Mohammed Dahlan on Dream 2
Photo by: 
Tom Rollins

Former Palestinian leader accused of fueling counter-revolution in Egypt

Egyptian activists slammed the return of Mohamed Dahlan to Cairo, criticizing the former leader in the Palestinian Fatah movement and former security chief in the Gaza Strip for meddling in Egyptian politics as well as past abuses of power.

Before arriving in Cairo, Dahlan has been based in the Emirates for the last three years following charges of corruption and embezzlement in Palestine, particularly surrounding tax collection abuses at border crossings.

His name also came up following the assassination of Fatah leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, which was claimed to be an Israeli Mossad plot. Dubai police accused two of Dahlan's associates of involvement in the assassination.

In Gaza, Dahlan's security profile was often criticized by activists for the a widespread crackdown on dissent. 

Tweeting under the hashtag "Dahlan is a spy," activists posted on Monday and Tuesday alleged information about the Palestinian leader's political and financial corruption as well as their rejection of his apparent meddling in Egyptian politics.

"Dahlan used torture and oppression in Gaza between 1994 and 2000," read a note activists posted online. "When [former Palestinian President Yasser] Arafat expelled him from the Palestinian Authority and the security portfolio in 2000, the Israeli invasion started right after."

According to the post published by activists, Dahlan was posted again to Gaza in 2004, during which time "some of the worst assassination plots took place against activists and national leaders." He was also accused of pointing out Hezbollah and Hamas targets for Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-2009. 

These activists argue that Dahlan is coming to Cairo with a plan to further a Gulf-supported counter-revolution, bolstering a discourse against the January 25 revolution already prevalent in Egypt today. 

On March 16, Egyptian TV host Wael al-Ibrashy featured Dahlan on Dream 2 satellite channel, whereby the latter fired accusations of treason at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas had recently accused Dahlan of espionage and criticized him for personally appropriating the rapprochement with the Egyptian regime, and particularly military commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Dahlan in return accused Abbas of destroying the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority. 

"Sisi has saved Egypt and the Arab World. I am honored to know him. I pursue some duties that I won't announce because I feel this responsibility toward Egypt," Dahlan told Ibrashy. 

"My relation with Egypt is old," Dahlan added. "The hatred of the Brothers against me is the main reason I am opposed to them. I have a bitter experience with the Brotherhood."

During and after their rule, the Muslim Brotherhood had repeatedly accused Dahlan of using Egypt to further his fight with Hamas. Some Brotherhood leaders had accused Dahlan of plotting some of the recurrent attacks against Egyptian security targets in Sinai to implicate Hamas and deepen the rift with Egypt's military. 

A number of Dahlan's associates and former policemen who left Gaza following Hamas' take over in 2007 have resided in Egypt ever since, in Sinai and elsewhere. Some of them were previously interviewed by Mada Masr. 

Abbas further accused Dahlan of being involved in Arafat's assassination in 2004, to which Dahlan responded by calling for an independent Arab committee to investigate the killing, headed by Egyptian politician Amr Moussa, a close associate of Field Marshal Sisi.