News / Africa

Tunisia Snarled in Political Deadlock

Tunisia Snarled in Political Deadlocki
X
August 09, 2013 8:53 PM
Tunisia is facing political deadlock with the suspension of its legislature this week and large anti-government protests. Analysts say the crisis could further embolden Islamist extremists, who have killed 10 soldiers in the past few weeks. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on the divisions that threaten the nation.
Henry Ridgwell
Tunisia is facing political deadlock with the suspension of its legislature this week and large anti-government protests. Analysts say the crisis could further embolden Islamist extremists, who have killed 10 soldiers in the past few weeks.
 
On the surface, the impoverished Tunis suburb of Ettadamen looks like fertile ground for anti-government sentiments; buildings are crumbling, public services intermittent, unemployment is high and prices are rising fast.

Yet few here are calling for a second revolution. There is support for the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, and distrust of the opposition. Abdelaziz Jibali works in a mobile phone shop.

He says the opposition talked for years about freedom and democracy. But now, he says, they are wanting to overthrow their own principles and values that they of for years. He says they want to overthrow legitimacy just because the Islamists came to power.

But the Islamists’ opponents are equally determined. Ennahda’s coalition partner suspended the National Constituent Assembly this week - which was weeks away from finalizing the constitution.

The suspension came a day after tens of thousands took to the streets of Tunis calling for the downfall of the Ennahda-led government. Saleh was among them.

He says that the Tunisian people are protesting against the practices of Ennahda, the practices of what he calls a government of bribery and assassinations, which he says are "the practices of Ennahda.”

Many Ennahda opponents blame the party for the killing last month of opposition political leader Mohamed Brahmi - the second political assassination this year. Ennahda denies any involvement. A hardline Islamist has been arrested.

The past few weeks have seen a surge is Islamist militant attacks near the Algerian border.

That has fueled the opposition protests, and accusations that Ennahda is doing nothing to tackle extremist violence. But the same argument was used during the days of dictatorship, says Maha Azzam of policy institute Chatham House.

"It’s an old argument often put against the Islamists and also put forward by the military and authoritarian regimes - that security can only be protected by them,” he said.

The deadlock in Tunisia comes weeks after the military overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. Azzam says that has emboldened the opposition in Tunisia, but there are big risks for both countries.

“They are creating greater fissures in their society and giving greater strength to the arguments of those few extremists that were undermined by the democratic process, to say, ‘Well, democracy doesn’t deliver,’” he said.

The danger of Islamist terrorism is increasing, says Professor Alaya Allani, an expert on Islamist groups at Manouba University in Tunis.

“The Algerian authorities are deploying 16,000 personnel on their border with Tunisia,” said Allani. “It is a sign that these jihadists have become a social phenomenon, a phenomenon of terrorism that can threaten the stability and security in the entire North African region, not just Tunisia.”

Despite the political deadlock at home, Tunisia struck a deal this week to enhance security coordination with Algeria, to tackle militants along their mountainous border.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: @zizoo from: Tunis
August 09, 2013 9:08 PM
This article over simplifies the situation and needs further fact checking. What are the reasons that make the author believe "the National Constituent Assembly was weeks away from finalizing the constitution".
- Ennahda has been reluctant to reinforce the law against violent salafis and violent militia that exert political violence.
- saying that "There is support for the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, and distrust of the opposition" in the article without mentioning that more than 1/4 a million Tunisians were in the streets to protest against Ennahda and when a popular sit-in has been taking place for more than 2 weeks is manipulative .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid