Two years after the Arab Spring erupted violently in Tunisia and Egypt, both countries’ economy is much worse off than it was before. The saplings of hope for liberalization and reform have been violently wrenched.
In Tunisia, secular opposition parties complain that instead of the promised economic reforms, the ruling Islamist Ennahadha party is “bent on setting up a theocracy.” As a result, Tunisia now faces an 18 percent national unemployment rate and has been downgraded by Fitch due to “slow transition to a free economy” and unsustainable twin deficits. In addition, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the country to “junk.” As if growing economic hardship was not enough, “Courts [are] accused of targeting opponents of the dominant political party, Ennahadha,” reports al Jazeera. According to Amnesty International free speech has been curtailed and critics of the regime are facing “public morals” violation charges. And if you expect the new Tunisian Constitution to better protect human rights, don’t hold your breath. Human Rights Watch protested last week that the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) second draft, “threaten human rights.”
Reviewing Egypt’s situation, the Jordanian news website, Albawaba.com, had this to say: “The economic woes of Mubarak’s crony state have not dissipated, and the calls for “bread, freedom, and social justice” that defined the desires of the Tahrir youth of 2011 have resurfaced. Perhaps they never went away. The Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to pacify the poor with charity may come across as cynical in the current climate of unrest.”
Egypt’s, Muslim Brother President Mohammed Morsi, is busy fulfilling his promise for “Islamic democracy.” Not surprisingly, it turned out to be an Islamic theocracy. But neither that nor his anti-American and anti-Semitic rant, or the ongoing riots seem to deter the Obama administration from fulfilling its agreement for $1.3 billion in military aid and an annual $250 million in economic aid (signed with Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak). And if Congress follows Senator John McCain’s lead, Egypt will soon receive close to $500 extra.