Abu Nidal: A Gun For Hire

In This Review

Abu Nidal: A Gun For Hire

By Patrick Seale
Random House, 1992
339 pp. $22.00
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In piecing together this fascinating portrait of the world's most notorious terrorist, Seale relied heavily on the late Abu Iyad, himself a victim of Abu Nidal. Seale makes clear that Abu Iyad and Abu Nidal were locked in a deadly struggle and that Abu Iyad had come to the conclusion that Abu Nidal was most likely working for the Israelis. Seale provides remarkable information about Abu Nidal as he sifts the evidence. In the end he comes very close to accepting the thesis of Abu Nidal as an Israeli agent, without being able to prove it. No doubt many Palestinians believe that Israel must be behind Abu Nidal. No doubt the Israelis have tried to penetrate the organization. And no doubt that Israel has benefited from some of Abu Nidal's actions. In the conspiracy-oriented Middle East, that may add up to near proof. But for an author whose previous scholarship on Syria has set such a high standard, this part of an otherwise intriguing book is disappointing and detracts from the credibility of the rest. Still, anyone curious about Abu Nidal and his organization will find no better source.