06.03.2009: TUNIS SECURITY ENVIRONMENT PROFILE QUESTIONNAIRE (SEPQ) SPRING 2009
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 08 TUNIS 000129
DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/ITA, DS/IP/NEA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2019 ¿TAGS: ASEC, PTER, TS ¿SUBJECT: TUNIS SECURITY ENVIRONMENT PROFILE QUESTIONNAIRE ¿(SEPQ) SPRING 2009
REF: STATE 13023
Classified By: [Text removed by Aftenposten] FOR REASONS 1.4(b) and (d)
1. (SBU) DEMONSTRATIONS ¿----------------------- ¿A. (SBU) ARE THERE ANY ETHNIC OR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN ¿COUNTRY CAPABLE OF CARRYING OUT SIGNIFICANT ANTI-AMERICAN ¿DEMONSTRATIONS?
The Government of Tunisia (GOT) prohibits demonstrations that ¿are not pre-approved and is capable of controlling and ¿dispersing one in the unlikely event one could be mustered ¿without their knowledge. The only known group capable of ¿implementing this type of demonstration would be the Tunisian ¿labor union UGTT. The UGTT, which is neither ethnic nor ¿ religious, maintains a small square outside of its ¿headquarters which they occasionally make use of to hold ¿political rallies, which have included anti-American slogans ¿in the past.
B. (SBU) HAVE THERE BEEN ANTI-AMERICAN DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE ¿COUNTRY WITHIN THE LAST 12 MONTHS?
There have been no anti-American demonstrations in 2008 or ¿2009. The GOT is very protective of the area surrounding the ¿Embassy and maintains a large uniformed and plainclothes ¿police presence around the compound. There were many ¿pro-Palestinian rallies across the country this year in ¿ reaction to events at Gaza. At these demonstrations, some ¿anti-Israeli and anti-American rhetoric was allowed. ¿Witnesses also described a couple incidents of demonstrators ¿burning Israeli and American flags. Historically, there were ¿two small, peaceful government-sponsored demonstrations in ¿solidarity with Lebanon in summer 2006. A few of the ¿ demonstrators shouted anti-American slogans and carried ¿anti-American signs. After the Saddam Hussein execution in ¿2006, the UGTT had a small anti-American rally outside of its ¿headquarters.
C. (SBU) HAVE DEMONSTRATIONS TAKEN PLACE NEAR OR IN FRONT OF ¿U.S. DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES? No.
A small group of professional women from the Tunisian ¿Association of Female Researchers assembled briefly outside ¿of the main gate to the compound in January 2009 and ¿displayed signs with the words "Stop the War in Gaza" on ¿them. They were quickly outnumbered by local police who ¿ intervened before they reached the visitor access control ¿point. They were allowed to present a petition to an embassy ¿officer who accepted it on behalf of the Ambassador.
D. (SBU) WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SIZE OF AN ANTI-AMERICAN ¿DEMONSTRATION? N/A
E. (SBU) ARE ANTI-AMERICAN DEMONSTRATIONS USUALLY TRIGGERED ¿BY U.S FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVES, MILITARY ACTIONS, OR BY ¿DOMESTIC ISSUES? N/A
F. (SBU) ARE DEMONSTRATIONS GENERALLY VIOLENT OR PEACEFUL?
Demonstrations are generally peaceful and the GOT strives to ¿ensure this by positioning large numbers of uniformed and ¿plain clothes police officers in the demonstration areas. ¿However, economic unrest and unemployment led to several ¿large-scale and prolonged demonstrations during the first six ¿ months of 2008 in the south-central area of Tunisia. There ¿was violence reported as the demonstrators and the security ¿ services clashed in several cities, and the GOT cut off ¿public access to the areas hardest hit and did not permit ¿media reporting of the confrontations. See below (I.) for ¿more details.
G. (SBU) IF VIOLENT, HAVE ANY DEMONSTRATIONS RESULTED IN ¿DAMAGE TO USG PROPERTY OR INJURIES TO USG EMPLOYEES? No.
H. (SBU) IF VIOLENT, HAVE ANY DEMONSTRATORS EVER PENETRATED ¿OUR PERIMETER SECURITY LINE? No.
I. (C) HAVE THERE BEEN ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATIONS IN THE ¿COUNTRY WITHIN THE LAST 12 MONTHS? Yes.
Unemployment protests took place in south-central Tunisia in ¿February, April and June of 2008, primarily in the towns of ¿Gafsa, Redeyef, Kasserine, Um El Araies and Feriana. High
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unemployment, poverty, inflation and a lack of economic ¿development in the mining region in the governorates of Gafsa ¿and Kasserine sparked some of the largest demonstrations ¿Tunisia has seen in years. Ministry of Interior (MOI) and ¿Ministry of Defense (MOD) assets were deployed at various ¿ times to restore order. According to reports, police used ¿live ammunition in response to the throwing of petrol bombs. ¿Some residents and supporters of the demonstrators rejected ¿police claims, dismissing them as ex post facto ¿ rationalization for the excessive use of force by the ¿security services. Two demonstrators were shot and killed ¿and many more were wounded. Dozens of protesters were ¿arrested and several senior labor leaders were arrested and ¿subsequently sentenced to up to eight years in prison. Human ¿rights organizations reported that security forces used tear ¿gas, batons, water cannons and dogs to repress demonstrators, ¿and even ransacked homes and businesses in retaliation. The ¿Tunisian military was deployed to the city of Redeyef in June ¿in an effort to end the violence.
J. (SBU) HAVE DEMONSTRATIONS TAKEN PLACE NEAR OR IN FRONT OF ¿U.S. DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES? No.
K. (C) WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SIZE OF AN ANTI-GOVERNMENT ¿DEMONSTRATION?
Public protests in Tunisia are rare. The demonstrations ¿referred to above were confined to the mining region in ¿south-central Tunisia in the governorates of Gafsa and ¿Kasserine. The GOT strictly controls information and the ¿private media practices self-censorship when reporting on ¿ matters sensitive to the GOT that could reflect negatively ¿upon it. The GOT attempted to minimize the extent and nature ¿of the demonstrations and initially would not even ¿acknowledge them in official communications. Areas were ¿cordoned off from public access and attempts by Embassy ¿ officers to enter these areas were initially rebuffed by ¿security forces at road blocks. However, some did reach ¿Redeyef by utilizing back roads instead of the main highways. ¿Given the propensity of the GOT to control information, it ¿is not possible to obtain official statistics on the size of ¿the demonstrations. Unofficially, the numbers vary greatly ¿depending on the source. Amateur video footage posted on ¿YouTube suggested that the crowds consisted of more than one ¿thousand persons.
L. (SBU) ARE DEMONSTRATIONS GENERALLY VIOLENT OR PEACEFUL?
Demonstrations are generally peaceful. The events in Gafsa ¿and Kasserine last year prove that people will challenge ¿authority even in a police state, when driven to do so in ¿this instance by severe economic conditions. Over the time ¿period from January until June, there were two deaths ¿ reported as a result of the unrest and the response from the ¿ security forces. The number of wounded cannot be ascertained ¿because of the lack of credible information regarding the ¿demonstrations.
M. (SBU) IF VIOLENT, HAVE ANY DEMONSTRATIONS RESULTED IN ¿DAMAGE TO USG PROPERTY? No.
2. (SBU) MACRO CONFLICT CONDITIONS ¿----------------------------------
A. (S/NF) IS THE HOST COUNTRY ENGAGED IN AN INTERSTATE OR ¿INTRASTATE CONFLICT? (THIS MAY INCLUDE BATTLES BETWEEN ¿ORGANIZED AND VIOLENT DRUG CARTELS).
There is no interstate or intrastate conflict involving the ¿GOT. The GOT is very proactive in terms of its internal ¿security and utilizes a broad definition of the term ¿terrorist in the application of its interests. GOT security ¿forces disrupted a terror cell in December 2006 and January ¿ 2007. Gun battles included two major skirmishes in Hammam ¿Lif and Soliman in the greater Tunis area. The GOT has ¿conveyed to Embassy officers they consider the cell ¿responsible for these actions destroyed. The problems posed ¿by the porous Algerian border were evidenced by the fact that ¿six individuals had crossed into Tunisia undetected with the ¿purported intent of conducting terrorist attacks.
Tunisia also faces illegal cross-border migration from ¿Algeria and Libya to Europe. Criminal cartels, not ¿necessarily based in Tunisia, continue to ferry illegal ¿aliens through Tunisian territorial waters and are often
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intercepted by Tunisian naval/coast guard units. Recently, ¿there have been increased reports of Tunisians attempting to ¿emigrate illegally, most likely to Italy. Some have met with ¿tragic results because of the poor condition of the boats, no ¿provisions and no life vests. It is also probable these ¿routes are also being used as a conduit for illegal drugs.
B. (SBU) IF AN INTRASTATE CONFLICT, IS IT AN INSURGENCY ¿LIMITED TO A SPECIFIC REGION OR IS IT A COUNTRYWIDE CIVIL ¿WAR? There is no intrastate conflict within Tunisia.
C. (SBU) IF LIMITED TO A SPECIFIC REGION, ARE ANY U.S. ¿DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES LOCATED IN THIS REGION?
All U.S. diplomatic facilities are located in Tunis, ¿Specifically the northern suburbs of Les Berges du Lac and ¿Sidi Bou Said.
D. (S/NF) HAVE ANY OF THE FACTIONS INVOLVED IN INTRASTATE ¿CONFLICTS SIGNALED OR DEMONSTRATED AN ANTI-AMERICAN ¿ORIENTATION?
The GOT claims that the group they disrupted in January 2007 ¿had plans to attack the U.S. and U.K. embassies and select ¿personnel. However, the GOT has not shared any tangible ¿evidence of this to date, nor was any such evidence presented ¿in their trial in late 2007, although one defendant admitted ¿that the group intended to target "crusader" sites. The GOT ¿ considers this cell destroyed.
3. (SBU) HOST COUNTRY CAPABILITIES ¿----------------------------------
A. (SBU) ARE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES (LEA) PROFESSIONAL AND ¿WELL-TRAINED? Yes.
LEA´s are professional and adequately trained. Police ¿officers receive one year of general police academy Training ¿and one year follow-on specialized training (i.e. VIP ¿protection, criminal investigations, motorbike patrol). ¿ Police officers who demonstrate high proficiency in their ¿second year of training are recruited for special units (i.e. ¿special forces, anti-terrorist, quick response teams). Local ¿traffic police, a separate entity from other LEA´s, also ¿receive specialized training.
The GOT utilizes large numbers of uniformed police officers ¿as a visible deterrent to crime and by extension, terrorism, ¿particularly in the capital and in popular tourist areas. In ¿sensitive areas, such as near government buildings or even ¿the U.S. Embassy, they also utilize plain-clothes officers to ¿supplement their capabilities.
B. (C) HAVE THEY BEEN TRAINED BY U.S. AGENCIES? IF SO, ¿PLEASE ELABORATE ON EFFECTIVENESS OF TRAINING.
Yes, but not recently. DS/ATA has had a long relationship ¿with the GOT, however, the last DS/ATA training occurred in ¿August 2004. Thirty-two GOT officials participated in an ¿airport security management seminar. Since then, DS/ATA has ¿offered a variety of training opportunities, which were ¿ either turned down at the last minute or deadlines for ¿participation were not met. The Department of Defense ¿through Embassy Tunis´ Office of Security Cooperation has ¿been more successful in providing training to Ministry of ¿Defense personnel but the Ministry of Defense is prohibited ¿ from performing police activities.
C. (C) ARE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES CONFRONTED WITH SERIOUS, ¿WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION INSIDE THEIR AGENCIES?
It is widely believed that corruption is a problem within law ¿enforcement agencies, but it is practically impossible to ¿substantiate because the GOT does not release such ¿information. In early 2004, the GOT created the position of ¿Chief Inspector of the Internal Security Forces and Customs ¿ within the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to investigate ¿corruption and other law enforcement abuses. Little ¿information about the activities of this group or any other ¿corruption within the Tunisian law enforcement community is ¿officially released or able to be verified, therefore it is ¿ difficult if not impossible to assess the level of internal ¿corruption. There are widespread reports, however, of ¿traffic police soliciting bribes to forego issuing traffic ¿tickets.
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¿D. (S) ARE THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES PROFESSIONAL AND CAPABLE ¿OF DETERRING TERRORIST ACTIONS? Yes.
The GOT maintains an active internal and modest external ¿intelligence network focused on preserving civil peace and ¿order within Tunisia´s borders. Through extensive use of ¿informants and surveillance, the GOT produces ¿intelligence-related information and aggressively addresses ¿any perceived threat to national security and regime ¿stability.
In order to further combat domestic terrorism, the Ministry ¿of Interior and Local Development (MOI) has centralized ¿terrorism investigations in its Tunis office. The police and ¿paramilitary National Guard divisions of the MOI have each ¿established an antiterrorism director to coordinate terrorism ¿investigations and share information more easily.
E. (S/NF) HAVE THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES BEEN COOPERATIVE ¿WITH U.S. EMBASSY REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION AND SUPPORT?
Although the intelligence services continue to streamline ¿their liaison decision-making processes, the GOT continues to ¿impede dissemination of information outside of the GOT, even ¿during a threat. In fact, internal controls within the GOT ¿limit how information is shared between the office of the ¿President, MOI, Security Services and MOD. From the outset ¿of the MOI encounter with the terrorists in Hammam Lif ¿(southeast suburban Tunis) on December 23, 2006 until the ¿final confrontation in Soliman (farther southeast of Tunis) ¿on January 3, 2007, the GOT did not/not share any information ¿concerning the threat against the U.S. Embassy with anyone in ¿ the Embassy despite specific formal and informal requests ¿from the Ambassador, DCM and other section heads. ¿Originally, they stated that the incident involved organized ¿crime elements. On January 5, 2007, the GOT informed the ¿Ambassador that the U.S. and U.K. Embassies were among the ¿ group,s intended targets. One week later, the GOT made a ¿public statement to that effect. Gradually, the GOT provided ¿more specific information regarding these events. Through a ¿concerted effort, relations and information sharing have ¿improved but the majority of information originates from the ¿U.S. side.
On criminal investigations, official requests to the MOI ¿regarding information on criminal activities, specifically ¿incidents against Americans continue to go unanswered or to ¿be delayed. Criminal Leads have been passed with no response ¿in years past. This does not necessarily mean that no action ¿was taken, but no report or follow-up were shared with RSO. ¿ Recently, the Legal Attach based in Rabat has had all ¿requests for meetings canceled or postponed, even though ¿multiple dates had been suggested in the Diplomatic Note to ¿the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting the meetings. One ¿letters rogatory requesting interviews with the FBI was ¿granted in 2007.
F. (S/NF) ASSUMING THERE HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT TERRORIST ¿THREATS IN RECENT YEARS, HAVE HOST COUNTRY SECURITY SERVICES ¿BEEN ABLE TO SCORE ANY MAJOR ANTI-TERRORISM SUCCESSES?
Beyond the December 2006/January 2007 incidents, the GOT has ¿in some cases accepted repatriation of captured Tunisian ¿extremists who face prosecution for violation of Tunisia´s ¿anti-terrorist laws. They are promptly sentenced upon their ¿return. Two Guantanamo detainees were transferred in summer ¿ 2007 and ten more remain in custody there.
G. (SBU) HAS HOST COUNTRY BEEN RESPONSIVE (RE: TIMELINESS AND ¿ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES) TO EMBASSY REQUESTS FOR PROTECTIVE ¿SECURITY? Yes.
The GOT provided the Embassy with significant protective ¿resources and security support for many high level visits in ¿2008, including the Secretary of State and several ¿Congressional delegations. The GOT officers are professional ¿and conscientious. Provided the request is scheduled in ¿ advance, the GOT provides assistance to include motorcade and ¿traffic support, and also motorbike and foot patrols (uniform ¿and undercover). When the Secretary of State stayed in a ¿beach-front hotel, there were maritime patrols as well.
When demonstrations began occurring across the country in ¿support of the Palestinians in January of 2009, the police
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presence at the Embassy was visibly increased even though the ¿possibility of a spontaneous demonstration was extremely low. ¿We do not expect a change in the GOT´s responsiveness to our ¿requests for support.
H. (SBU) HOW DOES THE EMBASSY ASSESS THE OVERALL SECURITY AT ¿MAJOR AIRPORTS IN THE COUNTRY? (EXCELLENT; VERY GOOD; ¿GOOD/AVERAGE; POOR)
The Embassy would assess airport security as good/average. ¿The GOT is working to expand its airport services and hopes ¿to be a major African hub; therefore the GOT has increased ¿airport security overall. Numerous uniformed officers are ¿positioned on the roadway in front of the main terminal and ¿there are also checkpoints for traffic entering the terminal ¿ area.
The most recent information regarding airport safety ¿available to the RSO is from 2007 when officials from the ¿United Kingdom visited the Tunis/Carthage International ¿Airport. The officials indicated that the security of the ¿airport changed depending on the personnel on duty. Based on ¿observations of our personnel this is considered accurate, as ¿at times the police have ratcheted up their level of ¿inspection of persons entering the airport without ¿explanation.
Additionally, a number of visitors to Tunisia arrive via ¿cruise ships. Since Tunisia is a popular destination for UK ¿citizens, UK Department for Transport representatives visited ¿the La Goulette commercial seaport, also in 2007. They ¿determined the security at Tunis´ major seaport to be ¿ good/average. They echoed the airport safety officials´ 2007 ¿statements in regards to the attentiveness of police ¿personnel on site.
I. (S) HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION CONTROLS ¿AGENCIES? (EFFECTIVE; AVERAGE; INEFFECTIVE)
Average. During a visit to the Port of Rades, Tunisia´s Main ¿container port, by CODEL Costello in August 2007, the ¿Director General of the Merchant Marine and Ports Office ¿(OMMP) and the OMMP´s Director of Port Security and Safety ¿noted that the Port is in full compliance with the ¿ International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and has ¿been recognized for security best practices. The delegation ¿was given a demonstration of the Port´s container scanning ¿procedures. The OMMP claimed that 100 percent of all ¿imported and exported containers are scanned. The OMMP also ¿shared photographic evidence of x-ray images that led to the ¿GOT,s interdiction of several smuggling incidents involving ¿weapons, drugs, and illegal immigrants.
Immigration controls appear to be effective at international ¿airports and we have no specific evidence to the contrary. ¿Land borders are considered porous. GOT security elements ¿are specifically concerned about their western border with ¿Algeria.
As stated above, Tunisia also faces illegal cross-border ¿migration from Algeria and Libya to Europe. Criminal cartels ¿continue to ferry illegal aliens through Tunisian territorial ¿waters and are often intercepted by Tunisian naval/coast ¿guard units and merchant vessels on their way to Italian ¿islands. Tunisia is not typically the launching point, ¿however.
J. (S/NF) HOW EFFECTIVE ARE BORDER PATROL FORCES? (EFFECTIVE; ¿AVERAGE; INEFFECTIVE)
Average. The GOT continues to patrol its border areas with ¿aging equipment although additional refurbished UH-1H ¿helicopters have been received and put into service. There ¿have been ten helicopters received since 2007. Its limited ¿budget hinder the national guard´s border patrol ¿capabilities. The GOT continues to request US assistance in ¿obtaining new equipment for this purpose, specifically ¿helicopters, sensors, night vision goggles and spare parts.
Along the Algerian border north of the Sahara Desert, the ¿paramilitary National Guard is stationed as a first line of ¿defense with the army five kilometers inland for support. ¿The National Guard relies on static posts and both forces ¿conduct continuous patrols. The army operates a small number ¿of ground surveillance radars which provide limited coverage
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due to both their inadequate numbers and the age of the ¿equipment. The military exclusively patrols the more porous ¿southern Sahara borders with Algeria and Libya and relies on ¿the same type of aged radar equipment. Security is often ¿increased along the borders around major holidays.
Two Austrian nationals were kidnapped in February 2008 while ¿visiting the southwestern desert. The GOT alleged they had ¿strayed over the border into Algeria when they were abducted ¿but subsequent debriefings since their release contradict ¿that official explanation, leading us to believe the action ¿took place in Tunisia. The Austrians were released unharmed ¿in Mali after a large ransom was paid.
-------------------- ¿INDIGENOUS TERRORISM ¿--------------------
4. (SBU) ANTI-AMERICAN TERRORIST GROUPS ¿ ---------------------------------------
A. (S/NF) ARE THERE INDIGENOUS, ANTI-AMERICAN TERRORIST ¿GROUPS IN COUNTRY?
The group that targeted the Embassy is believed to be the ¿linked to Al Qa´ida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb ¿(AQIM). Based on publicized arrests and capture of Tunisian ¿Islamic extremists involved in support and execution of ¿extremist activities in Spain, Belgium, Italy, Bosnia, ¿ Denmark, Iraq and the trial of thirty terrorists allegedly ¿planning domestic attacks, one must conclude there are ¿further anti-American elements in Tunisia who support ¿violence against the U.S. presence in Tunisia and Iraq.
The support of Islamic extremism appears to be linked to the ¿global jihad movement. One alarming fact associated with the ¿December 2006/January 2007 incidents indicates that the group ¿of six who illegally entered Tunisia via the Algerian border ¿in April 2006 was able to recruit over thirty more ¿ individuals for their cause in only six weeks.
In the past, Tunisian terrorist groups who were known to be ¿active outside of Tunisia and who have espoused anti-American ¿views, such as the Tunisian Combatant Group (TCG aka Tunisian ¿Islamic Fighting Group) and the Tunisian Islamic Front (TIF), ¿may still have supporters in Tunisia although it is unlikely. ¿The GOT contends that these groups are totally shut down. ¿They are illegal and the GOT has arrested and imprisoned ¿members.
Although the GOT does not publicly acknowledge their ¿existence, it can be safely assumed that terrorists and ¿terrorist sympathizers are present in Tunisia. It should ¿also be noted that the GOT banned the Islamist party ¿ an-Nahdha (Renaissance), which it considers to be a terrorist ¿ organization. Several an-Nahdha leaders were sentenced to ¿lengthy jail terms in the 1980s. Rachid Ghannouchi, the ¿leader of an-Nahdha, lives in exile in London.
B. (SBU) IF YES, HOW MANY? 3. PLEASE NAME GROUPS. See above
C. (SBU) HAVE GROUPS CARRIED OUT ANTI-AMERICAN ATTACKS WITHIN ¿THE LAST 12 MONTHS? No.
D. (SBU) WERE ANY OF THESE LETHAL ATTACKS? N/A
E. (SBU) HAVE GROUPS ATTACKED U.S. DIPLOMATIC TARGETS? No.
F. (SBU) HAVE GROUPS ATTACKED U.S. BUSINESS, U.S. MILITARY, ¿OR U.S.-RELATED TARGETS? No.
G. (SBU) HAVE GROUPS LIMITED THEIR ATTACKS TO SPECIFIC ¿REGIONS OR DO THEY OPERATE COUNTRY-WIDE? N/A
H. (SBU) IF ATTACKS ARE LIMITED TO REGIONS, ARE THERE ANY ¿U.S. DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES LOCATED IN THESE REGIONS? N/A
5. (SBU) OTHER INDIGENOUS TERRORIST GROUPS ¿ -------------------------------------------
A. (SBU) ARE THERE OTHER INDIGENOUS TERRORIST GROUPS (NOT ¿ANTI-AMERICAN) IN COUNTRY? None known.
B. (SBU) IF YES, HOW MANY? PLEASE NAME GROUPS. N/A
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C. (SBU) HAVE GROUPS CARRIED OUT ATTACKS IN THE CAPITAL OR IN ¿AREAS WHERE U.S. DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES ARE LOCATED? No.
D. (SBU) WERE ATTACKS LETHAL AND/OR INDISCRIMINATE? N/A
E. (SBU) HAVE THERE BEEN ANY AMERICANS KILLED OR INJURED IN ¿THESE ATTACKS? N/A
----------------------- ¿TRANSNATIONAL TERRORISM ¿----------------------
6. (SBU) TRANSNATIONAL TERRORIST INDICTORS ¿ -------------------------------------------
A. (S/NF) ARE THERE ANY FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP THAT HAVE A ¿PRESENCE IN COUNTRY? Yes.
PROVID NAMES: AQIM and other pro-Islamic insurgent ¿symathizers.
B. (S) HOW DOES POST ASSESS THIS PRESNCE? IS IT AN ¿OPERATIONAL CELL? FINANCIAL CELL SUPPORT CELL? PROPAGANDA ¿CELL?
Based on th direct threat against the Embassy mentioned ¿abov and the presence of Tunisians actively participatng in ¿terrorist activity around the world (i.e. adrid train ¿bombings, Iraqi suicide attacks, Guatanamo detainees), ¿operational, financial nd support cells exist in Tunisia. ¿ Without specific evidence to the contrary, presence of ¿propaganda cells can be assumed.
C. (C) IS THE HOST GOVERNMENT SYMPATHETIC TO THESE GROUPS?
No. The GOT actively pursues these groups, as they are a ¿threat tothe current regime and its economic base - tourism.
D. (S) ARE THERE SUSPECT NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANZATIONS ¿(NGOS) IN THE COUNTRY THAT HAVE A RELATINSHIP WITH ANY OF ¿THESE GROUPS?
A popular, no-militant and influential NGO is the Da´Wa ¿Al-Taligh. This Islamic NGO, which has been present in ¿Tunisia since the mid-1970´s, has been operating hroughout ¿the countryside and in urban neighborhods, urging strict ¿observance of Koranic teachins. The Embassy suspects that ¿sme elements of the Da´Wa may use this organization as a ¿cover to recruit youths for extremist activities.
E. (SBU) ARE THERE ANY ETHNIC OR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN ¿COUNTRY THAT ARE SYMPATHETIC TO THESE GROUPS?
Yes, some Arab nationalists and Islamic sympathizers in ¿Tunisia would support groups with radical Arab and Muslim ¿causes.
F. (S/NF) HOW DOES POST ASSESS THE LEVEL, INTENT, AND SCOPE ¿OF HOSTILE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES (IRAN, IRAQ, SYRIA, SERBIA, ¿SUDAN, ET. AL.) IN COUNTRY RELATIVE TO POTENTIAL ¿ANTI-AMERICAN TERRORIST ACTS?
Hostile intelligence services exist in Tunisia; however, it ¿is difficult to assess their abilitis. Their ability to ¿conduct acts of terrorism oreven conduct intelligence ¿operations are cnstrained due to their limited resources and ¿the strict covert and overt Tunisian surveillance against ¿ foreign missions.
G. (S/NF) HOW DOES POST ASSESS THE AVAILABILITY OF WEAPONS ¿AND EXPLOSIVES IN COUNTRY OR FROM NEARBY COUNTRIES FOR ¿HOSTILE TERRORIST ELEMENTS?
The GOT would argue that it has excellent control of ¿information and intelligence that minimizes the ability of ¿hostile groups to smuggle and transport weapons and ¿explosives. The sandy desert borders shared with Algeria and ¿Libya combined with the aging border patrol equipment provide ¿ an opportunity for entry of illegal munitions. GOT raids and ¿encounters in December 2006 and January 2007 produced a ¿variety of automatic weapons (Kalashnikovs) and explosive ¿ordnance (ammonium nitrate, TATP). The GOT informed the U.S. ¿Embassy that it found fifty to sixty kilograms of explosives ¿fabricated in Tunisia. In 2007, to combat the fabrication of ¿ explosives in Tunisia, the GOT announced changes in the types
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of fertilizers that are permitted for use in country.
The support systems that produced and transported these ¿weapons from the border regions throughout the country ¿indicate that it is not as difficult as the GOT would have us ¿believe. Further we cannot assume that the GOT has been able ¿to seize all illegal weapons or explosives. ¿[Text removed by Aftenposten]
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