Saturday, June 23, 2007


Abbas fired his director of internal security, Rashid abu Shabak, who was the highest-ranking security official in the Gaza Strip, and according to Al-Quds al-Arabi, sources say Shabak could now be appointed ambassador to Cairo. Shabak had been appointed director of internal security following the Hamas electoral victory in 2006. He was continually at loggerheads with Hamas people, who accuse him of having caused the failure and resignation of two ministers of the interior, Saed Sayyam and more recently Hani Qawasami. Hamas had repeatedly asked Abbas to get rid of Shabak, and in fact prior to the recent events in Gaza, Shabak had tendered his resignation, but Abbas refused to accept it. Security sources in Ramallah said they think Jabril al-Rajoub will be appointed his successor. Rajoub, a top Fatah person, has served as preventive security chief in the West Bank, and was once national security adviser to Arafat.

Here comes the part about Dahlan:
The firing of Shabak is the first sign of weakened prestige of Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas' top security person, and of his diminished influence in the security apparatus, because Shabak was extremely close to Dahlan, and in fact many people say it was Dahlan who pressured Abbas to appoint [Shabak] to his position [as director of internal security].

It is still too early to say with certainty what will be the extent of Dahlan's power, or weakness as the case may be, or his status vis-a-vis Abbas. That is something that will only become clear with the announcement of the new membership of the National Security Council, where some Fatah sources say Abbas is resisting external pressure, and American [pressure] in particular, to name Dahlan general secretary of the new council.
Implying that Dahlan is still Washington's man. In which case you would have to ask again: What was it Dahlan oversaw for them in the Gaza Strip, was it as everyone says, a humiliating defeat, or was it, as far as Washington is concerned, something else?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh gosh. I wish I hadn't read that last part. Almost. I may have mentioned here before that the first thing I thought when I heard Sharon said he was pulling out of Gaza was, how long will it be before they start talking about al-Quaeda being there and using that as an excuse to bomb the hell outta those people?

But why the big dance? Maybe because the Palestinians had never been viewed as "Islamists"?

1:10 PM  
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