Oral history interview with Mohammed Lassaad Dorbez, 2015
In 2014, Mohammed Lassaad Dorbez was named security adviser to the head of government by Mehdi Jomaa. Dorbez entered the Tunisian police force with the rank of superintendent (commissionnaire) after studying economics at university. After passing the entrance exam for both the police and the foreign service, he chose the former and continued his studies at the French police academy Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d'Or. He became chief of the internal secret service, and then a regional police commander in Tataouine, near Tunisia's southern border with Libya. He returned to Tunis, occupying various roles in the police force until 2010, when he was appointed chief of education responsible for training both new and current police officers. After the revolution, he was promoted to assistant chief of police, responsible for the agency's insurance company.
Scope and Contents
Mohamed Lassaad Dorbez discusses the descent of the Tunisian police into corruption from 2000 onwards, in the context of Tunisia's social and economic problems prior to the revolution. He describes his previous responsibilities as head of internal intelligence for most of Tunisia, as a regional police commander, and as head of training for the police force. He repeatedly suggests that the Tunisian Revolution-and indeed the entire Arab Spring-was probably orchestrated by external powers, particularly the United States. After the revolution, he was promoted to assistant chief of police, responsible for the police insurance company. He also served as rapporteur for the security reform team set up under Lazhar Akremi. He describes his recruitment to the Jomaa cabinet, his desire to serve his country, his work in co-ordinating the activities of the crisis cell following the attacks on soldiers at Chaambi Mountain in 2014, and the conflicts that occurred in the Ministry of the Interior. He details what he views as poor decisions with regards to security that were made immediately following the revolution, such as general amnesty for prisoners. He comments on a media campaign led against him. He proposes reforms of Tunisia's security institutions and how these might be realized with the help of civil society.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015.