Libmonster ID: TJ-514
Author(s) of the publication: B. V. DOLGOV

The work of a prominent Russian scientist, specialist in the Arab Maghreb, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor M. F. Vidyasova - " The Two-faced Janus of moderate Islamism. The post-revolutionary political struggle in Tunisia and Egypt "(Moscow, ISAA MSU, IAfr RAS, 2013, 140 p.) was written in collaboration with Doctor of Historical Sciences T. I. Hasanbekova, who translated constitutional acts from Arabic into Russian, and is devoted to the current topic-the development of the political situation after the 2011 revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and the role of the state of affairs of the country. there are Islamist movements in it.

M. F. Vidyasova is the author of a number of works on the Maghreb and, in particular, on Tunisia. Among them are such fundamental works as "Jihad without War" (2005), covering the era of President Habib Bourguiba, and " Political Islam in the countries of North Africa "(2008), written jointly with Doctor of Historical Sciences V. V. Orlov. M. F. Vidyasova has repeatedly visited Tunis and personally knows Tunisian scientists political scientists and representatives of the political establishment.

The first results of the social protest movements dubbed the "Arab Spring" were the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia and the Mubarak regime in Egypt in 2011. Their main causes are the socio-economic crisis, corruption and nepotism of the regimes that ruled for decades, and the lack of genuine democratic freedoms.

The processes caused by the "Arab Spring" are constantly developing. The army's removal of President Morsi, a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, from power in Egypt in July 2013 was the first defeat of political Islam since the beginning of the Arab Spring. This event, which affected all countries affected by the Arab Spring, contributed, in particular, to the resignation of the Islamist government in Tunisia.

M. F. Vidyasova in a concise form was able to retrospectively show the history of the development of the Islamist movement in Tunisia from the 1970s to the creation of the Movement of Islamic Orientation (DIN), then renamed "Nahda" (Revival). The book shows the activities of the leaders of Nahda and, above all, its founder and ideologue Rashid Ghannouchi. Moreover, unlike many domestic and foreign experts who represent R. Ghannouchi and the Nahda movement, which was legalized after the overthrow of Ben Ali, as moderate Islamists, the author recalls that R. Ghannouchi called for the creation of an Islamic republic in Tunisia "by way of insurrection" in the 1990s and actively collaborated with the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (IFS), which unleashed a long-term armed confrontation with the authorities in Algeria.

In October 2011, Nahda headed the leading parliamentary coalition and effectively became the ruling party in Tunisia. M. F. Vidyasova shows the process of Islamization of socio-political life, which the Nahda leaders tried to implement. So, the Tunisian Association for the Promotion of Secular Culture was forced to freeze its activities, and the Salafi movement began to rise, whose supporters staged demonstrations for the immediate introduction of Sharia law. The situation in Tunisia was seriously destabilized by the murder in 2013 of two leaders of the left-wing democratic movement who strongly opposed Islamists. Many Tunisians, as the author rightly notes, blamed the organization of the murder on Nahda, as well as the Islamist National Leagues for the Defense of the Revolution and the Salafi illegal group Ansar al-Sharia (Sharia Warriors).

M. F. Vidyasova describes in detail the formation of secular left-democratic forces, in particular the party "Call", which included many well-known figures of the left. At the beginning of 2013, the political alliance "Union for Tunisia" was created, which united the Republican Party and the "Democratic and Social Path" along with the "Appeal". The author describes and analyzes in detail the draft of the new Tunisian Constitution, which clearly specified the norms of the democratic state structure.

The political crisis in Tunisia that erupted at the end of 2013, after the publication of this book, led to the resignation of the government headed by a representative of Nahda and the appointment of a new non-partisan Prime Minister, who formed a government consisting of expert technocrats. The new Constitution, described as the most democratic in the Arab world, was approved in January 2014 by the National Constituent Assembly, which created a certain consensus in society. Nevertheless, social and economic problems, as M. F. Vidyasova points out, remain unresolved, and this carries the danger of a new aggravation of the situation.

page 73

Analyzing the political dynamics in Egypt, the author emphasizes that an important role in it was played by the army, which was "the backbone of all former Egyptian regimes", starting with the anti-monarchical revolution of 1952. After the forced resignation of Mubarak from the post of president as a result of mass protests in January 2011, power in the country passed to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). However, in the first presidential election since the anti-Mubarak revolution in 2012, a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi, was elected president. The Islamist leadership in Egypt, like their counterparts in Tunisia, has begun to monopolize power and Islamize the country. President Morsi, until the drafting of a new constitution and new elections, effectively assumed the functions of the executive and legislative branches. The author shows how, according to the Constitutional Declaration published by Morsi, he freed himself from the control of the judiciary. Morsi's power has expanded beyond that of ousted Mubarak, prompting many opposition-minded Egyptians to call Morsi the " new pharaoh."

An important contribution of the author is a detailed description of the strengthening of radical Islamist movements after the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Among these, the author mentions the Salafist Nur (Light) party and the Construction and Development Party (AKP), with which the Freedom and Justice Party (PSU), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, actively collaborated.

The AKP was created in 2011, after the collapse of the Mubarak regime, on the basis of the armed Islamist group al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group). This group, which carried out a number of terrorist acts in the 1990s, abandoned, according to its leaders, the jihadist ideology. Nevertheless, as M. F. Vidyasova rightly points out, the AKP may be "a reserve armed structure of the Muslim Brotherhood, similar to the Tunisian National Leagues in defense of the revolution."

A significant step taken by Morsi to Islamize the country was the adoption of a new constitution in a referendum, many of the points of which, such as "Sharia is the basis of Egyptian legislation", were developed by pro - Morsi parliamentarians and reflected their Islamist doctrine.

The author describes in detail the clashes that unfolded between supporters and opponents of Morsi during the referendum on the constitution. A rather important detail is reported, confirming the support that Qatar provided to Morsi. So, between the first and second rounds of the referendum in Doha (the capital of Qatar), a kind of scientific and theological debate was held on the concepts of "ahzab" and "dustur" (translated from Arabic in modern vocabulary-parties and constitution) contained in the Koran. Moreover, all the speakers, including one of the most recognized Sunni Islamic ideologues, Youssef al-Qaradawi, expressed support for the Egyptian constitution.

At the same time, protest demonstrations against Morsi's rule continued due to the deepening economic problems, deterioration of the public security situation, and growing sectarian tensions. The author cites data that opponents of Morsi collected more than 15 million signatures demanding his resignation. M. F. Vidyasova describes in detail the events related to the" revolution of June 30, 2013", as a result of which the army led by Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed President Morsi from power.

The author notes that the actions of the military were supported by almost all left-democratic and liberal parties, as well as the Secretary General of the Salafi Nur party, Sheikh Al-Azhar, the Coptic patriarch, the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

M. F. Vidyasova describes in detail the composition of the new Egyptian government, noting the most significant figures, such as the Minister of Industry, a Coptic Christian who is the General secretary of the National Salvation Front, as well as the General secretary of the New Wafd party.

The book draws important conclusions. First, it confirms the thesis that the main reasons for the 2011 revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are internal factors, and not "the well - known invective, according to which the White House was gradually preparing a total dismantling of North African and Middle Eastern political structures, relying on Islamists as more promising allies of the United States." Secondly, the conclusion is that moderate Islamism is two-faced (two-faced Janus), which has one face for "external use", i.e., to show the West its perception of democracy, more precisely, "the procedural side of democracy, but not its value, which Western politicians usually turn a blind eye to."

The second face of moderate Islamism is genuine, and it was observed after the Islamists came to power in Tunisia and Egypt. It is characterized by an attempt to monopolize power, a total Islamization of social and political life, and an increase in radical Islamism.

B. V. DOLGOV, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences


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B. V. DOLGOV, TWO FACES OF MODERATE ISLAMISM // Dushanbe: Digital Library of Tajikistan (LIBRARY.TJ). Updated: 25.10.2023. URL: (date of access: 26.06.2024).

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