ANC Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar
“This government is an insult to the revolution,” thunders a senior civil servant at the Central Bank of Tunisia. “It is as if we didn’t rebel. They are taking advantage of a political vacuum to consolidate their position and seize power.” A widely held view is that Mr Ghannouchi and other RCD ministers must at least have winked at the corruption surrounding Mr Ben Ali. Tunisia’s Upheaval: No one is really in charge
Now two years on the job market with no job, Dhouibi — polite, earnest, thoughtful, and fluent in three languages — spends his morning with other unemployed high school and college graduates at the stand-up tables in Sidi Bouzid’s Café Charlotte. He nurses a coffee, thanks to the change his mother gives him from her olive sales. He goes home for lunch, visits an Internet cafe in the afternoon, returns home for dinner, sleeps in a room with his brother, and wakes, hopeless, in the morning to do it all again.
“Imagine your life going on like this,” he said at the Café Charlotte, standing over the coffee that was the treat of his day. “Every day the same.” The Arab World’s Youth Army
Indeed, this week would be an opportune moment for key men in the security forces of the Arab autocracies to seek a pay raise. The key ingredient of last week’s turnabout in Tunisia was the security forces, or a significant part of them, who refused to fire on their fellow citizens to protect the ruling family. Authoritarian regimes are innately vulnerable once economic despair strips citizens of their fear of challenging those in power. When soldiers are sent onto the streets to fire on people they recognize as their neighbors, their loyalty is far from certain. And it was clear that in Tunisia, the officer class was ready to seek a new governing arrangement once the cronyism of the rulers had ignited a popular revolt. That scenario ought to give Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak pause if, as is widely assumed, the 82-year-old autocrat plans to install his son, Gamal, as his successor — a move that would break the authoritarian regime’s tradition of picking its leaders from within the senior ranks of the military. Tunisia: No Domino Effect, but A U.S. Dilemma Over Arab Democracy