The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

TRANSLATED: “Emirati document: Qatar is in Tunisia and we are chasing it”

An important piece, translated today by our, by what one could call the anti-UAE daily Al-Akhbar (it is fair to say the paper is overwhelmingly critical of the UAE and KSA…).

Lots of important nuggets here on Tunisia and the GCC split. And a key issue: how does the far way, tiny UAE expect to fight off Algerian policy in Tunisia which is characterized here as supporting partnership between Nahdha and Nidaa?

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On June 9, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “The position of the UAE vis-à-vis the Tunisian revolution was not a positive one. Not only did the UAE host a number of individuals close to the Bin Ali regime, it also worked on freezing a number of its economic programs in Tunisia in addition to placing obstacles on the road of Tunisian workers and intervening at the level of the local political life. The only reason for the anger of the Bin Zayed sons consists of the En-Nahda movement as it is the Tunisian target of the politics of “chasing the MBs everywhere.” This is confirmed by a leaked document from a research center close to the Abu Dhabi Authority.

“The Tunisian Es-Sada website, which is close to En-Nahda, leaked a document two days ago titled, “The suggested UAE strategy vis-à-vis Tunisia.” The document, which is not available for the public, was issued by the Maghreb studies’ unit at the Emirates Policy Center, which is headed by Ebtissam al-Kotobi, and which is close to the Abu Dhabi authorities. Although it is difficult to tell if the document is authentic, the document does reflect the same style used by the center’s other papers…

“The policy brief document (six pages) included a first, descriptive section that discussed the continued economic and social crisis, the weakness of the coalition cabinet (the cabinet of Youssef Chahed) and the absence of a charismatic leadership capable of rescuing the situation in addition to the dismantlement and divisions at the level of the front that opposes En-Nahda, and the movement’s strategy to control the political scene.

“The second, and most important section, the document suggests that the strategic Emirati leadership should benefit from the present situation to achieve its desires on the Tunisian arena. The document spoke of breaking the Algerian and Qatari authority and the tools to achieve that. It indicated that Algeria, and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika specifically as well as the powerful military leaders, constitute allies to the head of the movement, Rached Ghannouchi, which served to enhance his relationship with the Algeria and Libyan Islamists. The same goes for Qatar, which enjoys a strong media and cultural presence there.

“The suggested strategy relies on three bases: first, confronting radicalism…; second, working on building a political bloc that supports the UAE by supporting Mohsen Marzouq (the secretary general of the Mashrou’ Tounes party, which broke away from the Nidaa Tounes movement), and opening up to the “constitutional” figures and parties that are not part of the ruling system… Third, restricting the Qatari authority by adopting practical steps such as constructing economic and financial partnerships with prominent businessmen, which will reflect in the future in the form of political power, supporting a media pole that opposes the Qatari pole, and supporting cultural institutions and forums that compete with other Qatari ones.

“The new leaks come at the pinnacle of the Gulf conflict. Tunisia is the only Arab country where the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the rest of their axis, failed to obtain a foothold at the expense of Qatar and its axis despite all the efforts they made over the past years… The most serious pieces of news on the UAE’s intentions are those that were leaked by the Middle East Eye, an English language website funded by Qatar. A prominent Tunisian source that refused to mention his name said that Algerian officials warned their Tunisian counterparts in November 2015 against an Emirati plan to intervene in Tunisia. The source said that an Algerian official informed him that Abu Dhabi was approaching his country under the impression that Algeria shared its vision regarding the developments. However, with the modification of the head of the Algerian intelligence services, Gen. Toufik (in September 2015), Algeria’s priorities shifted towards shielding its borders with Libya, which called for an advanced coordination and cooperation with Tunisia. This implicitly means that its stability is linked to the stability of its neighbor and vice versa.

“In order to further increase the level of the pressure, the UAE decided in 2015 to halt the granting or renewal of visas for the majority of Tunisian nationals working on its lands without providing any clear explanation. Despite the efforts of the Tunisian diplomats to solve this matter knowing that a bilateral meeting was held on February 11, 2017 to discuss lifting the ban and exchanging visits, the file witnessed no important progress prior to the launching of the “Gulf crisis,” in what seems to be another round of the “UAE stick and carrot policy” as per some sides.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 9, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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