Though it seems pretty clear that the revolution in Tunisia was primarily a function of a downtrodden populace bristling under growing authoritarianism and a crumbling economy, the timely release of WikiLeaks documents damaging Tunisian President Ben Ali’s regime has been a matter of no small discussion.
The real question then, is whether the WikiLeaks releases spurred the rebellion, or if it just happened. US officials scoffed at the notion, saying Tunisians knew how crooked the government was before WikiLeaks released cables detailing it. This may well be true, but as with the releases detailing US crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was probably nice to get some official confirmation.
The story is dramatically different though from Libyan President Moammar Gaddaffi, who saw the Tunisian revolution as a decidedly bad thing, and was keen to “blame” WikiLeaks for its role in sparking it.
Gaddaffi insisted the cables were written by “lying ambassadors” and that they had “tricked” the Tunisians into destroying what was “achieved” in the nation. With massive numbers of additional cables coming, the question is which regime might be the next.