Following the second murder of an Tunisian opposition figure in six months, Fadil Aliriza spotlights mounting tension in the original “Arab Spring” nation:
In the background of Tunisia’s political scene, there is a steady hum of anger and frustration. Any big event risks tapping into that well of anger. Tunisians are angry that there has been little progress since the revolution. The economy has not improved and has, in some sectors, weakened. Unemployment refuses to decrease. Corruption is still integral to every facet of Tunisian life. Government and municipal services remain inaccessible and unresponsive to most of the population. Police brutality continues. Stark economic inequalities between people of different economic classes, and between developed coastal regions and underdeveloped interior regions, persist. Political divisions tend to fall along sharp ideological lines, and, despite Tunisia’s woes, assembly members take regular breaks from their task of drafting the constitution.
In this tinderbox, the second political assassination in six months has acted like a spark, and people are looking for someone to blame.
Meanwhile, Juan Cole surveys the chaos in Libya, where “over the weekend, all hell broke loose”:
The assassination of a militant secularist nationalist in Benghazi just after the assassination of of a militant leftist secularist in Tunis raised the question of whether the extremist Libyan and Tunisian devotees of political Islam coorinated the attacks so as to foment turmoil that might form a path whereby they could take over the country.
It seems obvious that the Libyan government needs to swallow its pride and get outside help in accelerating the training of new security forces. What were probably extremist fundamentalist terror cells bombed the courthouse in Benghazi, in front of which crowds gathered on Feb. 17, 2011, to kick off the revolution, was bombed and partially destroyed. Another bomb was set off Sunday evening in Benghazi, as well. …
And no, these problems of transition would not justify having kept the totalitarian and murderous dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi in place. In fact, many of the extremist fundamentalists were provoked to a life of violence by his oppression. I have a bad feeling about this.
Previous Dish on the recent upheavals in the Arab world here.