As always, before submitting a post, I went through my regular practice of trying to collect, analyze, and process the best information possible. As always, I learned a great deal about the security situation in Tunisia, but this time I took a step back and noticed something that at first glance may seem very basic but is really interesting once you actually experience it. What I noticed is that there is a huge gap between all my different sources of information. In a flash, I realized that my (3) primary sources: Open Source Intelligence, Professional Security Periodicals, and Security Conscious Tunisians; are all seeing the same situation through totally different lenses.
Open Source Intelligence
From open source channels, I gathered various good insights into the present security situation. Journalist, Gwynne Dyer wrote an excellent piece entitled: A Progress Report of the Arab Spring, in which he explains a very interesting development taking place in North Africa, namely the relative success that Islamic based political parties are having throughout the region. A reporter went even as far as to label this development as the Ennahda Effect. Both make the point that regardless of the speculations regarding the moderate Islamic party Ennahda, its” leaders promise to respect the rights of less religious Tunisians, and there is no reason not to believe them.”
The open source lens is wide and through it one can see a new horizon emerging with many challenges and opportunities.
Security periodicals focused on the power sharing agreement formation that took place on November 21st. Stratfor Global Intelligence Analyst Kamran Bokhari, pointed out that the Tunisian election results, “will have implications for other countries such as Egypt that have far more geopolitical significance than the tiny North African state”.
The lens through which security analysts are studying the situation is more specialized and through it one can see that the “New Tunisia” is far from unveiling its new look.
Security Conscious Tunisians
The biggest gap in terms of interpretation between what is being reported and the events taking place on the ground is definitely among average Tunisians. Our friends in the Carthage, La Marsa, and Gammarth areas have also expressed a lot of hope as well as concerns. As an American, it is absolutely inspiring to hear from so many Tunisians and to see first hand, just how passionate they are about their country, future, and new democracy.
The International Lens
All three lenses provide the International Community with powerful tools through which we can continually assess the security situation on the ground. Depending on your short and long term goals while in Tunisia, you may put more value on one particular lens over another. What’s important is to keep your perspective fresh and updated with big picture analysis.
We will certainly do our best to help you in this process and hope to continue to provide the International Community with relevant and practical security updates.