The arrest of Ratko Mladic has given the western media occasion to recall the Bosnian civil war of the early 1990s and the crimes for which Bosnian Serbs have been held responsible. But – since as a rule they did not report on it in the first place – it is unlikely that they will remind their audiences against just whom the Bosnian Serbs were fighting: namely, a Bosnian government headed by a self-avowed Islamist whose forces were armed by Iran and augmented by foreign mujahideen linked to none other than Al-Qaeda.Are these the kind of people whom civilized society would want to associate themselves with? Certainly not me. Let's also recall how Sulejman Talovic, the Bosnian Muslim teenager who went on a shooting rampage in Trolley Square's mall in Utah was a product of the very RoP that the mujahideen worshiped too.
On the arming of the Bosnian government forces by Iran – and the role, in particular, of the late American diplomat Richard Holbrooke in forging the relationship – see my earlier article here.
Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the Bosnian “jihad” is well known to Balkan specialists and has even been acknowledged, however obliquely, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Indeed, when the late Bosnian commander Rasim Delic was tried by the court for crimes committed by the so-called “El Mujahid” unit, Delic’s defense argued that the general was not responsible for the foreign fighters’ atrocities, since their orders came not from him, but rather directly from Al-Qaeda. (See “Al-Qaida’s Bosnian war move”, International Relations and Security Network.)
The court ostensibly rejected this line of defense, insisting that the input of what it daintily termed “foreign authorities” was limited to recruitment of mujahideen and logistical support. Nonetheless, it only convicted Delic on one of the four charges in the indictment and sentenced him to merely three years in prison. Delic had already served nearly half of this time awaiting judgment and he was subsequently released pending appeal. For all intents and purposes, then, the court left the crimes of the El Mujahid unit unpunished.
The atrocities described in the Delic judgment include, for instance, the summary execution and decapitation of a Serb detainee by the name of Gojko Vujicic. After the beheading, the mujahideen displayed Vujicic’s severed head to other detainees. The judgment describes the scene as follows:
Back in the house, a Mujahedin entered the detainees’ room carrying Gojko Vujicic’s head on an s-shaped butcher’s hook. Blood dripped from the head. The Mujahedin threw Vujicic’s head onto Krstan Marinkovic’s lap, then took the severed head from one detainee to another, forcing them to “kiss your brother”. The Mujahedin then hung Vujicic’s head on a hook in the room where it remained for several hours.
Far from hiding their atrocities, the foreign mujahideen in Bosnia made a practice of filming them for purposes of intimidation and propaganda. The point has been noted in both John R. Schindler’s book-length study of Al-Qaeda in Bosnia, Unholy Terror, and in the Norwegian documentary Sarajevo Ricochet, which contains footage of the mujahideen and their victims. A substantial extract from Sarajevo Ricochet with English narration has been made available here by the American journalist J.M. Berger.
This is something that conservatives everywhere are going to have to ponder - we have to be very careful not to fall into the propaganda trap the left wove all these years.