Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Abu Mazen’s White Coup | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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I cannot describe the events since the formation of a committee to investigate into the defeat of Fatah in Gaza as anything but a second coup  that is, following the coup Hamas staged against Fatah in Gaza. However this time, the coup was led by President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader accused of having a weak personality and the incapacity to elicit any change.

President Abbas chose the critical time and the appropriate event to finally stage his coup after enduring a long wait since he assumed the presidency in 2004. And thus the most powerful figures in Fatah, including Mohamed Dahlan and Yasser Abd Rabbo, in addition to 60 other senior Fatah officers have either fled or fallen at the first sign that the president meant business. Abu Mazen has abandoned his position as a peaceful leader to become a combatant leader who seems to be leading the new battle himself.

Apart from his hesitant decisions, Abu Mazen remains a Palestinian necessity after the Palestinians were orphaned following the death of Yasser Arafat; a nation without a real leadership that is embroiled in war. The Palestinians had become accustomed to Arafat who was their front in the Diaspora and who governed over them internally for 36 years. Abu Ammar succeeded in overshadowing all those who tried to compete with him for the seat of power, including the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin who despite his huge following and popularity still could not take his place, like many others who tried before him.

But Arafat was not simply a leader by virtue of heading the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, but rather for a number of traits he possessed, including his shrewdness, focus, decisiveness, reconciliatory approach and the complex alliances he forged on an Arab and Palestinian level.

As for Abu Mazen, he inherited the leadership of Fatah without any challenges posed from the leadership of the movement by reason of his seniority and the respect he had gained. However, over the past three years, he has shown no signs of leadership qualities. He did nothing to resolve the recurring internal crises in the Palestinian arena, or even within Fatah itself. Abbas was disdained to the point that emboldened his partners in Hamas against him, despite the fact that he was the one responsible for admitting them to power. In turn, they plotted to kill him then turned against him and seized Gaza in a manner that intended to demonstrate their challenge of Abu Mazen’s leadership.

Perhaps this was the last straw that woke the president up, after which he broke his silence and began shooting at his potential opponents.

Nabil Amr’s unexpected proactive statement was met with amazement after he made some announcements, before the Friday prayers, that 60 officers in Fatah will be held accountable and that Dahlan had resigned, and before them was the news of the formation of Salam Fayyad’s two governments. The president commenced with a harsh speech in which he revealed that Hamas had made attempts to assassinate him.

This series of bold steps could mean a new awakening on Abu Mazen’s behalf, one in which he has come to realize that it was not only his power that was targeted, but that there had also been a conspiracy to take his life. Perhaps these developments might indicate a plan in which Abu Mazan has waited for the right moment to attack his adversaries, both at home and abroad.

Should he succeed in his internal coup, Abu Mazen will have taken charge of the full reins of leadership and the absolute right for the Palestinian Authority, especially after shutting the cage on Hamas, which it had willingly backed itself into after seizing Gaza. Hamas put itself on the frontline to face Israeli gunfire and the faces of 1.5 millions Palestinians who require it to provide them with their share of water, electricity, gas, pensions and food.

Today, the aftermath of this ‘counter-coup’ has set the scene for Mahmoud Abbas to take action. He has become obligated to adopt reforms, reorganize the order of power and change the bad image that has come to represent Fatah, and finally, to lead the Palestinian people towards their dream project: the Palestinian state.