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CrisisWatch Tunisia

Unchanged Situation

As rivalry persisted between President Essebsi and PM Chahed, Essebsi tried to destabilise Islamist party An-Nahda, which has supported Chahed. Essebsi 29 Nov asked National Security Council – which includes PM and defence and interior ministers – to investigate An-Nahda’s alleged involvement in killings of two leftist politicians in 2013. Secretary general of Essebsi’s party Nida Tounes, Slim Riahi, 23 Nov lodged complaint against Chahed, accusing him of preparing coup; however military tribunal 10 Dec refused to hear case in absence of plaintiff. Chahed mid-Dec visited Saudi Arabia, met with King Salman, 15 Dec said Saudi Arabia had pledged financial aid worth about $830mn, including $500mn budget support. Protests erupted in interior. Leftist activists 14 Dec launched movement called gilets rouges, inspired by gilets jaunesprotests in France. Militants allegedly linked to Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Jund al-Khilafa 14 Dec robbed bank in Sbiba city in west, taking equivalent of $100,000, then killed in his home Khaled Zoghlani, brother of soldier killed in similar circumstances in 2016. Govt 19 Dec said security forces had arrested all eight members of terrorist cell dubbed Jihad and Tawhid Battalion that had allegedly been planning attacks in central Sidi Bouzid province. National Guard 19 Dec reportedly killed Aymen Ben Younes Jendoubi, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)’s local splinter group Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade, near Sakiet Sidi Youssef, Kef province in north. Leading figure in expat community from Côte d’Ivoire, Falikou Coulibaly, who had spoken out against racist violence, stabbed to death in capital Tunis 23 Dec. After posting online video in which he expressed frustration at economic problems and unfulfilled promises of 2011 revolution and called for revolt, journalist Abderrazak Zorgui set himself on fire and died 24 Dec in Kasserine in centre. Anti-govt protesters sympathetic to Zorgui’s complaints clashed with police for three consecutive nights in Kasserine and other cities; eighteen protesters arrested.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

25 Feb 2018
There is tension between the [Tunisian] police and the judiciary [about ISIS militants]. The police say it’s because the judges are terrorists themselves. BuzzFeed

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
14 Jan 2018
There is a fertile ground for social anger [in Tunisia] that needs to be taken into account. What will be interesting in the next days is how the youth movements will structure themselves. The New York Times

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia

Latest Updates

Strengthening Institutions in Tunisia

Tunisia is in limbo between two different forms of government, deepening socio-economic difficulties for many citizens and putting the country’s security at risk. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group proposes that the EU and its member states use their influence to persuade Tunisia actively to promote economic growth and speed up government restructuring.

En Tunisie, « le risque d’une dérive autoritaire »

Pour les chercheurs d’ICG, Michaël Ayari et Issandr El-Amrani, le pouvoir tunisien doit parachever la transition démocratique sept ans après la chute de Ben Ali.

Originally published in Le Monde Afrique

On the Politics behind Tunisia’s Protests

Analysis on the politics behind the scenes of the ongoing protests in Tunisia.

Originally published in The Arabist

Stemming Tunisia’s Authoritarian Drift

As dangerous signs of political polarisation mark the seventh anniversary of the 14 January 2011 Tunisian uprising, Crisis Group’s Tunisia Senior Analyst Michaël Béchir Ayari reflects on a growing but illusory popular nostalgia for strong, centralised government to get a grip on the country. He argues that to save the Arab world’s sole successful transition since 2011, the governing coalition should enact promised reforms, create a Constitutional court and hold long-delayed local elections.

Breaking Taboos in Tunisia

Tunisia has struggled to stay on track during the turmoil of the Arab uprisings. A dedicated Tunisia analyst, unique field work and privileged access to influential actors helps Crisis Group play a leading role in shaping policies to ensure the country’s democratic transition stays peaceful.

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