Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, who is running for president in the coming elections, said in a September 5, 2019 interview with the Turkey-based Libya Al-Ahrar TV that Tunisia cannot be a safe and stable country as long as the UAE is present in Libya. He accused the UAE and other Gulf countries of attempting to destroy the Arab Spring and of interfering in the domestic affairs of Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. He asked what gives these countries the authority to interfere in Tunisia's elections and to act as the "police force" of the Arab Maghreb Union and said that a "midget state" like the UAE should not be allowed to dictate terms in the Maghreb. Marzouki added that the North African countries "have the right to defend themselves" against this "invasion" from the Masriq.
Following are excerpts:
Moncef Marzouki: Tunisia cannot be a safe and stable country when the United Arab Emirates is present across its southern border [in Libya]. Impossible. [The UAE] wants to destroy the Arab Spring, and it interferes in the affairs of the Algerians and of all the countries. For me, our foreign policy was – and still is – that we do not interfere in the affairs of other countries, but, at the same time, we do not allow other countries to interfere in our affairs. Who gave these people the authority to decide who would be the president of Tunisia? Who gave them the authority to come and destroy Libya? Who gave them the right to become the police force for the Arab Maghreb Union? The Arab Maghreb Union… We are 100 million human beings, and we constitute a hub of civilization. How come we allow a midget-state to come here and dictate its terms upon us?
We will not interfere in the affairs of somebody who does not interfere in ours. But they are the ones who have interfered in our affairs. What is the UAE doing in Libya? What is the UAE doing in Yemen? Is this even conceivable? Have we interfered in their affairs? Did we give weapons to the supporters of Sheikh Whatever who is fighting Sheikh Zayed? This means we have the right to defend ourselves. We have the right to defend the independence of this country.
Interviewer: Are countries from the Mashriq invading North African countries?
Moncef Marzouzki: Of course. The Arab Maghreb Union is facing a fierce onslaught from certain Gulf countries that want to have a foothold here and act as if this region is open to all. No, this region is not open to all.
We do not constitute a danger to any person. Tunisia does not constitute a danger to any country. It is a peaceful country that is not involved in violence or in the arming of others. This country has the right to build a democratic regime, and we will be the ones to decide how to deal with our Islamists. They like to say: "We want to get rid of political Islam." Get rid of political Islam in your own country. We will deal with political Islam in our country the way we see fit.
We must fight this foreign intervention. We must fight it using our own means. In Tunisia, our methods are democratic, peaceful, and legal. Unfortunately, we are facing a violent attack and must defend ourselves. Every people must defend itself until this stupid policy changes, and until these people keep their evil away from us. We don't care what happens in their [countries]. We do not claim to be exporting revolution or democracy. All we want is to mind our own business and for them to mind theirs. We want them to leave us alone. Once again, we are willing to reach out to anyone reaching out to us, but if anyone wants to impose their views upon us… We are the descendants of [Mohamed] Daghbaji and many other heroes who fought French colonialism, and we won't accept new colonialism or people interfering in our affairs. This is stupid behavior that has no future.