From the Editors
One of the prominent developments in the aftermath of the fallen dictatorship in Tunisia was the resurgence in the public sphere of groups with Salafi backgrounds. Their sudden incursion into the political arena and the polemics that they generated in different political matters resulted in their increased use of violence against other political and social actors. These actions have left large segments of Tunisian society skeptical about the outcome of the country’s ...Keep Reading »
During a trip to Tunisia in April 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the Tunisian-Libyan border in Ras Ajdir, where thousands of refugees have fled Libya since the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi began on February 17. There, the refugees are living in makeshift camps with the hope of returning to their home countries, such as Eritrea, Egypt, and Mali. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has set up thousands of tents in the remote desert of Echoucha, ...Keep Reading »
On independence day, March 20, and then again on April 30, the eve of Tunisia’s Labor Day, Tunisia’s interim president Fouad Mebazaa -the watchdog legislator of Ben Ali’s authoritarian rule since 1987- called upon the Tunisian people for national reconciliation without specifying its terms and conditions. His call echoed the campaign led by interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi -one of Bourguiba’s notorious old guard- and the security forces that urged Tunisian ...Keep Reading »
Each time I attend a panel, workshop, forum, conference, symposium, brainstorming session, or congressional session on civil society in the United States, I am disappointed yet optimistic! I am disenchanted because at least since 9/11, the Bush administration as well as the Obama administration has not understood the real dynamics within the Arab and Middle Eastern civil societies. Rather than begging for money from the U.S., civil society actors in this region are asking ...Keep Reading »
Last December 17th disturbances erupted in Tunisia after Mohamed Bouazizi, a young unemployed high school graduate who was condemned to sell fruits and vegetables on a street stall for a living, immolated himself in protest after authorities had beaten him and impeded him from exercising his unlicensed activity. His act crystallized and incarnated the Tunisians’ feelings of humiliation and lack of justice to which they had been subjected by one of the most brutal Arab ...Keep Reading »
Noureddine Jebnoun specializes in the Middle East and North Africa where his teaching interests include political institutions, democratization and authoritarianism, Islamic political movements, political violence, security challenges, ethnic and sectarian conflicts and socio-political affairs of North Africa. Dr. Jebnoun was a Visiting Professor of Arab and Middle Eastern Affairs at the University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center (2008-2010). He has previously taught a variety of courses in the contemporary Arab world at Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in D.C (2006-2008). He served as an Assistant Professor at the Tunisian War College, the Tunisian Command and General Staff College and the Tunisian National Defense Institute where he taught courses on “strategy” and “geopolitics” (1998-2005). Dr. Jebnoun has lectured at many academic institutions including the NATO Defense College in Rome, the French Institute for Higher National Defense Studies in Paris, the Industrial College for Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., the Africa Center for Strategic Studies of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, the American University in Washington, D.C. and the Middle East Institute of Singapore.