Pierre Puchot

Né en 1980, deux années d'école à Marseille, deux autres à La Croix. Reporter spécialisé sur le Maghreb et le Moyen-Orient pour Mediapart depuis 2008. Auteur de quatre essais, dont La révolution confisquée, enquête sur la transition démocratique en Tunisie (Actes Sud, 2012), et un roman, La Traversée du chien (Galaade, 2014). Dernière parution : Israël-Palestine, la paix n'aura pas lieu (Don Quichotte, 2015.)  

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'The breeding ground for jihadists is the denial of democracy'

France — Interview

Four terror attacks on Friday that left scores dead across four countries on three different continents raised speculation that Islamic State had launched a concerted offensive from its Syrian and Iraqi stronghold to mark the first anniversary of its Caliphate. However, an expert on jihadist movements, Wassim Nasr, dismisses the idea that the outrages in France, Tunisia, Kuwait and Somalia were part of a coordinated campaign, and says the West still does not understand Islamic State's real strategy. In a wide-ranging interview with Mediapart, the specialist contends that Western states, including France, have themselves created the breeding ground for jihadist groups by backing dictatorships over democratically-elected popular movements. Pierre Puchot reports.

Tunisia's long battle with terrorism

International

The authorities in Tunisia have announced that 21 people, including 20 foreign tourists, were killed by three gunmen in their attack on the Bardo museum in the capital Tunis on Wednesday, for which Islamic State has claimed responsibility. The shootings happened just as the nearby Tunisian parliament was debating proposed new anti-terrorism legislation, and there is speculation that the assembly was the gunmen’s initial target. Islamist groups have blighted the small North African country’s fragile transition to democracy since the 2011 revolution that toppled the iron-fisted regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, mounting political assassinations and attacks on the military. But, as Mediapart’s Arab affairs correspondent Pierre Puchot reports, Islamist terror groups have been active in Tunisia for decades, during the dictatorial regimes of both Ben Ali and his predecessor Habib Bourgiba, and the challenge now for the fledgling democracy is to find effective means to combat them without returning to the liberticidal practices of the past.  

Inside the Jewish community in Tunisia: family of Paris shooting victim speak out

International — Interview

One of the victims of the kosher supermarket shootings during the Paris attacks in January was Yoav Hattab, a 21-year-old Jew from Tunisia. His family are part of a Jewish community whose roots in the North African country go back many centuries but which has seen its numbers fall dramatically over the last 50 years. The dead man's elder brother, Avishay Hattab, has spoken at length to Mediapart's Pierre Puchot about how the family learnt of Yoav's death, at their dismay at the lack of official Tunisian government recognition of his murder, and of the difficulties in belonging to one of the last Jewish communities in the Arab world. Meanwhile an association that supports local minorities talks about the need to combat the “hatred” aimed at Jews in Tunisia. But Avishay Hattab says he is “proud” of being Tunisian and insists he has no intention of leaving a country his family has lived in for countless generations.

How France and the US are being held hostage by Saudi Arabia

France — Analysis

Both French president François Hollande and American head of state Barack Obama flew to Riyadh to pay their respects after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on January 23rd. For the French leader it was yet another journey to the Arabian kingdom that he has already twice honoured with state visits. France and the United States - and other Western countries – have stayed close diplomatically to Saudi Arabia, seeing it as a source of oil, a massive market to buy their weapons and a pivotal place to exchange key intelligence. But the flipside of this approach, write Thomas Cantaloube and Pierre Puchot, is that these countries have been trapped into supporting Saudi's own regional political games, while also backing one of the most repressive regimes on earth. Moreover, at a time when France and other nations have made fighting terrorism their international priority, elements in the Saudi kingdom are still suspected of financial links with prominent terror groups.

The mystery of the 'disappeared' of Gaza

International — Report

The International Committee of the Red Cross calls it “a major problem”, while the United Nations says it has no idea of the numbers involved. The one thing that is certain is that at least hundreds of families in Gaza are still looking for relatives who have disappeared without trace following the 50-day Israeli offensive that began in July. For some, the answer may lie beneath the rubble of destroyed buildings that still litter the land. But there is also speculation that other missing Palestinians may be detained in Israel, or have met death as they fled by sea to Europe. Mediapart’s Middle East and North Africa affairs correspondent Pierre Puchot reports from Gaza on an enduring mystery that has become something of a taboo.

Islamic State's battle with al-Qaeda for jihadist hearts and minds

International — Analysis

The brutal execution of French climber Hervé Gourdel by a little-known terrorist group in Algeria has thrown the spotlight on attempts by Islamic State (IS) to extend its network of influence across North Africa and beyond. The Algerian group Jund al-Khilafa kidnapped and beheaded the French mountaineer as a gruesome and public sign of allegiance to the Iraq and Syria-based group. But so far Islamic State has failed to win the allegiance of any other group in Africa as it competes with al-Qaeda for dominance among the jihadist groups of the world. As Pierre Puchot reports, its attempt to be the global leader in jihadism may depend on lasting control of Iraqi oil wealth.

Exclusive: 'Why I refused to serve my Israeli army division in Gaza'

International — Interview

The Israeli offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza, codenamed ‘Protective Edge’ in English and in which to date more than 750 Palestinians and 33 Israelis have lost their lives, deepened in horror on Thursday when at least 15 people were killed and 200 wounded in an attack upon a United Nations-run school used as a shelter from the fighting. While the gruesome toll has caused loud international outcry, less reported is the movement of desertion among Israeli military reservists who refuse what they believe is an unjust war. Mediapart's special correspondent in Israel, Pierre Puchot, has obtained a frank and exclusive interview with one of these so-called 'refuseniks', who this week fled his call-up to join an armoured division headed for Gaza.

Behind the mask of France's jihadists

International — Interview

A raft of new measures aimed at preventing the growing number of French nationals joining jihadist movements in Syria was approved at a meeting of the French cabinet on Wednesday. Official estimates are that 700 French citizens and residents have joined jihadist groups engaged in the three-year old civil war against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, some of them teenagers. The issue was highlighted during the release last weekend of four French journalists who had been kidnapped in Syria by an al-Qaeda-linked group, when they said they had identified francophones among their captors. To understand more about just who the French jihadists are, and what motivates them, Mediapart Arab affairs correspondent Pierre Puchot turned to Radio France International journalist David Thomson, who carried out in-depth interviews with 18 of them for his recently-published book Les Français jihadistes.

The pride and prejudice as France adopts same-sex marriage law

France — Report

France is set to become the 14th country worldwide - and the ninth in Europe - to open up marriage to homosexual couples after its parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of a bill of law to give marriage and adoption rights to couples of the same sex. It now remains for the socialist government to enact the law, while a group of conservative opposition MPs, whose UMP party has campaigned against the bill, have promised to contest it before France’s Constitutional Council. The vote on an issue that has divided public opinion comes after six months of demonstrations for and against amid sometimes hysterical rhetoric from politicians. Mediapart reporters joined separate rallies in Paris held by opponents and supporters of the marriage reform. The opinions expressed reveal apparently irreconcilable views over the issue, while many gays spoke of their indignation and fear over the upsurge in insults and violence they have personally witnessed since last autumn.

The goal for Qatar, at home and abroad

International — Interview

The investment activities of the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar are seemingly never out of the news in France, where its purchases include businesses, property, the media and, notably, the Paris Saint-Germain football club where its deep pockets allowed the high-profile signings of Zlatan Ibrahimović and David Beckham. But while PSG fans are happy, Qatar’s mooted scheme to set up an investment fund for France’s deprived urban zones prompted a call by members of the conservative opposition for a parliamentary enquiry. Just what is Qatar’s political aim in what often appears to be a high-spending PR campaign, what is the reality of its relationship with the West and France in particular, and what lies behind the authoritarian state's support for regime change elsewhere in the Arab world? Pierre Puchot debates these and other issues with two specialists on Qatari affairs, Nabil Ennasri and Karim Sade.

The winds of the Arab Spring blow towards Algeria

International — Analysis

This year, Algeria, the largest of the Maghrebi countries of North Africa, will mark 50 years of independence from its former ruler France. But the celebrations are set to be heavily subdued by the population’s widespread frustration over social inequalities, unemployment, and the decrepitude of public institutions and infrastructures, the very same issues that prompted the Arab Spring uprisings among its neighbours to the east. Pierre Puchot examines the indicators that suggest the Algerian regime may be the next to fall to a popular revolt.

What US cables reveal about France and the Ben Ali regime

International

French foreign minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has been forced to resign after a series of revelations over her close ties with the entourage of deposed Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. After a luxurious holiday in Tunisia during the popular uprising then sweeping the country, she later offered French security "know-how" to the desperate Ben Ali regime during its last days in power. But Alliot-Marie was far from alone in her disinterest of the dire human rights abuses exacted under Ben Ali's 23-year reign, as confirmed by US diplomatic cables revealed exclusively here. In this first report following Mediapart's newly-reached partnership with WikiLeaks, we detail how official French policy towards Tunis has for years placed bi-lateral security issues well above concerns for democracy.

All his blog posts

Mediapart’s journalists also use their blogs, and participate in their own name to this space of debates, by confiding behind the scenes of investigations or reports, doubts or personal reactions to the news.

Pierre Puchot
Mediapart Journalist

47 Posts

6 Editions

Au revoir, à bientôt

Blog post

Chères lectrices, chers lecteurs: Depuis janvier 2008, je couvrais pour Mediapart le Maghreb et le Moyen-Orient. Une mission qui, les premières années, fut à la fois exaltante et précaire, comme le sont les débuts des aventures.

Pendant qu’Erdogan voyage, ses derniers opposants croupissent en prison

Blog post

Deux des témoins clés de l'enquête publiée en avril dans Mediapart sur l'ampleur et la responsabilité des purges dans l'inefficacité des services antiterroristes turcs ont été arrêtés après la tentative de coup d'Etat en Turquie. La répression engagée par Erdogan est désormais sans limite.

Sans idée ni honte, l'exécutif tunisien fait appel à DSK, l'ancien soutien de Ben Ali

Blog post

Jadis soutien actif de Ben Ali lorsqu'il était président du FMI, décoré par l'ancien dictateur tunisien, DSK, apprend-on dans Le Parisien, va se pencher «au chevet de la Tunisie» et «mettre ses compétences et son immense carnet d'adresses au service de la Tunisie».

« Les frères musulmans et le pouvoir » en librairie ce mardi 6 janvier

Blog post

Qu’est-ce que l’islam politique ? Qui sont les Frères musulmans ? À rebours d’une approche globalisante de l’islam politique, l’ouvrage dont j’ai eu le plaisir de diriger la rédaction et qui paraît ce jour a pour objectif de montrer que les organisations issues des Frères musulmans des différents pays du Maghreb et du Moyen-Orient ne constituent pas une seule et même entité mais prennent de multiples visages, qui s’opposent parfois radicalement.

Nicolas Le Riche, bye-bye l’homme-oiseau

Blog post

C’est par un tweet matinal de Pierre Bergé que j’ai appris la retraite de Nicolas Le Riche.