"Terrorists can reach Europe from Balkans within hours"
A former chief of the Czech Army has warned that the EU is not paying attention to the Western Balkans - and is thus allow "terrorists to rest in the region."Source: Beta
"We are dealing with an entirely different part of Europe, that is, Western and Central Europe, and we have stopped paying attention to the Balkans since the 1990s war, especially security-wise," Jiri Sedivy has told the Czech media, according to Beta agency.
"The problem of the Balkans is that it creates a safe environment where terrorist cells can be established, they can prepare there, they can have their logistical centers and a background that allows them to prepare and at the same time rest from carrying out complicated operations in Western Europe," said Sedivy.
The Czech general also remarked that German and Austrian intelligence agencies have been warning during the last year that the Balkans is getting "pronouncedly radicalized" - and that the problem is created by the fact the Balkan Muslims are "the target of various Islamic regimes from the Middle East."
"When the Czech contingent was in Bosnia-Herzegovina, we saw it with our own eyes how humanitarian aid was being distributed. In the villages in Bosnia-Herzegovina, destroyed by bombardments, the first thing to rebuild were not the houses or the infrastructure, but the mosques," said the general, who is a veteran of the Czech Army's Bosnia mission.
Sedivy also thinks that current authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo "are not efficient enough to deal with the phenomenon of Islamist radicalization that has been dragging on since the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s."
"Are the authorities in these countries capable of coping with this? I do not think that they directly support it, but we must understand that simply, the efficiency of governmental organization is relatively low there. A typical example is Bosnia-Herzegovina, where there are three sides in the territory of the state - Serbian, Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Croat - which are yet to find common ground; Kosovo is continually struggling with economic problems, it has huge unemployment. All that represents fertile ground for radicalism to continually strengthen and expand," said Sedivy.
The general "warned that it is essential for the Czech Republic to pay attention to the Balkans, because Islamic terrorists, when the West drastically tightens security measures, will turn to other countries, to Central Europe, where there have been no attacks and where security measures are not so strong - and the Balkans is just a few hours by car from the Czech border."
"We simply need to know what is happening in those two countries, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Kosovo and possibly in Macedonia, and we must pay equal attention as to the problem of terrorism in Western Europe," said the former chief of the Czech Army, Beta is reporting.