Advertisement

A Problem for Tomorrow? Tunisia, Morocco, and Foreign Fighters

Chapter
  • 1.4k Downloads

Abstract

The civil war in Syria created the conditions for the emergence of the Islamic State (IS). It started attracting fighters from all over the region and later took the control of parts of Iraq. Militants came from all over the world, although regional countries represented the most important sources of recruitments for IS. In this context, Tunisia and Morocco played a very significant role as a very substantial number of IS fighters come from these two countries. As such, and the case of Tunisia and the attacks it suffered in 2015 are very indicative, this issue will remain at the forefront of the security agenda for both countries in the foreseeable future. In the very beginning, both countries turned a blind eye on militants’ movement to Syria and Iraq, mainly to reduce the burden on national security services. However, once IS took over parts of Syria and Iraq, it was clear that the nature of the threat was changing and both countries started adopting a more proactive approach to fighting terrorism. The background of Tunisian and Moroccan militants is often similar: they mostly come from impoverished suburban areas and neglected rural and mountainous regions, often distant from the actual centres of – either formal or informal – economic and political power. However, the outcomes of these efforts have been different: Tunisia, as shown by the attacks that the country suffered in 2015, has so far struggled to find an effective solution, and the establishment of IS fighters in neighbouring Libya represents a further threat. Moreover, many IS fighters in Libya are Tunisians who either moved from Syria and Iraq or reached Libya straight from Tunisia. In addition, it is very likely that the changes that occurred in the post-Ben Ali security forces in Tunisia reduced the security services’ capacities of tackling these issues. In Morocco, instead, efforts have been more successful, but in the medium term this will continue to represent a substantial threat, whose impact goes well beyond the narrower security domain.

References

  1. Abbassi, D. (2005). Entre Bourguiba et Hannibal. Identité tunisienne et historie depuis l’indépendance. Paris: Iremam-Karthala.Google Scholar
  2. Achy, L. (2011). Tunisia’s economic challenges. (The Carnegies Paper, Carnegie Middle East Center). Beirut: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, C. (2010). Tunisia. Stability and reform in modern Maghreb. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Allani, A. (2009). The Islamists in Tunisia between confrontation and participation: 1980–2008. The Journal of North African Studies, 14(2), ​257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Botha, A. (2008). Terrorism in the Maghreb: The transnationalisation of domestic terrorism. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies.Google Scholar
  6. Cristiani, D. (2013). Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacks Morocco’s “Kingdom of Corruption and Despotism”. Terrorism Monitor – The Jamestown Foundation, 11(23). Retrieved from http://www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=41753&no_cache=1.
  7. Cristiani, D. (2014). The geography of discontent: Tunisia’s Syrian fighter dilemma. Terrorism Monitor – The Jamestown Foundation, 12(20). Retrieved from http://www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=42998&no_cache=1.
  8. Cristiani, D., & Akabouch, M. (2013). Algeria e Marocco: quando il potere ammalia gli islamisti. Limes – Rivista Italiana Di Geopolitica, 1/2013, 167–176.Google Scholar
  9. Cristiani, D., & Fabiani, R. (2011). Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM): Implications for Algeria’s regional and international relations. IAI Working Paper No. 4. Rome: Istituto Affari Internazionali.Google Scholar
  10. Cristiani, D., & Zenn, J. (2016). AQIM’s resurgence: Responding to Islamic state. Terrorism Monitor – The Jamestown Foundation, 14(5). Retrieved from http://www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=45164&no_cache=1.
  11. El-Said, H. (2012). De-radicalising Islamists: Programmes and their impact in Muslim majority states. London: ICSR Working Paper, Developments in Radicalisation and Political Violence.Google Scholar
  12. Errazzouki, S. (2012, March 24). Morocco’s rif: A history of hidden discontent. Retrieved April 9, 2016 from http://english.alakhbar.com/content/morocco%E2%80%99s-rif-history-hidden-discontent.
  13. Fabiani, R. (2016). Bin Qardān, Il Ventre Molle Della Tunisia. Limes – Rivista Italiana Di Geopolitica, 3/2016, 89–97.Google Scholar
  14. Frégosi, F., & Zeghal, M. (2005). Religion et politique au Maghreb: les exemples tunisien et marocain. (IFRI Policy Paper). Paris: Institut français des relations internationales.Google Scholar
  15. Gilson Miller, S. (2013). A history of modern Morocco. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jacinto, L. (2016, April 7). Morocco’s outlaw country is the heartland of global terrorism. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/04/07/the-rif-connection-belgium-brussels-morocco-abdeslam/.
  17. Joffé, G. (2011). The Arab Spring in North Africa: Origins and prospects. The Journal of North African Studies, 16(4), 507–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalpakian, J. (2011). Current Moroccan anti-terrorism policy (ARI No. 89). Madrid: El Cano Institute.Google Scholar
  19. Kausch, K. (2015). Tunisia’s Libya problem (Policy Brief No. 214). Madrid: Fride.Google Scholar
  20. L’ONU prolonge sa présence au Sahara occidental. (2016, May 2). Le Monde.fr. Retrieved from http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2016/05/02/l-onu-prolonge-sa-presence-au-sahara-occidental_4911833_3212.html.
  21. Lutte anti-terroriste: l’arsenal juridique renforcé. (2015, January 22). Retrieved May 2, 2016, from http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2015/01/22/anti-terrorisme-maroc-loi_n_6523090.html.
  22. Masbah, M. (2015). Moroccan foreign fighters (SWP Commentary No. 46). Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP).Google Scholar
  23. Mersch, S. (2015, August 6). Tunisia’s ineffective counterterrorism law. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/?fa=60958.
  24. Mohsen-Finan, K. (2008). Les défis sécuritaires au Maghreb (Note de l’Ifri). Paris: Institut français des relations internationales.Google Scholar
  25. Pargeter, A. (2009). Localism and radicalization in North Africa: local factors and the development of political Islam in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. International Affairs, 85(5), 1031–1044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Perkins, K. (2004). A history of modern Tunisia (1st ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Planel, S. (2009). Transformations de l’Etat et politiques territoriales dans le Maroc contemporain. L’Espace Politique, 7(2009–1), http://espacepolitique.revues.org/1234.
  28. Samti, F. (2015, August 18). Tunisia’s new anti-terrorism law worries activists. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/08/18/tunisias-new-anti-terrorism-law-worries-activists-tunisia/.
  29. Sharma, S. (2015, December 7). Chart: The number of foreign fighters in Syria surged in 2015 – The Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/12/07/chart-the-number-of-foreign-fighters-in-syria-surged-in-2015/.
  30. Turki, S. Y. (2014, January 20). Crise politique et question territoriale en Tunisie. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/16085/crise-politique-et-question-territoriale-en-tunisi.
  31. UN chief regrets Western Sahara “occupation” comment. (2016, March 29). Retrieved May 2, 2016, from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/chief-regrets-western-sahara-occupation-comment-160328201619417.html.
  32. Vásquez, E. (2015, August 13). Morocco’s counterterrorism strategy: Implications for Western Sahara. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from http://www.mei.edu/content/article/morocco%E2%80%99s-counterterrorism-strategy-implications-western-sahara.
  33. White, G. (2001). A comparative political economy of Tunisia and Morocco. Albany: SUNY.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vesalius College (VUB)BrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations