TS Update-(Take a deep breath…)

Greetings Expats,

First, I would like to thank everyone for all the feedback (positive & negative)…it’s all good.

For those who are new to the site please note that the purpose of this blog is to provide the expatriate community in Tunisia with practical & relevant security updates.

The objective is to empower expats with information so that they are not simply reacting to the latest news. In addition to this blog I also manage a facebook page, twitter, and conduct periodic security awareness workshops.

Lastly, I would like to make it absolutely clear that this blog is strictly independent and does not represent the views of any formal organization, embassy, etc.

And now back to our Security Updates…

Tunisia security forces are taking proactive measures in and around Tunis.  Additional road check points and military presence have increased throughout the country.

For those traveling within Tunisia, please take note of the following military operations areas:

Bir Al Hfay, Sidi Ali ben oun, Sidi Aich, Mont Twal, Mont Oudada, Mont Saloum, Mont algaradka, Mont Kmayem, Mont Rkamet and surrounding areas from 25 October 2013 until the end of operations.

Additional areas include:

Jebel Ouergha: between Le Kef and the Algerian border

Rural Kasserine (delimited in blue in the map below) and especially Jebel Châambi

Rural governorate of Sidi Bouzid adjoining that of Kasserine (outlined in red)

image006

Source: Presidency of the Republic of Tunisia Department of Information and Communication

Hoping for the best

Once again I appreciate all the feedback, but please remember that I am just an average expat living in Tunis hoping that things go well.

As always I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with anyone that is interested in sharing practical & relevant security information in a transparent manner.

Lastly, feel free to contact me…if you have a question don’t speculate…simply ask and I will answer.

TS Update-(Expats…ready for the next crisis?)

Greetings Expats,

Military clichés aside…these last few days provided us with some good training opportunities.  Specifically, we learned that accurate information is critical, networking is essential, and adaptability is the key.

Here’s how it went down…

Information:  Friday, October 25th was already shaping up to be a challenging day for us.  With an already tense environment due to the incidents that took place the previous nights and the additional security challenges; we were definitely operating on a higher level of awareness.

Then to make things more interesting, I received word about the situation in Ennasr. Located only a few miles away, I was instantly concerned.

The initial report read:  “One killed as Tunisian police clash with militants in the capital”.  To make matters worse the incident took place near the Ennasr secondary school…and then the rumor mill kicked into high gear.

The initial article posted by Al Arabiya was not only inaccurate but in my opinion irresponsible.

Networking: Fortunately within minutes, thanks to the expat security professionals network, contacts from the Tunisian security forces, and others; we were able to not only obtain accurate information but also make timely & practical adjustments to our operations.

The rumor mill had no chance…

Adaptability:  If there is one quality that expats need in order to thrive overseas its adaptability:  the ability to change to fit changed circumstances.

The next crisis…

I often get emails from expats demanding “specifics”. They state that the updates I provide are too general and they need more specifics. While I appreciate each email I receive I have to remind my “specifics subscribers” that security information by its very nature has to remain general and somewhat ambiguous.

That being said here’s something to consider: *Tunisia may experience another crisis situation within the next 4 weeks and expats should be aware of the sensitive time ahead.

Crisis Situation:  A circumstance or event that is a surprise to decision makers, that evokes a sense of threat (particularly physical peril), and that must be responded to within a limited amount of time.

Informed vs. Reactive

Organizations that continue to value security will easily overcome the security challenges ahead. Expats that remain informed, connected, and engaged will find it much easier to avoid the menacing winds of the rumor mills.

I feel very fortunate to have access to a dynamic network of security professionals and work for an organization that values security.

Let’s stay connected and continue to share information as we make our way through these next 4 weeks.  

TS Update-(Oct. 23 Incident)

Greetings,

Today’s incident involving the death of at least eight Tunisian policemen highlights what many analysts have already described as a serious conflict between Islamists (jihadist, terrorist, etc.) and Tunisian Security forces.

It’s no secret…the diagram below is a rough overview of the model that these “jihadist cells” are following in North Africa…but there’s more to this…

AQ-Clandestine-Network-Model

Smoke & Mirrors

In reality what we’re witnessing in Tunisia is a high stakes chess match between politicians.  The layers of deception, disinformation, and incompetence is so thick that nobody (security experts, journalist, Tunisians) knows how this will all play out.

As a result of today’s incident, here’s what we should anticipate:

  1. More protests
  2. Stronger security presence throughout Tunis
  3. More battles between security forces & jihadists
  4. A lot of political maneuvering
  5. Rumors about all sorts of scenarios

Also note that we should anticipate an increase in strikes and disruptions.

Expat Readiness

As expats we should not wait for breaking news to review our security posture.  It’s best if we remain informed, connected, and proactive.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the policemen that lost their lives today in the line of duty.

Let’s keep sharing information, networking, and helping each other as we continue our journey in Tunisia.   As always hoping for the best but prepared for challenges.

 

 

TS Update-(October 23rd..what’s next?)

Greetings Expats,

With the exception of a minor earthquake on Friday, I have to say that this has been the best October weather I’ve experienced in Tunisia over the past seven years.

Security Paradox

Screen shot 2013-10-20 at 7.06.11 PM

As I was having dinner with my family at a beautiful hotel resort in Sousse, I couldn’t help but notice the paradox.  On one hand I was receiving messages flashing:  “Tunisia security forces kill nine “Islamists“,  and “Tunisia leaders evicted from police memorial“…etc.  Meanwhile I witnessed hundreds of smiling tourist exploring Sousse without a care in the world.

In fact I know many expats had a wonderful time traveling throughout Tunisia during eid break.

 

Situation Update

The “dialogue process” is going to begin on October 23rd.  Ambitious goals include:

  • Finishing the constitution
  • Resignation of current government…replaced by a technocratic government
  • New election dates

Escalation of incidents

Even with the Eid celebrations, political “progress”, and increased security throughout the country:

Challenges Ahead

The dynamics stated above along with other important factors such as noticeable internal divisions and the situation in Libya are more than enough to make many security analysts think that the situation is in Tunisia is on the verge entering a more challenging phase.

While there are many who believe that even if setbacks arise, they will only be minor challenges for a country destined to reach its democratic dreams.  Security professionals are not paid to be optimistic and that is why many are advising their expats to take extra precautions especially during the next few weeks.

“Extra Precautions?”…simple & practical  

Question:  Why do security professionals always offer the same advise? Answer:  Because most people only care when it’s too late.

Taking extra precaution is simple and trust me…you won’t look funny doing it:

Situational Awareness-Pay attention to your surroundings.

Informational Awareness-Ensure you are reviewing the situation on a continuous basis and avoid the “I rather not know…” group.

Setup Review-Review your residential setup.

Feel free to download a simple checklist that I created.  Please feel free to email me if you have any ideas on how to make this document better.

EXPAT SECURITY READINESS-Checklist

 

 

 

 

 

TS Update-(Regional Awareness Oct. 13-17th)

Greetings Expats,

I hope everyone is doing well and managing ways to enjoy this great “fall” weather.

OK..now for the interesting part.  So I was looking over the situation, reviewing my notes, and discussing various issues (Libya, dialogue process, Eid, etc.) with local contacts…and I have to say that things are getting interesting.

Here’s what I know…

1.  The dialogue process in Tunisia is more fragile than the media would have you know.

A google news search on the dialogue political process is mostly sunshine and jasmines…but talk to any savvy political person on the ground and they will tell you that:  a.  there are many variables b. the time constrains & ambitous goals make the process very challenging

2.  Tunisian military & police are on “high alert”

Libya is not just another distant battle field, what happens in Libya matters in Tunisia.  It has been well noted that “deep chaos and lawlessness” have gripped Libya and Tunisian authorities are concerned about the spill over.

3.  Many multinationals and embassies in the region are taking extra precautions during the October13th-17th period due to the increase risk in Libya.

On October 9, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli issued a security message to Americans in Libya “reminding the need for caution, and announcing plans to restrict personnel movement to “essential” travel only and closure of the embassy during U.S.”  Other multinationals have followed suit with their own warnings & operational adjustments.

4.  As Expats we have to rise our awareness for the next coming weeks

Busy week ahead with October 14, being the Day of Arafat; and October 15-17th Eid ul Adha (Feast of Sacrifice).  Traditionally these days are very peaceful and positive in Tunisia, but due to the above stated challenges we have to make sure that we remain informed & engaged.

Enjoy your break if you’re traveling…and as always let’s continue to stay in touch.

 

 

 

TS Update-(Next 3 weeks…Video+Checklist)

Greetings Expats,

Check out my brief video presentation in which I share some information about the next 3 weeks ahead.  Also feel free to download your Expat Personal Security Checklist.

While many are optimistic about the situation in Tunisia… let’s continue to share information, network, and remain proactive.

 

EXPAT SECURITY READINESS-Checklist