Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Abu Mazen and Reelection

Marc Lynch muses on the implications of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stepping down, but he doubts it will happen:
"There's quite a bit of buzz around Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's reported threat to not stand for elections in January unless Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to a settlement freeze. He's reportedly furious about the criticism he received over the Goldstone report fiasco, and despondent about Israel's approach to the Palestinian issue. It isn't likely that the threat will be taken especially seriously -- he's made such threats before without following through, he's most likely trying to recoup some domestic standing and to put some pressure on Netanyahu, and Palestinian and Arab leaders generally don't do this sort of thing. It's receiving only minimal coverage thus far in the Arab press."

I agree the most likely explanation is that this is just grandstanding, but it's worth keeping in mind that Abbas did resign as prime minister in 2003 due to similar frustrations, and in this case he'd still be the head of Fatah and an important power behind the scenes.



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