In a roundtable discussion with experts on Tunisia, Aliriza unpacked some of the apparent tensions between the desire for democratic reform and the desire for security. The group debated what security meant, and for whom. For many Tunisians, achieving stability after four years of chaos was increasingly more appealing than democratic reform.

Yet, participants questioned the government’s strategy, which seemed influenced by thought patterns from the country’s police state past, and might actually be counter-productive. Though the number of arrests had grown, many of these seemed arbitrary and based on appearance rather than incriminating evidence—and so did little to address the real security issues in the country.

Some participants argued for greater coordination among donors and linking logistics and equipment aid to real security sector reforms. The big question was how to push for greater government accountability.

The discussion was moderated by Anne Applebaum, Director of the Legatum Institute’s Transitions Forum. Fadil Aliriza is expected to publish his case study on Tunisia’s response to terrorism and its democratic transition in November 2015.

About the Speaker

Fadil Aliriza is an accomplished journalist and analyst with a special focus on Tunisia and Libya. His work regularly appears in Democracy Lab, the Legatum Institute’s online partnership with Foreign Policy magazine. In addition, he has contributed to NPR, BBC, The Atlantic Council and The Independent. Previously, Fadil served as Editor of Foreign News at the Hürriyet Daily News in Istanbul, Turkey, where he was based. Fadil is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Middle East politics at SOAS, University of London.

The Transitions Forum is a series of projects dedicated to the challenges and possibilities of radical political and economic change.