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Saturday Jan. 22, 2011 10:10 AM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Dahlan affair means Abbas has abandoned Gaza

Read more: Muhammed Dahlan, Mahmoud Abbas, Fateh, Fatah, Hamas, Gaza Strip, Preventative Security, corruption

RAMALLAH, January 21 (JMCC) - Palestinians experts are saying that the effective purging of former security strongman Muhammed Dahlan from the ranks of Fateh means that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has given up all hopes of regaining control of the Gaza Strip.

Dahlan, previously in charge of Gaza's Preventative Security, is being investigated by Fateh on charges of inciting against the Palestinian president, improper use of public funds and preparing a coup against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

But Dahlan remains popular with Gaza's Fateh members, who have been largely restricted from open organizing since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2006, reports al-Ahram. Dahlan left the Gaza Strip after his forces were routed by Hamas fighters. 

Nehad El-Sheikhly, a Palestinian writer and political analyst, believes the maelstrom overtaking Fatah right now has wrecked any chance to revive the group and recover its ability to represent wide sectors of Palestinians. El-Sheikhly said that continuing to target Dahlan will end any support for Fatah in the Gaza Strip, where he is popular amongst Fatah ranks there. Dahlan's supporters believe he was viciously betrayed by Abbas, he explained. And that what he was put through precludes making the group popular in the Gaza Strip.

El-Sheikhly asserted that the continued hounding of Dahlan proves that Abbas is no longer interested in recovering the Gaza Strip, since that would require complete cooperation among the ranks and cadres of Fatah. That is no longer an option after the Dahlan affair.

Dahlan's margin of movement has been narrowed significantly and he seems to only have a single choice: exit the Palestinian political arena, since the geographic area in which he was allowed to operate -- the West Bank -- no longer welcomes him.







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