TS Update-(On the Radar in 2013)

Greetings Expats,

A good personal security risk plan should include a list of specific developments to monitor.  Staying alert to local security developments is a central part of a practical & effective personal security setup.

Here are the (5) developments that we’re going to monitor closely in 2013:   

1.  The Salafists

“Tunisia’s Salafists, impatient for power and unskilled in the art of winning it democratically, are growing bolder in claiming it by force.”

Salafists won’t go away in 2013

More Info:  Salafist Influence Grows in Tunisia

2.  The League for the Protection of the Revolution

Labeled by some as a “paramilitary group with connections to the governing Islamist party, Ennahda”…their actions will be interesting to follow.

The League for the “Protection of the Revolution”…or a hired mob?

More Info:  Members of League for Protection of Revolution, UGTT Trade Unionists Clash

3.  Election Cycle 

“The National Constituent Assembly (NCA), the democratically elected body is in the process of  drafting the Tunisian constitution and the next presidential and parliamentary elections are due to be held on June 23, 2013. However, the security situation is still a roadblock in Tunisia…”

Elections…let the games begin

More Info:  Tunisia sets date for landmark presidential election 

4.  Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

Al-Qaeda was is trying to attract young members to embrace their hard-line ideology. The terror network is also attempting to train the recruits militarily and ideologically, before sending them to camps in Libya and Algeria for further instruction…

Enemies at the gate

More Info:  Tunisia foils al-Qaeda expansion plan

5.  Conservative Shift

“Once tolerated, alcohol now creates rift in Tunisia.”

Expat Awareness top priority in 2013

More Info:  Tunisian Salafists attack alcohol sellers in capital 

Expat Awareness

Well those are the top 5 developments that I’ll be following…what’s on your radar?  Feel free to email and let’s continue to share information in 2013.  

 

TS Update-(New Year…New Challenges)

Greetings Expats,

What a year and what a good time to reflect and look back at the many exciting and challenging moments of our Expat adventure  in 2012.  

The good news is that the world didn’t end but many challenges remain as we get ready for 2 0 1 3.  

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”-Yvonne Woon

2012…a year filled with Challenges & Hope for Tunisia

January 2012

Tunisia Protests Denounce Violence by Ultraconservative Islamists

March 2012

Islamic groups unite calling for Shariah 

June 2012

Art Drama

August 2012

Tunisia women protest to demand equality 

 

September 2012

US Embassy & American School Attack

October 2012

Tunisia Marks Anniversary  of Free Elections 

 

December 2012 

Tensions between General Union of Tunisian Labor (UGTT) and Government of Tuisia

 

Expats Stay Connected

Thank you for all the feedback and positive encouragement in 2012.  

Wishing all Expats a very happy, prosperous  and safe new year.

Let’s continue to share information & network now more than ever! 

 

TS Update-(Awareness in December)

Greetings Expats,

I hope those of you who traveled during the Winter Break arrived safely to your destinations and are enjoying the winter festivities.  I was happy to see that many Expats opted to stick around and spend some of their break in  Tunis.

Sure it’s not New York City but we can’t complain about the weather…

Situational Update

Marc Champion summed it up pretty good in his Bloomberg article:   “Salafists will not rule Tunisia, and the current confusion may one day be seen as natural. But the country seems adrift.”

Here’s the range of information that I’ve received over the last week:

1.  Info:  The President and the Speaker of the National Assembly run for cover in Sidi Bouzid as rocks and tomatoes are thrown at them

2.  Info:  Confirmation of the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Tunisia.

3.  Info:  Heavy security presence in Carthage due to some undisclosed security information.

Challenges Remain

On the street you can actually feel the impatience and frustration that Tunisians are holding within due to what many perceive as slow progress.  Conversely, you can also enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds that Tunisia has to offer and be totally oblivious to “what’s happening…”

It comes down to Situational Awareness…

Make no mistakes about it, during the last few days people have been arrested and plots have been foiled, as Tunisia continues its transition.

Expat Awareness 

Informational Awareness remains the key.  Keep the informative feedback coming and we’ll keep sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and the Blog.

TS Update-(Now onto the 17th)

Greetings Expats,

The 13th December build up ended with the cancellation of a proposed general strike that many feared would trigger major security challenges.  It’s interesting to note that UGTT Secretary General Hussein Abassi, stated that the strike was canceled due to a “lack of security” without giving more details.

Lessons Learned from the 13th

As Expats we can take two important lessons from the 13th:

  1. The Importance of Networking:  Up until last night there were Expats still wondering if the strike was going to take place.  There was so much misinformation circulating that Expats were very confused.  Even Tunisians were unsure about the specifics of the 13th…  This underlines the value of on the ground information and the importance of building a viable network.
  2. Preview of what’s to come:  We can be sure to see many more “December 13th” scenarios where rumors and threats will circulate regarding a significant date.  The key is to “stay ahead of the events”…Situational Awareness.

Now onto the 17th

According to Security Advisers:  “There remains potential for protests and unrest on 17 December, marking the second anniversary of Mohamed Bouaziz’s self0immolation…Demonstrations could be organized by UGTT members opposed to the decision to cancel the(Dec. 13th) strike, and any such events have the potential to be disruptive.”

As always we would like to remind Expats to avoid all forms of demonstrations and political oriented gatherings.

Expat Connection

I must say that December 13th was one of the easiest challenges I’ve had to deal with since the revolution and the main reason was thanks to all of your insightful feedback.  More and more, Expats in Tunis are connecting and raising the level of security awareness.

Seasons Greetings! 

 

TS Update -(December 13th-Build Up)

Challenges & Concerns…

Tunisia reaches deal with Siliana protesters

Tunisia’s government has reached an agreement with the labour union of the flashpoint town Siliana, where police are battling to maintain order for the fifth straight day.

Tunisia: UGTT HQ attacked, unionists almost lynched

Demonstration downtown yesterday by the Leagues to Defend the Revolution…against the explicit prohibition of the Ministry of Interior…

The December 13 general strike is to be held on the eve of the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, amid rising social and economic tensions in the country.

TS Update-(December 13th Expat Security Readiness)

Greetings Expats…

They say that the only way to prepare for a changeling situation is to become fully aware of it.  Although the situation in Tunisia remains volatile, one thing we can not complain about is the lack of information.  On a daily basis I receive plenty of informative updates from a wide variety of sources.  From family members to security colleagues, the information is pouring in.

The question is what do we do with IT? 

Situation Analysis

Situation: Tunisia’s main labour union has called for a rare nationwide general strike to take place on Thursday, December 13th.

Challenges: For its part, the Tunisian government has warned against the impact of a general strike and demonstrations on the functioning of public services particularly in such vital areas such as health, transport and education, in addition to first quarter exams in different schools and universities before the winter holidays scheduled for mid-December 2012.

Analysis:  The strike is significant because (A) It is only the third such strike that the union has called since 1940  (B)  It is only days away from major revolution anniversaries such as Bouazizi’s self-immolation on December 17th (C) The ever-increasing tensions between the two most powerful groups in Tunisia namely the Islamist ruling party Ennahda and the main labor union UGTT.

“With the two at loggerheads, the threat of a nationwide general strike next week could plunge the economically struggling country back into chaos, endangering its government and its transition to democracy..”

December 13th Expat Readiness

Setup:  From Monday December 10th- Wednesday 12th we should  focus on (3) primary areas:

1.  Communication (Situational Updates):  Make sure you are monitoring the current developments with various reliable sources such as:  local friends, Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page, Twitter @DavidSecurity, Embassy Websites, Community contacts, etc.

2.  Safety & Security (72-Hours Plan): Make the necessary arrangements to have in place a practical 72-hour plan. A 72-hour plan is not about panic or exaggeration  it is simply a precaution to take in the even that Thursday’s strike (or a preemptive incident) ignites wide-spread rioting.

3.  Sharing Information:  The spectrum of what will actually materialize on Thursday December 13th is as wide and unpredictable as the October 23rd build up.  Sharing confirmed & accurate information will enable us to keep our community informed & prepared.

Additional Concerns

I wish I could end the post on a positive note but instead I have to share a “what are you kidding me?!*” update:  As we all know from September 14th, there is a real possibility that international news events will trigger anti-Western demonstrations:

Travelers (Expats included)…should be aware of the potential for unruly protests in Tunisia in connection with the impending release of a low-budget film which allegedly insults the Muslim prophet Muhammad. The short film, which is due to be released in the Spanish capital Madrid on 14 December, has been produced by a Spanish national of Pakistani descent and is endorsed by controversial US pastor Terry Jones.   Travelers (Expats included)…  should monitor developments closely across the region and strictly avoid any related demonstrations as a basic security precaution.

Stay Informed

We’ll continue to post updates on the Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page & Twitter Feed @DavidSecurity.  In the meantime let’s continue to share information as we make our way through this next chapter in our Expat Journey.