Congratulations to Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet for their well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize, 2015.
"In this context, the prize marks a remarkable achievement in the history of a nation that rose up five years ago and overthrew a strikingly durable and repressive regime. Since then Tunisians have exercised remarkable restraint and compromise as they have struggled to overcome the legacy of autocracy and the rise of new extremist threats."
In March I argued that Canada should stop wasting time and effort waging a futile bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and should, instead, allocate our forces in support of Tunisia should Islamist radicals try to get a toehold there.
If we wanted to give ISIS a setback, we could begin with Tunisia. That's a great place to draw the line, to stop the spread of radical Sunni Islamists. We might not get to bomb anybody but sometimes you have to sacrifice for the greater good.
Why Tunisia? Because it has a population ready to turn out by the tens of thousands to denounce extremism. And these people know a thing or two because they're the same crowd that sparked the "Arab Spring" and achieved a stable democratic system for it.
Let's back Tunisia. Let's give them at least as much support as we're squandering on Iraq to make sure they have everything they need to anchor their democracy and deny ISIS the power vacuum so instrumental to its spread. Draw the line, stop the fanatical brigands here, and then slowly begin rolling them back.
We're doing this not just for Tunisia but for us too and for everyone else. Where better but a stable, democratic and free (from both Islamic and Western dogma) Arab state to bring the Muslim world into the 21st century and show that Islam and democracy are not remotely mutually exclusive.
Tunisia should really be seen by the outside world as the true, irreplaceable gem in the crown. Where are we if we lose that?
I am delighted that this Tunisian peace group won the Nobel prize but that's no guarantee it won't encourage the Islamists to try to knock them off the rails. It was just four months ago that Islamist gunmen massacred tourists on Tunisia's beaches. More could follow. The idea that I raised in March still stands. Canada should stand surety for Tunisia's democracy, liberty and peace.