Arab Spring End: Tunisia’s Ruling Islamists Fall

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement light flares and wave flags during a rally in Tunis

Despite being the wellspring of the Arab Spring, Tunisia hasn’t gotten much attention. But the counterrevolution that took down the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt really began in Tunisia.

Back in October of last year, I predicted that Egypt and Tunisia were both headed for Counterrevolutions against Islamist rule. The revolution in Egypt happened and the protests and unrest in Tunisia has been growing.

Now events are approaching the endgame.

Tunisia’s ruling Islamists rejected on Monday a plan for them to step down pending elections, deepening a confrontation with secular opponents that threatens the most promising democratic transition to have emerged from the Arab Spring.

The Islamist government that replaced Tunisia’s longtime ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali had on Thursday cautiously agreed to talks on stepping down, after reading opposition protests as a sign it is time to compromise instead of digging in.

On Monday it appeared to take a step back.

“We cannot accept the threat of pressure from the streets,” said Ennahda vice president Adb el Hamid Jelassi. “There should be more guarantees.”

Stubbornness was the undoing of its affiliate in Egypt – the Muslim Brotherhood which won office through the ballot box after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak but alienated the masses and the army by refusing to share power.

“We have said that this government would not step down concretely before the completion of the constitution,” Rafik Abd Essalem, a senior Ennahda official, told reporters.

Of course they intend to lock in the constitution first. That’s their endgame. But the Morsi constitution is already being rewritten. No reason that the Ennahda one can’t be.

UPDATE: Ennahda down.

Tunisia’s governing Islamist party has agreed to step down following negotiations with opposition parties that begin next week.

A spokesman for the main labor union said months of talks with the Islamist-led government had finally reached an agreement Saturday. Bouali Mbarki of the UGTT union said the deal calls for three weeks of negotiations to appoint an interim, non-partisan government.

  • Jason

    I dare to hope that Muslims are starting to realise that Islam is the polar opposite of freedom. Egypt, and now Tunisia have overthrown Islamist regimes. The people have realised, and now we shall see how it turns out. I pray that they become secular.

    Now that’s irony, praying for people to be secular.

  • AdinaF

    While Morsi’s Mafia surely fell, no one should believe that any form of moderate rule is in the offing. And while pushing the Brotherhood Mafia – the wellspring of the jihadi umbrella – out of the political picture is indeed imperative, the fact of the matter is that Islam is part and parcel of these societies and herein lies the thrust.

    UNLESS a complete Islamic reformation takes place, rest assured, there will be bloody revolutions for many decades to come. Muslims/Arabs cannot become ‘tamed’ without the boot of Islam removed from their necks. The policy paper, ‘Islam and Blood’, more than shores up the above thesis. If interested, google it.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    • southwood

      There can be no “Islamic reformation”. A reformation means a reforming or return to an earlier, purer, or uncorrupted position. Islam IS Islam. Its earliest purest position is what it was when it began, i.e. with Mohammed. Its basic teachings are very much the same as they were back then with some minor additions such as women covering up all over. Anything which could be called any type of “reformation” in Islam would involve the Salafist revolution taking place, and that would be the worst thing that could happen.The 16th century protestant reformation was a return to simple Biblical teachings and getting rid of all the corruptions of the gospel which had accrued in the doctrine and practices of the Roman church.

      The only hope for Muslim nations, indeed the only hope for the world, is Christianity. The decline of Christianity in Europe and America has brought us into the desperate situation we now find ourselves in, where our future as a “Christian” civilization is threatened. Being Jewish (I assume you are) you might like to see Christianity collapse but the scenario for the Jews would be much worse under Islam.

      • ReyR

        Coming from the Christian background, I believe that all religion is poison. Religion, however benign, defies and insults intellect. Our only hope is reason, not blind faith.

        • southwood

          So tell me: when has “reason” ever been used to benefit a nation ? The French Revolution deified “the god of reason” and…there was a bloodbath. Come on, tell me, when has “reason” ruled ? In fact, what you fail to realize is that human reasoning has its limits. Reason and faith together are what Christianity requires. Only when Christianity rules, pure unadulterated Christianity, then, and only then, do we see a society with freedom and tolerance (not licence mind) and justice.

          • ReyR

            Absolutely, how could we even dare question Christianity? Giordano Bruno, Galileo’s trial, the Great Schism, annihilation of Cathars, extermination of Lollards, the witch trials gone well into the 18th century… All about freedom and tolerance and justice, no doubt. Pure unadulterated Christianity. People who defy science but are happy to use its fruit are confused people at best, and not much better than muzzies. Don’t forget to thank the Inquisition next time you take your medication or board a plane or – sure – go online to state your informed religious opinion.

          • southwood

            Well, if, as is absolutely clear, you have no glimmer of what true Christianity is, I cannot reason with you.

          • ReyR

            Of course you cannot reason with me, but you’d love to send me to the stake, wouldn’t you, friend?
            Examples of reason befitting mankind include: modern medicine, modern transport, the computer.

          • southwood

            I am coming to the conclusion that you are verging on idiocy. Seriously. I wouldn’t burn you or anyone like minded at the stake but I think the nuthouse might be appropriate. You talk about reason yet you are incapable of intelligent reasoning. I bet you believe in the big bang too. You people really do not realize what a joke you are to us Christians.

            The examples you suggest were not created in a vacuum. A type of society allowed these things to develop. The framework of that society, the foundation, if you will, was/is Christianity.

            If you cannot make intelligent comments then I suggest you do not make any.

          • ReyR

            OK, OK, you have proved your point: Christians ARE forgiving, tolerant, and intelligent.
            You Christians really do not realize what a joke you are to us people.

          • southwood

            I will part with you with this thought for you to consider if you are honest enough to deal with it:

            Today we are seeing the marginalization of Christianity in countries like America. Christians are being compared to the Taliban. Creation is being forced out of schools. Homosexuals are virtually outlawing Christianity. Christianity is being maligned and ridiculed. Christians are having their rights removed bit by bit. Homeschoolling Christian families are being denied asylum in America but the government wants to give it to illegal immigrants of whatever background. All this and more is coming from the “reasonable”, the so-called liberals, atheists and others. Soon we will see Christians jailed merely for holding Christian beliefs. That is the result of your vicious, evil and completely intolerant left/liberal/atheist anti-Christians. Their day will come. A dark day. It will come.

          • ReyR

            Listen man, I live in Russia. We are a secular society, and not the empire of evil as we are pictured by your MSM. So I’m coming from my own background, because to me, all religion is unacceptable. But just as yourself, I despise libertarians and cultural marxists, and I have no time for dole-seeking koranimals and gay idiots. I value the way we live here, because (and of course you will not believe it) ours is a free society. We don’t care what anybody believes or what they do in bed as long as they don’t interfere with me or the public. What is happening in your homeland now is a crime and a shame. I think I know how you feel. Hey, should I remind you that East European families were denied asylum in America during WWII? On the grounds of being… well, East Europeans. Unfortunately, history runs in circles, every dog has its day, and then its death. We survived a nightmare here in the 90s, it’s all still vivid memories. I am sure that America is on the verge of collapse right now, but I also believe in the great American people. But yes, you are facing a dark decade, I suspect. Hold on, man, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
            OK, my bed time.
            And I’m not an enemy.

  • Gee

    Morocco’s Muslim Brotherhood is also in trouble.

    I wonder how long it will take for Israel to be blamed for both actions

  • objectivefactsmatter

    So POTUS is far more radical as a jihadi than the average man on the street in the middle east.

    Good thing he’s a solid capitalist. At least he’ll get our economy straightened out.

  • Aizino Smith

    Here is the deal.

    The Muslim Brotherhood (& Edogan’s Party in Turkey) did do good works when they were up & coming parties out of power. But it one things to help several neighborhoods or a few million [people and quite another to help the whole country which has tens of millions of people.

    PS Pablo Escobar helped some people in his hometown to make sure he had a good rep, but he did not help all of Columbia now did he. Same tactic used by bad people.

  • JacksonPearson

    Awww sh*t, another Muslim Brotherhood neighborhood flushed down the toilet. Kind of brings tears to my eyes.