By Dr. Mohsen Saleh

Introduction

Fear of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanal-Muslimoon), the leading Islamist movement, has gained unprecedented international prominence since the beginning of the Arab uprisings. Outside official institutions this fear is most commonly found among liberal or ‘leftist’ figures. Western media also reflect common concerns about the Brotherhood that have been expressed by politicians in both Israel and the United States.

By Abdul Latif al-Hanachi

Introduction

Tunisia’s political elite overcame various obstacles during the initial stages of democratic transition, and successfully revived several constitutional institutions,[1] thanks to the spirit of rapprochement and the concessions made by major political players. The Constitution of the Second Republic that was finalised earlier this year is comparable to the constitutions of mature democracies, and superior in some respects.[2] The constituent assembly also issued a law governing elections and referenda,[3] and elected nine members to the Higher Independent Electoral and Referendum Commission to oversee the legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 26 October 2014 and 23 November 2014 respectively, concluding the third phase of democratic transition.

By AlJazeera Centre for Studies

Whether foreseen or unexpected, the continuing developments in Tunisia's political arena do not cease to surprise observers. With the approaching elections for the country's Constituent Assembly, scheduled for 23 October, various voices are already calling for a referendum on the same day to decide on the length of the term of the Assembly. Meanwhile, employees of the state security apparatuses have launched a series of protest actions. These culminated on Tuesday, 6 September, when a number of security personnel who had been protesting in al-Qasabah Square in Tunis broke into the Government Palace where Tunisia's prime minister, Beji Caid el Sebsi, was delivering a speech.

By Lutfi Zaitoun

It had never occurred to the young Muhammad Bouazizi, a native and resident of Sidi Bouzid, that his decision, made in a sudden moment of despair, and after he had been attacked by a municipal employee, to pour gasoline on himself and set himself alight in a dilapidated Tunisian area plagued by drought would light the flames of popular anger in such a manner that - were such indignation to spread - it could pose a threat to all major Tunisian cities and cause radical changes in the political structure of the country. The people of Tunisia, this small country in the Maghreb that stretches along the Mediterranean coast, have been assisted neither by history nor geography, and were provided with no terrain which might protect them from the havoc caused by the state, or by which they might find protection as they repel the state when it transgresses in its unjust treatment of its subjects. The people of this country have now begun to take to the streets, after long periods of silent patience and ostensible calm, as if they were an inanimate object, like a single mechanism, in order defiantly to face the state and alter the balance of power in their favour.

By Esam Al-Amin

In early 1994 a small Islamic think tank affiliated with the University of South Florida (USF) planned an academic forum to host Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the main opposition party in Tunisia, Ennahda. The objective of this annual event was to give Western academics and intellectuals a rare opportunity to engage an Islamically-oriented intellectual or political leader at a time when the political discourse was dominated by Samuel Huntington's much hyped clash of civilizations thesis. Shortly after the public announcement of the event, pro-Israeli groups and advocates led by Martin Kramer, Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson, the head of the local B'nai B'rith, and a small-time journalist for the local right-wing newspaper began a coordinated campaign to discredit the event and scare the university.

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