TS Update-(Summer Challenges & Beyond)

Greetings Expats,

As we stated in our previous postings, the threat level in Tunisia has increased and the month of Ramadan is proving to be very challenging for Tunisians.  This is a great time for us to review what happened and look beyond.

What’s going on? 

At least 14 Tunisian soldiers were killed when gunmen with rocket-propelled grenade attacked two checkpoints in the Chaambi mountain range.

Tunisian government stated that the attackers are tied to Al-Qaeda’s North Africa wing, known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Minster of Interior Mr. Ben Jeddou stated that since the start of Ramadan they’ve foiled six terrorist operations in  Tunisia.

Short Term=Tourism hit

Mount Chaambi is a war zone so it is very likely that similar incidents will take place.  On a broader level, the last couple of days have been a public relations nightmare for Tunisian tourism.  The Brits took the lead by warning its citizens of a “high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.”

Specifically, the FCO advises against:  “all but essential travel to areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Medenine and Zarzisj, and to within 30km of the border with Algeria from south of the town of Ghardinaou.”

To put it bluntly, this really sucks for Tunisia especially since the number of British visitors to Tunisia reached a new record last year with more than 400,000 visitors.

Long Term=Great Security Challenge 

Here are my top 3 reasons why I think we (Tunisians & Expat Community) have great security challenges ahead:

  1. Parliamentary elections (currently) scheduled to take place on October 26th & Presidential elections on November 23rd
  2. Current situation in Libya
  3. Social-Economic challenges in Tunisia

And as if these weren’t challenging enough we also have to look at even more alarming developments such as “reports indicating the return of Libyan jihadists and others from Tunisia to their countries to create branches of ISIS in North Africa.”

Expat Deep Breath 

Since 2011 we’ve seen how resilient, peaceful, and kind Tunisians are.  We certainly hope for the best for Tunisia but as expats we have to focus on ensuring that our personal security matches or exceeds the threat level.

With the right setup, mindset, and network we can continue to live & thrive in beautiful Tunisia.  This is true for both tourists & expats.

Let’s stay connected…

 

Tunisia Crime & Safety 2014

Greetings Expats, 

The Overseas Security Advisory Council (O.S.A.C.) was “created in 1985 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to promote security cooperation between American private sector interests worldwide and the U.S. Department of State.”

Each year OSAC publishes a Crime & Safety Report covering a variety of security & safety topics.  I find the report very helpful especially for newly arrived expats.   

Below is a brief presentation highlighting the key aspects of the report.  I hope you find the information helpful and let’s continue to share practical security information.

TS Update-(Back on Post)

I was feeling really good coming back to Tunis.  After visiting family and friends in the Dominican Republic I was looking forward to returning home and eager to get back to what I do best.  During my time away, I still managed to keep up with things in Tunis and for the most part it seemed to be going smoothly.  My optimism was high as my family and I waited to go through customs when suddenly an intense argument broke out among the Tunisian customs police.

Carthage International Airport

It all started with a uniformed police officer shouting at what appeared to be a colleague of his and then it was pure madness.  Children started crying and there was a sense of panic in the air, but luckily supervisors stepped up and the fiasco was moved to a private office.

“Welcome Back…” I thought to myself.

Summer Summary

Since our last posting on June 22, 2012, no major security updates have been issued.  The Canadian Embassy did well by reminding their citizens to “use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset” during Ramadan which should conclude on the 18th or 19th of August.

Here are a few informative articles for Expats who have been wisely enjoying their time off and not following the news:

Article:  Arab Spring falters, but Tunisian democracy thrives
Source:  The Miami Herald by NOAH FELDMAN
Key Quote:  “Tunisia is not all the way there, but having visited the country this month, I found it hard to escape the conclusion that this is what a democratic revolution is supposed to look like.”

Article:  Tunisia:  Constituent Assembly divided over political system
Source:  ANSA med
Key Quote:  “The stake is high as the outcome of the current debate will define the roles of parliament, the prime minister and the president in post-regime Tunisia.

Article:  Fasting Month of Ramadan in Tunisia, Ramadan Summer 2012
Source:  TunisPro
Key Quote:  “In Ramadan it is to be expected that shops, restaurants, banks, etc., either are completely closed or open just for a few hours per day, either in the morning or at night.

Expat Collaboration

Looking forward to collaborating with the wider Expat community on security issues as we get ready for a new school year & the Spring 2013 election cycle.

Let’s keep the useful information flowing…glad to be back on post.