Trump’s budget highlights Tunisia…

Since the 2011 Arab Spring, Tunisia has gained the attention of the world and according to an insightful article entitled [Trump budget spotlights Tunisia]; the North African country is becoming one of the State Department’s favorite country when it comes to military aid.

Hi my name is David Santiago and I’ve been covering the security situation in Tunisia for more than a decade.  As a security consultant I’ve advised many organizations operating in Tunisia and continue to empower companies as well as expats living in North Africa.

Tunisia has certainly gone through a lot in the last 10 years and today they remain the only “success story” of the Arab Spring.

The recent article that we mentioned highlights 2 important points with regards to the US-Tunisia security partnership:

  1. The important strategic role that Tunisia plays geopolitically
  2. The noteworthy security support Tunisia is receiving from the U.S.

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Strategic Importance

Since ancient times Tunisia has always played an important strategic role for world powers.  From the Romans to the Ottomans, French and now the Americans; every world power has sought to work with and in some cases control the relatively small North African country. 

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The recent State Department budget request shows that today more than ever Tunisia remains a top priority for the United States.  The current U.S. ambassador to Tunisia Mr. Don Blome summarized it well: “Tunisia has come a long way in ensuring the safety of its citizens, and the U.S. will remain a steadfast partner in this endeavor.”

 

US State Department support for Tunisia:

  • State Department’s 2021 budget, released Monday, highlights Tunisia’s request to purchase $500 million in US-made light attack aircraft to bolster the administration’s request for $8 billion in global loan authority under the foreign military financing (FMF) program.
  • President Trump’s 2021 budget frames the $8 billion loan request as a complement to the $5.5 billion in foreign military financing grants it has also asked Congress to fund.
  • The 2021 budget request would allocate $40 million of those grants for Tunisia.

Tunisia Security Challenges

According to the article when it comes to foreign military financing, Tunisia is a priority because it is“ “on the front lines of the fight against [the Islamic State] and other terrorist groups, to ensure that these threats are defeated.”

Tunisian soldiers stand in front of military equipment offered to Tunisia by the United States, in Tunis
Tunisian soldiers stand in front of military equipment offered to Tunisia by the United States, in Tunis, Tunisia, May 12, 2016.
Picture Source

US Security Support for Tunisia:

  • More than $100 million in US security assistance allocated from 2011 to 2017 went toward building the capacity of Tunisia’s Ministry of Defense and to counter terrorism.
  • since 2011 more than $50 million in programs in partnership with the Tunisian Ministries of Interior and Justice
  • $7 million in International Narcotics and Law Enforcement programming to provide reform in police, corrections and judicial sectors.
  • Source: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/tunisia/assistance.htm

USA Security Support in perspective…

The following passage gives us more perspective of the prominent place Tunisia has attain in the eyes of US military spending:

“President Trump’s 2021 budget frames the $8 billion loan request as a complement to the $5.5 billion in foreign military financing grants it has also asked Congress to fund. The 2021 budget request would allocate $40 million of those grants for Tunisia.”

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According to the reporter, “Congress is likely to provide Tunisia with more military grant funding than the State Department has requested, but not the $500 million loan, which Tunisia also sought for fiscal 2020. Although the State Department only requested $40 million in Tunisian foreign military financing grants for fiscal 2020, Congress more than doubled that, appropriating $85 million to Tunis without providing the loans for the fighter aircraft.”

All this support tells us that while the United States sees security challenges ahead for Tunisia, it also wants to ensure the success of the only “Arab Spring” country that flourished.

Moving forward I will continue to support organizations operating in Tunisia with security advise and effective risk management tools.

If your company is operating in Tunisia and you would like to know more please feel free to contact me at:  security@expatous.net

Stay Safe!

Note:  The article discussed in this post was: Trump budget spotlights Tunisia in pitch to overhaul foreign military aid
Source:  https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/trump-budget-tunisia-foreign-military-aid.html#ixzz6DkvWhEEq
Published:  2/11/2020 | Written by:  Bryant Harris (Al-Monitor)

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