Tuesday, January 18, 2011

AFRICA: TUNISIA- SITUATION UNCERTAIN AND TENSE

Agenzia Fides REPORT – The situation in Tunisia remains tense and uncertain, especially in the capital city of Tunisi, after President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali left the country in the wake of a popular protest which broke out in mid-December for price increases. In the clashes in recent weeks about 100 people died. Meanwhile today, 17 January, when the new Government should be announced, there are still reported clashes between army troops and men from the Presidential Guard. “What is happening now, as far as we can understand, also because the protagonists of the crisis do not know how the events will evolve, is due to the ruling elites' attempt to save themselves, abandoning that part of the regime most in view and hated,” Fides was told by Alessandro Politi, a political analyst associated with Security World Advisory. “After the first protests, the idea quickly emerged within the Tunisian establishment, certainly not new, of disassociating the regime from the dictator and from his corrupt personal entourage,” explains Politi.
According to analysts, the evolution of the crisis is linked to the financial capabilities of the Tunisian State, that is if it can “permit the adoption of economic policies that alleviate the conditions of the population.” The crisis in fact began when a demonstrator set himself on fire in protest against the confiscation by police of his unlicensed fruits and vegetables for sale. “This person no longer had any hope,” says Politi. “Maghreb is full of young people who have no prospects for the future.”
The Tunisian events are having a great echo throughout the North African and Middle Eastern world. According to some commentators the example of the Tunisian revolt could create a “domino effect” that would provoke the downfall of other regimes in the region. “For more than 40 years the domino theory has not worked in a mechanical way,” emphasises Politi. “The domino works if there is a political will and also a political climate that together lead to a series of changes. In 1848, in Europe, there was a domino effect, but many conditions are needed to achieve it. From a historical point of view, we can briefly say that the domino effect, never occurs on its own.”
“In the Tunisian example, the downfall of Ben Ali certainly concerns all those regimes in the Middle East who thought of maintaining power with a mix of economics and an iron fist. The problem is that the economic promises of Ben Ali clashed with the economic and world financial crisis. And other Countries are not in better situations,” concludes Politi.

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