Italy is getting increasingly desperate with its anti migrant policies and scare mongering it’s prepared to do, to get an IMF loan agreed for Tunisia, with its latest warning that Tunisia would become a ‘muslim brotherhood’ state.
The international community runs the risk of “having the Muslim Brotherhood create instability” in Tunisia if the country is not promptly granted “substantial financial help,” Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said at a conference attended by Arab News, a Saudi outlet which is very close to the ruling elite and, by definition, anti muslim brotherhood.
It’s unclear from the Saudi reporting, but the minister appears to be sending a message to the GCC countries, given that it is the UAE mainly holding back from financially helping Tunisia, due to its president’s reluctance to rein in the brotherhood there.
“We can’t afford the radicalization of the Mediterranean,” he added, saying Tunisia is on the verge of “economic collapse,” and negotiations for a loan of nearly $1.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund have “stalled” over President Kais Saied’s recent policies.
The UAE have made no secret of their hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Tunisia, the most successful party in the parliamentary elections had been Ennahda who are considered part of the Muslim Brotherhood, although just recently when the parliament opened, Ennahda boycotted it, saying that it didn’t recognize its legitimacy.
“There is a prevalent perception that the UAE wants to see the Muslim Brotherhood imprisoned as they were imprisoned in Egypt” explains geopolitical analyst Sami Hamdi, writing for Maghrebi.org.
“It is in this context that a possibility has been touted that the UAE is making any financial assistance contingent upon Saied imprisoning Ennahda’s leaders” adds Hamdi. “Saied’s allies have suggested in the past that the reason he has been unable to do so is due to the army’s concern that doing so would trigger domestic unrest and also punitive measures from Washington”.
And yet this reluctance from the UAE to financially help, along with the dire financial situation, appear to be pushing Ennahda into a stronger position, politically, at least this is the fear from the Italians.
The economic situation in Tunisia is grave, leading more and more people to try to reach Italy on small boats.
Tajani said Italy is “the most interested” in ensuring that “Tunisia solves its problems and doesn’t become a failed state!” and they have a solution to the IMF conundrum.
“This is why we propose that the IMF gives immediately a first tranche of money; the rest of the loan can be paid in line with the progress of reforms.”
Tajani said the international community “can’t afford to make the mistake of leaving Tunisia to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Stefania Craxi, president of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Italian Senate, told Arab News: “The Muslim Brotherhood will prosper if the grant doesn’t come and the economy keeps going down.”
She added: “It’s right for the IMF to ask for reforms, but they must grant the loan before the worst happens. That money must come now.”