Militants attacked army and police barracks in Ben Guerdan, Tunisia, near the Libyan border, this morning, leaving at least 30 security officials and civilians and 21 militants dead; six militants were arrested and Tunisian authorities locked down two border crossings and a nearby resort town.
“As the military’s power has increased, Tunisia’s leaders have been keen to promote loyal officers. Privileging loyalists is not a new strategy, but the changing face of Tunisia’s political leadership has spelled a changing demographic composition of the top brass. Prior to the revolution, senior officers most often hailed from Tunis and the Sahel -- the wealthy coastal region, which includes Sousse, Monastir and Mahdia, from which Bourguiba and Ben Ali hailed. These areas amounted to just 24 percent of Tunisia’s population yet claimed nearly 40 percent of the officers promoted to the Supreme Council of the Armies under Ben Ali. However, Tunisia’s post-revolution leaders gained much of their support from the marginalized interior. In the wake of Egypt’s July 2013 coup, these leaders, especially President Moncef Marzouki, ensured the military’s loyalty by reshuffling the top brass to bring in officers from these historically underprivileged regions, signaling the end of the favoritism of Tunis and the Sahel. Perhaps the sharpest break with the Ben Ali era has been the entrance of retired officers into Tunisia’s robust civil society. Retired officers have capitalized on the newfound freedom of association to form a number of civil society organizations, lobbying the government and shaping the public debate over the military and its needs.”
Wash. Post: "How Tunisia's Military Has Changed"