In riveting prose, Yallop asks how a man accused of so much can remain free. A decade-long search leads the author to conclude that Ilich Ramirez Sanchez--the Venezuelan-born Catholic turned Leninist turned bourgeois known as Carlos the Jackal--is in fact an agent who worked for a dozen intelligence services, including the CIA. Yallop refutes allegations that the real Carlos was at the 1972 Lod or Munich Olympic games massacres and shows how the 1975 OPEC Conference hostage-taking episode turned into a major blunder that was nevertheless used to help build a mystique around the ``terrorist.'' Indeed, the book is filled with interesting allegations about Carlos's so-called achievements--acts he may or may not have committed. Yallop concludes that Carlos ``was a useful asset'' to many folks who used his name to create the perfect terrorist scapegoat. Recommended for its inquisitiveness.-- Joseph A. Kechichian, Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Cal.
It must have been frustrating for David Yallop to write this book, judging by his interviews with such Arab world luminaries as Yasir Arafat and Muammar Quadaffi and such terrorist leaders such as Wadi Haddad and Abu Nidal. All of them had something to hide when Yallop asked them about Venezuelan Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, alias Carlos the Jackal, who, it is claimed, participated in numerous terrorist acts, including the 1972 Black September raid on the Munich Olympics and, later, the kidnapping of OPEC oil ministers. Yallop asked good questions. He asked a man claiming to be Carlos what lesson his terrorists were teaching when they bombed El Al Airlines; the answer was, "That they shouldn't fly El Al Airlines!" As the book wears on, however, just as in real life, things get muddled: It becomes clear, for instance, that the Arab world is anything but united in its support of terrorist activities, especially when many of those acts are carried out against other Arabs. Yallop also addresses Israeli abuses of the Palestinians and is unconvinced that the recent Israel-PLO accord will stem the tide of violence. Ultimately, the reader's curiosity is not satisfied: Why was there a Carlos, and for what purpose? "Tracking the Jackal" answers some questions but, as usual in books on the Middle East, leaves many more unanswered.