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Tunisia: Former President Criticises Diplomatic Relations With Assad Regime

Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has criticized his country’s restoration of diplomatic relations with the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria and its return to the Arab League, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported. Marzouki described the latter as a “club for dictatorships”, and made his comment after President Kais Saied announced the restoration of relations with Damascus and held talks with Assad on the side-lines of the recent Arab League summit.

“Birds of a feather flock together,” Marzouki told Al-Quds Al-Arabi in a wide-ranging exclusive interview addressing the issues facing Tunisia today. “The Arab League is a club for dictatorships, where survivors celebrate one of their own kind. However, when you look at the true situation and the end results of tyrants, it does not seem to bode well for them, of course.”

The former president provided an assessment of events in Tunisia given that opposition figures are imprisoned and Saied has taken all power to himself. “The most significant development was the annulment of the Constitution of the Revolution and all modern state institutions, and returning to the 1950s and individual rule,” he explained. “There is a stark difference between [President Habib] Bourguiba, who paid a high price personally for Tunisia’s independence, and this coup leader [referring to Saied] who seeks to return to power and his governance project, which is a disgrace.”

Saied’s “coup”, added Marzouki, has nothing to sell except the head of [Rached] Ghannouchi and Islamists in general. “In the face of Tunisia’s comprehensive economic, political, and psychological collapse, it is ironic that the bourgeois eliminationist class, which rejoices at Ghannouchi’s imprisonment, has yet to understand that he protected them from the retributive justice that they should have faced.”

He called the imprisonment of the leader of Ennahda Movement a “stain of shame” on those who imprisoned them and those who take pleasure in their detention. “Of course, he and all political prisoners must be released immediately. This request is not directed towards the coup leader but the military and security forces, who should understand the danger of continuing to follow a man unfit and illegitimate to lead the country. The primary role of the presidency is to enhance national unity, not to play on discord and division, and to gain petty popularity from populist politics with no future.”

What should be done? “Military support should be withdrawn from an unbalanced, incompetent and illegitimate individual before he drowns Tunisia in endless crises. The people and the political class would be indebted to the military because it will have spared the country from these crises.”

He is not calling for a military regime in Tunisia, though. “We need a transitional government to rescue the economy, followed by presidential and legislative elections as soon as possible to return Tunisia to the path it embarked on in 2014. If not, there is no choice but peaceful civil resistance and the re-adoption of the revolutionary goals.”

Rather than sending messages to Saied — “I do not waste my time addressing those with a determined heart” — Marzouki preferred to address the “few hundred thousand capable individuals who, when they act simultaneously, can shake any corrupt system.” To these individuals he counselled: “Harness your anger. Wait for the moment and emerge as you did in 2011 to avenge our martyrs and reclaim our dignity, freedoms, independence and especially our wealth, and to regain our status. We are driven by one aspiration: we will not remain forever as victims of history, and we will return as its makers.”

Source : MiddleEastMonitor