Written by Piero Messina exclusively for SouthFront.
Tunisia is one step away from chaos. Ten years after the fall of then Zinedine Ben Ali regime, the country is collapsing under the blows of the economic and social crisis. Democracy remains a dream, and for an entire generation of young Tunisians, the call to jihadism becomes stronger and stronger.
In the last ten years, per capita income has collapsed by 34 percent, the Tunisian dinar has lost 45 percent of its value against the main exchange currencies. Public debt shot up from 39 to 112 percent of GDP over the same period. In order to balance the state budget in 2021, the Tunisian government will have to find 40 percent of the missing budget somewhere, more than 20 billion dollars. It will not be easy, because both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have already made it known that they do not like the political chaos that reigns in Tunisia. No funding for a nation that had promised the international community structural reforms that have never been implemented.
Over the past ten years, the leadership of the country has been entrusted to ten different premiers. In the last twelve months there are already four executives who have alternated in power.
Who pays the bill for the failed revolution?
Young Tunisians. Today we can call them the “no future” generation. In 2020 there were more than 1020 protests and demonstrations of violence in the country: when the state deviates, even ordinary citizens begin to show signs of intolerance. Sabotage of essential service networks, attacks on railway lines, damage of water pipes and means of transport, blocks of industrial production from Gafsa to El Kamour up to Gabes, general strikes in the towns all over the country. Not to mention the attacks by terrorist groups linked to Daesh.
The latest attack took place last week when three soldiers of the Dggn (General Department of the National Guard) were killed in three blasts ignited by its fighters near Mount Mghila and that a “spy” was beheaded separately by Daesh. Mount Mghila, near the border with Algeria, is adjacent to Mount Chaambi, which is considered a hideout for militants.
In the last ten years Tunisia has been among the main “exporters” of foreign fighters. Why are young Tunisians enlisting for jihad?
Money is more important than religion. Attractive salaries were offered to jihad candidates: between $ 400 and $ 4,000 per month For upset young people without work or hope of employment in the short, medium or long term, the attraction of high remuneration (which accompanies a “religious duty”) was a topic of Daesh marketing.
Furthermore, in the first hours of the revolution, the Tunisian prisons were emptied. Among political prisoners, a whole host of criminals have re-entered the economic fabric through trafficking and in particular border traffic.
A jihadist-criminal space was therefore organized with Libya. The Tunisian government has tried to stop the growth of Daesh and groups linked to radical Islam. There are almost 28,000 Tunisian aspiring jihadists whom the country’s authorities have prevented from reaching the combat territories. But Islamist militias made up of young Tunisian men and women, have reached the front lines of combat in Syria and Libya. More than 13,000 fighters around the Middle East, with sleeper cells were also sent to Europe.
Till the small country overlooking the Mediterranean is in danger of exploding under the blows of negative economic pressure, the only answer the young Tunisians see, to date, is to enlist for jihad.
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