Tunisia

This is not a page that deals with Tunisia in a comprehensive manner. It is a page that looks at the ‘unrest’ which is occurring in Jan. 2010.

Updates:
Post on Helena Cobban’s take on the uprising in Tunisia.
Update – Feb. 20, 2011

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What follows is based on a Robert Fisk article, The brutal truth about Tunisia with the under-title, Bloodshed, tears, but no democracy. Bloody turmoil won’t necessarily presage the dawn of democracy.

To those unversed in Tunisia in specific and the Arab world in general, the whole article should be read. Some quotes should suffice to entice the reader to read further:

The truth, of course, is that the Arab world is so dysfunctional, sclerotic, corrupt, humiliated and ruthless – and remember that Mr Ben Ali was calling Tunisian protesters “terrorists” only last week – and so totally incapable of any social or political progress, that the chances of a series of working democracies emerging from the chaos of the Middle East stand at around zero per cent.

The Muslim world – at least, that bit of it between India and the Mediterranean – is a more than sorry mess. Iraq has a sort-of-government that is now a satrap of Iran, Hamid Karzai is no more than the mayor of Kabul, Pakistan stands on the edge of endless disaster, Egypt has just emerged from another fake election.

And Lebanon… Well, poor old Lebanon hasn’t even got a government. Southern Sudan – if the elections are fair – might be a tiny candle, but don’t bet on it.

Indeed, what was Hillary Clinton doing last week as Tunisia burned? She was telling the corrupted princes of the Gulf that their job was to support sanctions against Iran, to confront the Islamic republic, to prepare for another strike against a Muslim state after the two catastrophes the United States and the UK have already inflicted in the region.

It’s the same old problem for us in the West. We mouth the word “democracy” and we are all for fair elections – providing the Arabs vote for whom we want them to vote for.

In Algeria 20 years ago, they didn’t. In “Palestine” they didn’t. And in Lebanon, because of the so-called Doha accord, they didn’t. So we sanction them, threaten them and warn them about Iran and expect them to keep their mouths shut when Israel steals more Palestinian land for its colonies on the West Bank.

LSW: earlier in the article Mr. Fisk writes of Algeria that 20 years ago elections were held but were suspended by the military-backed government who we supported, once it was apparent that Islamists might win the second round of voting, thus starting a civil war which cost 150,000 their lives.

We will maintain our good relations with the dictators. We will continue to arm their armies and tell them to seek peace with Israel.

And they will do what we want. Ben Ali has fled. The search is now on for a more pliable dictator in Tunisia – a “benevolent strongman” as the news agencies like to call these ghastly men.

And the shooting will go on – as it did yesterday in Tunisia – until “stability” has been restored.

No, on balance, I don’t think the age of the Arab dictators is over. We will see to that.

LSW: Ben Ali is the former president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who has fled to Saudi Arabia and who has been replaced by “Mohamed Ghannouchi, a satrap of Mr Ben Ali’s for almost 20 years, “a safe pair of hands who will have our interests – rather than his people’s interests – at heart.”