Internal Challenges to Abbas' Leadership Behind Peace Talks Failure

(Tablet) Lee Smith - PA President Mahmoud Abbas is now in the ninth year of a four-year presidential term. Staying in power requires keeping his rivals at bay. The leaders in the Gulf states are more worried about Iran and its nuclear program than about the Israelis. Their objective, right now, is to find a Palestinian version of Egypt's new strongman, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - someone who can take on Hamas and other Islamist factions, block Iranian influence, and keep his nation united, stable, and, most importantly, quiet. Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza-based Fatah strongman, has been living in the United Arab Emirates. The plan some Arab leaders are pursuing, apparently, is to strengthen Dahlan to make another run at Hamas in Gaza, then muscle Abbas out of the leadership in Ramallah. Abbas' moves against Israel at the negotiating table should be seen in the context of his fight for political survival. If Abbas can get more prisoners released, then he's a hero for liberating the foot soldiers of the resistance. There's nothing to be gained by making concessions to Jerusalem or Washington.

2014-04-16 00:00:00

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