Talk:Abu Nidal

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older entries[edit]

About Abu Nidal's ideology: can we really attribute a consistent ideological position to him? I don't think so, but more information would be welcome. Mswake 16:06 Aug 19, 2002 (PDT)

Is the Lockerbie bombing known to be an Abu Nidal operation? CNN does not list it. Rmhermen 09:02 Aug 21, 2002 (PDT)

It's "been attributed" to him, but I admit I don't know how reliably. Delete it if you like, but if so we need to do it on some solid evidence. Mswake 12:50 Aug 21, 2002 (PDT)
Who has attributed it to him. I couldn't find any websites that said so. Only that he and the Lockerbie bombers were in Libya at the same time. Rmhermen 12:55 Aug 21, 2002 (PDT)
I found one that did, which is why I put it in - but I've taken it out now, since your raising of doubt seems enough to me not to include it. Thanks for spotting this.

Reverted "activist" to "terrorist" - I know one man's terrorist is another's activist, but I think "Palestinian activist" implies a consistent ideological position, rather than the "essentially mercenary" man we describe later in the article. Mswake 21:22 Feb 11, 2003 (UTC)

What about the Gulf Air flight the ANO bombed in United Arab Emirates in 1983? Over 100 were killed. The flight was headed to Abu Dhabi, UAE from Karachi, Pakistan. Apparently the ANO did it and I knew a family that perished on that flight (including their 4 year old son). He was clearly a mercenary in 1983 - those who struggle against injustices and for noble causes, do not blow up commercial airliners and kill innocent civilians! He had totally lost it and his own violent death in Iraq is kind of expected given all the messes he had made over the years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Abu Nidal Was A Mossad Agent[edit]

Nidal was created by Israel to portray the Arabs as hijackers and terrorists. This laid the groundwork for accepting Arabs as the orchestrators of 9/11. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Within/associated with[edit]

Hi Grace Note, thanks for the edit. I think the fedayeen who became Black September were actually within Fatah, not just associated with it, though you're right to say the latter is probably safer and more NPOV. I can't find anyone to quote to you because I'm sitting here with half a dozen books open doing the rewrite, and now that I need it, I can't find the right place. They weren't just Fatah, though: they came from the entire rejection front: DFLP, PFLP, and later PFLP-GC, and as I hope to go on to say, the Abu Nidal group. If I can find the source, I'll put it here for you. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:02, Apr 19, 2005 (UTC)

Please note the following from Black September, added to that article by an editor called, let me see, erm, SlimVirgin seems to be the chap:

"In his book Stateless, Saleh Khalaf (Abu Iyad), who was Arafat's chief of security and a founding member of Fatah, wrote that: "Black September was not a terrorist organization, but was rather an auxiliary unit of the resistance movement, at a time when the latter was unable to fully realize its military and political potential. The members of the organization always denied any ties between their organization and Fatah or the PLO." (my emphasis).Grace Note 03:23, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I know that Benny Morris, the Israeli historian, has said BS were largely Fatah (and he is fairly even-handed). Mohammed Daoud, who says he led the Munich operation for BS, says they were Fatah (and he definitely was), and I believe (though I can't currently find it) that Patrick Seale says it too, using Abu Iyad as his source, but I'll have to check this. But I'm fine with associated anyway. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:30, Apr 19, 2005 (UTC)

Wikifying years[edit]

Arre, just a small point: we're not supposed to wikify years on their own. People do it because they think the Manual of Style advises it, but in fact it advises not to. When it's month, day, year, that should be wikified so that people's date preferences show up correctly i.e. November 12, 2005, but not 2005 on its own. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:28, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Ah? Okay, I saw others doing it, so I started myself too. It does look weird, though. I'll stop from now on. Thank you. Arre 09:45, 12 November 2005 (UTC)


I reverted Marsden's deletion of Seale, because he's Abu Nidal's best known biographer, a highly respected mideast expert, and the comment is attributed. He doesn't need to be a psychoanalyst to recognize that Abu Nidal was a psychopath, certainly in layman's terms and probably clinically, and that his childhood may have had something to do with it. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:42, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

What is the point of attributing the opinion to Seale if the opinion is only at layman's level? If a layman, such as the typical Wikipedia reader, can reach the conclusion based on the evidence, then shouldn't the article just present the evidence rather that giving an opinion from someone who has no particular expertise on the matter himself? Fill out the evidence, Slim. A psychologist's opinion that Abu Nidal is a psychopath would be encyclopedic; Seale's opinion on the matter is worth no more than any typicel reader's. There is no lack of evidence of Abu Nidal's behavior that any reader might use to decide -- with as much professional authority as Patrick Seale -- what manner of person Abu Nidal was. Marsden 02:04, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, I take it that the "He later came to despise women" statement is from Seale. Please make that clear. This does not require a professional opinion, but it is clearly more encyclopedic to indicate where a particular judgement comes from. Marsden 02:08, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I assume you've stalked me here, so you'll forgive me for finding it hard to assume good faith. Patrick Seale is one of two biographers of Abu Nidal whose work is regarded as the gold standard on him. For that reason, if he says in his book that, in his opinion, evidence suggests that Abu Nidal always wanted to be a ballerina, we may put that into the article, so long as we attribute it. We find respected experts in the field, and then we run with what they say. We don't pick and choose which aspects of the subject we personally regard them as experts on, because that would be original research. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:10, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Deciding that Abu Nidal always wanted to be a ballerina does not require or imply a professional opinion; deciding that Abu Nidal is psychopathic and that this is likely due to his unhappy childhood does. And anyway, there is already a quote from the Guardian, which clearly is not an authority on psychology, that he had become a psychopath; it is not so clear that Seale isn't either, though in fact he isn't. The article shows his adult behavior and his childhood situtation. Truly, Slim, the article is better if you don't try to steer the reader to a particular interpretation based in no more expert authority than the reader himself can supply -- what do you think when you read an article that tries to point you to conclusions? My reaction is generally to wonder whether or not the basic facts themselves haven't been massaged, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Don't let your animus lead you to making the article less good than it could be. Marsden 02:31, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm not going to revert this again, but you really have made the article less encyclopedic than it could be. It's on your head. Marsden 02:35, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Every single authoritative source on Abu Nidal comments on his psychopathic personality, and speculates as to the reasons because it was so marked in him. He operated with no hint whatsoever of conscience, personal allegiance, loyalty, love, or respect for any other human being so far as those who knew him are aware. He suspected even his own wife of working for the CIA. Journalists; academics; members of his organization; Arab, Israeli, and Western intelligence officers; members of other Palestinian groups: they all said the same thing about him. It would be obtuse to leave it out of this article. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:46, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
And yet no one with any expertise in psychology, apparently. Marsden 02:54, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
What do you suppose an expert in psychology would do that everyone else who knew him hasn't done? You seem to think a diagnosis of psychopathic personality disorder is a finely tuned instrument. It's quite the opposite. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:12, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, my inexpert guess is that an expert in psychology would pretty quickly decide that Abu Nidal had a paranoid personality disorder, which is far more consistent with his behavior (I think) than an antisocial personality disorder. And easier to diagnose, I would also think, because it requires a less thorough understanding of his internal mental state. Are you certain that you understand what an antisocial (psychopathic) personality disorder implies? I can't imagine how you could think it would be easily diagnosed. I encourage you to do a very little research on the matter if you think I'm wrong. Marsden 04:25, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I know what it implies. I've said more about it on Talk:Self-hating Jew. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:26, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

FYI: [1] Marsden 05:00, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for finding this. We can certainly add it as a view along with Seale's. However, although here's no doubt he was paranoid, that's not the same as suffering from paranoid personality disorder. This page includes the DSMIV description. PPD would not explain the extreme violence and the ease with which he was able to kill people close to him. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:38, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
??? Seems to me that PPD would explain it very well. Marsden 18:16, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Seems to me, Marsden, that you have amused us long enough. Could I suggest that you go forth straightaway and employ your undoubted skills at the two-times table?Phase1 22:09, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Suggest whatever you like, Phase. I won't pay it any mind. Marsden 22:48, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

It seems clear even to my inexpert eyes that Abu Nidal really wasn't a "psychopath" -- there are worse things in the world than a "psychopath." Abu Nidal pretty clearly had a severe paranoid personality disorder, and this is largely incompatible with "psychopathy:" the paranoid views other people as powerful, motivated, and adversarial; the "psychopath" views them as pieces of furniture. The term "psychopath" has a journalistic sense that is inaccurate, and this is clearly the sense in which the Guardian used the term, and probably the sense in which Seale used the term (if he even used it -- are we sure that some Wikipedian didn't paraphrase his actual words? A direct quote, given that what is attributed to Seale now is likely wrong, would be better.). But encyclopedic standards should be higher than journalistic standards; someone called a "psychopath" in an encyclopedia ought verifiably to have traits consistent with an antisocial personality disorder. Anyway, it's on your head, Slim. Marsden 13:47, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

And what's my "animus"? SlimVirgin (talk) 02:47, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Your animus is that which makes it difficult for you to assume good faith. Marsden 02:54, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
No, it's your behavior that causes that. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:12, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
And now your animus has caused you to make that comment. ;) Marsden 13:47, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
It was your behavior that caused that comment too. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:38, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
I just went to add something using the article you linked to as a source (from, but it's currently off-line. I intend to add it when it's back on. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:01, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Factual observations[edit]

Is "ruthless terrorist" a factual observation?Phase1 23:46, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Quite clearly it is not a factual observation. Magabund 10:45, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Homeless children make bad terrorists[edit]

First, I would like to suggest using less charged word than "terrorist", like "militant" or smth (yes, I believe that he was a mercenary who essentially stamped others operations, but charged words do not help). Second I wanted to point out that sentence "The al-Banna family lost their orange groves, which were confiscated by the new Israeli government, and fled to the al-Burj refugee camp in Gaza" does look a bit vague. If we talk abot "ruthless terrorist" then sure we should talk about ruthless enemies who expelled this guy from home when he was a child. So what exactly happened to their home? Did jews expel them? Did jews rob them of their belongings? Etc. those questions should be better answered. Magabund 10:54, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

If you have a reputable source for those details, by all means provide it. As for the word "terrorist," I use it sparingly, but in this case, he was as a matter of cold, hard fact regarded by pretty well everyone, Arab and non-Arab alike, as a ruthless terrorist, so it would be somewhat obtuse of us to hunt around for a kinder word. SlimVirgin (talk) 11:36, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
Theres a NYTIMES article that talks about the family being 'forced into exile' [2] i think part of the problem here is with people reading different things into the semantics of words; fleeing somewhere isn't necesarrily the same as being forced out (white flight could be said to be an emotive example of the former but not the latter). I'm going to change the sentence
'The family fled Jaffa and moved into their house near Majdal, intending to be away from Jaffa for only a few days, but the Jewish militias arrived in Majdal too, and they had to flee again.'
'The family were forced to flee Jaffa and moved into their house near Majdal, intending to be away from Jaffa for only a few days, but the Jewish militias arrived in Majdal too, and they were forced to flee again.'
I admit the change is subtle but i think its the type of critcism magabund or others may be aiming at.Zaq12wsx 05:12, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Shlomo Argov[edit]

The attempted murder of Shlomo Argov should be mentioned. Vints 10:20, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Request for better category[edit]

Currently, there is a Category:Palestinian terrorist incidents in Europe category, but the majority of the incidents included are actually attacks by the Abu Nidal organization or attacks that are suspected to be connected to Abu Nidal. Abu Nidal, while you can say he is Palestinian, he is really a unique character who did many of his later attacks for reasons that were not connected to the Palestinian national struggle (such as his mercenary work for Libya.) Would it be possible to create a new category something along the lines of Category:Abu Nidal Organization or something similar for these attacks and alleged connections rather just blindly associating these attacks with the Palestinian cause? I am likely to make this change unless anyone objects. --Abnn 04:34, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Also was the Abu Nidal Organization responsible for the Silco incident? Right now the Silco incident article just uses the generic term "Palestinian terrorists", but there are some hints that it is actually connected to Abu Nidal. I would like to specify exactly which organization was responsible for that attack if possible. --Abnn 04:44, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I am now chatting with the creator of that category here Category_talk:Palestinian terrorist incidents in Europe. --Abnn 00:19, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Explanation for my revert[edit]

Slipperybeans, the link you keep adding isn't appropriate. First, it seems to be a personal website. In addition, everything in it that's accurate is contained in other articles; the rest contains serious errors and insults e.g. referring to one head of state as syphilitic (writing from memory). SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 22:44, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:PA103cockpit4.png[edit]

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Robert Fisk article[edit]

This is new so I wouldn't expect it to be up yet, but eventually this needs to go in.

According to internal Iraqi documents, Nidal was a spy for the United States during the last years of his life trying to link Sadaam to terrorist organizations on behalf of The US, Egypt and Kuwait97.91.190.78 (talk) 20:43, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for letting us know about that article. I've added something about it. [3] SlimVirgin talk|edits 21:43, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I've expanded upon and fully referenced the Robert Fisk article here.---PJHaseldine (talk) 13:39, 14 June 2009 (UTC)


Nidal is an Arabic word kept as a male name that means "struggle".

Nidal is an Arabic word kept as a male name that means "struggle". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:55, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

MOS attn needed[edit]

The following need attn:

  • Mixture of spaced and unspaced emdashes; should be consistently unspaced.
  • WP:MOS#Captions, sentence fragments don't use final punctuation.
  • WP:ITALICS, quotes should not be italicized.
  • WP:ACCESS and WP:MOS#Images, no left-aligned images under third- (and more) level headings.
  • Brighterorange (talk · contribs) will run his script upon request, to fix the faulty dashes in the citation page ranges.
  • Several references are missing last access dates.

All of this should be easy to fix, just a bit of elbow grease. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:05, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Done, I think, except that I left the pull quotes in italics, as they're meant to stand out. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:27, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I think the pull quotes look better without italics, so that's done too. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:39, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

terrorist ?[edit]

  • "At the height of his power in the 1970s and 1980s, Abu Nidal, or "father of the struggle", was widely regarded as the most dangerous and ruthless of the Palestinian political leaders.[2]"

I am perfectly aware of the debate about the use of the word but when I read this, I am a little bit shacked... It is eg source by the list of terrorist organisation of the EC. I think the "unfamous" word should be added, a way or the other. Ceedjee (talk) 18:03, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

I did say originally "was widely regarded as the world's most dangerous terrorist leader," but it might have led to objections, and really that word doesn't add anything. Sources do also describe him as a Palestinian "political leader," which he clearly was, so I just left it there. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:15, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
There is also a source in the text that claims he was frustrated not to be a political leader...
Not easy choice ! :-)
Ceedjee (talk) 18:18, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

He conducted numerous international operations against uninvolved people. If this isn't a terrorist, I don't know who is? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


Of course I trust you and it sounds right but this is not sourced :

"Shortly after King Hussein expelled the Palestinians, Abu Nidal began broadcasting criticism of the PLO over Voice of Palestine, the PLO's own radio station in Iraq, accusing them of cowardice for having agreed to a ceasefire with Hussein. During Fatah's Third Congress in Damascus in 1971, he emerged as the leader of a leftist alliance against Arafat. Together with Palestinian intellectual Naji Allush and Abu Daoud—one of Fatah's most ruthless commanders, who was later involved in the 1972 kidnapping and killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Village in Munich—Abu Nidal called for Arafat to be overthrown as an enemy of the Palestinian people, and demanded more democracy within Fatah, as well as violent revenge against King Hussein. Seale writes that it was the last Fatah congress Abu Nidal would attend, but he had made his mark.'

Ceedjee (talk) 18:18, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Searching for the page number. It's in Seale somewhere. :) SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:41, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

The Group[edit]

  • "around 600 were killed, between a third and a half of the membership". So I assume they were 2,000. The article is about Abu Nidal but I wonder how the group was founded. How could that man become the leader of such a big group ? That should take time and a step by step process. It sounds as if he became leader from one day to the other... I also wonder how this group was financed. That could be added in the article, I think. Ceedjee (talk) 18:34, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I confirm the point : what happened between 1974 and 1981 ? If it is not known it could just be stated that during the period he blablabla but that is not document blablablaCeedjee (talk) 18:36, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
He financed it through sponsorship from various governments in return for mercenary activities, and through various businesses that he ran e.g. Impex in his early years, and SAS Trading later on. There's a lot of detail I could go into, but I'd like to keep it within readable length if possible, so I've alluded to each of these points, but I've not developed them.
Between 1974 and 1981? Are there periods missing? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:43, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Expelled from Fatah at 37 (1947) - leader of a group of 2000 people at 44.
I think it really misses.
Well, that is the most important period in one man's life. I am 39 !
More seriously, I think it is really very important to find info about this (in the context of a FA but of course, if this information do exist). After he lost the "protection" of Fatah, he needed a HQ. Some of his right_arms must have followed him; others not. Who ? Why ? When ? How ? Where did he establish ? Why ?
Impex was a company covering Fatah activities (I assume founding). When he was expelled, I assume it stopped working with that cover... So funding stopped.
NB: I cannot help for this - I really don't know anything about this man. Ceedjee (talk) 18:55, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
He was in Iraq when expelled from Fatah, so he continued with their funding, using former PLO assets. I've added details -- the Iraqis gave him money, a training camp, a farm, a newspaper, weapons etc. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:35, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
  • 'Six months later, Abu Nidal (...) around $150,000 at the time, and a lump sum of $3–5 million.'

Excellent ! Thx for clarifying. Ceedjee (talk) 08:56, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Lebanon 1982[edit]

I think this sentence : "It was precisely this response that Abu Nidal had intended to provoke" is a pov-ed that should be attributed. I am not sure anybody had enough insight in Abu Nidal's brain to know what he intended in killing the Israeli ambassador. Ceedjee (talk) 18:40, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

choice of words[edit]

I would suggest to replace "most spectacular" to "sadly famous" (I don't know if this expression exists in English; it is widely used in French - the meaning is that the fact is known but for his negative aspects). Ceedjee (talk) 18:44, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Not a native speaker, but what you refer as sadly famous, I am not sure if it ever used in English before. Kasaalan (talk) 20:41, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
The correct word in this case is "infamous". --Al Ameer son (talk) 00:00, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Clearly he is not a Guerrilla[edit]

It would be very insulting to other legitimate guerrilla groups to call him that. From wikipedia: Guerrilla warfare is the unconventional warfare and combat in which a small group of combatants use mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc.) to combat a larger and less mobile formal army. The guerrilla army uses ambush (stealth and surprise) and mobility (draw enemy forces to terrain unsuited to them) in attacking vulnerable targets in enemy territory.

Since it is agree in the article that " Nidal is believed to have ordered attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring over 900 people." that puts him well beyond a Guerrilla. That is not to say some Palestitian groups might not be Guerrilla groups but when he expanded his attacks beyond the territories and Israel and attacked unrelated international parties that clearly makes him a terrorist by anybody's definition of the word. Doug rosenberg (talk) 20:18, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Doug, we try to avoid using the word terrorist on Wikipedia, especially in leads, because it tends to inflame and it's not terribly meaningful. I do agree that, if it were ever to be used of anyone, it would be accurate to use it here, but I still feel its lack of real meaning is a good reason to avoid it, for the sake of the writing alone. Perhaps we could miss out the adjective entirely. The sentence would then read:
"Abu Nidal (Arabic: أبو نضال‎) (May 1937–August 16, 2002), born Sabri Khalil al-Banna (Arabic: صبري خليل البنا), was the founder of Fatah—The Revolutionary Council (Arabic: فتح المجلس الثوري), a Palestinian group more commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)."
SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:04, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Appreciate the discourse Slim. Calling him an "Organization" makes out to be something like the Trump Organization-:) We could say a "Palestian organization best known for conducting (high profile) international terroist attacks". Clearly he did some attacks locally which are justiefied in the eye of the beholder so to speak . However, we would never have heard of him unless he branched out internationally. If you want to do something in that vein, then I'm in agreementDoug rosenberg (talk) 21:43, 12 June 2009 (UTC). (talk) 21:41, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

It's a question of the writing, I think. We say in the next paragraph what he and the group were known for, so it could be a bit repetitive to say it again in the first sentence. Does "Abu Nidal was the founder of Fatah-The Revolutionary Council, a Palestinian group more commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization" not seem enough to you, just as a first sentence? I'd like to keep the writing tight and flowing nicely, as the article's undergoing a review for featured-article status. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:47, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Or a Palestinian nationalist group? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:50, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Doug, I've reverted back to the version before you added "terrorist," as there has already been an objection to it. We can't label any group "terrorist," without saying "designated as terrorist by country X," in the interests of neutrality. That's why it's better to avoid it entirely. It serves no purpose here. The man is dead, the group defunct so far as I know. Nothing hangs on whether he counts as a "terrorist" or not. We can continued to discuss alternatives to "guerrilla," if you like. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:49, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
He's certainly a terrorist to me, but stating this outright is in direct violation of WP:AVOID. However, there's no way he could be a guerrilla. Honestly, it's hard to really describe him, he could be considered a mercenary for instance. I think the best neutral term would be militant if we have to use a term at all to describe him. --Al Ameer son (talk) 03:17, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
The lead must summarizes the core of the article.
Would "state-sponsored mercenary organisation" fit it ?
Ceedjee (talk) 09:46, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking that no adjective might be the safest thing: just a "Palestinian group." SlimVirgin talk|contribs 12:23, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Take care nobody comes and asks you why you associate Palestinians and terrorists as if they were synonims...
Ceedjee (talk) 13:05, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Armed guerilla organisation or guerilla organisation is best choice, militant may also works, but I will read defitinions of all before making a statement. But the wiki guidelines that applies to all armed organisations, you can refer which states call them terrorist, but you can't mention them as terrorist. Kasaalan (talk) 13:43, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Is there such a thing as an unarmed guerrilla group? :) SlimVirgin talk|contribs 14:25, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Would guerrilla even make sense? Aren't guerrillas like Hezbollah and the Viet Cong i.e. organizations that participate in guerrilla wars. Abu Nidal and his organization seem more like mercenaries, but again militant would also work fine. We probably are going to need this extra adjective since Palestinian organization is so broad of a term (it could include academic organizations, social groups, actual nationalist groups, etc.) --Al Ameer son (talk) 17:03, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, let's try "militant." I've resisted this in the past just as much as "terrorist," because it's not clear what it means, but I think you're right that we do need some adjective. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:12, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Info box[edit]

We could add an info box; "military person" might do (cf. Osama bin Laden). JN466 02:14, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Good idea. I couldn't get some of the parameters in the military-person box to work, so I chose revolution instead. I also added "militant," instead of "guerrilla," to describe what kind of group it was, as discussed above. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 08:33, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Looks good. JN466 12:49, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

My revert[edit]

Patrick, the full ref is already given in the References section. The article uses the shortened ref form throughout, and it needs to be consistent. Also, the Fisk article doesn't mention the CIA that I can tell. This is currently being reviewed for FA status, so it would be appreciated if you would discuss proposed edits on talk. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 14:51, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Slim. I hadn't realised that the article's inline references actually point to the Notes section - where a few are clickable to a url (eg note number 71) and others such as Fisk number 73 are not - rather than to a dedicated References section. In the immortal words of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, "that could confuse a stupid person!"---PJHaseldine (talk) 16:21, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Ah yes, that difference is based on whether there's a byline; with byline gets you Smith 2009; without byline gets you a link. I should probably fix it and make it uniform. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:31, 14 June 2009 (UTC)


Hi Jim, this is an FA so we have to be particularly careful about adding images or text that might cause deterioration. The problems are:

  • The Abu Nidal image you're adding is one of the images researchers think may be a fake. In terms of WP policy, we don't know who the copyright holder is, so we can't claim fair use.
  • The Gadaffi image is an unpleasant one. Per BLP, we may not use images of living persons that appear to denigrate them. Plus, it is looking away from the text, so it would have to be moved, assuming we had no better one (but we do).
  • We can't claim fair use for the book cover in this article, as this isn't about the book. Please see our fair-use policy. Also, why would we choose this book and not some other? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:03, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your inputs SV. About doubts on Abu Nidal photo: could you please guide me to the sources discussing about this issue, I am interested to read more about it. About Gaddaffi image, SV, you will be suprised, but this image is actually taken from the Muammar al-Gaddafi article, and it appears there as a main photo. About the book cover, Patrick Seale's book seems to have a major contribution to the article, besides I could not find any other book covers. Anyways, I am not insisting on having any of those photos in article. My edits were done in a good faith and images were upload as a fair use only. The only thing I would like to see, is that a more quality image of Abu Nidal be placed into Infobox, from which the article will only,--Jim Fitzgerald (talk) 21:25, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I do, of course, accept that you added the images in good faith. :)
I can't remember where I saw the discussions about the various photographs; it would be a lot of work to find those sources. Suffice to say, there are several alleged fakes hanging around. I chose the current lead image because (a) it comes from the IDF and is regarded as genuine; (2) it is iconic; (3) we can claim fair use, given that we know the source. In fact, I'm sure we could get the IDF to release it, if I could ever get them to respond to me. Three years of trying produced not one reply.
I agree that it would be good to have a clearer image of him that we're fairly sure is genuine. If you can track down the original source of the one you added, we could certainly consider using it, though you might still want to bear in mind the iconic nature of the other, but that is a lesser concern. The authenticity and fair-use issues are major concerns. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:35, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Using that picture as a lead image in Gadaffi's article does not seem to be such a good idea. At any rate, the image we had feels more appropriate to me in this article. --JN466 21:43, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree. It's unflattering, which we're supposed to avoid per BLP. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:47, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

The strangest story ever told[edit]

The story of the mass purges in 87-88 when 600 members (33-50%) of the organisation was tortured and massacred IS VERY HARD TO BELIEVE. Abu Nidal may very well be one of the most evil and twisted leadership figures of his era in the Middle East, but he's not DUMB. No terrorist leader not matter how insane would wipe out the majority of his own "ground troops". That the ANO has been subject to purges from the very beginning in 73 is very likely, especially other leader figures seen as a threat to a paranoid personality such as Abu Nidal. I do believe that dozens of ordinary members have been killed during the years too. I just don't believe the scale of the 87-88 purges. If anything just remote has happened, it must be the strangest story ever told. And one of the sickest episodes of the last 100 years. I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING, ANYWHERE RESEMBELING IT. A more realistic scenario is that USA, UK, France, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other countries struck by the ANO, made secret deals with the governments and secret services of Libya, Lebanon and Syria to arrest or exterminate the ANO members hiding in those countries in the late 80s. Wiping out entire terrorist camps in exchange for improved diplomatic relations and trade deals. Even millions of US dollars to the bank accounts of key figures (bribery). Nevertheless, why the extremely active years 73-88 of the ANO was followed by almost total inactivity 88-02 is a mystery that historians must try to solve in the future. And what happened to the members? Were they killed, arrested or did they join other groups after Abu Nidal was killed? Or do the organisation still exist with another leader?

Bjarnulf, Oslo —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Meaning of Nidal in Arabic[edit]

Juanito12345, who is a new editor (please forgive him the multiple reverts, and don't take him to 3RR over it ;) ), wants to make the point that nidal, unlike jihad, is a secular term without religious connotations. I think that may well be a point worth making, and it appears there is a source for it too (though I am not sure that the source is specifically about Abu Nidal). Juanito's posted a thread on my talk page about it, and I've suggested to him it's best to discuss it here, and will invite him here. Cheers, --JN466 01:03, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Sorry for not Adding a headline on the last post![edit]

I don't know what I'm doing, LOL.

I said: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:30, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi folks, I'm just going to copy and paste what I wrote to Jayen:

I feel strongly about my edit. I think that given the context of contemporary discourse on issues relating to religious extremism, it is incredibly significant to distinguish between secular and non-secular terms. Also, I think that providing synonyms to clear any lingering ambiguity about the term is necessary. As I'm sure you know, translating Arabic words to English is a tricky business. I think it's necessary to make that business as lucid as possible.

Here is a link that distinguishes between secular terms of "struggle" and other terms in Arabic that mean "struggle" but have a distinctly religious connotation.

The link:

It's an html page. The relevant discussion is on the bottom of page 250: "The very language used to speak of the war against the enemy, he went on to say, was secular. Instead of jihad, words like nidal (meaning "struggle") were being used. Instead of calling the enemy "infidels" they were spoken of as "imperialists" or "Zionists." Only when it was clear that the "parties of heresy"—the socialists and the secular nationalists—had failed to liberate the blessed land of Palestine, only then did Muslims sound the old traditional cry of jihad"

The piece is titled "The Iranian Impact on the Islamic Jihad Movement in the Gaza Strip." I don't necessarily agree with this authors views, but I do think he evinces the correct usage of the Arabic term "Nidal" as a secular term meaning "struggle." Not "THE" struggle; but simply "struggle."

- Juanito —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:27, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for the source. Most of the sources writing about this say that Abu Nidal means "father of the struggle." I think I've also seen "father of struggles." To make the point that you're making, we'd need a source who specifically mentioned his choosing his name to emphasize the secular position. It's true that he was a secular leader, but we'd be making a leap to emphasize that point about his name. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 13:57, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
"Father of struggle" actually occurs more frequently in news sources than "Father of the struggle": cf. [4] vs. [5]. Example from TIME: [6]. So we could put "the" in brackets: "Father of (the) struggle" and add the TIME article as a source. Would that help?
I agree that if we want to comment specifically on Nidal's name having a secular ring to it for Arab ears (which implies that he chose the name of his son, Nidal, with that thought in mind), we need a source saying so. Perhaps there is something here: [7]. --JN466 16:38, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't the source that I cited comment on the secular implication of the word Nidal? The name Nidal is the moniker of many Christian Arabs precisely because it is a secular term meaning "struggle." I don't think that we need a source "who specifically mentioned his choosing his name to emphasize the secular position." Because, regardless of his intention or motivation, the word Nidal is a-religious. We are not dealing with an issue of citation. We are dealing with an issue of language. In the Arab World it is common knowledge that the word Nidal is secular. As the user above me mentioned, "Father of Struggle" occurs more often than "Father of the Struggle." For now, I would like to at least change the current sentence to "father of struggle." I agree with the previous user about citing the Time article as a source. I do not, however, agree that "the" should be put into brackets because it implies a particular struggle. There is nothing about the Arabic word "Nidal" that carries that connotation (i.e. there is no struggle that is "THE" struggle, as far as the word Nidal is concerned). That's not entirely the same as what a word like Jihad implies (i.e. that word references particular STRUGGLES). A gay couple named their son Nidal; for them the name is now imbued with the meaning "Gay Struggle." Regardless of any single individuals motive for using the word, Nidal is a secular term that means struggle. I think it's incredibly important to note that, given, as I said, the context of contemporary discourse on issues relating to extremism. May I go ahead and make the change? - Juanito --Juanito12345 (talk) 01:05, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Hey guys. So I've gone ahead and made changes to the article. I explained what the word Nidal means in Arabic and listed a source that references it's use as a secular term (that same source you've seen). I also cited the Time article. --Juanito12345 (talk) 04:00, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I've reverted your edits, but I added brackets around the first instance of "the" in "the struggle," per Jayen. We have a content policy called No original research, which contains a section, WP:SYN, that covers what's happening here. In summary, it says that, if you want to make a point about "nidal" having a secular implication, you need to find a source who has discussed this in relation to Abu Nidal. Otherwise, we're just guessing that he chose that name for that reason. Using a source that discusses the word, but doesn't discuss Abu Nidal, is what we called a synthesis of material serving to advance a position not advanced by any of the sources. You said in your post that it's incredibly important to note this issue of the name, so there may be a source out there somewhere who has done it. I'm not trying to be difficult here, and I do appreciate your point, but my concern is that you're applying today's concerns (where the distinction between a secular struggle and jihad may be of great political importance) back to the 1960s when Abu Nidal chose that name for his son. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 10:34, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I'll try to find a source then...--Juanito12345 (talk) 00:45, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thank you. SlimVirgin TALK contribs 01:17, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Mos issues in article[edit]

  • Per Wikipedia:Manual of Style (headings), headings generally do not start with articles ('the', 'a(n)'). For example, if there was a section called The Biography, it should be changed to Biography.
  • There are a few occurrences of weasel words in this article- please observe WP:AWT. Certain phrases should specify exactly who supports, considers, believes, etc., such a view. Allege might be weasel words, and should be provided with proper citations.
  • Please make the spelling of English words consistent with either American or British spelling, depending upon the subject of the article. Examples include: armor (A) (British: armour), neighbor (A) (British: neighbour), meter (A) (British: metre), defence (B) (American: defense), organize (A) (British: organise), realize (A) (British: realise), ization (A) (British: isation), leukemia (A) (British: leukaemia), kerb (B) (American: curb).
  • Deadlinks
  • Dab links — GabeMc (talk) 20:27, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Article POV[edit]

This article is POV from top to bottom. As soon as you get to the second sentence you see

'At the height of his power in the 1970s and 1980s, Abu Nidal, or "father of [the] struggle," was widely regarded as the most ruthless of the Palestinian political leaders.'

Is POV shoved down our throats two sentences into the Ariel Sharon article, "He ruthlessly allowed and participated in the Sabra and Shatila massacres?"

I have removed some of the POV from the article, but it is still full of it, I have removed some of the egregious ones.

Here's another one farther down - "notorious attacks". Where in Encyclopedia Britannica does it talk about military operations being notorious? POV and not encyclopedic.

The introduction finishes off "He was the patriot turned psychopath. He served only himself, only the warped personal drives that pushed him into hideous crime. He was the ultimate mercenary." Other than the POV pushers on the Israel/Palestine pages, anyone can see this is POV. And the rest of the article is just like this. I've removed some instances but a lot is left. Adelson Velsky Landis (talk) 18:02, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Later days of the organisation, 1989-2011[edit]

It's a pretty good article you made here, Slim Virgin, but very much based on the Patrick Seale book. The Yossi Melman book is great too, altough it's more of a fact filled one, leaving the conspiracies out.

However, searched a little on the internet and found the following:

  • Other places on the internet mentions that the last known action of the group was the assissination of an islamic leader hiding away in Yemen in 1999, against money from the Egyptian regime.
  • A german site mentions that a wife of one of the FRC leaders was arrested in Cairo in summer 2000. She was trying to take out 10 (or was it 20?) million US$ of the organisations money from a bank account. Shortly before that the organisation had gone in total disintegration, the article states, after having been forced to close down their offices in Libya and Egypt in 1999.
  • While an US site states that the group is mostly inactive due to strained economy, it has fighters in both Lebanon and Irag, as of 2008.

Try to verify some of the info and list it up if it's true.

I repeat myself on this to get it straight (copied from above):

Nevertheless, why the extremely active years 73-88 of the ANO was followed by almost total inactivity 89-02 is a mystery that historians must try to solve in the future. And what happened to the members? Were they killed, arrested or did they join other groups after Abu Nidal was killed? Or do the organisation still exist with another leader?

Bjarnulf, Oslo

PS. It's real sad that people on the Talk page has attacked the article for not having NPOV, even thou it has. Also used much space complaining about typing errors and bullshit like that, in an article who has very few. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 8 June 2011 (UTC)


I notice that Abu Nidal's 'ethnicity' is given in the box as 'Arab'. Surely 'Arab' is a Panethnicity, and to state that he was 'Arab' might also be construed as a POV comment, given that the Zionist POV is that Palestinians are not a real people and are just a kind of Arab, when quite clearly Abu Nidal was Palestinian and considered himself as such. Is his ethnicity (rather than his nationality) even relevant? His nationality is already given as 'Palestinian'. Just thought I would raise this issue here first. If nobody objects, I'll remove the line referring to ethnicity. Bofoc Tagar (talk) 12:07, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Separate article for the organization[edit]

I think the Abu Nidal Organization is worthy of a separate article in that it was for a long time one the most active Palestinian militant groups. Charles Essie (talk) 15:35, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

The article is not so large that a split is required as such. Can you show that ANO is separately notable? If so, then really there is enough material to justify a split. Op47 (talk) 21:41, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
Maybe "split" was the wrong term, I'm not saying this article should be shortened, I'm just saying the ANO was one of the most active and infamous Arab militant groups in recent history, it's still listed as terrorist organization by Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, they were behind several infamous attempts and acts of terrorism such as the Rome and Vienna airport attacks, the Hindawi affair, and the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73, they're obviously notable, they should have they're own page. Charles Essie (talk) 21:44, 26 January 2014 (UTC)