To Many Arabs, the Fall of Tunisia’s Islamist Rulers Is Good News

The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, where demonstrations succeeded in toppling a long-ruling dictatorship. Unlike elsewhere, where uprisings were either repressed or led to bloody civil wars, the revolution in the North African country seemed to be a success story, leading to reasonably democratic elections that brought the Islamist Ennahda party to power. But last month, the president removed the prime minister and his entire cabinet from office, and called up the military to back up the move—ending Ennahda’s rule. Khaled Abu Toameh examines the generally positive reaction to the coup throughout the Arab world:

The Ennahda party was inspired by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the ideology of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. . . . The decision of the president [to dismiss the government] was made in response to a series of protests against Ennahda, economic hardship, and a spike in COVID-19 cases in Tunisia.

Tunisia is the third Arab country after Egypt and Sudan to say that it is fed up with the rule of the Islamists. With the exception of Qatar, most of the Arab countries have long regarded the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups as a major threat to security, stability, and peace. The Palestinians, on the other hand, seem to be the only Arabs who continue to believe in the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, particularly Hamas, the terrorist group that has been ruling the Gaza Strip since July 2007.

Evidently, many Arabs are pleased that the rule of the Islamists in Tunisia has finally come to an end. The jubilation in the Arab countries over the toppling of Ennahda sends a clear message to the rest of the world against embracing or appeasing the Islamists. Sadly, this is a message that continues to be ignored by the many Palestinians and leaders in the West who continue to support Hamas and other Iranian-backed Islamist groups that seek to eliminate Israel and to keep the Palestinians mired in misery.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Arab Spring, Islamism, Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinians, Tunisia

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations