The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

My article on #TunisAttack at Tablet Magazine: It’s Not Springtime in Tunisia Anymore

The full article can be accessed for free here:


Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the national museum in the heart of Tunis, in which two gunman wearing military uniforms killed 17 tourists and two Tunisians, may have shocked outsiders who still describe Tunisia as “the one success story” of the so-called Arab Spring. Yet the attack should not have come as a shock to anyone, least of all to Tunisians. Although no side claimed responsibility, press speculation in Tunisia centered on Islamic State-linked groups that have been operating in neighboring Libya, specifically Ansar ash-Sharia which is believed to be behind a series of assassinations in recent years in the capital as well as an ongoing insurgency in central Tunisia.

Indeed, for much of the last four years following the forced exit of the country’s longtime dictator, Ben Ali, Tunisian society, its political and economic leaderships, as well as key actors in the security sector have all been living under a barely sublimated, deep-seated fear that the country is wholly unprepared to defend itself from the massive security breakdown that is enveloping the entire region and steadily eating away at Tunisia’s own borders.

Periodically, of course, these fears have burst to the surface: When gunmen assassinated two left-leaning politicians in early 2013; when the national army (deliberately hobbled over the decades by dictators that saw it as a threat) were unable to dislodge a small band of insurgents who are still operating right in the middle of the country; and when the chief of staff of the Tunisian Armed Forces, General Rachid Ammar, inexplicably announced that “angels” would probably protect the country from the spillover of violence in Libya and the thousands of returning fighters from Syria…”

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 19, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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