The many faces and places
of Mohammad Dahlan.

“During the eight years that (Dahlan) ran one of Arafat’s 14 or 15 security organisations Gaza was known as Dahlanistan.”

This simplistic and apt description of Mohammed Dahlan as it relates the byzantine world of the Middle East peace process made little impact but it perfectly captured a man who was to parlay his connections and skills into becoming a major player on the world stage. Dahlan was able to take his role as enforcer and spy inside the occupied areas and expand on it to serve many masters.

Born in a refugee camp in Palestine to a family of 8 back in 1948, Dahlan has become a political person since early childhood. In 1981, he was one of the youths that organized the Fatah Youth Movement Fatah Hawks. In the next 5 years, he got arrested 11 times by Israel.

Thanks to his involvement and role in the Oslo Accords, Dahlan quickly became the rising power of Palestinian politics and gained the title of the head of the Preventive Security Force of Gaza. His tight grip on the city caused people to refer to Gaza as “Dahlanistan” during this period.

After Arafat’s death, Dahlan lost the power struggle over Gaza against Abbas and his supporters. At first, he moved to West Bank and pursued his political struggle through his supporters in Fatah, but it did not last for long. Dahlan soon became the target of a bunch of accusations, the most important one of which claiming that he killed Arafat. Ultimately, he found himself in exile in UAE.

Dahlan became a consultant to UAE’s leader MBZ and was quickly tasked with turning Serbia into an operational base. He then got Serbian citizenship, while still pursuing his fight against the Abbas administration in Palestine. He was one of the main names that were mentioned in the scandalous SISILEAKS of 2015, as his relationship with Sisi and involvement with the Nile Dam Project continued to busy the headlines. During this time, he was also accused of organizing the coup attempt in Turkey. This period is also marked by Dahlan forming strong bonds with the U.S., particularly then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

Dahlan becomes more involved with the Libyan and Yemen civil wars, and allegedly sends mercenaries to those regions. He is claimed to have a part in illegal arms sales to UAE and Saudi Arabia while acting as the mediator between Russia and UAE. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his ambition over Palestine resurfaces, as he aims to rebrand himself as the savior of the country by arranging the delivery of Russian vaccines.




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