From the Archives

The Shadow Behind the Middle East Peace Conference

(The Inside Story: World Report v1:1, July 1994)

Since at least 1931, international Communism has sought to conquer the Middle East through the “pan-Arab” movement.1 According to plans, individual Arab nations would be “liberated” from colonial rule, then fused into a united Arab regional government — a precursor to world government. Strategically, the Middle East contains such vital assets as the Suez Canal and oil reserves, and provides access to the Mediterranean Sea as well as to three continents.

Naturally, the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 began interfering with Communist plans. Thus the Communists quickly set about to destroy that Jewish nation. The pro-Soviet Nasser regime of Egypt created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, and placed in its leadership such recruits as Yasser Arafat, a veteran of the Communist revolution in Algeria.2 The PLO’s mission: sponsor revolutions to overthrow the non-Communist governments of Israel, Iran, Turkey, and the Arab nations.

But after five wars and three decades of revolution, the Communists could see by 1989 that the frontal approach would not soon topple Jerusalem. At that point, the Soviet Bloc switched to a new strategy of deception. By faking the death of Communism, Moscow has finally opened the door to its victory. And behind its newly-accelerating drive to eliminate Israel stands its architect, the latest head of the Soviet secret police.

His name is Yevgeniy Primakov.

The shadow is cast…

By the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Soviets could see that Israel would never be defeated through direct conflict. Despite early successes while invading Israel’s buffer zones in the Sinai and the Golan Heights, Syrian and Egyptian forces soon found themselves in full retreat. Realizing that Israel would first have to yield its occupied territories before it would become militarily vulnerable, the Soviets chose a new tactic known as the “Phased Plan.”

The PLO officially adopted this plan in June, 1974.3 Phase 1 would involve pressuring Israel to withdraw from its territories, upon which the PLO would establish a People’s Republic of Palestine. In Phase 2, the heavily-armed Communist state would serve as the launching point for a Soviet-backed invasion of Israel.

How could Israel be induced to surrender strategic land — to the PLO, no less? The Communists decided to call for a “peace conference” between Israel, the Arab states, and the PLO. The catch, moreover, was that the Soviet Union would co-sponsor the talks. Such an international conference would pit Israel against all other participants, heightening pressure for concessions.

Soviet official Andrei Gromyko started the process in 1973, offering to open diplomatic relations with Israel in return for a peace conference. The Israelis first refused, but the damage inflicted by the Yom Kippur War changed their minds. In late 1973, Israel agreed to international talks in Geneva, Switzerland. The Soviets co-sponsored the meeting, though still refusing to recognize Israel diplomatically. Only the PLO was not officially allowed to participate.

Henry Kissinger played the key role in furthering Soviet aims. Israeli journalist Matti Golan reported that, during the first few days of the Yom Kippur War, while the Communist governments of Yugoslavia, Algeria, Libya, Iraq, and the Soviet Union were resupplying Egypt and Syria,4 Kissinger had delayed the emergency shipment of U.S. arms to Israel. Then, once Israel had regained its military balance and scored decisive victories, he went behind the Israelis’ backs and negotiated a ceasefire directly with the Soviets. Nor was this difficult for him; as Soviet ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin later revealed, the Soviets had quietly appointed Kissinger as their representative at the same time that he was representing the United States.5 Kissinger then pressured Israel into accepting the ceasefire, which returned portions of the Sinai peninsula to Egypt.

By 1977 the Soviets were trying to restart the Geneva talks, this time in an expanded format. Yevgeniy Primakov appeared on the scene, albeit secretly, to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Primakov again dangled the promise of Soviet diplomatic relations, this time in exchange for Israel allowing the PLO into the Geneva talks. Begin refused.6

Later that year, the Soviet timetable was temporarily thrown off by the Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel, which were negotiated directly between the two parties. Nevertheless, the Soviets moved patiently forward, gradually preparing the noose with which to hang Israel.

Primakov was ascending the ranks of Soviet power, gradually taking control of Middle East policy. By 1983, he had become Vice President of the World Peace Council (WPC), an internationally active front for the Soviet KGB founded in 1950.7 Its president was Romesh Chandra, a Central Committee member of the Communist Party of India. But the real power resided in the hands of the Soviet KGB officer at Chandra’s side. The WPC not only organized the disarmament movement in the West, but also served as a center for Soviet coordination of terrorist groups around the world, including the PLO.8 At that same time, Primakov held the post of Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Peace Committee,9 which worked out of the same Moscow office as the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee. These groups have operated as conduits through which the KGB sends weapons and other logistical support to the PLO.10

Primakov was busy implementing Soviet policy toward Israel. In September, 1982, the Soviet Union made the first official call for an international Middle East peace conference, to negotiate for a PLO state in the Israeli territories.11 Soviet influence at the United Nations led that organization, unsurprisingly, to endorse the call in 1983. Echoing the Soviets, the U.N. called for “the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, to participate… in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East” for “the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Palestine.”12 Under Primakov’s growing power, Communist parties throughout the world soon joined in the chorus.

…and lengthens…

By the time Mikhail Gorbachev was taking over in 1985, the Soviet government was openly boasting that a Middle East peace conference would be one step on the road to “the ultimate triumph of communism everywhere.”13 Primakov was quickly moving into the center of Soviet power, close to Gorbachev himself. Working with the Central Committee’s International Department, Primakov led an elite group of Communist strategists in redesigning and accelerating the Soviet drive to destroy Israel. Gorbachev did not even participate in its design, according to foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze.14

To put his newly-formulated theory into practice, Primakov assumed the role of “special envoy” for Gorbachev during the Persian Gulf crisis in late 1990. He used that position to travel the Middle East, drumming up support for a peace conference to negotiate over Israel’s territories.15

In fact, he had already been mobilizing every available tool of diplomacy, revolution, and war to intensify the pressure on Israel. In 1987, he told the Lebanese publication Hawadith that Israel would have to attend, and allow the PLO to participate in, an international meeting before the Soviets would restore diplomatic relations. He visited the capitals of Arab states, using every bit of Soviet influence to push the Arabs into joining the call.16

In 1988, he brought Soviet advisors to Syria as part of a massive drive to arm that Communist satellite, preparing it for a state of war and placing an ominous military threat on Israel’s northern perimeter.17 Revolutionary action in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was meanwhile instigated by the PLO, the Palestinian Communist Party, and Islamic Jihad starting in December of 1986 — a full year before the intifada was officially recognized and named.18

Analyzing the prospects for forcing Israel into peace talks, Yasser Arafat could boldly declare in 1987 that “there is now for the first time an actual international consensus on the question of an international conference on a Middle East settlement” [emphasis in original].19 But despite the growing momentum, Israel itself persistently refused to enter such loaded talks. Primakov needed one more element to complete the push: A war.

The perfect man for the job was Saddam Hussein, longtime dictator of the Communist government in Iraq. Since the Iraqi-Soviet Friendship Treaty of 1972, the Iraqi secret police and military had become mere extensions of their Soviet counterparts.20 The majority of Iraqi weapons were Soviet-supplied, and five to six thousand Soviet “advisors” ran the Iraqi state from within.21 Primakov himself presumably supervised the Soviet arms shipments to Iraq leading up to, and during, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. After Iraq set in motion the Gulf crisis, Primakov visited Hussein as Gorbachev’s representative. According to British intelligence analyst Christopher Story, Primakov told Hussein to demand an international conference between Israel and the PLO as a precondition to leaving Kuwait.22 Hussein obeyed, and after the Persian Gulf War had ended in 1991, Hussein’s demand was adopted by the Bush administration. Finally the Israelis could no longer resist the political heat, and attended the conference in Madrid, Spain, that October.

Primakov had completed stage one in the drive to destroy Israel.

…until darkness falls.

The Soviet Union, mainly through its KGB strategist Primakov, had carefully designed and executed the entire Middle East peace conference since 1973. Thus the “death” of Communism in 1989, and especially the “breakup” of the Soviet Union in 1991, should have ended the entire process. The whole edifice of delicately applied pressure, fragile alliances, and Communist deception should have disintegrated, leaving the PLO isolated and impotent. Most importantly, Primakov and his fellow Communist leaders should have had to flee Russia to avoid prosecution, as happened to Nazi criminals after World War II.

In fact, the exact opposite chillingly materialized. Upon seizing power in the new Russia, Boris Yeltsin promptly reorganized and expanded the KGB, making it more powerful and active than ever before. Top Communists retained their positions, and all Soviet policies continued as before — except in a newly accelerated mode. What of Primakov? He was immediately promoted, becoming Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, the main arm of the new KGB. This places him in charge of an estimated 500,000 agents worldwide, operating in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and elsewhere.23

Primakov quickly laid to rest any notions that the various Soviet republics or Eastern European nations would be allowed any independence from Moscow. At a December, 1991, press conference, he openly admitted that his agency was exercising its powers “to maintain a common military, economic and central intelligence network among the Republics of the former Soviet Union.”24 Tens of thousands of secret police officers from East Germany and other Eastern European nations had already been incorporated into the KGB during the 1989 changes.25

At a press conference in late 1993, Primakov confirmed the warlike attitude of the “former” Soviet Union by warning NATO that he and his fellow Soviets might assume a new military posture toward the West at any time. Polish defector Zdislaw Rurarz described a follow-up question from a reporter:

Primakov was asked whether his presentation of the issue was in any way endorsed by President Boris Yeltsin. Surprisingly enough, he said that there was no need for that!26

Despite Yeltsin’s membership in the Soviet Communist Party since 1961, even he serves as a mere figurehead.27 He takes his orders from the likes of Primakov and the rest of the KGB leadership, all of them hardened Communists following long-term strategy.

In the Middle East, this is being translated into a PLO victory over Israel. The alleged collapse of Communism has thrown anti-Communist forces in the West into disarray. No longer recognizing where PLO terrorism or the drive for a peace conference come from, confused anti-Communists in all countries have abandoned political opposition to such Soviet moves — effectively turning over the political arena to the left. Now that the Communists can move rapidly without significant resistance, Israel is finally yielding control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the PLO. And Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has since offered to give away to Golan Heights to Communist Syria.

Unless Americans and Israelis wake up soon, Soviet forces will be dismantling the remains of a neutralized, demoralized Israel.


1. Agwani, M.S., Communism in the Arab East, Asia Publishing House, New York, 1969, p. 15.

2. Rees, J., “Why Americans must oppose the P.L.O.,” The Review of the News, Oct. 17, 1979, p. 41.

3. Netanyahu, B., A Place Among the Nations, Bantam Books, New York, 1993, pp. 219-226.

4. Sadat, A., In Search of Identity, publisher unknown, 1978, pp. 253, 255, 264, 267; Bard, M.G. and Himelfarb, J., Myths and Facts, Near East Report, Washington DC, 1992, pp. 77-78.

5. Allen, G., Kissinger: The Secret Side of the Secretary of State, ‘76 Press, Seal Beach, Calif., 1976, pp. 71, 78.

6. Story, C., “Business as usual in the Middle East,” Soviet Analyst, Jan. 1992, p. 15.

7. Ibid., p. 18.

8. Rees, J., Ed., The War Called Peace, Western Goals, Alexandria, VA, 1982, pp. 8-9.

9. Story, Op cit., p. 18.

10. Barron, J., KGB Today: The Hidden Hand, Reader’s Digest Press, New York, 1983, pp. 264-265.

11. Davydkov, R., Ed., The Palestine Question, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1984, p. 23.

12. Ibid., pp. 235-248.

13. Petrenko, F. and Popov, V., Soviet Foreign Policy: Objectives and Principles, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1985, pp. 155, 186.

14. Story, C., Op cit., p. 19.

15. The New York Times, Nov. 17, 1990, as cited in Story, C., Op cit., p. 14.

16. Story, C., Op cit., p. 19; Ramati, Y., Global Affairs, Spring 1989, as cited in Story, Op cit., p. 17.

17. Story, C., Op cit., p. 20.

18. “Palestine: Appeal for solidarity,” political statement by the Palestinian Communist Party, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Information Bulletin, March 1987, pp. 39-40; Schiff, Z. and Ya’ari, E., Intifada, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1990, chapter 2 and pp. 101-105, 198-202.

19. Arafat, Y., “We are optimistic,” World Marxist Review, Sept. 1987, p. 49.

20. al-Khalil, S., Republic of Fear, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989, pp. 12, 66.

21. Wagman, R., “Did Soviets aid Iraq?”, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Sept. 5, 1990; Lee, R.W., “Our Soviet ‘Ally’,” The New American, March 12, 1991, pp. 22-23.

22. Story, C., Op cit., p. 15.

23. MacAlvany, D.S., “Russian strategic deception: The ‘new’ Communist threat,” The MacAlvany Intelligence Advisor, Jan., 1994, pp. 20-22.

24. Story, C., Op cit., p. 13.

25. MacAlvany, D.S., Op cit., p. 22.

26. Ibid., p. 22.

27. Ibid., p. 12.