memri
October 21, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9603

Tunisian Journalist: Islamist Leader Ghannouchi Is 'Manipulating' Members Of U.S. Congress – They 'Do Not Know' His 'True Face'

October 21, 2021
Tunisia, North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 9603

In an article titled "When Rached Ghannouchi Called For War Against The U.S.," published October 17, 2021 in the Tunisian media outlet Kapitalis, Tunisian journalist Imed Bahri called Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahdha, a "champion of doublespeak." He wrote that while with his followers Ghannouchi calls for the destruction of the U.S., he then speaks of the importance of "democracy" with U.S. officials.

Bahri added that U.S. Congress members are being manipulated by Ghannouchi, stating that proof of this is instead of backing the 90% of Tunisians who want the Islamists out of power, U.S. officials are supporting Ghannouchi in opposing the "exceptional measures" taken July 25, 2021 by Tunisian President Kais Saied against Ennahdha. On that date, President Saied ousted the government, suspended the parliament which was headed by Ghannouchi, and assumed executive authority.[1] On October11, the president approved a new government selected by newly appointed Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden Romdhane.[2]

Below are excerpts of Bahri's article:[3]


Rached Ghannouchi (Source: Twitter)

'Ghannouchi Has Always Hated Americans'

"The metamorphoses of the poisonous snake.

"Rached Ghannouchi, who today plays the hero of democracy in Tunisia and the great friend of the U.S., has always hated Americans and has never concealed this cordial hatred. Yet he does not hesitate to use [Americans] to gain their political support, while holding his nose for having to deal with an absolute enemy. But what is more astonishing in this case is that the Yankees, who are no less deceitful, pretend to believe to his forked tongue and support him and his Muslim Brotherhood [allies], while using them, of course, against their own peoples.

"The new generation of American politicians does not know Rached Ghannouchi's true face. At the time when he was calling for the destruction of the U.S., the current national security adviser Jack Sullivan did not yet know where to place Tunisia on a map, and Senator Chris Murphy, a great friend of Ennahdha, was still riding his bike in his parents' yard in Connecticut.

"In fact, Ghannouchi, for whom the U.S. has often rolled out the red carpet, inviting him to speak from the podiums of their think tanks, has not changed his opinion about the Americans. He is just the champion of doublespeak, Islamists' favorite sport."

Ghannouchi's 'Doublespeak'

"Doctor Rached and Mister Ghannouchi.

"Indeed, duplicity has always been the hallmark of Islamists. [There are] language and behavior reserved for their own [people] and language and behavior reserved for Westerners. Rached Ghannouchi, the historic leader of Ennahdha, which is the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has made it the political line of a lifetime. There is a huge gap between what he says to [U.S.] officials and U.S. media and what he [actually] thinks of them and says to his followers. However the Americans, their ambassador in Tunis Donald Blome, and especially the rising generation of new politicians, ignore [the doublespeak]. They know Doctor Rached but do not know Mister Ghannouchi.

"They know the Ghannouchi of 'democracy is in danger' who, since [Tunisian] President Kais Saied's announcement of 'exceptional measures' on July 25, [2021], is ramping up [his] forums and interviews in the U.S. media and calling on the U.S. for help. Through active lobbying in Washington, [Ghannouchi] and his loyalists are harassing and manipulating members of Congress, [asking them] to interfere in Tunisian affairs and help the Islamists to return to power from which they were driven out on July 25, after 10 years of bad governance, mismanagement, terrorism, and corruption that brought Tunisia to its knees.

"Only the naive can think that this man has changed or evolved... He used anti-Western, particularly anti-U.S., discourse in front of his own people and [then] went to cry in Western embassies to complain about [Tunisia's first president Habib] Bourguiba, then [former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali and, today, [Tunisian President Kais] Saied. A gullible American ambassador attended his trial in the late 1980s, and Washington even played a role in his release by interceding on his behalf with Ben Ali. Yet Ghannouchi – deceitful, ungrateful, and deeply anti-American – called on Sudan, where [he had gone] after fleeing Tunisia (on August 30, 1990), to attack and destroy U.S. interests in the Islamic world."


Rached Ghannouchi in the 1980s. (Source: Kapitalis.com)

Ghannouchi: 'We Will Destroy All American Interests In The World'

"In front of a crowd of mainly Sudanese and Tunisian Islamists (and also other nationalities), assembled in the Sudanese capital [Khartoum] by [Sudanese] Islamist leader Hassan Turabi [d. 2016], (who was Ghannouchi's brother-in-law, as [Ghannouchi] had him marry one of his sisters to cement the ties between Tunisian and Sudanese Islamists), Ghannouchi declared verbatim: "We will destroy all American interests in the world and there will be no more American presence in the ummah of Islam."[4]


Rached Ghannouchi in an anti-U.S. speech in Sudan (Source: Youtube.com/watch?v=7ATig-uu-d8)

"Of course, it was not in London or Washington that he delivered this speech worthy of a radical Salafist but in Khartoum, Sudan, which at that time [was] the world capital of terrorism under the military Islamist regime of Omar Hassan Al-Bashir (who had come to power in June 1989).

"At the time, Sudan was the earthly paradise of radical Islamist movements. Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri lived and had their training camps there. When Ghannouchi delivered the [aforementioned] speech, he was 49 years old. Hence, he was not a rebellious teenager going through a teen crisis, or a young man still searching for himself. He was an adult, nearly in his 50s, and had already manipulated the Americans in Tunis who supported him, bamboozling them by using and abusing the issue of democracy and human rights...

"Ghannouchi's recipe is to always present himself to the Americans as a victim of the [Tunisian] regimes [i.e. Bourguiba's and Ben Ali's] in the name of democracy. But his fight never had anything to do with democracy. He just wanted to take Bourguiba's place, and then Ben Ali's, and establish the caliphate, or Islamic State – the dream of every Islamist, yesterday, today, tomorrow, and always."


Rached Ghannouchi with Islamist leader Hassan Turabi (Source: Twitter)

'Ghannouchi Gave Us Irrefutable Proof That He Had Not Changed'

"The snake sheds its skin but never its nature.

"Ghannouchi is a man intoxicated with power, not democratic ideals... At the conclusion of [his speech in Sudan], Ghannouchi removes his mask with a statement worthy of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, or ISIS caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: 'Light the fire of war on the 'taghout' [false idols/tyrant] led by the Americans.'[5]

"Nobody should naively tell us that this terrorist leader has changed or that he has evolved! First, he was nearly in his 50s when he made this statement, that could well have been uttered by the 9/11 perpetrators...

"In fact, when he returned to Tunis after his exile in London, in March 2011, Ghannouchi gave us irrefutable proof that he had not changed. We all remember the famous video at the headquarters of Ennahdha, where he received Salafist leaders and asked them to 'be patient,' explaining to them that the 'tamkin' [preparation/building of power] 'guaranteed' [control of] certain institutions but that others, such as the army or the police, 'are not yet guaranteed.'

"Do Americans really still believe in the false image of a democrat and of a man committed to rights and freedoms that Ghannouchi presents to them?]

"The Americans came to know the Muslim Brotherhood through one of their leaders, the evil [Turkish leader] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had promised them that the Islamists would be as pro-American and as docile as the authoritarian regimes in the Arab Muslim world. Furthermore, [Erdoğan promised that] he and his 'Muslim Brotherhood' [people] would be able to contain radical Islamists and terrorist elements and that, as icing on the cake, they would accept the democratic process. [They added that] they were ready to make peace with Israel."


Rached Ghannouchi with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (Source: Dailysabah.com)

'The Problem Today Is That Washington Continues To Support The Muslim Brotherhood'

"A Fool's bargain.

"It is this pact between the Americans and the Muslim Brotherhood that gave rise to the Arab Spring. The U.S., fooled by the smooth talk, finally succumbed to its own illusions by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood people and hoping to be able to exploit them in their imperial wars in a region that has always been a powder keg.

"What perhaps facilitated this fool's bargain was above all the fact that the new generations of American politicians, first of all Barack Obama, ignored the dark side of the Muslim Brotherhood or naively believed that it had evolved or that Washington could use it at will without being bruised [in the process]. No way – a poisonous snake cannot be safely handled!

"The problem today is that Washington continues to support the Muslim Brotherhood while denying that it is doing so. But the best proof that their support for the Islamists continues is that they listen to them and allow themselves to be manipulated by, and intoxicated with, their lies, especially concenring the situation in Tunisia. [For example,] members of U.S. Congress repeat without verification that [Tunisian] parliamentarians are in prison in Tunisia for political reasons. This is entirely false.

"Ambassador Donald Blome, [Secretary of State] Antony Blinken, [National Security Advisor] Jake Sullivan, CIA analysts (who have so far poorly analyzed the Arab world), and members of Congress (sensitive to the lobbying of the Muslim Brotherhood) should carefully listen to the [Sudan speech] of their 'friend' Ghannouchi,[6] who called for holy war against their own country. After [doing so, we should see whether U.S. officials] will continue to believe the Islamists that they are bringing to Washington in order to build with them a beautiful Islamist democracy."

Tunisians 'Had The Ultimate Proof That Democracy And Islamism Do Not Mix'

"July 25 brings hope to Tunisians.

"As far as we Tunisians are concerned, we have tried [the Islamists] for 10 years. We had a very hard time and we have the ultimate proof that democracy and Islamism do not mix. From this painful experience, our country has emerged traumatized and economically bankrupt. And if more than 90% of Tunisians support the "exceptional measures" of July 25, it is because they neutralize these gravediggers, and will allow us to rebuild our country that they destroyed, and save our people whom they reduced to begging.

"As for the American lessons on democracy, they are very unwelcome. A country that set for itself the goal of building a democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and obtains the chaotic result that we all know is the last one that should still be giving us lessons on this matter."

 

 

[2] Lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/10/12/en-tunisie-un-nouveau-gouvernement-et-peu-de-marge-de-man-uvre_6098043_3212.html, October 11, 2021.

[3] Kapitalis.com/tunisie/2021/10/17/quand-rached-ghannouchi-appelait-a-la-guerre-contre-les-etats-unis-video/, October 17, 2021.

[4] Rached Ghannouchi's speech in Sudan: Youtube.com/watch?v=7ATig-uu-d8.

[5] Rached Ghannouchi's speech in Sudan: Youtube.com/watch?v=7ATig-uu-d8.

[6] Rached Ghannouchi's speech in Sudan: Youtube.com/watch?v=7ATig-uu-d8.

Share this Report:

MEMRI
2021 End-Of-Year Campaign