As the investigation into Tunisia’s most recent terror attack unfolds, it is becoming clear that the Arab Spring’s basket case (Libya) is infecting its greatest success (Tunisia). The Independent reports:
The gunman who massacred 38 tourists at a Tunisian hotel trained at the same Libyan terror camp as two militants who carried out the Bardo museum attack, it has emerged.One of Tunisia’s top security officials announced today that Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, was coached at the same time as Yassine Labidi and Saber Khachnaoui. (…)Rafik Chelli said they were trained at a camp near the western Libyan town of Sabratha in January, when Rezgui was also there passing illegally over the border.
The tragedy at the Marhaba beach resort is the latest in a string of North African terror attacks on tourist targets, following the Bardo Museum attack in March and the attempt on the Karnak Temple in Egypt—both of which have links to ISIS. Such attacks have have costs far beyond the loss of life. Tourism is one of the most important industries in each country’s economy. After the Bardo attack, Tunisian tourism had already been projected to take a significant hit; after last Friday’s attack, it turns out to be even worse than imagined. Reuters:
Tunisia expects to lose at least $515 million this year, or about a quarter of its estimated annual tourism earnings, following last Friday’s attack. (…)The North African country earned $1.95 billion in revenues from tourism last year. The sector makes up seven percent of its gross domestic product and is a major source of foreign currency and employment for Tunisia. (…)The government has said 1,000 more armed tourism police will patrol hotels and tourism sites and the army reserves will also be drafted in to beef up protection.
Tunisia is the one success story from the Arab Spring; Libya was one of its greatest failures. If the media was as on its game as it should be, it would not only be able to link these two stories together, showing how the attacks in Tunisia trace to Libyan camps. It would also be able to see the tie-in to American domestic politics, asking awkward, but important and timely, questions about the principal authors of the Libyan failure—including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.