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Western Complicity In The Serbs’ Genocide Of Muslims In Bosnia

Tahir Mustafa

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

While Serbia’s war on Bosnia ended with the Dayton Accord in December 1995, the role of western regimes in the genocide of Bosniaks has never been properly analyzed (Bosniaks refer to Bosnian Muslims). Yugoslavia had erupted into ethnic warfare in 1991 as the Soviet Union was about to disintegrate (December 1991).

At the time, Yugoslavia comprised six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia (including Kosovo), Montenegro and Macedonia. It was cobbled together at the Paris Peace Conference after the First World War.

The blood-letting that followed the eruption of war resulted in the genocide of Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Serbs and Croats competed for the mass killings of Muslims. With preponderance of numbers and guns, the Serbs easily won.

Driven by demonic rage to avenge their defeat at the hands of the Ottomans at the Battle of Kosovo in June 1389 (yes, some 600 years ago), they attacked the Bosniaks in 1992. The Serbs had never accepted the Muslims as indigenous to the land, always referring to them as “Turks”.

The Serbs’ war on Bosnia-Herzegovina (April 1992 – December 1995) had the full backing of western regimes, especially the Netherlands, France, Britain and the US. They did not want a functioning Muslim state in the heart of Europe.

To achieve the decimation of Muslims, an arms embargo was imposed on Bosnia making it impossible for them to defend themselves against the murderous Serbs. Several Muslim countries among them Islamic Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Brunei, skirted UN sanctions and provided both weapons and humanitarian aid.

While welcomed, these were not enough to prevent the genocide of Bosnian Muslims in areas where Dutch and French “peace-keeping” forces were deployed. Under a “deal” brokered by the UN a year earlier (May 1994), the Bosnians in such places as Srebrenica, Zepa, Tuzla and Gorazde in eastern Bosnia, were disarmed in return for “UN protection”. These cities were declared “safe havens”, an unfortunate designation since they were anything but safe.

Dubbed “shooting galleries” by then US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, they were considered unsafe even for the heavily-armed US troops but were declared “safe” for the unarmed Bosnian Muslims.

Under the “deal”, the Bosnians were herded into these enclaves and mercilessly slaughtered by the Serbian butchers. The mass killings of Muslims in Srebrenica (July 11-16, 1995) earned the dubious distinction of being called Europe’s worst genocide since the Second World War.

Why the Bosnian leadership agreed to the UN deal that posed an existential threat to the very survival of the Bosniaks remains unclear. Their trust in UN pledges may have been based on the mistaken belief that if the Serbs attacked these enclaves, NATO airstrikes would ensue.

The Bosnian leadership had witnessed UN inaction when the Deputy Prime Minister of Bosnia, Hakija Turajlic was shot and killed by Serb soldiers at a check-point outside Sarajevo in early 1993. He was riding in a UN armoured personnel carrier. The UN did nothing.

And the Bosnian leadership could not have been unaware of the fact that in March 1995, Serb general Ratko Mladic had met his top commanders at his command centre in Mount Jahorina, near Sarajevo. The mountains above Sarajevo were occupied by Serbian troops as they moved out of Croatia in February 1992.

During that meeting with his commanders, Mladic expressed concern that 20,000 Serbian troops were tied down besieging the eastern Bosnian enclaves. This situation had to be changed, he insisted.

If the Serbian troops invaded these enclaves, declared as UN “safe havens”, this would result in NATO air strikes. So, Mladic decided to create a crisis whereby he could secure a promise from the UN commanders in the field for no air strikes.

Following NATO air strikes at Serb ammunition dumps outside Pale on May 25-26, 1995, the Serbs took 370 UN troops hostage. A Canadian major was chained to a post and shown on television to convey the message that further air strikes would result in his death. Far from confronting the Serb terrorists, the western-dominated UN caved in.

In any case, the lives of a few western soldiers were considered far more important than those of thousands of Bosnian Muslims. Besides, there was complete agreement among western regimes as well as the Serbian fascists that they would not allow the emergence of a Muslim majority state in the heart of Europe. By perpetrating a genocide to reduce its population, it was also rendered politically and economically unviable.

This soon became clear when the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) commander, French General Bernard Janvier secretly met Mladic on June 4, 1995 and assured him of no more air strikes if the Serbian forces refrained from threatening UN troops. This meeting took place a day after the Serbian fascists had attacked Observation Post Echo on the edge of the Srebrenica “safe haven”, found little resistance and took over the post.

The assurance that no NATO air strikes would be carried out if Serb forces refrained from attacking UN troops was all that Mladic needed. He saw this as green light to attack the defenceless Bosnians in the “safe havens”.

When the Serbs attacked Srebrenica on July 11 in violation of the “safe havens” agreement, no NATO air strikes followed. The Dutch battalion “defending” the enclave simply handed over their weapons to the Serbs and even facilitated the separation of men and women. The Serbs raped many women but at this stage they were more focused on killing as many Bosnian men and boys as possible.

They launched their macabre ritual of killing the Bosnians in Srebrenica. For six days, the slaughter continued. It was even video-filmed by a Serb cameraman, but the Dutch confiscated the recording because the area lay under their jurisdiction. The video-footage clearly showed Dutch complicity in the massacre.

In September 1995, General Hans Couzy, then commander-in-chief of the Dutch army, admitted that he had ordered the destruction of the video-footage because it identified Dutch soldiers. They had stood by and done nothing to protect the Bosnians who had been disarmed under a UN-brokered deal and for whose protection they were deployed. The video-footage made them liable to prosecution.

The world learnt about the genocide when thousands of distraught women streamed into Tuzla after walking tens of miles with their meagre belongings. Aerial photographs (there were no drones at the time) showed large areas of disturbed ground where the Serbs had bulldozed the bodies of their victims. In the process, many bodies were mangled and body parts buried in different sites.

How many Bosnian men and boys were slaughtered during that fateful week in July 1995 is still not properly established. The numbers range from 10,000 to 20,000. Even one Bosnian killed is one too many and the western regimes, especially the Netherlands, France and Britain bear primary responsibility.

Then British Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, a hardcore anti-Muslim zionist, adamantly opposed the lifting of arms embargo on Bosnia when the US Senate voted to lift it. He argued that it would prolong the war and the west would have to withdraw its “peacekeeping” forces. They did precious little peacekeeping to begin with.

When the war ended, some 100,000 Bosnians had been murdered. The Serbs also raped at least 50,000 to 60,000 women.

The picturesque Bosnian capital city, Sarajevo, an architectural marvel with its graceful minarets, lay largely in ruins. Libraries and mosques were especially targeted by Serbian gunners positioned in the mountains above Sarajevo. The multicultural character of the city where people of different faiths and ethnicities co-existed peacefully, was destroyed.

It was, however, Srebrenica where Serbian barbarism scaled new heights. Every July, the Srebrenica genocide revives painful memories for loved ones as new body parts are identified through DNA mapping in a special laboratory in Sarajevo.

This year, on July 8 and 9, thousands of Bosniaks lined up the streets of Sarajevo to pay respect to 30 more victims of the Srebrenica genocide whose bodies were identified through DNA sampling of mothers. There is no closure for the loved ones that await with dread the news that another body part may be identified. This would result in re-opening their grave to bury another piece in its final resting place.

To analyze the Serbs’ demonic rage, one must take a short detour into history. The Balkan Wars of 1912–13 had ended Ottoman rule in the Balkan Peninsula. Turkish possessions were taken over by Austria-Hungary, the rival empire, which in turn was defeated in World War I.

Turkey had already been weakened following its defeat at the hands of Russia in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. Turkey’s defeat was formally sealed at the Congress of Berlin (June 13 to July 13, 1878).

Presided over by the German Chancellor Otto van Bismarck, he had offered his services as an “honest broker” (ehrlicher Makler). He had declared that Germany had no interests in this particular crisis except to preserve European peace. This naturally came at the expense of the Ottomans.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, the predominantly Muslim republic in the Balkans, was handed over to Austria-Hungary for administration and military occupation for 30 years. Austria also occupied the sanjak (Turkish district) of Novi Pazar.

Montenegro, Serbia, and Romania got full independence from the Ottoman Empire and made some territorial gains, and so did Greece, which got a border rectification in Thessaly.

The Paris Peace Conference that followed, established a new pattern of state boundaries in the Balkans. The major beneficiary was a newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which comprised the former kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro (including Serbian-held Macedonia), as well as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austrian territory in Dalmatia and Slovenia, and Hungarian land north of the Danube River. Serbia emerged as the dominant power that lasted until the death of Josef Tito on May 4, 1980.

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union in December 1991, its satellites especially, in the Balkans also disintegrated. The rest, as they say, is history, written with the blood of the Muslims of Bosnia.

Lest we forget, the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia occurred long before the false flag operations of 911. The west’s animosity of Muslims and Islam runs very deep.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 6

Muharram 14, 14452023-08-01

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