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.