PA Targets Abbas Rival Dahlan in Corruption Probe
The assets of ousted Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan were seized by Jordanian authorities on Monday as officials in Ramallah pursue corruption charges against him.
According to Jordan's Al-Rai newspaper, the head of Public Prosecutions in Amman ordered the Central Bank of Jordan to foreclose the real estate and financial holdings of Dahlan, his brother and another unnamed individual on Monday.
The seizure comes after the head of the Palestinian Authority anti-corruption commission Rafiq al-Natsheh announced he was chasing corruption suspects living outside of PA-run enclaves.
Al-Natsheh insisted, "We will ask these countries to help us restore the stolen public money."
Dahlan, who was head of Gaza's powerful security forces when Fatah ruled the enclave, was formerly a leading figure in the PA and a rising political rival of chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Dahlan is best known for his determined crackdown on Hamas in the 1990s when he rounded up thousands of Islamists who refused to recognize the newly-created PA.
But in June 2007 Dahlan fell from grace when his forces were routed by Hamas, which seized Gaza in a bloody putsch.
Dahlan, a favorite of the United States and European Union to replace Abbas as head of the PA, returned to the political stage when he was elected to the Fatah central committee in August 2009.
In December 2010, he was suspended from the committee, which announced it had set up a commission of inquiry to examine his finances and claims he tried to set up a personal militia.
Dahlan was voted out of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the party's governing body, in June 2011, after publicly criticizing chairman Mahmoud Abbas' unilateral tack at the United Nations.
According to Fatah he was voted out due to suspicion of having committed unspecified "criminal acts."
Palestinian forces raided the Ramallah home of the former preventive security chief the following month, detaining twelve of his personal security guards and seizing communications devices, computers, weapons and two of his personal cars.
Critics say Dahlan – known for his regular dealings with CIA and Israeli intelligence officials – was seen as a serious contender for future leadership of the PA and that he is being targeted for political reasons.
They note that Abbas, repeatedly accused of corruption over the years, has not been probed by the PA anti-corruption commission.
Abbas supporters have accused Dahlan of poisoning the late PLO terrorist icon Yasser Arafat, while Hamas recently accused him of being complicit in the alleged Mossad assassination of terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
According to Hamas two Arabs arrested in connection with the assassination were former members of what they termed a "Dahlan death squad" that had targeted its members in the 1990's.