January 8, 2005


Abbas: A Familiar Power Play (Dan Ephron, 1/10/05, Newsweek)

The similarities are uncanny. The late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and the likely new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, were both gray, avuncular deputies of charismatic Arab leaders. Both came to the fore when their people were reeling from a military thrashing by Israel. And both faced internal challenges to their power.

Analysts are drawing the comparison, as Abbas heads for a victory in the Jan. 9 election, to assess what he needs to do in office. "Sadat had to move very fast to avoid getting ousted by rivals and the same is true of Abu Mazen," says Israeli author and Mideast analyst Ehud Yaari, calling Abbas by his nickname. Sadat quickly cracked down on political opponents when he took over from Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970, cemented ties with Washington and made an unprecedented peace offering to Israel after a face-saving war. Abbas also has a plan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 8, 2005 8:17 PM

Wrong on Sadat; he acted with the consent of Egypt's military to recover land for a very cold peace.

Egypt's Army could see there was no other way, and chose their territory over the Palestinians cause.

Abbas? Likely not.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at January 9, 2005 2:49 AM

Sadat recognized early on, as the ordinary Egyptian does, that all the brave Arab confrontation rhetoric stood for was 'We are ready to fight to the last Egyptian.'

So, he went to the US and cut a deal with Israel gaining him everything his nation had lost in its attacks on Israel. He also got a huge annual payoff(ahem, foreign aid package.)

Abbas is in no such position. Once the 'struggle' is over what happens? The Muslim Arab inhabitants of the region are the descendants of migrant workers from what is now Syria and Iraq who came to work for the Jewish settlers at the end of the 19th century. What unites them other than a shared desire to kill Jews and steal what they built? If the 'struggle' ends, the so-called Palestinians will no longer be welcome in other Arab capitals, their 'struggle' will no longer be a cause celebre among the Eurotrash. Abbas and his cronies will have to start running a state, picking up the garbage, punishing street crime, etc. Where's the fun in that?

Posted by: Bart at January 9, 2005 6:21 AM