What's Going On?

Andrei Marks · August 23, 2007

This article is from the 2007-08-22 print of the Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A32 under the International News–Military Affairs section. It was written by a Zhang Le.


The United States Will Train Abbas’ Security Forces This Fall

- This is the first time the US State Department will start training for Palestinian military personnel; the details of the program have yet to be released.

On August 19 the US State Department made an announcement that its plan is to begin cooperative training with Abbas’ security forces in the fall of this year, which indicates its support for the Palestinian National Authority Chairman Abbas.

In this year, Hamas’ armed activities have become increasingly frequent. Particularly since the beginning of June, when Hamas, by means of armed force, actually took control of the Gaza Strip, and their frequent conflicts with armed forces loyal to Abbas’ Palestinian transitional government. Under these circumstances, America beginning to consider supporting Abbas will thereby isolate Hamas.

America Will Train and Guide for Half a Year

According to reports, the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security will be mainly responsible for implementing the plan to train Palestinian security forces, and this is only “part of a series of programs”. However, corresponding announcements didn’t reveal whether or not the American and Palestinian governments have any other training programs that would be unsuitable to announce to the public.

An announcement issued by the State Department said that Abbas’ security forces will receive training from American forces for half a year, from about the autumn of 2007 straight through the beginning of 2008. According to an introduction, the main purpose of this cooperative training is “very clear”. It will be to help the Palestinian government, especially by training Abbas’ security forces to provide necessary and sufficient security for the Palestinian National Authority. America’s basic consideration is still to guarantee Abbas’ safety.

This announcement also stated that after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, forces loyal to Abbas have constantly been in a confrontational position with Hamas’ armed personnel, and the Palestinian government worries that Abbas’s security is threatened. Although Hamas has indicated that it will not initiate any attacks against Abbas himself, the calls within the government to strengthen Abbas’ security forces have been loud. This training program will “provide security for the Palestinian people, oppose terrorism, build trust between the factions, and will at the same time help to fulfill the safety requirements between the state of Palestine and Israel.”

There Are Many Choices for Training Sites

It is reported that the US State Department often carries out military training for a small number of “friendly” foreign militaries. However, announcements about the Abbas training have been very “conservative”, and have not yet made public a few key points of content: in the half year of cooperative training, which types of training programs the American side plans to provide for Abbas’ security forces, and which methods will be employed to improve their combat effectiveness and their ability to defend Abbas and the Palestinian government.

A military source on the Palestinian side has said that there are many choices for a site where Abbas’ security forces will receive American training, and one of them is Abbas’ security forces’s Jielike Training Camp. This military source revealed that this is the US State Department’s first time developing military training for the Palestinian security personnel, and is also the first time since the 1990s that American security staff have directly “commanded” Palestinian security forces.

Translator’s notes:
- I can’t find the name of that training camp.
- I don’t know what they mean by help “fulfill the safety requirements between the state of Palestine and Israel.”
- Let’s see if this comes back to kick us in the ass a decade or so down the line.
- And wow, I didn’t realize how little I knew about Palestine and the the current situation. I had translated the entire article thinking Abbas was a faction, when he’s actually the President and member of the Fatah party, the party name was never mentioned. And these security forces are actually just his Presidential Guard! What a crazy place. I was recently getting my hair cut, and in the salon a little boy, I guess a family member of one of the hairdressers, asked me if it was true about the Korean hostages in Afghanistan, he’d saw a news story recently. And I said yeah, and luckily had happened to be following the story. And the guy cutting my hair says something to the effect of, “Why does this stuff happen in the world? Nothing like this ever happens in China!” Ah China, heaven on earth.

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