Tunisia and the Assassination of Chokri Belaid: Algeria, Syria and Islamist Militancy

Tunisia and the Assassination of Chokri Belaid: Algeria, Syria and Islamist Militancy

Olivier LeCourt, Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The brutal assassination of Chokri (Shokri) Belaid is yet another indication that Islamist terrorism and indoctrination is running riot following the so-called “Arab Spring.” Chokri Belaid was a politician who was known for being an anti-Islamist and for this reason he was a target to the forces of darkness. His assassination is also a firm reminder that terrorist forces, Islamist indoctrination emanating from the Gulf region and religious intolerance are all on the rise.

This murder is not a mere isolation because it is part of the chain which is choking the forces of moderation and secularism. After all, the recent brutal hostage crisis in Algeria gave notice to the world that Tunisians represented the highest number of international jihadists involved in this terrorist attack. Likewise, in Syria many Tunisians have joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other Islamist terrorist factions. Therefore, individuals in Tunisia have also taken part in spreading sectarianism in Syria – and other evil acts – alongside other Islamist terrorists from other nations like Libya and Saudi Arabia.

Hamadi Jebali, the Prime Minister of Tunisia, condemned the political assassination of Belaid. He stated that “Belaid was killed, but the real target behind the assassination is the Tunisian revolution as a whole…He represented the true values of dialogue, respecting and embracing others in rejecting violence. This is a political assassination.”

However, for vast numbers of Tunisians who came out onto the streets in order to show their disdain towards the assassination of Belaid and to voice their anger at what is happening in Tunisia; then the words of Jebali will not convince many. Jebali belongs to the Ennahda religious party and he himself follows Islamist aspirations but within the political system. Therefore, it must be stated that the “Islamist” terminology is extremely broad because you have various forces within this movement, whereby some want to participate fully within the democratic framework and not to usurp power. However, other more militant Islamist groups want to usurp power in order to crush alternative thought patterns and to crush personal freedoms.

Jebali responded quickly to the political crisis by announcing “a government of technocrats who would be non-partisan.” This “non-partisan government” will preserve the political mechanisms until elections are held during this difficult time for Tunisia. The Prime Minister explained on national television that the new government would be filled by “competent nationals without political affiliation.”

Irrespective if individuals are pro-Jebali or anti-Jebali, it is clear that he is responding to the changing events rapidly in order to quell further internal convulsions. Jebali further stated that the political mandate of new ministers will be “limited to managing the affairs of the country until elections are held in the shortest possible time.”

The BBC states that “Mr Belaid was a respected human rights lawyer, and a left-wing secular opponent of the government which took power after the overthrow of long-serving ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.”

The Popular Front (PF), a coalition of opposition groups of which Mr Belaid was a member, said it was calling for a nationwide strike on Thursday to protest against his assassination.”

“Opposition supporters alleged the governing Islamist party Ennahada – which Mr Belaid frequently criticised – was behind his killing.”

The President of Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, stated that “There are many enemies of our peaceful revolution. And they’re determined to ensure it fails.” He also stated that Belaid was a “long-standing friend.”

Despite the words of unity emanating from the Ennahda party by several powerful individuals it wasn’t enough for some demonstrations. Therefore, several offices of Ennahda were attacked and clearly the next few days and weeks will remain volatile. However, for the individual(s) behind the brutal murder of Belaid then this is what they want. After all, terrorists and religious fanatics thrive on hatred and chaos. This reality means that all Tunisians from various walks of life must tackle the dangers within Tunisian society which resulted in the death of Belaid.

His brother, Abdelmajid Belaid, commented that Belaid’s death was “a clear message to Tunisians….shut up, or we kill you.” He also stated that his brother “has been receiving threats of murder for a long time.” Belaid’s widow, Basma, stated on national TV in Tunisia that “We are damned. The political struggle is damned in Tunisia. Chokri Belaid sacrificed his soul.”

In another article published by Modern Tokyo Times about the Algerian hostage crisis it was stated that The real factors behind the Islamist terrorist attack in Algeria remains open to major interpretation but clearly the destabilization of Iraq, Libya, Mali and Syria is certainly helping the terrorist cause. Tunisia is also a very fraught nation whereby Salafi funding and indoctrination is penetrating this nation because of the deeds of individuals and organizations in the Gulf. Therefore, when it was announced that Tunisians formed the highest number of nationals involved in the terrorist attack in Algeria, then this fact wasn’t so surprising.”

In the same article it was stated that “When Syria’s envoy to the United Nations (UN) began to provide the names of international jihadists fighting in Syria, it soon became clear that the Tunisia angle was potent. On one occasion when a list of 26 foreign Islamists was given it was stated that 19 of these terrorists had come from Tunisia. Since the early period when Syria began to collect lists of international jihadists it is clear that untold numbers have entered this nation in order to spread sectarianism, terrorism and hatred. Therefore, when it was stated that Tunisians accounted for the largest single ethnic group in the latest terrorist attack in Algeria – once more, the Tunisia angle emerged – alongside the reality that the destabilization of Libya created a breeding ground for Islamist terrorist forces.”

It may appear that the assassination of Belaid is very far away from the recent hostage crisis in Algeria. Similarly, people may state the same about jihadists from Tunisia going to Syria in order to spread sectarianism and terrorism. However, once powerful forces emanate within parts of Tunisian society then this will threaten neighboring nations and create internal convulsions. The current reality of Tunisian jihadists going to Syria and being involved in the recent hostage crisis in Algeria is evidence of the link within the chain. Therefore, the brutal murder of Belaid based on his principles and secular nature of politics, meant that he was a threat to the same Islamists spreading carnage to Algeria and Syria.

Islamist indoctrination emanating from the Gulf is spreading a version of Islamism which seeks to usurp indigenous Islam in Libya, northern Mali, Syria, Tunisia, and in other parts of the world. This can be seen by the destruction of many Sufi shrines in northern Mali and Libya – and recently Islamists have threatened Christians in Libya. Secularists, non-Muslims and different sects within the Muslim faith become the first targets of Islamist militants. After this, Islamist militants will then start to challenge mainstream Sunni Islam and this can be seen by the brutal murders of several Sunni Muslim clerics in Syria by Islamist terrorists. Therefore, it is incumbent that all progressive forces in Tunisia stem the tide of Islamist indoctrination and cut the terrorist angle which is spreading death and destruction.

Belaid believed in a Tunisia which was inclusive but dark forces want a Tunisia which is exclusive and based on a religious theocracy. Tunisia needs to confront the forces which seek to turn the clock back. If not, then future murders will take place based on the zealotry of sinister forces within Tunisian society.



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