Security Infiltration… Ennahda’s New Plan to Return to Power in Tunisia

As exceptional measures continue to take effect in Tunisia, where Ennahda has lost power by freezing parliament and transferring the executive authority from the head of government to the President of the Republic, informed Tunisian sources warn of a new plan by Ennahda to regain its influence in the Tunisian state by infiltrating the security services.

 “The Tunisian president spoke frankly and directly about the existence of attempts to infiltrate the Tunisian security institutions, and that he pledged to the political and union circles to confront these attempts, which are pursued by the Islamic Ennahda Movement,” the sources say.

The sources point out that the Tunisian president is currently seeking to surround the movement’s presence in these institutions, especially in the ministries of interior and justice.

The sources stress that the prevailing belief in the Carthage Palace is that limiting the Ennahda’s role in Parliament and the government is not enough, and that work must be done to stop the penetration of Ennahda and its elements into the sovereign and security institutions and bodies. They also asserts that restricting the procedures to Parliament and the government empties those procedures of their content.

Old scheme repeating

Commenting on the sources’ talk, Tayeb Bou Bakr, a researcher in Islamic movements, points out that working undercover inside security facilities and covert incursions is not a new scheme for the Ennahda, but rather an old scheme that it resorted to during the decades that preceded the Tunisian revolution and its arrival to power. Especially during the rule of Lhabib Bourguiba, the former president and his successor, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Bou Bakr considers that Ennahda continued to work in this manner even after she came to power after the Tunisian revolution.

Bou Bakr also explains that the Ennahda movement has been seeking to establish a police state during the past ten years, which was evident in the cases of opponents’ assassination and the secret service and attempts to control the ministries of interior and justice. He notes that the instability in the relationship between the movement and the presidents of the republic especially Beji Caid Essebsi, the late president, and Kais Saied, the current president, limited the movement’s ability to act in the security services.

Bou Bakr considers that the first mistake committed by the Ennahda after taking power was dominating the security system and trying to consolidate its influence there instead of working on its independence and its separation from the political system, while the movement had to realize that conditions in Tunisia after the revolution had changed and a theory of the police state is over.

“The movement currently sees that it has completely lost its political and executive authority after freezing the work of Parliament and dismissing the prime minister supported by it, therefore it may return to its old bet by incurring into the security establishment,” Bou Bakr says.

Strategy, dismantling and a road is being paved

Excluding the Ennahda movement from power and all its political, security and economic diplomacy aspects was not just a scheme to exclude a political force that has controlled Tunisia for 10 years, according to Ramzi Al-Tamrani, a political analyst.

 “Saied sees in the decisions he took on July 25, that they are tantamount to excluding an entire political project adopted by Ennahda, which is striking its bases in all the joints of the state and forming a parallel system, similar to what Turkey is witnessing, which shares with Ennahda an alliance  to the MB,” he clarifies.

Al-Tamrani notes that Saied believes that the Ennahda project was to transform Tunisia into a copy of the experience of AKP in Turkey, a party that has become in control of the entire Turkish state apparatus. He considers that this view causes the president’s surroundings to worry about what can be called the hidden groups that Ennahda may have planted in the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Security Institutions, and it could also be within the military institution.

Al-Tamrani also sees that the president and his team are working to dismantle the system built by the Ennahda in state institutions as a whole, not only in Parliament, and dismiss a prime minister loyal to it, as the political movement against the Ennahda and its project accuses it of working to adopt a project within the Tunisian state and linking it to external alliances.

In the same context, Al-Tamrani explains that Saied is afraid of links between the movement and some security agencies in Tunisia, which may confuse his plans and change the situation. In addition, Saied’s actions will not stop at the point of withdrawing the political, governmental and parliamentary cover for Ennahda.

It is noteworthy that President Saied had confirmed earlier that the Tunisian state would confront by law all attempts to infiltrate the security services in the state and use them to serve the interests of certain parties, without naming them.

In addition, Mohamed Al-Azizi, an expert in North African affairs, reveals that the situation in Tunisia for more than a month, and the president’s support from the country’s security and military leaders, enabled Saied to learn more about Ennahda files inside the security establishment, including the assassination of a number of Tunisian opponents, which Ennahda accuses of being behind. He also stresses that this issue has strengthened the Tunisian president’s position against Ennahda.

In his view, Al-Azizi cites the retreat of the Ennahda movement and its attempt to calm down with the president and modify its position, considering that the movement, through its recent positions, tried to favor Saied and show that it stands on the same side with him.

It is noteworthy that the Ennahda announced, in a previous statement, its support for Kais Saied, the Tunisian President, in the face of attempts to defame him and his family, describing them as disgraceful behavior and a violation of moral charters, laws and values on which Tunisian society is built, as described in the statement.

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