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BosNet Digest V5 #31 / Jan. 19, 1996

From: Nermin Zukic <n6zukic@SMS.BUSINESS.UWO.CA>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory


  • [01] Big changes in the Bosnian Government: The Prime Minister Silajdzic to resign?

  • [02] 100 Croatian policemen from Zagreb to come to Mostar to help the city to reunify ...


  • [04] Let's go back to the Post story. Highlights of the Post story included these statements:

  • [05] U.S. Military, CIA Mount Big Spy Effort in Bosnia

  • [01] Big changes in the Bosnian Government: The Prime Minister Silajdzic to resign?

    SARAJEVO, Jan 20 - The Bosnian government lurched toward crisis on Saturday as a procedural dispute over a parliamentary vote threatened to bring down Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic. The ruling Party of Democratic Action (SDA) agreed to meet in special session on Sunday to discuss the issue. The government press agency reported SDA bosses could decide to name someone other than Silajdzic to form the new government required under the peace accord signed in Paris last month.

    ``This is an extremely serious turn of events and I will be responding tomorrow,'' Silajdzic told Reuters.

    The crisis comes as Bosnia is struggling to create a host of government structures flowing out of the new constitution adopted as part of the Paris peace agreement.

    Under that constitution, the country is supposed to have a sovereign, central republican government and two subsidiary goverment entities: one a Moslem-Croat federation and the other a Serb republic.

    The Prime Minister has been objecting to a recent vote by the Bosnian Parliament on the number of Cabinet ministers permitted in the new central government, which he had been named to form. Silajdzic charged that the vote,

    which went against his proposal to have six ministers, was manipulated by the SDA, of which he is a nominal member. He has repeatedly threatened to step down as the mandator of the new government if the vote is not reversed.

    Tomorrow's executive committee meeting of the SDA could save Silajdzic the trouble of resigning, analysts in Sarajevo reported.

    ``It's crunch time for Silajdzic. He's been tweaking the nose of the SDA and they may have had enough. This isn't about substance, it's about politics,'' said a veteran observer of the Bosnian political scene who asked not to be named.

    ``In a strange way it may be healthy because active political life in Bosnia was frozen by the war and now it may be starting to come to life.''

    Silajdzic, 50, was named Bosnian Foreign Minister in 1992 and later became Prime Minister.

    Fluent in English and Arabic, he straddled the divide between Islam and the west throughout the 43-month Bosnian war, lobbying around the world for financial and military assistance to fight separatist Bosnian Serbs and Croats.

    Observers say Silajdzic has widespread political support in Bosnia but no political organisation to compete with the SDA.

    With fresh elections due not later than September under the Paris accord, many think Silajdzic will form a new political party after leaving the SDA.

    The Prime Minister quit in August 1995 after another procedural dispute with parliament but Bosnia's collective presidency refused to accept his resignation.

    Without the the burden of war, the SDA and the presidency are more likely to allow Silajdzic to go his own way.

    The current impasse comes with Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey's resigation already on the table and suggests the beginning of significant post-war political shifts in Bosnia.

    [02] 100 Croatian policemen from Zagreb to come to Mostar to help the city to reunify ...

    ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatian police are to be sent to the divided Bosnian city of Mostar to help curb a wave of violence which is seen as a threat to the Dayton peace accords, the city's European Union administrator said Saturday. Hans Koschnick said after a meeting with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman that he had accepted an offer by the Zagreb government to dispatch 100 Croat policemen to the city.

    Koschnick said after his meeting with Tudjman: ``The Croat government offered me 100 policemen from Croatia to work together with the WEU (Western European Union) police to defeat the crimes against both sides in Mostar.''

    The Croat policemen would work on both sides of the so-called ``confrontation line'' dividing the city together with the WEU forces, and would provide the core of a future unified local police force.

    Koschnick said the Muslim-led municipal government also favoured the deployment of Croatian police. He said he would meet Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey, and the Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak in Mostar Monday to further discuss ways of hastening Mostar's unification.


    Only 225 prisoners of war were exchanged today by the parties in Bosnia. More than 700 others were scheduled to be exchanged under the terms of the Dayton Accords. The Bosnian government refused to release all of its prisoners after the Bosnian Serb forces failed to account for thousands of persons whom the government believes are still being held and may soon be killed. The Clinton Administration sent Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke to Sarajevo to pressure the Bosnian government into releasing all of its prisoners, but apparently did not take steps to pressure the Bosnian Serbs to fully account for missing soldiers and civilians. Many of the missing are from Srebrenica and Zepa.

    The OSCE, which is overseeing arms control and reduction negotiations between Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia, announced today that Serbia had been given a second extension on submitting information on its armed forces, which was required under the Dayton Accords to be provided by January 13. Bosnia and Croatia already have provided the necessary information.

    NATO officials expressed confidence that armed forces in Bosnia had generally complied with today's deadline to withdraw to their designated sides of the Zone of Separation.

    The U.N. War Crimes Tribunal today issued warrants and photographs to IFOR to facilitate the arrest of indicted war criminals whom IFOR troops come across in the course of their duties. IFOR and other international personnel have in the past ignored known and indicted war criminals -- particularly in the south of Bosnia, where several indicted Bosnian Croat extremists still travel freely.

    [04] Let's go back to the Post story. Highlights of the Post story included these statements:

    On Saturday, the Washington Post ran a page 1 story by Walter Pincus headlined "CIA, Military Spy Mission Set for Bosnia." It was a most curious piece. It was clearly planted in the paper to send a message -- but what message? -- to somebody -- but to whom? Among the more obvious permutations: (1) Show that the U.S. intelligence community is doing something constructive on Bosnia in general and, secondarily, on war crimes. (2) Deceive people into thinking something constructive was going to be done, when in fact, what is actually being done was something less. (3) Stake out a position that something constructive is being done, so as to nail the U.S. intelligence community's feet publicly to the floor so they can't back away from it in the future. (4) Send a warning to the ungodly in Bosnia that they need to lie low in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention. (5) The defense intelligence community getting in some digs against the CIA. (6) Different people representing all of the above.

    Today, however, there was a separate story on the Reuters wire that clarifies the picture -- not the substantive picture, of course, just the picture of what we're supposed to be seeing. Those with no interest in intelligence issues can stop now and save themselves reading what, to many, will be an uninteresting posting. All of this comes from public sources. The Internet is a rich source of material on the U.S. intelligence community if you know how to use it. That, of course, is what analysis is all about.

    Let's go back to the Post story. Highlights of the Post story included these statements: The Central Intelligence Agency is establishing a significant clandestine presence for the first time in Bosnia to track the activities of political and military opponents of the Dayton peace accord, and to provide liaison with local government police and intelligence operations, according to intelligence sources here.

    "They will deal with bad guys and keep track of good police and interior types," one government intelligence expert said.

    CIA officials also will join with undercover operatives from the Defense Department to provide intelligence about immediate threats to U.S. and other NATO military forces that are helping to implement the Dayton agreement.

    Sources said the joint operation was a refinement of similar missions first undertaken in Somalia and later employed in Haiti ....

    As described by military and intelligence sources, plans first discussed by the CIA and the Pentagon late last summer call for the Defense Humint Service (DHS) to concentrate on immediate threats to what eventually will be more than 20,000 U.S. troops and some 40,000 other NATO forces in Bosnia. ...

    The CIA will concern itself with longer-term problems. Cited among potential troublemakers were Serb private militia groups led by ultranationalists and criminal elements as well as Serb political dissidents opposed to the accord; Croat war criminals and other criminals and Croat ultranationalists centered in the Bosnian city of Mostar; and foreign and local Muslim extremists who fought on behalf of the Muslim-led Bosnian government. ...

    For the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO), Bosnia promises a chance for redemption after the battering it has taken in recent years over the case of confessed Soviet spy Aldrich H. Ames, allegations it was involved with human rights abuses within the Guatemalan military, and the exposure of economic espionage operations in France.

    According to one source familiar with the Bosnian operation, "The DO people involved see this as opportunity to get back in favor with (CIA Director John M.) Deutch and the president," a characterization rejected yesterday by a top CIA official.

    Although some U.S. military and civilian personnel served with the United Nations peacekeeping force previously deployed in Bosnia over the last several years, neither the CIA nor the Defense Department maintained officers there. "There was no formal structure there," a former high-ranking intelligence official stated yesterday, "but we had people go in and out."

    Throughout the four-year Bosnian war, persistent rumors -- often initiated by French officials -- that the CIA was supporting arms shipments to the Bosnia government were regularly denied by the Clinton administration and the CIA.

    Some current and former government officials urged caution about the current Bosnian operations, warning that any deep involvement in internal Bosnian matters could prove troublesome. "The basic problem is that intelligence often gets you in deeper than you may politically want to go," one former State Department official said.

    At the same time, a current official cited a brewing dispute within the U.S. government itself over whether American intelligence operatives in Bosnia would or should be used to after information on human rights abuses, including alleged mass killings that are the subject of U.N.-authorized war crimes investigations.

    The remainder of the Washington Post story described the CIA's and DOD's experiences in Somalia and Haiti.

    Today (Thursday) the following story appeared on the Reuters wire (additional commentary follows).

    [05] U.S. Military, CIA Mount Big Spy Effort in Bosnia

    By Charles Aldinger

    WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The United States has mounted a major spy operation in Bosnia with unprecedented cooperation between the CIA and the military to support NATO peacekeepers, U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday.

    The senior officials said data ranging from satellite photos and electronic motion sensors to reports from Central Intelligence Agency teams in Bosnia is being given to U.S. and other troops to warn them of any terrorist or other threats.

    The officials, who asked not to be identified, told reporters at a briefing that information was being added from NATO, British and other forces and some of it might be used in investigating war crimes in Bosnia.

    ``This stuff is gold to a commander,'' said one official, adding that maps, text, photographs and even videos taken by aircraft were being made instantly available on data receivers to large and small military units in Bosnia.

    ``This is unprecedented, and is a true cultural, progressive change for the better,'' added another official of the close cooperation between such agencies as the CIA, the super-secret National Reconnaissance Organization and the military, all long-time rivals in the shadow world of spying.

    They gave few details of information obtained, except to say that one CIA team had obtained information from one of the former warring factions on exactly how its forces laid thousands of mines in Bosnia.

    ``It's always nice to have the other guy's manual, an official said with a broad smile.

    The officials said the operation was costing tens of millions of dollars, but that high cost was not a major consideration in the safety of U.S. soldiers.

    Pengagon spokesman Ken Bacon told reporters later that Defense Secretary William Perry and new CIA Director John Deutch had put a top priority on getting intelligence ``from sensor to shooter'' without any delay in Bosnia.

    The dislosure of intelligence gathering, even on a ''background'' basis, was highly unusual and apparently aimed at informing the public that every effort was being made to protect 60,000 NATO-led peacekeeping troops from harm.

    The officials said, for example, that Russian forces, who are serving in the U.S. military peacekeeping sector around Tuzla, will receive U.S. data although it will not pinpoint the source in order to protect sensitive intelligence methods.

    The officials declined to say how many CIA operatives were in Bosnia but stressed that volunteers far outnumbered the available jobs when the agency called for agents to step forward in December.

    They said military officials such as Army Gen William Nash, commander of U.S. forces in Bosnia, were getting close and quick cooperation on requests for information.

    ``I saw a message from one of these CIA teams about 10 days ago after they had satisfied an intelligence requirement from General Nash that said, 'you call, we haul','' one official said of an agency which has traditionally guarded its secrets even from other American spy agencies.

    ``For the CIA to be in that sort of support frame of mind, I think, is a change from the past which is really good.''

    The officials said such information as satellite photos might be used by an international war crimes tribunal investigating the alleged mass killing of civilians by Bosnian Serb forces during the war.

    But they stressed that the first duty of the intelligence effort was to try to learn of any intent by terrorists to strike at peacekeepers.

    Senior defense officials have said that there are at least 20 mass civilian grave sites in Bosnia, but the officials refused to say whether they had decided to share with the war crimes tribunal intercepted conversations between Serbian officials and Bosnian Serb military leaders.

    15:42 01-18-96

    If you've followed this lengthy piece this far, you probably don't need to hear the rest. "U.S. intelligence officials" does not necessarily mean people from the CIA. There is also the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA -- signals intelligence), the National Reconaissance Office (NRO), the four service intelligence agencies (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps) and the little-known Central Imagery Office (not to be confused with the National Photographic Interpretation Center or the Office of Imagery Analysis, which are both in the CIA -- sorry, but don't pay much attention to this, there's a reorganization going on in all of U.S. imagery analysis; that's another story). In addition, the Department of State has its Bureau of Intelligence and Research. "U.S. intelligence officials" can come from any of these agencies.

    The Post story clearly has Pentagon fingerprints all over it. For what it's worth, the last-quoted paragraph is signalling the Pentagon's perspective on whether its intelligence assets should be involved, even tangentially, in providing information to ICTY investigators. This is crucial because the defense agencies are likely to have more of certain types of crucial information that could be very helpful to the Prosecutor.

    The Directorate of Operations is one of four directorates in the CIA. The others are for Administration, Science & Technology, and Intelligence. Admin does what you think. If you read Peter Wright's "Spycatcher" you can figure out what DS&T does. The best description of what DI does that I've seen, in fiction or otherwise, is in the early Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy (though Clancy gives Ryan a life, and a lifestyle, that is pure fiction). The statement about the DO's problems is real. U.S. News & World Report had one of the best articles I've seen on the DO's post-Ames problems a couple of years ago.

    For what it's worth, I count three half-truths in the Post article, and one nugget I haven't seen in print anywhere else before.

    The Reuters story is a little more balanced between Pentagon and CIA sources. Inviting in a reporter for a briefing is noteworthy. This is not unprecedented -- see, for example, the stories by the Washington Post and the New York Times on Srebrenica that ran on October 29, 1995 -- but it is a rare enough event that it proves, as if there was any doubt, that someone is interested in getting this story out. Aldinger notes this, and speculates that it's because the Agency wants the public reassured about the protection being afforded to U.S. military forces by the CIA. You have to shake your head over this one.

    I noted two major factual errors in the Reuters piece. The second is the erroneous "20 mass civilian grave sites" reference (last paragraph). That would seem to be from DOD spokesman Ken Bacon (as discussed in a previous posting on Twatch). Whichever "U.S. intelligence official" told him that needs to be brushing up on homework over the weekend.

    For supporters of the Tribunal, however, whether this will bring about the apprehension of any indicted war criminals, or indictments against those who deserve to be indicted, very much remains to be seen. Statements calling for more support by the U.S. intelligence community of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia should be addressed to:

    Dr. Anthony Lake
    Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Room 1/WW
    Washington, D.C. 20500

    or: Senator Arlen Specter
    Chairman, Senate Select Intelligence Committee
    211 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    Tom Warrick
    Coalition for International Justice

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