Building on Keith Krause’s previous work on military/security development in the context of security and state (trans-)formation in the Middle East and North Africa, and expanding on earlier conceptual models on the robustness of authoritarian regimes, the project saught to employ a historical, inductive approach based on extensive fieldwork in Tunisia. The aim was to develop a grounded explanation of the structures and processes underlying the revolution.
Outputs of the project included an oral history conference in Tunis, a series of peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as a monograph. In October 2014, the first result of the research project was published as:
Kartas, M. (2014). Foreign Aid and Security Sector Reform in Tunisia: Resistance and Autonomy of the Security Forces. Mediterranean Politics, 19(3), 373-391.
The paper addressed two key questions: What have been the main dynamics dragging out the reform of the security sector, and what role has foreign aid and assistance played in this process? The project is expected to further advance existing knowledge of military/security development and thus influence current and future research on uprisings and revolutions in the Arab world. It will also refine our understanding of the role of the security sector in the transformations of the postcolonial state, its politics and society.
Throughout 2015, the preliminary findings of the project received considerable traction, both in Tunisia and internationally. The concept of autonomy of the security forces, as propagated by the project, has been picked up by policy-oriented publications of the International Crisis Group and the Carnegie Middle East Centre, for instance, and Moncef Kartas was cited repeatedly in the news media following the series of terrorist attacks in Tunisia. See also his latest op-ed on Tunisia Live and a contribution article to the publication of the Foundation Res Publica.