When terrorists killed 39 European tourists in Sousse on June 26, 2015, analysts feared this could deal a fatal blow to Tunisia’s economic recovery and to North Africa’s tourism industry as a whole. Since then, several terrorist attacks hit Tunisia anew and the situation in increasingly destabilized neighboring Libya added to security concerns. The attack that killed 18 people on March 13, 2016 in Côte d’Ivoire came as a reminder that the general situation has rather worsened for several months. According to intelligence-related sources, the peak of terrorism activity hasn’t been reached yet, as the threat will likely be on an upward trend for months, if not years, to come.
In close cooperation with its African partners, France quickly initiated a large re-assessment of the security environment and sent increased counter-terrorist and intelligence assets to the region. It will take time to improve the regional security architecture of which French tactical and Special Forces have been the essential backbone for long, official sources said, but the strong commitment of the parties concerned was a first essential step in order to address the threat. Tunisia’s terrible decline of tourism activity brought further evidence that there couldn’t be any viable economic development without a stable security environment and multinational coordinated response.