Tunisia's International Relations since the 'Arab Spring': Transition Inside and Out, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Tunisia's International Relations since the 'Arab Spring'

Transition Inside and Out, 1st Edition

Edited by Tasnim Abderrahim, Laura-Theresa Krüger, Salma Besbes, Katharina McLarren


348 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-09-20
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When popular protests started in Tunisia in late 2010, few anticipated the implications these events would have for the entire Arab region. In the following years, this region witnessed deep changes, increased divisions, and even failing states. Meanwhile, Tunisia managed to assert itself as a new democracy. How did this small country manage its democratic transition within such a short period? And what implications has this had for its foreign policy and its role in international politics?

This book assesses Tunisia’s transition ‘inside and out’ from four angles: Tunisian polity and politics which provide the framework for its foreign policy since the ‘Arab Spring’; bilateral relations before and after the ‘Arab Spring’; Tunisia’s activism in international organisations as well as their presence in Tunisia; and transnational issues in Tunisia. Drawing on a broad range of primary sources, including authors’ own interview material conducted with politicians and representatives of civil society and international NGOs involved in the transition process, the book shows that since 2011 Tunisia has not only developed fundamentally at the domestic level, but also at the level of external relations. New and old alliances, a broadening of relations, and new activism of civil society and of Tunisia in international organisations certify that Tunisia has the potential to play an increasingly important role regionally as well as internationally.

Providing an encompassing picture of Tunisia’s changed role and successful transition from an autocracy to a democracy, the book allows students and scholars in the field to understand the ‘last country standing’ better, a country that both the scientific community and the political scene should not underestimate for the promises it holds.

Table of Contents


Tasnim Abderrahim, Salma Besbes, Laura-Theresa Krüger, Katharina McLarren &

Bernhard Stahl

PART I Principles, aspirations, limitations: reshaping Tunisia’s foreign policy

1 The polity of Tunisia’s external relations before and after 2011, Ines Kalai & Jaweher Skhiri

2 The Essebsi government (2011): continuity or change? Aymen Briki & Reinhardt Rummel

3 The Troika governments (2011-2014): orientations and constraints Mohamed Nidhal Zaier & Ignaz Völk

4 The Jomaa government (2014-2015): Tunisia as a ‘Start-up Democracy’ Tasnim Abderrahim & Mootaz Ghothbani

PART II Oscillation, cooperation, commitment: Tunisia and its partners

5 France and Tunisia: friendship reactivated? Laura-Theresa Krüger

6 Germany and Tunisia: friendship in the making? Edmund Ratka & Bernhard Stahl

7 Tunisia and the EU: ‘more of the same’ or starting anew? Laura-Theresa Krüger, Edmund Ratka & Emna Chihi Ouji

8 Turkey and Tunisia: building bridges in stormy times? Elena Dück & Rihab Kordi

9 The U.S. and Tunisia: from democracy promotion to security consolidation Salma Besbes & Tasnim Abderrahim

PART III Inspiration, conditionality, concertation: Tunisia and international institutions

10 International Financial Institutions: business as usual in Tunisia? Lisa Spantig

11 The Arab Maghreb Union: a new quality of foreign policy cooperation? Laura-Theresa Krüger & Mohamed Nidhal Zaier

12 Arab League and United Nations: Tunisia’s new activism? Katharina McLarren

PART IV Challenges, uncertainty, determination: key transnational issues

13 Tunisia’s migration policy: from a reactive to a proactive approach Sabrine Souissi & Katharina McLarren

14 Tunisia’s security policy: threats and reform efforts Soumaya Hichri & Ignaz Völk

15 Radicalisation and terrorism in Tunisia: the lure of jihadism for a marginalised youth Edmund Ratka & Marie-Christine Roux

What is ‘new’ regarding Tunisia’s place in the world: empirical findings and theoretical departures

Bernhard Stahl


About the Editors

Tasnim Abderrahim holds an M.A. in English Studies from the University of Tunis and was one of the coordinators of the German-Tunisian research project Tunisia in Transition. Her research interests include foreign policy analysis and democratization.

Laura-Theresa Krüger is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the University of Passau, Germany. Previously one of the coordinators of the research project Tunisia in Transition, her research interests include development policy, French and European foreign policies.

Salma Besbes is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the University Tunis Carthage and offers courses on Human Rights at the University of Kairouan. In 2015 and 2016, she was one of the coordinators of the research project Tunisia in Transition.

Katharina McLarren is a PhD candidate who focuses on religion in IR theories. She works for the Chair of International Politics at the University of Passau, Germany and was one of the coordinators of the research project Tunisia in Transition

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government

This series examines new ways of understanding democratization and government in the Middle East. The varied and uneven processes of change, occurring in the Middle Eastern region, can no longer be read and interpreted solely through the prism of Euro-American transitology. Seeking to frame critical parameters in light of these new horizons, this series instigates reinterpretations of democracy and propagates formerly ‘subaltern,’ narratives of democratization. Reinvigorating discussion on how Arab and Middle Eastern peoples and societies seek good government, Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government provides tests and contests of old and new assumptions.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Middle Eastern
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies