Friday, April 22, 2005


Graham Usher on Abbas's First 100 Days

Graham Usher has a very good piece in al-Ahram on Mahmud Abbas's first 100 days as President of the PA. Usher's article is especially valuable in its ability to point out both Abbas's accomplishments (presiding over a surprisingly peaceful transfer of power, as well as bringing Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the PLO and thus reconsolidating decision-making that was splintered since the start of the al-Aqsa intifada) and the failures (an overwhelming sense of disappointment -- on all sides -- and the continued inability to bring results to the Palestinian people) and to weave them together in order to get a perspective on the overall situation. Usher closes the article with this:
Last month Abbas warned his Fatah movement that if his decrees were continually flouted he would resign. Few took the threat lightly. Unlike his predecessor, Abbas has the reputation of being a quitter. And if the next 100 days are similar to the last, every Palestinian is aware that the threat could become fact.
Abbas is one of the few Palestinian leaders recently to threaten to quit and to actually follow through (as he did when he was the PA's first prime minister), as opposed to Ahmad Qurai`, who reportedly handed in his resignation what seems like half a dozen times as prime minister, always to be coaxed back to the position, or the Central Elections Committee, which supposedly resigned en masse twice since the presidential elections on 9 January, but still somehow manages to be functioning at full capacity. And one can hardly blame Abbas -- he is hardly in an enviable situation. "What do I need this for?" you would have to imagine Abbas asking himself every day as he wakes up.

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