There were many dangers faced by reporters during the four-year Bosnia war. Gunfire. Freezing. Food poisoning. Checkpoints manned by drugged out crazies. Yet one fear stood out, and it was usually away from the fighting.
That was going to Zenica, a city in the central part of the area controlled by the Bosnian government. The danger was something new – and a harbinger of things to come. Zenica was the bastion of the radical Muslim extremists who came to Bosnia to help their beleaguered Muslim brothers – or at least, on paper that was the reason. The real reason, as we all learned, was to get a new beachhead in their effort to purify Islam and the world. They quickly took over Zenica and make it clear that any outsiders, especially western media, were extremely unwelcome.
This less than pleasant memory rears back into the mind as reports continue to filter in about more and more “foreign fighters” entering the fray in Syria. That will certainly mean one thing: any resolution of the conflict in Syria will immediately become even more complicated – and any tentative peace that may stumble from a settlement will be constantly pockmarked by these elements.
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