Tunisia’s Ennahda and the secret apparatus

Mashari Althaydi
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On July 26, 2013, unidentified gunmen assassinated leftist Tunisian politician Mohamed Brahmi, who opposes the Tunisian Brotherhood Ennahda Movement. He was fatally shot in front of his house in Tunis. Few months before that, Chokri Belaid, the official in the Popular Front and who also opposed Ennahda and its government, was also killed.

Who assassinated the two politicians who oppose Ennahda?

Nothing is clear until now but the team defending the two victims dropped a political bombshell when it revealed that Ennahda has a “secret apparatus” that performs dark practices and that it’s the party which covered the killers and hid documents. This is of course according to the defense team’s statements.

The team defending Brahmi and Belaid confirmed in a press conference that Ennahda Movement has a special organization that’s linked to political assassinations. The man who supervised the apparatus – the defense team publicly stated his name – possessed documents linked to the assassination of Brahmi and Belaid.

The defense team confirmed that in December 2013 it found documents in the place where the apparatus’ supervisor lived, and who, by the way, is currently detained on accusations of manipulating with documents.

Commenting on these dangerous accusations, Sufian al-Sulaiti, a spokesman for Tunisia's counter-terrorism apparatus, said: “The prosecution is investigating the accusations made at the press conference of the defense team of Brahmi and Belaid and about Ennahda Movement’s theft of files related to their assassination.”

We are waiting for the judiciary’s last word in this regard. However, what is important is that this behavior, i.e. acting in two different ways: apparent and vague, public and secret, soft and hard and elusive and frank, is a characteristic of the old Brotherhood traits as there are things that can be said to the “brothers” and things to be said to others.

It’s an old trait which source is religious preaching about the virtue of “secrecy” and which is a result of the political and partisan atmosphere in which the Brotherhood was born in the first half of the past century, and which was the era of secret movements and militias par excellence in Egypt, where there were the green and black shirts and the iron guard, and outside Egypt in Lebanon and Iraq. All this is imported from the political European culture especially Spain, Italy and of course Germany.

Hence, it’s not strange if this is the case with the Tunisian Ennahda Movement. As we said, the final word is for the Tunisian judiciary. We’re here just ending this shock which some kind people may feel.

In brief, there are always words said in public and other words said in private, there is always what’s evident and what’s hidden and what’s public and what’s secret. This is how they’ve been and this is how they will remain. Those shocked must save their shock for what’s worth it!

This article is also available in Arabic.


Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy

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