The Tunisian paradox: exporting jihad



Tunisia is the only country to emerge from the Arab revolutions of 2011 as a functioning democracy, notes George Packer. But it has also sent a disproportionately large number of jihadist fighters to join the ranks of ISIS, he writes for The New Yorker:

Sergio Altuna, a Spanish security consultant living in Tunis, said that the Islamic State is “not as organized as Al Qaeda here.” But, he added, “we have a very uncomfortable neighbor in Libya, where Islamic State members can exist, train, fight. And it’s very easy to come back.”

[State Department official] Tom Malinowski… said that the Islamic State has every reason to want to destabilize Tunisia’s democracy, “the only other new model of governance that has emerged in the Arab world since all the upheaval of the Arab Spring.” New democracies in Latin America and Eastern Europe and Asia have had to struggle with fragile institutions, corruption, and social inequity. Tunisia has all this, plus terrorism and a failed state next door. “It’s an unfair break,” Malinowski said. 


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