Sunday, March 27, 2016

Protests in Tunisia

Seemed like as good a time as any to post this:

"Tunisia imposes nationwide curfew amid spreading unrest" by Bouazza Ben Bouazza and Benjamin Wiacek Associated Press  January 22, 2016

KASSERINE, Tunisia — Tunisia imposed a nationwide overnight curfew Friday in response to growing unrest as protests over unemployment across the country descended into violence in some cities.

And this is supposedly the shining example of success from the Arab Spring.

The week of increasingly violent demonstrations was triggered Sunday when a young man who lost out on a government job climbed a transmission tower in protest and was electrocuted. The suicide more than five years ago of another unemployed youth set off a popular uprising that overthrew Tunisia’s longtime ruler and eventually gave rise to the ‘‘Arab Spring’’ uprisings across North Africa.

So what, are western intelligence services using this excuse for another coup? 

Turns out most of the Arab Spring were designed intelligence operations to create chaos and replace old, stale dictators with fresh faces. That's why they were given such a catchy name by the agenda-pushing pre$$?

Tunisia built the only democracy to survive that movement, which spawned chaos elsewhere in the region. But the country’s economy is foundering, and about one in three young people remains without work.

The two seem to go hand-in-hand these days.

A curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. was declared because the attacks on public and private property ‘‘represent a danger to the country and its citizens,’’ the Interior Ministry said.

That was when my print Globe cut the workday short.

‘‘Are we not Tunisians too? It’s been four years I’ve been struggling. We’re not asking for much, but we’re fighting for our youth. We’ve struggled so much for them,’’ said Leila Omri, the mother of an unemployed graduate in Passerine.

Overnight into Friday, police stations came under attack and security officers used tear gas to repel protesters armed with stones and Molotov cocktails. In housing projects on the outskirts of the capital, Tunis, roving groups of young people pillaged a bank and looted stores and warehouses.

The previous night, a police officer died after protesters flipped his car, the government said.

Tunisia’s prime minister, Habib Essid, cut short a visit to France to deal with the protests. Tunisia’s unemployment stands around 15 percent, but is 30 percent among young people.

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since a suicide bombing in November killed 12 members of the presidential guard in the heart of Tunis — an attack that capped an unusually violent year for Tunisia. 

I'm thinking drill.

That bombing, as well as deadly attacks earlier in the year against the Bardo museum in Tunis and the tourist beach town of Sousse, were claimed by the Islamic State group. 

You can return to the scene of the "crime."

In Paris just before leaving for home, Essid said the problem was not with democracy, but with the economy.

‘‘We have a set of policies to try to solve this issue, which is one of this government’s main challenges,’’ he said after his meeting with the French president. ‘‘We don’t have a magic wand. We can’t solve the problem of unemployment in one go.’’

France promised aid worth 1 billion euros, much of it dedicated to inland regions far from the relatively glamorous coastal areas that include the resort of Sousse. But tourism, the main driver of Tunisia’s economy, plummeted after last year’s attacks, leaving even the coasts struggling.

‘‘You want a solution? It’s easy: give the people jobs, instead of pouring millions into Sousse,’’ said Abid Khadhraoui, another unemployed graduate. ‘‘You had five years and nothing happened. All we want are jobs!’’


"Tunisian youths demand jobs, say government is failing them" by Bouazza Ben Bouazza and Benjamin Wiacek Associated Press  January 23, 2016

KASSERINE, Tunisia — Unemployed young people from the Tunisian city that touched off nationwide protests say the government is failing them and protested anew Saturday in a precarious calm enforced by a nationwide curfew.

What did you expect when you adopted the we$tern model?

Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring protest movement, is the only democracy to rise from those turbulent demonstrations five years ago, touched off by the suicide of a young man who despaired of making a living. The country has a 15 percent unemployment rate, but among young people one in three is jobless.

The government imposed a nationwide curfew Friday night and has not said when it will be lifted.

The nationwide protests this week were triggered by the death of a young man in Kasserine who was electrocuted when he climbed a transmission tower to protest losing out on a government job. The protests then spread to cities throughout the country, including scattered demonstrations in the capital Tunis, where a bank and some stores were looted.

On Saturday, a small crowd at a government building in Kasserine reasserted their demands for jobs, while in Tunis the prime minister said the situation was under control.

“We want to send a message to the president in my name and the name of everyone: We are demanding work. We’re not destroying. We’re not burning. We’re not causing chaos but just demanding jobs,” said Maher Nasri, an unemployed graduate.

Tunisian leaders say they understand the protesters’ frustration but blamed criminals for the violence. The Interior Ministry said 261 people had been arrested, with a total of 423 since the unrest began.

At least they are behaving like a "democracy."

Emerging from an emergency government meeting to address the unrest, Prime Minister Habib Essid said the security situation was under control and he emphasized his optimism for the country’s future.

The government, he pledged, “would be firm faced with the difficulties and multiple challenges of security, economy, and society it confronts.”

“The democratic process in Tunisia is an irreversible choice, despite the attempts of some to put [it] in doubt,” he said.

A coalition of Tunisian human rights activists, lawyers, labor leaders, and employers won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for their successful efforts to prevent Tunisia from descending into chaos and authoritarianism. But multiple terror attacks in 2015, claimed by the Islamic State group, have caused incalculable damage to a North African economy heavily dependent upon tourism.

And in Kasserine, protesters said the government needed to do far more to win their trust.

Mine can never be trusted ever again.

“We want solutions that can be implemented,” Ahlam Gharsalli said. “We need urgent solutions because we’re fed up with waiting.” 

So who is their Trump?


This will make you forget about protesting:

"Clash at Tunisian military barracks near Libya kills 54" by Farah Samti New York Times   March 08, 2016

TUNIS — Dozens of militants stormed through a town in eastern Tunisia early Monday morning, attacking police and military posts and starting a firefight with security forces that left at least 54 people dead.

The clashes at Ben Gardane, 18 miles from the border with Libya, were the second in the district in a week and came at a time of growing concern that the war in Libya, where the Islamic State has aggressively expanded, was spilling into Tunisia.

Tunisian Prime Minister Hassid Essid said on Wtaniya television that the attack was an Islamic State attempt to carve out a stronghold on the border, the Associated Press reported. No group claimed immediate responsibility, but two websites affiliated with the Islamic State said the group’s militants were engaged in the fighting.

Yup, U.S-created and allied-supplied ISIS™are everywhere!

The assault started just after 5 a.m. with coordinated attacks on military barracks, a national guard station, and a police station, according to the Defense and Interior ministries. The confrontation spilled into the streets, where security forces pursued and opened fire on attackers.

Officials said the dead included 36 militants, as well as security agents, a soldier, and several civilians.

“On this painful occasion, I would like to address the Tunisian people to say that today there was an attack against our units — military, national guard, and security units — in Ben Gardane at 5 a.m.,” President Beji Caid Essebsi said in a televised address.

“This is an unprecedented attack,” he said. “It is well organized and coordinated. The motive behind it is probably to take control over the region, and to announce a new wilayat.”

The wilayat, typically translated as a province or governorate, was part of the administrative structure of the Ottoman Empire, and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has used the term to refer to territory it controls.

Essebsi said the Tunisian forces had anticipated an attack — though “probably” not one on this scale — and reacted vigilantly.

(Blog editor just shakes his head)

“Most Tunisians are in a state of war against this recklessness, against these rats,” he said, referring to the Islamic State.

Seems to be a characteristic of "democracies," doesn't it?

The AP quoted a witness who said the gunmen spoke of creating a caliphate and “liberating” the town.


The authorities sealed the border with Libya, set up checkpoints in Ben Gardane, and used bullhorns to urge residents to remain indoors as the authorities searched for other attackers.

Tunisians "sheltering in place!"

Although officials did not identify the attackers, this was the first such assault to target a Tunisian military installation, and most suspicions pointed to militants based in Libya as being behind the raid.

Last month, US warplanes killed at least 43 people in an attack on an Islamic State training camp in Sabratha, Libya, 60 miles from the border with Tunisia. The target of that airstrike was a militant commander linked to attacks on Western tourists at a museum and a beach resort in Tunisia last year.

US commanders say such strikes are part of an effort to contain the spread of the Islamic State, while the United States and its allies consider a much wider campaign of airstrikes against the group in Libya.

And Somalia.

The United States has said that about 6,500 Islamic State fighters are in Libya, many of whom are originally from Tunisia. Although most of the fighters are based along a 150-mile stretch of coastline in northern Libya, others are based in towns like Sabratha, from where they can plot attacks across the region.

In an effort to stop militant infiltration, Tunisia has built a 125-mile-long berm along half of the border with Libya.


And we can't have a wall.

Still, tensions are rising: On Wednesday, Tunisian soldiers killed five militants in a firefight near Ben Gardane.

After the assault Monday, the security forces said they had confiscated a large cache of weapons. The security forces also blocked nearby border crossing points at Ras Ajdir and on the island of Djerba, a tourist area that is home to a small population of Tunisian Jews.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry urged locals to remain indoors but assured them the situation was “under control.”

Tunisian special forces fought back against the assault, which Tunisian officials said was an Islamic State attempt to carve out a stronghold on the border with Libya.
Tunisian special forces fought back against the assault, which Tunisian officials said was an Islamic State attempt to carve out a stronghold on the border with Libya (FATHI NASRI/AFP/Getty Images).



"Hundreds of Tunisians marched Saturday in the capital under heavy security to protest a law offering amnesty for those accused of corruption. The draft law on economic reconciliation seeks to boost the economy by clearing cases against business owners and civil servants accused of corruption. Opponents see it as an attempt to whitewash the crimes of the old regime."