Fresh Arrests Reported as ‘New’ Tunisian Govt Continues Crackdown

Officials Claim Arrests Are on Behalf of the 'Jasmine Revolution'

In an odd twist, the remains of the Tunisian government since President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster are now couching their arrests of rivals as being on behalf of the “Jasmine Revolution,” even as protesters continue to call for their ouster as well.

The current government, which is by and large the exact same government with all the exact same ministers as it was when Ben Ali fled the country, has offered the token arrests of a couple of former Ben Ali allies as proof of their own commitment to the revolution that seeks to oust them in favor of free elections.

Meanwhile, officials also arrested the owner of a private TV station for “grand treason,” insisting that their coverage of the protests undermined the government and would “ruin stability and take the country into a vortex of violence that will bring back the dictatorship of the fomer president.”

Which would imply that the dictatorship was actually toppled already, and is not just a revolution “in progress.” Having overseen decades of dictatorial rule of his own, Ben Ali’s use as a bogeyman may well be paving the way for its continuation under some other president, but in all meaningful ways unchanged.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.