- Spitfire List - https://spitfirelist.com -

FTR #568 The Life and Times of Hasan Cengic

Record­ed Sep­tem­ber 9, 2006

Lis­ten: MP3  One side [1]


REALAUDIO [2]
NB: This stream con­tains both FTR #s 567 and 568 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast.

Intro­duc­tion: After George Bush stat­ed that the Unit­ed States was involved in a bat­tle against Islam­ic fas­cists, a rhetor­i­cal firestorm erupt­ed, with peo­ple in the U.S. and abroad decry­ing Bush’s state­ment. There is an old expression—“even a bro­ken clock is right twice a day.” George W. Bush—a bro­ken clock if every there was one—happened to be cor­rect this time. Illus­trat­ing the real­i­ty of Islam­ic fas­cism, as well as its remark­able con­ti­nu­ity over the years, are the life and times of Hasan Ceng­ic. Ceng­ic worked with Iran, Sau­di Ara­bia and with ele­ments of the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment dur­ing the Balka­ns wars of the 1990’s. Becom­ing the deputy defense min­is­ter of the new­ly cre­at­ed Bosn­ian state, Ceng­ic over­saw the re-cre­ation of the 13th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion in the 1990’s! The new­ly cre­at­ed Handzhar Divi­sion also appears to have played a role in the spread­ing of the Balka­ns con­flict into Koso­vo, where Islamist com­bat­ants also reca­pit­u­lat­ed the fas­cist fight­ing for­ma­tions of World War II.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Bosn­ian pres­i­dent Ali­ja Izetbegovic’s work on behalf of the Handzhar Divi­sion of the World War II era—“Handzhar I”; Izetbegovic’s rela­tion­ship with Osama bin Laden dur­ing the Balka­ns wars of the 1990’s; Cengic’s rela­tion­ship with the Iran­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists while exe­cut­ing his role as the pri­ma­ry weapons pro­cur­er for the Bosni­ans; Cengic’s rela­tion­ship with the Sau­di Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ists dur­ing his role as the pri­ma­ry weapons pro­cur­er for the Bosni­ans; Cengic’s rela­tion­ship with Russ­ian weapons deal­er [and U.S. intel­li­gence asset] Vik­tor Bout dur­ing his [Cengic’s] role as the pri­ma­ry weapons pro­cur­er for the Bosni­ans; Cengic’s rela­tion­ship with ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence dur­ing his role as the pri­ma­ry weapons pro­cur­er for the Bosni­ans; the con­crete assis­tance of a front orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed by Osama bin Laden to the estab­lish­ment of Hasan Ceng­ic as a key play­er in Bosnia; the role in the new­ly-recre­at­ed Handzhar Divi­sion of eth­nic Alban­ian Mus­lims, as well as Arab and Pak­istani vet­er­ans of the Afghan war; the role of “Handzhar II” in force-pro­jec­tion into Koso­vo and Mace­do­nia in the 1990’s.

1. Begin­ning the overview on the life and times of Hasan Ceng­ic, the broad­cast begins with review of the cre­ation and oper­a­tion of the 13th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion (“Han­jar” or “Handzhar”), one of three Mus­lim Waf­fen SS divi­sions recruit­ed for the Nazis by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Hasan Ceng­ic was a mem­ber of the orig­i­nal 13th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion. “ . . . He [the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem] called upon all Mus­lims to ‘kill the Jews wher­ev­er you see them.’ In Tehran’s mar­ket­place, it was com­mon to see plac­ards that declared, ‘In heav­en, Allah is your mas­ter. On Earth, it is Adolf Hitler.’ When the mufti raised three divi­sions of Islam­ic Waf­fen SS to under­take cru­el oper­a­tions in Bosnia, among the 30,000 killers were some vol­un­teer con­tin­gents from Iran. Iran­ian Nazis, along with the oth­er Mus­lim Waf­fen SS, oper­at­ed under the direct super­vi­sion of Hein­rich Himm­ler and were respon­si­ble for bar­barous actions against Jews and oth­ers in Bosnia. Recruit­ment for the mur­der­ous ‘Hand­schar Divi­sions’ was done open­ly in Iran. Iran and its lead­ers were not only aware of the Holo­caust, they played both sides. The coun­try offered over­land escape routes for refugee Jews flee­ing Nazi per­se­cu­tion to Israel — and lat­er flee­ing post­war Iraqi fas­cist per­se­cu­tion — but only in exchange for extor­tion­ate pas­sage fees.”
(“Denial of Holo­caust Noth­ing New in Iran Ties to Hitler Led to Plots Against British and Jews” by Edwin Black; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 1/8/2006.) [3]

2. Updat­ing infor­ma­tion from FTR#’s 330 [4], 400 [5], 414 [6], the broad­cast excerpts the obit­u­ary of for­mer Bosn­ian pres­i­dent Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic, high­light­ing his asso­ci­a­tion with the SS Handzhar Divi­sion in World War II, and the sup­port he received from Osama bin Laden. “ . . .Dur­ing World War II, when Bosnia became part of the pup­pet-Nazi state of the Croa­t­ian Ustashe, Mr. Izetbe­gov­ic joined the Young Mus­lims, a group torn between sid­ing with the Ger­man-spon­sored Handzar divi­sions orga­nized by the Ger­man SS or with the Yugoslav com­mu­nist par­ti­sans led by Josip Broz Tito. Mr. Izetbe­gov­ic sup­port­ed the Handzars. After Tito’s Com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was estab­lished in 1946, a mil­i­tary court sen­tenced Mr. Izetbe­gov­ic to three years in prison for his wartime activ­i­ties. . . .”
(“Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic, Mus­lim Who Led Bosnia, Dies at 78” by David Binder; The New York Times; 10/20/2003; p. 2.) [7]

3. “ . . . Osama bin Laden vis­it­ed him [Izetbe­gov­ic] in Sara­je­vo in 1993 and spon­sored some fight­ers from Ara­bic coun­tries to fight on the Mus­lims’ side in Bosnia, accord­ing to a report in the Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel. . .” (Idem.)

4. Sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sion of the fas­cist her­itage of the gov­ern­ment of Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic (the first pres­i­dent of Bosnia), the broad­cast sets forth the back­ground of the first Deputy Defense Min­is­ter of Bosnia-Her­zo­gov­ina. Like Izetbe­gov­ic him­self, Hasan Ceng­ic was a vet­er­an of the oper­a­tions of the 13th Waf­fen SS Division—the Handzar Divi­sion. [Wikipedia alleges that Ceng­ic was born in 1957. Two things sug­gest them­selves in this regard–Wikipedia is fre­quent­ly wrong and the more con­tro­ver­sial and/au courant the sub­ject, the less cred­i­ble it is. The Balka­ns wars and Islamists gen­er­al­ly are soft-ped­aled by Wikipedia. The Bosn­ian defense min­is­ter may be the son of a “Hasan Ceng­ic,” as nam­ing one’s off­spring after one­self is com­mon.] (For more about the sub­ject of the Balka­ns wars and the recon­sti­tu­tion of Islam­ic fas­cism in the Balka­ns, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 154 [8], 293 [9], and the oth­er broad­casts not­ed in the descrip­tions for them. For more about Bosnia and Al Qae­da, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 330 [4]400 [5]432 [10]. For more about the Balkan SS for­ma­tions, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 168 [11], 330 [4], 400 [5], 414 [6], 416 [12]) “Indica­tive of Sarajevo’s inten­tions and pri­or­i­ties is the appoint­ment in Jan­u­ary 1996 of Hasan Ceng­ic to the posi­tion of Deputy Defense Min­is­ter: the man in charge of the imple­men­ta­tion of the reor­ga­ni­za­tion. A vet­er­an of the SS Handzar Divi­sion dur­ing World War II, Ceng­ic is a close per­son­al friend and con­fi­dant of Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic, espe­cial­ly since the time they served togeth­er in Yugoslav Pres­i­dent Tito’s prison. [Empha­sis added.] .”
(Some Call It Peace: Wait­ing for War in the Balkans; Yossef Bodan­sky; Copy­right 1996 [SC] by Yossef Bodan­sky; Pub­lished by Inter­na­tion­al Media Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd.; ISBN 0–9520070‑5–3; p. 39 [13]

5. Bridg­ing the gap between Sun­ni and Shi­ite Islam­ic fas­cism, Ceng­ic has oper­at­ed on behalf of the Iran­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists. “It is always very hard to focus on broad pic­tures when so many fires are in need of being put out. But it is imper­a­tive to keep in mind in the ongo­ing con­flict Iran’s long-stand­ing ties not only to Hezbol­lah, but to Islamists in Bosnia, a rela­tion­ship that spans more than a decade. There is con­cern among Bosn­ian con­tacts that, if Iran feels things are going bad­ly in Lebanon and that the war needs anoth­er front, it would take lit­tle to ignite Bosnia. It would not be hard to do and the inter­na­tion­al pres­ence in Bosnia is great­ly reduced. So is the intel­li­gence capac­i­ty devel­oped in the late 1990s. Sev­er­al key intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing units have been dis­solved in Bosnia in the past six months, mean­ing the West is more blind there than any time since the mid-1990s.”
(“While Lebanon Boils, Watch Bosnia” by Dou­glas Farah; 7/19/2006.) [14]

6. “To date Iran­ian intel­li­gence main­tains a huge appa­ra­tus in Bosnia and sev­er­al dozen, if not hun­dreds, of train­ers with the elite units of the Bosn­ian mil­i­tary. In addi­tion, sev­er­al hun­dred muja­hadeen who fought in Afghanistan and then Bosnia remain scat­tered around Bosnia, many of them still with the elite Bosnia units or in the intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus. It is worth remem­ber­ing this heavy Iran­ian involve­ment in the Bosn­ian con­flict because it was in Bosnia that al Qae­da devel­oped its tem­plate for future oper­a­tions. One of the most inter­est­ing things is that, while the muja­hadeen and Bosn­ian Mus­lims were sup­port­ed by Sau­di Ara­bia and many oth­ers, much of the aid flowed through Iran, despite the Shi’ite-Sunni divide. The bridge was Hasan Ceng­ic, an Iran­ian intel­li­gence agent and lat­er Bosnia’s deputy defense min­is­ter who has been des­ig­nat­ed by the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment. [Empha­sis added.] Ceng­ic did some of his ear­li­est weapons deals through Vik­tor Bout, who flew in hun­dreds of tons of weapons for the Bosn­ian Mus­lims in 1992. He lat­er ‘sold’ Ceng­ic at least one air­craft, and per­haps more.” (Idem.)

7. More about Cengic’s role as the bridge between Shi­ia and Sun­ni Islam­ic fas­cists: “Ceng­ic, although work­ing on behalf of Iran, coor­di­nat­ed the Saudi’s mul­ti-hun­dred mil­lion dol­lar finan­cial sup­port for the Bosn­ian Mus­lims as well. There are con­crete exam­ples of this. Dur­ing one peri­od in the late 1990s, Wa’el Julaidan, now des­ig­nat­ed by both the U.S. and Sau­di Ara­bia as a ter­ror­ist financier, received $8 mil­lon from a Ceng­ic-con­trolled account of the Third World Relief Agency. Julaidan lat­er repaid the mon­ey to the TWRA account in a series of small­er pay­ments. Giv­en Iran’s ongo­ing desire to push a pan-Islamist agen­da and the advan­tages it gains from ongo­ing tur­moil-not only in terms of oil rev­enues, but in terms of being able to build alliances, move agents and set a pan-Islamist agen­da-its lead­ers could well feel the need to use anoth­er arrow from its quiver. But it could be that no one is watch­ing Bosnia as it pre­pares to burn.” (Idem.)

8. Con­tin­u­ing the track­ing of Hasan Cengic’s career from the Han­jar divi­sion of World War II through the Islam­ic ter­ror­ism of the con­tem­po­rary peri­od, the pro­gram notes that Ceng­ic is now a mem­ber of the Bosn­ian par­lia­ment, hav­ing moved from his posi­tion as Deputy Defense Min­is­ter. “There is one intrigu­ing detail in the emerg­ing pic­ture of the Lon­don bomb­ings that are almost entire­ly over­looked: The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the high-lev­el explo­sives came from the Balka­ns. For sev­er­al months, West­ern intel­li­gence offi­cials in Bosnia have been warn­ing their coun­ter­parts that high-lev­el plas­tic explo­sives have gone miss­ing and were pos­si­bly in ter­ror­ist hands. One offi­cial told me a few months ago that if there were an attack in Europe, it would be very like­ly the materiel would have been obtained in Bosnia. The big ques­tion now is why no one paid atten­tion to the warn­ings. There remains a small, ded­i­cat­ed group gath­er­ing intel­li­gence on these types of oper­a­tion, but their work is giv­en a low pri­or­i­ty and the entire intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing struc­ture, pro­vid­ing what lit­tle reli­able infor­ma­tion avail­able on rad­i­cal Islam­ic move­ments and lead­ers in Bosnia, is slat­ed to dis­ap­pear at the end of the year.”
(“Lon­don and the Pos­si­ble Bosnia Con­nec­tion” by Andrew Cochran; 7/14/2005.) [15]

9. Note that Ceng­ic was the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of a “reluc­tant” U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty in his work arm­ing the Bosnia Islamists. It has long been Mr. Emory’s con­tention that the U.S. and Britain applied the “Afghan par­a­digm” in the Balka­ns. The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and its Al Qae­da off­shoot [in Mr. Emory’s opin­ion] were employed against the Ser­bian com­mu­nists, as they had been against the Sovi­et occu­pa­tion forces in Afghanistan. The fact that the Bosn­ian oper­a­tion was con­duct­ed on Bill Clinton’s watch may well account for the reluc­tance of the Democ­rats to press the polit­i­cal advan­tage that they stood to gain from high­light­ing the GOP’s hard links with the Mus­lim Brotherhood/Bank al Taqwa/Al Qae­da link exem­pli­fied by the Grover Norquist/Karl Rove con­nec­tion to the Islam­ic Insti­tute. (For more about this link, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 454 [16], 515 [17].) Note that Ceng­ic worked with Vik­tor Bout, a wealthy and seem­ing­ly ubiq­ui­tous Russ­ian arms deal­er who also worked hand-in-glove with U.S. in the Balka­ns and, more recent­ly, in Iraq. “While West­ern forces con­tin­ue to scale back their activ­i­ties in the Balka­ns and slash their intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing capa­bil­i­ties there in the mis­tak­en belief that things are return­ing to nor­mal, rad­i­cal Islamists are steadi­ly prepar­ing for renewed activ­i­ty and are already engaged in acts of vio­lence. The gun that killed Dutch film­mak­er Theo Van Gough came from the Bosnia. The huge, unse­cured stock­piles of weapons and explo­sives make obtain­ing these items easy. And there are still mil­i­tant Islamists in posi­tions of pow­er. The fore­most is Hasan Ceng­ic, now in the Bosnia par­lia­ment, who was a for­mer deputy defense min­is­ter in charge of arm­ing Bosn­ian Mus­lims dur­ing the Bosn­ian war. He set up, with the help of a very reluc­tant U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, a weapons pipeline that ran pri­mar­i­ly through Iran. He was also a direc­tor of the Third World Relief Agency, (TWRA), the fake Islam­ic char­i­ty that fun­neled hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to rad­i­cal Islamists dur­ing that con­flict. Much of the mon­ey remains unac­count­ed for. TWRA offi­cial­ly went out of busi­ness in 1996, but more than $300 mil­lion in assets were not account­ed for. [Empha­sis added.] It is inter­est­ing to note that Vik­tor Bout, hap­pi­ly fly­ing for the U.S. mil­i­tary and KBR in Iraq and Afghanistan, dealt with Ceng­ic often and pro­vid­ed him with at least one air­craft dur­ing the Bosnia war.” (Idem.)

10. “It is often for­got­ten that Bosnia played an exteme­ly sig­nif­i­cant role in the for­ma­tion of al Qae­da, and that the infra­struc­ture estab­lished dur­ing that war were nev­er errad­i­cat­ed. Al Qae­da and oth­er Salafist groups used Bosnia as a train­ing ground, a finan­cial cen­ter, a weapons stor­age site and a mon­ey-laun­der­ing cen­ter. Bosnia is still an active cen­ter for all of those activ­i­ties. We ignore the obvi­ous signs of dan­ger at our own expense. Maybe the sup­ply of high-grade explo­sives from the region will final­ly focus the nec­es­sary atten­tion on Bosnia as an unfin­ished enter­prise.” (Idem.)

11. More about the rela­tion­ship between Ceng­ic, Vik­tor Bout and U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty ele­ments: “It seems as though the fin­ger­prints of Vik­tor Bout, arms traf­fick­er extra­or­di­naire, can be found in most places that have had trou­ble in recent years. The most recent intel­li­gence reports I received come from Bosnia, and show Bout has been an active part­ner of Mr. Hasan Ceng­ic, the head of rad­i­cal Islam in Bosnia and key orga­nized crime fig­ure. Inter­est­ing how Bout shows up in numer­ous Mus­lim-relat­ed con­flicts, often where U.S. pol­i­cy mak­ers are hav­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult time in get­ting weapons to one side or the oth­er.”
(“Vik­tor Bout’s Excel­lent Bosn­ian Adven­ture” by Dou­glas Farah; 4/12/2005.) [18]

12. “The paper trail left by Bout in Bosnia makes it hard to dis­cern exact­ly what he was up to there, but in March 2001 he was leas­ing two Illyushin Il-72s from BIO Air Ser­vices, and had them based in Sar­jah, UAE. Ceng­ic, on the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­men­t’s list of banned indi­vid­u­als and chief arms provider to the Bosnia Mus­lims dur­ing the Bosnia con­flict (where al Qae­da and oth­er rad­i­cal ele­ments, led by Ceng­ic, took con­trol of the lucra­tive arms trade), con­trols BIO Air. The Euro­pean intel­li­gence report says that BIO Air leased two of its air­craft to Bout after ille­gal­ly import­ing them into Bosnia in the first place. Before the air­craft were owned by BIO Air they belonged to Atlas Iran. Ceng­ic spent much of the Bosnia war in Iran and worked as an Iran­ian intel­li­gence agent. . . .” (Idem.)

13. Ceng­ic has been the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of sup­port from the CIRKL, and appar­ent Al Qae­da front orga­ni­za­tion found­ed by Sheik Abdel Rah­man [con­vict­ed in con­nec­tion with the first attack on the World Trade Cen­ter] and Osama bin Laden. “ . . . Accord­ing to this recent arti­cle Cer­ic is linked to the CIRKL, a fund­ing oper­a­tion ‘which was in charge of all aid donat­ed to Bosni­ak Mus­lims by Islam­ic coun­tries’ The CIRKL was start­ed by Sheik Abdel Rah­man and Osama Bin Laden. Infor­ma­tion col­lect­ed by Aus­tri­an and Ger­man intel­li­gence agents and pub­lished in August 2004 in Banjaluka‘s Patri­ot paper claims that Islam­ic ter­ror­ists, includ­ing Osama bin Laden and Sheik Rah­man, orga­nized CIRKL, ... The group was set up as the only link between the Bosn­ian Mus­lim polit­i­cal lead­er­ship of the time and its wealthy Islam­ic bene­fac­tors. . . . Instead of the Bosni­ak gov­ern­ment, it was the ille­gal CIRKL that was in con­trol of all aid donat­ed to the Bosni­ak nation by Islam­ic coun­tries. The Bosni­ak nation is 100 per­cent finan­cial­ly depen­dent on the CIRKL. The CIRKL is the absolute mas­ter of almost all hard cur­ren­cy,’ accord­ing to the intel­li­gence doc­u­ment, which dates back to Nov. 6, 1995, and is labeled top secret. The doc­u­ment also list the key peo­ple in the CIRKL in charge of Bosnia as Dr. Fatih al Has­sanein, Hasan Ceng­ic, [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s] Sal­im Sabic, Muhamed Cat­ic, Mustafa Cer­ic, Husein Zivalj, and Senad Sahin­pa­sic...’”
(Excerpt from arti­cle on Mufti Mustafa Cer­ic, Grand Mufti of Bosnia.)

14. Under Izetbe­gov­ic and Ceng­ic, the Handzar Divi­sion was recre­at­ed! With the recre­ation of the Handzar Divi­sion in the 1990’s, the life and times of Hasan Ceng­ic arrived at a remark­able point of cir­cuitous continuity—perhaps even clo­sure. “ . . .These are the men of the Handzar divi­sion. ‘We do every­thing with the knife, and we always fight on the front­line.’ A Handzar told one U.N. offi­cer. Up to 6,000 strong, the Handzar divi­sion glo­ries in a fas­cist cul­ture. They see them­selves as their heirs of the SS Handzar divi­sion, formed by Bosn­ian Mus­lims in 1943 to fight for the Nazis. Their spir­i­tu­al mod­el was Mohammed Amin al-Hus­sein, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem who sided with Hitler. Accord­ing to U.N. offi­cers, sur­pris­ing­ly few of those in charge of the Handzars in Fojni­ca seem to speak good Ser­bo Croa­t­ion ‘Many of them are Alban­ian, whether from Koso­vo (the Serb province where Alba­ni­ans are the major­i­ty) or from Alba­nia itself.’”
(“Alba­ni­ans and Afghans fight for the heirs to Bosnia’s SS Past” by Robert Fox; Dai­ly Tele­graph; 12/29/1993.) [19]

15. Again, as we reflect on the Balka­ns war and the events of 9/11, one of the sce­nar­ios to be seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered is the pos­si­bil­i­ty that ele­ments of US intel­li­gence uti­lized the “Arab Afghans” (includ­ing Al Qae­da) in the Balka­ns, as they had against the Sovi­ets in Afghanistan. Indeed the geopol­i­tics first prac­ticed by the Third Reich in the “Earth Island” appears to have served as some­thing of a mod­el for what took place in the lat­ter part of the Cold War. America’s erst­while Islamist and Islam­o­fas­cist allies lat­er turned against the Unit­ed States with a vengeance. “They are trained and led by vet­er­ans from Afghanistan and Pak­istan, say U.N. sources. The strong pres­ence of native Alba­ni­ans is an omi­nous sign. It could mean the seeds of war are spread­ing south via Koso­vo and into Alba­nia. Thence to the Alba­ni­ans of Mace­do­nia. Pak­istani fun­da­men­tal­ists are known to have had a strong hand in pro­vid­ing arms and a small weapons indus­try for the Bosn­ian Mus­lims.” (Idem.)

16. The broad­cast presents more about the recre­ation of the Handzar Divi­sion under Izetbe­gov­ic and Ceng­ic. Note that the divi­sion was trained and led by Afghan and Pak­istani vet­er­ans. The milieux of Al Qae­da and “Handzar II”—the 1990’s Handzar–overlap. “Anoth­er major Islamist force remained: the Handzar Divi­sion, named after the 13th SS Handzar Divi­sion which served under the Ger­man flag in World War II. The cur­rent Handzar Divi­sion is Sarajevo’s Prae­to­ri­an Guards, and is com­prised of a 2,500 to 3,000 elite force deployed in Sara­je­vo and a 6,000 to 7,500 strong back-up force at a major train­ing base around Fojni­ca, but is moved around to aug­ment major fight­ing fronts. The major­i­ty of the troops of the Handzar Divi­sion come from the region’s non-Bosn­ian Mus­lim minori­ties, pri­mar­i­ly Alba­ni­ans, and are led by vet­er­an Pak­istani and Afghan experts.”
(Some Call It Peace: Wait­ing for War in the Balka­ns; p. 15.) [20]

17. Relat­ing more about “Handzar II,” the pro­gram notes that the foot sol­diers of the unit were large­ly of Alban­ian extrac­tion and that they were engaged in force pro­jec­tion into Koso­vo and Mace­do­nia. Anoth­er area of Islamist activism was Koso­vo, with the KLA being the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of Islamist activ­i­ty. Many of the com­bat­ants in the KLA were the sons and grand­sons of mem­bers of the 21st Waf­fen SS or Skan­der­beg divi­sion. With the KLA/Skanderbeg rela­tion­ship and with the Handzhar’s force pro­jec­tion into Koso­vo and Mace­do­nia, we see a fur­ther degree of con­ti­nu­ity between the Islam­ic fas­cism of the World War II peri­od and the Islam­ic fas­cism of today. The “Life and Times of Hasan Ceng­ic” embody this con­ti­nu­ity! (For more about Islamism and Koso­vo, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s351 [21], 357 [22], 359 [23], 381 [24]. For more about the 21st Waf­fen SS divi­sion, see—among oth­er programs—FTR#’s 161 [25], 330 [4], 414 [6].) “In mid-1993 Sara­je­vo revived the Handzar Divi­sion is the Prae­to­ri­an Guard for Pres­i­dent Ali­ja Izetbe­gov­ic and oth­er senior lead­ers in Sara­je­vo. The Handzar Divi­sion is com­prised of a 2,500 to 3,000 elite force deployed in Sara­je­vo and a 6,000 to 7,500 strong back-up force in Fojni­ca.” (Ibid.; p. 158.)

18. “Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the major­i­ty of the troops of the Handzar Divi­sion are not Bosn­ian Mus­lims. Instead, they come from the region’s oth­er Mus­lim minori­ties, pri­mar­i­ly Alba­ni­ans, and are led by vet­er­an Pak­istani and Afghan experts. ‘Sur­pris­ing­ly few of those in charge of the Handzars in Fojni­ca seem to speak good Ser­bo-Croa­t­ian. Many of them are Alban­ian, whether from Koso­vo or from Alba­nia itself,’ explained UN offi­cers in Fojni­ca. ‘The Handzars are trained and led by vet­er­ans from Afghanistan and Pak­istan. The strong pres­ence of native Alba­ni­ans is an omi­nous sign. It could be that the seeds of war are spread­ing south via Koso­vo and into Alba­nia, thence to the Alba­ni­ans of Mace­do­nia.’ These obser­va­tions, made in late 1993, proved cor­rect. By 1995, the Handzar Divi­sion had been trans­formed into a zealot and com­bat proven spe­cial forces. In many cas­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the surge into west­ern Bosnia-Her­zo­gov­ina in the Sum­mer-Fall of 1995, they oper­at­ed in close coop­er­a­tion with the muja­hedin units. The deploy­ment of Alban­ian vet­er­ans and sup­port muja­hedin cadres to Alba­nia began in the Fall of 1995.” (Ibid.; pp. 158–159.)