Mohammed Dahlan, the United Arab Emirates, and Fatah’s Intergenerational Struggle

July 21 2016

Once the Palestinian Authority’s security chief for Gaza, and later Mahmoud Abbas’s national-security adviser, Mohammed Dahlan had a falling out with his boss in 2011. Since then, he has been living in exile, receiving protection and financial support from the United Arab Emirates. Abbas sees him as his major rival, and reportedly has become obsessed with preventing Dahlan’s rise to power, while Dahlan has recently assailed Abbas in the Arabic press. Khaled Abu Toameh argues that more than a personal squabble is at play:

The rivalry between Abbas and Dahlan is emblematic of the power struggle between the old guard and young guard in Fatah, the largest Palestinian faction that dominates the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

This is a power struggle that has been raging for the past three decades. Dahlan is a representative of the young guard, whose members are strongly opposed to the continued hegemony and monopoly of the old guard over the decision-making process. Dahlan and the young guard are mostly from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, grassroots leaders who have long been complaining that they have been marginalized by the veteran leaders of the Palestinians who came from Lebanon and Tunisia after the signing of the Oslo Accords and who continue to block the emergence of new and younger leaders.

This power struggle will not end with Abbas’s departure. The next Palestinian president will surely be one of Abbas’s current loyalists. This in itself will drive Dahlan and his ilk to continue railing against the old guard. . . .

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, United Arab Emirates

The Danger of Hollow Fixes to the Iran Deal

March 20 2018

In January, the Trump administration announced a 120-day deadline for the so-called “E3”—Britain, France, and Germany—to agree to solutions for certain specific flaws in the 2015 agreement to limit the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Omri Ceren explains why it’s necessary to get these fixes right:

[Already in October], the administration made clear that it considered the deal fatally flawed for at least three reasons: a weak inspections regime in which the UN’s nuclear watchdog can’t access Iranian military facilities, an unacceptable arrangement whereby the U.S. had to give up its most powerful sanctions against ballistic missiles even as Iran was allowed to develop ballistic missiles, and the fact that the deal’s eventual expiration dates mean Iran will legally be allowed to get within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear weapon. . . .

A team of American negotiators has been working on getting the E3 to agree to a range of fixes, and is testing whether there is overlap between the maximum that the Europeans can give and the minimum that President Trump will accept. The Europeans in turn are testing the Iranians to gauge their reactions and will likely not accept any fixes that would cause Iran to bolt.

The negotiations are problematic. The New York Times reported that, as far as the Europeans are concerned, the exercise requires convincing Trump they’ve “changed the deal without actually changing it.” Public reports about the inspection fix suggest that the Europeans are loath to go beyond urging the International Atomic Energy Commission to request inspections, which the agency may be too intimidated to do. The ballistic-missile fix is shaping up to be a political disaster, with the Europeans refusing to incorporate anything but long-range missiles in the deal. That would leave us with inadequate tools to counter Iran’s development of ballistic missiles that could be used to wipe Israel, the Saudis, and U.S. regional bases off the map. . . .

There is a [significant] risk the Trump administration may be pushed to accept the hollow fixes acceptable to the Europeans. Fixing the deal in this way would be the worst of all worlds. It would functionally enshrine the deal under a Republican administration. Iran would be open for business, and this time there would be certainty that a future president will not act to reverse the inevitable gold rush. Just as no deal would have been better than a bad deal, so no fix would be better than a bad fix.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Donald Trump, Europe, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy