Sunday, January 23, 2011

About Tunisia

I have remained silent on Tunisia for a reason.
Many Conservatives and Liberals (and Americans in general) are pleased as punch that Tunisia has overthrown their "president" of over two decades: Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. However, there is nothing to really be pleased about from a realistic foreign policy point of view and everything to be concerned about; we must not jump the gun on this "revolution."

Tunisia has long been a ally of the United States in the ongoing War on Terror and the Jihadists. Ben Ali didn't share the Islamist worldview of our enemies in either the religious, or the political sense. Women are unchained and Islamists are punished in the Tunisia that Ben Ali ruled over - a country more in line with American values and opinions than most of our Arab allies!

The chief (and organized) opposition of Ben Ali's power has been the Islamists, who are in a much better position to gain control of the country in the upcoming national elections than anyone else. Secular Tunisia* could be a thing of the past if our enemies take control of this important Arab land. A troubling thought that is not limited to me.

I worry that Tunisia will turn into another Islamic Republic, such as Iran, and that the abuses we saw under Ben Ali will pale in comparison to what's coming. Imagine what the reaction would be to the "Jasmine Revolution" if Osama bin Laden can take it over via political allies in the first free election in decades? I shudder at the thought.

This is not the time to celebrate the departure of another Dictator in the Arab world, especially when the cure could be worse than the disease, which in this case is the Islamist takeover of a once reliable Secular friend, and turning her into a determinedly steadfast foe. Something the western world cannot afford right now with the War in Afghanistan on the brink of victory.

We must watch this volatile nation very closely, and very suspiciously.

What say you?

* The CIA - "rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation".

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