A Look at the Arab Spring Security Sector Reforms

Finishing the Job: Security Sector Reform After the Arab Spring

By Omar Ashour, on 28 May 2013, Feature
The Arab Uprisings were principally sparked by the brutality of the security sector in almost every single country where they occurred. In Tunisia, Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation following an insult by the police in December 2010 triggered the revolution. In Egypt, the June 2010 murder by two policemen of Internet activist Khaled Said, followed by the brutality of police during the fraudulent parliamentary elections of November-December 2010, set the revolution’s context. In Libya, the arrest in February 2011 of Fathy Terbil—a human rights lawyer who had represented the families of the victims of the June 1996 Abu Selim Prison massacre, in which more than 1,236 political prisoners were gunned down by Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces—sparked that country’s revolution. In Syria, abuses committed in March 2011 by Assad’s security forces, which included the pulling out of the fingernails of children and teenagers in Deraa, triggered the protests that ignited that country’s ongoing civil war. In many ways, the Arab Spring was a region-wide reaction against violations by the security services.
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Shadow of Jihadi Safe Haven Hangs Over Tunisia, Algeria
By Sherelle Jacobs, on 21 May 2013, Briefing

Security has crumbled on Tunisia’s western border with Algeria in recent months. A small but destructive group of jihadi militants with links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has infiltrated the region, with weighty security implications for both Tunisia and Algeria. To successfully rout the jihadists in the short term, the Tunisian military needs better equipment, which the government has promised to deliver. But it is not yet clear whether Tunis is ready to pursue the deeper military and economic reforms needed to quell the terrorist threat in the long term.