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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is Abbas this smart?

March 7: Abbas seems to endorse Olmert and Kadima. "I hope that Olmert wins ... I know him well, and I believe that I could work with him in a productive way."

March 7: Abbas says "I have no problem releasing Ahmed Saadat tomorrow, but with one condition: to have a letter from the PFLP politburo saying that I am not responsible for what would happen to him after that."

Now that Saadat is released and captured by Israel, Olmert gets a boost from the Israeli electorate.

Beyond that, Abbas had nothing to gain from Saadat being in the PA parliament, as he would work against both Fatah and Hamas. By freeing him he would strengthen his opposition.

I tend to doubt it, as Abbas never betrayed any political smarts before, and it was not a huge win for him - the world Arab reaction has been that Abbas was humiliated by the Israeli operation. Still, it is something to think about.