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April 24, 2003

The New Arafat-Abu Mazen Cabinet

A Roadblock to Middle East Peace Dore Gold
Despite the formation of a new cabinet, Yasser Arafat remains the head of the Palestinian Authority, with powers over finances, security, and future negotiations.

Pro-Arafat forces dominate the new cabinet. Some 12-14 ministers are expected to be old Arafat appointees, while only 4-6 ministers will owe their loyalty to Abu Mazen.

Despite Abu Mazen's control of the Preventive Security Organization, Arafat still commands other, larger security organizations.

Arafat refused to accept Abu Mazen's demand that the armed factions of Fatah, like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, be dismantled.

A diplomatic breakthrough in peace-making remains unlikely, especially with Yasser Arafat still in power and pulling the strings of government. MORE