Sizzling take: Missed warning indicators in Tunisia?
The regional dimension. A keystone of North Africa is once more in disaster. On July 25, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended the parliament and ended immunity or parliamentarians and officers, whom he threatened to placed on trial for corruption. He additionally deployed troops within the capital. On one degree, the transfer by Saied is a transfer towards the Islamist Ennahda social gathering, which holds probably the most seats within the parliament and is related to the Muslim Brotherhood. The motion by Saied and the navy is due to this fact perceived, at a regional degree, as a blow towards Turkey, Qatar and Libya, whose governments are thought of near the Brotherhood. The excitement is that Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are all in behind Saied’s actions towards Ennahda.
“Draw back dangers dominate.” However Saied’s actions, which opponents are describing as a coup, come within the context of in style demonstrations and total frustration with a collapsing economic system.
In February, an Worldwide Financial Fund report on Tunisia warned that the COVID-19 pandemic was “exacerbating Tunisia’s socio-economic fragilities.” Tunisia’s vaccination fee has been unusually low, even by regional requirements, at about 7%. The nation has had over 575,000 instances of COVID-19 and almost 19,000 deaths — with a inhabitants just below 12 million folks. Whereas the IMF anticipated “modest” financial enchancment this 12 months, it additionally has warned that “draw back dangers dominate” and that public debt might change into “unsustainable.” Gross home product final 12 months contracted by 8.2% with official unemployment leaping to six.2%, accompanied by a pointy improve within the fiscal deficit and public debt.
On the streets, it’s all in regards to the economic system. “For the previous six months, Tunisia has been struggling underneath the load of political insecurity, and a political class who’ve cared extra for private politicking than for locating the much-needed actual options to Tunisia’s collapsing economic system, the weakening dinar and the rising disparity between wealthy and poor,” Elizia Volkmann stories this week from Tunis.
Whither Tunisian democracy? The State Division stated this week it’s “intently monitoring developments in Tunisia” and that the USA stands on the facet of “Tunisia’s democracy.” Tunisia is the place the Arab Spring started in 2010. Jeffrey Martini, senior Center East researcher at RAND, cites polling information that Tunisians have had their very own doubts about “the efficacy of democratic governance. They noticed unfavorable results of democracy on financial efficiency and sustaining stability,” Martini famous in an e-mail to Al-Monitor. “These are indicators that a chance existed for political leaders seeking to consolidate energy.”
Learn extra: Amberin Zaman explains right here why Turkey’s response to Saied’s strikes towards Ennahda, whereas crucial, had been much less incendiary than might need been anticipated.
1. Biden, Kadhimi: Islamic State ‘can by no means resurge’
President Joe Biden met Monday on the White Home with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and declared afterward that the US navy’s function in Iraq will not embody fight troops by the tip the 12 months. As Jared Szuba factors out, the US-led coalition had already wrapped up fight operations in Iraq final 12 months as troops transitioned to a Baghdad-based advisory function.
However Biden and Kadhimi additionally made clear that the US-Iraq safety partnership will proceed to make sure that the Islamic State “can by no means resurge and to permit communities recovering from terror to rebuild with dignity.” That may require collaboration as a result of, as Shelly Kittleson stories, the Islamic State remains to be committing acts of terror such because the latest bombing within the predominantly Shiite Sadr Metropolis district of Baghdad and is stoking sectarian tensions in Iraq’s communities.
2. Sunshine-rich Gulf eyes photo voltaic vitality
As scorching summer season temperatures drive up the demand for air con throughout the Center East, Sebastian Castelier examines the numerous pledges made by rich Gulf nations to scrub up their fossil fuel-driven energy grids. Saudi Arabia, for instance, plans to generate 50% of its electrical energy from renewables by 2030. Qatar’s first-ever photo voltaic plant will begin operations forward of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“A latest push to decarbonize the worldwide economic system, and particularly the transportation and energy era sectors, is engaging oil-rich Gulf states,” Castelier writes. There’s room for regional cooperation on renewable vitality, if regional rivalries will be held in examine. It’s not as if there isn’t lengthy precedent for the area collaborating — and typically feuding — over vitality. The final time it was over oil, this time it will likely be over the era, storage and transmission of solar-produced vitality.
3. Russia’s Syria coverage puzzles Israel
A Russian navy official final week boasted that Russian-made air protection techniques intercepted missiles fired by Israeli F-16s close to the Syrian city of Homs.
It’s not completely clear to Israeli protection officers why Moscow made the announcement, Ben Caspit stories. Had been Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit’s feedback a slip of the tongue? Was it a trial balloon, signaling Israel to drag again its air marketing campaign in Syria. “Some recommend Russia can also be jockeying to enhance its place within the area following the change of administrations in Washington and Jerusalem,” Caspit writes.
4. Afghans in Turkey gasoline refugee backlash
The withdrawal of NATO and US forces from Afghanistan has triggered a brand new wave of refugees sure for Turkey, fueling anti-immigrant sentiment amongst Turks who already resented enjoying host to the world’s largest refugee inhabitants, principally from neighboring Syria. Metin Gurcan writes in regards to the inflow of Afghans fleeing their nation in hopes of discovering a greater life in Europe. However the backlash towards the newcomers is rising, with anti-refugee hashtags trending on Turkish Twitter. In the meantime, border police are stepping up surveillance and deportations to stem the move of Afghan refugees arriving at Turkey’s southern border.
5. Turkey thrusts Cyprus ghost city into highlight
After Turkey drew worldwide scorn for the deliberate partial reopening of an deserted settlement referred to as Varosha, Fehim Tastekin explains how long-divided Cyprus is serving as nationalist gasoline for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose latest actions elevate the specter of Turkey’s eventual annexation of Northern Cyprus. Earlier this month, Erdogan introduced Turkey would assist construct a presidential palace and new parliament constructing within the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. “Turkey has all the time had a decisive say in Turkish Cypriot affairs,” writes Tastekin. “However Erdogan feels entitled to dictate, consuming into the autonomous house that Ankara has historically left to the Turkish Cypriot management.”
Plus, Rina Bassist has the backstory on why the Israeli authorities is expressing concern over Turkish provocations in Northern Cyprus. Israel has historically stayed comparatively mum on the dispute, partially as a result of it feared the worldwide neighborhood would draw parallels between Turkey’s actions and Israel’s personal occupation of the West Financial institution. However a latest head-of-state reception provided by Jerusalem to the Cypriot overseas minister, mixed with latest statements, suggests Israel is firmly siding with Greece and Cyprus over Turkey.
ICYMI: Israeli adware maker reacts to Pegasus affair
On this week’s “On Israel” podcast, Ben Caspit will get NSO Group’s facet of the story after a sweeping investigation linked the Israel-based firm’s malware to doable hacks of journalists, activists, enterprise leaders and even heads of state.
The latest headlines are “truly fairly humorous,” NSO’s International Communication Govt Ariella Ben Avraham stated. The cyberintelligence agency’s representatives argue that its laws guarantee NSO’s surveillance instruments are used correctly. “We have now zero tolerance for misuse,” NSO authorized adviser Shmuel Sunray stated. “We name it the Peter Parker rule. With nice energy comes nice duty.” Hearken to the complete podcast right here.
One Cool Factor: Marvel film scores Egyptian track
For the primary time, an Egyptian track is getting the Marvel Studios remedy. The soundtrack for the newly launched “Black Widow” film options the track “Atshan Ya Zeina” (“I’m Craving, Zeina”) by the Egyptian various band Gawy. “It’s an enormous success for any band to participate in a Marvel manufacturing, a step towards having a world presence,” one of many band members informed our correspondent in Egypt. Study extra right here about Gawy’s musical type, which mixes poetry with a mix of Japanese and Western influences.
What we’re studying: IMF forecasts 4% Center East development
The IMF tasks the worldwide economic system will develop by 6% in 2021, however the restoration in rising and growing economies hinges on vaccine entry. Within the Center East, regional GDP development is forecast at 4% following’s final 12 months’s 2.6% dip. Non-oil development projection in Saudi Arabia has been revised up, however the Washington-based fund has downgraded the dominion’s total GDP forecast. Learn the IMF’s newest World Financial Outlook report right here.