Sisi backs emergency measures by Tunisian president

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CAIRO – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared help for the measures taken by Tunisian President Kais Saied on July 25, the very best such endorsement to return from Egypt.

During a cellphone dialog with the Tunisian president on Oct. 6, Sisi mentioned these measures would create a greater future for Tunisia’s folks.

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“They will bring about stability to Tunisia,” the Egyptian president mentioned. including that his nation is able to roll out all vital help to Tunisia.

Saied sacked his nation’s cupboard, dissolved its parliament which was managed by Ennahda, an ideological offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, stripped his nation’s MPs of their immunity and is opening alleged corruption recordsdata.

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These measures initially gained help from a large part of the Tunisian folks, however almost two months later they’re proving divisive, with the Islamists and pro-democracy teams accusing Saied of usurping Tunisia’s hard-won democracy.

Sisi’s endorsement of the Tunisian chief, observers mentioned, is up to now political and symbolic. “Tunisia needs real support, with foreign parties using its accumulating debts as a pressure card,” Laila Hammami, a former Tunisian presidential candidate, instructed Al-Monitor.

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Sisi was on the coronary heart of the army-backed rebellion towards the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt in mid-2013, solely a yr after the Islamist group, which has spinoffs in almost all Arab nations, rose to energy in Egypt. As minister of protection, Sisi led the Egyptian military to aspect with these opposing Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

He then ran for president and began an all-out crackdown on the Islamist group, placing most of its leaders and senior members in jail, after outlawing it, freezing its belongings and drying up its financing sources.

The Egyptian chief can be mounting a regional offensive towards the Islamist group, campaigning for its illegalization in different nations. Some of Egypt’s allies, together with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have already outlawed the group.

“Egypt has a problem with all extremist organizations because it considers them a threat to its national security,” Muneer Adeeb, a number one Egyptian Islamism researcher, instructed Al-Monitor. “Egypt rolls out its expertise in the fight against these organizations to other countries.”

Saied visited Egypt almost three months earlier than he took his measures towards Ennahda, main some folks to guess that he’s being mentored by Sisi.

There can be apparently function reversal in Tunisia’s copying the Egyptian anti-Muslim Brotherhood expertise. Tunisia was home to the first spark of what got here to be generally known as the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in 2011, bringing regimes in some nations down and political forces in others up and setting off endless civil wars in nonetheless others.

Egypt was the primary nation to contract the Arab Spring contagion from Tunisia, adopted by neighboring Libya after which Syria and Yemen. Now Tunisia appears to be studying a lesson from Egypt in combating political Islam.

In a means, this reveals that developments on the Tunisian political stage may be assuming a regional dimension. Pro-political Islam regional powers are reacting angrily – even in a veiled method – to what’s occurring in Tunisia, and people opposing political Islam help Saied.

For Egypt, native analysts mentioned, Tunisia is a matter of nationwide safety.

“There are many similarities between the two countries,” Said Sadek, a political sociology professor on the German University in Cairo, instructed Al-Monitor. “Political conditions in Tunisia can complicate the situation in Libya, especially with expected attempts by Libya’s Brotherhood to remain on the stage as long as possible.”

The political weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia might reverberate in Libya’s lively department of the identical motion. Tunisia’s Brotherhood, in accordance with some reviews, supplied stable help to its Libyan counterpart over the previous years, together with offering them with provides.

Egypt’s regional rival, Turkey, pinned its hopes on Tunisia’s Islamists to assist flip the nation right into a launch pad for logistical help to pro-Turkey Islamist teams and mercenaries in Libya. Egypt used to sponsor Turkey’s reverse aspect within the Libyan battle, specifically the Libyan National Army which controls most of japanese Libya, together with the realm alongside the shared Egyptian-Libyan border.

Libya has been a safety headache for Egypt because the downfall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011, which triggered the North African nation to slip into chaos after which civil conflict. Egyptian authorities say the shared border with Libya had became a smuggling scorching spot, together with arms for Islamic State terrorists combating the Egyptian military in Sinai.

The empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Turkey factions in Libya would have triggered extra safety issues to Egypt, analysts mentioned.

In June 2020, Sisi drew a crimson line round most of japanese Libya, threatening to intervene militarily into the nation if Turkey-backed militias entered.

This was apparently why the Egyptian president supported the measures taken by President Saied on July 25. Sisi despatched his Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, to Tunis eight days later to pledge full help.

In the months since Saied visited Cairo, Egypt has been attempting to supply help to Tunisia, together with by sending medical assist for its rising COVID-19 infections.

Tunisia, a non-permanent Security Council member, reciprocated by backing Egypt in its row with Ethiopia over its Nile dam, together with by drafting a decision for a legally binding deal.

Nevertheless, Sisi’s newest pledge of help to Saied is stirring up hypothesis over what he can provide the Tunisian president whereas his nation wades deeper into its political and financial crises.

Pro and anti-Saied demonstrators are on the streets already, amid accusations for the Tunisian president that he’s charting a brand new despotic course. Tunisia’s financial issues maintain getting worse and the nation’s well being disaster continues to be removed from solved.

Developments in Tunisia are additionally elevating worldwide concern. “Tunisia is badly in need of Egyptian support, given Egypt’s regional weight,” Hammami mentioned. “Egypt can use this weight in helping Tunisia get loans and financial support from other countries.”


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