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Tunisia: Zine Ben Ali Tunisia’s President President Flees The Country

January 14, 2011

It’s semi official. Zine Ben Ali, Tunisia and his corrupt, oppressive regime are now history. There are numerous reports, including one from Le Monde that

The Banner says, in English `Freedom'. Tunis, January 14, 2011 - the day that the familes of Zine Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi left Tunisia in two airplanes for Malta, accompanied by and under the protection of the Libyan Air Force

Ben Ali is gone and turned the governing of the country over to the Tunisian army. He did this after several press conferences these past days spoken in a language I am told he has not used for 23 years – the Tunisian Arabic dialect – offering the people of his country much of what it is that he has taken away these past decades: economic opportunity and democracy. Too little too late, his concessions were laughed at and did nothing to dampen the opposition.

Unable to rule anymore, his entire government resigned, with many of those in the two ruling families – the Ben Alis and Trabelsis – (the latter his wife’s family) fleeing the country where they wait in the shadows hoping that in the confusion for the country that lies ahead, they can find ways to return to power.

  • The rumors as to their destination flew early on – France, Dubai, other places.
  • But according to my `well placed sources’ (ha!) Ben Ali left Tunis for the Mediterranean island of Malta along with some members of his and his wife, Leila Trabelsi’s families, their two planes under the protection of the Libyan Air Force.
  • Now I’m hearing that neither Malta or Paris would let their planes land so they had to seek refuge in Dubai…whatever

People are sending around the hotel rooms and phone numbers of the different Ben Ali-Trabelsi family members in flight. Don’t bother too much with the confusion. In a day or two most of their whereabouts, for those interested, will be well known and verified.

Some members of the two families are already under arrest, some in hiding or in cognito assumed in Tunisia, others have fled. In two days many of their villas have been burnt to the ground and looted by angry demonstrators. There is a report that one member of the Trabelsi family tried to leave the country on a regularly scheduled Air Tunis flight. The pilot recognized him and refused to take off.

Do not underestimate their willingless, nor Ben Ali’s cunning to achieve this as the road ahead for Tunisia is quite complex as will be analyzed in future postings here.

Still for the moment, cause for celebration. A genuine tyrant – a real first class skunk and thug – is gone from power, removed from power by a democratic upsurge that virtually no one, including progressives, could have predicted would succeed. Also gone are his wife’s corrupt and greedy family that has milked the country’s prosperity for their own pleasures. Hopefully some of these people, including Ben Ali and his former hair dresser wife, Leila Trabelsi,

The Ben Ali' happier days. Maybe the former hairdresser can open up a salon in Paris or New York or the Tunisian prison to which she could be sentenced for massive corruption and abuse of power

will someday soon be brought to trail and have to face a Tunisian court of law.

There will be more, much more on what follows.

Just hours before Ben Ali grabbed his bags and ungraciously left the country, I finished some thoughts on why it took the New York Times so long to connect with the story. What follows below will appear, I am told, on the `Foreign Policy In Focus‘ website in the next day or two. I’ll post it later…


hem all, Saudi Arabia…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. kerym permalink
    January 14, 2011 1:04 pm

    Prof. Prince,

    Be reassured, Ben Ali has indeed fled Tunisia . It seems he’s flown to Dubai .

    This is a real historic day.

  2. Michele permalink
    January 14, 2011 1:59 pm

    Thanks Rob. Appreciate your covering this.

  3. kerym permalink
    January 14, 2011 4:01 pm

    Jedda seems to have been his final destination .

    France is presumed to have refused his entry, and probably so did others E.U countries .

    Six of the Trabelsis as well Sakhr Matri been arrested while trying to flee .

    Finally, tunisian people told ben ali the same what the police officer told Bouazizi to do : “Pack up and leave the ( market) place ” !!!!!!!

    GOOD RIDDANCE !!!!!!!!!!

  4. kerym permalink
    January 15, 2011 5:32 am

    Confirmed news about the death of 57 prisonners, in 3 different prisons, who attempted mass escape but many of them left behind were burnt alive as result of the fires that were set .

    There is a chaotic situation right now . The people have the feeling that the new temporary gvt still contains figures of the old guard , and that calm may only returns to normal if the ruling party gets dissolved, in order to remove its remaining lines of power inside the State- Institution . Gannouchi and M’bazaa aren’t qualified to dictate the new phase, if the RCD party continues to exit .
    At this very moment, the RCD syndicates are spreading chaos and mayhem all over the country, and so it is impossible for this (gang) party to be part of the future of tunisia .
    I, for one, advice the party top to draw their conclusion to step down and to take their party and its vicious network with them . We don’t need them, nobody needs them . They have driven the country into a dead end, and they have contaminated all Institutions, turned it into a busted leaky corrupt system run by weasels and thieves . All for a few dinars more !!!
    I say to the RCD : ” Enough’s enough is enough—We’re up to here with all your stuff !!”

  5. January 24, 2011 5:20 pm

    Good post! Please accept our sincerest thanks.

  6. Ted permalink
    February 17, 2011 7:58 am

    oh boy, I dont know what to think, but money talks (thats where their power is) and I am
    so broke , she can stay at my house for a few bucks, thats what these elitists have done to us, they have taken all the wealth (power) and leave us struggling to survive (which takes much of our time), thats their secret, so it is amazing that the people of Tunisia got the strength , it must of shocked the hell out of the Trebelsi family. they all started running, it must have really looked funny.

    would have like to see that Libyan air force escort for Lylias plane (heck, I would have bought a plane and did that for 1 and 1/2 tons of gold).

    Gold is power my friends, and as long as she holds onto that gold she has power, unfortunately for her she is out of her element and a lot of people will want a piece of the action. They are done.

  7. Ed Augden permalink
    February 20, 2011 7:09 pm

    Thanks, Rob, for illuminating the Tunisian revolution to the outside world. You’re right. Ben Ali was one our thugs just as Mubarek was.

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