The MSM has frequently offered up Tunisia as a democratic success story among the Arab Spring nations, especially in comparison to countries like Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The Tunisian parliament passed a reasonably liberal constitution to much fanfare late last month, after Islamists in the government peacefully stood aside for a technocratic caretaker administration that will preside until general elections are held later this year.
Yet Tunisia’s future is far from secure. Shootouts with militants are a daily occurrence according to Deutsche Welle, especially along the country’s mountainous border with Algeria. Last week, Tunisian government forces killed seven suspected militants in a raid in the capital, Tunis. The men were accused of assassinating two prominent opposition figures early last year. Deutsche Welle:
[Interior Minister Lotfu] Ben Jeddou showed a photo of the slain Gadhgadhi wearing an explosives belt and said police recovered weapons, bombs and rocket-propelled grenades from two houses occupied by the men. Ben Jeddou identified the men killed on Tuesday as members of Ansar al-Shariah, an ultraconservative Islamic movement banned for its alleged links to al Qaeda and involvement in attacks. The group also stands accused of storming the US Embassy in Tunis in 2012.
And then last night the New York Times reported that further arrests were made over the weekend after a gunfight:
A statement by the Interior Ministry described the men as “dangerous terrorists” and identified one as Ahmed Melki, known as “the Somali,” who is wanted in connection with the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi, a left-wing lawmaker whose slaying last summer provoked a political crisis.
One of the suspects arrested on Sunday was described as severely wounded after being shot in the face. Three police officers were wounded in the gun battle.
Tunisia hasn’t made as many headlines as its neighbors, which is a good sign as far as that goes, but its struggle for a stable democratic order is far from over.