Near East Policycast

Tunisia's Missionaries of Jihad with Aaron Zelin



In the last decade, Tunisia has been seen as both a democratic bright spot of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and a major source of manpower for the Islamic State and other violent jihadist movements. How did this country of 12 million, with little history of domestic terrorism before 2011, come to play such a crucial role in filling the ranks of violent Islamist groups worldwide? Jihadism scholar Aaron Y. Zelin, author of the 2020 book "Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia's Missionaries of Jihad," explains Tunisia’s little-known role in powering the Islamic State’s rise in Iraq and Syria, the “original sin” of the 2011 revolution that helped unleash Tunisian jihadism, and the lessons that the United States and other countries should learn from Tunisia’s experience. Middle East PolicyCast: Conversations on Middle East issues from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.