Showing posts for "Coups"
Below is my article on Tunisia that is now up on Foreign Policy. Enjoy.
Aren’t Middle Eastern militaries supposed to crack down and kick butt? Aren’t they supposed to be the “backbone” of regimes? The guarantors of last resort? The ultimate instrument of political control? Read any account of civil-military relations and the Middle East — including my own — and the answers to these questions are a resounding yes. So when the Tunisian armed forces, allegedly at the command of General Rashid Ammar, told Tunisian President Zine Abidine Ben Ali that the military would not shoot protesters demanding the strongman’s ouster and then pushed him from power, the commanders were clearly not playing to type. The role that the military has played in the Tunisian uprising thus far is intriguing and as Tunisia grapples with phase two of the post-Ben Ali era, what the military does (and doesn’t do) will be critical in the country’s political trajectory.
Update: Hats off to those who saw the unraveling of Ben Ali’s regime coming. The army moved in today and Ben Ali is no longer in control. This is good, but only the first phase. Best that I can tell from Washington, it seems that the military command has understood the demands from Tunisian society. What they do now is crucial. I know that the best way to support democracy is to support democracy, but in a way, the military’s intervention (and the way the officers intervened), may yet set the stage for a democratic Tunisia.
From the Potomac to the Euphrates examines how debates about Mideast policy in Washington connect to the region, with a special focus on Egypt and Turkey.