This past Monday, I published a new article for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy exploring the recent threats that IS has made against Tunisia and its forthcoming election. In it, I cite an article in issue 123 of its newsletter al-Naba’. For reference, you can find a copy of it below. It’s the article in the left-hand column.
One of the themes I discussed in the article including IS’s recent broader trend in targeting election processes in the Muslim world was further confirmed today when IS claimed responsibility for an attack on the Higher National Election Commission’s Headquarters in Tripoli, Libya and stated that its Wilayat Tarabulus was responding to the call of IS spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhaijr to target elections centers.
For more on my new piece, here’s a brief preview of it:
“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.”
Click here to read the rest.