Tunisia: Military Cooperation Continues Despite Tensions with Europe

by | Dec 8, 2023 | Diplomacy, Political, Security, Tunisia


In recent weeks, several Mediterranean countries held a 5+5 Defense exercise focused on coordination of air defenses and interoperability in the Mediterranean air space. 

France, Spain, and Italy participated from the European side, while Tunisia and Algeria participated from North Africa. Libya is technically part of the 5+5 Defense group but not currently able to field air assets to participate in the exercise. 

Among the goals of the exercise is to ensure readiness to maintain air-to-air control over Libyan air space. 

During the exercise, various groups of fighter aircraft intercepted a French A330 MRTT Phoenix, which is traditionally a refueling aircraft. However, with the A330 aircraft body, it can role-play as various types of civilian or military aircraft in exercise scenarios. 


Despite the many overlapping sources of tension between North African states and their European allies, exercises such as this one reflect the power of long-standing working-level relationships that can sustain and strengthen diplomatic ties even as political conflicts dominate headlines. 

While both Algeria and Tunisia have ongoing frustrations with France, the bonds between the countries remain strong in terms of economic and cultural exchange, tourism, and security cooperation. 

Even as senior political leaders navigate the current challenges of irregular migration, terrorism-related security challenges, and financial loans and investments, the supporting bureaucracies continue to cooperate to maintain communication and exchange and will continue to do so. 


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