Israeli media reported in the past few hours that an Israeli minister met several times with former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan. My Israeli source confirms the meetings and tells me the minister was Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister. The meeting was in Paris as confirmed by this Maariv report which noted Lieberman had been spotted in a hotel frequented by Arab leaders and people from the Gulf. Lieberman had been telling Israeli journalists that he was meeting Qatari officials (Hebrew) there as a “cover” for his actual plans. Dahlan, one of the most brutal and corrupt of ex-Fatah strongmen, was exiled by the PA and now lives in Dubai under the protection of the royal family there.
It seems especially appropriate for these two individuals to meet. Lieberman was a nightclub bouncer back in his native Moldova and is known for his hot temper and beating up teenage boys at his settlement home in Nokdim. Dahlan is known as Fatah’s enforcer. His jails in Gaza before Hamas’ ascendancy, were well known for their brutality and torture chambers. The two have much in common.
A bit of context is in order: whenever Israel gets particularly pissed at Mahmoud Abbas they trot out Dahlan as a bogeyman. And man are they ever pissed with his joining the International Criminal Court. This means that Israel may have the added headache of preparing for international trials against its generals or ministers in the coming year or so.
When Abbas gets particularly nettlesome, Israel re-“discovers” a Palestinian “alternative.” They treat Dahlan like a king, hold “high-level” meetings with him, consult with him as if he carried the divine tablets from Sinai, etc. They’ve held such Dahlan tetes a tete in the past with other senior ministers. The goal is to spook Abbas into believing that Israel might seek a more pliable Palestinian partner; or alternatively to drive Abbas into a rage.
The tactic is beyond pathetic: who in their right mind in Israel or Palestine believes Dahlan is a serious interlocutor among Palestinians? Who does he represent? All the gunmen, bouncers (a nod to Lieberman’s past), enforcers, torturers and anyone else who can be bought off in Palestine?
Apparently, there are a few Israeli journalists and U.S. neocons who believe Dahlan represents someone other than thieves and hitmen. Avi Issacharoff, writing for the Likudist-neocon Times of Israel, writes:
Dahlan, a longtime opponent of Abbas who was expelled from Abbas’s Fatah party in 2011, is considered a legitimate contender by some Palestinians and PLO leaders to replace the president…
Let’s take a look at the link in the above passage. It leads to a National Interest story bruiting the idea that Dahlan is a legitimate rival to Abbas. But the article was written by Grant Rumley of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. This is a pro-Israel neocon outfit whose mission is to peddle nonsense like this.
In fact, the National Interest published another nugget by a different FDD “analyst” claiming, preposterously, that Iranian clerics are in fear of American Islam because its level of moderation might tempt Iranians to abandon their own Shiite revolutionary zeal. Just because the National Interest appears to be giving free rein to FDD staff to opine in its pages, doesn’t mean we have to accord any credibility to any of this garbage.
So returning to Issacharoff, he falsely claims there are ‘Palestinians and PLO leaders’ who consider Dahlan a “legitimate contender,” linking to Rumley as his source. Rumley himself offers exceedingly thin proof of this claim:
Thousands marched in the streets of Gaza last Thursday in support of Mohammad Dahlan, a longtime rival of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas who has lived in the UAE ever since Abbas forced him into exile in 2011. Protesters blasted Abbas, whom they accused of corruption, tyranny and even treason, while at the same time cheering the exiled former leader.
…Dahlan…appears to have some support among ordinary Palestinians. Indeed, last week’s demonstration was not the first time pro-Dahlan supporters hit the streets. When thousands of Abbas supporters previously marched in Gaza in early 2013 for Fatah’s anniversary they were disrupted by swarms of Dahlan supporters.
Note, this rally was in Gaza, not the West Bank. Gaza was formerly Dahlan’s stronghold, but it’s also now the bailiwick of Hamas. It would naturally be in Hamas’ interest as a rival of Fatah, to allow, even encourage rallies for Dahlan. So the fact that Gazans protested for Dahlan means very little. Now, if they protested in the West Bank right under the PA’s nose, that would be notable.
Rumley also claims Dahlan recently met with two senior former PA officials who are now Abbas rivals. But he also notes that the officials not only denied the report, but threatened to sue journalists who printed it.
The effect of all this that Israeli policy strategists and their journalistic scribes are a self-enclosed echo chamber. Bibi turns to the Times of Israel which turns to FDD and they teach each other what they want to hear. They want to hear there is a viable quiescent Palestinian leader who will bought and stay bought like other Arab strongmen past and present: Mubarak, Al-Sisi, Gemayel, Hussein and Abdullah, among others. This has nothing to do with Palestinian reality nor with any real prospect of a successful policy that will advance Israeli interests. Instead, it’s more like a block and parry move in fencing. It may stave off a single hard blow, but it does nothing to win the match.
UPDATE: Maariv has published this story here.
I tried to get a message by mail to you these past two days, both times failed with an error note: ‘account not available.’
The topic is however covered in this article. I did some digging who this person is …
National Interest author Ben Taleblu
○ Solidarity with Iran: Light a Candle & Human chain for 18 Tir (July 9th, 2009)
○ Nowruz – United States Celebrates Iranian Culture
Guiding the kids who jumped over the simulated flames was Bhnam Taleblu, a freshman at George Washington University and a member of the college’s Iranian Cultural Society. Taleblu was costumed in a flowing white robe and equally flowing white beard — a representation, he explained, of “an old wise man ushering in the new year.”
Born in the United States of Iranian immigrant parents, Taleblu said that, raised in a traditional family, he absorbed much of his historic culture. “I think that’s the beauty of Iranian culture, that regardless of what’s going on politically, whatever our global crisis might be, we always have a culture to take refuge in,” he said.
Richard Silverstein says
I’ve changed my e mail address. Can you e mail me via the blog contact form or I’ll try to dig up your e mail from past messages you’ve sent.
Two more gems:
○ Khamenei’s Ominous Nuclear Infographic by Behnam Ben Taleblu 9th May 2014 – FDD Policy Brief
○ Biography @CameraOnCampus
Behnam Ben Taleblu is a contributor to Foundation for Defense of Democracies Rapid Response Research team. Fluent in Farsi, Behnam provides the Foundation scholars, fellows, and staff with open-source research and analysis on Iran-related matters, including: nuclear non-proliferation, domestic politics, clerical trends, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the foreign policy debates within the Islamic Republic. He is a frequent contributer of policy briefs and is an incredible resource for understanding Middle Eastern dynamics.
○ Reza Pahlavi: A Message to the Nation
Son of former Iranian leader touts democracy
Audience members greeted Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah of Iran, with a standing ovation when he spoke of the relentless pursuit for democracy and human rights in Iran at an event at the Elliott School of International Affairs.
At the end of his speech, Pahlavi asked students to bear witness to their generation’s “first great struggle for human dignity.”
“Your brothers and sisters half a world away use the same Internet you use to take on one of the most brutal regimes in the world, and they take it on with courage and conviction. Your generation uses new technologies in ways that makes me believe totalitarianism will soon be a thing of the past. Where information flows freely, no man can easily deceive and subjugate another. This we have learned from you.”
Pahlavi, whose wife Yasmine Etemad Amini attended GW as an undergraduate and also graduated from GW with a law degree, said it was a special pleasure to speak to students from his wife’s alma mater.
“I recall the many sleepless nights as she worked to meet course requirements and studying for finals. So, in a manner of speaking, I have been where you are today,” he said.
Behnam Taleblu, academic coordinator for the International Affairs Society (IAS), said the event was the organization’s crowning achievement for the year.
“Tuesday’s event was the premier speaking occasion of the year for our organization,” Taleblu said. “We brought the former crown prince of Iran to GW on our capacity, which took numerous phone calls and rigorous planning.”
Liberman’s secret meeting NOT with Dahlan.
Indeed, the Maariv article states the source of information to be Arab48 and not an Israeli independent source.
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, & we always believe everything we read in the Jerusalem Post, including the lies & fraud.
Perhaps some signals were crossed as Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al-Thani became an unlikely “donor” to disabled Israeli soldiers when he recently paid far above market value for a Paris apartment. The five-room property, located near the Champs-Elysees in the City of Light’s prestigious 8th Arrondissement, was previously owned by the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization (ZVDO). [Source: Walla]
○ Mohammed Dahlan Takes Revenge and Forms New Party to Get Rid of Abbas
| The Jewish Press | by Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu |
A former corrupt devil is trying to get back at the current corrupt devil, possibly with the encouragement of none other than the devil’s devil, called Bibi Netanyahu.
On Thursday, thousands of Gazans marched in the streets to show their love for Dahlan. They also accused Abbas of occupation, tyranny and treason, Foundation for Defense of Democracies research analyst Grant Rumley wrote for the National Interest.
Original article in FDD with links to Times of Israel version – here.
○ Gazans rally for ex-strongman as West Bank trial opens | Daily Mail Online |
In Gaza thousands of protesters rallied outside the Palestinian parliament, carrying portraits of Abbas covered with slogans accusing him of “treason,” “corruption” and “tyranny”. “The time has come to put an end to the injustice facing the Gaza Strip and our brothers whose salaries have been cut,” Palestinian lawmaker and Dahlan supporter Majd Abu Shamaleh told the crowd.
A spokesman for Abbas’s Palestinian Authority security services, Adnan Damiri said the personnel were sacked for violating regulations, not because they are Dahlan partisans. “We sacked those who violated the rules of military discipline.”
Another source highlighted the meeting between Fatah and Hamas …
○ Palestinian factions meet in Gaza as thousands march in Dahlan rally
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Representatives of all major Palestinian political parties met in Gaza for the first time since a series of explosions targeted Fatah last month, even as thousands rallied in the streets against a trial some fear may only deepen the political divide. The meeting signaled a potential thaw in the relationship between leading groups Hamas and Fatah, which despite a coalition government in place since April has been shaky since the blasts.
They sent the Moldovian because only Nixon could go to China.
Dahlan the middleman between Israel, Qatar and the UAE:
○ Palestinian foes joined at the hip by business deals in Montenegro – 2013
○ Mohammad Dahlan: the UAE fixer in Serbia – 2014
○ Secret flight linking Israel to the UAE reveals ‘open secret’ of collaboration | Dec. 22, 2014 |
The forbidden fruit of reconciliation between Hamas and Dahlan
○ Betting on a horse named Oasis running in Jericho
According to sources who were involved in the venture, Ginossar was the main go-between in the deal that led to the establishment of Oasis. He introduced Schlaff to the top people in the PA, among them Arafat, Mohammed Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub and Mohammed Rashid, a man with humor, charm and a fondness for money. The Oasis Casino was built in partnership with the Palestinian Authority, the Austrian labor union bank Bawag and Casinos Austria.
The casino’s opening was preceded by feverish discussions between the Palestinian leadership and Schlaff, which took place both in PA territory and Austria. These included a meeting between Arafat and the Austrian chancellor, for which the Palestinian was flown especially to Vienna.
Uzrad Lew, who was Ginossar’s business partner, says Ginossar and Rashid received especially high commissions for managing Arafat’s and other Palestinians’ money in Swiss bank accounts and other deals.
By means of his ultra-Orthodox family, Schlaff developed close ties with Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, who at that time was facing bribery charges.
Linked to RS tweet about Dahlan meeting Lieberman via Martin Schlaff as btoker.
○ Business relations on gambling and money transfer to Yisrael Beitenu | Aug. 2003 |
Haaretz has learned that several years ago, during a special session of an Austrian parliamentary committee investigating that country’s intelligence services, information came up regarding business connections between Martin Schlaff, the Austrian businessman who is believed to own 50 percent of the Jericho casino, and Lieberman, and how money was transferred to the political party Lieberman established, Yisrael Beitenu.
Arie Brand says
That photograph – it reminded me of a saying attributed to S.A.leader Ernst Röhm” “When I hear the word culture, I grab for my gun”, sorry wineglass.
This whole discussion is really inane.
You guys are making a mountain out of a molehill, of a meeting that may or may not have happened, and if it did happen, has no significance or consequences whatsoever.
The sources that leak this suspect information all have an interest in discrediting or embarrassing Dahlan and Leiberman. These sort of leaks happen all the time. It could be Abbas’s men. Or Netanyahu’s team.
○ Facebook entry Mohammad Dahlan on Dec. 31, 2014
Praising the ‘eternal leader’ Yasser Arafat.
“I also wish to pay tribute and respect to the martyrs and the national Palestinian factions leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Dr. George Habash and Dr. Fathi Shikaki and Abu Ali Mustafa and Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, and thousands of people and the martyrs of the revolution.”
Harsh criticism on PA and Mahmoud Abbas for going to the UNSC and losing the vote and thereby legitimacy of the Palestinian leaders.
Continues to explain the differences between him and Abbas, especially praising himself as true leader to achieve Palestinian goals.
Continues on the split created between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, his version of events.
Blames the blockade of Gaza with the pain, humiliation and marginalization on Netanyahu and Abbas. Pleads for reconciliation and national unity.
Quite important the events of reconciliation finalized in December, between Qatar and the GCC states. The deals were brokered under chairmanship of Kuwait. This is important for the relationship between Egypt’s president Sisi and the young emir of Qatar. This is also a priority for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and operating with a unity voice in military policy for the region. [Source: Gulf news]