Israeli media is reporting that Hamas has recently opened an official office in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. According to a Times of Israel report:
August 29, 2016 Hamas recently opened up official offices in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, a senior leader from the terror group revealed on Sunday.
Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Tunisian news channel el-Bilad that Hamas has ‘new-old’ offices in Tunis, publicly acknowledging the headquarters for the first time.
The Hamas leader said the offices were opened with the blessing of the Tunisian authorities. He did not specify when the offices were opened.
The Islamist terror group kept its main offices in Damascus until 2012, when war and political upheaval forced the group’s political leadership to move to Qatar. Hamas also keeps official offices in Turkey.
After a late December 2011 visit to Tunisia by then-Palestinian prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, rumors swirled that Hamas might open an office in Tunis — where the exiled secular Palestinian leadership of the PLO — led by Yasser Arafat — were once based through most of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Widely viewed as the most liberal of Arab states, Tunisia began cooperating diplomatically with Israel in 1994, and two years later the two countries opened mutual representative offices. Tunisia shut its Tel Aviv office in 2000, however, following the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
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In May of this year, the GMBDW reported that according to Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood leader Rachid Ghannouchi, his Ennahda Party will “relinquish Political Islam.” Given this latest development, it is worth repeating what we wrote about Ghannouchi at that time.
Rachid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) is the head of the Tunisian Ennahda Party, essentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia. Mr. Ghannouchi has been a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and is currently and Assistant Secretary-General of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), both organizations led by Global Muslim Brotherhood Youssef Qaradawi. In 2009, an Egyptian news report referred to Ghannouchi as a leader of the MB “abroad. ” In January 2011, Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia after a long exile in the UK and two weeks after the Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben was forced from power in the events which triggered the “Arab Spring.” The GMBDW reported earlier this year that Ghannouchi had met with the US State Department and been on tour in the US in spite of his extremist record as identified below. The GMBDW would be more inclined to take Ghannouchi’s renunciation of his party’s ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood should he renounce for example:
- His long history of extremism and support for terrorism.
- His long-standing intimate relationship with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi as detailed above
- His association with the Salafi/Salafi Jihadist-led Global Anti-Aggression Campaign (GAAC), the subject of a forthcoming report.
We also remain deeply skeptical about Ghannouchi’s effort to define the Ennahda Party as “a democratic and civil movement” given that in November 2015 he called the electoral victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP Party ” the day of Islam and democracy.” Erdogan said in March of this year that democracy and freedom have “absolutely no value” in the country after calling for journalists, lawyers and politicians to be prosecuted as terrorists.