First Published: 2012-12-27


Islamist-led Tunisia to raise alcohol duty


Constituent Assembly approves rise in alcohol duty despite criticism from rival Islamists that it is ‘haram’ to profit from it.


Middle East Online

Unorthodox fiscal move

TUNIS - The Islamist-led ruling coalition in Tunisia raised alcohol duty on Wednesday in a bid to bolster state coffers despite criticism from rival Islamists that it was wrong to profit from an activity prohibited by the faith.

The Constituent Assembly approved the budget measure aimed at raising 170 million dinars (85 million euros), acting finance minister Slim Besbes told the state TAP news agency.

MPs from the moderate Islamist Ennahda party that leads the government voted in favour but an MP from a rival Islamist outfit slammed the move as un-Islamic.

In its successful October 2011 parliamentary election campaign, Ennahda gave undertakings that it would do nothing to outlaw the sale or consumption of alcohol in Tunisia, which is heavily dependent on foreign, particularly European, tourism.

But party leader Rached Ghannouchi later called on supporters to shun bars and off-licences.

Bars have since been a repeated target for attack by hardline Salafist groups, who have succeeded in forcing the closure of a number.

But beer sales still rose by 20 percent in the first half of the year, according to figures from the brewers.


Iraq forces make gains against IS near Mosul

Italian PM blocks EU sanctions threat against Russia over Aleppo

US officials: Iran boosting arms sales to Huthis via Oman

Pentagon chief in Turkey for talks on tensions with Iraq

Food crisis reaching critical levels north of South Sudan

Islamic Jihad stages show of force in Gaza

UN says 'crimes' in Aleppo are 'of historic proportions'

IS sniper kills Iraqi journalist in Kirkuk

US official says coalition should target IS in Raqa after Mosul

Moscow extends Aleppo ceasefire

Italy PM says officials should have voted against UNESCO Jerusalem resolution

Syrian ‘Toy Smuggler’ accused of fraud

UN: IS may use civilians as human shields in Mosul

Armed men attack refugee boat off Libya

US says will work with Turkey to deal IS 'lasting defeat'

Moscow ‘highly concerned’ at jihadists’ refusal to leave Aleppo

Four Palestinians arrested by their security forces for settlement visit

Mauritania president says no change to two-term limit

UN delays Aleppo evacuations due to lack of security assurances

Oman denies reports of arms smuggling to Yemen

Israel looking to buy three more German submarines

83 migrants rescued off Cyprus

Under pressure in Mosul, IS fighters attack Kirkuk

Air strikes hit Yemen rebels despite ceasefire

Arab coalition accuses Yemen rebels of breaching truce

Israeli occupation troops kill Palestinian teenager

Iraqis flee IS-held Mosul for war-torn Syria

Five years after his death, Kadhafi's 'Green Book' is ridiculed in Libya

Iraq issues warrant for former governor of Mosul

EU leaders threaten sanctions against Assad allies

Syria army urges residents to evacuate Aleppo during ceasefire

British warships shadow Syria-bound Russian naval force

Turkey unexpectedly keeps interest rate steady

British PM urges united EU response to Russia over Syria 'atrocities'

UN gets ‘green light’ from all parties for Aleppo evacuations

Iran president: we must be hospitable to foreign businessmen

British Al-Jazeera reporter freed in Somalia

Turkish planes raid US-backed Kurdish militias

Scattered clashes undermine fragile Yemen truce

Iraq PM: Mosul offensive moving ‘faster than expected’

Former army commander Aoun to be Lebanon president

Israel PM concerned Obama may act before leaving office

Trump in unprecedented assault on US political convention

Kurds launch fresh push against IS around Mosul

Russia's Aleppo ‘humanitarian pause’ takes effect