The growing link between cartels and armed jihadi militants along Tunisia’s borders with Algeria and Libya, combined with heightened ideological polarisation, could form an explosive mix ahead of Tunisia’s legislative and presidential elections.
To prevent a rerun of last year’s political crisis, Tunisia needs far-sighted political precautions that can preserve the national compromise beyond the 2014 elections.
Unless the permeability of the country’s borders is addressed, cross-border trafficking will increase jihadis’ disruptive potential and intensify the corruption of border authorities.
As Tunisia faces the most critical phase of its transition after Chokri Belaïd’s assassination, its leaders must devise a calibrated response to the various challenges posed by the rise of Salafism.
Formidable social and economic challenges threaten to undermine – or even halt – progress in Tunisia, despite the country’s positive transition to democracy.
Although Tunisia stands out in a turbulent Arab world for its relatively peaceful transition, justice and security must be bolstered to ensure long-term stability.
As Tunisia continues its transition to democracy, it will need to balance the urge for radical political change against the requirement of stability; integrate Islamism into the new landscape; and, with international help, tackle deep socio-economic problems.