TSG Report Quoted on Voice of America: Inside Tunisia’s Extremist Breeding Ground
June 6, 2016
Voice of America
By: Lisa Bryant
The outdoor market should be packed, but just a few people have braved a hot sun to haggle over flat-screen TVs and gaudy rugs trucked over from Libya, just 30 kilometers away.
There is also no business at Ben Guerdane’s currency black market; the men manning the dusty sidewalk stalls shoo a visitor away with a surly wave.
One of Tunisia’s poorest towns, Ben Guerdane is largely dependent on cross-border trade — legal and illegal — for its survival. Already struggling businesses faced a fresh blow a few weeks ago, when Libyan authorities temporarily closed the frontier to stop the flow of smuggled oil.
There is an even larger cause for worry. Tunisian authorities have closed their side of the border at least twice since last November to crack down on two other exports: jihadi fighters and weapons. Earlier this year, they completed the first part of a 200-kilometer border fence with Libya to help thwart terrorism…
“The tradition of jihad is so strong in Ben Guerdane,” wrote risk analysis firm The Soufan Group, “that al-Qaeda in Iraq’s former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, allegedly said, ‘If Ben Gardane had been located next to Fallujah, we would have liberated Iraq.’”…
Download The Soufan Group’s updated report on Foreign Fighters here.
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