The Soviet role in one of the most bloody chapters in Palestinian history: The Abu Musa rebellion

Abu Musa

The demise of the Soviet Union is considered by some Palestinians as a major setback for the Palestine cause since the Soviets supported them and the US supported Israel. The history of the Soviets is more complicated. The USSR played a role in one of the bloodiest episodes in Palestinian history: The rebellion of Abu Musa.

In Dining with al –Qaeda, Hugh Pope, a well-known reporter with a long experience in the Middle East related the following, in his words:

A few days later she took me across town to the compound housing the Soviet embassy. It looked  then like many U.S. embassies look today, surrounded by high concrete walls and solid metal gates The guards were expecting us and ushered us in, deeper and deeper, until we reached a building with a plaque announcing it to be the Soviet-Palestinian Friendship Society. There, waiting for us, was a dignified gentleman with silver hair, a military uniform, and a cravat.
          His name was Colonel Mousa Abu Mousa, and he was something in the PLO. I’d never heard of him, but I tried to keep my cool, partly because the embassy had put in a minder to watch over our conversation, and mostly because I didn’t want to be mocked afterward by Slobodanka for any ignorance. Abu Mousa soon got my attention, however, shocking me by denouncing Yasser Arafat as a traitor to the Palestinian cause and insisting that Arafat intended to betray the Arabs by doing a separate peace deal with Israel. (Such plans were indeed afoot with Jordan at the time.) He, Abu Mousa, was now raising the flag of rebellion against Arafat. This new defender of the purity of the Palestinian cause would prevent imperialist America buying off the Palestinians like it had bought off Egypt with the gift of a billion dollars per year.
          I didn’t think to ask: Why are you doing this in a Soviet embassy building? Why are we doing this in front of a KGB minder?


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