Olfa Lamloum on BBC Dunyana (Our World), 5 January 2015

Olfa Lamloum, Country Director of International Alert Tunisia, joins the panel of the weekly discussion show, BBC Dunyana. The other panellists include Kalida Khalil (Adviser to the Kurdistan Parliament – Iraq), Rima Majed (Lecturer, Lebanese American University), and Sari Hanafi (Professor of Sociology, Beirut).

In light of the recent developments in Arab states, particularly Syria and Iraq, the panel investigates the causes behind the armed struggles and asks whether the motivations behind the fighters are religious, political, economic or social.

Given the recent phenomenon of young people from Tunisia travelling to Syria for jihad, Olfa discusses the recent research that Alert carried out in two suburbs of Tunis: Douar Hicher and Ettadhamen. The survey aimed to better understand the experiences and perceptions of young people in the two neighbourhoods, which are marked by high unemployment rates, school drop-outs and insecurity. The rise of Salafism is a particular concern for young people in these neighbourhoods.

Olfa explains that the motivations behind those who travel to Syria for jihad cannot be reduced to one sole reason. In fact, there are numerous intertwining factors that contribute to this, such as a basic lack of rights and unemployment. The rest of the panel echoes this, arguing that there is no single motivation behind armed fighters in Syria and Iraq.

The discussion covers a broad range of wider societal issues, from the lack of young people’s integration into politics, to the financial crisis in Europe and rise in foreign fighters from Europe.

The results of Alert’s survey of young people in Douar Hicher and Ettadhamen will be published later this month.