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US military base in Tunisia: whom to believe?

Information on the installation of a US military base in the region of Haouaria in Tunisia has consistently raised great controversy and sparked the anger of the Tunisians who are categorically opposed to the installation of such projects in Tunisia.

According to Italian reports published by the Al-Arab magazine in its issue of Tuesday, July 21, 2015, the Tunisian authorities have given their agreement to receive American surveillance systems pending the installation of a US military base in Haouaria that will replace the base which is currently in Sicily.

The principal mission of the military base is listening in the Mediterranean area. The Information was confirmed by Algerian newspaper Al Fajr, which reported in its issue of Thursday, July 23, 2015 that the Tunisian government has given its consent to the US proposal to transfer its military intelligence base from Sicily to Haouaria.

Indeed, despite the denials of the Presidency of the Republic and Tunisian security officials, Badra Gaaloul, President of the International Center for Strategic Studies confirmed in a statement to Africanmanager there will be a US military base in Tunisia.

The security expert has, in the same context, explained that there would be an «unconventional” military base, directed by Tunisian officers under the control of the United States. This database will be responsible for controlling all of Africa, according to her.

This information that has fueled the controversy was denied by spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic, Moez Sinaoui, who affirmed that Tunisia remains committed to the military doctrine established since independence, categorically rejecting the installation of a foreign military base on its soil, adding that the principle of Tunisia since independence is to refuse the installation of such a base in Tunisia.

He, in the same vein, explained that the issue was not even raised during the recent visit of Tunisian President Beji Caïd Essebsi to the United States of America.

Lassaâd Bouazzi, a retired officer of the Tunisian Navy, former Secretary General of the Euro-Maghreb Centre for Research and Strategic Studies (CEMRES) has meanwhile indicated in a memorandum made public after this information that The United States is today in search of a base whose host country would obey a set of well-defined criteria, namely port infrastructure capable of hosting a huge logistic flow to support its operations and a strategic location in relation to the most significant hotbeds of threats hanging over the interests of America and Europe: northern Africa and the Sahel.

Among other criteria, Lassaâd Bouazzi cited the traditional relations with the West and a former cooperation with NATO, noting that only two countries that are able to fulfill these conditions namely Morocco and Tunisia.

“So if there was a consideration for the memorandum of understanding signed between Tunisia and the United States of America, it would be indeed a base for AFRICOM. In politics, there is no free privilege; everything is calculated based on the best interests of nations.

And when the privilege is granted by the stronger to weaker, generally the sought stakes are high, “he has said.


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