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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Belgrade, 30 August (AKI) - This month's foiled air terror plot in Britain is the latest reminder to Europe and the United States of their vulnerability, but a leading Serbian terrorism expert warns that scrutinising every Arabic or Asian face at airport security checks is pointless. "Terrorists are among us, and what has been smuggled across the border is invisible, the poisonous ideology which perceives the West as an emanation of evil" Darko Trifunovic told Adnkronos International (AKI). Trifunovic says the new al-Qaeda strategy is to "indoctrinate or poison the hearts and minds of youngsters to motivate them for the future terror operations."

Trifunovic, a professor at Belgrade University's Faculty of Security Studies, was among the first to warn about the changing tactics of the international terrorist network and the role of the so called “white Al-Qaeda” in exporting terrorism to Europe and the United States.

Terrorists no longer come directly from the Islamic countries, but use local youths who have previously been indoctrinated with radical Islam, says Trifunovic. Most of the London bombers were of Pakistani descent but had were full British citizens. Some white Americans and Australians had fought for Al-Qaeda in Iraq and were now being processed at Guantanamo American base in Cuba.

In this new strategy Bosnia, alleges Trifunovic, has proven to be an ideal place for such activities and hundreds of Muslim war orphans have gone through indoctrination courses and terrorist training camps, operated by the mujahadeen who stayed behind after the 1992-1995 Bosnia civil war, where there was an influx of foreign Muslim fighters.

"Can you imagine the motivation of a youth whose parents have been killed in the war? You can practically send them to any task and they will carry it out," says Trifunovic.

Trifunovic believes that Al-Qaeda already has "white cells" in every country with substantial Muslim population and that is what will make the fight against terrorism more difficult in the future.

"Last year’s London bombings and recently averted air plots have shown that a terrorist could be your neighbour, just over your backyard fence, who until yesterday seemed to be a ‘nice man’, going quietly about his business," says

According to Trifunovic, the most precious contribution of the mujahadeen who went to fight in Bosnia wasn’t in the battlefield but in the indoctrination of local Muslim youths, argues Trifunovic, who is also an associate of Washington-based International Strategic Studies Association.

Since September 11, 2001, U.S. peacekeepers in Bosnia have been tracking radical Islamists who remained in the country after the war and many have been questioned for links to international terrorism. Six of them, all Algerians, were arrested and handed over to the US Government and are still believed to be held in Guantanamo base in Cuba, Trifunovic says.

Bosnian authorities are currently scrutinizing some 1,500 citizenships granted to foreigners, and 38 have already been revoked, Security minister Berisa Colak recently revealed.

Osama Bin Laden directly aided Bosnian Muslims financially, by procurement of weapons and by training, Trifunovic maintains, saying that aid was extended to the separatist ethnic Albanians in Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo and in Macedonia.

Last November Bosnian police arrested four local youths and a Turkish citizen, Abdukladir Cesur, on suspicion of plotting to bomb the embassy of a European country in Sarajevo. It later turned out they were connected with a similar group in Denmark. One local youth, Mirsad Bektasevic was only 18, and others were not much older.

Trifunovic says they shouldn’t be jailed but sent to some sort “re-indoctrination” to make them realize their mistakes. “Jailing these youths would only further radicalize them and prepare them to be martyrs for the Islamic cause,“ sys Trifunovic.

Apart from Bosnia, another “spring board for Islamizing Europe, according to Trifunovic, is Kosovo, whose majority ethnic Albanian Muslim population is seeking independence from Serbia.

Besides camouflaged Al-Qaeda cells, two new, until now unknown groups, Gjurma and Tablighijammat, have been noted there, preaching radical Islam. Behind all these activities is Iranian intelligence and mostly Saudi cash, Trifunovic believes.

On the local scale, each country might breed its own seeds of terrorism, which is fed on real or perceived injustice, like the Basque issue in Spain, or the Kurdish problem in Turkey, says Trifunovic. “But globally, it is a conflict of civilizations, in which Islamic extremists see the West and the United States as their deadly enemies.”

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