In the light of current events in Tunisia, including the formation of a government, the conflict in the Parliament together with the rivalry between parties, the lack of Tunisian diplomacy, especially Tunisia’s regional and international position amid the rising conflicts in the region, is seen almost negligible.
The regional situation is volatile, and the war that was almost over for a short period at the southeastern borders of Tunisia, the Sahel, and the Sahara region have returned to a flare-up. Furthermore, many regional, and Arab powers are mobilizing all of their forces for battles that seem to be only waiting for the first spark to break out, and yet Tunisia seems to ignore those developments, except actions that others impose on the country.
A cripple diplomacy
In practice, the Embassy of Tunisia in Tripoli does not have an ambassador to represent his country, to defend its interests, to extrapolate the situation in Libya and to report to the foreign ministry on what is happening on the ground. Sources say that the consul in Benghazi left a while ago on an annual leave without any replacement.
The same applies to France, which is the most important partner for Tunis, with no ambassador in Paris, nor a general consul, nor a consul for social affairs, nor a consul in Toulon. As if Tunisia is determined to empty France of any diplomatic representation, just because one or more of the French officials might not be satisfied with Tunisia’s diplomatic representatives.
At the same time, the Tunisian embassy in Damascus remains closed despite years-old announcements of a reopening. Its embassy in Baghdad also remains empty. Additionally, in many world major capitals, there is no ambassador or a high-ranking diplomatic figure to represent Tunisia. However, there are just consuls or diplomats of different ranks, as if the country no longer cares about its relations with brotherly and friendly countries, or it does not care much about the situation in the world and the region.
Concurrently, Tunisia is under immense diplomatic pressure, as it stands alone in facing the pressures of regional axes. Turkey and Qatar demanding to be with them in supporting Al-Sarraj and the reconciliation government, the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia want Tunis to be with them in support of Haftar and the Tobruk Parliament. However, Tunisia has nothing but outdated statements regarding neutrality and non-interference, etc.
Pressures from France and America
On the other hand, France is exerting strong pressure to return to the Tunisian arena using it again to serve its agendas in the region. Furthermore, after it had the upper hand in supporting Chahed and Fakhfakh to rise to power as Prime Ministers of Tunisia, it is now strongly leaning to the side of President Kais Saied in a bid to impose through him its accounts in the country and region.
Nevertheless, there are two ambassadors for France in Tunisia. The previous ambassador, who chose to stay to work on tasks he said he did not complete. The new one is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, who reports to the Elysée Palace. He previously worked in Algeria, Iraq, and Libya, and it is known that he only goes to the regions of crises. So, does France expect more crises to come?
Moreover, the US intends to renew the UN sanctions on Iran, it also may or France may suggest a sanctions list on Lebanon. It actually has begun to garner support for its endeavors with the members of the UN Security Council.
Nonetheless, there is another point of concern: Tunisia has no foreign minister, nor ambassadors in many capitals of major countries. This is actually paradoxical, and it is another bad indication of what is expected of Tunisia’s foreign policy regarding major and sensitive international issues in the coming weeks.