Tunisians Are Disenchanted with Islamist Rule

Early Monday morning, the president of Tunisia—the birthplace of the Arab Spring, and long held to be its sole success story—dismissed the prime minister and cabinet, and had the military surround the parliament. Benny Avni argues that the coup might not be the worst possible outcome:

Yes, Ennahda, the country’s largest party, is loosely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, went the received wisdom in the West. It is, though, only mildly Islamist and has vowed to maintain democratic values—including by supporting in 2014 a constitution that guaranteed basic freedoms.

It turns out Tunisians weren’t buying it. Islamist sensibilities crept in, often enforced by Ennahda officials. The Mediterranean beaches that attracted tourists, the country’s main source of hard cash, emptied out after an Islamic State gunman killed 38 people at a resort [in the coast city of] Sousse in 2015. Even before that, Islamist enforcers barred locals from freely enjoying those beaches as they had enjoyed them in earlier decades.

Political Islam has ruined many dreams of liberty across the region. . . . Tunisians are increasingly disenchanted with the country’s downward spiral in recent years. For many of them [Ennahda is] the main culprit. The president’s army-backed sacking of the government, and his threat to bring Ennahda officials to trial, put the kibosh in any democratic aspirations, but the move may well prove popular among a majority of Tunisians that is sick and tired of being sick and poor.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Arab Spring, Islamism, Tunisia

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security