Tunisia: in memoriam for a democratic experiment doomed to fail

Summary: the lingering collapse of Tunisia’s efforts to secure a viable democracy was sped along by the failure to carry out reforms in the security sector.

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1 thought on “Tunisia: in memoriam for a democratic experiment doomed to fail”

  1. I’d agree with much of what M. Ghilès writes, in particular, Ennahdha’s sympathy for Abu Iyadh and Ansar al-Shari’a: it took a direct telephone call from Secretary of State Clinton to President Marzouki – after Ennahdha ignored US requests for hours – to get the M113s to trundle the couple of hundred yards from their barracks by the airport east along the N9 to the US Embassy, by which time most of the damage had been done.

    When he served as Minister of the Interior, Ali Laarayedh – who himself (and his wife) had been tortured at MoI hands – did try to reform them. The police were noticeably less aggressive (and demanded fewer bribes) during his tenure. Alas, as M. Ghilès suggests, the Deep State seems to have outlasted him.

    But I disagree with M. Ghilès’s final paragraph: “most Tunisians care less about democracy than they ever did and know that the form in which it has been practised since 2011 is destroying their economy and the future of their children.” Most Tunisians still care deeply about democracy; the problem is that most of what they have seen has been (domestic) elite rivalry, not helped by patronage from abroad (along the ME divide following the Arab Spring.) Now most Tunisians who can are leaving, legally or illegally.

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