Date: May 3, 2014
Brief: T(Reuters) – Tunisia’s next presidential and parliamentary elections will probably be held in the second half of November, the election agency chief said on Saturday, about polls that will mark the country’s final step towards full democracy. Read More
I hope everyone is enjoying the great weather and finding time to explore Tunisia.
As a security professional I am always monitoring trends, especially when it comes to expat personal safety & security. During the last 3 months we’ve seen a steady increase of petty crimes (Carthage, La Marsa, Berges du Lac) specifically in reference to purse snatching, vehicle vandalism, and burglary.
Of the three crimes on the rise, purse snatching is the one that most concerns me because of the bold nature in which the perpetrators are conducting them. On one occasion a lady’s purse was snatched in broad daylight while walking through an upscale street in Berges du Lac. Unharmed, the victim lost all her IDs, house keys, cell phone, and a small amount of cash. Another incident with similar results took place only a few meters from the US Embassy & American school on the La Marsa highway.
Tips to avoid motorcycle purse snatchers
- Be alert & aware of surroundings.
- Walk against traffic with handbags kept away from the street side.
- Be on the lookout for motorcycles.
- Avoid carrying important documents & items of high worth in purse.
US Embassy Security & Safety Update
The US Embassy recently updated their safety and security section for Tunisia and it clearly states that “muggings have occurred during daylight hours in upscale neighborhoods; in some cases these encounters have turned violent when the victim tried to resist.”
Compare & Contrast (take a deep breath…)
Tunisia’s crime rate is far below most major cities and we have noted a significant improvement on the part of the security forces in terms of their professionalism & reaction.
Additionally, Tunisians are proud of their beautiful country and determined to make it shine during the tourist season. As one optimistic Tunisian man puts it:
“Tunisia is ready to bring tourism back,” And we’ll even exceed what we used to achieve, seeing even more tourists than before the revolution.”
During the last few months we’ve seen a barrage of positive news regarding Tunisia. The media-hype is backed up by a real measurable difference in terms of security improvements on the ground. Still, security analysts remain cautious because a. Tunisia is going through a major transition and b. the deteriorating situation in Libya.
The U.S. Embassy recently updated their Safety & Security section regarding Tunisia. Here are the 3 points that caught my attention:
- While the Tunisian government has renewed its commitment and effectiveness in addressing security concerns over the past year, challenges remain.
- The ability of Tunisian Ministry of Interior forces to control civil unrest and demonstrations since a 2012 attack on U.S. Embassy Tunis and the nearby American Cooperative School of Tunis has improved.
- Terrorism also remains an increasingly significant concern. Tunisian nationals have been involved in international terrorism and international terrorist organizations have on multiple occasions called for attacks in North Africa, including Tunisia.
The embassy does a good job of providing readers with practical security advise. Being aware of our surroundings, staying informed, and avoiding areas where demonstrations take place are all easy yet effective things that we can do to strengthen our security setup.
Wednesday, April 9th is Martyrs’ day, a day in which Tunisians mark the massacre of the country’s nationalists by French troops in 1938. Last year, we witnessed many demonstrations so it’s important that we remain security conscious as we make our plans to enjoy the beautiful weather we’re being spoiled with these days.
Let’s stay in touch and continue to share practical & relevant information.
Disclaimer: Please note that this post is for informational use only and not affiliated with the U.S. embassy in Tunis.
Date: April 8, 2014
Brief: (Reuters) – Tunisian Islamist and secular parties have begun a parliamentary debate on an election law, the final step before setting a ballot date to complete a transition to democracy in the country that lit the fuse of Arab popular uprisings.–Read more
Date: April 07, 2014
Brief: (Reuters) – Three years after its uprising that inspired the Arab Spring revolutions, Tunisia is on its way to political stability with a new constitution and the promise of elections later this year. –Read more
Date: April 06, 2014
Brief: Tunis, — In their meeting last Friday in the Oval Office at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama and interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Tunisia.-Read more
Date: April 07, 2014
Source: The Daily Star
Brief: ZARZIS, Tunisia: The main border crossing between Libya and Tunisia, a gateway for contraband Libyan petrol whose closure nearly a month ago fuelled tensions in southern Tunisia, reopened on Monday. –Read more
Date: March 28, 2014
Source: US Embassy Tunis
Brief: Effective March 28, 2014 the U.S. Department of State lifted the Travel Warning for Tunisia which had been in place since September 15, 2012. The Department of State periodically reviews its Travel Warnings to ensure that they are up to date. After assessing the current situation in Tunisia, the Department of State determined that circumstances did not merit extending the Travel Warning for Tunisia. –Read more
Recently Stratford published a very informative article entitled “Tunisia After the Arab Spring”. The article contains several key assessments which gives us a good idea about the challenges that Tunisia may experience.
Here are the points that I highlighted while reading the article:
- Militant activity & public unrest will remain the biggest challenges to Tunisia’s upcoming permanent government (national elections expected before 2015).
- 3 plus years without a permanent government + slow economic progress means we are likely to see more protests, unrest, and clashes with police.
- Overall the risk of social unrest should remain manageable.
- (Wildcard): Libya’s continuing destabilization will affect Tunisia security
- Cooperation with the United States & Algeria will work to counter the developing situation in Libya.
- However, the occasional militant attack whether attempted or successful will become part of Tunisia’s post Arab Spring reality.
Informed & Engaged
Overall it seems like Tunisia is moving in a positive direction but there are many challenges ahead. As expats our best friends remain information & community. Let’s continue to network & share information.