To gain a new favorite status for an alignment of the Muslim world, Hitler with the help of the Palestinians wanted to exterminate half a million Jews in what is now Israel plus all Jews in Tunisia and Syria. SS Walter Schellenberg (Head of the Secret Service) wrote Summer 1942: The extreme friendliness of the Muslim world towards Hitler comes from the hope he will remove the Jews from the Middle East.” For this end, a family member of later President Yasser Arafat, leading pan-Arabist Mohammed Amin el-Husseini (1893-1974), met with Adolf Eichman to discuss a ‘Master Plan’ for the alignment of the ‘Arab World’ with Nazi Germany. In fact The history of the Middle East would have been completely different and a Jewish state could never have been established if the Germans and Arabs had joined forces.
When the German Africa Corps landed in Libya in February 1941, the critical phase of the German intervention on Arab territory began. Plans to extend the Holocaust to Palestine with the help of Arabian collaborators were in existence in 1942. Martin Cüppers and Klaus-Michael Mallmann, a historian from Stuttgart, have written the first comprehensive overview of relations between Nazi Germany and the Arab Middle East. In their study of 2006 "Halbmond und Hakenkreuz. On the basis of countless examples, they suggest that anti-Semitism is an associated ideology and show that the National Socialist regime in the Middle East was definitely in pursuit of its own interests. In doing so, the authors reject the research opinion that has prevailed up to now which assumes irreconcilable ideological differences between Arab Nationalists and National Socialists.The National Socialists planned mass murder also of the Jews in Palestine in 1942. The German staff required for this were waiting for their march orders, which ultimately never came due to Rommel's lost battle of El Alamein. One of the National Socialists' most important Arab allies was Amin al-Husseini, a mufti from Jerusalem and a relation of Jassir Arafat, who later became President of Palestine. He was greeted by Hitler personally in November 1941 and represents the general sympathy amongst the Arab nationalists for the Nazis. In their study, Martin Cüppers and Klaus-Michael Mallmann investigated the part played by Nazi Germany in the development of Arab anti-Semitism. Mallmann and Cüppers conclude that the only thing that prevented a "German-Arab mass crime" against the Jews was the defeat of the Germans in North Africa.
Not long after the war, many German military officers and Nazi party officials were granted sanctuary in Middle Eastern countries, most notably Egypt and Syria, where they helped develop the militaries and intelligences agencies of those countries. Unrepentant former Nazis formed clandestine networks that occasionally included contacts in the Middle East. In the early postwar years, Egypt hosted many leading Nazi refugees. For example, Major General Otto Ernst Riemer, the officer that squelched the anti-Hitler coup in July 1944, found refuge in Egypt, where he offered his services to the Nasser regime.
With the help of Riemer and other German military and technical advisers, Egypt developed a support base for Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian guerrillas fighting against France, as well as anti-British movements in Aden and the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya. Cairo became the nerve center for the Front de liberation nationale (FLN, or National Liberation Front) insurgency and the seat of the provisional government for Algerian rebels. Remer also served as the front man for German arms traffickers who supplied the FLN and other Algerian guerrillas. Also, Homanned Said, a former SS volunteer who fought in the grand mufti's Handschar Division, assisted the Algerian insurrection as well, commanding FLN guerrilla operations near the Tunisian border. The Algerian war, however, proved to be a divisive issue among the international extreme right in the early postwar years. As the investigative journalist, Martin Lee, noted, this conflict split the extreme right in Europe into two camps. Among the leaders of the Secret Army Organization (OAS) were several French fascists, Vichy collaborators, and French Waffen SS volunteers who did not take kindly to the support that many of the German neo-Nazis provided to the FLN. (See Martin Lee, The Beast Reawakens, 1997)
In 1953 rumors spread in the Middle East that Hitler might still be alive and living in Brazil. This prompted AI-Musawaar, an Egyptian weekly journal, to ask public figures what they would say to the fuhrer if they could write to him at that time. Future Egyptian president Sadat expressed admiration for Hitler in the Egyptian weekly.
Dear Hitler, I welcome you back with all my heart. You have been defeated, but in fact one should regard you as the real victor. There will be no peace in the world until Germany again takes first place. Your principal mistake was in opening too many fronts, but everything is forgiven, for you are a shining example of belief in one's fatherland and people. You are eternal, and we shall not be surprised if we see you again, or a second Hitler, back in Germany. (Irving Sedar and Harold J. Greenberg, Behind the Egyptian Sphinx, 1960, p. 59.)
Although Sadat would go on to sign a historic peace treaty with his archnemesis, Israel, according to some sources, he never really had a change of heart. According to Anis Mansour, one of Sadat's closest friends and advisers, the peace treaty did not mean that Sadat had a change of heart toward Israel. Rather, the treaty was a diplomatic maneuver that allowed Egypt to sit down with Israel and settle its accounts. (Bodansky, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument, p. 78.)
The German model of centralized government and corporatist nationalism remained attractive to many of the early pan-Arab nationalists in Egypt, some of whom sought the creation of an "Arab Reich" that would unite all Arabs into' one nation. (Sedar and Greenberg, Behind the Egyptian Sphinx, p. 45.)
The early pan-Arab leaders searched for methods to mobilize their populations and build independent nations. They were influenced in large part by European fascists who viewed the state as an organic outgrowth of the nation. As they saw it, only a strong, authoritarian state could protect the nation. Hence, the German model of bureaucratic centralization and authoritarianism looked attractive to many Arabs who sought an alternative way to modernize their countries. Moreover, the fact that Germany was opposed to the Western powers, such as England and France, made it all the more appealing to Middle Easterners, who deeply resented colonialism. Perhaps no other Arab country was more deeply influenced by National Socialism than Egypt.
King Farouk, who ruled Egypt during World War II, was initially seen as pro- Nazi, although his country was occupied by Britain. By the early 1950s, a wave of anti-British and anti-American sentiment had swept Egypt. Eventually both the U.S. and British governments decided that Farouk had to be replaced. The CIA, under the influence of John Foster Dulles, selected Egyptian army general Muhammad Naguib to lead a new Egyptian government. On July 22, 1952, with the help of the CIA, Naguib sent the army into the streets of Cairo and Alexandria and established himself as the commander in chief of military forces. Although Naguib was the titular head of state, unbeknown to the CIA, the real power ultimately rested with Lieutenant Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, who soon assumed the position of president. This coup was also significant because it opened the door for numerous Nazis to take prominent positions in the Egyptian government.
Arguably, the most important former Nazi in Nasser's employ was Hitler's commando extraordinaire, Otto Skorzeny, who arrived in Egypt in the early 1950s. According to Martin Lee, Colonel Nasser, Otto Skorzeny, and Haj Amin al-Husseini (the grand mufti) formed a triumvirate to further both their personal and common goals. Nasser is reported to have had great respect for Skorzeny. Coincidentally, a young Yasser Arafat-a distant cousin of the grand mufti-participated in unconventional warfare training under the Egyptian soldiers, during which time he developed a rapport with Skorzeny that would reportedly last for many years.( Martin Lee, The Beast Reawakens, 1997,pp. 126-130.)
Skorzeny's principal responsibility was to train thousands of Egyptian commandos in guerrilla and desert warfare. Furthermore, he organized and planned the initial forays of the early Palestinian terrorists into Israel and the Gaza Strip around 1953-1954. (Glenn B. Infield, Skorzeny: Hitler's Commando, 1981, p. 209.)
An Arab Foreign Legion was created, whose nucleus consisted of 400 former Nazi veterans who were recruited by Arab League agents in Germany. Finally, Skorzeny sought to protect German scientists, technicians, and engineers who were recruited to work on Egypt's special military program. (Sedar and Greenberg, Behind the Egyptian Sphinx, pp. 63-64.)
Not surprisingly, the Mossad-the newly created Israeli espionage agencyconsidered these personnel to be a serious threat to the security of Israel. Consequently, the Mossad launched numerous missions to assassinate them-usually through the use of letter bombs-some of which found their intended targets.During this period, renascent Nazis saw the rise of Arab and Third World nationalism as an excellent opportunity to create a German-Islamic neutralist alliance that would extend from the heart of Europe to the South China Sea. (Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 143). This idea was consistent with the late Karl Hausofer's policy of an alliance with the "Colored World."(Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, p. 382. )
One vision of this new extreme right foreign policy was to create-with the assistance of the grand mufti and the Arab League-a German-Egyptian-dominated power bloc that could resist both the United States and the Soviet Union. (Sedar and Greenberg, Behind the Egyptian Sphinx, p. 69.)
Several other unrepentant German Nazis made their way to the Middle East and played important roles as well. For example, Skorzeny's uncle-in-law, Hjalmar Schacht, brokered the "Jeddah agreement" between German industrial firms and Saudi Arabia in 1954. Under the agreement, the Saudi government agreed to establish a fleet of supertankers-to be built in German shipyards that would transport Saudi oil around the world. The Greek magnate, Aristotle Onassis, was chosen to manage the shipping side of the arrangement. The Jeddah agreement occasioned considerable consternation among various Western oil companies; not only would the agreement have been extremely lucrative for the Ruhr shipbuilders, but it would also have threatened the market dominance of the "Seven Sisters" oil companies' distribution of Middle East oil. Ultimately, with the help of the CIA, the Western oil cartel was able to block the Jeddah agreement. (Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, p. 383. )
Former Nazis also served the new Nasser government in the realm of propaganda. For example, German expatriate Louis al-Hadj translated Hitler's Mein Kampf into Arabic. Johann von Leers, a former high-ranking assistant to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels who worked in the Berlin Foreign Ministry, eventually settled in Cairo, where he churned out anti-Western and anti-Israeli propaganda for Nasser's government. (Martin Lee, "The Swastika and Crescent," Intelligence Report, Spring 2002, http://www.splcenter/intelligenceproject/ ip-4u3.html.)
He eventually converted to Islam, assumed the Arabized name of Oman Amin von Leers, and went so far as to predict that the German people would turn their backs on Christianity and embrace Islam. He confided his thoughts to his friend H. Keith Thompson in conversations and correspondence:
The Islamic bloc is today the only spiritual power in the world fighting for a real religion and human values and freedom I think sometimes if my nation had got Islam instead of Christianity we should not have had all the traitors we had in World War II, two million women would not have been burnt as "witches" by the Christian churches, there would have been no Thirty Years War which destroyed Germany and killed more that half of our nation. (Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, p. 388.)
One thing is clear-more and more patriot[ic] Germans join the great Arab revolution against beastly imperialism. To hell with Christianity, for in Christianity's name Germany has been sold to our oppressors! Our place as an oppressed nation under the execrable Western colonialist Bonn government must be on the side of the Arab nationalist revolt against the West I hamd ul Allah! ... Indeed, for our nation there is only one hope-to get rid of Western imperialism by joining the Arab-led antiimperialist group.( Ibid., pp. 382-383. )
Still other former Nazis who worked for Nasser included SS lieutenant general Wilhelm Farmbacher, who was the head of the original military adviser group in Egypt, and his assistant, Major General Oskar Munzel, who organized the Egyptian Parachute Corps. (Sedar and Greenberg, Behind the Egyptian Sphinx, p. 65. )
In the realm of economic development, Dr. Wilhelm Voss, the former director of the Skoda arms factory in Czechoslovakia and the Hermann Goering Steel Mills, was the architect of the Egyptian economy in the early postwar years.59 Working with Reinhard Gehlen, Skorzeny, and Hjalmar Schacht, he increased West Germany's trade with Egypt. (Infield, Skorzeny, p. 210.)
During the Cold War, former Nazi officials would occasionally play off both sides of the East-West divide. The case of Dr. Fritz Grobba, a German Orientalist who converted to Islam, is instructive. Grobba was Berlin's minister to Baghdad and also to the court of King Ibn Saud at Riyadh. In the years leading up to World War II, with his colleagues and agents in the Middle East, Grobba conspired with the grand mufti to sabotage Anglo-French military and economic influence in the region. In 1941, they helped spark Rashid Ali alGilani's revolt in Iraq, which was quickly suppressed by the British government. Driven out of the Middle East by the Allies, Grobba, the grand mufti, al-Gilani, and their assistants took refuge in Berlin, where Hitler installed them in a special Bureau of Arab Affairs that was designed to disseminate propaganda to the Muslim world. Grobba survived the war and eventually served as the director of Arab affairs at the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Moscow. Serving as a Soviet diplomatic intermediary, Grobba brokered an arms deal between Nasser's Egypt and the Soviet Union. His former compatriot, Otto Skorzeny, is thought to have helped engineer Nasser's alliance with the Soviet Union. Bolstered by the new alliance and relying on Nazi-trained military forces at his disposal, Nasser felt confident enough to seize the Suez Canal in 1956. His confidence backfired three months later, when Great Britain, France, and Israel attacked Egypt in order to regain control of the canal. (Sedar and Greenberg, Behind the Egyptian Sphinx, p. 70.)
Ultimately, the Egyptian-Soviet alliance undercut Skorzeny's influence with Nasser. Under pressute from the Soviets to establish relations with East Germany, Nasser alienated the German Federal Republic, which broke off diplomatic relations with Egypt and cut off all economic aid. That effectively put an end to Skorzeny's work in Egypt, including a rocket program in Helwan. (Infield, Skorzeny, p. 217.)
Not to be left out of the action, some American right-wing extremists also sojourned in the Middle East in the early postwar years as well. For example, in 1953 Francis Parker Yockey, the author of the 600-page tome Imperium, and H. Keith Thompson were reported to have visited Cairo in an effort to forge an alliance with the Nasser regime. Yockey was an early postwar exponent of panEutopeanism. In his geo-political framework, the United States was a more serious enemy to the European-derived peoples than the Soviet Union. He praised Hitler as the "hero of the Second World War" and the Nazi seizute of power as the "European Revolution of 1933." Yockey and an associate, Fred Weiss, reportedly sought to persuade Nasser to underwrite the development of a "cobalt bomb" on which exiled Nazi scientists were working. (Coogan, Dreamer of the Day; and Lee, The Beast Reawakens.)
Other American extremists reached out to Arabs in the Middle East as well.In 1959, the founder of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, was reported to have made overtures to then President Gamal Abdel Nasser of the United Arab Republic. (FBI Internal Memorandum, File Number 97-3835-33, July 13,1959.)
And James H. Madole, the leader of the extreme right National Renaissance Party, openly supported Arab regimes and may have received financial backing from Arab nationalists, including diplomats in the United States. There is some indication that these overtures were taken at least somewhat seriously. For example, Abdul Mawgoud Hassan, the press attache of the Egyptian United Nations delegation, once spoke at an NRP meeting. The NRP also corresponded with the grand mufti. However, by all known accounts, not much ever came of these efforts. (Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity, 2002, p. 78.)
Coogan believed that Nazi scientists in Argentina may have been working on a "cobalt bomb" project. Just exactly what the "cobalt bomb" is, is unclear. Weiss described it as 'a "goose-egg bomb, capable of destroying four city blocks." It sounds as if it might have been a forerunner to the so called suircase nuclear bombs produced in the former Soviet Union. (Coogan, Dreamer of the Day, pp. 380-381.)
The rise of Palestinian terrorism in the early 1970’s then, caused some elements of the European extreme right to once again take interest in the Middle Eastern affairs. Mter King Hussein of Jordan expelled the PLO from Jordan in 1970, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat created a new terrorist organization called Black September. The organization established strong ties with German left-wing radicals. Working together, they carried out one of the most infamous acts in the annals of European terrorism-the kidnapping and subsequent killing of several Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympic games in Munich, Germany. Actually, representatives of the extreme right had collaborated with Palestinian rejectionist groups long before the representatives of the radical left had.
A few neofascists even fought alongside Arab guerrillas in Middle Eastern conflicts. For example, Robert Courdroy, a veteran of the Belgian SS, died in combat while fighting for the Palestinians in 1968. And, on some occasions, the extreme right actually worked side by side with the radical left in support of Palestinian terrorists.
Both the extreme right and Palestinian rejectionists shared hostility toward Zionism. Early efforts on the part of the European extreme right to assist Palestinian rejectionists consisted primarily of financial support. The case of Francois Genoud is illustrative. Genoud founded a Swiss extreme right organization and worked as a trusted banker for German neo-Nazis. Reportedly well connected to Arab circles in the Middle East, Genoud founded the Arab Commercial Bank in Geneva and became a formidable financial power as tens of millions of dollars were funneled through his hands for the use of Palestinians in Europe. Through his various connections, Genoud was an important nexus between groups like Fatah and Black September on the one hand, and extremist groups in Europe on the other. (Claire Sterling, The Terror Network, 1984, p. 116. )
In his capacity as a shadowy financier, Genoud paid the legal costs for three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who stood trial for blowing up an Israeli jet in Zurich. Genoud's Nazi roots went quite deep. While studying in Bonn as a teenager in 1932, Genoud actually met Hitler. The young Genoud shook hands with his mentor and expressed his admiration for National Socialism. When he returned to Switzerland in 1934, he joined the proNazi Swiss National Front. Shortly thereafter in 1936, he traveled to Palestine, where he became a confidant of Grand Mufti al- Husseini. After the war, Genoud acquired all the posthumous rights to the writings of Hitler, Martin Bormann, and Joseph Goebbels, increasing his fortune in the process. Using his Swiss banking connections, he helped many Nazis escape from Germany, an effort to which Grand Mufti al-Husseini also allegedly lent assistance. (Peter Wyden, The Hitler Virus: The Insidious Legacy of Ado/f Hitler, 2001, p.III.)
Genoud also helped underwrite the costs for the legal defense of Adolf Eichmann. According to some European press accounts, Genoud sold defeated Nazis' gold and deposited the proceeds into Swiss bank accounts to finance these projects. Genoud was particularly close to the grand mufti, serving as his financial adviser.
In 1958, he founded the Arab Commercial Bank in Geneva to manage the assets of the Algerian National Liberation Front. As mentioned earlier, several former Nazis, including Major General Otto Ernst Riemer, assisted the rebels in their struggle against French colonial rule. Genoud was reportedly involved in financing terrorist groups, disseminating anti-Israeli propaganda throughout the Middle East, and assisting the Palestinian hijackers of a Lufthansa plane in 1972. He was particularly close to Dr. Waddi Haddad, the cofounder of the PFLp, and Ali Hassan Salameh of the Black September group. However, his activities did not go unnoticed by his enemies. In 1993 a bomb exploded in front of his house, and he barely escaped alive. Feeling trapped, Genoud committed suicide by drinking poison in May 1996. (Wyden, The Hitler Virus, p. 112.)
Another important financial benefactor of Palestinian causes was the wealthy Italian publisher, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. Ironically, Feltrinelli was a financial supporter of communist groups; however, he met secretly with the Italian neofascist Prince Valerio Borghese to discuss ways in which both the left and right could work together to battle imperialism. (Sterling, The Terror Network, p. 113.)
The Black International, which operated under the name of the European New Order, held a summit in Barcelona on behalf of the Palestinians. The organization was composed of various Nazis and fascists from Nazi Germany, Vichy France, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Mussolini's Italy, and the Greek colonels' military junta. The Spanish leader, General Francesco Franco, is believed to have endorsed the meeting. Two representatives from Fatah, the military arm of the PLO, attended the event. Reportedly, the delegates discussed raising money, organizing arms traffic, and providing ex-Nazi military instructors to help train guerrillas. A major endeavor was to recruit Caucasians to augment Fatah's forces in the Middle East and also collaborate in acts of sabotage and terrorism in Europe. (Ibid., p. 113.)
Several summits followed this event, including one held on September 16, 1972, barely ten days after Palestinian Black September terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Six hundred delegates to this gathering reportedly cheered Black September to the rafters. (Ibid., p.114)
In May 1979, another summit was held in Paris, where a former SS officer and Rexist Parry (a pro-fascist Belgian political parry that was active during the interwar years) member, Jean Roberts Debbaudt, pledged support to the Palestinian resistance. Still another right-wing extremist who established contacts in the Middle East was Jean Thiriart from Belgium, who served as a secretary for a neo-Nazi group called La Nation Europeene.
He shared many of the ideas of Francis Parker Yockey, including creating a European-Third World bloc that could resist the United States. In 1968, he traveled to several Arab countries to gain support for his idea of a "European brigade," which he envisaged as a guerrilla army that would engage in armed struggle against American soldiers stationed in Europe. Reportedly, Thiriart actually served as an adviser to Fatah in 1969. He sought to convince his Arab interlocutors that it would be in their interest if the United States became enmeshed in a "silent war" against neofascist terrorists in Europe. (Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 180.)
He traveled to Iraq and conferred with Colonel Saddam Hussein, the future dictator of the country. According to Thiriart, the Iraqis were enthusiastic about the plan but were persuaded by their then sponsor, the Soviet Union, to abandon the plan. Thiriart was also believed to have been close to PFLP leader George Habash. (Ibid., pp. 180-181.)
Other efforts to collaborate in the field of terrorism followed. For example, there were several instances of cooperation between German right-wing extremists and terrorist groups in the Middle East. Following the example of European left-wing terrorists, members of a small German neo-Nazi group, Wehrsportgruppe-Hoffmann, sought to develop an alliance with the PLO and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups during the 1970s and early 1980s. Karl Heinz Hoffman, the leader of the group, traveled to Damascus in July 1980 to develop links between the PLO and East German intelligence agents. Hoffman also worked out a deal that provided used trucks to the PLO in exchange for training. (Ibid., pp. 158-159)
Members of this group reportedly received paramilitary training in PLO camps in Jordan and fought alongside Palestinians in that country during the "Black September" of 1970. (Bruce Hoffman, Right- Wing Terrorism in Europe since 1980, 1984, pp. 6-7.)
One German neo-Nazi mercenary, Karl von Kyna, even died in combat during a Palestinian commando raid in September 1967. (Lee, "The Swastika and Crescent.")
One of the most notorious terrorist groups of this period was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which gained widespread notoriety in 1968 by hijacking several commercial airplanes. The leader of the PFLP, George Habash, received support from neo-fascists in Europe known as the Black International. The PFLP reportedly carried out terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in Europe with the assistance of Odfried Hepp and his neo-Nazi group, which unleashed a wave of bombings at four U.S. Army bases in Germany that damaged property and injured military personnel. (Benjamin Netanyahu, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network, New York, 2001, p. 61)
In early 1970, a neo-Nazi group calling itself the Freikorps Adolf Hitler, founded by Udo Albrecht, was identified as having participated in the Black September war against King Hussein's government in Jordan. In 1978 German police arrested members of the Freikorps Adolf Hitler and another organization, the Hilfskorps Arabien, on suspicion of smuggling arms from the Middle East into West Germany for Palestinian operatives that were living there. In that same year, Albrecht was arrested in Germany and was found to be carrying a card that connected him to the Fatah organization. This arrest was the first direct proof German authorities had linking German radicals with Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. (Rand C. Lewis, A Nazi Legacy: Right- Wing Extremism in Postwar Germany, 1991, p. 157.)
Still another neo-Nazi with whom the PLO had contact was Manfred Roeder. Following advice from Albrecht, he traveled to Lebanon to make contact with Yasser Arafat. He never met with the PLO chairman, however, instead speaking with his deputy, Abu Jihad. Disappointingly for Roeder, Jihad refused to cooperate with him, which was a setback for relations between neo-Nazis and Palestinians. (Ibid., p. 157. )
Undaunted, Roeder continued to look for supporters in the Middle East. In 1980 he traveled to Syria and Iraq to build a relationship of mutual support and trust, but these efforts appear to have failed. Other German extremists, however, were able to establish significant ties. There were also sporadic reports that surfaced during the 1980s of cooperation between German neo-Nazis and a Turkish fascist organization known as the "Gray Wolves." Mehmet Kengerle, who served with the SS in World War II, was the figure that allegedly sought to arrange this alliance. (Ibid., p. 161. )
The organization's most infamous member, Mehmet Ali Agca, attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul 11 in May 1981. This alliance, like the others that preceded it, was also short-lived and of limited significance.
More recently Fawsi Salim el-Mahdi, the leader of Yasser Arafat's Praetorian Guard, "Tanzim 17," included the Nazi salute in a graduation ceremony for Palestinian Authority police cadets. Known to his colleagues as "Abu Hitler." In fact his affection for the Third Reich is reflected in his choice of names for his two sons, Eichmann and Hitler. (Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism, p. 33.)
By the late 1980’s however, there was little cooperation between militant Islam and the extreme right. Arab nationalism had waned considerably, and most of the leading Nazi fugitives were dead or in permanent retirement. The Palestinian rejectionists had begun to moderate. What is more, the new Palestinian groups, such as Hamas, had no history of cooperation with the extreme right. However, the end of the Cold War significantly changed international politics.
Furthermore, the revolution in telecommunications greatly facilitated the exchange of ideas between dissident groups around the world. As one observer noted, the Internet has been key to the development of the nascent alliance between Islam and the right. By one estimate, more than 2,000 extremist sites dot the World Wide Web. 104 Another important factor is the demise of communism. The extreme right abandoned the communist threat as its chief enemy; in its place emerged the nemesis of the new world order, which, as one observer noted, is often perceived as "a juggernaut of international corporate finance, Jewish media, and American military power." (See David J. Whitaker, ed., The Terrorism Reader, 2001)
The right's conceptualization of this new enemy parallels closely the principal adversaries of militant Islam. Finally, both the extreme right and Islam share a similar eschatology, in which the old order is viewed as incorrigibly corrupt, something that must be totally effaced in order to build a new order. For these reasons, new opportunities for cooperation began to emerge by the late 1990’s to which we will turn next in this series.