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Society and Security in Transition: Tunisia

The transition processes unfolding across the Arab world demonstrate that the greatest challenge to successful democratic transition concerns security issues and how these are dealt with by the governing authority. In Tunisia, security sector reform (SSR) has received great attention and genuine efforts have been engaged; however, the occurrence of two major terrorist incidents in 2015 poses important new challenges to effective SSR in the country. This project seeks to play an important role in assessing the level of commitment to reform and in making security sector reform a success in Tunisia.

The project is conducted in partnership with ARI member, L'Observatoire Tunisien de la Transition Démocratique (OTTD).

Starting in 2015, we will assess the state of the sector including a detailed mapping of its internal structure and how it functions (the structure of the Ministry of the Interior, the national security and police force, the army, etc…) as well as an analysis of the transformation of the security sector since 2011 and in light of the process of democratization. The mapping will also survey research already undertaken in this field.

Through 2015 and 2016, we will organize dialogue meetings with the aims to facilitate societal dialogue around the issue of SSR, build a consensual understanding of national security priorities and develop a sense of ownership of the reform agenda for the security sector. A broad range of stakeholders, including experts, former and current security officials will be engaged through the project.

Finally, we will assist in the definition of an action plan whose purpose is to help the governmental institutions in planning their reform efforts. Producing relevant analysis on the key issues at stake, the linkages, the potential pitfalls and the points of leverage will help articulate concrete options for implementing a strategy towards sustainable transformation of the security sector, priorities for each institution and agency, and measures to increase the level of trust between the citizens and the government. Monitoring methods will also be defined.

Salam Kawakibi, ARI Deputy Director, and Nayla Moussa, ARI Researcher, coordinate this project.