Friday, January 14, 2011

Tunisia: the first Wikileaks revolution?

Foreign Policy asked yesterday: Is Tunisia The First Wikileaks Revolution? Events of today might answer that question. President Ben Ali has disappeared (update: found!), and the Prime Minister has temporarily taken charge.

Meanwhile, Business Insider wonders if Tunisia is the first food price revolution, given that we are moving ever closer to a worldwide food price shock.

NYT: For the Arab World, a Potent Lesson. See also NYT's [live?] blog: Arab Bloggers Cheer on Tunisia’s Revolution, with several notable links and tweets.

Evgeny Morozov: First thoughts on Tunisia and the role of the Internet

HuffPo is providing live updates.

Twitter updates via hashtag #sidibouzid

Fitch may cut debt rating based on political turmoil.

AP provides background: Ben Ali: a cult of personality ends

Tim Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for Peace: Tunisia: Lessons of Authoritarian Collapse

Wired: U.S. Had Helo Deal With Ousted Tunisian Dictator

Gideon Rachman @ Financial Times is one of many drawing comparisons with Egypt.

FP provides historical context, noting Ben Ali's 1979 playbook.

Where in the world is Ben Ali? Probably not France, who refused to give Ben Ali permission to enter. Or is he headed for Montreal?

Reuters has some credible speculation on potential Tunisian leaders.

CNN and Al-Arabiya TV report Ben Ali landed in Saudi Arabia.

Reuters reports caretaker president Ghannouchi will form a government on Saturday.

The Guardian, one of the recipients of the full Wikileaks archive: Tunisia: The WikiLeaks connection. "Mohamed Ghannouchi, former PM now acting as president, described in WikiLeaks cables as well-liked and respected"

L. A. Times: Tunisia protesters use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help organize and report. While not the focus of the story, here is a notable pull quote,

Laila Lalami, a Los Angeles-based writer from Morocco, wrote on Twitter, "Please stop trying to give credit to WikiLeaks, or Twitter, or YouTube for the toppling of Ben Ali. The Tunisian people did it." Later, she tweeted, "The Internet facilitates communication, but it alone doesn't keep people in the streets for four weeks."

HuffPo Paris: How Tunisian Facebookers Will Change Newsrooms. Describes how Al Jazeera's and France24's footage came exclusively from social media users for the first 2 weeks, and how journalists attempted to uphold standards in their reporting.

Council on Foreign Relations: After Ben Ali

Saudi Arabia officially welcomes Ben Ali into their country.

WSJ: As Tunisia Events Play Out Live, The Middle East Watches Warily

The Economist summarizes the events of Friday in Tunisia, concluding

Today's events mark the first time in recent memory that popular protests have felled a leader in the Arab world. But the celebration in Tunisia has been muted. It is unclear whether Tunisians will accept the leadership of Mr Ghannouchi — nicknamed "Mr Oui-Oui" for his subservience to Mr Ben Ali — or whether the protests will continue. The revolution that toppled Mr Ben Ali may not be over yet.

Marginal Revolution: The paradox of Tunisian water policy: Tunisia takes first place in water quality in the Arab world, and was, under Ben Ali, the least corrupt country in the Maghreb.

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