Terrorist Attack in Tunis: Implications [March 23, 2015]   [open pdf - 57KB]

"The March 18 terrorist attack in Tunis has focused global attention on Tunisia and its struggle to pursue democracy amid security threats and economic hardship. The attack killed at least 20 foreign tourists visiting the national Bardo Museum, along with a Tunisian police officer. Two assailants were also killed; a third is reportedly at large. It appears to have been the deadliest terrorist attack by Islamist extremists in Tunisia since the country's 2011 popular uprising. U.S. policymakers, including Members of Congress, may examine the attack's potential implications as they consider international responses to security threats in North Africa, and as Congress weighs the Administration's proposals to increase bilateral aid and defense cooperation in FY2016. Tunisia is the 'Arab Spring' country that has been most successful in transitioning to democratic rule. It adopted a new constitution in early 2014 and held national elections late last year. President Obama has stated that Tunisia's political transition can 'inspire' people in the Arab world and beyond, and his February 2015 National Security Strategy states that 'We will work with Tunisia to further progress on building democratic institutions and strengthening its economy.' At the same time, some observers have expressed concern that Tunisia's newly elected government could be tempted to use security threats as a justification to crack down on Islamists or other political rivals, or resurrect repressive counterterrorism practices associated with past regimes. Tunisians from across the political spectrum have condemned the Bardo attack, but at times, disagreements over how best to approach security threats have contributed to tensions between Islamist and secularist political actors."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN10250
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
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