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Fatah Militias Prepare for War with Israel and/or Revolt against Mahmoud Abbas

Oct. 26 2016

While Mahmoud Abbas’s faction of the PLO has, by and large, refrained from attacks on Israelis in the past several years, there are now signs that that is about to change, even as some Fatah elements have split off in loathing for the PA president himself. Khaled Abu Toameh writes:

The armed wing of Fatah, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, announced [recently] that its members have been enrolled in a new military academy for training “fighters” in the Gaza Strip . . . “in the context of a program for preparing for any future battle” with the “Zionist enemy.” . . .

[There are several] Fatah-affiliated militias that continue to operate in the Gaza Strip despite Hamas’s violent takeover of the area in the summer of 2007. These groups pose no threat to the Hamas regime, which is why they are allowed to operate freely. . . Their express purpose is to prepare for war with Israel and launch terror attacks against Israelis. Hamas, however, which expelled their leaders from the Gaza Strip and continues to persecute dozens of Fatah activists there, is not on their hit list. . . .

These groups believe that they represent the real Fatah, the one that never recognized Israel’s right to exist and holds on to armed struggle as the only way to “liberate Palestine.” . . .

The power play among Fatah militias in Gaza reflects the wider division among Fatah’s political leaders. According to Palestinian sources, Fatah leaders in the strip have dissociated themselves from the faction’s leadership in the West Bank. Abbas’s aides blame exiled Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan for the schism. . . . [Recently], thousands of Fatah members who are loyal to Dahlan staged a large demonstration in the Gaza Strip against Abbas. During the protest, they burned and trampled on pictures of the PA president.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Fatah, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas

 

The Future of a Free Iran May Lie with a Restoration of the Shah

June 25 2018

Examining the recent waves of protest and political unrest in the Islamic Republic—from women shunning the hijab to truckers going out on strike—Sohrab Ahmari considers what would happen in the event of an actual collapse of the regime. Through an analysis of Iranian history, he concludes that the country would best be served by placing Reza Pahlavi, the son and heir of its last shah, at the head of a constitutional monarchy:

The end of Islamist rule in Iran would be a world-historical event and an unalloyed good for the country and its neighbors, marking a return to normalcy four decades after the Ayatollah Khomeini founded his regime. . . . But what exactly is that normalcy? . . .

First, Iranian political culture demands a living source of authority to embody the will of the nation and stand above a fractious and ethnically heterogenous society. Put another way, Iranians need a “shah” of some sort. They have never lived collectively without one, and their political imagination has always been directed toward a throne. The constitutionalist experiment of the early 20th century coexisted (badly) with monarchic authority, and the current Islamic Republic has a supreme leader—which is to say, a shah by another name. It is the height of utopianism to imagine that a 2,500-year-old tradition can be wiped away. The presence of a shah, [however], needn’t mean the absence of rule of law, deliberative politics, or any of the other elements of ordered liberty that the West cherishes in its own systems. . . .

Second, Iranian political culture demands a source of continuity with Persian history. The anxieties associated with modernity and centuries of historical discontinuity drove Iranians into the arms of Khomeini and his bearded minions, who promised a connection to Shiite tradition. Khomeinism turned out to be a bloody failure, but there is scant reason to imagine the thirst for continuity has been quenched. . . . Iranian nationalism . . . could be the answer, and, to judge by the nationalist tone of the current upheaval, it is the one the people have already hit upon.

When protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me,” they are expressing a positive vision of Iranian nationhood: no longer do they wish to pay the price for the regime’s Shiite hegemonic ambitions. Iranian blood should be spilled for Iran, not Gaza, which for most Iranians is little more than a geographical abstraction. It is precisely its nationalist dimension that makes the current revolt the most potent the mullahs have yet faced. Nationalism, after all, is a much stronger force and in Iran the longing for historical continuity runs much deeper than liberal-democratic aspiration. Westerners who wish to see a replay of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 in today’s Iran will find the lessons of Iranian history hard and distasteful, but Iranians and their friends who wish to see past the Islamic Republic must pay heed.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Nationalism, Politics & Current Affairs, Shah