Tunisia is facing three major challenges. These are political, socio-economic and security challenges, which were made more critical by adverse geopolitics, and shaped in particular by a serious crisis in its immediate vicinity and the region as a whole.
The situation is made even more disturbing and complicated by increasingly alarming incidents in almost every single region in the country.
– On security, terrorist attacks have reached a turning point in terms of their (1) intensity and geographical expansion(e.g. moved to cities too), (2) targets (tourists have become targets), and (3) recruitment, training and tactics (attacks by lone wolves). This turning point has imposed another heavy burden on police and military forces as they are dragged into asymmetrical warfare.
– On the social front, the recent protests, well-organized or not, have reached unprecedented levels of frequency and magnitude (e.g. phosphates production interrupted, exams boycotted and administrative strikes intensified).
– Finally, geopolitically speaking, the expansion of the Islamic State (IS) to Libya has become a pivotal defining element of violence dynamics in this country.
Amid a context of daunting, large-scale challenges, an overall feeling of frustration prevails in society as the measures taken to address them are highly disproportionate to the level of threat they pose.
These measures are generally soft and slow and lack clear prospects. This is due in part to the fact that the key players in local affairs, which are expected to shape the future of the country, have failed to be driving forces of change, sources of inspiration and mobilization, as well as pillars of support. They have instead turned their hand to their narrower domestic affairs to live up to their new roles and responsibilities in the current democratic transition, as enshrined in the constitution. They need to invest enormous time and effort and allocate huge resources, which are extremely hard to secure quickly and in adverse circumstances, to meet those new obligations.
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