These are scenes Western powers would have loved to see in Iran; thousands of young people braving live bullets and marching in the tree-lined capital city boulevards and forcing an autocratic ruler out of the country. But alas for them, they are not in Tehran. They are in the North African nation of Tunisia where an uprising against not anti-Western regime, but against the Western-backed autocratic President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali forced him to flee the country.
To date, at least 100 people have been killed, hundreds injured and millions of dollars are reported in losses.
Western powers remain incredulous and France, the real power broker in the Franco North African nation, was, until an hour ago when Ben Ali fled, giving him tacit support.
The French Foreign Ministry said it “backs” the measures announced by Ben Ali as overtures to the protestors but asked for more freedoms, in effect ignoring the movement’s demand for Ben Ali to go and addressing Ben Ali as the legitimate leader.
The United States was clearly far more busy with the collapse of the government in Lebanon, a country central to U.S. main ally in the region, Israel, after the Lebanese opposition there withdrew their ministers from the coalition government.
Most of the reaction from the rest of Western powers has been that they are “concerned” about the events and that they want their citizens either pulled out or warned not to travel to Tunisia.
Ben Ali ruled t… >>>