wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
90STATE182269
1990-06-06 14:26:00
SECRET
Secretary of State
Cable title:  

REPORT THAT ABU NIDAL IS IN IRAQ

Tags:   PTER  IR  LI  UK  SU  IZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
R 061426Z JUN 90
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
AMEMBASSY TUNIS
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY AMMAN
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
AMEMBASSY ROME
AMEMBASSY LONDON
						S E C R E T  STATE 182269 

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PTER IR LI UK SU IZ
SUBJECT: REPORT THAT ABU NIDAL IS IN IRAQ

S E C R E T STATE 182269

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PTER IR LI UK SU IZ
SUBJECT: REPORT THAT ABU NIDAL IS IN IRAQ


1. (S) FOLLOWING FOR POSTS' INFORMATION IS AN
UNCONFIRMED REPORT THAT ABU NIDAL IS PRESENTLY IN
BAGHDAD AND OTHER INFORMATION ON THE ABU NIDAL
ORGANIZATION (ANO) PROVIDED BY A FRENCH
COUNTER-TERRORISM EXPERT. THE INFORMATION THAT ABU
NIDAL IS CURRENTLY IN BAGHDAD IS AT SHARP VARIANCE WITH
INFORMATION PROVIDED RECENTLY BY THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT
AND AVAILABLE TO US FROM OTHER SOURCES DEEMED RELIABLE.
THE INFORMATION TRACKS CLOSELY WITH PLO-GENERATED RUMORS
CIRCULATING IN BAGHDAD IN LATE MAY. THESE RUMORS
ASSERTED THAT ABU NIDAL HAD BEEN REFUSED ENTRY INTO IRAQ.


2. (S) HOWEVER, GIVEN HIGH PRIORITY USG ATTACHES TO
PUTTING ABU NIDAL OUT OF BUSINESS AND GOOD PAST
INFORMATION FROM THIS SOURCE, WE WANTED TO SHARE HIS
INFORMATION AND ASSESSMENT OF THE ANO. RECENT ATTACKS
AGAINST ANO DISSIDENTS IN ALGERIA AND SYRIA SUGGEST THAT
THE ANO MAY BE TRYING TO RE-ESTABLISH ITS TERRORIST
CREDENTIALS AND PLANNING OTHER ATTACKS. DEPARTMENT IS
PARTICULARLY EAGER TO KEEP THE ANO ISOLATED AND OFF
BALANCE. DEPARTMENT WANTS TO MAINTAIN OR INCREASE
EXISTING PRESSURE ON LIBYA AND ANY OTHER POTENTIAL STATE
SPONSORS TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES CLEARLY FROM THIS
TERRORIST GROUP. POSTS ARE REQUESTED TO KEEP ANO ON
TERRORISM AGENDA WITH HOST GOVERNMENTS, STRESSING ITS
BLOODY TERRORIST RECORD AND THE NEED FOR ALL STATES TO
WORK TOGETHER TO PUT THE ANO OUT OF BUSINESS AND TO KEEP
ITS MEMBERS ON THE RUN. LONDON AND KHARTOUM SEE ACTION
REQUEST PARA 8.


3. (C) SOURCE IS A PRIVATE FRENCH COUNTER-TERRORISM
EXPERT WHO HAS EXCELLENT CONTACTS WITH EUROPEAN
INTELLIGENCE SERVICES AND MIDDLE EASTERN GROUPS. IN
MARCH, EXPERT REPORTED CONTACTS BETWEEN THE ABU NIDAL
ORGANIZATION (ANO) AND IRAQ TO DISCUSS BOTH THE
POSSIBILITY OF MOVING ANO OPERATIONS TO BAGHDAD AND THE
STATUS OF ABU NIDAL'S PROPERTY (CHICKEN FARMS) IN IRAQ.
AT THAT TIME, HIS SOURCES SAID IRAQ HAD POLITELY REFUSED
TO READMIT THE ANO. SIMILAR INFORMATION WAS
SUBSEQUENTLY REPORTED IN OTHER CHANNELS.


4. (C) BEGIN CURRENT REPORT OF FRENCH TERRORISM EXPERT:
ACCORDING TO TWO NON-PALESTINIAN SOURCES -- ONE OF WHOM
WAS IN IRAQ WEEK OF MAY 28, ABU NIDAL HAD VERY RECENTLY
ARRIVED IN BAGHDAD FOR QUOTE HEALTH TREATMENTS END
QUOTE. HE IS NOT PARTICULARLY ILL, BUT IS SPENDING TIME

IN A HOSPITAL FOR REST GIVEN HIS GENERALLY WEAKENED
PHYSICAL STATE. THE MOVE IS THE RESULT OF PRESSURE ON
LIBYA FROM ITS NORTH AFRICAN NEIGHBORS AND ABU NIDAL'S
DESIRE TO FIND A NEW BASE OF OPERATIONS. THERE IS NO
WORD AS TO HOW LONG THE HEALTH TREATMENTS WILL TAKE OR
IF IRAQ HAS AUTHORIZED ABU NIDAL TO PLAN OR LAUNCH
OPERATIONS WHILE IN IRAQ.


5. (C) THE LATE APRIL ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF ANO
DISSIDENT ISA IN ALGIERS GENERATED A MINI-GOVERNMENTAL
CRISIS IN ALGIERS. FIRST, THE ASSAILANTS SOUGHT REFUGE
IN THE HOME OF THE FORMER CHIEF OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE
AND HID THERE FOR TWO DAYS BEFORE BEING DISCOVERED.
THIS SPARKED A SHARP DEBATE ABOUT HOW INVOLVED THE
FORMER ALGERIAN OFFICIAL HAD BEEN IN THE ATTACK. WHEN
THE ALGERIANS DETAINED THE ASSAILANTS AND PROTESTED TO
ANO, ABU NIDAL SENT BACK CLEAR THREATS TO TAKE COUNTER
HOSTAGES, AMONG OTHER THINGS. THE ALGERIANS THEN
PROTESTED TO QADAFHI, ARGUING THAT IT WAS COMPLETELY
UNACCEPTABLE FOR LIBYA TO ALLOW SUCH OPERATIONS TO BE
LAUNCHED AND SUCH THREATS TO BE MADE FROM ITS TERRITORY
AGAINST LIBYA'S NEIGHBORS, ESPECIALLY IN AN ERA OF
REGIONAL INTEGRATION. TUNISIA MADE SIMILAR STRONG
DEMARCHES, GIVEN WORRIES THAT ANO WOULD LAUNCH ATTACKS
AGAINST ANO DISSIDENTS IN TUNIS. (EXPERT NOTED THAT ANO
HAD LAUNCHED OPERATIONS AGAINST DISSIDENTS ELSEWHERE AS
PART OF AN EFFORT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT IT IS STILL VITAL.)


6. (C) GIVEN THIS PRESSURE, LIBYAN LEADER QADHAFI "GAVE
HIS PERMISSION" FOR ABU NIDAL TO LEAVE LIBYA. EXPERT
SPECULATES THAT QADHAFI MAY HAVE INTERVENED WITH SADDAM
HUSSEIN TO WIN PERMISSION FOR THE QUOTE MEDICAL END
QUOTE VISIT BY ABU NIDAL TO BAGHDAD.


7. (C) FRENCH EXPERT ADDED THAT IRAQ'S REPORTED DECISION
TO ACCEPT AN ABU NIDAL VISIT FITS WITH THE GENERAL
HARDENING OF ITS STANCE ON THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN
QUESTION. HE SAID FROM SEPARATE SOURCES HE HAS BEEN
TOLD THAT AHMED JABRIL SENT A REPRESENTATIVE TO IRAQ FOR
TALKS ABOUT OPENING AN OFFICE. NO DECISION HAS
REPORTEDLY BEEN MADE, BUT JABRIL'S MOVE HAS GENERATED A
GOOD DEAL OF CONCERN IN DAMASCUS, EXPERT WAS TOLD.


8. (C) EXPERT SAID CONTRARY TO THE POSITIVE SPIN WHICH
PLO LEADER ABU IYAD PUTS ON HIS INFORMATION ABOUT THE
ANO, THIS TERRORIST GROUP IS REGAINING STRENGTH AND
POSES A SERIOUS THREAT. HE SAYS ANO HAS BEEN PRESSURING
THE NEW GOVERNMENT IN SUDAN AND THAT THE FIVE ANO
TERRORISTS HELD THERE WILL REPORTEDLY SOON BE RELEASED.
(SOURCE ADDED THAT CURRENT SUDANESE GOVERNMENT IN MORE
FAVORABLY DISPOSED TO ANTI-ISRAELI GROUPS, PARTICULARLY
THOSE WITH AN ISLAMIC ORIENTATION, THAN PREVIOUS
REGIME. THE PALESTINE ISLAMIC JIHAD (PIJ), FOR EXAMPLE,
REPORTEDLY HAS AN ACTIVE CELL IN THE SUDAN APPARENTLY
WITH TACIT SUDANESE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT, AND HE SAYS, AND
PLANS TO BEGIN TRAINING THERE.) BELGIUM IS ABOUT TO
SUCCUMB TO ANO PRESSURES TO RELEASE SAYD NASR AND
PERHAPS PAY A RANSOM TO GET THE REMAINING SILCO HOSTAGES
BACK, HE SAYS. END COMMENTS OF FRENCH TERRORISM EXPERT.


9. (C) FOR KHARTOUM AND LONDON: WOULD APPRECIATE UPDATE
ON STATUS OF THE ACROPOLE/SUDAN CLUB FIVE ANO
PRISONERS. YOU MAY CITE AN UNCONFIRMED REPORT OF NEW
ANO PRESSURE ON THE SUDANESE GOVERNMENT AND A POSSIBLE
RELEASE IN MAKING THIS APPROACH. WOULD ALSO APPRECIATE
EMBASSY KHARTOUM'S VIEW ON SUDANESE GOVERNMENT'S
ATTITUDE TOWARD TERRORISM AND ON REPORTED PRESENCE OF
TERRORIST GROUPS, SUCH AS PIJ, IN SUDAN.


KIMMITT