News Analysis: Experts say U.S. cutting aid to Tunisia contradicts its anti-terrorism policy

The U.S. reduction of security aid to Tunisia is contradicting to its anti-terrorism policy, experts viewed, as the Head of the Tunisian National Unity Government Youssef Chahed has visited the United States to intervene in the issue.

“This visit comes at a crucial moment for Tunisia, which is experiencing a complex economic and security situation,” said Nizar Makni, a Tunisian foreign policy expert.

Chahed was in the United States on an official visit from July 9 to 12.

The proposal by Donald Trump administration under the new U.S. budget is reported to reduce military and financial aids to Tunisia by 61.1 percent, with 54.6 million dollars slated for the year 2018.

The reduction might send a wrong message to terrorist organizations, as Tunisia is strongly engaged in the cooperation with the United States in uprooting in the country corruption and smuggling, which are the main sources of terrorist financing, said Chahed.

Makni believes that Chahed is looking for “a certain continuity of American support for Tunisia, especially since the United States remains one of the main guarantors of the Tunisian economic credibility with the international financial institutions and the world’s aid donors.”

Chahed met with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State for Defense James Mattis and Jared Kushner, son-in-law and advisor to Trump, expressing his country’s will in eradicating extremism.

Makni thinks that the White House new administration’s treatment of the various external files “has changed remarkably.”

However, he also considers that the United States won’t “let go” Tunisia.

“The satisfactory cooperation with Tunisia offers the United States a good vision of what happens in neighboring Libya, and allows it to monitor all movements on the sub-Saharan side,” he added.

The United States, he said, will spare no effort to get involved in Africa, mainly by strengthening their presence in the North African region, which will enable them not only to monitor the Europe, given the decline of France, but also to conquer new important strategic zones.


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