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Sunday, 20 May 2007

What if? Examining a case scenario, its implications for Israel, the Middle East and World

Some thing happen a few days ago. In the ups and downs of the continual blood lust between Hamas and Fatah, it was buried. It could have and probably still will have major implications on at least a Middle East level.

YNet reported a few days ago:

Abbas cancels Gaza trip over assassination plot

Senior security official says visit cancelled following discovery of tunnel full of explosives placed by gunmen to blow up Palestinian president's convoy

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas canceled a trip to Gaza on Thursday after it was discovered that Hamas gunmen planned to blow up his convoy, a senior security official said.

"Abu Mazen's (Abbas's) visit to Gaza was canceled after the discovery of a tunnel under Salaheddine Road full of explosives placed by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigads to blow up (Abbas's) convoy," said the official.

"The explosives were found on the route that Abu Mazen takes to travel to Gaza," the source added.

An official in Abbas's office confirmed the report.

Dozens of Hamas and Fatah members have been killed in the past few days in heavy clashes. The tensions between the two factions were interrupted by a series of IDF air strikes in response to the firing of Qassam rockets at the cities of Sderot and Ashkelon.

This is a major escalation in the conflict between the waring factions. It can't be ignored that it was a planned assassination attempt against Mahmoud Abbas, utilizing the very dialogue process which is supposed to stop the waring factions from fighting each other.

There's no doubt this is going to have serious implications in any future dialogue between Abbas's Fatah Party and Hamas.

The question is raised how could you trust Hamas to be at the table when they appear to have been scheming the assassination of Abbas. This will be an impediment to any agreement the Palestinians can reach with regards to the current fighting between the waring factions.

There's also another component of this which I have yet to see have any analysis.

Just imagine for one moment that the assassination attempt against Abbas had been successful?

That's a case scenario that would have had implications for both Fatah, Hamas, the Middle East and Israel within minutes of it happening.

Imagine the power vacuum that would exist if Abbas was eliminated. In the short term there would be a severe escalation in inter factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah.

Many questions are raised. Would it be the trigger to a full out civil war in the Palestinian territories? If so who has the most to gain? Fatah? Israel? the US? Iran? Hamas?

There's been some speculation that there may have been an order from Khalid Mashaal.

I would like to speculate, that it could have come from even further. Could it be that this was a strategy of Iran? Iran desperately wants to keep the focus on this area of the Middle East and Iraq. A civil war, with the resultant power shirt to Hamas would serve Iran's purposes extremely well. It would lesson the chances of any foreseeable air strike on Iran in the short to medium future.

It would open up a much needed second front against Iran's number one foe Israel.

I believe Iran and Khalid Mashaal have plotted scenario's of what would happen upon the demise of Abbas, and unfortunately for Western Powers, it would in my eyes result in a major shift of power.

Fatah would be an organization with out a command, ineffective, unable to respond to internal threats. The discord that would result internally for Fatah would present the perfect opportunity to Hamas to once and for all eliminate the threat Fatah poses.

There has been a continual power struggle between Hamas and Fatah ever since Hamas won the Palestinian election.

Western powers are forced into having to prefer the better of two evils. Hamas knows that there is a power shift happening. It knows that it can only for so long hold onto power before the populace starts to resent the lack of foreign aid. Fatah has started to make some serious inroads into the hold of Hamas on power, Haniyeh knows time is starting to run out.

There's no doubt that there would be serious implications for the Palestinian State if Abbas had been/was assassinated. The power vacuum I believe that would result would inevitably erupt in a civil war. The loser would be Fatah, with Israel facing a hardened and more entrenched Hamas, who post civil war, would be a very blood thirsty enemy indeed against Israel.

It doesn't bode well, its an ominous sign in the Palestinian landscape, and what ever happens this will end up being a turning point in Palestinian Politics and a serious escalation in Israel's war against terrorism.

That's my two cents. Mr Bagel.

AFP: Published: 05.17.07, 21:58 / Ynet News