Fatah denies report that former Moscow student Abbas was a KGB agent

by WorldTribune Staff, September 9, 2016

A report that revealed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a Soviet spy in the 1980s is being called a “smear campaign” by Fatah leaders.

A Sept. 7 report by Israel’s Channel 1 television, citing information it said was included in an archive smuggled out of the USSR, said Abbas was a KGB operative working out of Damascus.

Mahmoud Abbas in Nicosia, Cyprus, March 31, 1975, during a meeting to discuss the opening of a Palestine Liberation Organization office on the island. /AP
Mahmoud Abbas in Nicosia, Cyprus, March 31, 1975, during a meeting to discuss the opening of a Palestine Liberation Organization office on the island. /AP

Fatah official Nabil Shaath denied that Abbas was ever a KGB agent, calling the claim a “smear campaign” that attempted to distract from potentially Russian-led peace talks in Moscow.

According to Channel 1’s foreign news editor Oren Nahari, the Mitrokhin archive, kept by KGB defector Vasily Mitrokhin, revealed that Abbas was a Soviet spy in Damascus in 1983.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Abbas studied at the People’s Friendship University of Russia, where he wrote his doctoral thesis, “The Secret Relationship between German Nazis and Zionists,” which has been accused of denying the scope of the Holocaust.

According to an Eastern Soviet bloc intelligence agent who defected to the United States in the 1970s, the PLO, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the PFLP all received help from the KGB.

Mitrokhin was a senior KGB archivist who defected to the UK in 1992, and his edited notes on various KGB operations were released in 2014. His handwritten notes remain classified by MI5.

The Soviet documents — obtained by Israeli researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez — are said to reveal that Abbas, code-named Krotov (mole), was involved with the Soviets while Mikhail Bogdanov, today Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Middle East, was stationed in Damascus.

According to a report by The Times of Israel, “Bogdanov was caught in a diplomatic tussle earlier this week after trying to broker a summit between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow, who both claimed a willingness to meet while decrying the other for allegedly refusing.”

Romanian Lt. General Pacepa told US officials that in 1972 that then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat closely collaborated with the KGB and the Romanian Securitate service, and PLO guerrilla fighters were secretly trained by Soviet intelligence agents.

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