« Not for fame, not for nikah, not for fun », once tweeted a female ISIS member called Shams . Women have long been valued fighters in liberation movements and other politically motivated armed guerilla warfares, but recently a new troubling form of women’s political militantism has emerged and raises a serious question: Why would women eagerly join a violent terrorist movement that is strongly patriarchal, misogynistic and moreover profoundly disregards their dignity as human beings? Understanding why women have joined ISIS is essential if we want to create effective prevention and reintegration programs.
In a letter to Barack Obama on July 27, 121 American analysts and former diplomats called upon the President to make an official visit to Tunisia before the end of his term in January. While some openly request official support for Tunisia, the possible appointment of Youssef Chahed, former employee of the American embassy in Tunis, raises questions around the less overt forms of US engagement with its unique North African partner.
Announcing a new maritime operation in the Mediterranean and intelligence center in Tunisia, NATO has asserted that it intends to intensify its role and partnerships “to support the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.” While some compare NATO’s declarations following the July 9 Warsaw Summit to the EU’s maritime military strategy, calling it the “militarization of misery,” others have highlighted the intent to establish an enduring presence in the south of the Mediterranean, and Tunisia in particular.
In seamless consistency with the government’s response to the Bardo and Sousse attacks in March and June, official discourse, superficial security measures, and the actions of security forces since last Tuesday’s tragedy reflect the absence of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy and have kept alive the notion that effective security requires the relinquishing of certain rights and liberties.
Nearly five years into the democratic work in progress and in the immediate wake of a bomb explosion that killed 12 in the capital, demands for and promises of US support for the Arab Spring’s sole success appear increasingly tired and misguided.
…Everyone, it seemed, was talking about the wall, a trench-lined sand barricade that is to stretch some 200 kilometers along Tunisia’s border with Libya. In the capital, a world away from the country’s borders, conversations are based on hear-say, rumors, and speculation. Approbation, uncertainty, suspicion…the sentiments provoked are varied, though many remain simply baffled at the belated unveiling and precipitous construction of the government’s latest counterterrorism mechanism, a wall between Tunisia and its neighbor to the south-east.
In the minutes and hours following attack transpired the ungracious diffusion on Instagram and Twitter of victims lying lifeless between beach chairs and parasols; dramatized headlines announcing the “beach resort massacre” and innumerable variations recounting the scene … But after the initial shock of and Western media’s knee-jerk reaction to one of three attacks which occurred on June 26, mainstream news reports on terrorism in the country are relatively more substantial and worth contemplating than was the case several months ago.