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 on New York Sun: https://www.nysun.com/foreign/tunisian-tragedy-arab-spring-just-died-in/91593/