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Confusion in the Ennahda Movement - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A crisis has struck Tunisia as a whole, including the Ennahda movement and the opposition left, after the assassination of the latter’s influential leader Chokri Belaid. As a result, we can note that the Ennahda leaders are only interested in controlling the government, not the safety of Tunisia.

This is clearly evidenced by the confused and heated statements issued from the leader of the Ennahda movement, Rashid Ghannouchi, whether about the repercussions of the Belaid assassination, or with regards to the earthquake that has struck the Ennahda party itself after the Tunisian prime minister announced his intention to form a technocrat government. Ghannouchi’s first interesting remarks were on Belaid’s assassination, where he said that this incident was not out of the ordinary in revolutionary circumstances, whether past and present, accusing what he called “counter revolutionaries” of being behind the operation. Ghannouchi asserted that the counter revolution is drawing upon foreign states and parties who perceive the success of the Tunisian model to be a danger to them, and who want to drag Tunisia into the mire of strife.

The fact is that these comments indicate confusion and tension, and a failure to see the bigger picture, namely maintaining Tunisia. This is especially considering Ghannouchi’s other remarks, stating that he does not fear the division of the Ennahda party in the wake of the prime minister’s announcement of the formation of a technocrat government.

The fear today is not for the Ennahda party but for Tunisia, and this is what Ghannounchi unfortunately cannot see, the reason being because of his desire to control the joints of governance; a phenomenon we have seen with the Muslim Brotherhood in other Arab Spring states. When Ghannouchi says that Belaid’s assassination is not out of the ordinary in revolutionary circumstances, for it is well known that revolutions “devour their own children”, is that what he meant? Whatever Ghannouchi meant his remarks were certainly interesting, especially as the Ennahda leader blames what is happening in Tunisia on external forces, or as they say in Egypt “third parties”, but the truth is that this third party here is a greed for power and a tendency towards political mismanagement.

Ghannouchi’s comments about foreign interference could have come from Ben Ali or Mubarak. The key point here is that it is best to deal with crises, rather than try to escape from them or blame them on foreign entities. The dilemma that the Islamists of the Arab Spring have yet to come to terms with is that they have become an important source of division and infighting in their homelands, and Tunisia is just one example of that. We see Prime Minister Jabali trying to deal realistically with one of Tunisia’s gravest ever crises, by forming a technocrat government, while Ghannouchi is keen to maintain his party and its interests.

The irony here is that both men, Ghannouchi and Jabali, are affiliated to the Brotherhood, but there is a great difference between them. The former wants to maintain his party and the latter wants to maintain the country, and there is a big difference of course between a statesman and a man who wants to control the state. What Ghannouchi has not realized, and he seems to lack Jabali’s wisdom, is that Belaid’s assassination may lead to the restructuring of Tunisia’s political map, especially as the opposition left is in control of the trade unions, and the bulk of Tunisia’s problems can be summed up by the economy!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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