By Matt Goldstein
Carlos the Jackal A.K.A. Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a Venezuelan born terrorist, became a legend when he raided an OPEC conference in Vienna Austria in 1975 at the behest of the PFLP, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Killing three people and taking 60 OPEC members hostage, at the time, the OPEC raid was perhaps the most brazen terrorist attack ever. Carlos took the hostages on a DC9 jet from country to country all over the Middle East, negotiating terms and demands. After the OPEC raid, Carlos went on to become a hired mercenary for any government willing to pay the right price and anything that served the cause of the Palestinians and or Socialism. The Soviet Union, Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Hungary, Romania, Yemen and the Sudan are just a few of the countries that paid and protected Carlos and his organization.
Not only was Carlos a well paid international terrorist, but the Jackal was also a womanizing drunk. Rarely without a whiskey in hand, Carlos partied just as hard as he murdered. This socialist revolutionary never fell short of a chance to live a lavish lifestyle with expensive clothes, luxury cars and pricey liquor. Although socialist, Carlos took every advantage of enjoying the finer things in life from the Western World, proving to be somewhat contradictory.
1949: Ilich Ramírez Sánchez A.K.A. Carlos the Jackal is born in Venezuala and named after Vladimir Ilich Lenin by his father.
1959: Attending school in Caracas, Ilich joins the National Communist Party for youth.
1970: After attending college in London and Moscow, Ilich joins the PFLP, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Many socialist organizations take up the Palestinian cause as Israel can sometimes be viewed as an imperialist nation. Being an ally of the U.S.., the Soviet Union then became allies with all of the pro Palestinian Arab Muslim nations in a battle to control Middle East oil.
1973-1975: In France, Ilich orchestrates a series of bombings against newspapers, assassination attempts, and a failed RPG attack on commercial airplanes, and basically attacks anything Israeli or thought of pro Israeli.
1975: Ilich’s Lebanese partner Michel Moukharbal is captured and interrogated by French police and gives up Ilich’s location. When French police confront Ilich in a Paris apartment, Ilich guns them down, killing two officers and Moukharbal. Ilich flees the scene and the legend of Carlos begins.
1975: In a PFLP operation, Carlos and a team of 6 terrorists storm the OPEC conference in Vienna Austria on December 21st. The intent of the mission is to murder the delegates from Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose countries at the time are thought to have oil policies favorable to the United States. An Austrian policeman, an Iraqi OPEC employee and Lybian OPEC employee are killed in the opening moments of the raid.
Carlos takes the OPEC meeting hostage and demands that the Austrian authorities broadcast a communiqué about the Palestinian cause and threatens to kill a hostage every 15 minutes if the authorities don’t comply. The Austrian government agrees and broadcasts the communiqué many times.
Carlos, his team and 40 hostages are flown all over the Middle East and the hostages are released for what is believed to be at least $20 million from Saudi Arabia although the sum and the origin of the money are never openly confirmed. Leader of the PFLP, Wadie Haddad, is furious at Carlos for taking money instead of killing the Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Yamani, and Finance Minister of Iran, Jamshid Amuzgar, which was the original purpose of the mission. Carlos the Jackal is kicked out of the PFLP by Haddad.
1976: The PFLP orchestrates the hijacking of an Israeli flight and lands in Entebbi Uganda with former members of Carlos’ team who are German socialist militants running the operation. There were 248 hostages but the non-Jewish hostages were released when the plane landed. This move in particular has an unintentional and an undesired negative public relations effect for the terrorists as many take offense to Germans segregating Jewish people, reminiscent of WWII and the holocaust. The IDF, Israeli Defense Forces storm the plane in the middle of the night and kill the terrorists. Three hostages are killed, along with the terrorists as well as 45 Ugandan soldiers. The rescue mission is considered a major success and becomes legendary in the world of special ops.
Part 2 Coming soon…