HOW SAUDIS GOT WEAPONS TO BOSNIA
by Michael Dobbs
February 3d 1996.
Dismayed by Western inaction in Bosnia, Saudi Arabia paid
$300 million to channel weapons to the Muslim-led government over the past three years
with the tacit cooperation of the United States, according to an official familiar with
the cover operation.
The arms shipments, which were in addition to about $500 million in Saudi humanitarian
aid, were in direct violation of a United Nations arms embargo on the former Yugoslavia
that Washington had pledged to enforce.
The Saudi official provided significant new details about the program, of which only
sketchy descriptions have been provided in the past by US and other Western officials.
Clinton administration officials have denied persistent reports from European officials of
US involvement in arming the Bosnian Muslims during the 3 and a half year Bosnian civil
The Saudi official said most of the assistance to the Bosnian Muslims was channeled
through Croatia, which controls Bosnia's access to the sea and Western Europe and took a
cut of up to 50 percent on the arms deliveries. Some emergency deliveries were made in
secret night flights to Tuzla and other airports under the control of the Bosnian
French defense officials have insisted that the United States helped facilitate a series
of mysterious flights to Tuzla during the war by US c-130 cargo planes, which were
witnessed by UN observers. US officials have denied any involvement in organizing the
flights and have suggested that Turkey might have been responsible.