Hardly a week has gone by this past month without a new story of Arabs trying to asssinate other Arabs in Paris, London or, as yesterday, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
All these terrorist incidents seem to somehow or another involve Iraqis. Yet, top Iraqi officials insist that Baghdad does not support international terrorism.
The evidence suggests otherwise.
For years, the Iraqi, government has given the cold shoulder to Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and his Fatah guerilla group.
Instead, Baghdad has chosen to back the break-away groups of Dr George Habash and the late Wadi Haddad, who masterminded the most spectacular terrorist attacks and airline hijackings of the early 1970s.
The current warfare raging between Iraq and the Palestine Liberation Organization, however, stems more directly from Bagdad's decision to adopt a renegade former Fatah member, Abari Khalil Bana, whose nom de guerre is Abu Nidal.
Abu Nidal, who had been sentenced to death for plotting to assasinate Arafat, has since operated out of Bagdad by carrying out murder assignments for Iraq in addition to terrorist attacks of his own.
When Iraq decided in 1976 that its feud with Syria called for tough measures. Abu Nidal's men staged an asault on the Semiramis Hotel in Damascus, and attacked Syrian embassies in Italy and Pakistan.
Abu Nidal also tried in December 1976 to assasinate Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam near Damascus, and when that effort failed, made another unsuccessful effort to get Khaddam in October 1977 in Abu Dhabi.
At the same time, Abu Nidal was carrying on with his campaign against Arafat. His men allegedly murdered the head of the PLO office in London. Said Hammami, in January, and assassinated the chief PLO representative in Kuwait. Ali Nasser Yassin, in June.
On June 28, Arafat formally demanded that the Iraqui government turn Abu Nidal over to the PLO for prosecution. Baghdad refused, touching off the bloody vendetta now raging to world capitals.
No early end to the current wave of assassinations appears in sight. Fatah vows that "the crimes of the Iraqi regime will not be allowed to pass with impunity." Baghdad pledges that "acts of piracy against Iraq's embassies abroad will not go unpunished."
Regardless, as long as Baghdad continue to maintain its relationship with Abu Nidal - a connection the terrorist describes as a "close alliance" - Iraq's protestations that it does not support terrorism will ring thin.