The Tunisian Mukhabarat State: The Origins of Tunisian Intelligence, its Influence on Tunisian State Development and Domestic Politics from 1881 to 1965

Omar Safi

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

The majority of Arab regimes share as distinctive common denominator, the undeniable centrality of their security apparatus. It is surprising that so little has been written about Intelligence or Mukhabarat in any Arab state. With few exceptions, there is a lack of systematic studies or critical theorisations on the individual North African secret services and more broadly on the phenomenon of the Mukhabarat or Intelligence State. Therefore, this research aims to fill this important gap in our understanding of North Africa by analysing, through a historical approach, the role of intelligence as that fundamental and generally ignored ‘missing dimension’ of North African domestic politics. Based on the unprecedented access to the sources of the Ministry of the Interior and the First Ministry during Bourguiba’s regime and on the exploration of the archives of France, Italy, and United Kingdom, this work develops the first considered analysis on the evolution of the Tunisian security community and give an appreciation of the degree of influence wielded by Intelligence on Tunisian domestic politics. It therefore covers the whole process of state formation, from the implementation of French Protectorate in 1881 to the aftermath of the independence up to 1965, to present a first comprehensive overview of the origins and development of the Tunisian security apparatus. It argues that from an apparatus designed to maintain the colonial control, it evolved into an instrument that, from the onset, was driven by the political agenda of the leader or the ruling elite.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherI. B. Tauris
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 2019

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