As someone who follows the fast paced security world, I must admit that during the past few days I’ve been on information overload. It’s challenging to stay updated whenever there is a rapidly increasing rate of new information on any particular subject. In our case, the ever changing Tunisian security landscape, particularly the actions of Salafits; makes it very difficult to stay current with so much new information.
As Expats we need to be savvy analysts especially when it comes to security & safety information. An effective analyst checks sources, collaborates with others, and uses common sense. It seems like every other day there is something reported on Salafists and the security threat that they represent. The latest ‘alcohol protests’ that took place over the weekend in Jendouba are particularly troubling for Expats and the entire Tunisian tourism industry. The majority of Tunisians are also upset about this trend and as one article put it: “Tunisia sits on the edge as Salafits stage new rampage“.
Expat Situational Awareness
On Saturday I was at an event at the Palace Hotel in Gammarth and I had the opportunity to speak with a civilian dressed police officer on duty. My impression was that Saturday is a very challenging night for security forces throughout the Carthage, La Marsa, and Gammarth area and while things are generally calm, it is best to do some good pre-planning.
Interesting to note that according to the latest numbers, Salafists remain a very insignificant (yet vocal) minority with just over 10,000 followers. In a country of 10 million, they represent a fringe and isolated group. From a risk perspective we could say that the chances of you having an encounter with a Salafits is less than .10% which translates into highly unlikely.
Still their ability to make noise and disrupt the peace is not being taken lightly by observers. As one reporter accurately wrote regarding the Salafits: “Their ability to wreak havoc, as well as the jihadist past of some of their leaders, are sources of concern.”
Be sure to check out the Tunisia Security Update-Audiocast for a quick & insightful security update.