In post-revolution Tunisia, maps of geopolitics have been rebuffed. Known to be a preserve of France, just like the rest of the North African countries, the capital of the “Arab Spring” seems to be today the ground of a discrete and strategic US military presence.
Mohamed Abdellaoui from Tunis
This is the subject of obsession for both local press and citizens. The presence of a drone launching base in southern Tunisia has indeed been much commented in recent days. And if the Tunisian authorities deny en bloc, the Americans, at least the US media confirms. According to Washington Post, citing a US government source, these unarmed drones used by nearly 70 US agents were deployed in this Maghrebian region in late June 2016 to help Libyan pro-government forces counter Daesh troops in the city of Syrte and with the Tunisian government’s approval, according to the same source. These aircrafts are used to monitor the Tunisian-Libyan borders and sites controlled by the Islamic State (Daesh).
However, the negotiations for the establishment of this American base had remained secret for almost a year to keep the emerging Tunisian democracy free from any amalgam linked to the presence of a great military power, according to the American newspaper. Discretion was also required by the Tunisian authorities for fear of a popular uprising against such an action. Moreover, recently questioned by the local press about the presence of an American base in the south of the country, President Béji Caïd Essebsi denied the information, recognizing, however, the use of drones in Tunisian armed forces’ training missions by “70 US military” on the spot. As for the spokesman of the Tunisian Ministry of Defense, Belhassan Ouslati, he talked about an agreement between his country and the US on the mission of such drones, including surveillance and not the attack.
The Maghreb, a strategic area for the Americans
The professor of international relations, Abdelmajid Abdelli, confirms the growing interest of the Americans for the Maghreb, a region deemed strategic because of its geographical location and its rich subsoil, Algeria and Libya in particular.