By İsmail Duman, World Bulletin
Recently, Middle Eastern agenda is very fluid and variable. While on the on hand, we are listening different Third World War Scenarios; on the other hand, we started to talk about the flowering of Arab Spring... Between the disinformation and manipulation processes of the world media, we need to decide what a righteous roadmap is to read these life change events. I do not prefer to read Middle Eastern issues from the viewpoint of so-called objective and fair Western media. Or I do not agree with the solutions and evaluations of dominant political systems. Also, I am not with the comments of the crowd which pay attention to barbaric American senators or their butlers... I am writing these sentences because the world is going to interesting polarization between the pragmatists and the real advocators of justice. I need to take up my position all too often.
In this article, we will focus on the results of Tunisian elections after Arab Spring. I know that in terms of results, neither NATO's Libyan occupation nor America's slavering for Syria is independent from reading Tunisian elections. Because of this reality, I will get deep in these issues in the next analyses.
Today, I want to question "the moderate Muslims" concept in the light of Tunisian elections and reflections of Turkish role-model for the Muslim East very briefly...
First 'Democratic' Elections in Tunisia after the Arab Spring uprisings
As expected, "in the October 24 elections, a moderate Islamist En-Nahda Party won 90 seats, making it the largest bloc in the 217-member assembly." Party is now negotiating with other parties to form a government.
Up to this point, everything is normal and good... But, how can we explain of being Westerns and Tunisian secularists in fear and trembling because of the results of elections and directing En-Nahda Party; its messages to Western leaders in order to "reassure secularist and investors about the prospect of Islamist by saying it would be moderate Islamist Party"?
In order to answer this question, we should understand the big picture in great detail...
The victory of Ennahda Party and Its Echoes
With the victory of Ennahda Party, while some people emphasized the democratization process of Tunisia; others focused on their fears of Islamic State governed by Islamic Sharia like Iran...
"Those who have welcomed the Arab Spring see Tunisia's relatively peaceful transition to democracy and Ennahda's professed commitments to tolerance and pluralism as positive omens." says Ron Kampeas. "But other observers of the Arab Spring detect in the Tunisian elections the seeds of an Islamist winter. They question the sincerity of Ennahda's professions of moderation, and see the Tunisian election results as heralding a much more dangerous Middle East".
Jason Isaacson, the director of international affairs for the American Jewish Committee, says there is much to praise in the country's transition from dictatorship to democracy within such a short period of time. But, he warned, "It could go south. There's no question that promises and commitments made in an election campaign may be forgotten. It's too early to celebrate."
As Ron Kampeas narrated, Tunisia's Jews were wary of Ghannouchi's Islamism, said Rachel Shabi, a London-based journalist who interviewed community members ahead of the election. But they also were willing to give him a chance.
On the other hand, Marwan Maalouf and Jesse Biroscak, from the Christian Science Monitor, put into words the anxieties of Tunisian secularists:
"Western analysts and even the Nahda party itself have compared the party to Turkey's Islamist-based Justice and Development Party in order to present themselves as a moderate movement. While their platforms may be similar, even influencing each other at times, the Turkish and Tunisian histories and constitutions are different. Turkey is a hard-line secular state with a long history of separation of religion and state. On the other hand, Tunisia's current constitution is not explicitly secular and keeps the possibility open for a more religious interpretation of the way the state should function. This is unlikely to change with the coming constitutional modifications, and the potential for oppression in the name of religion becomes a legitimate threat with Islamists in power."
"As Emile Hokayem of London's International Institute for Strategic Studies argues in a blog from Tunis, the secular fear of Nahda may be exaggerated but it should not be dismissed." says Roula Khalaf. "The mid-level cadre is much less ready to compromise than Mr Ghannouchi, he says. 'They feel that they have waited too long and suffered incommensurately more than other opposition groups that represent the middle and upper classes.'"
Although the leader of Ennahda Party, Mr. Ghannouchi, reassures secularist that they will be very moderate, there is a fear of being Iran for Tunisian secularists. "Many secular intellectuals and politicians in Tunisia fear that Al-Ghannoushi and his movement may use the democratic process to transform Tunisia into an Islamic state and undermine the civil and political liberties of those who do not share his Islamist vision" says Muqtedar Khan. "Tunisia has made considerable strides in terms of granting women equal rights, and there is a genuine fear among young women that Al-Nahda may seek to convert Tunisia into another Iran."
For all these fears and anxieties, Ramzy Baroud's sentences are meaningful: "The narrative employed by media outlets was no more than cleverly disguised Islamophobia, masquerading as genuine concern for democracy and the welfare of women and minority groups." And he focuses on the real fear from the victory of moderate Islamist Ennahda Party: "The Western assessment of Tunisia's future under an Islamic-led government actually has little to do with bikinis or alcohol. The question is entirely political, and is concerned with Tunisia's attempt at seeking true sovereignty and independence from western hegemony."
In order to exemplify his argument, he looks at the Syrian case. In my opinion, his viewpoint is very effective and reasonable:
"Syria, naturally, is high on the agenda.
The debate is rife with mixed messages. Countries like the US and France, for example, pose as the guarantors of democracy, yet consciously confuse the term with sheer economic interests and military influence. This deliberate moral and political flexibility is what Ed Husain addressed in the Council on Foreign Relations website when he asked, 'Is the US better off sticking with Syria's Assad?'
The subject is meant to be examined entirely from a rigid realpolitik perspective, without allowing any ethical considerations to taint the investigative process. 'Therefore, the assumption that a Syrian regime without Assad and the Alawites at the helm would mean an isolated Iran is wishful thinking at best, and uncertain at worse,' he concluded.
It other words, if Western invention in Syria can contribute to Iran's isolation, then the US would abandon Syria's Assad in exchange for a more advantageous alternative. While one appreciates such candid, although amoral, analysis, we must remain vigilant of any attempt at confusing the practical and materialist drive behind US and European foreign policy with notions of women's liberation, minority rights or any other. If Tunisian (or Egyptian, Syrian, Libyan, etc) freedom was a paramount concern for Western powers, they would have isolated the dictators who emasculated and tormented their countries for many years."
And now, it is required for us to look at the arguments of Tunisian secularist for their anxieties and Ennahda Party's attempts for confession.
"They(Tunisians) remember how, in the 1980s, earlier incarnations of Nahda bombed hotels, threatening Tunisia's vital tourist industry. And how, in 1991, Nahda militants attacked an RCD office in Tunis, killing one civilian, and throwing acid in the faces of others." says Graham Usher. "For many Tunisians, these incidents raised the specter of an Algeria-like civil war, a fear that Ben Ali's regime stoked at every opportunity. Twenty years later, the specter has yet to be exorcised among Tunisia's secular elite."
On the other hand, Ron Kampeas reminds us the past of Rachid Ghannouchi:
"In his analysis, Rubin cited a 1994 article by Middle East scholar Martin Kramer on the rhetoric and writings of Rachid Ghannouchi, Ennahda's founder and current leader, who at the time was seeking a visa to tour the United States. Kramer, then affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, cited Ghannouchi's support for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had been defeated recently by a U.S.-led coalition in the first Gulf War.
'We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam, or we will burn and destroy all their interests across the entire Islamic world,' Ghannouchi said at the time.
Ghannouchi hewed to the typical Muslim Brotherhood stance on Israel: He backed Hamas and fervently wished for Israel's disappearance.
'I think that the approach of Palestinian Islamists must be the liberation of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,' Ghannouchi said. 'Any part that is liberated is a gain, provided the price is not the sale of the rest of Palestine. Palestine belongs to the Muslims and must be liberated in its entirety.'"
But, today, Ghannouchi is claiming that he and his party are very different than the past. As you can remember, we saw this picture in Turkey in the establishment process of Turkey's Justice and Development Party. Its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that they are not Islamist; but conservative-democrats. Although Ghannouchi does not say we are not Islamist; he says that we are modern, moderate Muslims. There is a tone difference between their sentences because of different historical, political and cultural background of their countries. But, the message is the same:
"Ghannouchi admits that individuals affiliated with Nahda were behind the violence, but he insists that they received no approval from the leadership. He accepts that mistakes were made, but counters that any acts of violence committed by his movement paled in comparison to the immeasurably greater state violence inflicted upon it under Ben Ali." says Ron Kampeas. "In any case, Ghannouchi renounced political violence in the early 1990s and has since advocated democracy as the only road to power for a party advocating political Islam. In an interview with the Financial Times, just prior to his January 30 return to Tunisia, he said that Nahda 'drank the cup of democracy in one gulp' back in the 1990s, while other Islamist movements 'have taken it sip by sip.'
His writings from exile tell as much. The essays were supposedly an inspiration for the Turkish party's so far deft strategy of being a mildly Islamist government in a resolutely secular state. Younger Nahda leaders like Mekki think the 'Turkish model' could be applied in Tunisia. Ghannouchi talks only of a Tunisian model. 'You have to be clear about what was unique to Tunisian revolution and what was not,' he says."
Al-Nahda Party and Ghannouchi...
"The political debate has forced Nahda to change its tone considerably," says Issandr Al-Amrani, a Moroccan-American political analyst. "They say they are a democratic party. For now we have no choice but to take their word for it."
Contrary to what is believed, Nahda does not prefer to come into prominence with its Islamic agenda. Although Nahda Party has Islamic roots, they prefer to integrate Tunisian political and economic system into Western political and economic system rather than producing a new installation for their future.
As Marwan Maalouf and Jesse Biroscak say, "Nahda's leader, Rached Ghannouchi, has sought to reassure Tunisians and the world about his party's intentions. Women's rights will be guaranteed, Mr. Ghannouchi says, and there are no plans to impose an alcohol ban on Tunisia's tourism sector, which provided 350,000 jobs, or 12 percent of the workforce, before the revolution."
In addition to these statements, the sentences of Said Ferjani, from An-Nahda's political bureau, are very meaningful: "We have to be careful about figures until the official results, but there's a consensus that we're around the 40% mark. It's something that we were expecting.
We already have our ideas about the government. We are not dogmatic; we are highly pragmatic. It will be a broad national unity government. The new reality is that we have to do what we do for the Tunisian people – we go beyond old lines of argument or disagreement."
"As Ed Husain of the Council on Foreign Relations says, there is 'cause for hope that Ghannouchi will be a leader who brings about a new kind of Islamist state', very different from the models of Saudi Arabia or Iran." says Roula Khalaf. "An Islamist thinker who has consistently advocated moderation, at times drawing the ire of other Arab Islamists, Mr Ghannouchi sees himself as having contributed significantly to 'the development of the principles of human rights and democracy within an Islamic context', as he puts it. The state, he told the Financial Times this year, should be founded on the principle of citizenship where people enjoy equal rights, regardless of their faith or gender.
He has repeatedly pledged that the wearing of the veil would not be imposed on women nor would Islamic values threaten the country's economy and its vital tourism industry. And he says he looks at Turkey's Justice and Development party which draws on Islamist roots but governs in a secular state as a model."
Moreover, according to Angelique Chrisafis and Ian Black, "Nahda (Renaissance) has defined itself as 'a new model for the world': Islamist and pro-democracy, modern, open and consensual, an antidote to the western notion of a clash of civilizations... All, including Nahda, agree to maintain the constitution's current definition of Tunisia as a Muslim country, not an Islamic republic. Instead, the party pushes its own mix of liberal economics and religious social conservatism, with an emphasis on the family; what Ghannouchi calls 'a democratic society built on Islamic values'."
"Ghannouchi calls Nahda a 'broad umbrella party' of Islamists. The question is how broad and whether the centre ground will hold. Nahda likens itself to Turkey's socially conservative, Islamist-rooted Justice and Development party." says Angelique Chrisafis and Ian Black. "However, the party of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the product of 40 years of evolution, several military coups and a split from more fundamentalist parties."
Despite all these sentences and guarantees, Tunisian secularists are still in a fear of Nahda Party. Lilia Alouni, a secondary school philosophy teacher in Kairouan who ran on a secular list that did not get elected, said: "As a democrat I respect the results. Nahda had a close contact with the electorate on the ground and their discourse clearly reassured voters. But in the rural villages, I found there was a certain difference between the moderate discourse of the party's leaders and more conservative party activists on the ground."
Although some people are worry about whether Ghannouchi are engaging in deception or he interiorizes liberal politics; Ghannouchi's sentences show that they have plausible ground for their new attitude of mind; they took off their old-radical Islamist shirt and they are wearing a new-moderate Muslim shirt:
"We will not try to change the code in any way... We see it as compatible with Islamic law. The code was written in the 1950s by Tunisian Muslim scholars like Abdel Aziz Gaid and Tahar Bin Ashour, through ijtihador the reinterpretation of holy texts. In 1988 and again in 2007 we signed pacts with Tunisia's opposition parties to keep the code. It will be respected...
Our main slogan for this period is democracy and justice within the Tunisian identity... Like the other main Tunisian parties, we want freedom of religion, a separation of powers, regular elections, a multi-party system and a free press. But whereas the other parties link these choices to Western models, we say they are rooted in Tunisia's Arab and Muslim heritage. This is what distinguishes us from other parties. We believe it was because Ben Ali and before him Bourguiba ignored this heritage that the people became alienated from them."
In relation to these statements, Graham User's comments are very helpful to describe Nahda Party: "In policy, alliances and even ideology, it would seem that Nahda's future is to be the Tunisian equivalent of Turkey's Justice and Development Party: an Islamist movement that operates within the confines, if not of a constitutionally secular state, then of a heavily Europeanized and secularized one."
In this part, as a last comment, I want to give place Ramzy Baroud again. He criticizes Nahda Party and Ghannouchi because of complexness in the face of Western hegemony:
"To quell fears of Islamic resurgence, leading party members seemed to direct their message to outsiders (the US and Western powers), rather than the Tunisian people themselves. Ennahda's Secretary General Hamadi Jebali, slated to be the next prime minister, labored to 'reassure secularists and investors, nervous about the prospect of Islamists holding power in one of the Arab world's most liberal countries, by saying it would not stop tourists wearing bikinis on the beaches nor impose Islamic banking'"
Again the Turkish model...
"Turkey has been experiencing a decisive transition that the North Africa and Middle East only recently has begun to feel. Turkey's September 12, 2010 referendum on partial constitutional amendments has become a milestone for the structural changes that was triggered by the 2007 national elections. While Turkey was going through a genuine debate on the 'New Turkey' following the historic referendum, which put an end to the tutelage system, it now has engaged in yet another transformative debate on the emergence of the New Middle East. " says Taha Ozhan. "Turkey has been seen as a success story for those countries suffering from a lack of democratization, economic development and distribution of income, and despised and oppressed by Israel. These two slogans opened avenues of understanding to see and compare the Turkish experience with 'economic development, democratization and resisting external impositions' and 'questioning global and regional order': Turkey has become the largest economy of the region although it does not enjoy any oil revenue, it has taken structural steps towards democratization, it has clearly showed its reaction to Israel when necessary, and it has established relations with the West without letting others oppress its people. People who want to change towards a model based on Turkey enthusiastically welcomed Prime Minister Erdoğan, openly asking him to fill the political vacuum after the Arab revolutions."
In addition to Taha Ozhan's evaluations, Aaron Stein's comments on transformation of political Islamist into moderate Muslims through Turkish model are very interesting and thoughtful:
"With a booming economy and the military's influence on the decline, advocates see Turkey as one of the few Middle Eastern countries that has figured out how to balance its Muslim identity with 'Westernisms' like democracy and capitalism.
Other say that Turkey has shown the uncanny ability to have strong ties with the West while still remaining legitimate in the eyes of many in the Arab world. Based on these vague platitudes, many have championed Turkey as a democratic leader for the region's transitioning states and as an admirable model capable of moderating the perceived threat of the Islamist political movement."
"With the success of the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, slogans such as "Democratic Islam" and 'Moderate Islam' emerged. Instead of clinging to the principle of an inevitable clash with the Muslim world, intent upon establishing a theocratic rule antagonizing the West, its interests and values, the political and Islamic religious trend was now something to be crystallized and acknowledged, rather than declared war against." says Bassem Al-Jisser. "This is how the West perceived the situation, but for Arab political parties and powers carrying religious slogans, they also developed their strategies by announcing their openness to other rival civil political parties. They adopted democracy, political pluralism and respect for human and women's rights."
After showing the "success" of Turkish model in the eye of Western authorities, now, we can look at the relationship between Turkey's Justice and Development Party(JDP) and Tunisian Ennahda Party.
According to Soner Cagaptay, there are same causes in the success of Turkish JDP and Tunisian Nahda Party:
"These movements play down ideology in the campaigns, instead delivering messages of good governance, clean politics, and economic liberalism. They also work hard, reaching out to voters by providing services and winning hearts through a grassroots, door-to-door campaign."
Moreover, Esam Al-Amin's "Nahda Party" description is very familiar for Turkish readers:
"Ennahdha Party was the successor to the Tunisian Islamic Trend Movement that was once affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1960s and has been led by Ghannouchi, 70, since the mid 1970s. In 1989 it changed its name to Ennahdha or Renaissance Party and declared its commitment to democracy and pluralism. The movement considers itself a moderate Islamic party concerned with the preservation of Tunisia's identity as an Arab and Islamic nation. For much of the past decade it has called for a political model similar to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayeb Erdogan in Turkey. More recently, it has advocated the accommodation of liberal and secular-humanist values with Islamic principles, especially in social and economic spheres. It also favors a parliamentary system of government."
In addition to these, Muqtedar Khan points out the modernity of Ghannouchi and the Nahda: "Al-Ghannoushi is also different from other Islamists. He has benefited from the political asylum provided by Britain and has lived in a liberal democracy for years and understands how it works. It is to be hoped that by now he has also recognized and understood its virtues.
Al-Ghannoushi has also departed from other Islamists and has in the past argued in favor of pragmatism over ideology, rejected the idea of killing religious apostates, accepted the necessity of coalitions and expressed willingness to share power with non-Islamists. Among all the Islamists aside from Turkey's AKP, which insists that it is not an Islamist party, Al-Ghannouchi's Al-Nahda comes across as the most democracy-compatible of the Islamist parties."
On the other hand, Western commentators examine the modernity of Nahda Party through their observation and they approve Nahda's "suitability" for Western political system. Patrick Seale's comment is very thoughtful in connection with this argument: "The triumph at last Sunday's elections of Tunisia's leading Islamic party Ennahda(Renaissance) is the latest example of the revival of political Islam in the Arab world. But it is also cause for reassurance. This moderate Islamic party should not be confused with hard-line Salafis, who demand a return to the uncompromising values of early Islam."
Actually, it is not possible to understand these insolent people. How can they decide who are suitable or not for Arab people? This is nothing short of euro-centrism and egoism...
Are Moderate Muslims suitable to be exploited?
"Neither the negative stances of Western governments and nations that fear 'political Islam', nor the acts of intimidation practiced by the overthrown, authoritarian Arab regimes, or others in the process of being toppled, in order to prompt the West to fear the 'danger' of the Islamists, both in the past and at present, is anything new. Yet, what is new is the on-going controversy today regarding the concept of 'political Islam' and the ruling system, whether it is derived from Islam or leans upon it, the extent to which Islamic Shariaa can be applied and its limitations, and whether it suits the contemporary concept of human rights and the principle of equality between man and woman, and international laws of punishment." says Bassem Al-Jisser. " What is more important is that the Arab states succeed in establishing better – not ideal –ruling regimes, whether their mechanisms, foundations or titles are religious, civil, Islamic or democratic, and whether they are presidential or parliamentary, monarchies of republics. What matters is not the title or the slogan, but rather the content, application and practice. What matters is that citizens under these regimes enjoy freedom, equality, justice, dignity and the right to choose their rulers. As testified by everyone, this will not be easy or imminent. Nations that have achieved such a prestigious political and civilized accomplishment, following years of uprisings and revolutions, had to endure numerous hardships and wars before they eventually reached the political and social stability they enjoy today."
It seems that Western writers and experts abandon their orientalist approaches. Instead, they prefer to accept some realities of Muslim world; but on the one condition: Muslims will not be a threat for their corrupt systems. In other words, they began to flex and tolerate their intolerances up to their 'harmless' boundaries... Amitai Etzioni's sentences are helpful in order to understand this approach:
"As Robert Merry previously put it, we can recognize the exceptionalism of our values without assuming their universality. We should accept that the Muslim republics will incorporate some moderate elements of sharia into their governments. (For example, polls show that more than 60 percent of Egyptians want sharia to be the sole source of law in their country; an additional 25 percent say that it should be one of several sources.) As long as they avoid the violent parts of sharia, we should hold that those countries have passed the basic litmus test to qualify as regimes with which we can work, even as we hope for and favor further development in the direction of values we hold dear."
On the other hand, Doyle McManus points out a different reality for American and Western authorities:
"And there's broader evidence that over the long run, Islamic parties aren't the threat to democracy that many believe. Two researchers at the University of North Carolina, Charles Kurzman and Ijlal Naqvi, have studied 160 elections in the Muslim world in which Islamist parties competed. They found that Islamists tended to score highest in "breakthrough" elections, the first votes held after a revolution. But after that, secular parties tended to gain strength.
'In general, the more routine elections become, the worse Islamic parties do,' they found. 'In those Muslim-majority countries where elections were freest, Islamic parties performed worse.'
Moreover, they found that over time Islamic parties often liberalize in order to win support from more moderate voters. That may already be happening in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood has said that it believes non-Islamist groups, including Christians, should get a voice in writing a new constitution, and where the leader of one major Islamist faction has called for a new and more tolerant 'Islamic liberalism.'
Egypt's Ibrahim, for one, believes the practice of democracy could temper the Islamists' ideology. 'The only way the Islamists can gain legitimacy is to turn into democrats,' he said. 'We should give them a chance.'"
It seems that although Tunisian secularist are worried about the future of Tunisia, after Nahda Party reassured that Tunisia will not be a second Iran, neither U.S. nor Western countries are uncomfortable Nahda Party like secularists. In other words, Western authorities are not interested in the "cultural Islam" identity of Tunisia; but interested in "political Islam" identity of it.
Doğu Ergil, from Today's Zaman, reassures the West in order not to fear from Tunisian or Egyptian Islamists:
"The West fears the Islamists. Some Islamists have taken their anti-Western stance to extremes and resorted to violence. But that is an extremist minority, whose wrath is not only against Western interventionism also but the domestic pro-Western corrupt and authoritarian rulers, who do not heed their people as much as their power and privilege. The Islamists of Tunisia and Egypt promise to pursue democracy. But their deeds and rhetoric will not escape close scrutiny as long as they remain in power. They will also be watched very closely by their own people, who expect them to deliver real results such as better administration, a working economy, justice, security, employment and functioning public services, ranging from improved education to health care.
The fervor of ideology does not last too long when services are sacrificed to rhetoric. The case of Turkey is a good example. An ideological secular government backed up by the military proved to be inefficient in providing liberty and progress. It was replaced by an Islamic- leaning government who soon proved to be more practical than ideological. It did not take too long for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to declare itself a 'conservative democratic' party, rather than an Islamic one. With this moderate and centrist position the party has won the national elections three times in a row, and has now been running Turkey for the past nine years."
On the other hand, Prof. Veysel Ayhan focuses on Nahda Party's gaining acceptance from U.S. and the West: "The moderate messages Al-Nahda gave in post-14 January, played an important role in description of the movement as a moderate Islamic party both by the domestic public opinion and by the other states. A few days before the elections, the U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman gave a message on international community's giving a chance to Nahda in his article entitled, 'Thoughts on Learning How to Live With Al-Nahda'. Taking part in the elections as candidate of the Democratic Party in the past, Lieberman's open support for Al-Nahda before the October 23rd elections considerably expanded the zone of the movements both in the country and abroad, and increased the bargaining power of the party for the post-election period."
But again, despite these steps, there is still a fear of being Tunisia a second Iran and Saudi Arabian. Some commentators recommend American and Western Authorities to relieve economic assistance in order to be exact sure for the future of Tunisia. While in the editorial board of Christian Science Monitor, it is said that "The future of the Arab Spring depends on it. President Obama should offer a free-trade pact to Tunisia, for example, and encourage Europe to provide more investment and aid. The US can also train many of its entrepreneurs and welcome more Tunisians to American campuses."; US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said her department would on November 15 bring together 200 American businessmen to discuss ways of propping up the Tunisian economy."
On the other hand, here, we should mention the assistance of Qatar. As Esam Al-Amin says, "luckily for the new government the economic challenge was softened this week when Qatar – as a state that has been at the forefront of supporting the Arab Spring – has pledged an immediate economic assistance package of $500 million." We should accept that Qatar will not pledge any economic assistance for no reason and its actions are not free from American policies. Actually, we can find the answer of this question in the editorial board of Christian Science Monitor again:
"A healthy economy would go far to keep this Muslim nation from considering harsh Islamic social rules like those in Iran or Saudi Arabia. Europe and the US have a stake in helping Tunisia keep a secular nature to governance, especially with Egypt's elections coming soon."
According to Prof. Veysel Ayhan, there are two winners of Tunisian elections at international level: Turkey and U.S.
"In this context, it is seen that Turkey comes first among the actors in the winners list at international level. Both the fact that some lists winning the election are close to Turkey in terms of ideology and organization; and the fact that they are directly provided with assistance by certain organizations and companies in Turkey during the election process points out that Turkey will have a major power in domestic policy of Tunisia, in the forthcoming period. Because of the proximity of Al Nahda leaders to Turkey, their relations with the Justice and Development Party at individual level, and because of the fact that they try to enable legitimacy at national and international level by always indicating that they adopted the Justice and Development Party as a model throughout the election process, Al Nahda could be expected to strive a lot for developing the Tunisia-Turkey relations in the forthcoming period. The fact that the left parties such as, the Republican Congress Party and Ettakatol, which are the winners of the election, make reference to the Turkey model, which establish a balance between Islamic sensitivities and secularism, also grabs the attention. As much as understood, the fact that the Prime Minister Erdoğan mentioned the secular Constitution model in his recent visit to Egypt, drew the attention of the Tunisian politicians." he says. "Besides Turkey, another actor winning the Tunisian elections is the U.S. When the U.S. government is compared to France in terms of economy and policy, it has a limited influence on Tunisia. In Tunisia, where Mc Donald's fast-food chain could not open a franchise, the U.S. capital has faced the harsh rivalry of France. France considers the liberalization of the economic and political structure of this country upon Tunisian revolution as a loss for herself. However, in the new period, especially the circumstances' maturing in North Africa leading to the limitation of France's influence and the U.S.' expanding influence will not be a surprising development."
But, here, I want to ask what our reference is in order to name 'winners'. If our reference is whether Tunisia or any other country is suitable for global hegemony and is not a threat for the systems of exploitations or not; it is true that unfortunately, Tunisia will be a new region which is compatible with U.S. and West under the governance of moderate Muslims. But, if we are looking for a new Tunisia which is independent from exploitative super powers, we can only mention from the "losers" in this game...
World media, especially western media are using disinformation and manipulation processes very well in order to give the impression to Tunisians that they are revolutionary and they will gain their self-identities through Western-type democracy... This is the great lie... Western powers are not interested in people's rights and their good future. They only focus on their interests. As a last comment, I want to give an ear Ramzy Baroud's perfect comment which reveals all the lies:
"The debate regarding Islam in politics is likely to continue and intensify. Attempts will also be made to heighten or lower Western anxiety regarding the future of the 'Arab Spring'. This discussion is not concerned with religion or the rights and welfare of Arab people. It is based only on crude political calculations, as demonstrated in an October 27 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington (as reported in Fox News on October 28).
The Middle East 'really worries me,' said Rep. Dan Burton. He asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton what the Obama administration 'plans to do make sure that we don't have a radical government taking over those places.'
'I think a lot of the leaders are saying the right things and some are saying things that do give pause to us,' she said. 'We're going to do all that we can within our power to basically try to influence outcomes.'
Is any further comment necessary?"
Duterte’s pivot toward China would likely to continue and strengthen, but it would also likely weaken, if not vanish its relationship with US. This is actually an indication of US’ weakening influence in the region.
Even though there seems to be a softening in the internal politics of the Greeks, the idea of Cyprus joining with Greece is still alive.
In the future of Russia, who has one sixth of the livable land in the world, there seems to be no unity either in the name of nationalism or on the basis of Orthodox Christianity. It is foreseen that Putin, who continues to see the dream of a USSR which has been disintegrated, will try and achieve unity by way of federations in order to bring to fruition his enthusiasm of a new empire.
Specifically for last 20 years, Turkey’s efforts to strenghten its relationship with Balkans has gained big momentum and today Turkey seems to be a quite influential player in the region. Conversation with Mr. Edhem Foco, (General Manager of Al Jazereera Balkan)
There are some semblances in both the countries and the narrative is almost similar, and the chief sponsors of extremism are also common.
The Europeans are finding it difficult to understand the discussions regarding the agreement which has been finalized as 2334 pages, after the negotiations which has lasted seven years between Brussels and Ottawa.
A new leadership has to respond to a varied set of local and international challenges
Jakartans have proved themselves as more open-minded and democratic much before the London, they voted and elected a Christian and ethnic Chinese deputy-governor as the running mate of Joko Widodo, often referred to as Jokowi.
Whilst DAESH is a US creation, it is evident that it serves the British interest and aims to destabilise the remaining stable states in the region
The elections held on the 18th of September for Duma which is the lower wing of the parliament, resulted in a victory for the United Russia party
Ibrahim Rasool, the former and the first Muslim South African Ambassador to the United States
Even though Uzbekistan swayed to and fro between Russia and the USA, there have never been positive signs in the quality of its governance until today, on the contrary it has even gone backwards
Every Thai government, whether democratically elected or through the military coup d’état always find it difficult to ignore radical Buddhist northerners’ demand of a hard-line approach towards the predominantly Muslim south
The war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh, established to try those who committed atrocities is under fire for its hanging of Jamaat–e-Islami members
“The crimes committed during the war of independence were horrific, but the death sentences only perpetuate violence. The lack of fair trials makes the use of death penalty even more disturbing.” stated David Griffiths, research director, Amnesty International, South Asia.
Operation Euphrates Shield can be best understood by viewing it in context with the history of the Middle East