The Making of Tunisian Foreign Policy

Tunisian foreign minister Khemaies Jhinaoui was left in the dark when a delegation of parliamentarians visited Syrian president Bashar al-Assad

The unprecedented mass protests throughout the Middle East during 2011’s Arab Spring had limited effect on most regimes. Only Tunisia successfully ended authoritarian rule, but democracy remains a work in progress. Parties, aligned with powerful neighbors, have failed to provide ideological and policy coherence. A coalition between the two dominant parties has led to conflicting stances and disarray in Tunisian foreign policy on issues like the Syrian civil war. Amina El Abed, director of communications for OXCON Frontier Markets and Fragile States Consulting, details the intricacies of Tunisia’s politics and the multiple actors claiming a foreign policy role. “The pattern of hesitation and timidity is telling not only about the internal struggle but the lack of a vision for Tunisian foreign policy, which is troublesome, especially in the volatile Middle East,” she writes. Adoption of a foreign-policy framework could minimize confusion. Coherent, unified policy could encourage Tunisians’ engagement in the democratic process, strengthening the nation and wider region. – YaleGlobal