30-Nov-16 World View — Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reelected leader of Fatah/Palestinian Authority

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reelected leader of Fatah/Palestinian Authority
  • Hopes again grow for Gaza-West Bank unity government

Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reelected leader of Fatah/Palestinian Authority

Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan

The 81-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, who took over as leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in January 2005, after the death of Yassir Arafat, was overwhelming reelected as leader of Fatah/PA, which governs the West Bank, on Tuesday, after ruthlessly shutting out his principal opponent, 55-year-old Mohammed Dahlan, and Dahlan’s supporters.

Abbas’s victory isn’t a surprise, but it wasn’t the outcome that the so-call “Arab quartet” — United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan — had hoped for. Much of the Arab world has been waiting for Abbas to retire or die, so that a younger leader like Dahlan could replace him.

Abbas, born in 1935, is part of the old generation of survivors of the genocidal war between Jews and Arabs that followed the 1947 partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. When Yasser Arafat died in December 2004, Abbas was a natural choice to succeed him, because they were both war survivors and shared a common world view. But now the time is approaching for a successor and for a generational change.

The major aspirant is 55 year old Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan grew up poor in a Gaza refugee camp, but as a top aide to Arafat became Gaza’s strongman in the 1990s, jailing leaders of rival Hamas which was trying to derail Arafat’s negotiation with Israel through bombing and shooting attacks. Abbas and Dahlan used to be allies, but the 2008 war between Fatah and Hamas, that made Hamas the governing power in Gaza caused tension between them, until 2011 when Abbas expelled Dahlan completely from Fatah.

The population of the West Bank is badly split between supporters of Abbas and Dahlan. Abbas, as a survivor of the bloody 1947-48 war, has devoted much of his life to achieving some kind of political solution to the conflict with Israel — namely the so-called “two-state solution” with Israel and Palestine existing side by side in peace — a “solution” that can only be described as delusional.

Supporters of Dahlan are generally much more belligerent, and are ready to go to war with Israel. Dahlan and his supporters are in the generations that grew up after the 1947-48, and have no personal memory of its horrors, and so is not afraid to see that war repeated.

The youngest generations of Palestinians, as far as I can tell, are pretty much disgusted with all the Palestinian leadership. This is the so-called “Oslo generation,” kids growing up after the 1993 Oslo accords that were supposed to bring peace to the Mideast, but in fact are perceived as having accomplished nothing. They see the so-called “Mideast peace process” as nothing more than a failed series of humiliations for Palestinians.

There has apparently been one change in the last year. In 2015, there was a spate of knife attacks on Israelis by 15-25 year old boys in the Oslo generation of Palestinians. Those knife attacks have not been in the news in a long time, and so apparently have run their course. Al-Monitor and Israel National News and Middle East Eye

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Hopes again grow for Gaza-West Bank unity government

Ever since Hamas’s stunning victory of Fatah/Palestinian Authority in 2006, which permitted Hamas to eject Fatah from Gaza, the two governments have seemed to hate each other more than they hate Israel.

There have been several attempts to form a “unity government” between the two entities. The most recent attempt followed the 31-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, which Israel won. After the war, there was enormous pressure from Arab states for Hamas and Fatah to unify into a single government. The United Nations General Assembly had created the nation “Palestine” in 2012, but it didn’t make sense to have a state of Palestine, if the Palestinians had two separate governments in conflict with each other.

They did form a unity government in June 2014, but it was unity in name only. They never did function as a single government, and Abbas dissolved it in June 2015 over a disagreement about money.

However, hopes have arisen again of a unity government, after Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said in a speech earlier this month that a reconciliation should be tried:

“It is time we reconsider the organization [Fatah/PA]. … In order to build our lives and political system on democratic foundations, we must be partners in shouldering responsibility and partners in the decision of war and peace. …

The wager on the diplomatic movement on its own has been proven a failure. Let us agree on a national strategy and that everyone is with the [armed] resistance, which is a legitimate right that raises the cost of the occupation.”

The last sentence affirms that Hamas expects to continuing using violence against Israel, to end Israel’s “occupation” of land in the Mideast and Israel’s existence.

There’s good reason to doubt that the West Bank and Gaza Palestinian populations can ever be unified into a single government. The two Palestinian territories have been separated for several decades, and so the two cultures have grown in separate directions. Times of Israel (2-Nov) and Israel National News (26-Apr-2015)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Fatah, Palestinian Authority, Palestine, West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed Dahlan, Arab quartet, United Arab Emirates, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yasser Arafat, Israel, Oslo generation
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29-Nov-16 World View — UN: Burma (Myanmar) committing ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingyas

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • UN: Burma (Myanmar) committing ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingyas
  • Bangladesh is blocking Rohingya refugees fleeing from Burma violence
  • Tens of thousands flee from northern Burma across border to China

UN: Burma (Myanmar) committing ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingyas

Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market in a Rohingya village that was burned down two weeks ago (Reuters)
Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market in a Rohingya village that was burned down two weeks ago (Reuters)

As we’ve been reporting, Human Rights Watch has posted satellite images that show that villages of Rohingya Muslims are being systematically burned down. Myanmar officials are making the laughable claim that the Rohingyas are burning down their own homes to embarrass the government, but it’s pretty widely believed that it’s being done Myanmar soldiers and security forces.

Myanmar officials are refusing to allow any aid agencies, international investigative agencies or reporters to enter the area to determine who is burning down the villages. However, eyewitness reports have been coming out, and John McKissick, head of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in the Bangladeshi border town of Cox’s Bazar says that Myanmar troops are “killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river” into Bangladesh. Other UN officials are saying that the Myanmar government actions are “ethnic cleansing.”

This is all completely believable in view of the history of the past few years. In 2012 and 2013, Buddhist monks in Burma have been leading genocidal attacks on Rohingyas, in violation of the precepts of the Buddhism religion. In one attack, large mobs with hundreds of Buddhists attacked Muslims with knives and sticks.

The attacks have been led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu and his “969 movement,” where 969 is a historic Buddhist sign, referring to the nine qualities of Buddha, the six qualities of Buddha’s teaching, and nine qualities of the Buddhist community. 969 is supposed to promote peace and happiness, although Wirathu’s 969 movement is a vehicle promoting violence. And now the Burma’s army is apparently taking over the movement with ethnic cleansing.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is a classic, historical act of genocidal extermination of one group targeting another. In this generational Crisis era, we’re going to see more of these — Hindu vs Muslim in Kashmir, Sunni vs Shia in the Mideast, reminiscent of Hutus vs Tutsis in 1994 Rwanda, Christian vs Jew in World War II or French vs English in the Hundred Years War, or Protestant vs Catholic in European wars of the past. AFP and The Hindu and Al Jazeera

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Bangladesh is blocking Rohingya refugees fleeing from Burma violence

Thousands of desperate Rohingyas from Burma’s Rakhine state, threatened with ethnic cleansing by Burma’s soldiers, have been fleeing into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, either walking across the border or by boat across the Bay of Bengal.

However, Bangladesh has ignored international appeals, and is refusing them entry, and has turned boatloads of refugees back, forcing them to return to Burma. Bangladesh’s foreign ministry has confirmed that thousands of Rohingya have already sought refuge in the country, while thousands more are reportedly gathering on the border.

Those defending Bangladesh’s policy point out that there are millions of Rohingyas living in Rakhine state, and if Bangladesh completely opened the border, then the surge of fleeing refugees would be overwhelming. VOA and BBC and Al Jazeera

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Tens of thousands flee from northern Burma across border to China

Burma has a completely separate problem with other ethnic groups in the north — the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. As I recently reported, these groups are continuing decades’ long fights with Burma’s army, and tens of thousands of residents from the region are fleeing across the border into China to escape the violence.

China has put its army on high alert along the border, and is reinforcing its troops on the border with military trucks, tanks, heavy weapons and machine guns. China says that it is willing to play a “constructive role” in helping Myanmar resolve the problem, but no one knows whether that would mean that under some circumstances China’s military would cross the border into Myanmar.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Burma is an extremely difficult country to analyze because there are so many different ethnic groups fighting with and against each other. Following World War II, Burma experienced a series of extremely bloody crisis civil wars that only climaxed in 1958 when the army took over power. There has been sporadic fighting among these groups in the decades since then, but nothing that has escalated into a major war. Of the 15 armed ethnic groups in Burma, only eight were willing to sign a peace agreement at a recent signing ceremony.

A major research project is needed for Burma. The objective would be to analyze all Burma’s ethnic groups individually, and develop generational timelines for each of them. Any historian with knowledge or love of Burma will find this a rewarding project. Burma News International and CCTV (China) and VOA

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Burma, Myanmar, Human Rights Watch, Rohingyas, John McKissick, Bangladesh, Ashin Wirathu, 969 movement, United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, Kachin Independence Army, KIA, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, TNLA, Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, MNDAA
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