Archive | Tunisia

Canada enables Barrick’s bad corporate behaviour

NOVANEWS
By Yves Engler 

Will the Canadian government continue to support Barrick Gold’s exploitation of mineral resources in Tanzania no matter what abuses the company commits?

Would the Trudeau government stop backing the Toronto-based firm if it bilked the impoverished nation out of $10 billion? Or, what if one thousand people were raped and seriously injured by Barrick security? Would Ottawa withdraw its support if one hundred Tanzanians were killed at its mines?

Barrick’s African subsidiary, Acacia Mining, is embroiled in a major political conflict in the east African nation. With growing evidence of its failure to pay royalties and tax, Acacia has been condemned by the president, had its exports restricted and slapped with a massive tax bill.

In May a government panel concluded that Acacia significantly under-reported the percentage of gold and copper in mineral sand concentrates it exported. The next month a government commission concluded that foreign mining firms’ failure to declare revenues had cost Tanzania $100 billion. According to the research, from 1998 to March 2017 the Tanzanian government lost between 68.6 trillion and 108.5 trillion shillings in revenue from mineral concentrates.

The controversy over Barrick’s exports led President John Magufuli to fire the minister of mining and the board of the Minerals Audit Agency. Tanzania’s parliament has also voted to review mining contracts and to block companies from pursuing the country in international trade tribunals.

While the political battle over royalty payments grows, human rights violations continue unabated at Barrick’s North Mara mine. A recent MiningWatch fact-finding mission discovered that “new cases have come to light of serious un-remedied harm related to encounters between victims and mine security and police who guard the mine under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the companies involved and the Tanzanian Police Force. New cases documented in June 2017 include: loss of limbs, loss of eyesight, broken bones, internal injuries, children hit by flying blast rocks, and by teargas grenades thrown by mine security as they chase so-called intruders into the nearby villages. As in past years, villagers reported severe debilitating beatings, commonly with gun butts and wooden batons. Some are seriously wounded by teargas ‘bombs,’ or by so-called rubber bullets. Others are shot, including from behind. As in past years there were a number of deaths.”

At least 22 people have been killed and 69 injured near or at the North Mara mine since 2014. Most of the victims were impoverished villagers who scratch rocks for tiny bits of gold and who often mined these territories prior to Barrick’s arrival. An early 2016 government report found security and police paid by Barrick had killed 65 people and injured 270 at North Mara since 2006. Tanzanian human rights groups estimate as many 300 mine-related deaths and the Financial Times reports that not a single police officer or security guard working for the company has been killed on duty.

Amidst the violence at North Mara and an escalating battle over unpaid tax, Canada’s High Commissioner set up a meeting between Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and President Magufuli. After accompanying Barrick’s head to the encounter in Dar es Salaam Ian Myles told the press:

Canada is very proud that it expects all its companies to respect the highest standards, fairness and respect for laws and corporate social responsibility. We know that Barrick is very much committed to those values.

Appointed by Trudeau last year, Myles – whose “passion for international development began” when he was 17, according to a University of Toronto profile – took a page out of Stephen Harper’s playbook. During a 2007 trip to Chile the former prime minister responded to protests against various ecological and human rights abuses at the firm’s Pascua Lama project by saying: “Barrick follows Canadian standards of corporate social responsibility.”

A Tanzania Business Ethics columnist was not happy with the High Commissioner’s intervention. In response, Samantha Cole wrote:

It is so insulting that these Canadians and British still think they can trick us with their fancy nonsense ‘spin’ politics and dishonesty. What values is Barrick committed to? Have our nation not witnessed with our own eyes killings? rape? arson and burning our homes? destruction to our environment? poison in our water? corruption? fraud? hundreds of legal cases with local Tanzanian companies who are abused, bullied and suffer? and the list goes on. What ‘values’ is Ambassador Myles boasting about? How dishonest and unethical to stand there and lie about values. He should rather say NOTHING because every country where Barrick operates has a long, long list of illegal activities and crimes.

Disregarding its election promise, the Trudeau government is openly throwing this country’s diplomatic weight behind Canada’s most controversial mining company in the country where it has committed its worst abuses. When asked about Canada’s massive international mining industry during the election the party responded:

The Liberal Party of Canada shares Canadians’ concerns about the actions of some Canadian mining companies operating overseas and has long been fighting for transparency, accountability and sustainability in the mining sector.

The Liberals’ statement included explicit support for An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, which would have withheld some diplomatic and financial support from companies found responsible for significant abuses abroad. Similarly, the Liberals released a letter about the mining sector during the 2015 election that noted, “a Liberal government will set up an independent ombudsman office to advice Canadian companies, consider complaints made against them and investigate those complaints where it is deemed warranted.”

Nearly two years into their mandate the Trudeau regime has yet to follow through on any of their promises to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector. In fact, the Liberals have largely continued Harper’s aggressive support for mining companies.

If they are prepared to openly back Barrick in Tanzania one wonders what exactly a firm would have to do to lose Trudeau’s support?

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Tunisia joins boycott of Wonder Woman

NOVANEWS

Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman [Epicheroes]

Zionist actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman [Epicheroes]

Following Lebanon, Tunisia will cancel showings of Hollywood’s latest film, Wonder Woman.

The Tunisian Association of Young Lawyers filed a lawsuit to cancel the broadcast of the film which was scheduled for public viewing today.

According to the member of the Sedki Jelassi association, the cancellation was a reaction to comments made by the leading Israeli actress Gal Gadot in support of the “Zionist army who participated in the Holocaust against Gaza in 2014.”

Sedki Jelassi

#للتذكير
حكم صادر بتاريخ 13 مارس 2015 عن دائرة وكيل رئيس المحكمة الابتدائية بسوسة 1 القاضي شكري الفواري، تحت عدد 49646، والقضيّة رفعتها «الجمعية العربية التونسية لمقاومة الامبريالية والصهيونية» ضدّ وكالة وليد للأسفار وهي وكالة خاصة بسوسة.

جاء في الدعوى انّه تمّ نشر اعلان تعتزم من خلاله وكالة الاسفار المعنية تنظيم رحلتين الى القدس ومكة للعمرة بتاريخ 16 مارس 2015، وحسب الدعوى فلقد تبيّن بانّ برنامج الرحلتين سيكون بالدخول الى فلسطين المحتلّة عبر جسر الملك حسين وبالتالي سيكون الم

President of the association, Yassine Younsi, told Business News: “we cannot accept that our children watch this film,” which would amount to “normalising relations with Israel.”

Several people took to social media to criticise the association’s position.

Lassaad Goubantini, a distributor of the film in Tunisia, confirmed that it will not be broadcast and expressed confusion about the decision to cancel. “The decision not to allow the film to be broadcast is based on unfounded accusations,” he told Huffington Post Tunisie.

Gal Gadot speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International in San Diego USA on 11 July, 2015 [Gage Skidmore/FlickR]

Zionist Gal Gadot speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International in San Diego USA on 11 July, 2015 [Gage Skidmore/FlickR]

The Popular Front has also taken the same step to cancel the broadcast of the film. “The Popular Front has even contacted the Minister of Cultural Affairs, Mohamed Zine El Abidine, who promised to prevent the projection of the film in Tunisian cinemas, according to Deputy Tarek Barrak,” according to their website.

Gadot has featured in a series of films that have been previously shown in Tunisia.

Planned for release tomorrow, on the sidelines of a festival in Algiers, the film’s release in Algeria is also in question.

“The film will be reprogrammed once the administrative constraints related to the exploitation rights have been settled,” Amine Idjer, head of communications at MD Ciné, told AFP.

He explained that the Algerian Ministry of Culture had ensured that this deprogramming had nothing to do with the campaign of boycott launched on the internet.

Lebanon was the first country to ban the film in protest of the Zionist actress’ role.

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Tunisia Reveals How the US-Supported Insurgents in Syria are Sexually Exploiting Girls

NOVANEWS
Global Research
War Bride

A gut wrenching article appeared today in the Tunisian newspaper, Al Chourouk. The article highlighted the return of a hundred Tunisian girls from Syria, girls who offered sexual services under the pretext of marriage (Nikah is Marriage in Arabic) for the insurgency warlords.

This startling phenomenon raises a number of questions for Tunisia’s conservative society. What civil status would be attributed to these women and their newborn babies? Will they be considered as divorced women, widows, or single mothers? What will the city hall’s employee write in the father name column? What future will these innocent kids have: delinquency, criminality, or prostitution? More concerning, a majority of these women are now menaced by the threat of  honor killings at the hands their families.

According to Al Chourouk, the recruitment method consisted of convincing fervently religious young girls to attend closed religious classes with fully veiled women who did not remove their veils, even in the all-female environment. When asked by the victims why the women monitoring them kept their veils on, the women said that they are wanted by the police and feared a possible raid on the mosque, which is totally false. In reality, the women did not want to be identified by their victims.

The monitoring teachers taught the students stridently obscurantist stances and an extremely erroneous interpretation of religion. Then during the second phase of the indoctrination procedure, the fake teachers started praising the merits of the Syrian rebellion, and suggested that the girls travel to Syria to assist the insurgents.

An Al Chourouk security source confirmed the existence of a large-scale recruitment network in universities, mosques, and shops dedicated to selling Islamic clothing with slogans supporting jihadist indoctrination.

The same source added, that the girls concerned with Jihad Nikah are chiefly mosque goers.

The security source pointed out that 90% of the meetings were conducted between the prayer of Asar (afternoon) and that of Maghreb (sunset), and that “women working on the recruitment are around 30 to 50 years old.”

In a speech delivered by the Tunisian Interior Minister, Lotfi Ben Jeddou, on September 19, the minister announced the return of girls from Syria practicing a “Jihad of prostitution” in the ranks of armed fighters opposed to the Syrian army. He pointed out that many of them returned pregnant, and many others contaminated with several sexually transmitted diseases.

In the light of this loosening conundrum, human rights activists explain that recruiters have been hunting their victims via the social site “Facebook.”

Any means are used to recruit ruthless mercenaries, suicidal militants, easy prostitutes, diehards to wreak havoc anywhere you command and any sort of actions. There are cheap hands abound to do other people’s dirty work.

A problem remains to be exposed. All human rights activists following this story voice their concerns about the case of these women and their offspring. Concerns are being expressed that the situation will soon become an explosive matter, making it necessary to treat these pending files with urgency.
An overwhelming majority of these sexual Jihadist women are shunned by their families for the scandal they brought on them.

A victim called Lamia, 19, shared her story. She claimed to have been approached by a preacher who she thought was sincere in his advice to her on religious matters. As soon as confidence was built between her and the preacher, his religious views started to harden. The tinniest thing became haram (forbidden). The next step was to coax Lamia to follow the jihad course, which she did.

“I went to that country to assist the parallel army of the armed forces, I met other girls from Tunisia, and began practicing ‘Jihad’ with the Pakistanis, Afghans, Libyans, Iraqis, Saudis, and Somalis, as well Tunisian fellow countrymen,”  Lamia said.

One of the Tunisian girls tried to escape, but failed to do so, and was lethally tortured. Lamia took the first opportunity to escape back home. However, her dreadful mishap did not come to a halt. Another episode of suffering began.
Lamia discovered she was  five months pregnant. She also found out she and her fetus was contaminated with aids.

Such terrible cases should not be swept under the carpet. Unless authorities act on them with great scrutiny, they will only worsen. Serious measures should be taken to assist victims, and recruiters should be identified and arrested, to allow the judiciary to carry out its duty.

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Tunisians Ask Gov’t to Withdraw from Saudi Coalition over Blacklisting Hezbollah

NOVANEWS
TunisiaThe leader of En-Nahda Islamic movement  in Tunisia Rached Ghannouchi asserted on Saturday that it is impossible to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group because of the his historic achievements in liberating Lebanon and protecting it from the Zionist aggressions.

Although Hezbollah’s role in Syria is controversial, we cannot generalize any label against the party, Ghannouchi added.

Meanwhile, a number of political parties in Tunisia demanded that the government withdraw from the Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led coalition in the region over the decision to blacklist Hezbollah.

In Egypt, the founder of the Popular Current Hamdeen Sabahi greeted Hezbollah and his Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah for  confronting the Zionist occupation, noting that who has blacklisted the Resistance aims at stirring the Shiite-Sunnite sedition in the region.

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Tunisia: Hezbollah Liberated Lebanese Territories, Supported Palestine

NOVANEWS
TunisiaTunisian Foreign Ministry clarified on Friday that the closing statement of the meeting of the Zionist puppet Arab Interior Ministry did not include blacklisting Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

In a statement, the Tunisia Foreign Ministry reiterated that Tunis rejects to interfere in the domestic issues of the other countries, noting that Hezbollah has contributed to liberating the Lebanese territories, supported Palestine’s cause and fought ISIL.

“Tunisia attempted to take into account the Arab consensus during the meeting of the Arab Interior Ministers through approving the decision that is not compulsory.”  

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Over 50 Dead as Tunisia Foils ISIL ’Emirate’ Bid on Border with Libya

NOVANEWSImage result for DAESH IN Tunisia CARTOON 
Tunisian forces repelled a terrorist assault Monday on a town near the Libyan border, killing 35 Saudi Zio-Wahhabi gunmen in what authorities said was a thwarted effort to establish an emirate of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group.Among a total of more than 50 dead, 11 members of the security forces and seven civilians were killed in the fighting in Ben Guerdane that President Beji Caid Essebsi condemned as an “unprecedented” attack.It prompted authorities to close the frontier and order a nighttime curfew.

Prime Minister Habib Essid, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL group, said the aim of the operation had been to set up a “Daesh emirate” in Ben Guerdane, but the army and internal security forces had thwarted the attackers.

For his part, Essebsi, in an earlier statement broadcast on state television, said the assault was “maybe aimed at controlling” the border region with Libya, and he vowed to “exterminate these rats”.

Residents of the border town told AFP the assailants had stopped residents, checked their IDs apparently to seek out members of the security forces, and announced their brief takeover of the town as “liberators”.

It was the second deadly clash in the border area in less than a week as Tunisia battles to prevent the large number of its nationals who have joined ISIL in Libya from returning to carry out attacks at home.

The government said that an army barracks and police and National Guard posts in Ben Guerdane came under attack in coordinated pre-dawn assaults.

The defense ministry said at least 35 Saudi Zio-Wahhabi militants, six members of the National Guard, two policemen, a customs official and a soldier died in the fighting.

Seven civilians were also killed, and seven militants were captured, the defense ministry added.

Hospital official Abdelkrim Chafroud said a 12-year-old boy was among the dead civilians.

An AFP correspondent reported that schools and offices in Ben Guerdane were closed and troops were posted on rooftops across town as helicopters hovered overhead.

The militants have taken advantage of a power vacuum since the NATO-backed overthrow of Leader Moammar Gaddafi in 2011 to set up bases in several areas of Libya, including the Sabratha area between Tripoli and the Tunisian border.

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Tunisia year five: Caught in a tightening vice

NOVANEWS

Samuel Albert

What has the “democracy” so praised by the West and its apologists brought Tunisia? And why does the rise of Islamism seem so unstoppable? The answer lies in the way the two trends reinforce each other, even as they ferociously contend for the country’s future.

Thousands of young Tunisians drown trying to make their way to Europe, hoping that the West can offer a life that their own country cannot. Thousands are going to neighbouring Libya or other countries to wage jihad against what they perceive as the Western way of life, thirsty for vengeance against the West and its values.

What these two different situations have in common is that for many young Tunisians, accepting the lives they’ve been given is not an option. The March 2015 massacre of 22 people at the Bardo Museum, one of Tunis’s main cultural tourist attractions, and then the June murder of 38 Europeans at a beach resort in Sousse, demonstrated that Tunisia can’t escape being caught between the contending forces fighting for the allegiance of people across the region. On the one hand, millions of lives and futures are stunted or shattered by the conditions created by the world market and globalised finance, while the monopoly capitalists who rule the imperialist countries prosper. On the other, Islamist political rule is represented as the only alternative to what the West calls “democracy”, the political, social and ideological institutions whose function is to stabilize this intolerable situation.

The Islamist 23-year old graduate student who shot the tourists in Sousse was striking out at a situation where youth from poor families in the interior feel cut off from the modern world as it is enjoyed by some on the coast and people in the West in general. Their fathers work, when they can, wherever they can, in back-breaking construction, and their mothers in investor-owned fields under the thumb of merciless labour contractors who act as if they own them. Workers in factories and call centres are at the mercy of overseas orders. The educational system, especially in the technological fields, fills students with a narrow “input” of skills they can hope to “output” in a vocation promising a different life than their parents – until at last, emerging with diploma in hand, they tumble into the abyss of unemployment or mindless jobs with no prospects.

The phosphate mines that bring much of the country’s wealth produce serious environmental problems and few jobs for the people who live around them. The tourism “industry” touted as the country’s hope is driven by real estate speculation and prostitution, and the huge number of people trapped in prostitution reveals what values and future the West has to offer Tunisia.

In this situation – and in a world with no socialist states and few genuine revolutionary movements, where a reality-based revolutionary vision has not yet become the property of widespread masses of people – the powerful attraction of political and jihadi Islam, now presenting itself as the main challenger to the status quo imposed by Western imperialism, is tragic but not surprising.

The political motives behind the Sousse attack are no mystery: it was a demonstration of Islamism’s strength, not just militarily but in the contested sphere of ideology and the coherence of its politics. It was an armed critique of the country’s subjugation and its unjust, illegitimate and morally corrupt establishment, a demonstration that Islamism is the only political alternative. It dealt a very serious blow to the tourism industry the country and regime depend on. It compelled the army and security forces to spread out in the big cities and coastal areas instead of concentrating on the mountainous region near Algeria and the Libyan border, where they had been mounting an offensive against fundamentalist operational zones.

President Beji Caid Essebsi’s response was to declare a state of emergency to enable new repressive measures against strikes, sit-ins and other movements that have nothing in common with jihadism, and even ban public gatherings and cultural events. “Since 2011 the country has been like a school-yard recess and now that has to end,” declared a pro-government pundit. Essebsi emphasized that his political rivals and fractious friends too had to “get into line” with his government and its Western approved programme. For the sake of stability, he said; well-connected prominent businessmen, widely hated for robbing the public, would be protected from legal action.

In short, the country whose “success” was contrasted with the daunting of the Arab Spring in Egypt, has become like Egypt, in many aspects, if not all.

Like Egypt, the U.S. has been drawing Tunisia closer, providing significant funding and loan guarantees (even though unlike in Egypt, U.S. moves in Tunisia are always at least tinged by rivalry with France, Tunisia’s historic overlord). In May 2015, on the heels of the Bardo museum attack, Essebsi visited Washington, where Obama named Tunisia a “Major Non-Nato ally”, a status bringing more military aid and “strategic cooperation”. In July, Tunisian media reported that a U.S. military base and regional listening post now located in Sicily would be moved to Tunisia.

For the U.S., especially, Tunisia matters most as a “security problem”. Trying to “fix” Tunisia’s “dysfunctional” security services, the U.S, UK and France are taking charge themselves in some matters – for example, the UK’s Scotland Yard is running the investigation of the Sousse massacre.

This increasingly direct interference, motivated by these imperialists’ perceived regional and national interests and not the good of Tunisia, will not save Tunisia from disaster any more than it did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere . Rather, it heightens the danger that Tunisia will be pulled into the maelstrom of the regional and civil wars between those lined up with the U.S. and groups like Daesh who are the main challenge to its interests at the moment.

What has the “democracy” so praised by the West and its apologists brought Tunisia? And why does the rise of Islamism seem so unstoppable? The answer lies in the way the two trends reinforce each other, even as they ferociously contend for the country’s future.

The hated president Ben Ali is gone, toppled by the opening act of the Arab Spring, but the uprising left the state apparatus fundamentally unchanged. The police forces organized to brutally protect the old regime remain intact. They aggressively beat youth on the streets in poor neighbourhoods and towns as much as ever, and still torture prisoners, political and otherwise. Social movements in the interior are viciously repressed. The military, which supervised the so-called “democratic transition”, continues to make its will known through threats to political parties and the general public. It has held key ministries and governorates (provincial authorities). Prime Minister Habib Essid is only the most prominent figure among the former regime’s men who, rather than losing their authority, have been promoted. The people have had no relief from the bureaucracy that governs much of everyday life and the fate of citizens like Mohamed Bouazizi, the young fruit vendor in Sidi Bouzid who set himself and the country on fire on 17 December 2010.

The country’s economy is the same as it was, structured over decades to depend on foreign markets and capital. There have been no serious proposals to change Ben Ali’s economic orientation by any of the major parties. The continued privatization of state enterprises has brought even more obscene wealth to wealthy partners of French, U.S., Saudi and Qatari capital, while promises have sputtered out for projects for economic development in interior areas like Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid where the revolt started. Unemployment is worse than ever.

The electoral system has gathered most of the opposition to the old regime into its fold and turned them into its servitors. The enlistment of former radicals into the “political class” – the set of people allowed to practice politics – has brought cynicism and discredit to the “leftist” ideals they once professed. Less than half of the potential voters bothered to cast a ballot in the last elections.

Unlike the jihadis, the opposition politicians (including so-called “leftists”) most definitely don’t seek or believe in radical change. Lately they have been encouraging Tunisians to hope that new oil deposits (which supposedly have already been found but whose existence is being covered up for obscure interests) can save the country, just as phosphate exports were once hailed as the country’s future. Has having plenty of oil saved Algeria, or instead delivered it even more deeply into the clutches of the global market and its implacable demands, while subsidizing the rule of a handful of men who are that cruel market’s local representatives?

Tunisia’s economic development in 1990s brought the society to where it is today. Its Association Agreement with the EU helped make the country a subcontractor for automotive and electric parts, clothing and call centres, while unable to feed itself without the imports that in turn require ever more economic subordination and massive waste of the potential of the country’s people.

In response to the Sousse massacre, the government has had little to deploy but troops. A government that forbids men under 35 to travel freely – for fear they will join the thousands of Tunisians waging jihad abroad, and then come back – is declaring that it cannot even dream of waging a struggle for the country’s youth, let alone offer a credible alternative. It can do nothing to change a situation which generates wave after wave of Islamists, not only because of the jihad raging in nearby countries but also because under today’s circumstances, the society itself is a matrix for Islamism.

There are different currents of Islamism, but the dividing line between jihadism and electoral Islamism is extremely porous in theory and practice. The leaders of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, who come out of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood current and like to compare themselves with Erdogan’s AKP in Turkey, used jihadi methods before the fall of Ben Ali opened up the way for them to share power in an elected government. During that latter period, Ennahda provided practical and ideological cover for sworn jihadis.

The difference between armed Islamism and electoral Islamism is not a question of loyalty to “democracy”. Any class that rules over an exploitative and oppressive system, in the world’s most developed countries like anywhere else, will opt for whatever form of political rule necessary to preserve its rule. Islamism is defined by its goals, the imposition of Islam as the legal regulator of political and social life (which is very different than defending people’s right to voluntarily practice their religion), and not by whatever means to achieve those goals that might seem most effective at any given moment.

Many reactionary armed forces, including the U.S., encourage young people to murder innocents to assuage their feelings of having been wronged. Islamism can mobilize the blind loyalty of some desperate people among the lowest masses and the resentment of the petite bourgeoisie. It may offer a path to social advancement for many individuals that the status quo does not make available to them. But in terms of class interests, it represents old and new exploiters among imperialist-dominated nations.

The goal of Daesh, al-Qaeda and, in a somewhat different way, the Moslem Brotherhood and the AKP is not to challenge capitalism but to win a new place for themselves that has not been possible under the geopolitical order in the Middle East that the U.S. built to serve its supremacy. While the alignments of class forces differ from country to country in the Islamic world, it is surely no accident that the leadership, ideological training, financing, logistics and arms used by today’s two main strands of Islamism come from the predominantly capitalist ruling classes of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, often in alignment with Turkey, on the one hand, and on the other, the Islamic Republic of Iran. These are outstanding examples of regimes whose ruling classes with roots in pre-capitalist modes of production have become inseparable from the private accumulation of capital amid the globalized production relations of the imperialist system and its ineluctable economic logic. Conflicting interests and not just religious differences between Shias and Sunnis explain why Islamists can line up on opposing sides or alternately be used by and oppose imperialist projects.

At the same time, Islamism has its own dynamic as an ideology and political movement, a momentum where what is perceived as its advance against foreign-imposed humiliation favours more advance. The basis for Islamism in material conditions and its congruency with and usefulness to reactionary class interests should not lead to underestimating the great importance of the ideological factor in its rise. A major reason for its attractive power is the absence of a clearly-posed ideological and political alternative to the status quo that has the potential strength of being based on a true understanding of reality and the real interests of the vast majority of people.

Given the reactionary nature of Islamist goals, it follows that they would be faithful students of imperialism when it comes to using terrorism against the masses for political aims. Theirs is not a blind violence but something even worse – deliberate barbarism meant to create terror among people for political goals, just as the imperialists have done from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to U.S.-backed Israeli assaults on the people of Gaza and Lebanon and the American-led rampage that destroyed Iraq.

Because of its reactionary nature, Islamism often has ambiguous relations with imperialism and its local regimes. In Algeria, for instance, the 1990s civil war between Islamists and the ruling military had a dimension of a mutual war against the people, the slaughter of intellectuals and others that both sides hated. We’ve seen this in Tunisia, too. In fact, today’s Tunisian government itself rests on an uneasy and unstable alliance between forces representing imperialism and its traditional local flunkies on the one hand and Islamism on the other.

After initially dismissing the significance of the Sousse massacre, President Essebsi declared, “If such incidents happen again, the state will collapse.” One reason for his alarm is that his governing Nidaa Tunes party, answerable to both France and the U.S, was elected on its promise to overturn the Islamisation process initiated by its predecessor in government, Ennahda. At the same time, it cannot (and does not want) to govern without Ennahda’s parliamentary support.

But the problem goes deeper than electoral opportunism. Since Tunisa’s formal independence the country’s rulers have always used religion and religious identity (the constitution’s first article defines Tunisia as a Moslem country) to disguise their fealty to imperialism. They have never forgone the legitimacy of religion and tradition and the religious suffocation of those it governs. This has been combined with repression, including against Islamism when it presented problems – when Ennahda was in rebellion against the government rather than one of its pillars.

Now, especially because today’s Tunisian government suffers from the inherited illegitimacy of the Ben Ali regime, whose ignominious downfall at the hands of the people has not been forgotten even by those currently politically inactive, and because it has even more reason than Ben Ali to fear the masses of people, it is extremely unwilling to confront Islamism, especially in ideological terms, but in other ways as well.

For instance, take the 2013 assassination of Chokri Belaid, a major leader of the Tunisian electoral left and an important symbol to many secular intellectuals and others. The fact that he had defended the Islamists under the Ben Ali regime did not stop Islamists from killing him. Neither the Ennahda government at the time nor today’s supposedly secular government tried very hard to elucidate this crime. In July 2015, when 30 men accused in connection with the murder were summoned for trial, most of them refused to appear in court. The government did not dare try to defeat this challenge to its legal system and moral authority in the name of Islam.

After the Sousse massacre president Essebsi called for the shuttering of 80 mosques he said were run by Salafists, but religious fundamentalism is thriving throughout the extensive state-supervised religious establishment, the public educational system and the dominant culture in general, pressuring and intimidating the many millions who are not eager to live in a society governed by religious law. For instance, the police have started arresting people for public possession of beer, which is not illegal and until now not uncommon, with the explanation that such behaviour by Moslems (and all Tunisians are presumed to be Moslem) constitutes “public debauchery”. Foreigners with non-Moslem-sounding names are free from the religious restrictions the police have taken upon themselves to enforce.

How can a ruling class and power structure that constantly reproduce Islamism, and depend on it ideologically and politically, confront armed Islamism without endangering its own existence? This seems to explain Essebsi’s warning about how the state might not be able to withstand another Islamist attack, not because it would be defeated militarily but because of its own explosive political and ideological contradictions.

While Ennahda’s role in the current government is small, no major political force considers its Islamist project out of bounds or opposes the growing Islamization of Tunisian society as a matter of principle rather than taste or lifestyle preference. This is especially striking in the case of many people in the “leftist” Popular Front, the self-appointed representatives of the country’s “patriots” and “democrats”, which in the last elections supported Essebsi in the name of opposing Ennahda.

More recently, in response to Islamist pressure, the Front’s spokesman, the former “communist” Hamma Hammami (in reality an opponent of the revolutionary communism represented by China’s Mao Tsetung) declared that he had no “ideological problem” with Islamists because he, too, is a Moslem. Regardless of his personal beliefs (and “leftists” perpetuating and worshiping traditional thinking is an old and serious problem in most countries), the society any kind of Islamists want is totally unacceptable, even if only considered from the point of view of what it means for women, half of the world’s population, not to mention other aspects of the emancipation of humanity from ignorance and superstition, and all forms of oppressive social relations. If some political organizations, whether Trotskyist or falsely self-proclaimed Maoists, can use the excuse of opposing imperialism to find anything to support in Islamism, that speaks volumes about what kind of society they are willing to accept or help govern.

Not unexpectedly, the Front’s response to the Sousse massacre was capitulation of another sort. In the face of imminent danger, they demand the beefing up of the army – whose job is to defend the status quo for imperialism. It is all too typical to see “leftists” who never considered how to make a real revolution scuttle back and forth from tailing Islamism to throwing themselves into the arms of the imperialists.

The architectonic forces that began to break through the surface in December 2010 are still at work. That revolt involved a broad section of the people, spurred by youth in the interior and relayed by students in coastal cities and finally the capital. People from all social classes took part, including elements of the bourgeoisie excluded from Ben Ali’s favoured inner circle or those who felt that dumping him was the best available alternative to a prolonged and cascading upheaval. That unity of “the people” quickly hit the limits of the fundamentally antagonistic class interests at work. Islamists as such played very little role in the revolt. But those domestic and foreign observers who congratulated the Tunisian people for the “moderation” of the outcome, which they attributed to a supposed Tunisian character, misjudged the depth of the crisis and what it would take to resolve it.

What has come even more clearly to light after the Sousse attack is not the importation of exterior conflicts into Tunisian society but a particular, localized and explosive expression of contradictions at work on a world scale. There would be no modern-day Islamism without the economic and social changes in the predominantly Islamic countries brought about by imperialist development. Further, the criminal actions of the U.S. and its allies in recent years (in Palestine, Iraq, etc.) have been inseparable from this development. Without all that, Islamism would still be a minor trend with little future.

Instead it has become a “perverse expression”, as Bob Avakian has put it, of the fundamental contradiction at work in today’s world: between the socialization of production that is drawing the whole globe into productive processes and transforming economic relations, and the private – and therefore exploitative and competition-driven – appropriation of the surplus value thus produced. This is what has led to the accumulation of capital in the hands of the monopoly capitalist rulers of the imperialist countries and the horrendous and unbearable intensification of the world’s inequalities and lopsided development.

It is a “perverse expression” because instead of a solution, it is an obstacle to resolving this contradiction by moving toward a world where the abolition of the private ownership of the necessary means to live, and all the social relations and ideas based on that, enables everyone to work for the common good while fully blossoming as individuals. Imperialism and Islamism can be called “the two outmodeds” because neither represents what the world could be if the enormous productive forces developed by humanity, and most basically the people, could be liberated and enabled to transform the world and themselves.

Tunisia cannot be a haven from the world’s storms. It remains a country whose contradictions cannot be solved by anything other than a full revolution – the emergence of a flag, programme, party and broad revolutionary movement whose goal is to defeat the forces of the old state and establish a new kind of political power that can free the people at the bottom, along with the middle strata and intellectuals and others, to begin transforming society in a far more radical and liberating fashion that Islamism or imperialism could even pretend to offer.

Otherwise, the conflict between the “two outmodeds” will continue to rage and wreak death and destruction, with the masses of people deluded victims instead of conscious protagonists.

Posted in TunisiaComments Off on Tunisia year five: Caught in a tightening vice

Tunisia year five: Caught in a tightening vice

NOVANEWS
ISIS Palmyra Syria Middle East Monitor
by Samuel Albert

10 August 2015. A World to Win News Service. By Samuel Albert. Thousands of young Tunisians drown trying to make their way to Europe, hoping that the West can offer a life that their own country cannot. Thousands are going to neighbouring Libya or other countries to wage jihad against what they perceive as the Western way of life, thirsty for vengeance against the West and its values.

What these two different situations have in common is that for many young Tunisians, accepting the lives they’ve been given is not an option. The March 2015 massacre of 22 people at the Bardo Museum, one of Tunis’s main cultural tourist attractions, and then the June murder of 38 Europeans at a beach resort in Sousse, demonstrated that Tunisia can’t escape being caught between the contending forces fighting for the allegiance of people across the region. On the one hand, millions of lives and futures are stunted or shattered by the conditions created by the world market and globalised finance, while the monopoly capitalists who rule the imperialist countries prosper. On the other, Islamist political rule is represented as the only alternative to what the West calls “democracy”, the political, social and ideological institutions whose function is to stabilize this intolerable situation.

The Islamist 23-year old graduate student who shot the tourists in Sousse was striking out at a situation where youth from poor families in the interior feel cut off from the modern world as it is enjoyed by some on the coast and people in the West in general. Their fathers work, when they can, wherever they can, in back-breaking construction, and their mothers in investor-owned fields under the thumb of merciless labour contractors who act as if they own them. Workers in factories and call centres are at the mercy of overseas orders. The educational system, especially in the technological fields, fills students with a narrow “input” of skills they can hope to “output” in a vocation promising a different life than their parents –  until at last, emerging with diploma in hand, they tumble into the abyss of unemployment or mindless jobs with no prospects. The phosphate mines that bring much of the country’s wealth produce serious environmental problems and few jobs for the people who live around them. The tourism “industry” touted as the country’s hope is driven by real estate speculation and prostitution, and the huge number of people trapped in prostitution reveals what values and future the West has to offer Tunisia.

In this situation – and in a world with no socialist states and few genuine revolutionary movements, where a reality-based revolutionary vision has not yet become the property of widespread masses of people – the powerful attraction of political and jihadi Islam, now presenting itself as the main challenger to the status quo imposed by Western imperialism, is tragic but not surprising.

The political motives behind the Sousse attack are no mystery: it was a demonstration of Islamism’s strength, not just militarily but in the contested sphere of ideology and the coherence of its politics. It was an armed critique of the country’s subjugation and its unjust, illegitimate and morally corrupt establishment, a demonstration that Islamism is the only political alternative. It dealt a very serious blow to the tourism industry the country and regime depend on. It compelled the army and security forces to spread out in the big cities and coastal areas instead of concentrating on the mountainous region near Algeria and the Libyan border, where they had been mounting an offensive against fundamentalist operational zones.

President Beji Caid Essebsi’s response was to declare a state of emergency to enable new repressive measures against strikes, sit-ins and other movements that have nothing in common with jihadism, and even ban public gatherings and cultural events. “Since 2011 the country has been like a school-yard recess and now that has to end,” declared a pro-government pundit. Essebsi emphasized that his political rivals and fractious friends too had to “get into line” with his government and itsWestern approved programme. For the sake of stability, he said, well-connected prominent businessmen, widely hated for robbing the public, would be protected from legal action.

In short, the country whose “success” was contrasted with the daunting of the Arab Spring in Egypt, has become like Egypt, in many aspects, if not all.

Like Egypt, the U.S. has been drawing Tunisia closer, providing significant funding and loan guarantees (even though unlike in Egypt, U.S. moves in Tunisia are always at least tinged by rivalry with France, Tunisia’s historic overlord). In May 2015, on the heels of the Bardo museum attack, Essebsi visited Washington, where Obama named Tunisia a “Major Non-Nato ally”, a status bringing more military aid and “strategic cooperation”. In July, Tunisian media reported that a U.S. military base and regional listening post now located in Sicily would be moved to Tunisia.

For the U.S., especially, Tunisia matters most as a “security problem”. Trying to “fix” Tunisia’s “dysfunctional” security services, the U.S, UK and France are taking charge themselves in some matters – for example, the UK’s Scotland Yard is running the investigation of the Sousse massacre.

This increasingly direct interference, motivated by these imperialists’ perceived regional and national interests and not the good of Tunisia, will not save Tunisia from disaster any more than it did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere . Rather, it heightens the danger that Tunisia will be pulled into the maelstrom of the regional and civil wars between those lined up with the U.S. and groups like Daesh who are the main challenge to its interests at the moment.

What has the “democracy” so praised by the West and its apologists brought Tunisia? And why does the rise of Islamism seem so unstoppable? The answer lies in the way the two trends reinforce each other, even as they ferociously contend for the country’s future.

The hated president Ben Ali is gone, toppled by the opening act of the Arab Spring, but the uprising left the state apparatus fundamentally unchanged. The police forces organized to brutally protect the old regime remain intact. They aggressively beat youth on the streets in poor neighbourhoods and towns as much as ever, and still torture prisoners, political and otherwise. Social movements in the interior are viciously repressed. The military, which supervised the so-called “democratic transition”, continues to make its will known through threats to political parties and the general public. It has held key ministries and governorates (provincial authorities). Prime Minister Habib Essid is only the most prominent figure among the former regime’s men who, rather than losing their authority, have been promoted. The people have had no relief from the bureaucracy that governs much of everyday life and the fate of citizens like Mohamed Bouazizi, the young fruit vendor in Sidi Bouzid who set himself and the country on fire on 17 December 2010.

The country’s economy is the same as it was, structured over decades to depend on foreign markets and capital. There have been no serious proposals to change Ben Ali’s economic orientation by any of the major parties. The continued privatization of state enterprises has brought even more obscene wealth to wealthy partners of French, U.S., Saudi and Qatari capital, while promises have sputtered out for projects for economic development in interior areas like Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid where the revolt started. Unemployment is worse than ever.

The electoral system has gathered most of the opposition to the old regime into its fold and turned them into its servitors. The enlistment of former radicals into the “political class” – the set of people allowed to practice politics – has brought cynicism and discredit to the “leftist” ideals they once professed. Less than half of the potential voters bothered to cast a ballot in the last elections.

Unlike the jihadis, the opposition politicians (including so-called “leftists”) most definitely don’t seek or believe in radical change. Lately they have been encouraging Tunisians to hope that new oil deposits (which supposedly have already been found but whose existence is being covered up for obscure interests) can save the country, just as phosphate exports were once hailed as the country’s future. Has having plenty of oil saved Algeria, or instead delivered it even more deeply into the clutches of the global market and its implacable demands, while subsidizing the rule of a handful of men who are that cruel market’s local representatives? 

Tunisia’s economic development in the 1990s brought the society to where it is today. Its Association Agreement with the EU helped make the country a subcontractor for automotive and electric parts, clothing and call centres, while unable to feed itself without the imports that in turn require ever more economic subordination and massive waste of the potential of the country’s people.

In response to the Sousse massacre, the government has had little to deploy but troops. A government that forbids men under 35 to travel freely – for fear they will join the thousands of Tunisians waging jihad abroad, and then come back –  is declaring that it cannot even dream of waging a struggle for the country’s youth, let alone offer a credible alternative. It can do nothing to change a situation which generates wave after wave of Islamists, not only because of the jihad raging in nearby countries but also because under today’s circumstances, the society itself is a matrix for Islamism.

There are different currents of Islamism, but the dividing line between jihadism and electoral Islamism is extremely porous in theory and practice. The leaders of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, who come out of the Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood current and like to compare themselves with Erdogan’s AKP in Turkey, used jihadi methods before the fall of Ben Ali opened up the way for them to share power in an elected government. During that latter period, Ennahda provided practical and ideological cover for sworn jihadis.

The difference between armed Islamism and electoral Islamism is not a question of loyalty to “democracy”. Any class that rules over an exploitative and oppressive system, in the world’s most developed countries like anywhere else, will opt for whatever form of political rule necessary to preserve its rule. Islamism is defined by its goals, the imposition of Islam as the legal regulator of political and social life (which is very different than defending people’s right to voluntarily practice their religion), and not by whatever means to achieve those goals that might seem most effective at any given moment.

Many reactionary armed forces, including the U.S., encourage young people to murder innocents to assuage their feelings of having been wronged. Islamism can mobilize the blind loyalty of some desperate people among the lowest masses and the resentment of the petite bourgeoisie. It may offer a path to social advancement for many individuals that the status quo does not make available to them. But in terms of class interests, it represents old and new exploiters among imperialist-dominated nations.

The goal of Daesh, al-Qaeda and, in a somewhat different way, the Moslem Brotherhood and the AKP is not to challenge capitalism but to win a new place for themselves that has not been possible under the geopolitical order in the Middle East that the U.S. built to serve its supremacy. While the alignments of class forces differ from country to country in the Islamic world, it is surely no accident that the leadership, ideological training, financing, logistics and arms used by today’s two main strands of Islamism come from the predominantly capitalist ruling classes of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, often in alignment with Turkey, on the one hand, and on the other, the Islamic Republic of Iran. These are outstanding examples of regimes whose ruling classes with roots in pre-capitalist modes of production have become inseparable from the private accumulation of capital amid the globalized production relations of the imperialist system and its ineluctable economic logic. Conflicting interests and not just religious differences between Shias and Sunnis explain why Islamists can line up on opposing sides or alternately be used by and oppose imperialist projects.

At the same time, Islamism has its own dynamic as an ideology and political movement, a momentum where what is perceived as its advance against foreign-imposed humiliation favours more advance. The basis for Islamism in material conditions and its congruency with and usefulness to reactionary class interests should not lead to underestimating the great importance of the ideological factor in its rise. A major reason for its attractive power is the absence of a clearly-posed ideological and political alternative to the status quo that has the potential strength of being based on a true understanding of reality and the real interests of the vast majority of people.

Given the reactionary nature of Islamist goals, it follows that they would be faithful students of imperialism when it comes to using terrorism against the masses for political aims. Theirs is not a blind violence but something even worse – deliberate barbarism meant to create terror among people for political goals, just as the imperialists have done from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima to U.S.-backed Israeli assaults on the people of Gaza and Lebanon and the American-led rampage that destroyed Iraq.

Because of its reactionary nature, Islamism often has ambiguous relations with imperialism and its local regimes. In Algeria, for instance, the 1990s civil war between Islamists and the ruling military had a dimension of a mutual war against the people, the slaughter of intellectuals and others that both sides hated. We’ve seen this in Tunisia, too. In fact, today’s Tunisian government itself rests on an uneasy and unstable alliance between forces representing imperialism and its traditional local flunkies on the one hand and Islamism on the other.

After initially dismissing the significance of the Sousse massacre, President Essebsi declared, “If such incidents happen again, the state will collapse.” One reason for his alarm is that his governing Nidaa Tunes party, answerable to both France and the U.S, was elected on its promise to overturn the Islamisation process initiated by its predecessor in government, Ennahda. At the same time, it cannot (and does not want to) govern without Ennahda’s parliamentary support.

But the problem goes deeper than electoral opportunism. Since Tunisa’s formalindependence the country’s rulers have always used religion and religious identity (the constitution’s first article defines Tunisia as a Moslem country) to disguise their fealty to imperialism. They have never forgone the legitimacy of religion and tradition and the religious suffocation of those it governs. This has been combined with repression, including against Islamism when it presented problems – when Ennahda was in rebellion against the government rather than one of its pillars.

Now, especially because today’s Tunisian government suffers from the inherited illegitimacy of the Ben Ali regime, whose ignominious downfall at the hands of the people has not been forgotten even by those currently politically inactive, and because it has even more reason than Ben Ali to fear the masses of people, it is extremely unwilling to confront Islamism, especially in ideological terms, but in other ways as well.

For instance, take the 2013 assassination of Chokri Belaid, a major leader of the Tunisian electoral left and an important symbol to many secular intellectuals and others. The fact that he had defended the Islamists under the Ben Ali regime did not stop Islamists from killing him. Neither the Ennahda government at the time nor today’s supposedly secular government tried very hard to elucidate this crime. In July 2015, when 30 men accused in connection with the murder were summoned for trial, most of them refused to appear in court. The government did not dare try to defeat this challenge to its legal system and moral authority in the name of Islam.

After the Sousse massacre president Essebsi called for the shuttering of 80 mosques he said were run by Salafists, but religious fundamentalism is thriving throughout the extensive state-supervised religious establishment, the public educational system and the dominant culture in general, pressuring and intimidating the many millions who are not eager to live in a society governed by religious law. For instance, the police have started arresting people for public possession of beer, which is not illegal and until now not uncommon, with the explanation that such behaviour by Moslems (and all Tunisians are presumed to be Moslem) constitutes “public debauchery”. Foreigners with non-Moslem-sounding names are free from the religious restrictions the police have taken upon themselves to enforce.

How can a ruling class and power structure that constantly reproduce Islamism, and depend on it ideologically and politically, confront armed Islamism without endangering its own existence? This seems to explain Essebsi’s warning about how the state might not be able to withstand another Islamist attack, not because it would be defeated militarily but because of its own explosive political and ideological contradictions.

While Ennahda’s role in the current government is small, no major political force considers its Islamist project out of bounds or opposes the growing Islamization of Tunisian society as a matter of principle rather than taste or lifestyle preference. This is especially striking in the case of many people in the “leftist” Popular Front, the self-appointed representatives of the country’s “patriots” and “democrats”, which in the last elections supported Essebsi in the name of opposing Ennahda.

More recently, in response to Islamist pressure, the Front’s spokesman, the former “communist” Hamma Hammami (in reality an opponent of the revolutionary communism represented by China’s Mao Tsetung) declared that he had no “ideological problem” with Islamists because he, too, is a Moslem. Regardless of his personal beliefs (and “leftists” perpetuating and worshipping traditional thinking is an old and serious problem in most countries), the society any kind of Islamists want is totally unacceptable, even if only considered from the point of view of what it means for women, half of the world’s population, not to mention other aspects of the emancipation of humanity from ignorance and superstition, and all forms of oppressive social relations. If some political organizations, whether Trotskyist or falsely self-proclaimed Maoists, can use the excuse of opposing imperialism to find anything to support in Islamism, that speaks volumes about what kind of society they are willing to accept or help govern.

Not unexpectedly, the Front’s response to the Sousse massacre was capitulation of another sort. In the face of imminent danger, they demand the beefing up of the army – whose job is to defend the status quo for imperialism. It is all too typical to see “leftists” who never considered how to make a real revolution scuttle back and forth from tailing Islamism to throwing themselves into the arms of the imperialists.

The architectonic forces that began to break through the surface in  December 2010 are still at work. That revolt involved a broad section of the people, spurred by youth in the interior and relayed by students in coastal cities and finally the capital. People from all social classes took part, including elements of the bourgeoisie excluded from Ben Ali’s favoured inner circle or those who felt that dumping him was the best available alternative to a prolonged and cascading upheaval. That unity of “the people” quickly hit the limits of the fundamentally antagonistic class interests at work. Islamists as such played very little role in the revolt. But those domestic and foreign observers who congratulated the Tunisian people for the “moderation” of the outcome, which they attributed to a supposed Tunisian character, misjudged the depth of the crisis and what it would take to resolve it.

What has come even more clearly to light after the Sousse attack is not the importation of exterior conflicts into Tunisian society but a particular, localized and explosive expression of contradictions at work on a world scale. There would be no modern-day Islamism without the economic and social changes in the predominantly Islamic countries brought about by imperialist development. Further, the criminal actions of the U.S. and its allies in recent years (in Palestine, Iraq, etc.) have been inseparable from this development. Without all that, Islamism would still be a minor trend with little future.

Instead it has become a “perverse expression”, as Bob Avakian has put it, of the fundamental contradiction at work in today’s world: between the socialization of production that is drawing the whole globe into productive processes and transforming economic relations, and the private – and therefore exploitative and competition-driven – appropriation of the surplus value thus produced. This is what has led to the accumulation of capital in the hands of the monopoly capitalist rulers of the imperialist countries and the horrendous and unbearable intensification of the world’s inequalities and lopsided development.

It is a “perverse expression” because instead of a solution, it is an obstacle to resolving this contradiction by moving toward a world where the abolition of the private ownership of the necessary means to live, and all the social relations and ideas based on that, enables everyone to work for the common good while fully blossoming as individuals. Imperialism and Islamism can be called “the two outmodeds” because neither represents what the world could be if the enormous productive forces developed by humanity, and most basically the people, could be liberated and enabled to transform the world and themselves.

Tunisia cannot be a haven from the world’s storms. It remains a country whose contradictions cannot be solved by anything other than a full revolution – the emergence of a flag, programme, party and broad revolutionary movement whose goal is to defeat the forces of the old state and establish a new kind of political power that can free the people at the bottom, along with the middle strata and intellectuals and others, to begin transforming society in a far more radical and liberating fashion that Islamism or imperialism could even pretend to offer.

Otherwise, the conflict between the “two outmodeds” will continue to rage and wreak death and destruction, with the masses of people deluded victims instead of conscious protagonists.

Posted in TunisiaComments Off on Tunisia year five: Caught in a tightening vice

Talking to terrorists

NOVANEWS
By Amelia Smith

One week ago, Tunisian student Seifeddine Rezgai opened fire on tourists near Sousse, Tunisia, killing 38 people. On the same day, a man was beheaded in France and a bomb detonated in a Shia mosque in Kuwait killing 27. ISIS claimed responsibility for all three.

Amidst the media coverage that follows terrorist attacks such as these, two schools of thought generally emerge: one asserts that terrorists are driven by religious ideology and the other that they are driven by political motives, principally western foreign policy. “All the evidence suggests that this is deeply political,” says Richard Jackson, Deputy Director of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “It’s the conclusion of all the serious scholars I’m aware of that, in particular, the invasion of Iraq was the single most radicalising event for militants across the Middle East and in European and Western countries.”

“That makes complete sense,” he continues. “Because if we look at this kind of terrorism it wasn’t around in the same form and the same level or even close to the same extent 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago. Islam’s been around for hundreds of years… but this is a very modern phenomenon and it’s very, very connected to the politics of the Middle East, particularly to the invasions to Guantanamo, to Abu Ghraib torture, to drone strikes and so on.”

“What you’ve got to remember is that the west has killed 1.3 million people in Iraq. That’s likely to drive any reasonable person into a rage and cause immense grievance.”

The Tunisian government responded to last Friday’s attacks by issuing an order to close more than 80 mosques. Jackson, who is also Chief Editor of Critical Studies on Terrorism and runs a blog on the subject, explains that one of the oldest precepts of theories on terrorism states that isolated acts of violence push the state to respond by cracking down, which in turn intensifies grievances against the state and mobilises support.

The theory, he says, “is that you provoke the power to respond in a disproportionate way, which then creates grievance, which then gives terrorists more support and leads eventually to a broader, deeper movement that can perhaps consider moving to the next stage, which would be a kind of a civil war or an insurgency and then eventually overthrowing [the] regime.” […]

Last year, Jackson took a break from writing academic books to pen Confessions of a Terrorist, a fictional account of a dialogue between a wanted terrorist and a British intelligence officer. Jackson says he has always wanted a novel to give to his students but only found literature that painted terrorists out to be Hollywood-style villains.

Confessions of a Terrorist questions the taboo of talking to terrorists and the fear many have that doing so will lead to understanding and sympathising with their behaviour. “I think that it’s really important that we talk to them so we know what we really want and so that we understand what they’re trying to achieve and why they think they have to use violence… and whether if the situation was reversed we would do the same thing… [T]he reality is in many ways we go and commit a lot of violence overseas and then when people react against that and fight back we get all shocked and surprised. So we need to talk to them.”

“If you look at the academic research, you find out that actually most terrorist groups are not defeated through military means, but a much higher proportion of them stop their terrorism through political dialogue,” he continues. “So once you start talking to them and once you bring them into the political process, once you listen to what their grievances are and try and address them terrorism subsides.”

One of the consequences of not talking to terrorists, believes Jackson, is that we have dehumanised them which allows us to take away their human rights and justifies acts such as killing them with drones. “As a consequence countless innocent people have been killed… Countless innocent people have been tortured; have been kidnapped and taken to these horrible, secret prisons around the world. All kinds of human rights abuses have been carried out and as a result we in many ways have betrayed our own values and that’s because we’ve dehumanised the terrorists and that’s why I think it’s really important to re-humanise them.”

The language of terrorism is thus a way of defining the “other” and drawing a distinction between us and them, good versus evil, freedom lovers against freedom haters and soldiers and patriots against terrorists, says Jackson: “You can look through history – recent and long in the past –and realise that actually governments commit exactly the same acts as so-called terrorists. They use violence to try and terrify groups of people and intimidate groups of people. Sometimes, they plant bombs in public places or blow up or hijack planes. There are so many examples.”

A lot of terrorist scholars argue, therefore, that if the definition of terrorism is applied objectively a lot of state violence can be classified as state terrorism. “But again, that’s a very difficult narrative to make and to be accepted in public because we like to have these clear lines between our good legitimate violence which comes out of the authority of the state and illegitimate, illegal violence,” says Jackson.

“The problem is that when those two forms of violence look identical and you can’t tell the difference between them; [then] there comes to be a question over [whether] our violence [is] actually that legitimate.”

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Terror in Tunisia: Another false flag?

NOVANEWS

Posted by Kevin Barrett

Brits killed just in time for the 10th anniversary of 7/7

Bibi knew it was coming…but waited for the Gaza flotilla, with an ex-Tunisian president aboard, before launching the attackIn addition to the embedded Richie Allen interview, I also interviewed Nick Kollerstrom about the recent rash of dubious terror events – listen to that interview here.   -KB

Terror hits Tunisia

Bibi knew it was coming…but waited for the Gaza flotilla, with an ex-Tunisian president was aboard, before launching the attack

By Nick Kollerstrom, TerrorOnTheTube.co.uk

Terror events in three countries left 63 people dead on Friday 26th June: in Tunisia, Kuwait and France. This is in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan. Friday, 26th June Beach and hotel at Sousse A Wiki site went up quickly, saysing “39 people, mostly British tourists, were killed when armed gunmen attacked two hotels.” – soon this was altered to ‘an armed gunman.’ ”

The Brits were staying in the  Imperial Marhaba Hotel.

Cameron tells us who did it

The day after (27th) Cameron explained that the terror event had been perpetrated by Islamic State Terrorists.  How did he know that? We are reminded of Tony Blair telling the British people that Muslims had perpetrated the 7/7 event, on the very day that it had happened. (NB Isis appears to be run by Simon Elliot, a Mossad agent.)

Comparison with 7/7, near to 10th anniversary – 27 June: Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood said it was “the most significant terrorist attack on the British people” since the London 7/7 bombings in 2005. [Note: The British government is now running a massive terror drill mimicking the Tunisia shooting – which they claim was planned months ago!]

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack at the Imperial Marhaba hotel, according to SITE Intelligence GroupThere is always something very fishy when Rita Katzs’ SITE Intelligence Group is involved. SITE are the group that discovered all the Al-Qaeda/Bin Laden videos, the Foley be-heading video & all things ‘TERROR’ related, that play into the ‘official narratives’.

The Several Perpetators

According to Tunisian news agency, three persons, one in police uniform, came by a boat, and carried out the shooting. One was killed, another arrested and the third escaped. RT 27th: 01:36 GMT: There were three attackers in the Tunisian massacre, Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui told reporters. One of the men was was killed, one was arrested and another escaped./  He said authorities were “sure” that Seifeddine Rezgui had had accomplices.And Reuters now say ‘at least one gunman.’

An injured tourist has been interviewed who backs up the ‘second gunman’ scenario.

Craig Murray: The event “was highly organised, including some gunmen who arrived by jet-ski. There were many grenades thrown, which is also missing from the BBC account….  One BBC correspondent said that he was tipped off that something was going to happen so stayed away from the beach.

Daily Mail :two British witnesses saw a 2nd gunman: l Mr Johnson, a retired police officer, says he saw a second man standing with Rezgui on the beach. He claims this man, dressed in red shorts, was holding an automatic rifle and shooting the tourists along with the gunman in dark clothing.

Kirsty Murray, who was shot in both legs by a man she says was not Rezgui in a hotel corridor. But she says it was not an automatic rifle, like Rezgui was using, but a smaller weapon.  Her father Neil said: ‘She believes there were at least two gunmen because she was shot at close range with a handgun. ’Both her and her fiancé have said there was more than one gunman. One person is not capable of doing that much damage anyhow.’

In the video clip of the Gunman running along the beach ‘we see another man running a few metres behind him, that can only be another gunman as nobody else would risk being shot by running behind him like that…’

A woman interviewee on ITN (female, age over 65)referred to 2 gunmen- she also made supporting hand gestures, indicating the 2 locations from which she saw or heard gunfire. Several other witnesses also refer to explosions, presumed by stun grenades.

BBC: Tunisia gunman Seifeddine Rezgui ‘did not act alone’ The gunman who killed 38 at a beach near the Tunisian city of Sousse had help in carrying out the attack, officials have said.

Killer ‘unknown to police‘ [Mary] : One of Tunisia’s top security officials has said the gunman shot dead by security forces after killing at least 27 at a beach resort was not known to authorities. Rafik Chelli told Mosaique FM the man, believed to be a student, came from the beach hiding his Kalashnikov under an umbrella before opening fire on the tourists. From there he entered the Hotel Imperial through the pool, shooting people as he went. Chelli said there were many foreigners among the victims but he did not have an exact count of the nationalities. He said authorities had a plan to protect the hotels during the month of Ramadan but this was an isolated operation that is difficult to counter against and there is never zero risk.

Fabricated Photos

“The gunman strolling along the beach is of no interest to most of the group behind him. People are not running for their lives and many are not looking at him at all. He is not casting a shadow and the day looks pretty dull. In other pictures, the sunlight is intense and the shadows dense and sharp. That means that the stroll-along-the-beach photo could not have been taken on the same day. Curious.

“The ‘Horrifying amateur footage of Tunisia attacks unfolding’ looks to be pure CGI from beginning to end. The bland colouring and lack of detail is the giveaway. The same is true of the gunman-running-along-the-beach video.

“In another picture, the gunman aimlessly wanders the brilliantly lit street, looking for somewhere to pray and get shot; his shadow is intense and there is a lot of ‘ghosting around him that you do not seen in other pictures. The shadows cast by the gunman and the wall are inconsistent with the same sun angle. That has to be fake as well. There is a claim from a poster on the Chris Spivey site that he took a screenshot of that photo three days before the Tunisian incident occurred.” (‘Nick Turner’)

Thisw reminds us of the UK Drummer Lee Rigby event, with faked photos.

A Dead Man Takes the Blame

“Friends told Sky News that even two days before the attack, Yacoubi showed no signs of radicalisation, visiting a cafe and going for a walk.” The ‘gunman’ has been named as Seifeddine Yacoubi and as Seifeddine Rezgui. There are pictures of this Tunisan student breakdancing.(‘Islamic State’ has in Twitter messages, referred to Rezgui using the jihadist pseudonym Abu Yahya al Qayruhni). Thisd video shows a dilapidated home, an empty fridge, of an impoverished student – so how come he arrived by Ski-Jet onto the beach?
Friends told Sky News that even two days before the attack, Rezgui showed no signs of radicalisation, visiting a cafe and going for a walk. Those accounts were backed up by his uncle Ali al Rezgui, who told theTelegraph the family had seen nothing to worry them. Mr Rezgui told the paper:

He used to use hair gel and wear the nicest of clothes, and he used to do break dancing. He even used to go to competitions and things like that in Tunis, he was well known for that here. He didn’t even have a beard, and I’ve never seen him with anyone with a beard. We have extremists like that in Gaafour, but never have I seen him with them.

So how did the ‘official’ picture of him come to have guns on either side? And what has hapeend to his nose, and how did he get those Dracula teeth? A real picture of him is shown for comparison.

gunman_3357382bSeifeddine-Rezgui

Thirty British Deaths?

If 30 out of the 39 dead in Tunisia are British, that shows either (a) a remarkable ability to focus upon holiday Brits by ‘crazed killers’ or else (b) crisis actors involved (Chris Spivey has suggested this).

Theresa May has urged parents to report any signs of ‘radicalisation’ amongst children or friends to the police. This can include ‘bedrom radicalisation.’

US Base coming?   “Tunisia [in 2013] reportedly rejected the U.S.’s request to host AFRICOM for several reasons. On a local level, Tunisia feared that fundamentalist militias would take such an agreement to be a a declaration of war by the Tunisian government. This would certainly attract retaliative attacks compromising both national security and Tunisia’s main source of income, tourism.” We may expect the US to get itss desired base!

29th June: These events divert attention from the arrest of the boats presently approaching Gaza in an attempt to break the siege, (one of the occupants on one of the boats is Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, the first president after the 2011 popular uprising). These three boats set off on Saturday 27th. There has been no mention in the MSM as yet of this attempt to break the siege of Gaza.

 

 

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