Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the consolidation of competing security forces under a unified command--trimming them from more than a dozen agencies to just three. It's seen as a step toward meeting US and Israeli demands to end armed chaos in the Palestinian territories. It’s clearly an attempt to avert US pressure for his failure to crackdown on terrorism ahead of a visit to the White House next month. Abbas wants to show President Bush that he’s reforming the security forces and divert attention away from terrorism; then he can press Palestinian demands, such as a freeze on settlement activity and a halt to construction of the security barrier.
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