The Support of Communist Regimes for Terrorist Organizations in the Middle East

Date of event:

On Wednesday, October 26 The Prague Centre for Transatlantic relation of the CEVRO Institute (PCTR) held a public lecture of Israeli political scientist and Senior Research Scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) Ely Karmon and Czech historian and former Director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes Pavel Žáček. The lecture was opened by the PCTR Director Alexandr Vondra and moderated by the Vice President for International Relations of the CEVRO Institute Tomáš Pojar.

The lecture was predominantly focused on the support of the Soviet Union and its satellite states for the terrorist organizations and the subsequent rise of international terrorism. According to Ely Karmon, the USSR’s support originated in the effort to encourage the revolution (including the non socialist one) to destabilize capitalism. The main chapter of the rise of international terrorism was then the support for the Palestinian organizations.

The reasons for success of international terrorism lay mainly in the support of Arab countries, lack of reaction from the Western countries and especially in the support of Eastern Europe. The most active in this regard were Soviet Union and East Germany but other Easter countries also served as safe haven for terrorist or provided them with training.

Pavel Žáček followed Ely Karmon with introduction of his research of Czechoslovak intelligence services archives. According to him, it cannot be proven that Czechoslovakia has actively participated in the training of terrorists. Unlike East Germany intelligence services, the Czechoslovak agencies did not have a permission to cooperate directly with terrorist organizations. It is true that Carlos, probably the most famous terrorist of that time, stayed in Czechoslovakia but local intelligence services in many cases had no idea.

Following debate was opened by Tomáš Pojar’s question about the role of Moscow and each satellite state in this policy. In his answer Ely Karmon reminded the audience that for example Romanian intelligence recruited Carlos for terrorist attack against Radio Free Europe. Other questions focused for example on the usage of Czechoslovak training camps. Pavel Žáček repeated that there is no prove training camps in Czechoslovakia were used for training terrorists though these facilities were , as part of international cooperation, provided for training of for example bodyguards from Palestinian organizations.

We would like to thank media partners of this event: Civic Institute and Czech-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.