Report: PA President Mahmoud Abbas worked as KGB agent in Damascus during 80's

The documents reportedly reveal that Abbas' code-name was "Krotob" - the mole- while he operated in Syria on behalf of the Russian government.

September 7, 2016 21:24
1 minute read.
A light installation is seen in the reception room of the former Soviet Committee for State Security

A light installation is seen in the reception room of the former Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB) headquarters.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB agent in Damascus in 1983, Channel 1 reported on Wednesday night, based on a treasure trove of documents former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin brought to the West.

According to Channel 1’s Oren Nahari, Abbas’s name appears on a list of KGB agents that was obtained by Israeli researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez from the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute. Nahari reported that the part of the archives containing Abbas’s name was made public a few months ago.

According to the report, Abbas’s code name was Krotov, or “mole.” Nahari said it was not known whether Abbas was an agent before or after the date listed in the document.

In 1983, the Soviet Union’s ambassador in Damascus was Mikhail Bogdanov, who is currently Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special Middle East envoy. Bogdanov was in Israel and the PA this week promoting the idea of a summit between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow.

Abbas was born in Safed in 1935, and he and his family fled to Syria before the 1948 War of Independence.

He earned a BA in law from Damascus University and later went to Oriental College in Moscow, where he received a PhD in history.

His 1982 dissertation, published in Arabic as The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, blames the Zionists for collaborating with the Nazis and puts the number of Jews killed by the Nazis at one million.

Mitrokhin, who died in 2004, defected to the West in 1991 with reams of copied documents and handwritten notes from the KGB archives, which he helped move between 1972 and 1984 to a new location.

Palestinian officials, including Nabil Sha’ath, Jibril Rajoub and Saeb Erekat, scoffed at the report and said it was part of Israel’s campaign to discredit Abbas.

“Channel 1’s report is complete slander and untrue. Frankly it’s shameful for such falsities to be published,” Fatah Central Committee member Muhammed al-Madani told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday night. “The PLO has political relations with Russia, which started when president [Yasser] Arafat met with the USSR president in 1969.”

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report

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