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Diplomacy in Action

Tunisia: Security Assistance


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Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
October 20, 2008

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[This material is no longer current.  Updated data will be posted.]

Country Map and Flag of Tunisia

Background: Rivalry between French and Italian interests in Tunisia culminated in a French invasion in 1881 and the creation of a protectorate. Agitation for independence in the decades following World War I was finally successful in getting the French to recognize Tunisia as an independent state in 1956. The country's first president, Habib BOURGUIBA, established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In November 1987, BOURGUIBA was removed from office and replaced by Zine el Abidine BEN ALI in a bloodless coup. BEN ALI is currently serving his fourth consecutive five-year term as president; the next elections are scheduled for October 2009. Tunisia has long taken a moderate, non-aligned stance in its foreign relations. Domestically, it has sought to defuse rising pressure for a more open political society. (Source: CIA—The World Factbook)

Security Assistance Funding: (Source: 2009 Congressional Budget Justifications for Foreign Operations)

($ in thousands)

Account FY 2007 FY2007 FY 2008 FY 2008 FY2009

Actual Supp Estimate Supp Request
FMF 8,385 -- 8,345 -- 2,262
IMET -- -- 198 -- --
NADR 474 -- 497 -- 425

Direct Commercial Sales: (Source: 2007 Section 655 Report)

In FY 2007, the Department of State authorized the export of defense articles and services valued at $58,611,473.



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