Discussion in 'International Politics' started by The Messiah, Jan 15, 2011.
Airspace has been closed down and president has fled after people rose up against his rule.
Tunisian president toppled after 23 years in power
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country on Friday amid a wave of deadly social protests in a dramatic end to his 23 years in power that is unprecedented for a leader in the Arab world.
Ben Ali signed a decree handing interim presidential powers to Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi and flew out of Tunis bound for an unknown destination after failing to quell growing public anger against his iron-fisted regime.
Early Saturday a Saudi source said the plane carrying the toppled Tunisian President landed in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.
Advertisement: Story continues below
The source did not give further details on the people who accompanied Ben Ali on the flight.
In an address on state television following a day of riots that engulfed central Tunis and several other towns in the North African state, Ghannouchi announced that he had taken over and promised social and political reforms.
"I call on Tunisians of all political persuasions and from all regions to demonstrate patriotism and unity," said Ghannouchi, a 69-year-old career bureaucrat who has served as prime minister on and off since 1999.
The government earlier said new elections would be held in six months.
US President Barack Obama hailed the "courage" and "dignity" of Tunisian protesters and called for "free and fair elections in the near future."
The European Union expressed "support and recognition to the Tunisian people and their democratic aspirations, which should be achieved in a peaceful way."
Ben Ali came to power in a bloodless coup in 1987 at a time of stagnation for Tunisia and he was initially hailed by many people for enacting liberal economic reforms as well as nipping in the bud the Islamist Ennahdha party.
He has come under growing criticism for authoritarianism and corruption.
Mystery surrounded Ben Ali's planned final destination and the streets of central Tunis were mostly empty after the announcement, with the silence punctuated by occasional bursts of gunfire heard in the distance.
State television reported numerous cases of looting in Tunis and in other parts of the country and police helicopters mounted with loudspeakers circled in Tunis, calling for calm and urging residents to stay in their homes.
The government has declared a state of emergency following the recent violence and has put in place a dusk-to-dawn curfew across the country under which anyone disobeying orders or fleeing from security forces can be shot.
Analysts said the abrupt change of power was likely to send shockwaves around a region dominated by veteran leaders like the 74-year-old Ben Ali.
Tunisia borders two other authoritarian regimes -- Libya and Algeria.
The Tunisian president's departure represents the first time that an Arab leader has been forced to leave office by pressure from public protests.
The rare protests in tightly controlled Tunisia were unleashed by the suicide attempt last month of Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire after police prevented him from selling fruit and vegetables to make a living.
The 26-year-old graduate died of his injuries in hospital last week.
According to a Paris-based human rights group, at least 66 people have been killed in the protests, about three times higher than the official toll.
Medical sources told AFP that 13 protesters were shot dead on Thursday night alone despite orders from Ben Ali for police to stop live fire.
Earlier on Friday there were chaotic scenes in the heart of the capital as thousands of people massed to denounce the killings of protesters and to call on Ben Ali to step down. "Ben Ali is an assassin!" they chanted.
Riots later broke out, with protesters hurling rocks at police and starting fires in the streets as security forces fired volleys of tear gas.
Protesters even gathered outside the interior ministry, a hated symbol of Ben Ali's rule, where they paid tribute to the "blood of the martyrs".
Similar scenes were repeated in other cities across Tunisia.
Soldiers have been deployed at strategic points around Tunis in recent days and the army has taken control of the main international airport in the city.
In an attempt to appease the protests in recent days, Ben Ali had sacked some regime loyalists and promised to stand down at the end of his current mandate in 2014, as well as to lower the prices of basic foodstuffs.
But his promises ultimately failed to quell the anger in the streets.
"We just want democracy," said 24-year-old Hosni, a hotel worker with his face wrapped in a Tunisian flag against the tear gas.
Moncef Ben Mrad, the editor of an independent newspaper, said: "This is a demonstration of hope.
"It is the birth of a people who demand more freedom and that the families that have looted the country return the wealth and are called to account."
Adel Ouni, a 36-year-old diplomat, said the scale of the protests was unprecedented for Tunisia.
"I've never seen anything like this. This is our chance. We'll never have another chance like this," Ouni said.
"This is a social revolution," he added.
Meanwhile thousands of holidaymakers have been evacuated from the Mediterranean nation's beach resorts, and Europe and the United States have advised their citizens against non-essential travel to the country.
Tour operator Thomas Cook said around 2,000 German holidaymakers were being repatriated due to the violence, while a further 1,800 from Britain and Ireland were being flown home and 540 were set to return to Belgium.
Thomas Cook said three flights from the northeastern resort of Monastir had landed in Britain and it was pressing ahead with three more.
TUI Travel said it was bringing more than 1,500 customers back to Britain from Tunisia, where tourism plays a major role in the economy.
Election will be held in 2 months.
It seems saudi arabia is a haven for tyrants.
Its more like, looting tunisia for 23 yrs, now the pres. has taken retirement with other looters from the country, further, its made to look as if he fled, its more of retirement cum vacations, at some beach in Bahamas with a delicious cocktail and few bikini clad latinas!
Is the new regime liberal, secular, democratic or even more conservative, orthodox, right wing ?
God know who will get power, liberals or Ayotollahs....looking at what is happening in Turkey....I don't see much future of co-existence in Islamic World!
There is no leader....it was spontaneous reaction by public to get rid of tyrant (and yankee puppet).
Till now Tunisia has been very liberal and modern, however, now we have to wait and watch what happens next? Is it a plot by radical mullahs or it was a random protest, wherein the shrewd leader decided to take retirement after amassing great wealth? Leaving the countrymen rejoicing their success in toppling the govt. of a so called Anti-Islamic/American stooge (of a president)!
Congratulations to the people of Tunisia for the revolution,for the masters of their own destiny are those who are really free.
Its a popular revolt by people who are really tired of being told about by a tyrant,it will take time before the anger on the streets crystallizes into perceptible political ideologies,that might happen as the political prisoners,both from the Left and right are released and those who had been exiled by Ben Ali return back to Tunisia.
The political implication of this popular revolution will have on the rest of the Arab world is yet to be seen,but the is no doubt there will be some nervous despots whose sleep less night is only about to begin.Western countries who often tend to back such Liberal-secular pro western regimes,like the one in Egypt are perhaps for the moment consoling themselves that there is no perceivable Islamic scent to this what is being called the 'Jasmine revolution'.
Regardless, I don't think we will see a liberal democratic secular government there, or in any of the Arab/ME states.
No reaction has come from the Arab states. all of them are ruled by dictators, tyrants. They sure would hope that this does not spread like fire.
Best part of this toppling is that there is no "islamic" overtures about it. Saw pics of some hot babes in western clothes in the protests.
Actually Tunisia is a country like Turkey.
No Hijabs (seen as a foreign influence) are allowed in public places and men are repeatedly harassed by the police if they keep their beards in Islamic goatee fashion.
Islamists are getting more and more powerful in Turkey, though.
I think the counter-response to years of "Liberalisation' will be greater Radicalization in Tunisia, something like what happened/is happening in Egypt, Algeria, Iran, Turkey etc.
True, exactly my words, that is why I am very skeptical about this so called revolution by these so called leftist elements (or closet jihadis)! For 23 yrs they cud not muster a protest and suddenly they have toppled a Strong Dictator......Shais cud not topple Saddam in Iraq.....how cud these " Game Over" placard wielders topple a strong leader with huge international support!
Looking at what is happening in Turkey, Malayasia, Algeria, Egypt et al, we should wait and watch what happens next!!
P.S: I don't know how many members in this forum regularly read/research about world economics, however, Tunisia was considered one of the most favorable FDI/FII destinations, sometimes even more favorable than BRIC nations, having a Growth rate ranging from 5-7% in past few years and percapita Income of USD 9,488, 3 times more than that of India.....Now what will happen, only time will reveal. What I understand is that, these liberals will suffer the most as in the case of Iran!!
As long as the democratic revolution doesnt become a communist regime, Tunisia should see a good future.
Ben Ali Wife loots Tunisia of 1.5 tons of gold before fleeing
TUNIS (Commodity Online) : When dictators flee, normally they will take everything they can to make sure they will live in luxury in exile, thatâ€™s exactly what former Tunisian president Ben Ali did.
Tunisians were enraged to discover on Monday that the former president and his wife, Leila Trabelsi, took 1.5 tons of gold from the central bank when they fled to Dubai.
Intelligence officials in Paris told Le Monde, the French newspaper, that Trabelsi visited the bank last month, when protests were gathering momentum, and instructed the governor to hand over gold ingots totalling $59 million.
Although he initially refused to comply, the personal intervention of the former president ensured that the gold was handed over.
The disclosure of Trabelsi's final act of avarice angered Tunisians, but did not surprise them. The first lady's love of opulence and her reputation for grasping corruption made her and her equally unpopular nephews the country's principle hate figures.
Three days after they ousted their president, Tunisian protesters returned to the streets of Tunis on Monday to demand the complete purge of former regime loyalists from government positions.
But with the new cabinet, particularly the senior positions, still dominated by members of Ben Ali's ruling party, the RCD, many Tunisians remained unconvinced.
As exultation at the fall of the dictator gave way to worries about the future, many Tunisians feared that, although they had removed a hated leader, his lieutenants would ensure that the tyrannical system he created would remain in place.
Tunis has experienced days of near anarchy as looters burned shops and members of the presidential guard still loyal to Ben Ali opened fire on civilians and soldiers alike from passing cars and rooftops. A night-time curfew remained in place.
Yet the danger to the demonstrators ultimately came not from snipers, as many had feared, but from the riot police, whose loyalties remained ambiguous. (Le Monde)
This is people's power when the get fedup of corruption, crime, bureaucracy, scams, lack of faster development etc etc... I hope all understood what I am implying.
When can we have this sort of stuff in India, when aam aadmi stands up for his rights?
Just like Bdesh, Pstan, Astan and Nepal ?
it seems revolution is easier in smaller countries...some of bigger countries that had revolution is china
Unfortunately aam aadmi is no where near the stage of revolution as of now.
For revolution general public needs to be patriotic....majority are corrupt themselves and most wouldn't hesitate given the chance to skim "commission" when an opportunity presents itself.
Separate names with a comma.