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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler

Here's Soccer Dad's Middle East Media Sampler for Thursday, February 2.
1) Fayyad down, Abbas up
Salam Fayyad the Palestinian prime minister has introduced a series of unpopular economic measures leading to Support for Palestinian Authority Erodes as Prices and Taxes Rise:
But over the past two weeks Palestinians have been taking to the streets here and in other West Bank cities to denounce Mr. Fayyad, protesting soaring prices and recently approved tax increases.
The tax changes have proved so unpopular that Mr. Fayyad has suspended their enactment until mid-February, pending the outcome of talks to resolve the matter.
Condemnation of the fiscal policies of Mr. Fayyad, a Western-educated economist and a political independent, has come from the private sector, the unions and Fatah, the mainstream nationalist movement that dominates the Palestinian Authority. Young protesters sat down in the center of Ramallah with posters bearing legends like “Starving.”
Given that Fatah is the main component of the Palestinian Authority, if Fatah is protesting, it suggests that the Fatah protesters are supporting Fayyad's governing partner, Mahmoud Abbas.
Further, the AP reports (h/t Challah Hu Akbar):
Rami Samara, an editor at the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, said plainclothes security agents took him from his office to Abbas' headquarters on Tuesday and held him for four hours. "They showed me about 100 pages of comments I made on Facebook, mostly criticizing the Palestinian Authority and the PLO," he said.
He said he was told he would be released if he signed a confession that he organized an anti-government demonstration on behalf of a small PLO faction critical of Abbas. Samara said he refused, but he was eventually released.
"Before this detention, I thought that we, the Palestinian people, enjoy wide freedom, but after what I saw, I think I'm being followed by the intelligence in every step of my life," he said.
It would appear that Abbas is consolidating his own power. Given that he's unwilling to go forward with negotiations, most likely it is to boost his own standing in opposition to Hamas.

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