Black September: The role of Pakistan’s General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1970 massacre of 25,000 Palestinians in Jordan

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During Black September (1970), the head of Pakistani training commission took command of the 2nd Division and helped kill and cleanse the Palestinians (est. 25,000 dead) from Jordan.

It was none other that General Zia ul Haq, who later became chief sponsor of Deobandi and Salafi fanatics in Pakistan as the country’s Chief Martial Law Administrator from 1977 to 1988.

So much for the Palestinian cause.

The butcher was awarded Jordan’s highest honour for the services rendered.
Zia was stationed in Jordan from 1967 to 1970 as a Brigadier, helping in the training of Jordanian soldiers, as well as leading the training mission into battle during the Black September operations as commander of Jordanian 2nd Division, a strategy that proved crucial to King Hussein’s remaining in power.

A rare photograph of late Pakistani military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq in Jordan, during what was known as Black September.

A photograph of late Pakistani military ruler Ziaul Haq in Jordan, during what was known as Black September.

Zia remained posted in Jordan from 1967 till 1970, where he was involved in training and leading Jordon’s military. He is still highly respected in Jordan for his role in the Black September operations in support of King Hussein, where he commanded Jordan’s 2nd division. Zia’s troops were heavily involved in street-to-street urban fighting and are credited with killing scores of Palestinians. Black September was a great example of how the Arab nations despise the Palestinians, and their support of them only goes as far as to encourage and help the Palestinians to kill Jews.

http://prophetofdoom.net/Good_Muslims_General_Muhammad_Zia-ul-Haq.Islam

Black September
September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the “era of regrettable events.” It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the autonomy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy’s rule over the country. The violence resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, the vast majority Palestinian. Armed conflict lasted until July 1971 with the expulsion of the PLO and thousands of Palestinian fighters to Lebanon.

Jordanian army attacks
On September 15, King Hussein declared martial law. The next day, Jordanian tanks (the 60th Armored Brigade) attacked the headquarters of Palestinian organizations in Amman; the army also attacked camps in Irbid, Salt, Sweileh, Baq’aa, Wehdat and Zarqa. Then the head of Pakistani training mission to Jordan, Brigadier Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (later Chief of Army Staff and President of Pakistan), took command of the 2nd division. In addition, the Iraqi army in Jordan after 1967 war serving as a reserve forces supported the Jordanian army.

Arafat later claim that the Jordanian army killed between 10,000 and 25,000 Palestinians.

The armored troops were inefficient in narrow city streets and thus the Jordanian army conducted house to house sweeps for Palestinian fighters and got immersed in heavy urban warfare with the inexperienced and undisciplined Palestinian fighters.
Amman experienced the heaviest fighting in the Black September uprising. The American backed Jordanian army shelled the PLO headquarters in Amman and battled with Palestinian guerillas in the narrow streets of the capital. Syrian tanks rolled across the Yarmouk River into northern Jordan and began shelling Amman and other northern urban areas. Outdated missiles fired by the PLO struck Amman for more than a week. Jordanian infantry pushed the Palestinian Fedayeen out of Amman after weeks of bitter fighting.

Muhammad Aamir Mughal writes:

To all jihadi and sectarian activists (i.e., Ziaists), look at your spiritual and political Godfather General Zia:

“QUOTE”

“The most promising comparison between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Jewish State of Israel came from Gen. Zia ul-Haq. Lacking a political constituency, he skillfully exploited Islam to legitimize and consolidate his military dictatorship. Presenting himself as a simple, pious and devoted Muslim, he institutionalized religious radicalism in Pakistan. In so doing, he found Israel to be his strange ally. Toward the end of 1981, he remarked:

“Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.” He likewise surprised many observers in March 1986, when he called on the PLO to recognize the Jewish state. As discussed elsewhere, he was actively involved both in the 1970 Black September massacre of the Palestinians in Jordan as well as in Egypt’s re-entry into the Islamic fold more than a decade later. From 1967 to 1970 our Commander of the Faithful Late. General Muhammad Ziaul Haq was in Jordan in Official Militray Capacity and he helped late. King Hussain of Jordan in ‘cleansing’ the so-called Palestinian Insurgents, Zia and Hussain butchered many innocent Palestinians in the name of Operation against Black September {a militant organization of Palestinians}. The intensity of bloodletting by Zia ul Haq and King Hussain was such that one of the founder father of Israel Moshe Dayan said:

“King Hussein (with help from Zia-ul-Haq of the Pakistani army) sent in his Bedouin army on 27 September to clear out the Palestinian bases in Jordan. A massacre of innumerable proportions ensued. Moshe Dayan noted that Hussein “killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years.” Dayan is right in spirit, but it is hardly the case that anyone can match the Sharonism in its brutality.”

“UN-QUOTE”

As per a book: “Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile during the so-called Afghan Jihad following things did happen;

“He told Zia about his experience the previous year when the Israelis had shown him the vast stores of Soviet weapons they had captured from the PLO in Lebanon. The weapons were perfect for the Mujahideen, he told Zia. If Wilson could convince the CIA to buy them, would Zia have any problems passing them on to the Afghans? Zia, ever the pragmatist, smiled on the proposal, adding, “Just don’t put any Stars of David on the boxes” {Page 131-132}.

For further reading:

P. R. Kumaraswamy
Beyond the Veil: Israel-Pakistan Relations
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS)

http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/memoranda/memo55.pdf

Memories of Barbarity: Sharonism and September By Vijay Prashad

April 9, 2002 in COUNTERPUNCH.

Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile.

……..

zia

———

In 2005, the outgoing ambassador of Palestine to Pakistan Ahmed Abdul Razzaq stated that late president of Pakistan General Ziaul Haq’s bombardment on Palestinians in 1970, was done without taking any permission from Pakistani people, who would never allow this to happen.

============================================

Background on the above statement:

The most promising comparison between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Jewish State of Israel came from Gen. Zia ul-Haq. Lacking a political constituency, he skillfully exploited Islam to legitimize and consolidate his military dictatorship by sponsoring and nuturding Deobandi and Salafi Wahhabi Jihadists. Presenting himself as a simple, pious and devoted Muslim, he institutionalized religious radicalism in Pakistan. In so doing, he found Israel to be his strange ally.

Toward the end of 1981, he remarked: “Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.” He likewise surprised many observers in March 1986, when he called on the PLO to recognize the Jewish state.

He was actively involved both in the 1970 Black September massacre of the Palestinians in Jordan as well as in Egypt’s re-entry into the Islamic fold more than a decade later. From 1967 to 1970 our Commander of the Faithful Late. General Muhammad Ziaul Haq was in Jordan in Official Militray Capacity and he helped late. King Hussain of Jordan in ‘cleansing’ the so-called Palestinian Insurgents, Zia and Hussain butchered many innocent Palestinians in the name of Operation against Black September {a militant organization of Palestinians}.

The intensity of bloodletting by Zia ul Haq and King Hussain was such that one of the founder father of Israel Moshe Dayan said: “King Hussein (with help from Zia-ul-Haq of the Pakistani army) sent in his Bedouin army on 27 September to clear out the Palestinian bases in Jordan. A massacre of innumerable proportions ensued. Moshe Dayan noted that Hussein “killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years.” Dayan is right in spirit, but it is hardly the case that anyone can match the Sharonism in its brutality.”

….

Saleem writes:

Some authors are trying to change the history (or hoodwink his readers). What I have read and know about Black September and role of Zia-ul-Haq in that operation, is quite horrible. Actually, main character of that operation was Zia-ul-Haq under whose command operation took place. Whatever this writer wrote is very funny. Just imagine that even if a Jordanian General decided not to command the force than why Jordanian government would make Zia-ul-Haq commander of that force and not any of their own Jordanian Generals or officers?

On the other hand, one must reflect upon the reason behind Syrian army moving towards Jordanian border. What interest Syrian army would have at the border of Jordan? Was it that since Syria was pro-Palestinians, they came to pressurise Jordan not to act against Palestinian with force and Jordanian General (as any Jordanian officers would have done) agreed on Syrian stand, so he may have declined to oppose them, hence need for non-Jordanian officer like Zia-ul-Haq to replace him?

What I have read is that even though Jordanian force is small but it is most potent and professional amongst forces facing Israel. They always fought bravely against Israelis though are not big enough to really do much.

As for battle of Karameh, Israel attacked Palestinian camp with consent of Jordanian King. Anyhow, when attack took place (in March 1968), Jordanian government ordered Jordanian forces not to intervene or engage IDF. Anyhow, Jordanian General Haditha along with some Jordanian officers ignored King’s order and engaged IDF. Palestinians were putting resistance but it was Jordanian army entering the battle turned the table and inflicted heavy casualties on IDF, forcing IDF to pull out. Comparatively, Jordanian army casualties were much less than IDF. Result was that, even though decisive role played by Jordanian armed forces, most credit of that defeat got attributed to Palestinians and they attracted a lot of volunteers to fight, not only against Israelis but King of Jordan too.

After battle of Karameh, several attempts were made to assassinate King Jordan. On 7th Sept, Palestinian hijacked many planes and landed them in Jordan. The area of desert they got the plane landed was almost under their control and Jordan was unable to do much to the disgust of King Jordan (probably, Jordanian army did not wanted to do much about it).

King of Jordan declared Martial law on 15th Sept and started operation against Palestinian on 16th. With background of ‘Karameh battle’ and knowing the sentiments of Jordanian Generals towards Palestinians, Jordanian King could not have trusted Jordanian Generals doing operation against Palestinians, killing them, crushing them, and expelling them out of Jordan. Actually, there is little difference between Jordanians and Palestinians. So it is obvious that to crush Palestinians under Jordanian General was impossible. Jordanian Generals in command of the forces would not have allowed that.

Since King of Jordan (and Jordanian Government) could not have trusted Jordanian Generals or commanders for such operation, Zia-ul-Haq was chosen for the job. Black September operation started on 16th September. Jordanian 2nd division under the command of Zia-ul-Haq (along with Iraqi army stationed in Jordan as reserve force) took part, killing Palestinians living in camps inhumanly, crushing them and then throwing them out of Jordan. Estimated 10 thousand Palestinians were killed within few days.

Black September and Role of Pakistan
After the Six Days War, Israel proved itself a Strategic and Military Power in front of Arab nations and the world. Israel which was equipped with the latest equipment provided by USA outclassed the Arab attacking countries Jordan, Egypt and Syria who were further helped by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algiers (Some Pakistani Air force Pilots also helped) who were mostly equipped with equipment provided by USSR. This conflict made Israel the Power House of Middle East making a downfall for Big Arab leaders like King Hussein, Nureddin Attassi and most importantly Jamal Abdul Nasser who resigned (and reconcile his decision) after this incident. Nasser lost his charismatic power over the Arab world. But at that time the newly created Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was gaining power.

After the war, PLO was the new emerging threat for Israel. Previously following the ideas of Nasser, the main aim of PLO was the liberation of Palestine. After the war, PLO started to gain fame and power. It was having small conflicts with Israel Defence Forces. Arabs were coming to join PLO for their cause. In 1969, during one of the conflict Israel Forces entered PLO bases in Jordon but were repelled back by PLO with the help of Jordanian Security Forces. That battle was named the Battle of Karameh. That was a huge success for PLO giving it a wider fame all over the Arab and Muslim World. Yaseer Arafat emerged as the new leader of PLO and the new saviour of the Arab People. Muslims all over the world were now coming to Jordan to join PLO. Yaseer was a phenomenon at that time with people comparing it with revolutionary leaders like Che Guevara who were not going to lean in front of the Imperial World. USA and Israel begins to seem PLO as the last remaining threat after the war.

The Six Days War not only ended the Arab Unity Dream of Arab leaders but it also completely changed the political scenario of the Arab World. Iran and Saudi Arabia were already in US control. Egypt and Jordon also started to negotiate with USA and especially Israel. The influence of USSR in middle east was now minimal after the collapse of its ammunition in front of USA superior battle machine and it give USA a relief as it was badly wounded by USSR in Vietnam at that time. Jordon especially which was previously negotiating with Israel secretly doubled its effort to get their support.

The growing power of PLO was also becoming a threat for King Hussein of Jordon. Due to his negotiations with Israel he was getting unpopular in his own country and PLO was gaining support in both general public and Security Forces. PLO has now taken the full charge of Ibrid, Jordon where they had their stations and training camps. From here, they were also making small attacks on Israel. For the King this was a growing threat which needed to be eliminated for the stability of his own Government and for his own credibility.

With this Jordanian Government started to take action against PLO. But this created a high rift between Jordon, PLO and Jordanian people as most of them were supporting PLO at that time creating more problems for the King authority. PLO has its own little state now within Jordon from where they were creating problems for Israel and now King Hussein too.

PLO on the other hand were also having very much trouble from King Hussein too. His efforts for deals with Israel and for the removal of PLO was creating a lot of problems for them. So they thought too that it will be one way or another. They made many unsuccessfull assassinations attempts on King Hussein which failed. So they started to execute a bigger action plan.

In September 1970, PLO hijacked three aeroplanes a Swissair and a TWA which was landed in Azraq and a Pan Am which was taken to Cairo. After emptying the planes from passengers they blew it up in front of cameras. Later they claim Ibrid in Jordon a liberal territory which make the King to take action against them. On 15th September he order the state of Martial Law in the Country and order a full crackdown against PLO.

Jordanian Security Forces along with a Pakistani Training mission headed by a Pakistani Brigadier and an Iraqi troop attacked Ibrid. The Pakistani Brigadier was heading the assault as they attacked Ibrid and started killing Palestinians. Arab Radio claimed it a genocide. Arafat claimed the loss of more than 10,000 people during the fighting. Ultimately Arafat withdraw from Ibrid signing a peace deal with Jordanian King under the influence of President Nasser but the death of Nasser on 28th September prove to be another blow for PLO and the King continue the crackdown giving the biggest setback to PLO at that time.

Syria tried to help Palestinians due to a plea by Arafat but withdraw its forces due to Israel and USA who threatened Syria of severe consequences. PLO received such a blow that for revenge a new organization named Black September came into existence which was than latter responsible for the Munich Killing of Israel’s Athletes.

The Pakistani Brigadier, who was at that time heading the training mission to Jordon and headed the 2nd Jordanian Division, when came back to Pakistan his name was suggested for Court Martial due to his role in Black September and for the killings of Palestinians. There was anger among people regarding this act. But due to unknown reason than Chief of Army Staff General Gul Hassan removed his name from the list which was sent to then President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Instead of a Court Martial that Brigadier was promoted to the rank of Major General. He was than in next few years again get promoted to the ranks of Lt General by “special attention”. He was latter made Chief of Army Staff ahead of seven other senior officials. All this top flight from Brigader to the Chief of Army Staff was completed in just 6 years after the Black September.

The name of the Chief of Army Staff and than Brigader at the time of Black September was “General Zia Ul Haq” who than overthrow the elected Government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto due to his “doings” and later hanged him to “make him an example for the Free World”.

http://muhammadmoeen.blogspot.com/2008/12/black-september-and-role-of-pakistan.html

 

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