Balkan Strategic Studies

October 9, 2003

Bosnian Sources Admit Izetbegovic Not Dead; Liaising With Clinton, Holbrooke

Exclusive. Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS. With input from GIS Station Sarajevo. Very reliable sources in the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the radical Bosnian Islamist political party, on October 8, 2003, confirmed to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily that its leader, Alija Izetbegovic, 78, had not died but that the party had once again leaked stories of an illness and death to reduce the chances that Izetbegovic would face war crimes charges from the International Criminal Tribunal on [former] Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The very deliberate leak of the original story to the independent BN TV station in Bijeljina, in the Republica Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in September 2003, was designed — according to GIS sources in the SDA — to avoid putting Izetbegovic in the spotlight during the September 19-20, 2003, proceedings surrounding the unveiling by former US Pres. William Clinton of a “monument” in Srebrenica which supported the SDA position on the 1995 fighting in the city.

As it was, Mr Clinton, on a private visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to unveil the “monument” and utilizing US Army helicopters for transportation, visited Mr Izetbegovic in Sarajevo, en route to Srebrenica from his earlier stop in Priština, in the Republic of Serbia’s Kosovo province. For his speech at Srebrenica, the SDA paid Mr Clinton $250,000, despite the fact that Mr Izetbegovic’s party — on orders from Mr Izetbegovic himself — have now increasingly been shown to have been linked to people involved in terrorist activities against the US, including the September 11, 2001, attacks. The September 17, 2001, report by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily offered documentary evidence of the links.

Significantly, former US Clinton Administration official Richard Holbrooke had also been in Bosnia and Kosovo recently, as had US Democratic Party Presidential candidate Gen. (rtd.) Wesley Clark. 

One source in Sarajevo said that there was strong evidence that the funding of Mr Holbrooke’s visit to Bosnia and Kosovo was discreetly undertaken by Islamist banks in Sarajevo controlled by SDA leader Hasan Cengic, who had bonded with Izetbegovic during Tito-era Yugoslavia when they spent time in prison together, along with another SDA leader, Huso Zhivalj. Significantly, Zhivalj, a former Bosnian Ambassador to Vienna and to the UN (during the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US), had — under Izetbegovic’s instructions — issued a Bosnian passport to, among others, al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. [See the September 17, 2003, GIS report.] The Sarajevo source said that some of the funding for Mr Holbrooke’s visit may also have come from the Albanian lobby in Kosovo and the US.

Significantly, however, although Mr Holbrooke’s visits are supposedly private, and are financed by an extremist Islamist party, his visits to Alija Izetbegovic in hospital and his press conferences are organized by the Office of the High Representative (OHR). The OHR is supposedly the international community’s agency established to supervise the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord. The Deputy High Representative is US Ambassador Donald Hays, who worked with Holbrooke when he was Clinton Administration Ambassador (Permanent Representative) to the United Nations in New York and earlier, during Holbrooke’s time working on Balkan issues when Amb. Hays was Executive Director of the US State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs.

At the UN, on January 21, 2000, Holbrooke said: “I am fortunate to have as part of my team the indefatigable Ambassador Don Hays.” Hays, then, came to the post of Deputy High Representative with strong biases in favor of Clinton Administration support for the Bosnian Islamists and Alija Izetbegovic. Significantly, High Representative Paddy Ashdown, former British Liberal Democratic Party leader, also came to his post with a record in Parliament of very strong biases in favor of the Bosnian Islamists.

Holbrooke to this day has stressed his support for the SDA and Izetbegovic and against the Bosnian Serbs, noting that the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), which was elected to office in Republica Srpska and in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was a nazi party and noting that the High Representative should ban it. Also, in an apparent effort to distract attention from Izetbegovic and his support for Osama bin Laden, Holbrooke also said that former Bosnian Serb officials Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic — wanted by the ICTY — were the “Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein of Europe”. Holbrooke also said that there was “Bosnia without Izetbegovic”.

The SDA sources and sources within the OHR also told GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs that High Representative Ashdown and Amb. Hays were attempting to find ways to minimize the impact of disclosures by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs and the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) of questionable behavior and conflicts of interest on the part of Ashdown and Hays. Significantly, Mr Ashdown published, in The Washington Times of October 6, 2003, a letter to the editor in which he said:

“After September 11, the Sarajevo authorities took important steps to ensure that Bosnia-Herzegovina could not in any way be used as a platform for terrorist attacks of any sort, in Europe or elsewhere. This country is not a terrorist base, nor will it become one.”

Ashdown’s protestations, however, seemed more to stave off US Congressional and Governmental interest in the management of Bosnia-Herzegovina and to pre-emptively refute any suggestion that his mismanagement of the situation might have allowed Bosnian Islamist terrorist operations to take place from Bosnia — or utilizing the Iranian and bin Laden-established assets in Bosnia — against the US or other targets as GIS documentary evidence has suggested.

September 22, 2003

Izetbegovic Now Believed Dead

The former President of the Bosnia-Herzegovina collective presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, 78, was reported by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs sources and at least one authoritative regional media source to have died of illness on September 19, 2003, in a Sarajevo hospital. The local media source was the Bijeljina-based television station, BN TV. BN TV is one of the few truly independent television services in Bosnia-Herzegovina, based in Bijeljina, in Republica Srpska, the predominantly Serbian province.

Izetbegovic, despite being out of the Presidency, continued to lead the Bosnian Islamists and was the key figure in leading Islamist terrorism in the region, in close alliance with Osama bin Laden — with whom he met frequently and to whom he gave a Bosnian passport — and the Iranian cleric’s terrorism and intelligence experts.

BN TV noted: “The authority in Sarajevo won’t announce the death now” because a memorial ceremony was scheduled for September 20, 2003, and former US President Bill Clinton was to attend the ceremony. [See Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, September 19, 2003.]

The Beta news agency, however, said in a report on the night of September 19, 2003, that “trusty sources” from the hospital denied the news of Izetbegovic's death, saying that “health condition of Izetbegovic is serious, but it hasn’t changed comparing with recent three days”, since he reportedly fell and injured himself after fainting at home. He reportedly fractured four left ribs and developed internal bleeding to the chest.