The post-revolutionary process in the countries of the MENA region witnessed the rise to power of Is-lamist parties and their public dominion. After a year and a half, a strong reaction came from the opposition camp that felt threatened by their overwhelming power. This conflict is a struggle between two types of middle class that have different visions of the nation-state. Furthermore, the social liberalization process encouraged the rise of a second Islamist bloc, the Salafist. While the scriptural and political Salafists accept the rules of democracy and present themselves on the electoral scene as competitors of the Ikhwani parties, the Salafist-jihadists remain on an anti-systemic level of confrontation. The example of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia shows the complexity of the Salafi jihadi movement of the last generation that emerges as the social movement of a disenfranchised youths that failed to be integrated.
Fabio Merone, Researcher, Dublin City University.