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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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 .

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora