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Abbas Set to Fire Dahlan in PA Power Struggle

Abbas is trying to fire Mohammed Dahlan, his former Gaza strongman blamed for the Hamas military coup. PA officials resist, want Dahlan prosecuted.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/13/2011, 9:42 AM / Last Update: 6/13/2011, 9:54 AM

Flash 90

Palestinian Authority PA Chairman and Fatah party leader Mahmoud Abbas is tying to fire Mohammed Dahlan, his former Gaza strongman, but the Fatah movement’s Revolutionary Council is resisting and wants Dahlan investigated for corruption.

The dispute underlines the fragility of the Palestinian Authority government and the increasing doubts that Abbas can win recognition for the PA as a country based on the Arab world’s demands.

The Fatah Central Committee announced the firing of Dahlan, who was in effect the leader of Gaza before the military coup five years ago. The Revolutionary Council refused to back the decision and said that investigations should continue concerning Dahlan’s alleged plot last year to reduce Abbas’ power.

"It is clear that the relations between Abbas and the Central Committee members in one hand [sic] and Dahlan in the other hand has reached an impasse," Hatem Abdul-Qader, a member of the council, told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

He added that the Revolutionary Council is the only side which can decide on firing Dahlan from the Central Committee, but only when the committee "presents enough documents to convict Dahlan."  An official said that Dahlan is suspected of “corruption and crimes.”

Dahlan, a native of Gaza, was reportedly one of the richest men in the region and allegedly made millions of dollars while leading Fatah before the Hamas coup.

Earlier this year, an Algerian newspaper claimed that Dahlan and other Palestinian Authority Arabs were "involved in a deal to supply weapons from Israel to Muammar Gaddafi" via a ship that sailed from Greece.

Libyan dissident Omar El-Khadraoui said, "The former leader of the Fatah movement, Muhammad Dahlan, and someone known as 'Muhammad Rashid', a Kurd from Iraq whose real name is Khalid Salam and who used to be an advisor to the late Yasser Arafat, are behind a deal to supply internationally proscribed weapons to Colonel Gaddafi, who used them to shell civilians in Misrata in western Libya."