Muhammad Dahlan: Head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, with rank of colonel. Member of Fatah-RC. b.1961, Gaza, from a refugee family. Former leader of Fatah's Shabiba movement on the West Bank. Was imprisoned for long periods by Israel (1981-late86), before being deported in 1988 to Jordan. He then joined the PLO in Tunis, where he coordinated with the intifada. Returned to Gaza in 1994. Believed to have drawn up an agreement at the Rome meeting in Jan94 with senior IDF & Shin Bet officials a plan for containing Hamas (MEI520); frequent member of negotiating team on security issues for Israeli redeployments during the Oslo process, on the return of those expelled after 1967, and on prisoner releases; coordinates with US agencies often. Speaks Hebrew fluently. Sharon blamed him for an attack on a settlers' bus in Gaza in Nov00, launched attacks on his offices & and said that he deserved to die. Reportedly tendered his resignation on 5Nov01, in opposition to the PA's policy of arresting PFLP & Jihad members; but refused by Arafat. His article, "Our partners in life in this land", appeared in Ha'aretz on 31Jan02. Was a central figure in running the PA through the "Gang of 5" that took over during Arafat's captivity (Mar-May02), backed by Asfur, Urayqat, Rashid, Shath, and favouring the creation of a unitary security apparatus that could return to an Oslo-style process (and opposing Rajub).
The head of the Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip, Dahlan has played a key role in negotiations with Israel. In the absence of an official army, he and Rajoub are the closest to military chiefs the Palestinian Authority has. Both have recruited young men from the ranks of Arafat's Fatah faction to carry out a security mandate largely aimed at reining in militant groups. Dahlan, 41, was a student leader in the Palestinian intifada of the 1980s and was also deported by the Israelis. He continued to orchestrate the protesters from exile in Tunis where he won Arafat's confidence. Dahlan angered Arafat last month by expressing dissatisfaction over the lack of a coherent policy during the current uprising. He and Rajoub have been criticized by human rights groups for their methods during past crackdowns on Islamic militants.
According to a number of sources, Muhammad Dahlan is considered the most likley canidate to replace Arafat if Bush gets his way. There isn't that much information out there about him, other then frequent mentions in various news articles.
If anyone has a link to a good bio of the guy, please post it up.