E”>May 10, 2000E”>
E”>German and Palestinian Terrorist Organizations:
E”>Strange Bedfellows –
An examination of the coalitions among terrorist organizations
Dr. Ely KarmonE”>
ICT Senior ResearcherE”>
A German-language version of this article was published in Politische Studien,
No. 368, November/December 1999.E”>
E”>Because the subject of cooperation and coalitions
among terrorist organizations has never been sufficiently investigated,
numerous questions asked as far back as the early 1970’s have remained
unanswered. These questions need to be dealt with for the simple reason that
the instability of the international system proves that we may have to live
with international terrorism in the foreseeable future. Has the cooperation
between terrorist organizations, active in the international arena during the
1970’s and 1980’s really reached such a high degree as to create working
coalitions between terror organizations from different countries? Is an
institutionalized coalition between international actors—not necessarily sovereign
states—at all possible? What are the domestic and international factors
influencing the establishment of coalitions between terrorist organizations? Is
the ideological factor of crucial importance to the establishment of a
coalition and its practical activity, or do political and material interests
carry more weight than ideological considerations? How does a coalition operate
in the ever-changing international reality?
This article deals with the cooperation between German
terrorist organizations of the extreme left and Palestinian organizations, from
the German perspective alone. It is based on one of the chapters of the
author’s Ph.D. thesis “Coalitions of Terrorist Organizations: 1968-1990”
presented in 1996 at the Political Science Department of Haifa University,
E”>The thesis built a theoretical framework explaining
the conditions under which coalitions between terrorist organizations in the
international arena are formed and how they function in the changing
international system. The theoretical analysis has been tested against
empirical findings relating to the cooperation between European and Palestinian
terrorist organizations during the years 1968 – 1990, as well as the coalitions
between the European extreme left-wing terrorist organizations, better known as
the “Euro-terrorism” phenomenon (1984 – 1988).
E”>The theoretical frameworkE”>
E”>The European and Palestinian terrorist organizations
may be included in the group of “transnational actors,” according to Keohane
& Nye’s definition: “Significant actors characterized by autonomy, control
over substantial resources relevant to the area of their activity and
participation in political relationships across state lines. These actors are
defined as ‘transnational’ in the sense that they are non-governmental, and
their activity affects more than two countries.”
E”>Stephen Walt’s “balance of threat” theory, as
presented in his bookE”> E”>The Origins of AlliancesE”> has served as an important
research tool in this work, after being adapted to the specific arena of
terrorist organizations. Walt considered his theory to be an improvement on the
“balance of power” theory. While the “balance of power” theory predicts a
reaction of countries to a lack of balance of power alone, the “balance of
threat” theory presents the view that countries will ally when there is a lack
of balance in the threat. For instance, when another country or coalition of
rival countries seems especially dangerous to them, states will form an
opposite coalition, or will enhance their efforts in order to reduce their
vulnerability to the threat.
E”>The basic assumption in this research is that
terrorist organizations are interested in establishing a coalition with other
organizations when they feel threatened—whether by political and strategic
conditions and events, by domestic, regional or international conditions or by
other countries or super-powers.
E”>Terrorist organizations operate in order to balance
against the threats facing them; the formation of an alliance with another
organization is one way of overcoming such threats. The decision whether to
form a coalition is a strategic one, after deliberation and examination of
other alternatives. The assessment leading to the decision to form a coalition
is a function of numerous factors relating to the organization’s ideology and
the tactical and strategic conditions, both domestic and international. Thus
the decision to form a coalition is the dependent variable, which is influenced
by various factors, here defined as independent variables.
E”>Variables influencing the formation of coalitionsE”>
E”>Independent variables were used on three levels of
analysis: qualities of the international system, variables on the level of the
organization and variables on the level of decision-makers within the organization.
E”>The independent variables include, on the one hand the
influence of the international system’s global aspects—the level of tension in
the bipolar system or the appearance of new revolutionary focuses in the global
arena. On the other hand, they include regional aspects, such as war situations
or regional tensions and international military/security cooperation against
terrorist organizations. The assumption is that all these variables of the
international system enhance the tendency of terrorist organizations to form
E”>On the organization level, the influence of the
ideology and structural characteristics was examined. The assumption was that
certain ideologies, such as nationalism or “orthodox” Marxism-Leninism do not support
the tendency for international cooperation between terrorist organizations. On
the other hand, the anarchism of the radical left and right and
anarcho-communism strengthen the tendency to establish international
coalitions. However, coalitions exist only if there is some common ideological
basis between the two organizations.
E”>In regard to structural characteristics, it was
claimed that the organization’s size and strength do not influence the mutual
dependency between terrorist organizations. However geographical distance does
influence the composition and size of the coalition. Organizations defined as
“non-state-nations,” according to Judy Bertelsen’s definition (those entities
operating as nation-states, but not recognized as such), are influenced more
than other organizations by considerations concerning their international
E”>As to the decision-makers’ level, only one aspect was
studied: the influence of racial anti-Semitic prejudices of leaders of European
terrorist organizations on their decision to establish a coalition with
Palestinian terrorist organizations.
E”>In order to evaluate whether two organizations have
reached a degree of cooperation that can be defined as a coalition—and in order
to measure the scope and depth of the cooperation between the parties—dependent
variables were defined. These variables describe the practical manifestations
of a coalition: the level of ideological cooperation, the level of logistic
cooperation—or rather, material assistance—and the level of operational
E”>Typological definition of the German terrorist
E”>The Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Faktion – RAF)E”> E”>According to Ann
Steiner, the RAF’s ideology bordered on anarchism. Its concept of freedom,
rejection of stages in achieving its goal, its anti-hierarchical structure, and
its rejection of “democratic centralism,” so dear to Marxism-Leninism, were
clear signs of its anarchist leanings. Steiner believes that the RAF was a
Marxist organization in that it championed the main goals of historical
materialism. Joanne Wright and Raufer & Haut emphasize the influence
of the Third World, and Wright of the revolutionary models of Mao, Che
Guevara and Marighella, on RAF ideology.
E”>The Movement 2 June (Bewegung 2 Juni – M2J)E”> E”>was a dyed-in-the-wool
anarchist organization, according to Steiner, which, unlike the RAF, had no
Marxist pretensions. Throughout its existence, it never published a single
significant ideological document. Most of its activists came from anarchist
circles. Later, by joining the RAF, they helped strengthen the latter’s
E”>The Revolutionary Cells (Revoluzionare Zellen – RZ)E”> E”>have been
described by Raufer & Haut as a loose federation of revolutionary,
albeit not Marxist-Leninist, cells. Hans Joachim Klein, one of RZ’s main
activists, described the organization as the antithesis of the Leninist
principles of the German student movement, which after a brief meteoric rise,
was plagued by dogmatism and factionalism.
E”>In conclusion, the RAF may be typified as an
anarcho-communist organization, with a particularly strong anarchist bias. The
other two organizations, M2J and RZ, may be classified as anarchist
organizations, with radical left-wing tendencies.
E”>The activities of the three organizations were
reviewed for each of three periods :
E”>1968-1980:E”> E”>During this
period, the RAF came into being (1968-1971), carried out its first big
offensive (1972) and after a brief hiatus (1973-1974) launched its second
offensive (1975-1977) which ended in inglorious defeat. From 1977 till the end
of the period the RAF was continuously hunted by the police.
E”>M2J was set up in 1971. Some of its members were
ex-RAF members, and some of its activities were coordinated with the RAF. 1974
and 1975 were peak periods of activity for M2J. The organization disbanded in
1980 and merged with the RAF.
E”>The RZ, which came into being in 1973, kept a low
profile until 1976, when it began stepping up its attacks against American
targets in Germany. The RZ had an international division which was extremely
active between 1974-1976, and cooperated closely with the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
E”>1981-1984:E”> E”>This was the
period during which the third generation of the RAF activists were busy
reorganizing. During this period, most of their terrorist attacks were
unsuccessful. The RZ also kept a low profile during this period.
E”>1985-1990:E”> E”>During 1985 and
1986, the RAF evolved into Euro-terrorism. After a long hiatus, two further
political assassinations were carried out in 1989 and 1990. These effectively
marked the end of German radical left-wing terror. The RZ was also active in
1985-1986 against German and American targets. From 1987, it began to wind down
its activities, despite the fact that most of its militants went undetected by
the security services.
E”>Cooperation between German and Palestinian
E”>The establishment and development of tiesE”>
E”>Little is known of how the initial ties were
established between the German terrorists and the Palestinian terrorist
organizations. What we do know is that a significant number of Germans found
their way into Palestinian training camps as early as 1969-1970, some via
underground channels. E”>This phenomenon came about for two main
E”>The Federal Republic at that time had the highest
concentration of Palestinian students in Europe, thanks to the government’s
generosity in granting stipends to Arab students. Fatah, the main Palestinian
terrorist organization at that time, managed to infiltrate and dominate the
Palestinian student organization–GUPS. Through GUPS, Fatah was able to
establish ties with local student organizations and radical left-wing organizations.
E”>The German terrorist organizations were active in
areas with a high concentration of Muslim—mainly Turkish—immigrants, who
also acted as a useful conduit for ties with Middle Eastern terrorist
German terrorists who trained in Palestinian camps retained ties with the
Palestinian terrorist organizations, coordinated the training of other groups,
and helped wanted German terrorists escape to the Middle East. An interesting
phenomenon, unique to German terrorism, was the relationships that evolved
between female terrorists of the German organizations and Palestinian
terrorists. Some female terrorists even ended up settling in the Middle East.
Note that the German terrorist organizations had a higher percentage of female
members than did similar organizations in other countries.
E”>Summary of cooperationE”>
E”>The RAF is the only organization that expressed its
solidarity with the Palestinian organizations in writing, at least in the years
1971-1972. It even expressed support for Black September’s murder of the
Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, an act that was received with mixed
feelings and even bitter criticism by radical left-wing circles in Europe and
in Germany itself. In the years 1973-1980, such expressions of solidarity
dwindled, no doubt partly due to a general decline in its ideological and
E”>The two other organizations put out even fewer
ideological texts, but the almost total absence of any written expression of
solidarity with the Palestinians in these texts is conspicuous, especially in
the case of the RZ, whose members actively participated in a number of major
E”>As far as logistic aid between the RAF and
Palestinians is concerned, only isolated cases have been reported (the procurement
of small weapons). Although there were probably more such cases, mutual
logistic aid on a significant scale was unlikely.
E”>The main type of cooperation between the RAF and RZ
and the Palestinian terrorist organizations, in particular the PFLP, was operational
cooperation. Such cooperation was particularly effective from 1970-1972 in the
case of the RAF, and from 1975-1976 in the case of both the RAF and RZ.
E”>But in 1973 and 1974, even had the RAF planned to
cooperate with the Palestinian organizations, it was prevented from doing so by
the arrest of its remaining leaders, which brought the organization to a
complete standstill. In late 1974 M2J burst on to the scene, but its flamboyant
operations targeted mainly justice officials involved in the trials of members
of the RAF and M2J.
E”>RAF did not fare much better in the years 1976 and
1977. In June 1976, one of its historical leaders, Ulrike Meinhof committed
suicide in prison. In November 1977 four other leaders put an end to their
lives in prison.
E”>The above notwithstanding, the years 1975-1977 were
the most fertile as far as cooperation between German and Palestinian
organizations (in particular the PFLP) was concerned. There was greater
readiness on the part of the Palestinian organizations to enlist members of the
RAF, M2J and the RZ in their training camps in Lebanon, and particularly South
Yemen. There was greater participation by German terrorists in major PFLP
operations or operations masterminded by the now famous Carlos (Ilich Ramirez
Sanchez) on behalf of the PFLP. These operations included the seizure of OPEC
headquarters in Vienna in 1975, the attempted bombing of an El-Al plane in
Paris and the attempted hijacking of an El Al plane in Nairobi in January1975,
as well as the hijacking of an Air France plane to Entebbe, Uganda, in
June1976. It was the failure of the attempted hijacking by PFLP militants of a
Lufthansa plane to Mogadishu in October 1977 that effectively put paid to
operational cooperation between the two.
E”>Palestinian assistance to the German terrorists
usually took the form of providing safe havens and training. Evidently the
training had a dual function: to prepare the German terrorists to strike out on
their own (some of those involved in the 1975 attack on the German embassy in
Stockholm had trained in South Yemen), and also to train them for operational
work within the PFLP itself.
E”>On the face of it, there was no operational
cooperation between M2J and the Palestinian terrorist organizations. In the few
cases where isolated members of the organization did cooperate with the
Palestinian organizations, it is hard to ascertain whether they did so as
individuals or as representatives of their organization.
E”>The characteristics of cooperation for this period may
be summarized as follows:
E”>The Palestinian organizations allowed German
terrorists from all the organizations to train in their camps in Jordan (at
least up till 1970, when the crisis with the Jordanian authorities erupted),
Lebanon, and particularly South Yemen, where the PFLP operated freely.
E”>The Palestinian organizations felt a deep commitment
toward their German comrades; so much so that they perpetrated kidnappings and
hijackings in an attempt to pressure the West German authorities to release
E”>A relatively large number of German terrorists had no
compunctions about working for Palestinian terrorist organizations, in
particular the PFLP, and even participating in dangerous and large-scale
operations, which caused (or could have caused) many innocent casualties, in
violation of the principles they themselves defended when operating on German
soil. Many of these terrorists came from the RZ, and only a minority from the
RAF. However it is hard to ascertain whether they worked as a distinct
organizational unit, or as individuals who were recruited by the Palestinian
organizations for personal, ideological, or mercenary reasons.
The reasons for cooperation between the German and Palestinian
E”>The German terrorist organizations, at least
initially, needed guidance and training prior to striking out on their own.
According to Baumann, Tupamaros West-Berlin (the precursor of M2J) was set
up by a group of left-wing anarchists who, after training in “Palestine” in the
course of 1969, returned to Germany eager to launch an armed struggle.
E”>RAF—which at the beginning of its career was known as
the “Baader-Meinhof Gang”—underwent a similar process. The Fatah camps provided
a convenient solution for members of the Gang who wished to escape prison and flee
Germany. The Baader-Meinhof Gang also thought it natural to learn from the
Third World national freedom movements, above all from the Palestinian
terrorist organizations, which already enjoyed freedom of action in a number of
E”>It was no doubt their experience in the Palestinian
training camp that launched the organization on its terrorist career. It gave
the young German terrorists, on their return to Germany in the autumn of 1970,
the impetus to go underground, to organize and perpetrate a series of bank
raids in order to finance their logistic infrastructure, and to launch their
first terrorist offensive in May 1972.
E”>The RAF’s first offensive contained only one
expression of solidarity with the Palestinians: the attack on the Springer
newspaper building was designed,E”> E”>inter aliaE”>, “to put an end
to their propaganda against Palestinian freedom fighters and their support of
Zionism and of Israel.”
E”>Black September’s success in taking the Israeli
athletes hostage on German territory during the 1972 Olymic Games rekindled the
imagination of the RAF leaders, and again reinforced the doctrine whereby the
Third World nations were successfully spearheading the struggle against
imperialism. It boosted the morale of the beleaguered RAF, most of whose
leaders were in jail from June 1972, following crackdowns by the security
forces after the attacks of May 1972. Their morale was further boosted when the
RAF members discovered that the Black September commando was demanding their
release. Another demand for their release was indeed stipulated by a Black
September commando that occupied the home of the Saudi ambassador in Khartoum
in March 1973.
E”>There is no data indicating logistic or operational
cooperation between RAF/RZ and Palestinian organizations during the period
1981-1984. There are references, however, to German terrorists fleeing to
Lebanon and joining PFLP camps. Most of these terrorists, however, were female,
and it is unclear whether they were acting as representatives of their
organizations, or out of personal reasons.
E”>The German organizations did not publish many
ideological documents. The leaflets that were published in the wake of attacks
were short, and gave no explanation of the ideological or strategic background
to their operations.
E”>In May 1982, after a long silence the RAF published
its first strategic document, “Guerrilla, Resistance and Anti-Imperialist
Front.” In it, the RAF leaders specify their main goal as the development
of a new stage of revolutionary strategy, in which the struggle of the
revolutionary front in the metropolis would complement the struggle of the
freedom fighters in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The struggle should be
waged on a common front, though in different contexts. In practice,
developments in Western Europe were to play a major role in the confrontation
E”>In this major document, the Middle East is referred to
as a region of vital strategic/military and economic importance (as a supplier
of oil) for the forces of imperialism. Nevertheless, the document never refers
to the struggle of the Palestinian organizations or to the importance of this
struggle in the context of the international struggle against imperialism. The
same omission is found in a number of subsequent documents. Two leaflets that
were circulated after attacks against German and American targets and a series
of letters written by jailed RAF leader Christian Klar praise the struggle of
the Lebanese people and the Arab masses against imperialism, but make no
mention at all of the Palestinian people or the struggle of the Palestinian
E”>As far as the RZ was concerned, after its mouthpieceE”> E”>Revolutionarer
ZornE”> E”>(Revolutionary Anger) ceased publication in January
1981, it published only four ideological texts. None refer to the Palestinian
problem or to the struggle of the Palestinian organizations.E”> E”>
E”>This is the period of Euro-terrorism and the decline
of the German terrorist organizations. From December 1984 to the end of 1986,
the RAF focused on an Euro-terrorist strategy, trying to set up “The
West-European Guerrilla Front,” mainly with the French Direct Action (Action
Directe) and the Italian Red BrigadesE”> E”>(Brigate RosseE”>). During 1987
the organization lay low. It was only in September 1988, after 23 months of
hibernation, that the RAF struck again—this time with the attempted
assassination of the German deputy Finance Minister. This effectively marked
the end of the Euro-terrorism. Until December 1990 the organization carried out
only two major terrorist attacks.
E”>Throughout the period, logistic or operational
cooperation between the German and Palestinian terrorist organizations was
non-existent. the RAF’s ideological priority was solidarity with European
terrorist organizations, while the RZ focused on domestic problems, and
occasionally on symbolic targets connected with NATO or South Africa.
E”>The RAF did, however, express ideological support for
and solidarity with Palestinian organizations. For example, the German groups
which claimed responsibility for five attacks carried out in 1986, 1988 and
1989, were named for fallen Palestinian terrorists who had fought against
E”>Reasons for the lack of cooperation over the period
E”>1980 marked a turning point in the RAF’s strategy:
emphasis was placed on the American threat and the major role played by NATO
and West Germany in spreading international tension. Throughout this period of
Euro-terrorism, issues such as the struggle of the Third World national freedom
movements, including the Palestinian movement, were pushed to the side.
E”>In 1980-1981, the international terrorist activities
of the main Palestinian organizations (Fatah and the PFLP) declined in earnest.
Terrorist attacks abroad were perpetrated mainly by small splinter groups, such
as Fatah-Revolutionary Command led by Sabri El-Bana (Abu Nidal) and the small
offshoots of the Wadi’ Haddad faction, which itself had split off from the
E”>At the end of the 1970s the military strength of the
PLO, under Fatah’s leadership, grew in South Lebanon. It used guerrilla warfare
and even conventional artillery against the Israeli army. In June 1982,
however, IDF forces entered Lebanon to destroy the Palestinians’ military hold
there. They managed to get as far as Beirut, surround the Palestinian forces in
the Lebanese capital and expel them.
E”>Ironically, just when the Palestinians were more than
ever in need of assistance from their friends and allies, the enfeebled RAF was
unable to respond. The RAF leadership later admitted its weakness: “In 1982,
when the Israelis invaded Lebanon in order to suppress the Palestinirevolution
there, we were not in a position to help, either here [in Germany] or there, in
the bombed [sic] camps of Sabra and Shattila … Even though they used the
Rhein-Main air base as a maintenance base [for their bombers], we were not in a
position to intervene in any practical way.”
E”>After the Palestinian forces withdrew from Lebanon and
dispersed throughout the Arab world in 1983-1984, the operational capabilities
of the major Palestinian organizations declined even further, and a moratorium
was declared on international terror operations. Meanwhile, the Shiite terrorist
organizations in Lebanon soon erupted on to the international terror scene,
filling the vacuum left by the Palestinian organizations.
E”>RAF showed an interest in these new developments, even
claiming that the offensive it launched in 1984-1985 was designed,E”> E”>inter aliaE”>, “to show the
pigs [the imperialists] what would happen if they stepped up [military action]
in Beirut and El Salvador.” On the other hand, after Hizballah’s hijacking
of the TWA plane (14 June 1985), the RAF admitted that it knew little about the
Shiite movements other than the fact that their anti-imperialist struggles were
foiling imperialism’s plans to rule the world, by creating divisions within its
ranks, and proving that American imperialism was merely a strategic “paper
tiger.” Although the RAF felt that the objectives of the fundamentalist Islamic
movements had little in common with its own objectives, it was up to the Arab
revolutionary movement to draw its own conclusions.
E”>The jailed RAF leaders’ interest in the Palestinian
problem resurfaced in 1988, after the outbreak of theE”> E”>intifadahE”> E”>in December 1987
in the Israeli occupied territories. They saw the Palestinian insurrection as a
landmark in the struggle of the national freedom movements. According to the
RAF leaders, this was an integral part of the struggle of the radical movements
in the metropolis too.
E”>However, the RAF felt it was not in a position to
continue the armed struggle. Indeed, apart from isolated incidents in 1988 and
1989, the RAF effectively abandoned the armed struggle.
E”>During the years 1988-1990, the PLO tried to achieve a
political breakthrough that would put it on a par with Arab countries in
negotiations with Israel. Such a breakthrough was achieved at the Madrid
Conference in October 1991. Thus, by the end of the decade, both the main
Palestinian organization and the top German terrorist organization, the RAF,
had abandoned the path of international terror as a means of achieving their
E”>Analysis of the research assumptionsE”> E”>
In the RAF’s major document, “The Concept of the Urban Guerrilla,”(1971) the
European guerrilla movements are portrayed as weak and ineffective in the face
of the imperialist threat. The USA is portrayed as the leader of the
imperialist camp, conducting a policy of aggression toward the Third World
which it was trying to control. West Germany is portrayed as an American ally,
pursuing the same aggressive policy as America toward the Third World. This
imperialist aggression would naturally lead to a savage war and global
exploitation, unless the process was halted by a resurgence of the revolution
in the West.
E”>Apart from general references to proletarian
internationalism, the need to combine national and international struggles and
to build a common strategy for the international Communist movement through the
deployment of the urban guerrilla, the document nowhere mentions the need for a
coalition with other organizations.
E”>The document entitled “The Black September Operation
in Munich, the Strategy of the Anti-Imperialist Struggle” (Autumn 1972) goes
into greater detail on the subject of imperialist aggression toward Third World
nations, with specific reference to the traumatic experience of the Vietnam
War. The document states that imperialism had not only managed to resolve its
internal contradictions, but also those that existed between it and the
E”>For the first time, solidarity is mentioned as an
integral part of the revolutionary reality. The situation was “ripe” for
launching the anti-imperialist struggle in the metropolis, and the RAF’s task
was to create “a bridge between the struggle to free the Third World nations
and the struggle for freedom in the metropolis.” The Third World was the
vanguard of the anti-imperialist revolution, and the struggle in the metropolis
was “the international brigades’ contribution to the freedom struggles of [the
Vietcong], Palestine, Lebanon, Angola, Mozambique and Turkey.”
E”>M2J did not accept the RAF’s position on the
centrality of the Third World freedom movements. It considered this an
artificial, anti-imperialist concept that bore no relationship to the German
social reality. M2J saw itself as participating in a global revolutionary
offensive conducted by guerrilla organizations in the metropolis. However, as
we have seen, the movement disbanded, and some of its members joined the RAF in
June 1980. The same document that announced the merger with the RAF, argued
that the imperialist camp was anxious to reach a military solution after the
setbacks of the post-Vietnam period, and that there was a concrete danger of a
nuclear war in Europe launched by the imperialist powers. In the new reality of
the emasculated national freedom movements, it was up to the revolutionary
movements in Western Europe to take up the fight against imperialism.
E”>In the early 1980s, having sustained a number of
failures, the RAF once again emphasized the aggressive nature of imperialism in
the document entitled “Guerrilla, Resistance and Imperialist Front.”
Imperialism, it stated, worked through a concentration of its power, through
the instruments of state, the combined instruments of U.S. satellite states,
and renewed military might. Throughout the world, these imperialist tools were
ready to gain control by force. Imperialism would not balk at using any
military or economic tool at its disposal, including nuclear weapons. Although
differences existed within the imperialist camp, the militant war machine was
E”>To combat the united imperialist front, there was a
need to create a united anti-imperialist front, although it was clear, ever
since the initiation of an internal dialogue within the revolutionary movement
in 1979, that the same constraints still existed within and between the various
anti-imperialist groups. Only coordinated action through parallel struggles in
different regions could achieve this objective.
E”>In conclusion, the RAF, more than any other German
terrorist organization, felt threatened by American imperialism, the West
German regime—which it frequently described as fascist—and supranational bodies
such as NATO and the European Union. In view of its feeling of vulnerability,
it felt the need to join forces with external allies of the revolutionary camp.
E”>Influence of the variables at the level of the international
E”>In the worldview of the RAF, the two poles that made
up the bipolar international system were imperialism on the one hand and the
Third World and Third World freedom movements on the other. The relationship
between these two blocs was governed by imperialism’s sustained aggression
against the Third World and Third World freedom movements. It was therefore
imperative for the revolutionary forces to unite. As part of this united
struggle, the revolutionary forces in the metropolis must provide help “behind
the enemy lines” against the common enemy—world imperialism.
E”>Within this bipolar scenario, the Soviet Union and the
Communist bloc hardly existed. None of the RAF’s ideological/strategic
documents during the first 10-12 years of its active existence contained any
relevant reference to them. In “The Concept of the Urban Guerrilla” there is a
passing reference to the precarious alliance between imperialism and the Soviet
Union, but only in the context of the USA’s need for a free hand in its anti-Third
E”>In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a result of the
sharp drop in the activity of the Third World national freedom movements, Third
World lost most of its importance in the eyes of the RAF.
E”>In the document “Guerrilla, Resistance and Imperialist
Front,” however, a new undercurrent can be detected in the attitude toward the
Soviet Union. In it, the Soviet Union is portrayed as a superpower on a par
with the United States. This was one reason for the tension between East and West,
and North and South, a tension that threatened world stability. Imperialism,
aware that any slight shift in the delicate balance of power could trigger its
final crisis, was planning to attack on all fronts, including on the East-West
E”>The re-structuring of the imperialist system as a
result of international developments and pressures led to the emergence of a
new imperialist focus—West Europe and NATO—a focus in which West Germany played
a major role. West Germany had been thrust to the forefront of the
international fray, and had now become the launching pad for a new imperialist
offensive. It was essential to counteract this imperialist aggression through
the establishment of a united revolutionary counter-force within the
imperialist center itself. As the RAF became increasingly convinced of their
view of things, they moved in the direction of Euro-terrorism, through the
establishment of “The West-European Anti-Imperialist Guerrilla Front,” mainly
with the French Direct Action. Within this strategic framework, the
organization’s attitude toward the Soviet Union also changed.
E”>In the late 1980s, further changes in the
international system necessitated a reassessment. According to the
organization’s leaders, or more specifically, the remnants of its jailed
leadership, imperialism lacked an overall plan. It therefore had to find new
ways of reasserting its control at all levels—the economic level, the military
level, in the relationship between center and periphery, through the
establishment of the European Union and within each country—in order to stamp
out internal conflicts and revolutionary struggles alike. It followed
therefore, that every battle fought by revolutionaries throughout the world was
a battle against the entire imperialist system. Similarly, in order to achieve
victory and consolidate the material basis achieved by the newly liberated
countries, the entire imperialist system must be undermined. International
instability was making the imperialists even more careful not to relinquish an
inch of their territorial or political control. The only way of bringing the
imperialist machinery to a halt was through strategic unity in the global
struggle of the exploited nations. In the RAF’s assessment, the revolutionaries
in the metropolis already had as much to gain as those in the developing
nations of the South.
E”>The Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc were portrayed by
the RAF as victims of imperialist aggression, particularly during the period of
E”>The split between the Soviet Union and the Peoples’
Republic of China in the 1960s, and the latter’s dramatic entry on the
international scene, no doubt contributed to the RAF’s view of the Third World
as the main stage of the struggle against global imperialism. As such, it was
important to give all possible help to the peoples and movements of the Third
World in their war against the common enemy. Mao Tse Tung’s theory of
imperialism as a “paper tiger” encouraged the organization to continue its
struggle, despite weakness and failure. Mao Tse Tung’s influence on the
organization can be seen in the RAF’s liberal quotations of Mao’s sayings. M2J
and the RZ on the other hand, did not see the Third World as a major actor in
the anti-imperialist struggle, although the texts of M2J also testify to Maoist
E”>From an international perspective, West Germany, as
the epitome of local capitalism and the lackey of world imperialism, was
considered throughout the period the main enemy. In the early 1970s, West
Germany was portrayed as a vital U.S. ally in its war against Vietnam (by
providing a take-off and maintenance base for American bombers) and against the
peoples of the Third World. By the late 1970s, it had become NATO’s main
component by allowing nuclear missiles to be stationed within its territory and
was considered instrumental in building up Western Europe as a major
E”>The Middle East was not considered of major importance
in the RAF’s strategic perspective. Rather, it was seen as yet another area in
which the struggle between the forces of imperialism and the national freedom
movements was being enacted. The RAF never identified with the Palestinian
freedom movements in the same way as it identified with the Vietcong or the
struggle of the Vietnamese people. For Hans Joachim Klein, the Vietnamese
problem had ceased to be merely an international problem. It had turned into an
internal German problem. The German nation with its Nazi past had a moral
obligation to prevent the genocide of the Vietnamese people. It not only had
failed to do so, but had even allowed American military bases to operate freely
in its territory. Naturally, once the Vietnamese struggle was dropped from the
international agenda, the Palestinian struggle took its place in the RAF sympathies,
but never to the same extent. The only time the Middle East is discussed in any
depth in the RAF documents is in connection with the Black September’s attack
at the Munich Olympics. However, as soon as more urgent issues began to
surface, the Middle East was once again relegated to the sidelines.
E”>No doubt, one of the reasons for the RAF’s relative
lack of interest in the Middle East was the low profile the West German
government itself maintained toward the Middle East. Both traditionally, and
out of sensitivity toward Israel, Germany never played an active part in Middle
East politics, or mediated in the Israeli-Arab conflict, as had Britain and
France. Therefore, the German organizations were all the more indignant by what
they considered West Germany’s intervention in the region, particularly by
providing the American forces freedom of action and logistic assistance en
route for the Middle East.
E”>Similarly, after the outbreak of the Gulf War in the
winter of 1991 when, for the first time since World War II, a united Germany
sent an air contingent to Turkey as a symbol of its participation in the US-led
coalition against Iraq, the vestigial RAF interpreted this as a sign that
Germany was turning into a world power (“Greater Germany”) that was helping Israel
and Turkey in their oppression of the Palestinian and Kurdish peoples. the RAF
bitterly attacked the government in a leaflet in which it claimed
responsibility for the only attack it carried out in this period.
E”>Regional wars and tensions, therefore, had a bearing
on expressions and acts of solidarity. Of course the event that had the
greatest impact on all three German terrorist organizations was the Vietnam
War. Their response was to attack American institutions in Germany or German
institutions which, according to them, were collaborating with the American war
E”>Events in the Middle East—the struggle of the
Palestinians after the Jordanian crackdown in September 1970, the civil war in
Lebanon, and Israel’s war against the Palestinian organizations in Lebanon in
1982-1984—also left their mark. Ironically, however, apart from the initial
stages of the civil war in Lebanon (1975-1976), the German terrorist
organizations, particularly the RAF, were at crisis point just when the
Palestinians most needed them.
E”>Finally, international tension in Western Europe
following the stationing of American nuclear missiles there, led to a radical
turnabout in the RAF strategy and influenced its decision to enter into an
alliance with other revolutionary forces in Western Europe that were contending
with the same enemy and the same challenges.
E”>Throughout the 1970s, only one document explicitly
cited close cooperation in the field of counter-insurgency in the imperialist
camp as a major factor in cementing solidarity in the revolutionary camp.
Most other texts allude to this cooperation as part of the imperialist camp’s
efforts (via its military/security/police apparatus) to control the peoples of
the Third World and the revolutionary organizations in the metropolis. This was
to become a dominant theme during and even after the period of
E”>In conclusion, we can say that all the independent
variables at the international level affected the RAF, and to a far lesser
extent, M2J and the RZ.
E”>The RAF felt threatened to a greater or lesser degree
throughout the period in question by the superior forces of Western
imperialism. At times, it believed a world war was about to erupt between the
two camps. Tension within the bipolar system was the major cause of this
feeling of vulnerability. However, it should be borne in mind that bipolarity
in 1970-1978 was different from bipolarity in 1979-1988. From the RAF’s point
of view, the main actors in the bipolar system during the first period were the
Western imperialist camp and the Third World and Western revolutionary camp.
The Soviet Union was hardly mentioned. During the second period, the main
actors were perceived along more traditional lines as the Western imperialist
camp and the Communist revolutionary camp (with an unwritten pact between the
revolutionary movement in the West and the Soviet-led Communist bloc).
E”>At the end of the 1980s, with the inauguration of the
New World Order in which the USA remained the sole superpower, the situation
was reassessed, in view of the growing isolation and decline of the
revolutionary forces throughout the world. The RAF reached the only logical
conclusion—abandonment of the armed struggle.
E”>Unlike the RAF, M2J and RZ focused their
anti-imperialist struggle on the domestic front, and did not believe in the
existence of a significant Third World revolutionary camp. Any solidarity they
felt toward this camp was inspired by the enormous psychological impact of the
Vietnam War, as we saw above. Members of M2J, whose strategic perspective
changed toward the end of the 1970s, did not attempt to change their
organization’s strategy. They simply joined the ranks of the RAF.
E”>The RZ continued to focus its strategy on domestic
issues until the late 1980s. Its reservations regarding the peace movement’s
struggle (1980-1986) against NATO’s growing strength and the stationing of
nuclear warheads in West Europe, effectively destroyed any residual influence
it had among German radical left-wing circles, until it gradually ceased to
exist as a terrorist organization of any significance.
E”>Ideology as a cohesive forceE”>
E”>The main ideological inspiration for the RAF’s
activities in the 1970s was the major part played by the Third World freedom
movements (Tricont, in the organization’s jargon) in the struggle against
imperialism. It followed that the function of the revolutionary movements in
the West was to help this struggle. Ulrike Meinhof expressed this idea in a
letter she sent the Labor Party in the Peoples’ Republic of North Korea:
E”>“[w]e think that
the organization of armed operations in the big cities in the Federal Republic
is the right way to support the liberation movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin
America, the correct contribution of West German and West Berlin communists to
the strategy of the international socialist movement in splitting the powers of
imperialism by attacking them from all sides.”
Similarly, the RAF’s support of the Palestinian struggle and the Black
September operation at the Munich Olympics was based on its perception of this
struggle as part of the global war against imperialism, colonialism and
fascism, in which it too was a participant.
E”>The ideological and strategic change of emphasis in
the late 1970s and early 1980s from the Third World struggle to the
revolutionary struggle in the metropolitan centers, turned unity and solidarity
among West-European organizations into a top priority issue. The Third World
struggle had lost much of its momentum. Although it had not altogether
disappeared, it had been pushed to the side. Indeed, it only began to resurface
as an important issue after the RAF’s lifetime, as a result of certain regional
developments (theE”> E”>intifadahE”> E”>in the Israeli-occupied
territories, the struggles in Kurdistan and Central America). Certainly, as far
as the RAF was concerned, its sense of solidarity with its revolutionary
counterparts was based on a shared ideological platform.
E”>M2J and the RZ, on the other hand, did not share this
same wholehearted support for the Third World movements. They chose to wage
their anti-imperialist struggle at home, or to support social and popular
causes (working class women and youngsters, the immigrant problem, the housing
E”>The above notwithstanding, the members of M2J, and
particularly of the RZ, actively participated in the Palestinian—especially the
PFLP—struggle. The explanation for this can possibly be found in the anarchic
character of these two organizations, as reflected in the lack of a defined or
solid ideology, their fluid organizational structure, the lack of a strong
central leadership, and the high degree of mobility from one organization to
the other without the need for accountability. All this made it easy for
foreign groups to recruit members of these organizations into their ranks,
despite the fact that they espoused different goals and methods. Thus, for
example, while the RZ apologized for the assassination of a German
minister, under the pretext that it had simply intended to injure, not kill
him, senior RZ members, such as Wilfred BE”>öE”>se, participated
in operations (such as the attacks on the El Al planes in Paris and Entebbe)
that could easily have led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.
E”>Another explanation for this collaboration can be
found in the infiltration of anti-Zionist motives into the ideology of the
German revolutionary organizations, particularly the RAF. This anti-Zionism in
many cases was merely a front for deep-rooted anti-Semitism—the leaders of the
organizations themselves found it hard to draw the line between anti-Semitic
ideology and anti-Semitic sentiment.
E”>Although the RAF leaders did not deny the existence of
the Holocaust, they accused Israel and Zionism of borrowing Nazism’s worst
features, in an attempt to portray them not only as the lackeys of imperialism,
but also as one of the most despicable elements in the fight against the Third
World peoples, particularly the Palestinians.
E”>The clearest expression of this ideological distortion
and twisted thinking can be found in documents relating to the Black September
operation at the Munich Olympics. In them, Horst Mahler argues that while the
[German] proletariat had failed to destroy fascism and prevent the murder of
six million Jews, it was this same fascist policy that had inspired reactionary
Zionist ideology. “Macabre as it may seem, Zionism has become the heir of
German fascism, by cruelly ousting the Palestinian people from its land, where
it has been living for thousands of years.” Therefore, the German
proletariat had to recognize its responsibility for the fate of the Palestinian
people and any guilt feelings it may harbor toward the Jews should not blind it
to the evils of Zionist fascist aggression.
E”>The document “The Black September Operation in Munich,
the Strategy of the Anti-Imperialist Struggle” describes Israel’s policy as a
Nazi fascist policy… aiming for the annihilation of the Palestinian
people. The action Moshe Dayan, then Israeli minister of defense, took in
response to the hijacking of the Sabena plane to Tel Aviv (8 May 1972) is
described as “treacherous and criminal” toward the hijackers (!). Although
the document admits that anti-Semitism [and the war] discredited German fascism
and the German ruling classes, it goes on to say, in its twisted logic, that
the Black September terrorist operation at Munich was an anti-fascist act
because “it was meant to wipe out the memory … of the 1936 [Berlin] Olympics,
Auschwitz, andE”> E”>KristallnachtE”>.” Similarly, Israel was to
blame for the death of the athletes, just as the Nazis were to blame for the
death of the Jews (!).
E”>A similar atmosphere prevailed in M2J. This movement
evolved out of a smaller, anarchist movement, the “Tupamaros-West Berlin” (TW).
In November 1969, there was a failed attempt by TW to blow up the main
synagogue in West Berlin. This attack, the first attack carried out by German
terrorists as a token of their solidarity with the Palestinians, took place,
symbolically, on the anniversary ofE”> E”>KristallnachtE”>. The TW proudly
claimed responsibility for the attack in a leaflet entitled “Peace and Napalm”
emphasizing that the act was not carried out by the radical right, but rather
by the radical left as “a demonstration of international solidarity.” The
members of TW justified their timing of the attack by claiming that the
originalE”> E”>KristallnachtE”> E”>of 1938 was
being re-enacted daily by the Zionists, in the occupied territories, in the
refugee camps, and in Israeli jails.
E”>In conclusion, as far as ideological cooperation is
concerned, the three German organizations shared a common ideological base with
the Palestinian organizations. This ideological identification was strongest on
the part of the RAF, which saw the Third World and the Palestinian people as
the spearheads of the global anti-imperialist struggle.
E”>Two ideological characteristics were particularly
influential in the decision of the German terrorists to cooperate with or even
join Palestinian terrorist organizations: their anarchist—or in the case of the
RAF—anarcho-communist features, and the infiltration of anti-Semitic ideology
into the organization’s doctrine.
E”>The coalition between the Palestinian and German
organizations was a coalition between a strong and weak partner. Throughout
most of its existence, the RAF admired the Palestinian revolutionary
organizations and their dominant role in the anti-imperialistic struggle. This
admiration found clearest expression in the document it published in the wake
of the Black September operation at the Munich Olympics.
E”>The Palestinian organizations, in particular the PFLP,
were the main sources of assistance for the German terrorist organizations.
This assistance was expressed in two vital areas: the training of German
terrorists in guerrilla tactics and warfare, and the provision of sanctuary in
times of danger. The German terrorists tried to ‘reimburse’ them through
actively participating in PFLP-sponsored international terror operations and by
encouraging West German and West European radical left-wing circles to support
the Palestinian cause.
E”>Did the participation of the German organizations in
PFLP operations that contradicted their ideological, strategic, and operational
principles indicate a total dependence on their Palestinian mentors and
sponsors? According to Klein, the RZ’s “international division,” at least, was
totally dependent financially on the PFLP.
E”>It is intriguing that few of the data refers to
participation by German terrorist organizations in operations against Israeli
targets within the German Federal Republic itself. The three German terrorist
organizations, on the other hand, frequently attacked American targets, and the
RAF and RZ attacked Turkish, Chilean and South African targets within the
Federal Republic. Moreover, the fact that neither the RAF nor the RZ releasedE”> E”>communiquéE”> E”>sE”> E”>or leaflets trying to justify
or explain PFLP international terror operations indicates that they did not
help or participate in such operations.
E”>Therefore, on the basis of the available information,
it is impossible to determine with any degree of certainty, the extent to which
the German terrorist organizations were dependent on their Palestinian
counterparts, particularly in the period in which the coalition between them
was most active (1975-1977).
E”>It can be assumed that the recruitment of German
terrorists in the PFLP ranks was made on an individual basis. In some cases,
the recruits were more akin to mercenaries, albeit “ideological” ones. This
recruitment was facilitated by the tradition of close ties between the German
and Palestinian organizations and the German organizations’ sympathy for the
E”>Influence of the variables at the level of the
E”>In addition to the traditional anti-Semitic ideology
that inspired the anti-Zionist slogans of the German left-wing revolutionary organizations,
some of their leaders also harbored anti-Semitic sentiments, which may perhaps
have inspired this ideology in the first place. Jillian Becker describes an
incident in which Ralf Reinders, an M2J leader, wanted to blow up the Jewish
Center in Berlin, which the Nazis had already attempt to destroy in the past,
in order “to get rid of that thing (?) with its Jewish associations, which has
been there since the Nazi period.”
E”>Hans-Joachim Klein finally decided to abandon the RZ,
when he realized that his comrades were behaving like the Nazis in Auschwitz
when they separated the Jewish passengers from the non-Jewish ones after the
hijacking of the Air France plane to Entebbe. Klein also condemned the RZ’s
plot to assassinate the leader of the German Jewish community as a fascist act,
and exposed the plot.
E”>Klein made it clear that in his opinion the two German
terrorists who participated in the Entebbe operation were more anti-Semitic
than Wadi’ Haddad, the leader of the PFLP’s operational division, for planning
to assassinate the famous Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Even the nefarious
Carlos opposed this operation on the grounds that Wiesenthal was an
E”>Therefore, the anarchist character of the RZ, and the
anarchist backgrounds and deeply entrenched anti-Semitic feelings of the
members of all three German terrorist organizations, explain their readiness to
join the Palestinian organizations, as volunteers or recruits. They justified
this both to themselves and their comrades as a contribution to the war against
imperialism, colonialism, and fascism, alongside a “Marxist-Leninist”
organization such as the PFLP, which was spearheading the international
struggle against these reactionary forces.
E”>The thesis that the anarchism of the radical left and
the anarcho-communism strengthen the tendency to establish international
coalitions of terrorist organizations has been confirmed by the behavior of the
German RAF, M2J and RZ. Moreover, the German terrorist organizations of the
1970s and 1980s have been the most active in the formation of coalitions with
other terrorist organizations on the international scene. This was proved by
the only real coalition between terrorist organizations, although a short-lived
one, between the RAF and the French Direct Action in 1985-86. E”>But this is the subject for another article.
E”>1. E”>See Robert
Keohane and J. S. Nye (eds.),E”> E”>Transnational
Relations and World PoliticsE”> E”>(Cambridge, Massachusetts:
Harvard University Press 1972), p. 380.
E”>2. E”>M. Stephen Walt,E”> E”>The Origins of
AlliancesE”> E”>(Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press 1987).
E”>3. E”>See Judy S.
Bertelsen, ‘The Palestinian Arabs,’ in Judy S. Bertelsen (ed.)E”> E”>Nonstate Nations
in International Politics. Comparative System AnalysisE”> E”>(New York:
Praeger Publishers 1977) p. 245.
E”>Anne Steiner & Loic Debray,E”> E”>La
Fraction Armee Rouge: Guerrilla Urbaine en Europe OccidentaleE”> E”>(Paris:
Meridiens Klincksieck 1987), pp. 110-122.
E”>5. E”>See Joanne
Wright,E”> E”>Terrorist Propaganda. The Red Army Faction and the
Provisional IRA, 1968-1986E”> E”>(London: Macmillan 1991) p.
E”>Xavier Raufer & Francois Haut ‘RAF,
Une organisation zé ro traces’,E”> E”>Notes et EtudesE”> E”>5 (1988), p. 7.
E”>Wright (1991) p. 41.
E”>Steiner & Debray (1987) p. 118.
E”>Raufer & Haut (1988) p. 21.
E”>11. E”>See Jean
Bougereau, ‘An Interview with Hans Joachim Klein,’ in Jean Bougereau,E”> E”>The German
Guerrilla: Terror, Reaction and ResistanceE”> E”>(Orkney:
Cienfuegos Press, 1981), p. 16.
E”>12. E”>See Ehud Ya
‘ari,E”> E”>FatahE”> E”>(Tel Aviv: A. Levine-Epstein
Ltd. 1970, in Hebrew), pp. 21, 47.
E”>13. E”>See Baumann’s
testimony in Michael Baumann,E”> E”>Terror or Love?
“Bommi” Baumann’s Own Story of His Life as a West German Urban GuerrillaE”> E”>(New York: Grove
Press 1979), pp. 86-87
E”>14. E”>For example,
members of M2J who were released from jail in February 1975 after the
kidnapping of the German politician Peter Lorenz, joined their RAF comrades in
a PFLP camp in South Yemen. Was this the result of an independent agreement
between the PFLP and M2J, or rather of an agreement between the PFLP and RAF,
which wished to recruit M2J members to its ranks? One of the released M2J
terrorists, Gabriele Krocher-Tidemann, participated in the January 1976 raid on
the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, as a member of a PFLP cell led by the
notorious terrorist Carlos. Was this M2J’s “contribution” to the operation, or
was she acting on behalf of the RZ, which had a major role in the German side
of the Vienna operation?
E”>15. E”>Baumann (1979) pp. 59-61.
E”>16. E”>Most of their
attacks were directed at the government, in particular the judiciary, in retaliation
for the trials of violent demonstrators or those accused of throwing incendiary
and home-made bombs.
E”>17. E”>See the
communique of May 19, 1972 inE”> E”>Texte der RAFE”>,E”> E”>1977E”> E”>(Collection of
RAF communiques, documents and statements from 1970 to 1977).
E”>18. E”>RAF leaders may
well have believed that their Palestinian comrades would be successful in
securing their release in a hijacking operation On 29 October 1972, a Lufthansa
plane flying from Damascus to Munich was hijacked. The hijackers demanded and
secured the release of three members of Black September who were still alive
after the Munich massacre.
E”>19. E”>Thus, for
example, Suzanne Albrecht, who took part in several important attacks, escaped
in 1980 to Lebanon. Frederika Krabbe escaped to Baghdad in 1980 where she lived
with her boyfriend, a member of the “15 May” organization.
E”>20. E”>See the French
version, “Gué rilla, ré sistance et front anti-impé rialiste,”E”> E”>Notes et EtudesE”>, No. 5 (May
1988) pp. 69-80.
E”>21. E”>The concept of
“metropolis” is a key concept in the terminology of European radical left-wing
terrorist organizations. It is used by them to designate both the imperialist
countries and the large urban centers of urban guerrilla warfare.
E”>22. E”>On 30 November
1989, after a lull of 14 moths, Alfred Herrhausen, manager of the Deutsche
Bank, was assassinated, and on 27 July 1990, an attempt was made on the life of
Hans Neusel, the secretary of state responsible for internal security in the
Ministry of the Interior.
E”>23. E”>The “15 May”
faction, under Muhammad Hussein Al-’Umri (Abu Ibrahim) and the “PFLP”-Special
Commando” faction, headed by Salim Abu Salem (Abu Muhammad).
E”>24. E”>Quoted fromE”> E”>Zusammen
Kampfen,E”> E”>No. 5 (Jan. 1986) in Jillian Becker,E”> E”>Terrorism in
West Germany. The Struggle for What? E”>(London:
Institute for the Study of Terrorism 1988), p. 68.E”>
E”>25. E”>Quoted fromE”> E”>Zusammen
Kampfen, No. 4E”> E”>(Sept. 1985) in Becker (1988) pp. 63 and 66.
E”>26. E”>According to
RAF’s communiqué of 19 April 1992 announcing a moratorium on the armed
struggle, the organization’s leadership had begun its situation evaluation
already in 1989, when it realized that its position was untenable, and that a
new policy was called for in view of new international circumstances and
changes in the balance of power. See document in Yonah Alexander & A.
Dennis Pluchinsky (eds.)E”> E”>Europe’s Red
Terrorists: The Fighting Communist OrganizationsE”> E”>(London: Frank
Cass 1992), pp. 147-152.
E”>27. E”>See Texte der RAF, pp. 337-367.
E”>28. E”>Ibid, pp. 411-447.
E”>29. E”>Ibid, p. 432.
E”>30. E”>Ibid, p. 436.
E”>31. E”>See the French
translation, “Fraction Armee Rouge: guerilla, resistance et front
anti-imperialiste,”E”> E”>Notes et Etudes,E”> E”>No. 5, Mai 1986,
E”>32. E”>Ibid, p. 73.
E”>33. E”>Ibid, pp. 76-78.
E”>34. E”>See Eva Hanle’s
declaration at the Stammheim trial (Sept. 1987 – May 1988) as relayed in Il
Bollettino, No. 36 (May 1989) pp. 21-25.
E”>35. E”>See Wright (1991) pp. 39, 80-81.
E”>36. E”>See Bougereau (1981) pp. 12-14.
E”>37. E”>See the
communiqué on the shooting at the U.S. embassy in Bonn on 13 February 1991 as
quoted in Alexander & Pluchinsky (1992) pp. 75-78.
E”>38. E”>See “The Other
Process, Late April 1976” in Texte der RAF, pp. 27-34.
E”>39. E”>Witness, for
example, RAF’s attempted assassination of the German Secretary of State in the
Ministry of the Interior, Hans Neusel, on 27 July 1990, as the leader of the
war against the freedom movements, and as a senior member of the “Trevi group”
– the West European anti-terror think-tank.
E”>40. E”>Cited in Wright (1991) p. 104.
Karry, the Economics minister of the state of Hesse was killed on 11 May 1981.
The RZ published a letter claiming that they only intended to cripple him. See
Jillian Becker,Terrorism in West Germany. The Struggle for What?E”> E”>(London: Institute for the Study of Terrorism 1988).
E”>42. E”>See quotation
from his speech shortly before his trial, as brought down inE”> E”>CONTROinformazione,
Nos. 1-2 (Feb-Mar. E”>1974) p. 26.E”>
E”>43. E”>SeeE”> E”>Texte der RAF, pp. 422, 455.E”>
E”>44. E”>Ibid, p. 441.
E”>45. E”>Ibid, pp. 433-444.
E”>46. E”>See the leaflet
in Jillian Becker,E”> E”>Hitler`s ChildrenE”> E”>(London: Granada
Publishing Ltd 1978).
E”>47. E”>See Becker (1978) pp. 299-300.
E”>48. E”>See Bougereau (1981) p. 31.
E”>49. E”>Ibid, pp. 43,
47. Antisemitism among the German terrorists was so deeply entrenched that they
could not bear to hear someone whistling the theme tune of the film “Exodus.” E”>In contrast, the Palestinian were far more tolerant.