We begin the presentation of the British newspapers with a report written by the correspondent of the Financial Times newspaper, Heba Saleh, entitled “The delta axis exacerbates the fragile democracy crisis in Tunisia”, especially after the army took over the management of the Corona crisis, in light of the rapidly deteriorating health situation that added burdens to the political and economic problems that faced the country suffers.
The writer says that despite looking at Tunisia as the only democracy among the Arab countries that rose up against the dictatorship in 2011, the deteriorating health situation, in light of the outbreak of the “delta” mutator, with low vaccinations and the highest death rate for Covid-19 in the Arab world It tests the limits of a political system riven by differences between the head of state, the prime minister, and the speaker of parliament.
The Tunisian President, Kais Saied, decided to use the army in efforts to combat Corona, a day after Prime Minister Hisham Al-Mashishi dismissed the Minister of Health, Fawzi Mahdi, following scenes of chaos in vaccination centers suffering from a lack of supplies, and the move was considered an escalation of the power struggle. between them.
“This is an exacerbation of the political crisis and polarization between the two men,” said Youssef Sharif, a political analyst and head of the Columbia Global Center in Tunisia, adding that the government “mismanaged the health crisis by not preparing for the influx of cases.”
He added, “Covid in general was not a top priority for the president, the government and the speaker of parliament… The three kept going through their daily political disputes instead of tackling the crisis.”
The writer pointed out that the World Health Organization spoke about 9,500 cases of infection daily, “with a wide spread of the delta mutator,” and Jalila bin Khalil, a health spokeswoman in the government, says that the infection with the mutated mutated represents more than 75 percent of the Covid-19 patients who were admitted to the hospital with lung problems.
Analysts say that the confrontation between the three leaders, in addition to the grinding differences between the rival factions, which sometimes escalated into violent quarrels in Parliament, has undermined confidence in the political system, and the writer adds that the epidemic has exacerbated the economic situation in a debt-laden country, as protests erupt Frequent by young people angry at poverty and high unemployment.
The writer cited that the economy contracted last year by 8.8 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, and despite expectations of 3.8 percent growth in 2021, it will not recover to the pre-pandemic level this year, as well as the tourism sector affected by travel restrictions imposed. In Europe and Britain.
Foreign exchange losses could weaken the Tunisian dinar, “causing inflation risks and an increase in the cost of living,” says James Swanston, an economist at London-based consultancy Capital Economics.
Faced with frequent civil unrest, the author says, the government has found it difficult to implement measures to curb spending. “Fiscal adjustment measures are not popular at the best of times,” adds Swanston.
Sharif said that the situation is likely to improve in the coming weeks with the arrival of vaccines and medical supplies donated by countries including China, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates, adding that “the military being drawn into politics indirectly” may have a positive impact on the health situation, except It may have a “negative impact on Tunisia’s future as a democracy.”
We turn to the report of Richard Spencer, the Middle East correspondent, for The Times entitled “Rare Reactions of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the Protests”, in which he talked about the protests over water scarcity in Khuzestan province in southwestern Iran, which is one of the few areas in the country. Iran, which has a large Arab minority, has often been at odds with the regime and has at times produced violent opposition groups.
Demonstrations and confrontations with security forces resulted in the killing of a policeman and two protesters, prompting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, to urge his officials to respond, writing on Instagram: “Officials have a duty to address the problems of Khuzestan, if someone cares about the citizens. No one can rest in front of the difficult situation in Khuzestan if he cares about the citizens.”
The writer cites that rising temperatures in southern Iran and neighboring Iraq are seen as a sign of the problems caused by climate change, adding that the very poor services, despite the oil wealth of both countries, is a lost irony, especially since there have been protests in the south of both countries In the past three years.
The writer says that the water scarcity in Iran is the result of poor planning during the 40-year history of the Islamic Republic, as its officials admitted in the past. In its early years, it oversaw a program to build dams in order to accelerate development, despite concerns that the climate made the construction of dams counterproductive. due to high levels of evaporation.
Spencer concludes his article by referring to the failure of efforts to solve the problem by drawing on the expertise of scholars who established themselves in Western universities abroad when their advice collided with the entrenched economic interests of the IRGC.
We conclude our tour with a report by Colin Freeman and Natalia Vasilieva, in the Telegraph, entitled “Afghanistan May Become a Stronghold for Future Terrorist Attacks Abroad”, which addresses the warning of Afghan security officials that the Taliban is unlikely to fulfill their pledges to stop using Afghanistan as a stronghold for terrorist-style attacks. September 11.
In an interview with The Telegraph, a senior official said that despite the agreement during peace talks with the United States that it would not allow al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to operate from Afghan soil, the Taliban maintain close links with the two organizations.
He added that once Western forces complete their withdrawal this summer, there will be no guarantee that Afghanistan will not again become a base for Islamic militants who are planning horrific attacks abroad, adding that Western governments were wrong when they thought there was no real difference between the Taliban and the groups. Other armed ones that are considered more strict.
“There is a thinking in the West that these groups operate in isolation, but this is not the case. The leadership and political ambitions may differ, but the ideology of all these organizations is the same. They all want to establish and finance an Islamic state that will be a fertile ground for all other fundamentalists around the world,” he said. “.
Officially, the Taliban considers itself independent of al-Qaeda, and its fighters have previously clashed with cells affiliated with the Islamic State, which seeks to establish a foothold in Afghanistan, although the official said that numerous terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State in Kabul showed that the three groups They work in cooperation with each other.
The Afghan official said that during the peace talks, which theoretically allow the Taliban to participate in democratic politics, there was little sign of the movement’s willingness to make concessions. “We didn’t see the Taliban negotiating seriously. They told us that we, the government, had to make concessions to them, which is not Acceptable. They want an Islamic emirate in which they choose an emir (ruler), while we want every Afghan to have the right to choose their leader.”
While the official acknowledged that the movement enjoyed some real popular support, particularly in conservative rural areas, he said that was only one-sixth of Afghanistan’s population of 38 million, adding that Taliban ambitions now threaten the future of a new, democratic-minded Afghan generation that has grown up since 9/11. September.