Mohammed Dahlan


Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan
Born Mohammed Yusuf Dahlan[1]
September 29, 1961 (1961-09-29) (age 50)[2]
Khan Younis Refugee Camp, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip
Residence The West Bank
Nationality Palestinian
Other names Abu Fadi
Education Islamic University of Gaza
Occupation Member of the Fatah Central Committee
Representative of Khan Younis in the Palestinian Legislative Council
Political party Fatah
Religion Islam
Children 3
Website
Dahlan.TV

Mohammed Dahlan (Arabic: محمد دحلان) born on September 29, 1961 in Khan Younis Refugee Camp, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip also known by the kunya or nom de guerre Abu Fadi (Arabic: أبو فادي) (Muhammad Dahlan is another spelling of his name)[3][4] is a Palestinian politician, the former leader of Fatah in Gaza. Dahlan was born to a refugee family from Hamama, the youngest of six children.

Dahlan became politically active as a teenager and in 1981 helped to establish the Gaza branch of the Fatah Youth Movement Fatah Hawks in the Gaza Strip. Between 1981 and 1986, he was arrested by Israel 11 times for his leading role in the movement. During his time in prison, he learned to speak Hebrew fluently. Following his release from prison, Dahlan completed a BA in Business Administration at the Islamic University of Gaza.

In 2007, Dahlan assisted in a U.S. plan to overthrow the elected Hamas government in Gaza, but the coup failed when Hamas carried out a counter-coup, and routed Fatah forces in Gaza instead.[5]

Contents

Oslo Years

Dahlan was chosen to head the Preventive Security Service in Gaza after the signing of the Oslo Accords. He built up a force of 20,000 men,[2] making him one of the most powerful Palestinian leaders, dealing regularly with the CIA and Israeli intelligence officials.[6] His forces were accused of torturing Hamas detainees throughout the 1990s, allegations Dahlan denies.[7][8] During this period Gaza was nicknamed "Dahlanistan" due to his power.[9] His reputation was damaged in the Karni scandal of 1997 when it was revealed that Dahlan was diverting 40% of the taxes levied at the Karni Crossing (an estimated one million Shekels a month) to his personal bank account.[10][11]

Second Intifada

In 2001 he upset Arafat by beginning to call for reform in the Palestinian National Authority and expressing dissatisfaction with a lack of coherent policy.[12][13]

In 2002, he resigned his post as head of the Preventive Security in Gaza in the hope of becoming the Interior Minister; this did not occur, he was offered a post as security adviser but rejected it. In April 2003, he was appointed the Palestinian Minister of State for Security by Mahmoud Abbas, despite the objection of Arafat.[14] By September he had been ousted when Abbas resigned as Prime Minister, and was replaced by Hakam Balawi.[15]

He repeatedly tried to campaign on a reform and anti-corruption ticket and tried to profile himself as an outspoken critic of Yasser Arafat, although many observers dispute his personal integrity. Nevertheless Dahlan and his followers in internal Fatah elections won over most of the Fatah sections in Gaza.[16][17]

In 2004, Dahlan was assumed to have been behind week-long unrests in Gaza following the appointment of Yasser Arafat's nephew Mousa Arafat as head of Gaza police forces.[18] This appointment was considered by some a deliberate step to weaken Dahlan's position before the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza strip and sparked massive protests.[19]

Gaza Infighting

On January 26, 2006, Dahlan was narrowly elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Palestinian legislative election of 2006 as a representative for Khan Younis. Dahlan took a tough stance against Hamas,[20] calling their election victory a disaster and threatening to 'haunt them from now till the end of their term' and to 'rough up and humiliate' Fatah supporters tempted to join the Hamas-led Palestinian government.[21]

On December 14, 2006 gunmen attempted to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya as he crossed Gaza's border with Egypt, killing a bodyguard and wounding five others, and sparking further clashes between Hamas and Fatah supporters in Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas accused Dahlan of orchestrating the attack.[22] Dahlan rejected the accusations, saying "the Hamas government is fully responsible for yesterday's events."[23]

On January 7, 2007, Dahlan held the biggest-ever rally of Fatah supporters in the Gaza strip,[24] where he denounced Hamas as 'a bunch of murderers and thieves' and vowed that 'we will do everything, I repeat, everything, to protect Fatah activists'. In response Hamas labeled Dahlan a 'putschist' and accused him of bringing Palestinians to the brink of civil war.[25]

Dahlan was a Fatah representative in negotiations which resulted in the Hamas & Fatah Mecca Agreement of February 8, 2007, in which both sides agreed to stop the military clashes in Gaza and form a government of national unity. In March 2007, despite objections from Hamas, Dahlan was appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to lead the newly re-established Palestinian National Security Council, overseeing all security forces in the Palestinian territories.[26] Dahlan organised paramilitary units of several thousand fighters trained with American assistance in Arab countries, and lobbied Israel to allow Fatah forces in Gaza to receive large shipments of arms and ammunition to fight Hamas.[27]

Battle of Gaza

In July 2007, Dahlan resigned from his post as national security adviser.[28] The resignation was little more than a formality, since Mahmoud Abbas had issued a decree dissolving his national security council immediately after the Hamas takeover of Gaza. Dahlan has been blamed by many in Fatah for the rapid collapse of their forces in Gaza in the face of a Hamas offensive that lasted less than a week. During the fighting Dahlan's house on the coast of Gaza was seized by Hamas militants and subsequently demolished. He and most of the other senior security commanders of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority security forces were not in Gaza during the fighting, leading to charges that their men had been abandoned in the field.[29]

Return to West Bank

Shortly after his forces were expelled from Gaza, Dahlan re-established himself in the West Bank. Tensions grew between his supporters and opponents when Fatah leader and former Interior Minister Hani al-Hassan gave an interview on Al-Jazeera in which he said what happened in Gaza was not a war between Fatah and Hamas; but between Hamas and Fatah collaborators who served the Americans and the Israelis, making clear that he was referring to Dahlan's supporters.[30] Representatives of Dahlan pressured Mahmoud Abbas to fire and punish Al-Hassan, while masked gunmen opened fire on his home in Ramallah.[31] Al-Hassan accused Dahlan of planning to murder him, a charge which Dahlan denied.[32]

In October 2007 The Bush administration reportedly exerted heavy pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to appoint Dahlan as his deputy. Some Fatah officials said that the US and some EU countries had made it clear they would like to see Dahlan succeed Abbas as head of the PA.[33]

In August 2009 Dahlan was elected to the Fatah Central Committee [34] However the results were controversial, with Fatah suffering mass resignations over claims the elections were fraudulent.[35][36]

Im June 2011 he was expelled from his party because of repeated criticism of Abbas, in September his house was raided by the Palestinian police, his private armed guards where arrested. In August 2011 his former party accused him even that he was responsible for Araft's death by sendig him the poison.[37]

Al-Mabhouh Assassination

Hamas has claimed that two Palestinians arrested in Dubai for suspected involvement in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Ahmad Hassanain and Anwar Shheibar, are former members of a death cell which carried out violent suppression of Hamas members, and work at a construction company in Dubai owned by Dahlan.[38] A senior Hamas official told Al-Hayat newspaper that the two provided logistical aid to the Mossad hit team alleged to have carried out the assasination, renting them cars and hotel rooms.[39] Dahlan denied the charges, saying "I don't have the towers people say I have in Dubai."[40]

Criticism

Other Palestinians have criticized Dahlan. Jibril Rajoub, with whom he cultivated a deep and personal rivalry, claimed for example in 2003 that everybody knew Dahlan was an Israeli agent.[41][42] He has also been criticized for his good relationship with Arafat's long-time financial adviser Muhammad Rashid and Dahlan's own London-based business.[43] Dahlan is alleged to have enriched himself through corruption, his personal wealth has been estimated at well over $120 million.[44][45]

Others claim that he, for the sake of deterring political rivals and counterweighting the numerous armed militias, maintained in 2003 and 2004 a private army in the Gaza Strip which was trained and equipped by American services, with Israel intending to force a conflict between Dahlan's forces and Hamas.[46]

Dahlan has also faced criticism regarding his role in Gaza turmoil, especially in exchanging hostilities with rival security forces commander Ghazi Jabali. In 2003, Preventative Security Service gunmen raided the offices of Jabali's General Security organization, going so far as to jam his head into his office toilet.[47]

Terrorist Financing Scandal

After years of allegations by watchdogs that Dahlan had been funneling millions to al-Qaeda and other terrorists in Gaza, on July 31, 2011 Egypt accused him of financing the terrorists who blew up the natural gas pipeline supplying Israel.[48]

Famous quotes

  • "I don't have the towers people say I have in Dubai."
  • "Snipers or no snipers, let Hamas shoot and kill me, I want to be close to the masses!"[49]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Palestinian Security Ace: Muhammad Yusuf Dahlan". CNN. April 24, 2003. http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/24/nyt.dahlan/. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/palestine/mohammed_dahlan.htm
  3. ^ Dahlan urges gunmen to give up armsAssociated Press, retrieved 17-May-2007.
  4. ^ Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem, Stuart Reigeluth, Al-Ahram Weekly, retrieved 17-May-2007.
  5. ^ The Gaza Bombshell, by David Rose, April 2008, Vanity Fair
  6. ^ Five killed as Israeli tanks go deep into Gaza, 16 December 2001, Daily Telegraph
  7. ^ Rift Between Hamas and Fatah Grows After Gaza, 07 February 2009, Time
  8. ^ The elephant in the room , 05 September 2010, Al-Jazeera
  9. ^ A Road Map to Where?, June 2003, London Review of Books
  10. ^ [1], October 2005, Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs
  11. ^ http://www.arabmail.de/DrHamam_Articlel01.08.04.html (Arabic)
  12. ^ European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation
  13. ^ CNN transcripts 27 May 2002
  14. ^ Haaretz Arafat trying to undermine Dahlan's security powers By Arnon Regular 10 July 2003
  15. ^ BBC Profile: Mohammed Dahlan By Raffi Berg 23 April 2003
  16. ^ al Ahram All for reform The call for Palestinian reform is all well and good, but how deep run the roots of corruption, asks Lamis Andoni Issue No. 701 29 July - 4 August 2004
  17. ^ Guardian Arafat 'ruining his people' says protege by Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv 2 August 2004
  18. ^ [2] Dahlan likely behind unrest 18 July 2004
  19. ^ [3] Gaza powerbroker threatens mass protest 3 August 2004
  20. ^ Lawmaker's tough talk rouses Fatah faithful, LA Times, 1/21/07.
  21. ^ Dahlan vows to decimate Hamas, Al-Ahram Weekly
  22. ^ Hamas accuses rival of PM attack, BBC, 15/12/06.
  23. ^ Hamas and Fatah clash as tensions escalate, New York Times
  24. ^ Haaretz Dahlan to Haaretz: We proved to Hamas that Gaza is not theirs By Avi Issacharoff, 10 January 2007
  25. ^ BBC Gaza chief brands Hamas murderers 10 January 2007
  26. ^ Hamas slams Abbas' decision to appoint Dahlan as security chief, Haaretz, 3/19/07.
  27. ^ Fatah to Israel: Let us get arms to fight Hamas, Haaretz, 07/06/2007
  28. ^ Haaretz Mohammed Dahlan resigns following Fatah's Gaza defeat By Avi Issacharoff,27 July 2007
  29. ^ Defeated Fatah Leader Resigns Official Post By Isabel Kershner, July 26, 2007, New York Times
  30. ^ Fatah leader slammed over statements release on Al-Jazeera June 28, 2007, International Middle East Media Centre
  31. ^ Abbas advisor says Hamas fighting collaborators June 28, 2007, Ynet
  32. ^ The war within Fatah July 2007, Al-Ahram Weekly
  33. ^ Abbas resists US pressure to name Dahlan his deputy 22 October 2007, Khaled Abu Toameh Jerusalem Post
  34. ^ Fatah Congress: A Victory for Abbas.
  35. ^ http://www.tayyar.org/Tayyar/FrontEnd/News/SavePrintNews.aspx?_GUID={C580D590-649D-49F9-801B-129F96924C1C}&_Print=true Fatah in turmoil after 'rigged poll'
  36. ^ http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast//Article.aspx?id=153830 Former Abbas ally calls him 'a third world tyrant' 3 September 2009, Khaled Abu Toameh Jerusalem Post
  37. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/fatah-ex-gaza-strongman-mohammed-dahlan-poisoned-arafat-1.377635 Ha-Aretz 08.08.11]
  38. ^ "Dubai police say that Hamas murdered al-Mabhouh". Jewish Chronicle. February 25, 2010. http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/dubai-police-say-hamas-murdered-al-mabhouh. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  39. ^ "Hamas: Palestinians linked to Dubai hit employed by Fatah strongman Dahlan". Associated Press. Haaretz. February 19, 2010. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1151029.html. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  40. ^ "Hamas official: PA deeply involved in Mabhouh hit". Ynet. February 18, 2010. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3851209,00.html. Retrieved February 18, 2010. 
  41. ^ New York Times Once Neighbors, Now Rival Palestinian Leaders By James Bennet 29 April 2003
  42. ^ Jpost Where in the world is Fatah's strongman Dahlan? By Khaled Abu Toameh 13 June 2007
  43. ^ New York Times As Arafat Critics Close In, Deputies Vie in the Wings By John Kifner May 21, 2002
  44. ^ Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs 10 October 2005
  45. ^ Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs Can the Palestinian Authority's Fatah Forces Retake Gaza? Obstacles and Opportunities by Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh
  46. ^ Guardian 'The real obstacle to peace is not terror, but sabotage by Sharon-backed army' 20 June 2003
  47. ^ http://www.ujc.org/page.aspx?id=58929
  48. ^ [4]
  49. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3349407,00.html

Sources

External links


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