A Case Study of Tunisia’s Path to Radicalization: A Lost Generation?

Sipos Xénia Zsuzsanna


ABSTRACT: This article, using a qualitative approach, historical methods, and literature review, highlights the territorial decline of the Islamic state since 2014, which implies the defeat of terrorist organizations, but not the ideology. Based on the report of Soufan Group in 2015, Tunisia was the country that sent the most troops to support the Islamic State. Around 6,000 Tunisians are members of ISIS (Islamic States in Iraq and Syria). But other sources say that the total number of members coming from North African countries is 7,000, plus 1,500 soldiers from Libya. The presence of terrorism in Tunisia is still real; and this proves that the phenomenon of aggressive radicalization remains to be noted. The events after the Arab Spring became the reason for the spread of extreme ideas and acts of violence. But the real causes are deeply rooted, and can be linked to unique political and economic developments in North African countries. Therefore, root causes triggering violent actvities present in political and cultural arenas were analyzed requiring a brief outlook on the historical past of Tunisia. The regional instability are also deemed responsible for the shifting of young Tunisians towards violent radical ideologies and the perpetration of terrorist activities inside the country.

KEY WORD: Radicalization; Poverty and Economic Inequality; Identity Crisis; Coercion of Modernization; Political Exclusion. 

IKHTISAR: “Studi Kasus Jalan Tunisia menuju Radikalisasi: Generasi yang Hilang?”. Artikel ini, dengan menggunakan pendekatan kualitatif, metode sejarah, dan kajian pustaka, menyoroti tentang kemunduran teritorial negara Islam sejak tahun 2014, yang mengimplikasikan juga kekalahan organisasi teroris, namun tidak dengan ideologinya. Berdasarkan laporan Soufan Group”, pada tahun 2015, Tunisia adalah negara yang paling banyak mengirim prajurit untuk mendukung Negara Islam. Sekitar 6,000 orang Tunisia menjadi anggota ISIS (Negara Islam di Irak dan Siria). Namun sumber lain menyebutkan bahwa total anggota yang berasal dari negara-negara Afrika Utara adalah mencapai 7,000, ditambah dengan 1,500 prajurit dari Libya. Kehadiran terorisme di Tunisia masih nyata; dan ini membuktikan bahwa fenomena radikalisasi agresif masih harus diperhatikan. Kejadian-kejadian setelah Musim Semi Arab menjadi alasan tersebarnya faham-faham ekstrim dan tindakan kekerasan. Namun penyebab sesungguhnya mengakar lebih dalam, dan bisa dikaitkan dengan perkembangan politik dan ekonomi yang unik di negara-negara Afrika Utara. Oleh karena itu, akar penyebab yang memicu aktivitas kekerasan yang hadir di arena politik dan budaya dianalisis yang membutuhkan pandangan singkat tentang sejarah masa lalu Tunisia. Ketidakstabilan regional juga dianggap bertanggung jawab atas pergeseran pemuda Tunisia ke arah ideologi radikal yang kejam dan kegiatan terorisme didalam negara tersebut.

KATA KUNCI: Radikalisasi; Kemiskinan dan Kesenjangan Ekonomi; Krisis Identitas; Pemaksaan Modernisasi; Pengucilan Politik.

About the Author: Sipos Xénia Zsuzsanna is a Ph.D. Candidate at the International Relations Multidisciplinary Doctoral School (International Relations and Security Studies Sub-Program) at the Corvinus University of Budapest, 2132 Göd, Szeder Utca 24, Hungary. For academic interests, the Author is able to be contacted via e-mail address at: xeni-khali2008@live.fr

Suggested Citation: Zsuzsanna, Sipos Xénia. (2020). “A Case Study of Tunisia’s Path to Radicalization: A Lost Generation?” in SUSURGALUR: Jurnal Kajian Sejarah & Pendidikan Sejarah, Volume 8(1), Maret, pp.1-26. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press and UBD Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, ISSN 2302-5808 (print) and ISSN 2684-7388 (online).

Article Timeline: Accepted (December 27, 2019); Revised (February 21, 2020); and Published (March 30, 2020).


Radicalization; Poverty and Economic Inequality; Identity Crisis; Coercion of Modernization; Political Exclusion

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2121/susurgalur.v8i1.1286

DOI (PDF): https://doi.org/10.2121/susurgalur.v8i1.1286.g1115


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