Bosnia accuses Croatian spy services of arming Islamists

Dragan MekticAuthorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have accused the government of Croatia of deliberately arming militant Islamists in order to damage Bosnia’s reputation and sabotage its campaign to join the European Union. The claims were aired by a Bosnian government minister on Thursday, a day after allegations of a weapons-smuggling plot by Croatia were made in the Bosnian media. On Wednesday, Zurnal, a Bosnian investigative website, alleged that the Croatian intelligence services had recruited a Bosnian national and used him to smuggle weapons and explosives into the majority Muslim country.

According to Zurnal, the Bosnian man was “intercepted” by Croatian intelligence while driving through Croatia on his way to Bosnia. He was traveling to Bosnia from an unnamed “European Union country”, where he allegedly lives. The Zurnal report alleges that officers of Croatia’s Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) had evidence that the Bosnian man was a supporter of the Islamic State and threatened to notify the authorities in his country of residence. They then allegedly used this threat in order to pressure the Bosnian man to smuggle weapons and explosives into Bosnia and hide them in a mosque in Zenica, a city of about 100,000 residents in central Bosnia.

On Thursday, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Minister of Security, Dragan Mektic (pictured), accused the SOA of plotting the weapons-smuggling operation in an attempt to damage Bosnia’s reputation. The goal of the operation, said Mektic, was to paint Bosnia as a center of Islamic State activity in Europe and sabotage the country’s efforts to join the European Union —of which Croatia is already a member. Also on Thursday, the office of Bosnia’s state prosecutor announced that an investigation had been launched into whether Croatian intelligence agencies had attempted to recruit other Bosnian citizens with known extremist views.

Since 2014, Croatian and Serbian security agencies have repeatedly warned that hundreds of Bosnian Muslims traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State, and that many of them have since returned to the Balkans. But the Bosnian government argues that extremist Islam has no place in the country, whose predominantly Muslim population follows moderate versions of the religion. Late on Thursday, the Croatian government dismissed Mektic’s claims as “groundless” and said that they were aimed at harming relations between Bosnia and Croatia. No information has been released about the identity of the Bosnian arms smuggler, his current whereabouts or the fate of the alleged operation.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 15 March 2019 | Permalink

Advertisements

Iranian diplomats expelled from Bosnia over spying allegations

Bosnia inside the former YugoslaviaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In a move described as extremely rare, authorities in Bosnia have expelled two diplomats from Bosnian ally Iran over allegations that they are intelligence officers. However, the expulsion process took a while, which arguably reveals the complicated relationship between the two predominantly Muslim nations. The two diplomats were initially declared personae non grata in late April, when the Bosnian government ordered that they leave the country by April 30. According to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ministry of Security, the two envoys, Jadidi Sohrab and Hamzeh Dolab Ahmad, third and second secretaries respectively at the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Sarajevo, had engaged in activities that were “in violation of their diplomatic protocol”. Word has it that the Bosnian order was issued shortly after Israeli intelligence informed the Bosnians that the two Iranian diplomats were in fact employees of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI). The Israelis also said that one of the two men had been spotted in India, Georgia and Thailand, all of which were sites of a simultaneous bombing campaign in February of 2012 against Israeli interests —though there is no public evidence that he had an active role in the attacks. On May 9, however, Bosnian media reported that the two Iranian diplomats were still in Sarajevo, more than a week since the expiration of the deadline they had been given to leave the country. Why the delay? According to Dr. John Schindler, Iran watcher and professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, the move to expel the two Iranians had been “stymied by the establishment” in Bosnia, which remains decidedly pro-Iranian. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0105

  • Trial of Serb former intelligence chiefs opens today. The trial of Jovica Stanišić, Director of Serbia’s State Security Service from 1990 until 1998, and Stojan Župljanin, commander of the Bosnian Serb police during the Bosnian war, opens today at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in The Hague. As intelNews has reported before, at least two eponymous CIA agents have admitted that Stanišić was a CIA collaborator from 1991 until 1998.
  • Lithuanian Prime Minister was KGB agent, says board. A Lithuanian commission tasked with uncovering pro-Moscow informants and intelligence agents during the country’s communist period, has concluded that Kazimira Danutė Prunskienė, Lithuania’s first Prime Minister after the country’s 1990 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, secretly collaborated with the Soviet KGB.
  • Congo says it won’t execute Norwegian alleged spies. Norway’s foreign minister says he has been assured that the two Norwegians who were sentenced to death by a Congolese military tribunal last week on spying charges will not be executed.

Bookmark and Share

Comment: Former Serb head spy was CIA collaborator

Jovica Stanišić

Jovica Stanišić

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
From 1990 until 1998, Jovica Stanišić was the Director of Serbia’s State Security Service, a notorious intelligence unit operating within Serbia’s Interior Ministry. As intelligence chief for Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, Stanišić was responsible for thousands of agents, who were seen as forming the core of Milošević’s security state. In 2003, following the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić, who had extradited Milošević to The Hague, Stanišić was arrested and delivered to The Hague. He is currently being tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for his role in war crimes during the Yugoslav Wars. Jovica Stanišić has denied any wrongdoing and, remarkably, his defense rests on his claim that he was in fact “the CIA’s man in Belgrade” from 1991 until 1998.

Read more of this post