Israeli sources claim that the U.S. now regards Mohammed Dahlan, head of the PA Preventive Security forces in Gaza, as a leading candidate to head that new security structure - and possibly step into line as Arafat's heir. Dahlan was in Washington last week, as were intelligence chiefs from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for meetings with Tenet.
While in Washington, Israeli sources told Haaretz, Dahlan made a strong positive impression on National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, while Mohammed Rashid, Yasser Arafat's financial adviser, failed to impress his American interlocutors, especially after reports came out that he had reached an understanding with the Americans that he would run the reform program for the Palestinian Authority.
The latest round of U.S. diplomatic efforts begins Thursday with the arrival of Egyptian presidential adviser Osama Al Baz in Israel.
Al Baz will meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Minister Tzipi Livni. Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs William Burns also arrives Thursday for meetings with Sharon, Peres and Ben-Eliezer.
Over the weekend Burns will be joined by CIA Director George Tenet, who is coming for talks with both Israeli and Palestinian officials. His focus will be on restructuring the Palestinian security services. (Albawaba.com)
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