Politics, Middle East

Dahlan: UAE agent, plotter against peoples’ will

Dahlan has long history of plotting against Arab Spring revolutions

Dahlan: UAE agent, plotter against peoples’ will


The Turkish accusation for former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan of playing a role in the 2016 failed coup attempt, which put him on the country's list of most-wanted terrorists, was not the first charge against him.

Dahlan has a long history of plotting against Arab Spring revolutions and is accused of taking part in counter-revolutions aimed at keeping Islamic groups, mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, from reaching power in their countries, as happened in Egypt.

In 2012, Dahlan collaborated with then-Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to oust Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president.

His name also appeared in conflict-ridden Libya, where he supported, on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, controversial military commander Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya.

A notorious former security official and Abu Dhabi-based political operator, Dahlan has lurked for years in the shadows of Palestinian politics.

Born in 1961 in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, Dahlan headed the Palestinian Preventive Security apparatus in Gaza from 1995 to 2000, following the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.

Throughout the years, his forces were involved in acts of violence and intimidation against critics, journalists and members of opposition groups, primarily from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, imprisoning members of the two groups without formal charges.

A number of prisoners died under suspicious circumstances during or after interrogation by Dahlan’s forces.

In 2007, Dahlan left Gaza for the West Bank city of Ramallah, after Hamas defeated his U.S.-backed efforts to thwart the group’s control in the strip.

U.S. President George W. Bush described Dahlan at the time as “our boy”.

In Ramallah in 2011, Dahlan was expelled from Fatah after falling out with Palestine Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. The PA accused Dahlan of enriching himself through financial corruption and conspiring to undermine Abbas.

Since then, Dahlan has lived in the UAE, and became an adviser to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Muhammad bin Zayed, where he plotted against Arab Spring revolutions and implemented UAE interferences’ agenda in Arab and regional countries.

Coup attempt in Turkey

After the failure of the coup attempt in Turkey in 2016, Dahlan’s name emerged as a suspect. High-level Turkish security sources reported the UAE collaborated with coup plotters, using the exiled Fatah leader as a go-between.

Dahlan is alleged to have transferred money to plotters in Turkey in the weeks before the coup attempt and to have communicated with the mastermind of the failed coup, Fetullah Gulen, and his group Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

The attempted coup left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. On Friday, Turkey added Dahlan to the top category of most wanted terrorists for links with FETO, the Interior Ministry said.

Dahlan is sought with up to 10 million Turkish liras (around $1.7 million) bounty on his head. 

Dirty hand in Libya

In 2017, Dahlan was investigated by the International Criminal Court for involvement with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the second son of slain Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, and Gaddafi's intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Sanousi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder and persecutions of civilians.

The UAE had reportedly used Dahlan in counter-revolution efforts in Libya headed by Ahmed Gaddaf Eldamm, a cousin of the Libyan dictator, based in Cairo.

Later in 2018, media reports said the UAE used $30 billion of Libya’s frozen assets via Dahlan to support Haftar in his fight against the internationally recognized Libyan government.

Troublemaker in Palestine and an Israeli agent

In March 2014, during a Fatah meeting, Abbas accused Dahlan of involvement in the murders of six Palestinian figures and questioned his role in the death of former leader Yasser Arafat.

"It was found out that six people were killed on orders from Dahlan," Abbas said following an investigation about Dahlan, but added Arafat did not release the report.

He said Dahlan was part of an Israeli plot to kill the commander of Hamas' military wing, Salah Shehada, who was assassinated on July 22, 2002.

Dahlan is also accused of facilitating the Israeli purchase of real estate adjacent to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque. At several occasions, Palestinian leader Kamal al-Khatib accused Dahlan and the UAE of being part of plots to acquire Palestinian homes and property in the old city of occupied Jerusalem.

Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Dahlan of being a “terrorist ringleader” and added that “he is an Israeli agent”.

Seeking Palestinian leadership

Media reports asserted that Egypt, Jordan and the UAE have been liaising on a plan for Dahlan to be the next head of the Palestinian Authority.

It was reported that the UAE held talks with Israel about the strategy to install Dahlan.

A view widely held in Palestinian political circles is that Dahlan’s involvement in foreign affairs is part of a strategy designed to strengthen his status as the obvious successor to Abbas.

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