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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid