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Catfish and Cod
Saturday, August 02, 2003
Murky Palestinian politics.
(Link path: The Grey Lady, free and pointless registration required)

It looks like there are now three power centers in the Palestinian government: Arafat, Dahlan, and Abbas. Arafat has now taken actions directly against Dahlan's public pronouncements. Previously, despite public declarations of fealty, Abbas and Dahlan have both taken actions Arafat would never order.

Dahlan controls security; Abbas controls Palestinian foreign policy; Arafat holds public support and his crony network. It's not clear who Fatah and the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are answering to, but they answer to someone, because they have agreed to the cease-fire. Hamas and Jihad no doubt consider the cease-fire to be a means to re-arm; the Israelis don't like that, but they and we agree for now that Abbas and Dahlan really are too weak to curb the militants, and that we'll have to strengthen the PA. The question is, with politics as murky as this, can the PA be strengthened?