There is a great reluctance in the West to recognize that the
fighting in Bosnia is a resurgence of the conflict between Islam and
Christendom which shaped five centuries of Balkan history.
Disbelief in the West regarding Muslim
fundamentalism in Bosnia
stems from several causes, among which there is a pervasive, compulsive,
complacency which holds that things can never be as bad as they seem,
hence European officialdom refused to believe that Hitler meant what
he wrote in Mein Kampf.
President Alija Izetbegovic's Islamic
Declaration, first published
in 1970 when it earned him a prison sentence, demanded a
fully-fundamentalist Muslim state in Bosnia without scope for non-Muslim
institutions or any division between religion, politics, and economics.
The book was republished in 1990 in Sarajevo (by Mala Muslimanska
Biblioteka). It scathingly attacks Attaturk's reforms and holds up
Pakistan as a model to be followed.
Traditionally, Bosnians were among
the most militant in the Muslim
world. A ruling minority, they were proud of being
the spearhead of the jihad into Europe,
part of the two-pronged drive along Sava and
Danube with Rome as its final objective.
Occupation by the Habsburgs
in 1878 caused some of them to emigrate, but others waited for fate
to redeem them. In post-Versailles Yugoslavia, a few became
free-thinkers, Communists or 'South Slav of Muslim faith', but most
remained waiting in their closed world.
The German role
The Germans and their Croat
inspired Muslim hopes
of a separate policy in 1941. Then Tito raised their status from
religion to nationality in the 1960s and made many political
concessions to them, in order to win the support of the Muslim world
for his so-called non-aligned movement.
The Germans have again played a major part in the chain of events
which created an independent Bosnia with the Muslims as its largest
grouping. They ensured them Croatian support against the Serbs in
return for tacit agreement to Croatian de facto annexation of Western
Herzegovina and areas adjacent to Slavonia.
For the third time this century,
the Germans are fuelling the drive against the Serbs, but
on this occasion with British support. The
change in the British policy over recent months does not appear to
reflect an evolution inside the Foreign Office departments concerned.
Rather, it reflects the pressures from above to support Germany for
the sake of the European common policy and as a quid pro quo from
John Major to Cancellor Kohl for having helped make the Maastricht
agreement verbally more acceptable to Tory MPs.
So Croatia was recognized without the safeguards for minorities
originally demanded by the EC and Bosnia was hurriedly recognized
in spite of warnings that this would lead to bloodshed, because,
in British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd's words, the Germans would
have gone ahead anyway.
The EC-inspired embargo against Serbia - which even if all the
accusations against it were true would rank low on the list of
international criminals - can only be understood in the context of the
interaction between Germany's growing hegemony inside the EC, its
Drang Nach Osten, realpolitik, the increased weight of oil-rich
Muslim states in world affairs, and
the decreased influence
All this has implications for the rest of the Balkans, in particular
- now that the Muslim world is flexing its muscles - for Albania's
conflict with Serbia, Macedonia and Greece: and it has implications
for Danubia in general.
Hungary is already embroiled with Yugoslavia and Romania over its
minorities. Without Prague's restraining hand, the lot of the large,
compact, Hungarian minority in Slovakia will give added cause for
friction. The condition of the Hungarian minority in Cis-Carpathian
Ukraine, which historically enjoyed Moskow's solicitude and ruled
the Ukrainian peasantry for centuries, will also exercise Budapest.
Hungary will consider seeking German support, while Romania,
Serbia and Greece will huddle together - and in turn seek outside help.
ISLAMIC AFFAIR ANALYST is an independent publication produced by
Intelligence International Ltd., 17 Rodney Road, Cheltenham,
Glos GLS0 1HX, UK. IAA is published 45 times a year, annual
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has been publishing independent intelligence reports for business and
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