Tunisia and Egypt after the Arab Spring


T20I Debutant
Jan 22, 2006
Post of the Week
It's been a week of protests on Tahrir Square. Over 40 people have died and many injured. Over 100,000 people are standing strong with one demand, end of military rule, now. They have begun to realize that the initial "revolution" or Arab spring which began in January this year and resulted in the ouster of Mubarrak was a farce and was engineered by the intelligence apparatus to replace one military regime with another while giving the impression to the whole world that a new era has dawned on Egypt. This time the military is finding it hard to quash the protests. The interim govt. recently resigned and a new prime minister was appointed, 78 year old Ganzouri, a former Mubarrak era prime minister. As expected, it failed to appease the protesters who correctly saw it as another ploy by the military to buy time. The elections are supposed to be held in a few days but it's hard to imagine elections happening in an environment like this. The people of Egypt have realized their strength.*It will be a remarkable feet if this time they are finally able to get rid of the army's control over their country. This could be great example for countries all over the world that once people unite and come out on the street, no power in the world can stop them. I sincerely hope so...
I have been to Egypt and at that time it was my (snap) opinion that no way Husni can leave Egypt b4 death...he had water tight control over the country...

and now its clear it was (arab.spring.com) all sham...
Hope this time egyptians get what they striving for.
The military are very powerful in the institutions of Egypt and have been for decades. Hope the protesters succeed as any army appointed government would be a puppet government. Could be more violence on election day. Surprisingly there were people rallying in support of the army.
The military are very powerful in the institutions of Egypt and have been for decades. Hope the protesters succeed as any army appointed government would be a puppet government. Could be more violence on election day. Surprisingly there were people rallying in support of the army.

Yes, there will always be some people supporting the status quo, but their numbers are far less. One news report I saw stated the pro army crowd to be around 15,000 where as the anti army crowd was over 100,000. In any case, it will be difficult to grab power from the decades old hold of the army. I give the protesters credit for being consistent and not being satisfied by the ouster of Mubarrak.
What's interesting is that, at least until I last read, the vast majority of Tahrir Square protests were being organized by the Islamic Brotherhood, no? Even before the revolution began there were reports/worries in Western media that Egyptian society was becoming more religious. Good on them, though, for not settling for a farce.
The military are very powerful in the institutions of Egypt and have been for decades. Hope the protesters succeed as any army appointed government would be a puppet government. Could be more violence on election day. Surprisingly there were people rallying in support of the army.

There were people rallying in support of Mubarak too IIRC. Most were undercover police I believe, but even still. There's sure to be a few loonies everywhere who want to hold on to the past regime.
They got rid of the traitor Mubarak, but a changed of system is what they need.

The only reason the USA and West eventually showed support for the protesters (after 4 decades) is because they made their own arrangements with the Egypt Military.
They got rid of the traitor Mubarak, but a changed of system is what they need.

The only reason the USA and West eventually showed support for the protesters (after 4 decades) is because they made their own arrangements with the Egypt Military.

I think the west is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they don't support the anti army protesters this time it will look like their support last time was not genuine and all the good faith that they must have built among Egyptian people would go down the drain. On the other hand if they do support the protesters than there is always a risk that an anti American democratic government like the Muslim Brotherhood may come to power. Yesterday, the US govt. after almost a week of protests and deaths, made a statement praising Egypt's commitment to change and urging the military to give way "as soon as possible" to full civilian rule. UK govt. have remained coy, condemning violence this week between youths and secuity forces in Tahrir Square but stepping back from earlier strident calls for elections to help the transition from martial law to fledgling democracy.
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A good read for you saadibaba. :)

Due to its important geopolitical location (linking Asian, African and European continents) and to its diversified rich natural resources the indigenous inhabitants of the Middle Eastern region had been subjected to multi-forms of colonial campaigns since the beginning of ancient times. These inhabitants were subjected to ruthless military occupations, genocides, persecutions, oppressions, enslavements, and ethnic cleansing. Yet the people never surrendered nor gave up. They struggled for their freedom and independence and fought all colonial powers one after the other. Since the beginning of 2011 we are witnessing their latest regionally-sweeping fight against local ruling regimes that are subservient to foreign powers. This has become known as the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, like all their previous struggles, there is a poisonous snake in the background, which covertly is directing and orchestrating this Arab Spring to reap its fruits for itself.

Their most previous sweeping struggle, similar to the present Arab Spring, was the famous Arab Revolt of June 1916 kicking the colonial Ottoman Empire, known as the “Sick Man”, out of the whole Middle East. The poisonous snake then was the United Kingdom, who pledged to recognize Arab independence throughout the whole Middle East if they join the British in their fight against the Ottoman Empire; an ally to Germany during WWI. This pledge was officiated through what is known as McMahon/Hussein Correspondence (1915 through 1916). Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Arthur McMahon was the British High Commissioner in Egypt from 1915 to 1917 and Hussein bin Ali was the Sharif of Mecca. The British confirmed their pledge, again, through the January 1918 letter by Sir Mark Sykes carried by British Commander David Hogarth to Hussein. British weapons were shipped to Arab fighters through T.E. Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia), who also coordinated the war efforts between the two parties. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire the British broke their pledge to Sharif Hussein. According to their May 16th 1917 secret Sykes-Picot Agreement they divided the Middle East into French and British colonies, and according to their Balfour Declaration, November 2nd 1917, they promised Palestine to the Zionists. Sharif Hussein was ousted from Mecca to exile by the British supported Abdul-Aziz bin Saud, who established the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The military struggle continued within each separate Arab state until independence was achieved. Before quitting and leaving their Arab colonies, France and Great Britain raised some of their local cronies to become heads of states in order to keep the country dependent on the occupier economically, politically and even culturally. Some of the Arab countries, especially in Northern Africa, still use the occupier’s language next to Arabic as a main daily language.

There exists in the world a very wealthy and very influential group of people; the wealthiest 1%; a Power Elite, who exerts tremendous influence on world events. This Power Elite value themselves above all other nations. They had developed a kind of political theology that exalts them as the elite of all elites, the divinely chosen group, the architects of this world, the crafters of all religious, political and social ideologies, and the destroyers and builders of nations. It gives them the right and the duty to move nations and lead them into reshaping their political regimes through revolutions and wars to make these nations subservient to their own agenda. They spend their days drawing global projects and dedicate all their resources for their execution. They were responsible for all major wars around the world, for revolutions in many countries, for economical crises and for most major events in the history of this world. Through their wealth they control heads of states, all media outlets, military and intelligence organizations, and the world economy. Looking at the present global financial crises affecting many countries, one could not help but ask: who is this debtor, wealthy enough to hold many countries and their whole economies in his debt?

This is not any longer the farfetched conspiracy theory they are trying to ridicule those who try to expose it. It is a fact. After all a conspiracy is defined as “evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more people”.

For those who doubt that nations could be blindly and irrationally driven to acts against their own national interests and welfare, I would like to remind them of the drastic opposing effects of the famous speeches given by Brutus Albinus and Mark Antony to the Roman citizens after the assassination of Julius Caesar. The Romans, won by Brutus’ speech, were immediately converted against him within few minutes by Mark Antony’s speech. The famous proverb states that “people are just like a ball kicked from one corner of the field to the other by politicians.” Thus the political term “the ball is in one politician’s court.”

Iraq, Syria and Iran were the main obstacles to the Power Elite’s primary colonial Zionist Project of establishing Greater Israel to control the Middle Eastern region. The Power Elite came up with the “New Middle East” and “fighting global terrorism” projects to augment their Zionist Project. Intending to move southward they started with the occupation and destruction of Iraq. Although the Iraqi occupation was carried out under the banner of weapons of mass destruction and spreading the American democracy, it was faced with huge global political opposition not to mention the large financial expenses.

After failing to manipulate the IAEA and UN to isolate and to break the Iran/Syria ally, who supports Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas in their resistance against Israeli occupation and expansion, the Power Elite came up with the perfect scheme of “New Order through Chaos” erroneously dubbed, later on, as the Arab Spring. It involves revolution from within to topple the ruling regime and to incite conflict and struggle between the different religious and ethnic groups to divide and to weaken the country in order to make it easier for them to interfere, under the pretence of protecting minorities and/or of economic aid, to virtually control and re-organize the country. This way the Power Elite would present itself as an ally rather than an occupier, would gain the approval of the international community, would sidetrack all global political opposition and criticism, and would avoid the huge expenses incurred by the revolution. Their first attempt during 2009 Iranian election failed to topple the regime due to the relatively small size of demonstrators. A proven precedent with a strong credibility was needed to convince larger masses into revolting. The Power Elite was ready for a “controlled sacrifice” in order to win the ultimate prize, similar to a chess player, who is ready to sacrifice his queen in order to check-mate his opponent’s king. The goal is a controlled election in an American style democracy in some of the “non-friendly” Middle Eastern countries.

Tunisian Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was the first sacrifice. Tunisia was a French colony from 1883 to 1956 when Habib Bourguiba established the Republic of Tunisia. Bourguiba made the fatal mistake of nationalizing foreign land holdings and Christian religious institutions. This infuriated the Italians, who brokered what is known as the “medical coup d’état” deposing Bourguiba and installing the head of security forces, Ben Ali, in his place. This was declared to a 1999 Parliamentary Committee by Fulvio Martini, former head of Italian military secret service (SISMI). Ben Ali was perfect local foreign puppet. He has French and American military and intelligence training. He had close working relationship with Bush’s (Junior) administration and was a partner in fighting the so called global terrorism through the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative.

Contrary to the claimed cause for the 2010/11 Tunisian Revolt its economy was considered the best in the African continent and was projected to even improve in the coming years. The 2010-2011 Global Competitive Report (Davos World Economic Forum) ranked Tunisia as first in Africa and 32nd out of 132 globally. In an attempt to fight potential terrorism through economic assistance Ben Ali established a National Solidarity Fund that slashed Tunisia’s poverty from 7.4% in 1990 to 3.8% in 2005. The Oxford Business Group stated that Tunisia’s economy was likely to grow starting with 2008 due to its diversified industries.

Tunisia was chosen for its vulnerability to the West. Its security intelligence was penetrated through its cooperation in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, and its military and economy were compromised through the American military and economic assistance programs. Although the Power Elite supports its local puppet rulers they also support, to a lesser extent, opposition groups just in case the ruler gets out of line they would use the opposition groups to get rid of him.

The revolution started with Wikileaks exposing the large extent of Ben Ali’s corruption. When Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself aflame the opposition groups were already primed for mass demonstrations. As the head of state, and through bribery, Ben Ali could have sent the army and thugs to crush the demonstrators, as we have seen in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. The country’s army chief withdrew his support to Ben Ali after his consultation with the Obama’s administration as was rumored. Ben Ali flew out to Saudi Arabia that has become known as the refuge for all deposed dictators of the region.

The many political parties formed before the Tunisian election is an indicative of the prevalent division and confusion among the people. The inexperienced Ennahda Islamist Party, who won the October 23rd election, could become a very easy prey to foreign long experienced political interference and to economical manipulation.

Egypt was the litmus test that would propel the rest of the Arab nations, particularly Syrians, into revolting against their ruling regimes. Hosni Mubarak was chosen for he was the most hated, although very influential, Arab leader of the most important Arab country. He was hated by his people for his tyranny, his oppression, his corruption, and his cheap privatization of Egyptian natural resources to foreign investors among many others. He was hated by the majority of Arab nations for his pro-American/Israeli foreign policies, for supporting the American invasion of Iraq, for his opposition to the democratically elected Palestinian Hamas, for his sabotage to all inter-Palestinian reconciliation efforts, for his partnership with Israeli Gaza siege, for his opposition to Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ armed resistance against Israeli occupation, and for his support to Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah and Israel’s 2009 war against Gaza. He was the queen to be sacrificed in the chess game.

“US groups helped nurture Arab Uprisings” was the title of an article in New York Times, which exposed that young Egyptian activists had received technical training on the use of social networking and mobile technology, and were financed by American groups such as International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy and Project on Middle East Democracy.

It is inconceivable that Mubarak, the wealthy ruthless head of state for thirty years and with long history in military service, did not have any loyal subjects in the army, who would help him crush the demonstrators. For the last thirty years the Egyptian army had been virtually armed, trained, and financed by the US. The army did not crush the protesters because there were strict orders not to do so. Comparatively the same army had crushed protesters and even opened live fire at them after the revolution (Maspero Massacre of 9th October, here and here). The Supreme Counsel of the Armed Forces, who seized power after the revolution, had re-instated the emergency laws and is slapping in military courts prison sentences to young activists, who started the revolution. This Counsel stood watching thugs attacking and destroying many government buildings. The latest attack this month was on the Supreme Court while judges were in a meeting. Egypt now is divided with religious conflicts (Christian Copts vs Muslims) and non-functioning government.

The American chosen next president is already primed and ready for the proper time to grab presidency. As for Mubarak, he had served the American/Israeli interest well for the last thirty years and would not be let off empty handed. According to Egyptian weekly “Alanbaa Aldawlia” the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) organization, with 14 million members and specializes in the monitoring of money laundering schemes, had reported to the FBI that for 10% commission President Obama and 17 other American officials, including both former presidents Bush (father & son), Hillary Clinton, James Baker and others, with the cooperation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a high manager of Deutche Bank in France, had been involved in the money laundering of Mubarak’s $700 Billion from Deutche Bank, Barclays Bank and HSBC Bank, to Israel’s Bank Leumi and other banks in China and Taiwan. According to Anat Levin, the branch manager of Israeli Bank Haboalim-Swiss branch, she was authorized by the Israeli government to transfer $20 Billion from Mubarak’s account to Saudi King Abdulla Abd El-Aziz’s account and to UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s account. The weekly also reported that Christine Legarde, while still French Minister of Economic Affairs, had submitted a report to the Interpol requesting thorough investigation into the management of Deutche Bank in France.

Libyan revolution was actually a civil war brokered by Western powers (US, UK, and France) and some Arab Gulf countries (Egypt, UAE, and Qatar). After paying reparations for Lockerbie bombing, abandoning his nuclear program, and giving Western energy companies (Royal Dutch Shell and BP) access to Libyan oil fields in 2004, Gaddafi had ended enmity with the West. Although he had a type of grandeur illusions Gaddafi attempted in the past to unite Arab countries, and upon failing he recently attempted to create an African Union which threatened the re-colonization plan of Africa by AFRICOM. The decision to get rid of Gaddafi, once and for all, came when he vowed to expel Western energy companies from the country and replace them with oil firms from China, India and Russia. Gaddafi’s second fatal mistake was his plan to convince African and Muslim counties to create a new currency, the gold dinar, to rival the American Dollar and the European Euro, in oil trade.

Libyan revolution was totally militarized. It was revealed that Egypt and Qatar were the main arms suppliers to the Libyan rebels. Under American pressure Arab League urged UN to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, and Qatar offered to cover all expenses of NATO forces to bomb alleged Gaddafi’s forces. Libyan rebels were civilians without any military training and were no match for Gaddafi’s well-trained and well-equipped army. It was revealed by Walter Fauntroy, member of US House of Representatives, that while in a self-sanctioned peace mission to Libya, he witnessed French and Danish troops coordinating NATO bombings and raiding Libyan villages, and giving the credit to Libyan rebels. At the end Gaddafi was ordered murdered rather than captured for fear of exposing all his shady dealings with the West.

Two unplanned products of the Arab Spring were the Yemeni and Bahraini revolutions. These are genuine popular peaceful revolutions against Yemeni Saleh’s 33 years oppressive rule, and against Al Khalifa family virtual 191 years rule. The two countries have strategic locations in the region and are of important interest to the American Administration. Yemen is located on the southern entrance of the Red Sea, through which all east/west marine traffic passes. Citing the October 2000 USS Cole bombing, the 2008 attacks on US embassy, and the October 2010 bomb packages incidents, allegedly linked to Anwar al-Awlaki, as proof of Al Qaeda in Yemen, Obama’s administration and Saudi Arabia justified sending money, arms and troops to help Saleh fight terrorists, and to crush the 10 months old demonstrations

The US has possibly the largest marine/air force base in Bahrain, where the Fifth Fleet provides support to all war ships of the US Naval Forces Central Command (USNACENT) to patrol the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. To keep the status quo in Bahrain Obama’s administration encouraged Gulf States to send the Peninsula Shield Force to Bahrain to crush the demonstrators. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE were happy to oblige and send their troops to Bahrain.

Syria is the main target; the prize; the king to be checked-mate. With American money and with the cooperation of some Arab officials, paid operatives incited some Syrian citizens, motivated by ethnic and religious background, to demonstrate in the streets demanding reform and regime change. These demonstrations took place in the easy accessible small towns on the borders of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Yet these demonstrations were dwarfed by millions of other Syrian citizens who demonstrated in major cities in support of the regime. To intensify the conflict these operatives, dressed in Syrian army outfits, started killing some citizens and accusing the Syrian police and army, and at the same time attack police and army personnel to force them into the defensive.

Compared to Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemeni and Bahraini peaceful demonstrations, Syrian demonstrations are totally armed with heavy weapons; machine guns, propelled missiles, anti-tank RPG, mines and heavy explosives, and are directed and orchestrated by military experts from other neighboring Arab countries as exposed by Al-Alam and Syrian TVs.

Heavy weapons and military experts were smuggled in through Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as reported by the Lebanese Arabic Assafir. Turkey had also played a major role in pressuring Syria and had harbored and encouraged armed Syrian rebels called Free Syrian Army. In successive televised interviews the former Lebanese MP Nasser Kandil had exposed in details including names, dates, and places, the conspiracy of destroying Syria as a country not just a regime change. The Saudi Bandar Ben Sultan (dubbed Bandar Bush by the Bush family) was named as a major conspirator with the Americans against Syria. It was reported that He was arrested in Syria while under cover smuggling money and weapons to Syrian operatives. It was also exposed that the American Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevallier (in Arabic) to Syria had smuggled sophisticated satellite communication and surveillance equipment to the Syrian rebels some of which were seized by Syrian police.

Media outlets had also been manipulated to pressure Syrian government and to inflame the demonstrators. After gaining credibility in reporting Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan revolutions Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia TV channels had almost totally ignored the 99% popular Bahraini peaceful demonstrations and concentrated on Syrian demonstrators, less than 40% of the population, in a biased unconfirmed and more hostile reporting against the Syrian government. Every Thursday one could notice heightened reports about civilian casualties and ruthless attacks of the Syrian army in an attempt to incite more people to join Friday demonstrators. Syrian news would top every news broadcast even though there might be more important news in the region. Al-Jazeera repeated broadcasting phone video clips of the same demonstrations from different angles, and of alleged civilian victims, some of these clips proved to be of old Iraqi troops abusing citizens. The victims were always reported as civilians while there was no mention of Syrian soldiers being killed. Unlike Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan, and Yemeni army defectors shown on TV declaring support to the people, the media failed to show one Syrian army defector while they keep announcing wide defection. Al-Jazeera had established a special war room planning anti-Syrian propaganda as reported by some Al-Jazeera’s prime reporters and directors such as Ghassan Ben Jeddo and Luna Al-Shibl among many others (Arabnews in Arabic), who submitted their resignation in protest of such unprofessional politically biased reporting.

The US and France, particularly, had pushed for many harsh sanctions against Syria through the UN. Fortunately they could not obtain a military interference under the excuse of protecting Syrian citizens, as was done in Libya, because of the Russian and Chinese veto threat. So the Arab League, a Western tool, was pushed to play pressuring active role in Syria. It seems that many Arab leaders, especially Gulf leaders, who cynically call for democratic regime in Syria, have forgotten that they, themselves, employ family autocratic dictatorships in their own countries. Despite this fact the Syrian government had accepted the Arab League plan. The oppositional Syrian National Council rejected the plan and intensified its violence against the Syrian army inviting harsh retaliation. So the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership and threatened economic and political sanctions. Such are illegal actions contradicting the constitution of the Arab League that had never made a decision benefiting any Arab state, but legalized the many Western military interference in the Middle East such as in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Libya. We should mention here that the Arab League had refused to receive a petition from the slaughtered Bahraini people requesting protection. Thousands of people within different Arab states demonstrated against the decision of Arab League in front of Qatar’s and Saudi Arabia’s embassies.

It has become obvious that the Syrian oppositional groups are divided and have different aspirations some of them are conflicting and confusing. This division and confusion are due to the background of each oppositional group. The Western paid groups are armed seeking violent regime change and call for foreign interference the same as in Libya. The genuine oppositional groups reject any foreign interference fearing the same fate of Libya, and seek drastic reform through dialogue.

To obtain peace, real democracy and prosperity in the Arab World, ALL the present Arab leaders and regimes need to be abolished, starting east with the Gulf States all the way west to the Atlantic Ocean through the northern Arab states of Africa. This would give a chance for an Arab Union to develop under one real democratic regime with one united economy. Such a strong Arab Union would rebalance global power and put an end to Western re-colonization schemes of the Middle East.

We should remember that permanent changes happen through the evolution of human consciousness not through violent destructive revolutions.

Tunisia PM sacked after violent Covid protests

Tunisia's president has sacked the prime minister and suspended parliament, after violent protests broke out across the country.

Thousands of protesters, angry at the government's mishandling of Covid-19, had flooded onto the streets and clashed with police on Sunday.

President Kais Saied announced he would take charge with help from a new prime minister, saying he intended to bring calm to the country.

But opponents branded his move a coup.

After an emergency security meeting on Sunday, Mr Saied said in a televised address: "We have taken these decisions... until social peace returns to Tunisia and until we save the state."

Protesters erupted with celebrations at the news Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi had been sacked. President Saied joined crowds in the capital Tunis.

Thousands of people had demonstrated against the ruling party in Tunis and other cities, shouting "Get out!", and calling for parliament to be dissolved.

Security forces blocked off parliament and streets around the central Avenue Bourguiba, the centre of anti-government protests during Tunisia's 2011 revolution.

Police fired tear gas at protesters and made arrests in several other towns.

Protesters stormed the offices of the governing Ennahda party, smashing computers and setting fire to its local headquarters in Touzeur.

The party denounced the attack, blaming "criminal gangs" who were trying to "seed chaos and destruction".

Military warning
President Saied vowed to respond to further violence with military force.

"I warn any who think of resorting to weapons… and whoever shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets," he said.

He said the constitution allowed him to suspend parliament if it is in "imminent danger".

But Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi accused the president of mounting "a coup against the revolution and constitution".

"We consider the institutions to be still standing and supporters of Ennahda and the Tunisian people will defend the revolution," Mr Ghannouchi, Ennahda's leader, told Reuters news agency.

Ten years ago, the Tunisian revolution ushered in democracy and triggered the Arab Spring revolts across the region.

But hopes that this would bring more jobs and opportunities have been disappointed.

A decade on, Tunisia is battling a deep economic crisis and one of Africa's worst coronavirus outbreaks.

Cases have been rising sharply in recent weeks, putting further pressure on the faltering economy.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi sacked the health minister last week, but this has done little to ease people's anger.

Tunisia's president has sacked the PM and suspended parliament, after violent mass protests nationwide on Sunday.

Anger over the government's handling of a massive recent spike in Covid cases has added to general unrest over the nation's economic and social turmoil.

President Kais Saied, who was elected in 2019, announced he was taking over.

His supporters erupted in celebration, but opponents in parliament immediately accused him of staging a coup. Clashes among rival groups continued on Monday.

They threw stones at each other outside the legislature, which has been barricaded by troops, who have also prevented workers from entering some government buildings.

Mr Saied, an independent, has had a long-standing feud with the man he has removed, PM Hichem Mechichi. Mr Mechichi has the backing of the largest party in parliament, Ennahda.

Tunisia's revolution in 2011 is often held up as the sole success of the Arab Spring revolts across the region, but it has not led to stability economically or politically.

The recent coronavirus surge has fuelled long-standing public frustration. The health minister was sacked last week after a bungled vaccination drive.

Statesman or dictator?
On Sunday thousands of people across Tunisia demonstrated against the PM and Ennahda, the moderate Islamist ruling party.

Its local headquarters in the south-western city of Touzeur were set on fire.

One protester in Tunis, Lamia Meftahi, told Reuters news agency this was "the happiest moment since the revolution".

Another in the town of Gafsa told AFP news agency the president had "shown himself to be a true statesman", but a second resident there said: "These fools are celebrating the birth of a new dictator."

In the early hours of Monday, the speaker of parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, who leads Ennahda, tried to get into the legislature in Tunis. He was blocked by those who supported Mr Saied's move, and responded with a sit-down protest with his own loyalists.

Later on Monday, Al Jazeera TV, which has been viewed as sympathetic to Ennahda, said security forces had raided its offices in Tunis, unplugging all equipment and telling staff to leave.

On Sunday, in a televised address, Mr Saied said: "We have taken these decisions... until social peace returns to Tunisia and until we save the state."

He later joined the celebrating crowds in Tunis.

President Saied also vowed to respond to further violence with military force.

"I warn any who think of resorting to weapons… and whoever shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets," he said.

Long considered one of the few success stories that sprang from the Arab Spring, Tunisia has seen its president accused of staging a coup after he sacked his prime minister and suspended parliament with the help of the army.

President Kais Saied's dismissal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Sunday followed violent demonstrations across the country over the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has led to clashes between supporters and opponents of the president in the streets of the capital, Tunis.

Mr Saied has said he will name a new prime minister, but his critics have accused him of a power grab that threatens Tunisia's young democracy.

Here is a look at the legacy of the Arab Spring and how protests and uprisings dramatically altered the political structure of much of the Arab world.

The Arab Spring

The Arab Spring spread across much of the Arab world from early 2010 as demonstrators rallied against the region's dictatorial leaders in protests over corruption, poverty and oppression.

Escalating anti-government protests spilt over into uprisings and eventually civil wars in several countries as the Arab Spring spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen, resulting in the ousting of the leaders in those countries, with the exception of Syria.

It has directly contributed to the refugee crisis and the rise of the Islamic State and has seen fresh authoritarian leaders seize power in many countries, leaving many with their hopes crushed as they struggle to live under increasingly authoritarian regimes in countries beset by greater levels of poverty and unemployment.


eople took to the streets in the capital, Tunis, to celebrate the PM's dismissal - but others have called the move 'a coup'
The roots of the Arab Spring can be traced back to Tunisia, where Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit seller, set himself on fire in protest after police confiscated his goods and a female officer slapped him on 17 December 2010.

Footage of his self-immolation spread across the country and led people in his home city of Sidi Bouzid to take to the streets in rage.

Within a month, protests had forced Tunisia's authoritarian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Despite the relative success of Tunisia's revolution, the country has recently seen large protests over mass unemployment and many consider its parliament inefficient and stagnant.

These problems have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the economy hard as infection rates soared over the summer.


emonstrations in Tunisia following the death of Bouazizi inspired massive protests across Egypt, leading President Hosni Mubarak to leave office within weeks.

A presidential election in 2012 gave power to President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, but Mr Morsi himself was later deposed when Egypt's military generals seized power in 2013.

Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi then became president and imposed a police state, which has seen tens of thousands of Egyptians imprisoned and hundreds executed.

The country remains under military rule.


As unrest spread across Syria, Bashar al Assad's government began using live ammunition against protesters, leading tensions to boil over and igniting a civil war in 2011 between the regime and rebel groups.

IS emerged from among the myriad rebel groups and expanded across the border into Iraq, where it declared a new Islamic caliphate in 2014.

Syria's brutal decade-long civil war has seen hundreds of thousands of people killed and over 6.8 million Syrians become asylum seekers and 6.7 million displaced within the country's borders.

Despite this, Mr Assad has managed to cling on to power with the support of Russia, Iran and Lebanon-based Shia-militant group Hezbollah, although fighting in the war-ravaged country continues and several areas remain under the control of rebels.


Similarly, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi decided to crack down on the largest protests in the country's history with force.

The move sparked a civil war and a NATO-led coalition began conducting airstrikes in support of the country's rebels.

Rebel forces deposed and later killed Gaddafi in October 2011. However, efforts to transition away from Gaddafi's rule broke down and the country descended into a renewed civil war.

The internationally recognised Government of National Accord remains in control of Tripoli and the city of Misrata, while the Libyan National Army, commanded by General Khalifa Haftar, runs Benghazi and much of the oil-rich east. General Haftar's forces are supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.


As protests spread throughout much of the Arab world, pressure on Yemen's authoritarian president Ali Abdullah Saleh led him to hand power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, in 2011.

However, Mr Hadi's presidency was beset by continuing problems of corruption, unemployment and an insurgency from the Houthi militia.

The Houthis took control of the capital, Sana'a, in 2014 and declared themselves in charge of the government. Yemen's President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, fled to Aden, where he continues to lead Yemen's internationally-recognised government.

Fierce fighting between the Iran-backed Houthi group and the western-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia has led to one of the worst famines the world has ever seen, with half of the population lacking food and almost 16 million on the brink of starvation in 2016.

Other countries affected

While the Arab Spring saw rulers deposed in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, it also led to street protests in Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, were able to use military force to effectively end revolts before they could seriously threaten the status quo.

Legacy of the Arab Spring

While the reverberations of the Arab Spring continue to affect life in the Arab World, continuing issues including corruption, authoritarianism and poverty are likely to be exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.

Only Tunisia's uprising resulted in a transition to a constitutional democracy, but with the country's president ousting his prime minister, the shift away from authoritarian rule is looking increasingly fragile.