12/09/2008

HOW THE WEST WAS LOST: PART FOURTEEN


And Now For A World Government


by Gideon Rachman

For: The Financial Times

Published: December 8 2008

I have never believed that there is a secret United Nations plot to take over the US. I have never seen black helicopters hovering in the sky above Montana. But, for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible.

A “world government” would involve much more than co-operation between nations. It would be an entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws. The European Union has already set up a continental government for 27 countries, which could be a model. The EU has a supreme court, a currency, thousands of pages of law, a large civil service and the ability to deploy military force.

So could the European model go global? There are three reasons for thinking that it might.

First, it is increasingly clear that the most difficult issues facing national governments are international in nature: there is global warming, a global financial crisis and a “global war on terror”.

Second, it could be done. The transport and communications revolutions have shrunk the world so that, as Geoffrey Blainey, an eminent Australian historian, has written: “For the first time in human history, world government of some sort is now possible.” Mr Blainey foresees an attempt to form a world government at some point in the next two centuries, which is an unusually long time horizon for the average newspaper column.

But – the third point – a change in the political atmosphere suggests that “global governance” could come much sooner than that. The financial crisis and climate change are pushing national governments towards global solutions, even in countries such as China and the US that are traditionally fierce guardians of national sovereignty.

Barack Obama, America’s president-in-waiting, does not share the Bush administration’s disdain for international agreements and treaties. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, he argued that: “When the world’s sole superpower willingly restrains its power and abides by internationally agreed-upon standards of conduct, it sends a message that these are rules worth following.” The importance that Mr Obama attaches to the UN is shown by the fact that he has appointed Susan Rice, one of his closest aides, as America’s ambassador to the UN, and given her a seat in the cabinet.

A taste of the ideas doing the rounds in Obama circles is offered by a recent report from the Managing Global Insecurity project, whose small US advisory group includes John Podesta, the man heading Mr Obama’s transition team and Strobe Talbott, the president of the Brookings Institution, from which Ms Rice has just emerged.

The MGI report argues for the creation of a UN high commissioner for counter-terrorist activity, a legally binding climate-change agreement negotiated under the auspices of the UN and the creation of a 50,000-strong UN peacekeeping force. Once countries had pledged troops to this reserve army, the UN would have first call upon them.

These are the kind of ideas that get people reaching for their rifles in America’s talk-radio heartland. Aware of the political sensitivity of its ideas, the MGI report opts for soothing language. It emphasises the need for American leadership and uses the term, “responsible sovereignty” – when calling for international co-operation – rather than the more radical-sounding phrase favoured in Europe, “shared sovereignty”. It also talks about “global governance” rather than world government.

But some European thinkers think that they recognise what is going on. Jacques Attali, an adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, argues that: “Global governance is just a euphemism for global government.” As far as he is concerned, some form of global government cannot come too soon. Mr Attali believes that the “core of the international financial crisis is that we have global financial markets and no global rule of law”.

So, it seems, everything is in place. For the first time since homo sapiens began to doodle on cave walls, there is an argument, an opportunity and a means to make serious steps towards a world government.

But let us not get carried away. While it seems feasible that some sort of world government might emerge over the next century, any push for “global governance” in the here and now will be a painful, slow process.

There are good and bad reasons for this. The bad reason is a lack of will and determination on the part of national, political leaders who – while they might like to talk about “a planet in peril” – are ultimately still much more focused on their next election, at home.

But this “problem” also hints at a more welcome reason why making progress on global governance will be slow sledding. Even in the EU – the heartland of law-based international government – the idea remains unpopular. The EU has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in referendums, when plans for “ever closer union” have been referred to the voters. In general, the Union has progressed fastest when far-reaching deals have been agreed by technocrats and politicians – and then pushed through without direct reference to the voters. International governance tends to be effective, only when it is anti-democratic.

The world’s most pressing political problems may indeed be international in nature, but the average citizen’s political identity remains stubbornly local. Until somebody cracks this problem, that plan for world government may have to stay locked away in a safe at the UN.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

[I wish I shared Mr. Rachman's apparent breezy confidence in the stubborn strength of "the average citizen's political identity". However, given that the "average citizen" is a dumbed down dunce with no clue about real politik (witness the recent US elections) and no guns with which to mount even the most half-hearted defense of his freedoms, my outlook is a bit more pessimistic. Unless the American voter gets an education about the true nature of "the republic for which it stands" and hangs the professional political class for treason, then the day will indeed come when The Blue Helmets will patrol our streets enforcing curfews and arresting dissenters. At least, he gets this much right: "In general, the Union has progressed fastest when far-reaching deals have been agreed by technocrats and politicians – and then pushed through without direct reference to the voters. International governance tends to be effective, only when it is anti-democratic." Truer words have never been spoken! However, I'm not altogether sure if he thinks that's a good thing or a bad thing. And notwithstanding Mr. Rachman's smarmy comments about "black helicopters" and "America's talk radio heartland" the truth is that those on the so-called "far right" have been sounding this alarm for years. What a shame the Gideon Rachman's of the world have just now awakened to breathe in the musty smell of the New World Order coffee. Check please! -Martel]

12/08/2008

WAR OF THE WORLDS - PART SEVEN


The Truth About Bosnia


by Leslie Lebl

The nomination of Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State brings back memories of the time when Bosnia represented the primary foreign policy success of her husband's administration. The United States and its NATO partners saved a Muslim minority from genocide at the hands of the Serbs; kept the country from being divided up between Serbia and Croatia; and established peace after several years of a bloody war.

Thirteen years later, the landscape looks a little different. The recent apprehension of indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic raised hopes that Bosnia was on the verge of societal reconciliation. While the apprehension was a step forward, such reconciliation is unlikely as long as another, long-festering problem remains unaddressed: the ever-growing influence of radical Islam in Bosnia. For years this trend has been an open secret; while perceptive observers have reported on it, most of Western government, media and academe have averted their eyes from the threat.

That is not the case for regional journalist Christopher Deliso, whose The Coming Balkan Caliphate traces the spread of radical Islam throughout the Balkans, a process greatly stimulated by the Bosnian war. Nor does it apply to Naval War College professor John Schindler, author of Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa'ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad.

Both authors argue that Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic misled the West, presenting himself, his party and his government as secularized and devoted to a multiethnic democracy, when in fact he was intent on establishing an Islamic state. Not only did their policies and actions ensure continued resistance from Serbs, Croats and non-radical Muslims, but they made Bosnia the ‘missing link' in Al Qaeda's trajectory. And the United States, through its decisive role in support of Izetbegovic, boosted the cause of global jihad.

Schindler and Deliso agree on their portrayal of Izetbegovic. Perceived by most Western observers as the embattled leader of victimized, multiethnic Bosnia, Izetbegovic in fact had a lifetime of well-established Islamist credentials. Just before World War II, he founded a Muslim youth society modeled on the Muslim Brotherhood, with the goal of creating an Islamic state in Europe. During the war, he served as a recruiter for the infamous SS Handzar Division, known for killing and looting unarmed Serbs.
Izetbegovic subsequently authored the Islamic Declaration which, along with his attempt to establish ties with the Islamist Khomeini government, landed him in jail for five years in the 1980s. The Declaration does not appear to have been translated in English in its entirety and as a result few Americans have read it. Here are some excerpts:

"...the Islamic order has two fundamental premises: an Islamic society and Islamic authority. The former is the essence, and the latter the form of an Islamic order. An Islamic society without Islamic power is incomplete and weak; Islamic power without an Islamic society is either a utopia or violence.

A Muslim generally does not exist as an individual. If he wishes to live and survive as a Muslim, he must create an environment, a community, an order. He must change the world or be changed himself.

There can be no peace or coexistence between the ‘Islamic faith' and non-Islamic societies and political institutions...Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility of activity of any strange ideology on its own turf.

... the Islamic movement should and must start taking over the power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough to not only overthrow the existing non-Islamic, but also to build up a new Islamic authority..."


Reading this, one would never guess that Bosnia was a secular, Westernized province in Yugoslavia in which the Muslims formed a minority. As Bosnian political analyst Nebojsa Malic puts it, according to Deliso, "Izetbegovic's vision of Bosnia was not a multi-ethnic democracy, but a multi-caste hierarchy of the kind that existed under the Ottoman Empire, the memories of which were still fresh at his birth in 1925."

Under the Ottoman Empire, non-Muslims lived a subordinate, precarious existence. They could practice their faith in private and were ‘tolerated' by the sovereign as long as they submitted to Ottoman power, never mentioned the Koran or the Prophet, and never criticized Islam. They did not, however enjoy same rights as Muslims and, if they broke the rules, lost the sovereign's protection and put their lives at risk.

The Croats and Serbs knew their Ottoman history as well as the Muslims and read the danger signals accurately. In addition, there were other reasons to suspect Izetbegovic's motives, in particular his repeated efforts to establish ties to the radical Islamic regimes in Libya and Iran as well as with more traditional Muslim countries like Turkey.

Schindler provides a useful summary of Izetbegovic's actions before and after the 1992 declaration of Bosnian independence. These included trips in 1991 to Libya, Turkey and Iran. In Turkey, Izetbegovic asked that Bosnia be admitted to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a Saudi-backed forum which includes all Muslim countries - an obvious measure of his contempt for Bosnia's multi-ethnicity. In Iran, he asked Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for help if hostilities broke out. The reported response: "As of now, the state budget of Iran will be projected as if Iran had two million more inhabitants than it currently has."

In November of that year, Izetbegovic's new political party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), at its first party congress purged the top leadership of non-Islamists. Several weeks later, the Young Muslims emerged from the shadows to hold their first-ever congress; some of their guests of honor were SDA leaders.

These facts help to explain, if not to excuse, the subsequent actions of Bosnian Serbs and Croats. Schindler notes that, in May 1991, Bosnian Serb leader and future indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic challenged Izetbegovic to "renounce his Islamic Declaration in public and declare that he will not establish an Islamic state in an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina." That never happened.

Meanwhile, Izetbegovic was building a dense network of ties to countries like Iran and to Islamic charities, mosques and ‘humanitarian' organizations that funneled funds, arms and materiel to the Muslims during the war. At home, in the second half of 1991 the SDA set up its own military force, the Patriotic League, trained and equipped by Iran and Saudi Arabia. Envisioned as a 30,000 man force, the League was never particularly effective, and was eventually combined with other units of the predominantly Muslim Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The SDA's efforts to set up its own intelligence service had more success. The Muslim Intelligence Service, or MOS, was set up in Vienna in 1991 with a primary goal, according to Schindler, "to ensure the dominance of Izetbegovic's inner circle of Islamists." That it did, with the help of the large sums of money moving through various Islamic networks, until the United States demanded that it be closed down after Dayton. Shortly thereafter it was re-created under another name.

Deliso and Schindler recount the mixed signals of Izetbegovic, and note that he excelled in telling each audience what it wanted to hear. What they do not say is that, in so doing, Izetbegovic was following in the well-developed tradition of takiyya, in which a Muslim is allowed to lie to infidels if it protects Muslims or helps to spread Islam. From that perspective, what Izetbegovic did was honorable - unfortunately, the West fell into the trap.

Western analysts and politicians worried during the war that, by its secret collusion to help Iran supply arms to the Muslims, the United States had allowed one of its mortal enemies to gain a foothold in Bosnia. Certainly, Izetbegovic felt much closer to the Iranians and their ‘pure' Islamist revolution than he did to the Saudis, who did not practice what they preached. More than a decade later, the Iranians retain a considerable presence in Bosnia but keep a low profile. More visible, and well-described in these books, are organizations linked to the Saudis and the Gulf States.

The war in Bosnia soon became the prime recruiting tool for global jihad. Ed Husain describes in The Islamist how he, like many others, was radicalized by graphic videos of horror inflicted on the Bosnian Muslims. Indeed, the war in Bosnia came at a fortuitous juncture. Many jihadis had fought in Afghanistan. When the war against the Soviets ended in 1992, their choices in Afghanistan were poor. Staying there risked embroiling them in internecine, Muslim-on-Muslim conflicts; not only was this not jihad as they saw it, but they were outsiders. Some went home, but others couldn't because of legal charges or the risk of repression. For many of those who could re-enter it, civilian life was boring and meaningless. Bosnia as the next front in global jihad was irresistible.

Schindler presents considerable evidence to support his contention that Al Qaeda, including Bin Laden himself, "played the dominant role in getting the international component of the Bosnian jihad off the ground in 1992." This includes the personal engagement of Bin Laden. He was residing in Sudan at the time but apparently traveled to Bosnia and was, at one point, sighted in Izetbegovic's antechamber by two Western journalists (although it seems unlikely that Izetbegovic would have kept such an important contact waiting).

Schindler also traces the SDA's ties, especially those of close Izetbegovic associate Hasan Cengic, to the various Islamic charities and ‘humanitarian' organizations active in Bosnia. Before and during the war, Cengic served on the board of directors of the Third World Relief Agency, an organization with links to both the Saudi government and Al Qaeda that served as a conduit for funds and jihadis entering Bosnia.

Deliso, like most other observers, assembles much of this data, but does not connect the jihadis directly to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. He does, however, trace other Al Qaeda connections that spread throughout the Balkans but were particularly noticeable in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.

While Al Qaeda provided much of the leadership, the foot soldiers of the jihad came from many countries and groups. The Egyptian Islamic Group and Algeria's Armed Islamic Group (GIS) supplied the largest contingents, although Hezbollah was also present, as were Muslim youth and some converts from Europe.

The jihadis had their first armed engagement in fall 1992. Thus, by June1993, when the Saudis asked Clinton to take the lead in providing military assistance to Bosnia, the links to Islamist groups and jihadi fighters were already in place. U.S officials were not responsible for these developments but can be criticized for either ignoring or underestimating them.

Initially, jihadi contributions were minimal, but by the end of the war they had become feared assault troops. Their experiences in Bosnia gave them a new set of war-fighting skills, much as appears to have happened in Iraq ten years later. Jihadi savagery served more than just military purposes, however. Such actions as decapitations of non-Muslims were understood by all the participants as a return to Ottoman times and to classical Islam.

The end of the war by no means meant the end of Islamist influence in Bosnia. Despite efforts by the U.S. government to dislodge them, after the Dayton Accords and again after 9/11, some jihadis remained in country, often marrying Bosnian girls or being granted Bosnian passports by the Izetbegovic government. Shortly after 9/11, NATO forces raided the offices of the Saudi High Commission in Sarajevo, thwarting a terrorist attack on the U.S. and British embassies. A number of individuals were arrested and subsequently deported for alleged terrorist activity. Meanwhile, representatives of Islamic charities and other organizations continued to Islamicize Bosnia, and to use it as a point of entry into Europe. Sadly, as Deliso and Schindler note, U.S. efforts after September 11 to shut down these organizations failed.

For many years observers believed that the Islamists would make little headway there. Indeed, in a 2006 poll, over 70% of Bosnian Federation TV viewers said they believed Saudi fundamentalism was a threat to Muslims and to Bosnia. However, the fact that the majority of Bosnian Muslims oppose it does not mean that radical Islam has not made significant inroads there.

Deliso describes the efforts of the Bosnian religious establishment, starting in 2006, to combat Wahhabism, but sees them as ineffectual in opposing the well-funded Saudi challenge. Schindler's assessment is equally pessimistic, based on such indicators as the participation of the Islamic Community of Bosnia in the 2006 protests against the Danish cartoons, as well as the re-opening of sharia (Islamic law) courts, which had been closed down in 1946.

Nor are the present-day links to the jihadi past restricted to Bosnia. Both authors cite the numerous links between Bosnia and all kinds of terrorist acts: the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993; the GIS attacks in France in the mid-1990s; the attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington; or the Madrid train bombings of 2004.

The links are not just personal; e.g., someone who fought in Bosnia later carries out a terrorist act in Europe. Rather, the links included planning, organization, and exploitation of networks set up during the war. As Deliso points out, the first suicide bombing in Europe, in 1995 in Rijeka, was organized and prepared in Bosnia. Indeed, the attempted attack on the 2005 funeral of Pope John Paul II was hatched in the Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca.

In 2007, Bosnia was described as one of Al Qaeda's transit points, where sympathizers help to hide agents and provide financial support or false documents. In May 2008, Bosnian TV reported allegations that Izetbegovic insider Hasan Cengic had personally signed a money transfer connected to the 9/11 attacks.

Both authors use numerous sources to detail these links; Schindler in particular refers to documentation and testimony from court cases. Neither is breaking new ground in telling the story of Bosnia's role in the global jihad. That is what makes it even more astounding that so little of this material has filtered into public perceptions of Bosnia and its role in global jihad.

So just who was responsible for the arrival of jihad in Bosnia? Deliso states that the jihadis would never have reached Bosnia in the first place had it not been for the Clinton administration's determination to defeat the Bosnian Serbs at all costs. Although accurate as far as it goes, that accusation ignores the numerous initiatives undertaken before the war's start by Alija Izetbegovic, as well as the powerful forces behind establishing a new front for the global jihad after the Soviets left Afghanistan. That said, there is no doubt that, when the United States finally did intervene, its actions promoted the spread of jihad. The question is why this obvious fact is buried so deep.

[Doesn't globalist politics make the strangest bedfellows? Ever wondered how it could be that just a few short years ago we were in solidarity with the jihadists in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan, supplying them with
the vigilant protection of "peacekeepers" on the ground, not to mention the specialized military training and indeed the very weapons they would in turn use against our own troops? And now we're locked in a global life and death struggle with those very same forces! What insanity is this? How is it that Russian troops once fought the Islamic radicals in their own backyard tooth and nail, yet now they come to their aid in Georgia...and that against their own people? Inconsistency, thy name be globalist foreign policy! Indeed, it is not unreasonable to say that we created Al Queda. Arming your own enemies? The fast track to cultural suicide. - Martel]