The following is an excerpt from my latest analysis in Foreign Policy magazine. Click here to read the full piece.
Continue reading here...TUNIS -- On the night of Feb. 5, prominent leftist politician Shoukri Belaid went on a popular Tunisian television station to denounce the political violence that had targeted him, his party, and other opposition groups. He gave at least one specific example where Islamists, allegedly associated with both the ultraconservative Salafi movement and the governing al-Nahda Party, recently attacked a meeting of his United Democratic Nationalist party in the interior town of El Kef. He said that security forces watched the attack take place but did nothing.The following morning, Belaid was shot in the head and the chest as he was leaving his home. In the hours that followed, Tunisians took to the streets around the country to protest the escalating political violence and the slow pace of reform. Protesters gathered in front of the cordoned-off Interior Ministry in the capital, demanding a new revolution. There were widespread reports of clashes between police and protesters -- including in the birthplace of the Arab Spring, Sidi Bouzid, where protests first began in Tunisia. Al-Nahda Party headquarters in towns in the interior of the country were attacked, despite the fact that leaders from the party strongly condemned the assassination.