Nom de Guerre        Yasser Arafat [1]

 

Birth Name                     Muhammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa

Kunya                               Abu Ammar

 

Organization                  Munazzamat at-Tahrir al-Filastiniyyeh

English Translation       Palestinian Liberation Organization

 

Conflict country             Israel; Jordan; Lebanon

 

Gender                             Male   

    

Year of birth                    1929 [2]

Place of birth                  Cairo, Egypt

Year of death                  2004 [3]

Deceased

Yes; in 2004, he died from a "mysterious" blood disease.[4]

 

Birth order

 

He was the 6th of 7 children.

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

In 1969, Arafat took the helm of the PLO began at the age of 40.[5]

 

Leader entry method

 

He was appointed/designated.[6]

 

Powersharing

 

No; the PLO structure does not support powersharing at the leader level.

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

In 1956, he received an engineering bachelor’s degree from Faud I University (later renamed Cairo University).[7]

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

Yes; in 1990, Arafat married Suha Daoud Tawil.

 

Children

 

He fathered one child.

 

Religious identification

 

He practiced Sunni Islam.

 

Elite family background

 

No; while Arafat claimed on many occasions to be the nephew of the Nazi-allied Grand Mufti of al-Quds, Hajj Amin al-Husseini,[8]  biographers and historians have not substantiated the claims.[9]

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

Yes; Arafat developed connections with the Arab Higher Committee leadership and the Muslim Brotherhood.[10]

 

Physical and mental health

 

Yes; Arafat suffered for years from a "mysterious" blood disease before he died from it.[11]

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

While trained as an engineer, Arafat never worked in the field. Beginning as a student, Arafat operated as a "militant,"[12] “guerrilla,”[13], and terrorist.[14]

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

Yes; after graduating from university, Arafat was commissioned into the Egyptian military, and in October 1956 he served on behalf of Egypt during the Suez Crisis.[15]

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

Yes; before attaining the leadership position of the PLO, Arafat operated "as an arms supplier" for Hajj Amin al-Husseini's militia, al-Jihad al-Muqaddas (the Holy Warriors) in the lead up to and during Israel's 1948 War of Independence.[16] In 1958, Arafat founded the terrorist organization Fatah (Conquest)--the the inversion of the acronym Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini (the Palestine National Liberation Movement).[17]

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No; Arafat’s claims of combat experience are nearly universally refuted.[18]

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No; he did not hold a governmental position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Yes; Arafat lived in exile in Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia.[19]

 

Arafat operated out of Jordan and in September of 1970 he ordered the PLO to overthrow the Jordanian kingdom. Following his failed coup and Fatah's expulsion from Jordan, Arafat fled to Lebanon. By December 1983, the PLO leader most of his remaining Fatah fighters fled Lebanon to Tunisia,[20] where he remained until his return to the Disputed Territories in 1994.[21]

Study abroad?

 

Yes; he studied abroad in Egypt.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

Yes; he received training in Egypt.

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

Yes; he worked in Kuwait.

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

Yes; in 1964, Arafat briefly spent time in a Syrian prison for his role in murder of a Syrian military officer.[22]

 

In 1995, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had Arafat expelled from a concert at the Lincoln Center under the threat of arrest for Arafat's prior orchestration of acts of terrorism against Americans.[23]

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

Yes; in 1966, Israel attempted to assassinate Arafat,[24] and again in 1985.[25]

 

Cause of Death?

 

He died from a "mysterious" blood disease.[26]

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

He spoke Arabic and English.

 

Image Credit: https://nypost.com/2016/11/10/yasser-arafat-museum-opens-in-the-west-bank/

[1] Chuck Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini (New York: IUniverse, 2003), 94. 

[2] Steven Erlanger and Lawrence K. Altman, "What killed Arafat? Infection a Mystery," The New York Times (8 September 2005), accessible at www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/world/africa/what-killed-arafat-infection-a-mystery.html.

[3] Steven Erlanger and Lawrence K. Altman, "What killed Arafat? Infection a Mystery," The New York Times (8 September 2005), accessible at www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/world/africa/what-killed-arafat-infection-a-mystery.html.

[4] Steven Erlanger and Lawrence K. Altman, "What killed Arafat? Infection a Mystery," The New York Times (8 September 2005), accessible at www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/world/africa/what-killed-arafat-infection-a-mystery.html.

[5] Patrick Seale, Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire (New York: Random House, 1992), 76. 

[6] Efraim Karsh, Arafat’s War (New York: Grove, 2003).

[7] See Alain Gresh, “Yasser Arafat: Palestinian Leader,” Encyclopedia of Britannica, www.britannica.com/biography/Yasser-Arafat.

[8] Chuck Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini (New York: IUniverse, 2003), xviii. 

[9] David Brooks, “A Brief History of Yasir Arafat,” The Atlantic, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/07/a-brief-history-of-yasir-arafat/302532.

[10] Chuck Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini (New York: IUniverse, 2003), 109.

[11] Steven Erlanger and Lawrence K. Altman, "What killed Arafat? Infection a Mystery," The New York Times (8 September 2005), accessible at www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/world/africa/what-killed-arafat-infection-a-mystery.html.

[12] Chuck Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini (New York: IUniverse, 2003), 88-89.

[13] Efraim Karsh, Arafat’s War (New York: Grove, 2003).

[14] Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage, 2001).

[15] Alain Gresh, “Yasser Arafat: Palestinian Leader,” Encyclopedia of Britannica, www.britannica.com/biography/Yasser-Arafat.

[16] Yezid Sayigh, Armed Struggle and the Search for State (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1997), 668.

[17] David Brooks, “A Brief History of Yasir Arafat.” The Atlantic, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/07/a-brief-history-of-yasir-arafat/302532.

[18] Chuck Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini (New York: IUniverse, 2003), 88-89.

[19Yezid Sayigh, Armed Struggle and the Search for State (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1997); Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage, 2001).

[20] Theodor Hanf. 1993. Coexistence in Wartime Lebanon: Decline of a State and Rise of a Nation. Translated by John Richardson. Centre for Lebanese Studies & I.B. Tauris.

Edgar O’Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-1992 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998).

[21] Benjamin Acosta, "The Arab-Israeli Conflict," in The Middle East in the Global Era, ed.s Steven Childs and Sallama Shaker (San Diego: Cognella, 2021), 205.

[22] Alan Hart, Arafat (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1994), 204-205.

[23] John J. Goldman and Helaine Olen, "A FESTIVAL OF NATIONS : New York Mayor Ejects Arafat From Concert," Los Angeles Times (25 October 1995): accessible at: www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-10-25-mn-60970-story.html.

[24] Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 434.

[25] Ronen Bergman, “How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine,” New York Times Magazine, January 23, 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/magazine/how-arafat-eluded-israels-assassination-machine.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news.

[26] Steven Erlanger and Lawrence K. Altman, "What killed Arafat? Infection a Mystery," The New York Times (8 September 2005), accessible at www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/world/africa/what-killed-arafat-infection-a-mystery.html.

ArafatS.jpg