U.S. FUNDS SEEK TO WIN OVER INSURGENCY LEADERS
RAMALLAH [MENL - 8 January 2005] -- The Palestinian leadership has received millions of
dollars from the United States to ensure the loyalty of Palestinian
Authority security forces and insurgency leaders.
Palestinian sources and Western diplomats said the Bush administration
approved the relay of more than $10 million to the new Palestinian
leadership, led by PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas has also been the
frontrunner in the race for PA chairman, elections for whom take place on
"The money was meant for Abbas's discretion to win the loyalty of the
security services and certain senior operatives of Fatah," a diplomat said.
"The goal was not to allow anybody who had been receiving money from [the
late PA Chairman Yasser] Arafat to be left high and dry."
The sources said the U.S. money was not meant to pay salaries of the PA
security forces, a task assigned to the European Union. Instead, the money
was allocated to pay forces solely loyal to the Arafat, such as Force 17 and
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Fatah. They said the U.S.
funding was meant to ensure that these forces, who have included insurgency
leaders, support Abbas and his allies before and after elections.