Many arrested in Bosnia for having links with Islamic State

BosniaAuthorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have announced the arrest of several people on suspicion of having direct links with the Islamic State and other militant groups fighting in Iraq and Syria. At least 11 people were arrested by police in simultaneous raids at a number of locations on Tuesday, including businesses and private homes, across the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. A police spokeswoman said the eleven men had been charged with having links to terrorist groups, financing terrorist groups, or inciting and helping organize criminal acts. A number of them were also charged with recruiting young men and women to join militant groups in Syria and Iraq, she said.

A statement issued by the office of the Bosnian prosecutor on Wednesday morning said the arrests were part of a “major operation […] to track down some 15 people” suspected of having close operational ties with Islamist organizations in the Middle East. The arrests were carried out less than a day after another five people were arrested in Sarajevo for illegally transporting weapons and ammunition from Bosnia to Germany. Large caches of weapons and ammunition were seized during the raids.

Depending on the source, there are estimates that the largely Muslim Balkan country of 3.8 million has supplied between 150 and 330 fighters to the Islamic State, the militant Sunni group that today controls much of Syria and Iraq. Hundreds more have joined from cities and towns in Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania. Of those, several dozen have already been killed while fighting for the Islamic State. Security services in Bosnia are reportedly monitoring a number of unregistered mosques in the country, which are believed to be preaching a version of Salafi Jihadism that promotes the worldview of the Islamic State. Many of these mosques are led or supported by individuals from Africa and the Middle East. These men first went to Bosnia in the first half of the 1990s to fight in the war against Serbia and Croatia, two predominantly Christian regions of the former Yugoslavia. They ended up settling in Bosnia after marrying local women.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 24 December 2015 | Permalink

One Response to Many arrested in Bosnia for having links with Islamic State

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh, wow, they’ve convinced me. A picture of a guy wearing an ISIS flag t-shirt who in the process of being arrested by what looks like a very intimidating police figure. It seems a little on the nose. But is that how they recruit? Just by being brazen, like it’s a frat or a gang? I find it hard to believe these people are cutting so well into foreign societies through their ability to market to people they don’t know (they have apparently managed recruits from France, England, and Canada as well). Or is this a Bosnian police PR stunt to try to scare ISIS recruiters if they are there? Or even just to make the people, or other allied states, feel safer with an illusion of qualitative progress? Does CIA make it a habit for employees to advertise they are CIA when their doing their thing in some foreign country?

    If you watch satire of the US in Pakistan, or in India or Iran, or news and commercials aimed at tourists in these areas of the world, it should reveal that they have a tenuous grasp on what motivates westerners. Our marketers marketing here know how to market here, they are masters of their own demographics; their marketers are way less effective here because they lack the, probably proprietary, demographic research done by PR and media companies in the West; foreign propagandists, especially from poorer countries, just don’t have the demographic understanding which most domestic propagandists do. So are the bands of criminals and stateless intelligence agents comprising ISIS masters of the art of advertising? Or blundering idiots who don’t realize that wearing so clear a symbol will get them arrested? How long can you walk around the streets of Germany with a big Nazi flag t-shirt on without getting arrested, let alone be at all effective as some kind of non-dissimulating intelligence organization? I realize some of ISIS are former Iraqi Mukhabarat, but I’d think even their propaganda would, in a lot of ways like Iranian propaganda, miss widely the mark on the topics they wish to address – they’ll think they know how to market political perspectives to a demographic, but really do not. Bad foreign propaganda is like a meta tragicomedy – you see their perspective; they communicate it successfully, but you just don’t buy it.

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