HIST Black September Organization

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  The Black September Organization was a Palestinian terrorist organization that was founded in 1970. It was lead by the Fatah political party, of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The most notable attack that was conducted by the Black September Organization (BSO) was the Munich Olympic Massacre, where the BSO kidnapped and murdered eleven Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics. The BSO was a very short lived group, formed in 1971 and dissolved in 1973, one year prior to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) receiving observer status in the United Nations.

     The events of the Munich Massacre directly resulted in the creation of permanent specialized counter-terrorism forces in major countries, such as the French GIGN or German GSG9, along with more specialized training for existing units such as the British SAS. Today, counterterrorism is a focus of many special operations units, and many large taskforces are trained to handle domestic and international terroristic events. All branches of the United States Armed Forces have training available for counter terrorism operations, and special forces units within.

     The origin of the Black September Organization was the Black September Conflict, in which the King Hussein and the Jordanian Armed Forces fought against the PLO and Syria. The PLO sought to rule Jordan, after gaining an upsurge in support in Jordan after achieving perceived victory against Israel in the Battle of Karameh. In the time leading up to the Black September Conflict, the PLO attempted to assassinate King Hussein twice and the Dawson's Field Hijackings. In the resulting military actions of Jordan, the PLO was ousted and fled to Lebanon. The expulsion of the PLO from Jordan resulted in a small cell of people determined to take revenge upon King Hussein and Jordanian military, eventually becoming the BSO. One commander, Abu Ali Lyad, continued to fight even after PLO forces withdrew. He was captured and executed, which angered many of the Palestinians, as he was reportedly tortured to death and then his corpse was dragged through several villages while tied to a Jordanian tank.

     The BSO was formed to take revenge upon Jordan. It operated in a mainly leaderless organization where operatives worked within small, air-tight cells. The cells were kept purposefully ignorant of other cells and existed throughout the world, mainly in Europe and the Middle East. The cells each consisted of local Palestinians and Arabs who had lived in their countries for many years. This system of operation ensured that the apprehension or surveillance of one cell would not threaten others. It also offered plausible deniability that Fatah was in league with these BSO cells.

     The point of the BSO was to organize clandestine attacks that Fatah did not want to be openly associated with. This included strikes against Jordanian politicians and military to exact vengeance for attacking and expelling the PLO and the death of Abu Ali Lyad. Many international operations were conducted by the BSO to put pressure on the US, Europe, and Israel and raise the visibility of the Palestinian cause and upstage rivals such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

     Fatah is the leading Palestinian political party, formed by Yasser Arafat, who was also the third chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestine Liberation Organization is a secular-nationalist organization composed of several political parties and is recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by over 100 states. Initially, the PLO was described as a terrorist organization whose goal was to liberate Palestine via armed conflict, but peace efforts between Palestine and Israel slowly changed this viewpoint. Initially, the PLO's charter stated that it wanted to prohibit. the existence and practice of Zionism, and called for the right of return and self-determination of the Palestinians. Fatah is the largest faction that composes the Palestine Liberation Organization. Combined with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the two factions comprise more than half of the PLO, almost half of its legislative council. While it is unclear how much control Fatah or the PLO had over the BSO, the BSO was formed as a splinter group of Fatah after the Black September Conflict, and both inside and outside sources claim that the BSO worked indirectly for Fatah.

     The most notable attack made by the BSO is the Munich Massacre.

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HIST Black September Organization. (2019, Dec 31). Retrieved September 26, 2023 , from

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