debkafile reports: The two rival Palestinian leaders, Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal finally meet in Damascus under Iranian
debkafile reports that Abbas finally agreed to talk to Meshaal Sunday night, 24 hours after his first refusal, under the influence of three matchmakers: Iranian national security adviser Ali Larijani, who arrived in Damascus for the purpose, Syrian president Bashar Asad through his deputy Farouk al-Shar’a and cousin of Libyan ruler, intelligence chief Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam.
By this about-turn, Abbas upended the effort made by US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice earlier this month to keep the Palestinians out of the Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah orbit and in the pro-Western Arab camp along with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
By his action, he also showed contempt for the understandings he reached with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert following which Israel transferred $100 m in frozen Palestinian revenues to Abbas this week.
Abbas had led both the US secretary and Israeli prime minister to understand that he would not deal with the hard-line Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal or his Iranian sponsors.
debkafile‘s Middle East sources report that the let-down for Washington goes beyond Abbas’ perfidy. His senior Fatah aide, Muhamad Dahlan, and Palestinian-Kurdish tycoon Muhammed Rashid were the live wires behind the Abbas-Meshaal encounter. Both were bankrolled by Muammer Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, who lent them his private Boeing 747 for the flight to Damascus.
Since 2004-2005, when the Libyan ruler voluntarily gave up his weapons of mass destruction and severed his ties with terrorist organizations, the Bush administration has held him up as a radical Arab ruler who mended his ways under the influence of US campaign in Iraq. The top-level involvement of the Qaddafi clan in the latest Iranian-Syrian-Palestinian enterprise in Damascus is an ill omen, signifying Qaddafi has decided to hark back to his extremist orientation and work with Iran and Syria.