'My Name is CARLOS and I am a Good Person': Communist States and Carlos the Jackal

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join the Harriman Institute and the East Central European Center for a talk with Daniela Richterová, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

“Carlos the Jackal” is perhaps the most notorious terrorist of the Cold War. Born as Ilich Ramírez Sánchez in Venezuela, before turning thirty, the self-proclaimed Marxist revolutionary-cum-hired gun established one of the most feared terrorist groups of the time. During the 1970s and 1980s, Carlos and his associates attacked British, French, Israeli, Saudi, Iranian as well as Arab targets and, by 1982, the Venezuelan topped President Francois Mitterrand’s assassination list. Having set up a basis in Hungary and spent almost a decade visiting and transporting weapons through the territory of Soviet-allied countries, Carlos is often seen as the exemplar of Eastern Bloc support for international terrorism. However, as newly-released Eastern European secret service documents show, by the early 1980s, The Jackal had become a liability and a reputation hazard for Moscow’s satellites. Fearful of the increasingly maverick Carlos and his Group, these states set up a web of intelligence alliances aimed at pushing terrorists out of their territory. This article analyses the Eastern Bloc’s changing attitude towards the enfant terrible of Cold War terrorism as well as the nature of this emerging ‘anti-terrorist’ coalition. By doing so, it aims to revise the literature on intelligence liaison and anti-terrorism alliances, thus far distorted by an over-concentration on experiences of the West.

Daniela Richterová researches intelligence alliances between state and non-state actors during the Cold War. She earned her graduate degree in War Studies at King’s College London. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Daniela worked as a research analyst at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels and as a political assistant at the Israeli Embassy in Bratislava. She also spent several months with the Israeli-Palestinian Geneva Initiative. Between 2012 and 2014, Daniela was in charge of the content of GLOBSEC - The Bratislava Global Security Forum, which annually welcomes over 1000 foreign policy and security practitioners and scholars.