French Face Fallout From Tunisia, Egypt Aid

Will US Have Similar Soul-Searching Moment?

The French government is facing growing questions from voters following the revelation that they helped train the out of control Egyptian police ahead of the new uprising and, even more shockingly, that the government authorized a shipment of tear gas to the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia just two days in the middle of the uprising that eventually chased him into exile.

Nicolas Sarkozy and Tunisian Dictator Ben Ali

French officials with close ties to Ben Ali are facing calls to resign, especially Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who took a vacation to Tunisia in the midst of the crackdown on the protests, a move condemned by the opposition.

French historical ties to Northern Africa and the backing of dictatorships in the region were mostly shrugged off for decades, but as the regimes collapse and the dirty dealings come out, people are asking uncomfortable questions and imperiling the government.

So far this has not happened in the US, despite enormous US funding and training for the Mubarak regime, which continues even as the American public watches the popular revolt on the news and wonders how things ever got so bad in Egypt. It seems inevitable that these questions about the situation in Egypt will turn to the tens of billions of dollars the US has thrown at the regime.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of