5-Minute Travel Security Brief for Morocco

Every Thursday we deliver a 5-Minute Travel Security Report with practical advice and insights so that you can explore the world safely!

This week we’re focusing on the only North African country with a monarchy …Morocco!



Morocco Travel Security Brief

Before we get into the Travel Security Brief remember that this is a Quick Security Brief and our goal is to empower you with a solid security foundation NOT to sell you on a travel package. Now for the briefing:

Geography

Morocco is located in the northwest corner of Africa and is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Algeria and Western Sahara are the land borders to the south and east. Morocco is about the same size as California. And let’s face it, Morocco is down right beautiful!

Morocco has beaches along both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. There are many lovely beaches and attractions. Popular holiday spots include Tangier and Agadir, and Asilah.

Safety Concerns 

Road in Tunisia with taxi cab and crossing sheep.

Demonstrations occur frequently in Morocco, and are typically about internal issues dealing with local politics. Although many protests take place throughout the year they are mostly peaceful and not directed at foreigners.

The Buddy System

It is important to note that visitors, especially females, should strongly consider traveling with a buddy. Traveling in pairs is a good practice in any major city. However, in Morocco many travelers have noted that Western women receive frequent unwanted attention and solicitation.

Public transportation is somewhat reliable in Morocco. Drivers often do not follow road safety rules or traffic laws, and many vehicles lac proper maintenance. Watch belongings on any type of public transport.

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Crime Threat

According to the U.S. Department of State, Casablanca is considered a HIGH-threat location and Rabat MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

 The government of Morocco’s 2020 Crime Rate Report highlighted an 8.6% decrease in violent crimes in 2019, noting that law enforcement ultimately resolved 90% of cases. The report also noted increased efforts to combat criminal networks, particularly those involved in illegal immigration and forgery.

Source: Numbeo


Terrorism Threat 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Casablanca and Rabat as being MEDIUM-threat locations for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The Government of Morocco is very proactive when it comes to counterterrorism. The Moroccan security forces have foiled countless terrorists organizations, plots, and low level criminals.

CyberSecurity

Cybercrime in Morocco thus far remains generally limited to common scams requesting money up front for promised services, or chances to obtain more money with a down payment.

ATMs are generally safe when taking normal precautions. There have been several recent reported cases of debit/credit card fraud. In all cases, the victims reported money withdrawn from their accounts after using their cards at ATMs, or their credit cards being billed for unaccounted charges after using them at local establishments. 

Health & Safety

Morocco has adequate medical services in the larger cities, but the quality of care diminishes elsewhere. The medical facilities and hospitals in Rabat and Casablanca can treat most general illnesses, and can provide emergency trauma care. However, specialized care is not as easily accessible in Morocco as in Western countries.

Consider insurance and flight options before leaving home, and be sure to carry insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance overseas.

@DavidSecurity Travel Rating

Overall I give Morocco a 4.6 out of 5 in terms of Travel Safety.

The bottom line is that when visiting Morocco, think & act like you would in any major city. Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid playing the role of the clueless tourist.

That’s your Morocco Travel Security Brief– Let me know what you thought of it in the comment section and if you want more information about travel security t

That’s it for now. @DavidSecurity reminding you to Travel Safe and let’s keep it going!

Stay Safe!

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SolarWinds Cyber Attack and One Important Resource for American Businesses Operating Abroad…

Technology Tuesday! Insights on the SolarWinds Cyber Attack and One Important Resource for American Businesses Operating Abroad…


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Do you want to get the attention of a cybersecurity professional? Just mention the word “SolarWinds“. What happened? Basically, a group gained access to government and other systems through a compromised update to SolarWinds’ Orion software and caused havoc like the cybersecurity world has never seen before.

SolarWinds was NOT just another cyberattack…

The attack compromised the infrastructure of SolarWinds, and the incident has the potential to reshape the entire cybersecurity landscape. “OK so another hack…what’s the big deal?”… you may think.

Indeed cyberattacks have become more common than we think. In fact, since 2019  AT LEAST 16 billion records, including credit card numbers, home addresses, phone numbers and other highly sensitive information, have been exposed through data breaches. The first quarter of 2020 was one of the worst in data breach history, with over 8 billion records exposed.

After compromising the infrastructure of SolarWinds, the hackers gained access to their network and applications monitoring platform called Orion. Using that access they were able to produce and distribute trojanized updates to the software’s users.

This was a BIG deal because according to SolarWinds their customers included 425 of the US Fortune 500, the top ten US telecommunications companies, the top five US accounting firms, all branches of the US Military, the Pentagon, the State Department, as well as hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide.

This case is far from being closed. As of January 2021, the U.S. federal government and private sector are still investigating the incident. In the meantime businesses have to take proactive measures and ensure that their Cybersecurity Awareness Program remains strong.

Resource for American Businesses Operating Abroad

In response to this major cyber incident, the Overseas Security Advisory Council put together a Resource Guide to educate and assist American organizations operating abroad. The guide contains useful information including helpful articles, and can be viewed by any good standing OSAC member.

To learn more about the OSAC, how to become a member and access the Resource Guide feel free to visit their website.

This concludes this week’s Technology Tuesday UPATE. Let me know if you have any questions and stay safe!

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5-Minute Travel Security Brief for Tunisia

Every Thursday we deliver a 5-Minute Travel Security Report with practical advice and insights so that you can explore it safely!

This week we’re focusing on beautiful Tunisia!


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In this article, we are focusing on Tunisia the smallest country in North Africa and home of the 7 UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites.

Watch: 5-Minute

Tunisia Travel Security Brief

Before we get into the Travel Security Brief remember that this is a Security Brief and our goal is to empower you with a solid security foundation NOT to sell you on a travel package. Now for the briefing:

Geography

Tunisia is at the northmost point of Africa and is boarded on the west by Algeria and by Libya on the south. Not in the best neighborhood but Tunisians are one of the most friendliest and welcoming people in the world.

Unfortunately, Tunisia is NOT the best place in the world when it comes to road safety.

Safety Concerns 

Road in Tunisia with taxi cab and crossing sheep.

Road safety poses one of the greatest risks to foreign travelers. According to the Tunisian National Road Safety Observatory, there were more than 6,700 recorded traffic accidents, approximately 1,421 traffic-related deaths, and well over 10,000 injuries in 2017.

Driving in Tunisia is a CHALLENGE!

On that note, I should also add that I do NOT advise travelers to take public transportation in general especially the yellow minibusses…because well let’s just say those drivers do not have a good track record.

Crime Threat

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tunis as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting U.S. citizens. Also worth noting that crime involving the use of firearms is rare in Tunisia. Although violent and nonviolent crime (personal robberies, residential breakin-ins, financial scams, thefts) occur in Tunis and other large/tourist cities in the same way they do in any major city. 

The most-reported criminal incidents against foreigners are crimes of opportunity (pickpocketing, purse/phone snatching, petty theft). The targets tend to be foreigners who appear unfamiliar with their surroundings and look very shall we tourist-like. 

Terrorism Threat 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tunis as being a HIGH-threat location for terrorism and it is important to note that a state of emergency put in place after a 2015 terrorist attack in Tunis continues…pretty much the government reinstates it monthly like clockwork. 

Tunisian security forces.

There have also been some notable terrorist attacks mainly against Tunisian Security forces but it is something to keep in mind. 

CyberSecurity

It is well documented that the internet played an important role in the historic evens of the Arab Spring. Furthermore, Tunisia has one of the most developed telecommunications infrastructures in North Africa with broadband prices among the lowest in Africa. Internet access is available throughout the country using a fibre-optic backbone and international access via submarine cables, terrestrial and satellite links. 

Data protection law: A draft law on the protection of personal data designed to replace the previous Law No. 63 was approved in March 2018 and came into force on May 25, 2018. Tunisia has a data protection agency, the National Authority for Personal Data Protection (INPDP).

Health & Safety

Well, we know that the pandemic is something to consider and Tunisia has been affected by it in the same way that most countries have during this time period. The important thing when visiting Tunisia is to know the requirements before traveling at the minimum be prepared to present a recent (72hrs) or less PCR test. 

@DavidSecurity Travel Rating

Overall I give Tunisia a 4.7 out of 5 in terms of Travel Safety unless you are one of those adventure-seekers that wants to hang out by the border or climb a restricted mountain located in a military zone.

The bottom line is that if you carry yourself as you would in any major city and practice situational awareness you will greatly reduce your chances of being a crime victim and have a great time. 

That’s your Tunisia Travel Security Brief– Let me know what you thought of it in the comment section and if you want more information about traveling to Tunisia make sure to check out our active Tunisia Security Update Facebook Page where I share all the latest updates on Tunisia and travelers from all over the world interact and share information. 

That’s it for now. @DavidSecurity reminding you to Travel Safe and let’s keep it going!

Stay Safe!

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Six Business Continuity Principles to Prepare your Organization for Disruptive Events

State capitols across the United States are stepping up security by deploying National Guard units, SWAT teams and extra police officers in preparation for Inauguration Day on January 20th.

As State Capitals ramp up their security here are a few key points to consider as you prepare your organization…


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Overview

State capitols across the nation are stepping up security by deploying National Guard units, SWAT teams and extra police officers in response to last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol.

The additional security and precautions come as the FBI issued a bulletin warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

State capitols across the country, including Nebraska, step up security amid new safety concerns

An internal FBI bulletin warned, as of Sunday, that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press.

Politics aside, this development offers Security and Business Continuity Professionals an opportunity to review sound BC principles that we should use during civil unrest situations.

Business Continuity Precautions

During Marine Security Guard Training in Quantico, Virginia, a good part of our training is focused on how to react to civil unrest and disturbances. Never would I have taught that U.S. based business security managers would reach out to me to ask for insights regarding civil unreset but here we are so let’s get prepared.

Here are a few key points to consider as you prepare your organization to recover from disruptive public events such as protests or riots.

  • Ensure employees are knowledgeable about the organization’s Emergency Response Plan. This is true of any business disruption and it is an ongoing process. For this principle I think Eisenhower has the best quote: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
  • Ensure work-from-home plans are in place. By now most organizations already have plans set up but now may be a good time to review and update plans.
  • Utilize emergency notification services effectively. There is no replacement for regular, clear, and empowering communication during times of disruption.
  • Monitor news and social media. This principle was invaluable for me and my security team especially during times of widespread, unpredictable events. Thankfully we don’t have to fear an “Arab Spring” type situation on the homeland but being able to monitor the news and social media is beneficial because it enables you to address rumors and provide actionable advice.
  • Proactively coordinate with local law enforcement. This should be done throughout the year be attending local meetings and building solid relationships not just with law enforcement but also with fellow security professionals including on LinkedIn.
  • Adapt and Overcome. Be prepared to make adjustments. This may entail adding third-party security personnel, physical or psychological barriers, or equipment such as security cameras and supplementary lighting.

While the chances that we will have massive disruption throughout the country on January 20th is unlikely, as security and business continuity leaders, we should always strive to remain prepared and engaged.

Stay Safe!

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Remote Work is Here to Stay-3 Trends Why We’re Never Going Back…

Since the beginning of the pandemic, businesses faced the challenge of how to integrate remote work into their everyday operations. Industries that ignored remote work innovation found themselves struggling to adapt to the “new normal”. But will the changes continue? Or will workplaces revert to their pre-pandemic forms?

The short answer is YES & NO!


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COVID-19 has forced companies all over the world to adapt and embrace remote work in one way or another. The question is will this trend continue?

3 Trends Fuling Remote Work

Trend #1-The number of people working from home is only growing

Nearly 90% of people who have been able to work from home during the pandemic do not want to go back to the office full time, even once it’s safe to do so, according to a new study out today from Pew Research. And employers are already thinking about how that’s going to change their workplaces.

Trend #2-More and more companies are seeing the economic impact

U.S. employers are saving over $30 billion per day by allowing employees to work from home. This major economic benefit of remote work could continue as more companies make it a long-term solution.

The 3.9 million employees who work from home at least half time reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking more than 600,000 cars off the road for an entire year, according to the “State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce” report.

Trend #3-A.I. wil take off! 

In many ways, the growth of remote work parallels the growth of artificial intelligence (AI). It wasn’t so long ago that AI was confined to the realm of science fiction. Now, like remote work, AI promises to transform nearly every industry and every company. As we look to the future, AI will almost inevitably accelerate our transition to remote work after Covid-19. 

The verdict is in. Remote work is here to stay and these trends clearly show us that the traditional 9-5 office setup is a thing of the past. Still, with great change comes even greater challenges and risks. That is why now more than ever organizations need to ensure they have a strong Cybersecurity Awareness Program so that their employees are equipped with tools to thrive remotely.

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3 Valuable Lessons for Security Professionals in 2021

2020 will go down as one of the most disruptive years of all time. For security professionals, 2020 was filled with many challenges. It also gave us valuable lessons that we can use moving forward.

Here are some of the major lessons we learned in 2020 and how we can use them to thrive in 2021:

  1. The importance of business continuity
  2. The need for cybersecurity awareness.
  3. The value of being resilient

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Even before the global pandemic, security professionals found themselves in a world of constant change. In many ways, the global pandemic called us out and asked a very powerful question: Do you have the skills necessary to overcome these challenges?  

During 2020, security professionals scrambled to find answers, mitigate new cyber threats, and identify the skills required to remain operational. 

3 Lessons Security Professionals learned during the Pandemic

As much as 2020 was challenging it also gave us valuable lessons that we can use moving forward. The top 3 lessons being:

The skills required to be successful in 2021 are a mix of time tested leadership skills and new technological techniques that empower us to remain productive & effective.

Lesson #1: Business continuity planning matters. Set realistic objectives, and involve everyone in the organization to avoid falling into the reaction vortex.

“Business continuity planning is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company.”

The pandemic in many ways (was and continues to be)  an economic earthquake with unknown consequences. Security professionals, know that during economic disruption, business continuity planning is there to provide organizations with the resources and framework needed to mitigate the negative impacts of disruptions to normal operations—while continuing to fulfill key objectives.

In 2020 most organizations with a business continuity plan (BCP) were able to actually see if their plans were up to the task. Organizations that focused on BCP prior to the pandemic performed better than those that decided to make it important during the April-July time period.

Lesson #2: Cybersecurity awareness is more important than ever. All security professionals regardless of specialization must focus on raising the security posture of their organization. 

The pandemic forced organizations and individuals to reconsider the very nature of how we work. Suddenly remote work, telecommuting, work from home, became standard operations.

As the world scrambled to figure out how to go from office spaces to work from home setups, many security professionals in positions of leadership were left searching for answers. At the same time, cybercriminals around the world plotted to capitalize on the crisis. 

Many cybersecurity experts documented a spike in phishing attacks, Malspams and ransomware attacks during the highest of crisis. Unscrupulous cybercriminals used COVID-19 as bait to lure confused employees.

The lesson is clear, in 2021, security professionals regardless of their specialty, sector, or region must focus on cybersecurity. At the very minimum, we have to make sure that our organization’s cybersecurity awareness program is strong, relevant, and supported.

Lesson #3:  In 2020 Security Professionals learned the value of being resilient.

It is fair to say that the entire world was tested in 2020. Security professionals in the leisure and hospitality, wholesale and retail trade, education and health services were some of the most impacted by the pandemic.

Throughout the crisis, we saw many examples of security professionals performing at a high level regardless of the challenges. Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart.

Moving forward into 2021, security professionals will have to continue to focus on business continuity and cybersecurity. The only thing that we know for sure about this ongoing pandemic is that is that the challenges are far from over.

As security professionals, we have to continue to cultivate our resiliency both within our organizations and ourselves. Let’s have a safe and successful 2021!

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Tunisia Security Briefing

Friday, December 25th

Every Friday, @DavidSecurity reviews the week’s security news & developments in Tunisia to provide you with a practical security briefing. Stay Safe!


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Security & Stability

20 migrants dead off Tunisia after boat sinks, more missing

Tunisian authorities say 20 African migrants have been found dead after their boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea while en route for Europe. More Info…

Turkey exports $150M of defense equipment to Tunisia

Under the coordination of the SSB, five local defense firms exported $150 million (TL 1.14 billion) worth of products

Read More…


Facebook Post of the Week

Travel & Tourism

Hilton to Open A Beach Resort in Monastir, Tunisia

Hilton Skanes Monastir Beach Resort expected to welcome guests in early 2022. The property is a part of the new Palm Lake Monastir residential and commercial development and within close proximity to the historic towns of Monastir and Sousse.

Read More…

Tunisia’s Tourism Returns Drop by 64%

Tunisia’s tourism returns have dropped by 64 percent to 1.9 billion dinars ($691 million) from early 2020 until December 10, compared to the same period in 2019.

Read More…


We will continue to monitor the security situation in Tunisia and provide more security updates & insights.

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2 Reasons Why Every Security Manager Needs Tactical Security Reports

@DavidSecurity here and I have one question for you: “Is your security reactive or proactive?”

If you’re like me then you would definitely say PROACTIVE, but let me explain to you why that attitude may actually be working against you.

My Quick Proactive Story…

As a United States Marine I was trained to take initiative and carry out my duties with honor, courage, and commitment. While this mindset helped me become a respected security professional it wasn’t enough…

The truth is that unless you’re receiving tactical, tailored, and tested Security Reports there’s NO WAY you can truly be PROACTIVE.

Security Fact #1: In a predictable world Security Risk Management and Asset Protection would be a STRIAGHTFOWARD process..

Question: Is the world predictable or volatile?

Security Fact# 2: We don’t live in a Predictable World!

There’s one reason for you to rely on Security Reports. To stay a step ahead. To be able to assess risk and take the proactive steps that will keep your business operating safe in a volatile world.

Mitigating Risk Through Timely Information

As a security professional I know first hand the value of having access to real-time actionable information. While serving as Security Director at the American Cooperative School of Tunis I was able to use Tactical Security Reports to help our community overcome a major security challenge.

On September 14, 2012 following attacks on the US Embassy, protesters attacked the nearby American School. The security reports in addition to other sources enable me to give clear actionable advise to the school director.

” David Santiago, the head of security at the American Cooperative School of Tunis, also indicated that Tunisian security had fallen short.”-Associated Press

Fire and smoke damage spread to 12 adjoining classrooms rendering them unsafe. The entire block was condemned. The remainder of the campus was ransacked and looted for several hours resulting in over $5.5 million in estimated damages and loss.

However, the school commenced within a few days and is now back and flourishing better than ever, thanks to rebuilding efforts from the many countries and persons involved.

Some may say that we got “lucky” on that day. Had we hesitated or failed to act who know what would’ve happened. I like to think that we were FOCUSED because we acted swiftly in large part thanks to the Actionable Security Information that enable us to make regular assessments and operational adjustments.

If you think your organization would benefit from such a service or would like to request a DEMO then please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

Stay Ready…Stay Safe!-DavidSecurity

“I would like to know more about Tactical Intelligence Services and Security Intelligence Reports. Please contact me…”

Hilton signs deal for resort in Tunisia

Hilton Skanes Monastir Beach Resort to open in 2022

Article Highlights:

  • Global hotel operator Hilton has announced plans to open a 332-key beachfront resort in Monastir in Tunisia.
  •  The agreement with Societe Marhaba Beach is slated to open in two years.
  • Investment may signal as a vote of confidence in Tunisian Security Forces.

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  • An industry leader such as Hilton investing in Tunisia in light of the 2015 Sousse beach attack where a gunman killed dozens of people, mostly tourists, on a beach in the Tunisian resort of Sousse.
  • Continued security & social economic challenges throughout the country.

It’s been more than four years since the Sousse Beach attack and Tunisia has grown a lot in terms of security readiness. This was highlighted in October of this year (2020) when US Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Tunisian Defense Minister Ibrahim Bartagi agreed on a road map for defense cooperation.

Secretary Esper said he was: “Impressed by the Tunisians’ efforts to enhance their capabilities against terrorists, but also to promote stability and security on the African continent.”

However, persistent challenges, worsened by the ongoing pandemic, continues to block economic progress which explains the recent uptick in protests throughout the country.

A Vote of Confidence…

Hilton’s investment may appear for other investors as a vote of confidence of the progress made by Tunisian Security Forces since the 2016 attack and potential of the North African tourism sector.

Hilton Skanes Monastir Beach Resort…

At least that’s what Hichem Driss, owner of Societe Marhaba Beach, thinks as noted by his statement: “We are delighted to form a partnership with Hilton to open a premier resort – part of the Palm Lake Monastir development – a new investment in Skanes that will feature retail, entertainment and residential. We are proud to bring Hilton’s renowned hospitality to the Tunisian coast, which will further enhance the tourism offering and international appeal of the destination.”

The facilities, slated to open in 2022-23 will include eight F&B venues, including a food truck, two swimming pools, a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, tennis courts and kid’s club.

We will continue to monitor the security situation in Tunisia and provide more security updates & insights.

Follow our Tunisia Security Facebook Page for all the latest news updates!

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Ten Years later, Social Media Still Matters in Tunisia

Was Social Media responsible for the Arab Spring? Did a single YouTube Video spark the Jasmine Revolution? And what is the state of social media in Tunisia today? LET’S TALK SECURITY!

Article Highlights:

  • Social Media’s IMPACT on the Arab Spring. 
  • Social Media’s Role in the Jasmine Revolution (Tunisia).
  • State of Social Media in Tunisia (2020).

Social Media’s Impact on the Arab Spring

As we approach the 10th year anniversary of the Arab Spring, we’re going to take a look at this article entitled Arab Spring: The First Smartphone Revolution.

The Arab Spring which took place all the way back in late 2010 (feels like a lifetime ago!) was called by many as The First Smartphone Revolution mainly because of the significant role that Social Media had in the events throughout the region. Smartphones gave youthful Arab Spring protesters a technological edge that helped topple aging dictatorships a decade ago and made their revolutionary images go viral.

@DavidSecurity with Tunisian Security Forces

I remember it well because I was there working as the Security Coordinator for the American Cooperative School of Tunis. And I can personally attest that social media, specifically Facebook played a major role in the events that lead to the Tunisian uprising that was later labeled the Jasmine Revolution.

Was Social Media responsible for the Arab Spring?

Many of the recent news articles offering analysis on the Arab Spring are now downplaying the role of social networks choosing to see them more like the spark that toppled the first domino.

I tend to disagree with this assessment because I believe that without social networks the uprisings would not have succeeded on such a massive scale.

THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE ARAB SPRING | Pangaea Journal

Social Media Important Role in the Jasmine Revolution (Tunisia)

There can be no denying that without social media the Jasmine Revolution would not have happened, at least not as quickly as it did. In fact, without one specific YouTube Video, it may have never happened.

Here’s how it went down:

DEC. 18

People witnessing the fiery act of defiance and the street demonstrations that followed capture the scenes and post them on YouTube. In the Tunisia of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, public protest was strictly banned, yet now there is proof: videos of the protest in Sidi Bouzid that show hundreds of people on the streets, chanting Mr. Bouazizi’s name in open defiance of President Ben Ali. The videos also show how violent the security force’s response was.

DEC. 19

Slim Amamou, an influential Tunisian blogger, sees the video and posts it on Facebook. A middle-class university graduate living in Tunis, Mr. Amamou has little in common with a poor, rural fruit-seller other than hatred for the corrupt Ben Ali regime. After Mr. Amamou posts the video, it goes viral in the Arab World. Al-Jazeera broadcasts it, fuelling copycat demonstrations around the country.

DEC. 27

Protests reach the capital city of Tunis, with about 1,000 demonstrators taking to the streets. Once again, Tunisian activists rely on social media to spread their message. They publicize the protest by hacking into Tunisia’s main labour union website, sending a message to its members to join them in the city’s central Mohammad Ali square. The protesters use Twitter to route demonstrations, avoiding security forces in the streets. Mr. Amamou uses his cell phone to live-stream video of the massive turnout. Others capture and post video of protesters being shot dead on the streets.

JAN. 4, 2011

Mr. Bouazizi succumbs to his injuries, dying in a Tunisian hospital. By now, protests inspired by those in Sidi Bouzid have spread across the country.

JAN. 14

Ben Ali flees Tunisia for Saudi Arabia via Malta, ending his 24-year-long rule. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi takes over as interim president.

Social Media Still Matters in Tunisia

Today social media continues to play an important role throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region). In Tunisia, Facebook remains the leader with over 7 million users on the platform. That accounts for 62% of its entire population!

The majority of them were men – 55.7%.

People aged 25 to 34 were the largest user group (2 700 000).

Facebook users in Tunisia

Internet users in Tunisia

  • There were 7.55 million internet users in Tunisia in January 2020.
  • The number of internet users in Tunisia increased by 48 thousand (+0.6%) between 2019 and 2020.
  • Internet penetration in Tunisia stood at 64% in January 2020.
Social media users in Tunisia:
  • There were 7.30 million social media users in Tunisia in January 2020.
  • The number of social media users in Tunisia increased by 473 thousand (+6.9%) between April 2019 and January 2020.
  • Social media penetration in Tunisia stood at 62% in January 2020.
Mobile connections in Tunisia
  • There were 17.77 million mobile connections in Tunisia in January 2020.
  • The number of mobile connections in Tunisia increased by 219 thousand (+1.2%) between January 2019 and January 2020.
  • The number of mobile connections in Tunisia in January 2020 was equivalent to 151% of the total population.

Was social media responsible for the Arab Spring? No, years of suppression, economic disparity, and corruption were the main ingredients. Instead, Social networks provided the channels for the masses to organize and eventually overthrow the regimes that denied them basic freedoms for so many years.

Ten years later Tunisia stands as the only Arab Spring “success story”. Even so, it’s tolerance for social media will continue to be tested as it deals with tough economic as well as security challenges in the coming years.

@DavidSecurity

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