Post Election Update-(Transistion)

    tran·si·tion

The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

The word transition has to be one of the most used words  in today’s media.  From the economy to politics, the one word that best describes the period we’re going through is transition.  As the world congratulated Tunisia for a job well done, the challenge of staying updated became more and more difficult. The news alone is hard enough to keep up with, but when you add rumors, local events, and every day life; it can get pretty overwhelming.

From Al Jazeera to Tunisia Live, CNN to BBC, the media has focused heavily on Tunisia over the last few days and as a result there is a lot of information (and misinformation) out for us to consume.

10-Day Outlook

It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next 10 days. Ennahda party officials have announced that within this time period, “Tunisia will have a coalition government in place.”  Each day will provide us with more clues as to how smooth or problematic this transition will be.  The 10-days will also give us a snapshot at the new security layout and the general direction of the country.

Key Dates to keep in mind:

  • Friday, November 4th:  The Friday prayers before the big Eid, usually draws higher than usual attendees to the mosques.  This could play a factor depending on the way things go during the week.
  • Sunday, November 6-7  Eid Al Idha
  • Monday, November 7th:  Many factors such as the link this date had with the old regime and the fact that it will mark the 10-day cycle; make it worth monitoring.

On the radar

Blancos, a very popular beach side bar and lounge located in Gammarth, has been permanently shutdown by Tunisian authorities.  According to several sources, the authorities showed up on Friday night to enforce an ordinance that prevents any establishment located near the beach from selling alcohol after 11pm.

We also detected more road side checks in and around the greater La Marsa area and higher sense of alertness among police officers. The period of change is well underway, let’s hope the change will continue to be for the better.

 

 

Tunisia Security Update

At the Tunisia Security Update we are going to continue to focus on security issues effecting the La Marsa, Carthage, Laouina, and Gammarth areas.

Election Update 7-(Big Tuesday)

Congratulations to the Tunisian people for their successful election day!  It seemed like all the pieces fell into place, the weather was great, the people were motivated, and the system worked.

On another note, now is not the time to just sit back and put away our security textbooks.   As previously discussed, security professionals predicted a smooth election day, but there are still concerns about the general public reaction and subsequent transition. The head of the election commission, Kamel Jendoubi, has already stated that the official results would be released Tuesday afternoon. By the end of this week, we’ll have a clearer picture of  the new security landscape.

Residential Security

We’ve received several reports in the La Marsa, Carthage, and Gammarth areas, concerning a scam operation whereby a person rings a private home’s door bell and gives a fake excuse in an attempt  to gain access.  Fortunately, in all the cases that we’ve come across, the person was smart enough to know something was wrong and refused to open the door.  In one case a male claimed he was there to deliver a letter at 10pm.  It’s important that you remain aware of your environment and understand that most burglaries are crimes of opportunity.

Residential Security Awareness

  • Break-ins often occur during the day when homes are unoccupied.
  • Before any break in, there is always a period of surveillance; don’t become predictable.
  • Make sure you’ve developed a good rapport with your neighbors, know your neighborhood, and easily spot something that ‘just doesn’t look/feel right’.

Tomorrow will be the start of a new era for Tunisia.  Hopefully the same positive energy that we witnessed during the weekend will carry over into the week.

Election Update 6- (Hotel Threat Update)

Regarding the Sheraton hotel threat,  from various trusted sources we can confirm the following:

The information was generated from what appears to be a ‘false threat’ made by a disgruntled taxi driver who was not allowed to pick up customers within the hotel perimeters.  Additionally, the authorities responded to the situation and dealt with it properly.  It is reported that the hotel has since increased their security and is presently operating as normal.

Big Day Ahead…

Tomorrow is the big historical day that we’ve been waiting for.  I will have the privilege of accompanying my wife to the voting station and witness history in the making.

 

 

 

Tunisia Security Update

We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and  keep you updated with relevant, practical, and big

picture analysis.

 

Election Update 5-(Calm Friday…Important Info)

It was a calm and rather beautiful Friday.  A member of our security team informed us that the theme of today’s prayers was about the importance of good deeds and preparations for Eid Al Adha (Muslim holiday), which will run from November 6th to the 7th.

On another note…

According to an Australian government website:

“According to potentially credible information as of 19 October, terrorists may be planning to attack the Sheraton Hotel in Tunis, Tunisia, within a few days.”

We are not able to verify their ‘credible information’, but considering the timing and specificity of their posting, it is better to share this type of information.

We have shared this information with other security professionals and will keep you informed if we are able to obtain more clarification on this matter.

Evaluating Information

In this day and age with so many open sources, we really have to examine every piece of data that comes across our way.  Like good information analysts, we have to accept that in the information age, all sorts of info, confirmed and unconfirmed, are easily passed on as truth, but nothing can replace good common sense.

Tunisia Security Update

We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and  keep you updated with relevant, practical, and big

picture analysis.

Election Update 4-(Monitoring Friday)

Last Friday, Tunisian “police fired tear gas to disperse several thousand Islamists trying to force their way into the prime minister’s office”.  This Friday (October 20th), will give us a good sense of the overall mood Tunisians will be in for Election Day Sunday.  Of course there are still many wild cards on the table, but with so many election observers, over 42,0000 security agents guarding polling stations, and an entire nation hungry for change; it is safe to say that the necessary pieces are in place for us to witness the culmination of  a successful election process.

The big question for the Expat community is:  What happens next?

Next, we brace ourselves for a whole new Tunisian paradigm, a new security outlook, and for a whole new set of unanswered questions.  With each passing day, we will have a better idea as to how this new paradigm will materialize. We have to keep in mind  that “final results will be announced 12 days after the day of the elections (October 23rd)”. Although we will have a good idea of the outcome, primary results will be announced throughout the weeks.

Monitoring Friday

Friday is the day to be on the look out for any major developments.  We will be on the look out for:

  • Any major protests after Friday prayers.
  • Any major political announcement.
  • Any major official announcement, especially anything related to a curfew.

Sunday’s weather forecast doesn’t look too promising, but I am sure that neither rain nor thunder will deter the Tunisian people from going to the polling stations and exercising a right they worked so hard to get.

 

Tunisia Security Update

We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and  keep you updated with relevant, practical, and big

picture analysis.

Election Update 3-(Plan in Place)

We are less than 10 days away from witnessing history.  The stakes are high as Tunisia will have the world stage on October 23rd.  With more than 130 American observers on hand to monitor the National Constituent Assembly elections and many other organizations curious to see what will happen, now is the time to make sure that your personal emergency preparedness plan is in place. My family and I have decided that Wednesday October 19th is our emergency plan cut off date.  In other words we will make sure that by that date, we have everything we need to survive 72 hours of chaos should the situation arise. 

Optimism pretty much summarizes the mood among security analysts regarding the elections.  Although many things could go wrong, the sentiment on the ground is that IF the electoral process works; it will be a smooth transition.  Mr. Rashed Al-Ghanoushi, of the Al-Nahda party summarized this point precisely in response to the question:  How many votes will you (Al-Nahda) receive?:  “We believe we are undoubtedly the largest party, and everyone agrees. All polls state that. How many votes will we win? That will depend on the reliability of the electoral process.

If this ‘reliability’ is questioned or shown to be flawed, we can pretty much expect things to change dramatically.  It’s important that we keep in mind that results will be announced “12 days after the day of the elections (October 23rd), but that primary results will be announced progressively as the counts are done.”  This period, from October 23rd-November 4th will be critical.

Let’s continue to share good information and work together as we make our way to the 23rd and beyond!

Tunisia Security Update

We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and  keep you updated with relevant, practical, and big picture analysis.

 

 

Election Update 2-(Weekend Test)

Over the weekend we got a preview of the Tunisian Security Forces readiness.  From (2) separate occasions, we received good indicators of not only their strategy but also their commitment to order. As far as strategy, in both cases we can see that their primary objective is to control the situation quickly and in great numbers.  Regarding the ‘television station‘ incident, for a mere 90 protesters, “100 police vehicles and several hundred police officers wearing anti-riot gear” handled the situation professionally.  The incident, which was in reaction to Nessma TV airing a film that showed the literal depiction of God, highlights a growing tension between religious groups and secularist. This growing tension may turn out to be a very important factor as we get closer to the 23rd.

Also during the weekend, it was reported that in Sousse, Islamist supporters tried to storm a university located  about 150km south of Tunis.  The flip side of this tension is the element that secularist are worried about both the popularity and strong organization of Islamist groups and concerned about their chances of success on October 23rd.

Positive Feedback from Observers…

Andreas Gross from the Council of Europe has publicly stated his admiration for the Tunisian lectoral Process.  Significantly, he stated that he felt that “revolutionaries, civil society and especially the three commissions tasked with protecting the gains of the revolution and who have prepared not only the elections but also the legislation on parties and their financing are really strong and capable, and that’s something that makes a huge difference.”

2 out of 3

In order to go through this transition smoothly 3 factors have to be in order:  1- State Security Forces must remain committed to keeping the peace.  2-The Electoral Process must run smoothly and 3-We must have a good personal plan.  This weekend’s events are proof that  2 out of 3 factors are (at least they appear to be) in place, so it’s up  to us to make sure we take care of our business and check off the third factor; Create a Personal Family Plan.

Tunisia Security Update

We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and  keep you updated with relevant, practical, and big picture analysis.