Abbas-Dahlan rivalry escalates
Ahmed Eleiba, Wednesday 29 Dec 2010
Secrecy and rumors abound as Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan faces allegations of conspiring against the PA president

Excessive secrecy surrounds the investigation of Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan which began a few days ago against a backdrop of tension between him and the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas.

Tensions between the two mounted after members of Abbas' inner circle provided the president with evidence that Dahlan was plotting to oust him. Others speculated that Dahlan was establishing his own militia.

It has also been speculated that Dahlan is being targeted because of his criticisms of Abbas whom he considers to be weak in dealing with the authority's main challenges.

Members of Fatah's central committee declared on Tuesday that it had suspended Dahlan's membership and removed him from his position as chairman of the movement's culture and information sub-committee until the investigation is resolved.

Former Palestinian ambassador Makram Younis told Ahram Online that the real issue between Dahlan and Abbas revolves around the fact that "Israel wants Dahlan to succeed Abo-Mazen [Abbas], everything else is just embellishments around the scene."

As for whether or not Abbas wants to clean up the PA, Makram said that was not the case right now, but it could emerge later in the battle with Dahlan.

Makram sees the rivalry as personal and that a third party has interfered to settle a score withDahlan.

To some, he is the cause behind the present situation in Gaza. Others think he wants the negotiations with Israel to continue by any means necessary no matter what the consequences are. Some envy him for his wealth and power.

"No one knows his fate, which could be exile," Makram added.

As for Dahlan having his own private militia, Makram refuted this rumour saying Dahlan onlytried to create his own camp within Fatah, to support him. He added that the PA is certain that Israel was grooming Dahlan to be Abbas' successor, an ambition of his since the death of Yasser Arafat.

The battle erupted when the PA shutdown Dhalan's Al-Ghad TV channel.