How the SAS was going to assassinate Milosevic

By Paul Lashmar

17 March 2000

British security agents plotted to assassinate Yugoslavia's President, Slobodan Milosevic, in the early Nineties using an SAS hit squad, the intelligence historian Stephen Dorrill claims.

Mr Dorrill says that a secret MI6 file explored three options in which the Serbian leader could be killed during the Bosnian war. His book quotes claims by a former MI6 officer, who worked in the Balkans in the early Nineties, that an ambitious colleague who was responsible for developing and targeting operations in the Balkans had produced the file.

"It was approximately two pages long, and had a yellow card attached to it which signified that it was an accountable document rather than a draft proposal," the unnamed source claims. "It was entitled 'The need to assassinate President Milosevic of Serbia', and was distributed to senior MI6 officers, including the head of Balkan operations, the controller of East European operations, the security officer responsible for eastern European operations and the service's SAS liaison officer.

"The targeting officer justified the assassinating of Milosevic on the grounds that the 'Butcher of Belgrade' was supplying weapons to [Radovan] Karadzic, who was wanted for war crimes, including genocide," says the source.

Mr Dorrill claims in his book that United States and French intelligence agencies were considering assassinating Karadzic. Three scenarios were suggested by MI6. The first was to train a Serbian paramilitary opposition group to carry out the attack. This, the targeting officer argued, had the advantage of deniability but the disadvantage that control of the operation would be difficult and the chance of success low.

The second plan was to use the small cell of SAS/SBS personnel which conducts operations exclusively for MI6 and MI5. This team would kill Mr Milosevic with a bomb or sniper's bullet. The targeting officer thought that this would be the most reliable option, but would be impossible to deny if it went wrong.

The third plot was to kill Mr Milosevic in a staged road accident. In the end, no action was taken by MI6.

Original article