Click the following link for a safe PDF copy: al-Qā’idah in the Islamic Maghrib — The Mirage of Elections in Tunisia
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Tunisia’s first-ever municipal elections, scheduled for May 6, are an important milestone in the quest to implement democratic institutions and give locals more agency in making decisions about their needs—two goals that, unsurprisingly, run counter to the vision, interests, and ideology of Salafi-jihadist groups in the region. The Islamic State (IS) has signaled that it hopes to disrupt the vote, focusing official propaganda on Tunisia for the first time since summer 2016.
Over the past two years, the group’s activity in Tunisia has been significantly constrained, but low-profile attacks have continued in the interior governorate of Kasserine. The elections represent a high-stakes opportunity to encourage and empower residents of this forgotten area, so the government would be wise to focus on securing not only higher-profile targets in the capital and coastal regions, but also polling sites in the interior. Such efforts could further legitimize the democratic process, showing skeptical locals that the central authorities are slowly but steadily reaching out to them on governance and other issues.
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Click the following link for a safe PDF copy: Abū al-Ashbāl al-Maghribī — Open Messages- Oh Religious Scholars of Tunisia, Who Is the New Bourguiba?
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Over the past eight years, al-Qaeda’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed. Drones, uprisings, and a challenge from the Islamic State have forced the core al-Qaeda organization—historically based in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region—and its various branches to adapt and migrate outward.
In this new Policy Focus, Washington Institute fellow Aaron Y. Zelin compiles case studies demonstrating how each part of al-Qaeda’s network has evolved and survived the various challenges it has faced roughly since the Obama administration took office. Written by eminent scholars, practitioners, and government officials from the United States and abroad, the chapters are informed by a recent workshop in which the participants gave candid, off-the-record assessments of numerous key issues, including al-Qaeda’s current strategic outlook, a close examination of its branch in Syria, its branches outside of Syria (AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabab, and AQIS), and its current financial situation.
Contributors include: myself, Bruce Hoffman, Charles Lister, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Samuel Heller, Katherine Zimmerman, Andrew Lebovich, Christopher Anzalone, Don Rassler, Hans-Jakob Schindler, Katherine Bauer, and Matthew Levitt.
Click here to read the full publication (124 pages).