Rouleau, Eric
September 1983
Foreign Affairs;Fall1983, Vol. 62 Issue 1, p138
This article focuses on the political condition of Palestine and the future of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as of September 1983. The dissidence within Fatah implicates, directly or indirectly, and to varying degrees, the Arab states, Israel, the U.S., the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic and other powers outside the region. Moreover, the international community is concerned by this seemingly internal struggle, for on its outcome bangs not only the solution or persistence of the Palestinian problem but, beyond that, the security and stability of a region crucial to the West. Indeed, the PLO is not a single unified body but a coalition grouping eight Fedayeen organizations running the ideological and political gamut from right to extreme left, from Islamic to Marxist-Leninist. Certain of these organizations maintain close ties with, and indeed serve as the instruments of, Arab governments often at loggerheads with one another. Counteracting these centrifugal factors are at least three that contribute to maintaining the unity, if not the cohesion, of the central body of Fedayeen, the determination to establish a Palestinian state, the charismatic personality of Yassir Arafat, and the relatively democratic institutions governing the PLO.


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