Security threats of violent Islamist extremism and terrorism for South East Europe and beyond
Additional Publication Information
The Balkan region had been a base for a significant number of violent Islamist extremist organizations even prior to the attacks in the United States of September 11, 2001. Militant extremism had been escalating in the Balkans over the decade prior to 9/11, and these groups and individuals were establishing links to Al Qaeda –affiliated terrorist groups beyond the region. As a result of Al Qaeda’s presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the influence of extremist ideology, and the proliferation of tens of thousands of former military and paramilitary fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Southern Serbia, Sand ž ak, and Albania, the threat of violence and terrorism was substantial. However, in the contemporary period, the Balkan region has come to serve more as a logistical base than a theater of major terrorist operations. 1 An escalation of regional conflict is highly unlikely today, though isolated incidents of clashes with violent extremists of lower intensity are possible, especially in Kosovo and Macedonia.