Last year, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, I published a column titled “The Bottleneck in Tunisia.” Stating that the differences of opinion between President Kais Saied and parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi had reached a fever pitch, I highlighted that Saied had now chosen to move forward with “foreign” actors. Down below you will find an excerpt of that column:
“Kais Saied standing in the ranks of the “Haftar Front” with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, France and Israel, will serve only to further deepen the segregation and conflicts in Tunisian politics. While Saied’s choice isolates the Ennahda Movement and Rached Ghannouchi, who is accused of being pro-Turkey, the UAE in particular is making ground on its obsession to “shape Tunisia’s political trajectory,” efforts which it has intensified since 2013. In the event that the Haftar Front cannot be dislodged from Libya, the position of Ennahda and Ghannouchi will become ever more precarious. One needn’t be an oracle to guess that the Egypt-UAE-Saudi threesome will take full advantage of this situation.”
Today, lo and behold, they truly have milked the situation for all they can. By unleashing public masses on the streets, they organization anti-government protests across Tunisia’s various cities. Then, at midnight last Sunday, President Kais Saied sacked the government and dissolved parliament. Furthermore, he declared a state of emergency and declared a nationwide curfew.
Even though the country’s sole authority does not lie with the Ennahda, simultaneous cries of the like of "The Muslim Brotherhood is gone; Tunisia is saved; the people are joyous" emanated from thousands of social media accounts under the control of the Egypt-UAE-Saudi Arabia trio, and from the Gulf media. To fan the flames further, fake news concerning “Gannouchi’s extravagant fortune” were circulated through the grapevine, and thus the entire responsibility of Tunisia’s sticky situation was burdened on the soldiers of this 80-year-old leader and the Ennahda Movement. This was yet another harbinger that displayed that Saied, who from the beginning directed his criticisms nowhere in particular, without targeting Gannouchi by name or personally, was actually implementing a project that had been dictated to him from abroad. Even though he keeps on repeating that he “implemented the 80th Article of the Constitution” like a broken record, if it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it is usually so.
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The attack against Rached Gannouchi and his political line in the Arab world, is a part of the scenario being put into practice in many different countries within the last couple of years. There is no petrol or gas to be extracted from the country; it holds no strategic significance. Their one and only concern is coming to terms with the governing and mentality they call "Political Islam." What they call "political Islam" consists of the sensitivity of Muslims to engage in politics by implementing the decrees and prohibitions of Islam. Since they cannot openly fight Islam itself, they are swinging their swords at this bogus concept. Intense media campaigns to exploit the various adversities experienced by the masses, to provide limited economic relief and attribute all kinds of terrorist acts to "Political Islam" are their primary tools.
Let’s say that we get where some columnists in the Arab world are coming from, but what about the writers in Turkey who are acting as if they are their mouthpiece? There’s no other explanation for them to be jubilant that an Islamist regime was subjected to a coup d’état, than to form a bond of ideological kinship with those countries mentioned above.
Another front of those celebrating that supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are now gone is that “Islam is dying.” Tunisia is the last link in the chain.” However, what’s called "Islamism" or "Political Islam" within the framework of the description I gave above will remain alive and vigorous as long as Muslims exist in the world. Disintegration, dissolution, oppression, prosecution, imprisonment, execution… All these experiences are what that they have faced time and time again throughout history.
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It is clear that there’s a fork in the road where the Muslim world is concerned. What we have witnessed and what our forefathers have seen are as different as chalk and cheese. The experiences of our children will diverge greatly from ours too. For future generations, the current events and the processes in various parts of the Muslim region are extremely valuable in terms of gaining experience. However, only if we can look at history and the region from this perspective. If we fail to, the mistakes and their dire consequences will continue forevermore.