When asked to write about Tunisia for a volume originally
designed to be about “rogue” regimes I hesitated, because Tunisia is neither
aggressive nor is it up to North Korean standards of internal repression. Yet in thinking about internally repressive
regimes the term “rogue,” reserved in this volume for externally aggressive
regimes, seemed useful because it connotes a regime that has run amok like a male
rogue elephant (See chapter 1, p. 9). The principal characteristic of such a
regime is that it deviates from the values and beliefs of the community that it
purports to rule. So much so, indeed, that some may perceive its leader to be
irrational or mentally ill. But unlike the elephant “of a savage destructive
disposition” that is “driven away from the herd,” the regime stays on to
control and possibly to corrupt the state.
Such, at least, is the sad political situation of
From this perspective—viewing the political leadership of such regimes as deviating from social norms—it follows that regimes like those of Ben Ali are vulnerable from within. It is not so much the quantity as the irrational nature of the repression that delegitimates them. Unable to control their public opinion and retain a semblance of legitimacy, they may become vulnerable to combinations of internal and international pressures for change.
While the present volume reserves “rogue” in this sense to
connote the external rather than internal behavior of a regime, there is
another sense of “rogue” related to a regime’s external behavior that indeed
Ali regime is one of a number of dictatorships in the Arab region coddled by
It is argued here that substantive deviation from social expectations may leverage up the body counts in any fair reckoning of the extent of repression that we are asked to evaluate. Crudely speaking, one tortured Tunisian may count for more on a relative or “normalized” scale of repression than several victims of another country in which torture is more habitual and the regime has less of a political community of values to violate and less of a state tradition or rule of law to undermine. The idea of “deviating” from political traditions, however, also has its pitfalls because the values and beliefs of a political community are always in flux. International fashions also change: Bourguiba’s despotic developmentalism looked good to academics, foundations, and NGOs in the 1960s, but similar Ben Ali rhetoric no longer works the same magic in the twenty-first century. Pinning down the latter’s “deviation” from Tunisia’s political traditions will require considerable elaboration and, unfortunately, runs against the grain of the best recent political study of the country, that of Camau and Geisser in 2003.
The State Department’s 2005 Report
• torture and abuse of prisoners and
• arbitrary arrest and detention
• police impunity
• lengthy pretrial and incommunicado detention
• infringement of citizens' privacy rights
• restrictions on freedom of speech and press
• restrictions of freedom of assembly and association
The report describes in some detail the torture techniques of Ben Ali’s police:
The forms of torture and other abuse included: electric shock; submersion of the head in water; beatings with hands, sticks, and police batons; suspension, sometimes manacled, from cell doors and rods resulting in loss of consciousness; and cigarette burns. According to AI [Amnesty International], police and prison officials used sexual assault and threats of sexual assault against the wives of Islamist prisoners to extract information, to intimidate, and to punish.
While noting that there had been some improvement in prison conditions in the late 1990s, the report also discussed prison conditions:
Prison conditions ranged from spartan to poor, and generally did not meet international standards. Foreign diplomatic observers who visited prisons described the conditions as "horrible." Overcrowding and limited medical care posed a significant threat to prisoners' health. Sources reported that 40 to 50 prisoners were typically confined to a single 194 square foot cell, and up to 140 prisoners shared a 323 square foot cell. Current and former prisoners reported that inmates were forced to share a single water and toilet facility with more than 100 cellmates, creating serious sanitation problems.
Political prisoners were often singled out for specially
harsh treatment. Some leaders of Nahda, the banned Islamist party, have been in
jail since 1991, and in solitary confinement for protracted periods. There was
also strong circumstantial evidence that some were being killed in prison. The State Department report noted the most
recent death: “on June 17 , Moncef Ben Ahmed Ouahichi, a Jendouba
resident, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at La Rabta Hospital in
Little reliable quantitative
information about political prisoners is available. A credible article on
prison conditions claims that
If three hundred is roughly the correct number of political prisoners, they account for only 1 percent of the country’s prison population, or 3 per 100,000 Tunisian inhabitants. By this conservative measure Tunisia was still more or less holding its own with Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco, and seemed slightly more repressive than Syria, estimated in 2004 to be holding only two hundred Syrian political prisoners out of a population almost twice as large. Once they are released, moreover, former political prisoners remain in virtual exile under strict administrative control and with little chance of being gainfully employed.
The quality of the treatment of prisoners has perhaps improved since 1991–1992, when the big crackdown on the Nahda party occurred and thousands were arrested. At that time many prisoners, on their eventual release,
described treatment that clearly amounted to torture, including routine beatings by prison guards and even by senior staff and prison wardens, and the shackling of some prisoners hand and foot much of the day. Prisoners with health problems were often denied medication or proper care, and infestations and skin diseases were rampant due to poor hygienic conditions. Inmates were subject to extremes of weather without adequate clothing and bedding. Hygiene was substandard and overcrowding so severe that cellmates had no choice but to sleep in shifts. On family-visit days, guards routinely humiliated and mistreated the inmates’ relatives.
In response to bad publicity in 2002 about prison conditions
deteriorating again after some improvement in the late 1990s, Ben Ali delegated
the head of his hand-picked “Higher Committee for Human Rights and Basic
Liberties” (Comité Supérieur des Droit de l’Homme et des libertés
fondamentales) to investigate the situation.
Although the resulting report was not published, Ben Ali promised to carry out
some of its recommendations, including better sanitation and “extending
breakfast to the entirety of the prison population.”
Of course he did not address the issue of political prisoners, especially
leaders arbitrarily sentenced by military courts in 1992. Close to one hundred
of the 265 Nahda activists sentenced in mid–1992 for attempting to overthrow
the government remained in custody in 2006, although the alleged “plot” was
seen at the time as just another excuse to lock up Ben Ali’s political
opponents. Apparently, many of the leaders were kept for years under solitary
confinement. As Human Rights Watch had concluded earlier, “
Other Indicators of Political Repression
As the State Department had already
noted in 2004,
“Security forces physically abused, intimidated, and harassed citizens who
voiced public criticism of the Government.” One of them was Abderrahmane Tlili,
head of one of
Another victim is Mokhtar Yahyaoui,
a leading Tunisian judge dismissed from his post for criticizing the
manipulation of Tunisian justice by the Ben Ali regime.
Moncef Marzouki, who tried in 1994
to run against Ben Ali for the presidency and was jailed two days after the
elections, continued to teach and practice medicine in Tunisia but sent his
family to safety in France while he spent time in and out of jail working for
various human rights causes. Deprived of his livelihood in
The state of the public media is deplorable. "If in certain countries like Algeria, Bosnia, or even Turkey, one kills journalists standing up, in others, like Tunisia, one participates in a slow death of the profession, by asphyxiation," a group of Tunisian journalists wrote to the International Federation of Journalists in 1995. The press became so "asphyxiated," in fact, that in 1997 the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) expelled the Tunisian Association of Newspaper Directors—a tool of the Ben Ali regime—for its inattention to the deterioration of press freedom in the country.
Although some magazines and
newspapers are ostensibly privately owned, they operate under stringent
legislation and self-censorship. Es-Sabah lost any remaining shreds of
autonomy in 2000 when its owner-publisher left the country, ostensibly for
family reasons, and its leading journalist, Abdellatif Fourati, was dismissed. La
Presse, which is also privately owned but which had never displayed the
independence of Es-Sabah, was indistinguishable from the official
government press. Haqa’iq/Réalités,
a bilingual weekly, after publishing a controversial investigative report on
prison conditions (see endnote 8), briefly lost its publicity revenues from
government ads but then published the government’s version of what happened to
Hédi Yahmed, the unfortunate young author of the report who departed shortly
thereafter to France to pursue his professional career.
The government also refused permission for Al-Jazeera to set up an office in
Figure 1: Newspaper Circulation
Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators CD ROM 2004
Tunisian opposition sites and
newspapers are blocked, as are many foreign journals and newspapers like Le
Monde and other potentially subversive resources.
The development of the police state
The regime has not succeeded,
however, in totally abolishing politics. Human rights organizations exist,
though they operate under great difficulty. One tactic used to neutralize the
Tunisian League of Human Rights was to submerge its meetings with an influx of
RCD activists. Another was to encourage “moderates” to desert the “extremists,”
whom the regime could not control. The LTDH was virtually paralyzed in 1993,
then recovered briefly before again falling victim to internal power struggles
that removed activists like Moncef Marzouki from office. Other organizations
operate illegally and are consequently always vulnerable. The Tunisian human
rights activists enjoy significant support from international NGOs and
occasional backing from
Fortunately for the opposition,
Deviating from Tunisian Traditions?
In terms of our indicators, the Ben Ali regime holds its
own across a universe of regimes in the Arab region that routinely tortures
political suspects and keep some of their oppositions under lock and key. As
noted above, its political prisoners per 100,000 people roughly matched the
incarceration ratios of
Serious observers argue, however, that the Ben Ali regime
did not significantly deviate from Bourguiba’s norms. Habib Bourguiba, after
all, was no democrat. In 1956, he became prime minister of independent
Like Ben Ali, Bourguiba had murdered or physically
intimidated his opponents, even as far back as 1937 when his Neo-Destour party
battled and outflanked the old Destour forces of Abdelaziz Thaalbi. When a
split occurred in 1955 between Bourguiba, who favored independence in
cooperation with France, and his erstwhile collaborator and party organizer, Salah
Ben Youssef, who preferred a more radical pan-Arab approach, the result was
virtual civil war. The new Tunisian government, with French military
assistance, cracked down on the Youssefists in the early months of
independence, and captured Youssefists suffered miserable fates in Tunisian
jails unless they were shot on the spot or hanged in a public square. The
estimated 900 deaths in 1955–1956 were double those of Tunisians killed or
executed in their independence struggle against
Bourguiba’s regime was torturing students returning from
Instead of deviating from Bourguiba’s legacy, then, Ben Ali could be viewed as rectifying it and preventing the excessive punishments Bourguiba sought when, as prime minister in 1987, Ben Ali conspired with party director Hedi Baccouche and others to retire the old man from office. As president in 1988, he released the hundred or so Islamists whom Bourguiba had jailed. He also intended to curb some of Bourguiba’s other excesses. Close associates of Ben Ali insisted at the time, for instance, that the president had no desire to emulate Bourguiba’s personality cult. Rather, he advocated freedom of the press and other measures of political liberalization in 1988. The public media were deplorable in Bourguiba’s final years: the daily TV news opened with archives of Bourguiba delivering speeches in the 1950s and 1960s before showing a few current scenes of a doddering old man being adulated by his courtiers.
By the early 1990s, however, Ben Ali was practicing the full Bourguiba, cult and all. The presidency grew at the expense of the ministries, the council of ministers, and the prime minister, for the youthful-looking president, computer at hand, took active control of the administration. Instead of breaking with the one-party system, he encouraged the ruling party to grow even more, from roughly 1 million members in 1986 to 2 million in 1997, flushing some of the older leadership with new cadres. The party continued as it had during much of Bourguiba’s reign to be an appendage of government administration, with hierarchical controls extending in parallel with the ministry of the interior down to the local level. It did not serve as a recruitment channel for political leadership, since ministers tended to be recruited for their technocratic organizational abilities and then parachuted into party command posts rather than the reverse. In Bourguiba’s time ministers tended to have had more of a political background in the party, trade union, or student union than those recruited after 1987. But Bourguiba’s party, too, had been largely transformed into an administrative apparatus by 1958, two years after independence. The exercise of personal power, moreover, tended to transform the political elite into insecure individual courtiers seeking the presidential monarch’s favor. In this sense little changed between the Bourguiba and the Ben Ali periods.
By engineering constitutional change in 2002 to permit him to keep running for office, Ben Ali even seemed to be competing with Bourguiba’s legacy of a life-long presidency. Indeed, if it is true that he has cancer and is grooming his wife to succeed him, he may meanwhile outdo Bourguiba’s excesses. Ben Ali’s cult of personality is an even greater deviation from Tunisian traditions because he is no Bourguiba; when history repeats, the second time has to be a farce. What most Tunisians could accept of their founding father, they can hardly accept of an upstart ex military intelligence officer with limited political experience. Ben Ali lacks Bourguiba’s historical legitimacy.
The Ben Ali regime’s economic corruption, moreover, has
exceeded all Bourguibian boundaries. True, Bourguiba built palaces—although not
removing all his neighbors for security reasons as Ben Ali did in extending the
perimeters of his
Undermining the State
The question of how deviant the Tunisian regime may be is not in the last analysis to be decided by comparisons between Ben Ali and Bourguiba in his later years but rather by how much each deviated from Tunisian political traditions. Both leaders insisted on a state of law but proceeded to undermine it.
The “state-building” of the pre-colonial and colonial periods may have been incomplete but Tunisia’s state tradition is certainly at least as strong as Morocco’s or Egypt’s and arguably stronger, given the degree to which a protracted nationalist struggle steeped Tunisia’s elites in the colonizer’s political culture. Bourguiba built upon this legacy in his golden years of political pedagogy (1955–1965). After his first heart attack in 1965, however, there ensued a politically debilitating succession crisis lasting over two decades. In my opinion, the critical turning point came in 1971–1972, when Bourguiba—had he not been a megalomaniac—might have accepted reforms within the ruling party that would have institutionalized pluralistic competition within the party. Instead, he purged the liberals with the help of organized labor, got himself elected president for life (boasting in the process about himself being a miracle that happens only once in a millennium), and then suppressed the major trade union.
Ben Ali’s autocracy is a logical continuation of
Bourguiba’s. But the deviations from the
rule of law are becoming excessive for several reasons. Times have changed and
international public opinion is no longer as tolerant of developmental despots
as in the 1960s. Echoes of disapproval in turn influence elite public opinion
inside Tunisia, leading to greater disaffection, just as opposition from within
receives more support abroad than in Bourguiba’s day. The Tunisian middle
classes have vastly expanded from a core of under 5,000 university-educated
professionals counted in 1965, and they are in constant contact with
The costs to the state budget of developmental
dictatorship are greater than they used to be. On the positive side, prudent
economic policies has kept inflation in check while spurring growth and
substantially reducing although not eliminating poverty. The state banks,
however, have huge portfolios of non-performing loans that stubbornly persist
despite vast sums spent each year to clean them up. Many of the loans are to
the regime’s wealthy retainers. Corruption, too, deters private investment.
Support from the
If corruption has not yet, as in the nineteenth century,
undermined Tunisian state finances, the police as well as the judiciary seem to
be unraveling. Torturing prisoners was becoming routine, and a former minister
of the interior narrowly escaped being indicted in a
The most spectacular sign of state
breakdown occurred in 2001, when
These presidential and parliamentary elections did little to strengthen the regime. As in previous presidential elections, Ben Ali had token opposition but won 94.8 percent of the vote (with a participation rate of 74 percent of the eligible voters). Independent journalists observed that the president’s campaign virtually monopolized the media, receiving 77 percent of the time accorded by the broadcasting media and 92 percent of the surface of the written press. Two of Ben Ali’s presidential contenders, moreover, expressed their support for the incumbent president and were permitted prime time, whereas afternoon prayers interrupted the third opponent’s broadcast! Little time or space remained for any of the parliamentary candidates, and most was allocated to those of the ruling Rassemblement Démocratique Constitutionelle (RDC). Whereas the opposition did manage to be heard, “in several cases the MDS [Mouvement Democratique Socialiste, the largest of the token opposition parties] and independent candidates announced their support for President Ben Ali instead of presenting their own programs.”
Another source of embarrassment for the regime was the World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). How could a regime that is so
unfriendly to the free flow of information be an appropriate host to such a
gathering? The International Freedom of Expression
Exchange (IFEX), an international consortium of NGOs such as Article 19 (of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights), the International Federation of
Journalists, and Reporters
sans Frontières, wrote an open letter to UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging the United Nations and member states to
change the venue of the World Summit unless minimal rights could be guaranteed,
including those of local as well as international media. IFEX published a
report in February 2005 that took up many of the themes discussed in this
During the time from
When the World Summit convened in
Indeed the human rights situation was deteriorating in 2006, and this new list of Tunisian malpractices, expanding on those listed in State Department’s Human Rights Report released earlier in the year (see above, page 2), pointed to a breakdown of law and order. The authorities went so far to purge the Association of Tunisian Judges for supporting Mohammed Abbou, a lawyer who had been jailed in 2005 for writing articles on the Internet about Tunisian practices of torture. He was imprisoned, like many political prisoners in Tunisia, far away from his family, so that his wife had to drive hours, often lengthened by arbitrary police behavior, to visit her husband for a few minutes each week. Even the Paris Bar Association became concerned in May 2006 about the flagrant abuse of justice and volunteered to participate in the defense of Maître Abbou.
As one Tunisian wrote in a six-part
The series of articles observed “signs pointing to the
collapse” of the regime but expressed little confidence in
little that the
some signs, at least, that the European Union may be reevaluating its
Working together, “old
 The Compact Edition of the
 William Shakespeare, Henry
IV (1597) or, as someone wrote in 1672, "it's a pretty little rogue;
she is my mistress."
 Michel Camau and Vincent
Geisser, Le Syndrome Autoritaire: Politique en Tunisie de Bourguiba à Ben Ali
 Camau and Geisser, Le Syndrome Autoritaire, 204–205.
 Ahmed Bennour,
Department of State, “
 Hedi Yahmed, “Hal yejib
islah es-sujoun fi
 Amnesty International, “
 On the eve of Ben Ali’s visit to
 US Department of State, “
 Human Rights Watch,
International’s 2005 Annual Report estimated
 Joshua Landis blog http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2004/08/is-syria-holding-fewer-political.htm Not included are perhaps 200 Lebanese and numerous Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners.
 Béatrice Hibou, “Domination & Control in
Authoritarian Power,” Review of African Political Economy No.108, pp. 188-189.
 Human Rights Watch, “
 The concerned functionary,
Zakaria Ben Mustapha, a former minister and mayor of
 Human Rights Watch, “
 Abdelqahhar, “Limogeague et Aggression
d’Abderrahmane Tlili: La Fin d’une Entente Mafieuse,” L’Audace, CIII
(September 2003). According to this account, Tlili’s original crime was to have
been overheard on a tapped phone conversation promising one of his mistresses
that she would become
 Compte-rendu de la visite d’Hélène Flautre en Tunisie des 26-27 mai 2006: http://www.flautre.net/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=54
 Hamed Ibrahimi, "Une Presse Asphyxiée, des Journalistes Harcelés," Le Monde Diplomatique, (February 1997), 4-5; Kamel Labidi, "How Tunisia Slid Off its Progressive Course,” Christian Science Monitor (August 18, 1997).
 Its long retired editor revisited La Presse in 1998. He told me (in a personal interview, Tunis, July 1998) that some of his former associates were complaining to him, some of them in tears, about being professionally humiliated by some of the newer recruits.
 “’L’affaire Hédi Yahmed’
Les Points sur les ‘i’,” Haqa’iq/Réalités (
legend in Figure 1 presents the countries in the order of their most recent
newspaper count. The World Bank stopped publishing these data after WDI
 La Presse (April 20, 1997), 3.
 “Médias sous Surveillance: Rapport de la
LTDH-Tunisie Mai 2004,” final section transcribed in L’Audace, CXII
(June 2004), 24. The report also observes that neighboring
 United States Department of State, “
 Six youths and a minor were
arrested in Zarzis in late 2002 on grounds of “forming a band with the object
of preparing armed strikes [attentats]. ” They claimed simply to be
surfing the net for information about the political situation in the
 By one count
 Souhayr Belhassen, “Les Legs Bourguibiens de
la Répression,” in Michel Camau and Vincent Geisser (eds.), Habib Bourguiba:
La Trace et l’Héritage (
 Ibid., 397.
 Camau and Geisser, Le Syndrome Autoritaire, 181, 217–218.
 Ibid., 194–195.
 Clement Henry Moore, Tunisia Since Independence: The Dynamics of One-Party Rule (Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1965).
 The constitutional amendment passed in May 2002 abolished the term limit and extended the eligibility of candidates to seventy-five years of age.
 For a summary of recent speculation, see “Comment Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali a Été Dépossédé du Pouvoir,”Libération (August 14, 2003), cited by Tamurth.net (September 7, 2003), http://www.tamurth.net/article.php3?id_article=390.
 For an analysis of the Union of International Banks, see Clement M. Henry, The Mediterranean Debt Crescent (Gainesville, FL, 1996), 181–183.
 When a French banker’s yacht stolen in Corsica in May 2006 reappeared in Sidi Bou Said, with Ben Ali’s wife’s nephew Imad Trabelsi at the helm, the online journal reveiltunis.org interpreted the event as one more illustration of the president’s family troubles. See “La famille de Ben Ali en eaux troubles,” reveiltunis.org, 14 June 2006: http://www.reveiltunisien.org/article.php3?id_article=2218 (retrieved June 27, 2006). For a background discussion of the Trabelsi family’s excesses before the yacht scandal, see Hamime, “La mafia politique tunisienne enlisée dans les affaires juteuses,” Reveil Tunisien, April 12, 2006: http://www.reveiltunisien.org/article.php3?id_article=2149
 Camau and Geisser, Le Syndrome Autoritaire, 163.
 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2006.
 World Bank, Tunisia: Projects – lending by sector: http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=64441305&piPK=64444344&theSitePK=40941§orcode=WX§orname=Water/sanit/fld%20prot&FiscalYear=&displayfiscalyear=2007&countrycode=TN&countryname=Tunisia&menuPK=64383171&productname=&productline=null&type=LS (retrieved Oct. 2, 2006)
Former Interior Minister Abdallah Kallel narrowly escaped from his hospital bed in Geneva in 2001. He can no longer be prosecuted for criminal charges, but the Tunisian residing in Switzerland who claimed that Kallel as minister was responsible for torturing him is attempting to mount a civil law suit against him. A hearing was scheduled in Geneva for 5 June 2005 to determine whether the Swiss court may have jurisdiction in a civil suit against Kallel and/or the Tunisian state. See Fati Mansour, "Les audaces juridiques d'un rifugii dicidi ` faire payer ses bourreaux tunisiens: Une victime tranne l'Etat tunisien devant un tribunal suisse," Le Temps, Geneva, 20 October 2004, cited in L'Audace, no. 118 of December 2004, 12–13. See Fati Mansour, “Les Audaces Juridiques d'un Réfugié Décidé à Faire Payer ses Bourreaux Tunisiens: Une Victime traîne l’Etat Tunisien devant un Tribunal Suisse,” Le Temps (Geneva) (October 20, 2004), cited in L’Audace, CXVIII, (December 2004), 12–13. On June 9, TRIAL (Track Impunity Always), the Swiss NGO supporting the principle of Swiss jurisdiction in this matter, announced that the hearing was held in the absence of the Tunisian government defendant and that the Court of First Instance would issue a verdict in coming weeks. See TRIAL, "La Plainte contre l'Ancien Ministre de l'Interieur Abdallah Kallel Va de l'Avant" (June 9, 2005), http://www.trial-ch.org/fr/actions/tunisie_juin05.htm.
 Camau and Geisser, Le Syndrome Autoritaire, 360.
 Florence Beaugé, “Le Combat Perdu du Président Ben Ali,” Le Monde (July 21, 2001).
 The study, conducted by thirteen independent Tunisian journalists including Abdellatif Fourati, Seham Bensedrine, and Souhayr Belhassen, was sponsored by the International Medias Support (IMS), the Center for Media Policy and Development, the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, the Tunisian Association for Women Democrats, and the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia.
 OpenNet Initiative, Internet Filtering in Tunisia 2005, pp. 10, 14, 16.
 Report of the Tunisia Monitoring GroupFollowing the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), May 2006: http://campaigns.ifex.org/tmg/IFEX-TMG-report-May-2006.pdf (Retrieved June 27, 2006)
 PANAPRESS, Paris, 30 May 2006.
 La Tunisie s’est mise à l’heure de la gestapo allemande de l’ère hitlérienne. Depuis lors, des réseaux criminels ont été constitués qui oeuvrent à tuer toute propagande ou information car ils sont conscients du danger que représente l’arme de la confrontation : ils ont interdit la presse, l’ont restructurée et organisée, interdit toute source de propagande aux mains d’éléments de l’opposition et réprimé toute pensée, réflexion et activités politiques libres. Hamime, Tunisie : la mafia politique et les signes annonciateurs de la chute, part III, Reveil Tunisien, March 1, 2006
 Vanya Walker-Leigh, “Tunisia Under Fire for Ban on NGO Meet,” Sept 18, 2006, Interpress News http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34757. See also Omar Mestiri, La Benalie « terre d’accueil et d’ouverture » Kalima no. 45 (3 Sept 2006)
 European Parliament Resolution on Tunisia, June 15, 2006: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?Type=TA&Reference=P6-TA-2006-0269&language=EN An earlier version of the resolution (B6‑0355/2006 of 12 June 2006) considered “that the implementation of all these reforms must be treated as a priority of the EU-Tunisia partnership and must constitute a fundamental element in the development of relations between the European Union and Tunisia; considers, in that regard, that if Tunisia does not act in accordance with this agenda, the Council and the Commission will have to take appropriate action in the context of the Association Agreement.”
 See the two concluding paragraphs of David L. Mack, “Democracy in Muslim Countries: the Tunisian Case,” National Strategy Forum Review, IV (2005), http://www.nationalstrategy.com/index_files/LeadArticle2.htm.