Tunisia housed the spark that began the Arab Spring. It created a cascade effect that eventually influenced a myriad of events – to include Syria. Today, the Middle East has crashed so badly that a terrorist commander of Al-Nusra is telling a German reporter the United States is arming the jihadis. The Middle East is so complex and complicated from the outside and to foreigners that it’s become impossible to pick sides. It all started in Tunisia.

Image courtesy of criticalthreats.org

According to the Cornell University Library:

“Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” is the first popular uprising to topple an established government in the Middle East and North Africa since the Iranian revolution of 1979; it’s also the spark that ignited and inspired other revolutions in the region. It unfolded in three phases: First, on December 17, 2011, a young Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in hopelessness and to protest his treatment at the hands of the authorities. Demonstrations broke out in his rural hometown followed by protests in other areas of the country. A brutal security crackdown followed, reported in shocking details by online social media. Second, when protests reached the capital, Tunis, the government responded with even more brutality, arresting demonstrators, activists, and shutting down the Internet. Lastly, the President, Zine el-Abedin Ben Ali, shuffled his cabinet and promised to create 300,000 jobs, but it was too late; protesters now just wanted the regime to fall and its president stripped of any power. On January 14, Ben Ali and his family fled the country taking refuge in Saudi Arabia. This act marked the end of one of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes It was a victory for people power and perhaps the first time ever in history that an Arab dictator has been removed by a revolution rather than a coup d’Etat.”

Mohammad Bouazizi sets himself on fire during Tunisian protests. Marks the beginning on the Arab Spring. Image courtesy of www.moroccoworldnews.com.

Today, increased protests in Tunisia are occurring again, according to AEI Critical Threats. Tunisia is of importance because of the Salafi-Jihadi group that are interested in embedding themselves into the culture. They could thrive there, hide, plan and continue to infect the Middle East. If the jihadis dig themselves deep into Tunisia, they cast a sucker punch to U.S. interests. The Tunisian government is vulnerable both economically and politically.

Amid protests and a lack of control, the Jihadis can move-in relatively undetected. They’ll disappear into the local population and plan, meet and communicate with other cells in average apartments and houses.

What could happen? Jihadis could attempt to overthrow, attack the government and further destabilize Tunisia. For extremists, Tunisia is in a prime neighborhood because the entire region is unstable. There would be limited intervention from neighboring nations Libya and Algeria. Jihadis can find a better home than the ones they occupy in Libya in Tunisia. Better yet, they’ll be safer once the Tunisian government re-stabilizes and their borders become semi-secure. But, during a time of instability, like a blackout, they could rush in for long-term strategy planning against the West.

Featured image courtesy of www.africlandpost.com.