The Federation of BOSNIA and Herzegovina in the Balkans, a part of former Yugoslavia, stretches on 51,000 km and has a population of about 4 million people (02/2008) - about 2/3 of them Muslims. The BOSNIAN Muslims converted to Islam from Christianity after the Turkish take over in the 14th century.
After the disintegration of the Turkish Othman Empire, revolts and unrest - BOSNIA became, in 1875, a province in Austria-Hungary Empire. Serbia was already under RUSSIAN influence and the region became a frontline of the adversary between Russia with its Slave allies and the German speaking empires of central Europe - Germany and Austria-Hungary. Indeed the assassination in BOSNIAís Sarajevo of the Austrian Archduke and crown prince Franz Ferdinand ignited World War I.
The Muslims of BOSNIA and Herzegovina, as part of the Independent State of Croatia, established by the Nazis in the old Austrian Habsburg borders, supported the German Nazi regime during the German occupation of the Balkans in the years 1941-45, helping the Germans to fight Titoís pro RUSSIAN communist partisans from Serbia. Roughly 300,000 Serbs died as a result of genocide perpetrated by the Croatian Ustasha with the support of the BOSNIANs allies.
After World War II BOSNIA and Herzegovina became a part communist Yugoslavia ruled by their former rival Tito but sediments of mutual mistrust remained under the surface.
When Yugoslavia disintegrated, in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the historic supporter of the Serbs, a civil war breached out in Yugoslavian reliving all historical hostility and rivalry.
Although in the Civil War in former Yugoslavia in the years 1992-96 all sides committed atrocities - BOSNIA suffered at most. It is the only place on earth after World War II, except during the partition between Indian and Pakistan in 1947, that Muslims where, systematically, butchered, deported, raped and mutilated in very large numbers just because they were Muslims. Naturally, thousands of Muslim volunteers streamed to BOSNIA to defend their fellow Muslims. The comradeship, the connections, the Islamic devotion and the experience from BOSNIAís battlefield became the infrastructure for many militant Islamic cells in Europe, that affiliated themselves to the Global Jihad in general and particularly to Al Qaeda.
After the Dayton Balkans Peace treaty from 1996, BOSNIA, although recognized as an independent state, is a federation of a Muslim State and a Serb State within BOSNIAís border. The Serbs are much more connected to neighbor Serbia then to Muslim Sarajevo and it seems to be that the historic conflict is not, yet, over.
Today (02/2008) the basic political borders of BOSNIA are the same as established after the Turkish retreat in the end of the 19th centaury. Russia with its growing military and economic might supports the Serbs, NATO and the Western powers support Croatia and BOSNIA - just as it was in the Balkans for the last 150 years.
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