TS Update-(Embassy Registration)

Greetings Expats,

During our last security meeting we highlighted the importance of registering with your respective embassy.  If you’re not already registered, please take a few minutes to register your stay in Tunisia.  Below are some helpful links: 

 Embassies Info
 
  • USA
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Tunisia, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here is the link:
 
  • UK
LOCATE is a free service provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for British nationals travelling to or living outside of the United Kingdom. The details you provide when you register will help our embassy and crisis staff contact you and give you better assistance in an emergency such as a natural or manmade disaster or civil disturbance.  Here is the link:
  • Canada
Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service offered by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada that keeps you connected to Canada in case of an emergency abroad, such as an earthquake or civil unrest, or an emergency at home. Here is the link: https://www.voyage2.gc.ca/minroca/std/termsandconditions-en.htm
 
The Embassy of Canada in Tunisia also offers consular services to Australia citizens
  • New Zealand
New Zealanders travelling or resident in Tunisia are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  
  • Australia 
Whether you are travelling overseas to visit family, as a tourist, for business or to live, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade encourages you to register your plans with us before you leave Australia. The registration information you provide will help us to contact or find you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family emergency. It may also be used to pass other information to you such as important travel advice updates, notice of elections and information on other matters relevant to travellers and expatriates.  Here is the link:  https://www.orao.dfat.gov.au/orao/weborao.nsf/Homeform?Openform
  • France

Ariane allows:  to identify, in crisis, the French declared present in the affected area,  to inform citizens by calling them directly or by sending an SMS (remember to sign a contract roaming (roaming) from your operator) ,  the contact person designated by the user as a referent in France to prevent an emergency, to provide, obtain, or to cross-check information to the traveler., here is the link : http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/infos-pratiques-20973/preparer-son-depart-20975/ariane/

Let’s keep sharing useful information…

TS Update-(Next 15 days)

Greetings Expats,

I had the opportunity to attend yesterday’s protest downtown and make some notes:

  • 1st:  This is still a “Tunisian-Political-Non Expat-Thing”:  Although we are still deep into a political crisis, the situation remains local, internal, and to some degree civil.  

Tunisia Security Update Onsite Feb 23 Protest

Tunisia Security Update Onsite Feb 23 Protest

  • 2nd:  We should still avoid protests:  While these protests are more like intense soccer matches, there are always troublemakers lurking around and you never know when things are going to get out of hand.  
  • 3rd:  Bigger Picture:  Security coordinators get concerned when big protests are announced downtown.  Their concerns are not about the protest itself, but about the peripheral risks. If these protests get violent they tend to spread and when that happens thugs & criminals take the opportunity to cause havoc.

tsu2

Next 15 Days

“We are going to enter the phase of forming a new government that will be for all Tunisian men and women, taking into account the fact that men and women have equal rights and responsibilities,” said Larayedh on his promotion from interior minister.-

“will have 15 days to form a new government and present its plan”

It is safe to assume that the opposition along with civil societies and everyday Tunisians dissatisfied with the current government will challenge this “transitional phase”.  

New Prime Minster already feeling the pressure…

On Saturday, the government issued a declaration in order to clarify the “powers of the outgoing Government.”

Contrary to some suggestions reported recently and according to which the outgoing Government would act after its resignation only as a caretaker government, Article 19 of the organic law 2011-6 dated December 2011 on the provisional regulation of public authorities states, in its penultimate paragraph, that the outgoing Government keeps all its powers until the new Government takes up duties,” said the Prime Ministry.

 Get ready for Stage 3

Few open source articles offer as much insight and practical analysis as the New Republic’s:  Welcome to Phase Three of the Arab Spring by Paul Berman.  The article is well written and a must read for Expats planning on living in Tunisia for the next few years.  

Read Article 

“The Arab Spring’s Phase Three has nonetheless arrived. Phase Three adds up to a series of mass protests and revolts and even wars against Islamists of every stripe—against the mainstream Islamists in Egypt, against the moderates in Tunisia, and against the radicals in Mali. The people want to topple the Islamists!—a significant number of people, anyway. Events have by-passed the experts. Islamism, even in its mainstream and moderate versions, turns out to be less democratic than advertised; and the demos, less Islamist.”

Let’s stay connected and continue to share practical & relevant security information.  

TS Update-(Saturday, February 23rd)

Greetings Expats,

On Saturday, February 23rd Tunisian “opposition parties” are planning a large scale rally downtown.  

Saturday Setup

Same as last Saturday, we advise Expats to:

  1. Avoid Protests (Downtown Tunis) 
  2. Monitor developments (Follow us on Facebook or Twitter)
  3. Review personal security set up (Communication & Essentials)

Unpredictable Fridays

We should also consider that forces opposed to Saturday’s protest may attempt to preempt their momentum by causing trouble on Friday.  That being said we need to continue our Friday setup.

  1. Adjust travel routes between 2-5pm
  2. Monitor developments
  3. Review situation for any updates

Expats Awareness

The following story underlines why we need to monitor developments and continue using our situational awareness skills.

Salafist street patrols worry Tunisians (Source:  By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 19/02/13)

“Bands of baton-wielding salafists have mounted security patrols in Tunisian cities in recent weeks, leaving many citizens to question what is behind the phenomenon.”

Expat Awareness  Although the “Salafist security patrols” are not active in Carthage, La Marsa, Gammarth, Sidi Daoud, etc., We should continue to continue monitor this development and only acknowledge uniformed officers or officials that properly identify themselves.

 

Let’s continue sharing updates…stay safe.  

 

 

TS Update-(Buffering Time)

Greetings Expats,

I really appreciate all the emails received last week.  I can’t say enough about the importance of solid on the ground information.  I was able to share some of the info on the Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page which reached over 3,000 Expats.

Before we go on, I think we need to highlight a very important point:  Things could be a lot worse.  

Here are only a few examples of actions taken on the part of Tunisian security forces which have arguably minimized security threats:

Tunisian Security Forces 

  • Bloomberg-Dec 22, 2012:  Tunisia arrested 16 members of a group linked to al-Qaeda
  • Reuters-Jan 17, 2013:  Tunisian authorities said on Thursday they had arrested a “terrorist” group and seized a big arms cache.
  • North Africa United- Jan 18, 2013:  A large quantity of weapons of different kinds were confiscated in the coastal city of Gabes.

What’s next?  

Mr. Habib Sayah (Director of the Kheireddine Institute), wrote an excellent article which offers both valuable insights and big picture analysis.  

He focused on Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AST) and the opportunity that the current political crisis is creating for them.  Among the many alarming developments, Mr Sayah notes that the “ferments of insurgency are germinating”.  He goes on to warn us that “if the cycle of political violence does not come to an end soon enough, AST may unleash a large scale insurgency.”

Read Mr. Sayah’s article 

While this may be the case, the actions on the ground are less worrisome and Expats are trying to move beyond the week to week tension build up.  The weeks of October 23rd, January 14th, and February 16th…were all filled with many news reports & rumors of countless troubling scenarios, but in the end very little happened.

Buffering Time

There is a buffer time between political battles and on the ground security consequences.  I believe we are in that buffer time and sooner or later we are going to have a stretch of challenging days.

While we continuously prepare for these challenging days ahead, we hope that the efforts of the Tunisian security forces and the goodwill of the Tunisian people continues to prevail.

Keep sending your updates and let’s keep in touch during these odd days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TS Update-(Setup for Friday 15th & Saturday 16th)

Greetings Expats,

Today we had our monthly Expat Security Professionals Meeting. This group is made up of security professionals from various fields all committed to networking for the purposes of keeping Expats safe & informed.

We had a very productive meeting this morning and I wanted to share some key points with you:

Friday, February 15th

 Security professionals agreed that we should implement the following measures
A.  Limit movements between 1:30pm-5pm.  B.  Avoid the downtown area  C.  Monitor the situation D. Avoid Protests
Situational Awareness:  Several wild cards can significantly alter the flow of events tomorrow:  Political announcements, rumors, criminal activities…
Saturday, Feb 16th
Security professionals recommend the following:
A.  Avoid downtown B. Ensure you are able to communicate C.  Monitor Situation closely D. Avoid Protests
Situational Awareness:  Ennahda protest/rally/demonstration/etc..” set for Saturday from 1:30 to 4 pm.
Additional Notes to Consider…
Crime Sweep:  Several sources have confirmed that Tunisian Security Forces are conducting a “crime sweep” during the night hours.  We should see more police check points and a stronger security presence at night.
Stay Informed
Remember you can also follow us on Facebook & Twitter for more updates.  Also feel free to contribute by sharing your observations & insights.  The Facebook Page is an ideal place to post comments and pass on helpful information.

TS Update-(Preparedness Feb 12-15th)

Greetings Expats,

First I would like to say that I am both honored & humbled by the emails I’ve received.  Thank you for allowing me to share these updates with you and let’s keep the positive flow of information going.

And now back to the news…

See if you can solve this riddle:

Part 1:  “To avoid chaos, Tunisia needs stability before democracy…a viable way for Tunisia to obtain stability is to install a technocratic, caretaker government”. Source:    Wafa Ben Hassine is a Tunisian human rights advocate, writer, and law student.

Part 2:  The conservative wing in Enhanada and it’s salafists allies have stated that they are totally against a technocratic/caretaker government.  Additionally, some have gone as far as to state that they would violently resist such a move.  “The harm of (making political concessions) will not just rebound on it but also on Islam as a religion. We stress that we will never hand over the country to the boys of France and the West, even if that costs us our lives,”-Source:  AFP Tunisia Salafist chief warns Ennahda against compromise

Challenges Ahead

The opposition will not ease the pressure and people want a viable political solution.

There is a huge difference between panic and preparedness.  Whereas panic is the result of being uninformed & complacent, preparedness is about being informed & prepared.

Preparedness is the way to go…

There is a chance of a great compromise happening this week and things may go smoothly, but as Expats we can be assured that there will be security challenges in Tunisia for a while.

The four main areas you should cover in your security setup are:

Security-Essentials-Mobility-Communication

  • Security:    Think in terms of your residence and your setup.
  • Essentials:  Think 3 day supply of food and water.
  • Mobility:     Think transportation and in a worst case scenario evacuation.
  • Communication:   Think about how you can communicate with the your friends, family, co-workers….etc.

Let’s keep the information flow going.  Please feel free to comment on this post or email me.  For more rapid updates check us out on our Facebook Page at Tunisia Security Update or Twitter @DavidSecurity.

TS Update-(Political Crisis..Expat Awareness)

Greetings Expats,

We need to get ready for a challenging week ahead and the best way we can do this is by remaining vigilant, informed, and prepared.

What to expect in the days ahead?

  • Political Instability: 

As a well written article on dawn.com stated:

“Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s gamble on forming a new cabinet of technocrats in defiance of his religious party after the murder of an opposition leader has left Tunisia in political limbo, with possible resignations from the government.”

Expat Security Tip:  Make sure you remain informed and up to date on the political situation in Tunisia, especially during these next 2 weeks.  

  • Targeted Attacks:

It should be noted that the late Chokri Belaid was not the only high profile person to receive death threats.  Other politicians, reporters, celebrities, and out spoken personalities have been threatened and or physically assaulted

Expat Security Tip:  Keep in mind that another high profile assassination or even attempted assassination would trigger massive demonstration and possible violent rioting.  

  • Embolden Criminality:

Criminals may read political instability as an opportunity to increase their activities.

Expat Security Tip:  Continue to use a high decree of situational awareness.  Simply be aware of your surroundings and move with a sense of purpose.  

  • Rumor madness 

For the next two weeks get ready to hear all sorts of rumors.  From military coup d’état to foreign government intervention.  Social media outlets will be pumping out a lot of unconfirmed information.

Expat Security Tip:  Make sure you have a wide information network composing of friends, family, various media sites, and personal blogs such as the Tunisia Security Update.  

Adapt & Overcome

Awareness & Avoidance continue to be our best security tools in Tunisia.  Let’s continue to share information and stay connected during these challenging times.