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Just Released: New Issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin
Just Released: New Issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin
The new issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, highlights ongoing political battles in Palestine, Jordan, Libya, and Egypt.
Saturday, January 23,2010 08:52
by Josh pomed.org

The new issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, highlights ongoing political battles in Palestine, Jordan, Libya, and Egypt. Helga Baumgarten, professor of political science at Birzeit University in Palestine, uses her column to explore the question, “Who will be Arafat’s true successor?” The increasingly complex nature of the Palestinian political infrastructure has thrown a wrench into the traditional power equation which presumed, “whoever leads Fatah will lead the PLO, and the leader of the PLO will be elected president of the PA.” Though Mahmoud Abbas managed to win power immediately following Yasser Arafat’s death, Baumgarten largely dismisses him as a viable long-term option since he “lacks the charisma, mass popular base, and free access to external funds necessary to exercise control as Arafat once did.” After consideration, Baumgarten settles on four men who have what she believes is a sufficient balance between entrenched domestic ties and external (read: U.S.) friendships in order to challenge for a position of power: 1) Mohammed Dahlan, former head of Preventive Security in Gaza; 2) Jibril Rajub, Dahlan’s West Bank counterpart as head of the Preventive Security; 3) Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the former head of General Intelligence in the West Bank; and 4) Hussein al-Sheikh, another high-ranking official from the Palestinian security sector.

Elsewhere in the issue, George Joffé of the Centre of International Studies at Cambridge takes a critical look at Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s ascension within Libyan politics, noting that he recently achieved the second most powerful post in the Libyan political hierarchy despite his ideological differences with his father, current Libyan president Muammar al-Gaddafi. Joffé maintains that “the significance of this appointment cannot be overstated,” although “it remains to be seen how compromised [Saif al-Islam’s] reform agenda might be” due to his “domestication within the current Libyan political system.”

With regard to Jordan’s recent parliamentary dissolution, journalist Ibrahim Gharaibeh examines the potential areas of political consequence. He senses newfound optimism emanating from domestic Islamist movements, writing that “there are changes to the electoral law rumored that might favor their interests.” The original election law was instituted in 1993 following a previous decision by King Abdullah to disband parliament, and Gharaibeh predicts that the government may use the space created by this most recent dissolution “to embark on a series of social and economic reforms to meet the goals of IMF and WTO programs.”


tags: International Peace / Birzeit University / Abbas / Dahlan / Moderate Muslims / Moderate Islamist / Hamas / Arafat / King Abdullah
Posted in Palestine  
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