219. Intelligence Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1

OCI 0830/75


  • Subversion in the Arab Gulf

Evidence of attempts by outside powers to gain influence and shape events in the Arab Gulf raises some fears about middle- and long-term security of the small, but energy-important states that ring the eastern periphery of the Arabian peninsula. The tactics of Iraq, the Soviet Union, extremists in the Palestinians community, South Yemen, and Libya may vary, but all have been involved in clandestine operations and subversive action in the Gulf.

Although there are occasional indications of conflict between these external forces—Iraq and South Yemen have disputed whether Baghdad or Aden should have the leading role in exporting revolution to the Gulf—more often there is a cooperation based on a commonality of interest. For example, there is evidence that Soviets and some fedayeen organizations have cooperated in clandestine activity in Kuwait, and that South Yemen, the USSR, Iraq, and Libya have jointly supported the Dhofar rebels. To the extent that radical Arabs and the Soviets act in concert in their effort to subvert the moderate rulers in the Gulf, another dimension is added to the job facing local security forces in devising effective countermeasures.

In the following memorandum, we examine the subversive role being played in the region by non-indigenous radical Arabs and the [Page 696] Soviets Union and we speculate on future developments. The current dossier on subversive action in the Gulf underlines a number of intelligence gaps and strongly suggests that the activities of the outside forces under review would bear close monitoring in the future.

[Omitted here are sections unrelated to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.]

South Yemen

Aden has adopted a two-pronged approach to subversion in the Gulf using its own agents as well as those of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman. [7 lines not declassified]

[2 paragraphs (12 lines) not declassified]

South Yemeni foreign minister Muhammad Salih Muti has made a number of trips to the Gulf in an effort to persuade governments of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to establish diplomatic relations with Aden. Any South Yemeni embassies opened as a result of Muti’s efforts are likely to be used not only by South Yemeni intelligence but by the Aden supported Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman.

The PFLO is another major vehicle for South Yemeni subversive activities in the Gulf. Although the organization has dropped “Arab Gulf” from its name, it still maintains cells and conducts operations in various Gulf states. Aden feared its campaign to gain diplomatic recognition from Gulf states would be hampered if the then “Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf” continued to advocate the overthrow of present Gulf governments.

[Omitted here are sections unrelated to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.]

  1. Summary: The CIA discussed the current state of PDRY clandestine activity in the Gulf and northern Africa.

    Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DI/OCI Files, Job 85T00353R, Box 1, Folder 19. Secret.