Abu Nidal, Role Profile

Paul Lyon (pdl)
Mon, 31 Oct 1994 17:07:08 +0600

Abu Nidal

Born in Jaffa (c. 1936/1943) to a wealthy merchant family. He was
one of 16 sons and 8 daughters. His father was married to 13
wives. With the formation of Israel in 1948, Abu Nidal, whose real
name Sabry Al)Banna left for Ashkelon then to Gaza, and finally after
ayear to Nablus which was then part of Jordan. After graduating from
a Jordanian Highschool, he left to work in Saudi Arabia(with one of
his brothers). It was the time of the Oil Boom.

In 1958, while in Saudi Arabia, he joined a Baathist Party and became
involved in Palestinian Nationalist activities. He then joined
Arafat's Al Fatah organisation which was formed in Kuwait in 1959.

In 1969, Arafat sent Abu Nidal to Khartoum (the capilat of Sudan) to
open a P.L.O office. He was expelled after a year for his recruiting
activities amongst Palestinian students. This would later become one
of his trademarks.
In 1970, Arafat sent Nidal to Baghdad to open a P.L.O office there.
>From 1970 on, his career can be divided into four phases.
1970--1973): Disenchantment toward Arafat. During this period, the
Iraqi government encouraged Abu Nidal to assume personal control over
the P.L.O apparatus there, including a radio station, newspaper and
student scholarships. At that stage, Iraq was more radical and was the
leader in the forces against Israel. They were apparently interested
in having it's one little P.L.O within the P.L.O. and they saw the
right man as being Abu Nidal.
The basis to Abu Nidal's disenchantment with Arafat lay in the
P.L.O leader's willingness to consider any land evacuated by Israel as
a basis for a Palestinian state rather in insisting the total return
of Palestine. These conflicting ideas coincided with the strategy of
the Iraqi's and this laid the groundwork for the next phase of his
career in which Nidal became both a terrorist for the Iraqi government
and at the same time a rebel within Arafat's Al Fatah organisation.
1973) On the 5th of September Nidal's first operation took place
where he and five of his men occupied the Saudi embassy in Paris and
took eleven members of the staff hostage. this attack was intended to
embarrass Arafat and by the Iraqis to intimidate Saudi Arabia. The
group which conducted this attack was called Al Aqab
("punishment"). This was one of the names used by Nidal. Other names
he used for particular operations were : Revolutionary Organisation of
Socialist Muslims (for attacks on British targets), Arab Nationalist
Youth Organisation and Arab Revolutionary Brigades(for attacks on Arab
targets) ; Black September, Black June, Black September and June, and
Fatah Revolutionary Council( for strikes against Israeli and P.L.O
After his first attack, Abu Nidal split from Arafat. He tried to
take over Al Fatah by forming his own group the Fatah Revolutionary
Council. This was formalised June 1974 after Arafat pushed a
resolution through the P.N.C. to establish a state "on any Palestinian
territory that is liberated".
In October 1974 Nidal dispatched a hit team to Damascus to
assassinate Arafat and Abu Mazen. Team was captured and Nidal was
sentenced to death in absentia.
The Nidal operation had the most far reaching effect was the
attempt to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London, Shlomo Argov,
on June 3rd 1982. The shooting provided the rationale for Defense
Minister Ariel Sharon to launchthe invasion of Lebanon.
Abu Nidal is an enemy of Israel but there have been suspicion of
collaboration with Likud conservatives in assassinations of
P.L.O. peace seekers. He has been sponsored by Ghaddafi and Saddam
Hussein and formerly hosted by Eastern block countries especially
Yugoslavia and Hungary. He is opposed to the peace process as
represents a betrayal of the prime ideology of the liberation of
Palestine by armed struggle.

His aims are: The liberation of Palestine by Jihad, Removing Arafat as
P.L.O chairman to be replaced by himself, Derailing the Peace Process,
and International terrorism and on countries who support
Israel,Revenge on Hashemite's (Saudi's as the source of subversive
plots against his leadership)

During the past decade there have been over 37 terrorist attacks
ranging from car bombs in Rome to savage gun battles in Southern
Lebanon. Now sheltered in Libya, Nidal in the past has operated under
the aegis of Iraq and Syria, each of whom used him, in part, to
attempt to curb P.L.O independence.