Units such as the Northern Brigade, Bridge Guards, and Civil Protection are not paramilitary formations, but rather, we can safely say, government forces, i.e. forces of the security and safety services of a particular country, says Dean Dzebic, military security commentator and editor of the Arma.ba portal, in an interview for TheGeopost.
He points out that the seized weapons, such as the “Black Arrow” 12.7 mm snipers used by the most elite units of the Serbian Army, is one of the most irrefutable arguments of who is actually behind the training, training and preparation of such a unit.
Dzebic alludes to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s statement that such uniforms could be bought on the black market, but, he points out, “the equipment they had could only be bought from a state arms dealer, in this case it was the state of Serbia”.
He states that Wagner offered such a kind of edict and paradigm that the state story can be transformed into a business one in which the controversial businessman will take upon himself the responsibility for managing it and in fact implement state policy to a large extent.
“In this respect, it is a link between Russia and this case, considering that Milan Radoicic was considered one of the influential, very controversial businessmen in the north of Kosovo, where, absolutely, we can say, he was Prigozin in miniature”.
He emphasizes that in the future we will also watch reruns of September 24 until, he says, “that nexus of organized crime and terrorism is not broken in Kosovo.”
Banjska, he points out, had two goals and the monastery was not chosen by chance.
The original purpose of the operation, he says, was “to cause a conflict that would greatly benefit Serbia in this Brussels combinatory of diplomatic negotiations and rounds between Prime Minister Aljbin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic”.
Geopost: You are among the first military and security commentators to identify members of the Northern Brigade as the main suspects in the terrorist attack in Kosovo at the end of September. Is it known who commands this organization? Are paramilitary groups really, as in the wartime past, Serbia’s key to provoking conflict?
Dzebic: How much these units are paramilitary formations is shown by the type of weapons they have at their disposal, which is exclusively at the service of the most elite units of a certain state. In this regard, units such as the Northern Brigade, Bridge Guards, and Civil Protection are not paramilitary formations, but rather, we can freely say, government forces, i.e., forces of the security and safety services of a certain country.
When we talk about the Northern Brigade, it was formed, according to the information so far, back in January 2022. It is made up of local young men in the age range of 18 to 25 years. According to the data, it is about 300 members who were taken to Kopaonik Mountain in January 2022, where they were subjected to intensive training in the handling of small arms, mine explosives, anti-tank weapons, etc. Those weaponry that was secured on Mount Kopaonik in Crna Glava were secured by the Serbian Army, although, according to the intelligence model of plausible deniability, we will never get that kind of recognition.
But, if you look at the weapons that were seized, the best example is the seizure of the anti-battery rifle or sniper “Zastava M93” or “Black Arrows” 12.7 millimeters. So, such a sniper is used by the most elite units of the Serbian Army and they are the only users of that sniper. It speaks for itself, as one of the most irrefutable arguments, who is actually behind the training, training and preparation of such a unit.
When we talk in general about the use of such units as a general place, it became Wagner, even though Wagner belonged to the category of paramilitary companies, i.e. private military companies, as one company, in the corporate sense, an organized military company that fulfills the external political and security requirements of the state so that the state itself would not enter the war and conducts as a proxy wars in the cybernetic or cyber space but also in the front space, therefore, in the domain of physical conflicts of low and high intensity and wars if you will. Such units are extraordinary to use considering that they do not have a flag and as such are most often attributed to local residents of a certain area and therefore, we can safely say that it is one of the most elegant ways of conducting state terrorism considering that your external, political and security goals fulfill and no one can point a finger at your flag and the fact that soldiers are fighting under uniform uniforms that have nothing to do with your country. Such was the case in Banjska, considering that we had uniforms that were confiscated by the Kosovo security forces, which were in unison. So, let me say, universal and, as President Vucic said, could be bought on the black market. Such uniforms could be bought on the black market, but the equipment they had could only be bought from a state arms dealer, in this case it was the state of Serbia.
Geopost: You mentioned Wagner as a model. How much influence was there from Russia in the terrorist operation in Banjska?
Dzebic: Russia’s influence should be seen as a type of global influence. Namely, with the formation of the private company Wagner, which is of course not the first private military company in the world, mercenary armies are also mentioned by Thucydides in his “Peloponnese Wars”. Therefore, it is a phenomenon inherent in war as a sociological phenomenon and as such is nothing new except that its nationalization, sovereignization, adoption of the state apparatus did not reach such an expression as was the case with Wagner. So, we have the case of the Special Operations Unit, i.e. the Red Berets, which are famous formations of the Department of State Security of Serbia, and which were absorbed overnight into the state apparatus, even though it was made up of people who had a criminal past, who had behind them a whole series of war crimes, engagements in wars for which Serbia was never responsible as one of the accomplices and a whole series of other activities.
In this regard, Wagner offered a model of how with small formations that have a high level of technical and technological equipment in the field of technology, weapons, anti-tank weapons, vehicles, drones… a whole system of multispectral projection of power. So, if you want a cyber operation, physical type operations, if you want operations of physical guarding and securing of VIPs and locations that are part of critical infrastructure. Wagner offered such a kind of edict and paradigm that the state story can be transformed into a business one in which the controversial businessman will take upon himself the responsibility for managing it and in fact implement the state policy to a large extent. In this respect, it is a link between Russia and this case, given that Milan Radoicic was considered one of the influential, highly controversial businessmen in the north of Kosovo, where, we can absolutely say, he was a miniature Prigozhin.
Geopost: What is the probability that we will see the replay on September 24?
Dzebic: The answer to the question of whether we can expect a repeat of the scenario from Banjska was actually offered by the initiators of such operations before the 24th, and a few days later there was another case of blocking certain high-frequency operations, again we had trucks and logs. We will continue to have them until the nexus of organized crime and terrorism is broken in Kosovo. So, if you listen to political scientists, journalists, security guards from Kosovo, they are all of the same opinion that the people in the north of Kosovo are more than tame, and more than willing to cooperate, co-exist, and that such types of turbulence and unrest greatly complicate the normal functioning of their lives. And the key issue of safety and security in Kosovo is the issue of organized crime. The group gathered around Milan Radoicic and Zvonko Veselinovic has brightened and darkened in Kosovo. It is enough just to look at the videos from the raid, we can freely say Milan Radoicic’s hacienda, and if we compare this kind of infrastructure with the paying power of the average person in the north of Kosovo, it will be absolutely clear to us that this is a criminal complex that has also dabbled in state terrorism. So that nexus, that bond between organized crime and terrorism greatly complicates any kind of operations that would eliminate such groups. Simply, their level of integration in all social affairs is such that such an operation would require a complete recomposition, and we can say freely, of the political structure of Kosovo, even though it is very vague and very problematic from the point of view of both sides of the negotiating table and simply, regardless of whether a community of Serbian municipalities is formed or not, organized crime in Kosovo will remain as a type of control. Official Belgrade puts under its paw all important figures who can carry out some kind of mobilization of the masses in Kosovo. And that is actually the role of both Veselinovic and Radoicic, who based on the suffering of the local people built an empire that Pablo Escobar would envy.
Geopost: In an analysis for the Sarajevo agency Patria, you presented a very interesting thesis that seems to have passed under the public’s radar: the Banjska monastery was not chosen by chance and the operation had its primary and secondary goals. Can you clarify for us?
Dzebic: The operation that was carried out in Banjska is what in modern security military terminology is called a ‘false-flag operation’ or a black flag operation, i.e., an operation to change flags, an operation under a false flag and uniforms. In this regard, the operation aimed to create the kind of climate in which the mobilization of the Serbian Army and all security agencies would be justified. In fact, a casus bello was sought. That is why the choice of the Banjska monastery is not accidental. Of course, it is very important to point out that the planning of such operations – including many months of analysis, reconnaissance, assessments – are simply standardized operating procedures that are established in the very planning of the operation and try to cover every aspect of the development of events. Of course, it is very authentic about the Banjska monastery that during the attack pilgrims from Vojvodina stayed in it and were robbed. It is very unusual that all the media in the region skipped over this fact even though it originally came out as news that the pilgrims were robbed. So, if we follow a logical sequence, the pilgrims in the Orthodox monastery were robbed by members of a terrorist organization which, without any doubt, implements the state policy of Serbia. So, a very confused and confusing circumstance to say the least. Of course, also, what stung the ears was that none of the pilgrims spoke to the media, but that type of crisis communication, that is, communication after the event itself, was taken over by a priest. This therefore indicates that the operation actually had two objectives – primary and secondary. The primary goal of the operation in Banjska was to create conditions for the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo and thereby permanently disqualify the Kosovo side, which in that scenario, therefore, the terrorists who came to Banjska would be redressed in the uniforms of the Kosovo security forces while speaking the Albanian language fluently, which is absolutely not a problem to the people living even in the north, created the impression that the church was actually attacked by criminals who were separated from the command or simply instructed by the Kosovo authorities and who attacked the pilgrims in the monastery. You can imagine what kind of media propaganda flywheel it would create if a photo of killed or wounded or, in the extreme, mistreated people, Orthodox, who are in an Orthodox monastery, would be released to the public. That was the first part of the entire operation, which failed only because of the encounter of the Kosovo police patrol, in which the police officer (Afrim) Bunjaku was also killed after the explosive device was activated.
The second, that is, the secondary goal was certainly to frighten the groups that in the north of Serbia, specifically in Vojvodina and even more specifically in Novi Sad, are absolutely dissatisfied with the politics led by Vucic’s SNS, that is, an entire patrimonial octopus that rules today’s Serbia in that criminogenic world and that is it is precisely on the basis of that criminogenic structure that such operations can be successfully carried out, given that the government has created a strong nexus, that is, a strong dome with organized crime and people from the underground. In this regard, to intimidate pilgrims from the north, that is, from Vojvodina, would also mean conveying a certain message to those groups so that they understand in a subtle way what it looks like when they turn their backs on the state, or in this specific sense, the regime of Aleksandar Vucic. So, the aim of the operation was to intimidate both internally and externally, if we can say so, given that the original intention was to provoke a conflict which, in this Brussels combinatory of diplomatic negotiations and rounds between Prime Minister Albin Kurti and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic greatly favored Serbia.