The Dragon In The Basement

Fareed Zakaria writes that that Yasser Arafat is the biggest threat to the peace process. He notes that Arafat has nothing to gain and everything to lose by peace between Israel and the Palestinians. As he puts it:

The most important person who will not be at any of the meetings this week is, of course, Arafat. And make no mistake, Arafat will try to derail this peace process. He has absolutely no incentive to see Abu Mazen succeed. He will try to keep his fingers in the operations of the Palestinian Authority, in particular in controlling the security forces. The day that Arafat swore Abu Mazen into office, he set up a new national-security council, with himself as chairman, controlling all matters related to law and order. He will thwart the efforts to crack down on terror. He might even encourage some groups to engage in low-level terror. The message Arafat will try to send the world is "Abu Mazen is a nice guy but he can’t deliver. If you want to deal with the Palestinians, you have to deal with Arafat."

Arafat is desperately trying to cling to power however he can – including using the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade (a splinter from his Fatah organization) to use violence to derail the peace process. If Abbas wins and there is an independent Palestinian state, it will have little need for Yasser Arafat. Arafat is a terrorist, not a statesman, and as long as he can prolong the terror he has leverage. If the peace process is to go forward he must be throughly removed from power.

2 thoughts on “The Dragon In The Basement

  1. The best way would be to marginalize him into irrelevance (as is being done), rather than execution or exile. You’re right – the last thing either Israel or the Palestinians need is Arafat’s legacy growing larger.

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