Counter-Terrorism: America And Tunisia Together

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September 3, 2014: The United States is providing Tunisia with $60 million worth of military aid. Tunisia needs the equipment, weapons and training this aid will provide. The U.S. believes that Tunisia has been the most successful of the “Arab Spring” revolutions and that its post-revolution government has been one of the more successful in fighting Islamic terrorists. The U.S. has also agreed to sell Tunisia a dozen UH-60 helicopters and other military equipment. But what the Tunisians really want is American help in finding (with intel analysis, air recon or whatever) the few remaining Islamic terrorists operating in Tunisia.

For the last two years Tunisia has been seeking out and attacking up to a hundred Islamic terrorists who have been operating in the Mount Chaambi region near the Algerian border. This area is close to the Kasserine Pass in the Atlas Mountains that stretch across most of the North African coast. Soldiers and police have been constantly patrolling this region of sparsely populated forests and mountains without being able to completely eliminate the Islamic terrorists there. When all this began in 2013 it was the first time Tunisia has had to deal with armed Islamic terrorists since 2007.

Back in 2013 a camp found near the top of Mount Chaambi was raided and found to contain documents, weapons and equipment indicating the size and origin of the Islamic terrorists in the area. This group appeared to be well supplied and seems to have enough cash to keep themselves going for a while. Some of these men had recently fled Mali and others are from Algeria. These had been joined by a smaller group of Tunisian Islamic terrorists who had apparently not been active until joined by all these new men and a few local recruits. Eleven of the 32 terrorists killed nearby in an attack on an Algerian natural gas field in January 2013 were Tunisian which provided a hint that there were a lot more Islamic terrorists in Tunisia than the government knew about.

Tunisia was the first country to carry out an Arab Spring uprising and a new government was installed in 2012. Islamic radicals were released from jail and allowed to operate in the open as long as they did not turn to terrorism or anything illegal inside Tunisia. These radicals have tried, so far without success, to get the new government to establish a religious dictatorship that would enforce Islamic (Sharia) law. After less than a year of good behavior the local Islamic terrorists got violent. So far the terrorists have had a hard time. Most of the population is hostile to them and the security forces are pretty efficient. Algeria has helped by sealing its border but the long border with Libya is another matter.

 


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