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Friday, April 07, 2006

Alone and Broke, Hamas Struggles to Rule

I trust you will all join the New York Times in shedding a tear for poor Hamas. Lonely and broke, they are struggling to rule....

"There are attempts to create parallel frameworks to some ministries in the Palestinian government," Mr. Haniya told The Associated Press in a later interview, adding that he did not think Mr. Abbas could "continue this pressure and diminish some of the authorities of this government."

One of the first acts of the Hamas cabinet, which met on Wednesday using a videophone connection, with 10 ministers here in Gaza and 14 in Ramallah, in the West Bank, was to freeze a round of appointments by the departing Fatah-led administration.

Mr. Haniya's main appointment was that of Said Siam to head the Interior Ministry, a position that includes control of the Palestinian police force and Preventive Security Service. But in the latest example of the jockeying for power, Mr. Abbas has chosen a longtime ally, Rashid Abu Shbak, [Abu Shbak isn't exactly a nice guy either - follow the link. CiJ] to head three security agencies, including the Preventive Security Service. In Gaza, the agency is a power base for Muhammad Dahlan, a major Fatah figure and a former head of the agency here.

Mr. Siam, the Hamas appointee, said he would not use the Preventive Security Service to imprison anti-Israeli activists. "We will not put our sons in prison for political membership or resisting occupation, because occupation is the reason for the problem," he said.

While Hamas, which won a sweeping victory in January's election, can appoint cabinet ministers, the Palestinian Authority and particularly the security services were a vast patronage machine for Fatah, and its bureaucracy is now largely staffed by Fatah loyalists.

Mr. Abbas also ordered that all diplomatic statements and dealings be coordinated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the signer of the Oslo Accords. Fatah is the dominant faction in that group.

The rivalry over who would run the armed security forces surfaced last week in a shootout in which three Palestinians were killed.

Last Friday, a car bomb killed Abu Youssef al-Quqa, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committee who was affiliated with Hamas. It is unclear who carried out the bombing. Israel said it played no part in it.

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee accused Mr. Dahlan of involvement. Later, at a funeral, marchers shouted, "Dahlan is a collaborator." Gunmen from the Preventive Security Service arrived and killed three people and wounded 35 others before calm was restored.

Read it all. Wouldn't it be great if they all 'took care' of each other?


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