Hama Hamami, leader of Communist Workers Party of Tunisia (POCT), claimed yesterday that ”The Qatari regime is an enemy to Tunisia and the Arab World,” referring to Qatar’s alleged involvement in the guiding of democratic uprisings of 2011 in North Africa and the Middle East.
Qatar’s role in the “Arab Spring” has been a source of controversy among politicians and citizens across the Arabic-speaking world.
Many have claimed that the tiny Gulf emirate has been promoting its agenda through its television channel Al Jazeera, while others have claimed that Qatar has broader motives for backing and supporting Islamist parties.
The Tunisian Islamist Party Ennahda, whose historic election victory solidified its hold on the largest share of seats in the Constituent Assembly, was accused of having affiliations with, and accepting financial aid from, Qatar.
The extent of political and economic Qatari involvement in Tunisia’s affairs has been a large point of contention in Tunisia since the revolution. Hamma Hamami, leader of POCT, stated that Qatar is playing a dangerous game, and is only serving its own agenda. He also added that Qatar is an agent of USA and Israel.
“Qatar is playing a dangerous role under the umbrella of USA; it is a government that serves America’s agenda, and also has direct relations with Israel. Qatar’s intentions are not patriotic,” Hamami said.
Hamami also asserted that Qatar is attempting to guide moderate Islamic parties, which are popular in Qatar, toward the political choices of the USA.
“Qatar is conditioning popular Islamic parties to serve American and Western interests, and they are managing to achieve that end through the messages that Ennahda is sending to America and Western society. Ennahda is basically assuring the west that the relationship between Tunisia and the West will not change. I do not have concrete proof but this is my political analysis.”
Hamami also referred specifically to Al Jazeera, claiming that during the electoral campaign the network was 90% pro-Ennahda.
When asked about Qatar’s support for Tunisia economically, he said that Tunisia does not need financial aid as much as it needs a, “political economy.”
“Tunisia is a self-sufficient country that is rich with natural resources – it is not about having money. A good example is Libya: The country was rich but they were living in awful conditions,” he added.
“The revolutions were authentic, but the USA wants to orient these new democratic movements in their own direction,” he added.
Samir Dilou, an Ennahda member who is rumored to hold the post of the Human Rights and Transitional Justice Minister (and to be spokesperson of the upcoming Government) disagreed with Hamami.
“I respect what he said, but I do not agree with him. It is his political opinion and it lacks any concrete proof.”
He added that Tunisia’s relations with Qatar are no different from Tunisia’s relations with other Arab countries.
“Our relations with Qatar are nothing but friendly, just like any other Arab country. We want what’s in our nation’s best interest, and if that involves having economic relations with Qatar, or any other Arab country, then we will not be against it. We welcome all Arab investors.”
When asked about Al Jazeera being Pro-Ennahda, he replied,”We actually protested against Al Jazeera before because some of its broadcasts were anti-Ennahda. We respect media but Al Jazeera is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.”