Claim Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB agent in 1980s, according to smuggled Soviet Archive documents

According to a report from Israel’s Channel One contained in a Times of Israel article, the incumbent head of the Palestinian Authority operated as a Soviet spy in the 1980s.  The report has been hotly denied as a “smear campaign” by a spokesman for Abbas’s political party, Fatah

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a Soviet spy in Damascus in the 1980s, Israel’s Channel 1 television reported Wednesday, citing information it said was included in an archive smuggled out of the USSR.

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

The documents — obtained by Israeli researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez — purportedly show 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. (snip)

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 archivist’s notes on the KGB are considered among the most complete information available on Soviet intelligence operations. He claimed that the KGB recruited the then head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Wadi Haddad, as an agent in the 1970s.

His writings also revealed that Haddad, operating under the code name NATSIONALIST, was given Soviet assistance in funding and arming the PFLP.

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

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.

Mahmoud Abbas (photo credit: Government of Chile)

Despite the denial, the report likely is true. Abbas was trained in Moscow at the People’s Friendship University in the late 1970s and early 1980s, during the Cold War. That school was used to train overseas agents sent back to their homelands to make trouble for the West and gain influence for the communists.  The USSR had an ongoing interest in sowing discord in the Middle East in order to bedevil Western oil consumers and cultivate influence among the Arabs of the region.

That said, Abbas today is the more reasonable leader, compared to what Hama offers to Palestinians in Gaza.

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