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18 December 2011

Post-turmoil Tunisia: Activist as President

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By Dr. Abdul Ruff

It is now almost a year since the secret fire was ignited by the anti-Islamic west in Tunisia to destabilize entire Mideast, kill Muslims, control and steal their energy resources. Not only Egypt has been destabilized and its leader was thrown out but sovereign Libya was invaded by the UNSC-NATO terror syndicates and their president Col. Qaddafi was cruelly assassinated.

Now, it appears Tunisia is limping back to some semblance of normalcy. Considered by many as a so-called laboratory of democracy, Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly has on December 12, a month and a half after legislative elections, elected opposition veteran Moncef Marzouki, a former human rights activist and opposition leader, as the country's president. Marzouki, 66, was chosen by 153 out of 217 members of the Constituent Assembly, elected in October to draw up a new constitution and appoint a transitional government. Three of the 202 deputies were present voting against, two abstaining and 44 opposition members casting blank ballots.

The election of a president and creation of a new government could take place only once lawmakers adopted the "mini-constitution", laboriously drawn up over two weeks after the elections. Among those who voted against Marzouki was Samir Betaieb of the left-wing Democratic Modernist Pole. "This election took place on the basis of an unbalanced text that gives a lot of power to a designated head of government at the expense of an elected president," he told AFP.

Ennahda won 89 seats in October's election making it by far the largest party. Marzouki comes from the “secular” centre-left Congress for the Republic party, which came second in recent elections. Marzouki's Congress for the Republic Party - whose symbol is a pair of red glasses inspired by his outsize spectacles - was second, winning 29 seats.

Marzouki has been sworn in as the country's first elected president since the North African nation's revolution sparked the Arab Spring. "I will be the guarantor of the national interests, the state of laws and institutions," Marzouki said with his hand on the Koran as he took his oath before the constituent assembly that elected him president.

Tunisia's first elected president Marzouki, divorced from his French wife, spent two decades in exile in Paris before returning to Tunisia in January days after the toppling of former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. His party had previously been banned.

With tears in his eyes the 66-year-old, who a year ago was living in exile, solemnly promised to be the "president of all Tunisians." Marzouki owed to be faithful to the martyrs and to the objectives of the revolution. "The main challenge is to attain the revolution's goals" he said, almost a year after the start of the mass protests, obviously engineered by the Obama’s CIA guys, that ousted strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and sparked popular revolts that also toppled presidents in Egypt and Libya.

The north African country's new president was Ben Ali's bete noire throughout his political career and was forced to live in exile in France for a decade. Calling for national reconciliation, he also challenged the opposition to participate in the nation's political life. “Our mission is to promote our Arab-Muslim identity and be open to the world. To protect the veiled (women) and girls in niqab as well as those who aren't veiled," he said, adding that he would safeguard health, education and women's rights.

Before going to take up residence in Ben Ali's old seaside presidential palace beside the Roman ruins at Carthage, the French-trained doctor said he has the great honor of becoming the first president of the first free republic of the Arab world.

Marzouki, who headed the Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LTDH) from 1989 until Ben Ali supporters forced him out in 1994, has a deep-seated passion for human rights.

A prolific writer, he has penned several books in French and Arabic including one titled Dictators on Watch: A Democratic Path for the Arab World.

One of Marzouki's first tasks will be to formally designate Hamadi Jebali, from the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, as prime minister. Critics accuse Marzouki of being a pawn of Ennahda, which came in first in the October 23 constituent assembly elections with 89 seats.

Although establishment of truly Islamic nation has never been on the state agenda of this Muslim nation for so long, Tunisia is more prosperous than its neighbours and has strong trade links with Europe. Agriculture employs a large part of the workforce, and dates and olives are cultivated in the drier regions. Millions of European tourists flock to Tunisian resorts every year.

Home of the ancient city of Carthage, Tunisia has long been an important player in the Mediterranean, placed as it is in the centre of North Africa, close to vital shipping routes. In their time, the Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and French realised its strategic significance, making it a hub for control over the region. French colonial rule ended in 1956, and Tunisia was led for three decades by Habib Bourguiba, who advanced secular ideas. Bourguiba insisted on an anti-Islamic fundamentalist line, while increasing his own powers to become a virtual dictator. In 1987 he was dismissed on grounds of senility and Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali' became president. He continued with a hard line against Islamic propagandists, tolerated no dissent, harassing government critics and rights activists, but inherited an economically-stable country. A dozen “suspected Islamists” were killed in shoot-outs with security forces in and around Tunis at the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. With a big role played by the CIA, discontent with Ben Ali's autocratic rule erupted in into mass street demonstrations which prompted Ben Ali to step aside in 2011. This inspired uprisings across the region that became known in the west as the “Arab Spring”.

An Observation

Islam is not a myth. Nor the Islamic way of life a Utopian concept! Western terrocracies seeking energy resources of Mideast and their naughty Arab allies seeking petrodollars as bribes have made Islam appear to a terrorist religion. Islam came into being to free people from oppression, is the best way of harmonious human life benefiting all global masses, not just the Muslims. When Islamic societies live as is expected of them, non-Muslim nations also would greatly benefit form this.

Today, Islam is counterposed by all anti-Islamic nations, forces and their fanatic media to the crime based so-called "democracy" resulting in all Muslim nations, especially the Arab league members to transplant the western liquored terrocratic patterns in their own societies.

What exactly the new Tunisian regime would do is being watched more with curiosity. One has to watch how the Marzouki's elected regime performs and if at all it would implement Islamic law and lead the people towards Islamic path which would eventually benefit entire humanity. Thus far Islam is used only as a slogan by hypocritical Muslim leaders to advance their political and economic interests. .

Since it is one of smallest Muslim nation on earth, Tunisia can certainly establish a credible Islamic society as desired by the Final Prophet of humanity. What is needed is a will of the rulers who are prepared to put behind the past fake experiments and experiences by some hypocritical Muslim rulers.

With a message of ultimate peace, Islam goes well beyond the Muslims, reaching every human as well as all living being. As it stand now no Arab or non-Arab Muslim nations can establish truly Islamic, humane society because of the power of the poisonous tentacles spread over them by the dictatorial, triclomatic America!

[Dr. Abdul Ruff is Specialist on State Terrorism. He is Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA). He is former university Teacher, Analyst in International Affairs and an Expert on Middle East. He can be contacted at abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com]

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