Kržalić: BiH is not a hotbed of terrorism and cannot be considered a training ground for terrorism

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a hotbed of terrorism and cannot be considered a training ground for terrorism and terrorist threats as it is being portrayed, a security expert from the University’s Faculty of Criminology and Security Studies, professor Armin Kržalić told FENA.

The representatives of the entity of Republika Srpska in the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH sent a letter to the US Senate and Congress in which they stated that “BiH has long been a refuge for radical Islamists and that the nationalist policies of the largest Bosniak parties confirm the intention to rule BiH without Serbs and Croats”.

In the letter, they stated that there are villages in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina where residents implement Sharia law, as well as that parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina inhabited by Bosniaks “are still home to numerous Al Qaeda and ISIL sleeper cells that could potentially be activated if and when the order arrives.”

Professor Kržalić says that BiH, like any other country, is vulnerable to terrorism and extremism, and this is recognized in the strategies of other countries, which is why we assert that BiH is no more or less vulnerable to terrorism than neighboring countries.

“By disseminating disinformation about Islamic terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the aforementioned political actors are trying to increase political polarization within the country and create an environment in which it is more likely that terrorism will appear here. With this, they believe that the public will be more interested in such topics and that they will be able to devote themselves to their retrograde activities in the background. That is what is dangerous,” he said.

Also, he emphasizes, that the depth of such ideas hides the intention to somehow convince foreign politicians that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a threat to the security of Europe and that it is not sustainable as such.

“We should not forget that access to the so-called “Islamic extremism” in BiH and “protecting Europe” from such a threat was in the narrative of convicted war criminals Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić. And we now see the attempts to revive such narratives with this irresponsible approach,” said Kržalić.

However, he says, the fact that the security institutions use a very wide range of prevention and de-radicalization measures on this issue is encouraging.

“The politicians from the RS entity diminish the importance of those facts because even after the war they failed to face the past. It would be good if they were at least objective and showed the real threats that the citizens recognize, which are reflected in the Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement,” concluded Professor Kržalić in an interview with FENA.