Yasser Arafat (Arabic: أبو عمار , 'Abū `Ammār)
Arafat's biographer, the British historian Alan Hart, relayed the story that Arafat was heavily beaten by his father for going to the Jewish quarter in Cairo and attending religious services. When his father asked Arafat why he would not stop going, he responded by saying; "I wanted to study Jewish mentality."
In 1944, Arafat enrolled in the University of King Fuad I and graduated in 1950. Arafat later claimed to have sought a better understanding of how to counter the Jews and Zionism by engaging in discussions with Jews and reading publications by Theodor Herzl and other prominent Zionists.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Arafat left the University and sought to enter Palestine to join Arab forces fighting against Israeli troops but instead of joining the ranks of the "Palestinian fedayeen." Arafat fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood, although he later denied joining the organization.
In early 1949, the war was winding down in Israel's favor, and Arafat returned to Cairo to university. Arafat studied civil engineering and served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) from 1952 to 1956. During the 1956 Suez War he was called to duty to fight with Egyptian forces but was not involved in the fighting. With the disasterous defeat of Egypt and the introduction of the UNEF -United Nations Emergency Force to the Gaza Strip. Arafat who had been a member of the "fedayeen" forces was expelled.
Arafat originally attempted to obtain a visa to Canada and later Saudi Arabia, but was unsuccessful in both attempts.
In 1957, when Kuwait was still a British protectorate, he applied for a visa based on his work in civil engineering and was approved.
As Arafat began to develop friendships with Palestinian refugees, some of whom like Abu Iyad whom he had met while attending Cairo University and Abu Jihad in Gaza, both of whom were official members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Khalil al-Wazir ("Abu Jihad"), had arrived in 1959 Kuwait worked as a teacher and Salah Khalaf ("Abu Iyad") arrived in Kuwait in late 1960 became Arafat's top aides in Al Fatah.
Arafat and the others gradually founded the group that became known as Fatah. The exact date for the establishment of Fatah is unknown however the group's existence was attested to in the pages of a Palestinian nationalist magazine, Filastununa Nida al-Hayat (Our Palestine, The Call of Life), which was written and edited by Abu Jihad in 1959.
The full name of "Fatah" - Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini translates into "The Palestinian National Liberation Movement" or FaTaH the reverse acronym of the Arabic name and in early Islamic times to refer to "conquest."
Fatah differed from other Palestinian Arab political and guerrilla organizations in that it dedicated itself to the liberation of "Falestine" by an armed struggle carried out by the "Arabs of the Mandated Area" themselves.
Due to his ideology, Arafat generally refused to accept donations to his organization from major Arab governments, in order to act independently of them. He did not want to alienate them, and sought their undivided support by avoiding alliances with groups loyal to other ideologies. He worked hard in Kuwait, however, to establish the groundwork for Fatah's future financial support by enlisting contributions from the many wealthy Palestinians working there and other Gulf States, such as Qatar (where he met Mahmoud Abbas in 1961). These businessmen and oil workers contributed generously to the Fatah organization.
In 1962, Arafat and his closest companions migrated to Syria and at that time Fatah had approximately three hundred members by this time, but none were actual fighters. Fatah began to recruit members by offering them higher incomes to enable his armed attacks against Israel. Many members of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), the regular military force of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was created by the Arab League in 1964 defected to Fatah for the higher wages.
With the overwhelming defeat of Arab forces in the Six Day War Israel humiliated two of the Soviet Union’s most important allies in the Arab world of that time, Egypt and Syria. It was at this point that Mahmoud Abbas who had been indocrinated into the KGB while a student at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where he earned a Candidate of Sciences degree (the Soviet equivalent of a PhD) told his controllers to induct "Abu Ammar"as an agent.
The Kremlin was convinced by Abbas that Arafat could help repair the Soviet prestige.
Ion Mihai Pacepa, former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage once recollected:
"I became directly involved with Arafat in the late 1960s, in the days when he was being financed and manipulated by the KGB. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel humiliated two of the Soviet Union's Arab client states, Egypt and Syria. A couple of months later, the head of Soviet foreign intelligence, Gen. Alexander Sakharovsky, landed in Bucharest. According to him, the Kremlin had charged the KGB to "repair the prestige" of "our Arab friends" by helping them organize terrorist operations that would humiliate Israel. The main KGB asset in this joint venture was a "devoted Marxist-Leninist"--Yasser Arafat, co-founder of Fatah, the Palestinian military force.
Gen. Sakharovsky asked us in Romanian intelligence to help the KGB bringing Arafat and some of his fedayeen fighters secretly to the Soviet Union via Romania, in order for them to be indoctrinated and trained. During that same year, the Soviets maneuvered to have Arafat named chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organizaiton, with public help from Egypt's ruler, Gamal Abdel Nasser.
When I first met Arafat, I was stunned by the ideological similarity between him and his KGB mentor. Arafat's broken record was that American "imperial Zionism" was the "rabid dog of the world," and there was only one way to deal with a rabid dog: "Kill it!""
Mohammed Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, nom de guerre "Abu Ammar,” was therefore built into a Palestinian leader by the KGB.
The Arab leaders were "persuaded" to agree that a 'Palestinian' solution to their dilemma was indispensable. Because of this new line of thinking Yasser Arafat was invited to join the PLO in December 1967 when Ahmad Shukeiri resigned his post as PLO Chairman and Yahya Hammuda took his place.
The turning point for Arafat and the PLO was the battle of Karameh in Jordan. Although the Arab death toll was much higher and the fact that the battle was decided in Israel's favor, Fatah considered themselves victorious because it was the first time that Palestinian fighters stood their ground and did not flee before the Israeli army's withdrawal.
Soon after that, the KGB tasked Arafat to declare war on American “imperial-Zionism” during the first summit of the Black International, an organization that was also financed by the KGB. Arafat claimed to have coined the word “imperial-Zionism,” but in fact Moscow had invented this battle cry many years earlier, combining the traditionally Russian anti-Semitism with the new Marxist anti-Americanism.
The Advice: How to win the minds of the liberals in the West
In 1970, Arafat visited
Võ Nguyên Giáp, a General in the Vietnam People's Army and a politician, made it clear to Arafat and his lieutenants that in order to succeed, they too needed to redefine the terms of their struggle. Giap’s counsel was simple but profound: the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation. Arafat sent his adjutant, Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir - Abu Jihad (later the leader of the PLO’s military operations), to
“Stop talking about annihilating
and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.” Israel
“Wipe out the argument that Israel is a small state whose existence is threatened by the Arab states, or the reduction of the Palestinian problem to a question of refugees; instead, present the Palestinian struggle as a struggle for liberation like the others. Wipe out the impression …that in the struggle between the Palestinians and the Zionists, the Zionist is the underdog. Now it is the Arab who is oppressed and victimized in his existence because he is not only facing the Zionists but also world imperialism.”