A Palestinian Perception of Abbas: “He Dances with Wolves”
The Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazen keeps himself afloat by braggadocio. He slaps down demands and stipulations as though he has a handful of aces. In actual fact, he arrived in Washington Thursday, Oct. 20 for talks with President George W. Bush and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, with the barest hold on Palestinian government.
If the Bush administration’s new pro-US leaders were to be graded by their control of government, Abu Mazen would go to the bottom of the class, far below Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari, Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora or Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Yet, after a year of administrating artificial respiration to a non-starter, Washington, Cairo, London, Brussels and Jerusalem are still not ready to give up. They continue to ply him with political favors as well as financial, military and intelligence assistance. None of this avails him at home where he is incapable of arresting his people’s hopeless descent into a failed society. Armed gangs roam the streets without concealment and even al Qaeda operatives do not bother to disguise their presence.
This week, a distinguished Palestinian researcher Khaled Duzdar voiced the gloom engulfing his people in a letter to his friends published on October 14. Under the heading “He Dances with Wolves,” Duzdar asserts that Abu Mazen’s appeasement of armed groups who maraud Palestinian streets night after night and prey on the innocent and each other will plunge the people in yet another calamity. Palestinian towns and villages have been reduced by the anarchy and lawlessness to a simulacrum of Somalia, he says.
debkafile‘s Palestinian experts are quite sure after watching Abbas perform that he is not genuinely feeble; he plays the weakling man to advantage. He works on the principle that the greater the chaos in the areas he rules, the more he can squeeze out of America, Europe and Israel and the less they will demand of him.
In Washington, therefore, Abu Mazen continues to plug the message which has brought the Palestinians to their sorry state: Hamas and terrorist groups must be absorbed into government rather than dismantled, and international aid and Israeli concessions are the precondition for his survival – regardless of continuing terrorist attacks.
His favorite tactic is to put Israel in the wrong – especially after murderous Palestinian on Israelis. On the day of his White House talks, Abbas used an interview with the Wall Street Journal to accuse Israel of aiding his opponents. (Might they be the “wolves” he is accused of dancing with?)
The mayhem engulfing Palestinian society today was first generated deliberately by Yasser Arafat in 2000 as part of his war strategy against Israel. Under the noses of the CIA agents who helped set up the Palestinian preventive security machinery, he broke its regional components down and reassigned them to duties with the radical organizations dedicated to his suicide terror campaign.
Five years later, Abu Mazen’s policies have degraded Palestinian forces of law and order still further. Even the terrorist organizations are losing their grip and becoming swallowed up by an ungovernable assortment of warlords and criminal gangs. One of Abbas’s closest associates, the civil affairs minister Mohammed Dahlan, who until recently met almost daily with Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz for a semblance of security coordination, has given up on the mess contrived and put plenty of distance between himself and his boss.
debkafile‘s Palestinian sources located him in Montenegro where he has settled with his family and gone back to his business activities. He tells visitors he has washed his hands of Abu Mazen for good.
The US president and secretary of state may be expected to play out the ritual of praising Abu Mazen for his (non-existent) efforts to rein in the terrorists, pouring out reconstruction financing for the Gaza Strip and reprimanding Israel. They will all keep up the pretence that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority are in charge, rather than the Hamas, the Jihad Islami, Hizballah, Al Qaeda and lawless armed groups.
Israel’s leaders, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, Shaul Mofaz and Silvan Shalom, will also do their bit by trotting out the standard demand that Abbas crack down on the terrorists. The Palestinian leader is perfectly willing to make all the constructive promises the Bush administration, the Sharon government and the international community are so willing to believe, while at the same time continuing his dance with the wolves.