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

Aug. 25 2021

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.

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Read more at Gatestone

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

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship