Posts Tagged ‘tunisian president’

Cook: Tales of Omar Suleiman

July 23rd, 2012 Comments off

Tales of Omar Suleiman – By Steven A. Cook | Foreign Policy:

The last time I saw Omar Pasha was on Jan. 24, 2011 — on the eve of the Egyptian revolution. I was with a group of foreign-policy experts, business leaders, and philanthropists and we met in an auditorium at the GIS headquarters. It was hard not to notice the freaky, yoga studio-like music that was playing over the sound system. When Suleiman arrived, he sat alone on a dais and spoke into a microphone, even though the delegation numbered only about 25 people seated in the second row of the auditorium, behind a gaggle of GIS courtiers. During the meeting, we learned that the United States had supplied Egypt with the technology to turn off the Internet — something the Egyptians would employ in earnest, though not terribly effectively, less than 24 hours later.

By Jan. 24, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had already fallen and a wave of self-immolations in Egypt had led to widespread speculation about whether the revolution was headed east. Naturally, therefore, someone in our delegation asked Suleiman whether the Tunisian revolt could happen in his country. But even at this late hour, he was as contemptuous of change as he had been six years ago, when he slammed his first down on the Washington conference table. “No,” he responded. “The police have a strategy and the president is strong.” Even at the time, the hubris was astonishing.

One of my big regrets, never meeting Omar Pasha. I do have some insight accrued over years of keeping notes on him and talking to people who dealt with him — mostly foreigner diplomats and spies and some Egyptian ones too. The takeaway is that he was actually fairly mediocre behind all the bluster and powersuits and Cuban cigars, and there is no better illustration of this than his handling of the Hamas issue in Gaza. Suleiman’s declared policy of ultimately crushing Hamas failed all the way, to the extent that people who dealt with him on this issue would joke about the “three-point plan” (engage, contain, crush) he would systematically trot out. Suleiman (unlike some of his predecessors when Egypt was at war with Israel) was ultimately the product of a system that only sought to maintain itself, showed little initiative or daring in foreign policy, and — being so concerned with status-quo and so-called “stability” — appeared to mostly keep busy by keeping everyone going around in circles (exhibit A: Egypt’s handling of Palestinian reconciliation talks).

I find it pretty outrageous he was given a state funeral and am surprised people did not try to disrupt it. One day, US archives of Suleiman’s handywork, especially on the rendition program, might be open and we’ll find out the full extent of complicity in his shenanigans. 

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Extradition of Libyan ex-PM ‘illegal’: Tunisian president

June 24th, 2012 Comments off

Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki denounced the extradition of Moamer Kadhafi’s former prime minister to Libya as “illegal” late Sunday, in a broadside at his country’s Islamist prime minister.
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Tunisia: Ben Ali’s 50 Cars to Be Auctioned Off

June 6th, 2012 Comments off

The first eight of some 50 cars owned by the family of deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have been shown to the public prior to auction.

The auction included two Fiat 500s, a Berlingo, a Mercedes 200, a Cabriolet, a Patrol Nissan, a Golf4, and an Isuzu D-Max. Tunisians from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds seized the opportunity to scrutinize the cars of their former ruling family.
According to Mohamed Lassad Hmaied, a member of the Management Commission, the remaining 42 cars — including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Cadillacs — will be exposed to the public at El Kram fair, held during the months of July and August.

It isn’t clear how many family members used these 50 cars.

My family has a Kia and a Saturn, but can’t auction them as we need then, Sorry, you’ll hae to try for the Lamborghinis.

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Prosecutors seek death for former Tunisian dictator

May 24th, 2012 Comments off

TUNIS Former Tunisian President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, who has been charged in absentia with ordering the killings of anti-government demonstrators and was forced to quit office, could be given the
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Moncef Marzouki: A Different Sort of President

December 21st, 2011 Comments off

I’ve been so preoccupied with the dramatic events in Egypt I’ve ignored much of the rest of the region. Including the increasingly interesting new Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki. Though his constitutional powers are a bit vague, he’s already shown himself to be a rather different sort of Arab leader; for one thing, he plans to auction off four of the Presidential palaces, and he doesn’t wear a tie. Here’s a useful profile.

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Ben Ali sentenced in absentia

June 21st, 2011 Comments off

Former Tunisian president Ben Ali has been sentenced, in absentia, to 35 years in jail.
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Ben Ali: Claims He Didn’t Plan to Stay in Jidda

June 21st, 2011 Comments off

Make of this whatever you will: Through his lawyers, ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali now says that he intended to fly his family to Jidda in January and then return immediately to Tunisia, but his Presidential plane, told to wait for him in Jidda, took off without him. So what was the whole flying to Europe/turning around and refueling in Sicily Sardinia/then flying to Jidda thing all about?

Of course he’s just been sentenced in absentia, along with his wife, to 35 years in prison, so maybe that Saudi guest house in Jidda won’t look so bad after all.

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Ex-Tunisian leader trial begins

June 20th, 2011 Comments off

The trial in absentia of ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali begins, a day after he denied all charges against him.
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Is that why Zionists are still mourning Bin Ali?

April 21st, 2011 Comments off
“The bodyguard of the ousted Tunisian President Zen El Abedeen Ben Ali has said that Ben Ali and his wife Laila El Trabolsi are supporters of Israel. Abdel Rahman Sobeir also claims that El Trabolsi is a Mossad agent who was involved in several assassinations of Palestinian leaders when they were exiled in Tunisia.  Mr Sobeir revealed this sensitive information on Facebook; he accused Tunisia’s ex-First Couple and their son-in-law Selim Shaiboub, along with a number of senior security chiefs, of criminal activity.”

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EU sanctions on Tunisia ex-leader

January 31st, 2011 Comments off

The EU freezes the assets of ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben and his wife after a request from the country’s new leaders.
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