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Fatah seeks alliance with Hamas to counter Abbas (WORLD TRIBUNE) MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE - JERUSALEM, Israel 01/26/05)Source: http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/05/front2453397.3194444445.html WORLD TRIBUNE WORLD TRIBUNE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
JERUSALEM – The new chief of the ruling Fatah movement has sought an alliance with Hamas in an effort to pressure the new Palestinian leadership.

A report by an Israeli think tank asserted that Fatah chief Farouk Khaddoumi has been preparing to establish an alliance against the Palestinian Authority. The report said the alliance would include Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

"Arafat´s Tunis-based, hardline successor as Fatah leader, is striving to form a new center of influence with the cooperation of radical Palestinian factions – including the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership abroad – in order to serve as a watchdog on the elected leadership," the report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs said.

The center, in a report authored by [Res.] Lt. Col. Jonathan Halevi, said Khaddoumi represents a challenge to the new Palestinian leadership in the aftermath of the death of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. That leadership has been composed of PLO and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.

"The more that Abu Mazan embraces these militant Islamic groups, the more he legitimizes them and undercuts his own position in the long term," the report, entitled "Palestinian Priorities After Arafat," said.

The report said the Fatah military wing, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, has not committed itself to follow Abbas. Al Aqsa has called for the nomination of Fatah secretary-general Marwan Barghouti and Fatah gunmen have shot at Abbas and his delegation in Gaza City in November 2004. The new PA leadership was not expected to rely on the security forces for regime stability.

"The Palestinian security forces´ deep weaknesses will affect the viability of the new leadership, which lacks a reliable source of power to effectively enforce law and order and combat the terrorist infrastructure," the report said. "This is particularly true in the West Bank since Israel´s 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, but may not apply fully to the Gaza Strip, where Israeli military operations have been of a more limited nature." (Copyright © 2005 East West Services, Inc. 01/26/05)

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