Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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WELCOME TO TUNISIA

Tunisia: the new Iraq. George W. Bush talked about 'democracy' taking hold in Iraq and then the region.

On 19 January 2011, the Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal is reported as saying that he is "very concerned about the way things are developing in Tunisia."

"The situation is deteriorating rapidly and is becoming more dangerous."
(Europeans warn nationals to avoid Tunisia)

"Fidelity and its affiliates helped dozens of Americans and other foreign workers leave the country over the weekend." (Cisco latest firm to suspend Tunisia operations)

In Washington, "Undersecretary for Management Pat Kennedy has approved the authorized departure of dependents from Tunisia." (Tunisia.)

"Men in unmarked cars had been driving around Sousse and shooting random people out of their cars." (RI blogger reporting from center of unrest in Tunisia)

According to Oxford historian Mark Almond (What comes next could be even worse‎):

"President Obama has welcomed the changes in Tunisia...

"The discontent in Tunisia will only increase. Tourism has been for Tunisia what oil is for its neighbours. The mass evacuation of Western holidaymakers is a warning of further economic troubles to come..."

Tourists will not enjoy shootings, riots, bodies in streets... horrific

Are NATO security services involved?

Jan. 16 (Tunisian security forces arrest eight foreign nationals) - "The Tunisian army and security forces arrested eight foreign nationals including four Germans, the Tunisian television reported Sunday.

"Tunisian TV showed footage of the men arrested, as well weapons, maps, electronic equipment and identity papers.

"The group was travelling on board three taxis, when they were intercepted.

"They are said to have entered Tunisia on Jan. 9.

"Some of them were wearing military outfits."

Ghannoushi

We should not forget that the CIA has supported Islamists in such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Kosovo. (THE CIA'S MOSLEM FRIENDS, FROM BIN LADEN TO THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD.)

Tunisia's Islamists seem to be getting a bit of a boost from the media.

On 18 January 2011, the Guardian has an article by Soumaya Ghannoushi entitled 'Tunisians must dismantle the monster Ben Ali built'

Among the points she makes:

1. The people have to forge a coalition of socialists, Islamists and liberals for real change.

2. "The sense of despair and profound humiliation Arabs felt with the toppling of Saddam's tyrannical regime by the US contrasts sharply with their euphoria at the ousting of Tunisia's dictator."

3. In Tunisia, "the apparatus of repression laid down by Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia's charismatic 'founding father', was fine-tuned by the general who inherited it."

4. The task now facing the Tunisian people - is to build a wide coalition of the forces that can dismantle the legacy of the despotic post-colonial state.

This has been the driving force for the alliance being forged between the Communist Workers' Party, led by Hamma al-Hammami, the charismatic Moncef al-Marzouqi's Congress Party for the Republic, and (Islamist) Ennahda, led by my father Rachid Ghannouchi, along with trade unionists, and civil society activists.

The Tunisian stock market began to fall before the riots began - Bloomberg (Website for this image)

In 2006, US embassy cables considered the question of finding a successor to Ben Ali in Tunisia

(US embassy cables: Finding a successor to Ben Ali in Tunisia)

Cable dated: 2006-01-09 - SUBJECT: SUCCESSION IN TUNISIA: FINDING A SUCCESSOR OR FEET FIRST? - Classified By: AMBASSADOR WILLIAM HUDSON

Among the points made:

1. the US-Tunisian bilateral relationship is likely to remain unaffected by the departure of Ben Ali.

2. X recently told the Ambassador X that Ben Ali wants to avoid the "difficulties" that arose when Tunisia's first president, Habib Bourguiba, declined in 1987.

Some people may state their hope that U.S. and European pressure could force Ben Ali to ... relinquish the presidency.

3. POSSIBLE SUCCESSORS

Minister of Defense Morjane: affecting the credibility of succession scenarios is an oft-repeated notion that the US is favoring Morjane in the succession race.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/General-Rachid-Ammar-.

May 2010 - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, visited Tunisia and met Tunisian Minister of Defense Ridha Grira.

"Minister Grira had recently returned from very positive talks in Washington with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates." (Tunisia - U.S. Africa Command Blog)

October 2010 - Sakhr El Materi, chairman of the Tunisia-US Parliamentary Friendship Group, had talks with top Americans in the Pentagon and the State Department.

November 2010 - A cable from the US embassy in Tunis released by wikileaks describes Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's family entourage as a "quasi Mafia" because of its "organized corruption".

17 December - Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old university graduate, reportedly set himself alight in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid in a protest over unemployment.

Tunisia's current president is President Fouad Mebazza.


Was Tunisian army chief General Ammar part of the plot to topple Ben Ali?

According to the Independent (Head of Tunisian army.):

General Ammar "advised the President, claim Arab sources, that his safety could not be guaranteed if he attempted to cling on to power.

"Gen Ammar subsequently withdrew the vast bulk of his forces from the capital...

"Walid Chisti, a political analyst, said: "He does not have to do anything, just watch and wait. He is an ambitious man."

Mohamed Bouazizi. He "set himself on fire outside the governor’s office". ( Mohamed Bouazizi.) Or he "set fire to himself at the bus station." "He had apparently decided to go to Tunis and talk to the president... (he) arrived at the bus station." (Tunisian riot town stands firm in its fury) He had no money for the bus but he had money to buy a can of petrol?
Mohamed Bouazizi still alive? s


suki reminds us of what Christopher Hitchens wrote about Tunisia:

"In the 2006–7 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, it was ranked No. 1 in Africa for economic competitiveness, even, incidentally, outpacing three European states (Italy, Greece, and Portugal).

"Home ownership is 80 percent.

"Life expectancy, the highest on the continent, is 72.

"Less than 4 percent of the population is below the poverty line, and the alleviation of misery by a 'solidarity fund' has been adopted by the United Nations as a model program.

"Nine out of 10 households are connected to electricity and clean water.

CIA slogan in Tunisia, January 1011

"Tunisia is the first African state to have been accepted as an associate member of the European Union.

"Its Code of Personal Status was the first in the Arab world to abolish polygamy, and the veil and the burka are never seen...

"More than 40 percent of the judges and lawyers are female...

"The combination of stylish females, excellent food, clean streets, smart-looking traffic cops, and cheap and efficient taxis made me feel I was in a place more upscale than many European recreational resorts and spas.

(http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/07/hitchens200707)

Tunisia's economy has been doing better than most!

So, who does not like Tunisia?

1985 - Israel launched an attack against the PLO headquarters near Tunis. There were casualties among Tunisian civilian bystanders.

"Bourguiba significantly downscaled relations with the United States.

1987 - Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali became president in a coup d'etat. He declared President Habib Bourguiba "impeached on medical grounds".

2000 - President Ben Ali broke all diplomatic ties with Israel

2009 - Tunisia signed an economic and technical cooperation pact with China

2009 - Sakhr El Materi, chairman of the Tunisia-US Parliamentary Friendship Group, met the US ambassador at Materi's home (Tunisia: Dinner With Sakher El Materi - TuniLeaks) "The Ambassador raised economic liberalization, noting the importance of opening up to franchising."

2010 - A report (Transformation: Tunisia) notes: "Despite the formal abolition of trade barriers for industrial goods with the European Union as of 1 January 2008, in practice, Tunisia has seen too little progress in terms of trade liberalization."

May 2010 - General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, visited Tunisia and met Tunisian Minister of Defense Ridha Grira.

"Minister Grira had recently returned from very positive talks in Washington with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates." (Tunisia - U.S. Africa Command Blog)

October 2010 - Sakhr El Materi, chairman of the Tunisia-US Parliamentary Friendship Group, had talks with top Americans in the Pentagon and the State Department.

November 2010 - A cable from the US embassy in Tunis released by wikileaks describes Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's family entourage as a "quasi Mafia" because of its "organized corruption".

Mohamed Bouazizi. He "set himself on fire outside the governor’s office". ( Mohamed Bouazizi.) Or he "set fire to himself at the bus station." "He had apparently decided to go to Tunis and talk to the president... (he) arrived at the bus station." (Tunisian riot town stands firm in its fury )

17 December - Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old university graduate, reportedly set himself alight in the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid in a protest over unemployment.

He reportedly died on January 5 from burn wounds.

In Islam, suicide is considered a sin.

There have been rumours that Mohamed Bouazizi is still alive s

24 December 2010 - an important Washington think tank (Institute for Policy Studiesa) had an article about a possible change of regime in Tunisia (Foreign Policy In Focus.):

"It would do Tunisians, even (Tunisian President) Ben Ali, well to recall how many US allies different American administrations have discarded…"

7 January 2011 - the Council on Foreign Relations's Elliott Abrams (Elliott Abrams: Is Tunisia Next?) seems to suggest that the fall of Ben Ali would be a good thing.

"Tunisians are clearly sick of looking at all the giant photos and paintings of Ben Ali that appear on walls, posters, and billboards all over the country...

"If Tunisia can move toward democracy, Algerians and Egyptians and even Libyans will wonder why they cannot."

8-10 January - More people die in three days of rioting.

Mysterious rooftop snipers are at work.

13 January - The army withdraws from Tunis, which remains occupied by special forces.

The leaders of the North African branch of Al-Qaeda/the CIA call for the overthrow of Ben Ali.

14 January
- Ben Ali leaves the country.

Think of the CIA's Operation Gladio

15 January - TUNISIA R.I.P.

"Ben Ali ... gave you security. Now that he's gone, look at the destruction," said Mohamed, a worker in a transport company as he surveyed a looted and burnt out appliances shop. (President's exile leaves security vacuum)

"The main train station in Tunis has been torched, while gunfire was heard as soldiers intervened in attempts to stop looting in the city...

"The Reuters news agency reported that squads of men in civilian clothes were driving through Tunis at high speed, shooting randomly at buildings and people." (Army on streets amid Tunisia unrest)

"In the capital of Tunis and other areas of the country, residents reported knife-wielding and balaclava-clad gangs attacking apartments and homes.

"Organised groups were said to be attacking shops, hospitals and factories.

"Many had piled into stolen hire cars and careered around the city and suburbs, stopping only to smash and burn." (Gang violence mars celebration of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution)

"The feel is very much that of a military takeover. It's hard to catch a whiff of what is being called the Jasmine Revolution." (Wedeman: Tunisia's military putting boot on 'Jasmine Revolution')

Michael Bloomberg

There is an argument that because the Ben Ali family are multi-millionaires they should be toppled

Here is a list of some politicians who are multi-millionaires:

Canadian Prime minister paul Martin Paul Martin - $225 million

UK prime minister David Cameron - $30 million.

New Zealand prime minister John Key - $37 million

Mayor of New York Michael R. Bloomberg - $18 billion

The President of South korea Lee Myung-bak - $23.6 million

Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - $12.92 million

Barack Obama - $10.1 million

Nicolas Sarkozy - $3 million

Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong has a salary of $2.05 million per year.

Thailand's King Bhumibol - US$30 billion.

The UK's Queen Elizabeth - $450 million.

Italy's Silvio Berlusconi - $6.5 billion

President of Chile Sebastián Piñera - $2.2 billion

Prime Minister of lebanon Saad Hariri - $1.9 billion

1 % of the world population own 40 % of the global assets. The richest 2 % of the world population own more than 51 % of the global assets, the richest 10 % own 85 % of the global assets.

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