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2015年3月21日 (土)

チュニジア襲撃 「民主化モデル」を脅かすテロ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Terrorist attack in Tunisia threatens successful transition to democracy
チュニジア襲撃 「民主化モデル」を脅かすテロ

Yet another horrendous case of bloodshed has occurred in North Africa, where terrorist activities by Islamic extremists have been continuing.

Gunmen fired indiscriminately at a museum in the Tunisian capital of Tunis on Wednesday, killing about 20 people, including tourists from abroad, three of them from Japan. Many others were wounded, among them three Japanese.

This murderous rampage, which randomly targeted innocent people, can never be forgiven.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly condemned the atrocity, stressing, “We will make the utmost efforts in our fight against terrorism by further deepening cooperation with the international community.” This is perfectly natural.

The government must endeavor to protect those who were attacked and ensure the safety of Japanese living overseas.

It is no longer rare for Japanese people to be embroiled in terrorist assaults abroad. Given these circumstances, the government must strengthen its measures for collecting information about regions with unstable security and for disseminating warnings about such regions.

The security authorities in Tunis reportedly shot to death two Tunisian members of the group of gunmen, and have taken multiple suspects into custody. An Islamic extremist organization is suspected of being involved in the daylight raid. The whole truth of the incident should be brought to light promptly.

Tunisia is known for having spearheaded the Arab Spring uprisings for democratization, in which long-standing dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and North Africa were toppled by the people. After the collapse in the 2011 Jasmine Revolution of the administration of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, whose dictatorship had lasted for 23 years, popular revolts spread to Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.

3,000 joining ISIL

Amid the political turmoil in those countries following the easing of dictatorial rule, Tunisia was able to craft a democratic system for the coexistence of secular groups and Islamic moderates. It thereby drew international attention as a model for a successful transition to democracy.

Behind this progress, however, public order and security deteriorated in Tunisia, while investment from abroad and the number of foreign tourists dropped significantly, sending the Tunisian economy into stagnation. With radicalism spreading among young people and others in poverty who are dissatisfied with society, there can be no denying that the threat of terrorism existed before the Tunis attack.

The number of Tunisian fighters who have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) based in Iraq and Syria, is reportedly about 3,000. They are the largest group among overseas members of ISIL, causing Tunisia to earn the dishonorable nickname of an “exporter of extremist elements.”

Until the latest incident, terrorist activities in Tunisia had been considered to be limited compared to the rampant presence of Islamic extremist groups in the neighboring countries of Libya and Algeria. The recent shooting has upended this belief.

To ensure that the foundation of its democratic system, which it has managed to build at long last, is not shaken, the Tunisian government should seriously address the challenge of restoring public order and resuscitating the economy.

After the gunmen’s siege, President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia declared his government’s strengthening of measures to stamp out terrorists. Tougher steps for clamping down on terrorist groups, as well as bolstering inspections and surveillance at such places as airports and borders, are urgently needed to stem the infiltration of terrorist fighters.

For its part, Japan must step up efforts to extend assistance to Tunisia in cooperation with the United States and European nations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 20, 2015)


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