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President Reportedly Flees Tunisia

Posted on Jan 14, 2011
AP / Hedi Ben Salem

Tunisian youths throw stones at police during unrest in the capital city of Tunis on Friday.

The Tunisian government is in upheaval after weeks of violent protests over high unemployment and skyrocketing food prices. Al-Jazeera reported that the prime minister had taken the reins of government after President Ben Ali left the country. —JCL

Al-Jazeera English:

Tunisia’s long-standing president has left the country amid violent protests and the prime minister has taken over control of the government.

“Since the president [Zine El Abidine Ben Ali] is temporarily unable to exercise his duties, it has been decided that the prime minister will exercise temporarily the [presidential] duties,” Mohammed Ghannouchi, the Tunisian prime minister, said on state television.

Ghannouchi is now the interim president. He cited chapter 56 of the Tunisian constitution as the article by which he was assuming power.

Maltese air traffic controllers have told Al Jazeera that Ben Ali is bound for Paris, though the Maltese government has denied any knowledge of Ben Ali’s plane having stopped in Malta after having left Tunis.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, January 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

I wonder how much money he looted and took with him?

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, January 15, 2011 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Robes, samo, Lafayette, tman:

Right on! Enough of this civilized, useless talk, talk, talk.

To the barricades citoyens! Kill the kleptocrats!

Violence, inspired by truly violent rhetoric, is the only answer. (Unless of course it is right wing rhetoric and violence.)

So then, off the internet, out of the basements, out of the pajams, get your sticks and knives. Attack, attack, attack.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 15, 2011 at 4:42 am Link to this comment


Some facts about the Tunisian revolution:
* Wikileaks divulged a State Department diplomatic message that characterized the Ben Ali Regime as a Mafia Operation. In fact, this was not “insider news”. It had been known for a long, long time.
* Members of the Ben Ali faction (families of both husband and wife) would walk into a going enterprise and announce that the owners now had a “new partner” at 50% of ownership. They did this in predominantly in retail businesses.
* Two of the family members stole two yachts from the harbor in Cannes, France and spirited them to Tunis—where they were recuperated only after French government remonstrances.
* The trigger of the revolution was this fact: A young man, with a tertiary-level diploma, could not find a job. So, he bought a cart and started selling on the open market. The police asked him for his “public vendor’s license”, which he did not have, so they arrested him and confiscated his wagon. In desperation he immolated himself. He survived (but is badly burnt) and has become a national hero.

One must take all of the above in the economic context that has befallen Tunisia, suffering like most Mediterranean countries from the overall global economic slowdown.

The immolation was simply the spark to the fire that ensued. The youth of these countries, in desperation, have become very unstable.

But that does not mean necessarily that Libya, Morocco or Algeria are next on the list—and yet their governments are less “centralized”. Meaning that they have been controlled by the same party or group of individuals for quite some time.

What it does mean is this: Those who have benefited most by manipulating government powers are having some sleepless nights.

Which is a shame that such is not affecting American plutocrats. Why not?

What American is going to immolate him/herself in indignation over the rapacious Income Unfairness that benefits uniquely the American Upper-Class? Who? Jack ‘n Jill America may be angry with their present lot (as the blogs indicate daily), but they are too fat, dumb and happy to go out and demonstrate their disaffection with the political class at fault.

In fact, they put back in power of the House the very people who are responsible for the Great American Riches Rip-off.

The handwriting is on the wall, America. The facts regarding Income Fairness are here.

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By tman, January 15, 2011 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

Now it starts.Next? Saudi Arabia then Egypt.

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By expat, January 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


first Tunisia (bravo!)

Then Algeria,



Saudi Arabia,

uae, quatar…

this is the neocons’ nightmare !

Keep the dream alive !

Hey ‘meriKans fat and lazy good fo’ nuthins’

how about getting off you duff, get in the street and start a revolution?

ain’t got the balls?

I thought so.

just bend over and let the banksters do you some more but without lubrication this time while oreobama serenades you with another one of his hopeful speeches.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, January 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment


As I’ve said many a time, bitching-in-a-blog will not get any real results. The complaining is too virtual.

But bitching in the streets gets you prime-time TV coverage. And continuous bitching in the streets gets political action ... and quickly.

And bitching in mid-term elections just gets political gridlock in LaLaLand on the Potomac. In a two-party system, it takes more than two years to see how competent or incompetent an administration is. In the present circumstances, with the great number of challenges facing this country, it requires at least two tenures to do any substantial reformation.

And, sad to say, even with two tenures, as Billy Boy had, it can all come apart with an inept Lead-headed Presidency.


We do not live in any dictatorship. Our own lack of Political Acuity is the reason for the mess we are in. So bitch all you want. Complain about the politics of the Left, or complain about the Right.

But, at the end of the day, we cannot deny the fact that we put them there.

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By samosamo, January 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment


I hope that the Tunisian’s initiative is enough to make no place a
safe place for them to hide.

On the other hand, if a deal is struck with the ali’s family and the
u.s., this may be the next country to be invaded by the u.s. to
save those scoundrel ‘elite’ who are about the only class of
people america cares to go about saving. It is hard for criminals
to give up such a ‘beautiful’ life.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, January 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

Long live the people of Tunisia! They are being an example to the world. This is how all these corrupt fatcats need to be dealt with. Tunisians aren’t “toning down the rhetoric.”

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