Killing of Belaïd in Tunisia Accelerates Confrontation Between Secularists and Islamists, and Among Islamists Themselves
The North Africa Journal | Tunisia is in the third phase of its “Jasmine” Revolution. The first phase was the ousting of dictator Ben Ali, which brought euphoria, optimism, and a great sense of democracy in a country long controlled by a rogue regime.
The second was the take over of power by the Islamists, with fringe elements who brought with them a culture of intolerance, bigotry and backward propositions. In essence the Islamists like Ghannouchi and his followers opened a new window of opportunity for the Salafists and the Jihadists who now see Tunisia as yet another operating theater in their global offensive.
The third phase, which is ongoing today, is the recognition by most Tunisians that the Salafist agenda is utterly dangerous for them and the forces of moderation had to fight back. This is happening not only with the reaction of mainstream Tunisians for the killing of an opposition leader, but even within the Islamist movement, moderates are taking a distance from the dangerous posture of the extremists in their midst. Prime Minister Jebali’s decision to reorganize the cabinet despite pressure from his party not to do so, is the latest indicator of a major ideological conflict within the Islamist movement in the country.