Tunisia is an active member of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, a multi-year U.S. interagency regional program aimed at building the capacity of governments in the Maghreb and Sahel to confront threats posed by violent extremists. Tunisia is also part of the Security Governance Initiative between the United States and six African partners that offers a comprehensive approach to improving security sector governance and capacity to address threats, first announced in 2014. Tunisian authorities continued their coordination on border security with Algerian counterparts, although cooperation with Libya was nearly impossible due to the absence of an effective Libyan central government.
International and Regional Cooperation: Tunisia participates in multinational and regional efforts to counter terrorism, such as those at the United Nations, the Arab League, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), and the African Union. It is a founding member of the GCTF‑inspired International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) and participated in numerous IIJ trainings and workshops, which were focused on improving criminal justice actors’ capacity to prevent and address terrorism-related crimes. Tunisia also served as one of the pilot countries under the GCTF-endorsed International Counterterrorism and CVE Capacity-Building Clearinghouse Mechanism, which is being developed as a means to help countries and donors optimize civilian counterterrorism and CVE capacity-building programs.
Countering Violent Extremism: Tunisia made a concerted effort to improve socioeconomic conditions in the country through economic development and education programs to prevent radicalization. The government also attempted to prevent the radicalization of Tunisians by minimizing their exposure to inflammatory rhetoric in mosques by replacing imams deemed extremist, although local populations in several cases resisted the changes. The National Counterterrorism Strategy reportedly expanded the fight against terrorism to all ministries, including those that focus on culture, education, media, and religious affairs, and assigned each ministry concrete actions to accomplish. The Ministry of Governmental Organizations and Human Rights is the lead ministry for developing a countering violent extremism counter‑messaging capacity. The Ministry of Communications is also involved in messaging.
By comparison, ISIS-Y remained limited to small cells. While its exact composition was unknown, ISIS-Y had considerably fewer members and resources than AQAP. Eight self‑proclaimed ISIS-Y groups/provinces have claimed attacks on social media since 2015, although only a few provinces have sustained regular attacks into 2016 and were active at year’s end. While ISIS-Y has demonstrated a violent operational pace, it has yet to occupy significant territory or challenge AQAP’s status as Yemen’s predominant Sunni Islamist terrorist group. ISIS-Y maintains connections to the ISIS core in Syria and Iraq, but a faction within ISIS-Y chose to publicly disagree with the group’s leadership regarding its tactics in early 2016, indicating a large rift within the group.
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Because of the instability and violence in Yemen, the internationally recognized government under Hadi cannot effectively enforce counterterrorism measures. A large security vacuum persists, which gives AQAP and ISIS-Y more room in which to operate. AQAP and ISIS-Y have also manipulated the conflict as part of a broader Sunni-Shia sectarian divide. By emphasizing this sectarian divide, AQAP and ISIS-Y have managed to increase their support bases and strengthen footholds in the country.
[tags: what is terrorism, analysis, nature of duality]
Overview: Jordan remained a committed partner on counterterrorism and countering violent extremism in 2016. As a regional leader in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Jordan played an important role in Coalition successes in degrading the terrorist group’s territorial control and operational reach. Jordan faced a marked increase in terrorist threats, both domestically and along its borders. Jordanian security forces thwarted several plots and apprehended numerous violent extremists, but the year ended with the deadliest terrorist incident the country has witnessed in over a decade. Fourteen people were killed during a series of clashes between gunmen and security forces in and around the southern city of Karak on December 18. The dead included a Canadian tourist, two Jordanian civilians, seven security personnel, and four attackers. The incident began when the perpetrators attacked security personnel investigating reports of an explosion in their rented apartment, which was followed by a five-hour standoff at Karak Castle, a site popular with tourists. Security operations in the vicinity two days later led to a shootout between gunmen and Jordanian security forces, resulting in the death of four security personnel.
[tags: link between terrorism and public opinion]
Attacks in 2016 predominantly targeted Jordan’s security institutions: the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF), General Intelligence Directorate (GID), and Public Security Directorate (PSD). Jordan continued to be a target for terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Qa’ida, for several reasons, including its proximity to regional conflicts in Iraq and Syria, the state’s official rejection of Salafi-Jihadi interpretations of Islam, and its membership in the Defeat-ISIS Coalition.