The Happy Arab News Service

Saturday, December 23, 2006

No Frogs for Abbas

This report by Spiegel confirms the IDF's view of Abu Mazen's chances to win against Hamas. They are very low.

The Palestinian police and forces loyal to Fatah are poorly trained, demoralized and include too many people with split loyalties. They are facing a movement that's universally admitted to be corruption free and ruthlessly efficient. Hamas militants are discplined, dedicated and well trained.

If it comes to a full scale civil war, Abbas may discover that numerical superiority means very little and actually it's not clear if he has even this advantage as it appears that there are people for whom to serve in Fatah security forces is more like a way to make money . . . partly to be able to pay their membership dues in the Hamas Qassam Brigades.

It's a pitty that Abbas does not have a habit of looking to the IDF for advise. He can save himself a lot of trouble in the future . . . and maybe even his own life.

Spiegel Online

December 21, 2006
By Ulrike Putz in Gaza City

By day, he's a member of Fatah security forces. By night, he wages holy war with Hamas. With the two Palestinian groups fighting against each other these days, Abu Khaled's life has become a dangerous balance. If need be, he says, he would even kill his friends.

. . .

By day, the 23-year-old serves in the Palestinian security forces, which are controlled by Fatah. When Abu Khaled's workday ends, though, he goes home, changes his uniform, pulls out his weapons and transforms himself into a fighter with the Qassam Brigades -- the military arm of Hamas. . .

"We are not a rarity," says the fighter. He estimates that about 30 percent of the men who officially serve with the Palestinian security forces are secretly active members of militia groups with ties to Hamas -- armed men who change sides depending on the time of day. No wonder the situation in Gaza is so confusing. In most of the gun battles between Hamas and Fatah in recent days, it was almost impossible to tell who was shooting at whom, when they were shooting, and why. After each new incident, the barrage of back-and-forth accusations merely triggered the next shoot-out -- a spiral of violence that is difficult to stop.

. . .

. . . "The official forces are poorly trained and armed," he says. "They could never do much harm to the Israelis."

He's likely right. A visit to a Fatah training camp that morning was unconvincing. Although the camp's 50 recruits were able to perfectly recite Fatah's various slogans after three months of training, most were incapable of performing even the most rudimentary of combat maneuvers.

. . .

He normally spends five nights a week with the Qassam Brigades, stationed at the border with Israel. "In the past few years, I have attacked Israeli tanks, fired rockets and grenades and laid mines," he says, listing his achievements. According to Khaled, the weapons are homemade; land mines, rocket launchers and even Kalashnikovs and ammunition are produced at Qassam's secret workshops in the Gaza Strip. The material, he says, is smuggled in from Egypt through tunnels or comes "from the Israeli mafia." (!!! NB)

. . .

Though already 23, Abu Khaled doesn't have a family of his own. . .

. . . Financial concerns are partly responsible for the fact that he hasn't married yet. He received his last full pay nine months ago. He uses part of the money he occasionally receives for his daytime services to pay his membership dues in the Qassam Brigades. "It is an honor for us to be permitted to fight for Hamas. We give some our money so that the fight can continue."

. . .

Khaled vehemently denies the possibility that the Qassam Brigades could attack his unit. "The Qassam Brigades never attack their brothers. We only defend ourselves." But the possibility has crossed his mind. "If we are attacked by the Qassam Brigades, I will identify myself and switch to their side."

. . .

When asked what he would do were his fellow Fatah members . . . realize his split loyalties, Khaled says: "I would try to escape."

And if that didn't work, he would kill friends, if necessary. "It has come to this in Palestine."



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