google books The New International Terrorism and Political Violence Guide
By Stephen R. Barnhart Classified sources reveal that Tehran as well as the transfer of arms and specialists through Albania sponsored training and preparation of the Kosovo Liberation Army. The primary objective - creating a beachhead for the expansion of Islam - has been expanded to include creation of the Tirana-Sarajevo axis. With all that the escalation of Jihad remained the primary objective for Tehran. Autumn of 1997 Tehran decided to send large quantities of arms and military equipment to secret Albanian organizations in Kosovo and Methhija. Aid only to used to win independence of Republic of Kosovo.. separatist groups based on fundamentalist Islamic ideology.. purpose to complete indoctrination of the masses.. blind trust of ideas from Tehran.. support outside Yugoslavia - in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Albania, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.. promised military training in Revolutionary Guard and Special Unit camps in Iran... create military operations zone in Kosovo to promote the Jihad... Tehran has the ability to reinforce Kosovo Albanian alliance by using Kosovo Liberation and its terrorist campaign
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Kosovo and Metohija is a region with enormous historical and civilizational importance, especially in view of resisting to the expansion of Islamism in Europe.The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, concluded by the Dayton Agreement, also represents an attempt to ensure the penetration of Islamism in the Balkans and to link a major number of states and regions to the Moslem population and Islam as the religion of the majority. Part of this process includes the long-term effort of the Albanian leadership to form the "Greater Albania", encompassing present day Republic of Albania, Kosovo and Metohija, as well as parts of Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece. Strikes staged by ethnic Albanian miners and university students in Kosovo and Metohija back in 1988 and 1989, have escalated into outbreaks of violence with tragic consequences, forcing the Serbian government to take energetic measures to suppress anti-government and terrorist activities and re-establish normal life condition in this part of the Republic. This is why at the beginning of the nineties, terrorist groups and their leaders adopted a new strategy which was intensified in 1996 and 1997. It was characterized by attacks focused on government institutions, Serbs, Montenegrins and ethnic Albanians which were judged to be helping the reinforcement of legal and legitimate authority of Serbia and Yugoslavia. In just a few months at the end of 1997 and at the beginning of 1998, the activity of the terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija have caused the death of more than 70 citizens and members of Serbian Police and Yugoslav Army. Such an escalation of violence was the result of thorough preparations of secessionists in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and of the support of various Moslem countries, particularly Iran and its Islamic extremist militant institutions and organizations.
A particular intensification of Iranian activity in Albania and Kosovo and Metohija was registered after the meeting of Islamic countries held in Jeddah in 1994, and the meeting of the D-8 group of Islamic countries held in Istanbul in 1996. The decision was taken then to help the "brothers in the Balkans" with all available means, including military aid. Obviously, "all available means" included the "holy warriors" - mujahedins and other terrorists.
Actually, the Balkan peninsula was chosen as a beachhead for an organized penetration of Islam into Europe. At the same time Italy was selected as the base country for command and managing centers and stations in charge of directing Islamic extremists' forces and funds.
According to British analysts versed in these issues, it is unlikely that the international community will offer a determined support to the legal FRY # authorities, because it does not feel threatened. This will favor the Islamic extremists and allow them to operate undisturbed and secure their positions according to plan by setting up a broadly ramified and tenacious terrorist organization with strongholds in localities inhabited by Moslem population. Bearing this in mind, the Albanian secessionist network has launched an efficient propaganda-psychological campaign in the West in order to win support or at least sympathies before their main offensive which is being prepared with the excuse of creating independent Moslem states that will act as a "firewall" against terrorism in Europe. Hence, it comes as no surprise that even the US President is tolerating their secessionist aspirations. Unlike the British government headed by Mr. John Major # that tried to filter the more aggressive aspects of US policy regarding former Yugoslavia and during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the new government, headed by Mr. Tony Blair # gave unconditional support to the Clinton Administration #. Therefore, one should not expect that the British Government will provide any significant endorsement to Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as far as their policy in Kosovo and Metohija is concerned. Securing independence for the ethic Albanian minority in Kosovo and Metohija is an important objective of the Clinton Administration # Balkan policy, because this is required by the US interests to maintain a physical presence in Europe both through NATO and independently - with troops stationed in allied Balkan countries that are being given ample US support, and direct and indirect control of the Balkans with the use of allies.
The escalation of terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija in 1997 and 1998, marked the beginning of a new phase of the long term plan that Teheran # has prepared for the Balkans. It includes intense preparations for inciting hostilities and planting extreme Islamic ideology in the area. Since the spring of ''97 a growing Teheran's interest for the Balkans and the Apennines has been registered. This is probably due to the growing tension between Iran and Western countries after the trial to Iranian citizens in Germany, indicted for espionage in favor of Iran. The developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina forced Iran and the Alija Izetbegovic administration to maintain a relatively low level of relations, in order to avoid forcing Europe from fully adhering to the US policy in confront of Iran because this would make difficult the implementation of objectives set by the leadership of Islamic extremist institutions. All this increases the importance of the Apennines-Balkans area for Teheran # and its interest for Albania and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, as its allies. This explains Teheran's tenacity in finding and establishing strongholds in this part of Europe.
The first demonstration of the importance the Apennine / Balkan geopolitical area and of the elasticity of the local Islamic strongholds involved in preparing and carrying-out terrorists operations, was the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II # in the spring of 1997 in Sarajevo #. It is important that (even though it failed) the operation was planned at the time that the "brain center" of the Iranian intelligence service in Milan # (Italy) was still not fully operational. This means that it could not provide intelligence and logistic support for the operation. In other words, the assassination was staged and implemented using only "local" forces and means, with the aid of given field operatives. It should be stressed that the preparations included various segments of the intelligence department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, given elements of the Iranian special assignment forces "Al Quds" #, in charge of organizing and executing terrorist attacks abroad, parts of special units for internal security and some members of the terrorist logistic base in Sarajevo. The planning and execution of the operation was coordinated by Meghid Shahram #, Iranian terrorist instructor, known to specialized institutions in various Western countries.
The forces involved in the implementation of the assassination, have been identified as "close to pro-Iranian Hesbollah" #. The team included a suicide group of 18 terrorists from Turkey, Moslem Bosnia and Iran. Due to insufficient coordination among the various sub-groups, and poor support forces, the assassination failed. Operations conducted by INTERPOL, police and specialized services in Western countries, unveiled several Islamist terrorist groups operating in Europe, and linked to the Iranian secret service that provided assignments, instructors and logistic support. However, in spite of the fact that the assassination plan was blocked, this terrorist structure - sponsored by Iran - showed its tenacity and efficiency because the terrorists managed to avoid being arrested.
In late September 1997, Teheran's terrorist organization was ready to repeat the attempt on the Pope's life. A group of about 20 terrorists from various countries was set up in Bologna # (Italy). However, just a few hours before the assassination, Italian security forces discovered and arrested 14 members of the group.
Another successful anti-terrorist operation - though not related to this incident - is the one carried out by SFOR units in Fojnica # (Bosnia) in 1996. A terrorist base was discovered, arms and special assignment equipment were seized, as well as major quantities of explosives and some documentation. It was discovered that the terrorist branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina was headed by Ali Rezah Bayata. # His directives included - among other things -organizing terrorist activities in FR Yugoslavia. Because of security breaches and poor results in organizing terrorist operations in Yugoslavia, Ali Rezah Bayata was called back to Teheran # and soon after relieved of his duties as coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Near the end of 1997, Iranian diplomat Mahmud Nurani # was appointed head of the Iranian intelligence center in Rome. His experience from Lebanon and the success he had in the eighties when he set up the pro-Iranian extremist Islamic organization "Hesbollah" # in Beirut. This is where he specialized in bomb-attacks and hostage kidnapping, which was to be a useful base for performing terrorist activities in the Balkans and throughout Europe. At the same time, the office of minister for intelligence affairs was given to Kurban Ali Najeff Abadi #, a close friend of Ayatollah Hamnei #. His most important assignment, the one he has been involved in ever since he assumed office, is the control and supervision of the Iranian intelligence and terrorist activities in Albania. This country, together with Kosovo and Metohija is to be used as the spring board for consolidating the "Moslem Axis" # (also called "Green Crosscut" #) in Bosnia and possibly further on into Europe. The Iranian infrastructure in Albania has shown a certain amount of efficiency, at least for the time being, primarily because it is based on the omerta' principle deeply rooted in the Albanian society from times immemorial, much like in Italian Mafia. Facts have shown that the general conditions for an Islamic re-conquest of Albania were highly favorable. By 1997, Albania had entered the disintegration phase, culminating in March of that same year. Tirana desperately needed aid, regardless of its origin, and the majority of the people were focused on sheer survival, and turned to robbery, terrorism, drugs smuggling, contraband of arms, kidnappings and white slavery. All these criminal activities simplified the creation of terrorist organizations and strengthened the terrorist network. Iranian intelligence circles deemed that Albania was "ripe" and could accept the introduction of extremist Islamism which was to take place on two levels according to Teheran's plan. Publicly, Iran and its Islamic partners are to build a comprehensive financial support system ranging from banks and financial institutions to economy, and including numerous humanitarian organizations offering all sorts of community services and aid for the poor and "abused". Secretly, a broad network is created to establish the intelligence-operative base destined to cover entire Europe, going primarily through the Balkans and Italy.
There are clear indications of the importance of the "Albanian Initiative" #, i.e., the Iranian penetration into Albania. The meeting of the Iranian Supreme Economic Council at the beginning of 1998, dealt exclusively with the situation in Albania. The Council vice-chairman Bezavah Navabi #, the new trustee for the coordination of the public social-economic initiative in Albania, took part in the meeting, along with other influential officials - Mohsen Nurbakan # - governor of the Iranian Central Bank, as well as the prime figures of the relevant Iranian institutions and ministries. Furthermore, Navabi was instructed to coordinate the work and the activities with the Iranian intelligence structures. He suggested that a long term plan be drafted and launched to promote three Iranian long-term objectives in Albania:
- Forming a commercial operative base near the "heart of Europe" (Germany, France, Italy, Benelux, Switzerland).
- Reinforcing the strategic axis towards Sarajevo and Tirana, linked to intensified subversive Islamic political presence.
- Organizing advanced posts for the Iranian Intelligence Service, to allow it to carry out operations and perform assignments concerning the penetration into Italy, Austria, Greece and further on into the European continent.
The implementation of the Teheran # plans has already started. Operating through Iranian semi-official organizations and foundations, the Iranian Intelligence Service has created contacts with numerous Islamic and Iranian trade companies and businessmen in the major Albanian cities and established channels for making and financing new representative offices. Meanwhile, Teheran took comprehensive steps to secure economic support and strengthen the ties with Albania through Arab-Islamic banking institutions. This is almost the exclusive source of hard currency input into Albania, and by positioning loyal figures at the very top of the financial oligarchy, Teheran transformed most of the local banks and financial institutions ensuring an undisturbed and permanent Iranian presence and penetration in all segments of the Albanian society. These banks have established formal ties with several Iranian banks thus fully legalizing the Iranian presence in all spheres of financing. This resulted in the complete acceptance of the Iranian presence as a normal and even desirable situation. Mohsen Nurbakan instructed those banks to invest in Albania regardless of poor profit and business risk factors. Officials of the Iranian financial intelligence are deployed in all Teheran's institutions in Albania and cooperate closely with the operatives of the Intelligence Affairs Ministry regarding the financing of terrorist training camps, purchase of arms and military equipment, "money laundering" and other activities.
Along with these efforts, the Iranian intelligence service intensified its activities with organized crime both in Albania and abroad. From the early 90's, Iranian intelligence used ports in Albania to smuggle arms and medicines to Bosnia and Herzegovina, "money laundering" and smuggling drugs from the Near East for the Italian Mafia, and other illegal activities. All major operations went through the Albanian port of Durazzo #, whilst smaller and more delicate shipments were directed to the port Sewini # (north of Durazzo). However, since mid-1997, Albania has become the center and the basic transit point for arms contraband trails leading to Bosnia and Herzegovina, for drug caravans going from the Near East and Columbia to the "heart of Europe", and money from Russia laundered in EU. The Italian Mafia represents an important force and a precious ally for the Iranian intelligence. The geographic closeness between Albania and southern Italy prompted dangerous ties between the Mafia channels in the Italian south and Albanian smugglers that sometimes use some parts of the Montenegrin territory for transferring shipments to Western Europe. They jointly coordinate foreign criminal groups that have become increasingly active in Albania - organized mobsters, drug smugglers, members of terrorist groups and organizations from Kosovo and Metohija as well as from the Near East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
On the Italian side of the Adriatic, the Neapolitan Mafia has defined its interests in controlling the Tirana-Brindisi line of communications. It has transformed the ports along the southern coast of Italy into reception centers for illegal entrance into the country and hence into the European Union. The most active ones are the Mafia branches involved in arms and drugs smuggling, "white slavery" and "dirty" money laundering. In addition to all this, the smuggling of illegal aliens is a rapidly spreading, this criminal phenomenon is being broadly used by Iranian intelligence to infiltrate agents and terrorists in all European countries.
Along with all this, the Iranians have intensified their efforts to establish and activate training camps for terrorists destined to operate in Kosovo and Metohija and West European countries. In this they cooperate with other countries supporting extreme Islamic terrorism. The recruitment is primarily focused on the impoverished social strata in Albania. Until now, along with banks, the Iranians have formed a number of foundations involved in humanitarian aid activities.
The most important "construction" in the system is the institution of holy war - Jihad # which is has been introduced into Albania in a premeditated and almost imperceptible way. The "Islamic Jihad" # organization operates in Albania as a highly motivated structure with very large funds. It is involved in the development of small enterprises, construction of small factories and job creation in urban and other impoverished regions. Thanks to community projects and financial activities "Islamic Jihad" (also called "Jihad Construction") has become an important instrument used by the Iranians to win the sympathies of the people and gaining popularity and consensus in the community. This type of social environment generates favorable conditions for recruiting individuals and demanding active support from institutions, be they port authorities, factories, other infrastructure facilities or pure financial institutions.
Interestingly, the key Sunni # Islamic associations such as "Al Harmayun" # and "Al Muwafaq" # focused on recruiting followers of Islam that the Iranians preach - regardless of their Shiite orientation - represent another instrument for expanding Iranian influence. Relying on enormous donations and subventions by the Gulf states, and on the possibility of securing well-paid jobs in those countries, these organizations are usually used to recruit and train Albanian mujahedins #. Their recruitment methods have been tested and improved in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Using Islamic educational institutions and projects for the development of rural communities as a front, Iran and its Arab allies have formed training camps in remote and inaccessible zones of Albania. Tom make these camps operational, Teheran has brought in numerous groups of Arabs and Albanian mujahedins from Bosnia, where they fought in Moslem Army units. After a brief stay in these camps, special teams - made of veteran mujahedin # or freshly trained Albanians - are sent on assignment abroad. Many are sent to Kosovo and Metohija directly or via Macedonia. The best individuals are sent to Western Europe, posing as refugees, that are smuggled by boat to Italy, France and Spain. Close relations Albanian, Iranian and Italian Mafia have with Iranian intelligence are based on the contraband of arms, drugs, forged documents and securities, but also include the smuggling of Iranian agents into Western countries via Italy.
Until the end of 1997, training and preparation of the "Kosovo Liberation Army" # was sponsored by Teheran, as well as the transfer of arms and specialists through Albania. At the beginning of 1998, these activities have been intensified. Interestingly, the primary objective - creating a beachhead for the expansion of Islam - has been expanded to include the creation of the Tirana-Sarajevo axis. With all that the escalation of Jihad # remained the primary objective for Teheran.
In the autumn of 1997, top leadership in Teheran decided to start sending large quantities of arms and military equipment to the secret Albanian organizations in Kosovo and Metohija. Hamnei's # instructions were that this aid was to be used only to win the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and proclaim the independent "Republic of Kosovo". This Iranian decision was part of the policy used until Teheran limited direct financing of the activities in FR Yugoslavia to the creation of educational institutions and educational projects of the separatist groups based on fundamentalist Islamic ideology. The sole purpose of this move was the complete indoctrination of the masses and the creation of a broad support with blind trust of ideas originated in Teheran. The financing of terrorist and other activities was limited to preparations and support outside Yugoslavia - in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
However, orders were given to eliminate this difference as well: Teheran's instructions include a quality change in the Iranian involvement in Kosovo and Metohija. At the beginning of 1997, Iranian intelligence was given the assignment to deliver the first shipment of hand grenades, machine guns, automatic rifles, night surveillance equipment, and communication equipment from its stocks in Albania to the secessionist in Kosovo. While awaiting instructions from Teheran, ample preparations were carried out in Albania, and the Iranians even promised the Albanians and the commanders of the "Kosovo Liberation Army" # that they will organize for them military training in Revolutionary Guard and Special Units camps in Iran. Meanwhile, illegal arms deliveries were continued, indicating that Teheran plans to create a military operations zone in Kosovo and Metohija to promote the Jihad #.
In planning the stress levels for the "Kosovo Liberation Army" # , Teheran used estimates prepared during the 90's by the followers of Kosovo Democratic Alliance leader - Ibrahim Rugova, # and in response to requests for armed operations in Kosovo and Metohija. The growing Iranian involvement in Albania and in Kosovo and Metohija had direct influence on the operative structure and the organization of the "Kosovo Liberation Army" # and rumors were intentionally spread that the "liberation war" has started, marked by a number of terrorist attacks on police stations, Serbian Government institutions and Yugoslav Army installations in Kosovo and Metohija, at the beginning of 1998.
The events having taken such a course, the central position of the "Kosovo Liberation Army" # must not be ignored. In fact, with Teheran's support the most radical elements in the movement for Kosovo independence, acquired growing importance and influence. Should current trends prevail, the Islamist "Kosovo Liberation Army" might become the decisive factor in turning the situation in the region around. Along with all this, terrorist activities have become part of the daily reality in Kosovo and Metohija. Together with massive propaganda campaign and Iranian support, the spreading of terrorism might really be considered the beginning of an armed rebellion threatening to escalate further.
The greatest advantage Teheran has, is the ability to reinforce the Kosovo-Albanian alliance using the "Kosovo Liberation Army" and its terrorist campaign.
Along with this, there is no doubt that Washington has a growing interest to direct the Kosovo problem in the direction of armed conflicts, provoked by "liberation forces" and sponsored by Iran. For the Clinton Administration, Kosovo represents another open question that is to be used to put pressure on Belgrade. This was clearly demonstrated by the sudden and unexpected decision to include this issue in the agenda of the 2nd Conference on the Implementation if the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In view of the Iranian domination over the growing Islamic, subversive and terrorist movement in Kosovo and Metohija, the question can be raised whether this was merely a coincidence or a secret agreement on cooperation has in fact been made between Washington and Teheran.
The advent of Islamism (sponsored by Iran) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Albania and in Kosovo is certainly not coincidental. In both cases, Iranians are trying to infiltrate the Moslem community, presently inclined towards western values and secularism, in order to turn what started as "national liberation struggle" of secessionist ethnic Albanians, into a bastion of Islamic terrorism and radicalism.
Iranians and their allies have enjoyed the support of loyal followers of the spiritual leaders of both movements. This must not be underestimated - especially in view of what Teheran achieved in Sarajevo - since a possible triumph in Albania, in Kosovo and Metohija and in Macedonia would have serious effects because the international community has not taken adequate and active steps to prevent it.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the West and the UN 0 under US guidance - openly supported and helped the rise of the Moslem regime. Officially the Clinton Administration decided to "close an eye" when Iran and its allies were delivering arms and sending voluntaries to the Moslem forces in Bosnia, flagrantly breaching the UN arms embargo. The discovery of the conspiracy against the Pope, helped by the Sarajevo regime and the sponsoring of Islamic terrorism in the heart of Western Europe, forced several Western governments to reconsider their policy in Bosnia.
The DIA - the US military intelligence service, is closely monitoring the problem of Kosovo and Metohija. Its general stand is that this is an internal issue for Serbia and FR Yugoslavia that needs to be solved in a democratic way. DIA accuses both sides for the present situation in the southern Serbian province, though greater responsibility is attributed to Belgrade. The same agency stresses that the patience of the international community is running out and that it is high time for the continued dialogue to start. The solution is anticipated in the form of "broader autonomy" but without the separation of Kosovo and Metohija from Yugoslavia. The DIA # believes that the definite solution is in the hands of Yugoslavia and that the future of the country and the future of the region as a whole will depend on the approach used by Yugoslavia in solving the problem.
Operations by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army are judged as classical terrorist activities, which entails anti-terrorist activities and measures used by the authorities. According to the same agency, all this can escalate the conflict.
Analytical and intelligence circles in the US intelligence community estimate that the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army is "working on its tactics, but success should not bee expected from it soon". Still, "violence will continue to attract the attention of the international community. The political objective of this terrorist organization is independent Kosovo and the possible unification with the mother country. Therefore, it is to be expected that "this organization will strive to disrupt police functions, incite the resistance of the population and discourage ethnic Albanians from cooperating with Serbian authorities."