Pakistan Continues To Live In “American Dream” Land

[The following is a concise, well-written, semi-lucid explanation of the current “iffy” state of affairs in South Asia, but the writer is completely delusional, as are ALL analysts associated with any of the major Pak news outfits.  He does not hesitate to detail the dire situation in Afghanistan, but neither does he miss a beat in broadcasting the Army’s message of reassurances: “It is unlikely that Washington will let the Taliban grow again.”  Like all Pak writers, this one assumes that the US is seeking to stabilize the region, despite ALL the evidence to the contrary, proving that the CIA and Pentagon are engaged in a perpetual effort to DESTABILIZE the world, so that they might have a free hand to murder and maim, at will.  Washington could care less (except for all of the political game-players within the Democratic-Republican war party) what happens to the people of either country, once they get clear from the mess that they have created there.  Afghanistan is doomed to the same fate as Iraq, to suffer another civil war…Pakistan is just doomed.] 

The only way

the news pak

Yasir Masood Khan

There are many speculations and assumptions running through the region about the US retreat and its repercussions on Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries.

It seems obvious, without a shadow of a doubt, that Afghanistan will be dragged again into a state of chaos, turbulence and anarchy. History has so far been unkind to that troubled country and every now and then it is dragged back to square one.

One wonders whether or not the US will be quitting Afghanistan for good. If so, then what’s next in the kitty of US strategies? Many scholars, intellectuals and think tanks anticipate a purely Afghan civil war. On top of that, the time spent there by the US with all its underlying motives will have been in vain. What that simply means is that it was a waste of time, energy, lives and resources on the part of the US.

Half of the game plan is already on the move — I refer of course, to the election’s outcome, which is just around the corner. So far Karzai has acted wilfully to his whiplashing master and will continue to do so. Nonetheless, recent resentment against US demands could prove to be expensive for Kabul. More likely still, the next government will be another dummy setup (Dari speaking), installed on the dictation of the US. Even if Karzai, otherwise, uses his own political influence in the presidential elections, the fate of the Afghan people will remain the same.

It is unlikely that Washington will let the Taliban grow again. A 60 percent turnout in the elections already assures the downfall of the Taliban. Still, the Taliban could get hold of the Pakhtun belt. Restricting the Taliban would be more conducive for US strategists, while preventing any backing or fuelling towards Taliban simultaneously.

The US departure could also have drastic implications for Pakistan. Unfortunately, Islamabad as usual seems to be in a whirlpool of ifs and buts, and no firm stance is appearing at the surface. Savvy foreign policymakers, political scientists and the military establishment must come up with visionary goals to cope with such an alarming situation.

India’s elections could also play an important role and one has to wait and see how Indian influence in Afghanistan is going to shape up. India is the fifth biggest donor in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Afghanistan. This can bring a double advantage to India — economic stability and alliance against Pakistan. For national security measures, Islamabad must remain vigilant to secure its north-west border to sustain peace and avoid cross-border terrorism.

China’s foreign policy in case of a civil war in Afghanistan is still unclear. Meanwhile, Beijing is busy promoting economic cooperation and continues to build infrastructure and roads. Even a continuation of bilateral trade depends on the volatility there; unrest in Afghanistan can put an end to China’s successful economic ascension.

Iran, as a neighbouring state, is highly concerned about the post-withdrawal scenario in Afghanistan. It has vowed nearly $1 billion in aid at international aid conferences held to help Afghanistan. Its aid in the first decade after the Taliban’s ouster was estimated at about 12 percent of the total assistance for reconstruction and development.

Tehran and Kabul have multiple disputes over water, Afghan refugees and drug trafficking. Tehran equally blames Kabul and Washington for not shutting down the production of opium. One should remember that Iran is a major corridor for narcotics smuggling to Middle Eastern and other European countries. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran claims to have lost more than 3,700 members of security forces fighting drug traffickers, many of whom were heavily armed. Tehran estimates that it spends around $1 billion annually on its war on drugs.

Washington has to play an anchor role before walking out; it must leave behind peace, tranquillity and stability in Afghanistan. This chiefly depends on whether the economic aid would be sufficient for Afghanistan to run its military affairs and secure the state from insurgency and internal turmoil.

As for the neighbouring states, Afghanistan would require them to pursue their foreign policies with utmost care. India, China, Pakistan and Iran will need to bury their animosities and grudges and stand together to avoid another conflict in the region. Peace is the only way forward for a prosperous and stable South Asia.

The writer is a research officer at the Institute of Regional Studies, and part of the visiting faculty at Quaid-e-Azam University.

Email: yasirmasoodkhan@gmail.com

US Military Training Produces Killers By Suppressing Natural Human Guilt

crimes_guerra_1

Killing soldiers’ humanity

JEFF SPARROW.NET

Published at 27 January 2007

‘OVER here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody and it’s like ‘All right, let’s go get some pizza’.”

That’s an American soldier, Private Steven Green, interviewed in Iraq in 2006.

Green’s words sound shocking but they represent the reality of combat in places such as Iraq: good soldiers kill quickly and dispassionately. Even with modern, high-tech weapons, someone must still pull the trigger.

And that’s not necessarily easy.

A famous World War II study by S. L. A. Marshall shocked military theorists when it suggested that only a minority of American soldiers could bring themselves to fire directly at another human being in combat, even with their own life at risk.

“The average and healthy individual . . . has such an inner . . . resistance towards killing a fellow man,” wrote Marshall, “that he will not of his own volition take life if it is possible to turn away from that responsibility.”

The Soviet journalist Vasily Grossman noted a similar phenomenon on the Eastern Front. “Sixty per cent of our soldiers haven’t fired a single shot during the war at all,” a commander told him. “We are fighting thanks to heavy machine-guns, battalion mortars and the courage of some individuals.”

Since then, military trainers have developed various techniques to overcome the inherent human resistance to killing.

Most importantly, soldiers such as Private Green now train in realistic simulations of combat so that aiming, firing and seeing the target fall dead becomes a single, almost unconscious, conditioned response. The Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright quotes Sergeant Brad Colbert on his first experience of combat. “It was just like training. I just loaded and fired my weapon from muscle memory. I wasn’t even aware what my hands were doing.”

The muscle memory that allows the soldier to kill without inhibition can be developed during live-fire exercises but increasingly the American military relies on computerised simulations, providing the trainee with a level of realism never before possible.

Such computerisation works so well in breaking down the resistance to killing that some officers suggest that even off-the-shelf combat games can help develop it.

Retired marine Colonel Gary Anderson, former chief of staff of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, explained to The Washington Post that their exposure to first-person shooter games make today’s soldiers the “new Spartans”.

“Remember the days of the old Sparta, when everything they did was towards war?” he said. “In many ways, the soldiers of this video-game generation have replicated that.”

The same article quotes one Sergeant Sinque Swales on his experience killing an Iraqi with a .50 calibre machine-gun.

“It felt like I was in a big video game,” he recalled. “It didn’t even faze me, shooting back. It was just natural instinct. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!”

As Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Sutton from the technology division at Quantico Marine Base puts it, modern soldiers “feel less inhibited, down in their primal level, pointing their weapons at somebody”.

Such is the context for the American military’s own investments in the video-games industry. Full Spectrum Warrior, for instance, might have been released commercially for PCs and Xboxes but it was designed and developed with the army’s backing as a training tool for urban combat, and a simple cheat code, easily available from the internet, converts the retail version into the simulation used to coach officers.

Playing Full Spectrum Warrior will not, in itself, turn you into a trained killer. Nonetheless, the digitalisation of war still has far-reaching effects.

Consider America’s Army, a video game developed as a recruiting tool by the US military. Freely downloadable online, it claims about 8 million registered players, all enthusiastically gunning down electronic bad guys. The game also features cameos from genuine soldiers who direct players towards the real-world enlistment office and enthuse about actual adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the honour and courage and heroism that await there.

In this way, the digital battlefield fosters remarkably old-fashioned notions of combat as a source of meaning and purpose, even as it transforms killing into an unthinking conditioned response.

It’s no wonder that Steven Green felt so confused.

“I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience,” he said. “And then I did it, and I was like, ‘All right, whatever.’ ”

Yet reality is not a video game, and killing a human being is not the same as squashing an ant.

Conditioned reflexes might allow soldiers to open fire without hesitation but they do not provide them with a framework for coming to terms with what they’ve done. The soldiers in Iraq who kill more efficiently than any previous generation are also returning home with extraordinary levels of psychiatric trauma. Already, about 50,000 Iraq veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

As for Private Green, shortly after he talked about how little killing affected him, he was arrested for raping an Iraqi girl and murdering her and her family.

When you’ve finished playing America’s Army, you can turn the program off and walk away. Real violence is different. The tragedy of Iraq encompasses more than those who have been killed. It extends to those who have done the killing: most often young men and women from ordinary backgrounds, who will often be haunted by war for the rest of their lives.

US Corporations Continue To Rob Treasury, Intending To Cause American Economic Collapse

[The transfer of American technology and industrial capabilities overseas has been extensively documented by countless American scholars, most notable among them is Prof. Antony C. Sutton from the Hoover institute at Stanford University.  Sutton’s informative “THE BEST ENEMY MONEY CAN BUY,” is the most readable example of his research documenting the transfer of full-scale industrial facilities to Third World dictatorships, including pre- and post-WWII Germany.  The greatest reciprient of this American largesse was the Soviet Union which received thirty-five Bryant Chucking Grinder Company
Centalign-B ball-bearing grinding machines, the single missing capability which enabled Russian missiles to carry multiple warheads.  In addition, a subsidiary of Kellogg Corp. built the world’s largest truck and diesel engine plant at Kama River, one glaring example out of the hundreds listed by Prof. Sutton. Communist Russia.  Under Reagan’s leadership, the process of American de-industrialization was accelerated under the masquerade of “privatization,” and changes to US business law, which encouraged the transfer overseas of trillions of dollars in American profits and assets, putting them beyond the long reach of the IRS.

The de-industrialization and absolute bankruptcy of the US economy were long-planned events, made possible by a succession of treasonous American Presidents, from at least Woodrow Wilson onward to Barack Hussain Obama (SEE:The Planned Collapse of America–Part 1 and Part 2). 

We are a nation governed by the worst kind of treasonists, criminals and foreign spies. 

The only solution is to overthrow the entire US Govt. and start anew from scratch, to build the Nation described in our sacred national Charter.]

US corporations holding more than $2.1 trillion in untaxed profits overseas

Russia-Today
Corporate Tax Cheats

According to a new report, more than $2 trillion worth of profit generated by some of the biggest United States-based corporations is being held overseas where it’s not subject to US income tax law.

The report — published earlier this month by the Audit Analytics online intelligence service — has even this week managed to capture the attention of the head of the US Senate’s Finance Committee.

In a post published to the Audit Analytics website on April 1, the firm said that their research has led them to determine that American companies are currently holding more profits overseas than ever before, up more than 12 percent in 2013 from the year prior. Since 2008, the researchers added, that statistic has grew up 93 percent.

The companies in question — the top 100 on the Russell 3000 Index of US stocks — held $2.12 trillion in Foreign Indefinitely Reinvested Earnings (IRE) during the last calendar year, Audit Analytics reported, up from only $1.89 trillion a year earlier. All of this income claimed by a total of 547 US companies, the researchers added, is free from the US corporate income tax rules that apply to profits held domestically.

“The new numbers … certainly highlight what is one of the key challenges for tax reform,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, according to Reuters. “I do think there need to be some reforms in this area.”

Sen. Wyden’s latest remarks came just days after his panel assessed more than 50 tax breaks set to expire at the end of 2013 but had failed to be reviewed by the Senate in time. Last month, according to Reuters, Wyden said that offshore deferral and other tax code loopholes resembled “a rotten carcass that the special interests feast on.” At this time, however, Reuters reported that policy analyst expect it’s unlikely that Congress with act on any major fiscal issues until after the November mid-term elections later this year.

In the meantime, US corporations are holding record profit numbers far out of the reach of Uncle Sam. Last year, Audit Analytics reported, General Election held more than $110 billion outside of the US, with software company Microsoft and drugmaker Pfizer rounding out the top three with $76.4 billion and $69 billion in Foreign IREs, according to researchers.

GE operates in more than 170 countries, and most of these overseas earnings have been reinvested in active business operations like manufacturing facilities and loans to non-US customers,” that company responded to Reuters.

And according to Audit Analytics, more companies are now moving their money abroad. Whiile the amount of Foreign IREs has increased dramatically during the last six years, the firm said that the number of companies disclosing these reinvested foreign earnings has increased by 12 percent since 2008.

Profits held in the US are subject to a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) told CNN last year that “One out of four corporations doesn’t pay a nickel in taxes” due to the numerous loopholes available.

“Blackwater” Shock Troops In Direct Confrontation With Putin’s Proxies In Donetsk

[SEE:  Pro-Russian Protestors Seize Buildings After Ukrainian Officer Killed by Protesters;

Moscow warns Kiev against using military, mercenaries in southeastern Ukraine ;

Ukraine says it retakes building seized by protesters

Greystone Limited mercenaries operating in Ukraine

phantom report

by stratagem

 

Мобилизация на Украине провалена. В стране орудуют Blackwater и другие наёмные организации

Source: Soha

Source: politikus.ru

 

Website politikus.ru reported, on the night of 2-3, the flight landed at the airport Borispol and Zhuliany , Ukraine carrying many men in civilian clothes but carrying large bags (similar to type bag that the U.S. military used to store equipment).

All these people were identified as employees of private security companies Greystone Limited. It is a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC (which is a private security company Blackwater USA’s notorious was renamed in 2009). Currently, the number of employees of this company in Ukraine is said to be up to 300 people.

The presence of the security personnel are specially trained in Ukraine this will enhance protection for the new administration in the area east and southeast, where the anti-government protests erupted powerful new .

The only question now is how many private security personnel of foreign countries in Ukraine real and who is paying them (the cost to hire a private company like that is very expensive and government Ukraine’s new budget clearly not sufficient to cover these costs).

While the number 300 is not a large army and these employees do not carry heavy weapons, but with the highly trained and mastered many fighting skills, then this may be staff conduct minor damage as a sniper or cause explosions, … similar to what they used to do in Africa and elsewhere.

Some suggested that there was a collusion between the new government of Kiev and the U.S. Embassy in the use of private security companies in Ukraine. In the near future, they may become subject to destabilize the situation in the country.

Image Credit: GreyStone Limited

В Донецке появились неизвестные наемники

 

NATO Pushing Russia Into Pre-Invasion Scenario

[In keeping with established Pentagon policy, the Western powers will do everything within their power to ensure that their worst-case scenarios come true.  Just like every other aspect of the terror war, where every Pentagon strategy is tailored to shaping policies which multiply the terrorists (think of assassination drones), we know for a certainty that the US will force Russia to invade Ukraine by its rushing of men and equipment to the Russia/Ukraine “front” (SEE:  US Arranges New War Games In Ukraine, Along Border With Crimea; Germany Set To Help Militarize the Political Situation In Eastern Europe ).  When the degree of the Western militarization of Eastern Ukraine becomes too obvious to ignore, Putin will have no choice left to him but to enter Ukraine and to fulfill the West’s worst nightmares, or greatest expectations.]

Russia has all the forces it needs on Ukraine’s border if it were to decide to carry out an “incursion” into the country and it could achieve its objective in three to five days, NATO’s top military commander said Wednesday.

Calling the situation on the border “incredibly concerning,” U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove – who is both NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the head of the U.S. Military’s European Command – said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small part of the Russian force overnight but there was no indication that it was returning to barracks.

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have asked him to draw up by April 15 a package to reassure nervous NATO allies in eastern Europe that would include reinforcements by land, air and sea, he said in an interview with Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

NATO suspended all practical cooperation with Russia on Tuesday in protest at its annexation of Crimea, and ordered military planners to draft measures to strengthen its defenses and reassure nervous Eastern European countries.

Foreign ministers from the 28-nation, U.S.-led alliance were meeting for the first time since the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region touched off the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

State Dept Hides Embarrassing Truth About Saudi Terrorist Indoctrination In Public Schools

Report Alleges State Department Withholding Saudi Textbook Study Because It Would Embarrass the Saudis

the blaze

As President Barack Obama sets out for his visit to Saudi Arabia this week, a new report suggests the State Department has intentionally been withholding a comprehensive study on Saudi textbooks, because the books include offensive material that dehumanizes Christians and Jews that if made public would embarrass the kingdom.

President Barack Obama waves upon his arrival on Air Force One at Brussels International Airport, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. Obama is visiting Brussels to attend European Union and NATO summits. Later this week, he heads to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“The State Department appears to be withholding a government-commissioned textbooks study on the subject,” said the report by the DC-based research organization the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “Textbook Diplomacy: Why the State Department Shelved a Study on Incitement in Saudi Education Materials.”

“Passages [in textbooks] continue to dehumanize Jews and Christians, promote the murder of perceived deviants such as homosexuals, and sanction violence against Muslims who do not follow the Wahhabi brand of Islam that is sponsored by the Saudi state,” the government-commissioned study found, according to the think tank report.

David Andrew Weinberg, who authored the Foundation for Defense of Democracies report, wrote that in 2011 the State Department paid the non-profit organization the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) $500,000 to conduct the study of Saudi government-published textbooks that are used widely not only in the kingdom, but are also sent free of charge to Muslim schools around the world, including in the U.S.

“However, when the results of this study were ready for release in 2012, U.S. government officials decided not to publish its findings. Nor did the Department release this study in 2013, despite issuing a similar but controversial study equating the narratives found in textbooks used by Israelis and Palestinians,” Weinberg wrote.

According to Weinberg, ICRD’s leadership asserted their study was withheld from the public because it showed the Saudis had made progress on textbook improvements and that the State Department did not want to discourage further progress by publicly criticizing the remaining areas of disagreement.

“However, current and former officials contest this characterization, asserting that ICRD’s study was withheld because of how bad it makes the Saudis look,” Weinberg wrote.

State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted during Tuesday’s State Department briefing that the report was never meant to be released.

“This project, this assessment from this project, was never intended to be made public, as they often are not,” Harf said. “It was intended to drive and inform the work of the State Department as we work with the Saudi Government to push them to reform their textbooks.”

“There’s no one keeping a public report quiet. It was always supposed to be internal,” she added.

Of the reported evidence that the Saudi textbooks continue to contain offensive themes, Harf said, “We know there’s more work to be done. We’ve been very clear about that publicly, again, regardless of whether a report is released or not. And we have worked with the Saudis over the years, and we believe that it is – every country reforms at its own pace.”

Michael Posner — who was assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor during President Barack Obama’s first term – suggested to the Daily Beast that the State Department had never ruled out making the study public.

“We commissioned the study to assess and evaluate the content of the textbooks with the intention of sharing our findings with the Saudi government and with the option, depending on the findings, of making it public if the problems persisted,” Posner told the Daily Beast.

Posner would not provide details on the unpublished textbook study, but spoke more generally about the problems in Saudi study materials.

“Among the references that were most offensive were commentary that linked Christians and Jews to apes and pigs,” Posner told the Daily Beast. “If those references are still in some textbooks then the problem hasn’t been solved.”

Since 9/11, the U.S. government has been concerned about inciting materials in Saudi textbooks that could encourage Islamic extremism. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks were Saudi nationals.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies quoted a source familiar with the study who provided quotes from the ICRD report which said Saudi textbooks “create a climate that fosters exclusivity, intolerance, and calls to violence that put religious and ethnic minorities at risk.”

A tenth grade Islamic law book said students should “kill the person who changes his religion…for there is no benefit in keeping them alive.”

Christians, Jews and pagans were described in a twelfth grade monotheism textbook as “the worst of creatures” who will “dwell in hellfire.”

According to Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ unnamed source who saw the study, in another tenth grade book, Christians were compared to idol worshippers. It also wrote of Jews that God “made them of swine and apes.” Yet other books praised violence against non-Muslims.

Douglas Johnston, the president and founder of ICRD which conducted the study told the Daily Beast that he recommended against publishing its results.

“We strongly suggested it should not be published because they are making great progress on this. We can achieve a lot more if we pursue this outside the public domain,” Johnston said.

Read the full report from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies at this link.

Mohammed Dahlan, George Bush’s “Whore,” Now He’s Selling His Ass To the Saudis

[SEE: The Gaza Bombshell]

“The UAE has donated $50 million to build the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan city in Gaza strip for released Palestinian prisoners.”

PHOTO: File - In this Jan. 3, 2011 file photo, Palestinian Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Banished in 2010 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a former mentor, Dahlan has leveraged millions spent on needy Palestinians and his close ties with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates into growing political influence at home. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)

Aided by Gulf millions, exiled Palestinian operative Mohammed Dahlan seeks new Gaza foothold

the republic

By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH and KARIN LAUB  Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Fueled by millions in Gulf aid dollars that are his to distribute, an exiled Palestinian operative seems to be orchestrating a comeback that could position him as a potential successor to aging Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

In a phone interview from London, Mohammed Dahlan spoke of his aid projects in the Gaza Strip, his closeness to Egypt’s military leaders and his conviction that the 79-year-old Abbas has left the Palestinian national cause in tatters.

If staging a successful return, Dahlan, a former Gaza security chief once valued by the West for his pragmatism, could reshuffle a stagnant Palestinian deck. Some caution that Dahlan has made too many enemies in Abbas’ Fatah movement and will continue to be ostracized by those planning to compete for the top job in the future.

Dahlan, 52, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he is “not looking for any post” after Abbas retires, but called for new elections and an overhaul of Fatah.

“Abbas will leave only ruins and who would be interested to be a president or vice president on these ruins?” Dahlan said. “What I am interested in is a way out of our political situation, not a political position.”

In the past, he and Abbas were among the leading supporters of negotiations with Israel as the preferred path to statehood. Dahlan now believes the current U.S.-led talks “will bring nothing for the Palestinian people,” alleging Abbas has made concessions that his predecessor, the late Yasser Arafat, would not have.

Abbas aide Nimr Hamad and senior Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen declined to comment Thursday on Dahlan’s statements. Last week, Muhaisen said anyone expressing support for Dahlan would be purged from Fatah.

A bitter feud between Abbas and Dahlan seems mostly personal, but also highlights the dysfunctional nature of Fatah, paralyzed by incessant internal rivalries, and Abbas’ apparent unwillingness to tolerate criticism.

Abbas banished Dahlan in 2010, after his former protege purportedly called him weak. Dahlan has since spent his time between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Before the fallout he was one of a few Palestinian leaders who saw themselves as potential contenders for succeeding Abbas.

Dahlan grew up poor in a Gaza refugee camp, but as a top aide to Arafat became the territory’s strongman in the 1990s, jailing leaders of rival Hamas which was trying to derail Arafat’s negotiation with Israel through bombing and shooting attacks.

Dahlan was dogged by corruption allegations at the time, like Arafat and several other senior Palestinian politicians, but has denied wrongdoing and was never charged.

In exile, he has nurtured political and business ties in the Arab world.

Dahlan said this week that he has been raising millions of dollars from business people and charities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere for needy Palestinians.

Last year, he said he delivered $8 million to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

“In Gaza, I do the same now,” he said. “I’m collecting money for desalination in Gaza. It’s unbearable. Fifty percent of the water in the houses is sewage water. Hamas and Abbas are doing nothing to solve the real problems of the Gazans.”

When asked if he was buying political support with Gulf money, he said: “This is not political money.” He added that the UAE also provides financial aid to Abbas.

Dahlan’s relationship with Gaza and former arch-enemy Hamas is particularly complex.

Security forces under Dahlan lost control of Gaza in a brief battle with Hamas gunmen in 2007. The defeat cemented the Palestinian political split, leading to rival governments, one run by Hamas in Gaza and the other by Abbas in parts of the West Bank, and was seen as perhaps the biggest blot on Dahlan’s career.

However, there are now signs of a possible rapprochement between Dahlan and the Islamic militants — apparently because of Dahlan’s close ties to Egyptian military chief, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Dahlan said he has met el-Sissi several times and supported last year’s coup — he called it the “Egyptian revolution” — against the country’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is the Gaza offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Since the coup, el-Sissi has tightened a closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt. That blockade has squeezed Hamas financially, and the Islamic militants have been looking for ways to pry the border open.

In January, Hamas allowed three Fatah leaders loyal to Dahlan to return to the territory. The Fatah returnees and Hamas officials formed a committee to oversee construction of a new Gaza town to be funded by the UAE, said a Hamas official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the contacts.

Senior Fatah officials accuse Dahlan of trying to split the movement.

“Dahlan has created an alliance with Hamas,” Nabil Shaath, an Abbas aide, has told Palestine TV. Dahlan loyalists in Gaza “have distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars without having the movement’s permission,” he said.

Underlying Fatah’s fears about a return of Dahlan is the open question of succession.

Abbas was elected in 2005, but overstayed his five-year term because the Hamas-Fatah split has prevented new elections. Abbas has not designated a successor and there is no clear contender.

The only other Palestinian politician with broad support according to polls is Marwan Barghouti, an uprising leader who is serving multiple life sentences in Israeli prison.

Analyst Hani al-Masri said regional support has boosted Dahlan, but that he’s not a serious challenger yet because he has not offered any plans.

Palestinians “won’t support a specific leader without being convinced of his political platform,” he said.


Associated Press writer Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City contributed to this report.

Hamas sees Dahlan as bridge to Egypt

al monitor

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Fatah’s members of parliament (MPs) Majid Abu Shamala and Alaa Yaghi arrived in the Gaza Strip Jan. 21 for their first visit since 2007, the year Hamas assumed power there. Their arrival, the fruit of talks between the leaders of the opposing Palestinian movements, was also made possbile after Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared that leaders and cadres of Fatah who had left the Gaza Strip were now welcome to return. Haniyeh also announced the release of a number of Fatah detainees from Hamas prisons as part of a unilateral initiative to “enhance the reconciliation steps with Fatah.”

Summary Former arch rivals Hamas and 
Mohammed Dahlan have found common ground in that they both oppose President Mahmoud Abbas.
Author Hazem Balousha Posted February 3, 2014

Translator(s)Pascale Menassa

The two MPs are among Fatah leaders who had supported Mohammed Dahlan, the party’s strongman in the Gaza Strip who fell out with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Their appearance in Gaza raised rumors of a rapprochement between Dahlan and Hamas behind closed doors. Suspicions were also stoked by the Islamist movement allowing Dahlan followers to work in several areas in Gaza during the past few months without direct surveillance, according to a source in Hamas.

This same source, who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, revealed, “Intensive contacts were made during the past few months between leaders close to Dahlan and the Hamas movement through Rouhi Mushtaha, a member of the [Hamas] political bureau. This led to a certain rapprochement between both sides and loosened the security restrictions on the members of Fatah in the Gaza Strip.”

The Haniyeh government’s permission for Dahlan allies to work in Gaza does not seem to be a leap in the dark for either side. There appears to have been an undeclared understanding reached by Hamas and Dahlan, as reflected in the noticeable halt in harsh exchanges between the two camps via their respective media outlets.

The launch of a joint “social solidarity committee,” chaired by Abu Shamala and with Ismail al-Ashqar and Mushtaha, two Hamas leaders, as members is one joint undertaking that has become public. The committee will oversee the construction of a residential city in central Gaza funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to house freed prisoners. In the past, some of its other activities have included supervising the planning of collective weddings, covering university students’ fees and providing in-kind assistance to the poor in the Gaza Strip. The Gaza government has also allowed a charity run by Dahlan’s wife to resume activities in support of humanitarian projects, in particular in the refugee camps.

For his part, political writer Ibrahim Abrash said that the reason behind the rapprochement between Dahlan and Hamas is clear — to improve Hamas’ relations with the interim military regime in Egypt and the UAE, both of which Dahlan has developed strong ties with. Writing Jan. 27 on the Arabic Media Internet Network, Abrash asserted, “It seems that Hamas has felt that Dahlan can be its saving grace from its strategic, political and financial dilemma, thanks to his special relations with the UAE and Egypt and his stable relations with Washington.”

Abu Shamala appeared to confirm this interpretation when he told Al-Monitor, “We are trying to coordinate with our Egyptian brothers to stop any measures that affect our people in Gaza and ease their pain. We are confident that our Egyptian brothers are ready to ease the suffering of Gaza’s people.” In response to a question posed by Al-Monitor about whether his return points to a rapprochement between Dahlan’s movement and Hamas, he said, “We cannot stand helpless before the crises that the Gaza Strip is facing. We should try to heal wounds and help in the construction process regardless of any political consideration or analysis.”

The source in Hamas said that about 80% of the Palestinians returning to Gaza among the 120 announced by Haniyeh in an interview with al-Kitab satellite channel belong to the Dahlan faction in Fatah. The source added that this was only natural given that the Dahlan faction was among the most affected by the division, as it was leading the war against Hamas.

In an article published by the pro-Hamas Felesteen newspaper, Yousef Rizqa, a political adviser to Haniyeh, categorically denied that there was any relationship between the Fatah MPs coming to Gaza on the one hand and the rapprochement with Dahlan and his movement on the other. Rizqa added that permission to enter was nothing more than a gesture of goodwill on the part of Hamas to facilitate Palestinian reconciliation.

The Hamas source noted, “There may be some benefit for the government in Gaza to let Dahlan and his cadres return to operate in Gaza, but this was not the primary objective of such a move.” The source denied that Hamas is using disputes between Dahlan and Abbas to make political headway.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that both parties are taking advantage of their respective situations. Hamas is trying to politically withstand the pressure being exerted on it by Egypt, and Dahlan’s solid ties with Cairo and its key supporter, the UAE, may help in that regard. Meanwhile, Dahlan is seeking to re-enter Palestinian politics but faces serious obstacles as long as Abbas and the core of Fatah in the West Bank oppose him. Reconnecting with his popular base in Gaza might strengthen his hand within Fatah.

Abu Shamala and the Hamas source agreed that Dahlan will not visit Gaza anytime soon because of concerns about possible repercussions to Hamas’ ties with Abbas. “Such a move could burn bridges [between Hamas] and Abbas,” the source said.

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