'Dreams of Arab Spring dashed' says Tunisia's Marzouki
The dreams that flourished during the Arab Spring have been dashed, and other Arab states could soon fall apart if they do not make quick changes, the former president of Tunisia said on Monday.
In a lecture in the Moroccan capital Rabat, Moncef Marzouki said the Arab Spring has turned into a nightmare and the real battle Arabs are up against is a "battle of values".
There has not been a revolution and there will be no revolution if there is no moral revolution
"All the dreams of the Arab Spring have been dashed. The Arab Spring has turned into a nightmare in Syria, Yemen and a vicious counter-revolution in Egypt, which will drag Egypt into a kind of civil war," he said at an event organised by the Alkarama Forum for Human Rights.
"The Arab World has seen states and governments fall apart, and the governments which we think will not collapse could possibly collapse quickly if they do not enact far-reaching reforms," Marzouki said, according to the Turkish government's Anadolu Agency.
The former president said Arabs have failed with the Arab Spring because they have not understood that the real battle is a "battle of values" and that "economic and political progress is based on a set of values".
"There has not been a revolution and there will be no revolution if there is no moral revolution," he said.
The veteran human rights activist predicted that other "volcanoes will erupt" in the region unless Arab states "push for reforms to the greatest extent".
He also said, "The Tunisian revolution did not fail but it is going through a period of decline and it will rise again at another stage".
Iran, Egypt and regional regression
"The current Egyptian government is actively moving towards fascism and has already gone beyond authoritarianism. I feel sorry for this poor guy called Sisi when he thinks he can bring Egyptians back into obedience," said Marzouki.
He also called for "national reconciliation" in Egypt between the Muslim Brotherhood and the government and a "political solution" in Syria, adding that if both countries continue the way they are going "history will show them no mercy".
Marzouki said the return of sectarianism and tribalism is a "major part of the current regression" in the region and Iran's role in supporting authoritarianism in Syria, Iraq and Yemen "must be challenged".
"We must not accept these policies from Iran and our relations with Iran and our interests must be reciprocal and not be based on arrogance by any party" Marzouki said.
"The Arab Maghreb Union is in intensive care and no one dares say that it has died. The Gulf Cooperation Council is also suffering and the Arab League must go into retirement because it has gone past the intensive care stage. Behind the collapse of regional governments and systems is an accumulation of political crises," he added.
Marzouki, 70, is a former dissident who was forced into exile in France during the rule of former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
As interim president following the Tunisian revolution in 2011, he presided over the nation's transition to democracy before losing the presidency to Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi in a 2014 election.