The Middle East Channel

Anatomy of an autocracy

As the end of his reign quickly approached this week, Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali attempted to conjure the spirit that buoyed his government in the months after he seized power more than 20 years ago. In a televised address to the country on Jan. 12, Ben Ali — speaking in colloquial Arabic and ...

ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images
ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images

As the end of his reign quickly approached this week, Tunisia's President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali attempted to conjure the spirit that buoyed his government in the months after he seized power more than 20 years ago.

In a televised address to the country on Jan. 12, Ben Ali -- speaking in colloquial Arabic and in unusually humble tones -- pledged not to run for reelection when his current term ends in 2014 and to usher in a gentler phase of governance in the meantime.

Read more.

As the end of his reign quickly approached this week, Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali attempted to conjure the spirit that buoyed his government in the months after he seized power more than 20 years ago.

In a televised address to the country on Jan. 12, Ben Ali — speaking in colloquial Arabic and in unusually humble tones — pledged not to run for reelection when his current term ends in 2014 and to usher in a gentler phase of governance in the meantime.

Read more.

 

Christopher Alexander is Davidson College's McGee director of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program, an associate professor of political science, and author of Tunisia: Stability and Reform in the Modern Maghreb.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration of a captain's hat with a 1980s era Pepsi logo and USSR and U.S. flag pins.

The Doomed Voyage of Pepsi’s Soviet Navy

A three-decade dream of communist markets ended in the scrapyard.

Demonstrators with CASA in Action and Service Employees International Union 32BJ march against the Trump administration’s immigration policies in Washington on May 1, 2017.

Unionization Can End America’s Supply Chain Crisis

Allowing workers to organize would protect and empower undocumented immigrants critical to the U.S. economy.

The downtown district of Wilmington, Delaware, is seen on Aug. 19, 2016.

How Delaware Became the World’s Biggest Offshore Haven

Kleptocrats, criminals, and con artists have all parked their illicit gains in the state.