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Tunisia: Downfall of the Brotherhood’s last bastion

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

It seems that the doors have been closed to the Muslim Brotherhood [MB]. Even its alternative capital, Istanbul, no longer welcomes Brotherhood fugitives. Following in the footsteps of Egypt and Sudan, Tunisia announces the death of the MB’s dominion. Tunisia, which was the first gateway for the movement and its key gain in the last decade, is now the last of the Brotherhood’s crumbling bastions.

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The downfall of MB in Tunisia now is unsurprising; rather, it occurred years later than when it was supposed to. They lost Tunisia because they were partners in the country’s governance before they were kicked out, prompting them to resort to chaos, assassinations, and deliberate obstructive acts to thwart government action.

Although Tunisian President Kais Saied gave clear warnings that what was happening would force him to intervene, Brotherhood members believed that he would not dare do anything and that they would seize power by destroying its key figures.

A Tunisian protester lifts a national flag at an anti-government rally as security forces block off the road in front of the Parliament in the capital Tunis on July 25, 2021. (AFP)
A Tunisian protester lifts a national flag at an anti-government rally as security forces block off the road in front of the Parliament in the capital Tunis on July 25, 2021. (AFP)



The extraordinary measure taken by Tunisia’s president saved the country from what could have been a total collapse. Parliament has become helpless; thus, it has been suspended. The prime minister was fired after his government proved to have failed in its duties. The president also decided to bring prosecutions against those involved in corruption cases, something he demanded to be investigated on multiple occasions but only for his demands to be ignored.

President Saied was clear in his numerous statements that he would not remain silent about the rampant corruption and demanded investigations. The reply to his demands was that this is not within the jurisdiction of the President of the Republic. Then when he discussed the health system’s inability to face the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, he was told that it is not within his jurisdiction either.

The Muslim Brotherhood wanted a nominal president, but what they found was someone who became the voice of the Tunisian citizen. Today, President Saied is the real president of Tunisia, and he has an opportunity to reform the failures of the government and parliament.

Police officers stand guard as supporters of Tunisia's biggest political party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, gather outside the parliament building in Tunis, Tunisia July 26, 2021. (Reuters)
Police officers stand guard as supporters of Tunisia's biggest political party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, gather outside the parliament building in Tunis, Tunisia July 26, 2021. (Reuters)



Understanding the convoluted motives of the fabricated chaos is a no easy feat. Why did the leading figures of the Ennahda party and its members of parliament not take a step back in the past few months to ease the tension? It is probably because they believed that the crisis would push people to take to the streets and repeat the December 2010 scenario, which would give them chance to climb up the ladder of power again through the chaos.

The problem with the Islamist party is that it wants to remain in power and rule the country without respecting the principles that allowed the party to come to power. So, the party’s members and supporters are now protesting the emergency measures the president took on the basis of their unconstitutionality while claiming that the president’s decisions constitute a coup d’etat.

Kais Saied is the elected President of the Republic of Tunisia. He won the 2019 presidential election by a landslide. So, how can he, a popular elected president, turn against himself? The truth is that the president’s actions are saving Tunisia and the Tunisian government from the chaos that broke out.



The public health crisis, the living crisis, and the constitutional crisis were the spark that brought about this change. It must be stated that the crises were in large part the result of stonewalling and deliberate obstruction. Whenever the President wanted to intervene on the grounds that the country is teetering on the edge of disaster, the Ennahda party replied that he should not interfere and just mind his own business. As the crises persisted, the president had to either resign and be prosecuted for negligence by his opponents in the future, or to intervene and cause the necessary change.

Another dimension of the battle of Tunisia is the war of the Middle East against this group, which was uprooted from Sudan in 2019, then from Egypt in 2013. Muslim Brotherhood members in Tunisia had plenty of opportunity to rule and prove their worth, but they only served as a model that asserts that this is an extremist religious group with a fascist political agenda and it has no place in today’s world.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.