Growing Leftist-Jihadist Linkages Highlighted by January 12, 2007, Attack on US Embassy
Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis - January 19, 2007, Friday

Analysis. By GIS Staff. Reliable sources indicate that the Chinese-built RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade fired at the US Embassy in Athens on January 12, 2007, was supplied to the leftist Greek terrorist organization, Revolutionary Struggle, by the Albanian jihadist -linked group, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK).

The confirmation of the link demonstrates the growing linkages between anti-Western leftist terrorist groups and anti-Western Islamist jihadi groups, and there is some suggestion that the reappearance of Revolutionary Struggle may have been prompted directly by support received from the cash-rich KLA.

The KLA itself, now operating under a variety of new front names, is itself a nominally nationalist-based group which owes much of its origin to the ultra-Stalinist Hoxha-style Albanian political movement which was displaced by the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism. But with the links through Albanian Muslims -- and particularly Albanian Muslims living in the Serbian province of Kosovo -- to the al-Qaida terrorist movement, and later to Iranian intelligence operatives, the KLA has now become an integral part of the jihadist movement in Europe, essentially controlling the illicit trade in narcotics, white slaving (prostitution), and arms to fund and equip terrorist operations.

The KLA link with Revolutionary Struggle, then, is logical. Moreover, it should be expected that the KLA/jihadist linkage into the Greek ultra-left groups will be facilitated by the injection of funds -- derived from narco-trafficking -- and weapons into the Greek groups. The ideological "purity" of the Greek leftist groups will ultimately begin to disintegrate as they focus on what is possible through the acquisition of illegal funds and weapons, as was the case with, for example, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in its various forms, and many of the South American terrorist/insurgency groups which developed a "lifestyle" based on criminal activities. Indeed, the jihadist groups and other Middle Eastern radical groups also have traditionally allowed themselves to be distorted by (a) availability of sources of funding, and (b) tactical opportunism.

In the case of the KLA-Greek leftist linkages, geographic contiguity is a key factor in the development of relations, compounded by the reality of the large number of Albanian nationals now resident in Greece. As well, the links which many of the older leftist Greek groups maintained with the former Greek ruling socialist PASOK Party, and PASOK's clandestine support for jihadist terrorist groups and radical militias -- such as the Palestinian Force 17 -- facilitated an historic set of linkages between radical leftism and Islamist jihadism in South-Eastern Europe.

The revival of anti-US terrorist activities in Greece, and throughout the Balkans, therefore, should be expected to occur during 2007, particularly associated with the attempts by the KLA to ensure international recognition for an independent Kosovo. Ironically, this objective is supported by the US State Dept., the very target of the Revolutionary Struggle rocket attack.

See Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, January 12, 2007: Rocket Attack Against US Embassy in Athens Signals Resurgence of Greek Leftist Terrorism .

Copyright 2007 Defense & Foreign Affairs/International Strategic Studies Association
Reprinted with Permission.