First Egypt, then Libya, now Tunisia’s Arab Spring is rotting on the vine of Islamofascism

imagesOn Monday, gunmen ambushed a Tunisian army patrol in a mountainous border region known to be an Islamic stronghold, killing at least eight soldiers. The attack occurred on Jebel Chaambi, Tunisia’s highest mountain near the Algerian border. The area was the site of an intensive military hunt for an al-Qaida-linked militant group during the spring.

Live Leak  According to presidential spokesman Adnan Mancer, who said his information came from the defense ministry: An entire patrol carrying out a search operation in this mountainous region was decimated.” Three of the dead, according to Radio Mosaique FM, had their throats cut and that the attackers made off with the soldiers’ weapons.

The army had announced it was cleared of militants on June 24 after a two-month operation that cost three lives, wounded 27 people and set off almost a dozen road side bombs.

Tunisians, in 2011, kicked off the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings in the region. They overthrew the long-reigning dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. A so-called ‘moderate’ Islamist party keeps winning elections but it is also alienating many other groups along the way. The ambush of the Tunisian army patrol by the gunmen comes just five days after a left-wing politician was shot dead in front of his house by an alleged Islamic militant.

The ambush comes as Tunisia’s political leaders are at each other’s throats. The opposition is demanding the dissolution of the government over the recent political assassination, which authorities have blamed on Islamic militants.

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The military, after soldiers in a patrol were injured in April, searched the area. They discovered evidence suggesting an al-Qaida-linked movement supported by the local population had set up training camps in the area.

According to the Interior Ministry, the local militant group has named itself the Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade, after the 7th century Arab warrior that conquered Tunisia. Reportedly, the group consists of Tunisian recruits trained by veteran Algerian jihadists with links to al-Qaida. It is said to be supported by Ansar al-Shariah, a local movement of ultraconservative Muslims, known as Salafis.

Monday’s ambush, which shocked the country and increased anti-government sentiment on social media, might enable the opposition to mobilize Tunisians further against the government.

The opposition this week has rejected all concessions and efforts at reconciliation by Ennahda. They argue that its leaders bumbled for too long and that their time was up. They are planning to create their own rival “salvation government.”

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