Was Wikileaks A Catalyst For Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s Dissolution Of The Tunisian Government?
On Friday, Tunisian state TV reported that President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali dissolved the government as security forces clashed with protestors on the streets. The international, non-profit organization Wikileaks may have been a conduit for the turmoil.
President Ben Ali, who also holds the titles of Chief of State and Prime Minister, made the move to quell the violence that has overtaken the capital of Tunis. Reports have emerged that protesters have been savagely beaten by baton-wielding security forces who fired on the initially, peaceful protesters.
Human rights groups have indicated that more than 60 people have been killed during the clashes. Protests began in the past few weeks over rising food costs, high unemployment, and charges of massive corruption malfeasance by the first lady profiting off private schools tip the balance.
Allegations of the corruption, long suspected by the populace, were enhanced by the recent cable releases by WikiLeaks. The cables are critical of Ben Ali’s executive policy decisions, cover the First Lady’s actions, and discuss the non-governmental control that Ben Ali’s family exerts over the country.
Compounding the situation was the Tunisian Government’s decision to block its citizens' access to WikiLeaks. Members of Anonymous, the loosely organized network of hackers, have launched attacks at Tunisian Government websites in retaliation.
Social Media has been a major component of the current protests mirroring the use of Twitter during the protests that occurred in Iran after its last election. Ben Ali has called for new elections to be held in 6 months.
The Tunisian Republic, a country located on the northernmost tip of Africa has a population of more than 10 million people. The United States considers Tunisia a close ally in its war on terrorism.