Arab Spring Turns Chilly

The Obama administration supported events in the Middle East which led to the Arab Spring. The revolt began in Tunisia when secular groups and some Muslim allies threw out the government, allowed free elections and watched as Muslim political parties gained control of the government. A major industry in  Tunisia is serving the needs of tourists, most of whom come from France. However, during the past year the number of tourists has dropped  by nearly 500,000.

Salafists who seek to impose Sharia law now are open, demanding of hotels and restaurants to adhere to no drinking laws, and the result is fewer and fewer tourists will enter Tunisia. About one-fifth of the population works in a tourist related occupation.

Free elections allow conservative Tunisians power and this means Salafists intimidate business enterprises, they harass secular Tunisian women, they frighten foreigners and damage the economic lives of the population. Tunisia is confronting a key issue in the Middle East– will nations become modern secular minded or at least like Turkey which allows both conservatives and liberals to live in peace?