BOSNIAN GENERAL RELEASES BOOK ON FOREIGN MUJAHIDEEN
General Hasan Efendic, a former officer of the Yugoslav National Army and the first commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-95), has released a new book on the foreign mujahideen who fought on the side of Bosnian Muslims during the civil war of the 1990s.
The general’s detailed account of this controversial and poorly understood episode follows an earlier work on the war, Who Defended Bosnia? According to the new book, the fighters were not needed by the Muslim army and were never part of Bosnian state policy. The general attributes the arrival of the mujahideen to the “dirty tricks of certain ill-intentioned international players” (FENA, February 7). Efendic was himself accused of war crimes by the Serb Republic in 1996 (Vecernje Novosti [Belgrade], August 9, 1996). Two Bosnian generals who commanded the mujahideen fighters were convicted and sentenced for war crimes by the Hague Tribunal in 2006 (Onasa [Sarajevo], March 16, 2006).
The book’s release coincides with protests in Sarajevo over the deportation of leading Syrian mujahideen veteran Imad al-Husini—better known as Abu Hamza—who was stripped of his citizenship last year as part of a crackdown on mujahideen fighters who remained in Bosnia after the war (see Terrorism Monitor, November 8, 2007).
IRAQ’S AWAKENING COUNCILS TURN FOCUS TO IRAN
In an interview with Dubai television, the “general advisor” to Iraq’s Awakening Councils, Shaykh Tamir al-Tamimi, charged that there is “a strong alliance” between al-Qaeda and Iran (al-Sharqiyah Television [Dubai], February 4). The alliance is based on having a mutual enemy in the United States rather than sharing mutual interests: “[Iran] doesn’t care what happens to Iraq so long as it has a foothold on its territory to strengthen its negotiation stance on the nuclear file issue.”
Al-Tamimi maintains the Awakening Councils are seeking integration into the official Iraqi police and military and notes that while the largely Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) strongly opposes integrating the Sunni Awakening Councils into the security services, there are elements within the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition that are not as averse to such a move. There is solid support for integration from the Sunni al-Tawafuq Front. The development of a political wing for the councils is essential, according to al-Tamimi. Currently some 9,000 of the councils’ estimated 80,000 members are being processed into the Iraqi security services, but Iraq’s security advisor, Dr. Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, warns that al-Qaeda operatives are trying to infiltrate the security services in this way: “Once we get al-Qaeda in our security services, we are doomed” (BBC, February 4).
Shaykh al-Tamimi denies charges that the Awakening Councils serve the interests of the U.S. occupation: “The ones benefiting from the Awakening Councils are essentially the Iraqis.” Al-Tamimi continues to regard the Awakening Councils as part of the resistance movement rather than an assembly of collaborators. “No one has liquidated the resistance. The resistance exists and raises the banner of removing the occupation. But this issue is not on the agenda of the Awakening Councils. The main task of the Awakening Councils is to achieve security and to expel al-Qaeda and the militias from the region.” The councils have dealings with the Americans on “the security level only.”