The Serb War Against Bin Laden
Turning the tables on his accusers once again, former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic has said that Serb troops in Kosovo were fighting Muslim terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden. At a recent hearing before the U.N. court that is trying him, press reports said that he "brandished what he said was an FBI document concerning Al Qaeda-backed Muslim fighters in Kosovo as he insisted that ethnic Albanian separatists were the true villains there." Milosevic said, "This is a congressional statement of the FBI. That’s what this is."
Press reports in the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, and other papers said that Milosevic declared that the report was dated December 18th. But stories added, "The authenticity of the document could not be independently confirmed, and he gave no details of how he obtained it. But witness Sabit Kadriu said he knew nothing of activity by Osama bin Laden in Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanians triggered North Atlantic Treaty Organization air strikes in 1999. ‘It’s not true there were mujahideen in Kosovo. This is a fiction of your mind,’ the 41-year-old ethnic Albanian said."
There’s nothing controversial about the claims of Milosevic, and there’s no excuse at this late date for the press to question charges that bin Laden was active in Kosovo against the Serbs. This is a well-established fact. It is not a fiction of anyone’s mind. Bin Laden himself issued statements condemning the Serbs.
There is also nothing mysterious about the FBI document alluded to by Milosevic. It is a statement by J. T. Caruso, the Acting Assistant Director of the CounterTerrorism Division of the FBI , and is available on the Internet. Although his prepared statement didn’t specifically mention Kosovo, Caruso did cite Albania, where some of the Muslim terrorists that attacked Serbia were based. The FBI statement was delivered before the Senate Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism of the Committee on Foreign Relations.
The American Forces News Network, which is distributed by the Pentagon, had documented Al Qaeda’s operations in Kosovo and many other countries. Its story said, "Al Qaeda has cells in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Dagestan, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Uganda, Ethiopia and in the West Bank and Gaza."
The New York Times noted last December that NATO had raided the offices of an American charity in Kosovo as part of an investigation that linked two large Muslim charities based in Illinois to fund-raising for bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network. NATO said its raids targeted two offices of the Global Relief Foundation, and the soldiers acted "after receiving credible intelligence information that individuals working for this organization may have been directly involved in supporting worldwide international terrorist activities."
Reed Irvine can be reached at email@example.com