Contrary to Headlines, It´s Arafat Who Beat Abu Mazen

"Whoever thinks that Arafat was defeated in his clash with Abu Mazen is mistaken." A PA leader said this to an Itim reporter today - confirming what a high-ranking Israeli official told Haggai Huberman last night.

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"Whoever thinks that Yasser Arafat was defeated by giving in to pressures and agreeing to the appointment of Dahlan as Security Affairs Minister - is mistaken." So said a PA leader today to an Itim News Agency reporter, bearing out the words of a high-ranking Israeli security official to correspondent Haggai Huberman last night.

Itim reports that the PA source said that Arafat is still the supreme commander of the PA security forces, and that Dahlan - to whose appointment Arafat appeared to object over the course of the past month - is in fact Arafat's own protege. In addition, Arafat is expected to place obstacles in Abu Mazen's path in the future.

Arafat's strategy in making Dahlan the center of focus, according to the source, was to deflect attention from a genuine Arafat-foe by the name of Nasser Yusuf. To explain: Abu Mazen wanted to appoint Yusuf as Deputy Prime Minister, but Arafat strongly objected. In order to thwart this plan, Arafat made much noise about Dahlan, and then appeared to cave in on that issue while quietly arranging that Yusuf receive only a very marginal position in the new government.

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman added that an Israeli security figure told him last night, "I don't know why everyone is acting as if Abu Mazen beat out Arafat. It's quite the opposite. Abu Mazen is the one who caved in. Until two days ago, he said clearly that if all his conditions were not accepted, he would quit - and now we see that Dahlan, the man whom Abu Mazen wanted as Deputy Interior Minister, will be in charge only of the regular police force and Preventative Security - but Arafat will continue to be in charge of the entire PA army. Arafat therefore still remains the address to whom we must turn to fight terrorism..."

Huberman said that Abu Mazen's new government is "very much the same as the old one, and even Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo will continue to be responsible, as before, for negotiations with Israel. Very little has changed... The Israeli security figure with whom I spoke last night has long been telling me that Arafat will continue to pull the strings, even after the new government is formed. The authorities given to Abu Mazen will remain on paper, but we will soon see how Arafat plays tricks on him in order to really control things."