INTERVIEW The influence of radical Islam in Europe is growing. The roots of Islamists in Bosnia are consolidating and there is a plan to penetrate them throughout Europe. It is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, for example. This was told to ParlamentníListům.cz by a Serbian analyst for geostrategic and security issues with years of experience in the security environment, Milutin Ilić, who has lived in Prague for several years. There was also talk of Donald Trump or the possible de facto return of Kosovo to Serbia.
The United States has a new president, Donald Trump, since January 20, who has been changing current US policy since day one. What do you expect from him on the geopolitical scene?
In my opinion, Trump has two geostrategic options. Based on his advent and other contexts, power in the world will have to be divided. Trump can maneuver between the two variants. The first is that it divides world power between the United States, Russia and China, that is, between the three world powers.
The second option is that there will be only two global players, the United States and Russia and China will remain outside. Both options have an obstacle, and that is the old administration, or rather the old establishment in America, which will try to prevent it. Personally, I believe more that Trump will try to split the connection between Russia and China. He will be willing to give in to the Russians in some matters to disrupt their current partnership with the Chinese, because he sees it as a threat to the United States. Such a scenario will mean an increase in Russian influence in Europe. And Putin and Trump will benefit from a possible victory for nationalist forces in European countries.
Should Europe be afraid of increasing Russian influence? Won’t it be dangerous for us?
It always depends on the extent to which European states behave sovereignly and are represented by confident leaders whose only effort is to promote the interests of their own nation. If Europe functions as a union of independent, self-governing countries, then no external influence will be dangerous to it. The question is whether the current EU is capable of this. Just look at the President of the European Commission, who, apart from his alcoholism, is not significant and Donald Trump doesn’t even know his name.
In your opinion, will the European Union not be interested in Trump?
Donald Trump will be mainly interested in America. He promised it to the citizens and his steps so far confirm it. As he says, he wants to make America big again. Under his leadership, the United States will not be a world policeman, as he said in his inaugural speech. It will work so that American citizens can live well, have jobs and live happily and with dignity with their families. Previous presidents did not pay much attention to this. Trump wants the United States to set an example to the world, but he will not force his way of life on anyone. In my opinion, he realizes that no one has the right to dictate to other countries how to live. Americans come first for him, and that’s how he will behave.
Previous administrations have focused their priorities on supporting Kosovo and the Kosovo Albanians, for example. Do you think that speculation can be confirmed that Trump’s America will cough up on the Albanian and that in time everything may turn out so that Kosovo will return to Serbia?
It will all depend on Trump’s agreement with Putin, as well as on further developments in Europe, specifically on how the elections will take place. If people in positions in Washington who promoted the support of Albanians in Kosovo and the functioning of the territory as a protectorate are exchanged, the development may shift in the direction you suggest.
The large US military base Bondsteel is located in Kosovo. Will anything change in this matter?
Bondsteel, which belongs to NATO’s south-eastern wing, has the main task of controlling the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, controlling communications in the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus. From the point of view of economic interests, the USA plays a role in controlling gas transit in the Southeast. In this task, it operates directly under the Pentagon, and until 2011 there were only United States soldiers. However, Bondsteel is an extremely costly affair, which is why its closure is being considered from 2011 onwards.
I will add one more interesting connection. Kosovo Albanian Lavdrim Muhadjeri worked at Bondsteel as a handyman, where he befriended a United States soldier, where he went with him a year later and then went to fight in Afghanistan for the Islamic State. Eventually, Muhajeri became a senior ISIS officer.
There is still talk of another risk of Islamic terrorism. There are occasional reports that Islamists have roots in Bosnia. What is the situation?
Unfortunately, since the beginning of the war in Bosnia, Sunni Muslims, with the support of Saudi Arabia and Shiites from Iraq, have gained an important position. Mujahideen took part in the war, arms were smuggled there, and money from radically Islamic countries played a major role. Bosnian Muslims were purposefully there. After the war, the so-called neo-Omanism also had a huge influence, which in turn came from Turkey. Wahhabism have roots today.
Islamic extremists continue to grow in Bosnia, according to unofficial statistics, between 5 and 10 percent. To this day, they are sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Turkey. And due to the rise of the Islamic State, their power in this country continues to grow. Their influence on Bosnian Muslims is enormous. They established themselves there in security structures, in the army, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is the answer to the question of why the state is not fighting there. This influence of radical Islam can also be seen in the architecture of the newly created mosques. Depending on what the mosque looks like, you will know which country is financing its construction and related activities. There is a plan called green transversals to get to the heart of Europe. According to this plan, they are gradually moving further into Europe, for example via Italy. If nothing is done about it in Europe, it will grow into huge problems.