The Tunisian Revolution (?)

Some great pieces have been written about events in Tunis this past week. Some, such as Robert Fisk are extremely skeptical of the outcome, whilst others have been more optimistic about a knock-on effect in the rest of the Arab world. The pick of the bunch is Mark LeVine’s piece on al-Jazeera suggesting what the US could and should do to ensure this is no flash in the pan and leads to a genuine democratic revolution:

While the United States and the international community should not directly intervene unless the military begins killing or arresting large numbers of people, there are a number of steps Obama could take immediately to ensure that this nascent democratic moment takes root and spreads across the region.

First, the President should not merely urge free and fair elections. He must publicly declare that the United States will not recognise, nor continue security or economic relations, with any government that is not democratically elected through international monitored elections. At the same time, he must freeze any assets of Tunisia’s now ex-leadership and hold them until they can be reclaimed by the Tunisian people.

Second, he should declare that the young people of Tunisia have shown the example for the rest of the Arab world, and offer his support for a “Jasmin Spring” across the Arab world. Obama should demand that every country in the region free all political prisoners, end all forms of censorship and political repression, and fully follow international law in the way they treat their citizens or the people’s under their jurisdictions.

Furthermore, the President should call on every country in the region to move towards free, fair, and internationally monitored elections within a specified time or risk facing a similar cut-off of ties, aid and cooperation. Such demands must be made together with America’s reluctant European allies.

Other articles worth a look so far are:

March Lynch on the impact of new media.

Christopher Alexander on why Ben Ali fell.

Mona Eltahawy on the revolutionary potential of the events.

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