He is one of the Worlds most notorious terrorists, responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, woman, and children. He’s plied his trade in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Bombings, hijackings, and assassination; he’s mastered them all.
The United States has enough evidence to indict him for the kidnapping and brutal murder of two American diplomats. The United States knows his exact location. The United States can arrest him and bring him to justice whenever it chooses.
His name is Muhammad Abd ar-Rauf al-Qudwah al-Husayni, better known as Yasser Arafat.
In March 1973, Palestinian terrorist seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, during a diplomatic reception. U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d’ Affairs C.Curtis Moore were among those taken hostage.
The terrorist who identified themselves as members of Black September demanded the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the murderer of Robert Kennedy. When President Nixon refused this demand, the American diplomats were taken to the embassy basement where they were brutally tortured and killed.
The National Security Agency intercepted direct communications between Yasser Arafat and his operatives in the Khartoum office of al-Fatah that indicate Arafat had both planned the attack and ordered the executions.
While Arafat publicly denied any complicity in the murders, he discussed them during a private dinner with Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in May 1973. The dinner was also attended by General Ion Mihai Pacepa, who later defected to the U.S.
Pacepa later wrote that “Arafat excitedly bragged about his Khartoum operation” in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.
American Administrations over the years have declined to pursue murder charges against Arafat due to political considerations related to the Cold War and the Middle East.
In response to continuing terrorist activities by the PLO, members of the Senate again called for Arafat’s arrest in 1986. Below is the text of the letter sent to Attorney General Meese requesting Arafat’s arrest for the murder of Ambassador Noel and Charge d’ Affairs Moore:
February 12, 1986
The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
We understand that the Department of Justice has received information linking PLO leader Yasser Arafat to the brutal 1973 slaying of Ambassador Cleo Noel and Charge d’ Affaires C.Curtis Moore in Khartoum, Sudan.
The material is reported to include various State Department cables that may confirm Arafat’s role in the murders. It is also reported to include an assertion that the U.S. government has a tape recording of an intercepted message in which Arafat allegedly ordered the assassination of Ambassador Noel and Charge d’ Affaires Moore, who were taken hostage when Palestinian terrorist seized the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum on March 2, 1973.
As you know, press reports indicate that the eight terrorists involved in the incident identified themselves as members of Black September. They demanded the release from prison of Sirhan Sirhan, the Baader-Meinhof gang, and a group of Fatah members held in Jordan.
Press reports indicate that when their demands were not met, the terrorist selected the three Westerners among the hostages#U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel, Charge d’ Affaires C.Curtis Moore, and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid#and machine-gunned them after allowing them to write farewell notes to their families and beating them. A day later, the terrorist surrendered to Sudanese authorities after a lengthy round of transoceanic communications involving, among others, Arafat and the Vice President of Sudan.
Press reports indicate that Sudanese President Gaafar Mohammed Nimeiri went public at once with evidence showing that the operation had been run out of the Khartoum office of Fatah. One month after the slayings, the Washington Post reported that according to Western intelligence sources, Arafat was in the Black September radio command center in Beirut when the message to execute three Western diplomats was sent out. The Post also reported that Arafat’s voice was monitored and recorded. Although according to the Post’s sources, it was unclear if Arafat himself or his deputy gave the order to carry out the executions, Arafat reportedly was present in the Operations center when the message was sent and personally congratulated the guerrillas after the execution.
These allegations, if substantiated, leave little doubt that a warrant for Arafat’s arrest should be issued, and a criminal indictment filed against him. To allow other factors to enter into this decision is to make a mockery of our laws and our stated commitment to eradicate terrorism. As President Reagan told an American Bar Association convention this July, “we will seek to indict, apprehend, and prosecute” terrorists.
We understand that this matter is presently under review at the Justice Department. We urge the Justice Department to assign the highest priority to completing this review, and to issue an indictment of Yasser Arafat if the evidence so warrants. We would ask that you keep us advised of the progress of your investigation.
(signed by 47 of the 50 U.S. Senators)
The Reagan Administration, like their predecessors, declined to pursue murder charges against Arafat out of fear of inflaming the Arab World and its affect on the Cold War.
With the Cold War now a distant memory, perhaps justice can finally be served. Based on the available evidence, Arafat can indicted on charges of first-degree murder#a crime with no statue of limitations. Or will we again allow other factors to enter into this decision, making a mockery of our laws and our stated commitment to eradicate terrorism.