Our initial assessment is as follows:
Western governments and the wider international community are cognisant of the growing threat of militancy across North Africa. Last month's hostage crisis in Algeria was an ominous preview of threats facing the international community in the region.
AQIM have branched out, helped along by porous border areas, ungoverned spaces and the domino collapse of Middle East and North African governments.
Present day we are very aware of the growing unrest in Tunisia and hard lessons learnt from Libya and Syria. In the city of Tunis, the movement of radicalised Salafists are gaining traction and thus attempting to create problems for Hamadi Jebali's transitional government. Clan based violence is on the rise. Demonstrations have turned violent and have been suppressed by the heavy-handedness of a security apparatus that are not quite under government control.
Rewind also to September last year when angry demonstrators attacked an American school in Tunis, and then targeted the US Embassy before being repelled by security forces. Anti-western sentiment is high in the country and taking on an increasingly Islamic and violent form. This downward spiral in events will undoubtedly reflect the nervousness of western actors projecting forward in the country.
- lack of a constitution
- referendum on the constitution...in the complete absence of a draft
- elections scheduled for June
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