Another Arab spring on the way? Tunisia bears the brunt of the Brotherhood’s failure

The Muslim Brotherhood fails dismally at running a country, destroying Tunisia as the Hezbollah did in Lebanon. What lies ahead? Op-ed.

Dr. Salem AlKetbi ,

Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood

The successive crises that Tunisia has experienced since the rise of the Ennahda party to the forefront of the political scene do not surprise observers and specialists.

The people choose who governs them in order to give them the means to live decently, and not to satisfy the interests and political and ideological ambitions of government and build a fantasy model that inhabits only their deranged imagination.

Although political analyses are overflowing with sometimes different and sometimes similar interpretations of what is happening in Tunisia right now, I believe that numbers and statistics have a more accurate explanation of what we are seeing. There is a disastrous handling of the Covid-19 crisis in recent weeks.

Tunisia’s economy is deteriorating rapidly. Many experts are saying that this is a crisis of bankruptcy that is putting the Tunisian state on a path that is very similar to what happened in Lebanon. The Tunisian people revolted against their regime in 2011 because of poor living and development conditions, lack of freedoms, among other things.

But a decade later, the situation has not changed. Some productive sectors have even deteriorated more than they were. Successive governments led by Ennahda have only succeeded in creating crises and discord in order to distract the Tunisian people from the government’s continued failure to manage the country’s affairs.

In this context, let us refer to the figures and statistics published in Western newspapers, including the disastrous impact of the Coronavirus epidemic on tourism, the country’s most important source of income. The economy deteriorated by about 9% last year and the official unemployment rate reached 18%, while the youth unemployment rate is expected to reach over 30%.

In addition, Tunisia is unable to pay debt maturities and interest without new loans from the International Monetary Fund (about $4.5 billion is due this year). Add to that Tunisia’s budget deficit and the increase in the value of foreign debt to record levels relative to GDP (debt is over 100 percent).

Despite these totally negative economic indicators, and despite the lessons of the Lebanese situation before everyone’s eyes, the leaders of the Tunisian Ennahda movement have not lived up to the national responsibility demanded by the situation.

They took advantage of their influence in parliament and sought by all means to control the decisions and policies of Hichem Mechichi’s government. They started one crisis after another with President Kais Saied. Politically and economically, things have become very similar to what is happening in Lebanon.

Tunisia found itself in a state of political deadlock and parliamentary and governmental failure. But Ennahda kept trying to derail everyone. It did not try to push the government to implement any economic or development plan to get out of this crisis situation. This is despite the fact that Ghannouchi and his ilk have realized that the country has suffered a large trade deficit in recent years.

The epidemic has caused a decline in tourist activity of more than 60%. There is also the weakening of agricultural export rates, rising prices and other indicators that have made the only way to save the Tunisian economy from imminent collapse is to obtain a new loan from international donor institutions.

Tunisia has received three loans from the International Monetary Fund and is currently negotiating a fourth loan. In its history, Tunisia was not so dependent on foreign loans. But today, Tunisia is paying the bill for the failure of Ennahda and its dictatorship style, a replica of other branches of the Brotherhood scattered in several Arab countries.

Failure was inherent in this organization in all its political trials. The reason is the lack of experience, political ignorance and mixing religion with politics. The result was an unprecedented state of national divisions, sedition and unrest as a consequence of the massive popular rejection of these miserable practices of the Brotherhood, which suffered the same fate in all Arab countries, most recently in Tunisia.

Dr. Salem AlKetbi is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate