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Death of France’s Master of Spies in Arab world ... Philippe Rondot

Death of France’s Master of Spies in Arab world ... Philippe Rondot

Saturday, 6 January, 2018 - 14:00
General Philippe Rondot. AFP

Few days ago, French General Philippe Rondot died at the age of 81. He was not a regular soldier because he was perhaps the most veteran of those who had been spies in France since the end of the second World War.

He held many titles and names, including Philippe Marie Louis Rondot, who was born in Nancy on October 5, 1936; the son of General Pierre Rondot and the author of "Islam and Muslims Today", who graduated from the famous French military academy “Saint-Cyr” in 1965 and chose to join the paratroopers battalion and participate in the Algerian war between 1960 and 1964; and "Max," his pseudonym in the secret service, where he spent most of his career as a spy working for his country regardless of the political identity of the government.

Rondot followed his father, who worked for the French intelligence at that time. He was also given the nickname “Colonel Lawrence” after the English officer who played an important role in the Great Arab Revolution against the Turks in order to glorify his successes. Kim Philby, was also one of his nicknames, given after a British spy who was an agent of the Soviets and died in Moscow.

The fact is that Rondot is all these figures at the same time and even more because he was a great intellectual and a top-notch academician. He earned a PhD in political sociology. His works testify his passion for the Arab world, of which he spoke its language fluently.

He wrote six books devoted to Syria in 1978, Iraq in 1979, Jordan in 1980, Arab-Israeli Peace Projects in 1980, which was his thesis in the university, Middle East and Search for Peace in 1982, and his last was devoted to Baath movement in 1984.

Rondot's knowledge of the Arab world, however, was not written or theoretical. The man knew the Arab world from the inside. He has moved within the framework of his successive jobs among the Arab capitals since joining the Foreign Intelligence Service in 1965 in the operations department.

The limited information available about this period of his career indicates that he participated in many foreign military missions and was admired by his superiors.

From non-Arab capitals, Rondot, who was a major then, served as assistant director of the French Intelligence Office in Bucharest, the capital of Romania during the Cold War.

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