Carlos The JackelMay 12th, 2006
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (born October 12, 1949) is a Venezuelan-born leftist militant turned mercenary currently serving a life sentence in France. He is commonly referred to as Carlos (a nom de guerre) or the Jackal (a press nickname) or Carlos the Jackal. Best known for a daring 1975 raid on the OPEC headquarters, for many years he was among the most wanted international fugitives.
Early photo of Sanchez with his sister and motherRamírez Sánchez was born in Caracas, Venezuela. His father, a Marxist lawyer, gave him the forename Ilich, after Lenin. He was educated at a local school in Caracas and joined the youth movement of the national communist party in 1959. Apart from his native Spanish, he reportedly speaks Arabic and Russian, as well as English and French. After attending the Third Tricontinental in January, 1966, with his father, he spent the following summer at Camp Mantanzas, a guerrilla warfare school run by the Cuban DGI located near Havana. Later that year, after the divorce of his parents, his mother took him and his brother to London to continue their studies in Stafford House Tutorial College in Kensington. In 1968 his father tried to take him and his brother Lenin to Sorbonne University but eventually opted for Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. He was expelled from the university in 1970.
Apparently he traveled from there to a guerrilla training camp run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Amman, Jordan. It was there that he gained the pseudonym Carlos. He claimed to have fought alongside the PFLP members as they resisted the Jordanian government's efforts to expel them in 1970. When he did leave Jordan it was for London where he attended courses at the London School of Economics and apparently worked for the PFLP.
Carlos was given the "Jackal" moniker by the press when the Frederick Forsyth novel The Day of the Jackal was reportedly found among his belongings. Although the book actually belonged to someone else, the nickname stuck.
In 1973 Carlos performed his first criminal act for the PFLP, a failed assassination attempt on Jewish businessman Joseph Sieff prompted by the Mossad assassination of Mohamed Boudia, a theatre director accused of being a PFLP leader, in Paris. Ramírez Sánchez also admits responsibility for a failed bomb attack on the Bank Hapoalim in London and car bomb attacks on three French newspapers who were accused of pro-Israeli leanings. He claimed to be the grenade thrower at a Parisian restaurant, an attack that killed two and injured thirty. He later participated in two failed rocket propelled grenade attacks on El Al airliners at Orly Airport near Paris, France on January 13 and 17, 1975.
On June 27, 1975 Ramírez Sánchez's PFLP contact Lebanon-born Michel Moukharbal was captured and successfully interrogated. When three policemen tried to apprehend Ramírez Sánchez at a house in Paris in the middle of a party, he shot two detectives, fled the scene, and managed to escape through Brussels to Beirut. It was later revealed that Michel Moukharbal had been secretly working for the Mossad.
From Beirut Carlos participated in the planning for the attack on the headquarters of OPEC in Vienna. In December 1975 he led the six-person team that assaulted the meeting of OPEC leaders and took over sixty hostages. On December 22 the rebels and forty-two hostages were given an airliner and flown to Algiers, where thirty hostages were freed, the DC-9 was then flown on to Tripoli where more hostages were freed before flying back to Algiers where the remaining hostages were freed and the rebels were granted asylum. Ramírez Sánchez soon left Algeria for Libya and then Aden where he attended a meeting of senior PFLP officials to justify his failure to execute two senior OPEC hostages, oil minister of Iran Jamshid Amuzgar and the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia. He might have also embezzled some of the ransom money. PFLP leader Wadie Haddad expelled him.
In September 1976 Ramírez Sánchez was briefly arrested in Yugoslavia and then flown to Baghdad. From there he chose to settle more permanently in Aden, where he set about forming his own group, the Organisation of Arab Armed Struggle, of Syrian, Lebanese and German rebels. He also formed a contact with East Germany's Stasi. At one stage, Romanian Securitate hired him to assassinate Romanian dissidents in France and destroy Radio Free Europe offices in Munich. With conditional support from the Iraqi regime and the death of Haddad, Carlos offered the services of his group to the PFLP and other groups.
The group did not perform its first acts until early in 1982, with a failed attack on a nuclear power station. When two of the group, including Magdalena Kopp, Carlos's wife, were arrested in Paris the group set off a number of bombs in retaliation against French targets. Operations in 1983 included attacks on the "Maison de France" in Berlin in August and two bombs on TGV services in December. These attacks led to pressure on European states that tolerated Ramírez Sánchez. For over two years he lived in Hungary, in Budapest's noble quarter the second district. His main go-between for some of his money-sources like Gaddhafi of Dr. Habbash was the friend of his sister Dietmar C. Sanchez was expelled from Hungary in late 1985 and was refused aid in Iraq, Libya and Cuba before he found limited support in Syria. He settled in Damascus with Kopp and their daughter Elba Rosa.
The Syrian government forced Ramírez Sánchez to remain inactive and he was soon no longer seen as a threat but rather a pathetic figure. However in 1990 the Iraqi government approached him and in September 1991 he was expelled from Syria and eventually found a temporary home in Jordan. He found better protection in Sudan and moved to Khartoum.
During his career, most of it during the Cold War, western accounts persistently claimed he was a KGB agent but the link is tenuous at best. It is now clear that he had no part in the Munich Massacre (the attack on Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972) or the 1976 hijacking of Air France Flight 193 to Entebbe. Some attacks may have been attached to him for lack of anyone else to claim the credit. His own boasts about probably nonexistent "missions" confuse the matter even more.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilich_Ramirez_Sanchez (external - login to view)