April 23, 2014

Arafat’s Dueling Dilemmas: Succession and the Peace Process


 

Volume 6, No. 1 – March 2002


ARAFAT?S DUELING DILEMMAS: SUCCESSION AND THE PEACE PROCESS

By Lenore Martin

This article analyzes the intersecting dilemmas involved in the succession to Yasir Arafat. Succession theory explains the first dilemma: Arafat?s refusal to designate his successor for fear of usurpation encourages a succession struggle. The smooth transition of power after Arafat depends on the political legitimacy of his Fatah-controlled regime. The second dilemma: the unresolved peace process threatens to undermine that legitimacy which is already under challenge by factions within and outside of Fatah that oppose the peace process. How Arafat and his regime resolve these dilemmas will determine the future of a Palestinian state.

 

Introduction

The fate of the nascent Palestinian state still hangs in large measure on the answer to the question: who will succeed Yasir Arafat? The answer, while never entirely transparent, appeared somewhat easier to reach before the recrudescence of the intifada in the fall of 2000 and the apparent breakdown of the peace process. Most analysts then predicted a succession contest dominated by candidates within Fatah and the ruling elite, while at the same time recognizing the possibility of a violent succession struggle.(1) The second intifada and the suspension of peace talks, however, put into question the feasibility of a smooth succession and underscore the need for the Arafat regime to repair the rifts in the larger Palestinian political community in order to achieve it.

This article seeks to provide an in-depth explanation for why the succession to Arafat would be smooth or turbulent. It argues that the divisions within the Palestinian polity over the legitimacy of the Arafat regime and the feasibility of the peace process to achieve Palestinian national aspirations foreshadow an even greater crisis were Arafat to leave the scene without a political resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In that event, it is more likely that a succession struggle will erupt, pitting mainstream candidates against each other and against rejectionists. Moreover, even if a single candidate emerged, there would likely be an extended period of uncertainty or instability within the Palestinian polity. A violent succession contest would seriously destabilize the foundations of a still fragile Palestine and its repercussions would impact the entire region.

The issues confronting a stable succession and a stable peace are interlocked on the horns of dueling dilemmas linked to the legitimacy of the regime. The first is a dilemma of succession. Every autocrat hesitates to groom a successor for fear of usurpation. Yet, in the absence of an acknowledged successor, candidates for succession may engage in violent struggles for power and put into issue the legitimacy of the autocrat?s regime.

The second dilemma results from the stymied peace process born of the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995. The peace process was, in part, a search for alternatives to the anger and frustration on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides begotten from the violence of the first intifada that had begun in 1987. The peace process legitimized the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and contributed to the legitimization of the Arafat regime. However, the final status negotiations called for profound compromises that many in the Palestinian political community were not prepared to accept. The failure to resolve the passionately controversial issues involved in the peace process increased the challenges to the political legitimacy of the Arafat regime. The second intifada has again given vent to anger and frustration and the violent responses on both Palestinian and Israeli sides threaten to destroy any chance for renewal or progress in the peace process.

This article will first explore the development of these interlocking dilemmas, and then address their implications.

 

Arafat?s Succession Dilemma

 

Succession Theory and the Middle East

There is always considerable speculation over who may succeed the aging and sometimes ailing President of the PA, the 72 year-old Yasir Arafat. Arafat himself fuels the speculation by refusing to designate a successor. Will his successor be a member of the old-line Fatah leadership such as the Oslo peace process advocate and Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen); or an Oslo peace process rejectionist, such as the Head of the Political Department of Fatah and “Foreign Minister” of the PLO, Faruq Qaddami; or even the more middle of the road, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala)? Or, will it be a Palestinian notable such as Zakariya al Agha, or a Fatah Young Turk such as Marwan Barghouti, or the leader of one of the security forces, such as Jibril Rajoub on the West Bank, or his counterpart Muhammad Dahlan, in Gaza?(2) The lists may change over time as some candidates drop off, as when Faisal Husseini died in 2001, or newer names may appear as the result of political maneuvering or popular recognition.

Social science succession theorists warn us not to engage in such speculation.(3) Outcomes of succession struggles are unpredictable, particularly where the rules of succession themselves may be challenged. Such is often the case in the authoritarian regimes of the developing world where the political legitimacy of the regime has not become entrenched.(4) By contrast, in the western democracies where political legitimacy has been well entrenched, the rules of succession have been institutionalized and violent succession struggles are considered a very low risk.(5) Nonetheless, even in well-established authoritarian regimes, there is always a risk that the regime might collapse and the rules of succession would change, as occurred in the former Communist states of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.(6) That is certainly the case if overturning a regime is the result of a social revolution, as witnessed in the Middle East: the Arab nationalist regimes that deposed monarchies in Egypt, Syria and Iraq; the Islamist revolution in Iran; and the Ataturk revolution in Turkey.

Why the lack of predictability, particularly in an autocratic regime? The answer involves the autocrat?s dilemma. On the one horn, autocrats do not designate successors for fear of encouraging premature usurpation of the their power. Rather, autocrats prefer to encourage competition among subordinates,(7) sometimes creating overlapping bureaucracies. To induce loyalty the autocrats offer patronage to their subordinates,(8) thereby providing them with opportunities to indulge in personal corruption. On the other horn, the struggle for power among potential successors, as well as bureaucratic inefficiencies and the personal corruption of subordinates, can undermine the effectiveness of the regime and encourage opponents to challenge its political legitimacy. All of which, in turn, breed new contenders for power, risking bids to usurp the ruler, or at least invite succession struggles, again risking the longevity of the regime.

To try to resolve this dilemma, the autocrat has two possible options, neither of which offers a perfect solution. The first option may be to appoint a family member as successor, thereby introducing (or if already a monarchy, thereby continuing) a rule of hereditary succession. Although there are multiple choices for principles of hereditary succession, such as agnatic seniority (the oldest son) and agnatic-cognitic (oldest child, including female children), there is often a preference for selecting the oldest son.(9) The rationale behind appointing typically the oldest male child, whom the autocrat can both dominate and trust, anticipates that familial affection and favoritism will breed greater loyalty and lower the risk of usurpation than with unrelated subordinates. We have seen this phenomenon recently even in staunchly republican states in the Middle East. Thus, Hafiz al-Asad designated his son, Bashar, as his successor in Syria, and Saddam Hussein appears to be grooming both of his sons to succeed him in Iraq.(10)

Introducing hereditary succession, however, does not always work to resolve the dilemma. Hafiz al-Asad had in fact originally designated his eldest son, Basil, as his successor. After Basil?s untimely death in an automobile accident, the Syrian dictator then turned to his younger son, Bashar, who ultimately did succeed him but without the same degree of confidence in his skills as leader.(11) Or the heir apparent may himself become a problem. Saddam Hussein probably promoted his younger son, Qusay as a potential successor because of the unsavory reputation of his oldest son, Uday.(12) However, by remaining careful not to formally announce his designation of a successor, Hussein has not completely resolved the dilemma. He still risks a struggle for succession between his sons and their respective allies.(13) And in instances where there may be a number of hereditary successors, the autocrat may still wait to designate a successor at the last minute, as did King Hussein of Jordan.

The alternative option is for the autocrat to confer succession upon a weak or neutral candidate, as reportedly Nasser did in selecting Anwar Sadat as his successor in Egypt. This too may not resolve the dilemma, because, if the so-called weak designee shows too much strength, the autocratic may then revoke the designation, as Mao did with his revocation of Lin Biao as his successor. Also, the designation of a successor may stimulate potential rivals to try to eliminate the designee, as did Deng Xiao Ping in purging Hua Guofeng in the struggle for Mao?s succession.(14)

Ultimately, if the autocrat chooses not to resolve the succession dilemma and dies or leaves power without having appointed a successor, it becomes the task of the regime to appoint the new leader. If the regime faces a power struggle that could lead to its destruction, the ruling elite may try to forestall the succession struggle by appointing a weak or neutral candidate. This may be only a temporary measure until another strongman comes to power, as evidenced by the Ba?thist successions in Syria and Iraq that ultimately brought Hafiz al-Asad and Saddam Hussein to power. Moreover, to succeed with the appointment of even a “caretaker” candidate, there has to be sufficient cohesion and adequate political legitimacy of the ruling elite.

Succession Theory and the Palestinian Political Community

The case of Yasir Arafat is clearly a classic example of the autocrat?s dilemma. Arafat has concentrated all power within his personal control. He has refused to designate a successor.(15) He has created overlapping bureaucracies to prevent subordinates from challenging his power. By reputation, he plays his subordinates off against each other.(16) The multiplicity of internal security forces, numbering about a dozen, evidences Arafat?s autocratic concern to avoid concentrating power in the hands of any single subordinate.(17) He has also tolerated personal corruption and engendered public disaffection with the extent of the corruption and the inefficiency of the regime.(18)

There are effectively three centers of political authority within the larger Palestinian political community, all of which Arafat has gathered within his autocratic control: the PA, the PLO, and Fatah. The PA is the newest and most fragile center of power because it is a creature of the Oslo Agreements of 1993 and 1995. Arafat became the “Ra?is” or President of the PA, by winning an overwhelming majority in the elections of January 1996 sanctioned by the Oslo Agreements.

The second, and more firmly established, center for authority is at the head of the PLO. The PLO is governed by its Executive Committee to which Arafat was first elected Chairman in 1969 and has since been regularly re-elected. (19) When the Palestine National Council proclaimed a new state of Palestine in 1988 and delegated to its Central Committee the task of forming an interim government, Arafat was also elected President of that state in 1989.(20)

The third and dominant center of authority is within Fatah.(21) Fatah?s leadership is lodged primarily in the Fatah Central Committee and to a lesser extent in its Revolutionary Council.(22) The Central Committee in theory operates through collective leadership. In practice, Arafat has served as head of the Central Committee.

Each of the centers of authority has its own succession rules. The least institutionalized and most fragile is the rule for succession within the PA itself. The Oslo Agreements called for a Basic Law or constitution for the PA. Although the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) drafted and adopted a Basic Law in 1997, Arafat has withheld its promulgation. He objected to the equal status conferred upon the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the government, and apparently was not happy with the succession rule that called for elections, preferring to keep that section of the Basic Law vague.(23)

Subsequently, Arafat compromised with the PLC and authorized the PLO Legal Committee to draft a new Constitution.(24) That draft was published in 2001.(25) The Electoral Law within the Basic Law of 1997 and the Draft Constitution of 2001 confers interim Presidential authority on the Speaker of the Council but requires Presidential elections within 60 days of the vacancy in the President?s office. Each political party may have only one candidate. If the new Constitution were adopted and elections held for the Presidency, and if Fatah were to produce a consensus candidate, Fatah?s candidate would likely have the advantage, given its dominant role in Palestinian politics. However, given Arafat?s autocratic concern to avoid creating avenues for his own usurpation, it is not clear that he would permit the adoption of this new Constitution.

The succession rule in the Executive Committee of the PLO calls for it to elect its own chairman. Because Fatah dominates the Executive Committee, the Fatah candidate would again have the advantage in filling the vacancy left by Arafat. Who would succeed Arafat in Fatah? Under Fatah?s succession rules, the Central Committee must, by two-thirds? vote, fill its vacancies from candidates from the 120 member Revolutionary Council – which also includes all members of the Central Committee. Fatah?s Central Committee would then become the arena for a succession struggle.

What will happen, therefore, if Arafat vacates all three centers of political power without having designated a successor, or even, at the last minute, having designated a weak successor? The answer to this question depends to a great extent on the political legitimacy of the regime and the expectations of the Palestinians as to the continuation of the corruption and inefficiency of that regime under Arafat?s successor. In short, the regime needs to be able to bolster its legitimacy in the face of the many critics of its poor governance. That, in turn, depends upon the regime?s ability to resolve the related dilemma of the peace process.

 

The Peace Process Dilemma

The Peace Process and Political Legitimacy

The peace process dilemma arises from the fact that the Arafat regime looked to its successful resolution to establish a sovereign Palestinian state. This would be a polity with the attributes of a nation state, free from the burdensome restrictions of Israeli occupation. In short, it would be capable of providing a measure of national security for the Palestinians, and in so doing would enhance the regime?s political legitimacy. On the other hand, the regime confronts challengers who question the validity of the peace process and critics who support the goal of a two-state solution, but do not see the process as producing the promised results. Hence, the more the regime struggles in vain to revive the peace process, the more support its challengers garner. Even if the peace process were restored, a failure to achieve Palestinian aspirations would risk substantial loss of political legitimacy. In short, without a successful resolution of the peace process the proto-state of Palestine will be extremely vulnerable to recurrent political and economic crises. And the regime will need substantial political legitimacy in order to resolve these crises.

Challengers to the Political Legitimacy of the Regime

Who are the challengers to the legitimacy of the regime, and why does the regime need successful results from the peace process in order to overcome their challenges? Arafat?s regime and its Fatah power base face challenges from four potentially disaffected groups within the larger Palestinian political community: members of Fatah that oppose the peace process; radical Islamists; refugees in the diaspora; and the democratic elite.(26) Many complain about the poor governance of the regime, and some may sponsor contenders for power after Arafat departs from the political scene. More importantly, although they are not necessarily all political allies, collectively they create significant rifts within the community and could create serious obstacles for a consensus candidate to succeed Arafat.

The most difficult challenge comes from factions within Fatah itself, as well as within the larger PLO, that reject the Oslo Agreements and the peace process in general.(27) There are a number of Fatah veterans within the Central Committee, such as Faruq al-Qaddumi and Muhammad Ghunaym, who have been outspoken on this issue. There are also rejectionists among the militant Fatah groups participating in the second intifada.(28) Within the groups of Fatah militants are younger leaders who accept a so-called “two-state solution” but advocate achieving it by compelling Israeli unilateral withdrawal, rather than by negotiations.(29) These factions include the so-called “insiders” veterans of the first intifada who were displaced in Arafat?s allocation of political rewards in the new Palestinian regime by the “outsiders” from the PLO?s Tunis headquarters. And there are PLO rejectionists within its Executive Committee such as the Arab Liberation Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Palestine Liberation Front.

The problem for Fatah is that, if it is unable to rebuild a consensus within its own political organization, it will not be able to provide the collective leadership critical for designating a successor to Arafat. Could Fatah then split the succession among two or three leaders holding one or more offices as head the PA, head of the Executive Committee of the PLO, and head of Fatah?s Central Committee? (30) Again, predictions are risky, because collective leadership decisions are not necessarily stable.(31) Moreover, by splitting the leadership, Fatah risks struggles for control over the Palestinian political community between or among the three power centers.

Even if collective leadership did stabilize, and Fatah did rebuild its consensus, given the relatively advanced ages of many of the senior Fatah leaders who may be appointed to succeed Arafat, their tenure in these positions may be short, and struggles among younger candidates would still ensue.

Strategically, every competitor in a succession struggle after Arafat is likely to seek the broadest coalition. This will be difficult in a political environment in which there are factions within Fatah opposing the peace process and problems in forming alliances with challengers both within and outside of Fatah, despite their common chorus of criticism of the corruption and inefficiency of the regime.

One such alliance has already been proclaimed, however, between the younger rejectionists within Fatah and another significant source of challenge to the political legitimacy of the regime, the radical Islamists.(32) The most prominent radical Islamists are Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of which operate politically within the West Bank and Gaza, but outside of the three centers of power within the larger Palestinian polity, Fatah, the PLO and the PA.(33) The radical Islamists reject the peace process, and not only criticize the Arafat regime for its bad governance, but also for its lack of Islamic legitimacy. Tactically, they have signaled a willingness to accept a two-state solution, but only as an interim step to achieving their strategic goal of eliminating the state of Israel.(34)

The remaining two challengers to the political legitimacy of the Arafat regime are less likely to sponsor viable candidates in a succession struggle, but constitute potential allies for contenders in that struggle. First, there are the Palestinians in the diaspora, many of whom populate refugee camps and yearn for the benefits of the “right of return”. They remain wary of the regime?s willingness to compromise their claims in the peace process and destine them for more generations of hardship.

Finally, there are members of the Palestinian elite who decry the regime?s corruption, oppose its authoritarian methods, and want the regime to strive for the growth of a thriving civil society and the transformation of the regime into a liberal democracy. Some of these liberal democratic forces are found in the Palestinian Legislative Council that has sought to introduce democratic principles into the draft Basic Law.(35)

The Peace Process and Palestinian National Security

To overcome the challenges to its political legitimacy, the regime also needs to convince the Palestinian political community that it can deliver national security, as a promised result of the peace process. The political legitimacy of the regime is thus linked with four other attributes of a secure state, with which the nascent state of Palestine is hardly well endowed.(36) These attributes of national security are all integrated, and in addition to the political legitimacy of the regime include: tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity, adequate economic capabilities, available essential natural resources such as oil and water, and adequate military capabilities to deter or defend against internal and external threats of violence.(37) Let us briefly assess how these attributes of national security in the Palestinian state could bolster or undermine the political legitimacy of the regime.

Although the Palestinian political community is spared the ethnic dissension that creates insecurity in a number of Middle East states, and the regime appears to have reached a modus vivendi with the radical Islamists in the community, there is always a risk that militant religious groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad will challenge the regime and increase dissension within the community.

The West Bank and Gaza have a substantially underdeveloped economy. Even without the virtual economic blockade imposed by Israel as a result of the second intifada, the economy of the Palestinian state lacks much of an industrial base and other resources that are prerequisites to successfully develop the economy. In addition, the development process is hampered by constraints on its ability to export products imposed by Israeli regulations and security measures that render exports more costly and less competitive.(38) The fragility of this economy and turmoil within the state make it, in turn, unattractive to foreign investment. Even domestic banks prefer to invest outside of the West Bank and Gaza. The Arafat regime is highly dependent on largesse from foreign governments and international non-governmental organizations, as well as from Israeli transfers of taxes collected from customs duties, sales taxes, and income and social security taxes collected from Palestinians working in Israel.(39) Preventing Palestinians from working in Israel as a result of the intifada has severely impacted the regime?s revenues and substantially increased its dependency on foreign assistance.(40) To the extent that the regime fails to provide the rising populations of the West Bank and Gaza with essential services, the more radical Islamic groups can step into the breach and gain popular support by providing social welfare services.

Another factor that hampers Palestinian economic development is the state?s critical lack of essential natural resources, particularly water and energy. Drought and inefficient distribution of water, as well as temporary closure of water deliveries because of the intifada have exacerbated water shortages.(41) But even if such conditions did not exist, the fact is that much of the West Bank and Gaza?s natural water supply, emanating from the West bank aquifer, the coastal aquifer and the Jordan Valley basin, is under Israeli control.(42) Furthermore, Palestinian energy supplies, oil, gas and electricity, need to be imported, although the discovery of gas off the Gaza coast does promise some relief from total import dependency in the future.(43)

Finally, the Oslo Accords and Israel?s security concerns have severely limited the military capabilities that a Palestinian state might need to protect the regime in the event of violent civil war. The General Security Service that is to provide internal security may have exceeded the Oslo Accord limitations, but the suspected widespread importation of small arms into the West Bank and Gaza has deprived the regime of the monopoly on the use of force.(44)

Accordingly, a successful outcome of the peace process would be expected to increase the attributes of national security for the nascent Palestinian state. It would provide more independence from Israeli interference in Palestinian economy, larger amounts of foreign aid, and generally greater prospects for economic development in the West Bank and Gaza. It would require fairer sharing of water resources so critical for economic development. The cumulative results would enable the PA to be more self-sustaining and thereby would improve the ability of the regime to deliver essential social welfare to the population. All of which would increase the political legitimacy of the regime. More trenchant therefore is the dilemma of the Arafat regime in seeking to succeed at the peace process that the challengers to the regime oppose and thereby would use to threaten the very legitimacy of the regime.

International Intervention into Succession Struggles

A succession struggle occurring without any successful resolution of the peace process that has achieved a truly sovereign state, would risk turning violent as candidates challenge both the legitimacy of the regime and the peace process and reject the rules of succession that give advantages to old-guard Fatah candidates. A violent succession struggle will be vulnerable to external involvement, and the candidates themselves may seek international support openly or quietly. (45) Support might simply be financial or propagandistic or even by providing intelligence information. But there is always a risk that such support could escalate into the clandestine supply of arms for security forces that might back one candidate or another.

All the major actors in the Middle East have stakes in the outcome of a Palestinian succession contest, as do their international allies in Europe and the United States. The Middle East is split ideologically among the so-called rejectionist states, such as Iraq and Iran that condemn the peace process; and states that have made peace with Israel such as Jordan and Egypt, or are willing to negotiate peace under certain conditions, such as Syria and Lebanon, or states that accept the need for the peace process, such as Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council states. (46) The United States and the European Union join the latter group. Given the weakness of the Palestinian economy, and the regime?s dependency on substantial foreign subsidies for financing essential services – principally from the non-rejectionist states – sustained international involvement in Palestinian affairs is likely to continue whatever the outcomes of these succession struggles.

There is furthermore a risk that if contestants in the succession struggle resort to violence, it could spark a disintegration of the political community, i.e. a civil war as occurred in Lebanon in the mid-1970s. A Palestinian civil war would embroil states outside of the West Bank and Gaza. For example, Jordan, the majority of whose population is Palestinian, might be tempted to intervene, although it would more likely do so only with Israeli acquiescence.(47) In any event, Israel, which perceives itself as having most at stake if chaos were to break out, would then be tempted to follow the Syrian example in the Lebanese civil war ? and even without an invitation, intervene to restore order.

 

Conclusions

Following classical autocratic principles of succession, Yasir Arafat has concentrated in his own hands control over the three power centers of the PA, the PLO and Fatah, without designating a successor. Even if Arafat were to designate a successor at the last minute, Arafat?s death or incapacity would still create a succession crisis for Palestinian decision makers. If the Arafat regime can maintain its political legitimacy, there is a greater probability that Fatah?s ruling group within the Central Committee can weather the crisis and, in the absence of an Arafat designee, select a successor ? even if it means selecting a compromise candidate or choosing different successors who will share authority within the power centers. If the Palestinian political community continued to feel under siege from the Israeli occupation, the factions that have challenged the regime may rally around it with the larger population and support the successor or successors.

On the other hand, if the succession crisis coincides with the unresolved crisis in the regime?s political legitimacy accentuated by an unresolved peace process, it is likely that the struggle for succession will be a stormy one, whether or not Arafat has picked his successor. And, with the regional interest in its outcome, the violence could escalate. In such a scenario, again the outcomes are unpredictable, not the least of which will be who ultimately succeeds Yasir Arafat.

 

NOTES

1. See in particular, Jean-Francois Legrain, “The Successions of Yasir Arafat,” Journal of Palestine Studies XXVIII, no. 4 (Summer 1999), pp. 5-20; Glenn E. Robinson, “Palestine after Arafat,” The Washington Quarterly (Autumn 2000), pp. 77-90; and Barry Rubin, “After Arafat: Succession and Stability in Palestinian Politics” Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), vol. 2, no. 1 (March 1998), pp. 1-9.

2. See the commentators cited in note 1 above and Danny Rubinstein, “After Arafat” Moment (June 1999).

3. Robbins Burling, The Passage of Power: Studies in Political Succession (New York: Academic Press, 1974), pp. 254-65. It also seems problematic to try to correlate types of succession with social and economic factors in states. See Rodger M. Govea and John D. Holm, “Crisis, violence and political succession in Africa,” Third World Quarterly, vol. 19 (1998), pp. 129-48. A recent Middle East example of the problem of prediction is found in Glenn E. Robinson, “Elite Cohesion, Regime Succession and Political Instability in Syria,” Middle East Policy, vol. V, no. 4 (January 1998), pp. 159-179, where the author considered a number of post-Asad scenarios and considered the succession by Asad?s son, Bashar, to be the least likely (p. 176).

4. Burling, pp. 256-59; see Govea & Holm for African successions during 1963-88 and also, Aaron Segal, “Can Democratic Transitions Tame Political Successions,” Africa Today vol. 43, no. 4 (1996) pp. 385-404, for African successions from 1988 to 1995.

5. Govea & Holm, pp. 129-30. See also Peter Calvert, “The Theory of Political Succession,” in Peter Calvert, ed. The Process of Political Succession (London: Macmillan, 1987), pp. 245-66.

6. See Andros Korosenyi, “Revival of the past or new beginning? The nature of post-communist politics,” in Andros Bozoki, Andros Korosenyi, and George Schopflin, Post-Communist Transition (London: Pinter, 1997), pp. 111-31.

7. Burling, p. 256.

8. See Segal, p. 374.

9. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, “The constitutional economics of autocratic succession,” Public Choice vol. 103 (2000), pp. 63-84. Hereditary principles, of course, already operate in the monarchies of the Middle East. See Michael Collins Dunn, “The Coming Era of Leadership Change in the Arab World,” Middle East Policy, vol. V, no. 4 (January 1998), pp. 180-87; and specifically for the problems of Saudi succession, M. Ehsan Ahrari, “Political Succession in Saudi Arabia: Systemic Stability and Security Implications,” Comparative Strategy (1999), no. 18, pp. 13-29.

10. Ofra Bengio, “A Republican Turning Royalist? Saddam Husayn and the Dilemmas of Succession,” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 35, no. 4 (2000), pp. 641-53. Hosni Mubarak has also been cited as favoring his son as his successor. Financial Times [FT], April 24,2001, p. 7.

11. See Volker Perthes, “The political economy of the Syrian succession,” Survival, v. 43, no. 1 (Spring 2001), pp. 143-54.

12. Uday murdered his father?s bodyguard in 1988 and has been engaged in corruption; although an attempt on Uday?s life in 1996 left him disabled. Bengio, pp. 649-50.

13. Charles Recknagel, “Sibling Rivalry Seen Coloring Saddam?s Succession”, RFE/RL, August 2,2001.

14. See Peter Ferdinand, “China” in Martin McCauley and Stephen Carter, eds. Leadership and Succession in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China (London: Macmillan, 1986), pp. 194-215.

15. Nor does he have the option of creating a hereditary succession: his daughter is only in elementary school.

16. See Yezid Sayigh, Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 687-92.

17. Gal Luft, “Palestinian Military Performance and the 2000 intifada”, MERIA, vol. IV, no. 4, p. 4.

18. For a description of the pervasive corruption in the regime see Mideast Mirror, December 2,1999, pp. 141-73; Ghassan Khatib, Palestine Report on Line, Ocyober 6,1999, vol. 6, no. 6.

19. According to the PLO charter, the Palestinian National Council, which functions as the PLO?s parliament, is to meet every 3 years and elect the PLO Executive Committee. However, it does not do so on a regular basis. Legrain, p. 6.

20. Were the PA to lose its legitimacy, arguably, the PLO might again declare a Palestinian State and appoint Arafat its President.

21. See Barry Rubin, The Transformation of Palestinian Politics: From Revolution to State-Building (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), pp. 22, 216-18.

22. The Central Committee is the executive body for Fatah?s General Congress. The Congress numbers some 1,200 members, and is supposed to meet every 5 years; however, it has not done so since 1989. In the interim, the 120 member Revolutionary Council serves as its ruling body. Three members of the Central Committee are elected by the Central Committee itself, the rest are from the General Congress, and the Revolutionary Council may nominate an unspecified number from the occupied territories who have 15 or more years of membership in Fatah and have held office in its armed forces or bureaucracy. Legrain, pp. 6-7.

23. Nathan Brown, “Constituting Palestine: The Effort to Write a Basic Law for the Palestinian Authority”, Middle East Journal, vol. 5, no. 1 (Winter 2000), p. 33.

24. Barry Rubin, Transformation, pp. 36-37.

25. See The Draft of the Palestinian Constitution, 2001, Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

26. Khalil Shikaki reports that in 2001 the popularity of Fatah within the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza sank to 29%. Khalil Shikaki, “Palestinians Divided”, Foreign Affairs, vol. 81, no. 1 (January/February 2002), p. 92.

27. Rubin, Transformation, p. 97.

28. NYT August 25, 2001, p. A4, (referring to armed groups of Fatah members, such as the Popular Resistance Committees); FT, February 8, 2001 (describing the local anarchy and referring to Martyrs of Al-Aqsa targeting PA officials suspected of corruption); and Sara Roy, “Palestinian Society and Economy: The Continual Denial of Possibility” Journal of Palestinian Studies, vol. 30, no. 4 (Summer 2001), p. 17 (referring to other Fatah militias, sometimes acting through the National and Islamic Forces that spearheads the second intifada).

29. Shikaki, “Palestinians Divided”, p. 97.

30. Legrain considers Abu Mazen the best candidate to succeed Arafat as the head of Fatah, but also believes his age (71), lack of charisma, and uncertain popularity, render Abu Mazen only a “transitional figure”. He also considers such a sharing of power possible with Abu Mazen leading Fatah, Faruq Qaddumi leading the Executive Committee, and Qurei heading the PA. Legrain, pp. 14, 19. Rubin also hints at the possibility of collective leadership. Rubin, MERIA, p. 8.

31. See the discussion of Soviet collective leadership and succession struggles following Stalin?s death, in Myron Rush, Political Succession in the USSR (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), 2nd. ed. Recall the quick successions after Brezhnev: Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev (1982-85), suggesting considerable infighting for succession within the collective leadership of the Central Committee of the Soviet Politburo. See George W. Breslauer, “From Brezhnev to Gorbachev: Ends and Means of Soviet Leadership Selection” in Raymond Taras, ed. Leadership Change in the Communist States (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989), pp. 24-72.

32. Shikaki, “Palestinians Divided”, p. 95.

33. See the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, August 18, 1988. For a discussion of the roots, relationships and activities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad see Robinson, Building, pp. 132-173; for a more focused discussion of Hamas?s opposition to Oslo and nuanced political positions, see Shaul Mishal and Avraham Sela, The Palestinian Hamas (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000).

34. Mishal and Sela, The Palestinian Hamas, p. 3.

35. See David Schenker, Palestinian Democracy & Governance: An Appraisal of the Legislative Council (Washington, D.C.: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2000), Policy Paper no. 51.

36. Lenore G. Martin, “Towards a Preliminary Framework for Security in Israel and a Palestinian State”, unpublished paper, delivered at Harvard University, April 2000; also, Lenore G. Martin, “Conceptualizing Security in the Middle East: Israel and a Palestinian State” in Tami Jacoby and Brent Sasley, eds. Redefining Security in the Middle East: Effects of the Peace Process (Manchester: University of Manchester Press, forthcoming).

37. See Lenore G. Martin, “Towards an Integrated Approach to National Security in the Middle East,” in Lenore G. Martin, ed. New Frontiers in Middle East Security (New York: Palgrave [St. Martin?s], 2001), pp. 3-22.

38. See Steven Barnett, Nur Calika, Dale Chua, Oussama Kanaan, Milan Zavadjil, “The Economy of the West Bank and Gaza Strip” (International Monetary Fund, 1998). Exports from the West Bank and Gaza shrank from some $500 million to practically nothing after the intifada. FT, June 22, 2001, p. 7.

39. Some 60% of the PA budget for 2000, before the second intifada, came from taxes and duties collected by Israel. NYT December 6, 2000, p. A 6. Israel has withheld these taxes and duties that totaled some $400 million at the end of 2001. Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2002, p. A14.

40. The Gulf states, for example, have pledged some $550 million and other Arab League members some $150 million to sustain the PA. NYT December 6, 2000, p. A10.

41. See Julie Trottier, Hydropolitics in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Jerusalem: PASSIA, 1999, pp. 99-134; Ha?aretz, May 23, 2001.

42. See Karen Assaf, Nader al Khatib, Elisha Kally and Hillel Shuval, eds., A Proposal for the Development of a Regional Water Master Plan (Jerusalem: Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, 1993); Hillel I. Shuval, “A Proposal for an Equitable Resolution to the Conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the Shared Water Resources of the Mountain Aquifer,” Arab Studies Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 2 (Spring, 2000), pp 40-43.

43. NYT, Seprember 28, 2000, p. A6.

44. See Luft, pp. 5-6; Philadelphia Inquirer, December 18, 2000.

45. See Robinson, “Palestine after Arafat”, pp. 84-86, who assesses the interests of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the U.S. and the E.U. on a succession struggle. Iran, for example, has been suspected of supplying arms to the PA. NYT, January 12, 2002, p. A5.

46. Saudi Arabia has, for example, expressed its concern publicly over the jeopardy to the region and the peace process if Arafat were to be marginalized. NYT January 27, 2002, p. 8.

47. Cf. Rubinstein, Moment (pp. 8-9) who believes that Jordan might change its mind about a confederation with Palestine, with Israel?s blessing.


Lenore Martin is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Emmanuel College. She is an Associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, where she co-chairs to Middle East Seminar. She is also an Affiliate in Research at Harvard?s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where she co-chairs the Study Group on Modern Turkey.  Her latest book is New Frontiers in Middle East Security published by Palgrave in 2001.


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