Sunday, January 16, 2011

Questions as Things Unfold

As Prime Minister Muhammad Ghannouchi prepares to announce a new government, there is still violence in Tunis:
"A gun battle erupted on Sunday around the presidential palace in Carthage on the Mediterranean shore, while in the capital, Tunis, at least two major firefights broke out - one close to the central bank building, the other near the headquarters of the main opposition party, the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

"In a statement, the PDP said that police and military stopped a car carrying armed men, who it described as foreigners, after which shots were fired.

"Separately, security forces killed two armed men stationed on a rooftop near the central bank, a state TV reporter said from the scene...

"Presidential guards loyal to Ben Ali were involved in the shootout in Carthage, about 15km north of Tunis, according to two residents...

"Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from Tunis on Sunday, said even though army roadblocks had sprung up throughout the city, people were saying they needed to arm themselves against the police, who they did not trust...

"He said the army was rounding up those loyal to Ben Ali, including members of the presidential police...

"On Saturday, looters emptied shops and torched the main train station and soldiers traded fire with unidentified armed men in front of the interior ministry.

"Some rioters appeared to be targeting businesses owned by members of Ben Ali's family."

There was also something happening at the Tunis Sheraton. Once again, I have questions more than analysis. For example, how much of the looting is directed against regime-related businesses? Is there some broader social tension involved, as often happens in revolutionary situations? Is there truth to the perception that the army is closer to the general public than the police? It was an army general whom rumor said had been dismissed by Ben Ali a few days ago, and right before Ben Ali left the police replaced the army trying to control the capital. Now scattered reports suggest people see the army as restoring order, but fear the police. Finally, what is happening outside of Tunis?



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home