A Fall From Grace

In the early hours of May 4, 1985, Magdalena Kopp was released from her French prison and whisked away to West Germany by agents of the DST who were determined to get her out of France as quickly as possible.  Despite the campaign of terror that Carlos had waged to secure her release, she served all but one year of her original sentence.  With a reputation as one of the world's most dangerous women, she had served her time in exemplary fashion and secured a remission of her previous sentence for her good behaviour.

After being handed over to the West German police late in the evening, she was allowed to go and stay with her mother in the town where she was born.  Within hours of her arrival, she received a phone call from Carlos and shortly after left for Frankfurt where she was met by one of her husband's accomplices who escorted her to Damascus.  Five months later, Breguet was also released from prison.  He too had been a model prisoner and had re-educated himself while serving time.  He was later contacted by Carlos but refused to rejoin the group, preferring instead to return to his family. 

After meeting Kopp in Damascus, Carlos took her to his new hideout in Budapest but after several months the Hungarian government evicted them.  After their expulsion from Hungary, Carlos sent Kopp back to Damascus while he flew to Baghdad.  Anxious to secure a home base, Carlos sent one of his men to Tripoli to gauge the level of support there but was informed that Qathafi had lost faith in him and his group and refused to offer support or asylum in Libya.  In desperation, Carlos turned to Cuba for support but was told that he would only be granted a visa for a few days.

Finally, Syria offered him protection in exchange for providing certain "services" to repay their hospitality.  Once he was settled in Syria, Carlos took his heavily pregnant wife on a trip to Prague.  Travelling under false diplomatic passports, the couple entered Czechoslovakia with the intention of retrieving a large sum of money that Carlos had deposited in a local bank.  Their plan was foiled when the Czech secret service learned of their presence and evicted them.  They returned to Damascus where Carlos lived in semi-luxury under a new identity as a Mexican businessman.

Carlos, the family man 

On August 17 1986, Kopp gave birth to a daughter who was named Elba Rosa, after both her grandmothers. 

Despite his host's earlier demands for his services, Carlos soon learned that the Syrians had no use for his particular skills.  Eventually, Carlos was informed that he could only stay in Damascus if he remained inactive.  He spent most of his time at home with his family and entertaining the occasional guest.  At thirty-nine-years-old, Carlos had been forced into early retirement.  The world's intelligence community considered him a has-been.  According to Vincent Cannistraro, the CIA's head of counter-terrorism at that time:  "Carlos was only a historical curiosity…a rather sad character.  A Communist whisky-barrel who doesn't believe in God and who was no longer of use to Moslem governments.  The only reason that operations were blamed on him is because people didn't now who had committed them.  In Damascus, he was dead drunk most of the time."  Mossad also considered him a non-entity and even the DST dismissed him as not worthy of their attention even though they knew where he was living.

Carlos may have lived out his days in virtual obscurity had it not been for two important events in history.  The first was the collapse of the Berlin wall in November 1989, which saw the dissolution of the system that had protected Carlos and his cadre from scrutiny.  The second and most important event occurred in August 1990 when Saddam Hussein ordered his army to occupy neighbouring Kuwait.  In the aftermath of the invasion, Western intelligence agencies received information that Hussein was mounting a terror campaign, principally against the United States, and had brought Carlos out of retirement to lead it.

In response to the information, the CIA and it's British counterpart MI6, sent agents into the field to find Carlos.  With the onset of war in the Gulf, Syria, in opposition to the Kuwait invasion, adopted a more co-operative stance with the West.  In support of this newfound alliance, Syrian President Haffez al-Assad made the decision to oust Carlos and directed his intelligence service to assist the CIA and the DST to capture him.  Although al-Assad openly agreed with the plan, he refused to allow Carlos to be snatched from within Syria, which meant that he would have to be taken as he left the country.  One such opportunity presented itself when Carlos, running short of money, made plans to return to Czechoslovakia a second time to retrieve his funds.

Syrian intelligence passed on the details of the forthcoming trip to the CIA but the Americans were forbidden by law to seize terrorists in foreign countries unless they had committed crimes against the United States.  Anxious to capitalise on the information, the CIA passed on the information to the DST but their plan to take Carlos was put on hold when he cancelled his travel plans. 

Finally, in September 1991, Carlos was expelled from Syria and travelled to Libya under a diplomatic passport.  He arrived at Tripoli airport in company with Kopp, their five-year-old-daughter, Carlos's mother and Johannes Weinrich.  Carlos told Libyan airport officials that he and his party had been chased out of Syria and wished to stay in Libya.  They were allowed to stay in the country for several days but their application to stay indefinitely was rejected and they were forced to return to Syria.  The Syrians were not impressed that Carlos had returned and suggesting that he should go to Lebanon.  Carlos refused and instead sent Kopp and Weinrich to Yemen to pave the way for his arrival but again their application was rejected and they were sent back to Damascus on the return flight.  A month later, aided by the Syrians, he and his party managed to slip quietly into Jordan undetected.  Curiously, neither the DST nor any other agency, tried to apprehend him during his travels.

Soon after his arrival in Amman, the Jordanian authorities became aware of his presence and allowed him to stay for several months.  During this time Carlos left Magdelana Kopp for another woman, a twenty-three-year-old Jordanian named Abdel Salam Adhman Jarrar Lana.  The separation was amiable with Kopp retaining custody of their daughter and in company with her mother-in-law, left Jordan to live in Venezuela.  Within weeks, Carlos married Abdel under Moslem law, which allows polygamy.  For the next two years, Carlos continued his search for a country that would provide him with a safe haven and eventually, after having been rejected by Cyprus and Iran, he settled in Khartoum in the Sudan under the protection of Sheik Hassan al-Turabi, the powerful Moslem fundamentalist leader.  Carlos quickly settled in to his new life in Khartoum spending much of his time socialising and revelling at the local nightclubs and restaurants, blissfully unaware that his life of relative freedom would soon be at an end.

1. First Strike

2. A Born Revolutionary

3. A Terrorist In Training

4. Mother Russia

5. A Popular Choice

6. Black September

7. Our Man In London

8. Carnage

9. Wrath of God

10. Campaign

11. Betrayal

12. "The Famous Carlos"

13. Terrorist For Hire

14. New Beginnings

15. One Man's War

16. Hunting The Jackal

17. A Fall From Grace

18. Taken By Force

19. Trials And Tribulations

20. Love and Death

21. Bibliography

22. The Author

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