for liquidation and quickly withdrew him.

On a chilling side note, former CIA director James Woolsey declared that the US was facing WWIV against most of the Islamic world back in 2003.


Iranian and Afghan veterans' training camps had also been identified in Bosnia. Later, in the Dayton Accords of November 1995, the stipulation appeared that all foreign forces be withdrawn. This was a deliberate attempt to cleanse Bosnia of Iranian-run training camps. The CIA's main opponents in Bosnia were now the mojahedin fighters and their Iranian trainers - whom the Pentagon had been helping to supply months earlier.

Meanwhile, the secret services of Ukraine, Greece and Israel were busy arming the Bosnian Serbs. Mossad was especially active and concluded a deal with the Bosnian Serbs at Pale involving a substantial supply of artillery shells and mortar bombs. In return they secured safe passage for the Jewish population out of the besieged town of Sarajevo. Subsequently, the remaining population was perplexed to find that unexploded mortar bombs landing in Sarajevo sometimes had Hebrew markings.

Yep, while the US, Belgium, German, Argentina, Turkey and Iran were aiding the Bosnian Muslims, the states of Ukraine, Greece, and Israel were running arms to the Serbs. Then, a month after Mr. Qassem is extraordinarily renditioned in September 1995 there is apparently an attempt to cleanse Bosnia of both the Iranian-backed fighters and the very same Mujaheddin the US had used as mercenaries against the Soviets. And during this same period, a private military contractor came on the scene and turned the tide of the war.

And finishing with the Guardian article…

The broader lessons of the intelligence report on Srebrenica are clear. Those who were able to deploy intelligence power, including the Americans and their enemies, the Bosnian Serbs, were both able to get their way. Conversely, the UN and the Dutch government were "deprived of the means and capacity for obtaining intelligence" for the Srebrenica deployment, helping to explain why they blundered in, and contributed to the terrible events there.

Secret intelligence techniques can be war-winning and life-saving. But they are not being properly applied. How the UN can have good intelligence in the context of multinational peace operations is a vexing question. Removing light weapons from a conflict can be crucial to drawing it down. But the secret services of some states - including Israel and Iran - continue to be a major source of covert supply, pouring petrol on the flames of already bitter conflicts.

· Richard J Aldrich is Professor of Politics at the University of Nottingham. His 'The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence' is published in paperback by John Murray in August.

The lesson on the use of intelligence services is a valid one, but not the only lesson. The shift from Jihadists to contractors in the Bosnian civil war marked a change in the use of training and equipping mercenary forces in modern warfare. This was a move away from direct special operations and intelligence operatives training the mercenary forces that were used in the Nicaraguan Contra and Afghan support efforts, and towards private professional companies providing the logistical and personnel support necessary to create a fighting-capable army wherever it is desired. So as the Jihadist/Western alliance of the 80’s went overtly sour and Western countries turned away from using holy warriors to affect conflicts, the age of professional private companies ready to create their own armies, sometimes from scratch, came into full-swing. Flash forward to today’s military operation, and we can see the profound impact of this change:

The privatisation of war

· $30bn goes to private military
· Fears over 'hired guns' policy
· British firms get big slice of contracts
· Deals in Baghdad, Kabul and Balkans

Ian Traynor
Wednesday December 10, 2003


Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.

While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground.

The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10.

The private sector is so firmly embedded in combat, occupation and peacekeeping duties that the phenomenon may have reached the point of no return: the US military would struggle to wage war without it.

it is a trend that has been growing worldwide since the end of the cold war, a booming business which entails replacing soldiers wherever possible with highly paid civilians and hired guns not subject to standard military disciplinary procedures.

The biggest US military base built since Vietnam, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, was constructed and continues to be serviced by private contractors. At Tuzla in northern Bosnia, headquarters for US peacekeepers, everything that can be farmed out to private businesses has been. The bill so far runs to more than $5bn. The contracts include those to the US company ITT, which supplies the armed guards, overwhelmingly US private citizens, at US installations.

The UN has been no stranger to the outsourcing trend either. With countries like the UK reluctant to provide their own troops for potentially dangerous peacekeeping missions, private contractors are clamoring for role in this area.

And finishing off our look at this London Guardian article…

In Israel, a US company supplies the security for American diplomats, a very risky business. In Colombia, a US company flies the planes destroying the coca plantations and the helicopter gunships protecting them, in what some would characterise as a small undeclared war.

In Kabul, a US company provides the bodyguards to try to save President Hamid Karzai from assassination, raising questions over whether they are combatants in a deepening conflict with emboldened Taliban insurgents.

And in the small town of Hadzici west of Sarajevo, a military compound houses the latest computer technology, the war games simulations challenging the Bosnian army's brightest young officers.

Crucial to transforming what was an improvised militia desperately fighting for survival into a modern army fit eventually to join Nato, the army computer centre was established by US officers who structured, trained, and armed the Bosnian military. The Americans accomplished a similar mission in Croatia and are carrying out the same job in Macedonia.

The input from the US military has been so important that the US experts can credibly claim to have tipped the military balance in a region ravaged by four wars in a decade. But the American officers, including several four-star generals, are retired, not serving. They work, at least directly, not for the US government, but for a private company, Military Professional Resources Inc.

"In the Balkans MPRI are playing an incredibly critical role. The balance of power in the region was altered by a private company. That's one measure of the sea change," said Mr Singer, the author of a recent book on the subject, Corporate Warriors.

The surge in the use of private companies should not be confused with the traditional use of mercenaries in armed conflicts. The use of mercenaries is outlawed by the Geneva conventions, but no one is accusing the Pentagon, while awarding more than 3,000 contracts to private companies over the past decade, of violating the laws of war.

The Pentagon will "pursue additional opportunities to outsource and privatise", the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, pledged last year and military analysts expect him to try to cut a further 200,000 jobs in the armed forces.

On top of a growing trend in outsourcing intelligence community jobs, another one of those “additional opportunities to outsource and privatise” just might include active use of privatize contractors in offensive combat roles, and sooner than you think. In March of 2006 Blackwater USA offered to play an “overt combat role”. Blackwater’s Chief Executive Officer Erik Prince ( a heavy GOP donor with a strong New Right pedigree), Vice President Cofer Black (former CIA chief of counter terrorism), and Chief Financial Officer Joseph E. Schmitz (inspector general of the Pentagon from 2002-2005, son of former arch-right congressman John G. Schmitz, and brother of Mary Kay Letourneau), also help provide the private mercenary company the kinds of political connections necessary to get such a contract should the rules be changed to allow it. Even now, the “private security” roles Blackwater employees are allowed to engage in are often effectively combat oriented, albeit of a more defensive nature.

Bosnia, post civil war
So the West’s solid rejection of the Mujaheddeen’s presence in Bosnia helped usher in the age of contract-warfare. But what happened to all those foreign fighters that were to be expelled from Bosnia in the middle of the civil war? Well, it turns out that quite a few of them became Bosnian citizens:

Bosnia — base for terrorism

By Craig Pyes, Josh Meyer and William C. Rempel
Los Angeles Times

ZENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Hundreds of foreign Islamic extremists who became Bosnian citizens after battling Serbian and Croatian forces present a potential terrorist threat to Europe and the United States, according to a classified U.S. State Department report and interviews with international military and intelligence sources.

The extremists include hard-core terrorists, some with ties to Osama bin Laden, protected by militant elements of the former Sarajevo government. Bosnia-Herzegovina is "a staging area and safe haven" for terrorists, said one former senior State Department official.

The secret report, prepared late last year for the Clinton administration, warned of problem passport holders in Bosnia in numbers that "shocked everyone," he said.

The White House leaned on Bosnia and its then-president, Alija Izetbegovic, "but nothing happened," the former official said.

President Izetbegovic himself reportedly had a “Praetorian Guard” of fighters during the civil war who viewed themselves as the heirs of the 13th Waffen SS “Hanjar” Division set up by the Grand Mufti Al-Husseini in Bosnia during WWII. Comprised heavily of foreign fighters from Albania and Kosovo, the group was also trained primarily by Arab Mujaheddeen veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan (19).


Although no evidence connects any Bosnian group to the suicide hijacking attacks of Sept. 11 blamed on bin Laden, U.S. and European officials increasingly are concerned about the scope and reach of bin Laden networks in the West and the proximity of Bosnia-based terrorists to the heart of Europe.

A number of the extremists "would travel with impunity and conduct, plan and stage terrorist acts with impunity while hiding behind their Bosnian passports," the former official said.

President Clinton's secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, personally appealed to Izetbegovic to oust suspected terrorists or rescind their Bosnian passports.

The effort by top State Department aides continued through the last days of the administration. Izetbegovic declined the appeals, several sources said, apparently out of loyalty to the fighters who had come to his country's rescue. Senior U.S. and SFOR officials believe that some hard-line members of Izetbegovic's political party gave direct support. Although Izetbegovic stepped down in October 2000, many hard-liners remain in Bosnia's bureaucracy, and they are suspected of operating their own rogue intelligence service that protects Islamic extremists, military and intelligence sources said.

Rogue Islamists in intelligence agencies and a government with conflicting attitudes towards Islamic extremists…hmmm, that sounds kind of like, oh, say, our good buddy Pakistan. A little too similar considering Pakistan’s support of the Taliban. For instance, the man appointed as Bosnia’s Defense minister in 1996, Hasan Cengic, reportedly worked closely with the Iranians during the war when the US was trying to rid the country of Iranian influence, and even told his close friend President Izetbegovic that the key to his administration’s success was by adopting an unambiguous Islamic identity and waging an Islamist struggle. Cengic was also a member of the Hanjar division during WWII (20).

And finishing our look at the LA Times article…

At the war's end, U.S. officials focused on state-sponsored terrorism and worried about getting Iranian fighters back to Iran. Less clear were the implications of loosely allied extremist groups and individuals. While Iranian fighters went home, many of el Maali's trained warriors did not.

In Bosnia, most of the violence stopped with the peace accord in 1995. But in January 1996, it broke out again — on the streets of northern France.

A puzzling crime wave swept the area around Roubaix, a gritty, Muslim-majority town near the Belgian border.

Small groups of men began holding up stores and drivers. They brandished machine guns and wore hoods and carnival masks. Two people were killed.

On March 28, just before a Group of Seven summit of leading industrial nations that would bring top ministers to Lille, police discovered a stolen car abandoned in front of the police station. It was parked askew. And it contained a bomb packed into three gas cylinders rigged to devastate everything within 600 feet. It was disarmed.

In the getaway car, police found rocket launchers, automatic weapons, large amounts of ammunition and grenades. They also recovered an electronic organizer containing coded telephone contacts, nearly a dozen of them in Bosnia.

The dead ringleader was identified as Christophe Caze, a young French medic who had gone to fight in Bosnia.

The French investigation uncovered what might have been the first terrorism cell exported from Bosnia.

The robbery gang was identified as nine militants who attended a local mosque. Most had undergone military training at the El Moujahed compound in Bosnia.

The armed robberies were a radical form of fund raising by Caze and his associates to benefit their "Muslim brothers in Algeria." Their high-powered weapons were smuggled home from the Bosnian war.

Caze's organizer was described by one official as "the address book of the professional terrorist."

It contained phone contacts in England, Italy, France and Canada, as well as direct lines to el Maali's Zenica headquarters. It led French authorities to trace travels and phone records and to set up electronic surveillance.

French counterterrorism officials realized they had stumbled upon more than a band of gangsters.

Five years before the sophisticated terrorist assault on the United States, the French were starting to uncover loosely linked violent networks spreading into several countries, all tied together by a common thread: Bosnia.

From the Afghan war to Bosnia, across the Balkans, and throughout the Muslim communities of Europe, we can see how the power-vacuum left by the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern European Communist regimes greatly enabled the expansion of the militant wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and its holy war mentality across Europe. And, the existing presence of the Muslim Brotherhood established by folks like Said Ramadan and the al-Taqwa network in places like Geneva and Munich didn’t hurt the cause. Kaldoun Dia Eddine’s Mercy International, which we already saw was involved in arming the Bosnian Muslims at the outbreak of the civil war, was also helping manage one of the main weapons delivery channels to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) with the assistance of the Muslim World League, out of Eddine’s office in Tirana, Albania (21).

Of course, it can never be said enough that the presence of foreign Jihadists in these countries does not necessarily make those fighters themselves the root source of the conflicts. There is always local history and circumstances and the presence of radicalized violent holy warriors does not mean the local peoples are radicalized violent holy warriors. Foreign fighters, Jihadists or otherwise, that insert themselves into ongoing conflicts are merely one of the many external forces playing an increasing roles in modern wars, and as we saw with Bosnia, they often have the backing of external governments too.

And how are the US’s relations with Bosnia today in 2006, a decade after the US assisted the Bosnian resistance? According to Bosnia’s Grand Mufti, they’re “worse than they have ever been before.”

So was the order to expel foreign fighters from Bosnia an indication that the age of state-sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi-financed network of Jihadists had come to a close? As we’re going to see with Chechnya, that doesn’t appear to be the case, and it might not be the kind of sponsorship you’re expecting. Russia has been waging one of the many forgotten fronts in the War on Terror with plenty of suppressed scandals and questionable characters of its own. And when it comes to privatized warfare, the former Soviet Republics are open for business and everyone from the US to the UN to al-Qaeda is buying. These are the topics we’re going to address in our next essay, and as we’re going to learn, the groups we’ve looked as thus far are far from our only concern when it comes to the promotion of war and terror, so keep reading!!!!!!!!

Offline References

(1) Wall Street Journal March 18, 2003 “Al Qaeda List Points to Saudi Elite” by Glenn R. Simpson

(2) Terrorist Hunter p296

(3) Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p321

(4) ibid p365

(5) ibid p73

(6) ibid p 151

(7) ibid p353

(8) Ibid p151-152

(9) ibid p151-152

(10) ibid p150

(11) ibid p73

(12) ibid p64-69

(13) ibid p70, 156-157

(14) ibid p70

(15) ibid p68

(16) ibid p193

(17) "Terror's Cash Flow" by Mark Hosenball with Kevin Peraino and Cathrine Skipp; Newsweek; 3/25/2002; pp. 28-29

(18) Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror; by Douglas Farah; Broadway Books [HC] {subsidiary of Random House}; Copyright 2004 by Douglas Farah; ISBN 0-7679-15262-3; p 132

(19) Some Call It Peace: Waiting for War in the Balkans; Yossef Bodansky; Copyright 1996 [SC] by Yossef Bodansky; Published by International Media Corporation Ltd.; ISBN 0-9520070-5-3; p15, 158-159

(20) ibid; p39

(21) Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p152