How the IRA and the PLO Became Part of the USSR’s Terrorist International

From 1969 until 1998, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) conducted an insurgency against British rule in Northern Ireland that often involved bloody attacks on civilians. Kyle Orton, in an examination of this conflict, connects it to the broader history of terrorism:

It was in the language of self-defense that, in November 1969, the IRA phrased its request for weapons to the Soviets, relayed through the secretary-general of the Irish Communist party, Michael O’Riordan. The Soviets agreed, and the first weapons shipment was delivered in 1972, once the KGB chief Yuri Andropov was sure the IRA could keep its Moscow connection secret. The IRA [had] split into the Official IRA (OIRA) and the Provisional IRA (PIRA) in December 1969.

The PIRA would become part of the interlaced network of international terrorist groups that received Soviet support during the last 30 years of the wold war. This was a synergistic ecosystem. . . . The KGB’s role in global terrorism was, with the exception of the KGB’s role in controlling the “fraternal” Communist parties around the world, its most closely guarded secret. While both facts were obvious to anybody who wanted to see even at the time, the Soviets engaged in elaborate efforts to hide their hand and most Western media and academic coverage dismissed such suggestions as “conspiracy theories” or “McCarthyism.”

With the terrorist groups, the Soviets used a two-factor method to distance themselves: a lot of the operations were delegated to the captive nations [of Eastern and Central Europe], particularly the East Germans, and the Stasi and others then used secondary intermediaries, notably the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and states like Hafez al-Assad’s Syria and (notoriously in the case of the PIRA) Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya. It is no accident, as the comrades used to say, that it was in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union had collapsed, that groups like the PIRA and the PLO found themselves in positions where they even had to pretend to engage in “peace processes.”

Read more at It Can Always Get Worse

More about: Ireland, KGB, Palestinian terror, PLO, Terrorism


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy