WikiLeaks Reveals U.S. Relationship with Arafat

(Tablet) Lee Smith - Declassified State Department cables dating from 1973-1976 that WikiLeaks put online this week offer a fascinating window into the U.S. relationship with Yasser Arafat. U.S. diplomats knew Arafat was a terrorist and that he was responsible for the death of American diplomats, like Ambassador Cleo Noel, who was assassinated in Khartoum in 1973 under Arafat's orders. But Washington overlooked those facts for the sake of winning the Cold War. The cables show that the Americans were keen to have Arafat on their side in order to thwart Moscow's regional ambitions. Israel long believed that Arafat's intelligence chief Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the masterminds of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic games, was a CIA asset. What Arafat, the father of Arab terrorism, offered the U.S. was the fact that he was a power on the ground with men and weapons and called his own shots. Unlike other Palestinian factions, he wasn't beholden to Moscow, or owned by the Syrians, Egyptians, or any other Arab states. In other words, Arafat had made himself available to the Americans, and they scooped him up. Kissinger and his State Department believed that solving the Arab-Israeli conflict would win the good will of the Arabs and hurt the Soviets - and they saw Arafat as their ace in the hole.

2013-04-12 00:00:00

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