Abbas Re-elected Fatah Leader; Dahlan Shut Out
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday presided over day one of his five-day Fatah faction showcase in Ramallah and to start things rolling, was re-elected to the party’s top spot. Despite Abbas’s speech in which he the event the conference of the “independent Palestinian decision, building, liberation and national unity,” Abbas successfully kept his opponents at bay. Palestinian media reported that some attendees were angry that the re-election of Abbas to the chairmanship effectively cut-off important discussion of a successor to the octogenarian. In the case of Mohammed Dahlan, arguably the choice of the Western nations to succeed Abbas, what many had hoped would signal his return from exile to replace the aging Abbas never happened. Abbas, who looks to the Arab world to shore up his political positions, refuses to embrace the man who is already the choice of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as Western powers including the United States. While the conference is taking place under a bright spotlight, there is a rumbling being heard that is critical of Abbas and his cadre of supporters for using the conference to thwart the return of Dahlan rather than for building Palestinian unity.