Magazine article Newsweek

Back to the Woodshed: As Washington Knocks Heads to Safeguard the Peace Deal, NATO Raids a Secret Iranian Base

Magazine article Newsweek

Back to the Woodshed: As Washington Knocks Heads to Safeguard the Peace Deal, NATO Raids a Secret Iranian Base

Article excerpt

THE RAID WAS REHEARSED FOR weeks, but took only moments to execute. A U.S. Special Forces Black-hawk helicopter swooped down on a snow-covered former ski chalet 20 miles west of Sarajevo and dropped a NATO unit of 10 French commandos. The point man took out the security guard with a karate chop to the neck, then the team stormed in. They eventually arrested 11 men suspected of being terrorists, three of them Iranians and the rest Bosnian Muslims. Inside, the team found sniper rifles, rocket launchers and children's toys wired with plastic explosives, including one booby-trapped ice-cream cone. They also came upon mock-ups of potential targets, including what one NATO intelligence officer told NEWSWEEK looked like the U.S. Embassy and NATO's Sarajevo headquarters. NEWSWEEK has learned that NATO last week also discovered six similar bases in Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla.

U.S. officials called the secret Iranian presence a direct threat to NATO--the first to emerge against the 60,000 peacekeeping troops. And the discovery came at a time when the White House was already concerned enough to call the Balkan chieftains to a Rome summit--one more trip to the woodshed with U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke. What especially outraged the Americans about the raided camp was that the Bosnians were involved; Washington has been their chief patron. U.S. Adm. Leighton Smith, NATO's commander in Bosnia, called the camp an "abomination" and angrily rejected Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic's claim that it was an old intelligence post. …

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