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A Challenge from Insurgency to the Nation-State

A Strategic Plan for Tunisia

Man riding a cart pulled by a donkey in a village

Tunisia is challenged by a dual insurgency, with affiliates of al-Qaeda and ISIS exploiting grievances within the population and leveraging Islam to mobilise support. The objective of these affiliates is to discredit the Tunisian authorities and install a sharia-ruled government.[1] Tunisia’s strategic partnership with Algeria has moderately suppressed a cross-border insurgency in Tunisia’s west, although the insurgency still leads the contest for the control of the population. The strategic situation in Tunisia’s east and with Libya is more concerning. Insurgents have established bases of support and are encouraging foreign fighters to Libya while also enabling attacks in Tunisia. The foreign fighter phenomenon, especially returning fighters, creates quite a specific complexity in Tunisia’s strategic plans.[2] The government has responded with a state-focused security-centric strategy that leaves the population politically oppressed and deprived of socio-economic development, which intensifies the risk factors allied with insurgency.[3]

Tunisia’s strategic plan to suppress insurgency must be population centric, and it must be accompanied by a narrative that targets the risk factors. It must address deprivation and build consensus to divide the insurgency from the population. That approach requires a reliable security sector, willing consideration of returning foreign fighters, equity-based socio-economic policies, and a normative system coupled with decentralised government control.[4] Not least, Tunisia requires foreign support to quell insurgency. To that end, part one of this paper will critically review the problem set and conclude that deprivation and grievance are major factors in the mobilisation of insurgency against the Tunisian authorities. Part two will review the government’s response and conclude that the current strategy has exacerbated grievance. The final part will propose and outline a population-centric plan underlined by five themes that represent plausible inclusions in domestic and foreign policy paramount in Tunisia’s challenge against insurgency.

Tunisia’s problem set encompasses social expectations, an assorted insurgency, and disaffected youth. Rebellion against the Ben Ali regime delivered the opportunity to end secularism and enhance Tunisia’s socio-economic prospects. Nearly a decade of rule by a democratically elected government has only partially fulfilled the expectations of the Tunisian people. The population maintains a grievance over political repression, waning economic opportunity, and an unstable security environment perpetuating the risk factors associated with the mobilisation of an insurgency.[5] Through a separate lens, insurgent leaders are aggrieved at the failure of the authorities to install sharia post the rebellion—a factor in the insurgents’ mobilisation and quite possibly a seam between components of the insurgency who mobilised more for material reasons and those who mobilised more for ideological grievances.[6]

Tunisia’s situation is innately complex. It includes multiple actors and domains which induce domestic and regional pressures. The post-Arab Spring leniency toward ideologically motivated political organisations like Ansar al-Sharia (AST) was a miscalculation. AST’s motives were a consequence of the political repression and polarisation of the Ben Ali regime. The regime’s marginalisation of religious education and legislation of strict controls over mosques inadvertently promoted radical education. AST, acting as a vanguard, rallied against the new liberal Tunisian authorities and instigated violent protest and riots by exploiting perceptions of disrespect toward Islam.[7] AST also exploited local grievances and is credited by the population for providing social services and conflict resolution in regions where the Tunisian government was flagging. As a precursor to violence, AST was a factor in uniting radical and militant groups, and mobilising disenfranchised elements of society.[8] In Maoist terms, AST indoctrinated supporters to acquire a mass, and cultivated that mass to force a political decision.[9] The government decided on a security-centric strategy.

The AST strategy is nested with what Djallil Lounnas describes as the ‘Rise of Tunisian Jihad’. Lounnas outlines the ‘double pressure’ Tunisian authorities face from domestic jihadi organisations along with a much more dangerous foreign fighter problem. The role of political and jihadi Salafists in mobilising support should not be understated in that regard. They have cultivated Islamist narratives through engagement, reading materials, satellite television, blogs, and Facebook pages to recruit from disenfranchised sections of Tunisian society, including youth.[10] Mosques, schools, universities, social groups, and impoverished communities offer target-rich recruiting sites for Salafists. Such is the belief in Salafists that an estimated 30,000 people attended an annual Salafi congress in Kairouan in 2012.[11] The Tunisian government labeled AST a terrorist group the following year.

The foreign fighter phenomenon presents a significant challenge and creates additional risk for Tunisia’s security. By April of 2015 an estimated 12,000 Tunisians had attempted to leave to fight with ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Additional figures show that by July of 2015 up to 5,500 Tunisians—predominantly young men—had travelled to Syria.[12] Estimates conclude that returning foreign fighters numbered around 1,000 in early 2018, with the possibility that a further 500 fighters had returned undetected through Tunisia’s porous borders. There is likelihood that some returning fighters would prefer to strengthen ISIS-affiliated organisations in Libya and continue the jihad. The Libyan predicament has manifested in the assault on the Bardo Museum, shootings at Sousse, and the attack at the border town of Ben Guerden. Subversive in character, these attacks were perpetrated by insurgents against civilians, with coordinated support from underground cells in Ben Guerden and likely direction from Libya-based leadership.[13]      

Notwithstanding the challenge of foreign fighters, domestic insurgent groups still pose a threat to authority. Domestic insurgents were buoyed by a climate for mobilisation, exposed to and exploiting the range of risk factors.[14] Matt Herbert describes the character of the threat in Tunisia’s western borderlands as a traditional insurgency.[15] It is akin to Robert Taber’s description of the flea that ‘survives by hopping and hiding’. It is distinct from the tactics of terror employed by ISIS affiliates in the state’s east.[16] This assessment considers the presence of the ISIS-affiliated Jund al-Khilafah-Tunisia (JAK-T) in the north-west. Both JAK-T and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) overtly target Tunisia’s security forces in pursuit of their military and political objectives. Postured to exploit local grievances—such as limited economic resources, health, and education—JAK-T and AQIM have established a normative system of control.

To comprehend the insurgency in the western borderlands it is important to note that JAK-T and AQIM are armed components linked to a variation of the AST network likely located in neighboring Algeria.[17] The underground and auxiliary are cultivated from the base of support in Tunisia’s north-west, with AQIM also focused on maintaining its base of support in Algeria, close to the Tunisian border. Crucially, there is no legitimate political opposition to the Tunisian government acting for JAK-T and AQIM. History shows that the likely spark for broader rebellion would come in the form of national protests. Cross-border insurgency presents a challenge to Tunisia’s domestic security policy that has implications for its foreign policy and vice versa. To date, the Tunisian-Algerian strategic partnership to suppress cross-border insurgency has been moderately successful, although the insurgency is winning the competition for the control and support of the population. The return of foreign fighters can yet affect the strategic balance in the north-west.[18]

No less important in defining the problem set in Tunisia is understanding the role of disenfranchised youth. Their disaffection is explicitly linked to mobilisation based on a range of material and psychological grievances. Lounnas is adamant that disaffected youth represent the broad range of social classes, education standards, and economic strata. As there is no specific youth grievance or demographic, there can be no cure-all for youth mobilisation.[19] These statements are supported by George Joffe’s observation that youth participated in the Arab Spring rebellion more on the basis of social betterment than subscription to the jihadi Salafists.[20] Regardless, there is a portion of Tunisia’s youth who mobilised and whose ideals may be distinct from those of a wider demographic.

In the discourse of youth mobilisation, Isabel Schaefer posits that youth grievances are consistent with root causes of deprivation. By way of example, Schaefer notes the linkages between politics, economics, employment, and opportunity—meaning that while youth might be aggrieved at lack of employment opportunity, their social connections beget a deeper understanding of deprivation relative to others.[21] To that end, this part of the paper confirms the proposition by Roger Trinquier that deprivation and grievance, no matter the scope, will be exploited to mobilise an insurgency.[22]  

The response by Tunisia’s government to the challenge posed by insurgency has been security centric and the impacts of its policies have been variable.[23] Amnesty International has criticised Tunisia’s government over legislative reform and the need to protect human rights. Specifically, Amnesty International has condemned authorities for reimposing the state of emergency, arguing that the provisions restrict ‘freedoms of expression, association and movement’.[24] Dubbed S17, the border control measures were legislated to constrain persons under 35 years of age from travelling to Libya, Iraq and Syria. While the goal was to dissuade Tunisians from fighting abroad, the legislation impacted cross-border trade, depriving regional Tunisians of employment and prosperity.[25] Without economic support, regional Tunisians experience deprivation relative to other Tunisians and are at heightened risk of being mobilised into a component of an insurgency. This is quite specific in the case of Tunisia’s youth, considering the linkages between politics, economics, and employment. 

Herbert highlights that the emergency measures have provided wider powers to security forces.[26] This has had a positive impact on the Tunisian military, who experienced institutional deprivation under the Ben Ali regime. The military budget has been boosted and the force has been modernised. The US is noted as having contributed more than $250 million in military aid. Additionally, the US is reported as providing foreign internal defence in support of the Tunisian authorities. The pay-off for the Tunisian authorities is the obligation to permit US basing in Tunisia in its fight against ISIS in Libya and abroad.

The paradox is that Tunisia’s police have lost the level of institutional importance seen under the Ben Ali regime, generating a grievance.[27] Despite this, there is greater coordination between military and police effects. Yet there are three issues to consider. Firstly, the security forces are fighting disparate insurgencies in Tunisia’s east and west. Therefore, institutional learning and adaption is paramount. Secondly, the security forces are centralised under national controls and deploy accordingly. John Nagl concludes that centralised forces are at a disadvantage, and that local forces are more successful in a counter-insurgency campaign.[28] Thirdly, however, it is important to note Sharan Grewal’s critical review of the Tunisian police unions and a continuance of police abuse and impunity incidental with the emergency provisions. In context, the security-centric approach is upheld at the cost of population support.[29]

In response to Libya’s security vacuum the Tunisian government has militarised its eastern border. This measure also serves as a control for returning foreign fighters who want to remain undetected and avoid prosecution.[30] A key concern for the Tunisian authorities is the proximity of its population to insurgents residing in safe havens along the Tunisian-Libyan border. Additionally, there is pressure to protect oil and gas fields in the country’ south. For the border towns there are concerns of fractured trading relationships and an influx of criminal groups who disrupt the security environment. Like the S17 provisions, militarising the border has had negative social impacts despite the plausible reasons for the physical constraints, not the least of which is poor diplomacy with Libyan officials. The government’s oppressive security measures have turned essential cross-border trade into a black market.[31]     

In response to the challenge from insurgency, Tunisia’s government has replaced imams responsible for propagating jihadi ideology and banned affiliated organisations. The rhetoric of political and jihadi Salafists contributed to AST being designated a terrorist organisation, while incidentally the dissolution of AST compounded the foreign fighter phenomenon in Syria and Libya. Tunisia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs runs a counter-narrative on a broad range of media and social platforms targeting youth and wider society.[32] Additionally, Hamza Meddeb notes that Tunisia’s authorities have adopted a policy of non-negotiation with returning foreign fighters—possibly a factor in fighters wanting to return undetected. Certainly a closed policy limits reintegration options and fosters grievance among family members.[33] Evidence suggests that Tunisia’s prisons are already overcrowded, and the Tunisian authorities have limited capacity to reorientate from security-centric policy.[34] To that end, the current strategy has exacerbated deprivation and grievance, and Tunisia’s government is losing the contest for the control and support of the population.   

Insurgency poses a clear threat to the government’s legitimacy. Insurgents exploit deprivation and grievance, real or perceived, and control the population through fear or services to garner support in the realisation of their own objectives. In response, Tunisia’s strategic plan must be holistic and population focused, and create a normative system of control that divides the insurgency. The division of the population from the insurgents is an indirect and effective strategy to suppress insurgency. It is a population-centric strategy, one designed to earn population support and give control to the authorities. Irregular warfare theorists, such as Taber, Trinquier and Nagl, subscribe to population-centric strategy as key to suppressing insurgency.[35] Division occurs in contest with the insurgency. Thus, it is termed competitive control. David Kilcullen’s general theory of competitive control—a perception-based exchange—underpins the five-part thematic proposal to Tunisia’s strategic plan.[36]

A robust strategic plan requires a sustainable narrative. In that vein, a legitimate government, socio-economic prosperity, and a stable security environment are probable political objectives for Tunisia’s government. Achieving these objectives requires clear policy, supporting legislation, and accountable action by the Tunisian authorities. The key narrative for domestic and international consumption is that the Tunisian government is a responsible democracy; an advocate for human rights; a government committed to political inclusion, social cooperation and a viable economy; and a strategic partner focused on population security and a stable security environment. The insurgency maintains the initiative if the narrative is weak or if the government fails to satiate the population through all means available. The narrative must withstand attempts to tarnish it as an extension of political oppression, and it must offer a proposition that targets the components of the insurgency at its seams. Importantly, the narrative needs to be backed by qualitative action to earn population support and give control to the authorities.[37]

Qualitative action in Tunisia’s strategic plan must include security sector reform. Tunisia’s security services are well supported by government spending and foreign aid. The focus should be the delivery of complementary effects to control the population and degrade underground and auxiliary support. Combined forces should be allocated to security districts as part of a strategy to provide localised security services, which includes the development of local policing that understands provincial nuances and cooperates with the local population to quell grievances. Importantly, trust is a currency, and idle reform of the police union presents a significant risk to progressing legitimate claims of population security and earning support. The desired effect is population security delivered by the government in exchange for population support. These measures do not negate direct operations against insurgents; rather they enhance the reasoning for them and offer a counter-narrative to attacks by insurgents against civilians and the security services. The key decision rests in the balance of support and its potential for positive impact. The government’s response must be seen to be enduring by both the population and the insurgency.

Intimate with population security is the development of new policy for returning foreign fighters. Of most importance is the need to detect returning fighters as a matter of preserving the perception of population security. A key decision for authorities is the implementation of a broad range of reintegration measures, lawful procedures, and assessments of the potential for de-radicalisation to stem unnecessary imprisonment. The requirement is corresponding domestic and foreign policy to reduce the burden on the judicial and prison systems, which will incidentally allow for additional focus on population security. There is opportunity for cooperation with religious moderates who support the government’s counter-narrative. Equally, there is opportunity for community engagement to understand the diverse views on security to inform new legislation and policy. There is significant opportunity for youth inclusion to induce awareness of policymaking, not least inviting youth to take part in the political process. Foreign engagement is also vital. Engagement can enhance strategic partnerships, as has occurred between Tunisia and Algeria. Alternatively, third-party engagement, such as with NATO countries, can assist in diplomatic arrangements with Libya.

Government controls aligned to the strategic plan should be supported by socio-economic opportunity. The implementation of policy such as S17 and militarising the Tunisian-Libyan border should include economic relief packages such as infrastructure development, alternative employment, and tax relief. The aim is to limit deprivation, grievance and exploitable opportunity. There should be community engagement to understand grievances and improve the existing mechanisms for cross-border trade and departures. Social services should be extended to compete against insurgent-based services adding to the divide between the population and the insurgency. Again, youth inclusion is a significant opportunity. There are elements of social inclusion linked to security sector reform, such as social services in cooperation with local policing, highlighting the linkages across domestic policy. There is substantial risk in developing policies which are too broad and fail on implementation or, more importantly, fail to meet the expectations of the population. Socio-economic inclusion requires a timely decision.  

Decentralising some government control in Tunisia’s strategic plan will bring immediate and longer-term reward to Tunisia. Certainly, decentralisation requires critical decision-making on the part of the Tunisian authorities to mitigate strategic risks. The implementation of decentralised control would likely be a progressive measure beginning with mechanisms linked to security sector reform, returning foreign fighters, local economic planning, and local social service initiatives. This strategy enables provincial authorities and local leaders to tailor solutions and alleviate grievances at a local level. It aims to deny insurgents the opportunity to mobilise through local grievances by providing ‘a predictable, consistent, wide-spectrum normative system’ trusted by the population.[38] Equally, this strategy offers a perception of transparency in government decision-making. Finally, the strategy seeks to legitimise the government’s control measures across the broader state and reduce perceptions of a politically repressive government.

In response to the challenge from insurgency the Tunisian government has implemented a security-centric plan. The population is beset with deprivation and grievance over government decisions which Amnesty International deems overly repressive. The ‘double pressure’ of insurgency highlights a complex problem set that requires complementary policy.[39] Security sector reform, policy renewal for returning foreign fighters, socio-economic inclusion, and decentralised government control, topped by a substantive strategic narrative and underpinned by population engagement, form a plausible strategic plan for Tunisia. If the government’s political objective is recognition of its legitimacy, socio-economic prosperity and a stable security environment, then a shift in strategy from a security-centric plan to a population-centric plan is paramount. The Libyan predicament presents a significant foreign policy challenge. Domestic measures alone will not suppress insurgency. With a focus on population support and population control, the Tunisian government must implement a normative system of control and limit support to insurgency. People are the key in Tunisia’s challenge from insurgency.

[1] CIA, ‘Tunisia: Terrorist Groups’, The World Factbook, at:; Paul Rich, ‘Introduction: Small Wars and Insurgencies’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, vol. 27, no. 5 (2016), p. 736, ‘jihadist insurgents seek to displace the established political power’; Lisa Watanabe and Fabien Merz, ‘Dealing with Jihadi Radicalisation in Tunisia’, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, 10 January 2018, pp. 2–3, at:

[2]  Youssef Cherif, ‘Tunisia’s Foreign Policy: A Delicate Balance’, Atlantic Council, MENASource, 23 March 2015, at:; Hamza Meddeb, ‘Precarious Resilience: Tunisia’s Libyan Predicament’, Future Notes, No. 5 (Middle East and North Africa Regional Architecture, April 2017), p. 2.

[3] PJ Tompkins and N Bos (eds), Human Factors: Considerations of Undergrounds in Insurgencies, 2nd Edition, Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (United States Army Special Operations Command, 2013), p. 15.

[4] A normative system is rules matched to consequences. David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla (London: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 132.

[5] Harrison Leon and Nizar Salah, ‘The Acceptance of Tunisian Returnees from a Social Point of View’, Policy Brief, Maghreb Economic Forum, 20 September 2019, p. 3, available at:; David Doherty and Peter Schraeder, ‘Social Signals and Participation in the Tunisian Revolution’, The Journal of Politics, vol. 80, no. 2. (2018), pp. 675–680 and 688; Amnesty International, ‘They Never Tell Me Why: Arbitrary Restrictions on Movement in Tunisia’, 24 October 2018, p. 9, available at: 

[6] ‘The Salafis saw the refusal to insert sharia … as “giving nothing to them”’ (personal interview with former Ennahdha MP, March 2017). Sabrina Zouaghi and Francesco Cavatorta, A Doomed Relationship: Ennahdha and Salafism, Issue Brief 04.27.18 (Houston TX: Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, 2018).

[7] ‘There were few moderate religious actors capable of stepping in after the revolution’ (Natasha Quek and Syed Alkaff, ‘Analysis of the Tunisian Foreign Terrorists Fighters Phenomenon’, Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis, vol. 11, no. 5. (2019), pp. 1–2); Counter Extremism Project, ‘Tunisia: Extremism and Counter-Extremism’, Counter Extremism Project 2019 (CEP19), pp. 2–3.

[8] Djallil Lounnas, ‘The Tunisian Jihad: Between al-Qaeda and ISIS’, Middle East Policy, vol. 26, no. 1 (2019), pp. 5–7; Quek and Alkaff, 2019, p. 2.

[9] Mao Tse-Tung (trans. Samuel Griffith), On Guerrilla Warfare (CreateSpace, ([1940] 1961) 2019), pp. 20–21.

[10] Lounnas, 2019, pp. 8–15; Jacob Olidort, ‘What is Salafism?’, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 24 November 2015, at:; CEP19, p. 2; Quek and Alkaff, 2019, p. 2; Besenyo Janos and Prantner Zoltan, ‘Tunisia’s Security Concerns’, Academic and Applied Research in Military and Public Management Science, vol. 14, no. 1 (2015).    

[11] Zouaghi and Cavatorta, 2018.  

[12] Shadi Hamid, ‘Radicalization After the Arab Spring Lessons from Tunisia and Egypt’, in Nicholas Burns and Jonathon Price (eds), Blind Spot: America’s Response to Radicalism in the Middle East (Aspen Institute, 2015), p. 46; CEP19, p. 2.

[13] Emna Ben Arab, ‘Returning Foreign Fighters: Understanding the New Threat Landscape in Tunisia’, in Thomas Renard (ed.), Returnees in the Maghreb: Comparing Policies on Returning Foreign Fighters in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, Egmont Paper No. 107 (Egmont, 2019), pp. 36, 42–43; Lounnas, 2019, p. 18; Meddeb, 2017, p. 2.

[14] Janos and Zoltan, 2015, p. 5, ‘[AST] has taken full advantage of the critical economic conditions of the country and the social tensions that originated from the previous situation’.

[15] Matt Herbert, ‘The Insurgency in Tunisia’s Western Borderlands’, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 28 June 2018, at:     

[16] Robert Taber, The War of the Flea: A Study of Guerrilla Warfare Theory and Practice (New York, 1965), p. 147.  

[17] ‘Essentially both groups share a common substratum, represented by the quasi-defunct Ansar al-Sharia network.’ Héni Nsaibia, ‘Shepherds—An Overrepresented Insurgent Target Group’, The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, 9 July 2018, at:

[18] Herbert, 2018 (‘Three out of the four national protest movements have begun in the interior’); Jaclyn Stutz, ‘AQIM and ISIS in Tunisia: Competing Campaigns’, Critical Threats, 28 June 2016, at:; Cherif, 2015 (‘Algeria-Tunisia security cooperation has grown in importance’). 

[19] Lounnas, 2019, p. 13.

[20] George Joffe, ‘The Arab Spring in North Africa: Origins and Prospects’, The Journal of North African Studies, vol. 16, no. 4. (2011), p. 525.

[21] Isabel Schaefer, Political Revolt and Youth Unemployment in Tunisia: Exploring the Education-Employment Mismatch (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), p. 1.

[22] Roger Trinquier, Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency (Fort Leavenworth KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Combat Studies Institute, [1961] 1985), p. 6.

[23] ‘Politicians have not delivered effective change or improved service delivery. This drives cynicism and disillusionment with democracy.’ Matt Herbert, ‘Terrorism in Tunisia: More than Just Foreign Connections’, Institute for Security Studies, 1 July 2019, at:  

[24] Amnesty, 2018, pp. 9, 11.

[25] CEP19, p. 7. On S17 impacts see Amnesty, 2018, pp. 12–17.

[26] Herbert, 2018.

[27] On deprivation see Sharan Grewal, ‘A Quiet Revolution: The Tunisian Military After Ben Ali’, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 24 February 2016, pp. 1–20, at: On US financial support see CEP19, p. 8. On US foreign internal defence see Héni Nsaibia, ‘America Is Quietly Expanding Its War in Tunisia’, The National Interest, 18 September 2018.

[28] John Nagl, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife (University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. xiv.

[29] Sharan Grewal, ‘Time to Rein In Tunisia’s Police Unions’, Project on Middle East Democracy, March 2018, pp. 1–10; Onur Kara et al., ‘Promotion of Think Tank Work on Security Sector Reform and Socio-Economic Challenges in Tunisia’, German Council on Foreign Relations, February 2018, p. 4, ‘a balance between democracy and security … requires a transformation of its security culture’.

[30] Aaron Zelin, Tunisian Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria, Policy Note 55 (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2018), p. 19.

[31] Anouar Boukhars, ‘The Potential Jihadi Windfall from the Militarization of Tunisia’s Border Region with Libya’, CTC Sentinel, vol. 11, no. 1 (2018), pp. 32–36; Boukhars, 2018, p. 35, ‘Border militarization has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable people who are dependent on trade in contraband’; Meddeb, 2017, pp. 4–6.

[32] Lounnas, 2019, p. 19; CEP19, pp. 2, 7, quoting Zelin: ‘a majority of the Tunisians that remained involved in jihadism joined up with ISIS in Syria and later in Libya’.

[33] Meddeb, 2017, p. 8; Kara et al., 2018, p. 8, ‘security challenges cannot be adequately addressed via unilateral policies’.

[34] Watanabe and Merz, 2018, p. 4; Ben Arab, 2019, pp. 44–45.

[35] Taber, 1965, p. 22; Trinquier, 1985, p. 8; Nagl, 2005, pp. 28–29.

[36] Kilcullen, 2013, p. 126, ‘In regular conflicts (that is, in conflicts where at least one combatant is a nonstate armed group), the local armed actor that a given population perceives as best able to establish a predictable, consistent, wide-spectrum normative system of control is most likely to dominate that population’.

[37] Supporting arguments for this plan are propagated by Herbert, 2018; Leon and Salah, 2019; Watanabe and Merz, 2018, pp. 3–4; Nizar Salah and Imen Alnighaoui, 2019, ‘Inclusion: An Approach to Reinforce Youth Deradicalization’, Annual Event Report, Maghreb Economic Forum, 11–12 April 2019, pp. 1–14; DCAF Trust Fund for North Africa, Security Sector Development in Tunisia: Country Assessment and Results—2017 Report (Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance: 2017), pp. 18, 23.

[38] Kilcullen, 2013, p. 126.

[39] Lounnas, 2019, p. 8.

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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