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Abu Mazen's Men - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The title I chose is similar to that of the film “All the President’s Men”, which tells the story of President Nixon and the Watergate scandal. In reality, this article is not scandalous so much as it observes the drastic changes that occur in the Palestinian Authority that warrant to be called a “white coup”.

I received a large amount of negative feedback to yesterday’s article for analogizing President Mahmoud Abbas’ rash decisions since the fall of Gaza to a white coup that he is staging against his colleagues. The subject thus merits further elaboration. I must first mention that the Secretary General of the PLO’s [Palestinian Liberation Organization] Executive Committee, Yasser Abd Rabbo, whom I accused in yesterday’s article of having been fired following Abbas’ white coup, has objected to this claim. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday after the article had been published seeking an explanation. He only sarcastically replied by saying “I’m as involved in the Gaza events as you are in the money-making strategies of the world’s richest men,” which means he was not involved at all.

He did confirm, however, that he still holds his position with the President, even though he is not a member of Fatah, and that it is untrue that he was dismissed from office. He also said that although he is not a member of Fatah, he is still very much influential among government circles.

A colleague, Giselle Khoury [of Al-Arabiya news channel] once even said to him, “Mr. Yasser, I really do not know how to address you: should I call you by ‘His Excellency the Minister of Information,’ or ‘the Secretary General of the Committee’, or Honorable Counsel, or Mr. Yasser Abd Rabo?” “Titles make positions temporary. Just call me Yasser!” came his reply. Contrary to previous reports, Yasser was not a victim of Abbas’s white coup. What was written in yesterday’s article must thus be corrected.

He, on the other hand, maintained that what Abbas did was not a “coup,” which is his point of view and he is entitled to it. We in the press, however, are entitled to labeling things, not staging coups. Even Hamas vehemently denies to having staged a coup, while that one involved weapons, killing, expelling, taking over government, and raising Hamas’ flag high.

From the moment he was defeated, Abu Mazen had personally taken control and attacked Hamas in all his statements, putting an end to the truce they had agreed upon in the past. He has formed an investigation committee and gotten rid of his senior assistants and officers. He has also formed a government entirely unlike the preceding one and handed it over to Salam Fayyad. If this is not a white coup, what other name can it be go by?

It is a coup that was staged rather craftily. I do not condemn Abu Mazen for having rectified the situation, or else I would not have written about the gentle lion’s first canny smile, yesterday. I believe he should have done this sooner, as early as three years ago, in fact. Many believe that it was his inaction that led to the situation there today, along with Hamas’ disregard for the PA’s constitution and signed agreements, its conspiracy to assassinate him, and the grudge it holds against Fatah so much that it detains members of Fatah and frees foreigners and even animals in Gaza.

Mohamed Dahlan, is the most prominent member of the Palestinian Authority and one of the victims of the Ramallah coup. As usual, coups bring about the downfall of their own leaders. The man returned to Europe on crutches to resume medical treatment. I once asked Dahlan in the wake of the Gaza defeat, what he predicted would ensue. He then answered that he had warned leaders of the authority long ago that Hamas was planning to seize Gaza. “They accused me of being paranoid,” he said. “Until what I feared took place, indeed. It is too late to do anything. And we are now before a new reality and we must deal with it accordingly.”

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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