Bin Laden Calls His Balkan Brigades to Arms : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Note the "72 hour ultimatum" below, the day Chinese airlines are suspending flights, and the Pope's exit from the region. These all converge, and indicate that the Time Remaining to Prepare is clearly running out fast.


Bin Laden Calls His Balkan Brigades to Arms

26 September: DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Osama Bin Laden’s deputy, the Egyptian Jihad chief Ayman al-Zawahri, has ordered Al Qaeda and Jihad activists in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia – an estimated 6,000 men – to report for duty and prepare to open a second Islamic front against the United States in the Balkans. According to our sources, that nucleus group is capable of mustering another 40,000 trained and well-armed fighting men. Many hold on to the up-to-date weapons handed out to them by NATO, including the US Army, during the 1998 Kosovo War. In Bosnia, the Bin Laden-Jihad alliance commands a reservoir of 7,500 fighting men; in Kosovo – 15,000; in Albania – another 15,000 and in Macedonia – 5,000.

Earlier this week, rumors went round European and NATO intelligence circles that al-Zawahri was in Tirana to organize the Balkan fighting force. He was said to be drawing for help on the Jihad’s extensive infrastructure in the Albanian capital, the Albanian criminal underworld and the Albanian Liberation Army command posts that control large stretches of Kosovo.

NATO Headquarters in Brussels also received reports of some 3,000 Chechen rebels funded by Bin Laden beginning to cross into Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. They are in flight from President Vladimir Putin’s 72-hour ultimatum to give themselves up and surrender their arms. They suspect that Putin received an American carte blanche to crush the Chechen rebellion in return for his support of the US operation in Afghanistan. The generals in Brussels fear the Chechens will strike at the US bases going up in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tadjikistan.

There is every indication, according to DEBKAfile’s military sources, of preparations by Bin Laden and his network of militant Islamic fundamentalists to launch two fronts - in the Balkans and in Central Asia – to attack US and allied forces as they open their offensive in Afghanistan. NATO maintains 60,000 servicemen in the Balkans, one third American; US strength in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia now stands at some 15,000.

Washington’s hopes of bringing Arab nations into its anti-terror coalition were further dashed Monday, September 24, when Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, both called Syrian President Bashar Assad with a promise of any political and military support he might need to frustrate an American strike against the militant Shiite Hizballah in Lebanon and the radical Palestinian groups based in Damascus.

Saddam disclosed he had placed his armed forces on supreme battle preparedness in anticipation of the United States following up on its operation in Afghanistan with an assault on Iraq in an attempt to topple his regime. DEBKAfile’s military sources confirm that the Iraqi army was placed on its highest preparedness at the end of last week. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are reported fleeing Baghdad and Basra and making for remote villages. Another sign of the rising tension in Iraq is the airlift Beijing has instituted to remove the 1000 Chinese technicians and military men upgrading Iraqi air defense command centers with new optic fibers systems.

These major military movements heavily overshadowed Yasser Arafat’s abruptly aborted trip to Damascus Tuesday and the news that his oft-delayed and unpopular meeting with Israeli foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Gaza would finally come off Wednesday morning. If that meeting does indeed come about, the two are expected to sign a memorandum affirming a cessation of hostilities, the application of the ceasefire negotiated by CIA director George Tenet four months ago and of the first stages of the recommendations made by former Senator George Mitchell and his team.

According to DEBKAfile’s sources in Washington, Arafat had already set out for his long-awaited meeting with the Syrian president in Damascus, when he turned round and retraced his steps to Gaza. He changed course after US secretary of state Colin Powell had harangued him by telephone from before he embarked from Dahaniyeh airport in Gaza all the way to Amman. Powell finally slapped down an ultimatum: Go to Damascus and meet Assad, and he would not only burn all his bridges to Washington once and for all, but he would be deemed to have lined up with Saddam Hussein once again as he did in the 1991 Gulf War – only this time there would be no forgiveness from Washington and he could expect full punishment. Arafat, when his plane touched down in Amman, ordered his pilot to turn back.

Copyright, DebkaFile News, Fair Use for Educational and Research Purposes Only

-- Robert A Riggs (, September 26, 2001

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