Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bosnia, Kosovo, and Now Libya: The Human Costs of Washington’s On-Going Collusion with Terrorists

(thanks for F. for pointing out this article to me!)

Peter Dale Scott for Japan Focus

Twice in the last two decades, significant cuts in U.S. and western military spending were foreseen: first after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But both times military spending soon increased, and among the factors contributing to the increase were America’s interventions in new areas: the Balkans in the 1990s, and Libya today.1 Hidden from public view in both cases was the extent to which al-Qaeda was a covert U.S. ally in both interventions, rather than its foe.

U.S. interventions in the Balkans and then Libya were presented by the compliant U.S. and allied mainstream media as humanitarian. Indeed, some Washington interventionists may have sincerely believed this. But deeper motivations – from oil to geostrategic priorities – were also at work in both instances.

In virtually all the wars since 1989, America and Islamist factions have been battling to determine who will control the heartlands of Eurasia in the post-Soviet era. In some countries – Somalia in 1993, Afghanistan in 2001 – the conflict has been straightforward, with each side using the other’s excesses as an excuse for intervention.

But there have been other interventions in which Americans have used al-Qaeda as a resource to increase their influence, for example Azerbaijan in 1993. There a pro-Moscow president was ousted after large numbers of Arab and other foreign mujahedin veterans were secretly imported from Afghanistan, on an airline hastily organized by three former veterans of the CIA’s airline Air America. (The three, all once detailed from the Pentagon to the CIA, were Richard Secord, Harry Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn.)2 This was an ad hoc marriage of convenience: the mujahedin got to defend Muslims against Russian influence in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, while the Americans got a new president who opened up the oilfields of Baku to western oil companies.

The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new. It dates back to at least 1953, when the CIA recruited right-wing mullahs to overthrow Prime Minister Mossadeq in Iran, and also began to cooperate with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.3 But in Libya in 2011 we see a more complex marriage of convenience between US and al-Qaeda elements: one which repeats a pattern seen in Bosnia in 1992-95, and Kosovo in 1997-98. In those countries America responded to a local conflict in the name of a humanitarian intervention to restrain the side committing atrocities. But in all three cases both sides committed atrocities, and American intervention in fact favored the side allied with al-Qaeda.

The cause of intervention was fostered in all three cases by blatant manipulation and falsification of the facts. What a historian has noted of the Bosnian conflict was true also of Kosovo and is being echoed today in Libya: though attacks were “perpetrated by Serbs and Muslims alike,” the pattern in western media was “that killings of Muslims were newsworthy, while the deaths of non-Muslims were not.”4 Reports of mass rapes in the thousands proved to be wildly exaggerated: a French journalist “uncovered only four women willing to back up the story.”5 Meanwhile in 1994 the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL) traveled to Bosnia and fervently endorsed the case for intervention in Bosnia; in 2011 February BHL traveled to Benghazi and reprised his interventionist role for Libya.6

In all of the countries mentioned above, furthermore, there are signs that some American and/or western intelligence groups were collaborating with al-Qaeda elements from the outset of conflict, before the atrocities cited as a reason for intervention.. This suggests that there were deeper reasons for America’s interventions including the desire of western oil companies to exploit the petroleum reserves of Libya (as in Iraq) without having to deal with a troublesome and powerful strong man, or their desire to create a strategic oil pipeline across the Balkans (in Kosovo).7

That the U.S. would support al-Qaeda in terrorist atrocities runs wholly counter to impressions created by the U.S. media. Yet this on-going unholy alliance resurrects and builds on the alliance underlying Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1978-79 strategy of provocation in Afghanistan, at a time when he was President Carter’s National Security Adviser.

The Shah (left), Brzezinski (right), Carter (second right)

In those years Brzezinski did not hesitate to play the terrorist card against the Soviet Union: he reinforced the efforts of the SAVAK (the Shah of Iran’s intelligence service) to work with the Islamist antecedents of al-Qaeda to destabilize Afghanistan, in a way which soon led to a Soviet invasion of that country.8 At the time, as he later boasted, Brzezinski told Carter, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.”9

CIA Director William Casey continued this strategy of using terrorists against the USSR in Afghanistan. At first the CIA channeled aid through the Pakistani ISI (Interservices Intelligence Service) to their client Afghan extremists like Gulbeddin Hekmatyar (today one of America’s enemies in Afghanistan). But in 1986, “Casey committed CIA support to a long-standing ISI initiative to recruit radical Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan and fight with the Afghan Mujaheddin.”10 CIA aid now reached their support Office of Services in Peshawar, headed by a Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam, and by Osama bin Laden. The al-Kifah Center, a U.S. recruitment office for their so-called Arab-Afghan foreign legion (the future al Qaeda), was set up in the al-Farook mosque in Brooklyn.11

It is important to recall Brzezinski’s and Casey’s use of terrorists today. For in Libya, as earlier in Kosovo and Bosnia, there are alarming signs that America has continued to underwrite Islamist terrorism as a means to dismantle socialist or quasi-socialist nations not previously in its orbit: first the USSR, then Yugoslavia, today Libya. As I have written elsewhere, Gaddafi was using the wealth of Libya, the only Mediterranean nation still armed by Russia and independent of the NATO orbit, to impose more and more difficult terms for western oil companies, and to make the whole of Africa more independent of Europe and America.12

Support for the mujahedin included collusion in law-breaking, at a heavy cost. In the second part of this essay, I will show how government protection of key figures in the Brooklyn al-Kifah Center left some of them free, even after they were known to have committed crimes, to engage in further terrorist acts in the United States -- such as the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Libya

The NATO intervention in Libya has been presented as a humanitarian campaign. But it is not: both factions have been committing atrocities. Thanks in part to the efforts of the well-connected p.r. firm the Harbour Group, working on behalf of the Benghazi opposition’s National Transitional Council [NTC], Americans have heard many more press accounts of atrocities by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya than by the Benghazi opposition.13 But in fact, as the London Daily Telegraph reported,

Under rebel control, Benghazi residents are terrorized, many "too frightened to drive through the dark streets at night, fearing a shakedown or worse at the proliferating checkpoints."

Moreover, about 1.5 million black African migrant workers feel trapped under suspicion of supporting the wrong side. Numbers of them have been attacked, some hunted down, dragged from apartments, beaten and killed. So-called "revolutionaries" and "freedom fighters" are, in fact, rampaging gunmen committing atrocities airbrushed from mainstream reports, unwilling to reveal the new Libya if Gaddafi is deposed.14

Thomas Mountain concurs that “Since the rebellion in Benghazi broke out several hundred Sudanese, Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean guest workers have been robbed and murdered by racist rebel militias, a fact well hidden by the international media.”15 Such reports have continued. Recently, Human Rights Watch accused the rebels of killing Gaddafi supporters who were just civilians and looting, burning and ransacking pro-Gaddafi supporters' houses and areas.16

Benghazi group’s Gaddafi effigy, May 22, 2011

Americans and Europeans are still less likely to learn from their media that among the groups in the Benghazi transitional coalition, certainly the most battle-seasoned, are veterans of the Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG). The importance of the LIFG contingent in the TNC has been downplayed in a recent issue of the International Business Times:

The LIFG is a radical Islamic group which has been fighting small scale guerrilla warfare against Gaddafi for almost a decade. Much of the LIFG leadership came from soldiers who fought against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, as part of the Mujahedeen. Since the beginning of the uprising reports said that some of the LIFG has joined the TNC rebel movement on the ground, and many accused the fighters of having links to Al-Qaeda, which the LIFG has since denied.

Previously however, the LIFG had stated that its ultimate goal is to install an Islamic state inside Libya, which given the fact that many of its fighters are now on the side of the TNC is quite worrying. However as the LIFG is reported to have a fighting force of no more than a few thousand men, it is believed it will not be able to cause much trouble within the opposition.17

It remains to be seen whether a victorious TNC would be able to contain the Islamist aspirations of the ruthless jihadist veterans in their ranks.

There are those who fear that, from their years of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the battle-hardened LIFG, although probably not dominant in the Benghazi coalition today, will come to enjoy more influence if Benghazi ever gets to distribute the spoils of victory. In February 2004, then-Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that "one of the most immediate threats [to U.S. security in Iraq] is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups that have benefited from al-Qaida links. They include ... the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group."18 In 2007 a West Point study reported on “the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda on November 3, 2007."19 It is possible that the West Point study exaggerated the LIFG-Al Qaeda connection. What matters is that eBritain and the US were well aware of the West Point assessment, yet their special forces nevertheless secretly backed the Benghazi TNC, even before the launch of NATO air support:

The bombing of the country came as it was revealed that hundreds of British special forces troops have been deployed deep inside Libya targeting Colonel Gaddafi’s forces – and more are on standby….

In total it is understood that just under 250 UK special forces soldiers and their support have been in Libya since before the launch of air strikes to enforce the no-fly zone against Gaddafi’s forces.20

There are also reports that U.S. Special Forces were also sent into Libya on February 23 and 24, 2011, almost a month before the commencement of NATO bombing.21

UK support for the fundamentalist LIFG was in fact at least a decade old:

Fierce clashes between [Qadhafi's] security forces and Islamist guerrillas erupted in Benghazi in September 1995, leaving dozens killed on both sides. After weeks of intense fighting, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) formally declared its existence in a communiqué calling Qadhafi's government "an apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty" and declaring its overthrow to be "the foremost duty after faith in God." This and future LIFG communiqués were issued by Libyan Afghans who had been granted political asylum in Britain.... The involvement of the British government in the LIFG campaign against Qadhafi remains the subject of immense controversy. LIFG's next big operation, a failed attempt to assassinate Qadhafi in February 1996 that killed several of his bodyguards, was later said to have been financed by British intelligence to the tune of $160,000, according to ex-MI5 officer David Shayler.22

David Shayler’s detailed account has been challenged, but many other sources reveal that UK support for Libyan jihadists long antedates the present conflict.23

Even more ominous for the future than the nationalistic LIFG may be the fighters from the more internationalist Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) who have seized the opportunity presented by the war to enter the conflict, and equip themselves from Gaddafi’s looted armories.24 AQIM presents a special concern because of recent reports that, like other al Qaeda associates from Afghanistan to Kosovo, it is increasingly financed by payoffs from regional drug traffickers.25

In short, the NATO campaign in Libya is in support of a coalition in which the future status of present and former al-Qaeda allies is likely to be strengthened.26 And western forces have been secretly supporting them from the outset.

New York Times map of May 15 with an interpretation of territorial division of Libya

The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Bosnia

Similarly, Clinton’s interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo were presented as humanitarian. But both sides had committed atrocities in those conflicts; Like the western media, Washington downplayed the Muslim atrocities because of its other interests.

Most Americans are aware that Clinton dispatched U.S. forces to Bosnia to enforce the Dayton peace accords after a well-publicized Serbian atrocity: the massacre of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica. Thanks to a vigorous campaign by the p.r. firm Ruder Finn, Americans heard a great deal about the Srebrenica massacre, but far less about the beheadings and other atrocities by Muslims that preceded and helped account for it.

A major reason for the Serb attack on Srebrenica was to deal with the armed attacks mounted from that base on nearby villages: “intelligence sources said it was that harassment which precipitated the Serb attack on the 1,500 Muslim defenders inside the enclave.”27 General Philippe Morillon, commander of the UN troops in Bosnia from 1992 to 1993, testified to the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) that Muslim forces based in Srebrenica had “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region”28 According to Prof. John Schindler,

Between May and December 1992, Muslim forces repeatedly attacked Serb villages around Srebrenica, killing and torturing civilians; some were mutilated and burned alive. Even pro-Sarajevo accounts concede that Muslim forces in Srebrenica…murdered over 1,300 Serbs…and had “ethnically cleansed a vast area.29

Former U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith later admitted in an interview that the U.S. administration was aware of “small numbers of atrocities” being committed by the foreign mujahedin in Bosnia, but dismissed the atrocities as “in the scheme of things not a big issue.”30

Other sources reveal that Washington gave a tacit green light to Croatia’s arming and augmentation of the Muslim presence in Srebrenica.31 Soon C-130 Hercules planes. some but not all of them Iranian, were dropping arms to the Muslims, in violation of the international arms embargo which the U.S. officially respected. More Arab-Afghan mujahedin arrived as well. Many of the airdrops and some of the mujahedin were at Tuzla, 70 kilometers from Srebrenica.32

According to The Spectator (London), the Pentagon was using other countries such as Turkey and Iran in this flow of arms and warriors:

From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon assisted with the movement of thousands of Mujahideen and other Islamic elements from Central Asia into Europe, to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs. …. As part of the Dutch government’s inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University compiled a report entitled ‘Intelligence and the War in Bosnia’, published in April 2002. In it he details the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamic groups from the Middle East, and their efforts to assist Bosnia’s Muslims. By 1993, there was a vast amount of weapons-smuggling through Croatia to the Muslims, organised by ‘clandestine agencies’ of the USA, Turkey and Iran, in association with a range of Islamic groups that included Afghan Mujahideen and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia were airlifted from the Middle East to Bosnia — airlifts with which, Wiebes points out, the USA was ‘very closely involved’.33

Cees Wiebes’ detailed account, based on years of research, documents both the case for American responsibility and the vigorous American denials of it:

At 17.45 on 10 February 1995, the Norwegian Captain Ivan Moldestad, a Norwegian helicopter detachment (NorAir) pilot, stood in the doorway of his temporary accommodation just outside Tuzla. It was dark, and suddenly he heard the sound of the propellers of an approaching transport aircraft; it was unmistakably a four engine Hercules C-130. Moldestad noticed that the Hercules was being escorted by two jet fighters, but could not tell their precise type in the darkness. There were other sightings of this secretive night-time flight to Tuzla Air Base (TAB). A sentry who was on guard duty outside the Norwegian medical UN unit in Tuzla also heard and saw the lights of the Hercules and the accompanying jet fighters. Other UN observers, making use of night vision equipment, also saw the cargo aircraft and the fighter planes concerned. The reports were immediately forwarded to the NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Vicenza and the UNPF Deny Flight Cell in Naples. When Moldestad phoned Vicenza, he was told that there was nothing in the air that night, and that he must be mistaken. When Moldestad persisted, the connection was broken.

The secretive C-130 cargo aircraft flights and night-time arms drops on Tuzla caused great agitation within UNPROFOR and the international community in February and March 1995. When asked, a British general responded with great certainty to the question of the origin of the secret supplies via TAB: ‘They were American arms deliveries. No doubt about that. And American private companies were involved in these deliveries.’ This was no surprising answer, because this general had access to intelligence gathered by a unit of the British Special Air Services (SAS) in Tuzla. The aircraft had come within range of this unit’s special night vision equipment, and the British saw them land. It was a confirmation that a clandestine American operation had taken place in which arms, ammunition and military communication equipment were supplied to the ABiH. These night-time operations led to much consternation within the UN and NATO, and were the subject of countless speculations.34

Wiebes reports the possibility that the C-130s, some of which were said to have taken off from a US Air Force base in Germany, were actually controlled by Turkish authorities.35 But U.S. involvement was detected in the elaborate cover-up, from the fact that US AWACS aircraft, which should have provided a record of the secret flights, were either withdrawn from duty at the relevant times, or manned with US crews.36

A summary of Wiebes’ exhaustive report was published in the Guardian:

The Dutch report reveals how the Pentagon formed a secret alliance with Islamist groups in an Iran-Contra-style operation.

US, Turkish and Iranian intelligence groups worked with the Islamists in what the Dutch report calls the "Croatian pipeline". Arms bought by Iran and Turkey and financed by Saudi Arabia were flown into Croatia initially by the official Iranian airline, Iran Air, and later in a fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The report says that mojahedin fighters were also flown in, and that the US was "very closely involved" in the operation which was in flagrant breach of the embargo. British secret services obtained documents proving that Iran also arranged deliveries of arms directly to Bosnia, it says.

The operation was promoted by the Pentagon, rather than the CIA, which was cautious about using Islamist groups as a conduit for arms, and about breaching the embargo. When the CIA tried to place its own people on the ground in Bosnia, the agents were threatened by the mojahedin fighters and the Iranians who were training them.

The UN relied on American intelligence to monitor the embargo, a dependency which allowed Washington to manipulate it at will.37

Meanwhile the Al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, which in the 1980s had supported the “Arab-Afghans” fighting in Afghanistan, turned its attentions to Bosnia.

Al-Kifah’s English-language newsletter Al-Hussam (The Sword) also began publishing regular updates on jihad action in Bosnia….Under the control of the minions of Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman, the newsletter aggressively incited sympathetic Muslims to join the jihad in Bosnia and Afghanistan themselves….The Al-Kifah Bosnian branch office in Zagreb, Croatia, housed in a modern, two-story building, was evidently in close communication with the organizational headquarters in New York. The deputy director of the Zagreb office, Hassan Hakim, admitted to receiving all orders and funding directly from the main United States office of Al-Kifah on Atlantic Avenue controlled by Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman.38

One of the trainers at al-Kifah, Rodney Hampton-El, assisted in this support program, recruiting warriors from U.S. Army bases like Fort Belvoir, and also training them to be fighters in New Jersey.39 In 1995 Hampton-El was tried and convicted for his role (along with al-Kifah leader Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman) in the plot to blow up New York landmarks. At the trial Hampton-El testified how he was personally given thousands of dollars for this project by Saudi Crown Prince Faisal in the Washington Saudi Embassy.40

About this time, Ayman al-Zawahiri, today the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley, where he was hosted by Ali Mohamed, a U.S. double agent and veteran of U.S. Army Special Forces who had been the top trainer at the Al-Kifah mosque.41 Almost certainly al-Zawahiri’s fund-raising was in support of the mujahedin in Bosnia, reportedly his chief concern at the time. (“The Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that, in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda's second-in-command, to direct his operations in the Balkans.”)42

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Wiebes’ detailed report and the news stories based on it corroborated earlier charges made in 1997 by Sir Alfred Sherman, top adviser to Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of the influential rightwing nationalist Centre for Policy Studies, that “The U.S. encouraged and facilitated the dispatch of arms to the Moslems via Iran and Eastern Europe -- a fact which was denied in Washington at the time in face of overwhelming evidence.”43 This was part of his case that

The war in Bosnia was America's war in every sense of the word. The US administration helped start it, kept it going, and prevented its early end. Indeed all the indications are that it intends to continue the war in the near future, as soon as its Moslem proteges are fully armed and trained.

Specifically, Sherman charged that in 1992 Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger had instructed Warren Zimmerman, U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, to persuade Bosnian President Izetbegovic to renege on his agreement to preserve Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian unity, and instead accept American aid for an independent Bosnian state.44

The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Kosovo

This raises the disturbing question: were some Americans willing to ignore the atrocities of the al-Kifah mujahideen in Bosnia in exchange for mujahideen assistance in NATO’s successive wars dismantling Yugoslavia, the last surviving socialist republic in Europe? One thing is clear: Sir Alfred Sherman’s prediction in 1997 that America “intends to continue the war in the near future” soon proved accurate, when in 1999 American support for al-Qaeda’s allies in Kosovo, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), led to a controversial NATO bombing campaign.

As was widely reported at the time, the KLA was supported both by the networks of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, and also by the traffic in Afghan heroin:

Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden -- who is wanted in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans.45

According to former DEA agent Michael Levine, the decision of Clinton to back the KLA dismayed his DEA contacts who knew it to be a major drug-trafficking organization.46 As Ralf Mutschke of Interpol testified to Congress,

In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden. Another link to bin Laden is the fact that the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Djihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict. [This is almost certainly Zaiman or Mohammed al-Zawahiri, one of the brothers of Ayman al-Zawahiri.] In 1998, the KLA was described as a key player in the drugs for arms business in 1998, "helping to transport 2 billion USD worth of drugs annually into Western Europe". The KLA and other Albanian groups seem to utilize a sophisticated network of accounts and companies to process funds. In 1998, Germany froze two bank accounts belonging to the "United Kosova" organization after it had been discovered that several hundred thousand dollars had been deposited into those accounts by a convicted Kosovar Albanian drug trafficker.47

According to the London Sunday Times, the KLA’s background did not deter the US from training and strengthening it:

American intelligence agents have admitted they helped to train the Kosovo Liberation Army before Nato's bombing of Yugoslavia. The disclosure angered some European diplomats, who said this had undermined moves for a political solution to the conflict between Serbs and Albanians. Central Intelligence Agency officers were ceasefire monitors in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, developing ties with the KLA and giving American military training manuals and field advice on fighting the Yugoslav army and Serbian police.

When the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which co-ordinated the monitoring, left Kosovo a week before airstrikes began a year ago, many of its satellite telephones and global positioning systems were secretly handed to the KLA, ensuring that guerrilla commanders could stay in touch with Nato and Washington. Several KLA leaders had the mobile phone number of General Wesley Clark, the Nato commander.48

According to former U.S. Army Captain David Hackworth, later Newsweek's contributing editor for defense, former US military officers in the private U.S. military contractor MPRI (Military Professional Resources Incorporated) not only trained KLA personnel, but even fought alongside them.49 This reinforced earlier reports that MPRI personnel had also been involved in training Croatians at the time of the illicit Croatian arms pipeline to Bosnia.50

After Kosovo, Sherman repeated his warnings against “expanding American hegemony”,

exercised through NATO with varying degrees of partnership and subordination of other players. …. The process commenced with the deliberate break-up of Yugoslavia, led by Germany and acquiesced in by the other European Union members and the United States (1991). It progressed with sanctions against Serbia for attempting to help the western Serbs (1992). In Bosnia America's early involvement sparked off civil war (the Zimmerman Visit to Izetbegovic, in the aftermath of the Lisbon Agreement), and it eventually matured into the bombing campaign of 1999 and the occupation of Kosovo.51

Others suspected that America’s involvement was motivated by its desire to see a new Trans-Balkan pipeline and a new U.S. military base in the Balkans to defend it. Although such critics were initially ridiculed, both predictions soon proved true. The U.S.-registered AMBO corporation, headed by former BP executive Ted Ferguson, began construction of a pipeline from Albania to Macedonia in 2007.52 And nearby is a semi-permanent U.S. Army base, Camp Bondsteel, that can hold up to 7000 soldiers.

In 2007, President George W. Bush created a new United States Africa Command, U.S. AFRICOM. But its HQ at present is in Stuttgart, Germany. This has led to speculation on the Internet that America has its eyes on Libya’s international airport, which the U.S. Air Force had operated as Wheelus Air Force Base until its ouster in 1970.

II. From the First WTC Bombing to 9/11: The Domestic U.S. Fallout from Collusion with Terrorists

The fact that Americans have had repeated recourse to al-Qaeda Islamists as assets in their expansive projects does not constitute proof that there is any long-term systematic strategy to do so, still less that there is a secret alliance.

I believe rather that America is suffering from a malignant condition of military power run amok – power which, like a malignant cancer, tends to reproduce itself at times in ways counterproductive to larger goals. Those who are appointed to manage this vast power become inured to using any available assets, in order to sustain a sociodynamic of global intervention that they are, ironically, powerless to challenge or turn around. The few dissenters who try to do so are predictably sidelined or even ejected from the heights of power, as not being “on the team.”

Those in Washington who decided to assist terrorists and drug traffickers seem not to have considered such “externalities” as the domestic consequences from official dealings with criminal terrorist networks that are global in scope. Yet the consequences were and are real, for the Islamist terrorists that were protected by the US in their subversion of order in Kosovo and other countries were soon being protected inside the US as well. As former DEA agent Michael Levine reported of the KLA-linked drug networks, “These guys have a network that's active on the streets of this country.... They're the worst elements of society that you can imagine, and now, according to my sources in drug enforcement, they're politically protected.”53

In other words, Kosovars were now enjoying the de facto protection in their U.S. drug trafficking that had earlier been enjoyed by the CIA’s Chinese, Cuban, Italian, Thai, and other ethnic assets dating from the 1940s.54

Mother Jones reported in 2000, after the NATO bombing in support of the KLA that Afghan heroin, much of it distributed by Kosovar Albanians, now accounted for almost 20 percent of the heroin seized in America -- nearly double the percentage taken four years earlier.55 Meanwhile in Europe, it was estimated that “Kosovo Albanians control 40% of Europe's heroin.”56 In addition there is a near universal consensus that the outcome of the war in Bosnia left al-Qaeda’s jihadists much more strongly entrenched in the Balkans than they had been earlier. In the words of Professor John Schindler, Bosnia, “the most pro-Western society in the umma [Muslim world],” was “converted into a Jihadistan through domestic deceit, violent conflict, and misguided international intervention.”57

It is too soon to predict with confidence what will be the domestic fallout or “blowback” from NATO’s empowerment of Islamists by creating chaos in Libya. But the domestic consequences of similar U.S. interventions in the past are indisputable, and have contributed to major acts of terrorism in this country.

American protection for the Al-Kifah mujahedin support base in Brooklyn led to interference in domestic U.S. law enforcement. This enabled mujahedin recruits at al-Kifah to plot and/or engage in a number of domestic and foreign terrorist attacks on America. These attacks include the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the so-called “New York landmarks plot” of 1995, and the Embassy attacks of 1998 in Kenya and Tanzania. Involved in all of these events were terrorists who should have been rounded up earlier because of crimes already committed, but were allowed to stay free.

Central to all of these attacks was the role of Ali Mohamed, the former U.S. Special Forces double agent at al-Kifah, and his trainees. Ali Mohamed, despite being on a State Department Watch List, had come to America around 1984, on what an FBI consultant has called “a visa program controlled by the CIA.”58 So did the “blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, the leader of al-Kifah; Rahman was issued two visas, one of them “by a CIA officer working undercover in the consular section of the American embassy in Sudan.”59

Ali Mohamed trained al-Kifah recruits in guerrilla tactics near Brooklyn. This operation was considered so sensitive that the New York police and the FBI later protected two of the recruits from arrest, when they murdered the Jewish extremist Meir Kahane. Instead, the New York Police called the third assassin (El Sayyid Nosair) a “lone deranged gunman,” and released the other two (Mahmoud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh) from detention. This enabled Abouhalima and Salameh, along with another Ali Mohamed trainee (Nidal Ayyad) to take part three years later in the first (1993) bombing of the World Trade Center.60

Prosecutors protected Ali Mohamed again in the 1994-95 “Landmarks” trial, when Omar Abdul Rahman and some of Mohamed’s trainees were convicted of conspiring to blow up New York buildings. In that case the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, named Ali Mohamed as an unindicted co-conspirator, yet allowed him to remain free. When the defense issued a subpoena for Mohamed to appear in court, the prosecutor intervened to avoid Mohamed’s having to testify.61

Ali Mohamed was well aware of his protected status, and used it in early 1993 to obtain his release when detained by the RCMP at Vancouver Airport. As this episode has so ignored in the US press, I will quote the account of it in Canada’s premier newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail:

The RCMP had their hands on one of the key insiders of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network, but he was released after he had Mounties call his handler at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ali Mohamed, a Californian of Egyptian origin who is believed to be the highest ranking al-Qaeda member to have landed in Canada, was working with U.S. counterterrorist agents, playing a double or triple game, when he was questioned in 1993. Mr. Mohamed now is in a U.S. prison.

"The people of the RCMP told me by midnight that I can go now," Mr. Mohamed — who confessed in the United States to being a close bin Laden associate — wrote at the time in an affidavit shown Wednesday to The Globe and Mail.

The incident happened after customs agents at Vancouver International Airport detained Essam Marzouk, an Egyptian who had arrived from Damascus via Frankfurt, after they found him carrying two forged Saudi passports.

Mr. Mohamed, who was waiting to pick him up at the airport, inquired of the police about his friend's detention. That made the RCMP curious about Mr. Mohamed, but he dispelled their suspicions by telling them he was a collaborator with the FBI.62

The Globe and Mail story makes it clear that in 1993 Mohamed already had a handler at the FBI, to whom the RCMP deferred. Patrick Fitzgerald, in his statement to the 9/11 Commission, gave a quite different story: that Mohamed, after returning from Nairobi in 1994, applied for a job “as an FBI translator.”63 The difference is vital: because the FBI told the RCMP to release Mohamed, he was then able to travel to Nairobi and plan for bombing the U.S. Embassy there.

According to author Peter Lance, by 2007 Fitzgerald had enough evidence to arrest and indict Mohamed, but did not. Instead he interviewed Mohamed in California, along with an FBI agent, Jack Cloonan. After the interview Fitzgerald chose not to arrest Mohamed, but instead to tap his phone and bug his computer. Lance asks a very relevant question: did Fitzgerald fear that ”any indictment of al Qaeda’s chief spy would rip the lid off years of gross negligence by three of America’s top intelligence agencies”?64

Ali Mohamed booking photo

One month after the Embassy bombings, Ali Mohamed was finally arrested, on September 10, 1998. Yet when Fitzgerald handed down thirteen indictments two months later, Mohamed’s name was not among them. Instead Fitzgerald again allowed him to avoid cross-examination in court by accepting a plea bargain, the terms of which are still partly unknown. Specifically we do not know the term of Mohamed’s sentence: that page of his court appearance transcript (p. 17) is filed under seal.65

As part of the plea bargain, Mohamed told the court that at the personal request of bin Laden, he did surveillance on the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, “took pictures, drew diagrams, and wrote a report” which he personally delivered to bin Laden in the Sudan.66 Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor who negotiated the plea bargain, testified at length about Mohamed to the 9/11 Commission, who concluded in their Report (p. 68) that Mohamed “led” the embassy bombing operation. Ironically, the Embassy bombing is the official reason today why Zawahiri (like bin Laden before him) is wanted by the FBI, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

But the American public has been denied the right to learn about Ali Mohamed’s involvement in other terrorist events. Particularly relevant would be his involvement in 9/11. As his FBI handler Cloonan later reported, Mohamed explained to him that he personally trained the accused hijackers in how to seize planes:

He [had] conducted training for al Qaeda on how to hijack a plane. He ran practical exercises in Pakistan and he said, “This is how you get a box cutter on board. You take the knife, you remove the blade and you wrap it in [word blacked out] and put it in your carry-on luggage.” They’d read the FAA regulations. They knew four inches wouldn’t go through. “This is how you position yourself,” he said. “I taught people how to sit in first class. You sit here and some sit here.” He wrote the whole thing out.67


At present America is in the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, brought on in large part by its multiple wars. Nevertheless it is also on the point of several further interventions: in Yemen, Somalia, possibly Syria or Iran (where the CIA is said to be in contact with the drug-trafficking al-Qaeda offshoot Jundallah),68 and most assuredly in Libya.

Only the American public can stop them. But in order for the people to rise up and cry Stop! there must first be a better understanding of the dark alliances underlying America’s alleged humanitarian interventions.

This awareness may increase when Americans finally realize that there is domestic blowback from assisting terrorists as well. The long elaborate dance between Mohamed and his Justice Department overseers makes it clear that the handling of terrorists for corrupt purposes corrupts the handlers as well as the terrorists. Eventually both the handlers and the handled become in effect co-conspirators, with secrets about their collusion both parties need to conceal.

Until the public takes notice, that concealment of collusion will continue. And as long as it continues, we will continue to be denied the truth about what collusions underlay 9/11.

Worse, we are likely to see more terrorist attacks, at home as well as abroad, along with more illegal, costly, and unnecessary wars.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11, and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan. His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, is here.

Recommended citation: Peter Dale Scott, "Bosnia, Kosovo, and Now Libya: The Human Costs of Washington’s On-Going Collusion with Terrorists," The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 1, August 1, 2011.

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Peter Dale Scott, Rape in Libya: America’s recent major wars have all been accompanied by memorable falsehoods

Peter Dale Scott, The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System

Peter Dale Scott, Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?

Herbert P. Bix, The Middle East Revolutions in Historical Perspective: Egypt, Occupied Palestine, and the United States


1 Cf. Telegraph (London), “Defence Cuts in Doubt over Libya, Says Military Adviser,“ April 7, 2011, “The Libyan crisis has raised doubts about the Coalition’s defence review and could force ministers to reverse cuts including the scrapping of Britain’s Harrier jump jets, a senior military adviser has said,” (link).

2 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 163-65.

3 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 44-45; citing Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game, 109-11; Saïd Aburish, A Brutal Friendship, 60-61; Miles Copeland, The Game Player, 149-54. Cf. Ian Johnson, “Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood,” New York Review of Books, February 5, 2011.

4 John R. Schindler, Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa’ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad, 71, 81. According to Schindler, “CNN repeatedly showed images of ‘dead Muslims’ killed by Serbs that were actually Serbs murdered by Muslims” (92).

5 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 91.

6 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 179-80; Christian Science Monitor, March 28, 2011. In 1994 BHL presented Bosnian leader Izetbegovich to French President Mitterand; in 2011 BHL arranged for three Benghazi leaders to meet French President Sarkozy. Cf. “Libyan rebels will recognise Israel, Bernard-Henri Lévy tells Netanyahu,” Radio France Internationale, June 2, 2011, “Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) is ready to recognise Israel, according to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who says he has passed the message on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” (link).

7 For Big Oil’s complaints with Gaddafi, see Peter Dale Scott, "The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System", Asian-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 27, 2011.

8 Scott, Road to 9/11, 77; citing Diego Cordovez and Selig S. Harrison, Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal (New York: Oxford University Press, 16), 16.

9 Scott, Road to 9/11, 72-75; quoting from "Les Révélations d'un Ancien Conseilleur de Carter: ‘Oui, la CIA est Entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes...’" Le Nouvel Observateur [Paris], January 15-21, 1998: “B[rzezinski]: [On Jul 3, 1979] I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.… Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?  B: What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

10 Ahmed Rashid, Taliban, 129. According to the Spanish author Robert Montoya, the idea originated in the elite Safari Club that had been created by French intelligence chief Alexandre de Marenches in 1976, bringing together other intelligence chiefs such as General Akhtar Abdur Rahman of ISI in Pakistan and Kamal Adham of Saudi Arabia (Roberto Montoya, El Mundo [Madrid], February 16, 2003).

11 Scott, Road to 9/11, 139-40; citing Steven Emerson, American Jihad, 131-32.

12 Peter Dale Scott, "The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System", Asian-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 27, 2011.

13 “PR firm helps Libyan rebels to campaign for support from US,” The, April 12, 2011.

14 Rob Crilly, Daily Telegraph (London), March 23, 2011; quoted in Stephen Lendman, “Planned Regime Change in Libya,” SteveLendmanBlog, March 28, 2011. Cf. Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011.

15 Morris Herman, “Rebel Militias Include the Human Traffickers of Benghazi,” Foreign Policy Journal, July 28, 2011, quoting Thomas C. Mountain.

16 Anissa Haddadi, “Does the Transitional Council Really Represent Libyan Democracy and Opposition to Gaddafi?” International Business Times, July 20, 2011.

17 Haddadi, “Does the Transitional Council Really Represent Libyan Democracy and Opposition to Gaddafi?” International Business Times, July 20, 2011.

18 Center for Defense Information, “In the Spotlight: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG),” January 18, 2005. That the LIFG is pursuing its own goals may explain the rebel seizure of anti-air force missiles from captured Gaddafi armories: these missiles, useless against Gaddafi (who no longer has an air force) are apparently being shipped out of Libya for sale or use elsewhere (New York Times, July 15, 2011).

19 December 2007 West Point Study, quoted in Webster Tarpley, “The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq,”, March 24, 2011.

20 Daily Mail (London), March 25, 2001, link; cited in Lendman; “Planned Regime Change in Libya.”

21 Akhtar Jamal, “US UK, French forces land in Libya,” Pakistan Observer, February 2011.

22 Gary Gambill, "The Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Jamestown Foundation," Terrorism Monitor, May 5, 2005; citing Al-Hayat (London), 20 October 1995 [“communiqué”]; "The Shayler affair: The spooks, the Colonel and the jailed whistle-blower," The Observer (London), 9 August 1998; Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, Ben Laden: La Verite interdite (Bin Ladin: The Forbidden Truth). Cf. also Annie Machon, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair (Book Guild Publishing, 2005) [Shayler].

23 E.g. Washington Post, October 7, 2001: “Over the years, some dissidents suspected by foreign governments of involvement in terrorist acts have been protected by the British government for one reason or another from deportation or extradition.... In the past, terrorism experts say, Britain benefited significantly from its willingness to extend at least conditional hospitality to a wide range of Arab dissidents and opposition figures .... Mustafa Alani, a terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies, a London think tank, said [Anas] al-Liby was probably left in legal limbo by the British government, allowing him to be used or discarded as circumstances permitted.”

24 “Sahelian Concern Deepens over Libya, AQIM,” Sahel Blog, May 2, 2011. According to the Los Angeles Times, AQIM vowed on February 24, 2011 to “do whatever we can” to help the rebel cause. (Ken Dilanian, “US Finds no Firm Al Qaeda Presence in Libya Rebellion,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011). Cf. “Libya rebels not anti-West, but Qaeda a worry-group,” Reuters, March 29, 2011; “The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” Strategic Forum, National Defense University; CNN World, February 25, 2011.

25 Andre Lesage, “The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” Strategic Forum, National Defense University; CNN World, February 25, 2011, 6. Cf. “Rogue planes flying drugs across Atlantic; Al-Qaeda Links;,” National Post, January 14, 2014; “Latin drug lords find allies in African Islamists,” Washington Times, November 17, 2009.

26 A story in the New York Times (“Exiled Islamists Watch Rebellion Unfold at Home,” July 19, 2011) reports that KIFG members of the TNC “have renounced Al Qaeda.” But it supplies no independent evidence that their politics have changed.

27 Michael Evans, "Muslim soldiers 'failed to defend town from Serbs,'" Times (London), July 14, 1995.

28 Richard Palmer. “What Really Happened in Bosnia,”, July 12, 2011.

29 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 87; quoting from Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both, Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime, 79.

30 John Rosenthal, “The Other Crimes of Bosnia,”, June 2, 2011; summarizing interview of Galbraith by J.M. Berger, “Exclusive: U.S. Policy on Bosnia.Arms Trafficking.”

31 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 182-83; “Exclusive: U.S. Policy on Bosnia Arms Trafficking”; Cees Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992 1995 (Munster: LIT Verlag, 2003), 166-69.

32 “Allies and Lies,” BBC OnLine, June 22, 2001; Wiebes, Intelligence and the War, 183. Also present at Tuzla was an American who introduced himself as “Major Guy Sands,” and who claimed to have been a ten-year veteran of the Vietnam War. Cf. a Swedish report from Tuzla, of an American there who made no secret of his Special Forces background (Brendan O'Shea, Crisis at Bihac: Bosnia’s Bloody Battlefield [Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1998], p. 159). For reports of foreign mujahedin in or near Tuzla, see Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 74, 155, 164.

33 Brendan O’Neill, “How We Trained al-Qa’eda,” Spectator (London), September 13, 2003.

34 Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, 177.

35 Wiebes, Intelligence and the War, 187, 196; citing Cameron Spence, All Necessary Measures, 99-104.

36 Wiebes, Intelligence and the War, 184, 197.

37 “US used Islamists to arm Bosnians,” Guardian, April 22, 2002. Contrast the very different claim by Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies, 140: “The U.S. also blocked Iranian and al Qaeda influence in the country [Bosnia].”

38 Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 39-41; citing Steve Coll and Steve LeVine, “Global Network Provides Money, Haven,” Washington Post, August 3, 1993. Cf. Schindler, Unholy Terror, 121-22.

39 Scott, Road to 9/11, 149-50; Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 45, 73-75.

40 Scott, Road to 9/11, 149.

41 Lawrence Wright: “Zawahiri decided to look for money in the world center of venture capitalism-Silicon Valley. He had been to America once before, in 1989, when he paid a recruiting visit to the mujahideen's Services Bureau branch office in Brooklyn. According to the F.B.I., he returned in the spring of 1993, this time to Santa Clara, California, where he was greeted by Ali Mohamed, the double agent.” For more about Ali Mohamed, and specifically how the FBI once told the RCMP not to detain him (this freeing Mohamed to plan the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya), see Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11, 147-60.

42 Ottawa Citizen, December 15, 2001.

43 Sir Alfred Sherman, Speech at International Conference, America’s Intervention in the Balkans, February 28-March 2, 1997. html

44 Cf. Schindler, Unholy Terror, 74: Izetbegovic “decided to scrap the initiative, with the apparent encouragement of Warren Zimmermann [sic].” (Cf. 109-10). Zimmerman has denied that he so persuaded Izetbegovic, writing in a letter to the New York Times “that he had urged Izetbegovic to ‘stick by his commitments,’” (Steven L. Burg and Paul Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 114).

45 Washington Times, May 4, 1999. Frank Viviano, “Drugs Paying for Conflict in Europe,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 1994: “Narcotics smuggling has become a prime source of financing for civil wars already under way -- or rapidly brewing -- in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, according to a report issued here this week. “The report, by the Paris-based Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues, or Geopolitical Observatory of Drugs, identifies belligerents in the former Yugoslav republics and Turkey as key players in the region's accelerating drugs-for-arms traffic. “Albanian nationalists in ethnically tense Macedonia and the Serbian province of Kosovo have built a vast heroin network, leading from the opium fields of Pakistan to black-market arms dealers in Switzerland, which transports up to $2 billion worth of the drug annually into the heart of Europe, the report says. More than 500 Kosovo or Macedonian Albanians are in prison in Switzerland for drug- or arms-trafficking offenses, and more than 1,000 others are under indictment.”

46 Michael Levine, New American, May 24, 1999; quoted in Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Truth, 41.

47 Ralf Mutschke, testimony to Committee on the Judiciary, December 13, 2000.

48 Sunday Times (London), March 12, 2000: “Agim Ceku, the KLA commander in the latter stages of the conflict, had established American contacts through his work in the Croatian army, which had been modernised with the help of Military Professional Resources Inc, an American company specialising in military training and procurement. This company's personnel were in Kosovo, along with others from a similar company, Dyncorps [sic], that helped in the American-backed programme for the Bosnian army.”

49 David Hackworth, “Wanted: Guns for Hire,”, July 9, 2001. Cf. James R. Davis, Fortune’s Warriors: Private Armies and the New World Order, 112; P.W. Singer, Corporate Warriors, 219.

50 Wiebes, Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992 – 1995, 66; Observer, November 5, 1995. J.M. Berger reports from declassified documents that MPRI’s contract with Bosnia was arranged via a private company headed by neocon Richard Perle: “Controversial neocon philosopher Richard Perle led an obscure nongovernmental organization tasked with hiring a private company to run the U.S. State Department's "Train and Equip" program in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1996.
Perle's group, the "Acquisition Support Institute," hired Military Professional Resources Inc., essentially a professional mercenary company nearly as controversial as Perle himself. It's not at all clear what or whom is responsible for the Institute, or why a "non-governmental, non-profit organization" would be responsible for selecting the recipient of a massive State Department contract on one of the most sensitive issues of the day.
Equipped with a collection of retired military officers, MPRI set itself up as a virtual extension of the U.S. government in both Croatia and Bosnia, as documented in an extensive set of Freedom of Information Act documents I will be publishing over the next several weeks.
MPRI operatives were given the run of the country -- receiving payments and arms from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Muslim countries, which underwrote operations to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
In many cases, these payments were brokered directly by the State Department. In some instances, funds and arms were routed into Bosnia without State's explicit approval but often with its knowledge, as documented in the newly declassified records. Unauthorized assistance appears to have come from Pakistan, UAE and Turkey, among others.” (Richard Perle, MPRI and Bosnian Arms Shipments,” Intelwire, February 7, 2007).

51 Sir Alfred Sherman, “The Empire for the New Millenium?” The Centre for Peace in Balkans, May 22, 2000.

52 Cf. the cynical comments of the Swiss analytical group Zeit-Fragen: (Current Concerns, “Where’s the 8th Corridor?” September/October 2001): “By creating a trouble spot in Kosovo the USA is able to control Albania and with it the planned AMBO pipeline…. The USA is showing a conspicuous interest in controlling these strategic transport corridor links in the Balkans. They prohibited a project scheduled to be constructed through Serbia, and they offered Rumania 100 million dollars to move the route of the planned SEEL pipeline (South Eastern European Line) further north, to Hungary. The Italian firm ENI had planned this pipeline project using existing pipeline infrastructure in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The USA bombarded the Yugoslavian section of this infrastructure with remarkable doggedness.”

53 Michael Levine, New American, May 24, 1999; quoted in Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Truth, 41.

54 For details, see Scott, American War Machine, 84, 123, 151, etc.; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 167.

55 Peter Klebnikov, “Heroin Heroes,” Mother Jones, January/February 2000. Clinton at the same time mounted a vigorous campaign against Colombian heroin, increasing the demand for Afghan heroin. As Klebnikov noted, “some White House officials fear Kosovar heroin could replace the Colombian supply. ‘Even if we were to eliminate all the heroin production in Colombia, by no means do we think there would be no more heroin coming into the United States,’ says Bob Agresti of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. ‘Look at the numbers. Colombia accounts for only six percent of the world's heroin. Southwest Asia produces 75 percent.’"

56 Patrick Graham, “Drug Wars: Kosovo’s New Battle,” National Post, April 13, 2000.

57 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 324. Cf. Cristopher Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate (New York: Praeger, 2007).

58 Scott, Road to 9/11, 152-53; citing Paul L. Williams, Al Qaeda, 117; Boston Globe, February 3, 1995, “Figure Cited in Terrorism Case Said to Enter U.S. with CIA Help.”

59 Bergen, Holy War, Inc., 67; cf. Williams, Al Qaeda, 117.

60 Scott, Road to 9/11, 154-56, 160. Cf. Robert L. Friedman, “The CIA and the Sheikh,” Village Voice, March 30, 1993: “As Jack Blum, investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, put it: "One of the big problems here is that many suspects in the World Trade Center bombing were associated with the Mujahadeen. And there are components of our government that are absolutely disinterested in following that path because it leads back to people we supported in the Afghan war.”

61 Scott, Road to 9/11, 156-57; citing J.M. Berger, Ali Mohamed: An Intelwire Sourcebook, 235-36.

62 Estanislao Oziewicz and Tu Thanh Ha, “Canada freed top al-Qaeda operative,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), November 22, 2001. A Lexis-Nexis search for “Ali Mohamed” + Vancouver yields no relevant entries from the U.S. press.

63 Patrick Fitzgerald, Testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, June 16, 2004.

64 Peter Lance, Triple Cross, 274-77.

65 United States District Court, Southern District of New York, “United States of America v. Ali Mohamed,” S (7) 98 Cr. 1023, October 20, 2000, link, 17; in J.M. Berger, Ali Mohamed, 294.

66 United States District Court, Southern District of New York, “United States of America v. Ali Mohamed,” S(7) 98 Cr. 1023, 27; in Berger, Ali Mohamed, 304.

67 FBI agent Jack Cloonan, summarizing a post-9/11 interview with Ali Mohamed, in William F. Jasper, “Unleashing a Terrorist,” New American, November 26, 2007. Cf. Lance, Triple Cross, 382.

68 Paul Joseph Watson, “U.S. Attacks Iran Via CIA-Funded Jundullah Terror Group,” NOW Observer, October 20, 2009.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bosnia, Kosovo and now Libya - the blueprint does not change

Interesting piece on the BBC website today.  First, we are told that the folks who killed General Abdel Fattah Younes are Islamists of the Obaida Ibn Jarrah Brigade. Then we are told that NATO bombed three satellite transmission dishes of the Libyan state TV.

Now the killing of a former Gaddafi regime bonze like  Abdel Fattah Younes hardly breaks my heart, but I am amazed at two things: first, how Younes easily went from Gaddafi thug to anti-Gaddafi freedom fighter and, second, that the Islamists did not shy away from killing one of the top military commanders of the anti-Gaddafi forces.  While it is already telling that they succeeded in killing him, but it is even far more telling that they dared actually execute such a plan.  Why?  Because only a force totally sure of its political power could hatch and go ahead with such a plan.  In other words, Gaddafi is right: the anti-Gaddafi forces are largely, if not primarily, composed of al-Qaeda types.

As for NATO bombing TV centers - that is nothing new.  The official reason is, of course, that these TV centers are accused of "inflammatory broadcasts".   

And just like in Bosnia and Kosovo, the world just looks away and never asks itself who will be next?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during the “Dignity and Victory” Festival

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the world. Peace be on our Master and Prophet Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste Household, chosen companions and on all prophets and messengers.

Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.

Allah Al Mighty says in His Holy Book: "Call to mind when ye were a small band, despised through the land, and afraid that men might despoil and kidnap you; but He provided a safe asylum for you, strengthened you with His aid, and gave you good things for sustenance: that ye might be grateful.

Praise be to Allah on His victory, support, mercy and kindness.

First, my salutations are for all of you. I thank you for your massive attendance on this great and holy commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the divine, historic victory which you made with your blood, tears, pains, aspirations, sacrifices and steadfastness.

Every year on this occasion, I find it my duty even if briefly to salute and thank the souls of the martyrs – the martyrs of the army, people and the Resistance with all its factions - as well as the families of the martyrs, all those who were wounded and their families, all those who were detained in that war and returned, all those who were displaced from their homes, all the good hearts who sheltered them and embraced them, all those whose houses were demolished and whose wealth was demolished and remained patience and all those who supported, backed and aided with a deed, action, stance, prayers, smile or tear in Lebanon, the Arab and Islamic world and all around the world whether countries, governments, peoples, institutions, forces, parties, groups, personalities or individuals. I also pay an ever renewed tribute to those whom I might have forgotten and to all who stood by Lebanon and the Resistance in Lebanon to make that victory.

Brothers and sisters! We recall the stage of war not only to hail the glory but also to draw morals to what might take place in the coming days and years and the upcoming stage.

Going back to the days of war, I believe that among the most important factors that contributed to the victory achieved by this front and the defeat that afflicted the other side were determination, mutual confidence, hope of victory, faith and steadfastness on all domains and dimensions. It's the steadfastness of the people. Steadfastness mainly means not giving up to the conditions, pressures and settlements that might not be to the interest of Lebanon. It's the steadfastness of the Army and the security forces. The main factor of this steadfastness which set the basis to every other kind of steadfastness is the steadfastness of the Resistance fighters in the battlefields. This steadfastness in itself and apart from its results was a real miracle. How could thousands of Resistance fighters who did not have an aerial cover fight night and day all through 33 days in all villages, towns, hills, valleys and posts? How could they practice all kinds of fighting, confront soldiers, battalions, brigades and squads, and face tanks and launch rockets while fire and shells were raining over them and while houses were being demolished all around them in an unimaginable way? This steadfastness is legendary. In fact and in all norms and military standards, man can not imagine such steadfastness and determination.

During July War, all those who were in the battlefield remained steadfast. In Bint Jbeil, the enemy made a gap with the hope that fighters run away. However, fighters remained and many others joined them. Here the element of strength which we must always pay attention to is asserted.

On the other side, the Israeli enemy started the war against Lebanon with arrogance, pride and overconfidence, though it was still under the effect of the defeat of 2000 and the defeat of pulling out of Gaza Strip in face of the Palestinian Resistance and the Intifada of the Palestinian people. Still that is its nature. It has a haughty arrogant nature. However, no soon that turned under the impact of the steadfastness of Lebanon with all its components and under the impact of the steadfastness of the Resistance fighters in particular into perplexity, weakness, confusion and led to crisis of confidence among Israeli soldiers, officers, leaders, and generals and among the army leadership, the cabinet and the people who is occupying Palestine. Here I may talk about two levels: a higher level which is the collapse of confidence and a lower level which is the shake of confidence to a great degree. This is what we witnessed in the remaining days of the war whether on the level of political, military or popular performance. As the Israelis and their generals, elites, leaderships and even their people and polls show and acknowledge, this war has left dangerous repercussions on the entity and its political, security and military present and future. However in my opinion – and we are talking in the fifth anniversary of that war - the most important and strategic outcome of July War was the crisis of confidence which was shaken to a great degree among the occupation’s people, political leadership and especially among the army. On the other hand, confidence increased at this side as well as certainty in the Resistance, the choice of the Resistance and the Resistance fighters in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and the Arab and Islamic world. This psychological factor – the confidence, certitude, respect and faith in the right path, choice and confrontation or the lack of confidence, certitude, hope and doubt in the right choice are both a very important strategic element. It might also be decisive on our or their side in depicting the image of the ongoing struggle in the region. As such we usher to the post war era. We find that Israel, backed by the United States and its supporters worldwide had since the end of the war put a group of targets on top of which is restoring or at least repairing this confidence which was lost between the people, the political leadership and the army at a time it is naturally trying to restore its power and political, military and security capabilities to impose the conditions it wants in the future whether on Lebanon, on our Palestinian brethrens, on Syria or on the other Arab or Islamic region. Here I might tackle some of the factors which the Israelis focus on now to restore confidence. I will talk about two important factors with little discussion because everything is reflected on our side. This evaluation is essential for everyone who wants to make an analysis or to make an assessment on all future possibilities: the possibility of a war taking place or not. The first element is military, mobilizing, executive procedures or efforts which the Israelis are undertaking since that time: the frequent drills, retraining troops, recalling the reservists and training them anew, developing arms and equipments in a bid to find a military solution to the problem of the falling rockets, which this time will fall not on Haifa and beyond but rather far and further beyond Haifa.

They are working at addressing the military gaps which emerged during July War: maritime ships, the tanks which were hit in South Lebanon, leadership and control, coordination between the military troops and the so called arms. They are exerting such effort in addition to starting maneuvers unprecedented in the history of the entity on the level of the internal front. The internal front means the people, the state, institutions and the society. They started with Turning Point One, Two, Three, Four and few weeks ago they wrapped up Turning Point Five. It was a drill at the level of all of Occupied Palestine i.e. all the usurping entity. The aim of this maneuver is training people how to act in case of war. Then they present in the media all what they do whether concerning arms, filling gaps, training and maneuvers or concerning the security, information or internal levels. One of the goals of presenting them in the media in an intensive way is restoring confidence to the Israeli people so as to tell them: Your government is a strong and a determined government. Your army is a strong and a determined army. You too must be strong in confronting any danger or challenge or war. However was this in fact able to lead to the results desired by the Israelis?

I will go back to the Israelis themselves, to the polls, to the comments made by generals, political, security and military leaderships, journalists, parties, Knesset members and others. We will see that they acknowledge and confess that there are very great dilemmas which haven't been addressed so far whether on the military, security or internal levels.

Let's take as an example Turning Point Five which took place weeks ago. It is enough to mention two associated results. I have referred to them or to one of them previously. What is the result? They have staged a drill. Indeed more than one showed up on the Israeli screen to say that all of that is in vain. When war takes place and rockets fall everywhere no one will respond. They said so. So apart from the cooperation of people and their seriousness, among the many results there are two clear results:

First: What do the Israelis say? The Israeli leadership tells the Israeli people: We are not able through military means – i.e. the Israeli army is not able through military means - to protect the internal front. The army is not able to counter all the rockets which will fall on targets inside the entity. So far the Iron Dome and all of that story did not lead to a total result. Also the Israeli army is not able to reach the posts of Resistance fighters and the rocket platforms whether in Lebanon or even in Gaza, Syria and Iran if we are to talk about what they suppose is a broader battle. Thus they are telling them that they are staging maneuvers to restore confidence and at the same time there is a message they are addressing the Israeli people with to the effect that time is over when we could as an Israeli army with our awe, shout, threat, air force and extensive arm protect the internal front militarily. This is over. This was over during July War.

What are they telling them as a second result? In any war, there would not be anymore an internal front and frontlines. That's because the entire field would be the front, and the internal front would be part of the war. If Israel wanted to launch a war, what would be the psychological results which are related to confidence, hope, restoring the feeling of security and stability? So that is not leading to the desired results.

The second element: So the first element - these military and security procedures and maneuvers – addresses gaps and crises sensed by the Israelis who so far failed to address the existing crisis of confidence. As I have said confidence is a decisive element in any war and the evaluation of any war and the results of any war. The second element is related to psycho-media. As we said, they have been exerting great efforts especially lately to readdress confidence. Among what they are doing as far as media and politics are concerned is that some of them – some of the Israelis and not all of them – have started diminishing the results of July War and presenting a somehow different image. First the Israelis unanimously agreed that what took place in July War was a defeat, a crush and a beat. They formed Vin Grad. That was apparent. However lately and to diminish the catastrophe on their people and on themselves, they started searching thoroughly for some achievements made during the war. They say that the war included a defeat and a flop. However, great results were made during July war or what they call Lebanon war II.

Let's see the important achievements made during July War.

Before ushering into that, my comment is that imagine that Israelis are seeking to restore confidence to people and the army through lies, misleading people, and magnifying things to turn them to important achievements. I will give one example only which was given by Shimon Peres who is currently the head of the state but with little scrutiny we may say that he is the only one to remain from the generation of Sharon and Isaac Rabin. So what did the eldest of the Zionists find and always tries to reiterate? He found that there are two achievements. Now pay attention. There are two achievements which deserve a pose made during July War:

The first achievement is forcing so and so – meaning me - to enter the bunker.

The second achievement is preserving calm on the northern borders of occupied Palestine.

Let's go to the text of the interview he made some short time ago in which he says: The war halted the lunching of rockets on our settlements and Hassan Nasrallah is hiding in his bunker and running away from the horror of the international law. These are the two great achievements.

Now where is the scandal? The scandal is that when they formed Vin Grad and met with the officials and Peres was part of the staff concerned in running the war, what did Shimon Peres himself say in Vin Grad report?

He says: After all, the whole world stood by our side because we are weak and not because we are righteous. There prevailed a feeling that during July War, Israel was not as it always used to be. It was not bright, not surprising and not creative. Thus we lost some of our international preventive ability; as such today we are considered weaker than before. We lost some of our preventive ability in the eyes of the Arabs. This is made clear in the aspects of stripping the existence of Israel from its legitimacy. Prior to this war, the Arab world has given in one way or another to the existence of Israel. However following the war, the retreat began. He himself gave this presentation. What is he saying now? He is saying that they won the war and made two achievements: So and so was forced to the bunker and they made calmness at the border.

I will comment on this. If you searched, you would find that these comments were made by the Israelis. So they themselves answered Shimon Peres.

First: Forcing so and so to the bunker was not even set among the war objectives. During the thirty three days, none of the Israeli leaders said that one of the war objectives was to prevent so and so from stepping the street.

Second: Such a result – i.e. preventing someone from stepping the street does not deserve launching a war that leads to serious results as far as the enemy entity is concerned. No rational human being might take such a step.

Third: None of the war objectives was achieved. This is said by the Israelis with the exception of those who try to mislead or lie. Among the war objectives was crushing and weakening Hezbollah; but it grew stronger. Among the war objectives was restoring the two Israel prisoners without negotiations. However, they returned following vertical negotiations and our detainees returned with pride. Among the war objectives was finding a new Middle East. This Bush-Condoleezza Rice version of the objective was put to an end as well.

Now we turn to the second achievement which is preserving calmness on the northern borders. Well people have logic and are rational. At times things are beyond question. For example, you built a house. Still someone comes and tells you I want to build a house for you. You do not have a house; I want to build a house for you. You tell him I have a house. This is beyond question. Another example; if someone is brown and you tell him I want to make you brown. You tell him but I am brown. This is beyond question.

The border between Lebanon and occupied Palestine has been calm since May 25, 2000. It did not need a war to be launched on Lebanon and afflict Israel with all of these losses so that calmness is restored at the border. The calmness along the border was imposed by the Resistance with its victory in 2000. The calmness, tranquility and serenity enjoyed by the people of the South who returned to their villages and fields and built their houses even at the barbed line were imposed by the Resistance through the balance of deterrence and the balance of terror in 2000. The Israelis, who are speaking of calm have forgotten that ever since 1948 and since their occupation of Palestine, were the ones who used to launch wars, perpetrate crimes, storm into our land, occupy our land and rob our natural resources. Years ago they used to rob Al Wazani River. However, because of the Resistance, calmness was imposed and the aggression was prevented. That's because the Resistance is not a project of war. We always used to say that the mission of the Resistance is to defend its country, land, people and the dignity and honor of this people. This was achieved on May 25, 2000. So even talking about calmness at the border is beyond question. Consequently, it is not an achievement. With all the Israeli exerted efforts, the higher voice in the entity is for those politicians, generals and elites who still talk about the defeat, flop and inability and call for a serious and not a false address or else defeat will be reiterated in any future war.

Now there is no time to tell you more, but I hope that you follow up with this issue. Senior current and former generals, former chiefs of staff, former Mosad heads, former heads of national security council besides political elites are warning the Israeli cabinet against taking any risk not at the level of a regional war – i.e. against waging a war against this entire axis – but also against Lebanon only and even against Hezbollah only. They are warning the Israeli cabinet against taking any risk of this kind. They are telling it that such a risk will lead unknown results. Even some say clearly that the results would be catastrophic and that defeat would be reiterated. This exists and it's not I who is creating it.

Accordingly, these measures were fruitless to the effect of renewing confidence which I said is a decisive element.

On the other hand, i.e. as far as our front is concerned, since the end of war in 2006, very great efforts are being exerted to raise doubt around the Resistance and its victories, achievements, intentions, backgrounds and aims and for the sake of distorting its image. Millions of dollars were spent to that effect.

In this framework also comes the attempt to accuse the honorable Resistance fighters by the STL of the assassination of former Prime Minister Martyr Rafiq Hariri and to accuse Hezbollah of an enormous lies and fabrications that you daily read in newspapers, hear in radio and TV outlets and see at websites when you wake up in the morning. All of such articles are baseless and have nothing to do with the culture, mentality or conduct of Hezbollah. The aim of all of that is striking the strong deep-rooted confidence in the Resistance, the confidence of the Resistance in itself and the confidence of the people in the Resistance. To wrap up this part of my speech today, I would like to tell the friend as well as the foe: Our trust in Allah and our confidence in His promise, His victory and our right choice and path can't be shaken. In fact, today our Resistance is stronger than in any time in the past thanks for experience, events and victories.

I tell you also from the post of someone acquainted with details that the strength of the Resistance today in Lebanon on the level of its morals, integrity, courage, human cadres and materialistic capabilities is better and higher than in any time in the past since its taking off. The enemy is familiar with this fact too.

Today the enemy in the framework of its psychological war and attempts to restore the confidence of its masses is resorting to our courtesies. This is imitation and that does not work with them but with us. Few days ago, the Israelis said they promise the Lebanese in any future war with surprises. That's not for them. That does not fit them. We will not be taken by surprise. There is an essential distinctive property. That's because we suppose that Israel owns the power, weapons and technology which America and the West provide it with unlimitedly. Thus we will not be surprised by anything. However, you who look at us always with superiority and haughtiness were surprised to find that the Resistance has a mind, plotting powers, courage, bravery and some developed weapons. I tell the Israelis in particular: Listen to your generals who tasted defeat in Lebanon. The current chief of staff was the leader of the squad which was defeated in Lebanon in 2000. With his eyes he witnessed how the Israelis failed even to take their tanks and offices along with them and how they left Lahd Army behind in the streets. The commander of the northern front was in Lebanon. He fell in an ambush set by the Islamic Resistance. He has four bullets in his chest. You generals have tasted defeat in Lebanon, and you will not taste but defeat in Lebanon. Despite all the developments and advancements made by the Israelis to fill the gaps, the developments in Lebanon and what is taking place around us in the region and all the current events, indeed we are not war seekers. We are a group who are defending our country and our honor. We do not seek war but in case of war, our responsibility is to confront it. If anyone asks me; In case a war takes place now, are you ready to say the same phrase you said during the first days of the war when buildings were collapsing?

Now I am ready to stand and say with all might, determination and even stronger faith what I will say now to wrap this part. I have come to know the enemy whom Allah talks about and made us know when He says: "Thou wilt find them, of all people, most greedy of life". Morals and trust that come with fake means no soon will collapse. They do not have innate courage. They do not have innate faith. They are a people who have doubt in themselves. In as much as I know this enemy, and in as much as I know this people and these heroic fighters, I say: As I used to promise you of victory always, I promise you victory anew. Thus I tell the Zionists: Do not attempt to approach Lebanon and abandon all your dreams and greed in this country forever.

The second issue is that of oil and gas and the maritime borders with occupied Palestine. Much has been said lately to this effect, but allow me to tackle this issue for its importance and benefit from this meeting and this occasion and explain this issue on my own way because it needs to enjoy popular and national interest, embrace and follow up.

First: The Lebanese people are seriously before a true, historic and unprecedented opportunity in the history of Lebanon that makes Lebanon a rich country.

The Ayas we read a while ago do not say that Allah just made stronger and bestowed victory but also say "but He provided a safe asylum for you, strengthened you with His aid, and gave you good things for sustenance: that ye might be grateful." After all, these sacrifices will open new horizons. Today Lebanon has in its regional waters national wealth. So it won't be portioned as the Lebanese way always goes. It is not the possession of a region or a sect or a side. What is in our regional waters mounts to be a national wealth. Official estimations which are true estimations say that the wealth in our regional waters – the Lebanese regional waters – worth billions of dollars. So they are facts and figures which we as Lebanese have never dreamt of. Unfortunately the greatest number we have heard of in Lebanon is not in our pocket. It is rather a debt on us: 50 or 55 or 60 billion dollars. I do not it know what is the number in particular.

So we are before a true opportunity if the Lebanese knew how to act and deal with this file away from childish misbehaviors and narrow-mindedness. If the Lebanese acted with national responsibility, we would be before an opportunity to pay back all the debts, enhance and develop our economy, resolve our financial and living crises and develop the living standards in Lebanon so that Lebanon becomes a strong able country that owns everything. Imagine what hundreds of billions of dollars may mean to a small country of a population of 4 or 5 millions. Here I would like to make a call so that those who want the Lebanese expatriates to return to Lebanon work seriously on this file since many people were forced to leave because of the social and living conditions. So we are before this opportunity. The current government and parliament must exert exceptional efforts. They made an Oil Law. The Ministry of Energy is setting implementation decrees and the current government has committed itself to endorse the implementation decrees of the Oil Law during 2011 meaning in the following few months. So it is supposed that with the beginning of 2012 things take a serious track with respect to invitations for tenders for companies to carry on researches and explorations and the like.

There is something that I would like to tackle in details as I do not know how much people follow up with it. It has to do with the economic area in the regional waters. According to officials in the state - as I do not have private information-, this area is 22500 square kilometers. It is a reservoir for an enormous oil wealth. There is an area in this region at the border between Lebanon and Occupied Palestine. This area is 850 square kilometers. Lebanon considers that this region is its and within its regional waters.

What did the Israelis do? They made a demarcation for the borders and included this area – 850 square kilometers – with the regional waters which they suppose is theirs at a time it is for Occupied Palestine. So it is a very big area – 850 square kilometers - which by the way researches say it includes oil resources worth billions of dollars; that is if we do not wish to say for hundreds of billions of dollars. Lebanon believes that this area (850 square Kilometers) is its and Israel has no right to adjoin it or search for oil or gas in it besides building facilities to dig out gas or oil from it.

This is a very sensitive issue. When it comes to the Lebanese economy, we used to benefit from agriculture. All of you know now what have become of agriculture. I do not want to open old files. All of you know what have become of agriculture. We used to live from industry; now all of you know what have become of industry. Finally Lebanon became a country of services. Now everyone is competing as far as services are concerned. After all, we are before an opportunity of a radical resolution. Lebanon is before an opportunity of a radical resolution for all its economic, financial, development and living crises. We must not waste this opportunity.

All officials expressed their stance. I would like to speak out about the stance of the Resistance also. However before going to first, second and third, I would like to give a remark or an explanation.

Indeed when I talk about the logic of the Resistance, any Resistance fighter does not believe in anything called Israel. We do not talk about Lebanese-Israeli borders. We talk about Lebanon's borderlines with Occupied Palestine whether it is territorial or maritime. In fact, we do not acknowledge Israel's right to exist besides yielding to its right to drill oil or gas from the Lebanese or Palestinian waters. However we reserve this convictional position to ourselves. I am talking here from a national position and from a position that preserves the Lebanese national interests.

As concerning the existing facts, first: In the Resistance, we believe that the maritime border demarcation process is among the duties of the state and consequently, as a Resistance, we do not have a technical view in that. We will not interfere as what took place on the eve of the pullout in 2000. When dispute over Shaaba Farms and Kfar Shouba Hills and others started we stood aside. I remember that I gave a speech in which I said that the territorial border demarcation process is among the duties of the state. When the Lebanese state through its official institutions says this land is for Palestine and that is for Lebanon, we will accept as a Resistance. If there is a piece of land which the Lebanese state considers Lebanese, the Resistance will act accordingly. The same logic applies to the maritime borders. The Lebanese state and not the Resistance sets the maritime borderlines. However, when the Lebanese state demarks or considers a region or an area in the regional waters as Lebanese regional waters, the Resistance will act accordingly.

The second point is that we fully trust the current government which is following up with the topic and will not relinquish, waste or neglect any of Lebanon's rights in the regional waters or in its oil resources despite pressures and fears. Perhaps - I will not be decisive - this government at this timing is Lebanon's opportunity to preserve these rights and restoring them.

Third, we call on the Lebanese government to make haste in taking the executive steps. If we divided the file and said there is the area of 850 square kilometers at the border and there is internal regional waters with is undisputed. This internal region includes gas and oil. It is demanded that the Lebanese government make haste in wrapping up all measures concerning it. Consequently it must finalize the implementation decrees and invite for bids so that drilling starts to be followed later on by digging out. Time is very important. This is linked to the Lebanese government dealing with this issue as a national priority above any other priority. That's because when Lebanon comes to have billions of dollars, it will be easier to address crises. As far as this point is concerned – i.e. as far as the internal regional waters which is indisputable are concerned – I may as well today on the fifth anniversary of July War say with all confidence to all the states, governments and companies which would want to come to Lebanon to share in bids and start drilling and digging that Lebanon is able to provide these companies and their oil and gas facilities with protection. Lebanon is able to do that with all confidence. Do you know why? It's not because it owns a strong air force but rather because who might attack these facilities have oil and gas. Whoever might attack the future oil and gas facilities in the Lebanese regional waters will have their facilities attacked. So let them know that Lebanon is able to do that. From this perspective Lebanon is fit of this blessing and of guarding this blessing. At times Allah bestows His blessing when He finds His slaves fit of guarding it.

Fourth, as far as the above mentioned 850 square kilometers are concerned, even this area has resources which worth billions of dollars. So hereof, as long as the Lebanese state considers this area Lebanese, it is Lebanese according to the Resistance. Consequently, in our courtesies, it is not a disputed area but rather an aggressed area. This area is aggressed against. Lebanon has its political and diplomatic chance to restore it through demarking the borderlines. However, we warn the Israelis against extending their hand to that region and undertaking any action that might lead to robbing Lebanon from Lebanon's water wealth.

Here also we say that in listing priorities, Lebanon might not take the excavation companies to the area of 850 square kilometers. It might take them to the area adjacent to the secure coasts. Until Lebanon decides to benefit from this area, the Israelis must be warned against extending their hand to it. Also as far as the area of 850 square kilometers is concerned, we call on the state to exert every possible and legal effort to restore this area and spread the state control over it.

Here also I address all the Lebanese people to follow up, support and back the government as far as this great national event is concerned. In case this government or this state was able to pull out gas or oil, that will go to the Lebanese state treasury and all the Lebanese people will benefit from it. So it is neither March 8 Bloc or March 14 Bloc.

Finally I address the friend and the foe alike that Lebanon is able and will rely on all the elements of strength it owns to preserve its natural rights and restore its natural resources, and the most important element of strength is the army-people-Resistance formula. We all as Lebanese are concerned in this great national event.

As far as the upcoming state is concerned, we must be aware that any Israeli threat or act of arrogance is part of a psychological war which is launched against our peoples and societies. It is also a part of the campaign that aims at restoring confidence on their behalf. However following July War, Lebanon has entered to a totally different stage. Still what is important is that we cooperate and preserve the elements of resistance in it.

Again at the end of my word, I felicitate you and the Muslims in particular on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan. I pray to Allah Al Mighty that He assist us in fasting and worshipping Him in it besides guarding its sanctity, giving it its right so that it really becomes a month of forgiveness, absolution and restoring dignity and esteem.

I pray to Allah that He pull affliction and sedition away from our Islamic and Arab countries and guide us to the honor, dignity, pride and happiness of this world and the Hereafter. Hundred returns. Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings.