Two years ago, millions of Muslims in the Middle East hailed the Arab Spring which promised to enter in a new era of democracy and peace. Streets were filled with hope about a new world in which tyrants were gone and forces of democracy now in charge. That was then, today is now. In hurried elections, the only viable force was an Islamist party which had worked for years to survive dictatorships. Thus, these Islamist parties like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or Ennahda in Tunisia quickly gained control over governments. Instead of fresh air the Islamists could only offer religious solutions to complex economic issues. Economic stagnation, fostering of religious rules and regulations invariably resulted in secular and liberal discontent with what they had created.
Last month, Chokri Belaid, an opponent of the Ennahda Muslim government was murdered. Prime Minister Jebali responded with seeking to create a government run by technocrats who could focus on developing the economy and steer away from focusing on religion. Jebali was supported by about 35% of his party and thus denied the opportunity to create a viable government. Now, Interior Minister Ali Larayeh gets a shot. He will fail unless he adopts the Jebali program.
In a nutshell, religion is not the solution for the Arab Spring. A sound economic plan is the most important need for those without jobs and hope.