Tunisia Security Updates

Post Eid-Back to Reality

The International Community is putting the word out that we are in fact “witnessing the last moments of the Gaddafi regime.”  A few nights ago, sounds of celebration and cheers roared throughout different Tunisian streets.  Libyans and Tunisians joined together to celebrate what they feel is the beginning of a new era.  As things start to settle in Tripoli, more and more leaders will come out to congratulate the Libyan people and wish them all the best, but in reality this transition will just initiate a whole new playing field.

According to many security analysts,  Libyans face a tough road ahead which include “tribal rivalries, an east-west divide, a rebel leadership lacking coherence, a shattered economy and the absence of a civil society”.  These are just a few of the challenges that a post-Gaddafi Libya will face, not to mention regional and international issues.

Libya:  ‘Security fundamental to future’

In a recent press conference, European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, stated that ‘security is fundamental for the future of Libya.’  In more ways than one, the same is true for Tunisia.  Not only does Tunisia have a vested interested in the success and security within Libya, but their very futures are interconnected.

The Foreign Policy Chief made (3) excellent points which are relevant to the overall security in Tunisia:

  1. To ensure that so many guns and weapons within the civilian population, are brought under control.
  2. Making sure borders are secure.
  3. Dealing with the dynamics of an internal police force.

Positive & Negative-Impacts on Tunisia

(+) Hopefully the end to the Libyan humanitarian crisis.  It is no secret that the Libyan crisis has put a huge strain on both the Tunisian economy as well as their security resources.  According to a study by the African Development Bank (AfDB),  exports to Libya were down 34 per cent, while imports recorded a 95 per cent decline. Additionally, the Tunisian security forces have dealt  with continuous security threats at the border  ranging from gun fights to smuggling.

(-) Assuming that things settle down quickly and peacefully in Tripoli, the new Libyan government will still have a lot on their hands. There are many questions and wild cards that this new paradigm has opened, not least of which are border security, arms control, and economic cooperation.

The Tunisian Hope

There is a great article entitled:  “Don’t forget Tunisia, where democracy has a better chance to work”, written by RUDY RUBIN  of The Philadelphia Inquirer, that highlights why Tunisia stands a better chance at democracy than countries like Egypt, Yemen, and Libya:

  1. Institutions which work, well-educated people (youths) and educated women.
  2. Unlike Libya, Tunisia is not a tribal society, and its institutions were not crushed by a former ruler.
  3. Unlike Egypt, Tunisia’s population is small (10.5 million) and 90 percent literate.
  4. Unlike Syria or Iraq, Tunisia is not plagued by sectarian divides; 99 percent of its people are Sunni Muslims.
  5. Tunisia started the Arab revolution. With its homogeneous population and educated middle class, it has the best prospect of providing a role model for the rest.

Stay Tune for more groundbreaking information as we start a 3-Part Series entitled:  Tunisia Community Profiles, in which we will go on the streets with hopes of giving readers a 360 degree view of the security situation in Carthage, La Marsa, and Laouina

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