Issue No. 242. - October 6,  2001.

            By Radenko Udovicic

            By Tatyana Kalinovskaya & Pavlyuk Bykovsky
            By Zvezdan Georgievski

 4. Special addition : NEW AT TOL

    By Radenko Udovicic

    For almost a month now, pressing issues in Bosnia and
Herzegovina have been pushed into the background because of the
situation created after terrorist attacks in the US. Pressure of
both Bosnian and international institutions to arrest indicted war
criminals Karadzic and Mladic lost its intensity. Even the
announcement of the political comittee of the Council of Europe that
Bosnia is about to be admitted into that institution went by
relatively unnoticed, even though struggle to become full member
of the CE has been no.1 issue in the country for months.
    Reason for a true panic among the Bosnian authorities is the
fact that American government said that Bosnia was among 60
countries suspected of having terrorists linked with recent
terrorist attacks on the US. Bosnian government is in an
uncomfortable position after recent official request from
Washington asking for the check of a list with 19 names. American
authorities believe listed persons are involved in airplane
hijacking on 11th September. US think some of the suspects could
be living in Bosnia because American intelligence are well aware
that some volunteers from Islamic countries were granted Bosnian
citizenship for fighting on the side of Army B-H. This American
request was especially painful for Bosnian side in B-H since
Bosnian war and post-war governments are considered responsible
for granting citizenship to various Islamic extremists. Although
official policy of Bosnian government, especially its Bosnian
part, was extremely pro-American, relations with the US have been
burdened for many years with the issue of several hundred former
Islamic volunteers. American and European soldiers are very
distrustful towards them.
    The Council of Bosnian ministers promptly reacted and said that it
had checked all naturalized citizenships and that it couln't find
any person suspected by the US. According to their data, 11 000
persons were granted citizenship from proclamation of Bosnian
independence to signing of Dayton Accord. However, only 420
persons were from Islamic countries. Also, most of them got
citizenship becaus of their marriage with Bosnian women, and not
because of war credits. Out of them all, according to the Council,
only three naturalized Bosnians were in any way linked with
criminal activity and Interpol issued warrants for their arrest.
One person is suspected of terrorism, another two for drug
trafficking. All three of them are now in foreign prisons.
According to civil affar minister Svetozar Mihajlovic, procedure
of removing them from Bosnian citizenship is in progress.
    However, it is the person accused of terrorism that is
pointing an additional finger at Bosnian authorities. He is Mehrez
Audoni, arrested last year in Turkey when he attempted to enter
the country with a Bosnian passport. Interpol issued warrant for
Audoni at the bequest of Italy because of firm proofs that Audoni
is one of the closest associates of Osama bin Laden. He is still
in Turkish prison because of Turkish law which does not recognize
    Additional discomfort, or better, Bosnian-Moslem component
inside the government, is the fact that some Bosnians with Islamic
origins publicly supported the Taliban and praised their regime.
    Even some of the local Moslems fell under their influence and
approached Vehabi Order which is interpreting Islamic religion in
a way that has never before been practised by Bosnian Moslems,
like wearing beard and tunics and covering women with black
clothes. Although these groups never had much influence to Bosnian
social life, it is clear that during the next period they will be
under strong surveillance of both Bosnian and foreign
    Because of all this, in Bosnia today government is trying to
lift heavy suspicion of Bosnia as a country harboring Islamic
extremists. Last week's meeting of government representatives held
in Sarajevo was almost unique because not many remember such
gathering of all sides and so much agreement about future
political and police actions. Members of Bosnian Presidency and
government, presidents of two entities and their prime ministers
agreed on a series of measures that should serve to introduce
Bosnia among countries which fight terrorism. Ordered were checks
of all granted citizenships during war and after it, control of
foreign humanitarian aid workers and their bank accounts as well
as firms suspected of organized crime or helping terrorists.
Logical continuance of these acitivities was meeting of state and
police top with international military forces (SFOR) and
agreeement of the so-called partner relationship with joint
military and police actions against terrorists. New Cootion
Commitee for fight against terrorism even launched initiative to
create joint antiterrorist police forces on the state level. If
that happened, it would be the first case that representatives of
all nations in Bosnia agreed to form a joint armed formation which
serves to show that only an enemy outside Balkan borders can unite
the country.
    Consequently, there were several police actions which
uncovered persons that could be in some way related to
international terrorist activities, even linked to Osama bin Laden
himself. Very spectacular (but also very speculative) was the
information coming from highest ranks of federal police saying
that last week a group of 70 bin Laden followers tried to
infiltrate the country, but that the attempt was brushed off due
to cooperation between Bosnian and foreign intelligence agencies.
    "They are expecting paradise here, but most probably they
would get hell", said police minister Muhamed Besic. Although the
statement can be seen as bragging, it still showed that police
were ready to figt anything that can be linked with terrorists.
Only a day before, police uncovered a group of arms smugglers who
were selling weapons to Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia. Even
members of the police were involved in smuggling, which is giving
additional weight to the whole case. American representatives in
Bosnia expressed their pleasure with this action because any arms
trafficking is considered potentially dangerous to American
security after terrorist attacks in the US. Also, many foreign
workers from Islamic countries living in Bosnia as well as
naturalized Bosnians with Arab origins are under strong
surveillance. SFOR even arrested three Arab citizensa while state
security asked 5 Pakistani to leave the country. No further
details were given.
    Besides mentioned 420 naturalized citizens from Islamic
countries , there are also abut 500 Arabs working in Bosnia for
various private and humanitarian organizations. Most of them
probably don't have anything to do with terrorism, however now
their stay in the country isn't a pleasant one. One of the leaders
of mujahedeen community in Bosnia Abu Hamza said that Islamic
citizens are now second-rate citizens in Bosnia thanks to
international community.
    The whole mujahedeen issue in Bosnia has its roots in war.
There is no secret in the fact that some Islamic volunteers from
foreign countries fought on Bosniak side. What is not clear is how
many they were and were they all volunteers. Serbian and Croatian
side in Bosnia claimed that their number reached three thousand
and that they were all mercenaries. On the other hand, Bosniak
side admitted 1000 volunteers, adding that most weren't inspired
with jihad (holy war) but with the fact that Bosniaks were victims
and their war righteous.
    Many of those warriors fought within 7th Moslem brigade. Its
fighters were foreigners but also Bosniak soldiers who adopted
Islamic religious beliefs. Hague Tribunal has recently raised
indictments against the brigade commander Amir Kubura as well as
two generals of Army B-H under whose jurisdiction brigade
belonged. However, suspected generals already denied having any
authority over that unit which, allegedly, refused to listen to
their orders. If this proves to be true and if we take into
account that honorary commander of the 7th Moslem brigade was
Alija Izetbegovic, it cannot be ruled out that further
investigation will be directed against him.
    After war some foreign islamists returned to their countries
while several hundred remained in Bosnia. A true mujahedeen colony
was formed in former Serbian village of Bocinja, together with
parallel government based on religious law. Some of them remained
in Travnik, Bugojno and Zenica, mid-Bosnian cities where Croats
have a sizeable minority. That further fueled the fire on already
unstable relations between two nations. Gravest incident happened
in 1997 when Croatian forces killed three mujahedeens on a
barricade near the city of Zepce. Even British SFOR soldiers
killed three foreigners - islamists in a fighting in the same
year. Although attacks on foreign soldeirs were expected because
of it, none came. At the same time came a series of attacks on
Croats returning to Middle Bosnian provinces. During two years, 11
Croats were killed. Although the perpetrators were never
discovered, many think that most attacks were organized by Islamic
    There are some other terrorist attacks linked to Arab
foreigners, but also classic crime. Numerous foreign as well as
Bosnian journalists think that Islamic terrorists organized
assasination attempt on the Pope during his visit to Sarajevo in
1997. Just before his arrival, police found mines under the bridge
on Pope's vehicle route. Confidential sources told that four
persons were arrested, one of them a foreigner. It is difficult to
find out what happened to them. One shouldn't reject the
possibility of then government secretly settling issues with
mujahedeens in order to save its face in front of international
community. .   Earlier that year a three-man terrorist group was
caught in Zenica. Its leader Laonel Dimon, a Frenchman with Arabic
origins on an Interpol warrant, was arrested while two of his
associates were killed. Although there were no political motives
in this case, their unscrupulous robbery of gas stations showed
that former fighters in Bosnian conflict had various motives to
remain in the country. Islamic extremists were also accused for
car bomb in western Mostar two years after. Although some of the
culprits were found and brought to justice, it is considered that
the core of the group wasn't destroyed.
    However, with the new government in Bosnia last year, tolerant
atitutde towards former Islamic volunteers in Bosnia changed.
Their colony in Bocinja village was moved out. Also, Bosnia
introduced visa regime for Iran and Turkey, countries from which
came many persons who were trying to illegaly enter western Europe
or even remain in Bosnia.
    The fact that many foreigners from Islamic countries passed
through Bosnia increases possibility that people related to
terrorist organizations were living, or still live, in the
country. That is best illustrated with already mentioned Mehrez
Audoni, allegedly right hand of bin Laden. However, facts that
Audoni had Bosnian passport and that mujahedeens fought in Bosnia
were also grounds for various specualtions, sometimes without any
foundation in reality. One of the speculations is that Osama bin
Laden himself spent some time in Bosnia and that he even owns a
Bosnian passport. It is almost certainly untrue. Credibility of
this information is further questionable because the same are
mentioning Macedonians who fight Albanians as well as some
Montenegrins, talking about alleged Moslem harbors in Montenegro.
Invented are also some information coming from foreign journalists
- that there are terrorist training camps in Bosnia. When SFOR is
patrolling every corner of the country and when people are allowed
to move freely, it is hard to imagine any such camp could remain
    But anyhow, Bosnia is fighting a difficult legacy - terrorist
walked on its territory. Even more difficult is that authorities
allowed various groups and humanitarian organizations which served
as a smokescreen for illegal activities. Events in America will
certainly speed up the process of resolute distancing from various
Arab influences that, unfortunately, arrived in their exteme forms
into the country. After 11th September tragedy, America has
obviously changed its course towards Bosnia and asked Bosniaks to
clearly distance themselves from the extremists. They took the
warning seriously, afraid that in opposing case strongest power in
the world could drop concept of country's unity which would
encourage separatist forces.

    By Tatyana Kalinovskaya & Pavlyuk Bykovsky

    Dozens of activists from the informal organization Youth
Front, and their "grown-up" colleagues from the Belarussian
People?s Front (BPF) and the Conservative Christian Party (CCP) of
the BPF stood guard all last week on the edge of Kuropaty to
protect the graves of tens of thousands of victims of the
Stalinist terror from destruction.
    The crush took place in Kuropaty on September 29.  People came
to the border to clean it up and set up crosses.  There is a
danger that the border area may be destroyed, because authorities
have begun reconstructing the ring road encircling Minsk.
    "If the ring road is widened at Kuropaty, the very largest
mass grave for victims of repression will be bulldozed.  I brought
this matter to the attention of Zenon Poznyak and sorted
everything out by myself ", CCP-BPF member Petr Shamkel
told STINA.  He added that, in addition to the ring road, the
Zeleny Lug neighborhood is built over human remains.  "The
bulldozers were turning up bones even before they got to
Kuropaty", he said.  "We reburied them."  Shamkel is convinced
that the destruction of Kuropaty is premeditated. The road could
easily be routed around the border area or just widened on the
other side, where there is only a field.
    Shamkel also has personal motives for the preservation of the
graves of victims of Stalin's repression.  "This is painful for me
because I was also repressed, at the age of two, in 1946, along
with my mother and two-month old brother.  I was only
rehabilitated in 1996.  My father disappeared in the camps and may
be there in Kuropaty", he said.
    Poznyak and Yevgeny Shmygalev were the first to bring the
unfolding tragedy at Kuropaty to public attention.  Poznyak holds
that Kuropaty is a symbol of Belarus itself, just like the red,
white and red national flag.  In an interview with Radio Liberty,
Poznyak said, "The regime has destroyed our flag, and now it's set
its sights on Kuropaty.  If we don't protect it, we have no right
to call ourselves people.  Government officials can destroy
anything they want but we must stop them ".
    On the evening of September 26, a public initiative called In
Defense of the Kuropaty Memorial was founded.  (Its contact
telephone number in Minsk is 206-59-09.)  The press group of the
Renaissance movement of the BPF and the BPF Party reported that
the initiative is being supported by a number of democratic
parties, public organizations, trade unions and historians.
    The public initiative has stated that its goal is an end to
uncontrolled construction on the ring road, archaeological
investigation of those places where the road is to be extended,
declassification of the results of the investigation by the
military prosecutor of the executions at Kuropaty, build a fence
along the border area and set aside funds for its preservation as
a memorial.
    Kuropaty's status as a memorial is their suggestion.  In
1988-1989, a government commission confirmed that innocent people
were killed there by the NKVD.  Therefore, in 1993, Kuropaty was
placed on the state register of Belarussian cultural and
historical sites as a "place of the loss of victims of the
political repressions of the 1930s and 1940s".
    "Today, there is a new risk of losing our Kuropaty National
Necropolis.  The expansion of the Minsk ring road may destroy the
graves of slaughtered innocents.  Construction in the Kuropaty
area began ahead of plan (it was scheduled for 2003-2005) without
any public discussion of alternatives.  The builders have ignored
the required supervision by specialists and archaeologists from
the Historical Institute of the Belarussian National Academy of
Sciences and even overlook safety procedures.  The ground moving
is being conducted in a great rush, almost without any surveying
or a master working plan.  As a result, plots under the Cross of
Suffering were desecrated, which should not have been included in
the construction area under the preliminary plan", reads a
statement signed by dozens of well-known Belarussian public
figures, writers, artists, scholars and politicians.
    The 'In Defense of the Kuropaty Memorial' initiative is expected
to hold a roundtable discussion on October 3 with the
participation of state officials with the hope of convincing them
to hold off on the desecration of the graves of the victims of
Stalinist repression.
                               * * *
    By Zvezdan Georgievski

    Macedonian politicians are lately resembling triathlon players
who, once done with the swimming part, continue waving their arms
and legs on land. People simply refuse climbing their bicycles not
wanting to understand that the bicycle part has to be done not because
the water was dirty or cold but because watery road doesn't lead
to the finish.
    Parliamentary discussion about constitutional changes, the
so-called Framework Agreement which should improve Albania rights
as a practical first step towards the end of the crisis, was
interrupted. President of Macedonian parliament Stojan Andov said
that parliamentary session would continue when all civilians
kidnapped by National Liberation Army (UCK) had been returned
home. At this moment some mention 14 missing or kidnapped
civilians. Meanwhile, Democratic Alternative headed by Vasil
Tuourkovski initiated parliamentary discussion about the need to
hold referendum asking citizens whether they accept constitutional
changes or not. That is especially related to constitution
introduction where words "Macedonian people" have been replaced
with "ethnic communities".
    Political groups used the vacuum in political discussion in
parliament to launch their campaign which only shows that the end
of Macedonian crisis is still far ahead. Campaign in the
parliament and in public will result in worsening Macedonian
position, whatever the outcome. If words "Macedonian people"
remain, without Albanian assent, then it will be an introduction
into a really bad turn of events: if Albanians accept it, it will
mean a start of a frustrating Macedonian position. If the words
will be dropped out after the campain, it will be frustrating
again, and if they stay, they will forever be marked with
political trade, which is once again bad. So, both with the
introduction and without it, it seems that Macedonia is losing
historical dimension of problem solution for new interventions,
politically stupid.
    Another issue is coming at the heels of this one - now late
concern of political elite for the fate of own nation. Stojan
Andov once said that parliamentary debate about Framework
Agreement would not start until all refugees are returned to their
homes. Refugees didn't return, but parliament began its session
nevertheless. This time Andov is conditioning amandments with
human lives. Since there are 13 amandments and 14 missing persons,
it would be no surprise if Macedonian politicians proposed an
amandment for each returned prisoner! Confusing a political
process with a security situation clearly illustrates criminal
deformation of Macedonian national issue and shows that,
unfortunately, Macedonia is a slave to its loser mentality and
prejudice about itself and world. Macedonian politicians don't
realize or don't want to realize the essence of Framework
Agreement. By signing it, Macedonia had to accept consitutional
changes which should improve conditions of Albanian minority. They
don't understand that the agreement guaranteed territorial
integrity, internal unity and unity of institutions and system.
So, disregarding current situation in Macedonia and in the region
in general, it is a good framework which could allow a nation,
well organized and represented, to make progress.
    Meanwhile the NATO operation "Essential Harvest" with the goal
of disarming the UCK came to an end. More than 3,000 weapon pieces were
collected, mostly light, and UCK proclaimed itself disbanded, showing its
goodwill to complete the work before constitutional changes.
Macedonian analysts say that disarmament is yet another move that
puts Macedonian politicians into a no-win situation. Albanian
extremists have thus once again shown their loyalty to
international community, representing themselves as a serious
partner for talks. On the other hand, Macedonian side doesn't have
enough political clout to implement what's already been agreed. Of
course, nobody is so naive to think that UCK really disarmed
completely, which in the end isn't that important since Albanians can
easily re-arm themselves, but this time the international community
can back them up because the other, Macedonian, side acts like a
modern Archimedes whom Albanians and international community accuse of
disrupting circles of universal peace.
Special addition : NEW AT TOL October 1, 2001
    The European Centre for War, Peace and the News Media (ECWPNM)
is looking for a Project Co-ordinator to begin work immediately.  We
are a London-based NGO specialising in diversity training for the
media and capacity-building for minority NGOs. Please e-mail for details.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- WEEK IN REVIEW ---
    Pledge of Allegiance
    Russia talks about cooperation in the new fight against
terrorism, but it's not yet clear what that really means.
    by Maria Antonenko
    Verbal Sniping
    Romania's famed extremist has sparked a political battle by
accusing the president of allowing Hamas terrorists to train in
the country.
    by Zsolt-Istvan Mato
    Voluntary Surrender
    Bosniak Muslim wartime army chief turns himself in to The
Hague tribunal.
    by Daria Sito
    One Down
    NATO's mission to disarm ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia
is completed, while a new mission to protect international
monitors is launched.
    by Robert Alagjozovski
    Basketball Without Borders Leading clubs from the former
Yugoslav republics again compete in one league.
    by Alen Mlatisuma
    Poland's Parties Begin Talks To Form New Government
    Private Probe into Murder Comes Up Short in Ukraine
    More War Crimes Suspects Arrested in Croatia
    Pope Visits Kazakhstan and Armenia
    Lithuanian "Street Politician" Announces Run for Presidency
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    The Centre for Euro-Asian Studies is hosting a conference
OF THE CENTRE " 10 YEARS OF TRANSITION? on November 9, 2001 (The
University of Reading). Among the participants are members of the
diplomatic corps and representatives of Banks and Companies. For
further details please contact Ms Evelyn McDonald or
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OUR TAKE: A Shared Enemy ---
    Russia could offer useful help in the U.S. fight against
terrorism, provided it is convinced that Washington is not
encroaching on its interests in the near abroad.
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- IN FOCUS: Tajikistan: Suddenly in the Spotlight ---
    Dangerous Neighborhood
    Tajikistan is now the center of something big, at least as far
as the international community is concerned.
    by Konstantin Parshin
    A Losing Battle
    A plague of locusts is adding to the already considerable
misery in rural Tajikistan.
    by Ravshan Kasimov
    Risks and Benefits The results of a potentially protracted war
in Afghanistan on Central Asia and the world at large depend
largely on the tactics. A TOL partner post from Eurasianet.
    by Ahmed Rashid
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- FEATURES ---
    Bosnia: A Safe Haven for Terrorists?
    Osama bin Laden may or may not be directly connected to
Islamist groups in Bosnia, but there is little doubt that his
message is in the hearts of fundamentalists who found shelter here
during and after the war.
    by Esad Hecimovic
    From the Balkan Reconstruction Report
    Two Cities, One Election
    The results of Poland's elections--and the voters who went to
the polls--indicate a growing urban-rural split.
    by Victor Gomez and Wojtek Kosc
    A Common Cause
    Czech and Slovak soldiers renew old friendships during joint
military exercises.
    by Lubos Palata
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    The Ties That Bind Lukashenka's victory in the recent
Belarusian elections is likely to draw the country closer to
    by Vladimir Kozlov
    EU Insider: Dream Crushing
    The future of the euro, which is slated to be launched in
January, is under threat following the attacks on the United
    by Gyorgy Foris
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    --- OUR TAKE: A Shared Enemy ---
    Russia could offer useful help in the U.S. fight against
terrorism, provided it is convinced that Washington is not
encroaching on its interests in the near abroad.
    Vladimir Putin's speech in Berlin on 26 September was hailed
by some Russian politicians as the true end of the Cold War. The
Russian president confirmed Moscow's support for the U.S. fight
against terrorism and said NATO should consider letting the
country join.
    But Russia's reaction to the 11 September attacks on the
United States consists of several elements--which could take
differing directions.
    First, there is genuine human sympathy for the victims, which
include some 100 Russians who were working in the World Trade
Center. Second, there is popular relief that "at last" the United
States may come to realize the validity of Russia's hard-line
approach toward Islamic terrorism in Chechnya and elsewhere.
Third, in recent years there is still lingering annoyance at U.S.
efforts to project power into areas regarded by Russia as its
"back yard," such as the Caspian Sea region and Central Asia.
    As a result, Russian policy could go in one of two directions.
If the United States agrees to respect the Caspian and Central
Asia as part of Russia's sphere of influence, Russia will probably
engage in a serious effort to root out terrorist bases in
Afghanistan. Such help could include intelligence sharing and
overflight rights for military missions. Equally important would
be Russian cooperation in curtailing Iraqi and Iranian support for
terrorists and the access of those two countries to materials that
could enable them to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
    On the other hand, if Moscow feels that the United States is
still expending efforts to prop up anti-Russian organizations such
as the GUUAM (Georgia-Ukraine-Uzbekistan-Azerbaijan-Moldova)
alliance and is still talking about expanding NATO to the Baltic
states, Russia will limit itself to lukewarm, verbal expressions
of support.
    The bureaucratic interests of the dinosaurs in Russia's
defense establishment naturally incline it toward the latter
approach, although the fact that Putin was able to establish a
personal rapport with U.S. President  George W. Bush is a factor
favoring cooperation. Likewise, U.S. policy-making is finely
balanced: the pragmatic Secretary of State Colin Powell versus the
Russophobic Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle at the Pentagon. And
National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice seems to sit somewhere
between those two camps.
    Cooperation in pursuit of a common goal between countries who
otherwise have diverse national interests and values is nothing
new. World War II--a struggle of good against evil if ever there
was one--was only won thanks to an unholy alliance among Britain,
the United States, and the Soviet Union, led by a Stalinist regime
hardly less evil than that of Hitler. In war, moral absolutes go
out of the window, both in the manner in which war is waged and in
the way allies are selected. If Bush genuinely believes that a
global war against terrorism has been declared and must be fought
to the finish, then allying himself with countries that he might
otherwise be wary of associating with may be part of the deal.
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