Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fatah and Hamas arm wrestle over control of the `security' services

Well, for a start, Palestinian Chairman Abbas and Hamas prime minister Haniyeh are arm wrasslin' again...this time over `security forces', border entry and who controls them.

Hamas interior minister Sayeed Seyam is supposed to be in charge of this particular item, but Abbas attempted an end run around Haniyeh when he appointed a longtime ally and Fatah flunky Rashid Abu Shbak as head of the three security services that fall under the Interior Ministry. And Shbak went public and said he was authorized to hire and fire officers in the three security branches.

"Any recruitment of directors or deputy directors for any of the three services will be made through me," he said. His appointment was an obvious attempt to reduce Hamas' authority over the `security' services by grabbing the purse strings and cutting the checks for its officers.

As you can imagine, in a place where unemployment is rampant and almost all jobs are through government patronage, this is a prime means of control, and a way to reward one's friends and punish one's enemies.

Haniyeh is upset because he claims Abbas had assured him the security forces would remain under the control of the Hamas-led Cabinet, and then reneged and appointed Abbas' pal Shbak.

Likewise, Haniyeh rejected an attempt by Abbas to take control of security at border crossings in the Gaza Strip.

According to my sources, Abbas was pushed into issuing the decree on the crossings after threats from the EU to withdraw its monitors from the crossing linking Gaza and Egypt.You know, the one where the Pals busted the fence down....

"There are attempts to create parallel frameworks to some ministries in the Palestinian government," Haniyeh said in an interview at his Gaza City headquarters. "But I don't think (Abbas) can keep up this pressure and take away power from this government."

Haniyeh made reference to the Hamas government not taking power "on the back of a tank" but in "transparent and fair elections" (an obvious reference to Arafat's Oslo sanctioned forced take-over of Gaza).

And Haniyeh made no bones about the fact that the security services will be under Hamas control, raising the ante on a collision course between Fatah and Hamas over control of the Palestinian Authority.

I predict a Palestinian style resolution to this in `two in the head and you know he's dead' or an auto blast n'barbecue.

No comments: